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Naturally sweetened lavender lemonade brings the best fresh flavors of summer. Sweet and tangy lemonade with the subtle flavors of lavender make this drink extra special. 

There is nothing like a good refreshing glass of lemonade in the summer, make it lavender lemonade and it’s a whole new ball game.

I love adding a twist to recipes, and this is definitely not my first slightly weird lemonade recipe… This Basil & Blueberry Lemonade I posted a few years ago is delicious. 

A week or so ago the kids and I hung out at our friends house and she has a massive lavender bush.

Just slightly bigger than the two puny bushes we got this year that have 4 whole flowers on them. One day they will be big and robust… as long as I remember to water them. ha.

This recipe seems way more complicated than it actually is. 

Secret tip: you can make this recipe even faster by using a good bottled lemon juice instead of hand squeezing the lemons.

Lemons are kind of a thing in our house. My husbands favorite foods and desserts include lemon. Like our favorite Blueberry Lemon Bars.

Summertime and lemons are just a magical combination. 

This recipe is so simple and can be easily changed based on your needs.

Remember as a kid drinking that powdered lemonade? I feel like all the mom would always make it way weaker that we wanted, so us kids would sneak in the pantry and add more of the powder to our own glasses.

So this recipe is kind of like that. Make it as is, try it, if it’s too sweet for you, add a bit more water to your liking. 

This lavender lemonade is pretty darn tasty though.

Tips For Making Lavender Lemonade:
  • For the pictures, I sprinkled the glasses with dried lavender. Don’t do this in real life. It is beautiful, but tastes pretty terrible. Garnishing with a fresh lavender sprig will work great!
  • Use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the lavender after boiling and press it down with a small silicon spatula. That way you get all the amazing lavender goodness.
  • You can use honey, maple syrup, or regular sugar in this recipe. They will give slightly different flavors. 
  • Add more lavender if you want a stronger lavender flavor or less for a less lavenderie taste.

The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Tools and ingredients you need:

Dried lavender or fresh.

Honey

Lemon juice

Water

Saucepan

Strainer

Measuring cup

Measuring spoon

Silicon spatula

How To Make Lavender Lemonade:
  1. In a saucepan over medium high heat, add in water and dried or fresh lavender flowers.
  2. Boil for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Strain lavender water mixture into a large glass. I like to press on the lavender buds with a small silicon spatula while straining.
  4. Add honey to hot lavender water and stir to dissolve. Add in lemon juice and remaining water.
  5. Place in the refrigerator until nice and chilled.
  6. Enjoy!

What does lavender taste like?

Lavender has a very unique floral taste with a earthy, grassy flavor. Some people say it has a hint of mint flavor.

What is lavender lemonade good for?

One it is so refreshing and perfect for those hot summer. Lavender is a calming herb and can help reduce stress and help encourage relaxation. Perfect for summertime if you ask me.

Want More Summertime Recipes? Check Out Our Favorites:

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream Sandwiches

Homemade Frozen Yogurt – 5 Minutes (No Ice Cream Machine)

Homemade Gluten Free Blueberry Pie

Healthy Pina Colada Smoothie Recipe

How To Freeze Blueberries- The Easiest Way Ever

Lavender Lemonade Recipe

If you try this recipe and love it, I would greatly appreciate you coming back and give it 5 stars. Please and thank you.

Lavender Lemonade

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 tbs dried lavender (or a handful of fresh lavender)
  • 4-5 cups cool water
  1. In a saucepan over medium high heat, add 1 cup water and lavender flowers

    Boil for 10-20 minutes.

    Strain hot lavender water into a large glass.

    Add honey and stir until dissolved.

    Stir in lemon juice and remaining water.

    Place in the refrigerator until nice and chilled.

    Enjoy!

If you like weaker lemonade add more water.

What is your favorite kind of lemonade?

The post Lavender Lemonade Recipe – Naturally Sweetened appeared first on A Blossoming Life.

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Quick Chicago styled Italian Beef recipe is a delicious and healthy way to get dinner on the table in 10 minutes. Whole-food ingredients, a little time and you have a family friendly meal everyone with love. 

Chicago Style Italian Beef

If there is one thing I miss most about living near Chicago, besides family of course, is the Chicago style Italian beef. And the place to go is Portillos.

I wanted to recreate my favorite Chicago meals to enjoy in good ‘ole Oregon. Friends, there is a difference a difference in this type of recipe depending on where you are in the country, ok! 

Long long ago in college I ordered a Italian beef sandwich while another friend ordered a prime rib sandwich. My sandwich came and I was like… “uhhh what is this? This is not Italian beef!”

