Tales from a Foragers Kitchen

Rodale Pulls Foraging Cookbook That Gives Dangerous Information on Elderberries, Acorns and Mushrooms

A well-known Instagram star’s popular new foraging cookbook has been pulled by its publisher, thanks to the fact that some actual foragers got a hold of it and alerted readers to some dangerous (and seriously unpalatable) recipes inside it. Tales from a Forager’s Kitchen: The Ultimate Field Guide to Evoke Curiosity and Wonderment with More […]

The Fruit Forager's Companion: Ferments, Desserts, Main Dishes, and More from Your Neighborhood and Beyond

A New Favorite Foraging Book: The Fruit Forager’s Companion

When I received a digital ARC of Sara Bir’s The Fruit Forager’s Companion, the only thing I didn’t like about it was the fact that it was deleted after the review period and I didn’t get to keep a copy.   I absolutely loved this book and plan to purchase a copy of my own. […]

Unbiased Review: Modern Pressure Canning

Unbiased Review: Modern Pressure Canning

I have experience with pressure canning but I’m always happy to find new recipes and learn more. When I got an opportunity to read a temporary digital Advanced Reader Copy of the new book, Modern Pressure Canning by Amelia Jeanroy, I was happy to check it out. While this book has basic information to get […]

June foraging wrap up

Our June Foraging Wrap-Up

The first month of summer is past now and I thought I’d do a little update on what we foraged in June this year.  This might not include everything, but these were the major foods. Asparagus The wild asparagus season is pretty much over. We harvested a total of 57 pounds this year, most of […]

what to do with mulberries

Wonderful Ways to Use Mulberries

  It’s mulberry season!  Whether you have a mulberry tree in your back yard or local park or you have generous friends or neighbors, these sweet treats are all over right now. https://www.instagram.com/p/BkInL6JAoId There are so many reasons to gather mulberries. First of all, they’re incredibly healthy.  Mulberries are loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and […]

How to cook and preserve chicken of the woods mushrooms

What to do with Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms?

We were thrilled when Daryl brought home two big bags of chicken of the woods mushrooms yesterday.  While we harvest lots of pheasant back (dryad’s saddle) mushrooms and morels, this is our first time finding chicken of the woods and I was so excited as I’ve heard for years how much they taste like chicken […]

Make your own homemade fruit leather

Easy DIY Fruit Leather

  Whether you have buckets of wild mulberries or an excess of peaches that you can’t possibly eat in time, fruit leather is a fabulous way to make use of it.  Fruit leather is wonderfully simple and you can customize each batch with whatever fruits you have and flavors you’re craving. Not only is fruit […]

How to easily identify elderberries, elderflowers and elder shrubs

Now Is the Time to Easily Find Elderberry Shrubs!

If you’d like to forage your own elderberries later this summer, now is the time to start looking because elder flowers are blooming (or are just finishing) and the elder shrubs so easy to spot.  Here’s everything you need to know to find elderberries and elder flowers. Whenever people find out that our family harvests […]

Must Modern Cider Making Be Chemical-Laden and Complicated?

As an avid home brewer of wines and ciders, I was excited to read an ARC copy of Modern Cider: Simple Recipes to Make Your Own Ciders, Perries, Cysers, Shrubs, Fruit Wines, Vinegars, and More, by Emma Christensen, through Net Galley. I am always looking for more recipes and for ideas to simplify the process. […]

how to make elderflower syrup

How to Make Elderflower Syrup for Elderflower Cakes

If you’ve been following the royal wedding (or even if you haven’t), you’ve probably heard about the spectacular elderflower cake that pastry chef Claire Ptak designed for the much-anticipated wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. The wedding cake is to be served at the Reception. It was designed by Claire Ptak and features elderflower […]

Famous herbalists tell the benefits of nettles

What We’re Foraging This Week (5/14)

Minnesota started the foraging season late this year since we had snowstorms throughout April, but we’re now happily doing some major foraging.  Here’s what we’re finding lately. Ramps Prepping ramps for dinner. . . . . #ramps #rampseason #foraging #wildfoodlove A post shared by Alicia Bayer (@magicandmayhem) on May 11, 2018 at 4:08pm PDT Daryl  […]

