What to Make with your Sourdough Starter!

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http://whatscookingamerica.net/Bread/SourCinnRolls.htm

http://cooksrecipes.com/bread/sourdough-bread-machine-recipe.html

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Amish-Friendship-Bread-I/Detail.aspx?prop24=RD_RelatedRecipes

I’ll be making the Amish Friendship Bread today if I get a chance (or tomorrow)!  Sounds yummy!  I will be making the middle recipe right away because we’re out of bread!

Seedy Saturday

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Seeds from Truro Seedy Saturday

Seeds from Truro Seedy Saturday

I forgot all about telling everyone what I got from Seedy Saturday that was last weekend.  Some were bought and some were from the trading table.  I’m hoping next year to be able to share some seeds that I saved with everyone as well!

I did take in a session presented by Michelle Smith of North Wind Farms about seed saving.  So excited!  She talked about what seeds to buy to start saving seeds, why you will have a rough go saving and then growing hybrid seeds (but really, why should we) and talked a little about how to save seeds.  I’m so excited to try saving seeds this year and really hope it works out.  There’s something about doing things the way that our ancestors did things that just makes me smile.  I love thinking about my great grandmothers while I’m gardening, my grandfather while I make bread, my nanny while I do laundry (even in the 50’s she handwashed clothes and diapers for her children.  She had 12 all together, but didn’t have a washing machine until the last few.), my gramma and great-grandmother while canning, and all the other family members that I never knew while I do anything homesteading.  The fact that I choose to do these things while they didn’t have a choice in the matter floors me every time.

I digress;

So the seeds I got were parsnips, Black Prince tomato and jalapeno peppers from Hope Seeds, kale mix, Amish paste tomato and broccoli Raab from Annapolis Seeds and Jacob’s Cattle and Thibodeau du Comte Beauce (how could I refuse!) from North Wind Farm.  The last two will be grown for dry beans.  I’ve never grown parsnips and am really hoping that we can get enough frost on them.  We will be using the community garden again and have to have everything out by the end of October.

My daughter and I have already marked the calender for seed starting and can’t wait!

Anyone else get some seeds, planned their gardens, etc. yet?

Sourdough Bread and Knee Update

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The other night I started some sourdough starter from the Betty Crooker Cookbook.  (Get this cookbook!)  All that you do is dissolve 1 teaspoon of yeast in 1/4 cup warm water.  Then mix in 3/4 cup milk (I warmed it up to room temperature to not shock the yeast) and a cup of all-purpose flour.  Beat until smooth and cover with a tea towel.  Let it sit in a warm place for 24 hours.  Then give it a good stir and cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 2-3 days.  The above picture is after the 24 hours and a good stir.

Sourdough bread is great because once you start this starter you rarely have to have yeast in the house.  You should use this starter at least once a week to keep it fresh.  The dough makes FANTASTIC cinnamon rolls.

I’ll share the bread recipe and pictures when it’s sat for a bit.

And onto my knee.  I get to keep running and doing whatever, but get to do it while sporting a sexy new knee brace.  I have to wear the brace all the time except sleeping for a while, but will be wearing it while working out for a good long time.  I was just told to make friends with it.  Sigh.

I also brought up a bulge in my upper abs that I found while testing for ab separation awhile back.  I have a hernia.  So anyone have any suggestions for some great ab exercises?

I found this one by Tracy Anderson.  She says that her workout also helps tighten the skin, which I need help with. 

 

Has anyone ever did her workouts?

I’m so over Winter!

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We’ve had a pretty mild winter up until the last view weeks.  School has been cancelled twice in the past two weeks because of storms.  We’ve shovelled more snow then I ever want to again.  And it’s only the middle of February.  I know that it’s nowhere near over.  If it had spread itself out over the course of the winter, I think I could have handled it a bit better.  But two weeks of snow, then it all melting into spring and then Mother Nature lauging at us again tends to wear this girl down.  Image

So what’s a Momma to do?

Plan her garden of course!

Truro Seedy Saturday is this weekend and I will be buying as many seeds as I can this weekend.  My goal this year is to start as many seeds myself as I can.  (And to pray that our garden doesn’t flood out this year!)

