We have made some changes to our website and have gone back to old school basics and downsized a little.
What’s changed: Thompson Street Farm products will either be sold on our Farm to Bath Etsy page or in person at the South Windsor Farmers Market during the growing season. If you have questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are looking for our Farm to Bath products click on over to Farm to bath.com and check us out. Orders over $30.00 receive free shipping!!
2019 Season: Thompson Street Farm and Farm to Bath will be returning to the South Windsor Farmers Market in the 2019 season. See you there!
Cooking a healthy meal can be a full-time job for any parent. Between planning and organizing, it takes a lot of effort to stay on track. That’s why I have a few hacks on hand to quickly improve the nutrient density in meals.
Quinoa is a great cook ahead that can be sprinkled onto a salad for an exotic addition of protein. It absorbs flavors so you can pair it with any dressing and it will taste great. Quinoa is also a great way to cut back on rice. For recipes that call for rice, try replacing ½ of the amount with quinoa. You will hardly see the difference yet you will improve your nutrition by adding fiber and lowering your glycemic index. Quinoa is a good source of minerals such as folate, iron, zinc, and magnesium. It also contains all the essential amino acids, giving it a high score for a good source of protein. Beware though, it is still a grain and too much of it can be “too much of a good thing”.
Rich in iron and really flavorful, this makes a great addition to the kids’ mac and cheese. They simply LOVE it. Recently I have started experimenting with combining it with cauliflower rice. I sauteed a chopped onion or leek for about 5 minutes, then add the riced cauliflower (2 bags frozen) for another 5 minutes, sprinkle some dill or use fresh if you have, add salt and pepper. After it caramelizes add a bag of frozen spinach and cook for about another 10 minutes. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt or some feta and you have a low carb, Greek spanakopita inspired delicious and quick alternative. Spinach is a quick add on to rice, quinoa rice or even sautéed as a side dish. Power up!
Mushrooms act as a major immunity booster that can help the body fight illness as well as several types of cancers. It is recommended that you have a little daily. But who can keep up? Try freezing your mushrooms for easy access to omelets, and sautéed meals. Sautée some with onion and keep in the fridge as a sandwich or salad topper. Consider making mushroom burgers. They are easy, quick and very filling.
These are really misunderstood in my opinion because they are usually eaten out of a can. Try soaking a bag overnight and then giving them a quick boil until soft. No spices needed! After they are softened you can eat them plain -so sweet!- or add them to any salad. Keep in the fridge for an easy add on! You can also throw them in the blender with lemon juice and olive oil for a nice hummus.
The best way to increase your fruit intake is to keep it easily accessible. Take a few minutes to cut fruit and keep it in the fridge. It will more likely be your next snack or meal. My favorites for this are watermelon and honeydew. Another great trick is to load up on berries. They have a very short shelf life so eating them will be a priority.
This superfood can be added to any snack to boost fiber and omega 3’s along with antioxidants. Who doesn’t want that in a bowl of cereal, instantly? Consider adding to your yogurt, toasted bread, and even ice cream.
This is my go to side dish when I need that extra something to add to a meal. If I am baking dinner it can go straight into a baking dish with some EVOO. If not I can easily steam it and cleanup is a cinch. A major player in the cruciferous family, it is rich in everything, good for you and delicious. Always keep on hand.
Setting up for success with easy cheats makes up a big component of healthy eating. Now that the kids are helping themselves to snacks it’s even more important to have these easily accessible and at the front of the fridge.
My path to learning how to grow Shiitake mushrooms has been paved with years of failure until about 3 years ago. I can now say that I finally have success and have enough confidence to begin to experiment with growing other strains and in different growing mediums, such as straw and wood pellets.
Many years ago, I thought it would be fun to grow mushrooms so I bought a-grow-your-own mushroom kit from a seed catalog. My rationale was that they were a fungus and mushrooms grew wild in my compost pile, woods and in our grass. How hard could it be? HA!
