Saturday, August 29, 2009
These bars made for a great after school snack and didn't last 2 days in our house! I found a link for a similar recipe here. I'm sure one could maybe sprinkle raisins on top of the applesauce to make it extra yummy!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Like anything there are extreme's that I've found with each person's journey. I'm not ready for raw milk, , making fermented foods or making my own sanitary pads... yet.
Some, like me, have just begun to find out what it's like to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle; read We Are THAT Family post on The Difference Between Thrifty and Frugal and laugh out loud with me at all her Green Acres posts.
While other's have lived the natural way their whole lives like Gina over at Home Joys. Be sure to have a look at her recipes and "Reader's Share" sections. I've tried many of her recipes and blogged about them. Her gardening tips are especially inspiring to me as it's a great start for beginners because she explains everything in detail, by month and includes lots of photos.
I'm also enjoying reading the "Baby Steps" that Organic and Thrifty recommends to changing over to a more natural lifestyle. #1 Baby Steps for Transforming to a Real Foods Diet, #2 Make Peace with your Kitchen, #3 Saving Money by Meal Planning.
Over at Biblical Homemaking her Frugality section is so full of tips that it'll take me a month to read them all! Keeper of the Home has even published an ebook with all she's discovered "Healthy Homemaking: One Step At A Time".
One blog that I found today was a "Whoo-Hoo!" moment for me. The Prudent Homemaker amazes me. She's dedicated her site to living and eating frugally and has given step-by-step instructions and pictures for everything including canning, seasonal recipes, stocking your pantry, sewing, gardening, and more! I am in awe of what this woman has accomplished for her family. She is my inspiration and I dream of one day having a food supply like her.
Yesterday I went grocery shopping and wondered through the store not knowing anymore what to buy. I wanted to make healthful choices, buy food without too much preservatives or packaging, and hopefully buy something local. I was stuck and just walked around the store realizing I couldn't buy hardly anything there! On the bright side, I only spent $95.00 which is amazing to me. See photo of my purchases below.
I'm also beginning to turn away from coupons - gasp! - as I've found they are mostly for junk items that I don't want to buy anyway. I save the coupons for general merchandise but I can see this will change soon too.
Mostly all my produce, besides banannas and grapes which our family loves, comes from farmer's market's and road-side produce stands. I cooked eggplant for the first time in my life just this week!
I'm currently reading these books that I got from our local library. There's so many good guides, recipes and tips within these. I just scan the shelves and pick-out whatever catches my eye.
The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking by Edna Eby Heller
Back to Basics: How to Learn & Enjoy Traditional American Skills by Reader's Digest
Make Your Own Groceries by Daphne Metaxas Hartwig
This week I made my first successful bread in our breadmaker (purchased for $4.00 from our local thrift store), am making fruit leather's in our new food dedydrator (purchased for $20 from Craig's List), sent daughter to school with homemade waste-free lunches everyday, and have served up lots of fresh local produce for dinner. Whew!
Oh dear.. I fear this is going to be a very long journey but a worthwhile one. With blogs like The Prudent Homemaker, the oodles of books on the subject and more to guide me, what excuse do I have not to? I'm still trying to convince my hubby to buy half a (grain fed) cow and to sign-up for a pig butcher without much success.
In the end I know I'm doing the best I can, with the knowledge I have gained, in the hopes that my family's health and budget will have the best benefits of all. One step at a time, with a balanced approach.
How about you?
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Next week her class is reading The Ballad of Mulan. This is one of our daughter's favourite stories.
These are the books I've selected to read after school each day.
The Legend of Mu Lan: A Heroin of Ancient China
The Multicultural Game Book: More Than 70 Traditional Games from 30 Countries by Louis Orlando
This is a great book and includes lots of easy games. The games from China are 1, 2, 3 Dragon; Challenge; Dominoes; Fan Tan; Harvest; Nim; Spellicans; Tangrams.
Count Your Way Through China by Jim Haskins
The book counts from 1 through 10 and teaches how to write and say it in "Chinese" and covers topics such as history, geography, religion and traditions.
The Legend of the Panda by Linda Granfield
This is the legend of how the panda got it's black spots. The pictures are so beautiful.
Monday, August 24, 2009
I read a post by Ali over at The Cleaner Plate Club recently and it had me laughing out loud. She lives in a small town, like me, and found herself at an outdoor (unexpected) upscale party feeling a little out of place... sans a down vest.
The premise of this post is that she ended up finding a great at-home "green" dry cleaning tip from a kitten heeled, cashmere sweater wearing lady. How unexpected!
I laughed so hard at this post mainly because I often laugh at my own transformation to small town SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). I used to blow dry my hair, get dressed-up, dawn a pair of high heels and work everyday. I love fashion and getting dressed-up, yet as I sit here typing this post I'm in my jammies still at 8am - gasp!