Here’s our tentative plan:

  • Green Beans
  • Kale
  • Broccoli Raab
  • Paste Tomatoes
  • Tomatillo
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Edamame
  • Peppers!  (Green, sweet, hot, etc.)
  • Maybe onions

Last year we had a lot of challenges.  Too much rain, then drought, then a flood that wiped out the end of the season.  Blight on the tomatoes.  Underestimating how much chard will come back (that stuff never dies!).  A 3 year old and a 1 year old don’t make the best gardening compainions.

But we are ready for the new year!  We will be renting a plot from the community garden again and are reassured that the flooding was a rare occurance and should not happen again.

ImageGo check out your local Seedy Saturday!  Free classes (I’m taking the session on seed saving at the very least) and an overall good time.

Saving money on LAUNDRY!

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Clothes drying on the rack

So when we moved, I knew I’d have to figure out some ways to save money.  We were saving on rent, but were going to have to use oil heat.  And in an old drafty house, that still means keeping space heaters plugged in everywhere to help keep the oil bill down.  I’ve been at my wit’s end trying to figure out where I can cut costs.  I’ve been trying to feed 5 people on a limited budget, trying to cut gas costs, but when the temperature is -25, you can’t even walk the kids 10 minutes up the road to preschool, and really, we don’t have a lot of fun that we spend money on anyway.

So I was looking around on Facebook and found this link on the Eco Nuts Facebook page (it was in a blog posting they did.)

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Even more clothes hanging in the shower!

So I put in my numbers (I only do about 25% hot washes which are the diapers) and figured out that I am spending $510 a year just on laundry!!!!  $43 a month! Yes, this chart doesn’t take into account what percentage of clothes you hang up or how much energy your individual machines use and probably many other variables that I am not thinking about, but the number shocked me!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Then I did some more math.  If I never used the dryer (who am I kidding, but if I cut it out to only when necessary) and switched to homemade laundry detergent (which I calculated crappily at 5 cents a load) I could save around $390 a year!  Or about $30 a month.  That’s a big chunk of change!

So I have made some laundry detergent and have been testing it off and on and really like it.  It will be months before we’re full-time on the homemade since I still have 2 jugs of detergent that my husband bought months ago on sale.

Here’s the recipe with links to the items I purchased (I upped the amounts.  I think I doubled it):

1 cup of finely grated soap (I will probably try harder to find Sunlight or order Fels Naptha next time.  You can also use Ivory or castile soap.)

1/2 cup of borax

1/2 cup of washing soda

The directions say to use 1/2 a cup of detergent per load, but I get away with a couple of tablespoons easily.  I used the directions from the side of the borax box.  This is a non-sudsing soap.  There will be bubbles, but not anywhere near what you are used to.  Don’t be alarmed!  Your clothes are still clean!  If you want liquid or another powder recipe, a simple search will find you tons!

So for drying, I only have the one drying rack pictured above at the moment.  I’ve been trying to get my husband to build me one, but it will probably be a while.  As soon as the warmer weather hits (and I mean above 0 for a few days!) we’ll be fixing the clothes line outside so I can take advantage of the sun.  But I have been hanging all shirts on hangers in the bathroom and that’s been working really well.

Take a look at that link and let me know how much you could save on your laundry!

ps.  I do about 12 loads a week!  (I’m drowning in laundry!)

 

A Weekend Of Canning

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Had a chicken that wouldn't fit in my freezer and it snowballed to an entire day of canning!

Had a chicken that wouldn’t fit in my freezer and it snowballed to an entire day of canning!

On the weekend, I headed home to help with canning some deer meat at my Grandmothers.  Well, I didn’t make it in time (who would have thought our house would lock us in!) but I did come home with some goodies!  Including 2 chickens!  Unfortunatly my freezer was full, so I cooked up one of the chickens in the pressure cooker and yesterday went to town canning it.  (Follow the directions from here)  Then I realized I had venison roasts in the freezer that were never going to get eaten and were taking up more space in the freezer so I cubed those up as well.  I raw packed them, which I’ve never done before.  We’ll taste it and see if I’ll do it again.  I only made up 2 pints just incase.

So all together I did 4 pints of chicken, 2 pints and4 quarts of chicken stock and 2 pints of venison.  What a way to spend the weekend!

Swagbucks

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