My first kit arrived in the dead of winter and I eagerly opened the box. I followed the instructions, put the box with the gooey bag of ick down in the basement and tenderly cared for it for months….and…. nothing happened. I was frustrated and felt like I had been suckered (not for the first time and probably not the last). I tossed the mass of ick on my compost pile and thought it was a waste of time and money!
Then one very hot and humid day in August while tossing scraps on the compost pile I spied a mushroom. I looked closer and I thought it was a shiitake and it appeared to be growing from that lump of white ick that I dumped months earlier. I was excited but I didn’t want to pick it just yet. I wanted to wait just a little longer to see if it grew bigger.
A few weeks passed and I was thinking that the mushroom should be more than ready to pick and I hoped that more had sprouted. I went out to the compost pile and it was gone – nothing. No white lump, no beautiful mushroom nothing but a pile of dirt and gravel. WHAT? I dug into the pile and there deep under the dirt and gravel I found a shriveled up dead mushroom. My neighbors heard me cry NOOOOOO! I was crushed.
A few years went by….One day I was out with our hiking club walking next to a member I hadn’t met before. We were chatting along and she suddenly stopped and said “Oh look! There’s a blah blah ish-a-toris something or another mushroom” (long Latin name). She bent down, picked it, took a bite and offered me a piece. As she stared and smiled at me, I was trying to find my lower half of my jaw as it was sitting on the ground. I thought… “Did she just do what I think she just did?”… “Uh- no thank you” I replied. I quickly gained my composure and I peppered her with questions on how the heck she knew that mushroom was edible.
I learned that she and her husband were wild mushroom foragers and that they learned this craft by going out and watching other seasoned mushroom hunters forage. She explained that wild mushroom foraging should be taught by a seasoned forager and should not be taught via books or the internet. There are too many poisonous mushrooms that look like nonpoisonous mushrooms and one mistake could be fatal. I quickly decided that foraging for wild mushroom wasn’t for me. Then I learned that she grew all kinds of mushrooms on her compost pile, logs, and wood chips, which she inoculated with mushroom kits.
Stop! Time Out! What did you say? She explained that growing mushrooms is easy if you have the right environment. I shared my tale of woe with my many attempts of growing mushrooms in my basement in the dead of winter and my hopes and dreams for a lonely mushroom growing in my compost pile from a discarded kit until it was killed…
She kindly explained that mushrooms like warm, humid shaded conditions and not cold dark basements. To grow mushrooms, you needed to replicate those conditions and my shaded compost pile in August just happened to be the perfect environment for that shiitake mushroom.
So why do those darn gardening catalogs only sell those kits in the dead of winter? She smiled kindly and stared at me…It hit me, O.K. I get it – there’s one born every minute…”S” stands for sucker…She laughed and explained that I needed to buy the spawn from a “real” laboratory that specialized in growing fungi. Oh…I said – there are mushroom laboratories??? I thought this was supposed to be easy…
Fast forward a year after my initial hike with the “Mushroom Lady.” A consultant from CT Department of Agriculture was doing a site visit for my farm certification. We were wandering around my property and he saw how much of it was covered in woods. He asked if I ever considered growing mushrooms. I had flashbacks of years of failed attempts growing mushrooms in boxed bags in my basement and of my conversations with the wild mushroom lady telling me I had to find a mushroom laboratory to get good spawn while she ate her way through our hike. I asked him if I needed to have a sterile room or some building to grow mushrooms commercially. He said no as there are mushrooms strains that grow well in the woods. Clearly I was missing something. He recommended that I do some research and think about it.
A year of research…I began to read books on mushroom cultivation. Who knew there were so many different kinds of mushrooms? I watched YouTube videos, read articles from magazines/blogs and I took a workshop on growing mushrooms. The class was packed and, after hearing similar stories to mine, apparently, I wasn’t the only one that had been suckered with those grow-your-own kits. I was not alone. I learned that the easiest and most successful way to grow mushrooms is to inoculate oak trees freshly cut into 4-foot lengths.
