DIY Natural Sunscreen


I’m getting ready to hit the beach this afternoon and it occurs to me that a little DIY SPF would make an excellent blog post.


blog, BLOG, blog….consider yourself blogged at. I’m heading out!! Enjoy the recipe {it’s worth a try…promise}.

P.S. For the sake of responsible sharing I would like to point out that I strongly believe what we eat plays a big role in our bodies natural ability to protect itself from the sun.

It’s my opinion that Vit D is a good thing and we shouldn’t be quite so afraid of getting a little color. That said I’m not a Dr. and tend to be a little hippy dippy, so it’s probably a good idea to do your own research and decide what’s best for you & your family.

Our Favorite DIY Sunscreen

  • 1/2 cup almond oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil {natural SPF 4}
  • 1/4 cup beeswax
  • 2 Tablespoons Zinc Oxide {natural SPF 20}  You’re looking for Non-Nano, Uncoated and Pharmaceutical Grade. I buy mine on Amazon.
  • 1 teaspoon Red Raspberry Seed Oil {natural SPF 20~50}
  • 2 tablespoons Shea Butter {natural SPF 4~5}
  • 15 drops Helichrysum
  • 10 drops Lavender
  • 10 drops Chamomile
  1. Combine everything but zinc oxide in a medium sized glass jar {I use an old olive jar}.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat.
  3. Loosely set lid on jar {do not seal} and place in the pan with the water.
  4. Melt ingredients completely, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the zinc oxide, stir in well and pour into jar or tin that will be used for storage. {Pint sized “jelly jars” work well}
  6. Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is well blended.
  7. Use as you would regular sunscreen.

We generally store in the fridge {any cool, dry place will work} and toss any that hasn’t been used during the summer season.


*picture via



Stuffed Squash Blossoms

97554d98ba2e58e4a4e883c0c00a1a50One of my favorite treats from the garden are stuffed squash blossoms. Pumpkin, crookneck, zucchini…I’m not picky. I over plant my space each year knowing I will excitedly strip the bushes bare so I can transform the papery flowers into gooey, breaded luxury.

Squash blossoms are the yellow flowers that grow along with zucchini and other squash. Popular in Latin cuisine they are edible and delicate, having a subtle flavor when enjoyed on their own. Stuffed they become (in my opinion) food for the gods.

Both the male and female blossoms of winter and summer squash varieties can be used to make this treat. It’s a matter of personal preference. The male blossoms appear at the end of thin stems and can be harvested without effecting the production of the seasons squash. If using male squash blossoms, be sure to remove the stamens first. The female blossoms form at the end of the buds that grow into squash and are often harvested with the tiny, nascent squash still attached. Theeese are my favorite.

Because of their delicate nature, squash blossoms are not easily stored so it’s rare to find them in a grocery setting. If you are not in the position to grow your own, you may be able to find this delicacy at your local farmer’s market during the hot summer months when squash plants are in full production.

For the best results, plan on using blossoms immediately after being cut, or the day of purchase. If you are going to try and store your blossoms before using, I would suggest rinsing them, letting them air dry on the kitchen counter, then wrapping them in paper towels, carefully nesting them in a sealed storage container, and refrigerating them in the crisper at a controlled 34 degrees (then cross your fingers, hop backwards three times and chant your favorite blessing just to be safe).

Most stuffed recipes call for frying (and they are absolutely wonderful prepared that way) but for health reasons as well as ease (I’m told one shouldn’t fry things everyday) I usually stuff my blossoms with a ricotta & herb mixture, roll in bread crumbs and bake just enough to melt and crisp.

Baked Stuffed Squash Blossoms

  • 1 cup ricotta (for the love of texture & taste don’t use skim)
  • 3 eggs, divided
  • ⅓ cup chopped herbs (your preference I happen to like basil or parsley)
  • Salt
  • 12 squash blossoms
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Mix together ricotta, 1 lightly beaten egg, and herbs. Season with salt.
  3. Put the remaining 2 eggs in a bowl and whisk. Combining the breadcrumbs and cheese in a second bowl.
  4. Carefully spoon filling into each squash blossom and twist loosely at the end to close.
  5. Dip each stuffed squash blossom in egg, then breadcrumb mixture, and transfer to a parchment or tin foil-lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy.
  7. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Recipe makes 12 appetizer servings

I like them just as they are, right out of the oven and oozing. Served with a side salad and a crisp wine. You can also serve with a spicy tomato sauce or a little lemon for some added punch.

2014 Urban Farming Summit {Be There!!}

summitThe 2014 Urban Farming Summit {Online} July 7-14 is the BE there or BE square farm event of the year! And hey, it’s FREE!!

Why don’t you REGISTER HERE

Okay, so square or not most of us have to work which is why event organizers Gary Heine & Valerie Kausen (a couple of food growers & community builders kicking backside in the food revolution) have made this as easy as…

1. Registering for this FREE ONLINE EVENT 


2. Grabbing your favorite beverage (may we suggest a refreshing Cherry Muddler??).


3. Log in & prepare to absorb any (or all) of the 34 presentations that will show you how to change your life.

Really, you should REGISTER HERE

From recognizable names like Growing Power’s Will AllenJoel Salatin author of FOLKS, THIS AINT NORMAL and Stacey Murphy (a personl favorite from BK Farmyards)

  • Learn how to grow and eat healthy, local food.
  • Change your health and life, and that of your family, friends and neighbors.
  • Feel satisfied that you can depend on yourself.
  • Trust your own ingredients.
  • Learn how growing your own food helps make your local community stronger.

