Home-Based Food Businesses Thrive in California

Whether your food product is gluten-free, a loaf of bread made with organic wheat, or chocolate carefully crafted with organic cacao, more culinary entrepreneurs than ever before are launching their food product business from their home kitchens thanks to their state’s “cottage food law.” California is leading the way with laws for cottage food operators.

Grainger County Tomato Bruschetta

The Lodge at Buckberry Creek prepares a flavorful Tomato Bruschetta with Grainger County tomatoes, known for their rich flavor, texture and homegrown appearance. But your vine-ripened, freshly picked tomatoes are perfect for this recipe.

Dark Molasses-Oatmeal Bread

This yummy loaf is a little darker than regular oatmeal bread, due to the molasses, which also gives it some sweetness. Once again, I’m using home ground hard red wheat flour, which gives an indescribable flavor. No flour mill? No problem, just substitute regular whole wheat flour and all purpose white, respectively. The blend of whole wheat and white flour makes a lighter loaf than if made from 100% whole wheat.

Starting a Rotational-Grazing Goat-Rental Service, Part 2: When Things Go 'Baahd'

When starting a farm business, make sure you know your states rules and regulations. You can contact your states Department of Agriculture and/or your county Cooperative Extension Agency for info. Make sure you know what you need to know about the basic safety and maintenance of goats to begin with: What are their needs when it comes to health, shelter, food, etc., and what are concerns such as plant toxins and predators?

Ecotourism in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Part 2

As much inspired by the mountains, rivers and forests as serving the needs of the droves of visitors attracted to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park every year, Gatlinburg's arts and craft community, plus many of the hotels and restaurants, offer nourishment for the mind, body and soul.

How to Make Glaceed Cherries

You can easily make your own glace cherries for fruit cakes and your Christmas stollen. The cherries you do yourself will be a darker red instead of that false neon color and will be made with only cane sugar and very little or no GMOs. These will actually taste like sweet cherries, with no odd chemical aftertaste. You’ll also save money.

Ecotourism in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Part 1

Cradled by the half-million-acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, can be a perfect, if not also eco-luxurious, base camp, a cornucopia of discoveries for the arts and craft crowd, or a wacky diversionary stop on the way to or from an entrance to the most visited national parks in the United States.

Cookies from the Toaster Oven

My little toaster oven does a great job baking eight or 10 cookies, uses very little electricity itself, doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and saves the air conditioning. The variety is endless — see some flavor ideas below. Start with the basic dough and add to it, such as for these Toasted Almond Cookies. They’re buttery, tender, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.

Guilt-Free Frozen Desserts

Whip up incredibly delicious faux ice cream in just minutes. These guilt-free frozen desserts, including Peach Frozen Dessert, Banana Faux Ice Cream and more, are actually good for you!

Make Your Own Candied Citrus Peels

Making your own glace citrus peels is easy. You can save the peel from lemons, oranges, grapefruit and pomelos as you eat them. Just toss the peel into a zipper bag and keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days. I used Jacques Pepin’s method as guidance here.

Refrigerator Dough for American and European Pastries

This pastry dough recipe can be made in 10 minutes and rest overnight in the refrigerator. It’s simple and easy to work with as you bake up your choice of American or European pastries, including Italian Panettone, Cinnamon-Pecan Sticky Buns, and Brioche Raisinee. Dough and pastry recipes included.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls Recipe

Back in the early 1950s, my family moved to northern Kentucky. We had the great fortune to live just down the street from Louella Schierland, one of the contributing authors of the iconic Joy of Cooking. Mrs. Schierland gave my mother this recipe and I remember that these bourbon balls were stored in a coffee can in the refrigerator. I’ve made some changes to the original to avoid today’s GMOs. Makes about 40 treats.

Pan Lebkuchen Recipe

Let’s go to Germany for great lebkuchen (aka, gingerbread)! Aside from great beer and sausages, you will find that this is one of the country's ancient but addicting Christmas treats.

Bake Chewy, Gluten-Free Almond Cookies

I found a recipe in the King Arthur Cookie Companion that I developed a little so that I can now gift my gluten-intolerant friends with delicious cookies. Homemade almond paste is best here, but store-bought will do. Freshly made, these cookies have chewy texture; after a few days, they become airy and crunchy. Just as delicious either way. This recipe makes about 30 two-inch cookies.

