Homemade Power Granola

(Copyright @midwesternlife.com)
Warning: You won’t want to stop eating this! 
There, I said it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 
This granola is packed full of healthy, energizing foods. There’s healthy fats, protein, B vitamins and fiber! Just grab a handful before your workout or in the afternoon when you feel a slump coming on. And the best part? It’s SO easy to make! 
Things you’ll need:
A large bowl
An 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish
Ingredients:
3/4 cup of sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups of oats
1/4 cup of ground flaxseed 
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of slivered almonds
3 tbsp of natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 tsp of vanilla
(optional ingredients: shredded coconut, walnut pieces, almond butter (in place of peanut butter).
How to make your own power granola:
Mix all the measured ingredients in a bowl. Mix gently enough to not crush your ingredients, but enough to completely mix the honey and pb.
Once it’s mixed pour it in to the baking dish and press it down to pack it in (use wax paper if it is sticking to your hands).
Next, bake it for 40 min at 300 degrees. 
When the granola is done baking, LET IT COOL BEFORE YOU BRAKE IT UP IN TO PIECES.
And last…ENJOY! 
Everyone is our family loved this granola. My kids even asked for it in their school lunches! What a healthy snack to have on hand! 

Be a YES Mom

If you are a parent you’ve probably heard this phrase a time or two, “Be a YES Mom” or some derivative of this phrase. But, what exactly does it mean? 
Several years ago I took my kids to the Zoo. I had just two kids at the time; a baby and a toddler. It’s a day that has been stuck in my head for quite some time now. While walking through the Zoo looking and gawking at the animals I seemed to be in a hurry. Why? I have no idea, but isn’t that what moms do? Rush? We rush in the morning, we rush for nap time, dinner time and bed time. It becomes so natural that we always feel rushed. I’m guilty of it, we all are. 
So, while we were at the Zoo my toddler climbed out of my double stroller and decided to walk while I continued pushing the baby. I was telling her to, “Hurry up,” “Keep up,” and “You’re going to have to get back in the stroller!” At that exact moment I looked over at another mom who was patiently waiting for her daughter to catch up to her. Her daughter was in lala land and this mom didn’t seem to mind, even though her friends and their kids continued walking and she was left behind. 
I still, many years later, remember that mom’s words to her little girl, “What are doing? Trying to crush every leaf on the ground? Okay.” Still while she stood patiently waiting for the girl to literally step on each and every leaf on the ground. 
It made me step back and look at myself. Why was I telling my toddler to hurry up? Why was I trying to rush through the Zoo? Didn’t I bring them there to enjoy and learn? 
I keep that day and those thoughts and feelings in my head almost daily and it reminds me to be a “yes” mom. But, what is a “yes” mom?
Does it mean saying, “yes” to sweets before dinner or unlimited screen time? 
Does it mean spoiling our kids and buying them everything they want; letting them do whatever they want? 
Or does it mean saying, “yes” to childhood? 
Saying, “Yes,” you can stop and smell those flowers even though I’m lugging a 20 pound baby and my arm is about to fall off. 
Yes, we can take a moment to try and catch that frog, then many more minutes looking and examining it. Maybe we’ll even try to take it home. Or go to the library and check out a book about frogs. Why? Because this child’s natural curiosity has drawn her to want to learn about frogs. 
Isn’t that what children are doing all day, every day, learning? Whatever it is that they stop to explore; a bird, a lizard, a flower or mushroom is what they are naturally wanting to learn about. It’s how humans learn, we explore and discover.
Being a yes mom is not about spoiling our kids, it’s simply about saying yes to childhood. “Yes, please walk on the curb, even though it slows us down. It’s improving your balance and really, what am I in a hurry for anyway?”
Moms, let’s say, “Yes!” Yes to:
Staying up past dark to catch fireflies
Picking a bouquet of wildflowers during an evening walk
Playing in the sprinkler, who cares about the mud?
 Walking with the family and getting an ice cream cone after dinner
Going down the slide just one more time (again and again)
Picking dandelions and blowing them to make wishes
Staying up late to snuggle on the couch and watch a movie together

Making mud pies
There’s so many excuses we, as moms, can come up with. It’s too late, they’ll be tired tomorrow. I’m in a hurry to get back home and (fill in the blank). That’s going to make a big mess! 
But what are we rushing? Our children’s childhood? 
Its time we all take a deep breath, step back and look at what’s really important. Is it getting dinner on the table by 5 o’clock and the kids in the bath by 7 o’clock? 
We must stop rushing and fretting the little stuff and start letting our children be children. Because the truth is, the laundry and dishes will always be there, but our kids just keep growing up.
Let them explore, discover and learn. They’re creating memories and we’ll have time to clean it up…later. 

