What To Buy At The Farmer’s Market: December

What To Buy At The Farmer’s Market: December

Can you believe it’s almost winter? I am not ready for the nice fall weather to go away!

December can be a tricky month for shopping at the farmer’s market, depending on where you live. If you live somewhere that gets FREEZING cold in the winter, like I do, you’ll be lucky if you can even find a farmers market.

If you live in a state with mild winters (lucky you) then you’ll likely have a lot more options available in the winter months. So this month I decided to divide up the farmer’s market guide into colder winter states, and warmer winter states.

Our warmer winters states are places like Arizona, Southern California, Florida, and parts of Texas and Louisiana.

While our colder winter states should cover places with cold winters (but not crazy winters). If you’re in Alaska, you’re definitely going to have different options than Kentucky, so keep that in mind.

This is a very GENERAL guide. Just to show you what to keep an eye out for. If you want to know exactly what’s in season in your area, I suggest you use The Seasonal Food Guide.

You can put in where you live and it will tell you exactly what fruits and veggies are in season in your area.

But let’s get going! Here is your farmer’s market guide for December!

Colder Winter States

If you’re freezing cold all winter like me then this part of the list is for you!

Potatoes

Now you’re probably not going to find fresh potatoes in December. But many farmers (at least where I’m from) store potatoes in root cellars, so that they can sell them through the winter. So keep an eye out for some locally grown potatoes in December, so you can make mashed potatoes!

Sprouts

I love using sprouts in my meals. They’re perfect for adding on top of salads or putting on a sandwich!

Turnips

I’ve never been a huge fan of turnips, but this year I’m thinking I’ll have to try this yummy recipe for pan-roasted turnips!

Winter Squash

Winter squash stores well, so you’ll probably be able to find winter squash throughout the season. Which is perfect because winter squash is yummy and good for you!

Some recipes I’m looking forward to trying this year are:

Radishes

If you’re lucky you might still find some radishes in your area in December. I’m looking forward to trying this garlic roasted radishes recipe!

Sweet Potatoes

I didn’t realize how much I loved sweet potatoes until about a year ago. Now I love using sweet potatoes in my recipes! One of my favorite ways to use sweet potatoes is in soups like this sweet potato and sausage soup recipe!

Radicchio

Radicchio is a new one for me! I’ve never tried it! But I’m looking forward to trying this recipe for Radicchio Salad with Green Olives

Carrots

Carrots are definitely one of my favorite vegetables. I snack on them while I work! I love eating carrots with Homemade Ranch Dressing!

What to do in your garden in April

Broccoli

Broccoli is also a dinner staple for me. I love steaming broccoli for a simple side dish to go with my meals. You can also try this yummy Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe!

Citrus

Obviously, this is not in season locally if you live in an area with cold winters. But I highly recommend trying to find citrus grown from an area near you at the grocery store.

Citrus starts coming into season in December which means that if you buy citrus grown in the U.S. at the grocery store it’s going to taste better this time of year!

Spinach

You may be able to find some spinach in your area in December. Especially if there’s local farmers that are using cold frames. I’m excited to try this bacon spinach salad this year using the bacon I get from Butcher Box.

Warmer Weather States

Now things are a little bit different for those of you who live in states with milder winters. I’m talking about you California, Florida, Texas, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Arizona. All the rest of us are jealous of your nice, mild winters.

There are probably going to be much different things available in your farmers markets than in the rest of the country.

Obviously this depends on where you live in the state as well (Northern California won’t have the same produce as Southern California).

Now there’s probably a lot more produce available than what I’m listing here, but these are some of the main items you’re going to find in the farmer’s markets starting in December if you live somewhere with a milder winter.

Citrus

I’m jealous of all y’all that have locally grown citrus at your farmers markets. Citrus is in season in December, so look for oranges, grapefruit, pomegranates, tangerines, clementines, and lemons.

You can use some of those yummy locally grown oranges to make this yummy Fresh Orange Smoothie Recipe!

Apples

Y’all know I love apples, and in milder winter states there are likely to still be some local apples around.

Carrots

Like I said before I love carrots! Look for fresh, locally grown carrots at your local farmer’s market and make some yummy Homemade Ranch Dressing!

What vegetables can you grow in cold frames? Plenty! Here's your go-to guide!

Broccoli

Also look for broccoli at your local farmer’s market! I love it, and it’s the perfect side dish for dinner! <!– Default Statcounter code for -buy-at-the-farmers-market

What To Buy At The Farmer’s Market: December


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8 Genius Uses For Leftover Lemons

8 Genius Uses For Leftover Lemons

Nothing is worse than throwing out perfectly good food, or worse, watching it rot.

 

You spent effort growing the fruit, or good money buying it, so you probably want to use it, right?

