Wasting Food and Money Saving Apps

Hey Everyone!

Over the years, seeing how much food, we, in the industrialized world waste, is very disheartening. It is disheartening, because there are children in this country who don’t have enough to eat. It is also a waste of money, and other resources.

I work in a retail store where we have a food department, that we call “Gourmet”, and I have seen so much product from that department expire and have to be thrown out because it’s past is best by / sell by date. While there are some cases when the food looks like it’s gone bad (primarily the chorizo and some other packaged meats), or it’s something that is better left unchanced, so yeah, write that off and toss it. Other things, like in my case today, bags of whole bean coffee, that had best by dates of the 5th and 6th of this month, and are still completely sealed in their bags, they are still good.

Even though we couldn’t sell them to the customers, I was able to purchase a few, and my parents will use them up. I had sent a picture to my mom this morning of what I had pulled, as kind of a “the amount these are worth at retail value would cover two of my shifts” text, and she asked me if I could pick up a few at a discount. My manager said yes (we have special discount stickers for food that is getting close to their expiration, but I was allowed to use a few for these bags that were a few days past their best by dates). Due to being an employee (not the same liability as a regular customer), and the type of product it was (whole bean coffee still sealed in its bag), it was one of those, “at least it’s all not a loss” situations.

Over the last few years I have tried several money saving apps. Quite honestly, the ones that are beneficial for someone like me, are the store apps for the stores I frequent, like Safeway and Fred Meyer (Carr’s and Kroger in other parts of the country). I have tried fetch, drop, and Ibotta. While I still use Ibotta, I only really use it when I shop at where I work, since there is quite often a 2% back deal. When the day comes that I no longer work, where I work, 2% won’t be worth going shopping at where I currently work any more. I use it, because it’s 2% in addition / after the fact of getting my employee discount and any other percentage off sales that are going on in store. When I no longer have an employee discount, the likelihood that I would shop at any location of the company I work for, would likely go back to the way it was before I began working for the company, which was rarely. Having an employee discount, and on occasion a $10 shopper reward coupon (one of the two coupons we are allowed to use) as well as any in store non coupon based percentage off sale we could use too, has made it so I could pick up a few things in terms of decorations (especially Christmas and Easter decorations), at a reasonable price. Ok, I was talking about “money saving apps”, before I went off on my tangent. So, yeah, once I eventually find a different job, and leave the company I am with, the likelihood I will continue using Ibotta will be slim to none. While there are deals for places like Fred Meyer, most of them are for things I can’t or don’t use, with my food sensitivities and lifestyle. I had been using Ibotta, the first time, under an old phone number, and I had forgotten which one it was so I couldn’t remember my points once I had gotten enough. It had taken me over three years to get to that $20. I started a new ibotta, with my current phone number about six months ago. I am now almost to $15, and more than 95% of that is from shopping at work.

These apps may be great if you do a lot of shopping at the places they will let you earn point for shopping at, but for me, I don’t shop a lot at most of these places. If I do shop at some of these places, it’s not often enough to earn rewards through most of these apps. In addition to that, I really am trying to be more frugal, additionally, I eventually want to move someplace that doesn’t have a lot of these stores, and live a simpler, more frugal life.

I am still going through my closet, and trying to reduce the amount of clothes I have, since I still have a lot that I don’t wear, and I have my favorites that I wear way more than anything else. There are some things that I will be keeping that I don’t wear as often, as they are more for special occasions (or church clothes, and for weddings and funerals etc).

I am / have been doing some spending on myself during this season, since I am working some extra hours, I am still single, don’t have a family of my own to feed, and I am still living in the city. Besides my favorite tea, what I am ordering specifically for myself,bare for accessorizing the clothes I am keeping, and taking them from two half season outfits (late spring & early fall) and making them wearable for three seasons, by having warmer accessories for the cooler temps. Most of what I am picking up at work, are decorations for my future home, so while I am buying them because I like them, I hope they will help bring joy and festivity to my family and anyone who comes to visit.

Creating Lasting Traditions

Hey Everyone!

On Friday, after I had gotten off work, I decided to make some gluten free, vegan pumpkin muffins.

I have been wanting Pumpkin food for the better part of the month.

Yesterday afternoon, I made a batch of homemade chili, which is fitting for the cook crisp days we have been having.

I also helped my mom make a batch of chocolate chip cookies as well as a batch of chocolate crinkle cookies, which are like brownie cookies.

Yesterday morning, I had to go to an all store meeting at work. Over the course of last week, our Christmas fixtures were set. Our holiday theme / motive is “creating lasting traditions”. Over the time I have worked for the company I am at, as well as other times, I have been slowly building up my Christmas decorations and Christmas tree ornaments collection. I have been adding things as I find things I like. This is the third holiday season I will have been with the company, so I have seen the ornaments for three holiday seasons now. Many of the ornaments are the same, and each subsequent season, has only brought out a few new ornaments. Many of the ones I have liked & bought from work, are the woodland creatures / Nordic / Scandinavian themed ornaments. The deer / reindeer has been a consistent through the three seasons. What is also interesting, is that Scentsy had brought out a holiday warmer with a similar looking deer a year or two ago, which I snapped up, since it fit in with what is starting to be my “Christmas theme”.

