Category Archives: recipes

Good for the Gut

waterkefirI thought I would write up a really quick blog post linking to a new favorite etsy shop I found. I ordered about two weeks ago from this shop a new shipment of KEFIR grains. My Water Kefir grains sadly died many months ago after I forgot about them :( – was so sad… I got busy with school, photography and everything else… that I just kinda put off buying any more. Well… my kids kept asking for it. Esp. Taite – he loves that stuff! Reed also has been constipated and I too have been having some gut issues (TMI I know). So, I knew I had to get some grains back.

So I hopped on etsy and just ordered from a shop that looked “safe” :) – and placed an order. The order took about a week to get to me due to my ordering it around veterans day… so that delayed the shipment… but even with the delay in the shipping, the grains were totally fine and healthy when I got them.

I ordered them from THIS ETSY Shop called CulinaryCultures

The lady who runs it was super sweet. She even includes some instructions for first time kefir users in the shipment. The Grains I got were nice and plump and after just one cycle using them, they look even nicer and stronger.

Here is a quick copy/paste adaption from THIS BLOG, explaining the benefits of water kefir…

Water kefir is a fermented beverage made with water kefir grains and sugar water. If you are anti-sweet drinks. Don’t worry, this drink is not overly sweet. You can make it sweeter though if you prefer that. The “grains” (aka the booger looking things you see in the above image) feed on the sugar leaving it with an extremely mild sweetness. So the taste is not “pure sugar” – so dont worry about your calories on this one. It is not something you even need to worry about as long as you don’t sweeten it with soda after the fact :)

Water Kefir (or milk kefir – I dont like milk, so thats not an option for me)… is a PROBIOTIC

Probiotics are good bacteria that help you keep a healthy gut. While it is thought to be not as strong it contains a greater number of bacterial strains than are found in kombucha. These good bacteria help us to digest our food, prevent allergies, boost our immune system, and overall keep our body healthy. Getting your probiotics from fermented foods is the way to go.

Water kefir also helps to Increased Immunity!

Probiotics help boost your natural immune system. So with winter months upon us, I am all for keeping my kiddos well. Filling your body with good probiotics from things like kefir is one way to do this. This means that you will get sick less often.

Its easy and frugal to make. It’s very versatile allowing you to customize the flavors to better suit your families needs. The end result is a soda like drink that your kids will like, that is good for you.

For those who may want to learn more about Kefir and its benefits, check out this post I wrote a while back about how I make my water kefir.

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… and to end. A new recipe for your kefir:

1. Juice a Fresh Lemon (organic) – pour all the lemon water into your water kefir. Make sure you strain out any seeds. You could also use lime.
2. Add it to one bottle of your water kefir (so about 3 cups of water kefir, maybe more)

and thats it! store it in an air tight bottle and you will have a fizzy lemonade. :)

Homemade Cocoa (chocolate) Ice Cream

I have tried MANY Homemade Ice Cream recipes over the years… and each and every time I am left disappointed. Either to much vanilla… not enough chocolate… or just a weird unpleasant consistency. Well, this weekend, I found a winner, well worth sharing.

I wanted some ice cream for Reed’s 2nd birthday… so I decided to try THIS ONE out. It was a HUGE HIT and I loved it. I btw am not a huge ice cream fan, so for me to like it, means its really good :)


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Homemade Cocoa (chocolate) Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 C honey granules (or sugar)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 C whole milk
  • 1 1/2 C cream
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. The instructions for this are about as easy as it gets. Take ALL the above ingredients... put them into your NINJA or blender. Mix it all up til it creates a smooth consistency...
  2. Once blended all together, pour in the ingredients into your ice cream maker. Now a heads up... our ice cream maker was not large enough to fit all of the above mixture. So what I did was just poured in what I could into the machine, then I put the remaining mixture into a mason jar in my refrigerator. This weekend we celebrated Reed's 2nd birthday... so we enjoyed the ice cream on saturday... then on sunday, we made up the 2nd batch. Easy peasy! I just poured what was in the fridge, into the ice cream maker the next day and made a 2nd batch.
  3. Thats it! :)
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To view the original recipe, CLICK HERE. She gives directions on how to make this without an ice cream machine. However, I found my way works great for those with a machine… requires a lot less steps than her directions.

