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Use What Food You Have

Yesterday I harvested some things from our garden. Parsley, Basil, zucchini, garlic tops. Even though it doesn’t look like much, you can still figure out how to use whatever you have from your garden. I actually freeze the tops, parsley and zucchini and nothing goes to waste. Use what you have.

harvestyourown

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Garden Flood

This year our spring has been rainy (and so has lots of other people’s). This was our garden two days ago. It has cleared out now, but in the past we have lost plants near the edge of the garden to excessive moisture. Maybe it will dry out completely soon.gardenflood


Great Vintage Yard Sale Find!

This great waffle maker is decades old and was found by Ernie’s mother at a yard sale ages ago. We use it regularly. Homemade waffles are definitely worth making if you can. Our recipe comes from by baba’s old cookbook from 1958.

Here is the recipe:

1-1/4 cup flour – we use all whole wheat flour as it works just as well

2 tsp baking power

1 cup milk

2 egg yolks beaten thick

4 tbsp melted fat

2 egg whites beaten stiff

First whip up the egg whites in a separate bowl. You can do this by hand (takes a bit longer), or by machine. Then whisk flour and BP together really well. Combine milk, egg yolks and fat and mix well. Pour wet mixture into dry and stir until just mixed (don’t over mix). Then FOLD in egg whites. Cook on waffle iron.

We double this recipe when we make it so we have some to freeze. These waffles are even better when toasted. Eat with butter, maple syrup, fruit, nuts or whatever you like.

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Homemade Zucchini Soup

Believe it or not the following soup is incredibly tasty. I found the recipe in an old cookbook of my aunt’s that she gave me. The flavour comes from the spices and onions.

Ingredients: Olive oil – but you can use butter as well. Slice onions and sauté them in the fat until soft. Then add a small amount of rosemary, basil, thyme, and salt. Chop up a medium potato into small pieces and add that. Finally add the zucchini to fill the pan and cook until soft. Taste when cooked to check for spice amounts. Don’t over do the rosemary most importantly. You can add pepper but be careful with it.

All of the ingredients in this recipe we grew in our garden except the olive oil and salt, obviously. If you have a small amount of animal fat you that you have saved you can use that instead, as it really doesn’t matter flavour wise.

See if you can find the dog hair in the soup picture.Image

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My Winter Onions

The onion that I planted a short while ago rotted in the container. So I took two more that had not sprouted yet and put them in. This is what happened. Hopefully they won’t rot:

pottedonions

Homemade Mushroom Soup

It is unbelievably easy to make mushroom soup at home that tastes better than any store bought soup.

Put olive oil in a pan and heat slowly. Add onions from your garden and mushrooms bought locally. Amounts will depend on how much soup you need.

Saute for a few minutes.

Sprinkle with 3-4 tablespoons of flour (whole wheat of course).

Mix.

Add 1 cup of water and one cup of milk SLOWLY, stirring continuously to prevent lumps from forming.

Add more liquid if not enough.

Spices – Salt, pepper, and a pinch of poultry seasoning – or thyme and sage.

Cook until done.

More Frugal Psychology

The other day my hubby and I were making salsa.

Whoop-te-do some of you may say. Why not just go out and buy it?

This was me thinking to myself as we were working, because people have said this to me before and I have heard many say this in regards to other things.

So, I came up with the answer while we were working.

We do it because we can, NOT because we HAVE to.   Buying food from the store is for those who HAVE to. They have no other choice. They don’t have the knowledge, space, time, ability etc.  The more you buy, the more the money you need.  I work from home about part time at my own businesses (yes more than one). The rest of the time I put into making food, cleaning and other things to save money so I don’t have to go out to work.

If I went out to work, I would be exhausted at the end of the day and not be able to cook, clean etc, so we would be eating poorly with prepared, store bought foods. Sure I would be making more money but I wouldn’t be saving it. We would be eating out more, buying more processed foods, and going on expensive vacations more because of the stress of the job.

