Times of reflection can be so valuable. When you're in the thick of things, just trying to meet your daily deadlines and keep up with everything, you don't see too much progress. But when you step back, say at the end of a year, and take a look — wow! You can see how far you've come, even in the simplest of things, and how much God has done.
Right at this moment, looking back on 2013, I feel awed and grateful for the blessings and progress in all kinds of things, both personal and professional. I am also very, very excited for 2014.
Personal and Professional Highlights of 2013
The calendar is about to turn to 2014, and before that happens, I want to make sure to share with you the highlights — both personal and at GNOWFGLINS — of 2013.
In this podcast at the beginning of the year 2013, I chose confidence as my word for the year. Then I forgot about it. However, confidence did not want to be forgotten!
A few days ago, I took time to reflect on 2013, and I realized I had grown in confidence in all areas of my life personal and professional. Still not remembering this was my word, by the way.
So I chose confidence as my word for 2014 — so that I could grow formally in it.
And that's when I remembered it was my word for 2013 all along! 😉
I am going to keep it for another year anyway, because even though I forgot, it really worked out well and I want to keep going!
What was your word for 2013? How did you do? What's your word for 2014?
Late in 2012, my husband retired from his outside job and came home full-time. So 2013 was a full year of all of us being together at home. My husband devotes most of his time and energy to homeschooling our three teenage children. Our children work really hard and have grown in leaps and bounds this year. This has been simply amazing for all of us, even me. I can't even begin to tell you how much progress has been made here. We thank the Lord for this!
2013 saw the addition (and completion) of the Dehydrating eCourse (and eBook) and the beginning of the Allergy-Free Cooking eCourse. We're covering lots of ground, and our members (you) sure make this work fun and rewarding!
God has provided and grown a wonderful team for GNOWFGLINS.
This includes my kind and conscientious virtual assistant Millie. When you contact GNOWFGLINS about routine things, you more than likely hear back from Millie. She has taken on more and more of the routine duties, which frees me up to experiment in the kitchen and create lessons and material for GNOWFGLINS. I was pretty tightly stretched… until 2013. 🙂
And of course, our online class teachers — Erin, Katie, Sara Kay, Christina, Jami, Jami, and Melissa, who continue to create material, support members, and answer your class questions on our member forums. (2014 will see an exciting new addition to the teachers!)
We are blessed by their high-quality work, and I pray in turn this is a blessing for you.
Also in 2013, we added a crew of contributing writers to the GNOWFGLINS blog. Am I ever thankful for their efforts and contributions! From recipes and health, to gardening and foraging and homesteading, to personal reflection — great, great stuff.
I know you all have enjoyed this, too, because this blog continues to grow in all measurable (and immeasurable) statistics. You will see several of the contributors' articles below in the top viewed posts of 2013.
Want to get to know the contributors? You can do that right here!
I and my family count you among our family and our greatest blessings, and we pray for you daily. Thank you for sharing your lives with us and for continuing to visit and share what you find at GNOWFGLINS! We love you, and I really mean that. <3
Top 25 Viewed Posts During 2013
And now… I love to look back at stats for the year to see what people are reading most. It's always interesting and telling — and sometimes surprising!
The list below is the top 25 viewed posts during 2013. While many posts were published in 2013, some were prior to 2013 and continue to be very popular. This list doesn't include our home page or recipes page (which are always near the top of any stats list, as they should be!).
Enjoy this look back! I expect you will find some you missed and will enjoy very much now. But maybe you've seen them all!
In the comments, be sure to let me know of any favorite posts that didn't make the top 25 that you think are worthy of an honorable mention. 🙂
We've been so excited to bring you this recipe. My daughter and I have been planning our week around it. No kidding! My friend Diana from My Humble Kitchen came out with her new cookbook, Nourishing Cookies for a Healthy Holiday. It's gorgeous and includes 10 naturally sweetened cookie recipes. My daughter looked through the book, figuring which cookie she'd like to make first. Then Diana gave us permission to make and share the no-bake coconut snowball cookies, so we knew just what to do. And here they are! So beautiful, right? And incredibly easy (no-bake). And delicious. Just what you want in a cookie! [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “No Bake Coconut Snowball Cookies”.
For today's seasonal recipe round-up on squash (and zucchini), I'd like to show you how to dehdyrate it. A single zucchini or squash plant is quite productive and can easily overwhelm a good sized family. So preserving it for the future is a good and frugal idea. Not to mention that your family may be pretty sick of it, if you're eating a lot fresh. The two best ways I've found to dehydrate zucchini are: shredded and thinly sliced. The thinly sliced become zucchini chips and they're really good! [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “Dehydrating Zucchini and Summer Squash (Chips and Shredded)”.