When the whole topic of “making lasting traditions” came up at work yesterday, I got thinking about the types of traditions I would want to make, if and when I have a family of my own. Many of which are simple, and won’t cost a lot of money. Things like making Christmas Cookies, and going and visiting some of the elderly, and bringing them some Christmas cheer, and watching “The Polar Express”, while drinking hot chocolate, and coming and visiting my family (as I don’t intend to stay in the Portland metro area), and do things like going to Peacock Lane, and the Christmas event at my parents church. I want to make the Christmas season “magical” for my kids, as well as teach them that Christmas is not about the gifts (even though they are nice), but about the birth of Jesus, and sharing God’s love with others.

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Muffins!!

Hey Everyone!

I have been wanting to be doing some more baking, and get back into Homemaking again. Beings that it is autumn, I have been wanting to make some Pumpkin Muffins.

These pumpkin muffins, are gluten free and vegan. While I am not vegan, I am dairy free, and have had issues with eggs, so when I make stuff for myself, I definitely need to avoid dairy and try to avoid eggs. I also try to limit the amount of gluten that I eat.

Over the last couple of years, I have been seriously considering what I am doing, and how it hasn’t been working out here for nearly a decade. I have also been contemplating what I am supposed to be doing with my life. When I realized I wasn’t supposed to be a teacher, I have never really had normal career aspirations, all i have wanted to do is be a wife and mother. I have wanted to cook, bake and can. The older I have gotten, the more my desires, interests, and lifestyle choices have changed. I realized long ago, that the city life is not for me.

The idea of being solely reliant on others for my food, and not knowing where all my food comes from. I prefer the idea of growing a garden, and raising / hunting / fishing my own meat, or get it from local sources where i know how it was raised. I also love being outdoors, working the earth, a slower pace of life. At this point, I don’t want to live completely off grid, but do want to live a more sustainable and self sufficient life. I am the kind of person who would rather be busy working hard, taking care of house and home, and family, and having less of a need for and time spent using modern technology like phones, and computers.

I love knitting and making hand knit items. So I am able to make some of my own clothing items.

I am definitely looking at moving someplace else, that is more conservative, and where the laws are more favorable for Homesteading, hunting, homeschooling, and more favorable to living a life where the government doesn’t listen to the vocal minority. Some of my issues with the big city life, it’s always on the go, it’s such a fast paced, consumer driven. The commute time, it takes 30 minutes to get to work at 4:30 in the morning, and 45 minutes to get home, and my job is 12 miles away. Crappy / completely inconsiderate / high sense of self entitlement (ie, its all about me, and I can do whatever I want, the rules don’t apply to me, neighbors be damned), and just plain rude neighbors can happen anywhere. In the city they are a stones throw away and living right on top of you, so between dealing with the revolving door of college kids in the party house catty corner to us (that has been such for over 20 years), the neighbor across the street is is the epitome of self absorbed/ it’s all about me / I’m better than anyone else Millennial across the street who runs his business illegally out of his home, not to mention paying over $6000 in property taxes… and having experienced small town life in a more rural area for myself, I have had enough of the city. While I was in college, I learned one of the biggest things I could have about myself, I am a small town / country girl, who needs elbow room and room to breathe. There is so much more to life than the rat race of the city. Sh*tty neighbors can happen anywhere, to me, when their house is more than just across the city street from you, you have more options for dealing with them that aren’t illegal, immoral and doesn’t actually physically hurt any living being.

When I was younger, I wouldn’t have thought much about having to leave for work, by 4:30 in the morning. The homeless / street people / people who rummage through your recycling bins the night you put them out before garbage day, has made me really uneasy. I live in what was a good / highly desirable area, but I no longer really feel that safe. I feel like I am always having to watch my back. Downtown is a no go zone, and it’s a public health hazard, In the time I have been at my current job, just about every time I go to work, I see homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks of the shopping area, not far from where I live. There was one morning, as I was heading out to go to work, between 4:15 and 4:30 in the morning, it was garbage day for those living on the other side of the main (yet not super busy at this part of it) road, and there was a homeless / street person with their bicycle leaning against the stop sign, staring at me. That definitely made me feel unsafe. I definitely made him aware that I knew he was there, without saying anything. Our city government, has done nothing to deal with the homeless situation, the hands of our law enforcement officers are tied in dealing with any situation (whether it’s the homeless or protesters) leaving them ineffective and a joke. Having seen this city go from one that was fairly liberal, but was more live and let live, and the city that wasn’t as horribly run, to a city that is no place to live unless your a liberal hippy, who wants to coexist with the homeless and drug addicts. I have also been the subject of discrimination from the liberal left, here, because I don’t believe what they believe, and choose to live my life differently.

All of this, plus learning what I have about myself, has brought me to the point where it is time for me to move on, find a place that on the whole, is more aligned with my values, and with the way I choose to live my life, and make a life for myself. I realized long ago, that while living in this city, I am just existing. I am making the conscious decision to look for a job else where, in a place that is more aligned with my values, and stop just existing and wasting the life I have been given.

