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4 Ways I Energize My New Year’s Goals

*This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, a small percentage of any purchase you make from clicking on this page benefits Bartlett Farms. I do not recommend anything that I do not stand behind 100%.*

       Still feeling inspired with the new year? I hope so! 🙂 But sometimes, it’s hard to feel inspired when you fall off the New Year’s resolution band wagon, as many of us do.

I thought this could be a good opportunity to share some great resources that I found in 2018 that have made our transition into the New Year as exciting and fresh as possible.

A New Year’s resolution/goal reset is a great way to reevaluate the original goals you set for the new year and another opportunity to implement the changes that really matter to you. And speaking of exciting and fresh, I also share another awesome recipe from The Ketogenic Edge Cookbook.

1. Try a New Recipe

       During the past few weeks, we have been diving right into a lot of new recipes, and it’s hard not to when one after the other is rated 10/10 stars in my book. The most recent recipe we tried is called “Tomato Basil Frittata”…it is simple, full of nutrients, and uses turmeric powder, which adds its own delicious flavor and beautiful yellow color to the finished product.

I feel that I must share this recipe as it is made from real food and is going to be made again and quickly eaten by my family very soon. I think I might also serve it to my extended family when they come to visit the new baby in February. 🙂 Enjoy!

Tomato Basil Frittata
Makes: 4 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
8 eggs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 bunch basil, chopped
1 small broccoli, diced
½ cup sliced cherry tomatoes
½ cup heavy cream
⅔ cup ricotta cheese
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Whisk eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredients, reserve the ricotta.

Pour into greased 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish. Gently spread mixture around until all ingredients are placed evenly. Sprinkle ricotta in large crumbs over the eggs prior to cooking. Spread evenly and cover thoroughly.

Bake for 20 minutes until the broccoli is soft, cheese is melted, and eggs cooked through.

Remove from oven, cool and serve warm or cold.

Macronutrients Per Serving:

  1. 5 g protein, 24 g fat, 7 g carb, 5 g net carb

Diane’s recipe notes:

       Unfortunately, our grocery store did not have fresh basil, so we had to resort to dried basil. It was still delicious, though fresh is best. 🙂

        Our oven did not cook this recipe in 20 minutes; it took about 45 minutes to cook through, but our oven seems to be set at a lower temperature than it should be. I constantly have to add minutes to any baking recipe, so this may not be the case for you; I just wanted to mention that it’s possible this recipe could take more than 20 minutes to cook through. It is definitely worth the wait.

       2. Be Inspired By Minimalism

       As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, going through our belongings to practice a more minimal lifestyle has been very beneficial. Our living space is so easy to keep clean, my babies have more space to run around indoors, and I am less stressed because clutter doesn’t accumulate or lurk in closets, drawers, and file cabinets nearly as much as it used to. In fact, practicing minimalism has allowed my naturally disorganized-self to feel and appear more organized than I actually am. It takes a big weight off my shoulders because it is primarily my job to maintain the beauty, cleanliness, and quality of our home-life. Decluttering is permanent organization.

       Of course, this process will always be ongoing; the point I am trying to make is that using minimalism to match our needs has been very useful. We can’t and don’t find value in practicing extreme minimalism, in which my children have no toys, we only have 4 forks, own 30 pieces of clothing, et cetera. In our home, minimalism just means intentional living and surrounding ourselves with only the things that we constantly use and that bring us joy. Things that are not being used or loved find new homes. This leaves room for more family time, less stress, and, in my case, much less of a nagging to-do list that keeps me up at night. 🙂

       Here I share some of the most helpful resources that have cleaned up our space for a fresh 2019:

Book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Video: The Laundry System that Changed my Life! (2018 Minimalist Family Life)

Video: 9 Things to Get Rid of for a Clutter Free Home Minimal Living

Video: How I Became a Minimalist


       3. Learn A New Skill Like Sourdough Bread

        Of course, choosing real food over low quality or processed food is the way to go if anyone wants to find or keep good health. In our home, we love our food rich in both taste and nutrients, and sourdough has been the most recently-added fermented food living in our kitchen. Here are a couple recipes my family loves that use sourdough:

This is the BEST pancake recipe! Plus, it is made from long-fermented sourdough starter. This is a big hit in our home. 

