It Pays to Check every Label

Hey Everyone!

A friend of mine had brought it to my attention today that Heinz “Apple Cider” Vinegar isn’t actually made from Apple Cider. The only difference between the regular Heinz Distilled Vinegar and the so called “Apple Cider” Vinegar is that the “Apple Cider” Vinegar has flavors and colors added. This is deceitful marketing if I ever did see it. 


There are other brands (including the store brands) that actually make Apple Cider Vinegar. So check the label if you actually want Apple Cider Vinegar.

They say hindsight is 20/20. When I read my friend’s post about the Apple cider vinegar, there was a little voice in the back of my head that was like “you know better than to not read the label, even on something as dumb as Vinegar”. Not because it actually has dairy in in, but to double check to make sure, because nothing is safe until you check, and not everything is what it says it is. 

I learned to read every label, because way to many things that would think don’t have dairy in them actually do, including things that say “non-dairy” yet contain sodium caseinates (the protein in milk). So while the vinegar doesn’t contain dairy, I am still way to trusting of mainstream food from the grocery store. 

If the past 5.5 years haven’t already taught me to question everything and literally read every label, this has definitely taught me that, as well as that you can’t trust name brands to be honest with you. 

I hate to say it, but we live in a day and age when big corporations love to lie to the consumer for the sake of the almighty dollar and their profits. 

Raspberry Cherry Jam

Hey Everyone!

This summer is shaping up to be a good year for raspberries. We have gotten quite a few off our raspberry bushes. Enough to go into several batches of jam. I made yet another batch of jam yesterday. I made a batch of raspberry cherry jam, since I didn’t have quite enough raspberries, I chopped up some cherries and stuck them in. 


I definitely love doing urban homesteading / homesteading stuff like making homemade jam, or canning, or even knitting. 

Doing something in the way of homesteading was definitely needed yesterday, as I found out that I didn’t get a job I wanted and had interviewed for earlier this week. 

Who Wants to be a Homesteader? 

Hey Everyone!

This morning as I was putting the dishes away, I had noticed that there were some ripe raspberries out on the raspberry plants in the backyard. 

So I went outside and picked them. 

And then ate them with the salad I had….


I sure do love Oregon berries and locally grown produce. It’s even better when they come from your own backyard. I am all about modern day homesteading, and growing a lot of your own food. I wouldn’t mind living on a farm or ranch, and raising a lot of my own produce, as well as chickens (layers and meat chickens), pigs (for food), as well as stocking the freezer with fish (salmon, cod, etc), caught here on the west coast, venison, elk, maybe a moose. I also want to have a good supply of freezer jam made from local berries, as well as canned jams and jellies. I definitely want to try at some point in my life, black currant jelly, elderberry jelly and fireweed jelly. 

I know canning, preserving, gardening, and farm life is hard work. I love working with my hands and seeing the product of my efforts, and being in the kitchen as well as outside. I also know that berry bushes scratch up your hands, arms and legs. I know that it takes a while to pit pie cherries before you can them. 

I was raised in the city, and raised eating grocery store food 99% of the time. Now that I am older, I am way more conscious of where my food comes from, how it was raised, what it was fed, what it was given (hormones, antibiotics etc), and honestly all of that grosses me out. I have tasted fresh caught salmon, and locally grown vegetables, and chicken that I saw where & how it was raised and honestly all of that tasted so much better than the grocery store food. 

Since I developed food intolerances and sensitivities, I am all about clean eating, as well as knowing where my food comes from, and how it was raised. 

At the end of the day, I would just as soon spend a day working hard outside or in the kitchen doing something to provide food for myself and my future family, whether it be to eat right away or preserve for eating in the colder months when fresh food is scarce. 

The more I can do for myself (of help my future husband with), and the less I have to rely on the mainstream grocery stores for, the happier I would be. I am also sure the more fresh, local, natural foods (as opposed to processed) I can eat, I know my body would do better with. 

That is my ultimate goal, to raise more of my food myself, live on some acreage, and be more self sufficient (including learning how to sew). 

Baking up a Storm

Hey Everyone!

The past few days I have been doing a lot of cooking and baking. 

Over the weekend I made homemade pineapple curry 🍛 which turned out delicious. I also helped my mom make Father’s Day dinner, as well as having helped make gingerbread.

Monday, I baked up some gluten free popovers for myself as well as more gingerbread for the parents. Not to mention having mixed up more of the gluten free brown rice flour mix I use for baking. 


Yesterday (Wednesday) I made a batch of gluten free almond tea cookies, I liked them so well I made more today. 


I have also spent a bit of time on Pinterest getting ideas for decorating and other Homemaking ideas. 

I am definitely yearning to have a job and a home of my own, as there is so much I want to do and try when it comes to Homemaking. I want to try different kinds of cooked jams and jellies as well as candle making. 

This is the time of year when I would love to be living on some acreage, so I could have a nice garden and be raising chickens, a couple goats, maybe some pigs. I definitely want to be able to do more homesteading and Homemaking like what women did in my grandmother’s generation and before. 

It’s great that women have more of a choice of what they do with their lives. At the same time being a homemaker has become stigmatized and taboo. Being a homemaker is a totally valid choice for women, and shouldn’t be stigmatized, when a woman chooses to be a stay at home wife and mother. 

Learning to live a more Frugal lifestyle 

Hey Everyone!

If anything, the past 11 years, has taught me how to live a more frugal lifestyle and how much “fluff” and extras I really don’t need. 

While having to be Dairy Free, generally Gluten Free, and generally Egg Free, that costs more than your normal grocery haul would, unless you shopped solely at new seasons or Whole Foods or some place life that. 

I have been learning how to live with my food intolerances and live a frugal lifestyle. 

