Neglected Garden Bounty!

Neglected Garden Bounty

Our poor little garden has been pretty neglected this year.

We live on an “almost” quarter acre city lot in a quiet suburban neighborhood just inside the city limits. With major job and schedule changes going on, there just hasn’t been time or money to devote to it this spring. But, even with the very minimal time and effort we’ve been able to put into it, our little “homestead” is providing quite a bit for us! [Read more…]

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle: Connecting, Encouraging, & Equipping You For a Natural Lifestyle

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle: Connecting, Encouraging, & Equipping You For a Natural Lifestyle

Back for Black Friday weekend!  We’re having an encore sale for only 4 days, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Friday, November 29 to 11:59pm (EST) on Monday, December 2. After this time, this bundle will never be available for purchase again. Additionally, 25% of this flash sale’s proceeds go to a few of our favorite non-profit organizations… Shelter Box (specifically for Philippines relief aid), Compassion InternationalHope for Women, and Love146! If you missed it the first time around, here’s your chance to get this resource collection and support some very worthy causes too!
Living a natural, healthy lifestyle is important to me, not only for the benefit of my family’s health and well being, but because I’m firmly convinced that it honors and glorifies God and His creation. 

Home With Purpose exists as a way for me to encourage and equip others to do the same. Some like-minded friends of mine in the blogging community have been hard at work for the last several months putting together a comprehensive package of resources to do just that for all of us on this journey.

I’m really, truly, excited to be a part of bringing The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle to you.

This one is different from any other bundle I’ve seen. It includes a collection of over 80 ebooks, membership to a 12-week mentorship series with interactive online conference calls and private support groups with well-known bloggers, and multiple other bonusesMuch more than just a set of ebooks and/or products to purchase, it’s designed to encourage, equip, and connect you with a like-minded community!

That’s what I really love about this collection: it’s purpose isn’t just to just sell you a bundle of products, but to create a community with interaction, encouragement, and support! I’ve already seen that in action these last few weeks as the authors and team members have worked together to get everything ready to launch. What a wonderful group of people! The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle embodies what I’m striving for at Home With Purpose: encouraging and equipping others to live in a way that honors and glorifies God in every aspect of home and family life. It’s been a real blessing to be part of it!

I’ll be sharing some of my favorites and a few sneak peeks here on the blog and in our Facebook community this week, so you may want to subscribe to updates and join us on Facebook too!

With that said, I’m thrilled to share the details with you! Read on for a list of exactly what’s included, and click the links for even more details! 

Thanks for letting me share my excitement with you! 🙂 [Read more…]

Delicious Lacto-Fermented Cherry Tomatoes

Lacto-Fermented Cherry Tomatoes LactofermentedCherryTomatoes_zpsb4eeed8f.jpg

Our garden is producing a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes this year! The plants have gone wild, growing over 6 feet tall and producing dozens of tomatoes a day. Now, we all love cherry tomatoes around here. We eat them like candy! But even we can’t use all that these plants are putting out.

In the past, I’ve had decent luck freezing them whole, but that takes up quite a bit of valuable freezer space, and they’re only good to use for cooking after being frozen. Canning tomato sauce, salsa, etc. is a good option, but time-consuming. I wanted a quick, easy option to preserve what we can’t eat or share.

So, I decided to try lacto-fermenting them whole, doing something similar to these fermented grape tomatoes I saw on Eat Nourishing. Lacto-fermentation is an ancient preservation technique that’s been used all over the world throughout human history. It happens when friendly lactic-acid producing bacteria convert the starches and sugars in vegetables and fruit into lactic acid. Not only does this preserve it and greatly increase the nutritional value, but gives it a distinctive, tangy flavor!

The health benefits of lacto-fermentation are numerous. Here’s what Nourishing Traditions says about them: 

“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.” (p. 89)

Impressive, huh? I’m always on the look out for simple ways to add more fermented foods to our diet.

Lacto-Fermented Cherry Tomatoes Ingredients

The ingredients we used were simple:

  • enough cherry tomatoes to fill a quart jar(number varies by size)
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1.5 tbsp Real Salt or other quality sea salt
After washing the tomatoes and pulling the tops off, I pierced each one with a toothpick so that the brine would have a way to get in. I loosely packed them in a quart canning jar, adding a couple of basil leaves between each layer, and finishing with a layer of basil leaves on top.

Next, I combined 2 cups of filtered water and 1.5 tbsp of sea salt in a measuring cup and poured it in the jar (it took just a little bit less than the two cups for this jar, it will vary with each jar). I added one of my handy little glass jar weights to hold it all down, put the lid on, and put it in the pantry for five days, then transferred to the refrigerator.

Lacto-Fermented Cherry Tomatoes
 Lacto-Fermented Cherry Tomatoes
Lacto-Fermented Cherry Tomatoes

We sampled them before putting them in the refrigerator, and they’re delicious! The fermentation gives them a nice tang in addition to the sweetness, and the basil adds fantastic flavor too! These will be delicious to eat in salads during the fall and winter, or even just to eat as snacks. We’ve got a second jar going, and we’re collecting enough each day to make a couple of jars a week and have plenty leftover to eat fresh. This is the perfect quick, super simple, healthy way to preserve our garden bounty!

If you like this recipe, you may enjoy my pickle recipes also:

It’s worth it to educate yourself on lacto-fermentation and how to include it in your family’s diet. Here are my favorite resources:

How do you incorporate fermented foods into your menus?
 
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Summer Garden!

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Summer is here and our garden is in full swing! There’ve been a few bumps in the road, but I think that so far it’s the most successful garden we’ve had. We’re beginning to see the results of all the hard work that my hubby and Karate Kid have put in over the last few months. It’s amazing what can be done in a suburban backyard with a little thought and effort!

I think a lot of the success could be due to the nice, rich compost we have going. My hubby has been doing a great job of turning it and making sure it’s maintained. Another thing that’s worked well for us are the raised beds we’re using that are designed to be the same size and shape as our chicken coop, so we can use them to help prepare the soil.

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Compost ready to go in the beds!
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A bed ready to be planted, while the chickens start another one for us.

Our cherry tomato plants are huge, with literally hundreds of tomatoes on them. We also have zucchini and cucumbers, and hopefully soon we’ll have yellow squash, bell peppers, okra, and more!

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Happy cherry tomatoes!
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Delicious!

Karate Kid’s pumpkins were doing beautifully, but squash borers struck, so we harvested the three he had going a little bit early and pulled up the vines. Thankfully they were far enough along that we were able to salvage them, so I have pumpkin puree in my freezer already! He plans to replant in another location and try to get a few more before the summer’s over.

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The sweet potato slips my friend Angie from SchneiderPeeps shared with us are growing beautifully. My hubby read online about growing them in pots and they seem to be thriving in them! In a few more weeks we should have plenty of sweet potatoes to eat!

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Sweet potatoes in pots

My herb garden is going wild too, and I’m really enjoying the ability to step outside and cut fresh herbs while cooking. Nearly everything we planted last year came back. My Italian parsley flowered, reseeded, and almost tried to take over, but is still producing plenty!

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Prolific parsley!

We’ve also got a lovely wild dewberry vine growing on the back fence that’s beginning to produce nicely, although the birds are really enjoying it too.

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A wild dewberry vine

What’s going on with your garden? Are you doing anything different this year?

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you check out my friend Angie’s “The Gardening Notebook“. It’s a fantastic way to keep yourself organized, and full of great information to help you be successful in your gardening adventures!