Sweet Potato and Kale Hash – Meatless Monday, Vegetarian Dish, Vegan Meal

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Summer is in full swing here at our little homestead, which means I don’t spend too much time in the kitchen. Not like I do in the winter, that is. In summer we usually eat quick meals so we can go out and swim in the evening. A cool dip in the lake is a perfect end to a sweltering hot and humid day here in the Midwest! 
I actually discovered this hash recipe over the winter and it quickly became a favorite in our house. But, one of my favorite things about it is how easily I can change up the ingredients to use what we have. 
I’ll first tell you the “real” recipe, then how we’ve modified it. The recipe serves 4 adults, but with our kids being young it serves all 5 of us. Once everything is diced and ready, cook time is roughly 15 min.
What you’ll need: 
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin 
2 cups chopped kale
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper
What to do:
1. Place the diced sweet potatoes in a glass bowl with a tablespoon of water in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. You don’t want them to cook, but just get a head start. 
2. In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the chili powder, 1 tsp salt, and cumin.
3. Once the sweet potatoes are out of the microwave, add to the glass bowl the onion, bell pepper and garlic.
4. Pour the olive oil and spice mixture over the sweet potato mixture and coat the veggies.
5. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet on med-high and add the veggie mix to the skillet. 
6. Stir occasionally until the sweet potatoes are fork tender (If you choose not to use the microwave for the sweet potatoes this step can take quite a while, trust me). The sweet potatoes will also get a nice crisp to them from the spice mixture. 
7. Once the sweet potatoes are tender, add the 2 cups of kale and 1/4 water and cover the skillet with a lid. The kale will quickly steam to a nice wilted texture. 
Once the kale is wilted the dish is ready to eat. It is best served immediately. You may choose to season with additional salt and pepper.
Ok, so that is the original recipe (originally found here) and it’s amazing. But, what I love most is how adaptable it is. 
You can eat it as a side dish to a multiple course meal.
You can add more veggies. We’ve added broccoli (seen in the photo), subtracted bell pepper when we are out of bell peppers, added edamame for protein (great meatless Monday dish), added diced carrots, added mushrooms, etc. Basically, you can add any veggies you have that need to be cooked! 🙂 
You can serve this as breakfast (or dinner) with a sunny side up egg on top. 
You can do anything you want with it! And that’s the best part, other than the amazing flavor! 
I hope you all enjoy this dish as much as my family. I’m sure we’ll be eating it a lot this summer with all the kale and veggies in the garden. I bet it would be great with fresh squash! 
As always, I love to hear feedback. Did you try it? Did you like it? 
And what are some of your go-to quick summer meals? I’m always in need of more ideas! 

Training For a Race? Get Motivated and Heal Those Sore Muscles!

Training for a race is hard work, whether you’re training for your first 5k or you’re 3rd marathon, it’s hard. The first thing to overcome is motivation and energy. Then, once you gain those you end up with sore, tired muscles. Ugh! But at least you get your “runner’s high” and sense of accomplishment! 
Now, if only it were easier, right? Easier to get motivated, easier to feel energized and then easier to relieve those tired sore muscles. 
My running history is definitely not for the history books. I’ve run countless 5k races and one 5 mile race. Right now I am signed up for my first 10k and currently training for it with plans to do a half marathon next year. But, I can tell you all of this has been a HUGE accomplishment for me. I didn’t start running until I was in college and even then I only ran 1-2 miles, which was really far for me! I was the kid at school who couldn’t run a mile without walking while my classmate were running 7 min miles. Let’s just say, I’m not a natural born runner and running is NOT easy for me, but somehow I enjoy it. 
Maybe it’s the stress relief running gives, maybe it’s the time to myself, or maybe it’s simply the sense of accomplishment, but whatever the reason is, I enjoy running and will continue to run. 
Even though I enjoy running, it can be really hard to get motivated and energized. I’m a mother of 3 young children. Every morning I wake up to all 3 of them bursting with energy, only to find myself sluggish and tired. I stand in the kitchen making all of my hungry bees breakfast, while they buzz around me, before I can even make coffee. 
Young Living Essential Oils has helped to change that for me. Now, the first thing I do is put Peppermint and Lemon essential oils in my home diffuser and breathe their essence. They help awaken the mind and body. Peppermint gives energy and focus, while Lemon is revitalizing and uplifting. What better way to start my day?

