My Foodie Chronicles Part 1: Boho Mom

To be the person I am today, my journey started with food. When I was a child, my foodie experience was mostly through my mother and father with occasional ventures at school that would open my mind. We had a apple tree at my childhood house I remember the most and my mother even had a period of toasting her own granola and juicing everything in sight. As a child I remember my mother making a watermelon-cherry juice in her juicer, and it turning out so naturally sweet for us kids, that she never made it again.

Still though, learning about organic food with my mother as a child didn’t include much past that. We were responsible at a certain point as children to be able to make our own cup of noodles, and basics like eggs and canned soups. And I even remember making a few batch of cookies as a teenager whenever I would feel down, baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies would always make me feel better. But the chore then was finding out if mom even had all the ingredients to make them in the house, and if not well, then no anti-depressant cookie making.

I do remember an experience in elementary school making pop-corn balls as a class, and actually I did take home economics class in middle school and do a little cooking then. We learned how to sew and operate an oven and do some basic cooking at school which was a bit of an experience for me. I even had a final of going home and making a menu for my parents and a meal to go with it, and I remember my mother helping me with a awesome menu (which I still have to this day) of stuffed mushrooms and fancy salad, but the truth is she never made me cook it, but I told my teacher I did.

Really I did not have much “organic” education as a child. Of course, you know growing up that an apple is better to eat then a donut, that much I knew. But I never knew that I could go wrong by picking up and eating a monsanto apple.

So truth be told, I have been eating “dirty” food all my young life. My mother was on food stamps for as far back as I can remember and now I am on them myself. I remember when food stamps were actually paper and my mother would send me for groceries with a handful of paper “ food stamp bills”. Now everything is electronic and on a E.B.T. Snap benefit card.

I learned how to manage money for food at a young age, trying to buy in bulk and save things in the discount section is second nature to me, and I have know the wonders of the “dollar store” my entire life. I still buy things at the “dollar store” but very rarely food. I have learned a few things in a very short period of time about “organic food” and thankfully from the most kindest of people.

After leaving my mothers home as a young adult, and meeting the love of my life, I came across the most amazing environment of Sebastopol and the wonders of a open minded awesome family of farmers at the local downtown farmers market. I also got an assignment in junior college to watch the documentary Food Inc. which changed my whole perspective on eating organic food.

Sebastopol farmers market
Sebastopol farmers market

In early 2009, after I met my future husband; I would walk around the market with a fan of freshly pressed photographic postcard art, and sell from my hand, while admiring the wonders of the market. I was blessed with a conversation with the market manager that went well and viola, a free artist booth was born. It started out on my husbands long board in a corner by the stage where they performed music and in 3 years I branched out to have my own tent and a booth full of art.

my booth 2012
my booth 2012

I got to know the local farmers and they would collectively donate enough extra produce for my whole family each weekend to support us for the whole week. Some even told me that it was their 10% charity they needed to support their business license. In turn with each new basket of new produce, I had to ask the farmers how to prepare and cook it.

Now at the time we were living out of a converted garage and other not so great living arrangements, so my kitchen items were very “dorm like” I had an electric wok, which I readily abused and a double burner electric stove, and (gasp) a microwave for about 6 months. I also had a counter-top mini oven at the time and used it for some baking.

electric stove
electric stove
electric stove
electric stove
farmers market bounty 2012
farmers market bounty 2012
countertop stove and old percolator
countertop stove and old percolator
farmers market bounty 2012
farmers market bounty 2012
farmers market bounty 2012
farmers market bounty 2012
farmers market bounty 2012
farmers market bounty 2012
farmers market bounty 2012
farmers market bounty 2012
hosting apple art at the farmers market
hosting apple art at the farmers market
apple day
apple day
coloring books
coloring books

I learned so much food knowledge that I was incorporating food into my coloring book line of art. I made a book with the title “ I eat the rainbow” with a rainbow array of fruits and veggies for kids to color and learn about. Right before my departure from the farmers market in 2012, and moving into Mendocino county, I even developed a “ Farmers Market Cookbook/coloring book” with all my best farmers friends own recipes submitted and myself doing the illustrations for them.

