Scrumptious Skillet Pork Chops (THM-S)

This recipe was a winner at our table. We raise our own hogs for pork, so we eat a lot of pork chops. This pushes me to come up with new ways of flavoring then other than the same old thing.

Let’s get right to the recipe!

Serves 4-6, depending on the size of your pack of pork chops and how big your eaters are 😊

Ingredients:

4-6 lbs of pork chops (in my photos we have four huge chops. My little guys split one.)

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp olive or coconut oil

Salt and pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder

2tbsp – 1/4 c red wine vinegar

1 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce if you don’t have liquid aminos.)

Directions:

Melt the butter and olive oil together in a skillet. (Huge Iron skillets are my favorite!)

Before the meat goes in the skillet, coat each side with salt and pepper, garlic and onion powders, and smoked paprika. I just lightly covered the pork chop with all these spices.

(Sorry for no exact measurements…but to play it safe, use about 1/4 tsp of each for each side. If you need more, don’t be afraid to add more. The pork chops are pretty forgiving, and in my opinion, you can’t sprinkle on enough smoked paprika! 😉)

Put the pork chops in the hot oil, and cook on medium high each side for three to five minutes, until browned.

Add the red wine vinegar and the liquid aminos to the skillet. (Pour slowly, watch out for popping.)

Turn the heat down to medium, cover the skillet, and let the pork chops simmer for 20 minutes, or until they are cooked through.

If you see the skillet’s liquid disappearing, add a little more oil and vinegar.

Turn the pork chops at least once during cooking time. If you’re using an iron skillet, be watchful to not let them get too browned.

Serve with any THM-S friendly side! In my photo we had creamed spinach.

Enjoy!

For more Farm Fresh THM recipes and healthy living encouragement, follow my account on Instagram!

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Kiwi Banana Kefir Smoothie (THM-E)

I’ve had a fascination with the fuzzy little kiwi fruit lately. It all started when I was having an afternoon slump and needed a snack.

I cut up a kiwi I had sitting on the counter. I was amazed at the instant energy burst I felt from the kiwi!

Maybe I’m just easily fascinated…but I was impressed and wanted to find different ways to incorporate this little fruit into my day.

I have not seen a smoothie recipe that has kiwi in it. Have you? Well…

Look no further.

Kiwi, banana, kefir, baobab powder and collagen give this smoothie all the goodies you need in a quick breakfast or lunch smoothie or snack. I had it for lunch and I was satisfied until snack time three hours later.

I’ve included my THM affiliate links below! If you purchase through my link, I’ll receive a small commission and I’ll be so honored!

Kiwi Banana Kefir Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 kiwi

1/2 banana

3-4 spinach leaves (mostly for color)

1 heaping tbsp THM Baobab Boost Powder

1-2 doonks THM Pure Stevia Extract

1 tsp MCT oil or coconut oil

1 cup low fat kefir

1/4 cup almond milk

1/2-1 scoop THM Integral Collagen

1 tbsp THM Pristine Whey Protein Powder unflavored

Two handfuls of ice

Directions:

Blend all the ingredients (except the protein powder and ice) together until there are no little specks of spinach floating around.

Add the protein powder and ice and blend for 10 or 15 more seconds.

Enjoy your energizing smoothie!

The Truth About Goat’s Milk

Most people will turn up their nose when I tell them I milk my goat and then drink it. “Ew nasty,” they are thinking. I shrug my shoulders and say, “You should try it.”

Have you ever tried fresh goat milk? Let me tell you, I hate milk from the store. I always have. Even when I was a kid, I’d have to drink chocolate milk because I couldn’t stand “regular” milk. Well…then I tried raw cow’s milk a few years ago. It didn’t have that nasty taste like store milk did! I was amazed.

Then, before I even tried fresh goat milk, I milked my own goat. I followed all the directions I had researched, made sure it was properly cooled…and then I poured myself a glass. I gulped in anticipation. I was scared. What if this tastes like a goat smells? I took a drink. Swallowed. Thought about it.

Nothing! It tasted like thick water, no joke. There was a slight creamy aftertaste. But it wasn’t anything at all like I expected. I breathed a sigh of relief! It wasn’t nasty! Now, I’ve heard folks say that goat milk is strong tasting. Well, my goats do not produce strong milk, then. It’s delightful.

