BedsharingUntitled-10

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If you asked me 10 months ago, towards the very end of my pregnancy, if I was planning on co-sleeping I would have honestly told you no. Like most parents-to-be, we had already tackled the momentous event of building the crib, and everything was set and ready for our newborn to arrive.

Then it all changed.
Quinn was born at home (planned) and you can read his birth story here. At about 11am, a few short hours after he was born, our midwives left and it was just the three of us left in my family room. To help with the natural recovery from childbirth, we decided it was best if I avoided stairs for the first few weeks or so which took his newly built crib out of the equation. The back up plan was to set up the playpen into the newborn position next to the couch where I would be sleeping.

That plan just didn’t work for us either. Quinn didn’t want to be put down, and to be honest I wasn’t ready to put him down that night either. Like true newbies, my husband and I rotated who was on “Quinn-duty” all night long. One of us slept while the other held him and watched him sleep in our arms. Of course I was nursing him every 1-2 hours then so my “sleep” was more like quick power naps here and there.

This continued for a few more days. We slept downstairs on the couch in a reclined seated position with Quinn in our arms. He enjoyed being skin to skin and was sleeping and nursing well. From that point on we kept him with us and turned our bed into a family bed. He has slept in a crib occasionally and naps well in his crib, but it works best for our whole family to co-sleep at night.

Here are 6 of the reasons we chose to continue with it.

1. It’s a Safe Option

Against what many people believe, Bed Sharing is extremely safe. Of course it needs to be done right, just like how crib sleeping can be dangerous if you leave the baby unattended with heavy blankets and pillows, next to an outlet in reach etc. Did you know that more infant deaths occur in unsafe cribs than in parents’ bed and that infants who sleep near to parents have more stable temperatures, regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone.  This means baby sleeps physiologically safer in bed with mom (source). Find a checklist below for safe co-sleeping/bed-sharing!

2. It’s Soothing to Baby

Bed-sharing has become a taboo subject in most parts of Canada and the United States. Instead, our culture seems to emphasize the desirability of teaching children to self-soothe. Due to this desirable “milestone” parents are seeking to attain, they are encouraged to introduce security objects to help in this process (blankets, pacifiers, stuffed animals and more). In the dark of the night, when Quinn wakes he can immediately find the love and comfort of his parents. This is soothing to baby and helps develop a strong bond and trust between baby and mom.

3. It Feels Natural to Us

While it wasn’t what we planned, it feels completely natural to us. And it’s not all that unnatural, even though at times people look at me like I have two heads when I tell them we bed-share. We are really the only species of animal that takes our newborns and put them in another room by themselves. The practice of training children to sleep alone through the night is approximately two centuries old. Prior to the late 1700s co-sleeping was the norm in all societies, since the beginning of mankind (source). Being a parent is TOUGH and the best thing I can do is do what feels right for me. Co-sleeping is what feels right and works for my family.

4. It Makes Breastfeeding Easier

Quinn has been a great eater since the beginning. He first nursed 45 minutes after he was born, and for a while it seemed as though that’s all he did. In the first two weeks of his life he gained 2 and a half pounds! Having him in bed with me made breastfeeding at night extremely easy on both me and baby. I also remember reading that bed-sharing babies nurse approx. twice as often as those who sleep alone, which is beneficial for helping mamas maintain their milk supply and keep babies growing at a steady pace. While nursing more often might seem daunting to some moms, it is easier on your when baby is laying beside you and can latch on when hungry.

