Summers are so Busy

Hey Everyone!

I have been wanting oatmeal raisin cookies for a few days now.

Today I finally made half a batch. The full batch would have just been way to many cookies to try to eat before they get stale. Being the only person in the house who is gluten free, dairy free and egg free, my specialty food costs more money, and since I am the only one in this house who really needs it, I tend to make half a batch of these kinds of things.

I also was in the mood for gluten free vegan rustic flat bread. So I mixed one up this evening and baked it along with my cookies.

It’s been a while since I felt like baking, and I picked the busiest day to do it on. This afternoon I spent a couple hours working in the backyard and around the garden, picking berries and such. I also spent some time knitting, and then baking and dinner. After all that was done, it was time for a quick shower and off to church.

Summers are short (which is great since don’t like the heat), and we have to pack in all that we can to maximize the growing season and what we can put up for winter. We have to make the most of the long days to get the most done.

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I’m not actually vegan but…..

Hey Everyone!

I have never gone vegan or vegetarian, and I have never claimed to have adopted either of these lifestyle’s / eating styles / diets.

There are times (especially when I go out somewhere) when I do choose vegan options, and my favorite bakery is gluten free & vegan.

Let me break it down for you, if I had my way, I would eat like every other “normal” / “mainstream” human being in the western world, who can eat ice cream, cheese, pizza, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and anything I wanted.

That all changed for me when I was 23. I had spent one horrible weekend with a nasty stomach bug, and it changed my life as I knew it.

Up to that point my only real food aversion was that I didn’t and still don’t like the smell or taste of beef.

After I had that bug, I quickly figured out that my body wouldn’t tolerate any amount of dairy, no matter how small (even the slightest traces left behind from washing dishes makes me sick). I also learned over the course of the next couple of years (by the time I was 25) that I had milder sensitivities to eggs (I can forget about scrambled or hard boiled eggs, those have the same effect as dairy), though I found if they are in baked goods, I can get away with it on occasion. Gluten does bother me a bit, but not so bad I can’t enjoy some bread, as long as it is dairy free and I enjoy it in limited quantities.

Though I have wondered if I had milk sensitivities before the bug, as there were a few times in college that I wonder about. It just wasn’t bad enough if it was, to put two and two together. Though, now, years later it does make me wonder.

The eggs and dairy issues are why I choose vegan when I am out, unless I go somewhere I am familiar with and know what I can order. If not, I usually end up with a salad.

I still love chicken, fish, venison, and a little bit of lamb on a rare occasion. I also love honey.

I couldn’t go completely vegan by choice, I would only do it if I was forced to because my body couldn’t tolerate the foods.

I really do miss yogurt, ice cream and cheese. Don’t get me started on how much I miss Tillamook Cheese.

I also have no ethical, moral or religious objections to eating animal products, and I definitely don’t object to others who want to eat meat and animal byproducts.

At the same time, if you choose to be vegan or vegetarian, you are perfectly welcome to do so, just don’t be judging my life, diet and lifestyle and I won’t judge yours.

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.

Baking. Because. Company.

Hey Everyone!

This past week has been pretty busy.

A few days ago I baked a batch of gluten free vegan shortbread cookies. I used the Bob’s Red Mill gluten free shortbread cookie mix. I also used my Scottish Thistle cookie stamp on these cookies.

I had also mixed up a double batch of Snickerdoodles because we have company staying with us.

One of the people we have staying with us is also gluten free.

Ladies Retreat Homemaking

Hey Everyone!

I got home this afternoon from the Ladies Retreat I had gone on this weekend.

I was on duty yesterday morning, to help with breakfast. I was tasked with making something that was gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and soy free. To fit that need, I had made up an egg casserole with bacon, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, onion and unsweetened original almond coconut milk. I had also mixed up a batch of Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free cranberry orange pecan muffins using the Bob’s Red Mill gluten free muffin mix to make.

Having food intolerances and sensitivities is hard enough as it is, and it is even harder when you go away and are staying at a different place.

I love being able to cook for myself and others, and be able to meet a need and stand in the gap. The kitchen is the one place I am comfortable being when something needs to be done and help is needed.

Many of us who had gone took turns helping prepare different meals throughout the weekend which was nice.

I had done some preparations beforehand, and before I left. I had picked up some of the vegetables that are a bit hardier as well as a few snacks and dry goods. I had also baked the muffins the morning I left. I had stopped at the grocery store in Tillamook to pick up the more perishable items that I didn’t want to leave sitting out for several hours between the time I left Portland and when I would be able to put them in the fridge at the house we were staying at.

Preparing For the Ladies Retreat

Hey Everyone!

So, I am going to be attending a ladies retreat this weekend, and I have been slowly preparing for it over the past couple of weeks.

last week I had picked up what I am going to be giving as gifts.

Today I ran errands to pick up the dry goods for what I will be using in part for meals for myself and the food intolerance friendly breakfast I am making for Saturday morning. I am also going to bake up a batch of gluten free vegan muffins Friday morning before I leave, to take with me.

While I did a test run of the gluten free and dairy free egg casserole I am planning on making, I also spent the time to do up the tea and sugar free sweetener bags I am giving as gifts.

I love doing all this crafty Homemaking stuff. I enjoy doing things for others and using all the creative ideas I get to bless others.

Beings that I have food intolerances myself, I can understand and relate to others who also have food intolerances. Being able to cook for myself and others who have food intolerances is a passion of mine, besides loving to cook in general.