Months after taking that workshop and doing more research, I decided it was time. A farmer friend was kind enough to allow me to cut down several trees on his property. We hauled the logs back to my driveway and my husband (who was trying to be patient with me) hauled them to the back of our property and into the woods. On several cold spring days, we drilled, plugged and waxed hundreds of holes. It was a cold and sticky job and at that point, my husband was not- so- patient anymore and declared “No more logs!”
The logs were then put to bed on the forest floor laid out in sections. I was nervous because I didn’t know if this would work. But I was hopeful as I had done my research and felt confident that I did this right. It would be a year of waiting to get my answer. Was this going to be another failed costly experiment?
Nine months later, I was giving someone a tour of my farming operation and I took him out to the pile of logs in the woods. I spied a mushroom, then another and another! I became emotional as I tried to explain to my guest that I finally had shiitake mushrooms. I was having a moment…this was big!! However, my guest was not so sure about me and was probably thinking that I was a whack job. He soon left and I was alone in the woods carefully cutting my prized mushrooms and lovingly carrying them into the house to show my husband. I told him in a cracking voice, “It worked! It really worked!”
Hubby wasn’t impressed…
Then I told him the current price per pound for shiitake mushrooms at the market. His eye got real big and he said Oh! This year we will be experimenting growing in straw and wood pellets oyster, shiitake and winecap mushrooms.
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Sorry, this is so late posting – here is my friend Coach Theresa’s latest guest post. Once again she hit it out of the park! Now I don’t feel so guilty! I am definitely going to try her morning drink routine. Enjoy the posting!!!
The Day(s) After A Feast
I dunno about you but it seems like one day of indulging often brings another and another and before you know it you’re guiltily humming Annie’s “tomorrow” inside your head. There’s always a reason to indulge. And you know? It’s actually good for you. So for starters let’s just get over the guilt and purposely indulge in some extra calories every once in a while.
My rule is that it’s ok to indulge as long as my digestive enzymes can recognize it as food, that is, no processed yoga mat material or preservatives and trash included in my cheat days. Stick to real food even the sinfully rich variety and with moderation, you will recover. Yes, you CAN have your proverbial cake and eat it too. I do it all the time –figuratively speaking.
If you are on a sustainable plan of everyday healthy living that involves whole foods nutrition and appropriate portion sizes for your body, you are very much ahead of the game. But it’s also easy to have too much of a good thing. Being on track involves following an 80/20 rule and making sure that the 20% doesn’t expand to 80. This is where most of us fail because that proverbial slope can be so slippery.
If you are struggling, take a good look at what you are eating. Often times this sparks a lot of motivation! If you are eating well and within your recommended calories and are still experiencing difficulty with your weight, then we need to look at your activity level, and of course your last check-up.
Keep in mind that when we are hungry it is very hard to objectively assess intake and we are often lenient with ourselves. It is important to examine the picture as a whole. For me, as a mom, I wasn’t counting eating my kids’ leftovers! (leftover cupcake frosting is my favorite. There are, oh so many, external reasons to expand “that exception” AFTER “exception day”. This can start with simply more piled on social events in a given season, accessible leftovers, and vacation time.
Just mentally, all of these external factors can send you off in the wrong direction and seriously throw you for a loop that can get you stuck in a whirlwind of cravings and mindless eating. When I manage my cravings well, my perspective on how I can also handle unrelated situations in my environment also changes. It is very empowering!
My first recommended course of action on my START day is to get a workout in as soon as I wake up. It seriously jolts me back into reset mode. Go immediately when you wake up. Drink some water and carry some with you throughout the day. Start with 5-10 minutes of stretching that is appropriate for the type of workout you will do and then jump right in. Pop in a DVD, go for a walk/run, yoga, a bike ride, a class, whatever it is you do, get there first thing, before breakfast (if your health allows or go as soon as practicable if you need to regulate your body first.) The idea is to go as early as possible.
