Best Vitamins for Women in 2020

Why are high quality vitamins for women important? Because women do a lot!

Our minds are always running, and our bodies carry out so many functions especially within the family. Especially during pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding, our bodies miraculously create and sustain new life from within their own resources and nutrient stores. We forget how crazy that is, but no wonder moms often feel drained! Studies have found this postnatal nutrient depletion can last even up to ten years after having a baby.

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My Top 5 Immune Boosting Vitamins for Kids

Vitamins for kids–are they necessary?

I’m definitely a fan of doing what I can to get my kids to eat nutritiously as much as possible (tips on that coming soon!). But, let’s be honest, they often don’t–and if you’ve ever actually counted your own nutrient intake, neither do we! And if you’re a gardening nerd like me, you may be aware that store bought produce is not always as nutrient-dense as it could be anyway.

Many people tend to view vitamins for kids as something “extra,” but the truth is, they are necessary parts of so many processes inside our bodies. It’s definitely not easy to get all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients we need for optimal health purely from what we eat–especially for growing (and picky) kids.

Especially for kids, low levels of certain vitamins can have significant effects on health–even behavior and mental functioning. Here’s more about the children’s vitamins and supplements I use to help make up the difference in my kids’ diets, whether we’re feeling well or a little sick.

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Quick & Easy Bruschetta Mushroom Caps

Thanks to our local farmer’s market, I totally fell in love with these bruschetta stuffed mushroom caps this year! One of the farm stands had fresh mushrooms, and that became one of my favorite booths to shop at.

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How to Use Wild Elderberries

One September I was driving with a friend up to Tehachapi Mountain park when a striking cluster of berries along the side of the road caught my eye.  A spark in my memory brought to mind an article by my longtime favorite local columnist that I’d read the same time last year.  Wild Elderberries? Could they be?  I quickly stopped to grab a few and some leaves for identification.

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Fresh Mint Limeade

Have you ever tried limeade made with fresh mint leaves? I really can’t say enough about how yummy it is! Of course limeade is delicious already–like lemonade’s quirkier, sweeter, and more flavorful cousin. But adding some fresh mint makes it irresistibly smooth, mellow, and refreshing…. Whenever I drink it, I just can’t put it down!

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Fresh Pumpkin Pecan Pie (Dairy-free & Optional Paleo, GF or Vegan)

Thanksgiving is easily one of my absolute favorite holidays of the year. I love to cook, but I’m afraid my Thanksgiving cooking resume is quite underwhelming.  What do I make for thanksgiving each year? Usually, just one thing: a strawberry banana jello salad.

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Five Easy Ways to Save Fresh Herbs

I live in the high desert of California. Everything dries out here–very quickly–even if you don’t want it to.  Food,  skin, grass and plants, you name it. So I admit that for me, drying herbs is usually not too complicated.

But besides just drying, there are plenty of different ways to save your fresh herbs.  At least some of these tips should work well for you no matter where you live or what kind of herbs you have!

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Persimmon Primer + Banana Persimmon Muffins

Have you tasted a delicious fall persimmon yet this year? Or are you a bit confused by them like I was at first?

I remember the first time I ever saw the strange reddish-orange fruit, in a basket in my Grandma Lucy’s RV during our traditional November family beach trip. At first I thought they were tomatoes, until I noticed they had a different funny-looking stem “hat!” But, as I told my 6 year old the other day, you can rest assured they taste nothing like tomatoes.

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How to Blanch Tomatoes for Freezing, Canning, or Cooking

Are you wondering what to do with all the tomatoes piled on your counter?  (What a great problem to have!) This is the perfect chance to blanch, peel, and preserve them for all your tomato recipes…. and you don’t even need “Little House on the Prairie” skills to do it. 

All you need is a little bit of time and a little bit of freezer space, and you can easily learn how to blanch tomatoes.

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6 Reasons to Love Gardening with Children

What do you imagine when you think of gardening with children?

They always called it Magic, and indeed it seemed like it in the months that followed—the wonderful months—the radiant months—the amazing ones. Oh! The things which happened in that garden! If you have never had a garden you cannot understand, and if you have had a garden you will know that it would take a whole book to describe all that came to pass there.

~The Secret Garden

For the most part, my memories of gardening as a child are vague. There are a few specific ones—like that my mom’s favorite tomato varieties at the time were called Early Girl and Better Boy. ( I thought it was funny that the plants were “boys” and “girls”).  With our wild mountain property, she always cautioned me to keep an eye and ear out for snakes. I remember our corn harvests were a little underwhelming. But aside from that I couldn’t tell you much about our little plot and what we grew on it. Tomatoes and beans were the main thing I appreciated, since I didn’t like squash til I was older. 

Yet, clearly the garden had an effect on me.

From an early age I would declare “yard work” my favorite family chore, and I loved biology in school.  I am still a big fan of fruits and veggies to this day, even many that I did not like in those days.  And as I’m sure you can guess from this blog, the garden is still my happy place—where magic happens daily and the cares of the world disappear into the calm silence of growing things.

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Rich Dairy-Free Tomato Cream Sauce

There’s nothing like a good tomato cream sauce… especially if you can’t have cream! The secret ingredient may surprise you, but whether you pair it with veggies, pasta, or bread, this rich and creamy dairy-free tomato cream sauce will not disappoint!

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Half-Homemade Easy Blender Salsa

This fresh & authentic-tasting easy blender salsa is always a hit with company! It’s so easy, it’s hardly worth calling a recipe, but it’s good nonetheless! (I admit, I rarely stick to recipes anyway.) It may be cheating a bit, but the good news is that it’s only 3 ingredients , and your friends will still think you made it totally from scratch.

But for such a short “recipe” this salsa has a lot of history… in our life, anyway.

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Nana Seidl’s Zucchini Bread Recipe

Nana and Geegee Zucchini Bread

My great grandparents were gardeners, too. They had a lovely big garden in the Midwest where my Mom grew up, and she still swears they grew the best corn she ever tasted.  She remembers how she and her siblings would be sent out to pick some for dinner and hurry it straight in to the pot.

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Quick & Simple Grilled Squash or Zucchini

A friend of mine recently brought up a discussion about how different people refer to a barbecue grill. Some people say grilling, some people say BBQ, etc… I hadn’t really thought about it much, since I think I use both terms (mostly grill) until last night as I was shopping at the local farmers market  and had a funny conversation with another customer. Continue reading “Quick & Simple Grilled Squash or Zucchini”