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Enjoy! :) & for viewing pleasure, baby Reed enjoying his ice cream yesterday.

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Yes he prob could have used a bib…

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Chicken Lazone – Using some of my Blue Ribbon Chicken

So! Thought I would post up a new recipe using some of the new Blue Ribbon Meat we got in. It has been a week now since getting our shipment in and I could not be happier. You can read about what Blue Ribbon is HERE and why I am loving them.

This recipe was a new one I grabbed off Pinterest. (source). I am always hesitant to try new recipes off pinterest. Seems like its always hit or miss. This one def. was a hit!

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So here is what you need….

Chicken Lazone – Using some of my Blue Ribbon Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp real salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 lb chicken tenders (I used Blue Ribbon Chicken Tenders)
  • 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • noodles (of choice. I used bow pasta)

Instructions

  1. First thing you do is combine all your spices. So the real salt, chili powder, onion and garlic powder. Sprinkle this seasoning blend all over your chicken tenders (raw/thawed).
  2. In a large saute pan. I used my skillet pan btw. THAT Blue Ribbon GAVE ME for free, with our order. They have a huge list of items to choose from when you become a member. One thing I hate about our stove is how uneven it heats... so cooking with a skillet is something I tend to go to. This skillet is stainless steal and dish washer safe (yes please!). So I was excited to be able to cook this meal on my new skillet.
  3. I melted half the butter over medium heat. Cooked my chicken tenders (After seasoning them) until done. It took about 8 minutes or so. I flipped them half way at one point.
  4. One chicken is cooked, pour the cream and remaining butter over top of the chicken. Lower your heat, allowing the sauce to simmer and thicken. Takes about 6 minutes.
  5. Serve your chicken and sauce over your pasta of choice.
  6. Enjoy!
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I served this recipe along side some of the organic green beans provided by Blue Ribbon Food’s as well.

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If you are interested in learning more about Blue Ribbon Food’s – feel free to contact my rep Matt (malbert[at]blueribbonfoods.com). He will help you learn all you need to know. [Be sure to tell him The Wood Family aka Andrea Wood sent you. They have an amazing referral program. So anyone who books an apt. with him or through him, will bless our family in return] Blue Ribbon as of right now only services areas from GA, NC, SC and parts of VA. From what I hear they are trying to expand into other parts as well. Because their food goes from farm to table, they rely on local farms… so those who live in their reach are fortunate ;-) – we love being a part of the Blue Ribbon Family so far.

Oh and this recipe, was so enjoyed by our boys, we had ZERO left overs. They ate every bite!

Blue Ribbon Food’s – what is it?

blueribbonfoodSome of you who follow me on my personal facebook would have seen me post the photo to the right last week…. A photo that seemed to be great at catching peoples attention haha, because I got a TON of comments on that post. Kinda blew me away. Loved the conversation it created and was cool to pass on information about this company to all those who may find it to be a fit for their family.

To go ahead and get some disclaimers out there
, since I tend to feel the need to do so. I was 1) Not paid to write this post for Blue Ribbon. 2) My family signed up with Blue Ribbon Food’s just like anyone else would, through a friend. 3) I am no expert and I am brand new to this company, so what I am about to talk about is from a newbie’s experience. However, I plan to follow up in 6 mo. from now and share with my readers my thoughts as the time goes. I may even do a 3 mo. check in too, if yall want.

I saw a friend of ours on facebook post a similar image to the right, of their freezer. Packed full of foods. They also mentioned how the food was from a good source of local farms, free range and so forth. I am big on this but will be totally honest. We could not afford to buy all our foods organic… from whole foods, trader joes and other organic food stores in the area. I tried to find ways to make it work… but with our budget, we just couldn’t. We literally live pay check to pay check right now… and as much as I value quality food for my family, it was not worth buying it and then not having enough money to pay our mortgage or utilities. I have learned throughout my years of trying to live well, healthy, feeding my family real food, that living in fear is no way to live… and while everything we eat may not be 100% organic, I try my very best to make do with the resources we have and feed my family well.

So, when I saw these friends post about Blue Ribbon Food’s… I was immediately intrigued. I knew they didn’t live the high life and didn’t live lavishly with lots of money… I knew they had lots of little mouths to feed and shared similar values… and so I decided, why not… why not call the guy they referred me to, and check things out for myself.

