Homestead

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Making progress

Published July 14, 2013 by z24racerchic

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With all the rain we have been getting here I was a little worried about the garden, but everything is doing well except for the corn.  I have learned they need lots of nitrogen and that is why they are tasseling early.  My tomato plants are taller than me (I am 5’6),  I have already picked almost two dozen cucumbers and a good batch of green beans.  I also have harvested our green onions. I have used the onion part and have diced up the green part and put in vacuum sealed bags in the freezer for winter soups. 

Some progress I have made in things I am learning and wanting to do are the following:

-Invested in a freezer.  I put a Kenmore 7cubic feet on layaway at Kmart and picked it up a couple weeks ago.  I am planning on putting pico de gallo in there, possibly some peaches, etc.. Hopefully, some meat also!

-Saved some cucumber seeds and let them dry for next year.

-Harvested the green onions as above.

-Made two batches of refrigerator pickles.

-Have got canning supplies. still need pint jars.

-Have got some seeds for next years garden and put them in an air tight jar.

-Rearranging and reorganizing our garage for more shelving to get more stockpile items.

-We were blessed with two rain barrels, food grade plastic, with spigots that we put on blocks on each side of the garden. This is something we were going to tackle by making our own out of garbage cans. I was so happy when I got a message from a friend that she had a couple extras.

I am excited about the progress in the garden and the blessings of veggies we have had so far. 

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Feeling alone

Published April 9, 2013 by z24racerchic

Since I started paying attention to what is in our food, trying to cut out most of the junk, following different homesteading blogs, trying to save and looking at the world around us, I have increasingly got this feeling of being alone. I don’t know if it is the fact that when I talk to people about gardening, how excited I am for ours, the idea of learning how to can and even more the crap that is in our food I am looked at like I have six heads and conversations turn or I have heard the “you can just go to the store and get rolls” or “You can pay $2 for a loaf of bread”.

My mom listens to me, my husband does. My friends no. I try to share Ideas. Try to share the ingredients in foods. I know I am not alone because of what I have seen others post, but I feel it.

I like the way that I have made my own bread, just managed to make homemade sausage gravy, homemade brownies, etc.. Though if I was going to have a career in making homemade rolls, I would fail because for that I have not mastered yet….but I am determined.

I have bought a pressure canner off of Ebay. It is vintage, not ancient, but older. i am excited and nervous to try it. My seedlings are up and I am excited about maybe trying to tackle dehydrating food.

I guess after writing the above and looking back, I am not really alone, maybe if I am alone, I am all right with that. People have their differences.

Planning ahead

Published March 24, 2013 by z24racerchic

I am getting more freaked out and kind of scared. No, I am not paranoid, but take a good look around what is going on. Have you seen what has went on in Greece? What about Cyprus? Do you have alternative methods if this stuff happened here in the USA?

My focus of this year has shifted greatly. I do want to be selfish for a minute and go on a couple day trip this summer. I feel we won’t be going on one for a long time after. I am doing everything I can to get the money for this. My other goals are to purchase bigger ticket items that need replacing example my 50 year old stovetop and oven (no exagerting they are that old), buying a freezer and a dishwasher. I am afraid what will happen when Obamacare kicks in fully next year.

I am suprised at the bubble people live in. Not knowing what is going on in their own country and frankly not caring. Just thinking everything will be okay. Besides the things mentined above a huge garden is going in and I plan on learning to can. I do need a pressure canner yet. I have plans for a large large garden. I have also been stockpiling several things that I get on sale. THe more the better.

To do this in a small house is also taking some organizing. I am decluttering. Please, if you don’t know the things that are going on, check it out. It is scary.

I will never buy boxed brownie mix again..homemade goodness

Published March 10, 2013 by z24racerchic

I saw on a blog a receipe for easy homemade brownies. I was skeptical. Of course, I had nothing to lose because I have never had success in making brownies from the box. The sides are always rock hard and they don’t taste that great. I have found a new indulgence from the following receipe. From Commonsensehome.com

Ingredients
■1 cup granulated sugar
■1/2 cup butter, softened
■1/2 teaspoon vanilla
■2 eggs
■1/2 cup unsifted all-purpose flour, unbleached, unbromated
■1/3 cup cocoa
■1/4 teaspoon baking powder
■1/4 teaspoon salt
■1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Directions: In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, blend until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Gradually blend dry ingredients into sugar mixture, stirring until just blended. Do not overmix. Nuts may be added at this time, or sprinkled over some or all of the batter in the pan just prior to baking.

