Tag Archives | Raina Rose

Folk Potions for the Holidays

One of the things that runs in my family is the drive to etch a fresh path and create something that is uniquely ours. At various times in their lives, my parents have made films, opened toy stores, published volumes of poetry, recorded albums, and run music-centric businesses.

My own career path over the last nine years has been one of writing, teaching, making, and inventing the roadway with each step. And my sister is much the same. She’s been a working folk singer and song writer for over 15 years. She spent the bulk of her twenties traveling, playing music, and collaborating with fellow musicians.

Since having her babies (now three and six!), Raina hasn’t been able to travel as much. While she’s still playing music, last year she started up a little business that allows her to satisfy her need to make and engage with others while staying closer to home. It’s called Folk Potions and she sells an array of handmade, organic body butters, salves, balms, and deodorants.

Everything Raina sells is made by hand in small batches in her kitchen in Austin, Texas. I use her Lavanilla Body Butter on my hands and feet nearly every day and swear by her Melty Minty Lip Balm.

If you’re still on the hunt for holiday gifts, you have until December 20th to place a Folk Potions order! I highly recommend the five piece Natural Skincare Gift Pack for an easy, sure-to-be-appreciated present! Oh, and make sure to follow Folk Potions on Instagram. She often posts about new products and announces when beloved items come back into stock!

Disclosure: Folk Potions is a business created and run by my baby sister. She did not pay me to post this (though occasionally she will drop her new products into the mail for me to try). Her stuff is simply so good that I had to share. 

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Links: End of Season Stonefruit and Winners

Using up the last egg. Good thing there's a farmers market tomorrow

Most weeks, I use this space above these links to share some of what’s going on in my life. This week, things have been blessedly quiet in my household, so instead, I’m sharing a little tidbit from my singer songwriter sister’s life.

About a year ago, I helped Raina set up a blog called Fam on the Road, so that she and her husband could share bits and pieces of their lives as touring musicians and parents. On Friday, she posted an open letter as a response to all the craziness that’s been going down in the world of Miley Cyrus, Sinead O’Connor, and Amanda Palmer and it’s truly lovely, both in the writing and in the sentiment. If you have a moment, I highly encourage you to read it.

Now, onto the links…

Big Mouth Funnels

bigmouth funnel winners So many thanks to everyone who took the time to enter last week’s Bigmouth Flat Pack Funnel giveaway. It was such a kick to read about all the different pieces of kitchen and cookware that you’d like to see redesigned. Who knows, maybe someday it will happen! The winners are:

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Canning 101: Use a Splatter Guard for Thick Products

splatter guard while cooking to temperature

In digging around my kitchen recently, I rediscovered my trusty splatter guard. As we head into canning season, I thought it might be useful to share exactly why I think this is such a great tool to have in your preserving tool box.

Most people think that splatter guards like this are used primarily for fried foods. But they’re also great when you’re cooking down thick fruit preserves like chutneys and fruit butters. While you do have to move them to the side when it comes time to stir, they’re an invaluable tool for keeping your products in the pot and off your stovetop.

This is not a tool for which you need to shell out a ton of money. I bought mine at a dollar store some years ago and it’s still going strong (I am careful to scrub it down thoroughly between uses, to ensure that it has a long life). There are a bunch on Amazon, but they cost far more than the buck I paid for mine. So look around before you drop significant money. Oh, and make sure you get a metal mesh one. They allow for better air circulation, which leads to more rapid evaporation and more efficient cooking times.

In other news, my sister is here in Philadelphia with her little family. She and her husband are playing a house concert in Mt. Airy (a neighborhood around these parts) on Wednesday night. If you’re in the area and think you might want to attend, leave a comment and I’ll get you the details. I promise a good time for all! 

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A Raina Rose Kickstarter With Food in Jars Rewards

Raina and Marisa

As many of you know, my younger sister (the one who got married last month!) is a folksinger. Her name is Raina Rose and she’s been playing music, touring, and working her butt off for most the last decade now (her first true break from the road only came last winter when she gave birth to a baby boy. Not much of an actual break there!).

Raina is part of a growing middle class of musicians who, thanks to the internet and its expansive community, are finding ways to support themselves playing music without help from major record labels and the traditional pop music system. One way that these talented folks are doing this is by asking their listeners, family and friends to drop a few bucks into various fundraising campaigns to help cover costs for tours, production and promotion.

Just yesterday, Raina leapt into crowd-sourcing and launched a Kickstarter in order to raise the money necessary to make her next album a reality. If you are a folk music lover, I encourage you to click over to her website and explore her music (she’s also been doing a Song-a-Week project that you can see here). If you like what you hear, a contribution of just $3 to the Kickstarter will get you a digital copy of the album upon completion. 