Exercise will have the amazing effect of making you feel good and simply even reminding you where “the course” (on that track) is so you can get back to it sooner rather than later.
Before your workout, try a warm cup of lemon water with a dash of cayenne. Surprisingly the cayenne is not too spicy in this mixture and has the added benefit of supporting digestion and elimination as well as detoxing the body of that feast. Ditto for the lemon with its own list of benefits. Think of this as a great way to rinse out. This may send you to the bathroom before your workout, so give yourself a few minutes to think that through before lacing up! (True story. Ha!)
Be deliberate in keeping a bottle of water near you throughout the day, and of course drink it. It sounds silly but it IS easy to forget!
Immediately after a workout, I recommend a recovery smoothy rich in fruits, vegetables, and protein. What is great about this is that you are providing your body with a nutrient-dense meal it has to work very little to break down. This high level of nutrition will aid in restoring your balance and help you fight cravings. A simple recipe can use ½ banana or ¼ avocado for creamy texture, 1 cup of leafy greens such as kale or spinach, 1 cup of frozen berries of your choice, a tbsp. or flax or chia seeds and a scoop of protein powder. Add some ice and 6 oz of your favorite milk, another 6 oz of water and blend to a smooth consistency. It’s that easy and it will help you resume your eating schedule much more easily.
This is key. Resume eating whole foods after recovery. Don’t crash diet. Give the smoothy an hour to digest and then have your first meal of the day. You will feel much better and empowered to break the cheats.
Another thing I like to recommend is adding some fresh juice as a snack or a pick me up. You might be feeling sluggish the day after a big feast and you might find yourself reaching for more caffeine. Try and have a fresh pressed juice instead and truly recharge your batteries. A favorite go-to of mine contains 2-3 leaves (with stems) of kale, 2-3 whole carrots, an apple or a pear with about ½ inch of ginger root.
If you cannot access a juicer consider making an effort to add more greens and fruit to your diet to avoid snacking and enjoy some green tea.
If you have a season of temptation coming up, (I, for example, just had 4 Birthdays and a Big Fat Greek Easter within 1 week, yikes!) consider planning ahead and having things in place to set your recovery plan in motion immediately. It will help you bounce back faster and empower you to make more changes. You are in control. You’ve got this. We’ve got this. Cheers, to your health!
CoachTheresaWV is a Health Coach and Personal Trainer whose goal is to help people transform their life through self-care. She believes in lifestyle habits that include fitness and clean living for their empowering and life-changing effects. As a coach, she helps individuals reach their specific goals and put systems into place for continued improvement and sustained change. A mom of 2, Theresa does this for her children as well as a growing online and community following, helping people reach health and fitness goals one day at a time. Follow her at www.TheresaWV.com on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/trainandtransformyourlife/ or email her at CoachTheresaWV@gmail.com for a complimentary consultation.
A Read and Play Series from Thompson Street Farm LLC
This book was a labor of love for me and my daughter, Katie. We’ve been painting together for years and I thought it would be fun to create children’s books using our artwork. Counting Starfish is our first and it’s an interactive book. It’s part early reader and part coloring book.
Our next book is a garden journal complete with cool info sheets on how to be a successful gardener.
Children learn by experience and are stimulated by imagination. Counting Starfish is designed to build basic concepts and what better way to learn than from the natural world?
Counting Starfish was inspired by starfish (or sea stars) living in a tidal pool off the coast of Alaska. This interactive book teaches children the fundamental concepts of counting to ten with coloring pages providing the opportunity for each child to create their own imaginative version of a colorful Counting Starfish Book.
About the Authors:
Brenda Sullivan lives in South Glastonbury CT with her husband Paul and their daughter Katie.
They are avid gardeners who took their love for gardening to a new level by converting their 1.3 acres into a small farm called Thompson Street Farm LLC www.thompsonstreetfarm.com.
