How to Eat Well on a Budget

How to Eat Well on a Budget
Depending where you live, food can be costly. But there are a few simple ways to make your grocery shopping effective and efficient. After all,

All foods either help us heal or make us sick.

I personally want to do the former instead of the latter. :)

How to Eat Well on a Budget

1) Go out to eat less (or not at all!) -- eating out costs a LOT. You're paying to be waited on plus the actual food plus the labor of making it! And it's usually not healthy anyway. Save that money you would've spent eating out and budget it for healthier food at the grocery store instead.

2) Meal plan -- plan out what you're going to eat when, especially if you are busy in the evenings. (Stay tuned for an awesome meal planning freebie coming soon!)

3) Make double portions -- and either freeze the rest or eat leftovers a few nights in one week! Making food healthy doesn't mean you need to cook or bake every night of the week.

4) Ditch the microwave -- I did a training about this in Abundant Life Community if you'd like to know more about why this is important! Your food is your body's fuel.

5) Cancel any subscriptions you don't use and put that extra money each month towards your food budget. Every dollar counts!

There you have it! Feel like you've got these down but need more direction on clean eating? I've got a Clean Eating Ingredients Freebie you can check out to push the needle even further on your goals. You got this!

A Special Ingredient You Need in Your Home & Organic Garden

A Special Ingredient You Need in Your Home & Organic Garden
Gardening organically can be slightly harder in certain instances, but it is well worth the pay-off. Growing your own nutrient-dense food that is as natural as possible is becoming increasingly important to many families.

What to do about pests though?

Or what about a natural way to get rid of fleas once your lovable pooch has already brought them home?

I got both covered. :)

Here's your special ingredient, something I ALWAYS have on hand, and 6 awesome uses for it:

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a very fine powder that contains tiny pre-historic aquatic organisms called diatoms which are made of silica. Some brands of DE (like in the link above) may be taken internally as well as used around the house. I personally only use a brand that is food grade, as I would not want children/pets getting into anything that was not safe to ingest already, you know what I mean? I don't have chemical insect repellant, cleaners, or sunscreen in the house (I've written about that here), let alone anything else that's harmful to my precious family.

6 Awesome Uses of DE:
1. Overall health benefits for hair, skin, nails, body, and brain. DE usually contains trace minerals, and we are often deficient in silica, which also has some amazing properties. Go do a little google search to see for yourself!

2. Great addition to facial scrubs, deodorant, carpet cleaner, and more. Just AVOID eyes (and nose on furry friends).

3. Kills fleas that your pooch brought in! The fine and abrasive nature of the powder causes insects with exoskeletons to dehydrate fatally. Dust pup 2x per day until pests are seen to be gone (be careful to avoid mouth & eyes, as the fine dust particles can irritate mucus membranes!).

4. Pest control in the garden. Re-apply once per day after noticing pests after dew or rain has dried for best use.

5. DE has detoxifying properties and can be used alongside these other gentle cleansing and detoxing tips.

6. In vegetable gardening, DE is sometimes used as a soil conditioner, because it can retain water and nutrients while draining fast and freely, allowing more air circulation to bring additional oxygen to the root system within the soil (which you want).

There you have it! Hope this is helpful. Go grab some here if you need it as much as I do!

Want to receive updates to the blog? You can sign up to get them straight to your inbox or phone here so you don't miss any.  Or join my free group, Abundant Life Community, for more natural food, household, and gardening tips. :)

*Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. All things I love and use, of course!

5 Reasons to Drink Kombucha

5 Reasons to Drink Kombucha
Homemade Kombucha tastes SO GOOD.

Never heard of it? It's a fizzy beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of wild yeast and bacteria. Many people I know replace soda with kombucha because it satisfies that craving for carbonated goodness, but is actually good for you!

The awesome part? When you homebrew it, you can customize the amount of fizzy carbonation, caffeine, flavor, and sweetness.

The 5 main benefits of drinking Kombucha: 💚
1. Cleansing and detoxing for the body.    
2. Immune system support -- gut health leads to immune system health!
3. Improved digestion -- probiotics. :)
4. Increased energy -- happy gut, more energy!
5. Increased metabolism -- happy gut, better processing of food.
triple berry kombucha

Drink kombucha but curious how to make your own?
I make my own and have put together a video course called Homebrewing Kombucha Made Easy -- you can learn how to make your own too, for a fraction of what it costs to buy in the store. I walk you through each step from buying the ingredients & materials to how to decide which flavors to make!

