It Pays to Check every Label

Hey Everyone!

A friend of mine had brought it to my attention today that Heinz “Apple Cider” Vinegar isn’t actually made from Apple Cider. The only difference between the regular Heinz Distilled Vinegar and the so called “Apple Cider” Vinegar is that the “Apple Cider” Vinegar has flavors and colors added. This is deceitful marketing if I ever did see it. 


There are other brands (including the store brands) that actually make Apple Cider Vinegar. So check the label if you actually want Apple Cider Vinegar.

They say hindsight is 20/20. When I read my friend’s post about the Apple cider vinegar, there was a little voice in the back of my head that was like “you know better than to not read the label, even on something as dumb as Vinegar”. Not because it actually has dairy in in, but to double check to make sure, because nothing is safe until you check, and not everything is what it says it is. 

I learned to read every label, because way to many things that would think don’t have dairy in them actually do, including things that say “non-dairy” yet contain sodium caseinates (the protein in milk). So while the vinegar doesn’t contain dairy, I am still way to trusting of mainstream food from the grocery store. 

If the past 5.5 years haven’t already taught me to question everything and literally read every label, this has definitely taught me that, as well as that you can’t trust name brands to be honest with you. 

I hate to say it, but we live in a day and age when big corporations love to lie to the consumer for the sake of the almighty dollar and their profits. 

Raspberry Gleaning

Hey Everyone!

With my family being gone last week, it was up to me to go out and pick the raspberries in the backyard as well as to water the plants. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed going outside and picking raspberries and watering the plants, seeing as I want a place of my own where I can have a garden and grow my own vegetables and berries. 

Homemaking, urban homesteading, knitting, 

In the modern era, especially in places that are not food deserts, grocery stores are all over the place. Don’t get me wrong, there are somethings that really are more worthwhile / economical to purchase from a grocery store. I don’t know about other parts of the country, but out here, we have Trader Joe’s Stores, and they have a really good selection of dried fruit, nuts, trail mixes and that kind of thing for a really good price. Not to mention the dried foods like flour (and not gluten free flours as well), sugar, coffee, oats and such that people would often purchase at the general store or mercantile in town. So going totally without a grocery store is not something I totally want to do without. With that being said there is definitely more I want to do for myself or buy from farmers markets or fruit / vegetables stands. If I can’t grow it myself or it would not be practical to grow small scale, I would rather buy it from local farmers via a farmers market or farm stands / stores (like what they have out along the fruit loop in the gorge or out on Sauvie Island). 

I have been out picking raspberries pretty much every day for the past week and I love it. Today I got about a pint of berries. 


Having property and a garden takes hard work. I am definitely someone who doesn’t mind working hard and getting my hands dirty or callused.  

I am also a huge fan of cooking from scratch, and simple dinners that fill people up, that are also not step intensive or difficult. Yesterday I had tried a new recipe (for me anyway), that was a little time consuming, but really easy, and only had a few ingredients and a few steps. The most time consuming part was removing the excess fat from the chicken, letting it marinate and then letting it cook. In and of itself the marinade had like 5 ingredients, and you put it all together, and then put the chicken in (I used a couple gallon size bags) and let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours, then I dumped the contents of the bags into a roasting pan and put in the oven for about an hour. It turned out really good. I had also made baked rice to go with it. 


I feel like I am fairly realistic about how much work it takes to grow A garden, can fruit, freeze fruit and vegetables, and raise some chickens and maybe some pigs for meat. It all takes time and effort, and a willingness to get in there and get hot, sweaty and dirty. 

When Homemaking is a Passion

Hey Everyone! 

As a child, I was my dad’s little buddy when he would be working out in the yard, and I was my mom’s (and grandma’s) little buddy when they were out in the kitchen. As a kid I can remember my dad taking my brother and I fishing, and as I got a little older, I was the only one he took. Seeing a fish be cleaned always fascinated me. 

Growing up, I also enjoyed cooking and baking. Once I had to go Dairy Free and Gluten Free (and now egg free as well), cooking and baking have taken on new meanings. 

From the time I was young I would help my mom make Sunday dinners when she would make them, as well as holiday dinners once my Dad’s mom passed away. I also grew up helping my mom can and make jam in the summers. 

My later high school years were when I really began to enjoy learning about what women’s roles were during the 1800’s, especially those who lived on the frontier, as well as between the 1920’s – early 1960’s. More specifically what life was life for women who didn’t come from money or marry into money – women like my grandmothers and great grandmothers. Women who cooked, baked, gardened, kept a house and even went to work if they needed to. 

Now that I am older, I have heard stories that my grandmother had told my mom of her youth and young adult life, as well as stories that my mom has told from when she was around. 

Part of my love of Homemaking and the history of it, is that at one time many women gardened, or if not, the food they had available was all local and ethnically raised. Knowing where my food comes and how it’s raised / grown is important to me. Just from my own experience, with the young women I have known here where I live, I am one of the few (like that I can count on one hand) who know how to can food, as well and knowing how to make a meal from scratch. 

This past week I have been home on my own, which means that checking the raspberries and other plants in the backyard as well as watering everything. I have also been doing my fair share of cooking, baking and cleaning, so those I live with could come home to a clean house. 