My friend that ordered the prime rib, who was also from Chicago, agreed that my sandwich didn’t look right and her sandwich looked much more like the sandwich we were used to.

Another friend, who was native to the college town, was like “what are you talking about? That is totally it!”

This debate went on for awhile, and we came to the conclusion that Chicago style is very very different than other places.

What makes Chicago’s version different? The beef is shaved/sliced rather than shredded, and of course the flavor.

Since sliced steak is used in this recipe, the cooking time is so fast. You can have the whole meal ready from start to finish in about 10 minutes.

While the broth is heating up throw some rolls in the oven for a few minutes to get nice and warm, and cook another veggie as a side. Then toss in the meat and cook for a few minutes. Top your bread with the meat and juice and enjoy your tasty dinner.

Talk about a healthy weeknight meal. It would take you longer to run through the drive through.

Tips for making Italian Beef
  • Don’t eat bread? No worries, you can add some of this recipe to a bed of rice, add some peas. Did it for lunch today with the leftover from dinner last night. Yum
  • Throw the rolls in the oven right after you put the beef in the broth. Heat them up for a few minutes until the beef is cooked.
  • Use homemade beef broth or store-bought.
  • This can be cooked in a pot or use your Instant Pot as a pot.

The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Tools You Will Need: Is Italian Beef Healthy?

This homemade Italian Beef is healthy since it is made from real food ingredients. Beef is a good source of protein, B vitamins (B12, B6, B3), iron (the more bioavailable kind), zinc, and much more. It also contain CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which is beneficial to our health and may help with weight loss. (Source)

Some restaurant sandwiches are really high in sodium and contain other not so good ingredients like msg. Making it at home is a cheaper and healthier option.

How To Make Italian Beef Video

Italian Beef Recipe - Chicago Style - YouTube

Want more easy dinner recipes? Check out our family favorite! Italian Beef Recipe – Chicago Style

Try this recipe and love it? Come back and give it 5 stars and pin it! Please and thank you.

Italian Beef Recipe

Quick and easy Chicago Style Italian Beef

  • 1 lb shaved steak
  • 3 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  1. In a pot over medium high heat, add in all the ingredients except the shaved steak.

  2. Mix and bring to a boil.

  3. Add in steak and cook for 3-5 minutes until the steak is completely cooked and has gone from pink to gray.

  4. Serve over bread.

This recipe can be made in the Instant Pot using the saute function or just a regular old pot.

What version are you used to?

The post Italian Beef Recipe-Quick And Easy Chicago Style appeared first on A Blossoming Life.

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Deliciously sweet and tart blueberry lemon bars are the perfect summer treat. Imagine a buttery and crumbly oatmeal crust, covered with a silky lemon curd center, topped with juicy, fresh blueberries. A healthier twist on the classic, these lemon bars are made without refined sugar, and are made all the better with the best summer treat of all: blueberries! These dessert bars are so addicting, you will have a hard time just eating one.

For this recipe, you will need: lemon juice, blueberries, honey, coconut sugar, oats, butter, flour (all-purpose or gluten free 1-for-1 flour), and vanilla extract.

Thank you Oregon Blueberry Growers for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Who doesn’t love summer?

Summer is here! Summer is here! I feel like I could shout it from the rooftops, or at least my patio. Either way, the weather has been so nice, and all I want to do is summer things. These blueberry lemon bars are the perfect summer treat! 

Blueberry picking, pool time with the kids, walks by the river, and delicious sweet treats are at the top of the summer to-do list. I love fully embracing the season we are in (literally and figuratively), and summers here in Oregon are a true gem. 

Oregon: What U-Pick Dreams Are Made Of

As you all may know, our family dreams of small acreage to be able to raise animals and grow our own food, but in this season of small babes and home renovations, it’s challenging to dedicate time and effort to self-sustaining all our food. We’re doing as much as we can, though! I shared our some of our homestead plans for our quarter acre here.

But since we can’t grow it all on our own, I’m so thankful for all the amazing blueberry farms here in Oregon. Blueberry picking is a great way to harvest your own food without having to take care of it yourself. You can find all the blueberry farms in Oregon here.

Also, it’s a great way to teach kids the work that goes into the food we eat, and it doesn’t just come from the grocery store. It has to be grown, picked, and cared for.

Last year, we ended up picking about 30 or 40 pounds of fresh blueberries, and it felt like the entire stash was gone in a matter of seconds. Since we have another mouth to feed this year, I’m hoping we can pick much more and freeze much of it for winter. Besides, who can argue with more berries in the freezer?

But while we have fresh-picked blueberries, you better believe that we will be adding them to summer recipes like these blueberry lemon bars. Sweet blueberries with tart lemons are a match made in summer heaven!

