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. 

I get asked this all the time

Hey Everyone!

I get asked quite often for the recipes I use when I post pictures and such of what I bake. 

Beings that I am dairy free, egg free and generally gluten free, I try to be as careful as possible when cooking and baking. 

I am not vegan, as I still love honey, and I still eat certain meats. Though I am not a fan of the meat that comes from the grocery store. I seriously am the type of person who prefers to catch it myself or have someone close to me catch it / hunt it. 

When it comes to baking, this is the baking book I use. 

It has made gluten free baking so much similar for me. Many of these recipes are not dairy free so I substitute my dairy free alternatives for the dairy products. 

My favorite dairy free alternatives include:

For milk I use:

•Blue Diamond unsweetened unflavored almond coconut milk

•Silk unsweetened unflavored coconut milk 

For a butter alternative I like:

•Earth Balance organic whipped spread 

•Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread

In baking I also use in place of butter:

•Crisco Shortening

•Coconut Oil

In baking instead of eggs I use:

•Bob’s Red Mill gluten free egg replacer

A couple things to note: 

•when baking with shortening (when the recipe calls for butter or margarine) you need to add a table spoon or two of water in addition to what liquids are called for, because shortening is 100% fat based where as butter is about 80% fat and 20% water based. 

•when baking with Egg Replacer I add roughly an extra table spoon of water for the equivalent of 2 eggs replaced (about half a tablespoon per equivalent of one egg of egg replacer) as I noticed that the egg replacer is drier, gloppier and thicker than a beaten egg. 

•I have found that texture/ consistency wise as well as not having an overpowering different flavor, that the almond coconut and regular unsweetened coconut milk are as close as I can get to regular milk for using in recipes. 

Tried a new Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie recipe

Hey Everyone!

Monday, I really wanted some short bread cookies, but didn’t have any of the Bob’s Red Mill gluten free short bread mix, so I went to my gluten free baking book. I found a recipe for gluten free short bread cookies. 

So I decided to give that recipe a try, and used shortening instead of butter. 

These cookies would have been better if I had added almond flavoring to it. 

All in All I did not like how the recipe turned out, the cookies were falling apart in the process of putting them in the baking tray, and it stuck to my cookie stamp. The cookies just didn’t turn out like the mix from the Bob’s Red Mill does. I am kind of disappointed about that. 

So I am just going to stick with using the Bob’s Red Mill mix, in the future or if I make this recipe again, add some almond flavor, and not try to use my cookie stamp. 

More Pumpkin Muffins!

Hey Everyone!

Now that I have a bit more time on my hands, I have definitely been more inclined to bake, and bake more often. 

Yesterday I baked up another batch of pumpkin muffins, because they are so good, and I love pumpkin. This time I made a batch and a half, and used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free egg replacer. 

I have found that I am more sensitive to eggs now that I am an adult than I was when I was younger. Though I can get away with eggs occasionally as long as they are I baked goods. Though I have had a fair amount of products with eggs in them lately, that I chose to use egg replacer this time around. 

I also noticed that the last batch of pumpkin muffins were very moist (a little to moist if you as me), and i have found that the egg replacer makes baked goods a little drier than when eggs are used. So, it was a win win this time around. 

These muffins have definitely hit the spot in the mornings. 


The recipe I used, is the pumpkin muffin/ pumpkin bread recipe out of this baking book: 


I had purchased this book when I began going Gluten Free, and it is by far my old trusty gluten free baking book. While the recipes aren’t always dairy free, it is easy enough to substitute Coconut or Coconut Almond milk for the milk, and earth balance spread for butter or margarine. 

For me, it has totally been easier to have to go Dairy Free, Gluten Free and Egg Free as an adult. I am not solely reliant on someone else to try to learn what kind of food I need when they don’t have to deal with the consequences of it not being done correctly. 

Weekend Update 

Hey Everyone!

Sunday afternoon my mom and I had made cookies for my dad and brother. We had made regular chocolate chip cookies as well as chocolate cookies with the white chips. I can’t have any beings that both kinds have milk in them, as do the chips that were put in both. 

I still have plenty of lentil soup to eat this week, so I don’t need to make anymore dinner stuff, though I am debating on whether I want to do more baking, and what I want to bake. More cinnamon rolls are definitely on the agenda this week. Maybe more cookies and some bread, or some rustic flat bread. I am definitely in the mood to be baking and cooking. 

How I came up with my Blog Name

Hey Everyone!

I can just hear it now, “why is your blog called “A small town girl at heart” when you talk about subject relating to home, be it cleaning products, food, recipes, personal care products, weight loss, and everything like that?” 

I am going to attempt to explain it as best as possible so hopefully most of you will understand where I am coming from and how I came to the name I chose. 

I grew up in the city, but from the time I was about 11 or 12, I felt like there was more to life, or a part of me missing. I also never really felt at home where I lived. Growing up there weren’t really many kids on my street, let alone my age, and it really wasn’t the kind of place where kids played outside, or walked down the street to their friends house. 

