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  • Nutrient Rich and Medicinal Shepherds Pie Soup

    The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you. Jump to the Recipe This dish is absolutely delicious and packed full of nourishing foods! The recipe is a balanced and satiating meal that makes the perfect weeknight dinner. What makes this soup so nourishing? Lion's Mane Mushrooms: Lion's Mane mushrooms are known as a medicinal mushrooms, meaning they have healing and health-promoting properties. You can probably find lion's mane in some form at your local health food store as the benefits are well-documented and accepted! Lion's Mane mushrooms are rich in vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin and minerals such as manganese, zinc, and potassium! Lion's Mane is an absolute powerhouse of nutrients! Bone Broth: Bone broth is a food that I would also consider a powerhouse of nutrients! Bone broth contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin K2, iron, zinc, selenium, and manganese (many of these are nutrients many Americans are often deficient in). Bone broth is packed full of collagen and gelatin which is excellent for promoting good gut health. I like incorporating as much bone broth as possible into my diet for the full range of amino acids, which is very important when eating head-to-tail. I make my own bone broth and like to add medicinal herbs and mushrooms to boost the nutrient content! Lately, I have been adding dried reishi mushrooms! Beef Liver: Beef liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there! It’s well known and documented to be full of vitamins and minerals that are otherwise lacking in most people’s diets! Traditional culture groups would supplement with beef or buffalo liver in the winter months to prevent scurvy and give beef liver to expectant mothers. The nutrients in beef liver are bioavailable, meaning it is easy for the body to absorb, unlike the nutrients in many supplements. Beef liver provides 59.3mcg of vitamin B12, 9.8mg of copper, 6582 of vitamin A RAE, and 2.8mg of riboflavin. It is an excellent source of niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, iron, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, thiamin, and manganese. See my post 10 Meals to Sneak Beef Liver Into for more ideas on how to incorporate more nutrients into your diet! Eating organ meats is an important part of an ancestral diet! To learn more about ancestral eating, see my post here on What is ancestral eating! And that’s not to mention the vegetables, potatoes, ground beef, garlic, or other foods which are all full of good vitamins and minerals! Shepherds Pie Soup Time to Cook: 1 hour Servings: 6 Number of ingredients: 15 Ingredients: 4 large potatoes 1/2 cup sour cream 1 lb. Ground Beef 1 yellow onion 4 cloves garlic, minced 3 Tablespoons salted butter 4 cups bone broth (see my post here for how to make bone broth) ½ cup cream 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1/4 teaspoon ground sage 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 1 ½ cups mixed frozen vegetables Salt/Pepper, to taste ¼ cup diced dried lion’s mane mushrooms or 1 tablespoon of lion’s mane powder (see notes) ¼ cup finely diced or ground beef liver (see notes) Instructions: 1. Dice your onion, and add to the pot with butter. Cook lightly until the onions are translucent. 2. Add smashed or finely diced garlic to the pan, and continue to cook for about 3 more minutes. 3. Add bone broth to the pot. 4. Dice your potatoes and add to the pot. Bring to a simmer. 5. Add in the lion’s mane mushrooms. 6. In a separate pan, begin browning your ground beef 7. When the beef is mostly cooked, add in your beef liver, and mix it into the ground beef. 8. Once your potatoes are cooked and soft, either add them to a blender to blend, or use an immersion blender. Blend the mushrooms with the potatoes. 9. Add in the sour cream, cream, and seasonings. Sir until well-combined. 10. Add in your mixed vegetables and grated cheese. Allow to cook on low for 5-10 more minutes until everything is well combined, and the vegetables are cooked 11. Serve and Enjoy! Notes: About once every 3-4 months, I puree beef liver, put it in silicone molds, and then put the frozen liver cubes in ziplock baggies to freeze. When I want to add it to a dish, I simply toss one into the ground beef. In cases where I do not have frozen, pureed beef liver on hand, I simply dice it very finely. This is easiest when it’s still partially frozen. I forage my own mushrooms. It’s fun, it ensures the quality, and it’s free! I’d encourage you to do a bit of research and look into foraging in your own area! Lion’s mane grows in the fall, and usually, I find it in early winter where I live. It’s actually relatively easy to spot in the winter because it’s bright white against brown trees and leaves. I chop mine, dehydrate it, and then save it in a mason jar. If you want to purchase lion’s mane, I would first suggest buying it locally. I have purchased it dehydrated from our local farmer’s market. You can also buy it in powder form here on Amazon. The lion’s mane can of course be left out and this will still be a delicious meal. That’s it! I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe as much as we did! It’s relatively easy to make and very delicious! I'm always looking for more ways to incorporate more nutrient-rich foods in my life like beef liver, bone broth, and medicinal mushrooms! If you make this recipe, let me know how it turned out in the comments!

