Get Great Value, Little Risk With A Mini-CSA!

If you’re a lover of farm fresh food you’ve probably heard of CSA’s (Community Sustained Agriculture).

With a full CSA you and your farmer contract a “share” of the products the farm produces in season. There is a set amount of weeks the agreement is good for and you generally pay the full amount up front or in installments. Then weekly or bi-weekly you go to the farm and pick up your share.

For some people that can be a bit of a monetary stretch and leave you with food waste, if you don’t like a particular item in your weekly share.

But what about a mini-CSA?

A mini-CSA only offers one product and shorter length of commitment. This can make them a more affordable option for many people and a great way to lower the risk of trying out a new farmer or new product.

Have I piqued your interest?

5 Reasons To Invest In A Mini-CSA

  1. Your product is reserved. No getting to the farm and finding the product you wanted is already sold out.

  2. You save money by only getting the product you want.

  3. Increased eating of seasonal, farm fresh food but at a volume you can manage.

  4. Weekly visits to the farm and one on one time with your farmer.

  5. Support of your community and local farmer.

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Still a little uncertain about what a mini-CSA entails?

Let me give you an example:

Fox & Glove Farmstead’s Mini Microgreen CSA

If you are local to the Dorr, Michigan area you can sign up for our mini microgreen CSA. We will have a limited number of shares to offer.

Once a week, on Saturdays, from April 13 to May 4 you will pick up, on farm, a 10 oz bag of microgreens (roughly 10 servings) containing Farmer John’s proprietary mix of radish, sunflower and pea microgreens.

Cost is $60 for the month-long, mini-CSA. Payable in full, online HERE.

We are only offering these greens through our CSA currently, but if we sold them at the farmstand they would cost $17 per bag. (We discount the price for our CSA to give you more value.)

At the end of the term you will have a chance to offer feedback and thoughts on the mini-CSA so we, the farmer, can know the best way to meet your needs in the future.

It’s a win-win for both you the consumer and us the farmer.

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Want to know more about microgreens? You can read about them here.

To sign up for our Mini-Microgreen CSA, click here.

And as always, if you have comments or questions please leave them below in the comment section or contact me personally at cyndi@foxandglovefarmstead.com .

It’s always my pleasure to help you bloom and grow!

Cyndi


Are you in a positive food relationship?

What’s Your Food Story?

Everyone has one.

Your relationship with food started the minute you were born.

Bottle or breast, we all had to eat. It’s a fact of life.

My story is pretty typical. My parents worked hard to provide for us. We had what we needed and sometimes what we wanted, but money was tight.

It was the 70’s and my mom went to work. I was a latch-key kid.

But we had dinner at the table as a family everynight and very rarely went out to eat except when Grandpa would treat us to his favorite buffet, The Royal Fork.

Do you know what I liked best there? The instant potatoes! (I can’t believe I’m admitting that outloud.)

My mom was not a great cook but she excelled at making inexpensive, yet still nutritious meals. We had our fair share of processed food in the house and she was a microwaving queen, but we were not overrun by it.

However, as a stubborn teen in the 80’s, I rejected anything to do with cooking. I avoided the kitchen at all costs. After college, when depression and anxiety kicked in hard core, I can now correlate to increased use of processed food and fast food since Mom wasn’t doing the cooking for me anymore.

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But I grew up and matured. I learned to cook for my husband and kids. I discovered real food tasted better and slowly but surely as I studied and learned more about nutrition and health, I discovered that our modern diet of convenience is killing us.

Every bit of it; from factory farmed meat and fish; chemically sprayed and genetically altered produce and grains to carbohydrate and sugar heavy foods.

Did you know that eating fat doesn’t make you fat?

Did you know that exercising and eating less are not longterm weight loss solutions?

Did you know that most of our modern day ailments from diabetes to chronic inflammation are results of not only what we eat (and what we don’t eat) but how we eat it.

We’ve been misled, sometimes outright lied to, and almost everything we were taught as kids, about food, is wrong.

If you’re curious about how Americans came to eat the way we currently do, I urge you to read, The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillian.

Other eye-opening books:

  • The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung

  • Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin

  • Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe

There is no shame in your past food story but if you want a new one here are some things you can do.

  • Find and purchase from local farmers as much as you can: Produce, eggs, cheese, meat, raw milk, herbs, flowers, sweeteners- like honey and maple syrup.

  • Talk with farmers and ask questions. A good farmer doesn’t want to hide their growing practices.

  • Think of the people who grow and produce your food as your own personal farmers. Food professionals if you will.

  • Think of your favorite farms like food “boutiques”. We all have our favorite little shops for clothes, jewelry, hairstyling. Why should food be any different? Farmers style you from the inside out.

  • Learn new skills: baking bread, making kombucha, cooking from scratch, flower arranging, the list is really endless.

  • Try new foods: If you don’t like a food, chances are you just haven’t found the right recipe. (In full disclosure… I still haven’t found the right brussel sprout recipe.)

What ever your food story was or is. It isn’t too late to change the path you are on. Good, clean healthy food is out there.