At the age of 17, I was looking at colleges two of my top three were in neighboring cities about 2.5 hours away from where I grew up. The third was in this tiny little town in the middle of nowhere. At some point before looking at colleges, I had said to myself “I could never live in a small town”. Then I started going on college visits. The first one I had visited was the largest and most urban, but it terrified me and felt all wrong, the second one was still urban, but was not as terrifying, and wouldn’t have been bad. I went on my third college visit to the college in the small town in the middle of nowhere. It was set with the coast range mountains as a backdrop, the campus was beautiful, but definitely smaller than either of the other two, and most of the buildings lined the Main Street. It was still a little intimidating but something it felt normal and right. I still went on a second campus tour of the second college I had looked at, because it was down to that one and the third college. It was a good school, but every thing inside of me was screaming to go to Western. Before I committed to it I wanted to go on a second tour of school #3, and I knew it was the school for me, it just felt right. So fast forward a few months, and I got my acceptance letter to the school of my choice. Fast forward to the next fall, my first term of college, that was a tough term, dealing with the insanity (for me anyway) of living in the dorm, getting used to being on my own, and college. I had wanted to pack up and move back to the city. My mom made me stay, which now I am glad she did. I moved out of the dorms into a crappy apartment, and life improved a little bit. I still hated that apartment, but I loved that town, and the school and the life I was building there. It was while I was living in that apartment that I began understanding who I was and who I was supposed to become. As crappy as it was that apartment was still my first real home, as much as I hated it, I couldn’t wait to get back to it from the city. It was while living in that apartment that I realized I wasn’t supposed to become a teacher in the traditional, get up every day and teach in a school setting, so I changed my major. I am so glad I did, that following summer I moved into my second apartment, which was in the top floor, and was so much better than the first apartment I had. It was cleaner, newer and larger as well. It was at that point I really knew what home was, and could be like. I lived in that apartment for two years, and it was amazing. I loved living in those two small towns, i knew I was home. 

Home is different for everyone, for me home includes living in a small town, and having my own place to decorate, clean, maintain. Where I can cook and bake in my own kitchen, and so much more. When I think about home I think about that Apartment in the small town in the middle of nowhere. I left my heart there when I had to move back to the city after college. 

Having developed food sensitivities and intolerances has forced me to change how I cook, bake and view food in general. It has also forced me to see how I am tearing my body, and how I view myself. That also goes into how others view me. I have known it for a while that I really need to focus on doing what I need to do for me, even when it isn’t easy. I have also come to the realization I need to get my weight under control again, for many reasons. These reasons include my self confidence and self esteem, as well as being able to do more of what I love as have the endurance to challenge myself. With food intolerances I do a lot more cooking for myself. Along with that comes choices about what I put in my body, and how once I get my own place again, I want to do more homesteading and “old fashioned” kind of stuff. I want to have a garden, then make jam and do some canning during the summer months. So as you might have guessed the whole food and what I eat also ties into the concept of home. 

It took going away for college, and a good year and a half there for me to realize that small town and country life (as well as learning from the women in history, and carrying on that history to preserve it and teach it by living it), is so ingrained in my blood and my heart and has been from the time I was young. 

One day I hope to back to a small town or out in the country and live the life I have spent the past decade fighting for, and embrace the woman who God would have me to be. 

Tea and ItWorks

Hey Everyone!

I am nearing the end of my first week of it works greens and chews. So far it has been going well for me.  I will be interested in seeing if I have lost any weight this past week. I will find out Wednesday morning. 

This past weekend was incredibly busy that I was doing good to manage two meals a day. That is so typical me though. In college I regularly went without lunch. Lunch is the hardest meal for me to eat and figure out what to have. Especially since most of the time I either not have 30 minutes or am on the go that lunch gets bypassed. I feel like if I had the time and money I would totally do a better job of eating 5 or six smaller meals, or 3 slightly larger meals with healthy morning and afternoon snacks in between. 

Last week or the week before I had ordered tea from teavana, which is really a treat for me. It arrived today. I had ordered Snow Geisha which is a white tea with cherries and cranberries, Emperor’s clouds and mist, which is a green tea from China, and two bags of Earl Grey Creme tea. Being that I went off coffee, and I am trying to limit my caffeine consumption to one mug of black tea a day, I have been branching out and trying different teas. I know I like Tazo Awake English Breakfast Tea, Royal English Breakfast Tea and Earl Grey Creme tea from Teavana. I have also found that I like lotus tea and Tazo Passion Tea. I will have to see how I like the white and green teas I got from Teavana. I had also gotten a free sample tea in my order from Teavana – maharaja chai oolong tea. Chai’s are hit and miss with me. If they are mild I enjoy them, but if the spices are too strong then I am definitely not a fan. This chai tea was too strong for my tastes. I definitely take after the English and Scottish when it comes to my tea choices. I like a good cup of tea that is largely from the UK (and Ireland). 

I typically drink the green, white and herbal teas in the afternoon and limit my caffeine consumption. I gave up coffee because the caffeine and acid where negatively affecting me. It was hard at first, but I am glad I did. I also love the variety of teas.