 

Not sure how?

 

Well, we’ve done the thinking for you! Here’s 8 ways you can use leftover lemons (or any citrus, really) to brighten your life, your table, and your kitchen!

 

Print this article out, and keep it handy – so the next time you’re looking at a bag full of lemons and don’t have time to get creative, you have a list of ways to repurpose them!

 

8 Genius Uses For Leftover Lemons

 

Uplifting Salad Dressing

A few drops of lemon juice is a simple way to perk up a bland salad without adding calories. Simply squeeze about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice straight into salad leaves.

Want to make a zesty dressing? Mix lemon juice with an equal amount of olive oil, a chopped or crushed garlic clove, and a bit of honey to sweeten. Play with it until it’s seasoned to your personal taste.

 

Zesty Marinade For Chicken or Fish

Make a healthy and uplifting marinade for fish and chicken by combining olive oil, dried lemon peel, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and black pepper in a freezer bag.

Add chicken to the bag, and shake the bag a few times to coat the chicken with the marinade. Let sit for up to 2 hours before cooking.

For a whole chicken, use 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, juice from 1 lemon (squeeze out juice), 1 clove chopped or grated garlic, 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, black pepper to taste.

 

Lemony Ice Cubes

Slice leftover lemons and arrange them on a baking sheet. Place in freezer until thoroughly frozen, and then transfer lemon to a freezer bag. Perfect for ice cold drinks on a hot day!

 

Dried Slices

Arrange lemon peel slices on a cooling rack, not touching, over a baking sheet so they dry evenly. Dry rinds at 150 degrees for 1-2 hours. Grind in a blender if desired. Flavor desserts, tea, marinades, or soups with the dried peels.

 

Lemon Mayonnaise

Brighten up a midday sandwich by adding both lemon zest and juice to mayonnaise. Grate dried zest and/or squeeze lemon juice into your mayo. Stir to combine, then use normally.

 

Want to take it to the next level with probiotic mayo? Here’s how!

 

Citrus Water Infusion

Trying to add more water to your diet but struggling? Use leftover lemons to flavor water!

 

Simply place lemon slices and/or the peel into a bottle of water and leave it overnight to infuse. Drink in the morning to start your day right!

 

Lemon Juice Cubes

Add fresh lemon juice an ice tray, and freeze. Once frozen solid, transfer cubes to a freezer bag. Use whenever a recipe calls for fresh lemon juice – one cube equals about 1 tablespoon of juice.

 

Don’t have enough lemon juice to fill an ice tray? Mix with water, and add frozen cubes to sodas and other drinks for an uplifting taste!

 

Household cleaner

Add lemon peel or slices to a mason jar filled with white vinegar. Allow to infuse over 7-14 days. Strain out lemons, and use the infused vinegar to clean dishes, countertops, and toilets.

 

Want to know uses for leftover eggs?

Why Your Shampoos & Soaps Are Harming Your Daughter (And What To Do About It)

Why Your Shampoos & Soaps Are Harming Your Daughter (And What To Do About It)

Time for a truth bomb. If you use commercial soaps and shampoos from big box stores, the dollar store, etc, chances are you’re exposing your children to phthalates.

 

What the heck are phthalates?

 

I’m glad you asked. (Like, really glad). Phthalates are chemical compounds commonly found in all sorts of consumer products, like household cleaners, toiletries, children’s toys, and makeup.

 

They also happen to be linked to depressed thyroid function, particularly young girls, according to scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

 

I bet if you look in your bathroom right now, you’ll find at least 10 items containing phthalates. That’s a big fat scary thought, isn’t it?

 

So, how did all these products end up in the hands of consumers anyway?

Well, that’s a funny thing. The large corporations that produce these products aren’t required to disclose what’s in their product’s fragrances.

 

So those dryer sheets you love so much?

 

Chances are they’re full of phthalates, and potentially wreaking havoc on your children’s endocrine systems.

 

Another common culprit? Nail polish (who knew?). Window cleaning products are another.

 

Those scented soaps you buy? Possibly messing with your daughter’s thyroid every time you bathe her.

 

In fact, skin exposure is a huge factor in endocrine disruption. As you know, the skin is our largest organ, but it has no defenses against phthalates.

 

Any exposure heads straight through your skin and into your major internal organs.

 

Yuck, who needs this, right?

 

Why going unscented won’t stop your problem

So, from now on you’ll just use unscented or fragrance-free products, right?

 

Well, that’s not going to solve the problem of your phthalate exposure any better.

 

Unscented means that the product probably has a large chemical smell naturally – and more chemicals have been added to mask that scent.

 

Fragrance-free just means that more fragrances weren’t added…but the product’s natural fragrances are still there, and there’s still likely phthalates lurking in the bottle.