Our go-to homemade sourdough pizza recipe. 

An inspiring and creative recipe resource for any fermented food, such as kombucha, sourdough, kefir (milk and non-dairy kefirs), and fermented vegetables.

    4. Keep Learning

       I listen to and watch videos on youtube when I’m working. Here are some inspiring youtube channels on habit forming, minimalism, keeping a cleaner home, and productivity:

Matt D’Avella
warning: sometimes, swear words come up on this channel, so be mindful if you’re exploring this channel around children. Besides that, I enjoy Matt’s humor, his inspiring and very well-made videos, and wide variety of podcasts/interviews.

Muchelleb
warning: in some her her videos, this youtuber can dress immodestly. Watch at your own discretion. That aside, I find her videos to be motivational and a great resource to get your life organized and goals set.

Break The Twitch: A more modest version of Muchelleb.

Clean My Space: A fun resource for cleaning, organizing, and minimalism topics.

       I hope these ideas have provided you with plenty of fun new recipes and concepts to explore! Life is busy and we all have to keep up on our to-do’s…but it always helps to be excited about a hobby or an interest along the way. 🙂 May your February be full of learning, wonderful food, and refueled willpower!

Article summary:

1.Tomato Basil Frittata recipe
2.Minimalism inspiration
3.Real food recipes: sourdough 
4.Inspiring youtube channels on habit forming, minimalism, keeping a cleaner home, and productivity


Diane Stanislowski is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public.

She lives in Grand Forks North Dakota with her husband and two children and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.

Starting 2019 with Real Food!

*This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, a small percentage of any purchase you make from clicking on this page benefits Bartlett Farms. I do not recommend anything that I do not stand behind 100%.*

With every end comes a beginning…

       The bittersweet end of yet another short year has arrived. So many precious memories have been formed in what seems like a blink of an eye! With divine timing, of course, many (sometimes difficult) endings are soothed by the sweetness of new beginnings. So, cheers to a healing, strong, inspired, positive 2019. Make this new year what you want it to be.

       Though our family has been experiencing chaos lately because of the failing health of a loved one, we are excited and grateful to soon hold our third child in February. To prepare ourselves for our new baby, we have been exploring the concept of minimalism. We have made much progress; lots of unloved things have left our space, leaving room for loved things: another child, time to read good books, snuggles, good food and kitchen experiments, et cetera. Our entire apartment takes a lot less time to clean up and it is company-ready in no time. Though we still have more to do (and we always will!), I’m so relieved to have created a more serene environment for my family to relax and play in. It is amazing how much our environment–even though we may not notice it directly–can affect our stress levels. It is true that less clutter means less stress.

How to approach the New Year?

       Speaking of minimalism, new beginnings, and higher causes, it’s important to be able to step back and place yourself outside of yourself. We must appreciate the little things…mundane, yes, but the little things are what make up most of our time here on earth. We all have hopes and dreams and desires, but getting lost in the details will neutralize any progress we make. If a goal for you in 2019 is to be a healthier person more able to contribute to the betterment of mankind, make it easy for yourself. We can focus on the health of ourselves in order to support the health of everyone else; this can be done by optimizing our diets with real food; unprocessed, fresh, nutrient-dense deliciousness; try to eat like this 80% of the time. Don’t stress out about every little thing. Have achievable goals. Maybe even try to enjoy every little thing; cleaning the kitchen, changing diapers, and kissing your loved ones goodnight. In other words, prioritize your concerns, and, if possible, minimize unnecessary ones.