Make the Best Oatmeal Cookies

My favorite, best cookie recipe just happens to actually be pretty healthy and a good choice for after-school snacks. I used to keep a tin in my office, available to anyone who hadn’t had time for lunch. They have enough protein, iron and whole grain to make them guilt-free. This recipe makes about 60 two-inch cookies that freeze well.

Shortbread Hearts with Cranberries

If you love shortbread — and a lot of people do — this is the cookie to make. The colorful cranberries make them really pop at Christmas time. This delightful recipe comes from "Christmas Cookies: Dozens of Yuletide Treats for the Whole Family" by Monika Römer.

Make Homemade Spiced Apple Cordial

After the first of the crisp fall apples have started to soften, I love to have a sip of this for dessert on a cold winter’s night. This homemade apple cordial tastes like the absolute best apple pie you ever drank! Here is how I preserve the goodness of apples laced with sweet spices.

How to Determine the Quality of Essential Oils, Part 3: Honing Your Senses

Finding authentic, plant-derived, high quality essential oils and knowing what to look for is a challenge, particularly given the power of marketing. What do we mean by the terms genuine, authentic, plant-derived and unadulterated anyway? This post explains how to hone your senses and find the best suppliers of top-quality essential oils.

How to Determine the Quality of Essential Oils, Part 1

Discover how to expand your olfactory palate to be able to determine qualitative differences between essential oils and learn what all the terms used in the marketing of essential oils mean. Feel more empowered in choosing a supplier and learn key elements to look for when making that decision.

Healthy Chocolate Silk Pie with Gluten Free Macadamia Crust

This is a chocolate pie unlike any others I have made. It starts with a crumb crust consisting of granola and macadamia nuts ground together, and bound with melted butter, like an extravagant graham cracker crust, only better. The filling consists of silken or extra soft tofu with over half a pound of chocolate.

Sugared Pistachio Cookies Recipe

With a dough mixed entirely in the food processor, these salty-sweet, chewy-crisp pistachio cookies are as easy to make as they are to devour.

Do I Need to Use Iodized Salt?

Iodine is an essential nutrient for thyroid function, and iodine deficiency can lead to some serious health complications. Learn where this nutrient comes from and whether you need to use iodized salt to get enough of it.

Cork the Caulk

Did you know that every caulking tube comes with a cork? Save money by sealing your caulking between projects with this simple hack.

Forward Focus For Good

I find hope when I meet people like Pat Holm and learn about organizations like Democracy Collaborative.

Get Power from ‘Dead’ Batteries by Building a ‘Watt Wringer’

When your electronics say “low battery,” it means just that: The batteries are low but not dead. The energy that remains in seemingly dead batteries can be used in this simple night light project that you can build at home in about one hour. Your new night light will shine for months and is reusable for years, powered by “dead” batteries.

Homemade Lime Curd Recipe

This oozing mixture of sugar, limes, eggs, and butter adds a bright, fresh acidity and craveable sweetness to anything it touches.

Caretaking in Paradise

Caretaking wild places is a great way to homestead in paradise without having to afford land.

Institutional Food

Hospitals traditionally are famous for their terrible food. A recent experience shows it has not changed much.

The Earth Shelter

The "Earth Shelter" at The Farm Community in Tennessee combines the geothermal properties of the earth with solar design to produce a very energy efficient home.

Coconut Ginger Winter Squash Soup Recipe

Butternut squash are an important winter food, the rich orange flesh delivering vital nutrients in a sweet and velvety goodness that can be utilized in a variety of ways.

Storing Winter Squash

Storing winter squash and preserving other vegetables through the winter presents their own set of challenges to the home gardener and homesteader. We find that growing food is just one half of the equation, and it is easy to be caught unprepared or find that the space and temperature requirements for storage can be hard to come by.

7 Herbs for Asthma

Ease the suffering of asthma attacks with the help of these healthy herbs!

The Dog Ate My Chickens

An anecdote that illustrates a few of the realities of farm life and raising livestock.

Oregano for Flavor, Nutrition and Healing

Oregano is well known as a culinary herb with warming and aromatic flavor. The oil of oregano has shown great promise in treating many illnesses, including colds, flu, muscle pain, GI problems, respiratory illnesses, skin conditions and urinary-tract infections.