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I have to say that organic produce from the farmers market, changed my life. My son, now 5, grew up eating everything he could from the market. And I got as much as I could get my hands on. I tried things like nettle, sorrel, squash blossoms, even burdock and salsify, from the market. I tried things like purple carrot, diakon and watermelon radish. I loved finding the locally brewed “green drink” at the market and I would sustain myself at my booth with local lemonade and other awesome amazing eats. I tried Indian food for the first time and got many many plates of it, at the Sebastopol farmers market. Even the hot food vendors would donate free food to the starving artist mother. I was reveling. Things are a little bit different for me now, since mid 2013, when we moved to Mendocino county.

food from market
food from market
green drink
green drink

Thank god I have found a sort of equivalent here in Fort Bragg, Ca. I have the local food bank, which in comparison probably gives me more food then I got from the market years ago, at times. I get to stock up on free produce of whatever is donated and mostly its in season things from local farmers and such. I am amazed at how much fresh produce I get each week from them. I am lucky to be a part of an organization that can donate so much local food.

food bank bounty
food bank bounty

So as I think back on my life and foodie experiences so far, I mostly think of how lucky I am to be poor. I know that my sound odd. But I have gotten so much from the sebastopol community when I needed it that I know I could not have gotten if I have more money.

I am low income, I have been raised low income. I know how to eat well now, low income..hell I even know how to eat well free, and its all thanks to compassion from others because I was poor. I am never going to have a lot of money to be able to eat whatever I want when I want it. But thankfully I am as rich as they come when it comes to organic food availability, and more importantly local food availability. I am lucky to be living in northern California, the mecca of organic food. The farmers and friends I made in sebastopol and by going to other markets has taught me so much.

santa rosa market
santa rosa market

I even love walking around our local farmers market here, sometimes when all the tents are just setting up, cause I love that energy. I can feel the organic food energy synergism at any farmers market, everyone just wants clean good local food and the feeling is contagious. I may just be strange and oddly in love with the market scene, but out of all the scenes to be addicted to, I think its a pretty healthy one.

Since moving here I had to spend 9 months off grid before we found a apartment to live downtown. For those 9 months we learned all sorts of things, I cant believe how much food knowledge I crammed into living in those conditions.

I learned how to forage for my own cooking wood, chop my own cooking wood, make a cooking fire outside and in a wood stove. How to cook on a wood stove and maintain it for heat during the winter. I learned how to garden for the first time, we had a beautiful garden and I grew a whole bunch of fresh veggies, from snow peas, to celery to cherry tomato and even herbs.

I learned how to cultivate Calendula and even use it for herbal healing. I learned how to make my own beeswax herbal salves for healing. I learned how to make organic rat repellent that works. I learned how to live so freely from that experience, that we hope to retire off grid when we can. I loved the experience of doing everything for yourself.

Boiling water on the wood stove to do your dishes. Collecting rainwater to wash with, bathing in an outside shower. Everything about our experience then was rich, and we never had any money. The one time we did, we bought a truckload of dirt for our garden and spent the whole day mixing it.

gardening off grid
gardening off grid
off grid thankgiving with our landlord 2013
off grid thankgiving with our landlord 2013
herbal salves
herbal salves

We worked for the beauty around us and it helped us appreciate so much more. Its one thing being in an different environment and not having money, its another to thrive and be happy. We did that.

We spent our time off-grid and then we got a kitchen-less apartment downtown fort bragg. Yes I said kitchen-less. I had to be my most creative with my “dorm kitchen” aka “closet kitchen” abilities cause it was a very tight space. I had my rice cooker and electric stove on top of the mini fridge. It was a very small space, but with the help of the food bank, we still ate well. For 7 weeks, we crammed inside a very small room as a family of 4 including dog.

Until a full kitchen and bathroom place was available. We are now living in what seems to me, the largest space we have ever had as a family and by far the largest kitchen, I have ever had the pleasure to call my own. I now have a stove, an actual stove, not the one I had on my counter before, this one can cook multiple items and has even supplied heat for a whole thanksgiving dinner for us already.

closet kitchen
closet kitchen
thanksgiving 2014
thanksgiving 2014

To say the least I am finally able to cook properly and boy am I having fun. I already know so much from the market and my foodie experiences that I am finally able to try everything out. As many on Facebook know, I have been crazy cooking since I got my kitchen and have had my Facebook page chronicling my foodie fun since 2012.