  • How I’m Rethinking my Garden to be Low-Maintenance

    This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you. These kinds of posts are not always the most popular, but they’re one of my favorites to write, reflect, and plan! I wrote a similar post last year, 2022 Gardening Lessons Learned, and my 2023 Planting Plan. 2023 was a big year for us because I got pregnant and we had a baby! I got pregnant in March and was in the first trimester during the spring. Spring is the big gardening season. I usually have a long list of big tasks to accomplish in the spring, like rebuilding beds, mulching, etc. However, this year, I was HIT with first-trimester nausea and fatigue. The nausea lasted well into the second trimester, and the fatigue lasted the ENTIRE pregnancy! So needless to say, my garden suffered. See my posts for tips on how to survive the first trimester and the third if you’re interested! Now with a newborn, my life is different! I’m now a stay-at-home mom, and I no longer work 40 hours a week, but honestly, I feel like I had more freedom back when I worked full-time! I know that this gardening season, my focus needs to shift. My goal used to be to grow lots of food that I could store for later. However, that meant that in addition to lots of gardening work, I also had a lot of kitchen work when I harvested. Preserving food is labor-intensive! This year, I would like a lower-maintenance garden. I plan to achieve a low-maintenance garden in a few ways. 1. The pathways The pathways in between my garden beds are a problem. They are grass. They are also too narrow for a lawn mower, meaning I have to weed-eat them every week or two. This is a sweaty job in the summer months and takes at least an hour. This was very poor planning on my part. See my post here for 10 Mistakes New Gardners Should Avoid. Two years ago, I laid down a weed barrier and a thick layer of woodchips, and it lasted approximately one growing season. By July that summer, after only about 5 months, I was back to weed-eating. I also now have a layer of gross plastic-y weed barrier in my organic garden, which I’ve tried to pull up, but has mostly broken into small shreds. So this year, I would like to lay down cedar log disks. I have never tried to cut a disc like that using a chain saw, so this might be a stupid idea, but you better believe I’m going to try! 2. Simplifying vegetables/fruit I have gardened enough years now, that I plant fewer and fewer vegetables each year. I always learn one that I don’t like to eat, or that do not grow well in my area. This year, it’s melons. Both watermelons and cantaloupe take up a LOT of space in a garden. And while I love the fruit, what usually happens is I get no melons until August, and then I get a dozen of each all at once! This year, I will save my garden space and buy melons from the farmer's market. This year I plan to grow veggies only to have fresh veg to eat during the summer. I might pickle a few jars of cucumbers and I might freeze a few bell peppers, but that’s the only preserving I’m doing! I plan to also grow sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and onions because they’re easy to grow, and store for a long time, and we eat a lot of these foods. In the fall I’ll grow a bed of carrots and a few beds of garlic for all the same reasons. 3. Herbs I keep a few kitchen herbs scattered around my flower beds around the house, but that’s all I’ve ever really grown. This year, I would like to expand my herbal knowledge and grow a medicinal herbal garden! I am very excited about this. With the pregnancy and birth of my son, I’ve become hyper-aware of the medicines we typically use and keep on hand. Many of them are not safe for pregnancy and/or breastfeeding, and the ones that are considered safe still oftentimes are not the best. There are herbal remedies out there! I’ve built up a little herbal medicine cabinet over the last few weeks (mostly from Earthly), but I would like to grow my own this year and learn to make my own remedies. Check out Eathly, and use my discount code: CHOOSENATURAL for 10% off your first purchase. Bonus of growing herbs, most of them are perennials, meaning lower maintenance. This is a huge learning curve for me, so I do not have a concrete plan in place yet, but I hope to soon! I have two books that I’ve been relying on for herbal knowledge: Herbal Remedies Garden And Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs Both are very helpful, as there is a lot to learn here! I have a lot of work ahead of me this spring, but I hope that the result will be a lower maintenance, but still very productive garden for the summer and for years to come! Stay tuned to see how it turns out! If you want to learn more about gardening, read more in the homesteading section of my blog! I have posts on soil health, garden infrastructure like fences, beds, and rain catchment systems, and a gardening calendar! Let me know a bit about your gardening journey in the comments!

  • Nourishing and Quick Ramen Recipe

    The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you. I am seriously so excited to share this recipe with you! It’s one of my proudest cooking achievements! This recipe came about because I LOVE ramen! Ramen is delicious and so quick and easy to make, BUT conventional ramen is so unhealthy! I knew that ramen had the potential to be very nourishing, while still being a quick and easy meal! So, after a little trial and error, I am so proud to share with you: My Nourishing and Quick Ramen Recipe! Serving Size: 2 Cook Time: 15 Minutes Number of Ingredients: 9 Ingredients: 4 cups Bone Broth Store bought or homemade 1 package of Organic Ramen Noodles 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder 2 teaspoons Ginger Powder 1/4 cups Soy Sauce or Coconut aminos 1 tablespoon Sesame oil 5 oz of your choice of Steak 2 Eggs 2 tablespoon Green onion Directions: 1. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil 2. Add the eggs and let cook for 6 minutes 3. In a separate pan, cook the steak to your liking 4. In a separate pot, add the bone broth and bring to a simmer. 5. Add the ginger, garlic, and soy sauce/coconut aminos 6. Add the noodles and let cook according to the package instructions 7. Slice the steak and green onions on a cutting board 8. Peel the hard-boiled eggs and cut them in half 9. Assemble the ramen. Add the noodles and broth to a bowl, and add the egg, steak, and green onions on top. Drizzle a few teaspoons of sesame oil to finish. 10. Enjoy! Notes: To speed up the process and use fewer dishes, crack the egg directly into the hot broth to cook, and let cook for 3 minutes. This will result in a poached egg instead of a soft-boiled one, but is still delicious! This has become one of my favorite quick and easy lunches! I typically use homemade bone broth, but I keep a box in my pantry just in case. The bone broth, steak, and eggs make this meal very nutrient-dense, and one that I feel good after eating! Want to learn more about ancestral eating? See my post here for What is Ancestral Eating? See my post here for 10 Dishes to Sneak Bone Broth Into

  • Postpartum Herbal Tea

    The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you. This herbal tea is perfect for supporting the new breastfeeding mother! Herbs are often viewed as just seasonings to flavor our food with. However, herbs are full of medicinal benefits and are excellent for the body! I have always dabbled in herbal supplements (mainly in tea form), but when I got pregnant this year, my midwives began suggesting herbal supplements and my interest peaked! This tea is straightforward and is made up of three herbs. They are red raspberry leaf, fennel, and chamomile. Each herb has its own beneficial properties for breastfeeding moms. Red Raspberry Leaf Red raspberry leaf is known to tone the uterus, and most women drink it to prepare for labor. However, the uterus is not done working after the baby is born! It needs to heal a dinner plate-sized wound where the placenta was, it needs to shrink back down from the size of a watermelon back to a golf ball, AND it will hopefully once again menstruate in the future. The uterus needs support! Red raspberry leaf tea is a great way to do that! Before I got pregnant, I would drink red raspberry leaf tea to help with menstrual cramping and hormonal support. Fennel Fennel is most often used as an aromatic seasoning in eastern dishes. However, fennel is also known to do two very important things for breastfeeding mothers. Fennel both boosts milk supply AND helps alleviate gas in breastfeeding infants! If you’ve ever had a newborn with gas, you know! With brand-new digestive tracks, gas is uncomfortable for newborns, and they often grunt, whimper, and even cry and scream when they have gas. When I learned the benefits of fennel, you better believe I was chugging down this tea! Chamomile Chamomile has many many benefits and has been relatively well-studied as an herb. It’s most known for its relaxing properties, and many people drink it before bed. I include it in this tea for its ability to help relax and relieve anxiety, which many new moms struggle with. In 2019, researchers conducted a study and concluded that camomile can help relieve PMS symptoms as chamomile has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, sedative, and anti-anxiety properties. The Recipe: I use loose herbs instead of tea bags, but if you have tea bags, that would work fine too! 1. Combine one teaspoon of each herb into a mortar and pestle and grind them up, so that the fennel seeds are smashed. 2. Add to a glass and cover in hot water. Not boiling water. I typically add about two cups of water. 3. Let steep for 3 minutes, and strain into a mug. 4. Add honey to taste, and enjoy! With a newborn infant, this tea is a daily staple! It’s not only beneficial for me and my baby, but it’s also very tasty! But of course, this tea is not the only herbal support I’ve added to my routine postpartum. For hormone balance, I’ve been taking Earthly’s postpartum balance tincture. To boost iron levels postpartum, I’ve been Earthly’s Energy Plus (Herbal Iron) tincture. I take both tinctures daily. Use code CHOOSENATURAL for 10% off your first purchase! Want more pregnancy and postpartum content? See my posts here for: Natural Remedies for Uncomfortable Third-Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms Strawberry Iced Pregnancy Tea How to Prepare for the Fourth Trimester (Postpartum)

