Baking Cookies For Lunches

Hey Everyone!

Fall is finally here, in full swing.

Next week, I am scheduled for 40 hours which means I will be taking lunches, in addition to snacks for break.

That being said, I baked a half a batch of gluten free vegan cookies for my lunches today.

It was the perfect day for baking. It has been cold (53 degrees Fahrenheit for our high), wet and grey.

I love these kind of days. It kind of makes me want to be at the beach.

Now that I have a seasonal job, and having been starting work early in the morning, not much fun Homemaking stuff has been happening the last couple of weeks.

I am hoping that once I am used to my schedule, and we have more cooler days I will feel more like baking and stuff.

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Homemade Dinner after a Long Day!

Hey Everyone!

I am so happy Fall is here, it is my favorite time of year!

It means (generally) cooler weather, hot home cooked meals from scratch.

Yesterday after work, I made lentils and homemade easy artisan bread.

I wasn’t super tired when I started in on my cooking and baking, but by the time I was done I was exhausted. I had also been up since 4 am.

I am so excited for this fall and all the homemade food I will hopefully be making this autumn!

It’s Finally Turning into Fall!

Hey Everyone!

This past weekend was Labor Day Weekend. During the course of which I spent with my parents. Saturday we had gone out to Sauvie Island, and had gone to Kruger Farm, since my mom wanted to can pickled beets.

We had picked up 20 pounds of beets as well as a few other things while we are there. I am always amazing and how much less produce costs at farm stores and farmers markets than it does in the normal grocery stores.

This weekend we had also done some cooking and baking. I had made two pumpkin pies, one was the regular kind with evaporated milk and the other I made dairy free with coconut milk.

This is my dairy free pie before I baked it:

Yesterday, being Labor Day, my mom and I canned the beets. We got 9 quarts and 2 pints of pickled beets.

Today I spent some time out in the garden, picking raspberries, tomatoes and starting to trim back the raspberry bushes for the winter. I got just over a pint of raspberries and I got three pints of tomatoes. Our tomatoes have really been taking off.

I also saw this perfect spider web while I was out picking raspberries.

I am not a huge fan of spiders but I thought the web was amazing. I don’t see complete ones like this very often.

Most of the past week or so has been cooler, though we are having a little bit of a heat wave over the course of yesterday, and today. The next couple days is supposed to be hot for us. I am ready for fall to be here in full force. We are in the transition of late summer / early autumn when it still can get hot, but the days are generally cooling off, the nights are getting cooler, the days are getting shorter. Sunset is now before 7:45 pm! Late August is when we usually start seeing a dramatic drop off and difference of the days getting shorter.

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.

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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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.

Unhealthy Air Quality

Hey Everyone!

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.