Homemaking on my own Terms

Hey Everyone!

Is it just me, or do any of you also not enjoy having to sift through what seems like a novel of a blog post just to get to the recipe? yeah, that is definitely me. If I am wanting a recipe, I want the straight-up recipe right at the top, and all the pictures and annotations can come after that or in a different post.

I have been wanting to make easy artisan bread for a couple days, and I finally did it today. I googled recipes, and all of them were these novels of blog posts before they even had the normal version of the recipe (if they even shared the regular version of the recipe). So I had to stand there sifting through the fluff in order to start baking.

Now that I have made my own easy artisan bread, I typed up the recipe, and how I did things since I didn’t follow the recipe I used, exactly. It turned out really good though.

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For all of you who now want to make artisan bread, the recipe is my previous post (Easy Artisan Bread), your welcome.

Anyone else out there who cooks and / or bakes found an oil that they love using when they cook / bake? While I still use vegetable oil for cakes and such, I have found that I love using Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and it is my go to when I am sauteing things up in a pan or to coat the top of my loaves of bread, and so much more.

Today I had also mixed up some more hummingbird food since one had been spotted around and our feeder was out. It’s super easy to make. It’s 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water.

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I had also gone out and picked two pints of raspberries and a heaping pint of cherry tomatoes. I am at the point in the season where I am kind of done with gardening, especially as things are winding down. I am sticking it out since I can’t stand wasting good food.

Lately I have really been in the mood to do more cooking and baking, as well as getting back into clean eating. That is one of the things I am currently working on.

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I get asked this all the time

Hey Everyone!

I get asked quite often for the recipes I use when I post pictures and such of what I bake. 

Beings that I am dairy free, egg free and generally gluten free, I try to be as careful as possible when cooking and baking. 

I am not vegan, as I still love honey, and I still eat certain meats. Though I am not a fan of the meat that comes from the grocery store. I seriously am the type of person who prefers to catch it myself or have someone close to me catch it / hunt it. 

When it comes to baking, this is the baking book I use. 

It has made gluten free baking so much similar for me. Many of these recipes are not dairy free so I substitute my dairy free alternatives for the dairy products. 

My favorite dairy free alternatives include:

For milk I use:

•Blue Diamond unsweetened unflavored almond coconut milk

•Silk unsweetened unflavored coconut milk 

For a butter alternative I like:

•Earth Balance organic whipped spread 

•Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread

In baking I also use in place of butter:

•Crisco Shortening

•Coconut Oil

In baking instead of eggs I use:

•Bob’s Red Mill gluten free egg replacer

A couple things to note: 

•when baking with shortening (when the recipe calls for butter or margarine) you need to add a table spoon or two of water in addition to what liquids are called for, because shortening is 100% fat based where as butter is about 80% fat and 20% water based. 

•when baking with Egg Replacer I add roughly an extra table spoon of water for the equivalent of 2 eggs replaced (about half a tablespoon per equivalent of one egg of egg replacer) as I noticed that the egg replacer is drier, gloppier and thicker than a beaten egg. 

•I have found that texture/ consistency wise as well as not having an overpowering different flavor, that the almond coconut and regular unsweetened coconut milk are as close as I can get to regular milk for using in recipes. 

Who Wants to be a Homesteader? 

Hey Everyone!

This morning as I was putting the dishes away, I had noticed that there were some ripe raspberries out on the raspberry plants in the backyard. 

So I went outside and picked them. 

And then ate them with the salad I had….


I sure do love Oregon berries and locally grown produce. It’s even better when they come from your own backyard. I am all about modern day homesteading, and growing a lot of your own food. I wouldn’t mind living on a farm or ranch, and raising a lot of my own produce, as well as chickens (layers and meat chickens), pigs (for food), as well as stocking the freezer with fish (salmon, cod, etc), caught here on the west coast, venison, elk, maybe a moose. I also want to have a good supply of freezer jam made from local berries, as well as canned jams and jellies. I definitely want to try at some point in my life, black currant jelly, elderberry jelly and fireweed jelly. 

I know canning, preserving, gardening, and farm life is hard work. I love working with my hands and seeing the product of my efforts, and being in the kitchen as well as outside. I also know that berry bushes scratch up your hands, arms and legs. I know that it takes a while to pit pie cherries before you can them. 

I was raised in the city, and raised eating grocery store food 99% of the time. Now that I am older, I am way more conscious of where my food comes from, how it was raised, what it was fed, what it was given (hormones, antibiotics etc), and honestly all of that grosses me out. I have tasted fresh caught salmon, and locally grown vegetables, and chicken that I saw where & how it was raised and honestly all of that tasted so much better than the grocery store food. 

Since I developed food intolerances and sensitivities, I am all about clean eating, as well as knowing where my food comes from, and how it was raised. 

At the end of the day, I would just as soon spend a day working hard outside or in the kitchen doing something to provide food for myself and my future family, whether it be to eat right away or preserve for eating in the colder months when fresh food is scarce. 

The more I can do for myself (of help my future husband with), and the less I have to rely on the mainstream grocery stores for, the happier I would be. I am also sure the more fresh, local, natural foods (as opposed to processed) I can eat, I know my body would do better with. 

That is my ultimate goal, to raise more of my food myself, live on some acreage, and be more self sufficient (including learning how to sew). 

Looking for a New Home

Hey Everyone!

The time has come for me to really be looking at leaving Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest, in search of a career and home of my own.

Portland has been a good place to learn how to live a dairy free & gluten free life, as well and wanting to live a better life, and adhering to a clean eating lifestyle, that includes a lot more outdoor time.

