Summer Vacation Day 23: Beeswax Wraps

I purchased a beeswax fabric food wrap a few months ago and loved using it to wrap up my sandwiches for lunches at school.  The draw back was the price.  I had tried making some a few years ago using wax melted in the oven on a cookie tray – what a huge mess.  They were thick, not flexible enough and the tray was really difficult to clean.  I found a new method and it works really well…….

First, cut the fabric to the desired size using pinking shears to help prevent fraying.

Lay the fabric down on a sheet of parchment paper with an old bath town folded underneath to act as an ironing board.

Place shredded beeswax (I think this it should be beeswax so that it stays flexible when cooled) over the fabric.  I also found that using small piece of beeswax sheets for candlemaking worked well.

Lay a second sheet of parchment over the top and iron gently with a medium iron.

Iron gently, pressing sideways to distribute the wax into the unwaxed fabric.  When all of the fabric has been covered, remove and hang to dry.

Posted in Food Storage on a Budget, July 2017 | Leave a comment

Summer Vacation Day 21: Decluttering the Homestead

Well, we had another water problem at the homestead.  This time a leaking downspout, left unknown and unattended, created a patch of dry rot.  I was pulling out the wall of the screen porch when I discovered the problem.

For the repairs, we’ll have to take out a bit of the hot tub deck.  The good news is that the hot tub hasn’t worked in three summers now so this was a good reminder to get rid of it – to begin the Homestead Declutter.  DH took a chain saw to it and it was gone by late afternoon.  The deck will be rebuilt with less of a drop from the existing roof deck.

We also decided to create easier access for the repairs and reduce the number of areas that we must water by moving the two raised beds from the backyard to the kitchen garden – the old pig and chicken yard.  The strawberries were transplanted into one box and the other, when we get a little extra soil, will be planted with vegetable.

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Summer Vacation Day 12: Zero’ish’ Waste

This morning I met the results of three days of car shopping…….the refrigerator is packed with leftovers and food that is ‘just on the edge’, the counters are cluttered and the dishes are piling up.  Time for a big clean, but how to do it without wasting all of the bits and pieces of food in the fridge?………

First, the before photos……

……. sorry the photo is terrible, I didn’t have the lights on and the fridge light only works part of the time.

 

 

The Projects

Project #1: Five Spice Chicken Thighs with Ginger and Scallions (soy, ginger, garlic, 5-Spice teriyaki, scallions – – marinate overnight and grill.

Project #2: Country Potatoes for Breakfast (whoopsie – eaten before the photo)

Project #3: Dried Pineapple, Bananas and Mangos for snacking Dried Tomatoes for Tomato Powder

Project #4: Leftovers Lasagna with two different leftover sauces and Chèvre, Brie, Mozzarella, leftovers. Parmesan and pasta from the pantry.

Project #5: Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas with chicken from last night’s supper, pepper cheese from the graduation party some spinach that has a day or two left.  Sour cream, scallions, tortillas and green enchilada sauce from the pantry.

 

Project #6: Strawberry Black Currant compote with Honey

Project #7: Chicken Salad with more chicken from last night’s supper.  Mayonnaise, scallions, apples and almonds from the pantry.

Project #8: Chicken Salad for Chickens – – -Yoghurt that was getting a little old and some wilted spinach and lettuce.  The hens should love this.

Project #9 Water Kefir – no leftovers, just needed to make a new batch.

Project #10: Milk Kefir – this week’s milk

Project #11: Peanut Butter – peanuts from the graduation party that had gotten soggy from sitting in the bowl.  I tried to re-dehydrate them but it didn’t work well.  I threw them in the food processor with a little additional peanut oil.

Project #12: Dairy – every week

Project #13: Butter – look at that color!!!

Project #14: Viili Yoghurt – for this one, milk from the refrigerator, inoculated with last week’s yoghurt incubates at room temperature on the counter.

Project #15: Greek Yoghurt – for this one, milk is heated to 170 degrees and cooled back to 115 degrees before adding last week’s yoghurt.  It incubates for 5 hours in the Yoghurt Maker.

Project #16: Hardboiled eggs for Deviled Eggs – I make a simple recipe – – eggs, mayonnaise, salt and a tiny bit of yellow mustard.  Our hens do lay pretty eggs!

Project #17: Lemon and Honey Frozen Yoghurt – I added 1/2 honey, 3/4 cup milk, 1/4 cream, 1T vanilla and the zest of two lemons to 3 cups of last weeks Greek yoghurt.  It chilled a few hours before I popped it into the ice cream machine.

