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Monday, July 21, 2014

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 90

Wanna know what makes my Monday happy? Hanging out with my blogger friends. 

This morning I'm meeting up with Ally (from Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats) and Michelle (from Simplify, Live, Love) to talk food, gardening, and all things blog. We have a great networking group of Iowa bloggers, many of which I've had the opportunity to meet in person. 

And Lindsey at My Creative Days
And Bethany at Sawdust and Embryos
Or Jeni at Jeni Eats
And Diana and My Humble Kitchen
And my girl Courtney at One Lyric

There are quite a few Iowa bloggers out there that I've come to know in person and virtually; too many to name here, in fact! If you want to keep up with some of the things we're posting, check out our Iowa bloggers board on Pinterest

Anyway, on to the party:



Mostly Homemade Mondays is a series for people that are on a journey to better living, via healthier eating and a more natural lifestyle. We realize that there are different paths that we all take to get to that place, and this bloghop celebrates that. Whether you’re a seasoned raw foodist who has banned all things unnatural, or a rookie who is starting out by cutting out junk food, we’d love to hear from you! Link up with your favorite recipes, projects, crafts, or rants and raves.

The Hosts:

Jess from Scratch Mommy

Homemade Mondays will open every Monday. You have until Thursday to make your submissions. We will share our favorite posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and shout it from the rooftops.
  • Link up. Use the submission form below to add your blog posts to our gallery below. You can add as many links as you’d like, as long as they’re on topic. 
  • What’s eligible? Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice. We’re pretty open.
  • Tell us about yourselves. Leave a comment telling us a little about your site and what you’ve shared. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good way to stand out.
  • Link back. Share the love by adding a link back to this party with your readers so they can see all of these great ideas as well.
  • Follow our Pinterest board. Remember to check out our Mostly Homemade Mondays Pinterest board where we're pinning some of our favorite posts from the week.
Here was our favorite post from last week: 


A special thanks to Repurposed For Life for linking up this post for a Repurposed Sideboard to Mostly Homemade Mondays! Feel free to grab this "I've Been Featured" button and share the great news with your readers, family, and friends: 

<a href="http://s1333.photobucket.com/user/TheSustainableCouple/media/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w637/TheSustainableCouple/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg" border="0" alt="I Was Featured button for MHM photo TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg"/></a>


AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Backyard Chickens Are Sustainable! And You Get Eggs.

This post was originally published for the Iowa Food and Family Project "Join My Journey". Each month Kristin Porter from Iowa Girl Eats will be visiting family farms and businesses to learn about the Iowa ingredients that make their way to our plates at home and in restaurants. She and the Iowa Food and Family Project have invited Iowa food and lifestyle bloggers to contribute to this journey. In July, Kristin and the gang are exploring eggs. Here is my contribution to the journey, which you can also read HERE.



Eggs are a protein staple in this house. Not only do they make their way in just about every baked goodie, but we've found a way to enjoy eggs for lunch and dinner - not just breakfast.

Because we go through a dozen eggs a week, and because I am always focused on cooking with fresh, healthy, locally grown ingredients, I spent about 4 months this winter working with the Marion City Council to develop and pass an urban chicken ordinance. Getting eggs from a local farmer was awesome, but I wanted to collect fresh eggs from my backyard and put those chickens to work for me, because they are great garden composters.

It was a lot of hard work, but the end result is citizens of Marion can now keep 6 laying hens in a coop in their backyard!

In March, with the help of my dad, brother, and husband, I began preparing for my chicks that I would get later in the spring. The first priority was transforming this old Ham radio storage shed that was long since abandoned on my grandparents' farm into a suitable chicken coop.


One of the big things my dad and brother did was add two nesting boxes to the outside of the coop.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls From Scratch.

I love breakfast. I was just telling John the other day that I feel like I can cook one hell of a breakfast. It's one mealtime I've been able to master. Not only can I dominate a quiche or frittata, but sweet breads and cinnamon rolls are also bomb.com in my kitchen. 

I don't mean to brag. But really. My cinnamon rolls are killer. 