When I turn goats milk into kefir, there is a hint of “goat”. Think of what goat cheese smells like, it kind of tastes like that. But kefir is famously strong, anyways. (Read about kefir here.) But fresh milk has undetectable goat taste.

I am thrilled to be able to use milk from my farm animals. Our goats are not just weed eaters…they produce a valuable commodity. I love being able to skip the milk coolers when I go to the grocery store. It’s one more thing I can add to my list of not having to buy from a store!

There are huge debates out there about the benefits vs. the “dangers” of raw milk. Based on my research, the cleanliness of my goats, and my milking process, I feel 100% comfortable drinking our milk raw. And also giving it to my children!

Here’s a fun chart from Dr. Axe that lists the benefits of goat milk:

https://draxe.com/

Trim Healthy Mama categorizes goats milk as a Crossover, which means both fats and carbs are present in the milk. “The fat cannot be skimmed off easily and the carbs are in liquid form, so drinking it as a beverage would not be recommended during weight loss mode. Making goat’s milk kefir or yogurt would be a more slimming way to utilize your goat’s milk.” From the THM Food Analyzer App.

Therefore, goat’s milk is the perfect beverage for growing children. My little 18 month old lives on it all day! I’m thrilled to be able to give my children such a natural superfood! I will add it to my morning Matcha: half goat milk, half almond milk, and heat it up and add Keto Matcha powder. It’s so good and I feel so healthy!

Feta Italian Meatballs (THM-S, low-carb, gluten free)

Do you love the flavor of feta cheese? I sure do! I love stuffed meatballs too. So when we needed to have dinner Saturday night, these meatballs came into being!

I will include the pasta sauce recipe as well. But you can use any pasta, veggie noodles, or sauce you like. Or even have the meatballs as a main dish and pair with other non starchy veggies to keep this in S meal territory if you are a THM.

Ingredients:

2 lb ground pork (beef or turkey would also work, or a mixture)

1 tsp each of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning

1 tbsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp Parmesan cheese

1/4 c feta cheese crumbles, broken up into smaller pieces if there are big chunks.

1 tbsp oats or THM Baking Blend

1 egg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

Roll into small balls, about golf ball size, and place on a baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Remove meatballs from the oven, pour in a cup of water with a squirt of Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce into the baking dish. (Optional, but recommended.)

Turn oven down to 375 degrees and bake for 25 more minutes, or until cooked through.

Pair the meatballs with Tomato Sauce and pasta. Use any old pasta you choose…I use Dreamfield’s. Spaghetti squash, sautéed cabbage, or zucchini noodles would be great choices too.

If you don’t want to make the following recipe for Tomato Sauce, just pour in a can of the sugar free store bought sauce of your choice.

Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

15 oz can tomato sauce

1/4 c butter

Half an onion

Two garlic cloves

1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper, and oregano

1/4 tsp basil

1 tbsp Parmesan cheese or feta cheese (optional)

1/4 c heavy cream

1/4 c chicken broth

Directions:

Melt butter in a saucepan or skillet. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are slightly softened. Add all other ingredients and stir well.

Cook until bubbly.

Taste to add more seasoning if needed.

Pour over your choice noodles and enjoy!

Follow me on Instagram for more THM recipes and encouragement!

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Beefy Alfredo (THM-S, Low Carb, opt. Gluten free)

Listen everyone. This casserole was consumed entirely by my family. I have three little boys and a husband…and the 9×13 disappeared before my eyes! This is a good hefty hearty casserole that made my boys very happy. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by this. This would be classified a Heavy S…and it uses a bunch of dairy. All the extras were very indulgent…and comforting. So if you’re craving comfort…this is it!

(I am a THM affliliate, if you purchase any THM products through my link, I’ll receive a commission! Thank you for purchasing through me! I truly appreciate it!)

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef, cooked

Box of pasta cooked according to directions

¼ c. butter, cut into small pieces to place on the bottom of the 9×13 dish.

For the alfredo sauce:

1 lb cottage cheese

4 oz cream cheese

½ c. heavy cream

½ c. almond milk

¼ tsp glucomannan

1 tsp mineral salt

2 tsp dried garlic powder

1 ½ tsp Italian seasoning

½ tsp onion powder

5 tbsp parmesan cheese (green can)

Mozzarella and parmesan cheese to add to the top of the casserole.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the ground beef and noodles. (Use any preferred noodles…spaghetti squash, zoodles, Dreamfield’s pasta, or sautéed cabbage.)

