This is the Life I Choose

Hey Everyone!

Earlier this week, one of the evenings I had been out picking raspberries, and I was been eaten alive by mosquitoes and cut up by the raspberry bushes.

The next afternoon I went digging in my closet looking for an old button down shirt that I didn’t really care about and hadn’t worn for ages. I found one that would work and put it on before going out to pick berries.

While the scratches from the raspberry bushes hurts, it’s the mosquito bites that concern me a bit more. While we don’t really worry about things like Yellow Fever or Malaria, or anything that is typically in the humid subtropical areas of the world, our biggest worries are West Nile Virus and to some extent Zika. Other than travel related cases where someone had travelled to a place where Zika is prevalent and gets bit, it is a pretty low risk still at this point in this part of the country that you could get Zika from a mosquito bite here. That being said it’s something I don’t want to take the chance of.

This evening I had gone out picking, and I got about 7/8 of a pint. The berries are slowly coming on. It is a wait and see kind of thing to see what the crop is like this year.

The berries I have gotten thus far have been gotten eaten. If and when I start getting a pint and a half to two pints a day, then making jam is a definite possibility.

There are a couple DIY hacks I would like to try in the future, such as homemade Citronella candles and using citronella essential oil mixed with fractionated coconut oil applied topically. I would also like to give some proper work clothes a try like some Duluth Trading Company clothes a try for the summer months (as well as some Carhartt for the colder months).

It seems that the older I get, the desire to grow as much of my own produce as possible, and do so much more Homesteading and DIY stuff. Knowing where my food comes from and what is in my food is a big deal to me. I realize that growing a garden, as well as going and locally procuring what isn’t feasible to grow on the small scale, hunting for and fishing my own food is the life I am working my rear end off to make happen for myself.

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Fresh Picked Raspberries are my Current Obsession!

Hey Everyone!

Now that the raspberries are starting to come on, I am out there picking each evening.

My obsession began last summer when I was home alone for a week, and picking raspberries was left up to me. I was out there picking each evening, even though it was hot and the air was so smoky from the forest fires.

So far our air quality is still pretty good this year, but we have yet to have summer officially start, which will happen in less than 2 days (Thursday morning just after 6:00 am).

This afternoon I had gone out and picked the roughly quarter of a pint of raspberries that was ready.

I didn’t stay out long since it has been in the low 90’s today, and I am not a heat loving kind of person.

Today, I also got the bulky shawl I had finished knitting up a little while back washed up, beings that it was so warm today.

I am trying to maximize my use of the hot weather while it’s here, especially if I am ever able to move to SE Alaska. That is one thing I figured out / realized is that while I am living in the lower 48, I might as well take advantage of the summer weather to air dry my hand knit items outside and they will dry pretty quick. Then the house doesn’t smell like wet sheep for those I live with. Should I be able to move to SE Alaska, I am going to have to find other ways of drying my woolen creations. Living here in the lower 48, summer is the best time to wash new stuff especially. The wet sheep smell seems to diminish a bit after the first wash.

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.

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.