Natural Wellness Deals on Cyber Monday

Natural Wellness Deals on Cyber Monday
Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday and weekend, even if it looked a bit different this year. Today is Cyber Monday! If you're searching for Christmas gifts or simply needing to restock on natural wellness supplies and materials, you've come to the right place! I've compiled a list of deals on natural wellness supplies in various places from various vendors. Find what works for you, and happy shopping!

20% off Apple Cider Vinegar pills -- digestive support

56% off Electric Citrus Juicer -- I'm using this for the cleanse I'm starting on Saturday!

$20 roller bottle and spray bottle cleaning kit -- less than $1 per item! Usually large spray bottles cost at least $7-8 each.

36% off organic jojoba oil (great carrier oil for blending essential oils!)

FREE Christmas Spirit blend for first 5 new Young Living members on Essential Rewards! And free shipping at 100pv! Shop here.

30%-80% off STOREWIDE Daily Grace Co. Sale! They have Bible studies, prayer cards, children's journals, and much much more.

60% off instapot, 6 quart

Under $8 Jade Roller

28% off liquid zinc (think immune system)

Shoe Inserts (for flat feet, plantar fasciitis, high arches, etc)

20% off colored roller bottles for essential oils

20% off 10 ml amber roller bottles for essential oils

Happy Shopping!!

*Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. All things I love and use anyway, of course!

5 Ways to Actively Detoxify and Gently Cleanse

5 Ways to Actively Detoxify and Gently Cleanse
Detoxing and cleansing are super important for our body to optimally function, especially right now. To learn more about why detoxing and cleansing is important, check out my other post here.

But now that you know why it's important...

5 Ways to Actively Detoxify and Gently Cleanse

1. Drink LOTS of Water -- Learn more about why water is so important!

2. Lower (or Eliminate!) Processed Sugar Intake
       Processed sugar, when consumed in excess as most modern foods/diets do, can affect our health negatively in several ways. It can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of several potential diseases. Reduce consumption of sugar, table salt, processed foods, and junk foods to help the body lower inflammation and detoxify.

3. Add Antioxidants to Your Diet
       Antioxidants protect our cells against free radicals. Unhealthy habits including smoking, following a modern processed food diet, drinking too much alcohol, exposure to pollutants such as toxic ingredients found in personal care products and household cleaners, and more can lead to the accumulation of free radicals in the body. To fight these, we can add foods loaded with antioxidants to our diet daily like wolfberries, grapes, onion, garlic, mango, spinach, capsicum, and certain herbal teas. Some have a much higher content than others, so if you're looking for the highest antioxidant content in foods, check out my favorites list below.

      My top 5 favorite foods and teas high in antioxidants:
          -- Wolfberries, specifically a certain kind from China: learn more about my favorite kind.
          -- Detoxify Tea (includes tumeric and other herbs that help our body cleanse)
         -- Increasing fiber in your diet -- I specifically like a supplement called ICP for occasional help with increasing fiber in my diet and helping scrub that colon wall (you can purchase it here, though not everyone benefits from the same thing. Schedule a wellness consult with me to get more info or shoot me an email).
         -- High-quality garlic and other foods high in antioxidants. Always choose organic/locally grown, when you can, and go out of your way to prioritize that. Why? Learn more about it from my dad who has an 8-acre organic vegetable farm near Rochester, MN.
        -- Moringa, a superfood high in antioxidants. I like adding it to smoothies. :)

5. Do a specific cleanse/reset of the digestive system.
   I am actually newer to this concept (it's something I'm still learning about!) but I am going to be doing a cleanse (no food, just a homemade lemon juice mix for 10 days!) described in this book after the Thanksgiving holiday before Christmas so my body and digestive system/colon can reset.
   Some of the supplies/ingredients needed:
      -- Maple Syrup (someone else doing this cleanse specifically recommended getting this kind, perhaps it says in the book why, but I haven't read the book yet!)
      -- A caffeine free laxative tea like this one
     -- Fine ground REAL sea salt (this one non-iodized!)
     -- Ground Cayenne Pepper 
     -- Organic Lemons
     -- A juicer is HIGHLY recommended!
  If you're interested in joining me, get the materials above and let me know you're doing it! There's a few other tips I've learned from others doing it that can be super helpful, and I can pass along to you. I'll add you to a group I'm in all about cleansing in this way to have support and accountability together.

