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.

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Light bulbs and garden planning part II

Published March 23, 2013 by z24racerchic

So for the past couple of years I have been hoarding, er I mean stockpiling regular incadescent light bulbs. Why you may ask? Because I don’t want to wear a hasmat suit in case one of the CFL bulbs breaks. Okay, so that isn’t my only reason. I simply don’t like flourescent bulbs. I work under them 8.5 hours a day and I will be dang if I want to see them at home. The flickering they do gives me a headache. The fact that they have mercury in them and if they break you need special clean up instructions makes me sick. How is this any better for the environment? Since I heard that legislation was going to do away with the old incadescent bulbs I have been buying them and storing them. Yes, I have a good supply and will continue to grab as many as I can until they are done away with completely. A great example would be today I went to CVS with my extrabucks, CVS red machine coupons and 20% off coupon and got two boxes. It said on the front of the package that the cost of the lightbulb per year was $7 and some odd cents. Really?!?!?!?

Second part of my title garden planning. I had placed a order with Gurneys because of a coupon. I have 2lbs potatoes coming to plant, one garlic bulb and strawberry plants and oh yeah red onions. After I relooked up my order and realized that garlic would hardly due for the canning I am planning on I got another package at Lowe’s and today three more packages at Wal-Mart. I also got 160 bulbs of green onions that I plan to put in a raised bed. I am assuming without opening my garlic that I have about 50 cloves to plant. I am wanting at least 50 more. I want to can it minced. My mom also told me that my dad used to plant garlic around his apple trees not to eat or harvest, but to keep the animals away. So, besides our fence I am going to outline the garden in garlic and onions.

I have no idea the effect or if this will be good or bad. Trial and error is what I say. So I will keep you posted. In the meantime since it feels like winter here in rural PA I am hiding my garlic and onions in the dark cool closet to keep them kind of in hiding until it warms a bit. Not to mention we just bought a new monster tiller at an estate sale for $35 that needs some maintenence.

I am excited to can and learn the tricks of the trade. Of course, now I need to get a pressure canner…. I have seeds for green beans, wax beans, corn, popcorn, sunflowers (to use as bird feed), zucchini, pickle cucumbers, regular cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and some herbs, watermelon, a midget melon for planting in pots and of course the garlic, onions, potatoes and strawberries. If the weather breaks we also need to plan our raised beds for the green onions and strawberries.

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. 

No more MSG for me!

Published January 28, 2013 by z24racerchic

Well at least no more MSG for me in seasonings. I was searching through my spice cabinet yesterday searching for ingredients that I had on hand to make my homemade spices that I had listed in a previous post. While I found enough spices to make homemade hamburger spice or what I call “I will use on everything” spice, I found some Memphis seasoning and “season all” in the cupboard. Besides how I find it funny that there is a ingredient in them that is supposed to make them “Free flowing” and not stick together, they always stick together. My homemade taco seasoning I have had for a couple months does not. Go figure. Anyhow, I looked at the ingredients and found yellow #whatever and red #whatever along with MSG.

ICK! I thought. Forget about it…thought he red dye, the yellow dye and stuff to make it non-sticky isn’t enough there is MSG right on the ugly label. Now mind you I can read the ingredient list, pick out the regular spices and put them in my own air tight jar and get my own spices without the extra b.s., which is exactly what I intend to do! I can buy most seasonings at Wal-Mart (GAGS) really cheap that have just the spice and then I go to Aldi’s and get others for cheap. At least I know where another one of my foods come from!

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