Project #18: Prepping for Stir-Fry lunches – We had a little leftover chicken breast that needed to be cooked so I poached and shredded it.  The boys will use it for stir-fry lunches.  I also cleaned and dry some spinach and lettuce, and cut up some carrots.

Now, The after Photo………….

 

Posted in July 2017 | Leave a comment

Summer Vacation Days 10, 11, 12: The Great Car Race

It all began on Monday morning.  DH asked me to go with him to take the Cornish Cross Chickens to the processor and then join him for breakfast while the birds were being “tended too” — this is about as close as we get to a date.  We got about three quarter of the way there, past the sink hole in Damascus and part way through Boring, when DH yelled that something was wrong with the car.  The engine light was on and he couldn’t accelerate much past 30mph.  We plugged along to the processor, turned the car off and waited a few minutes.  When we turned it back on it was fine.

We headed into Sandy for breakfast when the light came on again.  We drove around the block and into the service department at Suburban Ford.  While we waited we started thinking that perhaps driving a car with 157,000 miles across the country was not such a brilliant idea. Maybe a new car was in order. We spent the next two days looking at every small SUV in our price range: Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV, Chevy Equinox, Subaru Forester and Nissan Rogue. We even considered a Mini Cooper Countryman.  They were all nice, but each had it own drawbacks….price, not enough room in the back seat, weird headrests that pitched your head forward at an odd angle, no air conditioning/heat in the back seat, uncomfortable seats.  The sales people were also interesting :  a great guy named David at Suburban Ford (ask for home if you go there), a gal that wasn’t actually in sales and couldn’t tell us even what colors the car came in, a smarmy dude that really wanted to sell us a car in perfect condition ( except for the dent and peeling paint that we showed him), a really odd fellow that could not stop making puns and jokes that only he was laughing at, a really sweet kid that we would have loved to buy something from and finally Hamid, the guy the called his wife and told her he loved her in order to show us the phone integration.

We finally settled in a slightly used 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.  They had just taken it in, it hadn’t been inventoried, advertised or even scrubbed to within an inch of it’s life with Armor All.  It had been sold back by a couple that decided after only a thousand miles they should no longer be driving anything.  We got a great price on it, they came in $1000 less than what we had decided to pay, almost $7000 of of the msrp sticker and lower then anything that we had found with under 20,000 miles.  Then they took off another $100 when I asked for some floor mats.

Today we had to go back to futz around with the technology system, having accounts transferred from the previous owners, and having trial period set up for us.  But it’s all finished and we love the car.  It’s bigger, comfortable and probably won’t break down on our trip.

Posted in July 2017 | Leave a comment

Summer Vacation Day 9: Bakery visit #10, garden work and Chia Seed Pudding

This morning the weather was glorious – blue sky, warm (but not hot), just lovely. DH and I decided to visit a bakery because DS23 had a friend sleeping on our couch. We drove into Mulino to try breakfast at Tammy D’s. Tammy D’s is nothing fancy, just a pretty nice breakfast/lunch joint that sells some of their house-made bakery items. I’ve been avoiding processed sugar for nine days so, even though the cinnamon rolls were calling out to me and the cookies looked delicious, DH and I settled for a beautiful loaf of brioche. Breakfast was tasty, DH had the traditional breakfast ($10.50 was maybe a bit high) and I settled on the biscuit and gravy from the senior/kids menu with an egg on the side ($6.50). It was fine….not the most remarkable breakfast we’ve had, but well cooked and the service was friendly and terrific.

 

When we got home, we spent some time in the garden.  We fertilized and watered, put strings up on the pea trellis and DH repaired a couple of fence posts that had rotted out.  The cement should dry tonight so we can put up fencing tomorrow to keep the deer and rabbits from (hopefully) snacking on my veggies.

This evening I really wanted a sweet snack from the Dairy Queen – – Day 9 No Sugar had been going really smoothly until then.  I remembered that I had stirred up a batch of Coconut Milk Chia Seed Pudding yesterday and it was waiting in the refrigerator.  I topped it with a little fresh mango and some raw milk from my favorite cow and dug in.  Now I’ll be the first to admit, grayish-purple pudding is not chocolate soft-serve, but it was cold and just slightly sweet and pretty darn delicious.