5. We Enjoy It

My husband and I both love having Quinn in our bed. He is growing up so fast, and at some point he will move into his own bed and room and never return to ours (other than on stormy nights or after a nightmare maybe). We are soaking up every moment we can close to him.
My favorite part of the day is first thing in the morning, when I wake up to the sweet sounds of a happy baby laying next to me in bed. Often he is just chatting up a storm to my watch (he loves my watch), or he is signing a song and pointing up at the ceiling. When I open my eyes to look at him he curls over and lays a big fat kiss on my lips (or somewhere on my face if he misses). We snuggle up to each other and chat about our plans for the day

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

6. Amazing Things Can Happen

Every moment that goes by the bond between us grows. Every day that passes our little baby amazes us more and more. Night time is just another opportunity for time spent together. And in the middle of the night, you just never know what might happen.
Last night, around 2 am Quinn woke up with a few whimpers. I lay still to see if he would go back to sleep by himself. What he did was even better. After a short story to his hand and a few giggles, Quinn climbed up on my shoulder, lay his head on my head and fell asleep. Yup- he just passed out on my face with a big hug. After kicking my husband to take a picture of what I expect will never happen again, I lay there with him just enjoying the warmth of his skin and his cuddle. This, is exactly why I co-sleep. He woke up, found his mom, and put himself back to sleep. No doubt with all the love, confidence and security one could feel in the dark of the night.

sleeping

Safe Co-Sleeping Checklist

(source)
When Quinn was little we followed all of these suggestions. Now that Quinn is 9 months old, able to navigate blankets and crawling like crazy, we place him between mom and dad. In addition, our mattress is on the ground for added safety.

  • Place babies to sleep on their backs.
  • Be sure there are no crevices between the mattress and guardrail or headboard that allows baby’s head to sink into.
  • Do not allow anyone but mother to sleep next to the baby, since only mothers have that protective awareness of baby.  Place baby between mother and a guardrail, not between mother and father. Father should sleep on the other side of mother.
  • Don’t fall asleep with baby on a cushy surface, such as a beanbag, couch, or wavy waterbed.
  • Don’t bed-share if you smoke or are under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medications that affect your sleep.

Do you Co-Sleep? I would love to know why you chose it for your family! Comment below 🙂

oils

Whether you are a veteran ‘oiler’ or know very little about the incredible power of essential oils, the following 10 oils are a must for every home. Essential oils are concentrated aromatic liquids that have been extracted from flowers, seeds, trees, roots and shrubs. These truly natural oils are so much more than just a fragrance.

Essential Oils are THERAPEUTIC

Plants contain essential oils as a part of their immune system. They are required to help plants grow, evolve and adapt to their environment. Depending on the plant, its unique essential oil can do many other things such as heal plant injuries, defend against insects and bacteria as well as help the plant endure harsh environmental conditions.

These incredible healing and protective compounds found in essential oils are what enables them to be truly healing. Each essential oil has it’s own benefits including use for fevers, depression, infections, congestion, headache, insomnia, wounds, sunburn and so much more.

These 10 oils team up and have your back in almost any situation. Together their combined properties will help keep your home healthy and happy. Below you will find just some of the properties these oils have to offer! PLUS: find out below how you can get Therapeutic-grade, Non-GMO oils at wholesale cost (no tricks, no monthly fees, no string attached)! Just high quality oils without the high cost!  

Essential Oil Must-Haves


Get a Wholesale Account

You can enjoy these oils and so many more at wholesale cost with a Young Living account (typically that equates to 24% off retail)! The account is similar to a Costco membership, without the ongoing fees! With Young Living, there is a one-time purchase of an enrollment kit. And you get actual product with your enrollment kit and membership… so it’s way better than just paying a fee to join! There are a few options when it comes to the enrollment kits. Personally I purchased THE PREMIUM STARTER KIT and got the above oils PLUS a diffuser, plus samples and information packets for only $150USD (an incredible deal). There are also starter kits as low as $40 if you already have many of these oils and are looking for something different. Once signed up, you can purchase products at wholesale pricing whenever and however often you want.

