Homestead Dreams

Hey Everyone!

For the past several years, Homesteading has been something I have been interested in and something that I have been mulling over.

I grew up in the city, yet it has really never felt like home. As Portland has grown, and is bursting at its seams, the less I want to stick around. The hustle and bustle, the traffic, the lack of work for those not in IT, Engineering or health care, the hipsters as well as other things, makes someone like me disenchanted with being here.

I am someone who wants to work hard, and put in an honest days work. I also like seeing the fruits of my labor, figuratively and literally. I also like getting my hands dirty, and working on the land. I like a balance of indoors and outdoors, as well as living an active and more natural lifestyle.

All that said, beings I am used to things like running water and electricity I don’t want to live totally off grid, rather finding a balance in order to live a sustainable lifestyle. I am not adverse to having solar panels to help offset electricity costs, especially in the summer.

I am one of those people who doesn’t need a huge house, yet wants something bigger than I tiny home. Having a kitchen where I have the room to cook and bake full meals from scratch as well as can and preserve food in the summer, and have a decent sized pantry and a cold room in the basement. Yet, I also want plenty of room outside to be able to garden, have some chickens (and maybe have some other animals as well). If I were to have kids I would want to have enough room to also be able to send them outside to play in the decent weather.

This is kind of what I would like for a cold room:

If I am able to live this sort of life and live in the country, having a cold room would not only allow me to be able to store whatever I canned over the summer, but also be able to make city runs more effective by buying dry goods and canned goods in bulk and having someplace to store them.

Advertisements

Ladies Retreat Homemaking

Hey Everyone!

I got home this afternoon from the Ladies Retreat I had gone on this weekend.

I was on duty yesterday morning, to help with breakfast. I was tasked with making something that was gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and soy free. To fit that need, I had made up an egg casserole with bacon, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, onion and unsweetened original almond coconut milk. I had also mixed up a batch of Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free cranberry orange pecan muffins using the Bob’s Red Mill gluten free muffin mix to make.

Having food intolerances and sensitivities is hard enough as it is, and it is even harder when you go away and are staying at a different place.

I love being able to cook for myself and others, and be able to meet a need and stand in the gap. The kitchen is the one place I am comfortable being when something needs to be done and help is needed.

Many of us who had gone took turns helping prepare different meals throughout the weekend which was nice.

I had done some preparations beforehand, and before I left. I had picked up some of the vegetables that are a bit hardier as well as a few snacks and dry goods. I had also baked the muffins the morning I left. I had stopped at the grocery store in Tillamook to pick up the more perishable items that I didn’t want to leave sitting out for several hours between the time I left Portland and when I would be able to put them in the fridge at the house we were staying at.

Preparing For the Ladies Retreat

Hey Everyone!

So, I am going to be attending a ladies retreat this weekend, and I have been slowly preparing for it over the past couple of weeks.

last week I had picked up what I am going to be giving as gifts.

Today I ran errands to pick up the dry goods for what I will be using in part for meals for myself and the food intolerance friendly breakfast I am making for Saturday morning. I am also going to bake up a batch of gluten free vegan muffins Friday morning before I leave, to take with me.

While I did a test run of the gluten free and dairy free egg casserole I am planning on making, I also spent the time to do up the tea and sugar free sweetener bags I am giving as gifts.

I love doing all this crafty Homemaking stuff. I enjoy doing things for others and using all the creative ideas I get to bless others.

Beings that I have food intolerances myself, I can understand and relate to others who also have food intolerances. Being able to cook for myself and others who have food intolerances is a passion of mine, besides loving to cook in general.

DIY Gluten Free Dairy Free Pizza

Hey Everyone!

I had been wanting some gluten free and dairy free pizza for a few days now. I finally got around to making some today.

I had gone to Bob’s Red Mill and the grocery store to get what I needed to make my pizza and gluten free and dairy free Cherry Brownies.

I used the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust for my pizza. I had sprinkled corn meal on the pan I was going to use to bake my pizza on, I then used olive oil instead of pizza sauce. I topped my pizza with Jimmy Dean Maple ground sausage that I got most of the way cooked before I drained it and put it in my pizza. I then also topped it with a red pepper I had diced up, as well as diced tomatoes, sliced olives and spinach, and then baked it. It turned out great for my first attempt at making my own gluten free and dairy free pizza.

I also had been kind of craving cherry brownies, so while I was out I had picked up a package of the Bob’s Red Mill gluten free brownie mix, as well as dairy free butter alternative (in the stick form), and maraschino cherries. I added some diced up cherries and some of the cherry juice to my brownie batter. It took forever (like an hour and a half) to actually get done….. but they taste good and that’s what matters.

While I was at Bob’s Red Mill, I had also picked up a shortbread pan, so if I want to make gluten free dairy free shortbread cookies, and I don’t want to take the time to make round cookies and use my Scottish Thistle cookie stamp, I can put the dough in the shortbread pan and bake it that way.

