Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, Permaculture, DIYing, organic gardening, food preservation, Chicken keeping, cookery, crafts, thrifting and more...

Feb 26, 2017

No Snow- Sort Of, Pot Sticker Salad, Chicago-Style Italian Beef Sandwich, Great Deals!

No snow!

No Snow, Sort Of-
We were still in the "no snow" mode until this evening! It's snowed a bit, but not much in the forecast. Happy dance! While we had dropped back into the cold, 30's day, 20's at night, at least it's been dry. We had a bitter cold wind last Wed./Thurs, brrrrr. I had a major tummy flu bug (on top of a head cold) last Saturday thru Thursday. I stayed home Mon./Tues., mostly in bed, no appetite, chills, wiped out. I started feeling better late Tues. after I was able to eat a little. I used a homeopathic remedy from Boiron Oscillococcinum which helped quite a bit. I spent this weekend playing catch up, but am feeling good! A good day to stay inside.

Pot Sticker & Roasted Red Pepper Salad-
My Mom used to make this for me clear back in the 70's (dating myself!) It's an easy dish and you can jazz it up with hot pepper sauce, different veggies. I use romaine, but otherwise use this recipe- 
Pot Sticker & Roasted Red Pepper Salad. I made it Friday night and we inhaled it!!! Yummy...

Chicago Style Italian Beef Sandwich-
I had seen these sandwiches for years and decided to make some! I found an amazing deal today as well-

Three pounds of top round beef, full price was $27.00, discounted $17.00, for a total of $10.00! That's a lot of meat!!! I may go back tomorrow and buy another to freeze! No waste there. Here's the basic recipe, but you can modify if needed- or for more history, go here The great thing about this meat is you can use the leftover for all kinds of other dishes. Later this week I'm going to make beef tacos with Cojito cheese and salsa. You start with a dry rub all over-

You put on a rack and put 6 cups of beef broth underneath. It smelled great! Low heat and then make the sauce/gravy and serve! I bought rolls and the mild/hot giardiniera for toppings. I'm still so happy I found such a great deal! I thought I'd have to buy a much smaller cut.

Oooo, pretty! Nibbled a slice off the top :)

Served with a green salad, oh my!

Great Deals-
After getting a little unexpected rebate I finally decided to buy a preserved boxwood wreath from Target. It's made by Smith and Hawken, an upscale garden decor compny. I have wanted one for a while. I love bringing nature in! I looked locally and the fake ones looked really cheesy. I went yesterday and they were out. I checked with Target's customer service and they were discontinued! No, say it isn't so! Having boxwoods in my backyard the wreath looks very real, since it's made from actual boxwood. I looked up making one from scratch, too complicated for me. I checked online while there and they were still available, and $3.00 off, on sale. $16.99 instead on $19.99 for a 12". I ordered one online and with an extra President's Day discount, got it for basically the same price but delivered! While it wasn't a thrift store find, I am happy. I may add some kind of ribbon to jazz it up.

I had a 15 year-old pair of Eddie Bauer work sandals that were worn out after much love and use. I like the fisherman style for work. I wanted the same basic thing, so I went to eBay. I found a close to identical pair, like new, for $10.00 and a little shipping. Happy dance!

I also found a pretty floral like-new L.L. Bean blouse on eBay-

I also got a close-out pair of gray cord slacks for work and a polar fleece top at Penney's too, great for our still cold weather. It's still winter here! Funny to see summer/spring clothing!

And last, I did something really unusual. I paid full price for a jacket! I had two very old jackets, one thrifted. I decide to get a NEW one. I found this on L.L. Bean, and fell in love!

It's soft fuzzy on the inside, nice pockets, longer in back. Love the color, heathered, "sweater fleece". I think I'm good for another 20 years.

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? 

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