I’d love to hear your food stories. Please share them with me. And if you need a little motivation to make changes, I’d love to come along side you and help you with your story.

If you’d like to learn more about our boutique farm (and get a great freebie) please sign up in the footer below to recieve our e-mails. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Bloom & Grow

Cyndi

Are you craving big flavor in a tiny package?

Microgreens…

They are all the hot rage right now.

They first showed up in swanky eateries. (The kind of places where you get tiny little portions of food/art masterpieces for big bucks.)

But now they’re being used in everything from smoothies to salad and sandwich toppings, for juicing, pizza toppings, mixed in with eggs, subbed in for lettuce on burgers, and replacing parsley as the garnish of choice.

Why so popular?

Because these little greens pack a big nutritional punch on top of being deliciously tasty!

They can range anywhere from mild to spicy, tangy to peppery in flavor and host a high concentration of phytonutrients, antioxidents, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and polyphenols.

In short…

They’re good for you! Great for heart health and fighting chronic disease as well as just giving your body an overall shot of nutrition.

It doesn’t hurt that they are so dang cute too.

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But what, you ask, makes a microgreen a microgreen? Why isn’t it a sprout or a baby green? What gives?

  • A sprout by definition is grown in water and harvested after 2 or 3 days.

  • A microgreen is grown in soil and grown for 1 to 3 weeks until they are around 2 inches long.

  • Baby greens are also grown in soil but for longer periods of time until they are 3 to 4 inches big.

We grow a few different kinds of microgreens here at Fox & Glove Farmstead but our favorite way to serve them is in a mix; peas, sunflowers and radishes. It results in a palate pleasing array of Mild and nutty with a splash of pepper. Yummm!!!

Curious?

Try them out in this recipe…

Nasturtium & Microgreen Salad (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz. microgreens

  • 8 nasturtium flowers

  • 1 avocado, chopped

  • 1 heirloom tomato, chopped

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

  • 1/4 tsp. dijon mustard

  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  • Wash greens, spin dry or gently pat between two layers of towel.

  • Blend olive oil, lemon juice and mustard together until smooth.

  • Season dressing with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Put greens in bowl, add in avocado and tomato.

  • Pour on dressing and toss thoroughly.

  • Top with nasturtium flowers and serve.

  • Recipe can be doubled or quadrupled for larger meals.

Once you try them you just won’t ever want to be without them again!

If you are interested in getting information on our upcoming microgreen CSA please sign up for our email list and you’ll be the first to know when we are accepting members. (Because of the perishable nature of microgreens we will only be selling these through pre-purchased CSA memberships.)

Sign up in the footer below this post. As a thank you for signing up you’ll also get a FREE gift. A, B, Seed: A Simple Guide For When And How To Start Plants From Seeds.

Who knows… maybe you’ll want to try your hand at growing your own?

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Starting a garden is as easy as A, B, Seed!

It’s February and, depending on where you live, winter may be loosening it’s grip or (like here in Michigan) it may be still going strong.

If you’re like me, you might just be getting a little bit antsy to get your fingers back in the dirt and get things growing.

Good news…

It’s Not Too Early To Start!

The biggest mistake most gardeners make is thinking everything goes into the ground at one time, about the time the weather gets nice. But that technique will leave you disappointed.

Both vegetables and flowers have cool season growers and warm season growers. A plant that thrives in the cool temps of spring will wither or bolt during a hot summer. Reverse that for a warm season plant: put it in the cold ground of spring and you will be watching nothing grow.

So now is the perfect time to start thinking about your cool spring garden and while the ground outside may not be workable there are flowers and veggies that will thrive if you plant them now, indoors as seeds.

5 Flowers To Start Indoors From Seed Now:

  • Snapdragons

  • Delphinium

  • Sweet Peas

  • Pansy

  • Black-eyed Susan

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6 Vegetables To Start Indoors From Seed Now:

  • Spinach

  • Kale

  • Tomatoes

  • Peppers

  • Peas

  • Eggplant

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Supplies Needed:

  • Seeds

  • Small pots: I like to use plastic cells and plastic starter pots. I reuse them as much as possible. Make sure they are dirt free and sterilized with a water/bleach solution before using. (One gallon water to 1 or 2 Tbsp. bleach.)

  • Trays: Hold water to allow the plants to suck it up from the bottom.

  • Lids (optional): Help hold heat and humidity in.

  • Seed starting mix: From your local garden center.

  • Large plastic container: to hold wet seed starting soil mix.

  • Small gardening shovel

  • Garden gloves (optional)

  • Plant markers: Craft popsicle sticks work well as do old plastic blinds.

  • Sharpie: To label your plant markers

  • Spray bottle: Make sure it can spray with a fine mist..

  • Water: Non-chlorinated, non-salted. When in doubt purchase distilled water from the grocery store.

  • Grow lights (really helpful)

  • Heat mats (optional)

Techniques:

I’m clearly no Joanna Gaines or Ree Drummond on camera but watch the video demonstration below for a short tutorial. We shot this in one take so I’d like to clarify that when I said most plants have to start when we have snow still on the ground, I meant cool season plants and plants with long growing times. Don’t start pumpkins now! LOL!