Today I was totally in a cooking, baking and errands kind of mood. It was a gorgeous day, more like early spring (like late March / Early April) than still the dead of winter that is typical for early February. It got up to 60 degrees (Fahrenheit) / 15 – 16 degrees (Celsius) today. The Daffodils are starting to come up and bloom.

When you want some chocolate chip cookies

Hey Everyone!

Sunday afternoon I was really wanting some chocolate chip cookies, but didn’t have chocolate chips. I made a run to the grocery store to get chocolate chips so I could bake a batch of cookies.

That is one of the few things I like about living in the city, the fact that the grocery store is still open at 6 pm on a Sunday evening.

When I got back from the grocery store I made a batch of gluten free vegan chocolate chip cookies.

Making a quick trip to the grocery store because I needed one thing, and the fact that the grocery store is just the road, makes life easy. It got me thinking about living in a small town or out in the country, where making a quick trip to the grocery store in the evening isn’t an option, making sure I have Baking basics, including chocolate chips on hand for those times I feel like baking cookies one evening. It’s always nice to have ingredients on hand to make some staples on a whim.

Fall Has to Be Coming

Hey Everyone!

Saturday, I had gone to Bob’s Red Mill and picked up some more flours to make up the brown rice flour mix I use for gluten free baking. I also got a package of the gluten free Shortbread Cookie mix.

Yesterday I had baked my Shortbread cookies, for being gluten free & vegan they turned out amazing. I had used my Scottish Thistle cookie stamp on them prior to baking them.

I had also cooked up some chicken yesterday, but I needed that for dinner. Cooking for dinner isn’t always the most interesting.

This summer, the wildfire smoke has been so bad. It hasn’t been just one wildfire that has been causing our air to be at an unhealthy level quite a bit, and our skies to look like the photo above. It has also been a very hot summer, the hottest since at least 2009.

While I was out and about for my job interviews today, I noticed that quite a few trees were turning already. I have been over this heat all summer, and I am so ready for cooler weather. The stores and nature (despite the heat and wildfire smoke), is leading me to believe that autumn is coming, and soon.

Grocery Shopping: Plastic VS Paper VS Bring Your Own Bags

Hey Everyone!

I was watching a YouTube Video yesterday, made by a young American woman who has only lived in the US a short time since she moved to Switzerland at 17. She has since returned to the US. She had made a “reverse culture shock” video about some of the things she had forgotten about while spending the last 5+ years in Switzerland and Germany. One of those things we having plastic and paper bags available in the grocery stores / Supermarkets, because, in Germany and Switzerland (at least in the parts she lived in) you had to bring your own reusable bags. 

I can only speak on it from my own experience from the grocery stores I have been in. 

I will only talk about places I have visited in the last 5ish years. 

Here in Portland Oregon, and in Multnomah County (The county Portland is in), a plastic bag ban was put into effect a few years ago. Up until that point, and still to this day in other counties (as well as for paper bags in Multnomah County), paper/plastic bags are free. 

Bringing your own bags is still totally optional here in Oregon and SW Washington, but is definitely encouraged here in Portland. I can’t speak on Tacoma or Seattle, because I haven’t been grocery shopping in Seattle and it has been way to long since I have been in a grocery store in the Tacoma and Olympia areas. 

When I was in New York (Long Island), a few years ago, I want to say plastic bags were readily available and didn’t cost anything.

From where my parents live, in Portland, Clackamas County is a short drive away (and the closest Fred Meyer to their house is in Clackamas County). Clackamas County still has plastic bags in their stores, free of charge. 

Polk County (central willamette valley), where I lived while in college, as well as Lincoln, Tillamook and Clatsop Counties on the coast still for sure have plastic bags in their grocery stores, free of charge. 

I get the point of doing away with plastic grocery bags, but I am not a fan. For people like me, who reuse them for garbage when I am cleaning the house, I don’t want to spend money I am going to put trash in anyway, when (at least here) you can get plastic grocery bags that many people still reuse. I also like them for when I buy meat, and should something leak, the plastic contains the mess, and is less time (and cleaning products) to clean up after. 

For the most part I don’t mind using the reusable bags for everything but raw meat, but I also don’t like being dictated to or punished for the actions of those who don’t reuse or dispose of their plastic bags properly. 

I have been known to purposefully go shopping for groceries in Clackamas County and for non perishables in some of the other counties if I happen to be in the area, just to get plastic bags. Yet I am also taken aback when asked “Paper or Plastic?”. 

Up where my aunt and uncle live in BC, they still can get plastic but have to pay for the bags if they don’t bring their reusable bags. 

So I have grown accustomed to having reusable bags, but still miss (and take advantage of other counties still having them for free) the plastic grocery bags, that I do reuse.

Leave me a comment below, letting me know what it is like where you are in terms of paper, plastic, and reusable and do you have to pay for your paper or plastic bags, and your thoughts on should more states be banning plastic bags?