The Made From Scratch Life

For a while now, I have been looking into ways to escape the world of chemicals and preservatives that we live in. Ever since I came across the Fewell Homestead blog, I’ve been unable to eat anything without thinking of what might be in it. I’ve shied away from the cleaners used in my home, aware of what the effects the materials might have if they are used. However, as a high-school student, I don’t have the power to make a big change in the things we buy. Small steps are required- and that’s where this book comes in.

Have you ever wanted to live in a healthier way? Are you in a living situation where you can’t make drastic changes to your backyard or pantry?

Melissa K. Norris has written an incredible book to help with those issues. Chock-full of ideas to help you transition, you can’t go wrong. You’ll find lists on everything from ingredients to have in the pantry to ways to be like Laura Ingalls Wilder (my personal favorite!), tips on ways to create an effective container garden and how to manage pests in a non-toxic fashion, and more.

Norris skillfully incorporates stories from her experience at the beginning of each chapter, giving the reader a unique insight into her life. By the end of the book, it feels as though a connection has been made. Unlike many pioneering books, one not only gets the recipes and ideas but also meets the author and her family. The faith element is stressed, and the importance of trusting the Lord is a key theme.

I loved finding so much within one book. This is a veritable treasure trove for anyone looking for ideas on what to do! After reading this, I was able to clean the gunk out from the shower- something no commercial cleaner had managed to do- and spot some old carpet stains we hadn’t yet managed to remove, and those were just a few things within one chapter! I’m ridiculously excited to try out the tips in the growing and preserving chapters this year! Final verdict? This book is a delight to read and a staple for any who dream of a homestead of their own.

You can buy this book here! Right now, if you order, you’ll get access to some awesome digital resources, including an e-course and a workbook. Enjoy!


Almost a year!!!

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I still can’t believe that Easter has rolled around again! That was the first holiday I covered from this blog and look at all it’s taken us through! I have decided to move on from this particular blog, and the last post will occur in early May. Although bittersweet, I feel as though I need to expand my niche. Stay tuned for updates as I make these important decisions!

The other day I planted our peas, lettuce and spinach, radishes, beets, and carrots, and before long they’ll be pushing out of the ground. Hopefully, they will work this year, as you know container gardening is a bit fickle.

Thank you for a wonderful year!


Cinnamon roll mug-cake

This is not a cinnamon roll. It is a cinnamon roll cake. It is also delicious.






  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/16 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tbsp plain greek yogurt

Cinnamon sprinkle:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tbsp butter


  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 – 2 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar


  1. Grease a small mug. Sprinkle about half of the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter (from the cinnamon sprinkle) into the mug. Microwave until melted: 45-60 seconds.
  2. Place all the ingredients for the cake into the mug, being careful not to burn yourself.




3. Try to get as many lumps out.  Unlike other kinds of mug cake, the lumps aren’t so noticeable, but it is probably a good idea to get as many as you can out.

4. Sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar on the top. If you want, you can break up the last bit of butter and place it on the top. Microwave for 60-90 seconds.

5. In the meantime, make the icing. Put all the ingredients into a cup or bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds- make sure to cover it! I like to use a measuring cup, for easy pouring.

6. Stir together- it will melt further as you stir. Unless you aren’t in a hurry (to watch Downton Abbey), you’ll be able to make it smoother, but it honestly doesn’t matter.

7. Pour the icing over the cake and enjoy! WIN_20160207_20_03_12_Pro

In case you are worried about how healthy this is, I have ‘sacrificed’ my appetite in order to tweak the recipe. No vegetable oil, 3/4 of the size, and more nutmeg.

That last thing had nothing to do with the healthiness of the recipe. I just like nutmeg.


Macaroni in a mug

These are those days.

The days when you concede the fact that you probably have the flu.

The days when you know you should work on your homework- but never mind. Let’s just do something pointless instead.

The days when you want to make a lunch other than chicken soup, but your headache prevents you from doing much more than sit up and do said pointless thing.

The days when you discover that those mug cakes that you are obsessed with? Well, you can make macaroni and cheese the same way!

And even better? They taste similer to Noodles’ Wisconsin mac n’ cheese. Without the huge serving and $6 price tag. It’s enough for one person- doesn’t leave you hungry, or over-full.


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat elbow macaroni (uncooked)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • As much shredded cheddar cheese as you want
  • 2-4 tablespoons whole milk


  1. Add water and macaroni to a large mug. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Give it a stir after the 2 minutes and cook it again for 2 minutes. Stir and test your macaroni at this point. It should be al dente. If not, cook for another minute. (Your water may boil over a little bit- stop it, and start again, if you like. It’s kind of inevitable. You could also add an ice cube.)
  2. Once macaroni is cooked, add in butter and cheese. Stir together. If you had a lot of water leftover, you may only need a splash or two of milk. This will all depend on how creamy you like your macaroni and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. (heavy on the pepper- it goes really well with cheddar cheese.)
  3. Cook for another 2 minutes on high, stir, and enjoy!