Fresh Oregon blueberries add an amazing touch to this dish. They add the perfect sweetness to this tart dessert bar; like little bits of sweet jam. 

Pro tips for making blueberry lemon bars:
  • Make this recipe gluten free by using a gluten free 1-for-1 flour. This is usually the way we make them, since my daughter is gluten free. If you have Celiac disease, be sure to use gluten free oats and a gluten free 1-for-1 flour.
  • Fresh blueberries work better than frozen in this recipe because they have less moisture in them. 
  • Sift flour into the lemon curd to help reduce any clumps.
  • Wash and allow blueberries to air dry (or dry them with a towel) so the water doesn’t affect the curd consistency.
  • These bars are best served cold.
What makes this recipe healthier?
  • Blueberries are full of fiber, manganese, and vitamin C and K, as well as a ton of antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your body from free radicals, and in fact, blueberries have the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables. Source
  • These dessert bars are deliciously sweet, and you’d never guess that they don’t have any refined sugar. Instead, they get their sweetness from coconut sugar and honey, which gives it a deeper darker color. 
  • This one has lower amounts of fat and sugar compared to most lemon bar recipes, and it even contains whole grains by using oatmeal.

Blueberry Lemon Bars Recipe Video

 

Blueberry Lemon Bars Recipe - Blueberry Picking - YouTube

Want more delicious blueberry recipes? Try some of our family favorites! Blueberry Lemon Bar Recipe:

Try this recipe and love it? Come back and give it 5 stars and pin it! Please and thank you.

Blueberry Lemon Bars

Sweet and tart blueberry lemon bars are the perfect summer treat. A buttery oatmeal crust is topped with lemon curd and juicy fresh blueberries.

Oatmeal Crust
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (can use granulated sugar)
Blueberry Lemon Curd
  • 1 pint blueberries (fresh)
  • 1 cup lemon juice (fresh works better, but store bought will also work)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (can also use granulated sugar)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all- purpose flour (use a GF 1 for 1 flour to make these bars gluten free.)
  • dash salt
How To Make Oatmeal Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line 9/12 pan with parchment paper.

  2. In a food processor, add in sugar, oats, and dash of salt. Chop up butter and add to food processor.

  3. Pulse a few times until well combined.

  4. Scrape oatmeal mixture onto parchment lined baking dish and press out until evenly distributed.

  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until just starting to brown at the edges.

Blueberry Lemon Curd
  1. While crust is baking, grab a large bowl.

  2. To the bowl, add lemon juice, honey, vanilla, and sugar. Whisk well.

  3. Whisk in eggs and salt.

  4. Sift in flour and stir until there are no lumps.

  5. Pour mixture over crust. Sprinkle in blueberries and bake for 20-25 minutes.

  6. Allow to cool for 30 minutes to an hour at room temp, and then refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours before cutting and serving.

  7. Dust with powdered sugar (if you desire) before serving.

These are best served cold. 

The darker color of the bars is due to the use of coconut sugar and honey rather than white sugar.

Have you ever gone blueberry picking? If you are in the Oregon area, make sure to check out the amazing blueberry farms near you. Find them here!

The post Blueberry Lemon Bars Recipe appeared first on A Blossoming Life.

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This Homemade Air Freshener is a natural way to eliminate odors naturally. No one wants a stinky house, learn how to make your own DIY air freshener with just a few simple ingredients. Follow my tips below to take away odors in your home.

Homemade Air Freshener Backstory

I don’t think I’ve made the official announcement on the blog yet, but we got a new puppy, Zucchini (we call him Zucchi for short). Yep, when you allow 3 year olds to name animals.

My husband has been begging for a year and I finally gave in. Luckily, Zucchini is cute because I forgot how much trouble puppies are. Like babies that bite and don’t wear diapers.

They are also smelly. At this point, I’m not sure how people like puppy breath. I swear it just smells like skunk. 

We are still working on potty training, so let’s just say that this homemade air freshener is a must. 

As I sit here typing, this sweet pup is cuddling in my lap giving me kisses. Distracting, yes. Adorable, also yes. 

I have to soak this is before he gets too big that he can’t fit on my lap anymore. 

Ok enough about sweet puppies, back to making our own DIY air freshener. 

Why should you switch to natural products and the problem with conventional air fresheners…

My problem with conventional products are the same… most of them contain fragrances which is a name for thousands of toxic ingredients. Fragrances also usually contain parabens which are known hormone disrupters.

Doing a quick search on EWG website, most of the commercial products have a C-F rating which harmful ingredients such as methylparabens, fragrance, sodium borate, propane, isobutane, and more.