       On that note, it seems to be a trend for my family to always be striving for better health, no matter if it’s the New Year or not. Thankfully, I purchased a cookbook a few weeks ago that has been fun to explore and also provides us with SIMPLE, quick, delicious, and healthy recipes. It just so happens to fit in categories that fit our long-term and most-recent interests: organ meats, a more animal-based diet, and real food prepared in a family-friendly way. It also seems to be particularly pleasing to my food-desires during pregnancy. 🙂 Here is the most recent recipe we’ve made from it, and I hope you like it as much as we did! I must admit that I totally pigged-out on it (shhh!). All recipes contained in it are gluten and grain-free, sugar-free, nutrient-dense, kid-approved and family-friendly, and best of all, made from scratch with minimal ingredients. My kind of cookbook. Though this is a cookbook made to accommodate a ketogenic lifestyle, any recipe can be modified/added-to to fit a non-ketogenic diet. I present to you The Ketogenic Edge Cookbook’s delicious “Mama’s Best Meatballs”:

“Mama’s Best Meatballs”

Makes: 16 meatballs

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Serve with Cauliflower Rice (page 107) and a side salad with Creamy Keto Dressing (page 55). Melt Gruyere on top or add Feta to the salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef, bison or other grass-fed meat
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inches ginger root, grated
  • 2 inches turmeric root, grated
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne or chipotle powder
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven 350° F.
  2. Combine all herbs and flavorings with the meat in a medium mixing bowl until mixture is uniform. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Form into approximately sixteen ⅛ pound balls by rolling them in the palm of your hand.
  4. Arrange in an ungreased 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish and bake for 15 minutes or until done to your liking.

Macronutients Per Meatball: 10 g protein, 8 g fat, 0.5 g carb, 0 net carb

Diane’s recipe notes:

  • Fresh turmeric is not always available, so experimenting with powdered turmeric can make the recipe doable even if you don’t have fresh turmeric.
  • We served our meatballs with homemade purple sauerkraut and a side of mashed potatoes…my husband makes the best mashed potatoes! 🙂 The meatballs paired beautifully with these sides, but, you can leave out the potatoes and replace them with any ketogenic-friendly food…and there are lots of those to be found in this cookbook.

Kick off this New Year with a good deal!

       If you’re interested in exploring more recipes from this cookbook, you can save 15% off a combo order of this one and Jessica Haggard’s The Ultimate Guide to Low Carb Baking with the code “HEALTH”. This New Year 2019 cookbook bundle deal is going on for TWO more days.

Get them here at this discounted price while you can!

Descriptions of both cookbooks:

The Ketogenic Edge Cookbook gives a firm foundation for healthy meal prep day in and day out. Bulk prep Mama’s Best Meatballs and Keto Flatbreads and you’ll have dinner staples ready made for a few days in a row. Double batch a dressings and store in the fridge all week. This book is full of simple tips that make health, from scratch cooking a breeze.

The Ultimate Guide to Low Carb Baking has many delicious baked goods – dinner rolls, chocolate brownies, and gingersnaps! It is a collection of sweet and savory recipes plus some very creative originals like Dairy-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake.

——————————————————————————————————————–

       Hopefully, you’ve been able to start your new chapter in the best way. From our family to yours, may 2019 be a year full of positive progress and many good memories! There is much fun to be had.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Have you experienced any benefits from practicing minimalism?

Article summary:

  1. Thoughts about the old and new year
  2. Benefiting from practicing minimalism
  3. A super easy, quick, and delicious recipe from The Ketogenic Edge Cookbook: Mama’s Best Meatballs

Diane Stanislowski is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public.

She lives in Grand Forks North Dakota with her husband and two children and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.

