Welcome Baby Hartzler!

Just a quick post to share with our family and friends our precious bundle of joy that arrived 2 weeks ago!  Kenley Rae Hartzler was born on March 12th at 5:03 pm. She weighed 8 lbs 3 oz and was 21.5 inches long.  She is going to be tall like her folks!  Can’t believe she is 2 weeks old today, while we might only be getting 4-5 hours of sleep in spurts on a good night, it has been such a joy and we are so thankful for her! It is such an amazing miracle of God.   We still can’t fathom how tiny cells grow to be this over 8 lb beautiful baby.  We pray that God would use her life in a mightly way for His glory.  Thank you for all your prayers and support, continued prayers for our transition!




Dustin & Melody


“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Psalm 139:13-16


PS If you are in the Dayton Area..check out Nikki James Photography. She did such a wonderful job; she is so talented!

Our Favorite Recipes!

As we anxiously await the arrival of our little girl, I had some extra time on this snowy day to finally put together a list of our favorite recipes.  We have tried every recipe listed here.  All are gluten/grain free and most are diary free too. We do follow a “paleo” framework for the food we eat, and have found we feel much better, have more energy, and I have less headaches than when we used to eat grains. In general we believe fat isn’t inherently bad for us like many of us have been told, it’s about what sources fats we eat, even saturated fat from good sources like grass fed meat and coconut oil can be great! And Avocado is a superfood!  Our bodies need fat to balance hormones. So I hope anyone looking for healthy recipes will enjoy!

So here goes our list of fav food blogs and recipes!

Against All Grain

This is a great blog, it’s a good mix of “treats” and wholesome balanced meals.  We particularly love this crock pot italian fagioli soup, Dustin doesn’t love beans, so sometimes we leave those out and it’s still great!  Other favs from her website are grain free waffles, grain-free granola, strawberry-shortcake cupcakes for a special event, and she has a great tutorial on how to make spaghetti squash “pasta.”

Balanced Bites

This website is more than a food blog, she has great resources and books focused around a whole foods diet.  Anyone looking to get off of sugar, check out her 21daySugarDetox!  Recipes we love from this site include rosemary lemon salmon and sautéed red cabbage with apples.

Civilized Caveman

We found this blog pretty early into eating the “paleo” lifestyle and still love making some of the recipes.  Our all-time favorite has to be this Pumpkin Chicken Chili.  We’ve made it with beef, turkey, chicken, and one time with beef/venison.  Every time it’s been amazing! I do use beef broth vs. chicken broth if not making it with poultry.  Another favorite is this easy crockpot recipe for Balsamic Beef Roast, we throw in veggies (carrots, potatoes, and celery as well and it’s so good and so simple!)

Deliciously Organic

All of her recipes look amazing, she recently converted to more of a “paleo approach.” Two of our favs include this sirloin steak and mustard sauce, it’s amazing on a good grass-fed steak!  And we love making cauliflower pizza, this is a good recipe to start with, there are a ton of variations out there to choose from!

Kalyn’s Kitchen 

While this website is not paleo, it does have a ton of wonderful low-carb recipes which often overlap with the gluten free/paleo world.  We love making zucchini lasagna, and have different variations, this recipe is a great start if you’ve never made it! This beef stew is a great recipe and these eggplant pizzas are to die for!

Nom Nom Paleo

It’s fun to follow this blog, because this lady is a working mom and pharmacist!  So somehow I feel a connection!  She has great recipes, a few resources we love from her blog are zucchini noodles, we make these at least once a week if organic zucchini is available at the store.  And she has a great bone broth recipe. Bone broth is such a great source of collagen and minerals, see the Wellness Mama post for more info!


I love her food recipes, not a fan of the language she uses on the blog.  But some of the recipes are pretty amazing, so here they are. This chicken dish is super easy.  We also make this breakfast hash a few times a month. Other favs here include her pumpkin granola, plantain biscuits, and zucchini pesto roll-ups.