December Bees

A brief update on how the bees are faring during a break in the freezing weather.

The Art of Herbalism

Working with medicinal plants can not only help heal ourselves and each other, but also contribute to the beauty of our lives and our world.

Time to Plant the Fall Garden

You can be harvesting from your garden all year long, including through the winter months! It's time to plant the fall garden.

Coming Home To Nature

Connecting deeply to place is crucial, explains bioregionalist Jesse Wolf Hardin, in this new series about reinhabiting the living land.

Meet Lovely Rosemary

Rosemary is known as a tasty condiment, but it has also long been used as medicine, and makes for a blissful foot soak.

The Recycled Log Cabin

I love my two-story log cabin, which combines recycled and an array of green building materials.

Time to Thank the Bees

In all that can go wrong in beekeeping, it's time to be grateful for a good season.

Avocado Fudge Pops Recipe

Beat the heat with a healthier chocolate treat! Avocados, cocoa, and honey create fudge pops or pudding with fewer than five minutes prep.

Cherry Crostata Recipe

This Cherry Crostata Recipe is a simple, delicious way to use summer’s rubies.

Medicine of the People: The Joys of Healing Herbs

There is no experience or practice more valuable, empowering, and utterly satisfying than enabling the health and well being of ourselves, our family, friends and community... naturally.

Chickweed and Lavender Insect Bite Salve

With our chickweed and lavender salve, the bites I typically get that are swollen and painful were nothing more than a minor annoyance. All came from ingredients that we made ourselves.

Do Not Feed the Bees or the Nucs

In this blog, I hope to convince beekeepers that not feeding the bees is better for the health of the bees and for the beekeeper's bottom line.

A New Blogger at The Farm Community

For more than 40 years, The Farm Community in Tennessee has been on the forefront of farming, gardening and the green lifestyle.

Honey Harvest

Here I describe the honey harvest and how it varies from year to year.

Nut Butter Cups Recipe

Two-ingredient nut or seed butter cups are a satisfying alternative to the typical chocolate treat.

The Joy of Physical Labor

A meditation on the benefits and fulfillment found in the physical labor of homesteading chores.

Using Essential Oils for Honeybees

Essential oils can be a useful supplement for honeybees. Lemongrass, spearmint and thyme essential oils are being used to encourage brood development and the overall health of bees.

Late Winter Honeybee Hive Manipulations

This is an explanation of how I use a late winter warmup to manipulate my hives in preparation for spring nectar gathering and to minimize swarming.

Baby Goats

The joys and heartaches that can come with kidding season are a part of life on a goat farm.

Creating a Homestead: Where to Start

Tips to help you get started planning your very own homestead. With proper planning you don't have to be experienced to do it right.

Bees of Winter

Describes the winter hive life of the honey bees.

Gaia Shrugged

Musing on how most of us believe "the end" is near for various reasons.

What We Gave Up To Go Off-Grid

Providing your own sewer, water and power can be more expensive and is certainly less convenient but that's not all there is to consider. This article takes a look at some of the other differences between public and private services.

For the Beekeeping Newbees!

Encouragement for new beekeepers who may be confused and overwhelmed about all the conflicting advice about keeping bees.

Homesteads as Agricultural Zoos

Homesteads are keeping alive old skills and ways of raising crops and livestock that are being lost in the age of agribusiness.

Living Off Grid: Lessons Learned

Each year we learn more and more about living off grid and homesteading. These are just a few of the third-year experiences we wanted to share.

Rosemary - The Herb of Remembrance

This divine herb has a multitude of properties – it’s a potent skin-cell regenerative, mucolytic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, circulatory stimulant, vulnerary, antioxidant, antifungal, analgesic and deodorizing agent. I use both the essential oil and the infused oil in formulas to relieve sinus and respiratory congestion, muscle tension and soreness, and headaches; to soften and fade scar tissue; to stimulate memory, creativity, confidence and mental energy; and to stimulate circulation to encourage hair growth.

Should You Feed Your Bees?

Learn how to keep your bees properly fed and also ensure a plentiful and delicious honey harvest!

Backyard Homestead

There are a lot of things you can do right now to experience the homestead lifestyle right in your backyard.

Taking the Leap to Off-Grid

A few thoughts on why so many people are hesitant to make the transition to produce their own power.

Reusable Canning Lids

Our experiences in learning to pressure can and use reusable canning lids.