Place all the sauce ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth.

Cut up butter and put in dish.

Place noodles and beef in a 9×13 dish, and add the sauce. Mix all around until everything is incorporated together.

Top the mixture with mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan. (I didn’t include a measurement here…because you can decide how much cheesy topping you would like!)

Place the dish in the oven, and cook for 35-45 minutes…watching the last few minutes to make sure the cheese isn’t getting too brown. I pulled it out of the oven when the middle was bubbly.

This was delicious and filling. I wasn’t kidding when I said my boys devoured it. They went back for seconds and thirds, maybe fourths!

Let me know if you try it! I hope you like it.

I’ve been more active on this account on Instagram! Be sure to follow me there! I look forward to connecting with you!

Instagram.com/balancedandblessed_thm

THM Fuel Cycle: My Own Experience

First things first: what is a THM Fuel Cycle? Trim Healthy Mama is a healthy eating lifestyle plan that you can read more about here. Basically, THM incorporates all healthy food groups in the wisest way to help lose weight and maintain a healthful balance.

A Fuel Cycle, in the realms of THM, is where you take a week or two, to buckle down and isolate the different fuels (fats (S) or carbs (E) or neither (FP)). The purpose of this is to 1) lose stubborn weight, 2) rev your metabolism and 3) feel awesome! Now, usually, THM is very freeing, meaning that you can generally switch around meals and eat pretty much as you please, with the exception of off plan foods such as refined sugars and white flour. But the Fuel Cycle is meant to be very strict. If you are feeling like a prescribed food regimen…this is the week to do it!

I’ll give my own personal reasons for doing a Fuel Cycle. I was feeling sort of in a slump and I definitely wasn’t making smart choices when it came to food. I decided enough was enough, and I was going to do a major reset starting off with the Fuel Cycle week. Now, in all my years of being on THM, I’ve never even thought about doing this. But for some reason I thought it was time. I won’t get into all the major details, but I just felt like my hormones were out of whack, my metabolism was sluggish and I needed to reboot. From the testimonials I had seen, it seemed like the Fuel Cycle was a good answer to my problems.

All links to the THM store are my affiliate links. If you purchase through my link, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you!

Here’s a breakdown of the week:

Sunday and Monday: Deep S days. This means for two days I isolated pure fats. I wasn’t an expert on Deep S meals because I had never really worried about it too much. But for two days I cut out hard cheeses (and I love cheddar cheese), cream cheeses, sour cream, nut butters…and I stuck with what THM calls the purest fats. Like coconut oil, butter, meat, eggs…basically you’re very strict “keto”, without nuts. No carbs whatsoever! Not even heavy amounts of onion or tomatoes. It was quite a luscious two days with plenty of salads with olive oil and eggs swimming in coconut oil.

Eggs glorious eggs

Tuesday and Wednesday: E days. Now these two days isolated healthy carbs and very scant fats. For example, fruit! I was surprised how much I was craving fruit after just two days of missing it. I cooked lean meats with sweet potatoes, had oatmeal for breakfast, and snacked on papayas! It was definitely beginning to energize me (hence E meals!) and I was starting to feel like I had enough energy to make it through the day without wanting to nap all afternoon!

Thursday and Friday: Fuel Pull (FP) days. These two days pulled both fats and carbs out. Only the leanest, lowest calorie foods allowed! I was also no expert in Fuel Pull either, because other than a few snacks here and there, I felt like I didn’t need to utilize these types of meals. But I ended up really enjoying the challenge of them! I made egg white scrambles for breakfast, turkey and spinach wrap for lunch (turns out in the Fuel Cycle week it’s not recommended to use store bought low carb wraps…oops.), and FP meals from the THM cookbooks made dinner easy. I made Cabbage Roll in a Bowl and Sweet Lime Taco Joes from Trim Healthy Table. I did enjoy the glucomannan pudding for snacks. It really is filling and satisfying! So my take away from two whole FP days is that it is totally doable, and I didn’t starve to death!

Saturday: Back to Deep S. This was the last day of the Fuel Cycle, and I was so excited to have bacon and eggs for breakfast! It felt like my body was just soaking up those fats! (Not in a bad way of course…) So I branched out and made Rustic Pizza with Cheesy Kale Dip from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook for lunch. I felt really good all day!