As promised, here's the jerky recipe I'm (loosely) following. I looked around for ground meat jerky recipes after I read that commercial jerky is often made with ground meat. We knew that jerky was pretty soft, and we thought it would work better for the people in my family that have teeth issues… sensitive teeth or braces. (I'm sorry, Dr. Price, but we learned about you too late.) [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “Ground Meat Jerky – Not So Tough”.
Homemade deodorant is frugal, contains natural ingredients that you can know and trust, can be tweaked to suit your family’s unique needs. In my quest to find one that would work well for my family, I experimented with three slightly different recipes. I evaluated each recipe in terms of its effectiveness, texture, and scent. I stored all three in small mason jars and we applied them with our fingertips. My husband tried all three deodorants as well, and I included his thoughts in my results. Our days require varying levels of activity and therefore sweat levels, but we made sure to use each recipe on warm, active days to give each a real test for effectiveness. [by Jenny Cutler]
Click here to read “Review: Three Homemade Deodorant Recipes”.
We have not used a microwave for about four years. We read enough about it to confirm a belief that our food would be more healthful if we did not use a microwave. The purpose of what I write here is not to convince you to do without one, but rather to help you make the adjustment to living without a microwave should you desire to go that route yourself. [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “Reheating Foods Without A Microwave”.
Do you feel like you could never possibly soak and dehydrate your own nuts and seeds? Do you wonder why it is even important? I want to tell you two things: 1) You can do it! and 2) It is important! [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “How and Why to Soak and Dehydrate Nuts and Seeds”.
Sometimes in life we get tired of hearing about all the things we should change, and as a result we hold on too tightly to things we should be setting free. Oh, dear aluminum foil. I am afraid that in my home I may have held on a little too tightly. Aluminum foil is so easy. As the camping season began and I pulled out my camping menus, I realized how much I was dependent on that convenient metal foil. Sigh. I suppose it was time to take another look. [by Nichole Sawatzky]
Click here to read “Rethinking Aluminum Foil”.
Looking for a whole food, natural, egg substitute? Use flax seed meal and water! (Or chia seed powder and water.) Flax seeds and chia seeds are gelatinous and when whisked with water, get all gummy. This gumminess is what makes them act like eggs in a your baked goods recipes: like muffins, cookies, and cakes. Here's how to do it. [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “Great Egg Substitutes: Flax and Chia Seeds”.
Nutty and moist, this almond bread is both delicious and filling. I serve it like cornbread on the side of a meal. The kids and I need only the bottom half of a square spread with butter, while my husband takes two. Before coming up with this recipe, I tried a recipe I found on the internet. That bread was so dry we all got hiccups! Then I noticed the recipe called for no fat whatsoever. Well, that would explain it. 😉 So I played around with the ratios of ingredients and of course I added fat — and here is the final recipe. We really love these! [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “Grain-Free Almond Bread”.
Probiotics are an essential part of the GAPS diet (a gut-healing protocol). This is how we repopulate our guts with all of the good stuff that we’ve been missing. However, as we introduce them, our bodies can experience difficulty. I hope that by sharing my story, you’ll avoid making the same mistakes I did! [by Mindy Hurd]
Click here to read “Probiotics — Taking It Slowly”.
This month marks the one-year anniversary of having lived at Black Fox Homestead. It has been a momentous year for us, one we will never forget. It has also been a year of great change and transition. Before this year, I wish someone would have sat down with me over a cup of tea, someone who had been there and done that, someone who had faced what we were preparing to take on. I wish someone had told me something along these lines… [by Jenny Cazzola]
Click here to read “Rural Homesteading: Four Things I Wish I Had Known”.
Beans are among the easiest of foods to sprout, and doing so helps to pre-digest them. Some (like lentils) can be eaten raw, though most people will digest beans best they're lightly steamed or cooked. Here are very easy directions for sprouting, and you'll find more inside our unlimited online classes. [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “Sprouting Beans: Lentils, Mung Beans, and Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)”.
I'm excited to share that I finally know how to make perfect homemade ice cream. Even though I've had an ice cream maker for a year and a half, I was an under-achiever with it. I wasn't getting perfect ice cream out of it, week after week of trying. The ice cream I used to make was good — we all enjoyed it. But it was soupy or icy. Well, no more. Our ice cream is now perfect — a soft serve, yet firm and scoopable ice cream without iciness or soupiness! It's time to share what I've learned. [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “8 Tips for Perfect Homemade Ice Cream”.
In lieu of a podcast today, I want you to tune in to another broadcast: a recording of a two-hour lecture by chiropractic doctor R. E. Tent of Diverse Health Services in Novi, Michigan. It will blow your mind — it did mine. Please, please watch this video. However, I do know that a two-hour video is quite a time commitment and you might not be able to do that. So, I'm covering Plan B for you. This morning, I spent six of hours of my own time rewatching it and writing out my thoughts — in order to capture the four most important points for you. [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “4 Things You Didn't Know About Vaccines”.
