Lamb Osso Bucco

The weather here in Ohio has taken a turn toward winter, a big turn. Chilly, windy days and cold nights have put me in the mood for a little comfort food. I still had some lamb in the freezer from a late summer sale and decided I needed to find the perfect recipe for it. A quick google search and I had found my inspiration, Lamb Osso Bucco! Perfection!

Lamb Osso Bucco


I didn’t have all of the ingredients that the recipe called for but I was not driving in town for a few items. The dish turned out amazing. The lamb just fell from the bone, incredibly tender and infused with the flavors of the tomatoes, onions, herbs, and garlic.

The original recipe also called for a Gremolata. Since I didn’t have these items in the house I skipped it, but for a fresh flavor I encourage you to make the Gremolata! It would really add some bright notes to this savory meal.

For my Osso Bucco I used the following ingredients:

  • 2½ – 3 lbs cross cut lamb shanks
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes (I used Muir Glen’s with chilis for a little kick)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 dried bay leaf

Here are the directions from the original recipe at Nom Nom Paleo:

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Season lamb with salt and pepper and heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Once the Dutch oven is hot, brown each the cut lamb shanks well on both sides. (You may have to do this in batches to prevent overcrowding the Dutch oven.) Place the browned lamb shanks on a platter and tent with foil.

To read the rest of the original recipe click here.

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Good Things are Coming!


photo courtesy of Bella Valentina Photography

First let me say I am very sorry for my absence! Since moving to our new property this summer life has been, how shall we say it?, a bit chaotic. But it has all been worth it.

We bought our new property and sold our old home within weeks of each other (still in disbelief!). We were able to move our home and our business pretty quickly with the help of friends and family (still grateful for all the help!). Once moved, we were in the thick of summer which means lots of outdoor work in addition to the daily routine tasks like cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Add on top of that an 18 month old and 4 1/2 year old and you have a recipe for chaos! Oh, and did I mention that we are running a full time business from our home? Yeah, so we’ve been a little busy. :)

I felt pretty guilty about not updating the blog more often but I had to give myself a little grace. I just couldn’t fit it all in. I am sorry that I haven’t shared more about reaching this goal but I promise, I have lots of good things to come! After the first of the year I will be posting new content more routinely, hopefully once a week! Until then, I will try to add a few things from time to time. Thank you for your continued support! Lots of love!


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Freezer-Friendly Homemade Pizza Dough

I finally gave homemade pizza dough another try. The first time I tried homemade dough it stuck to my pizza peel and almost fell into a pile in the bottom of my oven. This time worked out much better (thanks to the use of ample amounts of flour!). What makes this dough even better – it’s freezer friendly!!!

Pizza Uncooked



The Finished Product

Overall the pizza turned out well. Next time I’ll try to make it a little thinner but that’s just my preference. My total cost for this meal was between $2-3, cheaper than most pizza delivery! If you want to give it a try click here for the recipe from Money Saving Mom. This recipe is part of her 4 Weeks to Fill Your Freezer series which is full of a TON of great freezer-friendly recipes!


Recipe Source:


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Low Carb Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole


Sometimes I lay awake in bed at night and thumb through Pinterest on my tablet. I am not ashamed to say, I Love Pinterest! The other night I came across an amazing looking recipe that I decided to try out called Loaded Cauliflower Casserole. I am so glad I did because it totally lived up to its photo, it was delicious!!!

I made a few changes to the recipe because I didn’t have the exact ingredients on hand. It was so good my husband compared it to homemade mac & cheese. You know, the really good, creamy mac & cheese? Yeah, it was that good. It was so good my 4 year old and my 17 month old gobbled it down. My 4 year old told me she “loved my cooking“! It was a proud moment in my kitchen!

I don’t know if I would consider this dish ”healthy”, but it is all REAL ingredients and all REAL food. It is also “low-carb” if you are into that sort of thing. It paired nicely with a side of fresh-from-the-garden spinach sautéed in butter and garlic.

