Heidi

Heidi is a native Oregonian and an award winning freelance writer with a passion for urban homesteading. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and has been honored to receive a number of literary prizes including the esteemed Pushcart Prize, and an Individual Artists Award in Creative Writing from the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. When she isn’t working in the garden, cleaning the henhouse, preserving food for winter, pruning the fruit trees, or writing and editing content for really fantastic small businesses, you’ll find her in her quilting room, or somewhere with her nose in a book, or up in the mountains alongside her husband and her terrier pup, Gracie Cakes.

Recent Posts

Berry Summer Mocktail Recipe with Cooling Herbs

My husband recently went on a summer-mocktail quest. It started because he made homemade ginger beer, which was good, but lacked some important refreshing element; it was a bit “much” on a hot day. Still, it was inspirational. The delicious, summery, layered mocktail that my honey ultimately came up with utilizes ginger beer (homemade or store-bought) and some of the most refreshing, cooling herbal allies. It also celebrates both summer berries and the beautiful roses of the season with a berry and rose simple syrup. Make tea and simple syrup the evening before so all you have to do is find some shade and settle in for a revitalizing, enjoyable day. Bring on the sun, we’re ready!

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Posted by Heidi

Homemade Diaper Cream with Herbs

My grandbaby is now officially a toddler: talking up a storm, climbing everything, and making all day every day an adventure. I am realizing that this little sweetie might very well be the last baby in our family for a long time, so I am being extra conscious to appreciate every moment of development and growth. Last week my son stopped by to pick up a few more jars of homemade diaper balm to take home with him, and I made a mental note that I’d better start infusing some more olive oil because they’ll need another batch of ointment before this little one is potty trained. As we were waving our boy out the door, my husband asked me, “How much diaper salve do you suppose you’ve made in your life?” Three children, a grandchild, and a lot of friends’ babies later, I can’t even begin to guess. Gallons upon gallons I suppose.

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Organic Nipple Cream for Breastfeeding

When I was having my children, folks used to say that women forget the pain of childbirth and also the pain that can accompany the first days or weeks of nursing a newborn. Having had and nursed three children, I will attest that this “halo effect,” as it is sometimes called, is not true, at least for me. My youngest child is 30 years old, and I still remember those long, hard hours of labor and the first tender days of nursing my babies. Yes, those memories are colored by the beautiful remembrance of the enormous wash of love and protectiveness I felt for those brand-new little beings, but to this day I still cringe when I remember the sensation of a days-old baby latching on to nurse, and how nipples that started out tender quickly became painfully sore from the near-constant attention of a new infant with super-suckle powers. I said it then, and it still holds true: a baby-safe nipple cream is a lifesaver.

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Gluten-Free Everything Bagel Recipe with Vegan Bagel Option

I remember the first time I ate a bagel. It was 1982 and I was teenager from the mountains of Oregon on her first trip to the East Coast. I saw Amadeus on Broadway, I ate Cuban food for the first time, and I went to a wonderful outdoor marketplace that was populated by a fascinating mix of locals, Amish farmers, and Orthodox Jewish craftspeople. While the farmers hosted an auction of horse-pulled buggies and farm equipment outside, I wandered the home-goods end of the event, where I discovered a man making handmade bagels. He had a steaming pot of water at his elbow, and a big catering oven at his rear, and was hand-forming rings of wheat dough as he chatted to passersby. I got sucked in by the smell and bought a perfect bagel accompanied with a side of herby cream cheese. And then there were arias, and the heavens opened, and a great light shown down… which is to say, it was amazing!

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Homemade Herbal Sitz Bath

When I was a child, I was thrown from a horse and spent many years thereafter challenged by lower back and radiating leg pain. With time and maturity, as well as changes in my diet and appropriate exercise, I’ve put those pain-days behind me, but I’ve carried forward some of the best solutions that I learned from the experience. One of my favorites of these is the soothing comfort of an old-fashioned herbal sitz bath. Often used to relieve issues related to post-birth discomfort, etc., a sitz bath is also ideal for easing general lower-body soreness and fatigue.

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Yaupon: Rediscovering America’s Forgotten Tea

Sooner or later, everything old is new again. This saying has been sneaking into our day-to-day a lot over the last couple of years as people are rediscovering “old” methods of being more self-sufficient and resilient in these challenging times. One of our favorite old-new “discoveries” is yaupon tea. When our Mountain Rose Herbs tea team was introduced to yaupon, we—like most Americans—had no idea that there was a naturally caffeinated tea plant native to North America. This fact is astounding when you consider that yaupon tea was the drink of choice for literally thousands of years. This delicious tea is supremely sippable and, thanks to plentiful theophylline and theobromine (as well as a host of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.), provides a smooth caffeine boost and focus without the jitteriness that can come from coffee.

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Mama’s Homemade Belly Butter

Pregnancy is obviously a profoundly life- and body-changing event. Particularly as we move into the second and third trimester, when our babies are growing at super-speed, our bodies make remarkable changes to accommodate the little people who set up house in our wombs. Our joints, muscles, and organs all have to sacrifice space or need to stretch in challenging ways. The most obvious of these changes is what happens to our bellies. Our stomach skin must expand tremendously and can end up feeling stretched to its limits, with skin that is tight, dry, and itchy. And then once that precious child is born, our skin must reverse course, which takes time and has its own set of discomforts. Happily, a good balm helps a lot! Homemade belly butter made with soothing, organic butters and skin-loving herbal oils relieves discomfort and redness and helps the skin maintain its elasticity during and after pregnancy. Best of all, this balm for hard working mamas is easy and economical to make, so you can always have it on hand when you need it.

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Posted by Heidi

What are Resins and Gums in Plants?

