Categories
Food Project Gallery Recipes

Cabbage Skillet Pizza {Lasagna}

Summer is coming and so is the garden goodness we reap every year. Whether you grow your own, shop a farmer’s market or local grocery store, there’s nothing like fresh food. As I promised earlier this week and in my feeding a large family on a budget post, I am sharing a family favorite recipe with you today. Have you ever tried cabbage skillet pizza?

Skillet of Cabbage Pizza (aka Cabbage Lasagna) by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

*post contains affiliate links to the resources I recommend to you. (see full disclosure)

Before you wrinkle your nose at the thought of cabbage, let me just say that I didn’t like cabbage as a kid and didn’t even as an adult until I learned how to prepare it right. My kids have told me repeatedly that they love this almost more than our regular whole wheat pizza – now that’s saying something.

My kids aren’t picky, which in and of itself is a miracle because my mother swore to the highest heavens that she never saw a pickier eater than me. I admit I was, but I believe there was a reason.

Let me go back a few years and explain why I am making efforts in my household diet. I have always been an advocate for a healthy lifestyle and thought I was doing good.

Categories
Family Food Kids Project Gallery Recipes

Nourishing Food: Feeding my Large Family

Sometimes life can get so hectic we can lose ourselves and finding our way back can seem daunting. I am an artist on many levels, but have been missing the time to express myself in a culinary fashion. With running a business and blog while homeschooling my six children, I have ached to get our diet straightened out and provide nourishing food for my family. Now is the time that I’m taking my kitchen and my family’s health back.

Mother of 6 Chooses to Nourish Her Family | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

*this post is sponsored by Blue Apron and is 100% my own opinion.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you would know that we have had some heart-wrenching losses with two of our children returning to their heavenly home too soon. I have always been a proponent of healthy eating, but when a few things were amiss in the health of my family, I began to study in-depth. It wasn’t until I made some drastic changes to our diet that our family began to be fully nourished. I’ll elaborate on more of those details in time, but for now I have had a heavy heart about going back to

Categories
DIY / Tutorials Gardening Recipes

Natural Ant Control with Grits

I just have to share this tip for natural ant control with you today. You see, in my home, we try to make the absolute best effort to keep everything natural. What I mean by that is no chemicals, no artificial anything, but by using elbow grease and all the wonderful things nature provides. It’s that time of year again for us where the warm weather brings sunshine, flowers, green grass, and ANTS.

Close Up of Ant in Home | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too!

Gotta love those supremely strong, determined little critters. When we moved into our house over 12 years ago, one of the first things we noticed were ant traps left in corners here and there. I had a one-year-old in tow, plus a baby on the way, and didn’t want those things strewn about. Our first spring we got hammered with all sorts of ants large and small. I tried a few different things, but eventually gave in and had the house sprayed by a professional pest control company. bleck.

Never again. That would be the last time I would do that. Watching my house get coated with a nasty chemical was all I could stand, so by the next spring I was going to find a way to stop them buggers naturally.

Categories
Recipes

Grain-Free Spice Cookies :: Christmas Cookie Exchange

One of my all-time favorite cookies at Christmas, or anytime, is a molasses or ginger snap cookie. Because our family tries to adhere to a grain-free diet, I’ve put together this grain-free spice cookie recipe that is not only grain-free, but can be adapted to suit most any diet.

Go grab your napkins because you are about to start salivating at all the wonderful Christmas cookies recipes you are about to see. I have a wonderful opportunity to join up with a group of ladies that are some of the best DIYers  including in the kitchen.

Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Now, before I get started you might be wondering why we are “grain free”.  I honestly would love to be a foodie blogger because I could fill your head with all sorts of information on your gut and how it is your second brain, but to save a little time (like hours) I will give you a snippet.  (You can read more about my family here)

INFORMATION

Everything we put into our bodies makes us who we are, and our body can only make use of what we put in if we have good (or friendly) bacteria in our gut and maintain a healthy gut ecosystem.

My family has dealt with numerous digestive trials and I have learned how to prepare & eat fermented, cultured, and nutritious foods that have given us back our health, starting with our gut.  We try to follow a GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) protocol, which is very similar to SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet), that nurtures you from the inside out.

Do cookies aid in that repair?  Not at all, the empty carbohydrates lacking nutritional value only feed the bad guys living in your guy.  However, a healthier snack is better than a junky one, and besides that, who can have Christmas without cookies?

RECIPE

So off we go to make some grain-free, easier to digest cookies.

Let’s bake!  (printable version)

Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
One of the wonders of the gluten-free/grain free world is how to cook with these funky flours.  I mean, the texture just isn’t like wheat and can really look unappealing at times.  A secret to mimicking that texture is to use arrowroot powder.  That stuff is so versatile from baking to natural bath & body care.  It allows us to use almond flour, coconut flour, and gluten free flour and get us a cookie that, well…looks like a cookie.