  • Bedsharing Essentials

    The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you. What do I need to safely bedshare with my infant? The beauty of bedsharing is that very little is actually needed compared to conventional infant sleep arrangements. You don’t need a crib, a sound machine, a baby monitor, or a swaddle. Everyone is different and everyone will make different decisions based on their family’s needs for bedsharing, but for most people, very little is needed! Before we go any further, please do your own research into bedsharing to determine if it’s right for your family. There is really fascinating research in bedsharing such as: “The lowest SIDS rates in the world are in countries where bedsharing is traditional, for instance, parts of Asia and South Asia.” - La Leche League The scary bedsharing and SIDS statistics recorded in the US include all bedsharing/co-sleeping arrangements, including situations where the infant and an adult were sleeping on a couch or chair, or the infant was sleeping with an adult other than mom, and statistics where mom was not sober. This is NOT safe bedsharing! Bedsharing is the most biologically-appropriate form of sleep for mother and baby, and usually allows parents the most sleep, AND produces a really beautiful bond between mom and baby! But it needs to be done safely! Before deciding to bedshare, research: The Safe Sleep 7 And read Safe Infant Sleep by James J McKenna All that being said, what do you need to safely and comfortably bedshare? Here are my recommendations: A firm sleep surface This can be a firm mattress. But if your mattress is not firm, you can try flipping it over or purchasing a firm mattress pad. We purchased this firming mattress pad and are very pleased with the results! Hot tips: We also set our mattress on the floor, (just in case, heaven forbid, our baby ever rolled off, there would not be a far drop) and we have a King mattress, so there is plenty of space for myself, my husband, and our baby. A waterproof mattress cover This is a must-have as babies tend to spit up and have blow-outs. Breastfeeding mothers also leak milk and sweat. Save your mattress, and invest in a good cover! A night light A nightlight is really nice to have, especially in the early days of breastfeeding. It’s nice to be able to glance at your baby to see if they’re latched or just to check and see if they’re ok. I’d recommend a red light as red light does not signal to your brain to wake up but still allows you to see. Infant sleep sacks It is not recommended to swaddle infants when bedsharing, but sleep sacks (with their arms free) are recommended. We use these sleep sacks because they have long sleeves, and we love them, but there are many other options. Optional: A Bedside sleeper If you really want to bedshare, but it makes you very anxious, you can invest in a bedside sleeper. These bassinettes keep your baby very close and easy to reach, but out of your bed. Our family does not use one, but if I was at all anxious about bedsharing with my infant, I would invest in one. And that’s it! Again, not much is needed to bedshare. I believe many moms actually end up bedsharing whether they plan to or not. When talking with my own mother, she shared with all of her babies but described it as the norm. They had a crib next to the bed, but the babies ended up in the bed with them as it just made the most sense. When she was raising babies (in the 90’s), there was no messaging around safe sleep. Even today, many moms end up pulling their babies into bed with them and falling asleep, and it’s biologically healthy and normal! Just do it safely. I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if I forgot anything in the comments! See my other posts on motherhood: What Items are Actually Needed Postpartum (for mom) How to Prepare for the Fourth Trimester (Postpartum)

  • What Items are Actually Needed Postpartum (for mom)