To help you know more about start dates I have put together a handy guide for both indoor seed starting and outdoor seed starting. Just scroll to the footer on this page and fill out the sign up form to recieve your free guide.

To see our seed starting setup with grow lights, and other information watch this video.

Other Tips and Tricks:

Plants that have been started in the comfort of your cozy house will need to be “hardened off” before you move them to their outside home. This means exposing them to the great outdoors, a little bit at a time, gradually lengthing their exposure so they can build up hardiness to the outdoors.

To know when your plants should go in the ground, make sure you sign up at the bottom of the page to get your free growing calendar and seed starting guide.

Reference & Sources:

  • Seeds: Territorial Seed Company, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

  • Supplies: Family Farm and Home, Lowes, Ace Hardware

  • Books: Cool Flowers by Lisa Mason Ziegler, Better Homes and Gardens Vegetable, Fruit and Herb Gardening, Floret Flowers- Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein

Happy Growing:

Are you convinced to give seed starting a try this year? I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

You can drop me a comment here on the blog, on facebook, on instagram or shoot me an email at cyndi@foxandglovefarmstead.com

And don’t forget to get your free guide and calendar to seed starting. Sign up below, in the footer section.

Bloom and grow!

Cyndi

Whip Up These Bath Bombs For Great Last Minute Gifts

Bath Bombs- a compacted mix of fizz and fragrance that dissolves in your bath water- aren’t new. (I made my first ones around 20 years ago.)

They are, however, extremely popular right now.

They’re in all the stores and people are going crazy for them this holiday season.

But did you know Bath Bombs are easy to make at home?

You probably already have some of the ingredients sitting in your kitchen right now and by making them at home you can:

  • Avoid any nasty ingredients that sneak their way into the mass produced “bombs”.

  • Save some money.

  • Enjoy learning a new skill.

It’s so easy your kids can do it. (And they will want to when they see you doing it!)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup baking soda

  • 1/2 cup corn starch

  • 1/2 cup citric acid

  • 1/4 cup epsom salts

  • Water or witch hazel

  • Essential oil(s) of choice

  • Food coloring if desired

Tools:

  • Large Bowl

  • Small Bowl

  • Molds

  • Mini spray bottle

  • Measuring cups

  • Spoons

Directions:

  • Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl.

  • Spoon a 1/2 cup of dry mixture into a smaller bowl.

  • A few drops at a time, mix in color and fragrance as desired. Do not let the mix sit and fizz but rather work in the liquids quickly and thoroughly into the dry mix.

  • Fill spray bottle with water and/or witch hazel and lightly spritz dry mixture a few times and then stir. Repeat until the mixture clumps when squeezed in your hand.

  • There is a learning curve when spritzing your salts: To much liquid and the mix will fizz, “bloom” and not keep it’s shape. To little liquid and the “bomb” will not hold together or crack apart after curing.

  • Fill desired mold with damp mixture and pack firmly.

  • Carefully turn out molded mix onto a firm surface and let cure overnight. (If it breaks apart when unmolding you can crumble it up, return it to the bowl, respritz it and try again.

To use Your Bath Bomb simply fill a tub with water, drop in the “bomb” and enjoy!

Tip: Almost anything will do as a mold. Avoid anything too large or detailed.

My favorite thing to use is a piece of 2” wide, plastic, pvc pipe along with a “tapper” of wood to pack the “bomb” firmly. This makes a flat tablet that I call a “seltzer”!

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Tip: You can incorporate a skin loving oil like: coconut, olive or any other liquid oil, with your water/witch hazel mix but the oil can clog the sprayer.

A better choice might be to add it by drops with your essential oils and colors. I do find, though, that the oil stays behind in the bath tub and leaves it greasy.

Tip: If you want to incorporate herbs into your creations, I recommend powdered versions that won’t be scratchy or be left behind for you to clean up out of the tub.

Another way to use herbs would be to infuse them into your oil of choice and then into the mix as the oil.

I love creating all sorts of herbal bath and body care products so if you have any questions or need an ingredient source please don’t hesitate to ask.

You can contact me by leaving a comment below or via my email cyndi@foxandglovefarmstead.com or find me on social media: facebook and instagram @foxandglovefarmstead.

Also don’t forget to get your copy of Kick The Ick: Your Guide To Teas & Tonics To Stay Healthy All Winter. Sign up at the bottom of this web page. It’s FREE!

I hope you have a Merry Christmas. Until next time:

Bloom & Grow

Cyndi

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You're Gonna Love My New, Favorite Holiday Desserts!

A few days ago, on Instagram, I put up some pics of the raspberry-maple bars and Keto pumpkin cheesecake I whipped up for Thanksgiving.

Of course you all asked for recipes, and I am happy to oblige!

During the spring and summer I find my joy being out with my herbs and flowers but when the weather turns, I’m all about the baking.

Baking equals love to me.

The aromatic smells that fill the kitchen make me happy and the resulting treats make my family happy…

Even my cheesecake loving, Keto-eating husband.