TIPS

In this recipe I used almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill– or sometimes called “almond meal”), but you can also use coconut (Tropical Traditions), or sunflower seed flour.   You just want to make sure the almond flour is the blanched kind, which means it has been processed in a way that removed the phytic acid that is detrimental to your health, particularly your teeth.  (I told you I could fill your head!)

Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
Normally I would have assembled these cookies as my recipe states, but in haste we dumped everything in the stand mixer – whoops.
Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
 It’s called the “hurry-the-baby-is-sleeping” method.  Ah well. They turned out just fine, but really you should follow the steps to get a good cookie.

BEST OF TIMES

A memory I have as a child: When my parents would take us out on Saturday early to get errands done in a nearby city.  We would stop to visit my grandma and one of my parents would run to get doughnuts from a local bakery.  They would ask what we’d like, and I would always say a mule ear.  I can’t stand doughnuts, but those molasses mule ear cookies were the best. sigh…

So because of that I love using spices like ginger, cinnamon, and allspice in my cookie recipes.

Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
We source most of our ingredients from a local Mennonite bulk food store and our local farmers.  Take a look at your eggs.  Your egg yolks should be so orange they’re almost glowing, not pale yellow like the ones in most grocery stores.

GOT CHICKEN?

I’d raise chickens myself if my city would allow it.  I even called the mayor to ask, and he seemed to think I was crazy.  I told him I could hear a rooster at the city park down our street so someone had to have chickens. He told me to tell him where, to which I replied politely, “You can go down there and hear it for yourself, if you’d like.”  I wasn’t about to snitch.

A neighboring city to ours allows you to have hens, but not a rooster (did you know you don’t need a rooster to get eggs?), hopefully our city will catch on to that idea or we’ll get to move soon.

Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

This is how your cookies will look once placed on the baking sheet. As mentioned above, it’s better to refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes to firm them up. ‘They will have a consistency similar to a no-bake cookie.

Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Once they’re done baking and have cooled, use a piece of paper to lay on the cookie halfway and dust the exposed side with confectioner’s sugar.

Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

DECORATE

Let’s add some festive embellishments. Put about 3 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl. Then add a few drops of milk to create a pasty consistency.  Then drop a small amount near the  edge of the cookie as shown.
Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
Grab a couple dried cranberries and press them into that dab of confectioner’s sugar.
Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
 My kids had a blast decorating, especially the dusting part.Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesAnd then you’re done!
Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

My daughter couldn’t wait to snatch one up.  I told her she’ll be singing, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth…”

Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

MORE RECIPES

Happy baking!  I wish you and your family the best holiday season ever.

Grain Free Holiday Christmas Spice Cookie Recipe for Gut Health, GAPS SCD by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
CCE 1
                     What Meegan Makes                                          Sweet Pea
CCE2
                      Prodigal Pieces                                                    Simply Fresh Vintage
CCE3
                     Lemons and Laughs                                           Shabby Art Boutique
CCE4
                   Lilacs and Longhorns                                         Cupcakes and Crinoline
CCE5
                   Captivating Corner                                               Postcards From The Ridge
CCE7
                      Our Southern Home                                            Dandelion Patina

More recipes like my grain-free spice cookies:

Oh my...not only are these delicious, but they are healthy! Grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free flourless chocolate fudge cookie recipe. I have to try these! Recipe at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comMake these delicious homemade marshmallow s'mores to delight your tastebuds. Grain-free crust makes it delish for anyone. Recipe at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Categories
Crafts DIY / Tutorials Project Gallery Recipes

Handmade Holidays Gift Ideas & Resources #2 – Natural Bath & Body

So have you started making your gifts yet?  I’m all stashed and have started to complete my projects, but sometimes it can seem so daunting, especially when you have 6 pairs of eyes that could easily spy on what you’re doing.

Actually, my gang doesn’t want to see what I’m doing because they don’t want to ruin their fun.  It’s so nice, but I still have to wake at the wee early hours of the morning to accomplish my gifts so as not to ruin it for them.

Last week, I focues on handmade dolls from the book, Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love.

Handmade Holidays: Gift Ideas & Resources - Dolls by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com
It’s all about natural bath & body gifts this week.  Oh yeah, all homemade and full of goodness.
Handmade Holidays: Gift Ideas & Resources - Natural Bath & Body by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com
Homemade bath & body gifts are so fabulous because you can create it to suit the gift receiver, scent and all. There are dozens of recipes that can be used, but I am going to share the ones that we have found to work for us.
My oldest daughter decided to make a gift basket of bath/body products for her friends birthday and if my 9-year old can do it, so can you!
Handmade Holidays: Gift Ideas & Resources - Natural Bath & Body by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com
First, we made deodorant using basic household products and essential oils. I am a lady that can sweat like a man, and this deodorant works so well that is lasts for days…days! I will never use another as long as I can make my own. The best part is there are no yucky chemicals or aluminum to boot!
Handmade Holidays: Gift Ideas & Resources - Natural Bath & Body by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com
 Deodorant Recipe
  • a small tin or recycled container to store it in (about 3 oz. size)
  • 1/4 c. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. arrowroot (you can use cornstarch, but it does not work as well)
  • 4 T. coconut oil (best source is Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil, Gold Label)
  • 15 – 20 drops of your choice of essential oils (mix it up, make it fun!)

