Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, food preservation, thrifting,
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Feb 12, 2017

FLOODING- The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, Navy Bean Soup With Bacon

Eastern Idaho

FLOODING- The Good, The Bad & The Ugly-
It was so beautiful...

We had a record breaking, 25-year snow season, with almost 30" of snow in Boise, in the low elevations in town. I knew things could get really ugly if it melted too fast. It did. Last week we started getting temps in the UPPER 50's! Almost 60 degrees, with rain, is unheard of in February. I sat back and held my breath. The news of flooding didn't take too long, and it hit the news hard. Eastern Idaho was hit the worst, with the rural roads, and more snow than Boise gets. Roads and hiways flooded, homeowners stranded, major property damage. We already had business roofs collapsing from the heavy snow load. It was just awful. All photo from local news sources-  

Eastern Idaho hiway

Rural road

Idaho Gov. "Butch" Otter with Oregon Governor Kate Brown toured border areas

Boise street

Our subdivision did well with the storm drains for our street. One of the good things about modern home building is having your yard/property slope down away from your home. Water drains AWAY. We were VERY lucky to have zero flooding in our home. Dave checked the crawl space two nights ago, nice and dry. Our coop came thru fine, due to Dave's excellent design and construction. We had some minor house damage on our new siding from last year. It looked horrible a couple of days ago, but I told Dave to wait a few days for it to dry out. I was right! A little wavy spots that a few nails will fix. That was the good. Since it has cooled down quite a bit the last 2 days, 24 yesterday morning, 40 in the afternoon, it has slowed the flooding. Now it's a matter of repairs and recovery. Our Gov. declared a state of emergency, so there should be some extra funds for repairs. I'm not sure how our garden has done, but luckily the snow covered everything thru the bitter cold. Since the chickens were in the coop a lot more then usual Dave is adding some pine shavings today, to freshen things up. Deep cleaning will be next month probably. They did keep laying thru it all! Mommy's good girls. That was the good for us- no major damage, never lost power, life kept on going. I'm ready for spring, and the sun is out today again. What a relief!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Navy Bean Soup With Bacon- 
I found this recipe Bean with Bacon soup and decided to make it. I did, however, make it a bit healthier. I used all the ingredients BUT I eliminated the one cup of cream. I also cut the amount of bacon in half. Was great and much less fatty, better for my arteries!  I bought some pot stickers at Costco yesterday to make this old recipe- Pot Sicker and Roasted Red Pepper Salad. My Mom made this for me clear back in the 70's! Tried and true, easy as well. The sauce is key! Amazing flavors!!!

Feb 4, 2017

Powdered Milk Taste Test For Food Storage, Two Corner Re-Dos, Spring Thaw?

Powdered Milk Taste Test For Food Storage-
Powdered milk for long term food storage is one of those odd "foods" that is hard to judge. With the variables of being able to mix easily, taste, ingredients how do you decide? Even if you don't plan on drinking the milk, it's great for baking and other uses. We all know what an apple, tomato or sugar tastes like. Not so much powdered milk. I found this excellent, well rounded review with a good cross reference of info, brands and ingredients. Powdered Milk Taste Test And Review !

For shorter term use I found Nestle's Table Cream an excellent replacement for cream. It is actually CREAM! It's best served after refrigerating. It could also be potentially watered down for milk, since it is cream. No sugar or junk added. I keep some on hand for when I need cream and run out. Pretty cheap at Walmart.

First corner re-do after photo

Two Corner Re-Dos-
You know how you have those small spots in your home that drive you nuts? Not quite working, and maybe just messy? I decided I had had enough of two spots today. The kitchen corner between my oven and fridge was # one-

Here's the before photo-

The bamboo box wasn't big enough for all the bread, bagels, etc. It also didn't really go with the rest of the kitchen. I emptied out this wood container that was full of faux flowers and a few vintage kitchen utensils before the photo-

I put the protein shake mix in the cupboard, whipped everything down. I found a basket in my bedroom that I emptied and re-used here-

Great size, looks better already, but kind of bare. So I added something else I had-

A small serving tray!

