Fun Stuff, Helpful Links, and Tasty Treats!

I used double-sided scrapbooking paper.

Homemade Paper Flowers

Just in time for cutesy St. Valentine’s Day decorations and card making.  These are a fun, simple way to enjoy the upcoming day of love sharing.  I used double-sided scrapbooking paper that I had in the closet.  My flowers in the photo range from 2 inch square to 12 inch.  The flowers may be used as table decorations, to embellish a card, or use glue dots to attached to a stick to make a unique bouquet for the season!  Visit Dozi for a simple tutorial.  I didn’t even use a pencil I just cut and rolled.  Be creative and enjoy!

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No More Hesitation Gluten-Free Flour Mix + Banana Bread that Rocks!

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27 bananas and I didn’t waste a 1!

I did a paleo diet for 8 weeks last year which lead to my realization that I have a gluten intolerance and boy o’ boy do I notice the gluten now!  Two weeks ago I was digging in the freezer when frozen bananas were getting in my way.  I decided to pull out all the bananas and to my dismay it totaled up to 27 frozen bananas!!  I love the Banana Banana Bread Recipe because it uses 2.5 cups of bananas per loaf!  However I didn’t want to make a gluten-bread.  So I looked to the Gluten Free Girl’s amazing formula for gluten-free all-purpose flour.  Using my combination of her suggested formula in this video I was able to make load of FANTASTIC gluten-free bread that very day!  Best banana bread I’ve ever had and I’m not just tooting my horn.  Everyone that tried it loved it.

Hello Outbox, Goodbye Clutter

After moving around from place to place since I graduated from high school and went off to college I began collecting “stuff” – I know you can relate.  Three college transfers, one marriage, one child, and one divorce later I’ve got MUCH clutter!  Although many times I’ve had some sort of outbox (my front porch, a laundry basket, or a corner in the basement), it has been years since I have used the system. Apartment Therapy’s recent blog reminded me of the effectiveness of a system and in just two weekends I was able to tackle a house full of clutter.  The great thing about outboxes now is that there are so many on-line swaps that you can easily make a profit and de-clutter at the same time!  Today my outbox is simply a temporary table in the basement (at least that’s the plan).  You can see mine is overflowing with de-clutter, but that’s okay because the rest of the house feels much better already.  Here are the simple rules they point out in their post:

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My outbox!

OUTBOX RULES

  1. Anything can go in the Outbox
  2. The Outbox is allowed to get messy
  3. Everything must stay in the Outbox for at least one week
  4. After that time you have several choices:
  • Take anything back out
  • Leave anything you are undecided about for one more week
  • Dispose of the rest by moving to the garbage, recycling bin, or giveaway pile – or post to on-line swap and make a little extra cash

LOVE LOVE LOVE the Pumie Scouring Stick!

pumieBetween my white (but stained essentially black with cooking scars) electric cooktop and the bottom of my rust-stained toilet bowl any normal person would have thought twice before spending a week at my house!  Both which had brought constructive feedback from close friends and family always wanting the help me with my “cleanliness problem”.  After little effort they too would inevitably give up.  And since I prefer not to use harsh chemicals, I was actually considering a new toilet because I couldn’t stand looking at it anymore!  Fortunately for me I discovered the Pumie Scouring Stick!  Both my toilet and cooktop were stain free in less than 10 minutes after I returned home from the store!  Maybe me, my friends, and my family are the only ones that don’t know about this amazing, chemical-free, must-have-in-every-household item, but as I see it, it’s too good not to share!  Each stick is less than a few bucks and is so versatile you should probably just pick up a couple!

BooksTo.Me: Instagram Photobook { Review and 75% off Promo Code + Giveaway! }

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bookstome

I began using Instagram just over a year ago and it has quickly become one of my favorite social media networks. It has proven to be a great way to meet other people around the world that have similar interests to me and it’s far more interactive than any of the other popular social media sites that I’m apart of. The only downside for me was that I had all these neat photos that I never did anything with. Of course I always had good intentions of making creative albums with my IG (Instagram) pics, but I never got around to it. So when I stumbled upon BooksTo.Me a few months ago, I got very excited because I knew it was exactly what I was looking for but didn’t know existed.

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Here’s how it works…

BooksTo.Me automatically generates photo books using your Instagram pictures. If there is a photo you do not want included in your book, just simply write #noBTM on the photo in your IG account and it will be emitted from the book.

You subscribe to the service on either a monthly basis (one book per month) or a quarterly basis (one book every three months). Once you subscribe, you can cancel at anytime without any fees. There is no additional fee for shipping either! It’s very straight forward and so hands-free.