I’ve been having a tough time finding good tasting Keto desserts.

But with the discovery of monkfruit as a sweetener (no funky aftertaste) and a pecan crust instead of almond and coconut flours,

This pumpkin cheesecake is a winner.

Pecan Crusted Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake

Special Note:

  • You will need a 9” springform (cheesecake) pan for this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. softened cream cheese

  • 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

  • 3 eggs, room temperature (Try Fox & Glove Farmstead eggs for the richest taste)

  • 1 egg white

  • 1 cup Classic monkfruit sweetener (sourced on the internet)

  • 2 Tbsp. Golden monkfruit sweetener (sourced on the internet)

  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1 tsp. ginger

  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 2 Tbsp. Classic monkfruit sweetener

Instructions:

  • Set out cream cheese and eggs to warm. About 1 hour for the cream cheese and 30 minutes for the eggs.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • In a small bowl mix cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

  • Finely chop pecans or use a food processor.

  • Whisk the egg white in a medium bowl until frothy.

  • Add pecans to the egg white and mix together.

  • Season the egg white/pecan mix with 1 tsp. of your spice mix and 2 Tbsp. of Golden monkfruit sweetener.

  • Press this mix into the bottom of your springform pan, spreading evenly.

  • Bake at ten minutes at 350 degrees and cool on counter.

  • In a large bowl blend together cream cheese, pumpkin puree, eggs, Classic monkfruit sweetener and 2 tsp. spice mix.

  • Grease the sides of your springform pan.

  • Pour batter into pan.

  • Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

  • Remove from oven when cheesecake appears set (doesn’t jiggle).

  • Let cool on the counter for at least 20 minutes.

  • Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. (Do not wrap cheesecake in foil or plastic wrap until after four hours so that condensation doesn’t occur. Beware of odorous food items -fish, onion, etc.- that may seep into your cake.)

  • Before serving cheesecake, pour heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and classic monkfruit sweetener into a blender (or bowl if using a mixer.)

  • Whip the cream until thick and firm.

  • Spoon cream into a piping bag with desired tip and pipe onto cheesecake or spoon cream directly onto cheesecake in an even layer.

  • Sprinkle top with remaining spices and serve.

Tip: This makes a rather “short” cheesecake. My husband suggested I try doubling the filling recipe to make it taller. I haven’t tried it yet. But if you do, allow for more baking time in the oven.

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Raspberry-Maple Bars

I’m always on the lookout for ways to use our fresh Fox & Glove Maple Syrup, so when I stumbled across a recipe that uses both syrup and my favorite fruit I knew I had to try it.

This dessert is rich and decadent. This is great for feeding a large group because you can cut the servings small. A little goes a long way!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 2/3 cup of butter

  • 1/2 cup Fox & Glove maple syrup

  • 2 Fox & Glove eggs

  • 2 tsp. vanilla

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1/4 cup Fox & Glove maple syrup

  • 2 Tbsp. butter

  • 2 Tbsp. milk

  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Line a 13x9 pan with foil and grease.

  • In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, mix: brown sugar, 2/3 cup butter, 1/2 cup maple syrup until butter is melted.

  • Cool syrup mix and in eggs and vanilla.

  • Stir in flour, baking powder and baking soda.

  • Add raspberries.

  • Spread batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes.

  • In a medium bowl mix powdered sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 2 Tbsp. butter and milk.

  • Smooth frosting over cooled bars in pan and then spoon jam, in small mounds on top of frosting.

  • Use a thin utensil to swirl jam into a marble.

  • Use foil to lift bars out of pan, cut and serve.

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I love hearing how you put these recipes to use in your own homes. Let me know what you liked or didn’t like, changes you made and if these desserts were winners or not. Leave a comment below!

Bloom & Grow,

Cyndi



You Can Make These "To Die For" Creme Pies!

I have a confession!

I don’t really love pumpkin pie.

I know, I know… it is the traditional Thanksgiving pie, and I don’t hate it…

But there are so many scrumptious pies to be made and eaten that I can’t waste a perfectly good feast day with just pumpkin pie.

Now, normally I follow a ketogenic diet.

But for feast days like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter I play loose with the diet and eat pie.

I hinted to my two faves over on my instagram account and I was inundated with requests for the recipes so I decided to share them here.

These will make great additions to your dessert table right beside the pumpkin pie.

Farmstead Coconut Creme Pie

Filling Ingredients:

  • 14 oz coconut milk

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

  • 2/3 cup of sugar

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 5 egg yolks from Fox & Glove Farmstead Eggs

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 2 Tbsp. butter

  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

  • 1 Tbsp. sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Crust Ingredients:

  • 8 graham crackers (entire length)

  • 5 Tbsp. butter

  • 3 Tbsp. sugar

Crust Directions:

  • Pre heat oven to 325 degrees.

  • Crush graham crackers into fine even crumbs.

  • Melt butter and mix with crackers and sugar.

  • Press mix into a 9” pie pan.

  • Bake 15 minutes and cool.