Brenda specializes in growing small leafy greens, microgreens, flowers and herbs. She also makes handcrafted goats milk herbal soaps and herbal bath products using the herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables that are grown on the farm or locally purchased from other local farmers. For more information on her bath and body products go to www.farmtobath.com.
Katie, the love of their life and the center of their universe, has severe cerebral palsy, epilepsy, is legally blind (with limited vision), and has other serious medical conditions. Katie is nonverbal and wheelchair bound but these challenges haven’t prevented her from experiencing life.
Katie experiences her world on her terms. With the help of assistive technology, other sensory adaptations and years of homeschooling experience, Katie understands basic concepts and has developed many interests including an appreciation for music, painting with her Mother and listening to stories.
She loves being outdoors and we’ve discovered that experiencing her natural world has been Katie’s best educator. This has been our inspiration for creating this first nature-themed series of children’s early education books.
I have always been a procrastinator. As a new mom, though, I took procrastination to a whole new level. Had I not procrastinated that too? I could have coined my own term for it. It’s in our nature to procrastinate, sure, but the solution may just lie in finding your particular spark.
As a new mom, I found myself often swimming in a sea of laundry and dishes, unable to keep a schedule because I was so sleepy most of the time. The flexibility required of motherhood had overrun my sense of structure and accomplishment. It felt hard to plan or complete anything. My husband would come home from work and ask me how my day was and I would stare blankly at the blur before me, grasping for something intelligible to say.
My sense of failure was magnified by the fact that I was never able to make those 8:00 a.m. mommy-and-me classes with friends. I would arrive late and disheveled at the 11:15 a.m. pool or music class and still, miss all the pre-class chatter and much needed social life. Invariably on the drive home, with first born loudly protesting in the back seat, I would find myself driving past that mom with the cute bright smile and the jogger- jogging of course, with snoozing baby in tow.
While the other moms seemed relaxed and put together, I felt a complete mess. It seemed my former punctual and organized self-was left behind in labor and delivery. My key problem? Overwhelm.
My 90+ lb pregnancy weight gain literally weighed me down even with half of it gone. Everything just felt harder. I just could not believe my loss of control and felt helpless to get out. I found my solution in an at-home workout program I had purchased for my husband – sitting on a shelf, unopened. Instead of finding time to go somewhere to workout I only needed to pop in a DVD. Yet, that too was hard.
When it came to workouts my best excuse was the shower; by the time I COULD workout, I felt too sticky and icky with baby spit up and cooking smells (and too sleepy!) to actually take that time for myself. My conundrum? The shower. Save it for AFTER the workout and I felt miserable instead of engaged. Take a shower BEFORE, well THAT’s silly – or, is it?
All I wanted to do was regain some measure of control, and of course, my body. My weight gain and fatigue were interfering with everything I had wanted parenting to be. Sure I was delighted to be a mom. It wasn’t something that came easily for me, having lost 2 babies before my first – I was grateful. I am grateful. I just didn’t feel good. And when you don’t feel good it’s hard to change things – especially since change often necessitates more discomfort. But that shower? That feels good. Aaaaaah! But was I just procrastinating again?
Change is painful, it’s not a new discovery. Neither is the fact that we are hardwired to want to avoid discomfort. It’s a survival tool.
So how do we combat that resistance to taking action? For me, it began with writing down a few things. I made a list of how I was feeling. Then I made a list of what I wanted. The last list was the hardest. I had to identify my obstacles: both real and imagined. My big one was not feeling good in my own skin.
I wanted to lose weight. I feared I had squandered my opportunity to be fit before motherhood because I was never previously into fitness. I feared failure. I wanted to be healthy for me and for that desire that burns a parent: to be around forever, for their kids.
I wanted to regain a sense of control and direction yet wanted to maintain the flexibility to meet my infant’s needs at home.
