Summer Is Coming

Hey Everyone!

Summer is coming. The only good thing about summer is the fresh local fruit that is available. 


Strawberries are just starting to come on, raspberries will be starting soon as well. The wet winter and early spring we have had this year has delayed the berries a bit. 

Other than the fresh, local fruit and vegetables, and being able to can, I could do without summer. I hate the heat, and do everything I can to get away from it. 

Learning to live a more Frugal lifestyle 

Hey Everyone!

If anything, the past 11 years, has taught me how to live a more frugal lifestyle and how much “fluff” and extras I really don’t need. 

While having to be Dairy Free, generally Gluten Free, and generally Egg Free, that costs more than your normal grocery haul would, unless you shopped solely at new seasons or Whole Foods or some place life that. 

I have been learning how to live with my food intolerances and live a frugal lifestyle. 

That is one of the things I am wanting to do, is live more frugally, and do as much as I can, myself. I definitely prefer doing my own canning. While I would rather spend a bit more on buying local fruit and vegetables and canning my own fruit, pickles and jams as well as doing freezer jam. I have been learning the value of not having cable tv, or even hulu plus or Netflix. While it is nice to have some movies and some series of TV on DVD, I have learned the value of a hard days work. I am tired of being stuck in the city, where it isn’t as easy to get out side and work with my hands and be productive, as gas prices are climbing, and it is so expensive to live in the city. I honestly don’t miss having Netflix and Hulu. 

I am also trying to spend my time more wisely, and not waste my time on computer games when I could be knitting, or reading books. 

While I do have a list of yarn and knitting things I would like to accrue, I am trying to work through the yarn I have. The needles and swift I would like would be useful for more than one occasion. 

I am also trying to reduce my Scentsy budget to something more reasonable, like keeping a few bars of my favorite year round scent, one or two summer scents, a couple fall scents, and one or two winter scents, and not have excessive amounts of any one scent.

Books are one “luxury” and pass time, besides knitting that is worth while that is more of the enjoyment of it. 

Learning how to live a frugal lifestyle is important to me, and while I would live to live in, or near a small town, I really don’t want to more than a couple hours away from Portland. This is on the sole basis that my bakery is here, tea and tea shops are plentiful here, and Bob’s Red Mill is here. Not to mention the Gorge isn’t all that far away, to go get fruit to can, or Sauvie Island, or other farm stores that would carry pickling cucumbers, dill and garlic to can garlic dill pickles. 

I have been realizing that I don’t need as much stuff as I once thought I did. 

You don’t need the fastest internet, or all the cable channels, or a wall full of dvds, or the most expensive car or house, or best vacations to live a fulfilled and happy life. Honestly, I prefer the feeling I have at the end of the day when I have worked hard and am actually tired, or spent the day with those I care about, or played a board game with good friends, or watched the sunset over the ocean, or sat around a campfire at night, away from the city lights and saw all the stars in the sky. There is so much more to life than having to have all the latest and greatest, or the biggest and best. 

Life is so much more than being focused on the material things. Yes, having a comfortable house is nice, but so is making memories with friends and family and taking joy in the simple pleasures. 

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of eating out. I would just as soon grill up some burgers or salmon on a summer evening, and make some side salads, and a homemade dessert, and enjoy dinner on the back patio or in the backyard, and have a fire in the fire pit in the back yard once the sun goes down, over going and sitting a restaurant for however many hours. That is part of my aversion to city life, I always feel like I am having to go somewhere and do something, and spend money left and right to have fun. I am the type who prefers sitting at home reading a book, and some of my best and favorite memories involve sitting around a campfire with friends having a good conversation. 

As I get older, and I learn more about who I am, I definitely feel like I live in the wrong era. I feel like I belong in a by gone era, where women did more Homemaking and living off the land. While I really don’t want to give up indoor plumbing, running water, electricity, modern appliances (and refrigeration), there is something to be said of the country life. You know, having a freezer full of chicken meat that you raised yourself, as well as ham, pork chop, bacon, pork roasts and such that came from pigs you raised, fish that you caught (and some that you also smoked yourself), as well as venison, maybe some moose, and elk. Not to mention some homemade freezer jam, as well as a pantry that is well stocked with home canned fruit and pickles, as well as the gluten free and shelf stable dairy free necessities. 

Productive Day Homemaking 

Hey Everyone!

Today has been a productive day. 

Saturday I had gone to Bob’s Red Mill, and picked up more Potato Starch and Brown Rice Flour (I still had a package of Tapioca Flour at home) to make the brown rice flour mix I use, as well as a package of Xanthan Gum. I am only on package 3 or 4 of xanthan gum, and I have been Gluten Free for over 3 years. A package of Xanthan Gum lasts a long time. Today I mixed up the brown rice flour mix. 


I also did mundane things that needed to be done, like cleaning the bathroom and doing a load of laundry.

I also made a batch of gluten free & dairy free cinnamon rolls which turned out really good. 

