Homestead, Recipes

Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Soup

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My husband’s “therapy” is cooking.  David has alot of emotional “disorders” – like many other folks do – and cooking is totally therapeutic for him.  He also has OCD, so his cooking becomes a very long and drawn out affair most times!

Hubby was off work this weekend, and after church on Sunday he decided he was going to “clean out the fridge” and make some soup – it was a very cold and rainy day here in eastern North Carolina – a perfect day for homemade soup!

Using the vintage cookware that we recently purchased from ebay and Etsy, a pattern that was inspired by a small dutch oven we found in my mother’s refrigerator when she passed away this summer, {meatloaf still in it, she loved her meatloaf} he proceeded to make the BEST homemade soup I have ever eaten – and he has concocted a TON of great dishes!

Getting down to business here….I’m sharing his recipe with you – I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did! Image result for line divider for website

Here’s the ingredients you’ll need….

  • 1 stick of butter, divided in half
  • 1 to 1¼ pound of boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ tsp coarsely ground sea salt
  • ¼ tsp coarsely ground pepper (preferably a blend)
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, divided
  • 4 to 6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 small sweet pepper (red, yellow, or orange) [may substitute ½ of a full size one]
  • 1-2 tbsp of flour
  • 4 cups of chicken bone broth
  • 4 small potatoes, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced small
  • 1 cup of water

Then do this….

In a large skillet, add half of the butter and melt over medium-high heat. Place chicken in the skillet and stir until well coated.  Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme.  Cook chicken until light golden brown, stirring frequently.  Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

In a medium stock pot (at least 5 quarts), add remaining butter and melt over medium-high heat. Add bacon, onion, garlic, celery, and sweet pepper.  Sauté until tender, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle flour evenly over sautéed vegetables and stir until well blended.  Pour in about half of the bone broth and stir well, making sure the flour is mixed with broth evenly; then pour in the rest of the bone broth.  Add the chicken, potatoes and carrots and stir well.  Let soup boil on high for about 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cover.  Let simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour (time will depend on how small the potatoes and carrots are diced), stir occasionally to prevent sticking (NOTE:  add the cup of water if needed, and add salt and pepper to taste).

When soup is done, stir in ½ to 1 cup of half ‘n half (depends on how creamy you want the soup to be).

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And there you have it….the BEST soup ever!  Please let me know how much you LOVE it!

Until next time…

Blessings ~

Heather

 

 

Chickens, Eggs, Our Animals, Uncategorized

Sadly, we are now chicken-less

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Even though we were blessed with no damage from Hurricane Florence, when we thought that NC was going to be hit with a Cat 5 (ish) hurricane, things got real and my life perspective changed immediately.

When you have to decide what to take with you and you can ONLY take what will fit in your vehicles, it really makes you think. It was a short list…

Dogs (and everything they need)
Cat (and everything she needs)
Phone and charger
Ipad
Camera
Things hubby and I need (clothes, water, food etc.)

And then there were the chickens. 12 of them. We couldn’t just leave them. Graciously, my oldest daughter said we could bring them with us to her house and keep them in the garage in kennels. That’s alot to deal with. Thinking about all of that stressed me like you can’t imagine.

I realized quickly that we were NOT prepared for emergencies/disasters where our chicken were concerned. We had made them makeshift “balconies” to keep them out of any rising water, but to actually keep them safe by taking them somewhere?

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We had no barn or out building to put them in. I feared their coops were not strong enough. So many more thoughts and emotions those few days before Flo hit. I can’t do that again. I’m too old for all that and they deserve a safe haven if this happens again.

So…we made the decision the weekend before last to at least downsize and we rehomed 7 hens to a friend.

This past weekend we rehomed the remaining 5 girls to another good friend of mine. I just can’t do it any more. I obviously was not meant to be a chicken mom…they aren’t just chickens to me, they are pets (not anything like our “real” pets, but I am still very attached to them). I would never have been able to “cull” any of them, and if one had died – it would have been extremely hard to bury her. I’m just not a “chicken Mom” I guess.

With all that said…even though we are now chicken-less, we are still a homestead and we are still living the healthier life! Our posts may be of a different nature but we are still Our Healthy Homestead!

Thanks to everyone that follows us…we appreciate you so much!

Uncategorized

Essential Oil Purses!

