Urban Homesteading

Hey Everyone!

I have been keeping an eye on the raspberry bushes in the backyard garden.

I noticed some red starting to come on, so I went out to check things out.

There were a couple early raspberries, that were ready so I picked them and ate them.

There are many more that will be ready once we get some warmer weather.

The later part of this spring has been cooler than average. Next week is supposed to get warm, which will help ripen up these berries.

The apples are also starting to grow. If they don’t get eaten through by bugs, we might be able to get some apple sauce made this autumn.

I definitely enjoy growing my own produce, and working with the land. I like being able to live off what I can grow, and preserve food for later when it is no longer the season for growing produce.

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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.

Family Style Homemade Chili

Hey Everyone!

For the past week or so, Chili has been sounding good. By Chili, I don’t mean the already made in a can that you just heat up, I am talking homemade chili that has a few more steps, yet still super easy. It is also variable depending on the type of meat you use and the spicy-ness of the seasonings you use. I prefer mild chili.

This is a pretty easy dinner idea that doesn’t take more than 30 – 45 minutes to make, and will feed a whole family.

To make this chili you will need:

•2lbs ground beef or ground chicken (I prefer ground chicken)

•2 packages of McCormick Chili Seasoning (I use mild)

•2 cans Cannellini (white) beans

•2 cans Kidney Beans

•2 cans Black Beans

•2 cans Petite Diced Tomatoes

•grated cheddar cheese and sour cream if desired for topping

Directions:

1. In a large pot (20qt or larger) cook the meat until it is almost completely cooked. Drain off excess grease.

2. While the meat is cooking, open the cans of beans and drain them, reserving the liquid in a bowl for later.

3. Once the meat is cooked most of the way through, add the cans of diced tomatoes, the seasoning packets and the beans to the pot that the meat is cooking in, mix well.

4. Let Chili heat through until it’s hot and the meat is finished cooking.

5. Serve hot and add cheese and sour cream on top of individual servings if so desired for those who can eat dairy.

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.

Lesson Learned; Should Have Used the Cast Iron Pan

Hey Everyone!

Earlier this afternoon I had mixed up a batch of gluten free, dairy free chocolate chip cookies, beings that today’s high was 32 degrees cooler than yesterday’s high. I don’t handle anything above 70 very well, and 65 to 70 is perfect summer weather for me. Yes, I know I should live in SE Alaska, and I would if I had a job. So, today, I had the energy to bake.

Most of you probably wouldn’t know that I really don’t like beef. I don’t like the smell or the flavor of it. My brother on the other hand loves it. He bought a steak to cook for dinner.

Beings that I haven’t cooked more than a package or two of ground beef, in making meals for others, in over a decade I didn’t think to grab the cast iron skillet instead of the red copper skillet since he was going to sear it on high heat.

This is what happened to that poor skillet:

It didn’t look like that this morning.

We also had the smoke detector going off and me running around the house opening windows and turning on fans. Between the smell and the smoke it was nuts.

Baking the rest of my gluten free, dairy free cookies was also put on hold during this steak cooking, because his highness is always more important than whatever the lowly peasant (me) is doing.

My cookies turned out really good by the way.

In trying to get the house aired out, I have a pot of cinnamon water on a low heat on the stove. I am not a fan of chemical aerosol sprays or other chemical laden sprays to mask smells if I can help it (I am slowly getting away from Scentsy). I definitely prefer more natural methods. My mom was the one who taught me about the cinnamon water trick to help with smells, so I am giving it a try.

Even though I am not a huge fan of the smell of most meat while it is cooking, there are some that I do like to eat once it is cooked, like chicken and fish. I also enjoy venison on occasion. I have yet to try bear or moose, but if they were cooked in someone else’s kitchen or outside (on a camp stove), I would definitely be willing to try them.

Homestead Dreams

Hey Everyone!

For the past several years, Homesteading has been something I have been interested in and something that I have been mulling over.

I grew up in the city, yet it has really never felt like home. As Portland has grown, and is bursting at its seams, the less I want to stick around. The hustle and bustle, the traffic, the lack of work for those not in IT, Engineering or health care, the hipsters as well as other things, makes someone like me disenchanted with being here.