Never have I had the ability to make things such as bread, casseroles, cookies, cakes.. just about anything in the oven. And now since our first Christmas in our apartment, my kitchen is stocked with more “dorm appliances” then the word. We have a air popper for popcorn, a toaster, (lol) 2 blenders, 2 crock pots, a rice cooker, and even a Belgian waffle maker. And I even received my first own electric beater for Christmas, and oven gloves and even a silpat!

Christmas 2014
Christmas 2014
popcorn maker
popcorn maker
crock pots
crock pots

My foodie fun is only beginning, but I figure you all may want to know where I come from and how I came to be “boho mom”. You see we have this weird thing in northern ca, nicknaming some behaviors as “bohemian” and I am convinced that my foodie palet is not only “bohemian” in the sense of the California hippy definition but also in defining a french Bohemia gypsy style. I am beginning to even recognize the styles I chose to cook are very “ french bohemian” I love gardening and all organic produce and I consider all experimentation in the kitchen to be foodie fun, hence the Facebook and word-press title, “Mom’s Organic Bohemian Food Fun”. Thanks for reading about my foodie journey. And I hope to chronicle it all more as it comes!

my stove now 2015
my stove now 2015

CSA WTF #1

CSA WTF #1- Bohemian Veggies

I thought I knew some things when I was 21; that I ate relatively good and that I knew my way around a grocery store. That all changed when I watched Food Inc. My son was still only months old, but I swear that movie changed our lives. That movie was the tipping point of my foodie education and research into eating right.

Granted, my mother did feed us well as children. We had outings to go pick blackberries and such at farms, knew how to make our own granola, ate carob and even had our own apple tree in the backyard that I readily abused. But we also knew top raw-men and hot dogs with mac and cheese and on request could tell our mom and dad which donuts to buy us at the local bakery.

Now that I have my own son and I am a little more educated on foods from the various amazing documentaries I have watched, my diet has dramatically changed from when I was a child.

My son doesn’t eat McDonald’s food. We ride by it and call it “dirty food”. I grew up with a toy-box we called “McDonald toys”.. because the whole box was acquired from happy meals purchases from my parents. Now, with my sons our version of top raw-men is soba noodles and grilled pork. So I say, things have changed a lot for me.

One thing that has not changed is my education of fruits and veggies. Going to a farmers market for me now is like a kid in a candy shop discovering new candies, for I always find a new veggie each time. I feel both uneducated and liberated each time I discover a new veggie or fruit to try. And the best part, is my son is right there with me, trying each new thing.

Here are a few unknowns to us, maybe known to you. That I discovered at the farmers market. They are certainly worth a try, and most of them are easy to grow at home in your garden. I will try and find recipes for all and the best pics, but I have personal experience with most of them so you will get my amazing photos of each in something.

Fun Veggies to Discover at the Farmers Market or in your CSA box

  • Stinging Nettles– iron content in nettles and dandelion are amazing! Use caution when purchasing stinging nettles fresh, wear gloves as to not get stung by the fibers all over the plant and the leaves. When you have some fresh, boil the leaves to make tea and save them for a replacement spinach in any spinach recipes.
stinging nettle and melissa
stinging nettle and melissa
green nettles herb drink
green nettles herb drink

http://www.livestrong.com/article/164690-nettle-root-for-iron-deficiency/#page=2

http://www.herballegacy.com/Vance_Medicinal.html

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/advantages-stinging-nettles-7521.html

http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/stinging-nettle-benefits-zmaz81mazkin.aspx

http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail107.php

http://consciouslifenews.com/29-nettle-tea-benefits-sipping-nettle-tea-better-health/