Young Living also has a blend put together just for motivation, it’s called Motivation, surprise! 
It helps surmount fear and procrastination while stimulating feelings of action and accomplishment. It enhances the ability to move forward in a positive direction. You can diffuse motivation, or apply it topically to your ears, chest, big toe, or neck. 
Ever wonder how aromatherapy works? Here’s a little info: 
Ok, so we’ve taken care of gaining motivation and energy. Now what about after the run? After the big hills you ran during training, or the after running farther than you’ve ever run? Now you have sore muscles, achy knees and hips, now what? 
You guessed it, more Young Living Essential Oils. Deep Relief Roll on is a blend of oils that comes so conveniently packaged in a bottle with a roller ball, so you can carry in your purse (or in my case, diaper bag) and roll it on anywhere. Another oil that has been WONDERFUL for my achy legs and hips is Panaway. It’s also a blend of oils to help relieve pain and soreness while promoting healing. I simply dilute a few drops with a few drops of Jojoba oil and rub on my sore muscles. Within minutes I feel better! 
Young Living also has a line of massage oils, one of which is PERFECT for relieving those achy muscles. The Ortho Sport Massage Oil is designed with a mixture of essential oils that warm and ease tired, stressed and sore muscles. Doesn’t that sound amazing? 
After using Young Living Essential Oils to gain motivation and energy, then relieve my tired muscles, I am able to run more often, farther and harder! 
Who wants more motivation? Who needs more energy? Who wants to train harder and run farther? 
Who’s ready to try Young Living Essential Oils? You’ll never regret it! 
Not ready to dive in all the way? Its simple to get started, get to know the oils and see how they work with a starter kit
Out of the above mentioned oils, Peppermint, Lemon and Panaway are all included in a starter kit, so you’ll get a good sense of how they can work for you and your training. 
To get started using Young Living Essential Oils go here. Sign up as a wholesale member (everything is 24% cheaper than retail) and order your premium starter kit
Got questions? Leave them in the comments below or email me personally.

100% Whole Wheat Bread From Scratch


If you are anything like me, you have probably made plenty of homemade bread only to be disappointed. It’s hard. It’s dense. It’s crumbly. And it can never be used as sandwich bread! 

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always loved homemade bread, but it’s never been good for anything other than dipping in olive oil. That is until now.

This 100% Whole Wheat bread recipe is amazing! It’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to story bought sandwich bread without having to use all the icky stuff like dough conditioners. 

And the best part…It doesn’t take all day (or multiple days). There’s not endless kneading to be done so at the end of the day, your hands won’t be aching. 

So, here’s what you will need:
  • 1 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water*
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup
  • 3 3/4 cups  Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • *Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.

 And here’s what you do:

1) In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. For easiest, most effective kneading, let the dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes in the bowl; this gives the flour a chance to absorb some of the liquid, and the bran to soften. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. Note: This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.
2) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
3) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or till the center has crowned about 1″ above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
4) Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The finished loaf will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.
5) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.


Doesn’t it look delicious? Oh, there’s nothing better than fresh out of the oven, warm, homemade bread! 

Tip: Slice thin with a serrated bread knife to use for sandwiches. 

Whipped Coconut Oil Cellulite Cream – This stuff really works!

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Today’s topic is not a pretty one. Cellulite; it’s not something any of us enjoy talking about, or even want to admit to, but let’s face it, most of us have it.

