• Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins Recipe (GF)

    by Rachel on April 10, 2014

    coconut flour pumpkin muffins

    Republished and updated from September 2012

    You may be wondering what the heck coconut flour is and why I would bother baking muffins with it. First off, these Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins are worth making simply because they are so good. Even my health-food-craze-resistant husband admitted such. But, beyond the delightful slightly coconutty taste and moist texture, lies some other key reasons to consider giving coconut flour a glance.

    Why the Gluten Problems?

    I’m becoming more and more convinced that we eat waaaay too much of the same thing.

    I know, I know. Michael Pollan actually said that first. Or maybe he was just heard by the masses first. Pollan’s point is that when we’re eating processed foods, all we’re eating is corn and more corn and more corn. But, I’m not just talking about processed foods. I think even families like ours who are trying to eat a real food diet consume too much of the same thing–namely wheat.

    I’ve been wondering why it is that we’ve got skyrocketing numbers of children and adults alike with gluten allergies and intolerances now. I’m no expert, but could the gluten problems today be because we consume far too much wheat? Maybe our bodies aren’t made to tolerate it in the mass quantities that we consume it.  My own family’s diet is certainly focused around gluten-rich foods, whether it’s bread, pasta, pancakes, pizza, or a baked good.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not tossing good old whole wheat out the window. I think there is nutritional value to be found there. But, because I’m convinced we need wider variety in our diet, I’ve been experimenting with baking with different types of flours lately.

    Why I Love Coconut FlourCoconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins (GF)

    Let me tell you why coconut flour is my newest obsession. It’s high in fiber, high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and gluten-free. I was skeptical that it would bake up nicely, but it worked wonderfully in this Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffin recipe I devised. Although slightly denser than a regular muffin, it still had a nice texture and great flavor. My husband declared that they were just as good as my regular ole yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.

    Perhaps I should warn you. When you first go to buy coconut flour in the natural food section or here, you’ll have a little sticker shock. But, the price isn’t as bad as it seems at first glance. That’s because you only need a 1/2 cup of coconut flour to produce 12 muffins. A typical wheat muffin recipe would require at least 1 and 1/2 cups.

    Now, on to my family’s newest favorite pumpkin muffin recipe…complete without gluten!

    Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins (GF)


    [click to continue…]

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    diy orange peel cleaner

    A long time ago, before we even started Thriving Home, Rachel recruited me to make some DIY All-Purpose Disinfectant Spray. This was the first time that I saw how cheap and easy it was to make your own homemade cleaning supplies. Since then I have dabbled here and there in making my own products. To be honest, I’ve gotten more lazy with the process and realized that a simple white vinegar and water solution is cheap and effective in killing most bacteria, mold and germs.

    The only thing that bothers me about using half vinegar and half water is the smell. I do miss the fresh scent of cleaning supplies and have never been able to replicate that with natural products.

    In an effort to make my homemade cleaning solutions smell a little better I tried out a method I had read about a few times: soak orange peel slices in white vinegar for 2-3 weeks in order to give it a citrus scent.


    natural cleaner

    Using a large mason jar, I filled it with clementine slices (since that is what I had on hand) and then poured white distilled vinegar over them until the jar was full. I then put it away for 3 weeks. After three weeks I opened up the jar and gave it a whiff. It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for but it was much better than plain ol’ vinegar.

    I really wanted this to work so I proceeded with mixing the solution with water  (half water/solution). I then sprayed my counters down, wiped them clean and took in the scent.

    diy household cleaner

    Again, not super impressed.

    The vinegar smell wasn’t AS bad but it wasn’t the fresh, citrus scent I was hoping for.

    In conclusion, I will probably continue to use this method since it did seem to help with the vinegar smell. I also wonder if I would have had better results with lemon or oranges instead of clementines. It’s worth a shot I guess.

    Has anyone else tried this? Did it work? I’d love to hear about any success stories!

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    Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub

    by Rachel on April 7, 2014

    pork tenderlion seasoning
    Republished and updated from November 2011

    I’ve been in a Freezer Club with some of my best friends who share my same food values for seven years now.