Upcycling Outdoors: 20 Creative Garden Projects Made from Reclaimed Materials

Review: Upcycling Outdoors (20 Creative Garden Projects Made from Reclaimed Materials)

Looking for some upcycling inspiration for your yard and garden?  Upcycling Outdoors: 20 Creative Garden Projects Made from Reclaimed Materials, a new book by Max McMurdo, is a fun, inspirational and educational read. I read a temporary digital ARC of this book through Net Galley. I really enjoyed it, but found it had limited use […]

Stephanie Tourles's Essential Oils: A Beginner's Guide: Learn Safe, Effective Ways to Use 25 Popular Oils; Make 100 Aromatherapy Blends to Enhance Health; Soothe Common Ailments and Promote Well-Being

Review: Stephanie Tourles’s Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide

The world of essential oils has become increasingly complicated since the rise of multi-level marketing EO companies in the past couple of decades.  I started using essential oils regularly about 15 years ago, when a trusted friend in a natural parenting forum posted about how wonderful lavender oil was for healing wounds.  It really was […]

Composting for a New Generation: Latest Techniques for the Bin and Beyond

Review: Composting for a New Generation Will Get You Excited About Composting — Really!

If you’ve always wanted to compost but didn’t know where to start, or if you’ve been composting for years but want to switch up your methods, a great new book has you covered. Michelle Balz’s  Composting for a New Generation: Latest Techniques for the Bin and Beyond is a phenomenal book to answer any questions […]

20 Herbs you can grow in shade

20 Herbs You Can Grow in Shade

Just because your yard is partially shaded doesn’t mean you can’t grow your own herbs this summer. Plenty of herbs actually prefer partial or dappled shade, especially in warmer climates.   You often hear that herbs are sun-lovers, but its surprising how happy many herbs are in shade. In our zone 4 Minnesota garden, we […]

The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by the Extraordinary Produce of California's Most Iconic Market

Review: The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook Gives Recipes for Exotic Produce and Wild Foods

I was able to read a digital copy of The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by the Extraordinary Produce of California’s Most Iconic Market this week through Net Galley.  I was excited to read it, not because I have access to an elaborate produce market like the famous Berkeley Bowl, but because some of the […]

chipotle guacamole

Chipotle’s Easy Guacamole Recipe

We’re big guacamole lovers here, especially when avocados in season and affordable like this time of year.  Guacamole is fantastically healthy and is also a great non-dairy way to cut the heat in Mexican dishes.  Our whole family loves Chipotle (it’s a very affordable way to get healthy, tasty food on the go, and it’s […]

How to Make Dandelion Syrup

How to Make Dandelion Syrup

Daryl has made dandelion syrup several times with our kids and it’s always a big hit.  Not only is it fun, but the syrup tastes delicious and it’s full of vitamins from the dandelions.  It’s also a great vegan substitute for honey, with a similar color and taste. Although it’s the dead of winter right […]

What’s in Season in February — and What to Eat Local in the North

Lots of fruits and vegetables are in season in February, and it’s still also possible to eat local foods with a little bit of creativity. Why eat foods that are in season?   It pays to eat foods that are in season — to help save money, to help the environment, to get the freshest […]

A Week’s Worth of Healthy, Frugal Organic Dinner Ideas

A Week’s Worth of Healthy, Frugal Organic Dinner Ideas

Wondering what to plan for supper this week?  Here are some healthy, frugal meals you can make if you’re vegan, paleo or anywhere in between.  Even if you buy all organic ingredients, these are meals that are easy on your budget.   1. Soup — Use any veggies, leftovers, grains, meats or beans you have […]

How to Divorce Your Grocery Store

Here’s an easy way to dramatically lower your grocery costs and still eat well.  At the start of each week (or whenever your local stores change their sales), check out the sales flyers for any grocery stores near you.  Only check for grocery items that you either use regularly or would use if they were […]

