Empowered Eating eCourse!

Empowered Eating eCourse | Homestead Honey

A few months ago, I wrote an email to my dear friend Tatiana, of Mama Philosopher, with the subject line, “A very crazy, and possibly very good idea!”

That idea was to combine our expertise – Tatiana wrote her PhD dissertation on the local food movement, and I’m passionate and knowledgeable about homesteading, gardening, and food preservation – into one totally awesome eCourse that dives into the local food movement.

The result is Empowered Eating, a four week course in which participants explore local food issues, participate in a two-week local food challenge, and learn about growing food, sourcing local food, and preserving seasonal abundance, all in a supportive online community.

Living in the local food hotbed of the Willamette Valley of Oregon for over a decade, I became passionate about growing my own food and sourcing it from local farmers with whom I could develop a relationship. I’ve learned so much about adapting my diet to seasonal abundance, nurturing a bountiful garden, buying in bulk from farms, and preserving for the winter months. Empowered Eating is the best of what I’ve learned from hands-on experience, rolled into one inspirational and educational course.

I’m honored to co-teach with Tatiana Abatemarco. Since meeting a few years ago during an online course, Tatiana and I have connected deeply. While we’ve never actually met in person, we share so many similar interests – peaceful parenting, personal growth, Waldorf education, wellness, and local food. Tatiana brings amazing knowledge and a beautiful, thoughtful teaching presence to this course.

Empowered Eating will take place from August 25-September 19. During these four weeks, we will:

  • Explore local food ethics and discover our “why”
  • Create local food sourcing strategies and meal plans for our families
  • Join together in a supportive community as we undertake a two-week Local Food Challenge
  • Learn the basics of growing, preserving, and storing food via photo tutorials and videos
  • Create seasonal meal plans
  • Explore topics such as bioregionalism, lacto-fermentation, wild foraging,
  • and SO much more!

Whether you’re just beginning a local food journey, or wanting support to go deeper, this course will be a mixture of learning, community and fun.

I would be so honored if you would join Tatiana and me for this eCourse. This week, from July 28 until August 4, Homestead Honey readers will receive 50% off the course tuition when you use the discount code Homestead50.

Learn more about Empowered Eating here, and if you have any questions about the course, please email me at teri@homestead-honey.com.

Thank you for your support!


Peach Basil Salsa

fresh peaches

It’s peach season!  While we don’t have peaches from our own trees quite yet, we do have access to great quantities of Missouri and Illinois peaches.  They are bursting with the taste of summer, and we eat them fresh, cooked in cobblers, and in an amazing Peach Basil Salsa.

(I collected some amazing peach recipes last year. You can find that blog post here.  If you’re interested in making peach peel jelly, you can find that post here.)

My Peach Basil Salsa recipe was created with inspiration from a few similar recipes online, and it is perfect on grilled white fish, or as a dip for tortilla chips. If you want, add a hot pepper or two to spice things up, or leave it as is for a sweet and savory flavor.

Peach Basil Salsa recipe | Homestead Honey

4 ripe Peaches, pitted and diced

3 tbsp fresh Basil, minced

1/4 Red Onion, minced

a splash of Balsamic Vinegar (around 1 tsp)

Salt to taste

Optional hot peppers

Combine ingredients and enjoy!


Do you have a favorite peach recipe?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments or on Facebook!


Making Homemade Toothpaste

Although my family eats a whole foods, low-sugar diet, we’ve had our share of dental challenges, particularly the kids.  Ella had to have restorative work on several of her molars before the age of four, and Everett’s teeth have some degree of enamel decay on most surfaces.

My take on dental health is like my view of health in general – it matters what you put into your body and how you care for yourself, but also, sometimes things just happen.  Our kids don’t drink sugary beverages, we don’t give them candy or an excess of dried fruits, we floss and brush, and yet…

When Ella’s dental problems first presented themselves, we went searching for information as to how to best approach dental health.  There is a lot of conflicting information out there, and ultimately, you have to choose what feels best for your own family. We’ve settled on a combination of a whole foods diet, supplements, and preventative dental care that is working well to keep the kids’ teeth stable. In our diet, we emphasize lots of vegetables, pasture-raised meats, raw milk and butter, fruit, and some whole grains. As a family, we love dessert, and while we use cane sugar, we also try to make use of honey and sorghum.