Spread batter evenly in a greased 8 inch square baking pan, or an 8 inch round or heart shaped pan or double the batch and use a 9×13 pyrex baking dish.

Bake metal pans 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees F, glass pans 30-35 minutes at 335 degrees, until edges are set. Watch your oven times. Mine cooks higher than others so I checked mine at 20 minutes and at 25 minutes and they were done. Just stick a toothpick in the center and see if it comes out clean. Center will be soft but will firm up at the brownies cool. DON’T OVERBAKE! Only the edges should be set up when you take the pan out of the oven. If they’re coming out on the dry side, bake them for less time or drop the temp, or both. I always bake in a heavy glass pan, so that takes longer to bake then metal, and doesn’t dry out as quickly.

THese are sooo soo much better than any box mix and softer and just have a great taste. My mom when I told her about them said “See why my generation was spoiled on home cooking.” yeah I do mom, Yes I do…

Banana bread..flame retardant and yellow #5

Published March 9, 2013 by z24racerchic

So sorry I haven’t been blogging to my followers, but my carpal tunnel has been doing a number on me and being a Health Information Management person with electronic records and dabbling in billing during my day job my hand has been having problems and typing….not so good. I have adapted to using a mouse strictly with my left hand. Oh joy, oh joy.  Though I am not quite ambidexterous, I am getting the hang of it. 

First off after my white bread recipe I have tried a banana bread recipe because I went to Aldi’s and bought 3 packages of bananas.  We had almost a dozen leftovers and I decided to make a double batch of banana bread.  I thought something was missing from the recipe.. Here it is.

Banana Banana Bread

Adapted from AllRecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 6 mashed medium overripe bananas

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. (My 9×5 pan is currently scratched out of commission and so I used two 8×5 pans which you can also do, but I prefer the one big 9×5 loaf.)
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten, do not over-mix. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Bread tastes even better the next day. To store, simply wait for it to cool completely and then wrap in plastic wrap.

I asked my mom the next day “what is wrong with it?”. She said nothing except missing the nuts (which my parents and husband cant eat because of dental problems).  I said “I put in pecan meal.”  I think it was missing vanilla.  I am going to try that, though my mom and husband swears it was missing nothing at all.  It was good, just seemed to be missing a little sweetness. 

Second topic flame retardant. I don’t know… Does Mountain Dew fear we are going to spontaneously combust? I saw a page on Facebook post about their being a flame retardant in Mt. Dew.  I heard it before, though I ignored it.  Today I went and looked at the Mt. Dew and saw…the flame retardant. Yes, this 2 liter will be my last.  I don’t belive in wasting stuff so…. ICK.  Look it up. 

Third topic..#5.  Look on Change.org and you will find that there is a petition to get Kraft Macarioni & Cheese to stop using Yellow dye #5.  This is I belive linked to bladder cancer.  In the UK it is banned and they using a natural coloring.  why can’t they use that her in the states. I seriously wonder the link between cancers and obesity to this crap in our food.  I will only buy organic mac and cheese from now on or make my own.  Little changes= big steps to health.  Have a good weekend everyone!

Homemade bread from scratch…I conqured you!!!

Published February 25, 2013 by z24racerchic

I remember the smell of bread and rolls at my grandma’s.  Now of course before frozen bread dough my grandma made it from scratch but when I was a kid my one grandma used frozen bread dough.  I have done that also.  I decided to get froggy and explore with a recipe on making homemade white bread from scratch.  While this sounds intimidating, it was actually quite easy. 

First off the bread flour that I got was King Arthur, the older flour company in the U.S.A. It started in 1790 and is the oldest in the country.  It also impresses me by not using GMO wheat.  It is a company that is owned by its employees.  Actually at our local Wal-mart the price was $3.78.

Here  is the recipe I used.

2 Packages active dry yeast

2 1/2 cups lukewarm water

1/2 cup slightly warmed milk

2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup cooking oil

7 1/2 cups sifted flour. 

Dissolve yeast in water.  Add sugar, milk, oil and salt.  Stir gently.  Add about half of the flour mixure to make a batter.  Continue to stir to ensure ingredients are evenly distributed throughout.  Gradually add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Dough should not be so sticky that it stick to the sides of the bowl.  If after adding the remaining flour and the dough is still sticky, you may add additional 1/4 cup of flour.  Extra flour should only be added in SMALL increiments.

