Peach Freezer Jam {No refined sugar & No pectin)

Peach Freezer Jam {No refined sugar & No pectin)

Where I live there isn't a whole lot of agriculture left. That isn't just due to expansive population or the withdrawal from living off the land. It also has lot to do with the desert climate. However, what is left are small family owned peach and pecan orchards and a few other similar farms. So, at the end of every summer I have my eyes and ears peeled for any news of local, organic surplus produce from these local mini farms. Lucky for me, the last couple years the peaches have been plentiful.

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Orange Marmalade - Sweetened with Honey

Orange Marmalade - Sweetened with Honey

Remember the Paddington books? Well, orange marmalade may be all the vitamins and minerals a bear needs, but it happens to be pretty good for people too - that is, when you swap out all that sugar for some local, raw, unfiltered honey. We all know oranges are full of vitamin C, but they also boast other essential vitamins and flavonoids (antioxidants).Most people love to eat oranges or drink the juice, but we're missing some serious health benefits that are only found in the peels. I'm talking calcium, copper, magnesium, vitamin A, folate and other B vitamins. Not to mention a good source of dietary fiber. And guess what? Orange marmalade incorporates those beautiful orange peels.All this healthy goodness is so lovely that we don't want to mess it up by dumping mounds of refined sugar on it. Instead, I used some locally harvested raw, unfiltered honey. Using honey from local bees may help to reduce seasonal pollen allergies and boost your immune system.So, now you can enjoy some very tasty, very powerful natural immune supporting vitamins on a sandwich and keep it in your hat if you like...in case of emergency. ;) Although, my favorite is to add about a tablespoon of marmalade to my morning bowl of cooked rolled oats, and top it all with fresh blueberries, pecan halves, and almond milk.

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Homemade Applesauce (No Added Sugar)

Homemade Applesauce (No Added Sugar)

 

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Healthy Homemade Fruit Snacks

Healthy Homemade Fruit Snacks

May I just say for my fellow mothers-of-children-with-special-diets: irately glaring at the snack aisle of the grocery store does nothing but add wrinkles to your forehead.

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Chia Seed Fruit Leather: Energy Snack

Chia Seed Fruit Leather: Energy Snack

  

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Healthy Grape Lime Rickey

Healthy Grape Lime Rickey

A cool drink on a hot day doesn't have to come from a can of carbonated corn syrup or a soda fountain. There has been so much already said about the health benefits of reducing or eliminating carbonated and sugary beverages from our diets that I don't really feel like I could say more to add to the conversation. I will simply say this - I have never been a soda drinker. I was raised on water or at the very worst Kool-Aid. The only reason my mom kept a few cans of Sprite or Coke around was for medicinal purposes (settling an upset stomach). I realize though that for some the love of soda is real! However, I will also say as a young teen I remember going to Warren's Burger Bar just to order a Grape Lime Rickey. The original Lime Rickey usually consists of soda water or a lemon lime or grape soda with a syrupy flavoring added in. But I didn't know or care what was in it then. It just tasted good. So, this Healthy Lime Rickey was a treat for my kids and brought back some good memories for me too. I'll show you guys the shortcut version and the slightly more labor intensive, yet healthiest version. Both ways taste great and is a huge step up health wise compared to the original.

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10 Delicious & Gluten-Free Ways to Enjoy Watermelon

10 Delicious & Gluten-Free Ways to Enjoy Watermelon

For me, celebrating Independence Day is almost as exciting as Christmas! I love the fireworks, the stirring reminder of patriotism, and the feeling of unity as citizens of a nation I am proud to be part of. I don't know about the rest of you, but the smell of fireworks and summer just isn't complete without watermelon. I'm a purist when it comes to watermelon. Big slices of cold deep pink goodness sitting on a piece of newspaper to catch the seeds and juice dripping off your chin - it's bliss. But sometimes it's fun to take this fruit and dress it up, blend it up, and otherwise use it to make everything it touches taste sweet and fresh.  I guess what I'm trying to say is...it's summer - let the watermelon madness begin!  Here I've collected 10 unique, gluten free, and delicious ways to enjoy everyone's favorite melon!....I'm going to need more watermelon.

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Homemade Greek Yogurt

Homemade Greek Yogurt

My parents have always been very health conscious ever since I could remember. Not just health conscious, but very frugal and thrifty as well. Yeah, the apple didn't fall far from the tree. So when my parents said they'd cleaned out their kitchen and were bringing over some things they thought I might like, I was intrigued. When they started unloading a juicer, blender, and yogurt maker I was like a kid on Christmas! Woohoo!   Making your own yogurt is super simple, super economical ($1.43 for 24 oz. of yogurt. Savings of $2.55), and you're sure to not have any added sugar, colors, or chemicals. We normally don't eat much dairy, unless it's raw organic cheese for sprinkling on tacos, but yogurt is a great source of probiotics.

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Bottle Your Own Chicken Broth

Bottle Your Own Chicken Broth

All right, for those who really know me you know that I'm kind of a rookie when it comes to canning. In fact, I recently found a jar of mystery mush that I think may have been an ill-fated attempt at apple butter from a few years ago. There were air bubbles in it, it looked like a science experiment, and...oh yeah, it wasn't even sealed! I've come a long way since then, as far as canning goes (and in other areas I hope) and have found that I actually really like canning. And not just because I know exactly what's in the food I'm preparing, that it's 100% gluten free, or even that it's way healthier, but because it's WAY cheaper! I made the equivalent of 10 pints of broth for...(drum roll, please)...$0.

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Shamrock Mint Shake

Shamrock Mint Shake

  I love spring! Here in my desert home the trees are starting to blossom and big billowy clouds bring cool rain, turning the sagebrush a lovely shade of green. The inevitable and always inspiring rainbow is bound to show up whenever the sun peeks out. 