I take high quality multivitamins and Green Pastures Fermented Fish Oil and Butter Oil supplements.  The kids take cod liver oil and our entire family takes supplements from The Dental Essentials which comes in a tablet for the adults, and a liquid formula for the kids. Their supplements are specifically formulated to help reduce cavities, with vitamins and minerals such as Calcium, Phosphorous, Vitamin D3 and K2. (The Dental Essentials offers Homestead Honey readers a 15% discount with the code “Homestead” if you want to try their product.)

I’ve gone back and forth between homemade and store-bought toothpaste, and recently resumed making my own. I’m really loving this recipe.  It makes my teeth feel clean and fresh and it tastes amazing!  I derived the recipe from a number of recipes that I found online, but particularly from this one from Wellness Mama.

Homemade Toothpaste Recipe | Homestead Honey


1 tsp Calcium Carbonate powder

1 tsp Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

1 tsp Bentonite Clay

3 tsp Xylitol

3 – 5 tsp Coconut Oil

20 drops Trace Minerals

20 drops Essential Oils of choice (I used 12 peppermint, 5 clove, and 3 eucalyptus for the adult batch and 10 peppermint, 10 sweet orange for the kids)

Ingredients to make your own remineralizing toothpaste| Homestead Honey

To Make:

1) Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. (Diatomaceous earth should not be inhaled, so stir slowly and carefully).

2) Add coconut oil until you’ve reached a desired consistency.

3) Stir in essential oils and trace minerals, and store in a container of choice.  Keep in mind that coconut oil will liquify above room temperature, so be sure your container closes tightly.

Happy brushing! If you try the recipe, please let me know how you like it!

A Homestead Shed

This spring we needed to move all of our belongings out of a 24×36 storage shed and onto our land. While this was great motivation to get everything we owned in one place, it was also a bit daunting, as we had not a square foot of storage space!

Brian quickly began work on a 100 square foot tool/storage shed. The construction of the shed itself is really interesting – he hand-hewed off-cut black walnut limbs into square posts that created the shed’s support. We purchased some newly milled local lumber from the Amish and a new metal roof that is used to collect 200 gallons of rainwater. The floor, loft and siding were constructed with reclaimed plywood that was literally lying on the side of the road, waiting to be dumped. Brian offered the former owner $30 for the entire pile. With a little faux board and batten effect and a coat of fresh paint (“Olivewood”), the shed is cute and super-functional.

Shed and Tiny House | Homestead Honey

The shed, outdoor kitchen, and our house!

Homestead Tool Shed with Water Catchment | Homestead Honey

50 gallon barrels collect rainwater.  The barrels on the left flow directly to a spigot in the garden!


A well-organized tool shed is a thing of beauty!

HomesteadShed4 HomesteadShed5

I feel a bit as though I’m sharing the contents of my underwear drawer!  In these boxes are possessions that we packed up almost two years ago in Oregon!  Some boxes have been opened, purged of things we don’t need, and re-packed.  Others we’ve never even opened.  What a crazy experience it will be when we finally have space to reclaim our “stuff!”


A tall ceiling and a loft space make great use of an otherwise tiny (10 x 10ft) space!


And above the door is my closet!

Do you have a homestead shed?  What do you keep in it?

Eat Local or Eat Organic?

Which is more important – eating local or eating organic? Since moving to Missouri in the fall of 2012, I’ve grappled with this question quite a bit. In our previous home in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, it was fairly easy to fulfill both of these ideals – I could go to one of several natural food stores and purchase locally grown organic food, shop the Farmer’s Market, or grow my own food nearly year-round in a hoophouse.

Here in Northeast Missouri, the four-season climate makes for a spectacular late spring through early fall harvest. I grow a large garden and have connected with a local farmer who uses organic practices. Last fall I purchased large quantities of storage crops from him, such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, turnips, winter squash, and onions.  I also did some canning and freezing of the summer’s bounty. These stores brought us well into December with delicious organic AND local food.

Winter squash for storage | Homestead Honey

But when January arrived, the bulk of our produce had been eaten, and the “hunger months” began.  Of course I could drive to my local grocery store and purchase food, but local food? Nope. Organic food? Well yes, but it was from either California or South America and the quality was not great.