Filling Directions:

  • In a medium saucepan, bring to simmer; coconut milk, heavy cream, shredded coconut, 1/3 cup of sugar and salt on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

  • In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining 1/3 cup sugar together.

  • Whisk 1 cup of simmering mixture into yolk mixture to temper. Pour slowly so as not to cook/curdle the yolks.

  • Slowly whisk tempered mix into simmering saucepan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook and whisk until mixture thickens.

  • Take pan off heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Pour filling into prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap pressed firm against filling.

  • Chill for 4 hours.

Topping Directions:

  • Toast coconut on broil in oven. Watch carefully and do not walk away! It doesn’t take long.

  • Mix cream, sugar and vanilla in blender until stiff.

  • Spoon or pipe whipped cream onto pie filling (don’t forget to remove the plastic wrap.)

  • Sprinkle with toasted coconut and serve.

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Farmstead Chocolate Creme Pie

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • Pinch of salt

  • 6 egg yolks from Fox & Glove Farmstead eggs

  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch

  • 6 Tbsp. butter

  • 6 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate

  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 2 Tbsp. sugar

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. chopped chocolate

Crust Ingredients:

  • 16 chocolate sandwich cookies (do not use double stuffed)

  • 4 Tbsp. butter

Crust Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Crush cookies and filling into fine even crumbs.

  • Melt butter and mix with cookies.

  • Press into 9” pie pan.

  • Bake 15 minutes and cool.

Filling Directions:

  • In a medium saucepan, bring to simmer: heavy whipping cream, 3 Tbsp. of the sugar and salt on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

  • In separate bowl whisk together: egg yolks, remaining sugar, and cornstarch.

  • Whisk 1 cup simmering mixture into yolk mixture to temper. Pour slowly so as to not cook/curdle the yolks.

  • Slowly whisk tempered mix into simmering saucepan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook and whisk until mixture thickens.

  • Take pan off heat. Stir in butter, vanilla and chocolate. Cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Pour filling into prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap pressed firmly against the filling.

  • Chill for 4 hours.

Topping Directions:

  • In a blender mix heavy whipping cream, vanilla and sugar until stiff.

  • Pipe or spoon onto pie, making sure to remove plastic wrap from filling.

  • Sprinkle with chopped chocolate and serve.

There you go!

Scrumptious creme pies for your feast!

Drop me a note in the comment section below if you have questions or want to tell me how it goes.

And if you are looking for a keto dessert for your holiday feast drop me an email at cyndi@foxandglovefarmstead.com and I’ll send you a crustless pots de creme recipe that mimics a cream pie.

Bloom & Grow

Cyndi

Are You Ready To Kick Anxiety To The Curb?

Just this week a friend of the family was brutally honest on her blog. She shared about her battle with anxiety.

Just a few days earlier, another friend was on social media asking for suggestions on how to deal with this very same issue.

I think if we’re all honest it is a pretty big problem for women these days.

So I’m gonna take the first step, stop pretending everything in my life is social media perfect, and come along side both my friends and so many others with a hearty, “Me Too!”

I have struggled with severe, crippling anxiety attacks. So much so that I have been on prescription medications for years.

But I’m here to tell you, you don’t need to be ashamed of anxiety, nor do you just have to muddle through. There is hope!

First let me say… if you are in a crippling place, go to a doctor and get help.

Don’t be too proud. Medication won’t solve the problem but it will get you to a place of relief where you can start to address the issue with more natural and longterm solutions.

The best news is you have many natural options to help you in the fight!

There are herbs and foods that will help support and strengthen your body and mind and give your adrenal glands the rest and replenishment they need.

Plus add in some simple lifestyle changes and you can kick anxiety to the curb!

Eat Good Food:

  • Stop eating processed food- this is not an easy thing to do, but it is the best way to give your body the nutrition it needs to heal itself.

  • Reduce sugar drastically- sugar is inflammatory to the entire body, including the brain.

  • Expand your mushroom horizons past white buttons or portebellos and choose: Reishi, Chaga, Shiitake, Oyster, Porcini, Maitake, Shimeji, or Chanterelle just to name a few.

  • Get lots of nutrients- melatonin in tart cherries, tryptophan in turkey, anti-oxidants in fruits and veggies, magnesium in almonds and cashews, Vitamin D in farm fresh eggs. (Shameless plug… Fox & Glove Farmstead sells awesome eggs!)

  • Eat Healthy Fats- butter, olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, oily fish.

  • Learn to like and eat fermented foods: Kombucha, sourdough, kefir, kimchi or sauerkraut. Neurotransmitters are made in your gut so ferments support your nervous system by strengthening gut health.

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Minimize Stress

  • Prayer and Meditation- Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

  • Practice deep breathing techniques- this is my go-to favorite! Breathe in through your nose as deeply as possible. Hold this breath for a count of 7 and then exhale as slow as possible through your nose. Repeat.

  • Make small lifestyle changes- a set regular bedtime and rise time, get regular moderate exercise, introduce tech free times (especially close to bedtime), go outside, take tiny breaks throughout the day to regroup your thoughts. Set a day of rest once a week.