    The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you. There are a LOT of recommendations online for what moms need during the postpartum period. However, I found that a lot of these lists contain things that are not really necessary. I found the same with baby items. A lot of things people recommend are not really needed for the baby. I’ve found that actually very little is needed for moms postpartum. Some things are nice to have but aren’t actually necessary. I’ve broken it all down for you in this post! So save your money and read on! The important things that are needed postpartum are not actually things, they are systems of support and food! See my post here for How to Prepare for the Fourth Trimester (Postpartum). Must-Have Items: A long phone charger Hopefully, you stay in one place for the most part postpartum (the bed or the couch). Having a phone charger handy is really nice. Snacks You will most likely be hungry after giving birth. Eat when you’re hungry! Stock up on snacks and keep them close. Water Just as you’ll be hungry, you’ll be thirsty too. Especially if you’re breastfeeding! Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Chapstick For whatever reason, myself and many other moms had the driest lips after giving birth. A tube of chapstick felt 100% necessary! Adult Diapers Diapers for mom are needed as there is a lot of bleeding postpartum. Hospitals provide moms diapers during their stay, and some hospitals send diapers home with moms, but I found that I went through a lot of diapers in the week following birth, so stock up ahead of time. I used disposable diapers for the first week and then transitioned to pads during the day and diapers at night for another week. Everyone is different though, and some women bleed heavier for longer. Pads At some point, you’ll be able to transition out of diapers and into pads. Stock up with a few packages ahead of time. I bought one package of maxi pads, and used them all within a week and a half! In hindsight, I wish I had purchased period underwear as it's reusable, it would have been more comfortable and would have saved money in the long run, as most women bleed to some extent for several weeks. Here is an excellent pair. Peri bottle If you plan on a hospital birth, most hospitals send one home with you. However, this one is MUCH nicer. It’s an item that will get used enough that I think it’s worth investing in. Stool softener After pushing a baby out, you will NOT want to push anything else out for quite a while. Go ahead and buy a stool softener to have on hand after giving birth, and take them as soon as you can. My provider recommended Colace as it’s safe for breastfeeding. Nice items to have: Herbal Perineal Spray After I pushed my baby out, this cooling Perineal Spray felt so healing. It’s cooling, and great for recovery from episiotomies, or hemorrhoids or swelling. I used it pretty generously those first two weeks postpartum. Comfy, high-waisted underwear When I transitioned from diapers to pads, I quickly realized that I needed granny panties. I also wanted something with “tummy control” just to help me not feel so loose and empty. I found these online, and LOVE them! They are the perfect pair for postpartum. However, in hindsight, I would have worn period panties and saved myself some money. Nice items to have if you’re planning to breastfeed: Every woman is different, but breastfeeding can be really simple or really hard for different people. Some women find the only things they really need to effectively breastfeed are their breasts snacks and water. Some women find that they need to exclusively pump, and others find that formula is the best option for them. But if you plan to breastfeed at all, here are some great items to have on hand! Nursing bras Usually, I’m a no-bra kind of gal, but to my surprise, I wanted a nursing bra during the postpartum period. When I went without a bra, I found that I leaked onto my shirt fairly often. A nursing bra was nice to hold bra pads and/or a silverette nipple shield. It also just helped me feel a little more put-together during that time period. I also wanted something looser and cozier than my usual bras. I opted for cotton sleeping nursing bras, and they’re functional and comfortable! Nursing pads I opted for reusable nursing pads, but you can buy disposable ones. These come in handy when your milk comes in, these are great to keep the letdown from soaking through your bra and shirt. Electrolytes If you’re breastfeeding, staying hydrated can feel like a full-time job. I found myself with headaches many days because I slacked on drinking water. I found myself also craving other, more hydrating liquids, besides just water, like juices, teas, and electrolytes. A better option for electrolytes than Gatorade are these packets as they contain cleaner ingredients and lots of good minerals. Happy Dutcts Tincture I purchased this after it was recommended to me, thinking I may not use it. However, the day after my milk came in, I woke up with the most painful, hot, hard breast! I had one (or a few, I’m not sure) clogged ducts. If you know, you know. It’s a bit miserable. In addition to hot showers, hot compresses, and massage, I used this tincture religiously. By the end of the day, the breast was back to normal, and this tincture will become a permanent fixture in my medicine cabinet until my baby is weaned. A good water bottle A large insulated water bottle with a straw is so so nice to have postpartum. Hopefully, you stay in one place (the bed or the couch), and if you’re breastfeeding you will be thirsty! I also recommend one that does not require two hands to pick up, and often one arm will be holding a baby or trapped under a baby. Here is the one I got. Nursing pillow A nursing pillow is very nice to have if you plan on breastfeeding. It’s not necessary as you can prop yourself or the baby up using a regular pillow or towel, but having one is very nice. Silverette shields Silver is a powerful antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal agent. For these reasons, they are very healing for sore, dry, or cracked nipples. I personally preferred the silverette shields to any nipple balm. Haaka A haaka is a silicone manual breast pump. It’s perfect for catching letdown in the other breast when nursing. If you’re planning to breastfeed, this is a great little tool to have on hand. Nipple balm Nipple balm is great to have on hand for new breastfeeding moms! You will want it for dry (and heaven forbid, cracking) nipples. I also found it was just nice to have as my breasts grew in size I slathered the balm all over to keep them from feeling so tight and stretched. A breastfeeding pump I personally do not pump very often, as I don’t want to create an oversupply and risk more clogged ducts. However, for the times I have had clogged ducts, I was extra grateful for a pump, as I used it to keep the milk moving and help draw out the clog. I also anticipate using it more when my baby is a little older to build up a small supply. This is the one I use, and I really like it. However, again, I don’t pump very often, so a more experienced pumper could probably give a better recommendation. Extra nice items to have, but not at all necessary: Herb sitz bath A herb sitz bath a few days postpartum felt like the greatest luxury! Someone gifted me sitz baths from Made on Acorn Hill, which is a very small, local business in my area. I also used the sitz bath diluted in my peri bottle for a few days. Here is the link to the one I used, but there are many herbal sitz baths out there. Portable fan When my milk came in, my hormones were doing crazy things, and I found myself having hot flashes! We bought a little portable fan for our baby to use in the summer months, but I pulled it out for myself postpartum because I was HOT! Robe A robe A nice bathrobe is again, not at all necessary, but so nice to have. I know myself and many other women don’t wear many clothes immediately postpartum, but a comfortable robe is so nice to have, especially if you’re breastfeeding. How to prep: I made myself a few postpartum baskets to keep around the house. I used thrifted wicker baskets for this and made myself little stations or kits. In the bathroom, I kept one with diapers, pads, a peri bottle, and sitz spray. In the bedroom, I kept a basket with diapers and wipes for midnight diaper changes, and breastfeeding items such as nipple balm, silverette nipple shields, a hakaa, a fan, chapstick, snacks, and a water bottle. I also carried this basket out to the living room with me when I sat there during the day. The basket method worked well for me, as they were mobile, easily refillable, and kept things a bit more organized and centralized. The postpartum period can be a very challenging time. It’s so good if you can to prepare yourself ahead of time with a few things to make life easier once the baby comes. Let me know your postpartum must-haves in the comments!

  • How to Prepare for the Fourth Trimester (Postpartum)

    The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you. Postpartum can be an equally hard and beautiful time. A fresh new baby is so beautiful and floods the body with oxytocin! A body that just birthed a baby though needs a lot of support and rest to heal. Milk coming in, baby blues, poor sleep, and balancing other responsibilities can be very overwhelming! For these reasons, it’s important to prepare ahead of time for the postpartum period. It feels like most people focus on baby's needs during the postpartum period. However, mom needs just as much, if not more support than baby does. A new baby. is really reliant on mom, so it's so important that mom stays healthy and happy. For this reason, this post focuses on mom’s needs. The 5-5-5 Rule Prepare to follow the 5-5-5 rule. 5 days in bed, 5 days on the bed, and 5 days around the bed. This allows your body the rest it desperately needs after giving birth! Those first 5 days especially, you’ll most likely want to stay in bed as your body will be sore and tired! If you had an uncomplicated vaginal birth, you may feel better before the first 15 days are over, BUT remember that you have a lot of internal healing to do and continue to rest. Ask for help If it’s at all possible for you, arrange for someone to come stay with you that first week (or two) after your birth. Your mom, a sister, a close friend, or a hire a post-partum doula. With a sore, tired body, brand new baby, and rapidly changing hormones, small tasks like going pee, taking a shower, and eating a meal are a big deal! Having someone there to help and support you is so so needed! Even if your spouse or partner is at home with you, it’s still so helpful to have an additional person there. If one person can’t be there all the time, ask a few friends to cycle through and visit to help clean, cook, or hold the baby while you take a shower or just take a break. I also found it so nice to have someone there to tell me that what I was experiencing was normal and/or I was doing the right thing. The experience and reassurance of another mother was really invaluable to me during that time. EAT! Most likely, after you give birth and your milk starts to come in, you will be hungry. This is for good reason! Your body needs nourishment to heal and now care for a new baby! Take care of your body with nourishing meals and snacks! The postpartum period is NOT the time to try and lose weight. It’s a time to heal, recover, and bond with your new baby. I have another post about nourishing foods to eat during pregnancy. These foods are also so nourishing for the postpartum period! Fixing a meal during those first few days postpartum can feel virtually impossible. If you’re able to, plan ahead and stock your freezer with meals in the third trimester. The easiest way to do this is when you cook a meal, double the recipe, and freeze half for after the baby comes. Setting up a meal train can also be really helpful. It’s so nice to have a hot meal brought to your house a few times a week when you’re freshly postpartum. Set expectations for visitors Having friends and family come into your home to help with chores, cook a meal, or help take care of you is so so beneficial! However, it is NOT beneficial to have visitors come in who expect you to host them. You do not need to be worried about keeping your house clean during this time or making someone else feel comfortable. Visitors who come in and offer to hold your baby while you do chores are also not beneficial. Set gentle boundaries when necessary. I personally asked my spouse for help setting these boundaries, which helped take some of the mental load off me. Practice intentional self-care Self-care during the postpartum period can feel so challenging and nearly impossible some days, but is so healing! Self-care for me postpartum was my mom or husband holding our baby while I took a hot shower or Epsom salt and herb bath (after waiting about a week after giving birth). Shaving my legs, dinking around the house, and walking around the garden were all glorious activities postpartum. I was also privileged enough that I could take my baby to my mom’s house after she got off work, and throw pottery for an hour while she held the baby. Doing something I enjoy for an hour a few times a week was SO nice. I recognize that these things are not possible for everyone (especially those with multiple children), but do what you can. Ask for help and have grace for yourself. Gather Resources Many women find that they or their baby (or both) need extra support from professionals after the baby comes. It’s really good to have these resources lined up before baby gets here so that you can just make a phone call. Your provider or a doula can likely give you great recommendations. A few providers to research beforehand and keep their contact information are a lactation consultation, a chiropractor, a pediatrician, a pelvic floor therapist, a mental health therapist, and a craniosacral therapist. Stock up Stock up on household essentials like groceries, toilet paper, and other essentials. Also, stock up on postpartum needs. Of course baby items like diapers and wipes, but also mom’s postpartum needs (again diapers). See my post here for What Items are Actually Needed Postpartum (for mom) The fourth trimester can be one of the most challenging times in a woman’s life. I heard from several friends before giving birth that they were miserable or in survival mode for months after their baby was born! It’s not like that for all women, but regardless, it’s so beneficial to do a little preparation beforehand to make this time period easier. Let me know in the comments what you did to prepare for your newborn!

