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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Born in the Wrong Era

Hey Everyone!

Earlier I was thinking about what I was going to fix for dinner since I hadn’t marinated the chicken I got at the store yet.

I knew I had a lot spinach in the fridge, so I decided to make sautéed spinach with yellow cherry tomatoes, garlic and lemon juice sautéed in olive oil. I also decided to cook some of the tricolored quinoa I had in the pantry to add to add to my concoction, for some protein. I had also added a bit of salt as well.

On the side I had broiled some left over rosemary potatoes I had made the other night.

Before starting in on making dinner I had mixed up a batch of gluten free, vegan cherry brownies. I used apple sauce instead of butter, and I really like how they turned out.

After I had dinner and cleaned up the kitchen I went out to the garden and picked raspberries. I also checked the tomatoes and the lettuce. The tomatoes are still very green, and I had picked lettuce a couple evenings ago so there was not anymore ready at this point.

I am working with have I have available to me at this point. I would love to live outside of the city on more property, and have a larger garden. I would love to do more canning, and freezing of what I can grow and obtain fairly locally, as well as freezing meat obtained from hunting and fishing.

Part of this comes from the fact that I was raised in the city, where I have always been reliant on the grocery stores for all my food, unless we went to a produce stand, farm store or farm stand locally. Be even then, most of the meat I have eaten in my life came out of a package.

While there are certain items I would still need to pick up at the grocery store, I am the kind of person who wants to know where my raw food, especially and produce is coming from, how it was raised, and that it was butchered properly. I also want to be doing more to support my local farmers and helping them succeed. I prefer local food, when you buy it from the farm itself, it is a better quality, and has better flavor.

As I have gotten older, the quality of my food has become more and more important, as well as supporting the local smaller farms and such, over the big chain stores. The chain stores have been having so many issues with recalls on food for e.coli and salmonella and other contaminates.

I also love cooking and baking and using the best quality ingredients in what I create. There are times when I feel like I was born in the wrong era, because I do enjoy Homemaking, gardening, knitting, hard work, and all that goes along with it.

She Changed Her Mind

Hey Everyone!

I was really craving brownies today, so I made gluten free vegan cherry brownies today. The recipe I used called for the squares of bakers chocolate, but I had cocoa powder, so I googled how to use cocoa powder instead of the bakers chocolate. I figured it out, it called for a tablespoon of butter, oil or crisp shortening per three tablespoons of cocoa powder. I used applesauce instead. I used gluten free egg replacer instead of eggs. While I really wanted brownies I wanted to make them a bit healthier, which is counter intuitive anyway but it is what it is. I had added maraschino cherries, and man the brownies turned out so good.

The past three days have been cooler than the past couple of weeks. With the cloudy mornings and warm but not super hot afternoons have felt more like the end of summer early part of fall.

Between the cooler temps the past three days (it will be heating up again in the next couple of days), rewatching Grimm, Knitting, Baking, and generally wanting to go do stuff, I am ready for Fall to be here.

It has gotten me into the mood for autumn decorating and decorating for Christmas when the time comes. It is also making me want a home of my own to decorate.

As much as I would love to live in Alaska or the country, there is a part of of me that wants to stay living here in the city and have a home of my own here. There are so many things I would miss if I moved too far away, like Trader Joe’s, Bob’s Red Mill, Costco, New Seasons, Market of Choice, even Whole Foods. I would also miss all the craft stores and book stores like Powell’s.

Summers are so Busy

Hey Everyone!

I have been wanting oatmeal raisin cookies for a few days now.

Today I finally made half a batch. The full batch would have just been way to many cookies to try to eat before they get stale. Being the only person in the house who is gluten free, dairy free and egg free, my specialty food costs more money, and since I am the only one in this house who really needs it, I tend to make half a batch of these kinds of things.

I also was in the mood for gluten free vegan rustic flat bread. So I mixed one up this evening and baked it along with my cookies.

It’s been a while since I felt like baking, and I picked the busiest day to do it on. This afternoon I spent a couple hours working in the backyard and around the garden, picking berries and such. I also spent some time knitting, and then baking and dinner. After all that was done, it was time for a quick shower and off to church.

Summers are short (which is great since don’t like the heat), and we have to pack in all that we can to maximize the growing season and what we can put up for winter. We have to make the most of the long days to get the most done.

First Freezer Jam of the Season!

Hey Everyone!

Summer is in full swing! The raspberries we have growing in the backyard are taking off.

Yesterday I had grabbed a second pint berry container just in case, and I wound up using it and filled it up. Today when I went out to pick berries I had also taken a second pint container with me and I filled both up as well today.

I finally had enough berries to make a batch of freezer jam! So I finally got my first batch of jam of the season.

I used the directions out of the MCP box for making freezer jam, with one alteration, I put Karo Light Corn Syrup in my jam. The old MCP recipe called for a cup of Karo Syrup after you let the jam sit with the lemon juice and pectin, and before adding the sugar. You also want to put the lemon juice in with the crushed berries and the pectin. The directions don’t specify that.