While in bowel cover with towel or lid and allow to sit for 20 minites.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surfae.  Knead for about 5 minutes.  DO NOT OVER KNEAD.  THIS MAKES A TOUGHER BREAD TEXTURE.  Divide dough into two 9×5 bread load pans.  Let dough rise for an hour to an hour and a half.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Bread will sound hollow when you tap on it.  Remove the loaves from pans and allow then to cool.

I Learned this recipe can actually make 3 medium sized loaves.  The smaller loaf turned out perfect according to my mom.  The second bigger load I kept was doughy in the middle, but still good.  I put it back in the oven for 10 minutes.  It was okay though.  Watch closely as your oven may cook different like mine does.  You can always stick a toothpick in it and make sure it comes out clean. 

This is my first experiement with bread from scratch.  My mom called me joyous and told me it was almost like her mom’s.  Great, I guess in my second life I did it like my first lol.  Inside joke! Enjoy the recipet;  I cant wait to try rolls, pepperoni rolls and more. 

In case of emergency…..power outages

Published February 13, 2013 by z24racerchic

Yesterday we had high winds.  We live on a hill to begin with so when we have a “wind advisory” look out because we are going to get a lot more wind.  All of the limbs and branches I picked up on Sunday had mysteriously found their way out of the box in the garage for kindling wood and back into the yard…..hmm. At 4:30 my husband texted me at work and said “The power is out…no joke.  It is not coming on.”  I was waiting for it.  Tree blew over somewhere.  We had a thawing event and the ground had turned muddy.  Wind could easily uproot trees. 

When I got home we unplugged the TVs, game system, dvd players, microwave, etc. When it started to get dark I went to my emergency stockpile of jar candles and put them out to light.  We ate cold leftovers. Got batteries out to put in our LED Lantern.  Oil lamps were readied.  I cut coupons in the dark and my hubby built a fire in the woodstove. 

Here are some things to think about having on hand “just in case.”

-Batteries. A “duh” thing I know.  But I mean batteries for flashlights and lanterns.

-Candles.  I have two piles of candles.  My smelly good candles I got and use anytime I feel froggy and the emergency candles which are votives and jar candles that I have in case of long hours without power.  I keep these in a hall closet and in the garage. I have an amazing supply of them. Everytime I get some in an auction box I keep them.

-Oil lamps and lamp oil.  Back when Snowmageddon hit in 2010 and we had no oil lamps, no lamp oil and was unprepared, we ran to the store.  Of course most of the county was without electric and my parents requested lamp oil…Good luck finding it.  They were OUT.  We had to call everywhere to find any and most stores were out.  You can get new oil lamps anywhere but they do not have the same quality of the older ones. We were lucky enough to get some from auctions and lamp oil (which I need to get more of now)

-Alternate heat source.  Whether it be a kerosene heater (if you want to get one, get a flat top one) or wood stove or pellet stove have an alternate heat source for wintertime outages.  We have a wood stove that we alternate using anyhow to save on kerosene costs.  A flat top kerosene heater I recommend because you can actually heat stuff on it.  Ask my dad.  He did all the time during 2010.

-Canned soup and other easy heat stuff.  If you have a wood stove like ours you can heat water, soup (which I have) hot dogs, whatever on.  I don’t recommend trying to cook pasta like I tried.  It does take a while for the stuff to heat up. 

-Coolers.  If you are out of power in the winter and for a long while grab a cooler, put snow in it, put your frozen, fridge stuff in it and bury that thing in the snow outside. 

-Water.  In case you don’t have heat and your pipes freeze.

– Flashlights (another “duh”).  We also have emergency lights that charge. LED battery operated lanterns.  I also have battery operated candles.

-Games.  We are spoiled, let’s face it.  Get some boardgames, cards, something. My husband has some hand held games and a PSP.  We also have a portable DVD player.  ALl great but you have to keep them charged and of course they will only last so long.  Though if we were out, I would take them to work and recharge them.

– Grill.  Sounds dumb, but trust me in 2010 I would have gave a kidney (joke) for a grill to cook on.  I wouldn’t have lost meat that way and we would have had something more appetizing than turkey sandwiches for a week.  I could have used this to cook so much. Still frustrates me to think of it.

– Corded phone.  Think about it.  If you have a landline, make sure you have a corded phone.  even one you can get out and plug in in case of emergencies.  We have one in a spare room we keep plugged in.  Obviously the cell phone isn’t going to stay charged forever.

Hope this helps.  We survived our experience.  Electric was only out for about 4 hours, came on for 45 minutes and out for another 20. 

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