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Made From Scratch: Book Review (and a Recipe for the Perfect Salad!)

6,000 hits is here and with it is a new guest writer! Melissa from My Journey to Lean has some great things to share with you. Enjoy!

I have enjoyed reading Julia’s blog for several months now. She and I met in our adult Sunday School class at church, but we didn’t really get to know each other well until we both got into blogging. Since then, I’ve realized how much she and I have in common. We both have a passion for God and all things natural! One difference is that she’s a mom and I haven’t had that privilege yet. But I’m filing away her tips on cloth diapers and homemade baby food for when that day comes. Julia asked me to write a post to celebrate her reaching 6,000 hits on the blog! I had a hard time deciding what to write. After much deliberation, I decided to do a quick summary about my blog, a book review, and a quick recipe.

MY BLOG

My Journey to Lean is about a personal journey to eliminate the unnecessary elements of various aspects of my life. It started as a physical journey to lose excess pounds and body fat. It continued as a spiritual journey, realizing that all aspects of life are ultimately spiritual, and that I can’t do anything on my own. Then it began to touch every aspect: social networking, entertainment choices, organizing and decorating my home, recipe creations, organic food options, and the list goes on. I’ve always been a journaler, so blogging came naturally. The only part I don’t like is that it’s not on paper (I still love an old-fashioned journal and pencil). There’s something about a blank page that speaks to me: it’s a world of opportunities and, call me crazy but, I just love the smell of paper and freshly sharpened pencils.

BOOK REVIEW

I picked up this book at Mast General Store over the weekend and thought it would be the perfect highlight for this blog. It’s called Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich of Cold Antler Farm.

Cover of "Made from Scratch: Discovering ...

Cover via Amazon

The author, Jenna Woginrich, caught a dream from a coworker who owned her own farm. She learned how to raise chickens, angora rabbits, and grow vegetables at a small rental house, how to play mountain music in TN, and eventually bought her own farm in VT, and started sheep farming. She loves antiques and simple living, including percolated coffee, knitting, and gardening. She believes it’s time to slow down and loves using hand-powered kitchen tools, like hand-cranked coffee grinders and antique cheese graters. She’s my kind of girl!

This book gives you insights (and even step-by-step dos and don’ts) regarding raising chickens, rabbits, and training dogs. She has a delightful narrative style. And what I appreciated most was her advice on page 12:

“I think the real trick to finding that sense of satisfaction is to realize you don’t need much to attain it. A window-box salad garden and a banjo hanging on the back of the door can be all the freedom  you need. If it isn’t everything you want for the future, let it be enough for tonight.

Don’t look at your current situation as a hindrance to living the way you want, because living the way you want has nothing to do with how much land you have or how much you can afford to spend on a new house. It has to do with the way you choose to live every day and how content you are with what you have. If a few things on your plate every season come from the work of  your hands, you are creating food for your body, and that is enough. If the hat on your head was knitted with your own hands, you’re providing warmth from string and that’s enough. If you rode your bike to work, trained your dog to pack, or just baked a loaf of bread, let it be enough.

Accepting where you are today, and working toward what’s ahead, is the best you can do. You can take the projects in this book as far as your chosen road will take you. Maybe your gardens and coops will outgrow mine, and before you know it you’ll be trading in your Audi for a pickup. But the starting point is to take control of what you can and smile with how things are. Find your own happiness and dance with it.”

The last section of the book contains all kinds of resources for each topic discussed in the book. I found my copy at Greenville’s Mast General Store on a buy-one-get-one-free sale; you can get yours on Amazon for about $10, too (also available for Kindle)!

I think it’s great anytime anyone tries to make small changes towards simpler living, whether it’s setting aside an hour on Saturday morning for a quiet cup of coffee and a good book, choosing an organic head of lettuce instead of conventional from the grocery store, starting your own garden, or buying a farm, take one small step at a time and enjoy every moment of it! This book doesn’t necessarily have a Christian worldview, so remember that whatever you do is for the glory of God. If you have a desire, recognize that it may be from God, and trust Him to fulfill your dreams. As a side note, you might be interested in the Simple Living section of one of my new favorite blogs: Frugal Granola. And feel free to stop by my blog anytime and leave your comments!

RECIPE: The Perfect Salad

 

1.       A Leafy Green Base: the darker the green, the more nutritious. Be creative and try a new lettuce variety, especially if you’re stuck on Iceberg; Bibb, Red Leaf, and Romaine are always good options, or you can branch out and add spinach, kale, or other greens likes collards, mustard greens, or Swiss chard. My favorite is the Organic Girl brand at Publix (when I can’t get it from my own garden).

via eating-in.com

2.       Add Some Color: I suggest at least one from each color group below…

a.       Something Red: grape tomatoes, red pepper, strawberries, pomegranate arils, sliced beets, dried cranberries, radishes, apples

b.      Something Orange or Yellow: bell peppers, carrots, banana peppers, mandarin oranges, mango salsa, corn

c.       Something Green: peppers, cucumbers, sprouts, green beans, granny smith apples, pears, zucchini, artichoke hearts, celery, broccoli, peas

d.      Something Blue or Purple: blueberries or other berries, purple cabbage, grapes, purple carrots, raisins

e.      Something White: mushrooms, onion, cauliflower, garlic or shallots

3.       Add a Protein: this can be grilled chicken or salmon on top of the salad, or something simple like a half cup of rinsed and drained beans (kidney beans, black beans, whatever your favorite is), a hardboiled egg or an ounce of low-fat cheese.

4.       Add a Healthy Fat Source: 1 Tbsp. of olive oil or chopped olives, ¼ avocado, or a small handful of nuts and/or seeds. You need healthy fat in your meal if you want to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins available in the rest of your salad!

5.       Add Some Flavor: balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, fresh herbs, freshly cracked black pepper, etc. Stay away from high-sodium and saturated fat laden options. Something crunchy is always fun too (depending on what you’ve already added): whole wheat croutons, asian noodles, or these salad toppers from Oh She Glows are all fun ideas.

Bon Appetit!

Thank you for the opportunity to share with you! And Congrats to Julia on 6,000 hits on her blog! Keep up the great work, Julia!

Enjoying the Journey, Melissa


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