So here you go, my version of Loaded Cauliflower Casserole:


  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 8 oz shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, 1/4 set aside
  • 4 oz shredded pepper jack or any other hot pepper cheese, 1/4 set aside
  • 8 oz block cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Boil or steam cauliflower florets until tender.
While the cauliflower cooks, in a large mixing bowl, cream together 3/4 of the shredded cheddar, 3/4 of the pepper jack, the cream cheese, and heavy cream.
Stir in the diced onion and garlic and set aside.
Strain the steamed cauliflower and add to cheese mixture and combine until well blended.
You can mash the mixture with a potato masher for a smoother texture.
Pour into a prepared 2-3 quart casserole and sprinkle the top with the remaining cheddar and pepper jack cheese.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes; remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Original recipe source:

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The Holistic Mama’s Moisturizing Face Oil Recipe

I’ve met a lot of terrific people and developed some great relationships through Facebook. I love the network of like-minded people that I’ve been introduced to. Through this network we are able to share ideas, recipes, and stories, help spread the natural living message, and on occasion get to try out new products! One person I’ve been blessed to work with is Roxanne, otherwise known as The Holistic Mama.

Roxanne blogs over at The Holistic Mama where she talks about real food, yoga, making her own natural personal care products, and questioning what our society considers “normal”. She has developed many of her own products that are available for purchase from her site, including her Renewing Facial Serum that I tested and reviewed here. She shares lots of great tips and advice on her Facebook page too!

If you are interested in learning how to make your own personal care products I recommend you start with Roxanne’s eBook, The Holistic Mama’s Guide to Homemade Skin Care! It is filled with great info on how diet relates to skincare, recipes for the face and body, and a few recipes for kids as well. The recipes include easy to find ingredients that can be purchased at many health food stores or on Amazon. For the cost of one small jar of fancy face cream (full of parabens, fragrances, and petroleum products) you can buy the ingredients to make 20 bottles of your own natural face oil (or more)!

Roxanne’s eBook includes a recipe for making your own moisturizing face oil that I use everyday. Roxanne was kind enough to allow me to share the recipe here with all of you! I use a few drops every evening before bed and my skin has never looked better!

Homemade Skin Care

Here is the recipe for The Holistic Mama’s Moisturizing Face Oil:


Preparation time: 15 Minutes
Yield: 2 oz. (approx.)

  • 1 tbsp. sweet almond oil
  • 1 tbsp. jojoba oil
  • ½ tsp vitamin e
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil

Mix together and store in a dropper bottle. Use a dime size amount and massage into your face after cleansing.

Below are photos showing my skin before (left) and after (right) using Roxanne’s product for almost a year. The redness and uneven tone is gone and now my skin looks and feels softer and healthier. Even those fine lines that were starting to creep in are gone! Thanks Roxanne!

Skin BeforeSkin After

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5000 Facebook Fans Giveaway! Win a set of products from Charles Viancin!

We are truly blessed to have over 5000 of you following us on Facebook! To thank you all for your support a giveaway seemed appropriate. The winner will have their choice of three sets of Charles Viancin products. Charles Viancin has created a line of versatile kitchenware products that were inspired by nature.  I am a HUGE fan of these products!!! I use the lilypad lids and cutting boards regularly and they look as new as the day I got them.

The Lilypad and Sunflower lids seal tight on all smooth rims and reduce the need for foil and plastic wrap, saving you money!! They are dishwasher and microwave safe, made from BPA free, food grade silicone.

The Lilypad cutting board set is made with BPA free, food grade silicone, making them dishwasher safe. They can also be used as a trivet or dish cover and are able to withstand temperatures up to 450 degrees! After using mine regularly for a couple months they still look brand new!

The winner of the giveaway will have their choice of the following sets:

The Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Backyard Chickens – A Beginner’s Story

I dream about a day when we can have our own small flock of backyard chickens, but for now I will just enjoy all the pictures and stories I find on Facebook. That said, I realize many of you have questions about raising your own chickens so I asked the girls over at Fantastic Frugal Family to share their experience. Here it is!



For the last year I have wanted chickens, I begged and pleaded with my husband. I researched and researched and finally I made one last plead and he caved. Why in the world did I want chickens? The simple answer is Eggs, but also for something that reminds me of a simpler time.

My husband went to the local feed store and picked out two chickens (Bacon and Eggs), not bothering to ask what breed they were. We got a simple animal cage for a brooder, some pine chips, chick starter, feeder, waterer and a heat lamp. Was this really enough? What were we thinking?!

