Thursday, December 29, 2011

Buttermilk on a Shelf

Repackaging for mid-term storage 1-4 years.
Along the lines of converting to a more pantry based menu I ordered Saco Powdered Buttermilk, 12-Ounce Cans (Pack of 6) after testing the powdered buttermilk we had bought last February from Niblack Foods in Rochester. Since I already bake bake & cook with powdered milk instead of fresh it's a nice alternative to having a cultured buttermilk product on the shelf.
Saco Foods, Inc. Middleton, Wisconsin.
Amazon worked out to be the better price even before I factor in that I bought the product with Amazon gift cards earned on Swagbucks (yeah me I've earned just over $400 this year).

Most if not all the bulk food orders are broken down for long term storage. The buttermilk powder was repackaged into pint mason jars that were sterilized for 10 minutes in boiling hot water, then air dried by the wood stove. Added one O2 absorber (bought last year from LDS website) per jar then vacuum sealed. The original expiration date is May 2015 but I'm sure with the air vacuumed, glass containers, and cool temps the buttermilk will be good for a year past that. I also froze the powder for a full week before repackaging to kill any an foreign matter much as I do when I repackage flour for extended term storage.
Cut out the directions from the manufactures containers to tape on each jar as a handy reference guide.

I left two in original packaging for immediate use, one went to a barter deal, the rest are sitting repackaged on a cellar shelf. Piece by piece I'm adding to our pantry and extend term food preps.

So far I've used this product to make Rye Bread, Buckwheat Pancakes, and of course sing it with me ...

Y'all ready to get busy? (huh huh!)

Now, buttermilk biscuits here we go

SIFT the flour roll the dough
Clap your hands and stomp your feet
Move your butt to the funky beat (huh huh)

This boy reminds me so much of my son and his dance routines back in the day. 
I miss those days my son.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Nut in my Coffee

A reader who read my post about coffee creamer on a syndicated news site that I'm linked to reminded me that my choice in creamers was an unhealthy one. And we homesteaders are nothing if not always striving to be healthy, right ?
One of the advantages of grocery shopping on Amazon is the expanded organic and hopefully healthy selection of items that due to both cost & local selection isn't always available to me.  So I wandered outside of my comfort zone (read addiction alley) and went with  MimicCreme Almond and Cashew Cream-Unsweetened, 16-Ounce (Pack of 6) Six 16 oz. cartons = $14.52 which included a promo code for a $2.56 discount. Today it's a few dollar's cheaper along with different package graphics. No shipping & handling because I ordered this as a subscribe & save.
Made in Albany, New York.

Would I order this again ?
I would despite the fact that I really prefer powdered fake coffee creamer, oh how I prefer it.
Product was as described and with enough Stevia good (ordered unsweetened due to diabetes).
I really enjoy that the other 5 cartons can be stored on a cellar shelf with out refrigeration. Right next to what is left of my order of artificial coffee creamer.

Raises a mug "Here's to drinking better", all the while thinking of the other creamer. 

~~ pelenaka ~~

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hung Out to Dry

There's been way too much drama going on here lately which is why the simple act of "doing laundry" felt so good these past few days. The wash wasn't done as old as school as I have in the past with a homemade rapid washer and a couple of plastic pails nor did I use the wringer . 
I also don't or rather haven't had a mechanical clothes dryer in over 7 years. I do have a swing arm wall mount clothes dryer that I adore even though it's been missing an arm for years. 

Thinking of painting the rack to match the walls perhaps after hubby replaces the missing arm. 
We bought this wooden clothes drying rack in Pennsylvania when Woodsrunner & I were on our honeymoon five years ago for $10. Since then I've bought another for $25 which I have yet to hang.
One drawback to small homes is lack of wall space. Which is why the drying rack is located here in the front room for all the world to see when they enter my home. That & there's a furnace duct directly underneath. The rack predates the wood stove by 3 years. Generally took a full 24 hours for clothes to dry when we ran the furnace.
Before buying this rack @ an antique store I used a floor model or as an old roommate who was British always referred to a clothes horse. There are several modern wall mount racksavailable on Amazon that have caught my eye. One or two styles would fit easily over a large picture window mounted on the wall.

Can't help myself but when the rack is open I always think of Mary Poppins
Usually when people stop by their comments range from what is it even if it is covered with damp clothes to my grandmother had one on her back porch.