  • Natural Remedies for Uncomfortable Third-Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms

    The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you. For most women, pregnancy is not a cakewalk! I can only speak for myself and my experience, but pregnancy (particularly the first and third trimester) kicked my butt! The third trimester comes with its own list of challenges and uncomfortable symptoms, and it’s oftentimes easy to take a conventional approach to manage them (painkillers, Tums, etc.). However, many symptoms can be managed just as effectively with a natural/holistic remedy! I do want to emphasize again that I am not a medical doctor. I am not a midwife or doula and have no formal medical or birth training. I AM however a brand new mom who is fresh out of the third trimester (and in the fourth at the time of writing this). I worked with my midwives to manage my uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms, using natural and holistic remedies, and I would like to share what worked for me and what I learned! Always consult your provider before supplementing or using tinctures or herbs. Hopefully, you can find a good midwife or other naturally-minded practitioner. I had a wonderful experience under the care of midwives, and really can’t recommend midwifery enough as opposed to conventional care! An experienced midwife is really invaluable when managing symptoms holistically! There are MANY more uncomfortable symptoms that women experience, such as swelling, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, etc, but because I didn't experience these symptoms, I won’t write about what to do for them. This list is based on my own experience and what worked for me, which I hope you find valuable! Here is a list of common pregnancy symptoms and ways of managing them: Poor sleep Poor sleep can be caused by a LOT of things I learned. Restless leg syndrome, leg cramps, itching, a kicking baby, racing thoughts/anxiety, and then just good ole plain insomnia. Here are some of the things that worked for me: 1. Create a cozy nighttime routine. A warm Epsom salt bath with essential oils, a podcast, and candles was AMAZING at helping me wind down for bed. The last few weeks of pregnancy I did this almost every night! Bonus, the Epsom salts are great for leg cramps, and the essential oils are great for itching (especially peppermint, as it has a cooling effect that lasts even after the bath). Limiting screen time and/or blue light-blocking glasses is also very beneficial. 2. I learned that restless leg syndrome is often caused by low iron. Iron drops naturally in all pregnant women in the third trimester as blood volume increases rapidly (to prepare for birth). I increased iron by supplementing beef liver, spirulina, chlorophyll, and n.o.r.a. tea. I also increased my consumption of beef, beans, oatmeal, and orange juice. 3. I was recommended Passionflower and Skullcap tinctures for anxiety/racing thoughts, and these helped tremendously. This was all under the supervision of my midwife, so please consult your provider when supplementing. Overwhelm/Anxiety Feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed were big for me in the third trimester. I felt like there was so much to do, so much to learn, and so much that could go wrong to worry about! What helped me was: 1. Making lists. This may not be an effective way of managing anxiety and overwhelm for many people, but it is one of my personal favorite ways of just getting the thoughts out of my head and organizing them onto paper where I can work through them and cross them off. I made lists of things I wanted to research, things I wanted to do, things I felt needed to be cleaned, etc. I just kept these lists on the notes app on my phone and slowly chipped away at them as I had the energy. One day I would clean a section of the house while listening to a podcast on spinning babies. And the next day, I would listen to a book on hypnobirthing while organizing baby clothes. And then I could go and cross those items off my various lists. If you think your brain may be similar to mine, give it a shot. 2. For anxiety, again I used passionflower and skullcap tinctures at the recommendation of my midwife. (Consult your own provider). Aches and Pains I experienced a lot of aches and pains, which I believe is the most common complaint in the third trimester. The bigger I got, the more pain I had. My pelvis in particular caused me a LOT of pain. Here are some things that helped me: 1. Do what movement you can. This got progressively harder and harder as I grew, but helped a lot. Movement is also especially important if you want a natural birth, as regular movement keeps your body overall healthier and helps move the baby into a better position (research spinning babies if you want to learn more). Take daily walks, even if they’re very short. Wear a belly support band when walking, as this can help relieve a lot of discomfort. Gentle yoga (particularly the cat/cow pose and other intuitive hip movements) helps a lot. Strengthening inner thigh muscles can also really help take the strain off ligaments. 2. See a chiropractor. A chiropractor can be of tremendous help at both alleviating pain AND helping your baby move into the optimal position for birth. When choosing a chiropractor, look for one who is trained in the “Webster method”, which is an evidence-based method specifically for pregnant women. 3. Sleep on a firmer mattress. I discovered that a firmer mattress relieved a LOT of my pelvic pain when we went camping and I slept on a very hard surface. I woke up and felt SO much better! The further I got into pregnancy and the bigger I grew, sleeping on a firm mattress gave me less and less relief while a soft, memory foam mattress caused me more and more pain. We luckily have two beds in our home (one firm and one soft), so I was able to sleep on the firm mattress during pregnancy. We ended up purchasing a firming mattress pad for the other mattress (because it was the one in our bedroom and we wanted to cosleep). Round ligament pain Round ligament pain was something I did not experience often. After talking to a friend who has had 5 children and experienced round ligament pain with some of her pregnancies, and not others, here is what I think I did to prevent it. 1. The few times I did complain of round ligament pain to my midwives, they recommended a magnesium/calcium supplement (1000 mg of calcium and 500 mg of magnesium). I took this supplement from about week 14 of pregnancy and occasionally increased the dose when I experienced leg cramps (under the supervision of my midwives). 2. I wore barefoot shoes and/or went barefoot. This is in direct opposition to much of the advice you might hear. I heard several times people would recommend extra supportive shoes during pregnancy. However, shoes with a lot of support disrupt our natural posture. Barefoot shoes encourage an overall healthier posture (no heel lift, so knees, hips, and back are in better alignment). If you have never worn barefoot shoes and are currently pregnant, listen to your body. Feet can take some time to adjust to supporting themselves after years of being supported by shoes. Read my post here on why you should switch to barefoot shoes to learn more. 3. I did a lot of gentle movement throughout pregnancy. Walking was the main form of movement I did, but I also practiced gentle stretches, the Miles Circut, and other intuitive movements. 4. I received chiropractic care regularly from about week 20. A chiropractor trained in the Webster method does not do much or any of the traditional cracking and popping. Adjustments are gentle and encourage a little massage. Every visit, my practitioner spent a little time on my round ligaments, which I’m sure helped keep the pain at bay. Muscle cramps Muscle cramps can be SO painful, and I remember waking up several times to severe calf cramps in the middle of the night. Muscle cramps can be caused by several things, but a common one is mineral deficiencies, specifically magnesium. The body requires a LOT of extra nutrients and minerals while pregnant! My midwife recommended increasing my dose of the calcium/magnesium supplement, and it helped tremendously! The supplement I took was a serving size of 2 pills (1000 mg of calcium and 500 mg of magnesium), so I simply increased my dose to 3 pills (1500 mg of calcium and 750 mg of magnesium). This was done under the supervision of my midwife. Epsom salt baths were also beneficial as they contain magnesium. Bonus, an increase in magnesium can help soften stool, so it’s also a great solution to constipation! Acid Reflux Acid reflux seemed unavoidable for much of the third trimester, due to a baby squashing my stomach and esophagus. Eating small, healthy meals instead of large meals does help. Cutting out spicy foods, and processed food also was very beneficial. I also took papaya enzymes with meals, and this was VERY beneficial. Itching: At some point in the third trimester, I began to itch due to my skin being stretched. It was particularly bad for me in the evenings when I laid down to try and sleep. Everything in between my stomach to my upper thighs itched like crazy! Before I realized it was due to my skin stretching, I thought maybe we had picked up bed bugs or fleas somewhere, and I continuously checked our mattresses and other furniture for the culprit. No pests though, just a rapidly growing body. Here’s what helped me: 1. A nightly bath in Epsom salt and essential oils. This helped SO much! A good bath helped with not only itching but also winding down for sleep and muscle cramps. I used peppermint to help with the itching as it had a cooling effect, and lavender to help me relax. 2. A good moisturizer helps a LOT. I prefer a tallow-based moisturizer instead of a conventional lotion as it has simple ingredients, is free of additives, and it’s more compatible with skin than other lotions and oils. I liked to add a bit of peppermint essential oils to my tallow to cool irritated skin. I applied generously anywhere that was stretching, and therefore itching, at least twice a day. Warning: I would not recommend peppermint essential oils after you give birth as it can slow the milk supply coming in. And that’s it! I hope that this post gave you some good tips and that you find relief from uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms! Honestly, writing this postpartum I remember very little of the discomfort, and literally all of my pregnancy discomfort vanished almost instantly! So be encouraged that this is all temporary and the oxytocin rush from holding your new baby will likely wipe away even the memories of discomfort and pain! Want more pregnancy content? See my posts here: 5 Superfoods to Eat to Prepare for Pregnancy (and While Pregnant) Surviving the First Trimester (Tips for a Holistic Natural Pregnancy) Strawberry Iced Pregnancy Tea