People I know who have done this cleanse have reported:
1: Lowered Inflammation
2: Have more energy
3: Better sleep
4: Clarity of mind
5: Positive outlook
6: Greater flexibility
7: Weight loss
8: Freedom from addiction
9: Increased strength
10: Swelling and pain
11: Hair loss regrowth
12: Skin improvement
13: Allergies reduced
And simply just feel better.

Sounds good to me!!

So there you have it. Some simple ways to help the body detox and be at our best. Feeling stuck, or need additional tools to get you moving in the right direction? I have additional simple detoxing strategies from the ones listed here. Or maybe you just need some accountability and encouragement! Come join a group of like-minded people who want to do this wellness thing naturally, and encourage one another to stay the course.

Why Detoxing and Cleansing Naturally is Important

Why Detoxing and Cleansing Naturally is Important
When we get unhealthy buildup of toxins in our body (which unfortunately is most of us as modern 20th century people, given our environment and lifestyle), it’s no fun. These excess toxins can cause physical and mental health issues like chronic fatigue, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, joint issues, diseases, and inflammation that causes or exacerbates other conditions. Many of these toxins come from things you use or consume everyday like additives in food, chemicals in water, beauty, and personal care products, cleaners, and the environment. If you’re wondering why it’s so important to cleanse and detox your body, keep reading.

You’ll see that there are many harsh pollutants and harmful pesticides in our environment that should not stay in your body. Since our body organs work together to help eliminate these trapped toxins, it’s important that they’re all healthy and in working order. The liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, skin, and lymphatic system are especially useful and important when it comes to cleansing the body. When these organs are bombarded with toxins at a faster rate than they can do their work efficiently, then we experience these commonplace (but not normal!) issues.

What is detoxing? Detoxification is really just a series of systems working together to neutralize and/or eliminate toxic substances. It’s always running in the background, working to keep your body functioning as it should.

Your liver is the main workhorse here as it works to process toxins and forward them to the “elimination stations.” These include your:

Kidneys (elimination through urine)
Bowel (elimination through feces)
Skin (elimination through sweat)

So “to detox” means to support what your body is already trying to do every day. You can do this many different ways (both passively and actively), but which I will touch on in a soon-coming blog post. Sign up for our blog updates so you don't miss it.

I hope the why behind what we share about and do is helpful! The biggest mistake I made was assuming this didn't apply to me unless I was experiencing issues like a described above. What I didn't know then that I know now is that I should have started these habits and patterns much earlier in life (something that I will definitely be doing with my own children). It would have saved me a lot of pain, sleepless nights, heartache, and the threatening of crushing my dreams. I am SO grateful that's not the case anymore because of changing ways I support my body's detoxing process.

I run a natural wellness group where we talk about detoxing and simple ways to add this habit into your lifestyle. You're welcome to join us!

Here are a few books about detoxing that may be helpful to get you started: Detox 101Superfood Smoothies21-Day Sugar DetoxDetox Your Home, and The Superior Wolfberry. And as always, I'd love to support you personally on your journey. Contact me to join our natural wellness team.

Be blessed, live abundantly.

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Healthy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Healthy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
This amazing dairy-free pumpkin bread is naturally sweetened with honey or maple syrup, and made with whole wheat flour or Einkorn flour. It’s so moist and fluffy! You can easily make this pumpkin bread vegan and/or gluten free. Recipe yields 1 loaf.


⅓ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup honey or maple syrup
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin purée (a small pie pumpkin usually yields around 4 cups -- how to cook a pumpkin)
¼ cup milk of choice or water
1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin spice blend (or ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves) OR 2drops cinnamon bark, 1 drop nutmeg, 1 drop ginger, and 1 drop clove essential oils (make sure you're using a pure, food-safe one -- ask me about what I use!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour or Einkorn flour
Optional: ½ cup mix-ins like chopped walnuts or pecans, chocolate chips, raisins, chopped dried fruit…
Pinch of ground cinnamon, for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius) and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and honey together together with a whisk. Add the eggs and whisk until blended. (If your coconut oil solidifies on contact with cold ingredients, simply let the bowl rest in a warm place for a few minutes, like on top of your stove or in the preheating oven.)
3. Add the pumpkin purée, milk, pumpkin spice, baking soda, vanilla and salt, and whisk to blend. Lastly, switch to a big spoon and stir in the flour, just until combined. Some lumps are ok! If you’re adding any additional mix-ins, gently fold them in.
4. Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. If you’d like a pretty swirled effect, run the tip of a knife across the batter in a zig-zag pattern.
5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (typically, if I haven’t added any mix-ins, my bread is done at 55 minutes; if I have added mix-ins, it needs closer to 60 minutes). Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the bread to a cooling rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

SOOOO yummy!!

pumpkin bread made from fresh organic pie pumpkins

Homemade Pesto

AfterHomemade Arugula/Basil Pesto

I just made it up with what I had using approximate ratios (like my dad always does), so I don't have an exact recipe. 😂
One to freeze and one to use this week.