The Fuel Cycle was a success. I had SO many good meals. I ate more salads with my meals than I have in a long time. Branching out with variety was really fun.

Another thing I did all week was make a different All Day Sipper from the THM cookbooks. The Singing Canary, Earth Milk, Good Girl Moonshine, Hello Health…they really help ya stay hydrated! And they’re really yummy. My All Day Sippers never last All Day. Usually a few hours and they’re gone!

Hello Health
Mocha Earth Milk & the original Earth Milk

Benefits of the One Week Fuel Cycle

For me, I noticed the following changes:

1. More energy! I could almost feel the good ol metabolism kicking up in gear. It was pretty awesome. I guess it’s hard to explain this…but I felt so good that I actually wanted to work-out for a few days in a row! (I did the THM Work-ins, of course! But I also had enough energy to walk around our property, dance with my boys, and generally move around more than usual!)

2. Clearer skin! I’ve been having some issues in this department. And after only a few days of eating and drinking well, I noticed my complexion clearing up. Thank goodness!

3. Better sleep! This one is very important to me. After a brief little study on hormones, I came to realize maybe I had some imbalances going on. (Who doesn’t?) I got up earlier and went to bed earlier. Along with this week of eating better, I loved the results! I think the power of positive thinking goes a long way, so I’m going to say hopefully I’m seeing the fruits of hormone balance from the healthier habits I’m trying to stick with.

4. Confidence and reassurance that eating well really makes a difference! I really didn’t have weight to lose. That’s not why I did this Fuel Cycle. I just wanted to feel better. It worked!

The Fuel Cycle week was a roaring success for me. Now from here, I’m free to juggle fuels, eat Crossovers, and I’m praying that I’ll continue to feel blessed from the healthy foods I feed my body!

Curious and want to know more about Trim Healthy Mama?

Trimhealthymama.com is a great place to start. Or check out the books from the library, or purchase them here:

Trim Healthy Mama Plan

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook

Trim Healthy Table

Do a Pinterest search and endless recipes and blogs will pop up.

I would love if you brought your questions to me! Feel free to send me a message about THM and I can point you in the right direction to find great resources. It’s a lifestyle I love, and it only brings healing and health!

(Note: I wrote this post in the first week of March 2020, and I published it on my blog mid-April 2020. In case you’re wondering, I have still seen the benefits of the fuel cycle a month later and I’m going strong “on-plan”. I have no desire to mess up the good thing that was started! I still feel really good and not even craving off plan foods. Hallelujah!)

Follow along at instagram.com/balancedandblessed_thm.

Feisty Flounder (THM-FP, Low Carb, GF)

Here’s a tasty, unique way to get more fish in your diet! I used frozen wild caught flounder filets at Aldi. There were six filets in the bag, so I cooked them all. If you can’t find flounder, use any white, low-fat, fish. (Tilapia would work.)

So basically, I was craving this flavor for some reason. I followed my taste instincts and whipped up this sauce to go on the fish!

Ingredients:

6 filets wild caught flounder (or any other white fish, like tilapia)

For the sauce:

1 cup 0% Greek yogurt

1 tbsp cumin seeds

2 garlic cloves

½ fresh red bell pepper

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

(Optional red pepper flakes to taste)

Parmesan cheese to top the sauce

Preheat oven to 350.

Blend the sauce up in a food processor or blender.

Place the fish on a baking dish, and pour the sauce over the filets. I reserved some sauce for dipping…because we are sauce people and it was yummy.

Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the tops of the fish.

Cook the fish for 20 minutes.

Turn on broil for about five minutes to crisp the cheese on the top, if desired.

Serve with a lovely side salad or another favorite Fuel Pull side!

Bonus: You can also use this sauce to top chicken. It was awesome!

Five Healthy Things You Can Start Right Now! (They’re free and easy.)

Maybe you’re in a slump of sorts as the cold weather finally makes its way out the door…and you want to start feeling better NOW! I wanted to share a few things that you can do this very minute to make strides toward being more energetic and healthier. Sitting at work? On a break at school? At home on reading this on your phone? It doesn’t matter, you can do these things starting now!

1. Get a drink of water. I think everyone knows that water is vital to survival. But many of us don’t drink near enough of it! Why not? For the most part, it’s free. (I never buy bottled water for several reasons…we have a filter from the fridge.) Take a step right this minute and get you a drink of H2O! Staying hydrated makes you feel better for so many reasons. Drink more water for clearer skin and watch it help flush your system of the yucky things; think constipation. Just make it a habit to drink more water and you for sure won’t be sorry.

