Friday, February 3, 2012

Here we go again!

The view from the living room!

I'm going to give this old blog another try. We will be moving in a few weeks back out to the country and with a now 3.5 year old and a 9 month old, I'd like to change some things up.

  1. Paying off all debt and starting our FFEF (fully funded emergency fund)

    We have rediscovered Dave Ramsey, and though we managed to get through last year without incurring large amounts of debt, the major medical expenses that we went through blasted through our savings. Also, the student loans the Hubs took have been hanging over our head for too long. I was even more convinced about paying these off when I realized that 5 payments on our biggest loan last year only paid interest. That was over 2k just in interest!

  2. Focus more on urban homesteading

    I would like to grow a sizable garden this year, as I think R1 would really benefit from it - she is at an age where it would be fun. I would also like to learn how to can. The house we are moving into has a wood stove for heating (it also has a heat pump!) and the Hubs wants to cut wood for it. This would be a great stress reliever for him as well as good exercise so he can have at it!

  3. Homeschooling

    R1 is really starting to get interested in school. I need to have more structure for her because she thrives on it, even though I tend to not be as structured.

  4. Focus on good health

    We need to eat more nourishing foods. Period.
So there you have it, folks. I am sure the next year will be filled with posts of gardening, recipes, laughs and tears as this city girl tries to find her way back in the country again!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Pie Crust (I used a Pillsbury rollout crust, but this is the one that came with the pie recipe)

In medium bowl, combine:
1/2 Cups unbleached flour
7 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp sugar
1/2 Tsp baking powder

In small bowl, mix:
3 Tbsp canola oil
3 Tbsp soymilk or rice milk plus 1/2 Tsp lemon juice

Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix with fork until it holds together in a ball. If too dry add some water, a little at a time until dough is moist enough to roll. Cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate for 1 hour.

Roll dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin forming a 11-ince circle. Line a 9-ince pie plate with the dough. Flute or crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 425

In large bowl, mix until smooth and blended:

2 Cups pumpkin, pureed if home-cooked fresh pumpkin
1 Cup soymilk or rice milk (I used coconut milk - extra creamy)
3/4 Cups granulated sugar or 1/2 Cup honey(agave might work)
1/4 Cup cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp molasses or to taste (I used blackstrap)
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1 Tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp ground ginger
1/4 Tsp grated nutmeg (I used ground)
1/4 Tsp ground allspice
1 pinch cloves

Pour into prepared crust and smooth top. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temp. to 350 and bake until filling is set, about 50 minutes more. Cool on wire rack, then refrigerate overnight.

Heavy Baby

This was a lot easier to make than I thought it was going to be! It is a bag made of unbleached birdseye with arms filled with hulled millet (.89/lb - I used 2.5 lbs), covered in peach cotton/lycra 4 way stretch knit remnant from Joann's and the head. Thanks to my serger it was very quick. I started it last night and finished it this morning.

I used these directions for the head - instead of using gauze (since Joann's didn't carry any here) I just used a toddler sock - I'm sure we all have a stray one hanging around! I stuffed it with regular polyfil. I also cut the neck on the left and the right so I could lay half on the front and back to attach the head, since this wasn't a traditional Waldorf doll with a stuffed body, and just zigzagged it on several times.

After the head was attached to the millet bag, I basted a circle around the knit body fabric and cinched it tight. I then sewed around it a couple of times, reaching into the head with the needle to further make it sturdy.

The face is hand embroidered - I used regular brown thread doubled for the eyes and mouth and drew with a pencil what I wanted them to look like before backstitching them on. Ok, I actually tried to free hand it but didn't like what it looked like! When I was done, I pushed the needle deep into the head and then out the side, pulled it tight and snipped the thread. It disappeared nicely into the head!

The hat is just a long triangle that I hemmed and then serged the tall side of. The gown is a bigger version of the doll, with a little added height at the neck and longer in length so that I could add the elastic.


Olive Garden's Pasta Fagioli

Dinner for today - I just tasted it and it's SO good! You could even leave out the pasta if you wanted it to be gluten-free (are beans gluten free?).