These commercial products also give me and many others asthma, and leave your home environment with poor air quality. The air you breath in your house is important, and constantly breathing in these harmful chemicals can really have an impact on your health. 

Trust me I know this first hand, and struggled with many health issues before switching to natural products.

Here’s the thing, you don’t need these toxic chemicals. You can easily make these products at home. Like my homemade

Tips for making homemade air freshener: 
  • Add different essential oils to change up the smell.
  • Essential oils effect mood, so if you need an uplifting smell add citrus oils, or if you want a more motivating air freshener add peppermint.
  • Make a sleepy time room spray, with lavender and chamomile, and spray rooms before bedtime. 
  • Use glass bottles. Essential oils can break down certain types of plastics.

The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Tools you will need:

Spray bottle (I love these ones)

Funnel (optional)

Essential oils

How To Make DIY Air Freshener
  1. In a spray bottle, add vodka (or rubbing alcohol).
  2. Add essential oils of your choice. My personal favorite is grapefruit and lemon, or lavender and peppermint.
  3. Fill with water.
Check out some of our favorite homemade products: Homemade Air Freshener Recipe

DIY Air Freshener

Simple recipe to clean and freshen the air with natural scents.

  • 1.5 tbs rubbing alcohol (or vodka)
  • 1 cup water
  • about 25-40 drops your favorite combination of essential oils (more or less depending on the type of EO. See notes)
  1. Mix into spray bottle and spray in stinky rooms.

To Use:
  1. Shake bottle and spray in smelly room.

My favorite DIY Air Freshener Combinations Citrus Blend
  • 10 drops lemon
  • 15 drops grapefruit
  • 10 drops orange
Uplifting Calm
  • 10 drops peppermint
  • 20 drops lavender
Super Calm
  • 15 drops lavender
  • 10 drops chamomile
  • 10 drops wild orange
How can I make my house smell good naturally? 
  • Use the homemade air freshener above
  • Baking Soda Deodorizer: Directions: Add 1/4 cup of baking soda to a small jar. Add essential oils and mix. Cover jar with fabric, or lid that has holes poked into it. Place into a smelly room (like the bathroom). You can actually find this super old recipe here… so old it doesn’t have pictures anymore. 
  • Diffuser – releases essential oils into the air filling them with beautiful natural “fragrance”.
  • Beeswax candles – actually release negative ions which can bind to toxin in the air and then helps remove them. 

Getting rid of kids, dogs, and husbands will also help the stanky situation… just kidding. The joy they bring lets them earn their keep.

The post Homemade Air Freshener – Natural Room Spray appeared first on A Blossoming Life.

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This blueberry lemonade recipe is perfectly sweet and a little sour, just like lemonade should be. Add fresh basil for an amazing twist on this classic recipe. You will be amazed how addicting this recipe is.

This post was updated June 2019

Blueberry Lemonade Backstory

I don’t know about you, but I love super frosty cold delicious drinks in the summer. There is nothing quite like an ice cold lemonade after working hard in the garden!

This drink is a wonderful twist on the classic lemonade. It all started when I went to a friends birthday party with Libby and started chatting with a women at the party about gardening things, blueberry season, yada yada, and she started talking about this amazing blueberry basil lemonade.

In my mind I was thinking that it sounded fantastic right about now.

The next day, I started working on this delicious recipe to share with all of you!

This blueberry lemonade is perfectly sweet and a little sour, just like lemonade should be. Plus, the fresh basil adds a wonderful unique touch!

I’m kind of obsessed now! It’s super easy to throw together! I used my favorite Organic Lemonade (I got on sale for $1 at Kroger FYI), local berries, and basil straight from the garden!

Tips for making blueberry lemonade:
  • You can make the lemonade from scratch or cheat, like I do, and buy a organic lemonade.
  • If the idea of basil in your lemonade is too much, just leave it out. The recipe is still delicious.
  • Use the blender to make it quick and easy.
  • Strain out the blueberries for a pretties and less chunky drink.

The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Tools you will need:

How To Make Blueberry Lemonade
  1. Make lemonade from scratch or pick up your favorite natural lemonade. I chose the later route for convenience.
  2. Place blueberries and a few splashes of lemonade into a blender. Blend until blueberries are pureed.
  3. Add berry mixture to the rest of the lemonade and stir. Enjoy right away by straining the blueberry pulp out or follow the next steps to make it a fancy blueberry lemonade with basil. 
  4. Wash a handful of basil. With your hands, tear and rough up the basil so the flavors will easily infuse.
  5. Add basil to blueberry lemonade and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight.
  6. Strain out blueberries and basil with a fine mesh strainer. Enjoy your refreshing lemonade or refrigerate for later.