The Perfect Milk Kefir

Milk kefir. Not many things can match its impressive list of benefits, easy recipe, or flexibility of use. To my family, it has been both an extraordinary healing tool and a common staple in our kitchen. Thanks to a good friend for introducing it to us, we will (hopefully!) always have it available to enjoy and in our arsenal of natural remedies. 🙂

It has been about 2 years since we’ve been making it. I’ve taken a couple of breaks (morning sickness!), but, it has come to the rescue for me every time. I’ve tried many recipes with finished milk kefir, changed how I make it, and I’ve finally tinkered around with it enough to come to an excellent routine that makes delicious kefir with only once-a-week maintenance. Perfect for our busy schedule!

There are so many milk kefir tutorial videos and instructions out there that making it can seem overwhelming and confusing. It can even seem scary…my extended family is slowly coming around to it, but I’m sure that the majority of them still cringe at the thought of letting milk sit in my closet or on my counter for 24+ hours! I’ve invested a lot of time trying to figure out how to make kefir the easiest and most delicious way…and I love to read about its benefits and how it has helped people too, of course! I always finish my reading about milk kefir feeling inspired. If you’re interested in any reading about milk kefir, I’ve linked some of my favorite resources at the bottom of this post. Onward, my friends!

The recipe I’m about to share with you is suited to how we like our kefir, but you can change it to meet your own kefir taste and texture preferences. Please feel free to change this recipe and tailor it to your needs. 

My recipe for thick, easy, delicious kefir:

Find 1-2 tablespoons of milk kefir grains. Activate grains according to the instructions from the seller; Etsy is a good place to find them, or, if anyone you know makes homemade milk kefir, ask them if they’d be willing to sell/give you any of their extra grains. If possible, acquire grains used to make kefir from raw milk; in my experience, those grains are stronger than grains only used in pasteurized milk and they yield a better flavor.

Notes on milk: I’ve tried 3 kinds of dairy milk to make milk kefir. The very best flavor and thickness comes from raw/organic/antibiotic-free/hormone-free A2 cow milk, Kalona brand whole milk (in 1/2 gallon or 1 gallon jugs), or Organic Valley brand whole milk in 1 gallon jugs only (their half gallon carton is ultra-pasteurized and your kefir grains may not thrive in it). I do not have experience using goat milk, milks that are ultra-pasteurized, or low-fat milk. I find that making milk kefir from pasteurized milk is more economical while still maintaining incredible probiotic benefits. However, the milk kefir made from raw milk is an entirely different ballgame in terms of flavor. It is absolutely delectable.

Because we make only one batch of milk kefir a week, making it in larger quantities is necessary. One gallon or more is what we use in a week. This way, my children and I can enjoy a large kefir smoothie for breakfast and additional kefir throughout the day.

To make 1/2 gallon milk kefir:

1. Place ~1 tablespoon of kefir grains in a clean 1/2 gallon glass jar.

2. Pour 1/2 a gallon of milk over the grains. Put a lid on loosely.

3. Let it sit in a cabinet (or closet; our linen closet works great for us) until it reaches a thick consistency. During winter, this is about 24-34 hrs for us, but the fermentation may differ depending on the type of milk you use and the time of year. Raw milk thickens much sooner than pasteurized milk, so you can let this sit based on your desired thickness or sourness. The kefir should be noticeably thick, but not separated at his point.

4. When it is thick, tighten the lid and shake the jar hard until the congealed kefir breaks up so it can be strained easier. You can also use a hand-mixer in the top of the jar if you have very thick kefir, which will likely be the case if you’re using raw milk.

5. Strain the finished kefir into another 1/2 gallon jar using a pure stainless steel or nylon fine-mesh sieve. It helps to place a funnel under the strainer to make the transfer less messy.

6. Optional: add the peel of half a small lemon or orange to the finished kefir and let it sit on the counter for 1-6 hours. Lemon peel is my favorite second ferment. Letting it ferment a second time with citrus peel for too long will make the kefir separate, but it’s still good. Just shake it up and use it as normal. I prefer to let it sit for one hour on the counter, and without removing the peel, I simply place the whole jar in the fridge to continue the second ferment throughout the week. I like to do a second fermentation because it changes the flavor to a more mild, slightly citrusy flavor, while making the nutrients skyrocket at the same time. So, why not?

