Best Ever Pickled Beets

This is our favourite Pickled Beet Recipe. Submitted to naturalmommy from mom, Su Edwards. You’ll love ’em too since they are sweet and retain that earthy beet flavour.

You Will Need:

Beets

Jars

Vinegar (white or apple cider)

Sugar (white is generally what people use, but we suggest the organic sugar cane)

Pot, Ladle, Tongs, Knife Continue reading

Homemade Blackberry Jelly

Submitted by Catherine Bedson from Farmhouse Home.

Have you ever made jelly from fresh fruit rather than a packet?  It tastes like jellied fruit and has a fresh, fruity flavour. I made some with fresh blackberries and it tasted so good.  My husband who’s a jelly fan, found some packets in the cupboard the other day and asked if I could make it. Instead I made this fresh blackberry jelly and he commented twice how nice it was. Serve with yogurt, ice cream or both! Continue reading

Is There One Major Thing We Can Do To Make Our Homes Greener?

We asked ourselves the question, is there one major thing we can do to make our homes greener?

In Green Home: A Sunset Guide, by Bridget Biscotti Bradley and her colleagues, they illustrate that there is not one thing that makes a home green or provides a natural environment to live in. Everything in your home, objects to electrical outlets can be made more environmentally friendly. Don’t get overwhelmed! Just break it down into categories and think about things one at a time.

“To begin, a green home is first and foremost an energy efficient one. That means making sure that your home is well insulated and that the appliances are energy efficient. This also means making sure that appliances waste less water. A simple caulking around windows and limiting other drafty areas can really make a huge difference and save you some serious coin.” (Bradley) Continue reading

Fall & Planning Your Garden With Your Kids

Submitted by Lisa Marvier of Farm Girl Nursery. Connect with them on facebook [here]. Image by Ashlee Dawn Photography found [here].

Fall. My favorite time of the year. I actually “fallify” my entire home right down to the bales of straw on the entry table topped with wild looking pumpkins to the multicolored fresh leaves trailing down the staircase. It is also an amazing time of the year to plan your gardens with your children and create a start to finish plan that requires sharing, creating and learning. Here are some ideas for accomplishing this and enjoying the wonders of the season:

STEP ONE –

Head on out to the nearest pumpkin patch or find a local store or nursery where you can buy organic pumpkins. Have the kids draw or use their favorite trinkets to decorate and then carve. Continue reading

Six Clean Plates

Submitted by Lisa Marvier of Farm Girl Nursery. Find them on facebook [here].

Last weekend I had all of the cousins over for a camping adventure on the property. They range in age from 7 – 12. Most are very easy going when it comes to food from the garden and are eager to try new dishes. However, 2 of the bunch refused and have always refused to try anything! Breaks my heart. This year it was going to be different.

The deal was you can spend the night, sleep in the tent, sit by the campfire and roast smores only and only after you have worked in the garden and helped to pick the veggies for dinner. This years crop included cauliflower, leeks, onions, fennel, garlic and basil. The kids promptly hopped in the hot tub allowing me to clean the produce. After their showers they strolled into the kitchen one by one and we chopped, very finely all of our ingredients. They watched and participated in the making. The salmon was prepped with fresh garlic, a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper, lemon and popped into the oven. Rice was thrown into the rice cooker and we were on our way.

We talked about the veggies from the garden, how they thought we could prepare them in the future, what they loved about the harvesting process and more. The veggies were sautéed, each child got a stir or two and then we were ready to plate. Something was different this time. They all were excited to know how their little creation was going to turn out. Beautiful plates were plated with a nice amount of rice. On top of the rice we did a large spoonful of the sautéed cauliflower (remember tiny, tiny), fennel, garlic, basil and leeks. Atop that our lovely salmon and garnished with a pinch of fresh basil. What a treat! The kids picked up their forks and in what seemed like an instant the plates were bare – I was astounded. The first thing I did was to call my parents who were in complete shock that the two girls not only ate but tried something new. Then I was on the phone to my brother who did not believe me. Here’s the SECRET: the kid’s had a vested interest. They picked the veggies, they cooked, they talked about the meal and in the end they wanted to know what it tasted like. Of course it was fabulous. Mission accomplished. I think I’m onto something here!

Images courtesy of Farm Girl Nursery. Visit them on facebook for more photos.

