Freedom and Fruit Pies

It’s Independence Day weekend, which means the days are filled with the smell of barbecues and the loud pops of late night fireworks. And in this home(stead), that means pie.

Because what says freedom better than a fresh fruit pie? Nothing; the answer is nothing.

Okay, you’re right; I can think of a few other things.

But right now the 4th of July means hot, sticky summer – and this hot, sticky summer we are celebrating by devouring a tart but sweet peach and blackberry pie with a melt in your mouth crust.

Peach & Blackberry Pie

What you need:


  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup cold butter
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water


  • 2 ½ cups peaches, fresh is preferable but I used peaches that we canned last summer
  • 2 ½ cups blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt


  • Heavy cream
  • Sugar

My favorite pie crust recipe comes from The Joy of Cooking. It’s simple, easy to make, and delicious.

Mix together your flour, sugar, and salt. Then, add in your fats, aka cold shortening and butter, which should be cut up into cubes.


Work the fats into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender. If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can use two knives (one in each hand) and cut across the bowl in opposite directions. While blending the fats and the dry ingredients be sure to scrape up any rogue flour at the bottom of the bowl so that the butter in incorporated thoroughly.

You know you’re finished mixing when there are a few pea-sized chunks of butter in your dough, but for the most part your dough has the consistency of crumbs. Those bigger chunks of butter and shortening will melt into the dough in the oven, which gives your crust a flaky texture. Mmm yum!


Drizzle the ice water over your dough and mix using a rubber spatula. If your dough forms a ball and sticks together you have enough water; if not, add another tablespoon of ice water.

Divide your dough in half (top crust and bottom crust), wrap tightly in plastic to refrigerate for 1 hour before using. The reasoning behind refrigerating the dough before using it is that it gives the fats a chance to firm up again. The colder the butter and shortening are the more likely they will stay cold and firm when you are working with your hands, which are quite warm, to form the dough into a pie plate. Ideally, the butter won’t melt until it is in the oven and surrounding a delicious fruit mixture – hence, the hour (at least) wait time.


Now you have an hour to do other fun, freedom-related things! After all, you have the freedom to:

Drink a cup of coffee at four in the afternoon;

Put your washed clothes out on the clothesline;

Make your own laundry detergent;

Change your baby’s diaper and outfit for the third time today because they are a drooling, teething, (adorable) mess;

Love on your husband as he tries to sneakily take pictures of you making pie crust;

Dance around the kitchen listening to Frank Sinatra.


At least, that’s what we did for an hour.


Once your dough has had time to chill out you can roll it and press it into pie plate. With the top layer, you can roll it out to place a full sheet on top of your fruit (remember to cut four lines as vents), or you can cut out fun designs and lattice. I opted for stars and stripes – it is 4th of July after all!


To fill the pie, toss your fruit in a large bowl. Mix in sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, almond extract, and salt. Fill your pie crust and top with lattice. Last step is to brush your top pie crust with a bit of cream and sprinkle on some sugar. Bake at 450 degrees for thirty minutes; then, place a cookie sheet under the pie dish and continue to bake for an additional thirty minutes at 350 degrees.  Eat and enjoy!


And there you go, a taste of summer in pie form. Take this delicious pie with you to your next holiday gathering and you’re sure to be crowned Pie Queen of the Neighborhood.



May your holidays and your homes be full of love and pie this weekend.


simple life, Uncategorized

For Love of Cloth

Our son was born seven months ago and he is the happiest baby on the block – well, the only baby on the block, but still. Just look at this adorableness!



 We have been joyfully diapering this little monkey with cloth diapers for the last seven months, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way!

To live in the homesteading mindset means to live modestly and to also be stewards of our planet. When you find a way to frugally be stewards of the earth, it’s a double victory! Cue cloth diapers.

The initial reason my husband and I fell in love with the idea of cloth diapers was their cost – or rather, lack of cost. Cloth diapers are a one time purchase, unlike disposables that we would have had to buy over and over again. Research says the average cost of (disposable) diapering a child through potty training is around $2,000! That’s a crazy amount of money to throw away, literally.

We were blessed to be given two sets of cloth diapers as baby shower gifts, and we have spent an additional $55 out of pocket for diapers and cloth wipes. That’s right. Only fifty-five dollars! We purchased additional inserts for one of the diaper sets we were given and bought an additional diaper set at a used cloth diaper sale, where we got seven diapers with inserts for $10. Score!

That means we’ve spent three percent of the average cost compared to disposables.

Okay to be fair, let’s add in the cost of the two sets of diapers we were given – an additional $60 and $100. Our new total is $215. Compared to $2,000. And we can continue to use these diapers as our family continues to grow.

Three cheers for sustainable living!

Another reason to love cloth diapers is that they contain everything. Even now that my baby is starting to eat solid foods and his poo is quite explosive, his cloth diapers always catch it all without leaking onto his clothing. I’ve had a few major blowouts and all of them have been in disposable diapers. My worst experience with leaking diapers was when our little guy was just over a month old. It was my first time taking him out in the world by myself, so I packed him in a disposable diaper thinking that would be easiest to handle. Oh Lord, was I wrong. The speaker had just begun and baby man was laying across my lap when all of a sudden – blow out. The worst part? My little guy was wearing separate shirt and pants, not a onesie. That means his poop-splosion landed all over me. I then had to walk from the front of the hall, mid-speech, covered in newborn poo. Talk about a mess!

