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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Easy Artisan Bread

Hey Everyone!

Here is the recipe I used to make artisan bread today. It can be cut in half if you only want to make one loaf. The recipe in and of itself makes two loaves. It is super easy and no kneading involved!

Ingredients:
Bread:

  • 3 cups lukewarm water (110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp (2 packets) active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Topping:

  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Rosemary (Dried or Fresh)
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • Other bread toppings you enjoy

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl mix together the warm water, the yeast, the sugar and the salt.
  2. In a separate bowl (if you are using a stand mixer then use your mixer bowl for this) measure out the all-purpose flour.
  3. Mix the water mixture into the flour and mix well until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area and allow the dough to rise for about two hours.
  5. Spray two 9x5x3 bread pans with non-stick spray
  6. Once the dough has risen for about two hours, rub your hands with flour and split the dough into two pieces, and place in the bread pans and loosely cover with plastic wrap
  7. allow the bread to rise in the bread pans for about 30 minutes
  8. Preheat oven to  450 degrees Fahrenheit
  9. Mix Topping in two small bowls
  10. Rub the top of the loaves of bread with olive oil (or olive oil topping mixture)
  11. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until done.

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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.

Urban Gardens

Hey Everyone!

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.

They Got Too Heavy!!!

Hey Everyone!

This morning I only got about 3/4 of a pint of raspberries. This caused me to do some research. I know that our bushes are of the ever bearing type of heirloom red raspberries. My research indicates that there are two seasons of crops each year, one in July (that we are coming off of), and one later on in the summer, like August / September. Beings that the bushes still have buds on them and flowers I am hoping that if I just wait it out that I will be able to get more batches of jam.

I knew it was only a matter of time, even with having staked the tomato plants, that they would start to topple over.

I had been watering the garden a bit and over they went. I don’t want to chop the vines off yet since they have flowers on them.

The vines that toppled over are part of the biggest grouping of tomatoes that are staked, so I am not surprised. I am just hoping to get tomatoes off the plants this year.

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.

Adding to the Garden

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday I had picked up a container of red romaine lettuce starts at the store. I had also been looking for spinach starts, but alas there were none. Serves me right for waiting till June to add to try to get lettuce going.

I brought it home, and went outside after putting on my gardening clothes, which at this point are some older clothes that I really don’t care about getting dirty, sweaty and stained.

I checked raspberries first since my hands were still clean, and looked over the tomato plants. They survived the ordeal of staking them. They are starting to look a bit more like they had been in the stakes for longer than just a day, which is good since they were a bit of a mess on Sunday.

I then put on my gardening gloves, and grabbed the little shovel I had bought and the pot of lettuce starts and went to work.

It felt so good getting my hands in the dirt and working with the earth again. It reminded me of when I was a little girl and I would go play in the dirt in the backyard, and get covered in dirt from head to toe.

I then gave the area where I had planted my romaine lettuce a good watering. Even though the raspberries and tomatoes got some water yesterday, I wanted my lettuce to get watered right after being planted. Yesterday had also been hot, so I figured that it wouldn’t hurt the other plants to get some extra water since I have no idea the last time they were watered prior to that, other than from the rain we have gotten recently.