Thrive on Black Friday 2015

Today is the day!!

The BLACK FRIDAY sale at THRIVE is well underway and there are DEALS galore to be had! Take a look at the deal sheet for Black Friday below, and then visit my site to order. There are also some packages that can be ordered only through me, so if you have interest in some great meat packages, fruit or veggie variety packs, or even a smokin’ years supply package for your family, you can call or text me at 801-367-1607 or email me at

Email me!

 

 

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I hope you’ve all had a spectacular holiday and made lots of unforgettable memories with your loved ones! I pulled out a new game that I had been saving for Christmas and my kiddos have had loads of fun with it.

You know how to reach me if there’s anything I can help you with!

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, and welcome to the holiday season!

Tricks for Banishing the WITCHING HOUR

TEH-witchinghourMy eyes glance at the clock. My breathing starts to speed up and my heart starts to race. It gets harder to breathe…..My muscles tighten and then I hear the garage door open. Hyperventilation. Panic.

Don’t get me wrong….I LOVE my kids. LOVE them. I honestly believe…..

“Children are an heritage of the Lord and . . . happy is the man [and woman] that hath [their] quiver full of them” (see Psalm 127: 3-5 ).

And boy do I have a quiver full,….thankfully. And I absolutely agree with Ezra T. Benson, who said,

“Yes, blessed is the husband and wife who have a family of children. The deepest joys and blessings in life are associated with family, parenthood, and sacrifice. To have those sweet spirits come into the home is worth practically any sacrifice.”

Although many would try to convince me to be somewhere else, to get a job and avoid this trying block of time, as a mother and homemaker, I know the importance of this: “First, take time to always be at the crossroads when your children are either coming or going–when they leave and return from school–when they leave and return from dates–when they bring friends home.” (Ezra T. Benson, To the Mothers In Zion, Feb. 1987)

I KNOW this is where I’m supposed to be. But I still inevitably suffer from being at the crossroads, also known as

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Every day about 3:15 p.m., I suffer from extreme anxiety and overwhelm and stress. It lasts until about 8 p.m. EVERY WEEK NIGHT.

The kids come in and they don’t say hi, they say “what can I eat?” And bless their hearts, they all want to talk to me at the same time and tell me about their days, and lists of things they need me to spend $$$$ on, and things they WANT me to spend $$$$ on. And homework, and reading, and dinner, and choir concerts and church youth group meetings, and visiting and home teaching, and on, and on, and on……

Is it a rough time of day for you, too? Rough might be downplaying it, yeah? And while Xanax is lovely when needed, taking it every single night…..not a good thing.

Here’s a few ideas that have been helpful for me, and hopefully will be helpful for you, to get through the Witching Hour….who knows, maybe you’ll avoid it all-together.

TEH-menuPlanMenu Planning: I shop once a month, which is hard sometimes, but that’s what works for us. So it is essential…ESSENTIAL that I have a meal plan. So I sit down once a month and plan out what we will eat. In addition, I have 15 meals (times 6) that I have stuff on hand for all the time (more about that in another post coming soon).

PM Planning: I find it really helps if I look at what is going on the next day, before I go to bed. It helps me carve out my time to prep, so that I can avoid that witching hour.

TEH-AMPrepAM Prep: I like to do as much meal prep as I can in the morning, when things are quiet, and my little XY is doing his online preschool work. Whether it’s getting all the ingredients chopped and measured, and assembled, or putting a meal in the crock pot to be done when dinner rolls around, I find the more I can do in the morning when things are slow, the easier it is on me later in the day.

 

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Bulk Cooking/Bulk Prepping: When I go to the store and come home with a ten pound bag of carrots, but best thing for me to do is chop, slice, (etc) that whole bag, then and there. Not only does that make my day-to-day easier, but I (and the minions) end up eathing alot more veggies if they are prepped and ready to go. In all honesty, this doesn’t always happen, BUT when it does….things go much better.