  • Dandelion- Dandelion salad is great, you can also use dandelion in your iron rich tea with some nettles and sweeten it up with some Melissa aka (lemon balm).
dandelion leaves before cooking
dandelion leaves before cooking

http://www.leaflady.org/health_benefits_of_dandelions.htm

http://www.naturalhealthmag.com.au/content/health-benefits-dandelion

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-dandelion.html

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-eating-dandelion-greens-4433.html

http://realfoodforlife.com/dandelion-root-health-benefits/

  • Lemon Balm- Oh my sweet Melissa. I love lemon balm tea, by itself boiled the leaves make a great tea, and you can also add it to any other medicinal blend such as dandelion and nettle to help make them taste better.
floral and nettle tea
floral and nettle tea

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melissa_officinalis

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-437-lemon%20balm.aspx?activeingredientid=437&activeingredientname=lemon%20balm

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-lemon-balm.html

  • Green Sorrel- Sorrel and lemon balm have a very similar taste as they are both lemon tart. I love to freeze chopped green sorrel and add it to my eggs in the morning for a refreshing breakfast treat.
cooked greens and eggs
cooked greens and eggs
cooking greens and eggs
cooking greens and eggs

http://www.motherearthliving.com/gardening/herb-to-know-sorrel-rumex-scutatus-r-acetosa.aspx

http://gracelinks.org/2374/real-food-right-now-and-how-to-cook-it-sorrel

http://m.wisegeek.org/what-is-sorrel.htm

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/zesty-sorrel.aspx

  • See how to freeze herbs here:
chopped mint, greens and sorrel
chopped mint, greens and sorrel
green sorrel ice cube trays
green sorrel ice cube trays
freeze until use
freeze until use
nettles iced tea and mint ice cube
nettles iced tea and mint ice cube

http://www.simplycanning.com/freezing-herbs.html

http://www.food.com/recipe/herbal-ice-cubes-111461

http://www.thekitchn.com/freeze-herbs-in-olive-oil-173648

  • Mushrooms– Talk to your local mushroom grower about what variety to get and how to cook it, I have come to find that each variety had its each distinct flavor and needs to be cooked differently.

mushrooms close up
mushrooms close up
cauliflower mushroom
cauliflower mushroom
mushrooms in chopped salad
mushrooms in chopped salad
mushrooms and green beans
mushrooms and green beans

http://cal.spoonuniversity.com/food-thought/4-mushroom-varietals-buy-farmers-market/

  • Watermelon Radish- watermelon Radish is very tart, but pretty. If you like radish flavor, chop it up into a salad and try with a acidic dressing. Here are some pictures of watermelon radish.
raw watermelon radish
raw watermelon radish
root slaw salad with watermelon radish
root slaw salad with watermelon radish

http://www.livestrong.com/article/540838-the-nutrition-in-a-watermelon-radish/#page=1

http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2010/10/meet-watermelon-radish.html?m=1

http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Watermelon_Radish_1788.php

  • Yellow wax beans/Purple Beans- cook like you would green beans.
cooking long beans
cooking long beans
farmers market bounty, including purple green beans
farmers market bounty, including purple green beans

http://mycarolinakitchen.blogspot.com/2011/08/purple-french-heirloom-beans.html?m=1

http://cooklikeyourgrandmother.com/purple-bean-salad/

http://www.addictedtoveggies.com/2011/08/gourmet-purple-green-bean-nicoise.html?m=1

http://www.marthastewart.com/334122/in-season-wax-beans

http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Yellow_Wax_Beans_602.php

http://www.gardenbetty.com/2013/07/why-do-purple-beans-turn-green-after-cooking/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/467867-how-to-cook-fresh-purple-beans/#page=2

  • Purple Carrots- Purple carrots are so sweet. If you have the chance to grow some andbuy some do so, they will be the sweetest most vitamin packed carrots you have ever tried.Here is some information on purple carrots. there are also amazing purple bell pepper if you get the chance to find any.