More Drink Recipes to Tickle Your Fancy: Blueberry Lemonade With Basil Recipe

Blueberry Lemonade

A delicious twist on the classic lemonade. This sweet and refreshing lemonade with blueberries and fresh basil will definitely be a crowd pleaser!

  • 32 oz Organic lemonade (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • Handful of fresh basil
  1. Place blueberries and a few splashes of lemonade into a blender and blend until blueberries are puree. Add berry mixture to the rest of the lemonade.
  2. Wash a handful of basil. With your hands slightly tear and rough up the basil.
  3. Add basil to lemonade and refrigerate mix for at least 2-3 hours or overnight.
  4. Strain out blueberries and basil. Enjoy your refreshing blueberry basil lemonade or refrigerate for later.

What is your favorite way to cool down after spending time outside?

The post Blueberry Lemonade Recipe With Basil appeared first on A Blossoming Life.

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Sneak in your veggies with this delicious Chocolate Cauliflower Smoothie that tastes like a rich and creamy milk shake. This healthy smoothie is secretly packed with healthy ingredients, but disguised as a sweet smoothie. Chocolate lends the perfect way to hide this vegetable so no one will know.

Cauliflower Smoothies… It’s A Thing

Y’all, I know what you are thinking. Cauliflower in smoothies… that sounds disgusting. But hear me out. 

Adding cauliflower to smoothies is a great way to add in extra veggies. Since most of us don’t eat enough vegetables as it is, and many kids can be picky towards them, this is a great way to sneak them in without even noticing.

Cauliflower has a mild flavor, and when covered up with chocolate, nut or seed butter and bananas, you really and truly can’t tell it is there.

Your kids will have no idea. You will have no idea. Everyone wins, and everyone gets an extra dose of veggies.

Seriously though, you taste buds will be fooled into thinking  you are drinking a decadent chocolate milkshake. My kids, well the one that can talk, begs for it.

I usually drink cauliflower smoothies in the afternoon to get that pick me up that I need to fight that afternoon slump. Usually around 2-3 pm I start to get real tired. The “I could really use a nap” kind of tired. 

Whipping up a cauliflower smoothie puts my energy levels back up again. Not sure if it’s the cold, the extra boost of nutrition, or the fact that cauliflower contains b vitamins.

Whatever it is this magical smoothie gets me energized for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Health Benefits Of Cauliflower Smoothie:

This smoothie is packed full of nutrients and veggie goodness. Cauliflower adds creaminess without the extra calories and is full of vitamins and minerals. It is high in vitamin C, K, and B6. It is also a great source of fiber which will help you stay fuller longer.

Eating more cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower, is associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer (source).

The nut butter adds healthy fat and protein, while bananas give you a boost of potassium, B6, vitamin C, and more. (source)

Overall, you will not go wrong with this recipe.

Tips for making a cauliflower smoothie:
  • Use frozen cauliflower to make this recipe super simple to whip up. You can also use riced cauliflower. 
  • Use sunflower seed butter, peanut butter, almond butter, whatever you have on hand.
  • To make this smoothie even healthier, you can add some of the add-ins listed below.
  • Add the cocoa powder first so that way when you blend it it doesn’t explode to the top of the blender.

The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

My favorite smoothie add-ins to boost nutrition:
  • Collagen peptides– add a boost of protein and collagen, plus it gives it a thickness that lends itself amazing for this recipe.
  • Spinach – just throw in a handful.
  • Chia seeds – about 1/2 tbs if you like.
  • Add probiotics- replace a little of the liquid with yogurt, milk kefir, or water kefir to add probiotic powder (we use this one). 
Tools you may need:

Blender (this is my favorite cheap blender I got on sale a million years ago for like $40)

Measuring cups and spoons if you are into that kind of thing.

Check out my favorite delicious and healthy smoothie recipes? Chocolate Cauliflower Smoothie Recipe

Try this recipe and love it? Come back and give it 5 stars and pin it! Please and thank you.

Chocolate Cauliflower Smoothie

Delicious and healthy smoothie loaded with veggies.

  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower
  • 1 cup milk or choice (I used coconut)
  • 1.5 tbs cocoa powder (or more. I like anywhere from 1.5 to 2 tbs)
  • 1 tbs honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbs nut butter
  1. Add ingredients to the blender, adding cocoa powder first.

  2. Blend until smooth. Enjoy

Use less honey for a less sweetened version.

Have you tried a cauliflower smoothie before?

The post Chocolate Cauliflower Smoothie Recipe appeared first on A Blossoming Life.

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Learn how to freeze zucchini so you can enjoy your harvest for months to come. Add frozen zucchini to soups, stews, rice dishes, sauces, a more. This easy step-by-step tutorial will show you everything you need to know.