Prep ahead Veggies, Prepping and freezing in portion sizes, Home Canned Beans, Frozen Cookie Dough Balls, Home Canned Chicken Stock

Homestore: Having a home store means I have the ingredients for at least 15 meals on hand at any given time. I am working on having three months worth of foods we regularly eat on hand so I can provide in times of economic hardship, or some other disaster, or simply just have what I need for a quick meal so I don’t have to run to the store. Some of the meals on my list are: Spaghetti, Hawaiian Haystacks, Homemade Pizza, Burritos, Fried Rice, Southwestern Chicken & Rice Soup, Macaroni & Cheese, and more.

 

IMG_4237Mixes: Having my own “convenience foods” ready to go makes meal time so much easier. Not only can I control the food we eat, but I can do most things cheaper than their grocery store counterparts.

Pancake Mix , Instant Oatmeal Mix, Muffin Mix, (if you’re doing “Breakfast for Dinner”), Pizza Sauce and Seasoning Mix, Cream of Anything Soup Mix, Tortillas, Bouillon

TEH_BCN1Freezer Meals: By bulk cooking and freezing the extra in portion sizes, I can have meals ready to go in the freezer that just require a few minutes in the microwave, or can go from freezer to oven in a snap.

Bean & Cheese Burritos, Homemade Chicken Nuggets, make and freeze Homemade Pizza Dough,

TEH-tomatobasilsoup1Meals with 5 Ingredients or Less:  Something quick and easy, with few ingredients like Tomato Basil Soup which is awesome with grilled cheese sandwiches, helps make dinner quick and easy, and lets us get on with the rest of the evening crazy.

TEH-MIJvarietyMeals In Jars: Taking an hour or so on a slow day to put ingredients together in a jar, makes dinner come together in 20 minutes.

Prepping Meals in JarsSouthwestern Chicken & Rice Soup, Summer Porridge,

TEH_scHamPot_8Crockpot/Pressure Cooker: Slow Cooker Ham & Potatoes, Rosemary Chicken, Turkey Breast, Roasts, Dry beans…..all things that can be cooked in a fraction of the time in a pressure cooker, or cooked on low heat all day in a slow cooker, for spectacular mealtime results.

By using these tricks, I can focus on what’s really important FOR ME as a mother and a homemaker. Being at the crossroads. Because I am a mother who knows how important it is for me to overcome my anxiety and be there for my children. Finding ways to eliminate and avoid stress during the Witching Hour is one way that I try to make peace and preparedness a part of my every day life.

What things do YOU do to avoid the crazy stress of the Witching Hour?

 

Recipe: Magnificent Stuffed Peppers

Magnificent and delicious stuffed peppers at theEssentialHomemaker.com

 

I love not shopping….like, LOVE. It’s so nice to have a Home Store, where I buy and store stuff in advance to have on hand when I need it, thereby eliminating most emergency trips to the store. Such a stress reducer!

This morning I went out into my garden and found eight beautifully ripe green bell peppers, so naturally, my first thought was “I MUST make some stuffed peppers!” Thanks to my Home Store, I already have every thing I need, right at my fingertips.

I love this recipe….I tweaked it to include all kinds of veggies and swapped out the rice for quinoa, which makes for a lighter dish, and the method I use for cooking the quinoa adds a nutty, irresistible flavor.

YUM!

TEH-MSPrecipeheadPrintable recipe card

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Prepare cheese if using freeze dried and cook quinoa.
  2. Put ground beef, sausage, and onion in pan on medium heat. Stir frequently to toast, 3-4 minutes. (If using fresh beef, sausage, and onion, brown and drain).
  3. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes, until fragrant, stirring frequently.
  4. Add spinach, zucchini/squash, tomatoes, quinoa, tomato powder, Classic Tomato Sauce, and 2 1/2 cups water. Simmer 7-10 minutes and adjust seasonings to taste, and liquid as desired. Add basil.
  5. Pour chicken broth into a 9×13 pan. Place pepper halves cut side up into the broth.
  6. Fill pepper halves with meat/quinoa/veggie mixture.
  7. Cover tightly with foil and bake 45 minutes.
  8. Uncover, sprinkle with cheeses, and bake 15 more minutes.
  9. Enjoy!