I’m not a hard line purist, but I strive to source food from as close to my bioregion as possible. But sometimes buying local means that I’m buying food that has been treated with chemicals, which I really try to avoid.

A recent email conversation with a local blueberry u-Pick farm elucidates this problem. When I asked the farmer what his growing practices were, his reply was that he did not use pesticides at all, only began using fungicide this season when he could not control a stem blight with pruning alone, and did control weeds with glyphosate when mulch and hand-pulling were not adequate.

So, here is a farmer who tries to avoid chemicals, but opts to use them when the health of the plant or the conditions of patch necessitate.  But, his berries are not “Organic.”  I could go to the local grocery store and purchase “Organic” blueberries, but they would have been shipped from elsewhere in the country, packaged in plastic, and sold for several dollars per pound more.  Furthermore, I do not have the opportunity to see the blueberry patch with my own eyes. I do not know how they are grown, who is picking them, and what their conditions are.

Which option should I choose?

In this case, I’m choosing local. When I go to the local blueberry farm, I see the berries with my own eyes, I pick them with my own hands, and I chat with the grower and his family. I feel a connection to his life, and he to mine, and together we form a tighter community network of food security. In fact, in a recent conversation, this very farmer offered to come out to my homestead to give advice on getting a blueberry patch growing.

Some day I hope not to have to choose between local and organic. I aim to be a part of a local community network of homesteaders and gardeners who can share surplus or trade produce.  I’m passionate about supporting my local farmers AND I’m passionate about eating the most healthy and nutrient dense foods imaginable.

My friend Tatiana, of Mama Philosopher and I have been channeling our passion for local food into the creation of an eCourse called Empowered Eating that will be offered this summer.  For four weeks starting on August 25th, we’ll explore local food issues in a supportive environment, participate in a two-week local food challenge, and share skills to grow, procure, and preserve local food.  If you are passionate about food and community, please consider joining us on this adventure!  Registration will open on July 28th, but you can visit the Empowered Eating information page right now and sign up for our email list.  (*Bonus: Special discounts will be available only to email subscribers!)

 How do you decide which is more important, eating local or eating organic?

Share in the comments or on Facebook.


Which is more important?  Eating local or eating organic? |Homestead Honey


In the Garden :: Early July

We were blessed with several inches of rain over the past few weeks, which, combined with pockets of intense heat and humidity, has contributed to amazing garden growth!  As I walk around the garden, I feel so much appreciation for the miracle of plant life that sustains us and brings so much joy and beauty into my life.

Mornings have taken on the same routine as last summer: Morning chai tea (this brand is my favorite), breakfast, and then a garden walk with the kids.  This is honestly one of my favorite times of the day. I love that as we walk the garden paths, Everett, age 3.5 pauses to say, “Look mama, a native bee on the cucumber flower!” or that Ella, age 6.5 knows how to hand-pollinate squash.  It makes my heart burst with mama pride.

Garden walk in mid July

(These trellises are made out of cattle panel and are a super-simple way to train tomatoes or cukes skyward. I wrote about these and other trellising systems here.)


Upper garden

The upper garden, my experiment in tilling, is doing quite well. Above is a photo from mid June, followed by one taken this morning:

Upper Garden in early July | Homestead Honey

The winter squash and corn in the foreground of the photo are not as dark green and robust as I would like them to be, but all in all, plants are growing!  We’ve even harvested our first okra!

Squash bug nymphs | Homestead Honey

I was surprised to see squash bug nymphs already present on some winter squash leaves.  I squish them by hand and hand pick adults and eggs as I come across them.

Volunteer winter squash | Homestead Honey

Down in the lower garden, this volunteer winter squash is the most vigorous squash I’ve ever had in my garden. I’m guessing by its fruit (and what I know was in my compost pile) that it will be a spaghetti squash (or at least part spaghetti squash!).

The sheet mulched beds continue to amaze me with their tilth and ease of planting. For anyone starting a new garden, I really cannot recommend the lasagna gardening method highly enough.

July garden in Missouri

The photo above is from last year, in late July.  Not too shabby for a first year garden, but now look below at a photo taken this morning…


The garden is a veritable tangle of lush green growth!

