Country Life is Calling to Me

Hey Everyone!

I hope you all had a good Easter, and Easter Weekend.

The past three weeks or so have been pretty busy for me, and have involved a lot of homemaking / crafting activities. Between the Ladies Retreat I went on, as well as having had family coming to town and then Easter, I have spent a lot of time either in the kitchen or not in the city (or both).

I know I wrote a bit about what I did for the ladies retreat and for when my family came to visit, so I don’t really need to touch on all that again, since I am pretty well caught up on that on the blog.

Easter Weekend… Friday included going grocery shopping for easter dinner and for food for during the week. We had gone to a few stores, including New Seasons which is more of the natural grocery store that carries a lot more of the natural choices, organic food, locally grown, raised and produced foods. That is where we got the Lamb Roast and the Salmon Fillet for Easter Dinner. The Lamb Roast was from a lamb that was raised here in the U.S. and the Salmon Fillet came from a wild caught Alaskan Coho Salmon, so both were delicious.

Saturday, I made a pot of Chili because it sounded good, and wanted something in addition to leftovers for during the week, for meals. That evening I also mixed up a double batch of rolls for Easter dinner, so they could rise in the fridge overnight.

Sunday Morning, I went to church with my mom for Easter Service, and then we came home and made Easter Dinner for the family, before going back to church for the Easter Concert at their church.

Today, I woke up, and remembered that I had stuff to get done, and yet didn’t want to go anywhere, so I pulled myself out of bed, and got ready to go. I had to run to the post office, and mail off some paper work for something I have going, before stopping at the nearest Black Rock coffee stand because I had a full punch card. I got an extra large soy hazelnut latte, because it’s Monday, and after having several busy weeks, I needed the caffeine, even though I gave up my coffee habit years ago. I am definitely wanting to be better about staying far away from coffee and energy drinks and sticking with one cup of black tea a day at most.

Being tired of being in the city, and already being in the car, I decided to go for a little drive. I headed east, and went out through Estacada, and then headed up into the foothills of the Cascades from there. Once I hit snow on the road, it was time to turn around since I only had my two wheel drive car, and no studs or chains (studded tire season here ended two days ago). It was definitely pretty though.

I love not being in the city, I would definitely love to live outside the city, somewhere like this. It’s far enough out that there is elbow room, and not a whole lot of traffic, but not so far out that one can’t come into the city and go to the more specialty stores, like New Seasons, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Bob’s Red Mill, or go shopping depending on what you needed and if you couldn’t find it in the nearest small town. Where I went today was close enough to a small town that has a grocery store, schools, a couple banks a Gas station or two, and some of the essentials for your everyday needs, but is also close enough to the city (30 – 45 minutes) for the more specialty stuff that you would stock up on when you go to the city, but isn’t a regular occurrence.

Since I got home, I have been working on some laundry and just trying to decompress a little bit.

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Ladies Retreat Homemaking

Hey Everyone!

I got home this afternoon from the Ladies Retreat I had gone on this weekend.

I was on duty yesterday morning, to help with breakfast. I was tasked with making something that was gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and soy free. To fit that need, I had made up an egg casserole with bacon, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, onion and unsweetened original almond coconut milk. I had also mixed up a batch of Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free cranberry orange pecan muffins using the Bob’s Red Mill gluten free muffin mix to make.

Having food intolerances and sensitivities is hard enough as it is, and it is even harder when you go away and are staying at a different place.

I love being able to cook for myself and others, and be able to meet a need and stand in the gap. The kitchen is the one place I am comfortable being when something needs to be done and help is needed.

Many of us who had gone took turns helping prepare different meals throughout the weekend which was nice.

I had done some preparations beforehand, and before I left. I had picked up some of the vegetables that are a bit hardier as well as a few snacks and dry goods. I had also baked the muffins the morning I left. I had stopped at the grocery store in Tillamook to pick up the more perishable items that I didn’t want to leave sitting out for several hours between the time I left Portland and when I would be able to put them in the fridge at the house we were staying at.

Preparing For the Ladies Retreat

Hey Everyone!

So, I am going to be attending a ladies retreat this weekend, and I have been slowly preparing for it over the past couple of weeks.

last week I had picked up what I am going to be giving as gifts.

Today I ran errands to pick up the dry goods for what I will be using in part for meals for myself and the food intolerance friendly breakfast I am making for Saturday morning. I am also going to bake up a batch of gluten free vegan muffins Friday morning before I leave, to take with me.

While I did a test run of the gluten free and dairy free egg casserole I am planning on making, I also spent the time to do up the tea and sugar free sweetener bags I am giving as gifts.

I love doing all this crafty Homemaking stuff. I enjoy doing things for others and using all the creative ideas I get to bless others.

Beings that I have food intolerances myself, I can understand and relate to others who also have food intolerances. Being able to cook for myself and others who have food intolerances is a passion of mine, besides loving to cook in general.

Preparing for Christmas Dinner

Hey Everyone!

As I am writing this, it is the wee small hours of Christmas Morning. Yes I am still up, and yes Christmas presents can wait until it is daylight outside and I have been to bed.

Yesterday, being Christmas Eve, there was time spent working on doing some prep work for Christmas Dinner. Green Beans were cooked, Cheesy Potatoes were made, Cranberry Salad was prepped for tomorrow, Cherry Pies were made from scratch, and Rolls were mixed up from scratch. I won’t be having any of the Cheesy Potatoes or Rolls. The Cheesy Potatoes have a ton of dairy in them, and with the rolls I am really trying to be careful how much gluten I eat, and I would rather have a piece of pie than a roll or two anyway.