Given all the messiness of childrearing, cloth diapers are (surprisingly) easy to maintain and care for. Sure, you can just throw away disposable diapers, but then they sit and rot and stink for years and year and years. Talk about an expensive way to litter our planet! To care for the cloth diapers I rinse, wash, and hang ‘em up. Just like all my other laundry. And if you’ve ever been around a teething baby (much like my little man), you know they soak through three outfits a day (at least) with drool. And really, what’s an extra load of laundry?

All else aside, the main reason I love cloth diapers is that they are made of, well, cloth. I know exactly what my diapers are made of and I can rest easy knowing there aren’t any plastics or chemicals surrounding my sweet baby’s bottom. Why expose my baby to harsh chemicals if I don’t need to? Cloth is healthier for the little guy, and more comfortable.

Have you ever thrown your towel in the dryer before taking a shower? I love that feeling of wrapping thick, warm, fresh-scented cotton around me after freshening up. It’s glorious! The same thing goes for my little baby man when I change is diaper and wrap him up in some freshly laundered love.

Hmmm, warm thoughts.


For our family, cloth diapering was a no-brainer. It’s the all-natural way to care for my little one and it keeps me focused on living a simple life. And there’s something about seeing cloth diapers drying on a clothesline that makes you forget about the surrounding hustle and bustle.


For the love of cloth, may your hearts – and not your diapers – be full.  


Bacon Spinach Cheddar Frittata

I’m beginning to realize that breakfast is my love language.

Seriously – pour me a cup of coffee and dish out some eggs and you’ll have a piece of my heart.

Even though we don’t have chickens of our own (hopefully our municipality changes its chicken ordinance in the future), I love starting the morning off with an egg dish. Today began with a frittata, of sorts.

Frittatas are Italian egg dishes filled with meats, cheeses, and vegetables. Traditionally, these dishes begin by cooking your fillings in a skillet on the stove, top with eggs and cook for a minute or two, and then move your frittata off the stove and into the oven to bake completely. Seeing as I don’t own a cast iron skillet – or any oven safe skillet, for that matter – I decided to modify the traditional methodology to work with what I had.

All I needed was a regular ‘ol nonstick skillet and a fitted lid. So much easier, and all I needed was my stove top!

From the piece of my heart dedicated to breakfast, I present for your breakfast delight: spinach, cheddar, and bacon frittata, of sorts.

Screenshot 2017-06-04 at 8.59.06 PM

Begin by whisking up your eggs and pouring them into skillet. As your eggs begin to set on the bottom, add your fresh spinach and cooked bacon. Cover the skillet with a fitted lid and watch as your delicious breakfast magically cooks before your eyes. Once your egg is cooked all the way through and the top center is set, add freshly shredded sharp white cheddar cheese to the top of your masterpiece. Recover with the fitted lid for a minute or two to make sure the cheese is nice and melted.

There you have it – the easiest frittata ever!

I can’t wait to make this again with new ingredients: asparagus, squash, artichoke, peppers, ham, sausage – the possibilities are endless!  

Until next time, may your heart and your breakfast table be full!

Screenshot 2017-06-04 at 8.58.44 PM

A Frittata for Two:

  • 5 eggs, whisked
  • 1 splash of milk
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 5 pieces bacon, cooked
  • ½ cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  1. Grease your nonstick skillet and place on medium-high heat.
  2. Toss your spinach into the skillet and allow to cook. Once slightly wilted, whisk together eggs and milk; pour into skillet.
  3. Allow eggs to cook until the edges start to bubble, indicating that the bottom of your eggs are beginning to set.
  4. Add cooked bacon to your spinach and eggs. Cover skillet with a fitted lid.
  5. Cook until the center of eggs are firm.
  6. When eggs are set, remove from heat and sprinkle shredded cheese on top of your frittata. Recover with lid and allow cheese to melt.
  7. Serve with a cup of coffee and enjoy your breakfast!





Bone Broth


The homestead way has always placed emphasis on preparing and utilizing the entirety of whatever plants or animals the good Lord has blessed you with.  One way our family lives this out is with some good ol’ fashioned bone broth.

If there’s anything everyone needs to have in their kitchen at all times – besides a working coffee pot – it’s a stockpile of homemade bone broth.

Bone broth is the backbone (pun intended) of homestead cooking. This broth is the essential ingredient for making soups, sauces, cooking grains, and making comfort foods. True bone broth is made from collecting leftover bones and small amounts of meat and slowly simmering them overnight. The results are a delicious and nutritious broth.

By slowly simmering the bones overnight, you are able to create a broth that’s rich in protein, gelatin, which supports digestive health and healthy skin, and calcium. Also, it tastes delicious and isn’t chock full of sodium, like the store bought broth alternatives. The best part? Anyone can make bone broth. All you need are chicken bones, vegetables, water, and a large stock or crockpot.