How to make pumpkin puree

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

Sure, you can go buy those orange cans of pumpkin puree at the grocery store, but making your own is so much more satisfying! It’s also much easier than you might think.  Best of all, this time of year it’s incredibly cheap, even if you didn’t grow your own pumpkins.  My kitchen table is currently […]

Fabulous free permaculture book teaches DIY urban rainwater harvesting

Fabulous Free Permaculture Book Teaches DIY Urban Rainwater Harvesting

Here’s a wonderful free booklet to help you use permaculture principles to harvest rainwater and put it to use in your yard and gardens.     The wonderfully-illustrated 8-page primer was created by by Joe Linton (of LA Creek Freak) to accompany a workshop he did in 2008.   The guide draws heavily from Brad […]

Wild foods list of each of Samuel Thayer's foraging books: Incredible Wild Edibles, Nature's Garden & The Forager's Harvest

Which Wild Edible Plants Are Covered in Samuel Thayer’s Foraging Books?

Samuel Thayer’s foraging books Nature’s Garden and The Forager’s Harvest are well loved by foragers, and his upcoming book, Incredible Wild Edibles, promises to be another great resource.  Thayer doesn’t cover the same wild edible foods in any of his books.  Each book goes into great detail about a few dozen wild foods to forage, […]

Acorn Ice Cream (paleo and vegan)

Recipe: Acorn Maple Ice Cream (Paleo & Vegan)

I thought I’d share another acorn recipe from my acorn book, in case anybody else has a stash of newly foraged acorns waiting to be put to good use.  This is an ice cream recipe I developed, and like the acorn drop biscuit recipe it is also vegan.  There is a traditional acorn ice cream […]

The Fascinating History of Racahout, an Acorn Delicacy and Cure-all

The Fascinating History of Racahout, an Acorn Delicacy and Health Remedy — and the Modern Knock-Off It Inspired

As many readers know, I have been writing an acorn foraging guide and cookbook.  My research led to a fascinating bit of history this week when I stumbled upon a reference to Racahout des Arabes, which was apparently once a very popular hot drink or hot cereal (depending on how much hot milk you used) made […]

Acorn drop biscuits

Acorn Drop Biscuits

It’s acorn season, and anybody who follows my Instagram knows that our family has been foraging, processing and cooking with acorns all month.  Acorn processing #fallforaging #forageandharvest #wildedibles #foraging #foragingfamily #septemberforaging #fallflavors #acorns A post shared by Alicia Bayer (@magicandmayhem) on Sep 4, 2017 at 11:04am PDT I made up a batch of acorn drop […]

It's acorn season!

It’s Acorn Season!

Our family has been busy lately with one of our favorite wild edible foods of fall — acorns. Acorn processing #fallforaging #forageandharvest #wildedibles #foraging #foragingfamily #septemberforaging #fallflavors #acorns A post shared by Alicia Bayer (@magicandmayhem) on Sep 4, 2017 at 11:04am PDT Yes, you can eat them, and they are absolutely delicious.  They’re also nutritious […]

It’s Elderberry Season!

Daryl and I have been faithfully checking our elder patches for the past few weeks and he brought home a bag of our first elderberry bounty for the year this week. This particular clump of elders is bordering a nursing home that has given us permission to pick their pears and elderberries.  He harvested them […]

Azure Standard's Organic Fruits and Veggies Box

Is Azure Standard’s Organic Fruits and Veggies Box Worth the Cost?

If you don’t have access to affordable organic suppliers like Bountiful Baskets or a good local CSA, Azure Standard is one option to get a monthly box of assorted organic fruits and vegetables.  The box costs $33 (as of August 2017), plus a small delivery fee (generally about $10 for my order of about $120 […]

25 Garden crops to plant in August for your fall garden

25 Herbs and Veggies to Plant in August for Your Fall Garden

If you want to extend your back yard bounty of fresh veggies, now is the time to start your fall garden.   There are many garden crops that can handle some frost and some that can tolerate temperatures well below freezing. Root veggies such as carrots, beets, kohlrabi and turnips actually taste better after some […]

#fyfo100 checklist of 10 ways to afford organic foods

The Top 10 #FYFO-100 Strategies for Eating Organic for Less

I’ll mostly be focusing on 10 main ways to save money on healthy and organic foods in the FYFO-100 series (Feed Your Family Organic for $100 (or less!)). Everybody has different circumstances, so different strategies will be better for different families. You do not need to do all or even most of these to save […]

FYFO 100 Feed Your Family Organic for $100 (or less!)

