Homemade Apple Pie Spice

apple pie spice 4

To foreigners, a Yankee is an American.
To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner.
To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner.
To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander.
To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast.”
- Attributed to E.B. White (source)


Apple pie for breakfast.  What a thought. A brilliant thought.  Apple pie at anytime is pretty much a win. Especially when it’s a real food apple-pie made with fresh-picked apples, flaky, buttery crust, and a mouthful of aromatic spices that just embody the whole experience of eating apple pie.

Yes, I am a little crazy about apple pie.  That is why I came up with this easy homemade apple pie spice mix – it’s much easier than buying apple pie spice at the store and so versatile.  Throw it into any “apple-type” recipe like oatmeal,  my apple bread{less} pudding, apple sauce, muffins…you get the point.

But I claim no responsibility if smelling it makes you want to bake an apple pie. :)

Get my recipe for homemade apple pie spice here at The Humbled Homemaker.


I Wish I Could Win, But Since I Can’t…Want a Berkey?

berkeyMy guess is that you are blessed with access to clean running water. We don’t really worry about getting parasites or other waterborne diseases when we turn on our tap.

But while we are blessed with clean water coming through indoor plumbing, are you aware of some of the environmental contaminants that are frequently found in that water? Traces of heavy metals like mercury and aluminum, pesticide residues, and volatile organic compounds can be found in our drinking water!

Berkey Giveaway Banner from Positively Real Media

This is why the bloggers of Positively Real Media are so excited to be teaming up to bring to you a Royal Berkey 3.25 Gallon Stainless Steel Water Purifier giveaway sponsored by United Environmental Solutions!

About The Berkey

Berkey water purifiers are truly unique water purifying systems. According to UES, they are able to remove red food coloring from water while still allowing beneficial minerals to remain!

As free-standing units that put the power of gravity to use, the Berkey systems don’t use any electricity. This makes them excellent systems to have on hand while camping or during power outages.

Positively Real Media is giving away a Royal Berkey

While whole house filtration systems can be fantastic solutions to the problem of residual water contamination, they are simply out of the budget for most families. However, a Berkey system is a fraction of the cost and can filter 4 gallons of water per hour, making it a great fit for families!

If you want to ensure that your family’s drinking and cooking water is as clean and pure as it can be, a Berkey may be just what you need!

Win A 3.25 Gallon Royal Berkey!

The bloggers of Positively Real Media, a network of naturally-minded Christian bloggers, are thrilled to be able to offer one of our readers a 3.25 Gallon Royal Berkey Stainless Steel Water Purifier, valued at $300! Many thanks to United Environmental Solutions for providing this fantastic prize to one blessed reader.

Just use the Rafflecopter form below to get your entries in!

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5 Ways to Help Our Kids Eat Less Sugar…and still enjoy the season!

5 ways to help our kids eat less sugar...and still enjoy the season!It’s that time of year again.

It’s almost unavoidable.

I like to call it sugar season.  Other people call it Halloween or Thanksgiving or Christmas or New Years. The time of year when candy is literally thrown at our kids and you can’t go anywhere without being offered a sugary treat.  

Our Approach to Sugar

Now I am not one of those people who take an all or nothing approach to sugar.  I severely limit refined sugar intake in our household (you can read why here), but when we are out and about, my kids are allowed to enjoy treats because a large part of fellowship happens around food. Fellowship always wins (except for with food allergies of course!).

I think it’s important to be flexible and not legalistic about our food.  For this reason we follow the 80/20 rule.  We focus on nutrient-dense, real food when we are at home (about 80%+ of the time) and we don’t worry about the rest when we are at church, celebrations, birthday parties, or other occasions (less than 20% of the time).

5 ways to help our kids eat less sugar...and still enjoy the season!