My 3rd child is going to be two in just a few short months. First of all, I can’t believe my baby is turning 2! Second, I can’t believe I am still fighting the effects of having her! 
When I had my first two kids I was younger and my body had an easier time recovering and bouncing back to normal. But when I had number 3 I had already passed up the big 3-0 and two years later I am still trying to get back my pre-baby body. 
Recently I discovered a dirty little secret, which is about to no longer be a secret.
I discovered Young Living’s Lemon and Peppermint Oil. (Read the last two posts to find out more about each individual oil.) And with them I created…

I will start by saying this is NOT a miracle cream IF you are doing nothing else to improve your body and overall health. You cannot eat processed junk food, sit on the couch all day and get rid of your cellulite with this cream. 
But, if you are like me and you eat clean healthy foods, including lean, toxic-free meats, organic produce, and healthy fats, and you exercise on a daily basis (yes, I run, squat, lunge, you name it and I STILL have a problem area on my thighs), this will really help you with those stubborn areas that just seem impossible to fix. 
What you will need:
Young Living’s Lemon Essential Oil
Young Living’s Peppermint Essential Oil
(DO NOT SUBSTITUTE OTHER BRANDS OF OILS! THE CHEMISTRY IS NOT THE SAME AND THEY MAY ACTUALLY HARM YOU OR YOUR SKIN!)
Why Young Living’s Lemon Essential Oil?
Lemon Oil improves microcirculation and helps eliminate waste from cells. It’s a detoxifier. (Some believe cellulite is toxins stored in our fat cells. Gross, I know!) It is a powerful antioxidant and is invigorating and uplifting. 
Why Young Living’s Peppermint Essential Oil?
Peppermint Oil is an anti-inflamatory, energy booster, digestive aid and also helps heal skin conditions including itchy skin, varicose veins, and eczema. It also helps curb appetite (just a little plus:)
The cream is SO simple to make.
In a glass bowl combine 1 cup of coconut oil with about 15 drops of Young Living Lemon Essential Oil and about 5 drops of Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil. (Never use plastic to mix or store your essential oils).
Mix well using a metal whisk until it has a “whipped” appearance. 
And done! Simple, right? 
I have been using this for just 3 days and I can already tell a difference! The skin on my thighs is smoother and softer! My husband just got back from a business trip and I hadn’t told him about this cream (who wants to talk about their cellulite?!). Well, this morning he walked up behind me and said “I think you are getting smaller right here” and he was pointing to my thighs! 
Another way I know it’s working? I am constantly going pee (I know another fun thing to talk about). But all my quick trips to the potty are letting me know that my cream is pulling waste out of my cells and getting them out of my body! What a great feeling! 
I will say, since this cellulite cream is made of pure oils you will want to let it soak into your skin before getting dressed. (It is an amazing moisturizer too!) I have been applying mine in the morning and after showers. You may not want to apply at bedtime because of the bathroom trips and energy it gives. 
Other uses for this cream:
Varicose veins (aids in circulation)
Foot fungus (antifungal)
Calluses (skin softening) 
To order Young Living Oils visit
When you click on the link, select wholesale or retail at the top of the page and set up your account. Retail members will pay 24% more than wholesale, so please take a moment to read about how to become a wholesale member. It’s so easy! 
One of the things I love most about Young Living is EVERYONE can be a wholesale member! All you do is purchase the premium starter kit and you will be a wholesale member for life! There’s NO FEES, NO MONTHLY MINIMUMS AND NO OBLIGATION TO SELL! 
If you are interested in getting started with essential oils I highly recommend the starter kit. It gives you 11 of the most used oils (The Everyday Oils Kit) AND a home diffuser! It is literally the BEST way to get to know the oils and see how much you’ll love them. 
When you set up your wholesale account, the premium starter kit is the first kit listed in step 2. When you get to step 3, select “no thanks,” then continue the set up. Step 3 is to set up an autoship. It’s an awesome program, but you’ll want to wait until you know your oils and it’s time to order again. 
If you have questions I would love to help you! Just email me.

From Scratch, Banana Walnut Bread (Dairy-Free)

I have been making so many yummy recipes this winter (we’ve had a lot of snow and frigid temps)! But, with the kids being home from school for 20 days straight now, that’s right, 20 days, I haven’t found the time to share these recipes on the blog. I’m going to try to get them all up soon. Here is one of our family’s favorite comfort foods…
Banana Walnut Bread
As you have read in the past with my Candied Walnut Recipe we harvest our walnuts from our property. Obviously, you can use store bought. We do NOT grow our own bananas…We live in Missouri!!!
That being said, here is what you will need:
*4 ripe bananas (I like to freeze bananas when they are really ripe, then thaw them when I want to use them)
* 3/4 cup of apple sauce (our’s is homemade)
* 1 cup organic unbleached sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 tsp baking soda
* a pinch of salt
*1 1/2 cups of unbleached flour
The first step is to mash the bananas in a bowl. This should be really easy if they are very ripe.
Then stir in 3/4 cup of apple sauce. Our’s is brown, because it is home made, but you can use store bought also. 
Next, stir in the sugar, egg, vanilla, baking soda, and salt and mix it well. Then add the walnuts.
Add the 1 1/2 cups of flour last and mix well. 
When all is mixed pour it into a baking loaf.
And bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a tooth pick comes out clean. 
Let it cool before eating and ENJOY! 
This is such a delicious winter snack bread. It also goes great with breakfast! 
I love to hear comments. How did your bread turn out? What is your favorite homemade bread? 