FYFO- 100: Feed Your Family Organic for $100 a Week (or less!)

Yes, you can feed your family healthy, organic, non-GMO food and not go bankrupt doing it! Welcome to FYFO-100, where I’ll share how we feed our family of 7 for around $100 a week. Every few days, I’ll share more tips for how we make it work. You can go all-in and learn skills like […]

Elderberries: The Beginner's Guide to Foraging, Preserving and Using Elderberries for Health Remedies, Recipes, Drinks and More

Now in Paperback!

  My elderberry book is now available in a paperback edition!  We heard from many people who wanted a physical copy of the book, especially to make use of it while foraging and for the cookbook section.  I worked over the past couple of months to create the best possible paperback version, with black and […]

Elderberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Elderberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Elderflower season is coming to an end and that means elderberry season is coming soon!  Make sure you use some of this year’s elderberry crop to make some elderberry jam and elderberry pie filling, because they’re so wonderful in recipes like elderberry cream cheese cupcakes (and elderberry thumbprint cookies, and elderberry fluff, and elderberry frosting….). […]

Seven Plants That Naturally Remove Lead from Your Soil, Ponds and Wetlands

Seven Plants, Weeds and Flowers That Naturally Remove Lead from Your Property

If you have soil that’s been contaminated by lead, you know that it’s probably not safe for vegetable gardening and it can also be a hazard to children and pets who play on your property. Lead can be a serious problem in gardens, ponds and wetlands, in addition to posing health risks for growing kids. […]

How to make elderflower syrup (or elderflower sparkling wine)!

How to Make Elderflower Soda (or Elderflower Sparkling Wine)

Have you heard of elderflower soda?  This is a traditional elderflower delicacy that is so popular in Romania that it inspired Coca-Cola to release their own version, Fanta Shokata (though theirs contains no real elderflowers). It is also known as Socată or Suc de Soc. Here’s the recipe to make your own, which is another […]

20 Vegetable, herb and edible flower seeds you can still plant in June

20 Vegetable and Herb Seeds You Can Still Plant in June

Think June is too late to start seeds in your garden this year? No way! There are still lots of veggies you can direct seed in your garden.   Indeed, many garden plants grow much more happily in June when the soil has warmed up. Some bean varieties mature in as little as 35 days, […]

Natural Ways to Defeat Grasshoppers

10 Natural and Organic Ways to Defeat Grasshoppers

The recent hot, dry weather has brought a small plague of grasshoppers to my garden for the first time in years, and I’ve been working hard to defeat them.     We garden organically and I didn’t want to douse our family’s food sources with pesticides and poisons. Also, they’re just not terribly effective. Timing […]

Quick and easy gluten-free buns (vegan)

Quick and Easy Gluten Free Buns (Vegan)

Store-bought gluten free buns are expensive and generally taste something like dish sponges.  The good news is you can easily make your own.  This recipe is my go-to recipe for quick gluten-free buns.  It’s also egg-free, dairy-free and soy-free (and vegan!), so it’s great for folks with multiple allergies.  I tend to make these at […]

Elderberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes

A Magical Life Cake and Cupcakes (Gluten Free, Delicious and Easy!)

Cupcake development day is going well. #glutenfreecupcakes #fromscratch #farmersmarket A post shared by Alicia Bayer (@magicandmayhem) on May 23, 2017 at 2:05pm PDT I have been making homemade birthday cakes and cupcakes for my kids for almost 20 years now, and they’ve been gluten free for the past 6 years.  With five kids, that means […]