But I've been asked multiple times! So here's the ingredients at least:

Organic baby arugula
Organic basil
Pine nuts (you can also use walnuts, but I like being fancy 😉)
Hard-neck Garlic (9ish cloves)
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
2 drops black pepper vitality essential oil
3 drops lime vitality essential oil

1. Put the leafy ingredients (arugula & basil) in a food processor with 3)4c ish of pine nuts. Pour in some olive oil. Puree or pulse to chop.

2. Add rest of ingredients and more oil until texture is fine.

3. Enjoy!


It is very important to know that not all essential oils are created equal...

You can’t just go out to a big box store (or anywhere online) and trust that you’re getting the good stuff. Lucky for you, I’ve got a source I trust. Contact me to learn more.

How to Maximize Space and Soil Nutrients in Your Organic Garden

Did you know that planting crops together (inter-mixed) is not only convenient, but beneficial for your crops?
Depending on which plants you choose, this can be a really good option if you...
1) Don't have a lot of space.
2) Want to maximize the growing season.
3) Need to remember where you planted your carrots! ;)

Carrots take a LONG time to germinate. A REALLY long time... 14-21 days, to be exact. That's easily long enough to forget you planted them there! Haha.

We plant a double row of hard-neck garlic with a row of carrots down the middle and radishes planted on top of them.

This, along with maximizing the high nutrient content of our vegetable-based compost, is super helpful for conserving space and utilizing the various nutrients these different vegetables need. The radishes are ready to pick in 4ish weeks, right when the carrots are just coming up! They make a great "row marker" for your carrots, protect the ground where the carrots are, and the garlic is ready to pick (from its planting in the fall) in mid-July, after the radishes are gone but before the carrots are ready to pick. If you pick your garlic at just the right time, it's easy to pull (no forking needed) and the root systems of the carrots are minimally impacted.

Win win win -- triple win! :)

Get our free plant-based DIY Bugs-B-Gone spray recipes for home and garden here

Want to receive updates to the blog? Here's Top 3 Tips for Gardening Organically. You can sign up to get blog updates straight to your inbox or phone here so you don't miss any! 
Fall crop of carrots/radishes planted recently without garlic.

Maximize Garden Space

Top 3 Tips for Gardening Organically

Gardening organically is totally doable and very beneficial for the earth, our bodies, and the creatures with whom we share our world. After 23+ years of experience (my family has gardened organically since I was 3 years old), here are my top 3 general tips, whether you're just getting started or a seasoned organic gardener. There's also a few pictures of our garden along the way and recipes for natural bugs-be-gone sprays for home & garden at the end -- enjoy!

1. Feed the Soil
What we feed the soil is what goes into our vegetables, so if we feed our crops well, we benefit from that in the food we eat. If you've eaten organically fresh-grown food, you'll know that it tastes different. This is in part due to differing varieties of the plant you grow, but in my opinion it has even more to do with the quality of the soil it's grown in.

Pro-Tip: If you can, go down to your local waste energy facility and get some compost made from the fall leaves & grass clippings. This provides wonderful nutrients for the soil, creates a weed barrier if left on top of the soil (any weed seeds are killed in the heating process), and is very cost-effective, not to mention also quite considerate of the earth and the way it naturally functions (recycling concept).
2nd crop of baby zucchini -- we pick 3x per week to get this size, otherwise we'd have a pick-up truck full of them! Pumpkin plants freshly tilled and about to run (they need to be hand-weeded still,
don't mind the weeds)! ;)
2. Plant Crops in a Way to Naturally Reduce Pests
Most people know about crop rotation as the most effective way to do this (moving crops to different locations different years). This also helps with soil quality, as different crops take different nutrients in and out of the soil, so they can help one another! But did you know that you can naturally deter certain animals or pests based on location you plant? For example, we planted parsnips along the edge of one of our fields where bunnies like to be because they find those less appetizing than other crops. Bunnies also won't go out into the center of our fields (otherwise, bye bye, says the hawk!), so planting these edge crops in the first few rows prevents them from bothering anything.