My passion is for history (especially 1800 – about 1900 in the western US, as well as the 1950’s in American History), literature, homemaking, growing my own food, preserving food, knitting, and living a simpler lifestyle.

Portland can no longer meet my needs, or provide me a job, so it is time to move on, and expand my horizons and learn how other live, in a different part of the country.

Even though this blog won’t always be Simple Homemaking in the PNW, it will always Simple Homemaking, written by me, wherever I am living. I love writing my homemaking blog, and sharing my successes in clean eating, dairy free & gluten free food, gardening, and preserving food for winter. None of what I normally write about here will change, just where I am doing it, and what else I am doing in addition to what I have already been doing. There is so much more I want to do with this blog, and share, such as decorating, how I decorate myself, home organization, having a home library, as well as possibly having a craft room.

#Gardengoals

Hey Everyone!

With spring being here, as rainy and chilly as it is, I have gardening on the brain, as well as the desire to have my own place and enough room to have a decent sized fruit and vegetable garden, as well as a rose garden (it doesn’t have to be huge), and a flower garden (again, doesn’t have to be super big). 

I love working outside, and working in the dirt. I definitely want to do a lot of canning and jam making. Homemade and homecanned food, tastes better than store bought. When it comes to things like garlic dill pickles, canned peaches, canned pears, strawberry jam, raspberry jam, etc I can totally taste the difference between homemade and store bought, since I was raised on homemade.

Over the past few years I have been collecting cookbooks, including the ball complete book of home preserving, as well as the illustrated cook’s book of ingredients. They are both really cool, and I want to put them both to really good use. 

Three of the things I love about this part of the country, are how well fruits and vegetables grow here, as well as the availability of nurseries and such to purchase what you want in the way of starts (like rose bushes, lilac bushes, fruit bushes, fruit trees, strawberry plants, etc). We also have places like the Portland Honestead Supply Co, as well as Home improvement stores that have awesome garden centers that have everything you want and more, to be a modern homesteader. 

Black Currants:

Elderberries:

Black and Golden Raspberries 

Urban Homesteading?

Hey Everyone!

For the past year or so, Urban Homesteading has been something I have definitely been wanting for myself. 

The whole idea of being able to grow most of my own fruits and vegetables, and what is not feasible to grow on the small scale or can’t grow enough of to do all the jam making, canning and preserving, that I would like to do, I would locally source my food by going to the farms themselves, and purchase from farmers at farmers markets. 

In the past couple of years, I don’t know exactly when, some time after developing food intolerances, I have definitely taken a turn somewhere from being very mainstream to being more non traditional. 

In today’s society, we have become all so consumed with having what we want when we want, that for many, the idea of working with our hands outside, growing our own food and self sufficiency are a thing of the past. 

Part of it is the city I live in, the self sufficiency, DIY, Urban Homesteading, shopping local, buying local food, shopping at farmers markets, organic food, is definitely very prevalent here. 

I am very much one who would rather be outside, working in the dirt, growing as much of my own food as possible than sitting in an office. When I was little, I was the one who would be outside playing in the the dirt, digging up worms. I was also the one who loved camping and fishing so go figure. 

The part of the country is a great area for growing food, like Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, peaches, pears, cucumbers, corn, pumpkins, squash, cherries, apples, pears, and so much more. 

Healthy Eating is Taking Shape

Hey Everyone!

Today, being my day off of work, went out and ran errands. My errands included, but were not limited to: Bob’s Red Mill, Fred Meyer, New Seasons and Safeway. 

For breakfasts this next week, I bought what I needed, but didn’t have for DIY home made cranberry almond clif bars, using almond butter instead of honey or peanut butter, and I added some puffed rice cereal to it as well. I was surprised at how easy it was to make, and how good it turned out. 


For dinners this next week, I made spaghetti, using organic tomatoes and tomato sauce as well as a pound and a half of antibiotic free, hormone free, ethically raised, free range, yada yada yada, chicken. Yes it was a dollar more a pound than the stuff at the large chain grocery store, but it is also about as close I can get to doing it all myself – which living in the city doesn’t afford me. I noticed that this chicken that I bought not only tastes better, but is a better texture than the large chain grocery store ground chicken. If I had the means to raise my own chickens and do it all myself, I totally would. 


I also picked up some gluten free & dairy free bread to try, with my lunches. Yes, I had picked up a single orange, I had had plans for it, which I ended up not doing, yet anyway. 

I am really working to get back to being on the gluten free band wagon 95% or more of the time. I always feel better when I am. 

I realize that being as hardcore eating as natural as possible is totally sustainable while I live in the city. I am preparing myself for the eventual fact that if I am able to make it happen where I am able to live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, it is going to be a lot harder to keep it sustainable. I am definitely going to have to find a way to stick to being gluten free and dairy free, that’s not an option. I just realize it is going to be more difficult than living here in Portland, where living the gluten free, dairy free lifestyle is so common. 

Sticking with a 100% dairy free and avoiding gluten as much as possible, isn’t easy. Though anything that is worth doing, is never easy. I can’t imagine my life now if I weren’t dealing with these food intolerances and sensitivities. Yes I am pretty much OCD about kitchen cleanliness and washing my hands pretty much every time I touch something in the kitchen. I am this way, because I know what it is like to have food make me sick, and it taking my body a week or more to get back to normal after each run in. It’s not pleasant. 

I wouldn’t trade having food intolerances for being normal any thing now. Part of my love of homemaking has grown out of having developed food intolerances as an adult and sharing what I have learned with others.