*Tip for making practically perfect fluffy quinoa: rinse quinoa well under cold water and drain at least 20 minutes (if using Thrive Quinoa, you can skip this step and the draining). Add to hot pan and toast until fragrant. Remove to bowl. Use a ratio of 1 part quinoa to 1.5 parts liquid. Bring liquid (water, beef or chicken broth or bouillon) to a rapid boil. Add toasted quinoa and cover with lid, leaving a slight vent.  Reduce to med-low heat and maintain a strong simmer. Cook 16 minutes or until water is gone. Remove from heat, remove lid. Let rest 10 minutes; fluff with a fork.

**Tip for reconstituting freeze dried cheese: put cheese in a bowl. Very slowly add water, while constantly stirring. Once you notice water beginning to collect on the bottom of the bowl, STOP. You have enough water. Put in a zip top bag and flatten. Place in refrigerator a minimum of one hour. This method produces an amazing reconstituted cheese that tastes great and melts wonderfully.

Give these yummy stuffed peppers a try…sneak a veggie or two into those bellies! Let me know if you make them!

Growing a garden and utilizing my Home Store are two ways that I make PEACE and PREPAREDNESS a part of my EVERY DAY LIFE.

See you soon!

 P.S. If you want to know how YOU can have YOUR own Home Store, you can check out this link, or contact me by clicking HERE or the little envelope icon in the right hand side bar. I’d LOVE to share with you all the great things about THRIVE and how it’s changed my life. If you’d like to earn FREE and half off product, or even earn a paycheck, be in touch! I can help you!

Recipe: Healthy Homemade Popsicles

Just a quick post today to share one of our family summer favorites…

Stacks of homemade popsicles at theEssentialHomemaker.com using Thrive Drink Mixes

 

The summer is winding down but there’s still plenty of requests for Popsicles at my house! My hubby tells me that one of the ways families and kids make some extra money in Peru is by making these Chupetes or popsicles, that they sell at little stands. Of course we had to find a way to make our own. One of my favorite ways to use the Thrive drink mixes is in homemade popsicles….I usually mix a little stronger than recommended, for more flavor punch, but I love that the drink mixes don’t have the artificial colors and flavors in them, and that I can feel good giving them to my kids.

Thrive Drink mixes are perfect for making homemade popsicles!

 

If you use the Thrive Summer Limeade (sooooo yummy!) or Classic Lemonade, remember you need to add your own sweetener. It would even be a good idea to dissolve the sugar in boiling water and let cool. This will give you a better texture in  your final product. You can even throw some fresh or freeze dried fruit into the liquid, in the Peruvian tradition.

 

Making homemade popsicles at theEssentialHomemaker.com using these awesome bags

 

We bought these great little bags on Amazon. We DO have some of the reusable popsicle molds, but I really like the convenience of the bags.

Simply pour your liquid in, secure the tops, and freeze! The kids can hardly wait until they’re done!

Give it a try! You might discover you like the convenience of these health{ier} homemade treats.

Have YOU made your own popsicles? What are your favorite flavors?

Making homemade chupetes is one way we can make peace and preparedness a part of EVERY DAY LIFE.

See you soon!

Preserving: Drying Herbs

TEH-featherbsA few years ago I realized I needed to do something with my huge Oregano bush, so I started drying it and saving it. The coolest thing was realizing a year later that I hadn’t purchased any oregano from the store and had been using my OWN! This got me thinking this year….I want to preserve all the herbs I use regularly so I have them, know where they came from, and don’t have to purchase any, so in addition to the Oregano, Chives, Thyme, Lavender and Lemon Balm I have and use, I planted Marjoram, Tarragon, Mint, Cilantro, Basil, Parsley and Rosemary. I’ve already started harvesting and drying these for the coming year.

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Then I though a little more….beyond culinary herbs. I could grow many of the medicinal herbs that I wanted to store and use. Last year I planted several medicinal herbs and not a single one germinated….I think the spot I planted them in is unlucky….I’ve never had anything grow successfully there. So this year I ripped out the forsythia bushes in the front yard and planted Ginger Mint, Hierba Buena (Spearmint), Echinacea, St. John’s Wort, Bee Balm, Feverfew, Stevia, and Catnep. The ones I planted in containers didn’t do well, but the others are doing great. I’ve also been harvesting Raspberry leaves and drying them for their medicinal properties. I hope to get some Yarrow, Ashwaghanda, and Comfrey going as well….maybe next year.