Putting it in Perspective

As sugar season approaches, let’s put our sugar intake into perspective:

According to the Journal of the American Heart Association, “Children ages 4-8 with a daily caloric intake of 1,600 calories should consume no more than 130 calories, or about 3 teaspoons [of sugar] a day.” (source)

Now let’s evaluate a common food for children in that age range – the famous peanut butter and jelly sandwich.   I chose brands for this analysis that are well-known and that parents might choose while grocery shopping.5 ways to help our kids eat less sugar...and still enjoy the season!

Two slices of bread = 6 grams of sugar.

5 ways to help our kids eat less sugar...and still enjoy the season!

1 tablespoon of jelly = 13 grams of sugar

5 ways to help our kids eat less sugar...and still enjoy the season!

2 tablespoons of peanut butter = 3 grams of sugar

Therefore, if you are not consciously buying products without sugar, a regular peanut butter and jelly sandwich could contain about 22 grams of sugar.  That is equal to 5 1/2 teaspoons of sugar which is 2 1/2 teaspoons over the recommended daily limit.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are not the only source of hidden sugars.  You can also find hidden sugars in seemingly healthy things like applesauce and spaghetti sauce.

5 ways to help our kids eat less sugar...and still enjoy the season!

This applesauce has 22 grams of sugar, which is equal to about 5 1/2 teaspoons of sugar.  Some of the sugar is natural, but most of it is from the added high fructose corn syrup. Certainly one serving of this applesauce will put your young child over their daily limit of refined sugar intake.

5 ways to help our kids eat less sugar...and still enjoy the season!

This spaghetti sauce has 11 grams of sugar.  This is equal to a little less than 3 teaspoons of sugar per serving which is the recommended allowance for refined sugar in kids 4-8.  Again, some of those sugars occur naturally, but a lot of it is from the added refined sugar which is what we want to avoid.

Do you see where the problem is?  If you are eating processed foods at every meal, you are consuming a lot of hidden sugars.  Most kids can far exceed their recommended daily allowance of sugar before even eating a single “treat”. Throw in the holiday season and we have a huge sugar problem!

What can we do to help our kids eat less sugar?

We know that sugar intake lowers the immune system response, depletes the body of magnesium, causes insulin resistance, and is highly addictive (think of picky eaters who only want sugary/starchy foods). This season we need to be diligent in reducing those hidden sugars, so that when the opportunity arrives to indulge in a sweet treat, it won’t be overloading their little bodies.

5 ways to help our kids eat less sugar...and still enjoy the season!

5 Ways to Help Your Kids Eat Less Sugar

  1. Eat mainly real food ingredients. When you make your food at home, you can control the ingredients that go into it.  This means more nutrients and less refined sugars going into their little bodies.
  2. If you are going to buy processed foods, become a diligent label reader.  It is possible to find store-bought items without added sugars.  Here’s a post I wrote about that: 5 Simple Real Food Exchanges to Reduce Sugar in Your Diet
  3. Drink water.  Cut the juices, sodas, and sports drinks during this season.  Our kids love them, but they certainly contain more than 3 teaspoons of sugar and are completely unnecessary nutrient-wise. Sugared drinks are the number one source of added sugars in our diet.
  4. Eat first.  If you are heading to a party or social gathering, fill up their tummies on some good food first.  That way they can indulge on some small, sugary treats and still be satisfied without binge eating.
  5. Be honest.  Explain moderation to your kids.  Talk about the difference between foods God gave us and foods that man has made.

I think it’s also important to enjoy yourself.  If your kids see you completely stressing out about every bite of food they are putting in their mouth, they may become sneaky or resentful about their sugar intake. Take joy in knowing that they are getting nourishing food most of the time and don’t sweat it.  Seriously. Fellowship always wins.

For more information about what we do when we have consumed too much sugar, read here: How to Recover From Eating Too Much Sugar

What do you do to help your kids eat less sugar?


The Most Underwhelming Homemaking Project Ever (+ Simple Meals Friday)

Once upon a time I decided to clean out my spice cabinet.  It was ridiculously crowded and was very unorganized.  So I cleaned and scrubbed and eliminated and organized and took a step back to view the final product and realized it didn’t look any different than it did when I started!  Don’t you hate when that happens?!?!