Garden with tool shed

What is happening in your garden right now? Please share in the comments!



Summer Homestead Reading List

The best in summer homestead reading! | Homestead Honey

When the summer heat gets to be too intense, or when I’m on vacation, I love nothing more than to sit with a good book. Some days I get sucked into a good novel, but most of the time, I’m expanding my homesteading knowledge with a book about gardening, building, caring for animals, or anything else homestead-related.

I’ve asked some of my homestead blogger friends to join me in sharing their favorite homesteading books, for all of our summer reading enjoyment!

* * * * *

The Foxfire Books by Eliot Wigginton

Recommended by Susan of Learning and Yearning

“I’ve always loved The Foxfire Books which were written by high school students in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As a class project, the students interviewed older family members and neighbors. This was southern Appalachia and these folks were still using old home remedies, killing hogs and using every last bit of the animal, living in log cabins and making moonshine. The project evolved into 12 great books of old-time lore”

* * * * *

Quarter-Acre farm: How I Kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn, and Fed my Family for a Year by Spring Warren

Recommended by Teri of Homestead Honey

“If you love growing a garden and enjoying its bounty, this book is a celebration of being able to feed your family from your own backyard.  Author Spring Warren decides to grow 75% of all the food (by weight) that she would eat, for a year.  Living in Central California, she manages to feed herself quite well – for most of the year. Of course there are weeks when nothing but zucchini figures prominently into meal planning, but that is all part of the experience that Spring recounts so engagingly.  A light, yet informative, fun read.”

* * * * *

The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan

Recommended by Mollie Jahner of  The Jahner Farmstead

“My favorite homesteading book has to be The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan. We have a small farmstead out here in the Pacific Northwest and this book really helps you understand just how creative you can get in a small space!  I highly recommend reading it if you have 1/4 acre or less as it will help inspire you to different levels of farming. Like vertical gardening, raising chickens,bees and possibly fruit trees.

My favorite quote from the book: ‘From a quarter of an acre, you can harvest 1,400 eggs, 50 pounds of wheat, 60 pounds of fruit, 2,000 pounds of vegetables, 280 pounds of pork, 75 pounds of nuts.’

Who knew you could be THAT productive on 1/4 an acre. Happy reading!”

* * * * *

Natural Homestead: 40+ Recipes for Natural Critters & Crops by Jill Winger

Recommended by Quinn of Reformation Acres

“Natural Homestead: 40+ Recipes for Natural Critters & Crops should be on every homesteader’s “MUST-READ” list! As we learn more and more about how detrimental the methods of gardening and animal husbandry of the past 100+ years have been to the health and sustainability of our herds, flocks, fields, and soils, we need to ditch those old and uneducated ways! But our livestock and gardens still need to be managed and cared for and Natural Homestead can equip you with the recipes and ideas you need! Covering topics such as dealing with parasites, fly management, caring for your family cow, custom chicken feed mixes, treats, and money-saving ideas to feed your gals, recipes for natural cleaning and maintenance, gardening solutions, and over 40 recipes all told, I’m certain there is something in this book that you can glean from or will inspire you to manage your homestead more naturally. (Read my full review here.)”

 * * * * *
Dr. Eric Zielinksi from DrEricZ.com also recommends Natural Homestead and writes:
“My favorite homesteading book is Natural Homestead by Jill Winger. I love everything that Jill writes.  She has one of the most visited homesteading blogs on the Internet for a reason: Her stuff is original, sincere, natural, and healthy. She is a gal who not only knows how to homestead herself, but has a gift of teaching others how to become homesteaders themselves. Jill’s DIY tips are super-easy to follow, her pictures are magnetic, and this book is an all-around must-have!”
* * * * *


A Little Piece of England by John Jackson

Recommended by Teri of Homestead Honey


“A Little Piece of England is a tale of self-sufficiency guaranteed to make you laugh a lot and nod your head in understanding.  The true story of a family that moves to a sliver of countryside within London’s commuter belt, this book tells of acquiring pets and then many different kinds of livestock, learning to build, grow food, raise meat, and become quite competent in a number of self-sufficiency skills. All the while, the family of five balances school, community, work, and homestead life. John Jackson is so forthcoming with the family’s mistakes and foibles that any homesteader will feel at ease with this book, as we can all relate to making mistakes as we learn!

