How to Make Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, and Skyr

yogurt-small-jarsThere’s almost nothing easier than making your own yogurt! With the back to school and back-to-serious season now in swing, you may be tempted to stock up on the Go-gurt style tubes for kids or even some of those new, beautiful little artisan yogurt tubs for you, to appease your healthy-slash-convenient sensibilities.  But nay nay!  Here’s a fun project for your weekend.

You can make your very own super delicious and wholesome regular yogurt, Greek yogurt, and even Icelandic-style Skyr Scandinavian yogurt right at home.  It’s not only less expensive and more holistic, but good for the environment, too, producing far less waste.  Let me walk you through the traditional stovetop method for making your very own homemade yogurt.   Continue reading

Great Northern Gardening Experiment, Part 2

Gardening Mid SummerA couple months now into our Spring seeding and sprouting, and we are officially in the midst of Summer gardening… and it is OM!  Much of the garden this year was grown from seed and some fruit roots, with a few small berry shrubs thrown in for good measure.  We did see some returning plants from our first year, and things are coming along quite nicely – however, just a little slowly.

Everyone here says it’s been a wet season thus far, though even moving as we did from Texas last year, I find it has been very hot as well.  I will say, 85 degrees with 80% humidity really DOES feel like 105!  Now I understand why the farmers get up so early.   Continue reading

Fairy Forest Cottage with a Side of Jam

Fairy Forest signsWow!  So it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve posted anything here – which is definitely a sign of the season.  With the onset of spring gardening and the end of Mighty O’s school year, needless to say, we have been MIGHTY busy!!!

When we moved in last year, I declared that 2016 would be the year of OUTSIDE – since there was so much work INSIDE  to deal with for 2015… and so it’s been off to the races since the sun came out here.

Top projects over the last several weeks have included handmade teacher gifts (lavender sugar and lavender lemongrass body scrub), tending to the Great Northern Gardening Experiment sprouts and getting them into the ground, clearing and re-envisioning long-neglected beds, planting in over 250 bulbs and roots, and over 30 fruit shrubs and flowering bushes (with a few trees still to go!), turning our “mud pit” off the deck into a huge pebble patio, and – of course – keeping the Elf entertained with plenty of books, hikes, creative projects, and even a few camp days and play dates here and there.

Shew!! So now that I’ve exhausted myself just thinking about all of that… I decided it’s time for a new hobby (of course).   Continue reading

Soothe Eyes Naturally with Chamomile & Honey

Soothe Eyes Naturally with an Herbal Poultice

Soothe Eyes Naturally with an Herbal Poultice

And the allergy season is upon us!  Seasonal allergies definitely throw us for a loop around here – and we need a solution to soothe eyes STAT!   Whether irritated from pollen, cedar, or baby bunny fur (a story for another time ;), Mother Nature is here to help.

An easy, homemade natural remedy can be a saving grace to soothe eyes, and often works better than over-the-counter and prescription eye drops…

And believe you me, I have tried them AWwwwLlll, honeychile. Continue reading

Great Northern Gardening Experiment: Starting Seeds

Starting Seeds CompleteAs a newer gardener – and brand new to growing in the Northern latitudes – there’s a lot I am figuring out… like the necessity of starting seeds early to work with a much shorter and cooler growing season.

Last Spring, my first priority was settling into our new house, so I got a pretty late start on things.  Besides which, a garden plot still had to be tilled out, compost delivered, and finally starting seeds commenced, and somewhat randomly, since I wasn’t really sure  what might grow successfully in our new environment. Continue reading

Homemade Holiday Gifting: Vanilla Brown Sugar Moisturizing All-Natural Body Scrub

Brown Sugar Scrub WrappedI love homemade gifts.  There’s nothing that says love and care better than something you create with your own two hands, whether it’s for the holidays, a birthday, or just because.  I’m always creating something, or 10 things (more likely ;)… whether it’s big home projects or small crafts, though most often it’s for my home, family, or sometimes to sell – and not as often as I’d like for something to give.  So when the time comes, I really enjoy making gifts – and I like to keep it pretty simple, too.  During the holidays, it’s especially helpful if a project is quick and easy , for you or even the kids to create.  This one is great for last minute gifts, too – since you probably already have everything you need to make it. Continue reading

Easy Like Sunday Morning: Gluten Free Cranberry Banana Oat Muffins

Cranberry Banana MuffinMuffins are the handiest treats around!  They’re quick and relatively fool-proof – and so easy to make healthy and wholesome without tons of sugar like you might find in packaged or bakery varieties.  I love to stock extra muffins in the freezer for quick grab-and-go breakfasts and snacks, too.

This cranberry banana oat recipe is mildly sweet, and makes a light-tasting muffin that’s gluten-free.  It’s also a great way to use overripe bananas, which are always in rotating stock at our house. I love using ingredients that are naturally abundant and in season, so I threw in some cranberries for Fall flair.   Continue reading

Busy Day Quick & Healthy Potato (Veggie) Soup

Potato Veggie SoupFall is in full swing now with crisp weather and falling leaves, and the soup is definitely on here at our house.  We just can’t get enough of it – whether light, hearty, creamy, or brothy…. We’ll take it any way, any day! ;)

This is a great recipe when you want something warm, savory, and nutritious, but you need it quick.  And it’s perfect for those in the family who may not typically go in for the veggies… they’re here in force, though blend seamlessly into the rich potato base to get around those picky eaters.  Mighty O asks for seconds and even sometimes thirds on this one!  Continue reading

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Laundry Detergent BucketOne of my latest obsessions is making homemade cleaning products.  My mom initially turned me on to the idea of homemade laundry detergent when she reported making 5 GALLONS of laundry detergent – that worked well! – for just a couple of dollars.  Whaat?!  This appealed to me on so many levels.
There are so many good reasons to make your own laundry detergent.  To live more naturally, consume fewer products with less packaging, reduce chemicals in our homes and on our bodies, and to stem the pollution going into the waste stream and waterways – and last but certainly not least, to save money.  Laundry detergent has always been one of the most expensive items on my grocery list, especially since liquid detergent is pretty much all we can use in our HE machine – so this is an awesome way to conserve in the household budget.   Continue reading

Green Tomato Lime Cilantro Salsa

Green Tomatoes Pig Plate

My son, Mighty O, will be starting at a very cool, very small school this Fall. We’ve had lots of interesting experiences with education already in his young life (perhaps more on that later…), though we are very excited about this one!  This school follows an outdoor-oriented program that is similar to the forest schools of Scandinavia and the American Pacific Northwest, with a very hands-on learning approach that also includes lots of music and performing arts.  If I were the type to ever say, “Squeeeee!” – well, it might be now.

At any rate, the school maintains a wonderful garden, which is tended by the students during the school year and once a week through the summer months.  A very nicely-producing young tomato plant was uprooted by a well-meaning child at our last visit, and the green tomatoes on the bush were begging for a use. I grabbed them to make a tomatillo-style salsa or chutney, which could come in use for the school’s Fall festival, where they serve food from the garden’s bounty.   Continue reading