Summer of changes

Hey Everyone!

The past year or so, I have really lost momentum for this blog. I am now trying to get the motivation back that I lost.

The holidays, rather the end of September to early January were insanely busy, to the point where I was basically eating, sleeping, working, mainly working and sleeping, all while definitely not getting enough sleep. I should also mention that I somehow managed to fit in a few dates with a guy, that things didn’t work out with, as well as a weekend long (well three evenings over a weekend) of helping with a Christmas event.

So I didn’t have the time or energy to be doing much in the way of cooking or baking. It took a couple more months to finally recover from the holidays, and I have just been unmotivated the past 2.5 months.

I have also been trying to reintroduce dairy into my diet, to see if my body has “healed itself” or gotten to a point where I can tolerate dairy again. That experiment came to a crashing halt real fast. It really looks like dairy doesn’t agree with me.

My goal for this summer is to be able to write one to two posts a week, and actually do some dairy free and gluten free cooking and baking, while tying in being on a budget.

I really want to try making new things and new meals that taste amazing, yet are dairy free, limited gluten, low sugar (at least added sugar) and minimally processed.

Homesteading is what I want to do.

Hey Everyone!

After a couple of months where I have been crazy busy, I am getting back into the Homemaking routine. Now that the holidays are over, and work is slowing down, the overwhelming desire to be a homesteader has come back in full force.

While becoming a homesteader as well as hopefully eventually being a Homesteading wife and mother who also homeschools, and so much more is still an unfulfilled dream, it is very much my dream. In some form and fashion it has been my dream for a few years now.

I have loved cooking, baking, canning, and knitting since I was little. The joy of having my own place, and keeping it up came in my early 20’s, while I was still in college.

I grew up in the city, yet it has never felt like home, I always felt like something was missing. Between a couple classes in college that really set my brain in motion of wanting to know where my food came from, how it was grown / raised, and developing food intolerances as an adult, that was the early beginnings of all this. I knew I loved small towns and country life over city / suburban living. Having to cook way more for myself and having to read labels, it has almost become an obsession.

I have had several different types of jobs over the years, some office jobs, a daycare, and working as a stock crew member at a retail store. During this time, especially these past couple summers, I have been trying to do more and more gardening, and jam making and so on. I have loved that. This season working stock crew, while it has been physically demanding for me, and I have been tired at the end of every shift, I really realized that I prefer working hard physically to sitting in an office all day. No, I don’t want to work stock crew forever, but it has helped me realize a lot of things about myself.

I love working with my hands, seeing the fruits of my labor at the end of the day, knowing I did something, and being tired from hard work.

I want, and am pursuing a different lifestyle than the one I was raised with, I never really had a sense of community, and lending a helping hand when the need arises. I want to live a simpler life and I am not afraid of putting in the hard work, day after day in order to know where my food comes from. In addition to that, be able to grow enough fresh produce to be able to go to Farmers Market and help provide others in the community fresh produce and good at a reasonable price.

Today, I baked a loaf of easy artisan bread with rosemary and sea salt, as well as baked oatmeal. I am really trying to eat better, and make things with fewer ingredients that I can pronounce. The baked oatmeal also will make mornings I have to work a bit easier.

Simple Homemade Food

Hey Everyone!

Over the weekend I had baked a double batch of snickerdoodles and a single batch of chocolate chip cookies. By last night all the chocolate chip cookies were gone.

Despite being a little under the weather, I baked another batch of chocolate chip cookies today.

I had also made a pot of lentil soup over the weekend.

I am also diffusing some essential oils tonight, hopefully it will help this cold from getting any worse.

Easy go to Dinner

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday my family and I had gone to the beach. We had gone to one of the beach towns that caters a bit more to the yuppie hipster Portland crowd. The only good part of that was the fact that I was able to easily find dairy free food. The bakery had these raisin spice cake type muffins that were dairy free. They tasted like they had applesauce in them (which would replace any dairy for liquid). They were so good. The place we had dinner had a few dishes that could be made vegan, so I got one of them.

Today, after I finished work I cooked up some dinner.

I had chicken to cook. I used my trusty old standby, vinegar and soy sauce marinade. All you have to do is put your chicken in quart size ziplock bags, then I like to combine the soy sauce and vinegar in a measuring cup before pouring it in the bags, enough to cover the chicken (about a cup and a half of the mixture per bag). Then I seal the bags and put in the roaster or baking dish to be baked in. I let mine marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours, could be left in the fridge overnight. I then removed the bags from the roaster / baking dish and then slowly dump the contents into the baking dish. An bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes or until done. It is so good.

I had also made some gluten free vegan cornbread to go with my meal, and a spinach salad.

With my schedule, on days that I work, I am up by 4:15 am at the latest, today was a 3:15 am wake up time. Beings that I am up so early and work stock crew, I am all about easy meal ideas that don’t require a ton of steps, or a lot of brain power.