I read this book quickly and contentedly over a few days’ time.  The book was originally published in 1979, and most recently republished in 2014. I found myself wanting to continue on where the book left off. Luckily, an afterword fills in some of the blanks.  A Little Piece of England draws you into a family’s dreams and the result is that you find yourself wanting to stay and visit a while.”

* * * * *

The Good Life  and Complete Book of Cordwood Masonry Housebuilding: The Earthwood Method

Recommended by Karen Lynn from Lil’ Suburban Homestead

“I confess I am a ‘Homesteading Book Lover Addict,’ if there is such a thing, so it is extremely hard for me to narrow down my choices,  but I chose a couple of books that have had a huge impact on my desire to lead a more self reliant lifestyle.  The Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing was a game changer for me. It made me realize that you have control over the life you want to lead at any age.  They were hard workers and enjoyed the simple pleasures in life and a higher quality more robust life as well. Another book that I absolutely loved was Rob Roy’s Complete Book of Cordwood Masonry Housebuilding: The Earthwood Method.  This book made me realize that anyone given the land and the the right planning could live off-grid and in a rather nice home at that.  That being said, I still reside in suburbia and fulfill my Homesteading Adventures on 1/3 acre with our chickens and our bees but you never know what the future holds :)”

* * * * *

Natural Beekeeping by Ross Conrad (and more!)

Recommended by Tessa Zundel of Homestead Lady


“There’s no one book that can cover it all! I like the general homesteading books for beginners because they usually cover a little bit of everything. After you’ve been doing it awhile, you’ll need more specific information in the areas on which you decide to focus. The ones I pick up most often and continue to refer back to are: Natural Beekeeping by Ross Conrad, Backyard Poultry Naturally by Alanna Moore, Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman, The Accessible Pet, Equine and Livestock Herbal by Katherine Drovdhal and (although I have so many others, I still pull out my basic) The Complete Book of Herbs by Lesley Bremness. I have so many homesteady-type books that I could literally run on and on for hours but these titles continue to help me day in and day out. Each book teaches me how to run my homestead holistically and with respect for how all the bits and pieces of each activity (food production, animals, herbs, etc) truly fit together.”

* * * * *

Five Acres and Independence, The Joy of Gardening, and On Food and Cooking

Recommended by Emily at Life From Scratch

Five Acres and Independence by Maurice Grenville Kains: “I will warn you this book has some outdated information and methods, especially regarding pesticides but its so full of awesome information its still worthy of a permanent place on your shelf! Do you know what a ram pump is, or how to make a refrigerated room without electricity? Those are just the sort of skills Five Acres and Independence is full of.”

The Joy of Gardening By Dick Raymond: “As a teen this was my gardening bible. I read my copy many times over and even though I come from a long line of gardeners I learned a ton from this book. Dick teaches wide row, intercropping methods that I still use. Rototilling is heavily promoted in this book which I’m not a fan of and very quickly realized isn’t all its cracked up to be so take his tilling methods with a grain of salt. This book also has good sections covering produce storage, harvest, seed starting and insect identification and management.”

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee: “This book is for the foodies, the scientifically minded and the generally curious. I love this book because I can go to it with most of my food and kitchen pondering and find an answer. If you’ve ever wondering how eggs turn into meringue or how flour turns into bread you will thoroughly enjoy this book.”

* * * * *

The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch (and more!)

Recommended by Jess from the 104 Homestead

We know that backyard chickens have been talked all over the news lately (both favorably and negatively).  Homesteading is on the rise and for so many great reasons.  With this rise comes a great supply of reading materials dedicated to we non-traditional farmers that live in small spaces.  There are many great books out there, but I have a few that focus on small-scale high-production gardening have become staples in my library. – See more at: http://104homestead.com/4-must-reads-for-the-small-scale-homesteader/#sthash.b4X9ib6B.dpuf

“Homesteading is on the rise and for so many great reasons. With this rise comes a great supply of reading materials dedicated to we non-traditional farmers that live in small spaces.  There are many great books out there, but I have a few that focus on small-scale high-production gardening have become staples in my library.”