How To Enroll

By clicking below you are directed to the Young Living site where you will enroll with me! Feel free to contact me with any questions about signing up, the oils themselves or their amazing uses. The Premium Starter Kit comes with a fantastic guide to get your started.
1) If you are in the USA you will be asked to provide your Social Security number. Why? Because by signing up for this wholesale account and becoming an independent distributor you have the opportunity to make commissions if you sign someone up using your Sponsor ID! If you don’t want to “sell”, you never have to, but it’s a great option for those of you with friends who still use candles and air fresheners and whom you would like to introduce to the wonderful world of Essential Oils! 😉
2) A Starter Kit is required- an Essential Rewards Kit is not required*.
Enroll

* Unfortunately, JOY is not offered to Canadian residents (which is why it’s not in the below photo). The Premium Starter Kit costs approx. $175 CDN which is still a great deal. Check out my kit below!

oils

carrotandginger

Carrot and Ginger Soup

Brrrrrr is it ever cold out there! Don’t get me wrong, I love the snow and winter, but I’m not the biggest fan of negative 35 degree weather. That’s just a bit too chilly for me. On these extremely cold days I can’t help but desire a warm cup of soup for dinner next to a blaring wood fire. Here’s an extremely simple soup that just about anyone can make- no skill required 😉

CARROT AND GINGER SOUP

Ingredients
– 6 c homemade bone broth
– 2 lbs (approx. 10) carrots, peeled and sliced
– 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
– 3 T of coconut oil
– 4 tsp. ginger, freshly grated
– 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
– 1 c heavy cream
– 1 tsp. sea salt
– 1 tsp. black pepper
– fresh parsley or dill for garnish
– sour cream

Directions
1. In a 6-quart pan melt coconut oil. Add onions and cook on medium heat for 8-10
minutes or until the onions are soft. Stir occasionally.
2. Add broth, carrots, garlic and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
Reduce heat and allow to simmer until carrots are soft.
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Pour mixture into a
blender/food processor. Depending on the size of your blender you may have to
do this in multiple batches. Blend until smooth.
4. Pour your soup back into your pan on medium heat. Add heavy cream, sea salt
and pepper. Heat until preferred serving temperature.
5. Serve and top with a touch of sour cream and garnish with fresh parsley sprigs or
dill leaves.

MORE SOUP RECIPES:
Do you want even more Winter Soup Recipe ideas? Check out this incredible eBook that was put together by over 50 Real Food bloggers (including me)! Learn more by clicking here or buy it now here.

  • Delicious Winter SoupsOver 50 nourishing soup recipes
  • 47+ of those recipes are Gluten-Free
  • 33 + are Dairy-Free
  • 30+ are Paleo-friendly
  • 25+ are GAPS Diet-friendly
  • 127 pages with full-color photos and easy-to-follow directions
  • Ingredients are 100% REAL FOOD
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Delicious Winter Soups

Nothing beats the winter chill like a steaming bowl of soup. I am excited to share with you a brand new eBook, WINTER SOUPS, that contains over 50 delicious soups made with real food ingredients. These warming soup recipes include Hearty Paleo, Carrot and Ginger, Chicken and Vegetable, Dairy-Free Cream of Spinach, Italian Sausage, Coconut Chicken and SO MANY MORE (full list below).

WINTER SOUPS EBOOK INCLUDES
  • Over 50 nourishing soup recipes
  • 47+ of those recipes are Gluten-Free
  • 33 + are Dairy-Free
  • 30+ are Paleo-friendly
  • 25+ are GAPS Diet-friendly
  • 127 pages with full-color photos and easy-to-follow directions
  • Ingredients are 100% REAL FOOD

    REGULARLY $9.97 –> ON SALE FOR $3.97 

    BuyNow
    1517501_10151969982308791_624994268_nIt gets even better! To celebrate the launch of WINTER SOUPS, we are hosting a 14-day SALE. You can get the eBook – with 59 recipes from some of your favorite Real Food Bloggers – for only $3.97! Sale ends February 4!  Don’t miss out!