Raina has put together a most impressive list of rewards for the various contribution levels and there’s one that particularly want to point out to you guys. For a gift of $199, in addition to getting everything Raina has ever recorded, this new album, and an EP from John Elliott, you also get a signed copy of my cookbook (as personalized as you want) and a pint jar of my homemade jam (any flavor you want). I realize it’s a little spendy, but every cent goes to making marvelous music (truly, I’m donating books and jam to the effort).

Here’s her Kickstarter video. It’s pretty darn fun and the scene at the end with Emmett melts my heart every time I watch it.

Thanks for taking the time to read and watch. Big thanks to those of you who saw my Tweets and FB posts yesterday and have already thrown a few dollars into the pool. Your support of my sister is so greatly appreciated!

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Weddings, Winners and Chocolate Cake


I spent most of last week out in Carmel Valley, helping get ready for my sister’s wedding. I baked cakes, cooked meals for crowds, snuggled with my nephew and picked Meyer lemons from the tree in the backyard.

I had every intention of finding time to post here while I was away, but I was unprepared for just how full the whole experience would be (it didn’t help that I had the stresses of weather delays, missed flights and wayward baggage). My best laid plans went right out the window when I realized that it was far more important for me to soak up all the family time I could instead of gluing myself to my laptop screen. I am so glad I did, too.

Raina and Emmett

The wedding was beautiful and my sister, her kind man and their sweet babe deserved every moment of the love that was heaped upon them from the gathered crowd of friends and family. After a short service under a rustic, flower-laden chuppah, there was food, music and dancing.

Dinner was catered by the taqueria that Andrew has been eating at his entire life, supplemented by vast plates of kale salad. For dessert, there were cookies from a local bakery, as well as the flourless chocolate cakes that I made (I also cooked up a batch of raspberry jam to serve with it. Nothing complements chocolate like raspberries).

flourless chocolate cake

Three years ago (today!), when Scott and I got married, I also baked in the days before the wedding. I knew that the best way to have delicious cake (and not pay a fortune for it) was to make it myself. My mother thought I was insane, but I’ve never regretting spending that time whisking and baking. I was so happy to be able to do the same for Raina.

I made eight flourless chocolate cakes (though only seven made it to the ceremony, one was eaten to crumbs two nights before) in a borrowed kitchen. I packed two springform pans, parchment paper and a hand mixer into my suitcase (which just added to the stress over the missing luggage) and bought the ingredients as a local Safeway when I arrived. With my mom’s help, we managed six cakes on Thursday and squeezed in the last two on Friday.

They are dense, rich, deeply chocolate-y and just the thing to serve at a wedding where you want to celebrate the sweetness of life. You’ll find the recipe after the jump!

Mike, Mo, Raina, Emmett and Bill

I love this picture. It’s my dad and his two brothers (on either side), posing with Raina and Emmett.

Scott and I got back to Philly on Sunday night and I’ve spent the last few days trying to catch up with email and meet deadlines. I’m working on an article for Table Matters about root vegetable soups right now, and so I spent most of today roasting, simmering and pureeing. I’ve been writing some nice little pieces for them of late, if you haven’t clicked over recently and read about versatile baking mixesfruit butters and home-flavored salts.

Giveaway Update

Thanks for all your entries to the My Berlin Kitchen giveaway! The winner is commenter #490. She said, “My favorite food memory would have to be Thursday night dinners I used to throw for friends when we were in college…we’d eat, watch Seinfeld, and just have a good time. I think it was experimenting with cooking in those days that made me feel secure in the kitchen.” What a lovely memory, Courtney!

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Food in Jars + Raina Rose = Jam Fest 2012


My sister and I are very different people. She’s incredibly outgoing and is always happy to leap feet-first into a new experience. I can be a little bit more reserved and often take some time to assess the situation before diving in.

We also have a number of things in common, including an wonderful parents, a deep love of sweet potatoes and kale, and an inability to select a conventional career. While I spend my days cooking, teaching and writing, Raina divides her time between song writing, performing and taking care of 5-month-old Emmett.

When Raina heard that I was going to be in Portland for a few days during my book tour, she made plans to be there at the same time (after all, I haven’t seen her beguiling babe since the night he was born). It just made sense for her to plan a gig while she was in town to help cover travel costs.


Because her show at the Alberta Street Pub and my book event at Powell’s on Hawthorne are the same day, we’ve taken to calling June 16 Jam Fest 2012. As Raina put it, “you can learn how to make jam, and then later see some sweet jams.”

If you’re in Portland, we’d love to have you join us for this one-day Jam Fest. My book signing/canning chat at Powell’s starts at 2 pm and Raina’s show at Alberta Street Pub will kick off promptly at 7 pm.

I’m also teaching a canning class while in Portland, should you want to do a little hands on jamming with me. It’s on Thursday, June 14 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Kitchencru. We’ll make strawberry lemon jam and have fun.



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