Farm Girl Nursery

Farm Girl Nursery opened on March 24th of this year in Novato, California. It’s pretty much been an experiment, according to owner Lisa Marvier who is excited about what might happen next. The fact that she knows that she is making a difference in the world means everything to her. Farm Girl Nursery is full of fresh organic fruits and veggies as well as a variety of animals, some of which are rescued like her former racehorses. They have also opened up a camp for kids, where they can learn about how food is grown and even do some of the cooking themselves. Lisa also encourages people to reuse materials in ways they have never thought of, instead of just buying new. She encourages kids in her camp to recycle everything from their homes: egg cartons, soda bottles, water bottles, milk containers…anything that they can use to start seeds. Lisa discovered that the plastic cartons with tops are great because they act as mini greenhouses!

We just had to meet up with Lisa (interview below) to learn more about Farm Girl Nursery, her philosophies and her future plans. You can connect with Lisa and Farm Girl Nursery through e-mail: marvier@comcast.net, over the phone: (415) 730.6917 or through their facebook page found [here]. Their current hours of operation are Wednesday and Saturday from 10-4PM.

NM: Why do you think it is important for people to grow their own food and or buy natural food grown locally?

Lisa: I see so many ill informed people all over the country. They eat what their parents eat, their parents are in a hurry, and they forget about health and nutrition. When you grow your own food it means something. You see a seed turn into a harvest and you want to eat it, prepare it and enjoy it. Eating locally is everything. I often ask my son to read the ingredients in the food he wants to eat because the “other” kids like it. I then ask him what is in an apple, a green bean, an orange. He gets it. His breakfast often consists of a walk through the gardens picking blueberries, strawberries, peas, carrots and tomatoes. It puts a huge smile on my face and heart! Continue reading

Sauerkraut – how to make it yourself

Submitted by Kristin Urdiales of naturehaditfirst.com

Raw fermented sauerkraut is one of those foods that once you have it in your life you don’t want to live without it. As a powerful digestive tonic, it is the go to in our house for hiccups, upset tummies, indigestion, and a myriad of other ailments. With anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, sauerkraut juice is the first medicine I give my kids in times of diarrhea and vomiting.

We have taken it to the Dominican Republic, because going on vacation without it is unimaginable. For our upcoming family trip to Florida, my mother-in-law has already requested that I bring 4 jars, enough to get the entire family through a week of consuming uncommon fare.

It is also one of those foods that if you have it bought from the store, you may not agree with a word I have just said. Store bought raw sauerkraut is often not organic, expensive, mushy, and a faint caricature of the powerful medicine I am talking about. Continue reading

Sunscreen for Your Little Ones

By Breanna Rothe from sustainablemommy.ca, Photo: Tricia Hong

“A consumer advocacy group has a warning for parents who think they‘re protecting  their family with sunscreen: You may be getting burned. The Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based nonprofit, has released an investigation of nearly 1,000 brand-name sunscreens that says four out of five don‘t adequately protect consumers and may contain harmful chemicals.” (Mercola)

With so many different sunscreens on the Market it is hard to decide which one is  right for your little ones. Beyond deciding on the brand and SPF, there are some other important factors to consider, such as the fact that many new studies such as the one mentioned above, have concluded that most of the ingredients in popular drugstore brands of sunscreen, contain chemicals that can be very harmful to your health, potentially cancer causing, and therefore not something you want to put on a baby or young child. Two main ingredients to avoid when purchasing a sunscreen for your family is anything containing Oxybenzone and Retinyl Palmitate. Continue reading

Apple Juice or Arsenic Juice?

As some of you might have already heard from Dr. Oz, there have been suspicions of high levels of arsenic (and lead) in fruit juice – especially apply.

Unfortunately, (released recently from ABC news, link below) these suspicions have been confirmed. Trace levels of naturally-occurring arsenic is safe, however we are not discussing trace levels of naturally occurring arsenic. We are talking about an elevated level which may result in long term illness and development delays. Levels found in many of the fruit juices on the market exceed the healthy levels for human consumption. In fact, these levels are higher than the US government allowance in water.

Many fruit juice companies are claiming that they are not responsible for regulations – instead it is the government’s job to set the threshold for arsenic levels in juice. Right now most governments have no regulations for arsenic in juices. Perhaps because until now, this has not been an apparent issue (thank you Dr. Oz!). Continue reading