I have received books for the last three months now and I cannot tell you how much my daughter and I look forward to our delivery. We love showing off our books to family and friends that stop by, whom of most are not on Instagram and would not otherwise ever see the pictures.

The books are 8″x8″,  hardcover and in full color. BooksTo.Me adds a little highlights page on the front of the book with your most “liked” photos. Shipping is super quick too. It says on the website that shipping takes 7-10 days, but we have continually received our books two business days after my month’s end. Very impressive!

This is a family-run business out of Denver, Co. Unfortunately this is only a product available for residents of the USA at this time but it is something they hope to offer internationally very soon.

BooksTo.Me has been SO generous to host a GIVEAWAY and also an AWESOME PROMO CODE! One lucky winner will win two months free of the monthly plan! For everyone else, BooksTo.Me is offering 75% off of your first book! When signing up, enter: mfs75 to receive 75% off of your first order. The promo code will expire February 8th, 2015. Don’t wait to see if you won the giveaway… if you sign up and do happen to be my winner, you’ll be comp’d for the two following months! 🙂

TO SIGN UP FOR THE GIVEAWAY, please follow the Rafflecopter link below:

——->a Rafflecopter giveaway<——-

Good luck!

Giveaway ends 1/18/15 at 11:59pm Central time/US residents only

MinnesotaFromScratch Turns 2 Today! {Party Time!}

2 years

It’s hard to believe that two years ago today, I sat down and wrote my very first blog post. It feels like yesterday that I was publishing our one year birthday post. It’s really incredible to think back two years and realize how much life has changed. My daughter was 2 when I started the blog and our crafts included painting and gluing and now she is 4 and can bead and sew! It’s been fun to document the last two years over the blog and I’m so overjoyed that so many of you are interested in our lives and enjoy our posts. Thank you!

Here are the top 5 posts that repeatedly keep new visitors coming:

#5.  Baked Zucchini with Mozzarella Cheese AKA “The New Garlic Cheese Bread” Mmmm it’s so yummy, I might need to make some tonight!

#4. Homemade Organic Strawberry Jam – No Powdered or Liquid Pectin Added Having this on hand in the winter brings a little taste of summer to your palate during the deep freeze!

#3. Chunky Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe – No Blender Needed Ugh YUM, this is one of our favorite recipes and it’s SO easy.

#2. 101 Things I love About My Mother Who knew this would be so popular?? I definitely didn’t, but I’m glad it is 🙂 Love you, Mom.

#1. Picked California Mixed Veggies – Spicy Pickled Cauliflower with Carrots, Celery and Red Bell Pepper Mmm, Mmmm good!

Thanks for all of your support. If there are certain topics/recipes you’d like me to cover this year just let me know in the comments!

Happy 2015 everyone! Let’s make it great!

How to Make Kombucha at Home: {Guest Blog Post}

Last February I handed over the blog to Kirstin Bernau and she explained the benefits of bone broth and how to make it. If you missed that post, you can catch it here. Today she’s taking over once again and will be teaching us how to make Kombucha!

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If you’re into health and wellness at all, you have probably come across Kombucha. It is a fermented sweet tea, chock full of probiotics, great for detoxifying and wonderfully good at aiding your digestion. Kombucha is also tasty; a cold, refreshing, slightly fizzy drink that comes in many fruity flavors as well as the original (which is great as well).  I absolutely love it, but due to the price (nearly $4/bottle) I decided it was time to learn to make my own.  You can make it for pennies on the dollar compared to buying it pre-made. It’s easy to make and full of great health benefits including:

Probiotics and Naturally Occurring Acids– These both work to heal our whole digestive system, leading to a host of other benefits like clear skin, decreases in mental health issues like depression and anxiety, healthy weight, and improved immunity.

Detoxification– The malic, gluconic, and succinic acid have a powerfully detoxifying effect.  Additionally, by healing the gut and re-balancing our bacteria we boost our body’s ability to detox hugely.  A healthy gut is the most powerful detox system you can have, even greater than the liver or kidneys or lymph system.

Enzymes which help us digest our food more effectively and actually use the nutrients we eat. You can have the best diet around but if your digestion is impaired (and for most of us it is) you won’t get many of the benefits.

B vitamins– these are important for energy levels, mood, healthy skin, hair and nails.