Use Herbs:

  • Lemon Balm and skullcap (as a cup of tea) with a drop of wood betony extract added- 3x daily.

  • Adaptagen/tonic herbs: Ginseng, eleuthero, ashwagandha, and rhodiola all strengthen and tone, feed and nourish your body systems. Take a tonic with these herbs in them daily.

  • Holy Basil (also called Tulsi)- eat fresh daily or use as a tea.

  • Other nervines to quiet the mind: Chamomile, Hawthorn, passionflower, oats

  • *Start with one or two herbs in small doses and build from there with a less is more philosophy.

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Make Use of Essential Oils:

  • Frankincense in a diffuser- it can calm the mind and enhance breathing.

  • Lemon balm in a massage oil- can reduce panic symptoms.

  • Mandarin in the bath- can relax and calm.

Nutritional Supplements:

I am not a big supplement fan. I would rather get what I need from food and herbs but if you’re not opposed, then the following options are a good call.

  • Probiotics with up to 10 billion live organisms per dose.

  • Vitamin C to help produce norepinephrine.

  • Vitamin B5 to help with serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine production.

  • A multimineral combo (calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc) to help control stress hormones (cortisol).

Take Baby Steps

Don’t think that you have to do all of these things all at once. Pick one or two things from above and start small. The idea is to reduce anxiety not create more.

Maybe switch out the Parkay for actual butter or find a blend of kombucha that you like and drink that instead of soda.

Take a stroll on the weekend, practice your breathing while laying in bed and drink a cup of your chosen herbal tea blend at bedtime, eventually working your way up to three cups a day.

Diffuse essential oils instead of chemical fragrances. Take a daily supplement.

Little habits make way for bigger and better things, one baby step at a time.

I would love to hear your stories about anxiety. How do you handle it? Do you have encouragement for other women? Leave a comment or question below. Let’s support each other and help kick anxiety to the curb!

Need A Little Help Sourcing Healthy Food?

You’ve just read a great article, watched an inspiring video or listened to an amazing pod cast about real, healthy food and you are excited to incorporate this new found knowledge into your life.

Awesome!

Well, yes… and… no.

Now you have to go through the work of actually procuring the ingredient or food and just jaunting down to the local grocery probably isn’t gonna do it for you.

You wouldn’t think this should be so difficult. It’s good, healthy, food. Shouldn’t it be everywhere?

You would think so, but the reality is, even if you live next door to Whole Foods Market, you are still going to have to channel your inner Nancy Drew and do some sleuthing.

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CLOSE TO HOME

The closer you can get to the source of your food the better. Make it a fun hobby to search out and stop at roadside stands, farms, and farmer’s markets of all sizes. A simple drive down a country lane may lead to a great undiscovered treasure. These farmers and artisans are your people! Talk with them. Learn what they have to offer. Form relationships. Ask questions.

Is this grown organically or made with organic ingredients?

We live in an age of governmental oversight. Certified organic growers have gone to a lot of trouble to be able to make this claim about their product but many other farmers grow this way too, they just can’t advertise it because they can’t or don’t wish to jump through hoops and deal with red tape. Never assume an unlabeled product is or isn’t organic. Ask.

Did you grow or make this yourself?

Seems like a silly question, right? You would be surprised at the amount of food at farmer’s markets that was shipped in from elsewhere. It helps to be familiar with what grows, and when, in your area. Watermelons in May in Michigan? It’s not the end of the world if they didn’t grow it themselves, but do they, the seller, know the grower and are they both trustworthy? You want to make sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting.

Do you know where I can find…?

A good farmer wants to help you. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, chances are they know someone who does or, at least, will be able to give you a directional lead. Networking can lead to a goldmine of information. I have a ton of farmer friends and if I don’t have what you’re looking for, I love to give shout outs to my friends who do.

Would you ever consider growing or making…?

Farmers and artisans can’t do it all but it never hurts to ask. If there is enough demand there is a great chance your farmer will consider adding it to his or her offerings. A lot of customers asked for green beans this year. We’re going to look into this for next season.

I also get a lot of questions on fermentation. Under Michigan Cottage Food Laws, I am not allowed to sell fermented food unless I use a commercial kitchen, but I am studying and perfecting techniques so I can teach others how to do it for themselves.

A LITTLE FURTHER AWAY

After trying your local growers, it may be time to check your local brick and mortar establishments.

  • Costco: The top organic food retailer with substantially lower prices then competitors. They sell a great tart cherry kombucha.

  • Trader Joes: Their private label products supposedly contain no antibiotics, preservatives or synthetic colors. They claim not to sell GMO foods.

  • Whole Foods: Organic products, bulk foods, GMO labeling program, large selection. Alas, one does not exsist in West Michigan.

  • Local healthfood stores: Smaller versions of the big guys, generally with better customer service. I love our local, West Michigan chain, Harvest Health Foods.

  • Standard grocery chains: With organics trending, even your most standard grocery will have at least a small selection of organics and health/wellness products. Meijer stores have really upped their game in wellness supplements and probiotics.