Goop! For a Snowy Day…

This post is originally from 2 years ago, but with all the snow days we’ve been having around here I thought it could use a repost. I will also mention that I now have a third child, who is 20 months old and this stuff is so awesome for her to play with…It doesn’t stick to anything, so when she threw it on the floor there was no worries and there’s no hand clean up! 
(It’s funny for me to see my two older kids with their baby faces and our old kitchen!)
While looking on Pinterest for some fun kids activities I came across a pin titled “Flubber”. I immediately knew from the picture that this was the same thing as “Goop”, which I remember my mom making when I was a kid. Of course, we had to do this one! 
First I gathered the ingredients:
2 bowls:
1st bowl
3 tsp of Borax
1 cup warm water
2nd bowl 
2 cups of glue
1 1/2 cups warm water
a few drops of food coloring
First mix each bowls contents well. Make sure the Borax is dissolved and the glue and water are well mixed. 
Stir the food coloring into the glue mixture.
Pour the borax mixture into the glue mixture. It will stay watery for a couple of minutes, but the chemical reaction will soon make it turn to the goop consistance.
And it’s time to play! 
The kids sure love playing with the goop. I gave them each an old pizza pan to play in.
And playing…
It’s been a couple of days and they are still enjoying the goop! 
Overall, this was a quick, easy, cheap and entertaining project. And it totally brought me back to my childhood. Even my hubby was having fun with it! 
Update: This time we added some utensils to play with the goop: plastic knives, cookie cutters, and rolling pins.
I originally pinned this project from Frugal Fun Challenge

Homegrown Pumpkin Puree – A No Waste Halloween

If you are anything like I used to be you probably buy a few pumpkins to set our as decorations. You probably carve one or two with the kids and then, they sit on the porch until the day after Thanksgiving only to be tossed into the garbage due to rot/soft spots/uselessness. 

Then you march on down to the super market and buy a can (or two) of pumpkin puree to make a pie. 

Well, that’s what I always did. I was always told that making your own pumpkin puree was SO hard and SOOO time consuming that you might as well just spend a dollar on a can of puree. 

I am hear to tell you the truth. It is NOT hard. It may be a little messy, just like carving a jack-o-lantern is, but it is NOT very time consuming (especially if you do this on a rainy, cool fall day that would be spent indoors anyway).

The other truth about homemade pumpkin puree…

THERE IS NO COMPARISON TO STORE BOUGHT PUREE! 

What you will need:

At least one pumpkin (they say the smaller ones are better for pies, but you can use any size)

A blender or food processor (I used my Cuisinart hand blender)

Freezer bags (number will depend on how much pumpkin you are pureeing. I used quart size bags to store 2 cup portions.)

And that is it! So simple! 

So, like I said, “they” say using small pumpkins is better for pies, but this is the monster I first pureed…


Ha! Not very small, right? 

I chose this pumpkin because my husband’s uncle grew it and he says these are the best type of pumpkins for pies. Through all my online research I could not figure what type of pumpkin this is, but it is pale in color compared to a normal orange pumpkin.

First, pre-heat your oven to 375.

To start the process you will first cut the pumpkin in half and clean out the “guts”. This is so much easier than making a jack-o-lantern because you don’t have to clean it out through a small hole. I only took a couple of minutes to clean this big one! 

I kept the seeds in a bowl and later roasted them. Stayed tuned for that AWESOME recipe soon! 


You will want to then cut the halves into half, making quarter size pieces like above. You can make them smaller if you need to for your oven. 

Then put as many as you can on 1 or 2 cookie sheets. I put them with the skin down. This way they do not loose all the juices into the oven and the pumpkin ends up being much more moist. 