Free Range Winter Chickens

How both we and the chickens have gotten better at surviving the cold winters where we live.

What Cooking Oil Labels Really Mean

Descriptions on oil labels are not defined by law, and are sometimes deceptive. Learn what these terms — such as cold-pressed, expeller-pressed and extra virgin — really mean, and which terms indicate quality.

Esse Reusable Bags Voted 'Best Gift to Give' by City Pages

Esse has created a complete line of high quality, machine washable bags that all fold small and fit inside a CarryAll Tote shopping system. Voted as a best gift to give this holiday season, the CarryAll Tote helps people to remember and use their reusable bags and offers an extra pocket to store coupons and shopping lists.

Visitors and Company

Ed and Laurie struggle with making time for visitors while dealing with all of the daily business and homesteading tasks.

Essential Oils on the Homestead

Therapeutic grade essential oils have a tonne of uses on the homestead - here's how we've used them effectively, and how they bring us peace of mind.

Saving Stressed Tomatoes

Describes a method of protecting tomatoes from excessive heat using a sunscreen, vermicompost tea, pulling blighted leaves.

Preparing for a Home Birth

As my birthing day draws near, I am settling in and nesting and preparing our home for the upcoming birth by gathering birth supplies, essentials and creating my birth space.

Making Sorghum During WWII

Irma Epps talks about making sorghum during the '30s and '40s and her father's love of the sweet substance.

Living Off Grid - Backup Systems

If you want to live independently, it's always good to have backup because no one else is coming to the rescue. This is how we did it.

An Unintended Death

The unintended death of a charming little creature raises the realities of life on a farm homestead.

Living Off-Grid: Water Cisterns

This post is about our water cisterns and what we use them for. It also contains a caution that many local governments would like to tell you what you can and can't do with rainwater.

Living Off Grid - Home and Energy Options Part 3

This is the last of a series in home and energy options available to us. It is a short summary of all of the choices we have when designing a new home on or off grid that will benefit your energy use.

Living Off Grid - Home and Energy Options Part 2

This part of the series deals with window size and location, ceiling heights, eave length, and other design and passive design choices you can make for your new home. These choices apply whether you are on or off the grid.

Living Off Grid - Home and Energy Options Part 1

This blog is about all of the choices we have for the type of home we want for off grid living and some of the construction materials involved. It turns out there are a multitude of options we have to choose from.

Back to the future

A little background on how Ric and Vicki moved from Detroit to a Tennessee homestead, and starting to get up to date on what they've done since.

Living Off Grid - Step 1 Research and Planning

These are the first steps we took to make the change from city living to off grid living. It describes the questions you should ask before you buy property and the research required to make sure you can do want you want with your property.

Living Off Grid - What Does It Mean?

This blog is an introduction to how we went from a condominium lifestyle to off grid modern homesteading in the mountains. It also includes an explanation of the meaning of "off grid".

Transformation Tuesday: An Inexpensive Bedroom Upgrade

To give your bedroom a boost, consider new paint suited to your personality. AFM Safecoat's Ayurveda Essence line allows you to choose colors based on your dosha, or personality type, within Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicinal system.

A Real Food Challenge: October Unprocessed

You can save money and improve your helaht by making more foods from scratch in your own kitchen. Sign on for October Unprocessed, and kick the processed food habit for one full month (at least for starters!). Check out some deliciously simple recipes to get you started.

Milk Recipe: Turkish Revani (Yogurt-Semolina Cake With Lemon Syrup)

In Greece and Turkey, revani is the general name for a family of cakes made (usually) with durum-wheat semolina or a semolina-flour mixture, which are soaked after baking in some kind of syrup. You'll adore this simple, lemon-flavored version from Turkey.

Left-Over Lasagna Trumps Sugared Cereal for Breakfast

Food labels are confusing, but you can be sure that processed foods with many ingredients are not as healthful as whole foods. Here is a explanation of processed-food ingredients and some suggestions for healthful breakfast foods.

Eco-Friendly Wedding Series No. 5: Eco Wedding Dresses

In this blog series, I’ll guide you through eight sustainable wedding issues — starting with rings, and making stops for invitations and food — that are both easy and fun to remedy. After all, it may be your big day, but that doesn’t mean you should forget the big picture. This blog is all about eco wedding dresses.