This month (March) we were able to get our grocery bill down to $185.00 for two people. This is for dairy and staples including paper products. We don’t shop at the cheapest store – just the local co-op. However, we do have a garden, hubby gets a deer in the fall, we get a fish a week from the local lake, we barter for eggs and beef (which is also partly to feed our dogs), and we buy a whole pig from a local farmer for about $180.00 (feeds us for over a year). We eat WELL. If we didn’t, we would feel deprived.

Part of the work we do to save money is slaughter our own beef and pig and do our own fishing. This time would otherwise be spent working for others. By doing this we also learn amazingly important skills and a reverence for life.

I am not telling you all this to show how great we are. My point is that anything can be done. Truly. My point is that people make choices. Choices create movement towards goals and accomplishing them. You either want to do something or you don’t. As Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try”.

Make A Nice Bed Frame For Almost Nothing

Here is a way to get your creative juices flowing without spending a lot of money and make something necessary and useful in the process.

This bed was made by my hubby out of 1x6s. We wanted a certain look so we made it instead of travelling to the city and buying a cheap frame made out of particle board. This bed is sturdy and cost $50 in materials.

Even if you don’t do any building you can still figure this out. All you need is a measuring device – ruler, tape etc, wood, screws and screwdriver (you may want to have a drill to pre-drill holes as the wood may crack if you don’t. You can use a hand drill for this), and metal braces the length of the bed to support the mattress. Salvage braces could work well for this as well.

This mattress is old. I don’t recommend getting used mattresses from people you don’t know. Buy new or make your own (that is for another post).

We also added a headboard made out of scraps that we had left over from panelling the stairs. Very economical and sustainable if you get your wood from the right source. You may want to harvest your own from your woodlot if you have one. That would make a nice rustic decor. We will likely do that in the future.

Make Your Own Ketchup

We make our own ketchup. It was is easy to do I will never buy any again. The taste is excellent especially with homegrown fried potatoes.

Ingredients for homemade ketchup:

Tomatoes – grow your own

Vinegar – make your own

Onions or onion powder – grow or make your own

Sweetener – we use honey sourced locally

Salt – buy or make your own

Optional: A dash of cloves – I use it because I have some already but I wouldn’t go out and buy any especially for this. Ketchup can be made without it. Be careful how much you use though – it is very potent.

The Method

Cook the tomatoes well and press them through a sieve to remove the seeds and skins if you haven’t already removed them.

Into the tomatoes add sweetener – lots. Ketchup is very sweet so taste test often as you add this.

Add the salt and vinegar. These will be added in less amounts than the sweetener.

Add the onions or onion powder. We use small multiplier onions. We add them by grating them on a very fine grater directly into the ketchup. That way you get the full flavour of the onion, but not chunks of it. It blends in nicely.

If you use cloves, add it last. Be SSSOOOO careful not to put too much. You only need a small DASH of it.

Add these ingredients to taste slowly. You won’t get the full flavour of the ketchup until it cools so this can be a long process.

Also Coffee…

If you like this you may want to try making coffee like our ancestors (settlers) did. In a pot.

Homemade Ketchup

You don’t need to buy a fancy machine or anything special except coffee. Just don’t boil it too long. One minute at a slight boil is enough. Strain out the coffee grains or don’t, It doesn’t matter. You can figure out what works best for you.

The best way to make coffee.

 

 

 

Only basic ingredients are needed.

Give these things a try and feel the satisfaction of being able to provide more for yourself with less from basic ingredients you grow yourself.

For more homesteading stuff check out our YouTube channel. You can find more of my writing at Medium.

 

Homesteading Arts

OLD 45 & Shanty Gallery 

Here is a link to our new short soapmaking video.

We made soap at the end of August from the fat of a pig that fed us for over a year. This is our first soap making attempt in over ten years.

Even though there was fat on the surface after curing for 3 weeks, it is still usable soap. As it says in the video, there is almost never a complete

failure in soap-making.