So I made an apt. with Blue Ribbon Food’s. The rep who’s name is Matt Albert, came out to our house and cooked our family a meal. Yes, all 6 of us. He asked us prior to coming, what kind of meat we like and would prefer to try… and once he came, he began to cook it up, while talking to us about the company, the farms, the food and so forth. They btw have a list of all their farms. All of them local to the states they service.

Throughout the entire apt. my husband told me, he was just holding his breathe. Waiting for the big price tag to flash across our faces and bid the man goodbye, as he just knew we could not afford something that seemed so nice.

After Matt explained everything to us though, we ate the food, kids enjoyed it… he asked us a lot of questions, like what meats we eat, how often we eat at home, what veggies we eat and so forth… he then was able to quote us a price.

If you go to the Blue Ribbon website you will not see individual pricing. The way their service works isn’t based off a set price on a chicken breast, or a pound of turkey. The price varies depending on your family size… what meats you eat. Do you eat fish, lobster, beef, pork, chicken… or are you a vegetarian and only need their organic veggies. All of these things come into account and that ultimately determines the final price.

I will be honest I am not totally sure how all the numbers work in that regard.

What I do know is once he priced our family cost, my husband was shocked.

It was such a good deal… and even with the freezer we got through the company (commercial grade, frost free), the cost is still within our budget and LESS than what we had been spending at normal grocery stores, buying things on our own. (The freezer btw is something you will want to discuss with Blue Ribbon. It is amazing and so worth getting. It is not “required tho” to use their services. Still, ask about it.)

As soon as my husband heard the price, he was sold.

So, on Wednesday last week, a sweet man in a Blue Ribbon uniform, showed up. My kids were behaving as if this man was Santa :) – so excited about the huge freezer he was about to lug down our drive way and the boxes of food he was going to fill it with.

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The man who delivered our food was very patient with my kids 1,000 questions and remarks.

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ED9A8802As he loaded the freezer into our garage (where we felt it would best fit). I began chatting with him some about the company… and asked him about the largest family he delivers to. He said he has a family with 15 children he delivers to. Many foster kids… What a blessing this service has got to be for families that large… families who may have special needs children… who may not be easily taken to a grocery store. Families who’s husbands may work really late hours, leaving their wife to do all the housework, grocery shopping and tending to the children. I for one, do not enjoy grocery shopping with my kids. While some trips are kinda fun, if its just to pick up a few things here and there… If I had to choose, I would much rather do my grocery shopping alone :) – so that my brain can function properly haha… and I can think while I pick things out.

This guy took care of moving everything into place. He took care of unloading all the boxes himself. I felt like I needed to do something, but nope, he did it all. He didn’t even make that a possibility. He even took the time to properly organize and place all my meats/veggies and other items in the freezer. He explained to me how to use the freezer… its features and so forth. Oh and get this. IF YOU HAVE TO MOVE... as long as you move WITHIN the states that Blue Ribbon Service, they will come to your home on move day, pack up your food and freezer. They will then relocated it for you to your new home, even if that means taking it to a new state! Re-install and re-fill it for you, at no cost. I was blown away at that. They believe in taking care of their customers without a doubt.

Once we checked off the check list, he was on his way and that was it. Could not have been any easier.

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To those curious, all their food is vacuum sealed… it is good in the freezer for up to 12 mo. It wont get all gross and freezer burnt. The way they package their meats is amazing, as well as their organic veggies. I really don’t think Id do it justice to talk about all that here though, you def. need to contact my rep Matt and have him answer all those questions for you.

blue ribbon foodsA few questions I can answer… that some may have.

1. How much food is it? how often do you order?

– You order a 6 mo. supply of food… but you can order as often as you like.
– If you do not use the food within the 6 mo. You do not have to order again after 6 mo. You order when you are ready.

2. Do you have to pay for it all at once?

– Heck no haha. You pay for it weekly. Also, be sure to ask them about what happens if you loose your job… and can’t pay for the food. Their costumer care is UNREAL. It is no wonder most of their clients stay with them for 10+ years.

3. Do you have to order the same stuff all the time?
– No, you can change what you order at any time. So if you end up using more turkey than you thought, but not much of the beef… you can switch it up next order.