2. Get moving! I’ve found that if I’m feeling particularly un-energized…it only makes it worse if I sit down or lay down. Sometimes you need extra rest, of course. But I’m talking about just your normal day to day stuff. If you start lagging, get up and move! It’s amazing how that increase in your heart rate for just a minute or two can pep you up! It’s a mindset thing for me. I just have to make myself do it sometimes! I’m not talking about a 30 minute hard workout—but just a few minutes of dancing around, jumping jacks, squats, or just walking briskly! If you’re reading this at a desk or at work…stand up and move! It’ll get the blood flowing and make you feel alive! (But if you feel up to that workout, go for it, too!) Moving has sadly become less than natural in our society because we are stuck at a desk or in a car or at school. But take the time to do what we were designed to do in moving! Turn on some fun songs and dance around. You’d be so surprised that being silly and swinging your kids around can really get your blood pumping! (I have a mini-trampoline, a rebounder, that I’ll sometimes leave in my living room. Every time I walk past it, I’ll jump for a minute. It really is a good energizer!)

3. Make your next meal or snack a good one. So, you’ve had a Hardee’s biscuit for breakfast. Don’t let that ruin the rest of the day. Your very next meal or snack can redeem you. One amazing concept that has saved me many a time is the idea of “giving yourself grace” and knowing that if you mess up, three hours later eat something healthier. (Thank you, Trim Healthy Mama mindset!) The mess up is not the end of you. So right now, tell yourself that you are going to make healthy choices. Instead of eating a Pop-tart for your 3:00 pick-me-up, go for the apple and cheese stick instead! Grab a bag of almonds or cashews, buy the 000 Greek yogurts and feel good about your snack choices! Then when mealtimes come, choose wisely as well. Choose the grilled chicken with veggies! You’ve just kick started a healthier life. Go from there and be confident that you can make better choices every time you eat!

4. Think positively! Easier said than done to you? Sometimes I know it’s hard to get your mind in the right place. But when we make ourselves think happy, uplifting thoughts, we feel so much better. If you’re a Believer, there’s so many things we can remember to make our hearts and minds joyful. Just the thought of Jesus saving us should fill us with happiness. God’s blessed us so abundantly and having a heart of thankfulness is a health booster! How do you feel when you’re feeling sorry for yourself? Do you get anxious, worried, and pitiful? I do! You are capable of turning your thought process around. Only you can decide to be positive. In a world that eats us alive…choose to be different and think less of your problems and more about your blessings. (Listen to an encouraging podcast. Here are my favorites.)

5. Make yourself smile. I heard a new song on our Christian radio station the other day about “just smile”. Hearing the song playing made me automatically smile. Sometimes, even if we force ourselves to smile, a good mood will follow! You think I’m crazy? Try it now! Look at yourself in the mirror, or the reflection of your phone and let out a big toothy grin. It lifts our mood! Such a simple act that takes hardly any effort can possibly turn our day around! I personally have a very somber “resting face” and I want to try and change that! I hate for strangers (or even people I know) to think I’m mad or unhappy! I gotta learn to smile! Because I have so much to smile about.

So there you have it. Five things you can do right now to make yourself healthier. These tips don’t cost any money, they take minimal effort…so try them out NOW! 😊

Give It A Listen!

For the past several months, really this whole winter season, I’ve spent the days by staying home with my children, taking it easy, and listening to podcasts.

Taking it easy may be a stretch…I’ve managed to stay so busy at home! But really, listening to uplifting and encouraging voices on my phone has been so beneficial in so many ways. If you are around me for more than a few minutes, I’ll probably bring up something I heard on a podcast. I feel like I may start to sound aggravating to some people (my husband…my mama…my kids…) but I want them to share in the helpful things I’m learning, too!

Photo by Tommy Lopez on Pexels.com

I thought I would write a post on what I’m listening to, and how it has helped me. (They are in no particular order…I do not have a top favorite, I love them all.) I will of course encourage you to listen to these things as well!