BuyNow

 

Beautiful Print-Ready Recipe Layout

The thoughtful layout of the recipes makes it easy to print out your favorite recipes to keep in the kitchen.
winter-soups-open-4

Table of Contents

Cheese and Cream Soups ……………………………………………………………………………….. 9

Broccoli Spinach Quinoa Soup …………………………………………………………………………….. 9

Cheesy Cream of Broccoli Soup with Bacon ………………………………………………………… 11

Dairy-Free Cream of Spinach Soup …………………………………………………………………….. 13

Easy Creamy Leek Soup ……………………………………………………………………………………. 15

Hearty Potato Soup …………………………………………………………………………………………. 17

Wild Rice Corn Chowder ………………………………………………………………………………….. 19

Wisconsin Cheese Soup ……………………………………………………………………………………. 22

French Bread Recipe for Homemade Bread Bowls …………………………………………. 23

Pumpkin, Squash and Root Vegetable Soups …………………………………………………… 25

Asian Spiced Daikon Mushroom Soup ………………………………………………………………… 25

Buttercup Squash Soup ……………………………………………………………………………………. 27

Butternut Squash-Parsnip Soup with Bacon ………………………………………………………… 29

Carrot and Ginger Soup ……………………………………………………………………………………. 31

Cozy Celeriac Soup ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 33

Easy Butternut Squash Soup …………………………………………………………………………….. 35

Golden Goddess Sunshine Soup with Squash, Sweet Potato, Carrots, Ginger + a Twist 37

Masala Carrot Soup …………………………………………………………………………………………. 39

Pumpkin Hazelnut Chai Soup ……………………………………………………………………………. 41

Pumpkin Sage Soup …………………………………………………………………………………………. 43

Roasted Maple Butternut Squash Soup ………………………………………………………………. 46

Spicy Jalapeño Butternut Squash Soup ……………………………………………………………….. 49

Sweet Pumpkin Soup ………………………………………………………………………………………. 51

Vegetarian Pumpkin and Kale Soup ……………………………………………………………………. 53

Sweet, Sour and Exotic Flavored Soups …………………………………………………………… 55

Creamy Lentil Coconut Curry …………………………………………………………………………….. 55

Garlic Leek Soup with Egg ………………………………………………………………………………… 57

Hot & Sour Soup ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 60

Chinese Chicken Stock ……………………………………………………………………………….. 61

Korean Fusion Health Soup ………………………………………………………………………………. 62

Tom Kha {Thai Coconut Soup} …………………………………………………………………………… 64

Beans and Lentil Soups ………………………………………………………………………………… 67

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup ……………………………………………………………………. 67

Hearty Lentil Soup …………………………………………………………………………………………… 69

Sprouted Lentil and Coconut Curry Soup ……………………………………………………………. 71

White Bean, Chorizo and Spinach Soup ………………………………………………………………. 73

Beef Based Soups ………………………………………………………………………………………… 75

Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce Soup ………………………………………………………………………… 75

Dutch Meatball Soup ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 77

Hearty Paleo Soup …………………………………………………………………………………………… 79

Irish Beef Stew ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 81

Paleo Asian-Italian “Abondigas” Soup with Beef Bone Broth …………………………………. 83

Simple Asian Beef Soup ……………………………………………………………………………………. 85

Slow Cooker Kelp Noodle Beef Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) ………………….. 87

