It's 80 degrees in Minnesota and a huge rain is on it's way. Perfect for all these blooming gardens! I am giving away this gorgeous Garden Planner by Tootie+Dotes. Follow them on Instagram and comment below for a chance to win. What are you planting this year? What do you dream of planting someday?
Once upon a Sunday, I felt loads and loads of inspiration. Goodness, this weekend has been so good. Parks and sweaty walks and runs with Lue and pull ups in the trees. It is good to be active and good to move our bodies. I met with my friend, Jen and we sat together giddy. We researched and sourced some amazing goods that I cannot wait to experiment with and document for the book. She gave me this gorgeous wooden floral press (see similar here) and I spent the afternoon pressing dandelion, lilac, and willow branches. I can't wait to see how they turn out!
I spent so much time snuggled next to Lue and Min while we all took turns reading stories and me exploring this beautiful Garden Planner by Tootie + Dotes. Oh, I've spent too much time enjoying this beautiful site and hello, so drawn to good articles like this one, How to Build Your Own Damn Campfire. She says, "Changing a flat tire, home repairs, starting the campfire- why are girls being kept out of learning these skills growing up? Are we too busy learning to sew and paint our nails? The truth is we are probably just way too comfortable asking for help." I love this. Unrelated note from gardening and flower pressing and journaling, but I definitely want to teach the girls how to change a flat tire (so easy), build their own campfires and be strong women. Whispering voices in their head like, "You can do this. You can garden but also mow the lawn and fish and fix that front step."
Where was I...? OH! The garden planner! First of all, THE COLOR! So gorgeous. Such incredible design, filled with a gardening calendar, growth layout inspirations, coloring pages, a lunar guide, and a lot more. I hope you get one of these!
Overly inspired by this Fennel Gum! It's the little things!
Snip, Press, Dry, Repeat.
The other thing that rocked my design world this weekend was this insanely perfect leather journal. So far it has all my writings in it documenting this cookbook writing process. From the first launch call notes with my editor and agent to chapter category ideas and small little quotes or ideas that fill my head. I will treasure this forever. The color reminds me of the softest blush pink, which let me guess, you're like, "shut up already about the blush pink, Johnna." But I will not. You can't stop me!
Her name is Laney of Linens and Grains and she is a wife, mother and humble homesteader. She loves nature, real food, traveling, yoga and creating. Thank you for sharing this talent with us Laney. The journal is incredible and I am already eager for it to grasp that worn in leather look. Get yours here.
Happy Gardening, flat tire changing, journalling season to you. Oh my goodness, there is life to be lived out there! Let's live it! (Too cliche? I'm serious though, that's how I feel today.)
a cookbook bringing nourishment, discovery, and wonder back to the table
We are beyond grateful to share that we will officially be working with Rodale Publishing in designing and producing a cookbook titled, "Tales From a Forager's Kitchen." It will be dripping with visuals and induce both adventurous cooking and living. It will evoke an appreciation for this earth and the landscape in Minnesota!
The recipes will braid foraging, exploring and being adventurous outdoors and in our kitchen. It will explore beautiful, out of routine ingredients and introduce magic and fascination to what we put inside our body. It will bring nourishment, discovery, and wonder back to the table. The Illustrative work will be byBear Fox Chalk and the photography by Matt Lien.
I have always dreamt of creating and designing a cookbook and the process began about two years ago when I started documenting a hashtag for myself, like a series or collection that brought me joy. When I became a Mom, cooking or baking in the kitchen became such an outlet of bliss and joy for me. I felt like human Johnna again, instead of just Mom Johnna. I've always felt inspired by food and ingredients. I wondered if simple ingredients could be presented in a way that makes anyone...a child or adult..feel enticed and intrigued. #FoxTabletop was a journal of joy for me and then this last January the actual journey began with my agent Kim Perel, by creating a proposal (a huge thanks to Olivia Herrick for the design layout for this and Anne Sage for even believing in me) and marketing plan and specific ideas for the cookbook and now it feels SO unreal that it is actually happening! It was a ton of hard work at the beginning of this year putting together a proposal that I felt so proud of and so many late nights and early mornings. It will be the biggest honor to work with both such an enthusiastic editor Dervla Kelley and Jennifer Levesque, the wonderful editorial director at Rodale.