3. Use Plants to Protect Plants
Many people know about diatomaceous earth (uncalcinated) as a more natural effective way to get rid of insects with exoskeletons (by dehydration), but did you know that there are many plant-based ways to keep bugs (with exoskeletons or not) away from your plants? Generally this takes slightly more frequent application, but it tends to be more harmonious for the environment because it does not kill the bugs, just causes them to avoid the area.

Get our free plant-based DIY Bugs-B-Gone spray recipes for home and garden here

Want to receive updates to the blog? You can sign up to get them straight to your inbox or phone here so you don't miss any!  

First planting of cabbage, broccoli, and kale.
You can see the zucchini too in the far top LH corner, and the cucumbers next to them. :)

What is Black Garlic?

Black garlic can be found in restaurants everywhere, but the less well-known ingredient isn’t new. It has been used for its unique flavor, for medicinal purposes, and in Asian cuisines for centuries. Black garlic is the product of aging regular hard neck garlic bulbs over the course of weeks or months. It requires strictly regulated temperature and humidity to achieve its sticky blackish-brown consistency.

With a softer, molasses-like, balsamic-like flavor, it is a more delicate option than the raw version. Black garlic, considered a super food, also has added health benefits, including twice the amount of antioxidants than the regular raw bulb. The best part? It is versatile and can be swapped out for regular garlic in most recipes. It is a beautiful addition to any cheese plate, bruschetta, chicken dishes, or even as a pizza topper. I enjoy substituting it for regular garlic in my Garlic Lover's Pasta Salad recipe (pictures below). Many people like to add it to sauces or homemade vinaigrettes. Keep in mind it is milder in flavor but also unique as it is fermented, so I recommend you taste as you add.
   The process of making black garlic is less difficult than it is long. It can be aged for up to 60 days but will be ready to use after three weeks. Some people use a pressure cooker or rice cooker at home, while others use sealed canning jars and a dryer to get to the desired temperature and humidity levels.

  • An abundance of antioxidant compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids, tetrahydro-β-carboline derivatives, and organosulfur compounds, including S-allyl-cysteine and S-allyl-mercaptocysteine
  • The fermentation process enhances the bioactivity.
  • Growing evidence suggests that black garlic's properties potentially include: anticancer, anti-obesity, immuno-modulatory, hypolipidemic, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, and neuroprotective effects.
  • Black garlic can perhaps scavenge the free radicals in vitro and also activate the antioxidant enzymes in vivo.
  • Some recent reports have suggested black garlic as a prominent agent for treatment of inflammation and septicemia-related diseases.
Have you tried black garlic before? Check out our top 3 tips for organic gardening.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The Importance of Natural Bug Repellent Around Kids and Pets (and Adults Too!)

The Importance of Natural Bug Repellent Around Kids and Pets (and Adults Too!)
You know those creepy crawlies that are found in the garden, around the home...? The ants and potato beetles, or worse... ticks?

We use a natural plant-based and non-toxic DIY Bugs-B-Gone spray in our home (read to the end for the recipe!) because we know how unpleasant some of those insect friends are.

We initially were concerned about finding natural alternatives because 1) we know ticks in particular but also mosquitoes are a problem, but also 2) we know the dangers of yard sprays and deet in particular. You can read more about the dangers of that here. My family is especially concerned about the environmental impact of sprays on bees, fish, and other wildlife aside from our children and pets.

My mom started using our DIY spray recipe on the family dog because he's always getting ticks. She started using it a few weeks ago. The week before, she'd found 3 on him! Since using the spray, she hasn't found one yet. Pretty good!

We also know that some people are not just irritated by mosquitoes, but actually allergic! That is especially important to be aware of. Finding safe alternatives for people with skin sensitivities is also really important. I (Andrea) have many sensitivities, skin and respiratory being two of them, and the ingredients in our spray and roller recipes pass the tests with flying colors.

Get our free DIY Bugs-B-Gone spray recipes for home and garden here!

DIY Insect Repellent Roller Recipe
10 drops citronella essential oil (this one was free in June for ER orders!)
10 drops lemongrass essential oil
5 drops rosemary essential oil

Add essential oils above to a 10 ml roller bottle (you can find some here) and fill with a carrier oil of choice (our favorite one is here).

*It is very important to know that not all essential oils are created equal...

You can’t just go out to a big box store (or anywhere online) and trust that you’re getting the good stuff. Lucky for you, I’ve got a source I trust. Contact me for more information.
And learn how to use essential oils safely here!

*Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. All things I love and use, of course!