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Thursday, November 20, 2014

What $100 at Aldi's Can Buy for 2 People Who Cook From Scratch.

The last time I went grocery shopping was nearly 3 weeks ago - the last week in October, to be exact. I spent just under $100, and was able to cook for my husband and I nearly every night, as well as have a few friends over on two occasions, and bring a dish to our weekly potluck-style family dinner.

We didn't starve. We didn't eat rice and beans every night. We were happy and satisfied.

Don't believe me? My meals plans from the last three weeks can be found HERE, and HERE, and HERE.

How did we do it? Careful, meticulous planning and accountability.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 107 + URBAN HOMESTEAD MEAL PLAN!

In this week's meal plan, you'll find some items are bolded, which indicates a homegrown or local item from our urban homestead. Of course, there will be a few repeats throughout the week since we try to eat in-season. 

Note: Lunches are always leftovers, and we rarely have dessert. On weekends, we usually have some sort of brunch instead of a leftover lunch. Dinners are listed below: 
  • Monday - French toast (eggs, milk, vanilla extract, homemade bread) with home canned jam
  • Tuesday - John's Date Night Cheeseburger on a skinny bun with peas
  • Wednesday - Weekly dinner with friends OR a homemade frozen pizza (sausage & veggies)
  • Thursday - Monthly dinner out with teacher friends (John is on his own…)
  • Friday - Scratch-made French onion soup
  • Saturday - Oven roasted chicken hindquarters with a loaded baked potato
  • Sunday - Family dinner with John's sisters - not sure what we're bringing yet. We'll hash out a menu via group text on Saturday. 
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:


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 Taylor Made Ranch for linking up a tutorial on dehydrated potatoes 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.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Apple Butter Meat Loaf {for two}

It's comfort food time, people. So, put on your stretchy pants and lets get started on that 10 pounds of holiday weight, shall we? 

(I'm sort of kidding. Don't gain 10 pounds this holiday season. It's not healthy. But if you enjoy food, like us, indulge in moderation!)

My good friend Rachael was raving about her mother-in-law's apple butter meatloaf one night at our weekly Wednesday dinner. She said this meatloaf is savory and sweet. Juicy. Comforting. All things you want in a meatloaf and more. 

Naturally, Rachael was kind enough to share this recipe with me, and I made it just as her sweet mother-in-law advised. It was fabulous. 

Fabulous, people. 

And I was thrilled that we had enough for leftovers for our lunches the next day. True to fashion, the second time I made her recipe, I modified it to fit two people (perhaps with enough leftover for lunch?) and the ingredients I happened to have on hand. Here are the equally delicious results: 

Apple Sauce Meatloaf for Two. 

Modified from Dee’s Apple Butter Meatloaf

You'll need: 
1/2 lb. lean ground beef (93% lean)
1/2 lb. lean ground pork
1 medium/large sized apple, peeled & grated (I used an apple from my brother's tree)
½ c. bread crumbs
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. clove
¼ tsp. sea salt or kosher salt (optional)
¼ tsp. black pepper

Topping:¾ c. apple sauce (I used home-canned from my brother's apple tree)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set out a rimmed cookie sheet and a metal baking rack. You can also use the broiler rack that came with your oven.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, apple, and spices together well. Add the  breadcrumbs, just until the mix “holds” together. You may not need all of the breadcrumbs. Form your mixture into one or two loaf shapes and place on the wire rack overtop of your cookie sheet. You're using the rack to let all the fat drip away, so the meatloaf isn't boiling away in a pool of grease.

Note: If you would rather cook the meatloaf in a loaf pan, then Rachael recommends you, "Poke a few holes (I use my finger…shoot me!) in the meatloaf at spaced intervals, this helps to pool all the juices that will need drained away."

Bake covered at 400 for 45 minutes – then pull from oven and spread the ¾ c. apple sauce on top and place back in the oven, for 20 minutes. 