Kombucha also makes an awesome soda replacement if you’re trying to kick that habit or just want something fun to drink.  I’ve even seen recipes for fruity kombucha cocktails!  So are you ready to give it a try?  Here are my recommendations:

  • Buy a bottle at your local store first, so you can see how you like it.  I’d suggest trying a few different kinds as there is a range of sweetness and flavors.  I love GT’s organic.  There’s about 20 different varieties at Whole Foods, and they sell a few kinds at most grocery stores now as well.
  • If you enjoy it and are ready to try making it, you need to find a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts).  If you have a friend who brews, you can probably get a culture and starter tea for free.  Otherwise, I’d recommend culturesforhealth.com or growing your own using a bottle of GT’s from your local grocery store.  If you order a SCOBY, follow the directions on the package to get started correctly.  If you want to try growing your own, it’s really quite easy but takes more time. Directions at the bottom.
  • Find a glass jar for brewing. Plastic, metal and ceramic containers are all problematic, they can leach chemicals or metal into the kombucha and are more inclined to harbor less than friendly bacteria.

Here are the ingredients for a gallon of Kombucha, adjust up or down depending on your jar size, but be sure to keep ratios the same:

  • 1 gallon clean, filtered water.
  • 2 Tablespoons or 8 tea bags of Black Tea (English Breakfast works well)
  • 1 cup organic sugar or “Cane” sugar if you can’t find organic- most other sugar is full of GMOs which can harm the SCOBY
  • at least 1/2 cup plain kombucha – you can buy at the store if needed, 1 bottle will be plenty.

1. Make the tea as normal (boil water, add tea, steep 3-5 minutes or whatever your package says.)  Then add the sugar, stir until dissolved.  Let the tea cool to room temp, but keep it covered so no flies or food get in while it’s cooling.

2. Add the cooled tea to a jar with your SCOBY and kombucha. Once you’re onto your second batch, I aim for a ratio of about 4:1 Sweet Tea: Kombucha.   This is probably more kombucha than absolutely necessary but it’s important that the mixture retains enough acidity from the start to protect the SCOBY from any mold growing on it or bacteria growing in the mix that you don’t want.  I’ve never had a problem and I’ve brewed more batches than I can count, but it always better to lean on the side of generous with how much kombucha you keep in the jar for the next batch.

3. Cover the jar a paper coffee filter, layers of cheesecloth, or a paper towel, and secure with a rubber band.  This way it can ferment and breathe.  Leave it somewhere warmish (70-75 degrees ideally) and not in the sunlight or next to other fermenting foods.  I use a pantry or linen closet usually.  My husband thinks it’s creepy so it’s not welcome on the kitchen counter…

4. Check the jar after about a week  to see how it tastes.  It may help to have a bottle of store bought kombucha on hand to compare at first but it should taste a little tart and a little sweet. It shouldn’t be like drinking straight vinegar and it shouldn’t taste like sweet tea either.  If it’s too sweet- wait a little longer and try it again.  If it’s too tart, pour a little out, add in some more sweat tea, and keep a close eye on it.  In winter my house is usually around 63-65 degrees- less than optimal- so it can take a month to finish brewing.  I just ordered a warmer to help speed things up so we’ll see how that goes!  In the summer, our house is between 74-80 and it brews in about 7-10 days.

5. Pour into bottles and refrigerate to store.  This slows the fermentation process.  If you want to try adding some fruit juice or puree- now’s the time.  Just avoid citrus or pineapple. About a 4:1 ratio (Kombucha:fruit) and then let it sit at room temp with airtight lids for a couple days.  It will begin to carbonate so be careful but when it’s the way you like it, pour it over ice or store in the fridge.  I’ve made ginger + blueberry as well as mango.  Both were quite good, but I had to strain out the blueberry/ginger solids.

Kombucha

To make your own SCOBY: Buy a bottle of plain Kombucha.  Add it to a quart jar, along with about 2 cups of cooled black tea sweetened with 2 T sugar.  Cover as stated above, let it sit for a week or more and you will see a white film growing on top (your SCOBY!)  The scoby will thicken and add layers over time. Keep checking the tea and replacing with sweet teas as stated above when it’s ready. I think mine took a few months before I got a good solid SCOBY, so if you want to get going quickly I’d just order one online.

Please leave any questions/comments you may have below and I’d be happy to answer them.

Thank you!

Kirstin

Kirstin Bernau is an Intuitive life coach for people who are looking for more peace, direction and purpose in their lives.

Through her one-on-one coaching, blog and speaking events, she’s here to help you get in touch with your intuition and create the life you dream of — while making it all feel easier and richer than you ever imagined.

When she’s not writing and coaching, you can find her indulging in meditation, long walks with her husband and dog and reading good books in cozy corners with a cup of tea.  

Meet Kirstin + get ready to find your way home (to you) at http://www.KirstinBernau.com.

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