Poultry Based Soups ……………………………………………………………………………………. 90

Chicken Enchilada Soup……………………………………………………………………………………. 90

Chicken Immu-Noodle Soup ……………………………………………………………………………… 93

Chicken Soup For the Paleo Soul ……………………………………………………………………….. 96

Coconut Chicken Soup with Cabbage & Carrots …………………………………………………… 98

Hungarian Chicken Paprika Soup ……………………………………………………………………… 100

Jamaican Chicken Soup ………………………………………………………………………………….. 103

Paleo Chicken Jalapeño Soup ………………………………………………………………………….. 105

Turkey Vegetable Soup ………………………………………………………………………………….. 107

Pork Based Soups ………………………………………………………………………………………. 109

Fusilli Sausage Soup ………………………………………………………………………………………. 109

Hearty Ham and Navy Bean Soup …………………………………………………………………….. 111

Italian Sausage Soup ……………………………………………………………………………………… 113

Paleo Butternut Squash Soup with Ham and Ginger …………………………………………… 116

Pumpkin Sausage Soup ………………………………………………………………………………….. 119

Spicy Chorizo Soup ………………………………………………………………………………………… 121

Seafood Based Soups …………………………………………………………………………………. 122

Oyster Stew ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 123

REGULARLY $9.97 –> ON SALE FOR $3.97 

BuyNow

HotChocolate

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate is a winter time staple! Whether you have been out shoveling snow, tobogganing or just want to curl up by the fireplace on a snowy evening, a cup of hot cocoa is just what you need.

As a kid I can remember spending hours outside playing winter road hockey, building snowmen and tobogganing with family and friends. Each of those memories end sitting in the kitchen with a warm cup of hot chocolate in my hands, surrounded by my siblings and the neighborhood kids.

We have had a lot of family around this winter and have been making a lot of hot chocolate. It got me thinking about a better way to make a large batch, without compromising on taste. I promise you that this Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate will impress you and your family/guests! The best thing about this recipe is that it is made in a Slow Cooker. You can mix together the ingredients, put it on low for 2 hours while you and/or the kids play in the snow, and come back to a rich and creamy cup of homemade hot chocolate.

Homemade Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

recipe serves 4-6

Ingredients:

– 1/4 cup cocoa powder
– 1/4 tsp sea salt
– 3 cups whole milk
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
– 3 tbsp maple syrup
– 2 tbsp of cinnamon
– 2 ounces of pure chocolate of your choice
-> 1 ounce of this and 1 ounce of this is suggested for a rich and healthy hot chocolate
– 1 cup whipped cream
– 1/8 cup shaved chocolate

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, salt and milk.
2. Pour mixture into a slow cooker and add vanilla. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours.
3. Add cream, cinnamon and maple syrup. Cover, and cook on low for an additional 20 minutes. Stir in 2 ounces of chocolate until melted. It’s best to break or shave chocolate into smaller pieces before adding to the slow cooker to help the melting process.
4. Pour hot chocolate into mugs and top with whipped cream and a tsp of shaved chocolate.
5. Grab a mug, get warm and enjoy the time with your family.
<3

FrozenFruitTreats

Frozen Fruit Treats. These are incredible! They each only contain fruit, no added sugar or other ingredients!

I have to admit, I have a big sweet tooth. And when I say big.. I mean BIG. It’s under control now, but it didn’t use to be. I grew up eating sugar, and not the natural kind. I ate processed foods, fast foods and anything that was sold in a box or a bag. I loved sour gummies, ice cream, candy bars and more. It’s safe to say that most nights I would snack on something full of sugar before drifting off to sleep. My late night snack of choice was anything frozen.

These days couldn’t be more different. While I still enjoy something sweet, I definitely do not crave the same foods as I once did. Fruit is by far my favorite treat, especially if it’s freshly picked. But there are other times, like late at night when I desire something frozen. Here are four of my favorite frozen treats, each containing only 1 ingredient; the fruit in which it is made from. No dairy, no gluten, no refined sugars or processed foods. Just fruit.

 

1) Frozen Grape Bites

ingredient: grapes
Simply wash grapes and remove them from the stem. Place them in a freezer safe container and place in freezer. You will be surprised how addicting they will become!

2) Banana Ice Cream

ingredient: banana
Freeze a handful of bananas. I personally like to freeze them with the peels on, but I read that you can just freeze them without the peel to make the next step easier. To peel a frozen banana, just cut it in half and use a knife to begin peeling it. You may have to let them sit for 5 minutes to begin thawing. Next, simply throw the frozen bananas in a blender and voila- Banana ‘Ice Cream’

Frozen Fruit Treats- Fruit only!

Frozen Fruit Treats- made from just 1 ingredient; the fruit!