This post was updated June 2019

It’s harvest time! It as been amazing to think about what to have for dinner and then just head out to the garden to pick some fresh zucchini, carrots, broccoli, etc. I can easily throw together a few ingredients to make a wonderful healthy meal.

One of the goals on our little homestead is to preserve a lot of food so we can enjoy it all year long! Also, to become more self reliant and save a ton of money on food!

Organic fruits and vegetables aren’t usually cheap, so growing your own is such a relief. That rhymed… so I’m sorry :).

If you have ever grown squash you know that at a certain point it seems like you have it coming out of your ears. Eventually, after eating it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert you’re a little over it!

Well freezing some of your harvest can help you enjoy it throughout the year rather that just a month or so during the summer! Hello saving money!

Can you freeze fresh zucchini?

You can freeze squash without blanching, but you have to use it within 4-6 weeks or else it may turn bitter. So if you know you are going to be eating it rather quickly you can.

Do you have to blanch zucchini before freezing?

Technically no (see note above), but zucchini that has been blanch will keep better, hold its texture better, and will keep it’s flavor better. Plus, blanching can help retain vitamins (source). Freezing squash that has been blanched will last up to 12 months.

Can you freeze shredded zucchini?

Yes! Shred zucchini in a food processor (I love this one) or with a cheese grater. Separate into freezer bags – I usually like to freeze one to two cups at a time. Than freeze flat (to save storage space). Since it is not blanched, you should eat frozen shredded zucchini within 4-6 weeks.

How do you use frozen zucchini?

Frozen zucchini is ideal for soup, stews, and sauces. Just add it in the dish frozen, you do not need to thaw it beforehand.  The high moisture content in zucchini doesn’t make it the ideal veggie for a side dish, raw, or in a stir fry. That should be left to the raw zucchini.

Pro Tips For Freezing Zucchini:
  • Cut the zucchini in different shapes depending on how you want to use them. Slice them in circles, chunks, or longer thinner pieces.
  • Don’t add salt! Adding salt to the zucchini can leave you with a mushy texture when you go to reheat it.
  • Replace the ice as needed. 
  • Line your cookie sheets with silicon baking makes to make it easy to get them off without sticking.
  • Freeze them on the cookie sheets before placing them into the freezer bags so you don’t wined up with a giant block of frozen zucchini.
How to Freeze Zucchini

Follow these simple step-by step instructions below to take full advantage of that huge zucchini harvest.

Step 1: Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Rinse your freshly picked squash well, and slice or dice with a sharp knife.

Step 2: Place cut squash into the boiling water for 1-2 minutes to kill enzymes and to discontinue oxidation.

Step 3: Next, transfer squash from boiling water into a bowl full of ice water for 2-3 minutes to stop the cooking process. (You should have more ice, but by the time I grabbed my camera and took a decent photo a lot of the ice had melted.)

Step 4: Spread squash on a cookie sheet trying not to overlap as best you can, freeze completely (about 2 hours).

Step 5: Place frozen squash into freezer bags for storage, removing any access air, and place back into freezer. Keep up to 12 months in the freezer.

That’s it! Not to shabby. Now you can eat your squash harvest all year long. I can’t wait to add the squash into soups, stews, or just a pan fry for a easy and healthy side dish!

What is your favorite way to enjoy squash?

Want more preserving posts? Check out our favorites!

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The post How to Freeze Zucchini appeared first on A Blossoming Life.

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Learn how to freeze tomatoes so you can enjoy your fruitful bounty all year long. Follow the step-by-step tutorial to preserve tomatoes without canning. Easily preserve tomatoes without canning. Blend them up with your favorite herbs and freeze. When your ready, thaw and use in recipes.

This post was updated June 2019

Enjoy garden tomatoes longer:

As summer wraps up, I know how tiring those late tomatoes can be.  They just don’t stop.

I know you don’t want to eat another tomato.  But push past what you’re feeling now and consider mid-fall and the depths of winter – that’s when you’re soupin’ it up, making pasta sauce, and don’t forget pizza Fridays (yeah, you’re old enough to make your own pizza sauce now).

I know tomatoes are fun and exciting in mid-summer when you just want to see your garden grow, but let’s be honest – they lose their novelty after a handful of weeks and then you’re just looking at a lot of work.  

But hold on right there.  Pick those tomatoes, girlfriend.  I promise, this is easy, and you’re basically cheating the system while earning your status as frugal homesteading daughter of the pioneer woman.

You’re not into canning, you say?  You don’t want to learn how to peel a tomato skin?  It takes too long?

Amen.  It’s too late in the summer for new tricks anyway, so don’t overthink it.