Read about Jess’s favorites in her blog post,  4 Must-Reads for the Small Scale Homesteader.

* * * * *

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Recommended by Lee Ann Perez from One Ash Plantation Homestead

“Anyone who wants to grow their own food should read Fast Food Nation. It will definitely transform thinking about eating out.”

* * * * *

Conquering your Kitchen by Annemarie Rossi

Recommended by Chris Daziel of Joybilee Farm 

Chris recently reviewed the new Untrained Housewife guide, Conquering your Kitchen.  In her review, Chris writes, “If you’ve made a commitment to cook from scratch, avoid GMOs, and stay within your budget, you’ll love the friendly voice and experience expressed in this book, a beacon on your journey to getting the most out of your food budget.”  You can read Chris’s full review here.

* * * * *

Home Sweet Homegrown by Robyn Jasko

Recommended by Andrea Pommer of Little Big Harvest

“There really is no shortage of homesteading and gardening books out there. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information. I have many different books for different needs, but this cute little book seems to get picked up the most around here, usually right before I go to sleep, or during those moments when I need a quick little tip or inspiration. I can skim through it in 20-30 minutes. It has all the good stuff: tips on specific plants, simple projects for the garden, practical tips and natural sprays that are easily made at home, and even …drumroll…recipes! I am a sucker for garden books that include recipes. I guess because I love to cook, I love to garden, and I can’t see how the two are separate. The recipes have enough of a twist from the usual (including a method for kraut that seems simpler than any method I’ve seen so far) to have me intrigued and ready to try them out. Since I can read this book in one sitting, maybe if I read it enough times, the information will stick and I can give the impression I know what I’m talking about. Ha!”

* * * * *

What homesteading book would you add to this list?


Welcome, July!

June flew by in a flurry of rain and sun, hard work mixed with play, and many pond dips. We have watched our new garden grow, started a water kefir culture, begun rehearsals for a musical (that opens in less than two weeks!), and appreciated a spurt of paid work that left little time for new homestead projects but (mostly) balanced the checkbook.

It’s a delicate balance, that of working off-site and being able to work on our homestead. It’s one of the reasons that I feel so appreciative of the sponsors that help support my blogging here at Homestead Honey.  These are businesses that I LOVE. I use their products, I know them personally, and I love what they bring to the world. Please check them out, and tell them you found them here!

So, without further ado, I’d like to give a great big shout out to my incredible sponsors!

* * * * * * * *

Lavender’s Blue Homeschool – A resource for peaceful parenting and holistic homeschooling

The Aquaponic Source – Providing learning materials, products, and leadership to empower people to grow their own fish and vegetables in their homes and schools.

The Dental Essentials -A nutritional supplement that has been specially formulated to reduce cavities. (Use coupon code Homestead for 15% off!)

TEND Magazine – A quarterly, downloadable magazine, designed to nourish a mindful life. (Use coupon code HOMEHON10 for 10% off!)

Ollie and Stella Children’s Outfitters – Featuring super high-quality DucKsday outdoorwear for kids

Bound by Hand – Handmade journals that inspire

Gypsy Forest - Natural goods for home and play

The Sitting Tree – Handmade goods, for a free-spirited life

Randi Jo Fabrications – Soft goods for bicyclers

Vital Medicine – Placing health at the center of our evolutionary journey

* * * * * * * *

Are you a small business owner? I am currently accepting new sponsors for Homestead Honey, and would for you to consider joining me! Please take a look at my Media Kit on my Sponsorship page, and contact me to get started!

A Homestead Outdoor Kitchen

A Homestead Outdoor Kitchen | Homestead Honey

Yesterday we did something we’ve kind of been putting off for a few weeks: We moved our entire indoor kitchen to our outdoor kitchen set-up, in anticipation of the plastering and flooring work that needs to happen this season.

If you do a quick Google or Pinterest search for images of “Outdoor Kitchens,” you’ll find some rather inspiring, attractive, and no doubt, expensive arrangements of stainless steel appliances and grills.  Many are centered around warm-season cooking and entertaining and provide space for seating, cooking, and shade.