Now, since that was mind-blowingly delicious enough to scare some of that headache away, you can go make that mug-cinnamon roll you’ve been eyeing.




Pears Poached in White Wine

I’m rather thankful that alcohol cooks off. These pears are too good for me to resist (I briefly considered eating the entire one).WIN_20160202_19_31_06_Pro

Poached Pears with Vanilla and Cinnamon

1 peeled Bosc pear- sliced in half, or in quarters, or not at all*

1/2 cup Pinot Grigio

2 cups water

1-2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 tsp

1/2 cup cinnamon

1 cup sugar

Cinnamon sugar


  1. Stir together the white wine, water, cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat and add the peeled pear. Simmer, uncovered, until they turn tender, but not mushy.
  2. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the pear onto a serving plate. Bring the liquid  back to a simmer, add the sugar, and allow the mixture to reduce by half in volume.
  3. The syrup is ready when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Arrange the pears on individual serving plates and drizzle with the syrup. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar generously over the pear.


*If you slice the pear, make sure to scoop out the core with a melon baller. Otherwise, be careful of it when eating!




This recipe can be adjusted to suit however many pears you feel like eating and/or currently have in your house. We only had one in our house, and- alas- had to split it between four people. You’ll need to use a fairly firm pear variety, so if you don’t use Bosc, I don’t suggest substituting Bartlett pears- you’ll end up with a lovely wine sauce, scattered throughout with bits of pear.


Looking back.


I was re-reading all of my old blog posts the other day.

Random collage

My life has changed a lot the past eight months. I started the blog (of course).


I changed the name four times.



I started sewing more, and made things for myself and my family.

Vitamin C+

We forgot about the freezer and cooked chicken four days in a row.


We planted our first Meadowbrook plot- after four years of dreaming…


… and almost killed said Meadowbrook plot. Whoops.


We met the Bessies.


We got some bitter watermelons, some heavenly cantaloupes, then forgot about the pumpkins- which by then had been nibbled at by who-knows-what.


And a (literal) ton of zucchini.


We made more soup-


and decided to half-homestead.

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We made- and fell in love with- homemade toothpaste.


We made apple galettes- which totally should be as popular as pies. Even if I messed up the crust. And they literally lasted three minutes.


I realized that even though, arguably, it is warm enough for more lemon-basil ice cream, basil does not grow in Illinois in December. Alas.


That zucchini relish I made and canned did not kill anyone at Thanksgiving.


Neither did the pickles.


I realized that I probably ate half of that chocolate. Sorry, family.


Finals happened. And I put off studying until three weeks previous, and watched Studio C instead.

Screenshot (33)


Food Rules went on to my Christmas list, as did Nourishing Traditions.


We tried, loved, and accidentally killed my kefir. (which, by the way, Google does not consider a word. Why is that?)


We ate a lot of pie.


We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of tomatoes that we got- than made salsa and sauce.


We learned that chard doesn’t need to be cooked to taste good.


We made terrible puns, drank apple cider and hot chocolate, looked back on the year- and smiled.

Here’s to 2016!

A paradox

I have wonderful ideas for posts.


(remember the Zucchini Relish? It made an appearance at Thanksgiving!)

Somehow, I’m never around the computer when these ideas hit me. I’ve tried writing them down, but when I do remember to post, I’ve lost all inspiration.

It may have something to do with the fact that I’ve been binge-watching Studio C.

Screenshot (35)Screenshot (33)

If you don’t know what Studio C is, it’s a family-friendly sketch comedy group based at BYU. It’s an absolute riot! However, since I’ve been sick, I haven’t felt like doing much of anything, and therefore have been watching sketches all day.

There’s also finals.

And other blogs. And Christmas presents that I’m almost done making. And candymaking. And a nagging urge to rewrite that book my friend and I started/arguably finished fiveish years ago. (Edit: I succumbed to that. We’re on draft two of the third iteration, and everything’s going great)

Like now. I’m currently going through German vocab, reading old posts by Shaye Elliott, writing this post, and craving that lemon-basil ice cream we made over the summer.


It was such a keeper recipe… if you could have basil ice cream in December and not feel a little weird, I would make it. Of course, it’s about 65 degrees… so maybe you could. Do we have basil?


But seriously, if anyone has any ideas for beating bronchitis while managing seven finals, I’d love to hear them.