Paleo Spirit

I haven’t spent a lot of time on this site or making these recipes, but one we love is the twice-baked cauliflower mash.  We made it for Thanksgiving a few years back and even a high schooler thought it was real mashed potatoes!

Primal Palate 

We’ve tried a lot of the recipes from here and never been lead astray!  Our list of favs here is sort of long, but here it goes!  This tomato basil soup is soooooo good, even my mother-in-law commented it tastes just like at Panera. Another soup we love from this site is the butternut squash soup, just made a batch yesterday to freeze. Other favs are grilled mahi-mahi with mango chutney, steak fajitas (we put over salad), pulled pork & homemade barbecue sauce, lemon-garlic roasting chicken, baked tuna with chimichurri marinade (I’ve also made this with cilantro vs. parsley and it’s awesome!), and last but not least their guacamole recipe is great!

Urban Poser

We haven’t tried a ton of the recipes on here, but the ones we have are awesome!  These tex-mex meatballs are a fun twist on your normal meatball, we made a large batch and froze them to pull out a few at a time with our zucchini noodles during busy weeks and they still tasted great.  Another recipe is a gluten/grain free option for the standard green bean casserole. Lastly for a treat, these were pretty amazing chocolate cupcakes & raspberry icing.

Other Recipes: 

Here are some other recipes we love that come from other bloggers.


Pumpkin N’Oatmeal


“Cheesy” chicken casserole

Hearty Beef Stew

Sun-dried tomato chicken bake ( I always add broccoli)

Apple Pork Chops (Best pork chops you will EVER eat!)

Garlic Coconut Shrimp


Jicama Slaw (we generally leave out the chicken and just use this as a side dish!)

Grain Free Mac & Cheese


Alfredo Sauce (super easy and great tossed with salmon, broccoli, and zucchini noodles!)

DIY French Fry Seasoning


Zucchini brownies (it can be dairy/gluten free if you use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips)

Homemade Marshmallows (you’ll never pick up a bag of those corn syrup laden ones again!)

Sour Gummies or Jello (Sometimes I just throw together some frozen fruit puree, a little honey, gelatin and it’s an awesome jello!)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

So that’s all for today..hope you can find something yummy to make!  I will say this real food journey has been a blast and I love cooking so much more because the food tastes amazing.  We try to buy local when we can from farmer’s markets (when that’s an option!), we get eggs from local farms that pasture raise them (again when the chickens are laying eggs) and we buy our beef/pork from a farm here in Ohio that raises both just on grass the way God intended. While it may seem expensive upfront, we find it’s actually much cheaper than trying to buy quality meats in the store and always having steak in the freezer is never a bad thing! 🙂 This website can help you find local farms near you.

Also many of you are thinking… man I could never cook these things during the week because of my busy schedule.  Yes we don’t have kids..yet…any day know though, but we are fairly busy and find meal planning (i.e. making a schedule out for the week) really helps us stay on track.  I use a website called SpringPad to store all my recipes and create my grocery lists…it saves me lots of time! Dustin and I have a shared folder on the app, so he can go to the grocery store and see the list of items we need. And he can start dinner with the recipes when I’m on my way home! 🙂

We believe good nutrition is so important and plan to make that an emphasis in our family, we can glorify God through honoring our body with wholesome food. If you have kids already, it might be harder to switch them to a lifestyle like this vs. eating whole foods from the beginning, but others have been successful! I HATE when I hear parents say we need a “kid friendly” option, referring to chicken nuggets, fries, hotdogs, etc.  Kids can eat what you eat, maybe with less seasoning or spices depending on the child.  Many parents have great stories of alleviating common childhood issues like allergies and eczema through changing their diet. Check out the Paleo Parents website, they just posted a 3 phase guide that may help, they also have a book with great recipes for kids!

Hope you are warm and cozy wherever you are! If you try any of these recipes, please share in the comments below how it went. Also share if you have a favorite to add to the list that is grain-free/paleoish!