TEH-herb2It’s so easy to do! You can use a food dehydrator or an oven, or even the sun. Wash them, lay them out, and dry them until they’re crisp.

TEH-herb1Then you can either store them whole, or crush them. I like to store mine semi-whole, and then crush them into whatever I’m making, when I make it. They seem to have more potency, more aroma, more flavor that way.

I use all kinds of jars to store them….recycled glass spice jars (Watkins and Kroger are some), plastic spice jars-especially from spices/herbs I’ve bought in bulk, and even mason jars make great storage containers.

One more way I can be a little self-sufficient, provide good things for my family and save a little money.

Have YOU ever grown and dried your own herbs? Which are your favorites? If you haven’t, give it a try! You can even look for good deals on herbs at your local grocery or farmers market.

Drying herbs is one more way to make peace and PREPAREDNESS a part of every day life. Have a great day!

DIY Skin-Loving Deodorant

 

Ya’ll know I love a good DIY, and I’m kinda a crunchy granola mamma, too. Early this year I decided that I wanted to try making my own deodorant. The aluminum and other ingredients in commercial antiperspirants are controversial and since my grandmother died recently from advanced Alzheimers, let’s just say if I could find an acceptable stink-stopping replacement that is natural and sans chemicals and heavy metals, I’m all over it.DIY Deoderant

So early this year I tried a recipe I found online. And it was ok. Occasionally I’d have to reapply during the day, which wasn’t too big a deal.

But you know me….I have to tweak….I’m hardwired to mess with something and try to make it better than it was before, so the next time I made it, I added a little bit of Vitamin E oil…no bueno. It made the deodorant not hold up very well in the heat, and the heat from my hands (during application) would make it a slimy mess…so I knew more tweaking was needed.

TEH-bentoniteclayThen I heard about (or rather was reintroduced, actually) to bentonite clay. A friend had given me some YEARS ago to help with a skin issue one of my kids was having. Bentonite clay is DA BOMB! It can be used in all kinds of skin products and even toothpaste!

Commence with the tweaking! So I made up a batch of deodorant with bentonite clay and…..deodorant NIRVANA! This recipe creates a VELVETY SMOOTH, slightly citrus smelling concoction that not only keeps my pits stink-free, but makes my skin feel amazing! Additionally, the discoloration under my arms was gone after using this deodorant for a few days….there’s some detoxifying going on there!

Oh, and it is less expensive than buying commercial deodorant, which is an added bonus!

A couple of tips to remember:

*Bentonite clay is a detoxifying product which is AWESOME, but also means that you want to avoid storing it in metal, using metal bowls or spoons, as it lessens the effectiveness of the clay. I did use metal bands and lids on top of my jars because I was out of these awesome plastic lids, but since it doesn’t come in contact with the deodorant, it’s not an issue. I bought my Redmond Clay at my local health food store, because it was on sale, but it can also be purchase through Amazon. 

*Shea butter doesn’t like high heat. Melt your oils on LOW heat to avoid the grainy texture that is created by using too high a temperature when melting.

*Beeswax comes in bars or in pastilles (little bit pieces). The pastilles are more expensive, but may save you a knuckle or two as grating the bars is hard work.

*You can use any one of a number of essential oils, or combinations of essential oils. The trick is to use oils that have properties that enhance the objective (kill bacteria-which causes pit stink, condition skin, smell lovely) and cause no harm (sometimes citrus oils and others can cause photo-sensitivity, so if your pits spend any time in the sun, you may need to exercise caution).

*Dedicated equipment….I actually went to my local thrift store and purchased some things like a sauce pan, glass bowl, cheese grater (for grating beeswax), etc that are dedicated to DIY projects here at home. This saves the sometimes horrendous cleanup of beeswax on your nice pots and pans, and bowls….yes, I do speak from experience.

*You CAN actually recycle your old deodorant containers if you don’t like using your fingers. I did this a few times, but dislike trying to clean out the old containers and found that I don’t mind using my fingers to apply at all, especially with the velvety texture, and the absence of residue after washing.

