Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Going Back to Gluten Free... This Time Me Too.

So after nearly a year off gluten we tested Puzzle Boy to see if he could handle it again. After about 3 weeks the answers was very clear... nope. He needs to be gluten free for his own well being and ours as his caretakers! But this time I am going to be joining him! Recently I have just been feeling "blah". You know, sluggish, tired, gross and well... fat. Attractive, huh? Yeah, I don't think so either. So I am back to being diligent on and I have done a bit of research on Blood Type Diets. I was vegetarian for a period when I was younger as well as attended a yoga class weekly and felt amazing. Granted I wasn't a mom at the time and I had the time to really focus on my well being. But, now it is imperative that I get this figured out. I need energy! I am going to be doing a loose-ish version of the diet for my blood type (A positive). This includes a mostly vegetarian diet with limited fish, chicken and turkey, no processed foods, no wheat except sprouted wheat, limited dairy (mostly cultured). I am not going to be restricting veggies and fruits at all, except ones that clearly bother me. Life without any tomatoes? Uh, no thanks. So while I will not be super strict GF, I will be mostly GF.

Luckily, we have quite a bit of gluten free baking mixes and flours left. When those are gone I will be trying out making my own flour mix using aramanth, brown rice, millet, oat, soy and sorghum flours and sweet rice, tapioca and arrowroot starches. Mixing my own will result in about $1.55 per 1000 grams of finished flour which will save me about $5.64 per batch compared to buying Bob's Red Mill AP gluten free Baking Flour. See! I can still save money even on GF! May not be as cheap as regular flour but healthy is worth it for me and my little man. I am sure I will play with different flours and such for different baked goods but that combo will be my starting point. I will share the recipe for it when I make it :-)

Have a good week!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Organic? It's for Us, is it for You?

When I first was introduced to "organic" food I was immediately intrigued. Was this hippy fodder? Was it twigs and berries or just another way to squeeze a few extra bucks out of your grocery budget? As I splashed around in the shallow end of the organic scene before I had kids, I began to glean knowledge and realized it was a little of all of it! Certified organic food is regulated to certain standards of chemical free growing and earth friendly growing. It all around is more healthy and sustainable... it just takes a bit more elbow grease. Depending on what is grown and methods used, organic growing can be really expensive or really cheap.

Now, I will not try to claim we are fanatics about organic food. We like to eat that way as budget and availability allows. But I still eat McDonald's on occasion. Shoot me. When we are able to grow and raise more of our own food it will be with organic practices, so it most likely be a pretty high percentage of our daily diet. Right now we focus on specific things. Organic dairy, organic eggs, nitrate free, antibiotic free, hormone free and GMO free if we can. I try to get our root vegetables organic as well as most of out produce except bananas (they really are a low risk food). Cold cereals and more "processed" foods are a splurge and not something I frequent. Frozen veggies usually are organic too. Baking flours and grains, yes. Um, so most of our food I guess! Probably 75%-85% of our home prepared food is organic or at least all natural. We do not go so far as to use organic body care products unless they are a gift or are homemade. I do, however, prefer homemade cleaning products that I can control chemical exposure with. You'd be surprised what you clean with vinegar and baking soda.

Thinking about giving it a try? Start with the dirty dozen and see if your budget can take it!

Bonus! Seedling update pictures:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Unexpected but Nice!

Wow, a nomination! Sadly, I had no idea what it was I am nominated for. It is a blog award of some kind! But said nomination has required me to answer some questions provided by my nominator and provide 11 random facts about me. So, here we go!

1. In 5 words or less, why do you blog?
Because I love to write.

2. Are you a spend-thrift or a cheapskape?
Um, somewhere in the middle? I like to save money but at the end of the day I know it will not be coming with me when I die so no use getting to attached!

3. I follow your blog, do you follow mine?
Yes. Yes, I do.

4. Most productive time of day to blog?
When my children aren't wailing for food or booty changes (aka, nap time/ bedtime).

5. Do you want to have a big money-making blog one day?
Not really my intention but if it "happened" I would not be disappointed. ;-)

6. What is your favorite comfort food?
Currently, it is a weird one. Rice, spanish olives, cheddar cheese, green chiles and chicken mixed up in cassarole form. Had it for the first time at my best friend's in-law's house in Arizona and I ate it all the time pregnant. SO GOOD.

7. Do you have a piggy bank (and where do you hide it)?
I don't, my kids do. I have a "grown up piggy bank" in an undisclosed location. It is anything but full though! Lol.

8. Do you have a garden?
Interesting question. I do not have a "garden" currently but as soon as snow melts and ground thaws we will! I have lots of little plants waiting!

9. Are you one of those preppers??????
(Nervously looks around) Heh heh, no...

10. Just how cheap are you?
I'd say I am a tepid cheap warming to a balmy wood fired hot tub cheap.

11. What color are your eyes?
Greenish. I don't really know! Ask my husband ;-D

Random Things:

1. I am the younger of two children.

2. I was married at 20.

3. I can knit and sew.

4. I started cooking when I was 3 and was making full dinners by 12.

5. I am cynical about any organized social structure (i.e. medical system, government, school systems, etc.).

6. I have owned horses since I was 14.

7. I dream about things like milking cows and canning a years worth of food.

8. I was an extremely awkward child, I think I finally got it working for me now though!

9. I loved my birth and I daydream/ real dream about the next one. Freak, I know. It was awesome.

10. I can sing. No really, I can.

11. My housework can be a bit bi-polar. Or maybe that's me... I do wonder sometimes!

Well, that was fun! Hope you all have learned some handy/ interesting tidbits about me. Nothing to exciting I am afraid! Thank you D. Marie from Lessons on the Cheap!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What Does "Modern" Homesteading Mean to Me? And... Seedlings.

I have been thinking about this while we have been contemplating what to do about living arrangements. What are our priorities? What are our beliefs? What makes us "homesteaders" and when will we think we are there? Nothing makes you take a good long look at what you are and what you stand for than a hardship and uncontrollable circumstances. Where we should live and what is available for options has become just that. We are at the mercy of time, hard work and creativity. I won't post now about what our plans are at the moment but I will document along the way this summer and perhaps see if you can guess what it is ;-)

Any who, I have been thinking... and when I started this blog and titled it "Modern Homesteading" the thought I have in my mind was old fashioned ways with a new date and maybe a solar panel or two. But, recently, perhaps by growing maturity, I have re thought this. I think it depends on the family! Each will have their own values and skills and comfort levels from hardcore make-your-own-underwear-from-your-home-spun-yarn-from-your-home-grown-sheep to growing-a-single-tomato-plant-on-a-tiny-city-fire-escape-landing. We are not currently where we would like to be. We are living un-independently in my parents house with limited freedom to have animals and the like. This is going to change this year. Everything is going to change this year. We have come to the breaking point of waiting or doing. We choose do. We are choosing to take control (Lord guiding) and start living how we feel called. It is a leap of faith for more than just comfort but also safety and sanity (for me... I have been know to be *ahem* unstable). And please pray for our extended family to understand what will come, I am dreading their reaction, mostly just 'cause I am sick of hearing "you can't".

Next, we have seedlings! And how I chose to pot them on this year. I used 4 ounce yogurt cups. I was feeding Mini Me the other week and it just clicked that the plastic cup in my hand was the perfect size to pot on a seedling. Usually they just go in the recycle but now I was going to be the recyclist. And you know what? It worked a treat.

Notice the mold? Not intentional.

Fork lift. Heehee

So cute.