We got the chicks home and set up the brooder, then a thought crosses my mind…What breed are these chicks? We tried to figure it out on our own but honestly to a newb all chicks look alike, it was yellow, puffy, and cheeped.

Nearly two weeks later I broke down and called the feed store back, they had a ledger that held all the info on the chicks they had on certain days and with a simple description of my birds (extra toes, brownish orange feathers) they were able to tell me I had Salmon Favorelles.

My husband started the task of building the coop, we made our own plans and decided to build it as a family project, after a week of construction we were close to completion and he had to make a run to the store for supplies. He came home with all the supplies they needed and a chick. WHAT??? A chick? Yes, we now had another chick, a silver laced Wyandotte we called Waffles, he said it was the last one left in the tiny tub at the feed store. Now we had to figure out how to care for a chick that was substantially smaller than our other girls.

Unfortunately we learned there must have been a reason that the little Waffles was the last one left, she was weak and passed on the third day we had her, but somehow while my husband was at the store getting electrolytes for her he decided it would be a good idea to bring home another chick, a barred rock we call Biscuit.

Now we have three beautiful ladies that are growing quickly, and a completed coop. Bacon and Eggs have graduated to the coop and poor Biscuit is waiting for her size to catch up to the older birds so she can join them.

There is plenty I can say I have learned from this first 6 weeks of backyard chickens but I would boil it down to the important points. If a chick is slow and lethargic at the feed store it likely isn’t in good health, going to the feed store can cause you to want to buy more chickens (I hear this is called chicken math), building a coop to save money can cost you nearly as much as buying one outright. Our money saving coop cost us over $100 and took almost two weeks to build.

I would recommend reading up on chickens before diving in, and become a member to a forum to get quick advice if you need it. Lastly, and possibly most importantly, ALWAYS check your city ordinances for if they allow or prohibit chickens, you don’t want to spend a fortune getting set up just to have to give them up or relocate.


On a whim, I told my fiancé that if Nicole got chickens, so should I. We NEEDED them. But I will back up and say that this was a discussion that has been ongoing for the better part of a year. Our small city has very frustrating and confusing ordinances that delayed our Chicken Acquisition ™. But without fail, every few months we would discuss how awesome it would be to have chickens. In terms of benefits, as a family of 5 (with all three children being boys), we go through a SERIOUS amount of eggs. We can plow through a dozen eggs in one day, no problem. There is also the meat of a chicken, the learning and responsibility of caring for chickens that the children will learn, having them for fun pets, and even a bonus fertilizer for our garden.

On my own, I’ve been quietly researching. As spring edged closer, the talks of chickens became more serious. And then Nicole’s husband surprised her with chickens, so I smiled sweetly (bwahahhaha) and reminded Jack of his promise to me.

About a month later, I got my chickens alright. SIX OF THEM. Six small little Golden Comet pullets. They’re a sex-link variety, which means that they are basically a hybrid (and shouldn’t be bred). They are great for egg production as they put out about 300 eggs a year EACH. That’s 1800 eggs. Think of the money I’ll save!! Goldens are also good for eating, so should we decide to lessen our flock, that’s an option. Although I’m not so sure I want to do that. I do love my chickies!

My very first piece of advice: Don’t make it so complicated. As a newbie, I was full of ideas and tips on the “perfect” way to raise chicks, until Jack came home with a box full of them and we were staring into this box wondering what the heck to do next. Our brooder is nothing more than a giant rubbermaid tub. Yup, that’s it. We hooked up a lamp to a desk, slid the tub under it, filled it with wood shavings, and voila. Instant (free) brooder. Luckily Jack had also picked up an enormous bag of feed, and we had dishes to use.

We were in chickie heaven. Until about 10 minutes later when my 2 year old shrieked with joy and climbed into the brooder. Oh, boy. This will be FUN.

We involve the kids in the chicken care as much as possible. Right now it’s just feeding/watering a few times a day (chickies eat a LOT!), and changing their bedding every other day. However, we also do lots of chicken snuggles. I also use the chickens as a teaching tool. We are all learning about the growing process of chickens as we track their feathering progress. We talked about their eating habits and how when they are older the chickens will help keep bugs out in the yard to a minimum. And next week I think we’re going to start discussing different parts of a chicken. Chicken anatomy, who knew?!