 

So, what should you do instead?

Here’s our handy list of swaps you can make, switching your phthalate-laden shampoos and other household products with greener, healthier versions:

 

Shampoos – use organic castile soap like this here. For fragrance, you can use 1 drop of essential oil per 16 fluid oz of castile soap. Peppermint is a favorite with many people. Rosemary is great for maintaining full, thick hair.

 

Please don’t buy your essential oils on Amazon – there’s no quality control. 

 

Soaps – try to buy from small, artisan soap makers to avoid any unnecessary exposure to chemicals. You can also make your own soap in minutes with our recipe here. Use lavender, rose, or geranium essential oil for great all-natural scents.

 

Window cleaners – Mix 1 drop lemon essential oil with 8 oz white vinegar in a spray bottle (Look for bottles with recycle numbers 1 or 2). Spray windows, wipe with newspaper.

 

Counter top cleaners – Mix 1 drop of lemon essential oil with 8 oz white vinegar. Use like you would normally. You can also use these all-organic counter wipes. Buy direct from the manufacturer here.

 

Room fresheners – diffuse 1 drop of essential oil. For tough odors, try 1 drop melaleuca (tea tree) essential oil with 1 drop lemon. For a floral scent, try 1 drop geranium! For bedtime, diffuse 1 drop lavender. Get your oils here.

 

Again, please don’t buy your essential oils on Amazon – there’s no quality control. Buy direct from our trusted source here.

 

Laundry detergent -You can also make your own recipe here.

We love this brand: 100% all-natural.

Here’s where you can get it.

 

Dryer sheets – Use wool balls with 1 drop of essential oil of your choice. Lavender is a good one to try.

 

Baby wipes – We love this brand of baby wipes:

No phthalates, 100% natural. Can also be used as makeup wipes! Get them here.

 

Makeup – We love this brand. Pure mineral makeup, no phthalates. Get it here.

 

 

11 Essential Oils You Should Never Wear In The Sun

11 Essential Oils You Should Never Wear In The Sun

It’s summer, so let’s chat about essential oils you should never wear in the sun.

 

You’re probably thinking “What? I thought oils were safe….” And they are. BUT like anything in life, you need to use them the right way.

 

I learned this lesson the hard way (luckily, I caught myself in time).

 

Certain oils contain furanocoumarins, which is a long scary word for a naturally-occurring chemical compound that some plants produce as part of their defense mechanism.

 

These essential oils have a chemical reaction to UV light which can potentially result in some pretty serious skin problems, including:

  • severe redness
  • darkening
  • swelling
  • blisters

 

The effects are uncomfortable, and can last for weeks:

 

There's 11 essential oils that are dangerous to wear in the sun. Here's a detailed list and how to use them safely!

Image via Wikimedia Commons

 

In this article, I’m going to show you which oils you shouldn’t use before you head outside to work in your garden or care for your flock. I’ll also show you how you can safely use them if you DO want to use them before going outside.

 

11 Essential Oils You Should Never Wear In The Sun

Before we get started with our list, sometimes some of these oils are ok to wear in the sun depending on how they were distilled (cold pressed, steam distilled, etc).

 

For the sake of simplicity, I’m not going to get into all that in this article. Just generally understanding which oils you shouldn’t apply before going into the sun makes it easier to remember what’s safe and what’s not.

 

If you want to use any of the oils in the list below, just do it 12 hours before you go outside, or keep the area of application completely covered. It’s simple enough to do.

 

Here’s the list of oils you should avoid outside:

  • Bergamot
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Kumquat
  • Cumin
  • Tangerine
  • Mandarin
  • Petitgrain
  • Rue
  • Lemongrass

So You Want To Use One Of These Essential Oils You Should Never Wear In The Sun…What Now?

I personally didn’t follow my own advice one day (honestly, I used a blend and didn’t read the label – whoops!) and walked outside to feed my rabbits.

 

After a few minutes I noticed my neck and throat were getting kind of hot….much hotter than they should have. That’s a sign that phototoxicity was setting in – and it happened on my body after only just a few minutes. Not good!

 

I ran inside and checked the blend, and sure enough, orange was listed on the label.

 

To stay safe, after applying one or more of the oils listed above, you should stay out of the sun for at least 12 hours.

 

If you accidentally applied one of these oils, or really need or want to use one, and plan to go outside, just make sure you keep the area covered. Applying it to a place under your clothing is an option, and you can apply it to the bottom of your feet if they will remain covered.

 

If you’re going to be outdoors without shoes, you’re running the risk of feeling really, really hot, and possibly really uncomfortable. So, learn from my mistake!

 

Use your best judgement and stay safe. I want you with all your skin on.