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.

Creating Lasting Traditions

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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.

So excited for Fall and Baking

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I know it’s only the end of July, but getting the first big wave of autumn stuff in at work, is really making me want it to be autumn already!

There have also been hints here and there that autumn is coming soon, some leaves are already starting to turn. It’s crazy. We have had a relatively cool July, which is likely contributing to it.

We are expecting some hot days next weekend, but I am interested to see what August and September are like this year.

This whole “Fall is coming” mentality, has me in the mood to be baking and making things that taste good.

On my way home from work, I stopped at bob’s red mill, and picked up a couple packages of their gluten free muffin mix, because I am wanting to be making more muffins, and try different kinds of muffins.

I am really wanting to try making lemon lavender poppyseed muffins. I had been hesitant about lavender as a flavor until a few years ago, when I had a cupcake with lavender frosting and it was so good, and now I am a fan.

While I was at bob’s red mill I also picked up a wheat free vegan Marionberry scone, it was pretty good.

I have also made Chili today, for dinner this next week. It just sounded good, and is super easy.

I also finished up a pair of socks today. I am actually happy to have this pair done, and can move on to other pairs of socks.

At least this weekend should be hot so I can get these socks washed and blocked while it’s hot outside.

Simple Homemade Food

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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

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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.

Homemade Dinner after a Long Day!

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I am so happy Fall is here, it is my favorite time of year!

It means (generally) cooler weather, hot home cooked meals from scratch.

Yesterday after work, I made lentils and homemade easy artisan bread.

I wasn’t super tired when I started in on my cooking and baking, but by the time I was done I was exhausted. I had also been up since 4 am.

I am so excited for this fall and all the homemade food I will hopefully be making this autumn!

It’s Finally Turning into Fall!

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This past weekend was Labor Day Weekend. During the course of which I spent with my parents. Saturday we had gone out to Sauvie Island, and had gone to Kruger Farm, since my mom wanted to can pickled beets.

We had picked up 20 pounds of beets as well as a few other things while we are there. I am always amazing and how much less produce costs at farm stores and farmers markets than it does in the normal grocery stores.

This weekend we had also done some cooking and baking. I had made two pumpkin pies, one was the regular kind with evaporated milk and the other I made dairy free with coconut milk.

This is my dairy free pie before I baked it:

Yesterday, being Labor Day, my mom and I canned the beets. We got 9 quarts and 2 pints of pickled beets.

Today I spent some time out in the garden, picking raspberries, tomatoes and starting to trim back the raspberry bushes for the winter. I got just over a pint of raspberries and I got three pints of tomatoes. Our tomatoes have really been taking off.

I also saw this perfect spider web while I was out picking raspberries.

I am not a huge fan of spiders but I thought the web was amazing. I don’t see complete ones like this very often.

Most of the past week or so has been cooler, though we are having a little bit of a heat wave over the course of yesterday, and today. The next couple days is supposed to be hot for us. I am ready for fall to be here in full force. We are in the transition of late summer / early autumn when it still can get hot, but the days are generally cooling off, the nights are getting cooler, the days are getting shorter. Sunset is now before 7:45 pm! Late August is when we usually start seeing a dramatic drop off and difference of the days getting shorter.

Last Batch of Jam for the Summer!

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We have (hopefully) had our last 90 degree day of the year.

The next 10 days at least are looking much cooler, with a slight potential for some more hot weather, but I am hoping we have seen the end of the hot weather.

Today I picked two pints of raspberries to add to the two pints I picked Tuesday. I also picked a pint of tomatoes.

This afternoon I also made a batch of raspberry jam. This is my eighth batch for this summer.

Today was a good 20 degrees cooler than it was yesterday, and most of the day was nearly 30 degrees cooler.

I also went to a job interview a couple days. I am still waiting to hear back. If I don’t hear back tomorrow than I know I didn’t get it.

She Changed Her Mind

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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.

Thanksgiving Dinner and Preparing for Christmas!

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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.