There are TONS of questions to ask about the services Blue Ribbon Food’s provides… I don’t really feel I am qualified to answer them all…. However, what I will say is, book an apt. Talk to a rep. Ask a lots of questions and go from there. It cost NOTHING to have a rep come into your home, cook you free food… and tell you about the company. Its free and it is def. no pressure. If they quote the price for your family and you cannot afford it, they understand and its okay. They will work with you and make it work though if it is something you want.

To end, let me say this…

I feel incredibly blessed to live in a country that has the resources it has. You all, we are blessed! I mean look at that freezer! God has blessed this country and I am thankful for everything we have. I do not post any of this to boast… to brag… My family lives frugally…. and while we live very lavishly compared to many in third world countries or even in our own state, where many are homeless and don’t have anything… we have learned to live within our means and with a tight budget. God teaches us to be good stewards of our money… and we truly believe this is going to help us stay within our budget even better.

I look forward to not having to run to a grocery store to buy meat that may be bad… Have you ever purchased an organic chicken (that you paid a lot for) only to get it home and realize its rancid? what a pain… I look forward to trying new recipes with the many choices of food we have here… I also look forward to cutting our bills down even more, by eating at home, real, healthy foods…. rather than running out to eat because we didn’t have a chance to go buy meat, or veggies at the store that week. We have eaten out way to much the last few months and I know that is the culprit. Not being prepared… and not having the time in between home schooling, shooting for my business and keeping a home. Grocery shopping, is last on my list some weeks…

Having Blue Ribbon become a part of our normal, is fine by me :)

To wrap this up….

If you are interested in Blue Ribbon Food’s and live in, GA, NC, SC and parts of VA… contact my rep Matthew Albert on facebook HERE. Or you can email him at: malbert[at]blueribbonfoods.com. I have his phone number too if you want that… but because my blog is a bit to public, if you would like his phone number, just email me drea[at]dreawood.com and I will pass that onto you. One cool thing that Blue Ribbon does do, is offer some great rewards… so any time someone signs up with Blue Ribbon Foods, our family has the opt. to earn money towards paying for our food. So you can help our family out, and others can help you out, etc..etc… The way they have it laid out is great. So if you are interested, be sure to tell Matthew that “Andrea Wood” or “The Wood Family” sent you :) – and we would appreciate it.

With that said, even if Blue Ribbon Food’s had no reward program. We’d still use them. You really cannot beat the convenience and quality for the price.

Hopefully this post made SOME sense. I know it was really long :)

I leave you with baby Reed, enjoying some of his Blue Ribbon food, the first day we cooked it up last week. We’ve enjoyed many meals since then using their food and loved every single one.

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Healthy Broccoli Salad

I recently attended a baby shower for a friend of mine… and while there I got to eat up some broccoli salad with bacon in it. I had never seen anything like it before… so when I tasted it and liked it, I was on a mission to find a recipe similar.

All of the recipes I found though contained MAYO. I for one hate mayo :\ – although I will say, mixing it with other stuff makes it tolerable… but my distaste for it, made me not want to use it at all. So when I came across a recipe on Pinterest that used GREEK YOGURT instead, I was all for it!

You can view the original here.

Or print it below :) I made a few small changes but its mostly the same as the original.

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Healthy Broccoli Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raisins, or 1 (1 oz) box
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 TB raw sugar or honey granules
  • 1 1/2 TB white vinegar
  • 3-4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Instructions

  1. Take the cut up broccoli, onion, sunflower seeds, raisins and bacon and throw it into a large bowl.
  2. In a seperate bowl stir together greek yogurt, the sugar (or honey granules), vinegar and stir together.
  3. Once mixed well, pour over top of the broccoli mixture and stir evenly. Also do take in mind this makes a lot of dressing. SO if you are like me and prefer less dressing, feel free to customize this any way you like. I honestly only used about 1/4 of the dressing on a batch. So I plan to just save that other bit of dressing for the next time I make this salad.
  4. Serve up immediately. Or refrigerate and serve later. If you plan to do this for a party, add dressing last... so maybe on the way to the party. If this sits with the dressing on it, it isn't as good.
  5. Enjoy! :)
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