 

 

 

 

 

3) Frozen Berry Kabobs

ingredient: berries (blueberries, blackberries and raspberries featured here)
Wash berries and place them on a bamboo skewer. Place in a freezer safe container and freeze.

4) Frozen Pineapple Pops

ingredient: pineapple
Cut up a pineapple and puree using a blender. Be sure to include as much juice from the pineapple as well. Pour the puree into popsicle molds and freeze. I love these molds.

Frozen Fruit Treats- Made with fruit only!

Frozen Fruit Treats- made with fruit only!

 

 

 

 

 

What is your favorite {real food} late night snack? I would love to hear from you! Comment below.
Choc_Milk_Syrup

Chocolate_Milk_Syrup
You are never too old for a tall glass of chocolate milk! I have loved chocolate milk since I was just a little girl and can say that I come by it honestly since my father still pours a glass almost every night. Since I source Raw Milk and/or local and organic milk, it is important that what I am using to make Chocolate Milk is top quality. That being said, the ingredients found in most store bought syrups are anything but natural. Check out the comparison below!

My Homemade Syrup:
COCOA, MAPLE SYRUP, WATER, VANILLA EXTRACT

Store bought Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup:
HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP; CORN SYRUP; WATER; COCOA; SUGAR; CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVATIVE); SALT; MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES; XANTHAN GUM; POLYSORBATE 60; VANILLIN, ARTIFICIAL FLA VOR

Ingredients:
1 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
3/4 Cup Water
1 tbsp Vanilla extract

Directions:
1. On low, in a medium saucepan, mix together the Maple Syrup and Water. Bring to a simmer.
2. Whisk in the Cocoa Powder. Remove from heat.
3. Add vanilla extract and let cool.
4. Simply add your desired amount to a glass of milk and enjoy. Keep in the fridge for up to three weeks.

teethingbanner

The Best Natural Teething Remedies

Unfortunately for baby (and parents), cutting teeth isn’t a milestone that happens all at once. The first tooth usually appears between 4-7 months of age and they get their molars near their second birthday. By three years old the vast majority of kids are sporting a full smile of 20 teeth.

This is a long journey for baby, and it can be quite painful for them. Some babies fly through teething with little trouble, others struggle most with the first teeth and those  pesky molars, and others find the entire journey difficult.

While there are various teething remedies out there, not all of them are natural. If you have been following my blog, you know that I think natural remedies are not only safer (especially when talking about babies) but can be just as effective, if not more.

When my little one (pictured above) started cutting teeth around 6 months of age I was immediately looking for how to decrease his pain without using a commercial product such as Orajel. After doing some research I found a variety of simple natural teething remedies that I could implement to make teething as comfortable for Quinn as possible.

Here are some of my favorites:

1. Baltic Amber Teething Necklace

41Hs9J4ocdLA Baltic amber teething necklace is made exclusively for wearing (not chewing) when a baby is teething. You can see it shown above in the picture of Quinn. What happens is that the warmth from the baby’s skin releases the active ingredient found in the Baltic amber, succinic acid. Scientific research has shown that succinic acid has a very positive influence on the human body. It improves immunity and the balance of acids when absorbed into the bloodstream; it stimulates the thyroid glands to help reduce drooling and soothes red inflamed cheeks. Amber’s anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties are recognized by allopathic medicine as a natural analgesic, which will help to relieve teething pain and calm a baby without resorting to drugs. It is extremely important that baby is supervised while a teething necklace is worn. It should not be worn during naps or bedtime.

2. Chamomile Nighttime Bath

If a bath before bed time isn’t already part of your nightly routine I highly recommend adding it in. A warm bath followed by a gentle baby massage will help calm and soothe baby. To go one step further, draw your little one a chamomile bath by placing a tablespoon of dried chamomile flowers in a reusable muslin drawstring bag and add to your baby’s bath water. Chamomile is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and have long been used to soothe and relax. It is also a common sleep aid.