And the process is SO EASY! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 89

If you follow us on Facebook, you know that about a month ago we received our Young Living Essential Oil Premium Starter Kit. That very day we began experimenting with the oils and oil blends, and have noticed great improvements in our emotional health. I kept an e-sticky on the desktop of our MacBook, and documented each of the ways we've used them so far: 
  • Diffused Lemon in the kitchen after stinky cooking
  • Purification in the laundry with my homemade detergent for some musty smelling whites
  • Few drops of Purification in the two filters in the vacuum cleaner
  • Diffuse Peace and Calming every night at bedtime (need to order a backup bottle!)
  • Wear Valor every morning on my wrists, over my heart, and on the back of my neck
  • Frankincense on my facial sun spots (made a Frankincense mist to keep in the bathroom)
  • Diffuse Joy in our home office while working
  • Stress Away (with a roller ball tip) in the car so I can roll it on when I'm feeling tense
  • PanAway on the backs of John's knees after a hard day at work
  • PanAway on John's sore neck
  • Diffuse Peppermint and Lemon (together) in kitchen to increase energy and freshen the air
  • Wore Joy during a hard afternoon of yard work 
  • Diffused Thieves in our basement after we cleaned up flood waters
  • Sprinkled Purification and Thieves on the furnace air filter 
  • Purification on pulse points as a bug repellant
  • Purification as an insect bite soother
  • Diffused Peppermint in the house on an afternoon when I had a headache
  • Wore Peppermint to fight motion sickness in the car
I am excited to continue sharing the way essential oils are changing our lives. Stay tuned!

Anyway, on to the party:



Mostly Homemade Mondays is a series for people that are on a journey to better living, via healthier eating and a more natural lifestyle. We realize that there are different paths that we all take to get to that place, and this bloghop celebrates that. Whether you’re a seasoned raw foodist who has banned all things unnatural, or a rookie who is starting out by cutting out junk food, we’d love to hear from you! Link up with your favorite recipes, projects, crafts, or rants and raves.

The Hosts:

Jess from Scratch Mommy

Homemade Mondays will open every Monday. You have until Thursday to make your submissions. We will share our favorite posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and shout it from the rooftops.
  • Link up. Use the submission form below to add your blog posts to our gallery below. You can add as many links as you’d like, as long as they’re on topic. 
  • What’s eligible? Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice. We’re pretty open.
  • Tell us about yourselves. Leave a comment telling us a little about your site and what you’ve shared. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good way to stand out.
  • Link back. Share the love by adding a link back to this party with your readers so they can see all of these great ideas as well.
  • Follow our Pinterest board. Remember to check out our Mostly Homemade Mondays Pinterest board where we're pinning some of our favorite posts from the week.
Here was our favorite post from last week: 


A special thanks to Lady Lee's Home for linking up a post about fixing their old RV to park on their farm to Mostly Homemade Mondays! Feel free to grab this "I've Been Featured" button and share the great news with your readers, family, and friends: 

<a href="http://s1333.photobucket.com/user/TheSustainableCouple/media/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w637/TheSustainableCouple/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg" border="0" alt="I Was Featured button for MHM photo TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg"/></a>


AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.

Friday, July 11, 2014

John's 1/2 Pound "Date Night" Cheeseburger


I know it's going to be a good night when my homestud is in the kitchen shaping up some ground beef for his signature 1/2 pound cheeseburgers. 

In fact, it's so rare that he does ANY type of cooking, I often assume he either made a big purchase behind my back, or is trying to butter me up for some crazy idea. Sometimes, though it be very rare, the man in my life just wants to dig into a juicy burger. 

These are the occasions where we have a 'date night' out on the patio around the grill. Behold, John's 1/2 Pound "Date Night" Cheeseburger: 

John recommends starting with some spices. 


Monday, July 7, 2014

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 88

Ahhhhhhhh, what a great holiday weekend. 

You'll remember that John and I headed waaaay up to Northern Wisconsin to my grandparents' home on the lake. We only spent 2 days there, but we managed to sneak in a few family games (like bags and frisbee), a trip into the local tourist town, and some barbecued ribs at the original Famous Daves.


We also enjoyed a campfire each night (it helped to keep the mosquitos at bay) and an awesome fireworks show from the resort next door.


Anyway, on to the party:



Mostly Homemade Mondays is a series for people that are on a journey to better living, via healthier eating and a more natural lifestyle. We realize that there are different paths that we all take to get to that place, and this bloghop celebrates that. Whether you’re a seasoned raw foodist who has banned all things unnatural, or a rookie who is starting out by cutting out junk food, we’d love to hear from you! Link up with your favorite recipes, projects, crafts, or rants and raves.

