Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, DIYing, organic gardening, food preservation, chicken keeping, cookery, crafts, thrifting, vintage stuff,
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Dec 27, 2013

Home Cured Salmon- Gravlax, Dark Days Meal, Recovered Chicken Chairs, Kerosene Heaters On A Budget, Our Christmas


Home Cured Salmon, Gravlax-
When I first heard about Scandinavian home-cured salmon (or Gravlax) a few years ago, I thought it would be too complicated. It's not! It's so easy, and delicious, you have to try it. Since I love smoked salmon, I thought this might be worth the try. I've posted the recipe, along with a wonderful mustard sauce to go with it (optional) here-

Recipe for gravlax-
1 lb. salmon (I buy wild caught frozen, pretty cheap), 4 TBL. sea salt (or kosher), 6 TBL. sugar (can use brown), 1 bunch fresh dill. Mix dry ingredients, pack onto both sides of the salmon (skin can be left on), sprinkle 1/2 the chopped dill on both sides, wrap tightly and put in baking dish. Drain the dish as needed for 3 days, turning daily. Unwrap, rinse, pat dry, slice thin, and enjoy! I serve with rye bread or crackers, lemon slices and mustard sauce.

Recipe for Mustard Sauce- 3 TBL. of the following- light brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, 1TBL. vegetable oil, 1 TBL. sour cream, 1-2 TBL fresh chopped dill. Whisk, and enjoy!

Here's how it goes-

Salt/Sugar mix

Dredged, covered with chopped, fresh dill and ready to wrap

Wrapped for the fridge, sat and drained for 3 days, then rinse well

Dark Days Meal-
Tonite it's homemade, frozen pesto with basil from the garden, local bread and salad.

Recovered Chicken Chairs-
This week I recovered 2 free chairs Dave brought home from work, that were headed for the dumpster. I bought fabric that has chickens! I thought about burlap, but since they're for the dining/living room I wanted a tighter weave. I was planning on painting the wood cream color, then distressing them. Sadly the planned paint job in the mild fall weather was cancelled, due to drastic temp changes. It was winter suddenly. I knew we'd need extra seating for the holidays, so I wiped them down, took off the brown vinyl cushions, and recovered them. I just used a staple gun, kept it taut, and away I went! Trimmed off the excess, flipped them back and Dave put the screws back in. Now that I have the time, we'll tighten up the chairs, with some wood glue and screws. I think I may leave the chair color alone. I did pre-plan: I bought twice the needed fabric in case of spills! I will treat the wood, and Dave is going to tighten up one leg. We were short on time. No paint for now. I kind of like the brown! What do you think: Cream and distressed or brown? I still have the paint!

Old ugly fake leather seats

Seat unscrewed and removed, thanks Dave!

Fabric stapled on, and screwed back on!

                                                         All photos from

Kerosene Heaters on A Budget-
Several people have posted on their blogs the need for some emergency heat. One often overlooked source is kerosene heaters. Kerosene can be bought in small 1 gallon tins, and store much more safely than gasoline, and propane. I have bought several over the years, and here's a great resource if you're interested- and here- Mini Kerosene Heaters for info about how to buy, and retrofit smaller heaters. I bought several kero "brooder heaters" on eBay cheap, bought new wicks and they work! I did some retrofitting like Miles, and turned one into a small pot heater, similar to his-

I also bought a Perfection room heater from a thrift store, like new- $20.00 Pretty close to the one above. I keep several gallons of kero in the garage, away from heat. We haven't needed them, but it's good to have them on hand, just in case. eBay also sells lots of kero camping stoves. All of these are relatively odor free, and much safer than propane indoors. Do your own research on the safety of using these in your own application. Safety first.  Kerosene Heater Safety  Kero prices may vary depending on where you live.

Anya, post kids

Our Christmas-
We had our 3 girls, new son in law (love him!), and fiance over for our traditional breakfast, then opened presents. Hung out chatted. Our one daughter, on her own, stayed the day. We watched White Christmas on DVD  (before my time, still love it!), she loved it! I roasted a duck with lingonberry sauce for dinner. Yukon gold mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach and chocolate tart for dessert. Ah the joys of a good meal at the end of the day!

Our new downsized tree after gifts, fits much better in the room than the old one

Anya peeking out

Some fun goodies

Santa on skates

Michelle's grade school project reindeer she made, and those furry paws?

Michelle and Anya chilling, cropped to protect her privacy :)  
She's reading Tami's wedding photo book we got as a gift

My funny gift-

Dave put together an Anya ornament!!!

 I bought these 1/2 off the day after Christmas- Smith and Hawken Gardening ornaments, porcelain, from Target, aren't they cute! I hoped they wouldn't be all gone! I also donated more decorations also. Buy some, get rid of some, that's my motto. Simplify, simplify!

My fun, little USB powered color changing snowman. I put him on the kitchen window and used an extra cell phone charger (with USB adapter unplugged) to plug into the normal power. Works great!

Some of our cards displayed


Kristina said...

I'm making a pasta salad using my canned relish today. I love the cat ornament Dave made.

Susan said...

Love the ornament! And love that Anya is well-mannered enough to let you have a tree. I like the darker wood with the fabric (which is awesome, by the way....)

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Hi Kristina, yes I bet you have a lot more than me, since you preserve more of your own food.

Thanks Susan. I kind of like the darker wood too. Anya didn't seem to bother the tree at all, she just tried to eat the table top decor :(

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