Then I added a vintage jar with faux lemons

I love it! No cost, just re-purposing items I already had. Things previously in the basket will be re-homed tomorrow. The bamboo crate will go inside the cupboard.

Next corner # two- desk area in kitchen

Messy and not very organized

I needed to sort papers, file better, but keep short term things on the desk where I could see them. I deep cleaned, purged, refiled, shredded. I removed the candle holder from the wood tote and stored the short term papers there-

It's the perfect size! Coupons on the right are in the big clip, easy to see

Much better and again all free! I donated the other things I didn't need. I may give the white tote a fresh coat of chalk paint (leftover), and a stencil, maybe?

Spring Thaw?
It was a whopping 47 degrees today!!! Snow is melting, slowly, which is good. We don't need any flooding! The streets still have walls of snow along the sides. The backyard was very slippery with water on top of packed ice/snow. More warm weather on the way ths coming week. One fatality already sadly-

My concrete bird in my herb box

Mr. Gnome survived however!

It's way too early for spring, but I can dream can't I? 

Jan 31, 2017

How I Grocery Shop

How I Grocery Shop-
I was just reading Margo's post here How I Grocery Shop and it got me thinking. I realized I actually have developed a pretty systematic way of shopping. It's also flexible! Here's the basics of what I currently do, which has evolved over the years...

When our family was younger I used to go grocery shopping with our three girls. I had a system with them, a reward when we got home IF they did a good job. Worked great! My kids NEVER thru a fit in the store, whined or begged! Dave and I always focused on good manners and work ethic. Now with just the two of us I shop primarily once a week on the weekend. I go to a low cost "bag your own" grocery store, with an excellent bulk section. I will point out- we don't eat meat every day, as some do. I don't buy ground meats much (never beef) for instance, except once in a while. Mostly turkey for tacos or Italian sausage for pasta sauce. I'd rather buy whole meats that are lean, with less waste. We eat a certain amount of vegetarian foods, healthier and cheaper. I always have a running list on our fridge for needed items. I go to a "grocery outlet" where I buy artisan breads, coffees, Keurig pods, a few organic frozen lunches and other foods about once a month. We got to Costco once a month (maybe), mostly for cat litter, supplements, and other specific items. I go to Trade Joe's once a month, again just specific items. They are all close to work or home, except Costco. I never use coupons. I just never saw huge savings, but I do buy a lot of what's marked down and I'm a good cook. I also freeze a lot of sale items. I just roasted a chicken I bought at the height of last summer's low prices. I also can/freeze our own fruits/veggies from our home garden. I just made a big pot of pasta sauce with quartered, frozen fresh tomatoes. Awesome! We're looking into buying a 1/4 of a local steer, grass fed/organic thru my hubbies co-worker. I need to have him break down the per Lb. dressed/packaged price to see if it's a good deal or not. My shopping is always flexible, since I may find a better deal on something unplanned, so I can change my menu as needed. I saw a new recipe for a Orange Mustard Pork Tenderloin I wanted to try. I bought pork chops instead, since they're much cheaper here.

Costco can be a bad idea, if you don't shop smart. Many of their food items are actually higher than where I normally shop. Bigger packages aren't always the way to go! They also sell a lot of junk foods. Some items there you can really save on. Sadly they were way behind the trend of selling more whole grain, and healthy foods. I do know our medium-sized chest freezer (from Costco!) has really paid for itself the last several years. I freeze breads, meats, butter, cheese, fruits, veggies, and a few quick dinners. Something like a $5.00 frozen French Tart pizza from Trader Joe's topped with my fresh eggs and a salad is a quick, easy low-cost work night dinner. I buy my Tea's primarily at Cost Plus World Market, better deals, and a better selection. We rarely ever drink alcohol, so nothing spent there. I think a lot of people spend a HUGE amount of money on alcohol sadly. I heard on the news today that the day after the Super Bowl is being considered for a holiday?  Super Bowl Holiday? Wow. Maybe people should drink less and go to work. Unless you're travelling out of state, I don't get it, or plan ahead and take a vacation day. Weird. Anyway those are my habits that seem to work! I'm sure they will continue to evolve over time. What do you do to eat healthy and save money???
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