*for ladies we like: geranium, rose, lavender, rose, lemon, orange, ylang ylang

*for gents: patchouli, sandalwood, peppermint, orange, lemon

Handmade Holidays: Gift Ideas & Resources - Natural Bath & Body by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com
 Just add your ingredients to a bowl and whisk until smooth.
Handmade Holidays: Gift Ideas & Resources - Natural Bath & Body by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com
*note: sometimes in cooler temps the oil will be more solid, so you may need to warm it slightly over a double boiler or pot of hot water.  A microwave would probably work, but we don’t own one of those things…how about a hair dryer?
 
Pour the mixture into your container and let cool on the counter or stick it in the refrigerator to set quicker for a couple minutes.  Once room temperature, check to see if the texture is to your liking.  I like mine to be soft enough to spread easily, but not so runny that it would come out of the container if tipped.
If it’s too solid, just dump it back out and add more oil and repeat the checking process.  If it’s too runny, just add a bit more arrowroot.  Take notes of how you tweak it so you’ll know for next time.
Handmade Holidays: Gift Ideas & Resources - Natural Bath & Body by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com
 You can add a handmade label – my daughter using mailing labels and stamps to print her own.  You can also just take a good ‘ol sharpie to mark your container directly, or make a tag.
Handmade Holidays: Gift Ideas & Resources - Natural Bath & Body by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com
 My daughter also made a body spray and lip balm using these recipes:
 
Body Spray
  • 8-9 oz. spray bottle
  • 8 oz. distilled water
  • 1 T. witch hazel (I purchase through Vitacost – tons of items right to your door! )
  • 20-30 drops essential oils (see above suggestions for scents)

Mix up and pour into bottle.  Shake before use after a shower or bath.

Chocolate Mint Lip Balm

  • 6 – .5 oz. tins or small container
  • 1/3 t. cocoa powder
  • 4 T. coconut oil
  • 3 drops vitamin E drops (or use a pill)
  • 3/4 T. honey
  • 15 drops peppermint oil – food grade
  • 1.5 T. beeswax

Place all ingredients in a double boiler (I use a thrifted pot for my bath & body products) and warm until all is melted.  Place a small amount in a container and put in your refrigerator to see if you like the desired consistency.  Fill containers and you’re done!

She also made a beeswax candle using an thrifted punch cup, local beeswax and candle wicking.  Just melt the beeswax in a crock pot (I found an extra one at a garage sale for $2), set your wicking and pour.  You can even add scents, like cinnamon, orange, clove…you get the idea.  No paraffins for us!

Handmade Holidays: Gift Ideas & Resources - Natural Bath & Body by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com You can also make a gift for new parents with a homemade vapor rub or a healing salve (a favorite!)
For the vapor rub, just take some coconut oil and add some drops of eucalyptus, white camphor, and peppermint essential oils.  I add a bit of beeswax to thicken it a bit, but it isn’t always needed.
Handmade Holidays: Gift Ideas & Resources - Natural Bath & Body by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com
 Here is how to make the healing salve for diaper rash, cuts, scrapes, and irritated skin (can be used on big people too!)
 
Natural Baby Salve
  • 1 part comfrey root
  • 1 part St. Johns Wort flower
  • 1 part Calendula flower
  • 1 pt. almond oil/olive oil
  • 1 small jam jar

Steep 2 oz. mixture in 1 pint of oil for two weeks (set in a sunny windowsill). After two weeks, place mixture in a double boiler and over VERY low heat, warm for 1 hour.  Strain.  To each cup of herbal oil, add 1/4 c. grated beeswax or beeswax pellets.  Check consistency by placing a tablespoon portion in the refrigerator – add more wax or oil as necessary.  Pour into container – small jam jars work perfect.

Handmade Holidays: Gift Ideas & Resources - Natural Bath & Body by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com
 How about a solid scent for ladies and gents of all ages?  (my guys love this!)

Solid Scent (for 1 oz. container)

  • 1 oz. sweet almond oil
  • 1 t. melted beeswax
  • 20 drops of main essential oil (ex. ylang ylang) – 10 drops of complimentary (ex. orange) 5 drops of additional complimentary (ex. rose)

Mix together and pour into tin or small container.  You can increase the amount by doubling, etc. to fit a larger container, but the 1 oz. size is perfect.