That is one of the things I am wanting to do, is live more frugally, and do as much as I can, myself. I definitely prefer doing my own canning. While I would rather spend a bit more on buying local fruit and vegetables and canning my own fruit, pickles and jams as well as doing freezer jam. I have been learning the value of not having cable tv, or even hulu plus or Netflix. While it is nice to have some movies and some series of TV on DVD, I have learned the value of a hard days work. I am tired of being stuck in the city, where it isn’t as easy to get out side and work with my hands and be productive, as gas prices are climbing, and it is so expensive to live in the city. I honestly don’t miss having Netflix and Hulu. 

I am also trying to spend my time more wisely, and not waste my time on computer games when I could be knitting, or reading books. 

While I do have a list of yarn and knitting things I would like to accrue, I am trying to work through the yarn I have. The needles and swift I would like would be useful for more than one occasion. 

I am also trying to reduce my Scentsy budget to something more reasonable, like keeping a few bars of my favorite year round scent, one or two summer scents, a couple fall scents, and one or two winter scents, and not have excessive amounts of any one scent.

Books are one “luxury” and pass time, besides knitting that is worth while that is more of the enjoyment of it. 

Learning how to live a frugal lifestyle is important to me, and while I would live to live in, or near a small town, I really don’t want to more than a couple hours away from Portland. This is on the sole basis that my bakery is here, tea and tea shops are plentiful here, and Bob’s Red Mill is here. Not to mention the Gorge isn’t all that far away, to go get fruit to can, or Sauvie Island, or other farm stores that would carry pickling cucumbers, dill and garlic to can garlic dill pickles. 

I have been realizing that I don’t need as much stuff as I once thought I did. 

You don’t need the fastest internet, or all the cable channels, or a wall full of dvds, or the most expensive car or house, or best vacations to live a fulfilled and happy life. Honestly, I prefer the feeling I have at the end of the day when I have worked hard and am actually tired, or spent the day with those I care about, or played a board game with good friends, or watched the sunset over the ocean, or sat around a campfire at night, away from the city lights and saw all the stars in the sky. There is so much more to life than having to have all the latest and greatest, or the biggest and best. 

Life is so much more than being focused on the material things. Yes, having a comfortable house is nice, but so is making memories with friends and family and taking joy in the simple pleasures. 

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of eating out. I would just as soon grill up some burgers or salmon on a summer evening, and make some side salads, and a homemade dessert, and enjoy dinner on the back patio or in the backyard, and have a fire in the fire pit in the back yard once the sun goes down, over going and sitting a restaurant for however many hours. That is part of my aversion to city life, I always feel like I am having to go somewhere and do something, and spend money left and right to have fun. I am the type who prefers sitting at home reading a book, and some of my best and favorite memories involve sitting around a campfire with friends having a good conversation. 

As I get older, and I learn more about who I am, I definitely feel like I live in the wrong era. I feel like I belong in a by gone era, where women did more Homemaking and living off the land. While I really don’t want to give up indoor plumbing, running water, electricity, modern appliances (and refrigeration), there is something to be said of the country life. You know, having a freezer full of chicken meat that you raised yourself, as well as ham, pork chop, bacon, pork roasts and such that came from pigs you raised, fish that you caught (and some that you also smoked yourself), as well as venison, maybe some moose, and elk. Not to mention some homemade freezer jam, as well as a pantry that is well stocked with home canned fruit and pickles, as well as the gluten free and shelf stable dairy free necessities. 

Looking for a New Home

Hey Everyone!

The time has come for me to really be looking at leaving Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest, in search of a career and home of my own.

Portland has been a good place to learn how to live a dairy free & gluten free life, as well and wanting to live a better life, and adhering to a clean eating lifestyle, that includes a lot more outdoor time.

My passion is for history (especially 1800 – about 1900 in the western US, as well as the 1950’s in American History), literature, homemaking, growing my own food, preserving food, knitting, and living a simpler lifestyle.

Portland can no longer meet my needs, or provide me a job, so it is time to move on, and expand my horizons and learn how other live, in a different part of the country.

Even though this blog won’t always be Simple Homemaking in the PNW, it will always Simple Homemaking, written by me, wherever I am living. I love writing my homemaking blog, and sharing my successes in clean eating, dairy free & gluten free food, gardening, and preserving food for winter. None of what I normally write about here will change, just where I am doing it, and what else I am doing in addition to what I have already been doing. There is so much more I want to do with this blog, and share, such as decorating, how I decorate myself, home organization, having a home library, as well as possibly having a craft room.

#Gardengoals

Hey Everyone!

With spring being here, as rainy and chilly as it is, I have gardening on the brain, as well as the desire to have my own place and enough room to have a decent sized fruit and vegetable garden, as well as a rose garden (it doesn’t have to be huge), and a flower garden (again, doesn’t have to be super big). 

I love working outside, and working in the dirt. I definitely want to do a lot of canning and jam making. Homemade and homecanned food, tastes better than store bought. When it comes to things like garlic dill pickles, canned peaches, canned pears, strawberry jam, raspberry jam, etc I can totally taste the difference between homemade and store bought, since I was raised on homemade.

Over the past few years I have been collecting cookbooks, including the ball complete book of home preserving, as well as the illustrated cook’s book of ingredients. They are both really cool, and I want to put them both to really good use. 

Three of the things I love about this part of the country, are how well fruits and vegetables grow here, as well as the availability of nurseries and such to purchase what you want in the way of starts (like rose bushes, lilac bushes, fruit bushes, fruit trees, strawberry plants, etc). We also have places like the Portland Honestead Supply Co, as well as Home improvement stores that have awesome garden centers that have everything you want and more, to be a modern homesteader. 

Black Currants:

Elderberries:

Black and Golden Raspberries