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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

What to forage in May

31 Wonderful Wild Edible Foods to Forage in May

There are so many fantastic wild edibles to forage in May! Many of the best wild foods can only be found this time of year, such as wild asparagus and morels.  Greens are still mild and delicious, and more and more favorites are starting to show themselves. Here are 31 wild edible foods to look […]

30 Wild Edible Foods to Forage in April

30 Wild Edible Foods to Forage in April

April is a fantastic time for foraging wild edible foods. The weather is generally beautiful, and it’s great to get back out in the outdoors after a long winter. Greens like dandelions and nettles are tender, mild and at their peak for cooking, teas, salads and medicinal uses. Many of the best wild edibles can […]

Quick Mix-and Match Glazed Mini Donuts (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

Our 9 year-old, Alex, asked last night if we could make mini donuts together for breakfast for everybody today.  I said yes, and dug out this recipe that I came up with a few years ago.  This is a really easy but delicious recipe that also includes lots of fruit and/or veggies, since each batch […]

Roasted Tomato Sauce (Simple and Delicious!)

Nothing smells better on a fall day than roasted tomato sauce. With back yards and farmers’ markets brimming with fresh tomatoes right now, this is the perfect time to make up a batch.  Once you try, you’ll never want make tomato sauce any other way! If you’ve never made roasted tomato sauce, you don’t know […]

25 Garden crops 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 frost, […]

Roots to Stems: How to use every part of your produce!

Root to Stem Cooking: How to Use Every Part of Your Produce

  When you stroll through the farmers’ market or pick up your CSA box, you’re likely to find something that you won’t find in area supermarkets — whole plants.   Local growers tend to leave the leaves on root vegetables like beets and carrots, keep the flowery fronds on the fennel and otherwise give you […]

20 Herbs you can grow in shade

30 Ways to use mint

Mint is one of those workhorses of the garden. Once you plant it, your hardest job is keeping it from overtaking everything else in the yard and figuring out what to do with it all. It grows easily in most of the country and robustly returns to zone 4 Minnesota gardens every spring, where it […]

Tree Craft offers easy projects from tree trimmings and found wood

I have a new favorite craft book. I just got Tree Craft in the mail yesterday and already I’ve read it cover to cover and am planning projects to do with my kids. Tree Craft, by Chris Lubkemann, offers “35 rustic wood projects that bring the outdoors in.” From salt and pepper shakers to coat […]

All kinds of great articles about organic gardenings that will grow in partial shade

40 Fruits, vegetables and herbs that will grow in partial shade

We all know that most garden crops want as much sun as possible. Tomatoes, melons and peppers will positively pout if they don’t get oodles of light. What you may not realize is that many other garden crops will do quite well with limited sunlight. Which plants will put up with lower light levels? A […]

easiest seeds to grow in your first garden

16 Ridiculously easy seeds to plant in your first garden

If you’re new to flower and vegetable gardening, it can seem overwhelming. There are so many varieties of flowers, herbs and vegetables to plant. Some need to be started indoors six to eight weeks (or longer) before transplanting into the garden. Some need very long growing seasons or special conditions. Some seeds need to be […]

Best-ever gluten-free sandwich bread

Best-ever gluten-free sandwich bread

When our family had to go gluten free, all of our kids really missed bread. Our daughter Rhiannon was twelve years old at the time and she took it upon herself to start baking gluten free breads for the family. This recipe was a winner that we have been making ever since. This bread is […]

Seven benefits of backyard chickens

Citizens in cities around the country have been battling over backyard chickens in recent years.  Many residents have been up in arms at the idea of allowing their neighbors to own chickens, suggesting that the neighborhood will turn noisy, unsanitary and out of control. In truth, backyard chickens have many benefits.  Here are just a […]

12 Great sources of natural mulch for your vegetable gardens

12 Great sources of natural mulch for your vegetable gardens

Do you mulch your vegetable gardens? If you don’t, you should. The right mulch helps retain moisture, prevents weeds from getting a foothold and even enriches the soil as it breaks down. Here are 12 great sources of natural mulch (many of them free!)… Bagged leaves (except from the black walnut tree due to the […]

25 Fantastic foraging groups and pages on Facebook

Has your family tried foraging yet? Foraging for wild edibles is a great way to get healthy, pesticide-free, tasty food for free, plus try wonderful new tastes and get out in nature. There are many great books out there to give you basic information about foraging and I recommend you check out a pile of […]

Free book teaches how to build a cob house

Cob houses are becoming more and more popular again, thanks to how amazingly inexpensive they are to build and the fact that just about anybody can build them. Becky Bee’s landmark book on the subject, the Cob Builder’s Handbook, is available for free online to help teach people how to do it. Despite the unusual […]

How to make acorn flour

Late summer and early autumn are acorn harvesting time in Minnesota and much of the country.  If you’ve never tried making your own acorn flour from this plentiful, free, nutritious food source, you’re in for a treat!  It’s a lot of effort, but the results are delicious. Acorns were a large part of many Native […]

How to tell the difference between ramps and lily-of-the-valley

New foragers sometimes worry about telling the difference between highly sought-after ramps (wild leeks) and their poisonous look-alikes, Lily-of-the-valley. It’s always wise to be leery when you’re new to foraging, but once you know what to look for you don’t need to worry. There are quite a few ways to accurately tell the difference between […]

How to forage and cook with spruce tips (with video for spruce tip jelly)

Spruce tips are wonderful spring edibles that are not only tasty and unique, but also great for us. They are rich in Vitamin C and have been used traditionally for years to soothe coughs and sore throats, as well as to alleviate lung congestion and to treat lung and kidney infections. Best of all, they’re […]