Simple and Homemade

Hey Everyone!

I have been trying to enjoy the few days off in a row that I have had. I was asked to go in on my day off yesterday (which is a normal occurrence this time of year), but turned it down, as I am already scheduled to work 4 days in a row this week.

Yesterday, I was able to get quite a bit done around the house. I got a couple loads of laundry done, as well as making dinner. I made chicken penne, with a mix of whole wheat noodles and black bean penne noodles.

I also baked the reindeer sugar cookies we picked up at the grocery store.

I definitely miss being on my own, having to budget, living frugally, and living a simpler life. I have finally come to the point where I know what I want to be doing, and how I want to be living. I have realized that it’s time to be looking to move away from where I currently am, to an area with a better cost of living. I don’t really mind not having a lot of money, and making due with less. I am also the kind of person who wants and needs to do more for myself and my future family, such as gardening and canning. Homemade, homegrown and home canned food is better than store bought.

Summer of changes

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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.

Easy go to Dinner

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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.

Born in the Wrong Era

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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.

Urban Gardens

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The past few months I have been becoming more and more obsessed with gardening, and urban gardening. I would love to have a home and yard of my own that I could turn into a garden. I want to be able to grow more of my own produce. That being said I have no real desire to turn full on crunchy.

One of the great things about living in Portland is all the nurseries around as well as stores that carry canning and preserving supplies, and all the farmers markets we have.

While I was out and about scoping out neighborhoods I kind of like, I ended up in the area where I worked a few years back. Just down the street from the gluten free vegan bakery that is near where I used to work, there is this little garden center place that is so cute.

As much as this city can be annoying, and I am not a fan of all the traffic or how expensive it is getting, there are many good points about it, like all the Homemaking resources we have nearby.

I love that whatever I couldn’t/ didn’t grow, are available within a couple hours drive.

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.