  • Nutrient-Dense Potato Soup (with Lion's Mane Mushrooms)

    The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you. Jump to the Recipe This potato soup is the BOMB! I love most soups, but this one is one makes the top 3 for sure! This soup is creamy, super flavorful, and PACKED full of nourishing ingredients like lion's mane mushrooms, lentils, bone broth, and, of course, potatoes. It can also be cooked in one pot, so cleanup is super easy! What makes this soup so nourishing? Potatoes: Potatoes are an excellent whole food carbohydrate! They are easy for the body to digest when cooked, unlike many other common carbohydrates like grains. Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, phosphorus and magnesium. And that's not to mention they are delicious! Lentils: Lentils are a good source of plant-protien, which can be difficult for the body to absorb due to the chemical composition of the plant. However, soaking lentils makes them easier to digest, and pairing them with an animal protein (like bone broth and bacon) gives your meal a more complete amino acid profile, making the protein in lentils usable in the body. Lentils are also a great source of potassium, fiber, and folate! Lion's Mane Mushrooms: Lion's Mane mushrooms are known as a medicinal mushroom, meaning they have healing and health-promoting properties. You can probably find lions mane in some form at your local healthfood store as the benefits are well-documented and accepted! Lion's Mane mushrooms are rich in vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin and minerals such as manganese, zinc, and potassium! Lion's Mane is an absolute powerhouse of nutrients! Bone Broth: Bone broth is a food that I would also consider a powerhouse of nutrients! Bone broth contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin K2, iron, zinc, selenium, and manganese (many of these are nutrients that many Americans are often deficient in). Bone broth is packed full of collagen and gelatin which is excellent for promoting good gut health. I like to incorporate as much bone broth as possible into my diet for the full range of amino acids, which is very important when eating head to tail. To learn more, see my posts here for: What is an Ancestral Diet? Homemade Bone Broth Recipie 10 Meals to Sneak Bone Broth Into Nutrient-Dense Potato Soup Cook Time: 40 minutes Serving Size: 6 Tools Needed: Cutting board, knife Large pot Blender (Here is the one I use) But an immersion blender would work well. Ingredients: 6 large potatoes 1 large yellow onion 5 cloves of garlic 2 tablespoons butter 1 cup lentils (See Notes) 1/2 cup dried or fresh Lion's Mane Mushrooms (See Notes) 5 cups bone broth (see my recipe here) 2/3 cup heavy cream 2/3 cup sour cream 1 1/2 cup milk 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon chilli flakes 1 teaspoon cummin 2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper 8 strips of bacon 1/3 cups diced green onions (optional) Instructions: 1. Cook the bacon in the pot. Once the bacon is cooked, set it aside and drain off the lard. 2. While the bacon cooks, chop the onions and garlic. Add both to the same pot where you cooked the bacon with the butter and cook on medium/low until the onions are transparent. 4. While the onions and garlic are cooking, chop the potatoes. Add them to the pot with bone broth, lentils, and mushrooms. 5. Cook until the lentils and potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes if you soaked the lentils ahead of time). 6. Blend the soup to your liking using an immersion or regular blender. 7. Add seasonings, cream, sour cream, and milk to the soup and mix well. 8. Chop the green onion and bacon to add as toppings. 9. Serve and enjoy! Notes: I used dehydrated mushrooms that we purchased from our local farmer's market. These can also be purchased online here in powder form. They can also be foraged during the fall. I have foraged them before, and chose to make a "crab" cake and also blended them into a curry. They are actually one of the easier mushrooms to forage! Other mushrooms can be used in this soup as well. I've used oyster mushrooms instead of lion's mane, but many varieties of mushrooms would be excellent in this soup! And if you're mushroom-averse, you can leave them out altogether! I recommend soaking lentils at least 2 hours ahead of time, so they cook faster and are easier to digest. However, if you forget, don't fret, they will still cook well. This soup is a fall and winter favorite in my house! It's so warm and tasty and relatively easy to make! The bone broth, lentils, and bacon help balance the meal with a good amount of protein. Adding in medicinal and/or foraged mushrooms is an excellent way to boost the nutrient content of this soup AND it's a great way to sneak them in if you have any picky eaters in your house. Blended mushrooms on soup are much more palatable than dishes like lion's mane "crab" cakes. I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we do! Let me know if you try it and like it and if you use other mushrooms besides lion's mane! See my other recipes for using foraged food, like Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto Recipe and learn why I focus on locally sourced and nutrient dense food from my post What is an Ancestral Diet!