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

1 cup chia seeds
1 can coconut milk
1 T honey
1 t vanilla
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Combine and chill
top with fresh fruit and a little milk

Posted in Bakery Trips, July 2017 | Leave a comment

Summer Vacation Day 8: Pantry Clean-up

The Pantry has become the “go-to” spot for stuffing any item related to canning, brewing, fermenting, food, cleaning and snacking at our house.  It’s a mess and really hard to find anything. So this morning, I decided to do a little make-over.  I removed items that don’t belong in the pantry (curling ribbon spools, old boxes from the grocery), reorganized the canning jars on the high shelves and put away some of the pasta boxes on the cupboard (into glass jars in the kitchen – no bug wanted here).

I reorganized organized the pantry cupboard putting pasta/pasta sauces, asian condiments/noodles, Tex-Mex masa/salsa/bean, baking item in groups.  I’m hoping this will be a bit more inspiring when it comes to choosing what to cook next.

The kitchen pantry cabinet is finished……The lower half holds breakfast cereals/nuts/dried fruit, pasta, grains, legumes and tuna all sealed up in jars. The upper part holds cereal, crackers (way too many) nut butters, vinegars and nuts.  The doors are lined with blackboard contact paper – great for keeping recipes or grocery lists.

Posted in July 2017 | Leave a comment

Summer Vacation Day 6: Reclaiming the Garden

It’s been such a rainy spring, followed by a rainy start to the summer.  The weeds in the garden topped out at over 8 feet tall – What a Mess!  This morning I was able to pull the remainder of the weeds in the garden and lay down two bags of pine shavings on the blueberries.  I also planted a few new plants: zucchini, yellow zucchini, acorn squash, patty pan and three types of basil.  Things are looking much nicer.  We still need to lay down the remainder of the chips we got last fall, add some soil to the low areas and do some cleanup.

Posted in gardening 2017, June 2017 | Leave a comment

Summer Day 5: Delicious Jam and Glorious Toes

I woke up this morning, the fog of the no-sugar headache lifted.  I had completely forgotten about the Strawberry & Black Currant Jam that I’d started so that was the first order of the day.  I strained the juice from the strawberries, added 3/4 cup of Black Currant juice and brought the mixture to 220 degrees.  Then I added back the strained strawberries, brought that to a boil and simmered the jam for 5 minutes.  It made enough for 3 small jars so I processed them in steam for 20 minutes.

The results smell wonderful and look beautiful.  Now what to do with the rest of the black currant juice?……..The next item on todays agenda is Lunch with my pal S.E. followed by a summer pedicure.  Time to bring those winter toes up to speed…….

……Pedicures were fantastic – hot rocks, warm wax, foot massage and pretty flowers.  What a fun afternoon.

Posted in June 2017, Putting up | Leave a comment

Summer Day 4: Kicking Sugar

I’m trying (again) to kick my sugar habit.  I have been stressed out at work this spring and handling it by drinking waaaaay to many large Cokes at McDonald’s (there all the same price, I might as well get a large – right?).  Well, dental cleaning day was yesterday which seemed like a great time to quit bathing my freshly scrubbed teeth with sugar.

I was really tired by afternoon, but I made it.  This morning was a little tougher….I woke up feeling hungover – – foggy, headache, stiff neck, blah.   I came downstairs and really wanted to run out to the patio and get a cold, fizzy Coke out of the refrigerator…….instead I decided to make a healthy breakfast.

Breakfast Fried Rice Hash with Eggs

Posted in June 2017 | Leave a comment

Summer 2017 Day 2: Black Current & Strawberry Jam

Day 1: Macerating Strawberries

1 cup fresh black currants
3 cups water

4 cups fresh, local Oregon strawberries
2 T lemon juice
1.5 cups sugar
peel of one lemon

Black currants are high in pectin and will act as pectin in the jam. Cook 1 cup of currants with 3 cups water – bring it to a boil and then simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the juice.

Combine 6 cups washed, hulled and sliced strawberries in 1.5 cups sugar. You can also add the peel of 1 lemon lemon peel or some ginger. Macerate overnight in the fridge.

Next morning, remove the lemon or ginger if you added it. Add 2 T lemon juice and 3/4 cup of the currant juice. Bring to boil in heavy, wide pot.  The process may take 15 – 20 minutes but it could take closer to 25 minutes – it depends on the water content of the fruit.  I bring the temp up to about 221 degrees or use a cold sauces to check the gel.

Ladle the jam into sterile jars and seal using either a water bath or steam canner.

Posted in June 2017, Putting up | Leave a comment