7. Place your kefir grains in 1-2 cups fresh milk. I reward my grains by giving them raw milk to eat while they rest. Then, place them in the fridge with the lid of your jar screwed on tightly. Feed them new milk at least once per week; do this by making another 1/2 gallon of milk kefir or by simply refreshing the resting grains by giving them a new batch of 1-2 cups of fresh milk to eat as they stay in the fridge. Finished kefir tastes best if consumed within one week. It will stay good for a long time, but the older it gets, the less lactose it will have, and the more sour it’ll taste. Fruit smoothies cover too-sour kefir very well. 

Tips:

  • I’ve discovered that the less amount of grains that are used, the thicker the finished kefir gets. Thicker kefir is what we prefer, so do whatever best suits your preferences. Doing about 1 teaspoon of grains per quart of milk is the smallest amount of grains that I’ve had success with. Doing any less than a small teaspoon per quart of milk may not be enough to culture the milk safely.
  • The fermentation time of milk kefir varies based on the temperature of its environment; hotter houses take less time to reach the desired amount of fermentation (aka thickness/sourness). You can go by taste, but I find the congealing of the kefir to be a good indicator of when I like it to be done. You can let it go for 48 hrs, too, if you want. It’ll just be more fermented. But, your grains will probably will be hungry again at 48 hrs, so make sure to remove them from your finished kefir and feed them fresh milk.
  • Do not be afraid to try making milk kefir! It’s hard to mess up, really. And, if you do mess up, your nose will tell you something is off. Trust your body. What do you have to lose besides a little milk, anyway? As previously mentioned, this recipe can be changed to suit your preferences. Some people like more sour and thicker kefir, whereas others like less sour and thinner kefir. It’s all up to you! Experiment and have fun. 🙂

Once you’ve mastered the [super easy] art of making delicious milk kefir, you can try making other things with it, such as kefir bread, quick sourdough starter, non-dairy milk kefirs, straining off the whey to make fermented condiments and vegetables, et cetera. There are endless things to try! Here are a couple of yummy ideas: breakfast pudding or fruit smoothies.

Kefir is amazing in ways that extend beyond the kitchen. I have tried some, but not all, of these ideas: kefir as a DIY face mask, a topical treatment for yeast infections or eczema, adding it to compost, feeding it to pets, adding it to a tampon or injecting it vaginally for bacterial vaginosis/yeast infections/general itchiness/preparation for birth in reducing GBS infections, et cetera. Please research these ideas before trying them yourself.

Some personal benefits I’ve received from drinking milk kefir are:

  • Calms me down in times of stress (I need 1-2 cups to get this effect)
  • Easy digestion of any food, no matter how processed
  • Reduction of cravings
  • Healing of my teeth (this is also because of eating more animal-based foods in general)
  • Clear skin (also due to eating of more animal-based foods)
  • No constipation, bloating, or diarrhea
  • No more yeast/fungal infections (tinea versicolor, ringworm, and vaginal infections included)
  • No more chronic UTIs
  • No more ear infections
  • Self-control while eating (I used to STUFF myself to a point of discomfort…probably because I was nutrient deficient. Thanks, veganism!)

Good sources for learning more about kefir are:

Hopefully this post has inspired you to try making your own milk kefir or change up your routine, if you want to! I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful this food has been for us. My children and husband are so healthy, and I am grateful…it is nice not having as many issues as I used to have. No more pesky little infections that have a big impact on daily life. If you haven’t yet, give it a shot and see what improves! Many people report that it even improves their sleep if they’re consistent with consuming it.

Do you like milk kefir? Has it changed your life, as it has ours?

Article summary:

  1. Easy recipe
  2. Tips
  3. Personal benefits experienced 

Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary or lifestyle changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.

Diane Stanislowski is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public.

She lives in Grand Forks North Dakota with her husband and two children and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.