  • Local specialty/Gourmet shops: For hard to find or imported cheeses, breads, meats, herbs, oils, etc.; The Cheese Lady in downtown Grand Rapids, Kismet Bakery in Allegan County, and Peter’s Gourmet Market in Grandville’s River Town area.

GO SURFING

  • Thrive Market: A membership-based internet retailer offering natural and organic food products. Their mission is “to make healthy living easy and affordable.” That being said we’ve been able to shop around and find better prices on most products.

  • Amazon: If it exists (legally) then you can probably find it here.

  • Etsy: I have found this “craft” selling sight to be a great place for sourdough and scoby starters as well as wildcrafted herbs. Spend some time searching on this site. You may be surprised by what you find, but keep on task, lots of creative rabbit holes to go down. (Linen bread bags anyone… I was drooling.)

  • Ebay: More utilitarian than Etsy but still full of options

  • Google: This is the best way to find small growers, herbalists and artisans both local and around the globe. What did we do before the internet?

Still coming up empty?

DIY

If you’ve done the research and you still can’t find what you want, at a price you want, then it might be time to Do It Yourself. Maybe you need to be the one to grow it, bake it, ferment it or wild craft it. It can be very empowering to add a little DIY to your day! And who knows, maybe you’ll create a profitable side hustle.

Here are some great ideas for DIY:

  • Kombucha from a kit

  • Yogurt in an instapot

  • Sourdough from a wild yeast starter

  • Cheese kits

  • Mushroom logs/kits

With a great local class or the internet by your side there isn’t too much you can’t do! You may not want to do these things on a regular basis, but it is powerful to know you can and it’s really fun to learn new things.

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Do you have something you’re longing to learn or obtain? Let me know and I’ll see if I can’t make it happen! Even if we have to learn together!

Bloom and Grow,

Cyndi

Natural Ways To Fight Fall Inflammation & Feel Fantastic! Sew

I was planning on continuing to talk about Real Food this week…

But a very timely topic landed on my radar.

My friend and fellow flower farmer, Lori Jo Hernandez, from Three Acre Farm, contacted me because her knees have been bothering her.

She is about to embark on fall garden cleanup (like a lot of us are) and dahlia tuber digging season (for all us flower farmers) so she’ll be spending alot of time on her hands and knees.

Lori is not keen on popping pills to keep the inflammation down and wanted to know if I knew of something that would work as a natural anti-inflammatory?

Well, it just so happens I do and I’m so glad she asked.

While I am thankful for modern medicines and there is a place and time for them. We as a society tend to pop a pill and call everything good.

But most modern medicines don’t offer cures (even if we think they do). They mostly just treat symptoms.

Modern pain killers are strong and powerful but there are also risks and side effects that we often don’t take into account.

Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are not benign. Ibuprofen can increase risks of heart disease and Acetaminophen can cause liver failure. They both can cause leaky gut syndrome.

Studies have shown that even a single dose of a popular over-the-counter pain medicine can change brain chemistry.

Many experts in the health field speculate that if the major OTC pain relievers we rely on today were to be brought to market now (and before the FDA) they wouldn’t pass.

But guess what!?

You can be a master of your own health with medicinal foods and herbs. They are gentler, safer and have less side effects than their chemical cousins.

Most herbs (and medicinal foods) are a journey. They work in your body over time to tone and strengthen body systems. They work to alleviate the source of the problem rather then just treat a symptom.

So now, rather than later, is the time to start on the road to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.

Inflammation is a natural reaction in your body. It is a form of self-correction and a strategy of the body to heal itself. The body is trying to tell you that you need rest.

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Rest and Stress Reduction:

I know what you’re all thinking. I have to get this (whatever it is) done! I have a deadline.

I am right there with you but your adrenal system needs time to replenish or your body will break to the point where you are forced to rest.

Coincidently, as I was writing this, I found out that a friend seeing a naturopathic doctor, was just told to reduce her work week to 20 hours/week, to give her body time to rest and reduce the extrordinarily high levels of inflammation occuring in her.

God gives us an example of rest at the very beginning of the Bible. He created the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. Not because he was tired and needed it, but to model rest for us.

This is such an important concept to Him that He put it in the Ten Commandments, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days shall you labor and do all your work…” You can find the verses in Exodus 20: 8-11.

I am not telling you that a specific day has to be your rest day, but if it was important enough for God to tell us to do it, we should do it.

Also helpful for rest is ditching tech for a time and allow your natural “old time” rythms to return. Don’t stay up all night watching screens. Sleep!

Make sure to build downtime into daytime as well. Your body shouldn’t be in fight or flight all day. Short periods of calm (I call them sit downs) through out the day give your body a chance to chill and calm itself. It’s a chance to regain energy and focus for your next task.

Along with rest there are herbal options to help you strengthen your body systems, build endurance, and reduce stress.

  • Ashwagandha is an endurance herb. Instead of giving you a boost, like caffeine does, it preserves your energy. A cup of daily tea from it’s root will build your body up over time.

