Simple and Homemade

Hey Everyone!

I have been trying to enjoy the few days off in a row that I have had. I was asked to go in on my day off yesterday (which is a normal occurrence this time of year), but turned it down, as I am already scheduled to work 4 days in a row this week.

Yesterday, I was able to get quite a bit done around the house. I got a couple loads of laundry done, as well as making dinner. I made chicken penne, with a mix of whole wheat noodles and black bean penne noodles.

I also baked the reindeer sugar cookies we picked up at the grocery store.

I definitely miss being on my own, having to budget, living frugally, and living a simpler life. I have finally come to the point where I know what I want to be doing, and how I want to be living. I have realized that it’s time to be looking to move away from where I currently am, to an area with a better cost of living. I don’t really mind not having a lot of money, and making due with less. I am also the kind of person who wants and needs to do more for myself and my future family, such as gardening and canning. Homemade, homegrown and home canned food is better than store bought.

Trying a new Chicken Recipe

Hey Everyone!

Last night, I cooked some chicken to have for dinner this week. I was at a loss for how to season it, since I have used all my old standbys a lot in recent weeks.

So, I googled “Chicken Seasoning”, and found a recipe from Allrecipes that I used as a guideline and made my own.

I mixed together:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried shallots
  • 1 teaspoon dry basil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

I had mixed the dry spices together before I added in the mayo.

This was enough to lightly coat 9 chicken thighs.

I baked them in a sprayed / oiled 9×13 Pyrex at 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) for about 45 minutes. Depending on how much meat you have and how thick it is, the cooking time will likely vary. It is done when the internal temperature is 170 – 175 or is white on the inside.

I do have to say that it turned out delicious!

Easy go to Dinner

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday my family and I had gone to the beach. We had gone to one of the beach towns that caters a bit more to the yuppie hipster Portland crowd. The only good part of that was the fact that I was able to easily find dairy free food. The bakery had these raisin spice cake type muffins that were dairy free. They tasted like they had applesauce in them (which would replace any dairy for liquid). They were so good. The place we had dinner had a few dishes that could be made vegan, so I got one of them.

Today, after I finished work I cooked up some dinner.

I had chicken to cook. I used my trusty old standby, vinegar and soy sauce marinade. All you have to do is put your chicken in quart size ziplock bags, then I like to combine the soy sauce and vinegar in a measuring cup before pouring it in the bags, enough to cover the chicken (about a cup and a half of the mixture per bag). Then I seal the bags and put in the roaster or baking dish to be baked in. I let mine marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours, could be left in the fridge overnight. I then removed the bags from the roaster / baking dish and then slowly dump the contents into the baking dish. An bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes or until done. It is so good.

I had also made some gluten free vegan cornbread to go with my meal, and a spinach salad.

With my schedule, on days that I work, I am up by 4:15 am at the latest, today was a 3:15 am wake up time. Beings that I am up so early and work stock crew, I am all about easy meal ideas that don’t require a ton of steps, or a lot of brain power.

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!

What Living in a Small Town taught me about Who I am

Hey Everyone!

I am loving gardening and being able to go outside and work around after a rough day. There is something about working around the garden alone in the evenings.

Gardening definitely makes me miss living in a small town in the middle of nowhere this time of year. The towns I lived in while in college are college towns, at the same time there are families who live there, and the college is a welcome part of the community. With the exception of some of the freshman (thinking back to my own freshman year and lower division classes), the majority of the student body were there to learn. There were also a fair amount of older / non traditional students who had kids, in addition to the school not being a party school (can anyone say “dry campus”), made for a more family friendly community small town feel. Outside of town limits it was all farm land, whether they were growing grass for hay, hops for beer, or grapes to make wine, it is definitely a farming area. A lot of people who lived outside city limits also had gardens, some had chickens and or goats. There were at least a couple alpaca farms. It took leaving the city and moving there to realize that I am not a city girl.

It took living there to plant the seeds of wanting to live in the country, on some acreage where I can have a flower garden and a fruit & vegetable garden as well as chickens, maybe some goats, and so much more. I personally fell in love with living in the country, not super far from a small town.

Living there taught me how to appreciate the quiet and simpleness of a summer’s evening, and gardening once the sun is past it’s peak (between 5:30 and 7:30 pm), and enjoy watching the sun go down while sitting outside especially if there is a breeze.

Living in a small town where the regular TV stations didn’t always come through clearly, and many businesses closed by 7:00 pm, there wasn’t a lot to do like there is in the city. That didn’t bother me at all. It really helped me to appreciate the simpler things in life like the beauty of a summers evening, and going for a walk for something to do. It fits well with who I am. That slower pace of life, and enjoying the simpler way of life in terms of not having to be going from one store to another, spending lots of money, or constantly needing to go somewhere and do something is what works for me. If I ever have a family of my own, I would love to raise my kids near a small town.

Working around in the garden this week gave me time to think about how much more I want to do and what I want to grow and make for myself. While there is more of a resurgence of the Homesteading / Urban Homesteading Lifestyle out here in this part of the country, it seems like how much of what women did a couple generations ago (and they weren’t all urban housewives), is a chapter in the history books. Homesteading, even Modern Homesteading and urban Homesteading are a lot of work, but I love the way I feel at the end of a long day of work and being tired from actually accomplishing something.

This week I have picked about a pint of raspberries each day, and yesterday I picked some of my lettuce that I had planted earlier this week. I watered the garden, and kept a watchful eye on the tomato plants. It was a good thing that we staked the tomatoes last weekend. They have grown so much in the past week, it’s crazy. As of yesterday there were 11 flowers that I counted between all the plants. If we hadn’t staked them when we did, they would likely be falling over already.

Eating Healthier because of Food Intolerances

Hey Everyone!

I am not perfect by any means, there are still times when I do eat “junk food”. Though overall, having food intolerances has forced me to eat healthier.

I love clean eating because it’s not a diet, and it’s not hard to follow. It’s all about eating more fruit, vegetables and lean proteins. You can still have breads, grains, as such in moderation, as well as cutting down the amount of added sugar.

When I was able to do clean eating full time, I felt great. I loved having chicken and fish as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. I would also make smoothies using frozen fruit, unsweetened plain coconut milk yogurt and some cranberry juice.

Who need this…..

When you can have this?

This last picture is of what I had for dinner. Beings that I can’t eat pizza without being sick, and the good Lebanese food restaurant is no longer there, this was what sounded good, so I made it.

There is something about a homemade meal (even the easy ones) that are just so good. When I figure out what sounds good and what to cook, I love being in the kitchen, cooking and baking up a storm.

Latest Addition to my Cookbook Collection

Hey Everyone!

Recently I had gotten a gift card for Barnes and Noble, so I decided to use it to add to my cookbook collection.

I had ordered Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines.

Having spent my life living in the Pacific Northwest, I am wanting to branch out and try different recipes. I am definitely wanting to find more hearty recipes that fill people up.

I like that this cookbook has practical recipes that aren’t super fancy, and you’d expect to fix for breakfast on a Saturday morning, or for dinner on a summer evening. While there are plenty of recipes I can’t eat or would have to alter for myself, I could definitely see myself using this cookbook regularly for meals to feed a family or if I had company coming over.

Beings that the Gaines’ live on a farm, in Texas the recipes call for real food that one could grow on a farm or find easily in a grocery store. I like that with recipes, simple and that you could get your kids to eat.