“With over 34 total presenters sharing their wealth of knowledge, this invaluable (and FREE) resource is intended for you, whether you live in a city or on a farm!”

So here’s an idea REGISTER HERE!

We’re all for paying your bills and everything but I promise you an hour spent absorbing even some of this information will impact the way you see the world and the food you eat. So stock you fridge, turn off your phone and let the grass grow until next week.

REGISTER HERE and we promise to stop nagging 😉 

Rainier Cherry Muddler

sprouted kitchen muddlerWelcome, welcome to all the new faces! I’d love to offer a chair on the front porch and get to know you over a cool glass of sweet tea, or lemonade…or a little something special.

Next best thing??

A big thank you & my favorite something special recipe of course. Okay, so there’s not just one but a big bag of grocery store cherries has me missing home & memories of cool orchards making this Rainier Cherry Muddler from Sprouted Kitchen a clear front runner today.



8 Rainier Cherries
Few Leaves of Lemon Basil
2 tsp. Turbinado Sugar*
2 oz. Vodka
Crushed Ice
Sparkling Water

1. Pit and halve the cherries. Put the cherries, lemon basil and turbinado in a glass (or pitcher if making more than one), and muddle it with a muddling tool, or the bottom of a wooden spoon. Get aggressive, you need to get as much juice out of the cherries as possible.
2. Fill a glass with 3/4 full with crushed ice. Add the vodka and muddled cherry mix and fill the rest of the glass with sparkling water.
* I find that rainier cherries aren’t quite as sweet as bing cherries, making this drink quite light. If you like a little more tart or sweet flavor, add a splash of cherry juice to the glass.

Calming A Nervous Dog: Essential Oils

dog noseAs our 90lb Pyrenees mix tried hysterically to crawl inside my blouse last night, I was reminded of why I had, in previous years, taken the time to research the best way to help our normally steadfast friend pass the night with some dignity (I’m here to tell you there was nothing dignified about our independence day interaction).

My favorite “please don’t eat my couch” solution is an essential oil blend that combines Valerian (calms the nerves ), Clary Sage (sedates the central nervous system), Lavender (calming) and Sweet Marjoram (calming).

I mix as needed, which in our case is about once a year, and try to apply 20-30 minutes before blind terror is expected to set in.

Calming Blend for Anxious Dogs

  • 1/2 oz base oil (I generally use olive oil with my animals)
  • 3 drops Valerian
  • 5 drops Lavender
  • 2 drops Clary Sage
  • 3 drops Sweet Marjoram

Rub 2 to 3 drops of the essential oil blend between your hands and apply it on the edge of your dog’s ears, between the toes, on the inner thighs, or “armpits”.

*This is great for calming dogs who have separation anxiety, noise anxiety, or fear of new places, people, or things.

If your four legged friend is suffering less from hysterical terror and more from excitement and over stimulation (we have a spaniel) I’ve discovered that a ready to use calming spray combining Lavender (calming) and Roman Chamomile (sooths the central nervous system) works to bring some balance…or maybe it just chills me out, either way it’s a winner.

Calming Mist For Overactive/Overstimulated Dogs

  • 30 drops Lavender
  • 20 drops Roman Chamomile
  • 4 oz. of purified water or distilled

Measure essential oils into an empty and clean 4-oz spray mist bottle. Add the water until full. Put on cap, remembering to shake well before each use.

I give our pooch 2-3 spritzes, holding the spray bottle 12-18 inches from the fur and then ruffle my fingers through his coat, focusing on chest, front legs and belly.

*This is great in the car, or before walks, or when you’re working in the yard, or at bedtime, or when you’re trying to binge watch The Walking Dead (have I mentioned we have a spaniel??).










Roasted Rhubarb and Strawberries


“A classic combination of strawberry and rhubarb, wrapped up in a sweet-savory syrup.”

“Dessert” for breakfast is a Saturday morning luxury for my family. Apple pie and cheddar cheese, custard tarts, nutty bread puddings and rich cakes with creamy curd. A little indulgence before our week begins and practicality fill our plate.

A classic combination of strawberry and rhubarb, wrapped up in a sweet-savory syrup, this recipe has become a lazy morning mainstay in my kitchen during the summer months. Paired with buttery oatmeal, a slice of warm bread or spooned over thick French toast it’s comfort food at it’s best.

Makes 5 cups

  • 2cups hulled strawberries, cut in half
  • 3cups roughly chopped rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup sweet vermouth
  • 1tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1teaspoon sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack positioned in the middle of the oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet or large cooking dish with parchment paper, this is a juicy dish and you don’t want the delicious juices running all over your oven.
  2. In a large bowl mix the strawberries and rhubarb. In a small bowl whisk together the maple syrup, sweet vermouth, balsamic vinegar and salt. Pour this over the rhubarb and strawberries, gently tossing until coated. Spread the fruit out on the baking dish in a single layer, drizzling the juices over the fruit and slide into the oven.
  3. Roast the fruit for about 40 minutes, the juices should be thick and the rhubarb tender to touch. Transfer to a bowl once out of the oven and still warm. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to one week.



Photo and recipe courtesy of