*The deodorant has a slightly gray appearance from the clay, however, I have not had a problem with my clothing being stained…certainly less than with the commercial deodorant. You can always use a stain spray on your whites/lights if you’re concerned.

Now let us commence with the recipe!

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Printable Recipe Card
Makes 2 4-ounce mason jars

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 3 Tablespoons beeswax, grated, or pastilles
  • 2 Tablespoons shea butter
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons bentonite clay
  • Essential oils

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil and beeswax in a saucepan over LOW heat, stirring frequently until beeswax is completely melted.
  2. Remove from heat and add shea butter and stir until melted.
  3. In a small glass or plastic bowl, mix arrowroot, baking soda, and bentonite clay. Add essential oils and mix to combine with a plastic or wooden spoon.
  4. Add oil mixture and mix quickly, until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pour into jars. Tap jars against counter top to release any air bubbles. Let cool, covered with a paper towel, until completely cooled. Seal with a lid. Let cure about 24 hours before using.
  6. Apply a small amount with clean fingers to underarm area, once a day as needed.

ESSENTIAL OIL Combinations:

  • 15 drops Tea Tree Oil & 7 drops Lemongrass
  • 10 drops Lavendar Oil, 5 drops Tea Tree Oil, & 5 drops Peppermint Oil
  • 10 drops Peppermint Oil, 10 drops Tangerine Oil (use care with citris oils as they can cause photo-sensitivity)
  • 5 drops Tea Tree Oil, 5 drops Lavendar Oil, 5 drops Rosemary Oil, & 5 drops Peppermint Oil

 

Making your own deodorant really takes almost no time (10 minutes, maybe?) and creates a great, effective, and natural product that is perfect for all you crunchy families out there. You can even come up with oil combinations that will make your man happy.

Making deodorant is one more way I’ve found to make peace and preparedness a part of EVERY DAY LIFE.

Have you ever made your own deodorant? Do you have trouble with or concerns about commercial deodorants, that would make trying this DIY Deodorant a great idea? I’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment!

Thrive: A BIG DEAL Sale!! Save $$!

Big news on the horizon! Thrive just announced a big sale April 9-20…and it’s gonna be BIG! Starts on Thursday!

All the Thrive Life products are going to be on sale and many of the Food Storage Rotation units (shelves) and emergency equipment, too!

 

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You can look at all the sale items on my BIG DEAL page, but you must be logged in to see the sale prices on the picker page.

**If you order through me directly by phone (801-367-1607) or email (click on the “Contact Me” tab above), you can get 10% of your total in free product and possible some 1/2 off goodies, so contact me to earn some awesome free stuff!

Kitchen Tip: Onion Powder

Happy love month! What better to talk about for the month of love than ONION POWDER! I know, right?!?

I ran out, the other day…like completely out. None in my cupboard, none on my handy pantry Home Store spice shelf…NONE.

I must admit to a moment of panic….before I remembered that I had some Thrive Chopped Onions in my Home Store. Phew….dodged a bullet.

If you ever find yourself in a similar predicament, all you need to do is follow these two simple steps….

TEH-onionpowder11. dump chopped onions (the dehydrated kind) into your blender.

2. turn on the blender and take those babies for a spin.

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You’ll end up with fantastic, perfect, and dinner-saving onion powder.

Now THAT’s making peace and preparedness a part of everyday life.

Have you ever tried making your own spices or seasonings? I’d love to hear about it, so leave me a comment!

Coming soon, my recipe for Dry Onion Soup Mix….LOVE it…use it everything from Stroganoff to Dip. See you soon!

DIY Food: Buttermilk Wheat Pancake Mix

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Hello! How is your January going? Exciting news today! My little site is TWO YEARS OLD! Can you believe it? Happy Blog-o-versary to me!

Anywho….

Mix cooking is one of my favorite things. I can use ingredients I feel good about, have something prepped ahead of time, and get food on the table in a fraction of the time at any given moment.