Reserve one hour of your day, haul out your food processor or blender, some salt, some freezer bags, and maybe even those fresh herbs that are beginning to bolt. I used basil leaves.  (I’ve heard garlic might make the tomatoes bitter if frozen for a while.)

The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Tools you may need:
  • Freezer bags (like these)
  • Food processor (optional based on how you decide to prepare the tomatoes)
  • Permanent marker- to label bags
How To Freeze Tomatoes:

Step 1: Wash the tomatoes thoroughly in fresh water, removing the stems and problem spots as you go.

Step 2: Toss the first load in your food processor with a little salt and fresh herbs and push that magic button.

Step 3: Crush ’em up until there aren’t any really large pieces.  I’m aiming for chunky salsa consistency.

Step 4: Portion the crushed tomatoes into gallon sized freezer bags.  Lock and label.  Or label and lock.  That’s actually easier.  I filled each bag with 6 cups.

Other Ways To Freeze Tomatoes:

Freeze whole: Freeze whole tomatoes by washing them and allowing them to dry. Place in a freezer bag in one layer. Freeze flat.

Blanching: Blanch whole tomatoes by dropping them in boiling water for 60-90 seconds, pull them out with a slotted spoon and transfer to ice water. Peel off skin, remove stem and core, and slice if desired or leave whole. Place in a freezer bag.

How To Use Frozen Tomatoes:
  • When you’re read to use them, just set them on the counter to thaw for a bit.  
  • Or run the bag under water so the frozen tomatoes can slip out.  
  • I’ve already thawed two bags for chili mac and spaghetti, and there are over 300 ounces left in my deep freezer.  I just love how easy this is!
  • You can use frozen tomatoes as you would canned tomatoes.
How long can you keep fresh tomatoes in the freezer?

For best quality they will last 3 months in the freezer. They will continue to be safe to eat for a few months more, but the quality may not be as good.

Can you freeze tomatoes without blanching them first?

Yes. Because of their higher acidity they will be okay without blanching first. It is best to use frozen tomatoes in cooked dishes since the texture will no longer be like a fresh tomato.

Want more preserving tips and tricks? Check out some of our favorite:

Granted, there are dozens of ways to preserve tomatoes.  This is my favorite.  A quick and easy way to check that bucket of tomatoes off my to-do list.

The post How To Freeze Tomatoes – Preserving Tomatoes Without Canning appeared first on A Blossoming Life.

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Simple baked carrot fries are the perfect and healthy side dish. Seasoned and baked until perfection, this carrot fries recipe is addicting. Meet your new family favorite side dish.

Ingredients you will need: carrots, olive oil, salt, pepper, onion powder. If you want to make them extra fancy you can top with fresh parsley and cheese.

Healthy Side Dish Backstory

My kids loves carrots, all kinds too. Doesn’t really matter how they are made, they will devour them.

My husband on the other hand is not a fan. This guy though is hilarious and doesn’t care. If he doesn’t like something and knows it is healthy, he will eat it. 

Everyday, he takes four, no more or less, baby carrots to work with him for a snack. That is all he can handle.

But to me, we should be enjoying our food, and prepare it different ways so we can enjoy it more. 

What is better than turning food into fries? And who doesn’t love fries? I’ve yet to meet someone that doesn’t like fries…

So we took the humble carrot and make them into delicious baked carrot fries.

Healthy, delicious, easy… The hardest part is making enough for everyone because they will be devoured.

I tried to be all organized and ahead of the game by making a batch earlier in the day to eat for dinner. The only problem was my and the baby ate them all before they made it to the table. Oops. 

So yummy and healthy! These are the perfect side dish to burgers, pizza, chicken.. pretty much anything.

Health Benefits of Carrot Fries
  • Lower in calories and carbs than their potato friends. They also have a low glycemic index.
  • Since this recipe is baked and not fried can helps reduce calories and avoids unhealthy fats.
  • Packed with nutrients like vitamin k1, potassium, and fiber.
  • They are also a great source of beta carotene, the antioxidant that the body converts into vitamin A. You need vitamin A for good vision, immune support and growth/development.
  • Caretenoids, like the ones found in carrots, have been linked to decrease risk of heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Source
Pro Tips For Making Baked Carrot Fries
  • Leave on the carrot skin. Don’t waste time peeling them, just make sure you clean them well.
  • Cut carrots approximately the same dimensions for even cooking times. 
  • After they are done baking you could make these extra delicious by topping with some shredded cheese and fresh herbs like herbs.
  • If you don’t have carrots you could use parsnips instead. I used rainbow carrots for extra color for the pictures, but it is still very delicious with just orange carrots.