The Hosts:

Jess from Scratch Mommy

Homemade Mondays will open every Monday. You have until Thursday to make your submissions. We will share our favorite posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and shout it from the rooftops.
  • Link up. Use the submission form below to add your blog posts to our gallery below. You can add as many links as you’d like, as long as they’re on topic. 
  • What’s eligible? Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice. We’re pretty open.
  • Tell us about yourselves. Leave a comment telling us a little about your site and what you’ve shared. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good way to stand out.
  • Link back. Share the love by adding a link back to this party with your readers so they can see all of these great ideas as well.
  • Follow our Pinterest board. Remember to check out our Mostly Homemade Mondays Pinterest board where we're pinning some of our favorite posts from the week.
Here was our favorite post from last week: 


A special thanks to Frugal Foodie Frank for linking up Mason Jar Greek Salads to Mostly Homemade Mondays! Feel free to grab this "I've Been Featured" button and share the great news with your readers, family, and friends: 

<a href="http://s1333.photobucket.com/user/TheSustainableCouple/media/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w637/TheSustainableCouple/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg" border="0" alt="I Was Featured button for MHM photo TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg"/></a>

AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.

Friday, July 4, 2014

How We Promote Food Independence.

Happy Independence Day, sweet readers. I hope you're spending your holiday exactly as you wish, whether that be with friends and family, or in the solitude of your home or garden. Where ever you want to be, I hope you're there.

John and I are spending the holiday with my grandparents, parents, brother, sister, and their significant others at my grandparents' house on the lake. It couldn't be any more perfect, I think. However, traveling and being away from home makes me appreciate our home even more. Many of you would agree that there's no place like home.

Speaking of Independence Day, our home is where we assert most of our independence and take advantage of certain freedoms. {I'm not talking about walking around in my underwear.} John and I wanted to reduce our dependence on the grocery store for our food. And on others for the things we need to grow our own food. And on the system that produces, manages, and transports our food.

There are so many ways in the last three years that we have {slowly} began to assert our food independence, and we'd like to share a few of them with you.

We grow our own food. 


This includes:

  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • zucchini
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • green and purple beans
  • potatoes
  • onions
  • garlic
  • carrots
  • lettuce, kale, swiss chard, and other leafy greens
  • a variety of hot and bell peppers
  • a variety of herbs
  • sunflowers (for the chickens and birds)
Every year we try a new vegetable, and every year we learn something new. For example, one year I grew eggplant and okra. We didn't like either of them, so we knew not to grow them again. Another year I had a miserable tomato crop, so I did a lot of research to prevent blight and blossom end rot. I've only recently started a garden journal, which will help me detail the best solutions for our little family.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Five Things I'm Diggin' in JULY!

I am so excited for July. Do I have an exciting trip planned? No. A big party? Nope. An event I'm anticipating? No.

In fact, I'm so excited for July simply because this month will include simple gatherings with friends, meals cooked at home from scratch {mostly}, hours upon hours in my backyard garden and with the chickens and dogs, and a few DIY projects. I'll continue to nanny about 3 days a week, and will also continue my 2 tutoring jobs. Other than that, I look forward to much R&R, and connecting with you via this little ol' blog.

Here are five things I am digging this month, and I think you will, too: 

1. My new Lodge enameled dutch oven

Thanks for the birthday present, John! I am even more excited to use this baby in the winter for some hearty soups and roasts.

2. My new Rachael Ray EVOO dispenser

I am adamant against keeping things on my countertops. Other than my bread machine and a drying mat for dishes, I like to keep my countertops clear. This dispenser, especially in my favorite color, looks super cute on my butcher block cutting board by my stove.

3. Been There, Baked That's round up of summer recipes

Stephanie, the writer behind Been There, Baked That, gathered a bunch of summer favorites from Iowa bloggers, which has been an awesome hit! Check out this collection and see if you find a summer recipe to add to your repertoire.

4. Our compost bin

We bought this compost bin a few years ago on Craiglist, so we clearly didn't pay full price. However, we would have purchased this bin at cost, because it has been so useful on our urban homestead. Composting is such an easy way to start living sustainably, and doesn't even require a fancy 'store-bought' bin like ours.

5. Typewriter Key Necklaces

My mom got me a "K" necklace for my birthday, and I love it. It's simple and casual, and matches with every outfit, even a t-shirt.

AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.
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