The Unchained Gift Guide

Happy November!

I’m thoroughly enjoying these mild fall temperatures and cozy rainy days. It was this time last year that I was inspired to change how our family viewed the food that nourished our bodies. We are 11 months into the Unchained Challenge, a commitment to not shop at a grocery store for an entire year. I thought I’d share my favorite essential tools for the kitchen & garden. These items helped to bring the simple pleasures of homemade into reality for this busy Mom…


*”In the spirit of full disclosure, the icons below are Amazon affiliate links, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase anything from All of the opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I use and love myself. I know you’ll be in good hands with any item you may purchase.”

1. WonderMill Grain Mill

It is intensely satisfying to pour wheat berries into the mill and feel fresh, warm flour between your fingertips just seconds later…ready for fluffy pancakes or soft bread. We buy whole wheat berries at our local Mennonite Farm Store and store in a 5 gallon food-grade bucket with an easy twist off lid.

2. BOGS Boots

If my house was burning down, I’d grab these boots. 😉  I’ve mucked out barn stalls, taken long hikes through shallow creeks, stood and kneeled for hours and hours planting, weeding and harvesting. They keep tired feet warm and dry. I even bought a pair for my Dad, who loves them just as much as me. You can’t go wrong with these boots!

3. John Boos RA03 24-by-18-by-2-1/4-Inch Reversible Maple Cutting Board

The large work surface of this cutting board is a dream….I use it for meal prep every single day. It’s also my primary workstation for marathon canning sessions.

4. Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker

We go way back. Cliff actually took my original Zojirushi, one that we purchased as newlyweds, to Afghanistan to bake fresh bread in the clinic. He’s amazing like that. 🙂 However, he left it there so the next crew could enjoy freshly baked bread, even if it was just from a mix. We’ve put some serious miles on my replacement model this year….actually our oldest son (12) is our resident bread baker. It takes just minutes to put in the ingredients for the perfect sandwich bread.

5. Lodge Manufacturing Company EC6D13 Dutch Oven, 6 quart.

I have some hearty apetities to feed….A double batch of chili, a heaping pile of greens….this pot can handle it. I keep it on my stovetop, it’s beautiful and highly functional.

6. Ball 67000 Quart Wide Mouth Mason Jars, Silver Lids pack of 12 (32 OZ)

Lined in rows….jars and jars filled with colorful vegetables. We also use them as glasses and for storage. I prefer the wide-mouth model, it’s the perfect size for the immersion blender to mix quick tomato sauces.

7. KitchenAid KHB1231 2-Speed Hand Blender Empire Red Electric Mixer

I smile when I pull this from the drawer….We’ve had this for almost 13 years. It started out as the gadget I used to puree every ounce of food for all three of our children. Now, it makes quick work of mayo/soups/sauces. Love this!

8. Culina Space Saving Salad Spinner, 5-Quart

I take the colander directly to the garden to harvest, then plunge the greens right into water and spin to dry…Quickest way to thoroughly clean greens!

9. Gorilla Carts GOR108D-14 Poly Garden Dump Cart with 2-in-1 Convertible Handle, 1,000-Pound Capacity, 41.5-Inch by 22.5-Inch Bed, Black Finish

I can handle heavy tasks alone with this guy. We use it all over the farm but especially in the garden.

10. Taylor Stainless Steel Retro Kitchen Scale

I purchased this halfway into the canning season after my digital scale broke….I now prefer it!


Stocking Stuffers: It’s the little things…

AllyDrew All Natural Jute Twine 12ply 110 Yard

I use at least two large rolls a year. Support plants/wrap presents….it’s endless!

Taylor Classic Instant Read Pocket Thermometer

Cheese-making essential.

Fiskars Traditional Bypass Pruning Shears

You can never have too many…

So here’s to a new year of slow and homemade adventures and establishing fresh family traditions.



  1. Debbie Davis says

    What a fun post! I am so proud of what your family has accomplished this year! I can’t wait to read a wrap up about your year, what you will continue and what you will consider returning to the grocery store for. I have been using my Nutrimill more recently and desire to put my bread maker back to use. I didn’t buy bread for a year (that was about 8-9 years ago). I don’t have a recipe that we love though. Would love to try your recipe. I do have a Zojirushi. I just requested an immersion blender early today as a gift.

    • Lisa says

      Thanks Debbie! You inspired me to research the grain mill last year after visiting your house! I’ll get you our sandwich bread recipe. 🙂

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