3. Sophie the Giraffe Teether

41XxjQd+XlL

I’m sure you have heard of this oh-so-popular giraffe before, but incase you haven’t, meet Sophie. Sophie the Giraffe teether is made from natural rubber and food paint and is Phthalates and BPA free. This natural teether is extremely flexible and has lots of parts for baby to chew like ears, horns, legs.

4. Homemade Teething Clove Oil

Clove Essential Oil has a natural numbing effect so it’s perfect for those days and nights when something a little extra is needed. All you need to do is dilute 1 drop of therapeutic grade clove oil in 1 tablespoon of almond oil. Mix together and apply to gums.

5. Zooley Natural Teething Toy

41YdHSZi-ZL._SX425_I was given a couple of these ring toys while I was pregnant and put them aside until now. My favorite thing about them is that they are made from 100% organic cotton terrycloth and untreated maple wood. This teething toy is completely free of dyes and harmful chemicals!, not to mention they are super cute.

6. Homemade Chamomile Tincture

I found this great homemade tincture by Wellness Mama that I am in the midst of making. I can’t share my personal experience on this specific DIY remedy, but can say that I have loved many things that I find on her site. The tincture is easy to mix, but needs 4-6 weeks to sit. I have another 3 weeks before it’s ready. If and when I need to use it I will swing back to this post and share my findings! DIY recipe here.

7. Nubby Mesh Nibbler

51Huqxq7OwL._SX522_To be completely honest I received a couple of these at my baby shower and had no clue what they were for. I of course acted extremely grateful and figured there was a good use for them… I just wasn’t sure what that use was.  While the product’s suggested use is to help introduce solids to baby, I find these great for teething. These nibblers allow you to put delicious and nutritious homemade purees inside before freezing them. Baby then gets to gnaw on the frozen food through the mesh pocket while holding the handle.

What are your favorite natural teething remedies? I would love to try new things and add to this list. Share with me in the comments below.
kitchen must haves

Simple Kitchen Must Haves
I haven’t always loved cooking, but over the last 4 years my appreciation for home-cooked meals and real food ingredients has grown tremendously. Because of this new love, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. And even though I love saving up to buy the latest kitchen gadget, there are a few select items that I just couldn’t live without.

These few items are the tools that I use almost daily. They aren’t fancy, nor do they come with a hefty price tag. They simply do their job and make my life easier and time in the kitchen much more efficient!

My 5 Simple Kitchen Must-Haves

1. Mixing Bowls
I can’t say enough about these mixing bowls. They are made from a high quality stainless steel and have a durable silicone bottom that allows the bowls to grip to your prep surface. They are durable, lightweight and stackable for easy storage!

2. Measuring Spoons
These magnetic measuring spoons are so clever. They not only fix to the metal surfaces in your kitchen, but they are double sided so you can measure both wet and dry ingredients without having to rinse in between! Genius.

3. Mason Jars
Yup. Simple Mason Jars make the list for me. I use them for literally EVERYTHING. I make butter in mason jars, I store food in mason jars, I even bake bread in mason jars (bread-in-jar recipe here)!  Check out this post I put together of 30 great uses for Mason Jars.

4. Chef’s Knife
This knife is constructed of a single forged piece of high carbon, no-stain, rust-resistant steel. It’s perfect for chopping onion, slicing potatoes, and even mashing garlic. It’s my go-to knife for just about everything.

5. Cutting Board
I do almost all of my prep work on one of these glass cutting boards. They are safe, hygienic and made with break resistant glass.

Are you interested in winning some of these items? What about winning $250 worth of amazing Kitchen Must-Haves? Check back here and on the Rethink Simple FB page. Myself, along with 5 of my favorite blogs are working together for a HUGE giveaway coming soon!

What are your favorite kitchen tools/gadgets? Let me know if I am missing out on a great time saver tool in the comments below.

vegetable soup

I am so excited to welcome Linda from The Organic Kitchen to Rethink Simple today. Linda is a fabulous food blogger and has put together a wonderful warming recipe to share with you all! Please thank Linda by checking out her blog and giving her a ‘like’ on fb!

