Just your average working class neighborhoods

Hey Everyone!

Today I needed to get out of the house and go do stuff, so I went out.

I got a coffee from black rock coffee, and went on my way. I had also stopped at my local Fred Meyer store and picked up a couple things, including more soothing lotion Kleenex. My allergies are still so bad for the fourth day in a row. For now I should be called sneezy, since I have been doing a lot of that lately.

Part of why I went out today was to do a little checking out of neighborhoods. There are a couple I really like, that is if I were to find a decent job and were able to afford to live in the city. The area I like is over in NE Portland, and was traditionally a working class neighborhood. It is the type of neighborhoods that would have been the type of neighborhoods my grandparents and great grandparents would have been raising families in. They are just normal homes in decent areas without being over the top and fancy. The kind of area where your everyday joe, who went to work and raised a family would have lived.

While I was at Fred Meyer, I found this really cute reusable shopping bag, and I fell in love.

I love anything that even resembles the 1950’s. It’s not just about being a stay at home wife and mother. While there are parts of this era where women were repressed, and didn’t have much say, yet they knew how to do a lot. There are things like being able to cook and back from scratch, canning as well as things such as sewing, needle point, knitting, crocheting, and so much more that isn’t common place much anymore. There was also a sense of class and decorum during that era.

Living in Portland, the whole “green” movement, reduce/reuse/recycle mentality is huge. We have yard debris bins that our compostables, and food scraps go in, as trash service every other week. It is also to the point where Multnomah County banned plastic grocery bags and bringing your own reusable bags encouraged.

Today, I was also able to pick two pints of raspberries as well as quite a few tomatoes. There are still quite a few tomatoes on the vines.

I am definitely not crunchy, nor will I likely ever be. Though there are some “crunchy”/”hipster”/”natural” traits that are also more “traditional” that I have adopted. Some of which include: shopping local as much as possible, cooking and baking from scratch, I love farmers markets – which also ties into the shopping local bit as well. I also like that you can get a lot more fresh produce and such at farmers markets for a good price. It hasn’t had to travel that far, so the product is fresher and hasn’t had sit for a while, and not as much fuel was used in the transport from farm to market, which is a money saver. You can also find more interesting things you wouldn’t normally find at a grocery store. The reusable bag I bought, I would eventually like to use when I am able to go to farmers markets.

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Unhealthy Air Quality

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The smoke from the wildfires that are burning here along the West Coast has finally settled into the Portland Metro area. While we don’t have any big wildfires burning on the west side of the cascades, that are north of Roseburg. There are several that are burning south of Roseburg, and in Central Oregon. So we are getting smoke from those fires as well as California, Washington and British Columbia. The air is also pretty stagnant today, and it’s hot so the smoke is settling here in the valley.

Our Air Quality Index here in Portland is sitting at 164, which is in the unhealthy range. I am definitely feeling it. My nose is stuffy, my nasal passages, throat and eyes are irritated.

I had noticed how smoky it was becoming yesterday while I was out gardening, and it was nowhere near as bad as today.

I didn’t go out and do any gardening today since it has been so hot and smoky.

I have been wanting to move someplace with a cooler climate and better air quality for a while. Having it this hot and this smoky for several summers in a row, has added to my desire to work hard and move.

Born in the Wrong Era

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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.

Summer Baking: Making Zucchini Bread from Free Zucchini

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My mom had gotten a large zucchini for free from someone she works with. She was not sure what to do with it, so I made three loaves of zucchini bread.

I hate wasting good food just because you don’t want to eat it. I always try to remember that there are children in this country who go hungry. So when you have food that is still good, you use it and eat it. While zucchini on its own is not one of my favorite foods, if you grate it up and make zucchini bread, then it is amazing.

As I have gotten older, reducing the amount of waste I create, and using food to create something that tastes good. Part of this is Lifestyle choices, and wanting to live a simpler life, as well as the fact that I have known how much food costs from a young age and am not oblivious to the struggle to keep enough food around. I am more grateful for what I have.

Today I picked about a pint of raspberries, which is a bit more than I have picked each day for the past few days. I am hoping that this is a sign that the second crop of the season is coming on and that I will be able to get more jam made this summer.

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.

They Got Too Heavy!!!

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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.

Finally starting to see Tomatoes.

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I had skipped checking the garden yesterday since it was so hot. It had gotten to at least 100 degrees yesterday. It was too hot for me to go out.

I got up early enough this morning to go out, since it was still in the low to mid 70’s and not in full sun yet.

Today I got two pints of raspberries.

I was also checking the tomato plants, as we haven’t gotten any yet this season. I have been seeing a lot of flowers over the past few weeks. Today I finally started seeing actual tomatoes. They are still tiny and green, but they signs of what is to come. They seem to be a little late coming on this year.

I am hoping that the heat helps them grow and ripen. I am glad that I got the plants staked when I did as they more than doubled in height in a couple of weeks, and would have toppled over by now.

I also trimmed back the raspberries so that they are easier to tend, and get more sun. When they grow up rather than producing berries than that height needs to go.