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http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Purple_Holland_Bell_Peppers_805.php

http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/surprising-health-benefits-purple-carrots

  • Fava Beans- first you shuck them, then you shell them, then you cook them. These beans are a whole lot of work, but if your into making your own hummus and bean spreads, they are worth the try. Here are some pictures of Fava beans and some recipes to go with it.
cooking fava beans with garlic
cooking fava beans with garlic
fava beans surrounded by other market bounty
fava beans surrounded by other market bounty
shucked and shelled fava beans
shucked and shelled fava beans

http://www.saveur.com/article/-/Fava-Bean-Recipes

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/saute-of-fresh-fava-beans-onions-and-fennel-106490

http://www.food.com/recipe/gabriel-s-sauteed-fava-beans-117520

http://www.thekitchn.com/5-fantastic-ways-to-cook-fava-beans-190674

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/fettuccine-with-fresh-fava-beans-and-pancetta-recipe.html

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1428426

http://theforestfeast.com/post/55275033732/purple-greenbean-salad

  • Red/Black Currants- I love baking with currants they taste like mini cranberries and are super great to cook with fresh or even dried like raisins.
red currant icing on banana cake
red currant icing on banana cake
  • Recipes for currants:

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3749957

http://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g205/currant-recipes-0606/

http://leitesculinaria.com/4328/recipes-floating-islands-black-currant-sauce.html

http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/miscellaneous/mobile.php?rid=misc-floating-island

  • Kohlrabi – I am trying to fall in love with this veggie. Its taken a whole lotta work and a few interesting recipe fails to find that this marriage between turnip and cabbage.. isn’t one of my favorites.

    raw kholrabi
    raw kholrabi
steamed thinly sliced kholrabi
steamed thinly sliced kohlrabi
Kholrabi steamed with tomato tapanade
Kholrabi steamed with tomato tapanade

http://www.inspiralized.com/2013/10/31/how-to-spiralize-a-kohlrabikohlrabi-green-apple-noodle-arugula-salad-with-goat-cheese-dried-cranberries-walnuts-with-a-honey-dijon-dressing/

http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/2006/11/roasted-kohlrabi

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Saveur-100-2011-Butter-Braised-Kohlrabi

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/stir-fried-rice-noodles-with-kohlrabi-and-basil

http://www.girlsgonechild.net/2011/01/eat-well-kohlrabi.html?m=1

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/health/nutrition/vegetarian-spring-rolls-with-shredded-kohlrabi-recipes-for-health.html?ref=nutrition&_r=0

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/well/2012/03/09/discovering-kohlrabi-its-a-vegetable/

http://www.gracelinks.org/485/real-food-right-now-and-how-to-cook-it-kohlrabi

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1597114/slideshow/232716#slide-8

http://www.thekitchn.com/top-five-ways-to-prepare-kohlr-60321

close up Rhubarb
close up Rhubarb
rhubarb syrup
rhubarb syrup
making rhubarb syrup
making rhubarb syrup

Here are few recipes for rhubarb.

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/06/rhubarb-cobbler/

http://www.decotartelette.com/rhubarb-sweet-orange-meringue-tartelette/

http://thevanillabeanblog.com/2013/05/meringues-with-rhubarb-curd-and-rosehip.html

http://localkitchenblog.com/2011/06/07/cranberry-orange-rhubarb-popsicles/

  • Huckleberry- Huckleberry grow wild where I live now. So does salmon berry and blackberry. We use our huckleberry in jams such as this one and inside cobblers and pies like this one shown below with blueberries.
fresh huckleberry jam
fresh huckleberry jam
10943762_645003265611862_6332682542933403877_o
blueberry chia applesauce lattice whole wheat pie

http://www.whitefishwave.com/newsletter/juicy-facts-about-huckleberries/

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/benefits-of-huckleberry-8277.html

  • Squash Blossoms- Delicate little suckers, I bought some fresh and by the time that I got home they were wilted and I still stuffed them with a cheesy ricotta with steamed carrots, but it wasn’t easy. They are definitely a tasty alternative to regular party poppers and I brought them to a work party and they were gone in 15 min. here are a picture of my stuffed squash blossoms.
stuffed squash blossoms
stuffed squash blossoms

http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2010/07/12/market-watch-squash-blossoms/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/385150-nutritional-value-of-edible-flowers/#page=2

http://figgyandsprout.com/squash-blossom-salad/

there are also edible flowers like pansies and nasturtium.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/18/42-edible-flowers.aspx

http://www.diynatural.com/edible-flowers/