Today I want to share one of my favorite mixes, Buttermilk Wheat Pancake Mix…in fact, I have to admit that I prefer it to regular pancakes, mix made or otherwise. It’s that good. Oh yeah, and did I mention that it costs a fraction of what you’d spend on pancake mix at the store? And that your kids can whip it up on their own? You need to try this one. You may have all the ingredients you need, right there in your Home Store. So what are we waiting for?

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I highly recommend you grind your own wheat into flour, simply because it will have more nutrients, but if you don’t have wheat or a grinder, feel free to do whatever. If you want a true whole grain pancake, but love the consistency of a part whole grain pancake, Wonder Flour may be your next favorite thing. Wonder Flour was created by Chef Brad, a grain dynamo (more about him here) and is produced by grinding equal parts Spelt, Brown Rice, and Barley. It makes a delicious whole grain flour that produces baked goods that have the texture (light and fluffy) of all purpose flour. It’s so great! It’s not something to use in yeast breads (or not more than maybe 20% of the total flour) because it doesn’t have much gluten in it, and that is generally important in yeast breads. Give this one a try!

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You CAN mix all your ingredients into a big container with a lid and measure out 3 1/2 cups of mix whenever you want to make pancakes, but I like to take it a step further, and use zip top bags with single recipes. So I set up with about 10 ziptop bags (quart sized) open and standing up. I measure ingredients straight into them, for example, do all the white flour, then all the wheat flour, then the sugar in all of them, and so on. This can get tricky, if you suffer from DHS (Distracted Homemaker Syndrome…also known as CHILDREN) so I alternate sides of the bags, so if I get interrupted, I can tell which bags already got baking soda in them, and which ones only have baking powder in them. You get me?

Then I just store them in a bin in the pantry and make up a batch once or twice a week. Super easy.
Thrive products listed are my preferred products but can be exchanged for your favorite brand.

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printable recipe card
Makes about 24 pancakes
Ingredients:

Add to quart sized zip-top bag:

1 1/2 cups Thrive Unbleached Flour or Wonder Flour (see above)
1 1/2 cups Thrive Hard White Wheat, freshly ground OR Thrive Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 cup Thrive Cane Sugar
1 tablespoon Thrive Baking Powder
1 tablespoon Thrive Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Thrive Iodized Salt

Store in ziptop bag in pantry for up to 3 months.

To make pancakes:
3 cups Buttermilk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten OR 3 tablespoons Thrive Whole Egg Powder (add to dry ingredients) and 6 tablespoons water (add to wet ingredients)
2 tablespoons butter, oil, or coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Dump pancake mix into a large mixing bowl.
Measure wet ingredients into a medium sized bowl or 4 cup measuring cup, and whisk well to combine.
Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring until just moistened.
Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle and cook, flipping when bubbles appear on the top side of the cakes.
Serve with syrup, cottage cheese, apple butter, jam, jelly or whatever you like.

TIP: You can add 2 teaspoons of Thrive Pure Vanilla Powder to your zip-top bag when assembling your dry ingredients into the mix, and omit it in the wet ingredients.

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You know you want some hot, delicious, golden pancakes! I’d love to know what your favorite pancake topping is…my personal favorite is cottage cheese with some apple butter and a sprinkle of granola…but I’m a little weird like that. I’d love to hear if you make this mix! Leave me a comment and say howdy!

* Some links in this post are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on the link. Thank you for your support. It means a lot to me and my family.

Thrive: January Specials

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January is all about re-evaluating your health and making goals for the new year and Thrive is making it easy with their specials this month. Good for you Quinoa, fruits and veggies, and Instant Brown Rice. Since Quinoa is such a hot deal this month, here’s one of my favorite quinoa recipes: Thrive Quinoa Energy Salad

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This is so yummy and really good for you. Give it a try and you will be glad you did.

The Strawberries and Cranberries are both yummy in this Summer Porridge recipe. The cranberries are not sweetened at all, so you may want to adjust your sweetener of choice when you use them.

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If you have a Thrive Q, go ahead and order your January Specials right from your Q dashboard. If you don’t, have a Q but would like to know more, or would like the best possible pricing on the sale items, contact me at 801-367-1607 or email me at emailimage

Have a great weekend and keep on making peace and preparedness a part of every day life.