The first – and most difficult – step: cook and enjoy eating a whole chicken. I know, torture, right? How horrible it will be to fill your house with the scent of baking chicken and then enjoy that fall off the bone, melt in your mouth goodness.

Once you’ve enjoyed a hearty dinner, collect your leftover chicken bones and scraps and throw them into the cooking pot of your choice. We typically simmer our bone broth overnight, so a crockpot is ideal – no one wants to leave the stove on all night long. Although, if you’ve feasted on your fresh chicken for Sunday luncheon, then by all means, use your large stockpot and cook on medium heat for a couple hours.

Bones in? Good. Now for the vegetables! We’re using the harvest, baby! Slice up your carrots, celery, and onion and toss them in.

Top off your bones and vegetables with water, a bay leave, and a dash of parsley. Now you’re all set to simmer away and wake up to the best smelling kitchen you’ve ever smelled before – you know, except for the smell of your first brew of coffee. Or brown sugar rising in your homemade wheat bread. Okay, I guess there is more than one way to fill your kitchen with sweet aromas. A homestead kitchen is a little piece of heaven on earth, y’all.

With your nose leading the way, you stumble toward the kitchen after a peaceful night’s rest. Peaceful meaning your baby only woke up twice for late night snacks – And behold! The ordinary kitchen scraps from last night’s delicious dinner has become a magical bone broth.

Take a few moments to lift off your pot’s lid and breath in deep. That’s the smell of sustenance. Strain out the bones, vegetables, and herbs and you’re left with the only broth you’ll ever need.

(Bonus – you can throw your cooked down carrots and celery into your backyard compost – food for you and your plants!)

The broth is best stored frozen. Grab your extra mason jars or plastic tupperware and fill, leaving an inch at the top for the broth to expand when frozen. Keep the jars in your freezer until you’re ready to prepare you next delicious homemade meal.

What you need:

  • Bones from a whole chicken
  • Carrots (2-3, chopped)
  • Celery (3-4 stalks, chopped)
  • Onion (½ an onion, keep in rings)
  • Bay leaf
  • Parsley

Fill crockpot with ingredients above. Cover all ingredients with water – fill just up to the top of your crockpot. Turn on “keep warm” and let simmer overnight (8+ hours). Strain out bones and vegetables. Fill mason jars with broth, leaving an inch of headspace. Freeze. Take your cooked down carrots and celery and throw in the compost bin.

And may this bone broth fill your hearts – and your bellies.





Our Time

Doesn’t a fresh snow just warm your heart? There’s nothing I love more than waking up to see a fresh inch or two of snow blanketing the world around us. There’s something magical about the snow – something that brings me back to a sense of childlike wonder and awe.

This morning, I woke to find a fresh inch covering the outside world.

I stood, wrapped in a blanket, sipping fresh coffee in the kitchen while watching our dog playfully romp around the yard. The aroma of newly baked bread filled my soul and the sounds of my son cooing at his crib mobile filled my heart. Moments like this are just want I need – a reminder to stop being busy and breathe deeply in the world around me.

We had anticipated planting the beginnings of our garden this weekend, but the snow has forced us to postpone.  I should note, it’s the middle of March – and two days ago we were sporting shorts and 70 degree weather. Oh, Missouri.

It’s important to remember that everything has it’s time – just as the snow reminded me this morning. This is going to be our first planting season owning our own property. We’ve been dreaming and anticipating the first time we could dig out a small patch to be our garden in our yard. We’ve mapped out what plants to grow, when we need to start the seeds, when to transplant, and when to harvest. We’re a bit eager, to say the least.

A few months after we were married, we came across a beautiful house on a little over seven acres. The house had a huge kitchen and a wood burning stove in the basement. The land was mostly flat and cleared. It was ready for us. There was room for a potager garden and rows of fruit trees. A place to build a chicken coop and to plant a rose garden. We could have moved right in and begun the homesteading life we’ve been talking about.

But it wasn’t our time.  We’d been married only a few months and were mid-lease on an apartment. Our daily work commute and our bank account weren’t ready for us to start a farm.

I like to sit and wonder – how would our lives be different if we’d bought that land right away? Would we be happy there?

And then I remember, it wasn’t our time, our place.

This white cabinet filled kitchen. This split level, three bedroom, quarter acre lot. This wintery morning. This warm cup of coffee. This is our home, our moment, our time. And we are going to live in each moment and in each memory that we make here. We are meant to be here.

And my heart is full, here in our home(stead).

simple life, Uncategorized

Be Full

Life is meant to be full.

Full of people, stories, good food, dreams, love.

We have big dreams here in our little home. We dream of filling our plates (and our bellies) with fresh picked produce from our backyard. We dream of raising our son to appreciate all the earth can give us. We dream of simple, sustainable living. We dream of walking humbly with our God. We dream of buying more land to fill with children, animals, gardens, and memories. We dream of living a full life, with a heart fully invested in all we do.

Dreams have to start somewhere, and we plan on letting our dreams run free – here in our suburban home on a quarter acre. We are homesteading with full hearts.

Will you join us?