Today we just have to cook the ham, bake the rolls, and reheat the potatoes and green beans, as well as put the cranberry salad together. Finishing up getting dinner ready and served should not be super difficult.

Thanksgiving dinner seems to be the most labor intensive of the holiday dinners, but I love them all. I love cooking these more complex / full meals. I love cooking from scratch and putting a meal together to then serve to those I love and care about.

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Thanksgiving Dinner and Preparing for Christmas!

Hey Everyone!

Wednesday I had helped my mom start preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner. I had made the Pumpkin Pies and mixed up the rolls.

I had made myself a Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie for thanksgiving, and made two regular pumpkin pies for the rest of the family.

This year we had kept Thanksgiving dinner simpler than we have in years past. Now that it is down to just my immediate family, as my grandparents and great – aunt who used to join us for holiday dinners have all passed away, it is a lot simpler.

After we had had dinner and before I had to take a nap before going to work Friday morning, I put up and decorated my little artificial Christmas Tree.

Over the past couple weeks I have been ordering Christmas gifts for those in my life, to make sure I get them in, in time for Christmas.

As I am getting older, what I want for Christmas, is less about just things, or getting the latest and greatest electronics. I have what I need and some of what I wanted in that department. I don’t need the latest and greatest. I have a smartphone, that is a bit older, but still works great and has everything I need. This past year, I have been learning how to be content with what I have.

This year for Christmas and my Birthday I know I am getting some practical things. Well practical to me things. They wouldn’t be practical for everyone.

That is how I am trying to live my life, is more practically, and be more frugal. That is part of the focus of this blog, is Homemaking made simpler. Those who know me, know I love history, especially the era of westward expansion / frontier life / pioneer life / Homesteading as well as the 1950’s. I also have been interested in learning about and diving into Women’s History. While these are two very different periods in history,

In the years since my food intolerances really began manifesting themselves, learning where my food comes from, and the concept of being self sufficient and eventually living on one income, has been something I have been researching. At least with where I am from, living the more traditional lifestyle where the husband works and the wife is a homemaker and raises the kids is all but a memory.

I have always preferred being able to go outside and work on the land, like having a garden, some fruit trees, and maybe some chickens, pigs and goats. I also enjoy cooking and baking, as well as knitting.

I am one of those who wants a home of my own, but I don’t want anything fancy. I want a home to keep, and hopefully one day raise kids in. I also have realized that I am more of a country girl than a city girl. I would also make memories than have a bunch of things that I don’t need and will not use often enough to justify buying them.

As I get have gotten older, having frivolous things is less and less appealing. Which is why when I am asked what I want for Christmas and my birthday (they are less than a week a part), it is getting harder.

Making Cherry Cream Cheese Pie

Hey Everyone!

Beings that this month is my mom’s birthday month, Thursday, I made her a cherry cream cheese pie. Cherry cream cheese pie is one of her favorites. Her birthday is closer to Thanksgiving, which is why I have began the tradition of making it earlier in the month so she can enjoy it, as well as pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and not be overloaded with pie all at once.

It is a super easy recipe and each pie has 6 – 8 servings. All you need is:

•1 (14 oz) can of sweet and condensed milk

•1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese

•1/3 cup lemon juice

•1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

•1 (9 inch) graham cracker pie crust

•1 (21 oz) can Wilderness original country cherry filling / topping – chilled (the wilderness brand also has other fruit toppings similar to the cherry if you wanted a different fruit)

Directions:

•in a medium bowl mix together the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and lemon juice with an electric beater until smooth

•pour cream cheese mixture into graham cracker crust (and putting the plastic cover that comes with the crust upside down to cover the pie)

•chill in refrigerator (also put the can of cherries in the refrigerator) for at least 3 hours or until set. (6 to 8 hours is preferable)

•prior to serving top with chilled cherries

•refrigerate leftovers

Eating Venison

Hey Everyone!

To some, eating venison is adventurous. (If you can’t find it in the grocery store than it’s exotic).

Today I had some Venison for the second time that I can remember, as an adult. I may have had some at some point when I was a kid, but I just don’t remember it.

I definitely love trying different meats. I eat so much chicken, and don’t care for beef.

Venison is texturally similar to beef, but isn’t as heavy and has a totally different flavor. I actually like the more gamey flavor of Venison.

Not counting Beef, Chicken, Pork, Shrimp and Salmon from the Grocery Store, I have had fresh caught salmon from the Pacific Ocean, as well as fresh caught trout. I have also had crab, clams, tilapia, cod, lingcod, tuna, bear jerky and wild boar sausage. I have also likely eaten Elk, and other types of seafood that I can’t think of at the moment. The best chicken I have ever had was one that my my cousin had raised on his property. That chicken was definitely cage free, and allowed to roam in a large pen.

Part of my whole goal and desire with simple homemaking is to be more self sufficient and self sustaining in how I live my life. With that, while still in the process of learning about how to live the life I want is trying new things.

While I don’t want to live completely off grid, I am definitely tired of living a completely on grid life style in the city.

I don’t fault anyone who lives in the city, and / or enjoys and prefers city life, that is their right and choice to do so.

I do make some foods Vegan, because I am dairy intolerant, and egg sensitive, but I am by no means actually vegan. If it weren’t for my food intolerances and sensitivities I would still be eating eggs and dairy products (dairy free yogurts and cheese alternatives are not the same as the real thing, and I definitely miss eating Tillamook Cheese and Yogurt).

I am all for ethical hunting and fishing. I also love being out in the Garden, and I would love to raise chickens and maybe some goats.