I NEEDED A SHOWER. But the sink was full of dishes, the baby was sleeping and the floor, oh the floors! I needed to get a nap or a workout or eat but felt stinky and unmotivated. Would my exercise wake the baby? What if I didn’t finish the workout in time? What if I didn’t get the shower OR a completed workout? Would that constitute failure?
For me, the shower was at the core of sparking any action. A shower can wake me or get me sleepy. The feeling I get from a shower is like no other. I truly L O V E my showers.
So I made my shower a MUST. It’s what I knew was missing the most. I self-negotiated out my hair for after workout showers only and resolved to have more ponytails. This helped me keep any pre-workout shower super brief AND enjoy myself more. It also became more of a game that involved self-nurturing. As time went by I was able to complete more workouts and stay caught up with my beloved shower. I started feeling successful. It became a game to find ways to get the workout in. I remember doing 90-minute yoga at 10:30 pm because that’s when it worked yet I enjoyed every minute of it. Soon, the shower stopped being such an obstacle. I needed fewer and fewer pre-workout showers because I was filling that need!
Once I started regaining control of the things that were important to me, and consistently activating my spark, the rest began to follow. I dropped a lot of weight and had an amazing transformation and also reached a never-before-imagined-for-me fitness level.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned is to take that darn shower. Don’t mope around with your obstacles- real or imagined. Identify them and creatively mitigate or get rid of them. That alone is action that sets you in motion towards your goal.
My other favorite tool was borrowing the Nike slogan JustDoIt. It provides me with an instant spark. If you are running circles around your goal and avoiding your target, stop yourself and “just do it”. We must not only be the nurturing parent for ourselves but also the disciplinarian.
Some other helpful techniques:
Recognize that you want change. If you consider your “problem” unchangeable, you are less likely to take action to change it. If I accepted my weight gain as something that happens to mothers my age – I almost did by the way- you are less likely to change it.
Once you’ve identified your outcome, break it down into little steps necessary to accomplish it. Set monthly, weekly and daily goals. Make those tasks on your calendar and follow through. Checking them off provides instant feedback and propels you forward.
Recognize hesitation. If you are putting off what you intended to do, be that parent for yourself. You wouldn’t dream of allowing your child to go to bed without brushing their teeth. Same. Keep yourself accountable.
Reflect: Did you get “XYZ” done today? Was it a good day? Can you do better tomorrow? Are you on track? Yay! Celebrate your own victory! You are doing it!
Tell someone about your goal. Doing this allows you to actually hear it, own it and in a way set yourself accountable.
Seek out situations that will help further your goal. This could be meetings with friends, a lecture, an app, a group of like-minded people, or a book. This also reinforces your intention and further propels you forward.
Focus on what you want instead of negative feelings. Get rid of distractions and DO things you know from your moment of clarity that you need to do. For me, my daily excuses seemed to revolve around my beloved shower. If you are like me, I say, just take that darned shower, enjoy that nice smelling soap, even if you work out right after. You will feel great and be one more step closer to accomplishing your goal. Go ahead, take that darned shower and get to the real business at hand.
I’m off to take mine.
CoachTheresaWV is a Health Advocate and Fitness Coach whose goal is to help people harness their inner voice through self care. She believes in lifestyle habits that include fitness and clean living and are sustainable for long-term health results. As a coach she helps individuals reach their specific goals by adapting health principles to their everyday life. A mom of 2, Coach Theresa does this for her children as well as a growing online and community following, helping people reach health and fitness goals one day at a time. Follow her at https://www.facebook.com/trainandtransformyourlife/ or email her at CoachTheresaWV@gmail.com for a free consultation.
Thompson Street Farm LLC has spun off its soap / bath and gift products to a new website and store. We now have a new look, and store.
I will be doing business as Farm to Bath and the new website is www.farmtobath.com. There will be new products added going forward, so make sure you comeback and check out the site. With this new site I can now offer reasonable shipping fees, special promotions and best of all SALES! I am very excited.
Please check out my new store and let me know what you think!