You can also check out my Pinterest board for tons of recipes and ideas.

Hope you have fun mixing up goodies for your loved ones and friends and I’d love to hear what you whip up!

Handmade Holidays: Gift Ideas & Resources - Natural Bath & Body by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com

More Handmade Holidays for you!
Get your Christmas DIY on with these fun wooden gift ideas from the Handmade Holidays gift ideas by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesCreate your own Handmade Holidays with these easy and natural Bath & Body gift ideas by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesGet your Christmas gifts done DIY style with these Handmade Holidays gift ideas using felt by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
 
Categories
DIY / Tutorials Garden Recipes

Dill Pickles ~ How to Make Fermented Crock Dill Pickles

Summer offers garden goodness and one of my all-time favorites are pickles.  If you eat the typical store-bought canned dill pickles or any canned pickle for that matter, you are completely missing out in more ways than one.

Washing Garden Pickle Cucumbers for Crock Dill Pickles with Recipe by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

A LITTLE HISTORY

Fermented, or cultured foods, are an integral part to the human diet, and most do not understand how our bodies need them.  Not only is our gut is our second brain, and eating fermented foods nourishes it to the full, but we are also creating an awesome mini-system that fuels our bodies giving it what it needs to battle diseases and toxins.  Check out Mother Earth News (Aug.-Sept. 2013) for an excellent article. (see below for more resources)

Mother Earth News Issue 2013 | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesMy family is not what you would call your average grocery consumer.  However, we are whole food, real food, get-it-while-its-fresh food eaters making the most of every bite.  Now, I will say that we deviate from time to time, but for the most part, we avoid processed foods.

Likewise, we make our own ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, cortido (Latin sauerkraut), yogurt, buttermilk, crème fraiche, salsa, kefir….all fermented.

So, of course, we ferment our dill pickles, like the olden days…in crock, with a salt-water brine, just bubbling with goodness.  My kids salivate just waiting for them to be done.  What better healthy snack can I provide for them than a crisp, juicy, full-of-fermentation goodness dill pickle?

Want to make your own?  Here’s how.

How to Make Fermented Crock Dill Pickles by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #recipe #food #diet

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)

You’ll need: (this is for a 1 gallon recipe. I use a 10 gallon crock…I have a family of 8 and we like to eat them all year)10 Gallon Crock for How to Make Fermented Crock Dill Pickles by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

  1. 1 gallon crock or food-grade bucket, cleaned
  2. plate to fit inside crock or bucket, cleaned
  3. 6T. sea salt (3/8c.)
  4. 3-4 fresh dill flowering heads (you can use dried, 3Fresh Garden Dill for Homemade Fermented Dill Pickles by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com-4t., but fresh is best)
  5. handful of oak, grape, or cherry leaves (Yes, leaves.  They make the pickles crisp!)
  6. 2-3 heads of garlic, not cloves, peeled
  7. a pinch of peppercorns
  8. 3-4lbs. unwaxed cucumbers (small pickle size)
  9. Large rock or weight, cleaned

LET’S MAKE DILL PICKLES

First, wash the pickles, and remove any blossoms being careful not to bruise them.  If you can’t get fresh ones, just soak the ones you have in some ice-cold water to freshen them up.  Then, place them in the crock along with the dill, leaves, garlic, and peppercorns.
Crock full of pickles for home fermentation by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesNext, dissolve the sea salt in half a gallon of water and pour it into the crock.


Adding Water to Crock Dill Pickles by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesNow, the pickles will float and you want them submerged.  Here’s where the plate comes in. Turn your plate upside down and push the pickles under the brine, making sure to catch them all. Place your large (clean) rock on top of the plate to keep the pickles submerged.

Using Stone Weight for Crock Dill Pickles by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Last, place a towel over top for a tent to keep the pesky flies and gnats out.

Batch of Crock Dill Pickles with Recipe by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Also, you’ll need to check the pickles daily to see if there is any mold on the surface. However, don’t panic, just skim it off and wash the plate and rock (or weight) and replace them – mold is good.

Fermentation Happening in Crock Dill Pickles with Recipe by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces Skipping Foam off of Crock Dill Pickles with Recipe by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesDo the same the next day, and so on. In conclusion, after about a week, grab a pickle and give it a taste. In addition, you can stop the fermenting whenever you like the flavor.  My 10 gallon crock takes around 4 weeks to get it where I like it. A one gallon crock takes anywhere from 1-4 weeks.

Once you think they’ve pickled to your liking, just store them in a refrigerator for months. How easy was that?!

Any questions?  Please feel free to ask!

Additional resources:

Also, to get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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In addition, more recipes like my fermented dill pickles:

You can have your muffin and eat it too. Delicious grain-free muffin recipe from Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comFresh or Fermented Garden Salsa with Probiotics by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com