Snow Day Baking

Hey Everyone!

It’s been snowing pretty much all day, though it really didn’t stick until after the sun had set.

I have been wanting Cinnamon Rolls for several weeks, as my brother has had regular ones around since he moved back.

Today I finally made Gluten Free and Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls. The recipe I used didn’t call for pecans, but I like putting pecans in my cinnamon rolls. I also make a double batch to get my cinnamon rolls to be a decent size.

I baked these cinnamon rolls from scratch. I even had mixed up the flour mix myself. I buy the individual flours from Bob’s Red Mill and then mix up the mix myself and then store it in a Rubbermaid container for when I am cooking and baking.

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DIY Gluten Free Dairy Free Pizza

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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.

New Favorite Scentsy Scent!

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When I had first tried Scentsy and for the longest time afterward my favorite year round, classic scent was Coconut Lemongrass. Here a few months ago, I had kind of gone off the scent. It’s not that I hate it now, it just didn’t do it for me like it had. I was looking for a new all around clean scent. I still love Sunkissed Citrus, but it hasn’t held the same place that Coconut Lemongrass did. Sunkissed Citrus is a very clean yet summery scent for me.

It was a few months after Sea Salt and Avocado came out before I tried it. For now it has taken the place that Coconut Lemongrass once had. So I stocked up on Sea Salt and Avocado so I will have some for a while.

January was Bring Back My Bar month, and I was super excited when I saw that Mulberry Bush was brought back. I had purchased a bar of Mulberry Bush either before it was retired or on another Bring Back My Bar order a while back and loved it. I was sad when I had used it up. So when it was brought back, I stocked up.

I haven’t been a consultant in about a year. While I don’t miss being a consultant, I still love the products. Each season I enjoy looking at which warmers are being brought out, and which scents are returning.

The one scent that I was hoping would come back this spring / summer catalog was Apple S’mores, but it doesn’t look like it is coming back.

Baking Cookies + Life Update

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Winter is time of year when Cold and Flu season is at it’s peak. Over I started coming down with my first cold of the season on New Years, and it had cleared up in a week, then I had a busy weekend and had caught another cold along the line and have been sick with that for a week and a half now.

Between having been laid off from the seasonal job I had for the holidays, being sick, and getting older it has given me a chance to reevaluate my long term goals for my life.

What I know is that the City life isn’t for me, and I want to continue doing more of the Homemaking and Homesteading / urban Homesteading stuff, I want to be able to spend more time writing posts for this blog and having content to write about.

I would love to settle down, get married, have a home of my own, have a family of my own. I would love to live I some property where I could have a good size garden, raise some chickens (layers and meat chickens), maybe some pigs and goats. I also would love to be able to be canning each summer and put up meat for the winter.

Last night I had decided to mix up a batch of gluten free vegan shortbread cookies. They turned out amazing, and I had used my Scottish Thistle cookie stamp.

I enjoy cooking and baking. I enjoy being out in the kitchen and making things that taste good.

Preparing for Christmas Dinner

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As I am writing this, it is the wee small hours of Christmas Morning. Yes I am still up, and yes Christmas presents can wait until it is daylight outside and I have been to bed.

Yesterday, being Christmas Eve, there was time spent working on doing some prep work for Christmas Dinner. Green Beans were cooked, Cheesy Potatoes were made, Cranberry Salad was prepped for tomorrow, Cherry Pies were made from scratch, and Rolls were mixed up from scratch. I won’t be having any of the Cheesy Potatoes or Rolls. The Cheesy Potatoes have a ton of dairy in them, and with the rolls I am really trying to be careful how much gluten I eat, and I would rather have a piece of pie than a roll or two anyway.

Today we just have to cook the ham, bake the rolls, and reheat the potatoes and green beans, as well as put the cranberry salad together. Finishing up getting dinner ready and served should not be super difficult.

Thanksgiving dinner seems to be the most labor intensive of the holiday dinners, but I love them all. I love cooking these more complex / full meals. I love cooking from scratch and putting a meal together to then serve to those I love and care about.

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Making Hot Cocoa by the Gallon

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Each evening this weekend, I have helped make hot cocoa by the gallon for an event that drew over 5,000 people over the course of the weekend.

We were using the professional (1.75 lb) size bags of Nestle Hot Cocoa mix. We were making batches in large pots on the stove with 3 – 4 bags and the appropriate amount of water for each bag of mix in each batch. So each pot made 3.75 to 5 gallons of hot cocoa.

Over the course of the weekend, 170 gallons of hot cocoa was made. We only had a batch plus a bit left over.

When you are making hot cocoa for such a large crowd, seeing individual serving size packets is weird. Over the course of 3 nights we used 10 cases plus 2 bags from an 11th case of the 1.5 – 1.75 pound bags of cocoa.

There were a few times each evening where I left the kitchen to take a pot of hot cocoa out to the service line, but for the most part I stayed in the safety of the nice quiet kitchen where there weren’t so many people.

As far as timing goes, I definitely hit it right to see a few friends and family who had come, most of whom I haven’t seen in months or even years.

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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.