I am someone who wants to work hard, and put in an honest days work. I also like seeing the fruits of my labor, figuratively and literally. I also like getting my hands dirty, and working on the land. I like a balance of indoors and outdoors, as well as living an active and more natural lifestyle.

All that said, beings I am used to things like running water and electricity I don’t want to live totally off grid, rather finding a balance in order to live a sustainable lifestyle. I am not adverse to having solar panels to help offset electricity costs, especially in the summer.

I am one of those people who doesn’t need a huge house, yet wants something bigger than I tiny home. Having a kitchen where I have the room to cook and bake full meals from scratch as well as can and preserve food in the summer, and have a decent sized pantry and a cold room in the basement. Yet, I also want plenty of room outside to be able to garden, have some chickens (and maybe have some other animals as well). If I were to have kids I would want to have enough room to also be able to send them outside to play in the decent weather.

This is kind of what I would like for a cold room:

If I am able to live this sort of life and live in the country, having a cold room would not only allow me to be able to store whatever I canned over the summer, but also be able to make city runs more effective by buying dry goods and canned goods in bulk and having someplace to store them.

Country Life is Calling to Me

Hey Everyone!

I hope you all had a good Easter, and Easter Weekend.

The past three weeks or so have been pretty busy for me, and have involved a lot of homemaking / crafting activities. Between the Ladies Retreat I went on, as well as having had family coming to town and then Easter, I have spent a lot of time either in the kitchen or not in the city (or both).

I know I wrote a bit about what I did for the ladies retreat and for when my family came to visit, so I don’t really need to touch on all that again, since I am pretty well caught up on that on the blog.

Easter Weekend… Friday included going grocery shopping for easter dinner and for food for during the week. We had gone to a few stores, including New Seasons which is more of the natural grocery store that carries a lot more of the natural choices, organic food, locally grown, raised and produced foods. That is where we got the Lamb Roast and the Salmon Fillet for Easter Dinner. The Lamb Roast was from a lamb that was raised here in the U.S. and the Salmon Fillet came from a wild caught Alaskan Coho Salmon, so both were delicious.

Saturday, I made a pot of Chili because it sounded good, and wanted something in addition to leftovers for during the week, for meals. That evening I also mixed up a double batch of rolls for Easter dinner, so they could rise in the fridge overnight.

Sunday Morning, I went to church with my mom for Easter Service, and then we came home and made Easter Dinner for the family, before going back to church for the Easter Concert at their church.

Today, I woke up, and remembered that I had stuff to get done, and yet didn’t want to go anywhere, so I pulled myself out of bed, and got ready to go. I had to run to the post office, and mail off some paper work for something I have going, before stopping at the nearest Black Rock coffee stand because I had a full punch card. I got an extra large soy hazelnut latte, because it’s Monday, and after having several busy weeks, I needed the caffeine, even though I gave up my coffee habit years ago. I am definitely wanting to be better about staying far away from coffee and energy drinks and sticking with one cup of black tea a day at most.

Being tired of being in the city, and already being in the car, I decided to go for a little drive. I headed east, and went out through Estacada, and then headed up into the foothills of the Cascades from there. Once I hit snow on the road, it was time to turn around since I only had my two wheel drive car, and no studs or chains (studded tire season here ended two days ago). It was definitely pretty though.

I love not being in the city, I would definitely love to live outside the city, somewhere like this. It’s far enough out that there is elbow room, and not a whole lot of traffic, but not so far out that one can’t come into the city and go to the more specialty stores, like New Seasons, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Bob’s Red Mill, or go shopping depending on what you needed and if you couldn’t find it in the nearest small town. Where I went today was close enough to a small town that has a grocery store, schools, a couple banks a Gas station or two, and some of the essentials for your everyday needs, but is also close enough to the city (30 – 45 minutes) for the more specialty stuff that you would stock up on when you go to the city, but isn’t a regular occurrence.

Since I got home, I have been working on some laundry and just trying to decompress a little bit.