  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1-2 carrots grated
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 1 (14 ounce) cans undrained italian diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can white kidney beans, drained
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans beef or chicken stock
  • 1.5 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoons pepper
  • 2.5 teaspoons parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 1 (20 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 cup pasta (small pasta, like acini de pepe)


  1. Brown beef in a skillet.
  2. Drain fat from beef and add to crock pot with everything except pasta.
  3. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours.
  4. During last 30 min on high or 1 hour on low, add pasta.
This would go very well with the Cornmeal Rolls!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chicken, Corn and Beans

This is SO good on a tortilla with some avocado, tomatoes and cashew cheese - so easy too! Here's what I do:

4-5 frozen chicken tenders (like boneless skinless breasts but smaller - you can use the breasts for this too)
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
Cream Cheese (if you want - I omitted it because we can't have it)

Put in crock on high for 2-4 hours - I just watch to see when the chicken is starting to look done and turn it to low then. More time in the crock doesn't hurt anything, if you need it done quickly, just keep it on high.

Cashew Cheese

I butchered this recipe:

Vegan Cashew Cheese
• 2/3 cup cashews (raw is best, roasted is still great, and try flavored cashews too)
• 1/2 cup water (or slightly more)
• 1/4 cup red bell pepper (raw or roasted)
• 1/4 small red onion (if you're cooking for a date, or more otherwise!)
• 1/4 cup yeast flakes
• 2 garlic cloves (see "red onion")
• 3 tbsp lemon juice
• 2 tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos (on the health food isle everywhere, or use lite soy sauce)
• 1 tbsp sesame oil
• 1 tsp sea salt (optional) if the cashews are unsalted
Put everything in a food processor and blend it until it's creamy. If it's too thick, add more water. If it's too watery, add more cashews. It should have a Cream of Wheat-like consistency, or just a bit thicker. For a pizza, spread it thinly over pizza sauce (it's very rich, so a little bit goes a long way), top it off with your favorite vegetables, and pop it in the oven. If the cashew cheese becomes golden-brown more than a few minutes before the pizza crust is done, cover the top of the pizza with foil.
This recipe is plenty for a medium-sized pizza. I like making larger batches and keeping leftovers in the fridge.
Cashew cheese is also great in quesadillas, toasted sandwiches, or just about any other dish that calls for cheese.

and make it like this with my oh so technical measuring...:

Good sized handful of ground cashews or almond meal
Splash of lemon juice
Nutritional yeast (around the same amount as the cashews)
Little bit of onion powder
Little bit of graulated garlic
Some canola oil
Little bit of coconut milk

and it tastes really yummy. Not so much cheesy, but really great on pizza and mexican food.

Christmas Gifts

So far here is my to make gift/swap list:

Riley -
Felt Playhouse
Wooden Kitchen
Possibly a Heavy Baby

DDC Swap -
Fetching for Shelby
Something for Hudson
ETA: Saw this and decided I needed to make it - this way Hudson AND his siblings can all enjoy it! So far I have this:

Nylene -
Drop Stitch Scarf

Lynda? -
Cuddle Blanket?

CC YFW Swap -
Convertibles for Jodi

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cornmeal Rolls (vegan and regular)

I made these cornmeal rolls for dinner tonight as well - they are delicious! Vegan subs are in parentheses.

Cornmeal Rolls
1/3 cup cornmmeal
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick of Nucoa or other dairy free margarine)
2 cups milk (1 can coconut milk)
1 pkg yeast
1/4 cup warm water (must be between 105 and 115 deg)
2 eggs, beaten (3 tsp Ener-G egg replacer plus 1/3 cup water)
4-5 cups flour

Put cornmeal, sugar, salt, butter and milk into pot and cook until thick - stir frequently. It will be the consistency of thinnish cream of wheat.

Cool mixture (I put onto a cookie sheet and put outside and it cools it faster).

Add yeast to warm water - then add yeast/water mix to the cooled cornmeal mixture.

Add eggs and mix, then add flour one cup at a time (I use 4 cups and it works well).

Rise in warmed oven - punch down and then add flour on counter or cutting board and flatten with your hands - use the rim of a glass to cut circles in dough. Or you can put a layer of cornmeal on a pan and then just roll the dough out to meet all edges. Take a pizza cutter and cut squares into it like pull apart dinner rolls.

Sprinkle a thin layer of cornmeal over a cookie sheet and put circles of dough on it - cover with towel and stick back in warmed oven to rise again.

When risen, cook for 15-20 minutes at 375 deg. When done, take a stick of butter (margarine) and baste the tops of the rolls.

(I find that cooking for longer at a lower temp works better for the vegan rolls)