1. At Home With Sally

Sally Clarkson is a wonderful Christian author and speaker. She has successfully raised four Christian children, two boys and two girls, so I am eager to listen to her tips! I have several of her books and I am always encouraged by her. What I love about her is that she speaks about love and joy and beauty in the home. It often pushes me to make my home a cleaner, prettier place just in practical terms. But she also inspires me to speak more gently to my children while pointing them to the compassion of Jesus. This is always a great reminder and I need it often! Sally speaks on homeschooling, mothering, and Christian friendship and I love every episode I have listened to!

2. From Our Home to Yours

Nancy Campbell, founder of Above Rubies, has the most soothing voice in the world. I love listening to her for her Bible teaching and common-sense approach to mothering. She takes her listeners through certain Scriptures while giving the Greek or Hebrew words, and it has helped me understand certain passages more deeply than before. I love her series on the Awe and Wonder of Life in the Womb. She is a wonderful voice for pro-life. Through listening to her podcasts, I have learned to consider my children and my calling to stay at home a huge blessing. She encourages us mothers to pursue our calling with delight and purpose. I always come away from listening to Nancy with renewed strength to take on the day!

3. Trim Healthy Podcast w/Serene and Pearl

I love Trim Healthy Mama. I have all the books and I love what these ladies have to say about health. So, you can imagine my excitement when they announced they were recording a podcast weekly. (Nancy Campbell in my #2 podcast? She’s Serene and Pearl’s mama.)

I tune into this podcast once a week to get my dose of inspiration to continue eating healthily. It never fails that I fall into a weekly slump of craving junk food…then I’ll listen to this podcast and it gives me the kick in the pants I always need to get back on track. They have great tips, recipes, and just general advice that I like to hear. It’s always encouraging to me. I love their happy attitudes and they often tie in Bible truths to their health tips.

Along with the THM podcast, they put out a monthly show called the Serene and Pearl Unshow. It’s mostly funny stories and things they can’t talk about on an official THM podcast. I enjoy it for the fun of it and it always makes me smile.   

4. Old Fashioned on Purpose

Jill Winger has been in my life for nearly 8 years. I found her as I was beginning our journey of “homesteading” and used many of her from scratch recipes to get me started out. I followed her for years. I’ve used her homemade laundry detergent recipe, candle and soap tutorials, and learned all about milking goats from her blog. Theprairiehomestead.com has been a great resource over the years. She published a cookbook last year, which I love, and then she announced she was going to record podcasts! Yay! Her episodes are fairly short, twenty minutes, and I can get a good dose of old fashioned inspiration quick! She has time saving tips, recipes, homeschool advice, and so much more!

5. Mark Driscoll Audio

These series of sermons from Mark Driscoll are long…but they are worth listening to! He is currently teaching on the book of Daniel. These sermons are from his home church. It is a good supplement of Bible teaching throughout the week. My husband listens to him on the way to work and back, and can knock out a sermon in a day and a half. He teaches through different books of the Bible and of course you can download past sermons. He has taught through Galatians, Philippians, Song of Solomon, Proverbs, and more. My favorite time to listen to him is when I’m preparing dinner. Then it’s fun to discuss what I’ve been learning at the dinner table!

6. River Oaks Community Church

This podcast is sermons from our own church! Sometimes it’s hard to listen when you have wiggly children in your lap…or I’m in the children’s class teaching…so being able to listen back to our weekly sermons is such a blessing! We are currently working through the book of Ephesians. If I miss a point…I can rewind on the podcast!

7. TennesseeFarmTable

Last but certainly not least…I encourage you to tune in to Amy Campbell’s local radio show, The Tennessee Farm Table! She airs her podcast every Friday evening, and then the show comes on our local radio station WDVX (wdvx.com) on Saturday mornings at 9 am. She features local farmers and producers on her show. She interviews folks who are working hard to keep old traditions alive. She has a passion for Appalachian food and preservation methods. If you have followed us for very long, you may have seen me advertise for Amy before! My husband and I have both been on this podcast talking about our farm and what we do. This is a fun podcast and very informative as well. Tune in to learn a thing or two about our local farmers…and listen to some great bluegrass music too.

That’s my list! I’d love it if you joined me in listening. Do you have a favorite podcast? Share it with me and I’ll give it a listen, too

How to Make Simple Soy Wax Candles

I want to clear something up real quick before ya’ll read this tutorial.

I’m no expert candle maker. I don’t have the patience to learn all the different techniques that’s involved with “real” candlemaking.

But if you want a quick, cute, unique gift…this is a winner!