In college, when I had my own apartment, I found a love / tolerate relationship with cleaning. While I could find things I would rather do than clean, I don’t hate it either. I also found that cleaning is a good stress reliever. If I just needed a break from studying/ homework and needed to clear my head and destress (and it was too late to go far a walk), I would clean my apartment. I came to kind of enjoy cleaning, and I always enjoyed having a clean apartment. 

While in college I also found a love for decorating the space I live in, and make it smell good. Over the years I have been working in building up my fall decorations and winter decorations stashes. 

I am all for women being able to do what they want with their lives, and follow their dreams and pursue their career goals. I am by no means advocating doing away with the all the work that women (and men) before me and have done to give me the opportunity to pursue my own dreams and find out what I am passionate about. There are so many things I love doing that 2 or 3 generations ago, I would not have been able to do. 

I definitely want to help preserve and share the history of my grandmother’s and great grandmother’s generations as well as the history of their mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers. 

Who Wants to be a Homesteader? 

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This morning as I was putting the dishes away, I had noticed that there were some ripe raspberries out on the raspberry plants in the backyard. 

So I went outside and picked them. 

And then ate them with the salad I had….


I sure do love Oregon berries and locally grown produce. It’s even better when they come from your own backyard. I am all about modern day homesteading, and growing a lot of your own food. I wouldn’t mind living on a farm or ranch, and raising a lot of my own produce, as well as chickens (layers and meat chickens), pigs (for food), as well as stocking the freezer with fish (salmon, cod, etc), caught here on the west coast, venison, elk, maybe a moose. I also want to have a good supply of freezer jam made from local berries, as well as canned jams and jellies. I definitely want to try at some point in my life, black currant jelly, elderberry jelly and fireweed jelly. 

I know canning, preserving, gardening, and farm life is hard work. I love working with my hands and seeing the product of my efforts, and being in the kitchen as well as outside. I also know that berry bushes scratch up your hands, arms and legs. I know that it takes a while to pit pie cherries before you can them. 

I was raised in the city, and raised eating grocery store food 99% of the time. Now that I am older, I am way more conscious of where my food comes from, how it was raised, what it was fed, what it was given (hormones, antibiotics etc), and honestly all of that grosses me out. I have tasted fresh caught salmon, and locally grown vegetables, and chicken that I saw where & how it was raised and honestly all of that tasted so much better than the grocery store food. 

Since I developed food intolerances and sensitivities, I am all about clean eating, as well as knowing where my food comes from, and how it was raised. 

At the end of the day, I would just as soon spend a day working hard outside or in the kitchen doing something to provide food for myself and my future family, whether it be to eat right away or preserve for eating in the colder months when fresh food is scarce. 

The more I can do for myself (of help my future husband with), and the less I have to rely on the mainstream grocery stores for, the happier I would be. I am also sure the more fresh, local, natural foods (as opposed to processed) I can eat, I know my body would do better with. 

That is my ultimate goal, to raise more of my food myself, live on some acreage, and be more self sufficient (including learning how to sew). 

Learning to live a more Frugal lifestyle 

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If anything, the past 11 years, has taught me how to live a more frugal lifestyle and how much “fluff” and extras I really don’t need. 

While having to be Dairy Free, generally Gluten Free, and generally Egg Free, that costs more than your normal grocery haul would, unless you shopped solely at new seasons or Whole Foods or some place life that. 

I have been learning how to live with my food intolerances and live a frugal lifestyle. 

That is one of the things I am wanting to do, is live more frugally, and do as much as I can, myself. I definitely prefer doing my own canning. While I would rather spend a bit more on buying local fruit and vegetables and canning my own fruit, pickles and jams as well as doing freezer jam. I have been learning the value of not having cable tv, or even hulu plus or Netflix. While it is nice to have some movies and some series of TV on DVD, I have learned the value of a hard days work. I am tired of being stuck in the city, where it isn’t as easy to get out side and work with my hands and be productive, as gas prices are climbing, and it is so expensive to live in the city. I honestly don’t miss having Netflix and Hulu. 

I am also trying to spend my time more wisely, and not waste my time on computer games when I could be knitting, or reading books. 

While I do have a list of yarn and knitting things I would like to accrue, I am trying to work through the yarn I have. The needles and swift I would like would be useful for more than one occasion. 

I am also trying to reduce my Scentsy budget to something more reasonable, like keeping a few bars of my favorite year round scent, one or two summer scents, a couple fall scents, and one or two winter scents, and not have excessive amounts of any one scent.

Books are one “luxury” and pass time, besides knitting that is worth while that is more of the enjoyment of it. 

Learning how to live a frugal lifestyle is important to me, and while I would live to live in, or near a small town, I really don’t want to more than a couple hours away from Portland. This is on the sole basis that my bakery is here, tea and tea shops are plentiful here, and Bob’s Red Mill is here. Not to mention the Gorge isn’t all that far away, to go get fruit to can, or Sauvie Island, or other farm stores that would carry pickling cucumbers, dill and garlic to can garlic dill pickles. 