The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Tools you may need:

You really don’t need anything really fancy to make this recipe. A large bowl, sharp knife, cutting board, measuring spoons, and some metal tongs is all you need.

Want more healthy dishes? Check these out! Healthy Baked Carrot Fries Recipe

Try this recipe and love it? Come back and give it 5 stars and pin it! Please and thank you.

Baked Carrot Fries

Healthy and addicting baked carrot fries are the perfect healthy side dish.

  • 1 lb carrots (sliced in small strips about equal in size)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary (or Italian seasoning)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425°

  2. Wash and slice carrots into small thin strips. Place into bowl.

  3. In a small bowl, add oil and rosemary together. Pour over slice carrots.

  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the carrots until evenly covered with oil.

  5. Lay on baking sheet evenly. Bake for 15 minutes, turn and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until carrots are completely cooked and started to brown a bit.

  6. To make it extra fancy you could top with grated cheese and parsley.

What is your favorite way to eat carrots?

The post Healthy Baked Carrot Fries Recipe appeared first on A Blossoming Life.

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Healthy Chicken Salad Recipe is a classic recipe loaded with veggies. This chicken salad recipe is made from whole food ingredients, can be made ahead of time, and makes the perfect on the go meal.

Growing up, I always thought I hated all salads (minus the lettuce kind). See my family didn’t like them so we never ate them and therefor making me not like them either. 

In my mind, things that should be hot should be hot and things that should be cold, well should be cold. Does that even make sense?

Potatoes are meant to be hot ,so potato salad makes no sense. Same with chicken salad. I know this is just crazy thinking and now that I am an adult and am more willing to try new things, I realize that putting all salads in a corner for timeout was wrong. 

How dare I judge something just based on its temperature or creaminess… Clearly, I’ve matured in my thinking. 

Just kidding, but I am slightly more willing to try new things that seem slightly scary. Except curry, still won’t try that. Not ready for that yet. 

Back to this delicious and healthy, veggie loaded recipe. As our family continues to try to eat healthier and get more vegetables in, veggie loading recipes has been a great and creative way to do so.

Veggie loading was turned on to me by Taesha, from the The Natural Nurturer. She finds ways to add veggies to basically everything she does. I love that idea and we have started doing the same with our family.

Why not add a boost of nutrition to make a meal even healthier?

That’s where this veggie loaded chicken salad recipe came about. Why not take something so bland looking and add a punch of color, flavor, and nutrition.

Is this chicken salad recipe healthy?

Yes! Instead of using classic mayo which contains processed and refined oils we opted for healthier avocado oil mayo or olive oil mayo. You could use regular mayo, but 

Than we added shredded carrots which contain vitamin A, K1, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. (source)

Peppers are high in vitamin C, B6, K, potassium, and chalk full of antioxidants.

Adding extra veggies to foods is a great way to boost the nutrition without boosting the calories. 

Pro Tips For Making Healthy Chicken Salad:
  • You can used cooked chicken breasts or a whole chicken. I make a whole chicken (this recipe) in the instant pot and used that.
  • You can add other fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, or even cilantro.
  • Use avocado or olive oil mayo for a healthier option. 
  • This chicken salad recipe tastes delicious on bread, tortillas, or as a dip with chips.

The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Tools you will need:

How to make healthy chicken salad:
  1. Cook and shred chicken. Place in fridge until cool.
  2. Chop herbs and onion and add to small bowl. Add in mustard, mayo, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix together.
  3. Dice peppers. Grate carrots.
  4. In a large bowl, add shredded chicken, peppers, onions, and carrots.
  5. Pour mayo mixture over the chicken and veggies and mix well.
  6. Enjoy.
Love healthy recipes? Check out some of our favorites: Healthy Chicken Salad Recipe

Healthy Chicken Salad

Healthy Chicken Salad Recipe is a classic recipe loaded with veggies.

  • 1/2 cup mayo (avocado or olive oil)
  • 1/2 tbs mustard
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • zest 1 lemon (optional)
  • handful fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, or oregano.
  • 2 tbs onion (diced)
  • 2 large carrots (grated)
  • 1 large bell pepper (diced)
  • 3 cups chicken (shredded)
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Cook and shred chicken (or use leftover chicken like I do). Place in fridge until cool.

  2. Chop herbs and onion. In a small bowl add herbs, onions, mustard, mayo, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix together.

  3. Dice peppers and grate carrots.In a large bowl, add shredded chicken, peppers, onions, and carrots.

  4. Pour mayo mixture over the chicken and veggies and mix well. Enjoy

What is your favorite and easy go-to lunch?

The post Healthy Chicken Salad Recipe With Veggies appeared first on A Blossoming Life.

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