The diversity of natural chemical compounds in plants is remarkable. For many years, scientists thought they could be broken down into simple primary and secondary categories: the primary compounds being those that contribute directly to growth and development, and the secondary ones being byproducts that don’t directly contribute to those primary functions. Most of the aromatic oils, gums, and resins that humans have adored for thousands of years fell into this wide category of secondary natural compounds. Why do plants produce them? Understanding the roles these compounds play in plants helps us understand how to use them most effectively. We went to our friend, fourth-generation botanist and plant physiologist Karen Hall, to get a better understanding of natural gums, resins, and gum-resins in plants.

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Valentine’s Day Breakfast: Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Keto-Friendly Recipes

I have to admit that I have a fairly one-track mind about holidays—I really like festive food. Whatever else happens, fine, so long as the food is good. This works for the big holidays as well as ones hardly anyone knows about. For instance, in my house we are practically religious about Lemon Meringue Pie Day. Over the years, certain things have become tradition, and I’ve grown to really enjoy Valentine breakfast. Other people call this Valentine’s Day breakfast, but my husband and I celebrate our anniversary in mid-February, so Valentine’s Day has never meant much for us… except for Valentine breakfast. In our house, this is a time for sharing nurturing food and laughter with the people we love and who love us. Whether or not they are romantic partners is immaterial. Lovers, family, friends, your favorite four-leggers—this is a day for just feeling the love.

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DIY Menthol Eucalyptus Rub: A Balm to Soothe You

Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on a store-bought chest rub? When you’re congested, bleary-eyed, and feeling like death warmed over, reading ingredients is not high on the priority list, but it’s also not comforting to find out that you just rubbed a semisolid soup of petroleum products onto your skin in order to give your respiratory passages some relief. The classic over-the-counter chest rubs are often less than 10% herbal ingredients, and approximately 90% petrolatum in the form of petroleum jelly, which is generally combined with turpentine. When petrolatum is not refined properly or entirely, as is sometimes the case in the U.S., it can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known carcinogens particularly when used over a period of time. There are of course excellent petrolatum-free chest rubs on the market with all the herbal benefits and no carcinogenic ingredients. But why purchase something that you can easily make at home in 15 minutes and for less money?

Shop Organic Menthol Crystals

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Posted by Heidi

Protein & Energy Balls with Maqui Berries

As herbalists, we regularly combine a variety of healthful, supportive botanicals in infusions, extracts, elixirs, etc. With each herb bringing its own superpower to the mix and working in unison with the other ingredients, we ideally end up with a product that is greater than the sum of its parts. We use this wisdom in herb-based foods as well, stirring in a bit of herbal goodness here and supportive botanicals there to create a dish full to the brim with flavor, health, and healing. Homemade protein balls (or maybe we should call them energy balls? They’re both!) are a perfect example of this. With a base of healthy oats (which also happen to be gluten-free) and packed with nut-butter protein, they provide a good mix of protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, and are a perfect, oh-so-delicious vehicle in which to add the extra benefits of high quality herbal powders.

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Heidi

Heidi is a native Oregonian and an award winning freelance writer with a passion for urban homesteading. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and has been honored to receive a number of literary prizes including the esteemed Pushcart Prize, and an Individual Artists Award in Creative Writing from the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. When she isn’t working in the garden, cleaning the henhouse, preserving food for winter, pruning the fruit trees, or writing and editing content for really fantastic small businesses, you’ll find her in her quilting room, or somewhere with her nose in a book, or up in the mountains alongside her husband and her terrier pup, Gracie Cakes.

Recent Posts

Berry Summer Mocktail Recipe with Cooling Herbs

Create a beautiful berry ginger mocktail with cooling herbal allies to beat the heat.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

July 20, 2021

Homemade Diaper Cream with Herbs

This easy DIY herbal diaper ointment brings the herbal powers of calendula, comfrey, and Oregon grape to the fight against moisture and bacteria.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

May 27, 2021

Organic Nipple Cream for Breastfeeding

It's normal in the first weeks of nursing to experience soreness and inflammation. Make an easy DIY nipple cream to support your nipples.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

May 20, 2021

Gluten-Free Everything Bagel Recipe with Vegan Bagel Option

Homemade gluten-free bagels are much better than the store or bakery versions. Learn how to make delicious gluten-free everything bagels in an afternoon!
WRITTEN BY Heidi

May 13, 2021

Homemade Herbal Sitz Bath

There's nothing like the soothing comfort of an old-fashioned herbal sitz bath to ease lower-body soreness and fatigue. Create a sitz bath in your own tub.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

May 7, 2021

Yaupon: Rediscovering America’s Forgotten Tea

Have you tried a cup of yaupon tea yet? Yaupon is the only naturally caffeinated tea plant native to North America. Learn about this American classic.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

April 15, 2021

Mama’s Homemade Belly Butter

Pregnancy and birth are joyous events, but Mama’s stomach skin can feel stretched to its limits. Try this easy homemade belly butter to relieve discomfort.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

March 15, 2021

What are Resins and Gums in Plants?

What are natural resins and gums in plants and what is the difference between them? Let’s talk about gums, resins, and gum resins.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

March 11, 2021

Valentine’s Day Breakfast: Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Keto-Friendly Recipes

Valentine’s Day breakfast is a wonderful way to nurture the people you love. Enjoy these vegan, gluten-free, and keto-friendly breakfast recipes.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

February 3, 2021

DIY Menthol Eucalyptus Rub: A Balm to Soothe You

A menthol rub is an effective, gentle way to soothe congestion and respiratory symptoms. Make this easy, DIY, organic vapor rub recipe to have at home.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

January 26, 2021

Protein & Energy Balls with Maqui Berries

Protein balls are easy, delicious, healthy energy bites that make a perfect, portable snack. Include these power-packed balls in your healthy eating plan.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

December 22, 2020