Is this Amish butter or not? Come along with me and we'll find out. [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “Amish Butter: Really?”
I'm putting myself on the line by claiming that this is the “Best Sweet Potato Casserole Ever”. Now it hasn't won any awards or a blue ribbon at the State Fair or anything like that. But I can tell you that I never liked sweet potatoes — until I created this recipe. I make this for my family year-round, take it to cookouts and potlucks, and have shared this recipe with many friends and family. It's so good! [by Lindsey Dietz]
Click here to read “Best Sweet Potato Casserole Ever”.
GAPS. Have you heard of this diet? Perhaps you've seen the GAPS book cover or the website and thought, “I don't have any of those conditions, so it's not for me.” Or someone's told you all the things you cannot eat and you thought, “No way!” For many reasons, people find GAPS overwhelming, irrelevant, or unapproachable. Today, I'd like to demystify it. This is a “big picture” kind of post. I want you to grasp its vast implications without being overwhelmed by fine details. [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “Let's Demystify the GAPS Diet”.
They say this cheddar gets better with age. I don't know about that because we ate it fresh. 😉 For those of you without a cheese press, you can eat the curds fresh and un-pressed! [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “Homemade Raw Cheddar Cheese”.
As a nutritional therapist and GAPS practitioner, I get many questions about almond flour. Many of my GAPS clients miss their favorite baked goodies from time to time and need GAPS-friendly, real food alternatives — and almond flour often fits the bill! Almond flour is nothing more than ground almonds, but there are some important qualities we’ll talk about in this post. [by Amy Love]
Click here to read “A Primer: Baking with Almond Flour”.
Don't like plain kefir, even though you know it's good for you? Well, I have some people like you in my family. So I've been on a mission, since we begun making it, to come up with fun and yummy ways to eat it. Please share in the comments how you eat kefir! [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “8 Yummy Ways to Eat Kefir”.
My boys enjoy sourdough pancakes pretty much every morning of the week. It is our favorite breakfast at the moment. This particular recipe and method is quick, easy, delicious, and nutritious, and it makes fluffy-beyond-your-wildest-dreams pancakes. I also love how I get all of my batter cooking at one time. Sitting WITH my family to eat breakfast is always fun! [by Erin VanderLugt]
Click here to read “Erin's Oh-So-Fluffy Sourdough Pancakes”.
Is it crazy for ketchup to bring me such a smile? Honestly! I didn't know if I should name this delicacy “Oh My Lans Ketchup!”, “Mercy Sakes Ketchup!”, or “You Are Never Going to Believe It Ketchup!”. When I think about this delicious, simple, and nutritious condiment, I can only shake my head. Enjoy the taste and tang of summer year-round with this lacto-fermented treat! Your gut will thank you… as will each of your friends and family members! [by Erin VanderLugt]
Click here to read “Lacto-Fermented Homemade Ketchup”.
It's been a few months since I shared on Facebook that I was looking for and going to try making homemade deodorant. My first attempt worked pretty well, but not perfect for all of us. So I tweaked and that didn't work perfectly either. But the third tweak was a go! So today I'm fulfilling my promise to share our natural, homemade deodorant recipe — it really works. And no nasty chemicals like store-bought! [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “Wardee's Natural, Homemade Deodorant”.
This method for cast iron seasoning creates a hard, non-stick surface. That's why I call it amazing! If you look at the science behind the seasoning of cast iron, you'll find that using cold-pressed, unrefined, organic flaxseed oil, with its low smoke point, is the best for achieving a hard, slick, lasting finish on cast iron. So I followed the seasoning recommendation for using flax seed oil with my always-sticking cast iron pans, and I’m thrilled with the results! Here is how I did it… [by Jami]
Click here to read “Amazing Cast Iron Seasoning”.
Don't be scared of beans, or even dry beans! Once you discover how easily you can cook and prepare them, how delicious and digestible they are when prepared well, and how much money you save starting with dry beans, you won't go back to canned. Beans are a source of high quality, inexpensive nourishment. They offer minerals, B vitamins, essential fatty acids, and soluble and insoluble fiber. But as wonderful as they are, poorly prepared beans can produce undesirable results in polite society. Proper preparation is key, and here's how. [by Wardee Harmon]
Click here to read “Cooking Dry Beans.”
Which of these top posts have you seen and are your favorites as well? Which have you missed? Got a favorite post not included here that's worthy of mention?
Happy New Year, everyone! I'm looking forward to working with you in 2014!
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