Serve your savory, sweet, juicy meatloaf with whatever side dish blows your skirt up. John's skirt gets all frisky when I make couscous. So, we had whole wheat couscous with bacon and peas with our Apple Sauce Meatloaf.


And it was perfect.

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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Monday, November 10, 2014

Mostly Homemade Monday - Week 106 + URBAN HOMESTEAD MEAL PLAN!

In this week's meal plan, you'll find some items are bolded, which indicates a homegrown or local item from our urban homestead. Of course, there will be a few repeats throughout the week since we try to eat in-season. 

Note: Lunches are always leftovers, and we rarely have dessert. On weekends, we usually have some sort of brunch featuring eggs from the ladies, instead of a leftover lunch. Dinners are listed below: 
  • Monday - Salsa chicken in the slow cooker for tacos
  • Tuesday - Cheese ravioli with butter and herb sauce
  • Wednesday - Pork chop with peach jam glaze and frozen peas
  • Thursday - Homemade tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Friday - Pasta and Alfredo sauce with frozen broccoli
  • Saturday - Homemade pizza with home canned sauce, sausage, peppers, olives, and onions
  • Sunday - Family dinner with John's sisters - not sure what we're bringing yet. We'll hash out a menu via group text on Saturday. 
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:


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 Our Simple Homestead for linking up 6 Steps to a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle 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.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

1920's Dutch Colonial Home Tour from the Twin Cities!

I am honored to bring you a tour that I've anticipated for quite some time, featuring my sweet cousin Kristy's beautifully adorned home. Kristy is my oldest cousin on my dad's side of the family, and we cousins were all very lucky to have grown up only a few miles apart as children. {I even remember going to Kristy's high school volleyball games with her dad, my uncle, to cheer her on. That was almost 20 years ago, but she still is a tall, leggy fox :) } 

When we were emailing back and forth to prepare for this post, we agreed that while it's been years since we were physically close as children, it's so interesting to see how much we still have in common. Especially when it comes to reclaimed, up cycled decor. 

It doesn't get much more sustainable than that. 

Here's Kristy. 



Hello and welcome to my 1920s Dutch Colonial home! It’s cozy, a little quirky and bursting with character, a lot like my family of four. Jeremy, Kristy, Harrison (2) & Hattie Mae (1).


Our home is situated in the historic Edina Morningside neighborhood in the Twin Cities where we are already starting to catch glimpses of winter. So, please come inside. It’s starting to get cold out there.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 105 + URBAN HOMESTEAD MEAL PLAN!

Man, last week I really shot that meal plan all to hell. Things popped up mid-week, I switched my plan for certain days around, and we had friends and family over on Halloween and had a potluck. Granted, we had made-from-scratch dinners every night, but they just weren't planned.

Alas, it's a new week. 

In this week's meal plan, you'll find some items are bolded, which indicates a homegrown or local item from our urban homestead. Of course, there will be a few repeats throughout the week since we try to eat in-season. 

Note: Lunches are always leftovers, and we rarely have dessert. On weekends, we usually have some sort of brunch with eggs from the ladies instead of a leftover lunch. Dinners are listed below: 
  • Monday (meatless) - Potato soup with homemade bread
  • Tuesday - Chicken parmesan with home canned pasta sauce
  • Wednesday - Weekly dinner with friends, OR Korean beef with udon noodles
  • Thursday - Cooking class with my mother-in-law. John is on his own. 
  • Friday - Brats on the grill with carrots and sweet corn from the deep freezer
  • Saturday - Sausage and herb quiche
  • Sunday - Family dinner with John's sisters - not sure what we're bringing yet. We'll hash out a menu via group text on Saturday. 
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:


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 Tessa, The Domestic Diva for linking up gluten-free, vegan Pumpkin Blondies 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.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 104 + URBAN HOMESTEAD MEAL PLAN!

Before I share this week's meal plan, did you see I'm teaming up with some Iowa bloggers to give away a $150 Visa gift card? 