This evening I also did some rearranging and reorganizing of my Scentsy Bars, since I decided to make room in my set of drawers that I use for my Scentsy Bars for some more bars. 

Shortbread Cookies and Daylight Lightbulbs

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday I had gotten some new lightbulbs for my bedroom, I had picked up some IMG_1453daylight lightbulbs. In this part of the country, we are used to grey, wet winters and we don’t get enough sunlight. While I don’t have S.A.D, well at least not from the amount of grey and wet we have, this winter and spring has been particularly hard for some reason, as it has been more grey and wet than normal. I am trying to see if the daylight bulbs help out with that. I am aware that the ones I got are not the same as full spectrum light bulbs, which are for those who do have S.A.D. I also wanted to try these bulbs to see if I liked the lighting, and if it was any good for Vlogging, as I want to do more of that, once I get my own place again. So far I am liking how much brighter they are than the soft white lightbulbs. They will definitely make it easier to see to knit and read in the evenings.

IMG_1446Yesterday I also baked up a batch of Gluten Free (and Dairy Free) Shortbread Cookies, using the Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Mix from Bob’s Red Mill. This is the third or fourth time I have made these cookies, the first time using my new round cookie cutters with the rippled edges. I love how these cookies turned out. I had also used my Scottish Thistle Cookie Stamp. Each time I have made these cookies, the better they have turned out. The first time I made them, was kind of a disaster. Practice makes perfect, and the more times you do something the better you will get at doing whatever it is you are doing.

Today was one of those days where the idea of home has been on my mind a lot. Beings as the city has really never been home to me, I have though a lot about how I would love to move back to the one place I do consider home, if I had the opportunity. I had to move back to the city after college because of the lack of employment in the area. Being someone who prefers the outdoors and homemaking, and would love to live on some acreage with a garden, some chickens, and a few goats, the city life grows old real quickly.

I have been interested in and intrigued by homemaking of generations past, especially during the 1950’s as well as the 19th century in the American West (life on the frontier & homesteading). Back then the food was real, without all the added hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals. The meat was grass fed, and quite often free range (especially the bison, venison, elk, fish, cows, etc). Women worked hard. Back in the days before electricity and running water they had to haul water, cook over an open fire or on a wood stove. They did laundry by hand, cooking took a lot more time, they also had to can and preserve a lot more food in the summer to sustain their family during the winter. They also made clothes for their families, and had many children, all without epidurals, and many at home, with a midwife.

While I really don’t want to live completely off grid, there are things to be learned from the lives women led throughout history, and be able to take what we have learned from that to live the best life possible. I consider what I would like to do, to be able to live semi off grid. I still want running water, toilets that flush, a hot shower daily, electricity and internet. At the same time I would love to be a part of building my own house, on some land, having solar panels, and getting as much electricity as possible from those, and using the main grid electricity more as a back up (especially in winter, when there is not as much daylight), canning, preserving food, and growing as much of my own produce as possible in the summer.

 

Non-Dairy is not the same as Dairy Free

Hey Everyone! 

I hate when I am out somewhere, and food companies lie to you on their packaging. When packaging on a food product that says that it is “non-dairy”, “Lactose Free” and so on and so forth, but you then go to the ingredients to just make sure, and then clear as day see “contains a dairy derivative” and Sodium Caseinates. 

For those of you who are not dairy free, Lactose is the sugar in milk, And Sodium Caseinates are the proteins in milk. So those of us who are either dairy intolerant or have a milk allergy, we can’t eat any product that has milk, cream, butter, cheese in it, but even more so than that, we can’t have anything that has Lactose, Whey, Whey Protein, or Sodium Caseinates in it. 

It is out and out lies, as well as false advertising and misleading for companies to claim something is “non-dairy”, when it in fact has something like Sodium Caseinates in it. Case in point – coffeemate coffee creamer says right on the bottle it is “non-dairy creamer” and that it is lactose free. Just because it is not straight up milk or cream, it is full of sodium caseinates (the milk proteins). How is something that clearly contains a milk derivative (that makes certain people sick) non-dairy? That is a lawsuit waiting to happen if it hasn’t already. 


I had grabbed a vanilla one for the pictures, but all the flavors contain sodium caseinates. 

Things like this disgust me and are appalling. While I am no expert on dairy allergies, sensitivities and intolerances, I have dealt with being dairy intolerant long enough to see right through companies schemes. 

When I had to go dairy free, there was no in between no mans land, of “do I really need to do this?”, I had to do it, or not be able to function. I also didn’t have anyone to show me the ropes or any form of dairy free support network. It was just me, on my own, and I had a sharp learning curve. 

Now, five and a half years later, I have a pretty good handle on being dairy free (I will have a better handle on it when I am able to live on my own again). It is all part of Homemaking – being able to cook and bake to accommodate my food intolerances. 

If I could help even one other person, who is forced to go dairy free, the pain and hardship of the past five and a half years would be worth it.