B96DE799-4BCC-47E8-8B9C-B8C5AA1E15EF Y’all know that I am in oily person, we use essential oils in our lives and in the lives of our animals on our homestead! Check out these awesome essential oil purses and carrying cases!

Sew Grown is on a journey to make an impact on the world offering jobs, opportunities, and independence to Americans with disabilities! My “day job” is at a facility for the developmentally disabled, so this is close to my heart!

I ordered the Betsy this morning, which one are you going to order?

Use my discount code below at http://www.sewgrown.com to get 20% OFF !

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▶️  OUROILYHOMESTEAD ◀️

Health and Wellness, Recipes

What’s all this about “IF”?

 

 

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I have been curious about Intermittent Fasting (“IF” for short) for awhile now.  Several of my friends are doing it and have raved about how they feel great, have more energy, and just generally feel better physically and emotionally!!  Who doesn’t want that?  So, I’ve done some research and was planning to write a blog article about it until I got this AWESOME email from The Daniel Plan today!  I could not possibly add anything better to this so here it is, sharing from their website!  Check out the entire post here.

What are some health benefits of IF?

(SOURCE: this is straight from the blog post from The Daniel Plan linked above)

1. Lowers cancer risk.

Multiple studies have shown a link between intermittent fasting and a reduced risk of breast cancer.

2. Enhances heart health.

Intermittent fasting is thought to lower heart disease risk due to its ability to lower triglycerides and blood pressure and raise beneficial HDL cholesterol.

3. Improves autoimmune conditions.

A fasting-mimicking diet under 1,000 calories a day for three-day cycles has been shown to improve symptoms associated with autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis as well as lupus.

4. Improves blood sugar.

When it comes to managing blood sugar, intermittent fasting takes center stage. With its proven ability to lower insulin resistance and increase metabolism, it’s one of my favorite tools to recommend to patients with blood sugar problems.

5. Encourages weight loss.

Weight-loss resistance can often be due to an underlying hormone imbalance. Leptin resistance occurs when your brain stops recognizing leptin’s signals to use your body’s fat stores for energy. This causes your body to continually store fat instead of using it. Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve chronic inflammation that can dull the brain’s leptin receptor sites.

6. Curbs cravings.

If you’re worried you’ll be starving while fasting, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Intermittent fasting decreases your hunger hormone ghrelin, which in turn can increase dopamine levels in the brain. (Just another example of the gut-brain axis at work.) Fasting can also help free people from emotional eating and kill cravings by transitioning your metabolism from unstable sugar-burning to steady fat-burning.

7. Increases cognitive function.

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can improve degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

8. Improves lung health.

One study showed intermittent fasting’s ability to decrease asthma symptoms as well as reduce oxidative stress.

9. Helps heal the gut 

Lowering inflammation in the gut with intermittent fasting improves inflammatory gut problems such as IBS, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.

While the idea of fasting can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t done it before, intermittent fasting can actually be a lot easier than many other types of eating plans. Since you are fasting for a good chunk of the day, you’ll be eating less food, which eliminates a lot of the stress around having to meal prep. When you are eating, you’ll still want to focus mainly on healthy fats, clean protein, and carbohydrates from whole food sources—but this isn’t an excuse to hit the drive-thru and load up on sugar the rest of the time!

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I trust The Daniel Plan to give us the best info possible and not lead us astray!  There is a ton more info over at their Blog, so hop on over there to find out how IF works, some great recipe suggestions, and more!

If you are one of those that is doing IF, drop me a comment below and tell us what you think about it and how it makes you feel!  I’d love to hear from all the IF-ers out there!

Until next time…

Blessings ~

Heather

 

 

 

Health and Wellness, Recipes, Uncategorized

How to Brew Kombucha at Home

Brewing Kombucha at Home

Makes approx. 1 gallon

You will need…

  • 3 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 cup of sugar (regular white “table” sugar is fine)
  • 8 bags black tea (or 2 tablespoons loose tea)
  • 2 cups of starter tea from last batch of kombucha or from a friend
  • 1 SCOBY for each jar (a SCOBY is NOT a must – the starter tea IS!)
  • Stovetop pot to make the tea
  • 1-gallon glass jar (I use old 1 gallon pickle jars…wash them well and let them air out for about a week before)
  • Tightly woven cloth (like clean cloth napkins or towels), coffee filters, or paper towels to cover the jar (I use a rubber band to keep my coffee filters/paper towels in place)
  • Bottles for the “booch” when it is done brewing – I use wide mouth Mason Jars (for everything!) I normally use (3) one-quart jars (you’ll need to save 2 cups for the next batch)
  • Small funnel (optional, good is you use smaller neck bottles)
  • Large stainless steel strainer (optional – I strain my kombucha when I bottle it and when I pour a glass!)