Bake them in your 375 degree oven for roughly 45 min before you check the tenderness. Once they are fork tender they are done. The time will vary with each pumpkin. You want it to feel like a sweet potato that is ready to eat.

Once they are done, let them cool. Do not burn your hands! 

When they are cool use a metal spoon and start scooping and scraping all the flesh off of the skin. Put the pumpkin pieces in a bowl. They will look like this…


I pureed numerous pumpkins on this day. Some of them needed some of the juices drained while others needed water added to them during pureeing. Use your judgement to determine what yours need. 

I kept mine at the consistency of baby food. I’ve made a lot of that in my life, so that’s all I can relate it too 🙂 

Like I mentioned before, I used my hand blender.

And pureed my pumpkins.



And pureed my pumpkins. 
LOL! Just kidding! It took just a few minutes per batch. 

When it was at a consistency I liked I just scooped 2 cup portions into quart size Ziploc bags. 

I labeled them with the year and where the pumpkin came from, as well as the portion size (in case I forget).


I like to label where they came from so I can compare tastes. Then I will know which ones are worth pureeing next year. This monster came from my husbands Uncle Tom. He grows them every year and lets us all pick them out to take home. We LOVE his pumpkins! 

Lastly, stick the bags in the freezer and use when you are ready. 

Use them for pies.

Use them for breads and muffins.

I am going to try pumpkin oatmeal! 

I hope you enjoy your pumpkin pureeing! 

Comment below on your experience. 

And Happy Fall ‘yall! 

Homemade Candied Walnuts

As a part of our mission to live off the land and be as self sufficient as we reasonably can, we harvested the walnuts off our land.

We have just 3 acres and 3 (that I know of) walnut trees. And an UNBELIEVABLE amount of walnuts! 

This was the first time I have harvested walnuts. My husband watched his father and uncles do it growing up, but it was also a first for him. I used to think of walnuts as the giant annoying balls in the yard that left black stains on everything that touched them. But now, with my new mindset, I saw food. I mean seriously, do you know how much we eat store bought nuts? 

So, we started by collecting them. The kids loved this part, especially the younger ones. We went into the yard with a 5 gallon bucket and picked up all the walnuts we could find. We had to do this a few times over a period of about 2 weeks. It took that long for them to all fall off the tree. And yes, we had to wait for them to fall. Our trees are really tall. 

So, after we collected a few bucket loads I dumped them in the driveway. This works best on a gravel driveway since the colors can stain. Then we drove over them for about a week. This gets all the green outer coat off the nut, cleans them quite nicely and allows them to dry for a while. 

After they were clean we collected them again; this time off the driveway. And I left them in the 5 gallon buckets a few more weeks. 

After weeks they finally look like walnuts! 

Then it was FINALLY time to get crackin’. Literally, we had a lot of nut cracking to do! 

We borrowed my in-laws walnut cracker, which was a Godsend! 

It’s probably an antique, but it sure works!

After all the cracking was done I had about 10 cups of nuts per 5 gallon bucket of shelled nuts.

And so… I made my very first batch of candied walnuts.

Mine are homemade and homegrown, but yes you can of course, buy your walnuts and candy them at home.

Recipe:

1 1/2 cups of walnuts

1/2 cup of sugar

A sprinkle of salt

What to do:
Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350. And spread a lay of wax paper out on a cookie sheet.

Toast the walnuts: Lay the walnuts out in a single layer on a cookie sheet (not the wax papered cookie sheet, but a plain cookie sheet. Toast the nuts for 7-10 minutes. Check them frequently and occasionally try one to see if they are done. You don’t want to burn them! Once they are done, pull them out and let them cool.

Prepare the sugar: While the nuts are cooling, put the 1/2 cup of sugar in a sauce pan on medium heat. Once the sugar starts to melt you will want to stir  it frequently, then continually.

Candy the walnuts: Once the sugar is completely melted and is an amber color you can add the walnuts. Stir them pretty quick as the sugar will solidify very fast. Once the walnuts are coated you can put them on the wax paper. You will need to use two forks to spread them apart. They will clump and they will harden quickly. I had to actually brake some of mine apart.

And there you have it. Your own homemade candied walnuts.

They are delicious and addictive. You will be sure to make more!

These make excellent gifts. Just put them in pretty little jars and give to teachers, mailmen, family and friends.

Enjoy. And please comment below and let me know how your candied walnuts turned out.