I often laugh at my own daily "mom wear" of jeans, sneakers (or as you American's call it "running shoes"), and t-shirts (I like to call them "mom shirts"). Very functional but not very fashionable. Whenever I run "into town" to go shopping I have to double-check myself to make sure I'm fashionable enough to shop at the mall and get some respect from the sales people. It's true, they won't give you the time of day with running shoes on.
I have a "mom" section in my closet and a "dress-up" section. I can hang out at the park and feel fashionable, or go to one of my husband's fancy work functions. My goal is to create a nice "in between" section.. not too frumpy, not too dressed-up. I've vowed never to wear athletic pants or Crocs and have (thus far) resisted the temptation. Although, I do love my rubber boots when outside in our yard and LOVE my down vest.
Be sure to read Ali's post and enjoy this laugh with me :)
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Lemon-Zucchini Cornmeal Cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon packed finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1 medium zucchini, grated on small holes of a box grater (about 1 cup)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Stir in vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Add flour and cornmeal and mix until mixture is crumbly. Add zucchini and stir until a thick dough forms.
Drop by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are light golden brown at edges, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool completely on wire racks.
Makes 25 cookies.
per cookie: 80 cal; 3.8g fat (2.3g sat fat); 0.8g protein; 11g carb; o.3g fiber
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Baked Potato Casserole
5 pounds potatoes, cooked and cubed
1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream (I use my homemade yogurt.)
1 T minced chives
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Combine potatoes and bacon. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add to potato mixture and toss gently. Bake in greased dish, uncovered, at 325 for 1 hour or until bubbly and light brown.
This also works well for the crockpot. Put it on low for 2-3 hours.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Free one-year subscription to Living the Country Life magazine here.
From the website:
Look at all you get ... ABSOLUTELY FREE!• Inspiration for your lawn and garden• Ideas for landscape projects • How-to’s for working on fences and barns • Tool and equipment reviews• Maintenance tips to keep your tractors running their best• Help to attract and control wildlife• Sizzling backyard barbecues ... and more!Simply fill out the form below to claim your FREE subscription!(U.S. orders only, please)
After I filled out my request it stated that I'll receive 3 year subscription. I imagine I'll have to cancel my subscription after the first year so I won't be charged anything.
Living the Country Life Magazine 3 years (18 issues)Usually ships within 4 to 6 weeks Living the Country Life Magazine is published 6 times per year
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
•Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea (Chronicle Books; $24.95).
In 1971 Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse, a Berkeley, Calif., restaurant serving local, organic, in-season fare. She has since become one of the most influential chefs in the world and has inspired a revolution that has forced Americans to think about where their food comes from. Since 1996 more than 3,000 students have graduated from her Edible Schoolyard program, which gives children a hands-on way to learn about food. Using a feast of photos and inspirational text, Waters takes readers down the garden path in an effort to plant the seeds of her visionary model in schools and communities around the globe.
What’s a locavore to do? Farm the backyard! Self-sufficiency is in vogue. Learn how to milk a goat, prune a fruit tree, dry herbs, make dandelion wine, bake whole-grain bread, tap a maple tree, make fresh mozzarella, brew beer, mill grains for flour and save seeds for next season. Author Carleen Madigan is the gardening editor at Storey Publishing and has been the managing editor at Horticulture Magazine. Her 365-page handbook shows you how to produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre.
•The Green Kitchen: Techniques and Recipes for Cutting Energy Use, Saving Money and Reducing Waste (Kyle Books; $18.95).
This book is based on “The Green Kitchen” column written by Richard Erhlich for The Times of London. Erhlich is a fan of eco-conscious cooking and cooking with the lid on to save energy. He also weighs the pros and cons of microwave ovens and pressure cookers, as well as no-cook cooking and cooking for multiple meals (all with recipes). And he includes chapters on greener cleaning and garbage reduction (packaging, food waste, bottled water, grocery bags and composting). So it just seems appropriate that such an eco-conscious book is printed on 100 percent recycled paper.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Garage sales can fetch you books for as little as $0.10 each and the Library book sales $0.25 to $1.00 each. A small library near our home is currently selling used books for $1.00/bag. They're older reads but still good. I bought a couple bags and shipped them to our adopted soldier in Iraq and am reading a few myself.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
By Jewels and Jill Elmore from Woman's Day; September 1, 2009 September 1, 2009
2 T bsp extra-virgin olive oil
1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and sauté 5 to 6 minutes until soft. Add tomatoes and salt, and sauté 3 minutes.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 large egg whites
1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
4 small sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), scrubbed and quartered lengthwise
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and then set aside.
In a shallow bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and pepper. In a separate shallow bowl, lightly beat the egg whites with 2 tablespoons of water until combined. Place the Parmesan on a sheet of waxed paper or put it in another shallow bowl.
Dip the sweet potato first in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Then dip each wedge into the egg white mixture until coated. Finally, dip the sweet potato in the Parmesan, pressing the exposed surface of the potato into the cheese. (Don't worry if some gets on the skin.) Transfer potato wedges onto the prepared baking sheet as you go.
Bake potatoes until tender and crisp, about 25 minutes. Serve sprinkled with more salt if desired.