I had made some jam after they had changed the recipe and without realizing they had changed the recipe and the jam came out all gritty and gross.

My mom and I came to the conclusion that the Karo Syrup helps the sugar to dissolve and the jam to not be gritty.

I don’t know if it was just one of those things or if there was any correlation between the two but i had watered the garden earlier in the week and the next day there were so many berries ready.

I will definitely try to remember to pay attention to how many berries I get tomorrow and see if there is more berries ready than usual.

What Living in a Small Town taught me about Who I am

Hey Everyone!

I am loving gardening and being able to go outside and work around after a rough day. There is something about working around the garden alone in the evenings.

Gardening definitely makes me miss living in a small town in the middle of nowhere this time of year. The towns I lived in while in college are college towns, at the same time there are families who live there, and the college is a welcome part of the community. With the exception of some of the freshman (thinking back to my own freshman year and lower division classes), the majority of the student body were there to learn. There were also a fair amount of older / non traditional students who had kids, in addition to the school not being a party school (can anyone say “dry campus”), made for a more family friendly community small town feel. Outside of town limits it was all farm land, whether they were growing grass for hay, hops for beer, or grapes to make wine, it is definitely a farming area. A lot of people who lived outside city limits also had gardens, some had chickens and or goats. There were at least a couple alpaca farms. It took leaving the city and moving there to realize that I am not a city girl.

It took living there to plant the seeds of wanting to live in the country, on some acreage where I can have a flower garden and a fruit & vegetable garden as well as chickens, maybe some goats, and so much more. I personally fell in love with living in the country, not super far from a small town.

Living there taught me how to appreciate the quiet and simpleness of a summer’s evening, and gardening once the sun is past it’s peak (between 5:30 and 7:30 pm), and enjoy watching the sun go down while sitting outside especially if there is a breeze.

Living in a small town where the regular TV stations didn’t always come through clearly, and many businesses closed by 7:00 pm, there wasn’t a lot to do like there is in the city. That didn’t bother me at all. It really helped me to appreciate the simpler things in life like the beauty of a summers evening, and going for a walk for something to do. It fits well with who I am. That slower pace of life, and enjoying the simpler way of life in terms of not having to be going from one store to another, spending lots of money, or constantly needing to go somewhere and do something is what works for me. If I ever have a family of my own, I would love to raise my kids near a small town.

Working around in the garden this week gave me time to think about how much more I want to do and what I want to grow and make for myself. While there is more of a resurgence of the Homesteading / Urban Homesteading Lifestyle out here in this part of the country, it seems like how much of what women did a couple generations ago (and they weren’t all urban housewives), is a chapter in the history books. Homesteading, even Modern Homesteading and urban Homesteading are a lot of work, but I love the way I feel at the end of a long day of work and being tired from actually accomplishing something.

This week I have picked about a pint of raspberries each day, and yesterday I picked some of my lettuce that I had planted earlier this week. I watered the garden, and kept a watchful eye on the tomato plants. It was a good thing that we staked the tomatoes last weekend. They have grown so much in the past week, it’s crazy. As of yesterday there were 11 flowers that I counted between all the plants. If we hadn’t staked them when we did, they would likely be falling over already.

Starting a Garden Journal

Hey Everyone!

Now that I have been getting more into Gardening, and hope to continue gardening well into the future, I decided to start a gardening journal.

I know that moving is in near enough future, and depending on where I move, the longitude and latitude I am at may change a bit or a lot. Unless I am able to move to Alaska, which could happen, in all likelihood I will stay in Oregon, Washington or Idaho, as I love this part of the country and the growing regions we have out here. We have everything I want out here, in terms of agriculture and produce. Not to mention hunting and fishing.

Each year is different, and different vegetables grow differently at different elevations, in different climate zones and at different latitudes.

I decided to start keeping this journal to track all of that on a regular basis (daily or almost daily).

I am only needed to record longitude, latitude, elevation and town / closest town each time I move, just to know where I am at and to be able to go back and look as a reminder.

At the beginning of the season I want to track if I planted anything new, what I planted, and how many plants, as well as what plants returned. From there, when I do maintenance stuff like staking the tomatoes or transferring starts from the greenhouse to the outdoor garden. I also want to track when things first start coming on.

On the daily basis track things like high temperature, humidity, whether it was an overcast or sunny day, if there was rain, or that I watered. I also want to track how much of each item I harvest each day. From there, I also want to document if I was able to make a batch of jam or something like that from what I harvested.

Part of why I am writing it down is so I have it easily at hand to track and look back on, as well as the fact it will be easier to search than my blog. I also feel that I would bore you all and lose followers if I posted all that here on a daily basis.

Not to mention that this blog is more than just about gardening, even though that is taking up a bit of my time in the summer.

I want to keep things as well rounded as possible, with Homemaking, Cooking, Baking, Canning, Gardening, cleaning, budgeting couponing, Decorating, entertaining, and all of that,