Friends will think you have some secret candle-making talent when you bring these out.

Before you get started, have these materials gathered:

Soy wax (I use this kind, ordered straight from Amazon. This is my affiliate link, so if you purchase any from this link, I will get a small credit. All links on this post are affiliate links, just so you are aware.)

-Crock pot. I use an old hand-me-down that is retired from cooking food. I also use it to make soap.

-Candle scent, if desired. The possibilities are fun and endless!

Candle wick. I prefer these. You can purchase any old wick from Hobby Lobby, but the ones that are pre-dipped in wax burn better, in my experience.

-Container of choice. This is so fun. Choosing a non-porous container, whether it be a glass jar or tea cup, is where your creativity can shine! I love shopping for China cups or unique glassware at second hand stores. They are extremely cheap. And you never know what you will find at such a place! If you can’t find anything in Goodwill, you can always choose the 4 oz Mason jar. They even make them in different shapes if you’re willing to pay a little extra. Look for fun containers at garage sales, too!

Here’s the process:

1. Fill your candle container with the soy wax pieces. I fill them up to the top, as the wax will melt and you’ll have to add more.

2. Put all the filled containers in the crockpot. The size of your crock—and the containers—will determine how many candles you can do in one batch.

3. Add water slowly to the crockpot, around your containers. Make sure there is enough fill water to warm the containers to melt the wax, but not so high that the water sloshes into the candles, or the containers float!

4. Set the crockpot on high, and let the wax melt.

5. Depending on the strength of your crockpot, it will be at least an hour before your wax melts completely. However, it doesn’t have to be completely melted for you to add more wax to the containers. Just keep adding the wax until it is all the way melted, and you have filled your container to the desired fullness. Obviously, you don’t want the wax to be all the way to the top of your container. That’s just asking for spills, and that will burn you! So use discretion, and don’t overfill the container with wax. You will know how much to add by looking at it as it melts.

6. After the wax has melted and is filled to a reasonable height…turn off the crockpot.

7. You don’t have to work so quickly that you are sloppy…but working fairly quickly…put on heat proof gloves or oven mitts of some kind and carefully take the candles out of the hot crock pot. If you have canning tongs, use those on circle jars or tea cups. I have had odd shaped containers that make using canning tongs more dangerous.

8. Set them on a heat proof surface. I set them on my oven. (I made a boo-boo once and set them on one of my kitchen towels. I had some leakage…and nearly ruined my towel. When that wax melts it is nearly impossible to clean it out of a towel!)

9. Quickly position the wick in the candle. This is the hardest part for me. I usually end up taking long skewers, and wrapping the wick around it to stabilize it in the center. Then I set it on top of the candle until the wax hardens.

10. While the wax is still melted, add the scent. It really depends on your brand of scent…but I add about 15-20 drops. I honestly haven’t experimented with too many essential oils, but I have heard that the heat from the hot wax makes the essential oils evaporate. Feel free to experiment, because that’s how we figure things out! 😉

11. Allow the candles to sit undisturbed for several hours until the wax has completely cooled. Keep them away from children who like to put their fingers in them, thereby ruining the smooth surface of the wax…

12. That’s it! You have a hand-made, beautiful gift or party favor for your friends and family!

Further ideas:

My mama and I hosted a ladies’ brunch recently and I made candles for all the girls. Since it was kind of a tea party, I wanted to find lovely China cups, but I struck out and didn’t find any. So I found some neat little galvanized containers at Hobby Lobby. I thought these would be perfect! They did turn out well…but I had a few leaks in the containers! So be mindful of that when choosing the container. It was a mess and I had to redo a few….but in the end it turned out ok!

I added a small piece of paper with a Bible verse printed on it and twine around the candle, and ta-da!

You can decorate the exterior of the candle however you choose. The possibilities of ribbon and lace and attachments are literally endless. Remember it is a candle though. So don’t get too carried away and create a fire hazard!

There are so many other candle wax options out there, too. I chose soy wax because it is easy and clean. But you can go to any craft store and find candle wax options.

I have used beeswax before. I love beeswax of course, but it is really messy! Have a dedicated beeswax melting pot! That stuff sticks like crazy when it dries. I have heard of rolling beeswax candles, but I haven’t tried it.

Like I said when we started, I would never claim to be a candle making expert. But I love showing up with cute homemade gifts. Plus making soy candles is a fun skill to have under your belt.