 

Instructions

*** Avoid contact between #allthingsmetal and your kombucha during and after brewing. It could affect the flavor of your kombucha.


How to make the tea…     

 **(if you are a southerner, you already know how to do this!)

Bring the water to a boil. Take the water off the heat and add the sugar, stir until it dissolves. Drop in the tea (bags or loose) and allow it to steep until the water cools. When the tea has cooled off, remove the tea bags or strain the loose tea from the pot, pour the sweet tea in your gallon jar, and then stir in the starter tea – be sure to use a wooden spoon (plastic will work but I prefer wooden when stirring Kombucha😉 )

booch1Adding the SCOBY: Pick up the SCOBY (use CLEAN hands to avoid any bad bacteria getting in your tea – yeah…it’s slimy too so don’t drop it!) and gently slide it into the jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of tightly-woven cloth, coffee filters, or paper towels and secure it with a rubber band. I have found that coffee filters work best – especially when I write the start date of the brew on the filter!

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Fermentation time!

Keep the jar at room temperature (in the winter time you can buy flat heat strips or use a small string of non-LED clear lights – it needs to stay between 70-80 degrees), out of direct sunlight, and where it won’t get bumped.  Let it ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the taste daily starting about day 6 (you can lift the “lid” and sneak a straw under the SCOBY and pull out a little “booch” in the straw to taste it)

 

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It’s not unusual for the SCOBY to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways during fermentation. A new transparent looking layer of SCOBY should start forming on the surface of the Kombucha in a few days. It usually attaches itself to the old SCOBY, but if it doesn’t it’s ok!!! You may also see brown stringy “tentacles” floating under the SCOBY, or some collecting at the bottom of your jar, and bubbles collecting around the SCOBY. These are all signs that the fermentation is happening and it’s perfectly normal.

 

Bottling Time!

Wash your hands thoroughly and then lift the SCOBY out of the kombucha and put it on a clean plate. If it is getting too thick, you can pull the bottom layer (or two) off.

 

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Using a glass measuring cup, pour 2 cups of kombucha into glass bowl or Mason Jar to save for your next batch.  The rest of the “booch” you can strain (you don’t have to if you don’t mind the “sediment”) into glass bottles or jars for storage (again, I use wide mouth mason jars).  **Note:  never use plastic bottles to brew or store your Kombucha!

 

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Putting your Kombucha in the fridge at this point stops any more fermentation.  You should have a little bit of fizz from this 1st fermentation and if you are going to flavor and do a second fermentation, do not refrigerate! Your bottled and refrigerated Kombucha is good for about a month or so in the fridge.

With your reserved starter tea, start the process all over again to you’re your next batch of Kombucha Tea!!!!

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And there you have it…Home Brewed Kombucha!  Enjoy !!!

 

Until next time…

Blessings,

~ Heather

 

 

 

 

Health and Wellness

Diets, oh my!!!!

I truly think that diets are the new craze!  There are TONS of diets floating around out there – which one do we choose?  Are any of them the “right” diet?

I don’t think that these “new” diets are really dieting…they are more of an eating habit than a diet, which in itself is a good thing!  We could all probably stand to change our eating habits to a healthier lifestyle!  Check out some of the “eating lifestyles” we have to choose from today…

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There is seriously a “Hay Diet”???  And what in the world would you eat on a Prison Loaf diet?  Or do I really want to know?

What do we do with all of this indecisive diet planning – do I eat meat or do I not eat meat?  Do I eat fat, or not eat fat?  Do I eat lots of protein, or just a little protein?  Do I…you get my drift.

So, I have come up with the Oily Homestead Diet!  Our meals “normally” consist of healthier foods – no fried food, minimal salt, good fats, veggies, tuna (hubby doesn’t like fish but I could eat fish daily!), organic/free range chicken, grassfed/organic beef on occasion, and fruits, especially the berry family fruits – although I have been “addicted” to oranges recently!