Our outdoor kitchen’s shade comes from a large tarp, there is no seating, and we cook over a rocket stove and a two-burner propane stove, but the general premise remains the same.  Our outdoor kitchen:

  • Brings the heat outdoors. Cooking takes place outside, thus keeping our house cooler. This is particularly helpful when water bath or pressure canning!
  • Our outdoor kitchen effectively doubles our kitchen space, which is super important for our tiny 350 square foot house
  • We can watch the kids play in the yard or sandbox while we prepare meals
  • As we’re still in the building phase of our homestead creation, an outdoor kitchen is really a necessity as we finish indoor projects

We decided that the general layout of last year’s outdoor kitchen worked rather well for us, so the “bones” of the kitchen remain the same.  We did have to replace the shade/rain tarp, and we are keeping some pantry items indoors for ease of storage.

Outdoor Kitchen counter and food prep space | Homestead Honey

Mid-move out! The counter on the left will be the main food preparation area.  We have oils and sauces, spices, cutting boards, bowls, and knives stored in this area. We will also keep our Berkey water purifier near the counter’s edge for easy kid access.

To the right of the photo is a previously owned stainless steel sink, complete with running water from our house water catchment barrels.  After living without running water for the past 7 months, this is a real treat!  The dishwater drains into plastic buckets, and we use the greywater to water fruit trees.

Rocket stove and propane stove in an outdoor kitchen | Homestead HoneyThe cooking area of our homestead's outdoor kitchen | Homestead Honey

Last year’s set up (above) and our efforts thus far (below). Much of our summer cooking will take place on either a rocket stove, or in a Sun Oven. We have a great two-burner propane stove that we use as well. Often, all of these cooking surfaces are in use at the same time!

Outdoor Kitchen | Homestead Honey

Another photo from last summer, but it shows the layout of our entire outdoor kitchen. To accommodate terrain changes, we had to build a lower-level terrace (behind the cooking area), which I found to be very difficult to navigate quickly. I’d suggest keeping your outdoor kitchen all on one level and orienting key features (sink, cooking area, prep area) in a triangle for ease of work flow.

An effective homestead outdoor kitchen space could be as simple as setting up a few card tables under a shade structure, or as elaborate as you can imagine.  Happy outdoor cooking!


Strawberry-Chia Water Kefir

Making Strawberry Chia Water Kefir | Homestead Honey
When the summer heat and humidity hit, I have strong cravings for cold sweet beverages – the kinds of drinks I rarely purchase – like coconut water, ridiculous froo-froo coffee drinks with lots of whipped cream, and recently, overpriced chia seed kombucha beverages.

Last week, our friend and neighbor Mike acquired some water kefir grains, and shared some with me.  I’ve been wanting to start making water kefir for a while, especially after reading my friend Lisa’s post about how easy it is to make.  We began brewing some at once, and were amazed at how refreshing and delicious water kefir is.  With a hint of tart, a bit of sweet, and a little fizz, it’s the perfect summer beverage, and it’s a LOT less expensive than buying something similar at the store!

I wondered if I could re-create a chia seed beverage with the water kefir, so I’ve been playing around this week with a few combinations of ingredients and proportions, and finally hit upon one that I LOVE!

Strawberry-Chia Water Kefir

Step One: Brew up a batch of water kefir. 
Check out Hullabaloo Homestead’s simple instructions here. Cultures for Health has a great FAQ section if you run into challenges.

Water Kefir | Homestead Honey

Step Two:  When fermentation is complete to your desired sweet-tartness, strain out the water kefir grains, and then add flavorings of your choice to the strained liquid.  We used frozen strawberries from last summer and fresh lemon balm from the garden for this batch.  The flavorings sat in the water kefir for about 24 hours.

Water Kefir with Strawberries and Lemon Balm | Homestead Honey

Step Three:  Strain out the fruit and herb flavorings, and add chia seeds.  For about six cups of water kefir, I added 1/2 cup chia seeds.  Let the chia seeds soak in the water kefir until they are soft and plump! Chill, and enjoy!

Strawberry-Chia Water Kefir | Homestead Honey

That’s all there is to it!  The possible combinations of fruit, herbs, and chia are endless.  We also enjoyed a strawberry-basil and a blueberry water kefir.  I’m excited to experiment with ginger and peaches, and mulberries, and blackberries, and…

I’d love to hear your favorite combinations as well. Share in the comments below!