We are SO overjoyed to have the girls be a part of it all too. Max and I will be working together and it will be a joyous story to share with the girls as they get older. It's also so nice to have them be a part of it at their young ages and I'm sure a blend of crazy as we go on the this journey with two little ones within the home!
It has been the most celebratory week. Especially so strange and beautiful reading the email from my agent saying, "Yes! You are an author!" Here we go! I worked all weekend with Max and the girls doing research and writing and beginning the layout of the entire book and it was already SO much fun and beautifully overwhelming. I am so thrilled to be doing this with Max and the girls.
If you are further interested to find out about my journey to publication, please don't hesitate to get in touch! Tales From a Forager's Kitchen will be sold in stores, online and all over the world in the Spring of 2018. We are SO happy and have a TON of work ahead!
Fossil asked me to partner with them this year in celebration and launch of their new Mothers Day gifting line! I was so happy and honored to work with such a beautiful company. There are so many goods in full blush color, rose gold accents and gorgeous leathers which is the color palette I have been loving lately.
Lue had so much fun shooting with the goods, trying them on and loading up the leather clutch with ponies, but of course. We danced away to her most recent favorite song from the movie Zootopia throughout the small shoot for them and had a wonderful time together for this collaboration.
Be sure to check out the new Fossil line! Too many beautiful items to take in. Blush, blush! Yes!
I was studying empathy last night. We've been really trying to teach empathy over here and we are far from perfect. I'm reading that empathy is taught and shown by action. Empathy is shown in the way a parent responds to a infants cry or a toddlers whine, knowing for a fact it means that the child needs something. It might be as small as eye contact, touch, or an embrace. Empathy is not choosing what is convenient or easiest, but revels in a heart to heart connection. Empathy is shown by caring for a three year old's needs and desires, even if it's the most ridiculous request. I'm not saying to respond Yes to everything, that's not what I mean, but rather hearing their needs and being able to talk through a solution creatively. To hear their hearts.
The parallel is us as adults. Imagine hanging out with a friend who doesn't actually listen to you. She's on her phone or blows you off, or worse you are hurting and she looks at you and says, "Stop crying. Get over it." Or ignores you so you can self soothe. Maybe some people like that, I guess you never know. I've had adult experiences where a hurt was shared and the response was pure rejection. It hurt me so bad, especially coming from our closest friends and took a long time to heal from. It feels really good to be released of that hurt and able to talk about the topic of empathy. The friend I want surrounding me is one that would care enough to hear my hurts and respond with genuine care. There should always be time for genuinely caring for another human's heart. I want to be that type of friend. A friend who didn't expect perfection or controlled emotions ALL THE TIME and accepted me for my best or my worst moments.
I feel strongly that our children need that too. They need us to show empathy to them every single day and their need for connection doesn't end when the sun goes down. There's this idea that kids won't remember their crying because they're so small... but then what is the age that they turn where parents DO start practicing actual empathy? Imagine a five year old went off to school and sat across the table from another child who was crying over a big or small hurt. The other child sat there and replied, "Stop crying. Self soothe. You're fine, friend. Just stop." No. We would want to teach that child to go over to the friend and see if they are okay. To tend to their needs or offer support, a tissue, encouragement or a hug. Empathy should be taught at that very first little cry they make fresh out in the world, by the way we care for their small voice as an infant, the way we listen to their needs through toddlerhood and through the way we treat others as grown adults. We want them to be empathetic humans to others as they grow up, but they have to see it and learn it from us first.