The chicks are about three weeks old, and triple their starting size I’d say. They love to be hand-fed, and are even getting used to the bombardment of the toddler as he runs screaming into the back room to loom over the brooder and declare, “CHICKENS, I FOUND YOU!!!” (as if they were lost on some expedition or something.)

Oh, which reminds me, chicks are still chickens. Which means they scratch and peck a lot. And this makes dust. And if you’re brooding them inside, you should probably take that into account. I invariably have to clean their area at least once a day, because the dust is just everywhere. But seeing their clucky little bodies pecking around anticipating some hand time from me is totally worth it.

I really cannot wait to start giving them treats, but I need to get some grit first to help them with digestion. Chickens don’t have teeth, so they need help with that. They store the grit in their gizzard (so THAT’s what that is for!).

In two weeks we have plans of coop creation, along with some sort of run for the chickens so they aren’t stuck in a box all day long. After all, one of my main points of having chickens was that I wanted them for their personalities, and so that we could enjoy them as pets. I want them to feel like they’re wanted for more than just egg production. Does this make me a weird chicken lady? Oh well! :)

Nicole's Coop

Nicole’s Coop


Nicole and Paula are the owners of Fantastic Frugal Family where they write about natural living, frugal ideas, and the happy chaos of raising their families of boys! Be sure to check out all they have to say!

Posted in Chickens, Frugal Living, Natural Living | 2 Comments

Soy Glazed Salmon with Pineapple and Cucumber Wild Rice




  • Salmon fillets – 4 small fillets
  • Crushed pineapple – 1 small can
  • Wild rice – 3-4 cups cooked
  • Cucumber – 1/2 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • Soy sauce – 1/4 cup
  • Cilantro – 1 tbsp. (or 1/4 cup fresh)


  • Cook your wild rice according to the package directions. We cooked 1 cup of rice with 3 cups of water which yielded 3-4 cups cooked. Add the juice from your crushed pineapple for flavor.
  • Preheat oven to 350° while your rice is cooking. In a large oven-proof skillet, sear your salmon over medium heat, until one side is cooked, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the salmon fillets over and put the entire skillet in the oven until the fillets are cooked through and flaky, about 10 more minutes.
  • In a bowl combine your pineapple, chopped cucumber, and cilantro. Add to your wild rice once it finishes cooking.
  • Once the salmon is done, remove the skillet from the oven, place your salmon on a plate and return the skillet to the stove top. You may want to cover with a piece of foil to keep it warm. Put your skillet back on low heat and add your soy sauce, quickly stir until it’s thickened. Pour the glaze over the salmon.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

This pairs nicely with any medium or hot pineapple salsa. We served it with a Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Sauce from Robert Rothschild Farm that we picked up at Sam’s Club. It was just the added bit of heat we were looking for! I think it would also be good with a little lemon or lime juice and zest.

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Kale Sauteed in Bacon Fat

kaleKale Sautéed in Bacon Fat

(I can’t wait for this winter to be done! I want to plant some kale!)

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Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

My husband and I were recently discussing washing dishes. Our discussion? Whether or not you NEED to use soap when using a dishwasher. You see, we use those little “pods” in our dishwasher and they always seem to leave a residue. We have tried using vinegar in that little “rinse” compartment but it just doesn’t do the trick. So off to Google I went for the answer!

The jury is still out on whether or not soap is necessary, but I did come across a recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent over at One Good Thing by Jillie. I followed the directions and I have to say we were pleased with the results. Our dishes came out nice and clean and with NO RESIDUE!

Here is the recipe!


  • 1 cup Washing Soda or Baking soda (We used Washing Soda)
  • 1 cup Borax (Borax and baking soda/wash are both natural disinfectants and mild abrasives.)
  • 1/4 cup Coarse Salt (reduces the effects of hard water)
  • 1/4 cup Citric Acid (you can find this in the canning section of most grocery stores)

Put 1-2 tablespoons into your detergent compartment. Add 3 drops of dish washing liquid. (Note: Do not add more than 3 drops unless you like cleaning up out-of-control bubbles) Throw in 1/2 cup of vinegar into the bottom of the loaded dishwasher. Start your dishwasher.

Recipe Source

What sorts of cleaners do you make yourself? Share any tips, recipes, and results in the comments!

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