We have cut back on the amount of gluten and sugar we eat because I do believe that gut health determines your overall physical and emotional wellness!  Gluten and sugar are not “gut friendly” so therefore we (we in this case means more “I” than “we”) try to stay away from both as much as possible.  My dear hubby is diabetic so he already eats a {mostly} sugar free diet.

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Basically, we try to eat healthy foods.  Foods that are low in “bad” fats, low in sugar, minimal gluten, and mostly lean protein.  We don’t drink milk {we just don’t like it} but we do eat yogurt, cottage cheese, and a lot of “real” cheese, so we are obviously not “dairy free”! That’s pretty much our “diet”!  Personally, I honestly believe that we need to take care of the temple God gave us, but being obsessed about what goes IN to our body is, in my opinion, unhealthy.  We need “treats” sometimes, we need to be able to eat that piece of cake at a birthday party and not beat ourselves up about it for days, we should be able to splurge now and then by getting dessert on date night.  We need to actually enjoy life while we are here, while at the same time, eating healthy foods so we can hang out here a little longer than if we didn’t eat those healthy foods!  Does that make sense?

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For a little extra gut boost, we take a really good probiotic, I drink kombucha first thing in the morning before anything else goes in my gut (fermented foods are an excellent natural probiotic !), we stay away from taking any antibiotics unless it’s a life threatening necessity!  We do also eat prebotic foods like onions, garlic, and oatmeal, apples and  bananas.

I’d love to hear about YOUR eating plan!!!  I’m always up for new and better ideas!

Until next time…

~ Blessings

Heather

 

Essential Oils, Health and Wellness

Why are Plant-based Cleaners the Best?

 

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Here are 5 reasons that Plant-based Cleaners are Best for Your Family…

Safety

Have you read the label on the back of a commercial cleaner? Warning! Flammable! Do not ingest! Keep out of reach of children! Many chemicals used in household cleaners have not been tested for safety. Household cleaning supplies are one of the top five substance classes accounting for calls to the National Poison Control Center. Many commercial cleaners contain ingredients that are endocrine disrupting chemicals, carcinogens, or neurotoxins. Kids, babies, and pets are even more vulnerable to chemical exposure because they are smaller and cannot get rid of toxins as easily as adults. It is definitely worth ditching harsh chemicals for a cleaner with plant- and mineral-based ingredients.

Air Quality

Did you know that indoor air is 5–7 times more polluted than outdoor air? Most cleaning products contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which have been associated with many health problems, including damage to the liver, kidneys, and the central nervous system. They have also been shown to harm our lungs and cause throat irritations and headaches. VOCs are released when products are used and can linger in the air long after we clean. When we breathe, we inhale the air—as well as whatever is in the air.

Environmental Impact

Harsh chemicals found in cleaners are not only harmful to our bodies, but they also have a major impact on the environment and are huge contributors to environmental pollution. Some conventional cleaning products contain ingredients that are toxic, non-biodegradable, and from non-renewable resources like petroleum, so they harm the Earth’s ecosystems. Harsh chemicals may contaminate the water through rivers, streams, and lakes, which affects wildlife, plants, trees, and us! Plus, there are thousands of chemicals that are in cleaning products that have never been tested for safety.

Convenience

It’s much easier to clean with a few products that take care of all your cleaning needs, rather than a having whole arsenal of toxic products under your sink and in your bathrooms. With Thieves® Household Cleaner, you can tackle multiple cleaning jobs in your home without switching products as you clean! It cleans countertops, windows, mirrors, floors, toilets, showers, and pretty much everything else. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting bleach stains on your clothes or accidentally mixing dangerous chemicals together. It’s worth a try for the convenience alone.

Cost

The cost of buying cleaners is expensive, especially if you have to buy multiple different cleaners. Thieves Household Cleaner is very cost effective, and it comes in a concentrated form. There are approximately 60 capfuls of the cleaner in a 14.4-ounce bottle. Using the medium degreasing ratio, you can get about 29 16-ounce cleaners. That’s less than $1 a bottle!

Why worry about all the what if’s? Be empowered and take charge of your chores by using a cleaner with plant-based ingredients.
**  These 5 reasons to use plant based cleaners was too go not to share…I got this straight from Young Living’s Training and Education Facebook page!!!!  Yep…I borrowed it 😉  Check it out here.

I would LOVE to help you clean up your house (pun totally intended) of all those toxic cleaners!  Contact me for all the deets or check out my “official” oily website here for tons of great info!

Until next time…

Blessings,

~Heather