For a beautiful breakdown of how to me more empathetic, watch this video here by Brene Brown. I can't tell you how many times I have watched this and soaked in the knowledge. It's so beautiful. Empathy is the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes, understand and relate as best as you can to how that person feels.
Even as early as infancy and it's never too late to begin integrating empathy into our worlds even as adults.
Wildflower Raw Honey (sold at Farmer's markets and more and more grocery stores!)
I feel bad for those little weeds. They pop up so pretty and yellow and instantly everyone is complaining about their existence. Chopping them out, spraying them down, and bursting negativity on them. Here's a way to use them in a beneficial and beautiful way! This drink is a beautiful expression of the woods. A perfect cocktail for a forager, explorer or outdoorsman or woman.. It's a drink that combines the essence of the forest, the tip top Pine Needle essence of gin and the ground floor beauty of a dandelion. I like this drink because you can prepare it ahead of time in bulk, chill it in the refrigerator and drink it throughout the week but also have it prepared to pair with gin for you and a friend or for guests that come over. It is a subtly earthy taste. It feels fresh and raw at the same time and the color reminds me of the forest floor. It's the drink one would enjoy after an entire day out foraging for morel mushrooms or gardening. We are making this with fresh, real dandelion so you've got to be prepared to get a little dirty!
This recipe serves two. Drinks seem to have a little bit of personal preference mixed in. I like to use a one to one ratio with most cocktails but if this is too strong, or not strong enough, feel free to discover your own ratios.
How can a root make someone so happy? I'll never know, but it was a joy when it came out all in one piece.
One of my favorite brands of Gin to use because it's Minnesotan, but there are a lot of other ones out there too!
Chop the leaves and petals of a dandelion. Depending on the size of your dandelion, use around ten to fifteen leaves and as many heads as are bloomed. Drop in three dandelion tea bags. Boil in three cups of water for fifteen to twenty minutes. You'll lose a little water in evaporation, hence the extra cup or so of water. Add in a tablespoon of Raw Wildflower Honey and stir until dissolved. Let steep on the stovetop, strain, cool, and set in refrigerator overnight. If you're looking to make this same day, just bring it to room temperature before serving. If you're not into alcohol, this drink right here is an amazing one to chill all summer long!
Add in one to one ratio of gin to dandelion liquid. Discover your perfect ratio here and don't be afraid to focus on your audience to accommodate what they might be into. It would make an incredible pitcher full of floating dandelion heads with gorgeous color and a dash of gin for an afternoon outdoor get together. Pour over heavy ice and shake in cocktail shaker. Delight.
Garnish with rinsed fresh stems and leaves and dandelion heads! Super impressive and ultra earthy. :)
Dandelion has some incredible health benefits. There were a lot of resources to research through and here's one source I found intriguing. Read more here. There is a TON of information on that beautiful website. Would love to hear if you have additional information in regards to this weed's benefits!
Dandelionis a source of a variety of nutrients and the leaves and root contain Vitamins (like A,C, K and B-vitamins) as well as minerals (including magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and choline). The various parts of the plant have a long history of use as an herbal remedy, and every documented population in areas where it grows naturally has used it medicinally.
It also serves as an abundant natural food source, as all parts of the plant can be eaten. The root is often roasted and used in teas or consumed whole. The leaves make a great addition to salads or other dishes requiring greens and the flowers (while still yellow), can be eaten raw, cooked or even made into wine! Traditional cultures have used dandelion to support digestive and hormone health and it was often consumed to support lactation or to help remedy issues like urinary tract infections.
Please let me know if you try this! I have a huge jar in my fridge right now and I am indulging on it throughout the day and have added in the gin to transition into dinnertime/evening for quite a delightful, earthy treat. Not into drinking it? Pick the fresh leaves and add into your bed of kale or arugula. A dash of bitter, so good for the liver. Happy Dandelion Foraging season. Let's love those pesky little weeds!