Here was the messy cabinet before.  Don’t judge. Mama uses a lot of spices.  And coconut oil.  And vanilla (that’s what the mason jar on the top shelf is.)  But not sugar.  That’s for my kombucha baby and water kefir. pantry 002

Now before I show you the dreadfully disappointing after picture, let’s all take a moment of silence for this:

pantry 005


I had no idea we had run out.  Boo hoo.  This stuff is amazing if you haven’t tried it yet.  And while we are at it, we can also take a moment of silence for these:

pantry 009 pantry 011 pantry 006

Why, oh why do I have so many empty spice jars in my cabinet?! I have become THAT person.  The person who leaves dishes in the sink when the dishwasher is empty and who leaves empty spice jars in the cabinets for no good reason.

Moving on.  I also got rid of this:

pantry 008

That little sucker was left over from my non-real food days.  I had forgotten all about him.  Somehow he has lived in my cabinets for years.  He was probably hiding behind all my empty spice jars.  Sigh.

And here’s the after picture you have all been waiting for (just humor me):pantry 013


Please tell me I’m not the only crazy spice lady with empty jars in messy cabinets? And now for some yummy meals to make you forget all that you have just seen.


Welcome to Simple Meals Friday!

There is nothing like having a collection of simple meals to throw together in a slow cooker in the morning or in a skillet as a quick, last-minute dinner. What are your favorite to prepare slow cooker meals, skillet meals, freezer meals, soups, salads, drinks and desserts?

We want to know the foods to turn to when you are short of time. It’s great to learn from and be inspired by others. When you share your recipe on this link-up it will show up on all 3 of the host’s sites. If you don’t have a blog, no problem, you can also share your recipes in the comments.

Meet Your Hosts

  1. Katie Mae of Nourishing Simplicity
  2. Katie of Simple Foody
  3. Sarah of Simple Life Abundant Life

Please Read and Follow these Simple Meals Friday Rules

  • Keep the foods “nourishing”, such as homemade chicken stocks, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats (lard, coconut oil, butter, olive oil, tallow), unrefined sugars, flours and salts and meats.
  • Please don’t include recipes using processed oils such as soy and canola oil, msg laden bouillon and other highly processed foods. If I notice a recipe using these ingredients it will be deleted. Try to incorporate traditional methods of preparing foods like, sprouting, soaking, sourdough and lacto-fermentation.
  • Link back to this blog hop, it is a common linking courtesy. It helps to build a stronger blogging community. That way we can all learn and share with each other.

We enjoyed reading all your submissions. The hosts will pick a favorite post to feature on next week’s Simple Meals Friday. If you want to be featured please be sure to link back to this blog hop. Our favorites will be featured on facebook and pinterest!

Featured Simple Meals


Shreded Chicken with Asain Ginger Sauce from Avocado Pesto

Are you ready to link-up?

What is A2 milk?

Got A2 milk?  (There's a protein in your milk you didn't even know about.)

Last weekend my family went to pick up some milk from our local farmer.  We got to meet the new baby calf and show our boys where our milk comes from.  As we were ooing and ahhing over the sweet baby calf, the farmer mentioned that he had his cow tested and she produces A2/A2 milk.  I had never heard of A2 milk before,  and so of course I went straight home and started researching it.

What is A2 milk?

From my research I discovered that, originally, all dairy cows produced A2 milk.  Then a mutation occurred in a European herd where the amino acids of the beta casein protein produced an extra peptide called BCM7.  Any cow that produces the BCM7 peptide, is considered an A1 cow. Any cow that does not produce the BCM7 peptide is considered an A2 cow. However, it gets a little more complicated when you consider that it takes a mommy cow and a daddy cow to make a new baby cow. (Can you tell I have a toddler?) Therefore, if you remember back to your high school biology class, any cow could produce A1/A1, A1/A2. or A2/A2 milk depending on the genes of the cow’s parents.

Today most cows in America produce milk with A1 beta casein content.