  • Pumpkin Granola Date Bark

    The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you. Jump to the Recipe! I have been seeing a LOT of recipes for either granola bark or date bark this season, and they all look absolutely delicious! I'm currently at the end of my pregnancy, so I've been trying to up my date consumption! I'm always on the hunt for recipes that use a lot of dates! This recipe began forming in my brain after I saw that Trader Joe's sells pumpkin bark this time of year! And I thought "I can make that better!" This recipe uses a lot of good whole ingredients that make me feel good about what I'm putting in my body! The granola has plenty of nuts and seeds and pumpkin of course! Dates are incredibly nourishing to the body, and chocolate is good for the soul! This recipe is the perfect little snack as it's full of good proteins and plenty of fiber. It's PERFECT alongside a hot cup of coffee! Pumpkin Granola Date Bark Time to Prepare: 1 hour Serving Size: 60 squares Number of Ingredients: 12 Tools Needed: Skillet Baking paper Rolling pin Microwave safe bowl or double boiler Spatula Ingredients: The granola: 2 1/2 cups of oatmeal 1 cup of either walnuts or pecans 1/4 cup chia seeds 2/3 cups of pumpkin puree 1 stick of butter 1/4 cup of maple syrup 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice 1 teaspoon vanilla Other: 1 package of dates (about 5 cups) 2 cups of chocolate chips Pepitas Sea salt Instructions: 1. Heat up your skillet on medium heat. Begin melting the butter. 2. Mix together oats, nuts, and chia seeds. Add to the pan and begin stirring to incorporate. 3. After the butter is well incorporated into the other ingredients, add the maple syrup, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. 4. Stir continuously for about 10 minutes. 5. Lay a sheet of parchment paper and spoon granola out of the skillet onto the paper. 6. Lay an additional sheet of parchment paper over the top of the granola and begin flattening with a rolling pin. The granola should be between 1/4 and 1/2 inches thick. This step must be done while the granola is still hot as it will begin to harden as it cools. 7. While the granola cools, remove pits from the dates and lay them on a sheet of parchment paper. Add an additional sheet of parchment paper over top, and begin flattening the dates with the rolling pin. As you roll and flatten the dates, trim the edges and add the small trimmings to any gaps in the center, so you get a solid sheet of dates. 8. Once you're satisfied with the dates, carefully flip the parchment paper with the dates over on top of the granola (with the parchment paper remaining on top), and roll out with the rolling pin to help the two stick together. 9. Melt your chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double boiler. If using a microwave, be sure to stir every 30 seconds or so to prevent burning. 10. Pour the melted chocolate over the dates and spread evenly. 11. Sprinkle pepitas and sea salt on the melted chocolate. 12. Set in the refrigerator for at least an hour to allow the chocolate to fully cool and harden. 13. Once the chocolate is cool, cut into squares and enjoy! And that’s it! This recipe is both delicious and packed full of nutrients! It’s perfect for the fall season! Let me know if you tried this recipe and what you think! Want more nourishing recipes? See the ancestral eating page of my blog for more! I love to create easy, nourishing, and delicious recipes that follow the concept of eating ancestrally!