I have been realizing that I don’t need as much stuff as I once thought I did. 

You don’t need the fastest internet, or all the cable channels, or a wall full of dvds, or the most expensive car or house, or best vacations to live a fulfilled and happy life. Honestly, I prefer the feeling I have at the end of the day when I have worked hard and am actually tired, or spent the day with those I care about, or played a board game with good friends, or watched the sunset over the ocean, or sat around a campfire at night, away from the city lights and saw all the stars in the sky. There is so much more to life than having to have all the latest and greatest, or the biggest and best. 

Life is so much more than being focused on the material things. Yes, having a comfortable house is nice, but so is making memories with friends and family and taking joy in the simple pleasures. 

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of eating out. I would just as soon grill up some burgers or salmon on a summer evening, and make some side salads, and a homemade dessert, and enjoy dinner on the back patio or in the backyard, and have a fire in the fire pit in the back yard once the sun goes down, over going and sitting a restaurant for however many hours. That is part of my aversion to city life, I always feel like I am having to go somewhere and do something, and spend money left and right to have fun. I am the type who prefers sitting at home reading a book, and some of my best and favorite memories involve sitting around a campfire with friends having a good conversation. 

As I get older, and I learn more about who I am, I definitely feel like I live in the wrong era. I feel like I belong in a by gone era, where women did more Homemaking and living off the land. While I really don’t want to give up indoor plumbing, running water, electricity, modern appliances (and refrigeration), there is something to be said of the country life. You know, having a freezer full of chicken meat that you raised yourself, as well as ham, pork chop, bacon, pork roasts and such that came from pigs you raised, fish that you caught (and some that you also smoked yourself), as well as venison, maybe some moose, and elk. Not to mention some homemade freezer jam, as well as a pantry that is well stocked with home canned fruit and pickles, as well as the gluten free and shelf stable dairy free necessities. 

Shortbread Cookies and Daylight Lightbulbs

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday I had gotten some new lightbulbs for my bedroom, I had picked up some IMG_1453daylight lightbulbs. In this part of the country, we are used to grey, wet winters and we don’t get enough sunlight. While I don’t have S.A.D, well at least not from the amount of grey and wet we have, this winter and spring has been particularly hard for some reason, as it has been more grey and wet than normal. I am trying to see if the daylight bulbs help out with that. I am aware that the ones I got are not the same as full spectrum light bulbs, which are for those who do have S.A.D. I also wanted to try these bulbs to see if I liked the lighting, and if it was any good for Vlogging, as I want to do more of that, once I get my own place again. So far I am liking how much brighter they are than the soft white lightbulbs. They will definitely make it easier to see to knit and read in the evenings.

IMG_1446Yesterday I also baked up a batch of Gluten Free (and Dairy Free) Shortbread Cookies, using the Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Mix from Bob’s Red Mill. This is the third or fourth time I have made these cookies, the first time using my new round cookie cutters with the rippled edges. I love how these cookies turned out. I had also used my Scottish Thistle Cookie Stamp. Each time I have made these cookies, the better they have turned out. The first time I made them, was kind of a disaster. Practice makes perfect, and the more times you do something the better you will get at doing whatever it is you are doing.

Today was one of those days where the idea of home has been on my mind a lot. Beings as the city has really never been home to me, I have though a lot about how I would love to move back to the one place I do consider home, if I had the opportunity. I had to move back to the city after college because of the lack of employment in the area. Being someone who prefers the outdoors and homemaking, and would love to live on some acreage with a garden, some chickens, and a few goats, the city life grows old real quickly.

I have been interested in and intrigued by homemaking of generations past, especially during the 1950’s as well as the 19th century in the American West (life on the frontier & homesteading). Back then the food was real, without all the added hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals. The meat was grass fed, and quite often free range (especially the bison, venison, elk, fish, cows, etc). Women worked hard. Back in the days before electricity and running water they had to haul water, cook over an open fire or on a wood stove. They did laundry by hand, cooking took a lot more time, they also had to can and preserve a lot more food in the summer to sustain their family during the winter. They also made clothes for their families, and had many children, all without epidurals, and many at home, with a midwife.

While I really don’t want to live completely off grid, there are things to be learned from the lives women led throughout history, and be able to take what we have learned from that to live the best life possible. I consider what I would like to do, to be able to live semi off grid. I still want running water, toilets that flush, a hot shower daily, electricity and internet. At the same time I would love to be a part of building my own house, on some land, having solar panels, and getting as much electricity as possible from those, and using the main grid electricity more as a back up (especially in winter, when there is not as much daylight), canning, preserving food, and growing as much of my own produce as possible in the summer.

 

Baking Day

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday, I had decided to do some baking. I was wanting something sweet, but didn’t have chocolate chips, so I mixed up a batch of gluten free & dairy free Oatmeal Raisin cookies. 


I had also mixed up, and baked a loaf of gluten free & dairy free rustic flat bread to go with dinner, beings that we still have split pea soup. 


I know cookies and breads are not the best, when it comes to watching what I eat, but when it still feels like late February outside, and has the rain to go with it, baked goods are comfort foods. 

Both the cookies and the rustic flat bread turned out really well.