In this week's meal plan, you'll find some items are bolded, which indicates a homegrown or local item from our urban homestead. Of course, there will be a few repeats throughout the week since we try to eat in-season. 

Note: Lunches are always leftovers, and we rarely have dessert. On weekends, we usually have some sort of brunch featuring eggs from our backyard flock, instead of a leftover lunch. Dinners are listed below: 
  • Monday - Grilled bacon-wrapped turkey tenderloin and frozen sweet corn
  • Tuesday - Freezer chicken pot pie (featuring veggies from the garden)
  • Wednesday - Weekly dinner with friends, or lasagna from the freezer
  • Thursday - Grilled pork chop with baked beans
  • Friday - Slow cooker chicken noodle soup (with peppers, onions, carrots from the garden)
  • Saturday - Grilled cheese sandwiches and leftover chicken noodle soup
  • Sunday - Family dinner with John's sisters - not sure what we're bringing yet. We'll hash out a menu via group text on Saturday. 
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:


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 turquoise piano bar 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.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

$150 VISA GIFTCARD GIVEAWAY, from the Iowa Bloggers!


I have teamed up with 8 of my favorite Iowa bloggers to offer one lucky reader an awesome prize: a $150 Visa gift card. Just in time for the holiday season, flu season, or any other season that is approaching - regardless, we know you'll use this gift card to make your days a little brighter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are 10 items that I can't live without this fall and winter, which I highly recommend for those of you who strive to make your home a more sustainable, self-sufficient place. 

1. White ceramic compost bucket. My sister gave me this gift for letting her stay at our home for several months while she was in college. I use this bucket daily! There's no smell emitted, and I can just tote the bucket out to the chicken coop and dump the scraps for the ladies. 


2. Heat lamp and bulb for the chicken coop. Last weekend John and I winterized our coop for the ladies. This included caulking the cracks and installing our heat lamp for those bitter Iowa winter days and nights. While we aren't using the heat lamp just yet, I know it will be handy in a few weeks when the weather turns.



3. Rolling pin.  I don't make pies often, but when I do, the crust is from scratch. I do, however, make homemade pizza often, and use my rolling pin (and pizza stone - see below) for a thin and crispy crust.



4. Lodge Dutch oven. This baby was a birthday gift from John this summer, and I am finding this piece of enameled cast iron is perfect for braising meats and slow-simmering soups. I love that I can use it on the stove top and in the oven.



5. Pizza stone. I use my stone for nearly everything in the oven, not just pizza! Any items that I want to bake and get crispy go on this stone. In fact, I store the stone in my oven and leave it in there while the oven is preheating. No more toxic non-stick baking sheets for this girl!


6. Lunch bags. One way we save money is by packing our lunch every.single.day. Lunches are usually leftovers, and we pack them the night before so all we need to do is stuff the containers in our lunch bags. John uses a more manly insulated lunch bag, but here's a version that is super trendy with all my teacher friends right now:



7. Glass Pyrex containers with lids. I also have these Anchor Hocking food storage containers. Not only do I use baking dishes like this for marinading meats, baking, and traveling with food for potlucks, but I recently splurged on some Anchor Hocking dishes for food storage. That's right - no more toxic plastic containers!



8. Essential oil diffuser. I have three of these. THREE! One in our bedroom. One in our dining room/kitchen area. One in our living room. All three are used daily to keep us physically and emotionally healthy. And, this diffuser is very reasonably priced!



9. Thieves and Purification essential oil blends. Last week John got a terrible head cold, and by diffusing these two blends, applying them topically, and cleaning the house and bedding thoroughly, we have been able to stay healthy. I didn't get his cold (yet…) and he's feeling better every day, with great improvement after the 2nd day of his cold.




10. Grace for Each Day. A few months ago we started attending church again - it had been a few years. However, we make efforts to go weekly and are enjoying this time of spirituality. I also purchased this devotional about 2 weeks ago, and give myself about 15 minutes of quiet time each morning before work to reflect on my practices, say a prayer for my friends and family, and center myself for the day ahead.



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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