    When we find a freezer meal that most or all the families enjoy, it goes on our “Homerun Recipe List”.  In fact, here are over 60 of my favorite healthy freezer meals. One of the Homerun List recipes that has been requested again and again is called “Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub”.  It’s surprisingly simple, unbelievably delicious, kid-friendly, cheap, and healthy–all my indicators of a perfect recipe!  In fact, I often make this when guests come over or for holiday meals.  Don’t forget to double, triple or quadruple this one and freeze for another day.

    pork tenderloin recipes

    Freezer Meal Directions: If you plan to freeze this recipe, then season and sear the pork tenderloin in a pan. Let it cool and then wrap tightly in a freezer gallon bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to cook it, thaw in the fridge for about 24 hours. Then, roast in the oven according to recipe directions.

    Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub

    Yields: Servings: 4


    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil


    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

    In separate bowl mix dry ingredients--garlic powder, oregano, cumin, coriander, thyme and salt. Stir mixture with a fork until all the ingredients are well combined and they form a seasoning. This will be used as a rub to ensure the pork is well seasoned throughout.

    Sprinkle the rub over the tenderloin with a dry hand, then rub the pork with the seasoning over all sides of the meat, pressing gently so the seasoning adheres well to the tenderloin.

    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Put tenderloin in the hot pan and cook for about 5 minutes, using tongs to sear the meat. Make sure it's browned on all sides. If freezing for later, let cool and freeze at this point.

    Transfer meat to a roasting pan and bake until it reaches an internal temp of 145 degrees (about 20 minutes). It will still be slightly pink inside*. Let meat rest for 5-10 minutes so juices redistribute. Slice on an angle and serve.

    *I've found that a meat thermometer is essential to not overcooking my pork tenderloin. I make sure to pull it out just before it reaches 145 degrees and then let it rest about 10 minutes. It will continue to carry-over cook.

    Freezer Meal Directions: If you plan to freeze this recipe, then season and sear the pork tenderloin in a pan. Let it cool and then wrap tightly in a freezer gallon bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. When you're ready to cook it, thaw in the fridge for about 24 hours. Then, roast in the oven according to recipe directions.


    Original recipe inspired by Ellie Krieger on Food Network

    pork tenderloin recipe

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    Menu Plan: April 6-12

    by Rachel on April 5, 2014

    Menu Plan


    Sunday: Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole, Homemade Sandwich Wheat Bread, corn on the cob (try this no-boil trick!), green beans, fresh pineapple

    Monday: Easy Calzones (using this whole wheat dough and this pizza sauce), green salad with Balsamic Parm Dressing, pear slices

    Tuesday: Leftovers

    Wednesday: BFD*: Peanut Butter & Banana Baked Oatmeal, all-natural bacon, orange segments

    Thursday: : 7-Layer Taco Dip with organic tortilla chips and raw veggies, fruit salad

    Friday: Easy Cheesy Mexican Chicken (in the slow cooker) over brown rice, steamed broccoli

    Saturday: Firecracker Grilled Salmon, grilled veggies (peppers, onions, mushrooms), baked potatoes

    *Breakfast for dinner

    Breakfast Ideas:

    leftover Baked Apple Cinnamon French Toast

    Breakfast burritos (recipe to come)

    oatmeal with blueberries and bananas

    Egg in a Hole

    Lunch Ideas:


    Snack/Dessert Ideas:

    Holy Chocomole

    Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Best Popcorn Ever

    Free Printable Menu Planner

    Here’s an easy way to get started on saving money and eating healthier–download our free printable menu planner! menu planner


    Win, Win, Win!

    by Rachel on April 4, 2014

    It’s hard to keep up with all the giveaways we have going on right now. We don’t want you to miss out on some of these great chances! Take a moment and you just might win one of these…

    Leather Baby Moccasins Giveaway – ends April 10th


    Kidoodle.TV: $100 Visa Card Giveaway + 3 iPad Minis Giveaway – ends April 18th


    $100 Visa Card + A Copy of Fly Away Giveaway – ends April 30th


    Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa Recipe

    by Rachel on April 3, 2014

    Guest post by Cassandra Cyr from Glue Meets Paper.

    Hi everyone! First of all–a huge thank you to Rachel and Polly for allowing me to guest post for Thriving Home (one of my personal favorites!). My name is Cassandra Cyr. I’m here today to share a sample recipe from my new book, Make Ahead Meals: Freezer Meal Recipes that Make Dinner Quick and Easy. I’ve gotten such a great response sharing my favorite Make Ahead Meal recipes on my blog that I decided it was time to write a book.  I’ve been busy recipe testing, photographing, and writing for the last year and the book is now available for purchase! [click to continue…]

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