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Citrus Ginger Green Smoothie

Citrus Ginger Green Smoothie

Having a baby six months ago on top of everything else had put a bit of a damper on my workout habits. Oh, who am I kidding, they came to a screeching halt! It hasn't been easy or convenient, but I'm back to running again (which is the best de-stressing, mind clarifying, boost of endorphin ever! It's like a shot of happy!) and I've joined a gym and am loving trying out all the different classes they offer. You know what, having that hour a day of exercise back in my routine is not only making me feel better physically, but I'm telling you it makes me a better mom.  Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm way more able to handle the daily challenges that being a mom brings and feel more relaxed so I can enjoy this time with my crazy kiddos. Speaking of feeling good and doing good stuff for yourself...how about a green smoothie?! This smoothie is creamy and filling while still refreshing and super good for you. My kids love green smoothies too and they gave it a thumbs up. Even my hubby who prefers his greens non-pureed thought it was yummy!

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{Homemade} Pomegranate Jam

{Homemade} Pomegranate Jam
  

When I think of fall, of course the traditional apples, pumpkins, and savory soups immediately come to mind and make my tummy growl in anticipation, but only a second behind that craving is my love of freshly picked pomegranates. My in-laws have a couple trees that are weighed down each fall with these delicious pink-seeded fruit that are packed with vitamins C, B5, E, and could rival carrots for its beta carotene and bananas for its potassium. On their own they're a healthy yummy snack, but when you have buckets of them you need to get come up with something other than having one for a snack or even freezing them for later. Thus we have {Homemade} Pomegranate Jam made with low or no-sugar needed pectin and coconut sugar. Coconut sugar because it ranks lower on the glycemic index and won't leave you with a rush and crash after eating, plus it's usually far less processed.

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Honey Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Honey Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
 

This morning we awoke to....SNOW!  I shouldn't be surprised since I grew up along the Wasatch mountain range, but when you live in the sunny Southwest for almost 10 years you kind of forget what cold is.  The kids were so excited!  It was all I could do to keep them in the house and dry before I dropped my 2nd grader and kindergartner off at school.  Back at home again my 2 year old sat with her face glued to the window and watched as the slushy rain turned to little balls of hail then to huge fluffy snow flakes.  It's only October!  I needed something toasty and since we just carved pumpkins last night ---> 

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{Homemade} Salsa

{Homemade} Salsa

So I'm not as much of a "Holly Homemaker"  as my mom and, therefore this latest {homemade} is a small victory for me since I did it all on my own! Woot woot! Maybe for some of you bottling your own fruits and veggies is no biggie, but for me I was always worried I would mess up and ruin a lot of produce.  After watching my mom in action and reading lots of how-to's I finally got up the nerve to try it myself.  And I am so glad I did.  This salsa turned out AMAZING (If I do say so myself :) and wasn't as scary or as hard as I'd imagined.  So be brave my friends because having the skill to bottle your own food will liberate you and open up lots of money saving possibilities for  food storage. This doesn't make a huge batch btw.  It yields about 5 pints which to me is way better to do small batches every now and then instead of one blitz salsa making weekend.  If you prefer the blitz then go ahead and double or quadruple the recipe.Here's what you do:1 1/2 quarts fresh tomatoes.  Core tomatoes then cut in half or in fourths.  If your tomatoes are really juicy you'll want to scoop out most of the seeds and excess juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and lay on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar. Preheat boiler.  Place sheet of tomatoes under broiler until tomato skins begin to wrinkle and blacken. About 3 minutes. Pull them out and let them cool down enough to touch.  Now peel the tomato and chop it into small pieces.Dump all the chopped tomatoes and vinegar-tomato liquid into a large cooking pot. Now combine remaining ingredients.1 1/2 cups chopped onions1 1/2 cups green or red bell peppers, chopped2 garlic cloves, mined1 - 12 oz. can tomato paste or tomato sauce if you don't want it as thick1/4 cup balsamic vinegar1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice1/2 tbsp. salt1/2 tbsp. sugar1 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves, chopped2-4 tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped6 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped(Here's a quick F.Y.I on the jalapeno peppers.  The number of peppers will determine how hot your salsa is, but that's all dependent on how hot your peppers are to start with.  Usually you'll know their heat when you first cut into them by the burning sensation in your throat. If they're hot just to look at then you may want to use 4 and remove the seeds.  But if they're like the one's I picked from my parents garden, about as hot as a bell pepper, then you'll need to add more, seeds and all. Use your best judgement)Bring the pot of salsa to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes to blend the flavors.  Ladle salsa into 5 sanitized pint jars.  (To sanitize jars just run them through the dish washer.  Don't open the door until you're ready to use them.)  Leave about a half and inch of space at the top and screw the lid on nice and tight. Place in a large cooking pot of water that is deep enough to have an inch of water over the jars. Put a lid on it and bring to a boil.  Boil for 20 minutes.  Remove from pot and let cool on the counter.  Store for 1 year in a cool dark room.That's it!  Pretty painless and so worth it when you get a hanker'n for {homemade} salsa!

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"Good Morning!" Green Smoothie

"Good Morning!" Green Smoothie
 

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Now that summer is coming to a close and school is gearing up to start it's the perfect time to power you're little learners and yourself with a power smoothie.  My dad is a religious green smoothie maker and since we recently moved closer, he's got me and my kids hooked on green smoothies too.  Yes, my kids LOVE this and look forward to their green smoothie every morning.  Even my 2 year old asks for her "dreen smoovie".   My dad likes to add carrots, broccoli and dried cranberries to his. Make yours with as many veggies and fruit as you like, but this is how I put mine together for a nice smooth smoothie...

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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