  • Tulsi (Holy Basil) has been found to protect the body from chemical and physical stresses and can have positive effects on memory and cognitive function. Tulsi leaves can be consumed fresh daily or as a tea. Another option is to diffuse the essential oil into the air.

  • Medicinal Mushrooms such as Reishi and Chaga help your body deal with the effects of depleted energy, inflammation and stress. Put mushrooms in your bone broth and soups or drink it as a tea in place of morning coffee.

  • Nervine herbs such as chamomile, lemon balm, hawthorn, kava, skullcap, Californian poppy, passion flower, blue vervain, hops and valerian are all calming and slightly sedative. These all work great in teas as well. Drink a cup before bed time. (Can you tell I am a huge proponent of tea drinking! Just the act itself forces us to slow down. Tea is not gulped it is sipped.)

Food Intolerances/Leaky Gut

Because of the poor state of our food system and how we eat, many people have “leaky gut syndrome” and don’t even realize it. Food intolerances are magnified when you have leaky gut and leaky gut can cause food intolerances.

Ridding your diet of gluten, dairy, and refined carbohydrates can truly help alleviate inflammation.

Of course each person is different. I am not bothered by dairy but have found that my minor inflammational issues have cleared up on the Ketogenic diet (low carb/sugar/wheat).

Make sure you are eating plenty of healthy fats and purchase a good anti-inflammatory cookbook to help you find out what your triggers are.

Also invest in Dr. Josh Axe’s book, Eat Dirt. This book will get you on the path to healing your gut and/or improving your gut biome.

Spices

Turmeric is all the rage now. You’ve probably heard it is awesome for inflammation but there are other spices that work great as well.

Poppy seeds, red pepper, cayenne, and ginger all have warming effects on the body as well as Turmeric.

Mix these in a topical salve for some immediate, targeted pain relief or use them daily in your cooking to build up the benefits of these medicinal foods in your body.

Willow Bark

You probably all know that aspirin is derived from willow bark. But modern aspirin can chew up your stomach. Making a tea from willow bark (or it’s young leaves, or the whole plant if it is small) as well as from poplar or aspen bark is excellent for alleviating pain and inflammation. Mix some meadowsweet (a demulcent) into the tea as well and your stomach will not get irritated.

Willow bark does thin the blood so do not take internally if you are on other blood thinning medications. However, bathing in it will relieve aches and pains as well.

Acupuncture

I know very little about this form of inflammation relief but it is very popular in Chinese medicine and has been proven to reduce pain from inflammation. If you have severe or chronic inflammation I would suggest that you research this subject a bit more and give it a try.

Sources

You can find everything I’ve talked about at a good, local, health food store, herb farm/herbalist (I am working on a line of Fox & Glove herbs and products now.) or online. Many times you can get a premade product but a cost effective method is to get the basic herbs and spices and prepare them yourself.

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How To Make A Simple Tea:

  • Use one ounce of dried herb or two ounces of fresh herb material.

  • Bring 1 quart of water to just under boiling and pour it over the herb.

  • Let it steep for 20 minutes.

  • Makes about 3 cups of tea which can be consumed throughout the day.

How To Make Spice Salve:

  • 1 cup coconut oil

  • 1/4 cup beeswax pastilles

  • 1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper

  • 1 Tbsp. ginger

  • 1 Tbsp. turmeric

Mix spices with oil and let sit in a warm place overnight. Strain through cheesecloth. In a double boiler, combine infused oil and beeswax until beeswax is melted. Pour mixture into a small tin or jar. It will harden as it cools. Store in a cool, dark place.

Honey Turmeric Chicken:

  • 4 chicken thighs

  • 2 cloves of minced garlic

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. local raw honey (You can also use maple syrup.)

  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce

  • 3/4 tsp. turmeric

  • A pinch of cayenne pepper

  • A pinch of sea salt

  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Mix garlic, honey, soy sauce, turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Coat chicken with mixture. Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add coconut oil to skillet to melt. Add chicken to skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown.

*This is not a keto recipe! You can try it without the honey if you want it Keto, but I think the honey helps the spices adhere to the chicken better.

There is one more anti-inflammatory herb you can use in your natural tool kit but I saved it for last because it is not ingestible like everything else. This one is purely topical.

Arnica:

An important medicinal herb in Europe, it is considered unsafe for internal use in America by the conventional medical establishment.

It was used by Native Americans, though, to treat muscular injury and back pain.

The flowers of the herb are dried and used in topical herbal preparations. You can add 1 Tbsp. of dried arnica flowers to the salve recipe above.


I hope you find these suggestions helpful in your fight with inflammation. I am a firm believer in letting food (and herbs) be our medicine.

I would love to hear your experiences so please share your herbal stories and healing experiences in the comment section down below.

I would like to remind everyone that I am not a doctor or nutritionist.

I make no claims to treat or cure any conditions. I highly recommend you do your own research on each herb or treatment.

If you are on other medications, herbal supplements, are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, have a compromised immune system or are thinking of giving anything to children or the elderly please consult with a doctor first.

Until Next Time,

Bloom & Grow!

Cyndi