Got A2 milk?  (There's a protein in your milk you didn't even know about.)

Photo Credit: sweetbeetandgreenbean via Compfight cc

What does this mean?

There are a lot of claims out there about A1 versus A2 milk.  There is also a good amount of research on A1 versus A2 milk.  Here are some of the claims and some of the supporting research.

Health benefits of A2 milk versus A1 milk:

  1. A2 milk does not bother people with lactose intolerance. (study)
  2. There are links to A1 milk and heart disease/type 1 diabetes. (study)
  3. There are possible links to A1 milk and autism/schizophrenia. (study)
  4. A2 milk is better for people with leaky gut/auto-immune disease.  A1 milk is harder on the gastrointestinal system and promotes more inflammation. (study) (study) (more info - a good explanation on how A2 milk is better for people, like myself, with autoimmune conditions)
  5. A1 milk causes plaque build-up in the arteries. (study)
  6. A1 milk could be connected to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (study) (more info)

A Caveat

When looking at the research regarding A1 and A2 milk, it becomes clear that most of it is funded by a company that sells A2 milk.  I am usually weary trusting research that is funded by a company who has a financial stake in the results.  However, not all the studies are funded by this company and there does seem to be a lot of compelling testimonies of people who have switched over to A2 milk and experienced positive health benefits.  You can read some of those stories here.

Got A2 milk?  (There's a protein in your milk you didn't even know about.)Photo Credit: VinothChandar via Compfight cc

It’s catching on

There is also a book written by a professor in New Zealand, Keith Woodford, called Devil in the Milk: Illness, Health, and the Politics of A1 and A2 Milk. (affiliate link)  I haven’t read this book yet, but I’ve read a lot of other articles written by this author and what he has to say makes sense.

I have also noticed a lot of companies making pledges to switch their dairy herds to A2/A2 milk. Snowville Creamery is one of them. Would they go through the expense of the genetic testing and selective breeding if the evidence wasn’t compelling or if they didn’t think there would be a demand for it?  Probably not.

Why does it have to be so complicated?!

It should come as no surprise to us that our food supply is making us sick.  Think about it.  Satan used food  to entice Adam and Eve to sin.  He tempted Jesus with food in the wilderness.  There’s even a sin specifically about eating too much food – gluttony.  Food can be a major stumbling block for us.  It can bring health or sickness.  Today we are dealing with genetically modified foods and dairy farms that are so focused on mass production, that no one really cares that the cows stand around in their feces all day long eating grains they were not created to eat.  When we stray from God’s original design, things get murky.

Got A2 milk?  (There's a protein in your milk you didn't even know about.)

What now?

I have been dairy free for several months, but decided to give the raw A2 milk a try.  I have been drinking it daily for two weeks now and have actually noticed some improvements in my autoimmune symptoms.  This gives me a lot of hope.  I still consider myself dairy free when we are out and about and I’m not eating cheese or anything pasteurized, but so far the raw A2 milk has done me a body of good (literally!).  Who knows, maybe I’ll dive into the world of cheese making now that I have some milk that my body likes. :)

If you want to give A2 milk a try, you may have trouble finding a good source.  I suggest talking to your local, trustworthy farmer. There are also some types of cows who generally have higher rates of A2 milk.  About 70% of Guernsey cows produce A2 milk and 46%-70% of Holstein Friesian, Jersey, and Brown Swiss cows produce A2 milk. (source)  Our farmer has Guernsey cows, and can I just say Best. Ice Cream. Ever!

If you still can’t find A2 milk and you are concerned, you may want to switch from cow milk to goat milk which contains much less to no A1 beta casein proteins.

What do you think about A1 versus A2 milk?  Have you heard of this before?

More Reading:

Beginner’s Guide to Milk – (why it’s important to source good quality milk)

You’re Drinking the Wrong Kind of Milk - Info about A2 and A1 milk

BCM7 and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – I laughed this off at first, then I read it and it is interesting.

Food Intolerance Network Factsheet – A2 milk

The Devil in the Milk – Mercola