  • The Definitive Guide to Growing Carrots in Zone 7b

    This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you. Carrots are a crop that seems straightforward, but many people have a surprising amount of trouble with them! For years, I grew teeny tiny, mishappen carrots that often tasted more like dirt than carrot (even when washed), and I’ve seen many other gardeners do the same thing year after year. Carrots are supposed to be big, thick, and sweet, and you CAN grow them that way! After 5 years of trial and error, I am happy to present to you: The Definitive Guide to Growing Sweet Carrots in Zone 7b! (Modify for your growing zone). Plant at the end of summer: Despite what the internet tells you, carrots do NOT like heat and so should NOT be planted in the spring in zone 7b. When carrots are planted in the spring, the summer heat makes the plant put more energy into the leaves and eventual flower instead of the root. 7b is a HOT zone! So hot in fact, that many tropical plants like luffas thrive in our sticky hot summers! Carrots are cold tolerant and produce a much sweeter vegetable if grown in the colder months. The cold forces the plant to put its energy into the roots so it will survive the winter (and hopefully make it to summer where it can flower and spread seeds to reproduce…the goal of all plants). That being said, plant carrots in the middle of August. The late summer heat helps them sprout and then just as they’re getting big, the weather cools down and forces the energy of the plant into the root. Choose a good variety: Now I know, it can be VERY tempting to grow the rainbow carrots that you saw at the hardware store. And while I always encourage experimentation in gardening, know that usually, these do not do as well as other varieties. Instead of just picking up whatever variety of seeds your local hardware or feed store has in stock, do a bit of research first. What are your carrot-growing goals? Do you want sweet carrots, carrots that store well for months and months, extra-large carrots, purple carrots, or just carrots that are easy to grow? A quick internet search will steer you in the right direction. I’ll help you out a bit here: A good variety of sweet carrots (these also store very well): Danvers carrots Storage carrots (and carrots that grow extra long): Imperator carrots Purple carrots: Purple Haze Carrots Easy carrots to grow: Nantes carrots As you can see, there are lots of options out there! And odds are, it will take a bit of trial and error to find the varieties that you like and that grow well in your garden. If you’re really good, grow a few different varieties, label them, and then keep track of what does well in your space and what you like. Thin your carrots: This is NOT a fun step in growing carrots, but one that is absolutely necessary! I always delay thinning my carrots because it seems like such a waste, but it just has to be done. After your carrots are a few weeks old, comb through them and pull up seedlings so that you’re left with one seedling about every 3 inches. This ensures that each plant has plenty of room to grow large. When carrot seedlings are not thinned, their growth is restricted and you’re left with small, crowded carrots. Again, not a fun step, but don’t skip it. If you follow these steps, you should have a beautiful healthy carrot harvest in early winter! I harvest my best carrots in December. A few other tips and tricks: Be sure your soil is healthy and free of rocks or other obstructions. Anything blocking carrots’ roots’ downward growth will either stunt it or deform it. Be sure to till your soil well. See my post here for 5 Ways to Ammend Poor Soil in the Garden Make sure pests cannot eat your carrots or carrot greens. I find that pests are less of a problem when planted in the fall as many insects die off with the first frost. However, a layer of mulch will help prevent beetles from munching on your carrots. Cats and chickens are my personal worst pests. Cats can easily kill a huge portion of freshly planted carrots when they see the freshly tilled soil as a litter box. Chickens LOVE carrot greens and will eat the greens down to the carrot top, stunting the carrot’s growth. To keep cats from using the garden bed as a litter box, I like to lay down a piece of wire fencing or chicken wire so that they can’t dig. To keep chickens out, I built a fence around my garden. See my post here for how I built a garden fence on a budget. And see my post here for how I keep chickens from destroying my garden My last tip is to not leave carrots in the ground too long. When the roots have been in the ground too long, they may either begin to get mushy and decay OR they get really tough and inedible. I’ve made both of these mistakes. Some sources say carrots are ready for harvest 2-3 months after planting, but I’ve found that my carrots take a bit longer to be ready. Keep an eye on your carrots' growth by digging around the base of the stems to expose the carrot tops. When the carrot tops are about an inch in diameter, you’re ready for harvest. And know that some carrots, despite your best efforts will remain tiny while others grow big. And that’s it! My guide to growing big, delicious carrots in zone 7b! This guide can be easily modified for different growing zones. For example, if you live in a colder environment, you can likely plant carrots in the spring and they will do great in the summer months! I’ve learned to grow carrots (and most other plants) through trial and error, and even when I do all the things right, some years I still might get a dud harvest. So be patient, and if a crop fails, just try again next year! Want to learn more about gardening? See my other posts on: 10 Mistakes New Gardeners Should Avoid 10 Things to Plan in the Fall and Grow through the Winter 5 Things to Do in the Fall Garden

  • Small Mobile Farm Stand Design

    This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thank you. I have wanted a little roadside farmstand for a few years now! Back when we first bought our house in 2019, I really wanted to replace our grass with a meadow of native flowers and sell fresh bouquets! However, that idea was scrapped when our grass grew to an unmanageable height and the packets of seeds I spread only produced a handful of flowers. However, the original idea of the farmstand stuck with me, and I’ve thought about it every year since. Every year, there was always something preventing me from doing it. “I don’t have enough flowers.” “The produce from my garden is not pretty enough.” “Our hens don’t lay enough eggs.”, etc. This summer though, we visited the Finger Lakes region in New York, and there were farmstands everywhere! They were all so cute and unique, and I came home ready to open my own! I knew that if I waited for everything to be perfect, I would never do it, so I just did it! We have only had the farmstand open for a few weeks now, but we love it! Ours does not make a ton of cash, but it’s an excellent way to break even on chicken feed and sell extra produce that we won’t use. The design for our stand is very simple. I contemplated building a more permanent structure for a while and even drew up the plans and made a materials list, BUT the mobility is a must-have for us as egg production will likely go down in the winter months and we won’t have flowers or veggies to sell. The mobility allows us to just pull the whole thing away for winter storage. The design also uses very little lumber and was SUPER easy to build! It’s also perfect for a cooler, which we needed to keep eggs and veggies cool. We used all scrap material and spare hardware for this build. The only thing I purchased was the cash box, and I’ve linked a very similar one here: https://amzn.to/3L14y6I This design can be modified very easily based on what you have available to you, your skill set, and your personal preferences! My hope is that this post just gives you the inspiration you need to start your own! The Design: We used a small mower trailer as the base of our design. You can buy these at your local hardware or feed store for between $130-$250. However, you can also likely find them for sale used in your area for much cheaper. They are often listed on Facebook Marketplace in my area. Ours was a given to us by my parents, and it might be as old as I am. Before it was a farmstand, we used it for all sorts of projects! And if we need it again for another project (like moving large amounts of dirt or woodchips), all we have to do is lift the frame out of the trailer. We built a frame using 2x2s to sit down in the trailer. We used recycled tin for the roof, and I added a small shelf for produce. On one side, I added an additional piece of wood to secure the cash box. The only tools I used for this job were a circular saw, drill, and metal shears to cut the tin. I attached our sign to the top of the frame so that it can be read from the road. To prop the trailer up and keep it level, I used a few bricks on the front, and a few cinder blocks under the rear of the trailer. When we want to move the farm stand, I simply pull the bricks and cinder blocks out and set them down in the trailer before moving the whole thing with our lawn mower. We keep a cooler set down inside the trailer for produce and eggs. I simply taped our prices and a little bit of information about eggs to the top of the cooler. Tips and Tricks: Signage is very important. We have two additional signs in addition to the pricing taped to our cooler. Our roadside signs are individual fence panels painted with the items that we sell: eggs, organic veg, flowers, and fruit. I attached eyes and hooks to each sign so that they can be easily removed and rearranged. So when we don’t have fruit to sell, I simply do not hang that panel. These signs also have the added bonus of looking very cute in my opinion. After a week of being open, we quickly realized we needed an open/closed sign. It’s not realistic for us to keep it stocked every single day, especially because the eggs need to be kept cool. So when it’s open (usually Fridays through Sundays), we flip the sign to say open, and when it’s closed, we flip it to say closed. It doesn’t get any easier than that. We chose this method over posting hours to allow more flexibility on our end (like if we go out of town for a few days). And that’s it! This design is about as simple as it gets! It took me an afternoon to build it and get set up, and would take all of 5 minutes to move and disassemble! There are MUCH nicer and prettier designs out there, but this one is simple, mobile, affordable, and doable! I also happen to think it’s really cute.

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