Hello! I am excited to be a guest blogger here at Rethink Simple. Today I am going to teach you to make one of my favorite fall meals, The Organic Kitchen Roasted Vegetable Soup. It is warm, hardy, filling and delicious! And it just so happens that it is dairy and gluten free.

Roasted Vegetable Soup.

We start with a variety of fresh fall vegetables, carrots, butternut squash, onion, sweet potato and zucchini.

Roasted Vegetable Soup.

Working with butternut squash can be a challenge, but with the right tools it’s a snap! Use a ‘y’ peeler to peel squash and a very sharp knife to cut it. A dull  knife literally won’t cut it…

Roasted Vegetable Soup.

Once vegetables are cut, drizzle with just enough olive oil so that vegetables are lightly coated. Sprinkle with sea salt and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper.

Roasted Vegetable Soup.

Pop all the veggies in the oven except zucchini, we add that the last ten minutes of roasting.

Roasted Vegetable Soup.

This recipe calls for a roasted red pepper. You can use the kind in a jar or roast your own!  Simply place the pepper on top of a cooktop burner on medium heat. As the skin blackens use tongs to turn the pepper. Once all the skin is completely charred, remove from heat, place in a bowl and cover. Allow pepper to steam in it’s own heat for 10 minutes. Then use your fingers to peel the blackened skin off and cut out the seeds.

Absolutely Delicious Roasted Vegetable Soup.

When all the vegetables are done roasting, separate into thirds.

Absolutely Delicious Roasted Vegetable Soup.

Puree 1/3 of the vegetables with stock, canned tomatoes, and red bell pepper in a blender reserving the last third of vegetables. We chop those and add them to the blended soup.

Absolutely Delicious Roasted Vegetable Soup.

Absolutely Delicious Roasted Vegetable Soup.

Absolutely Delicious Roasted Vegetable Soup.

 

The Recipe: Serves 8

You will need a blender, a rimmed baking sheet and parchment paper.

 

1 med sweet potato (orange or white), peeled and cubed

3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed

7 med carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces

1 medium yellow onion, cut in half then cut each half into six sections

2 large zucchini, diced (set aside)

1 can fire roasted tomatoes (14 oz)

½ a roasted red bell pepper (from a jar)

6 cups veggie or chicken broth, 2 cups reserved for thinning soup if necessary

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Olive Oil

3 T balsamic vinegar

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in upper third of oven.

 

Peel and cut fresh veggies. Place all vegetables (except zucchini) onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil, toss. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, toss again. Set timer for 40 minutes. When timer goes off, sprinkle the diced zucchini across the roasting veggies on cookie sheet. Roast for ten more minutes.

 

Remove veggies from oven. Leaving vegetables on cookie sheet use a spatula to divide veggies into three equal sections. Place 1/3 third of the veggies into a blender, add two cups broth, half the can of roasted tomatoes and half of one roasted red pepper. Blend till not quite smooth. Pour into stock pot. Repeat (excluding the red bell pepper) with another 1/3 of vegetables, tomatoes and broth. After blending second batch, add to pot. Place the last 1/3 of veggies on a cutting board and use a knife to dice. Add the diced vegetables to blended soup in the pot and heat till warm. If soup is too thick, use reserved broth to thin to desired consistency (a half cup at a time). Add Cayenne pepper and 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, tasting after each addition. Salt and pepper to taste if needed, serve.

 

tok-july2012-150rs copyLinda Spiker is the owner and operator of The Organic Kitchen cooking school, author of two cookbooks and a food blogger. “I love food! And I love teaching people that cooking should be enjoyable, eating well doesn’t have to be time consuming and fresh is always better!”

Linda is also a wife, mother of six, grandmother to three and a yoga instructor. Please visit her website at www.theorganickitchen.org

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Absolutely Delicious Roasted Vegetable Soup.