Then for whatever reason, many feel the need to make the statement that they would just get a normal clothes drier (I'm not normal so why would I have a normal clothes drier).  By comparison I don't get such off comments when people stop by & I'm hanging laundry on the line. Most tell me they wish they had a place to hang a clothes line.
I smile, then casually mention our electric bill is never above $40.
Sometimes I discuss how clothes last longer when you don't subject them to extreme temps or the tumble factor.
Mostly I just am thankful that on that day, there were no stoppenfloppers or drawers hanging out to dry.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Packets of Hope on Sale (Giveaway Winner)

Thank you to everyone who gave a shout out about their gardening style and to those of you are new to following my urban homesteading blog.
I didn't use a random numbers generator to pick the winner, instead I simply wrote everyone's name down on a packet of seeds in pencil. I decided against marker in case I wanted to use them for a barter this Spring. I reached in & picked one from the bottom of the pile.

Grace, congrats ! I hope that this book will offer you much guidance @ your new place. Look for my email.

I scored a great deal last Sept. @ a farm store - 2011 seeds for 15¢ each. It took me like over an hour to go through the whole bin. People wandered over to see why there was a woman kneeling on the floor surrounded by three galvanized wash tubs. Must be something good one woman muttered as she walked over. Oh seeds is what she told her man as she walked away. He shrugged.
I know that there's a lot of advice against not using old seeds but I figure it this way - if dandelions can spreads seeds into sidewalk cracks and be successful, then I can certainly put out a garden using last year's seeds.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Devil Knocks You Down

And God picks you up.

Friday was one of those days that makes you glad your higher power had your back, and that being a preparedness minded individual is worth all that effort.

Friday @ 0600 I got a call from the in laws that Woodsrunner's 94 y.o. grandmother was in a hospital in Rochester. By 9:30 he was on the road headed north. By 10:30 he was broke down on the side of the thruway. We had let AAA lapse since neither of us was leaving city limits on any regular basis. Unfortunately as anyone who has ever been in a financial jam knows if it can break it will, so despite doing our do diligence with our little car's routine maintaince the devil choose his best opportunity to to give a big shove.

Quick phone call to me (I happen to be in Rochester well Webster area working as a chauffeur ) I remind him there's the emergency bucket in the cargo area. Bucket has items such hand warmers, urinal, first air kit, water, snacks, and road flares. There's also a few fleece blankets in the back seat. He ended up not needing it but we both agreed it's good to know that it's there.

By 11 he'd made his way limping along to a garage - $270. Wait for it ... part needed not available til Monday. At that moment he said he did feel a hot breath on the back of his neck.

Then God steps in.
By Noon I'm headed back toward Buffalo and as I just come up to THE exit he rings me for a pick up. I'm two minutes away and my employer is delighted she's help in this drama. After a quick prayer over our car all three of us our on our way. Hubby shares the back seat with her but thankfully no one mentions the bad hair day that makes me resemble Morgan Freeman.

Within a few hours I've finished my gig, we've rented a car their last one for their cheapest rate - and are again traveling to Roc City.

Then about an hour after being in the hospital with one of the sweetest ladies I have ever known I get a phone call from BPD. Your daughter has been hit by a car while on her bike. She's in the ER.
Two phone calls later one to the ER for a status update - waiting on us to sign her out no injuries just sore and yes they did find the index card inside her coat with medical info (a prepardness thing).
By the second call out to start a prayer chain I've start to breath easier.

We're waiting on the final police report but per Po Po it seemed to be both driver & bicyclist's fault. He mentioned that she was in the crosswalk when the car struck her. I'm not sure what that really means. Thankfully this occurred @ an intersection where the car had been @ a stop (debatable) instead of traveling along the city street. I was assured that texting wasn't in play here.

Daughter is more receptive to bicycle lightening. Both of are looking into some unique alternatives in addition to head & tail lights for our bikes. She was wearing heavy mittens & her Winter parka which kept her from having road rash but if it was Summer she would have been bare handed & in a t-shit and shorts. Looking into options for riding gloves.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Thursday, December 1, 2011

We Think We Can

Locomotive on display @ the Great New York State Fair 
We hit a bit of uneven track, hubby has officially joined the ranks of the unemployed.
This change up was suppose to come the end of this week but yesterday husband walked in the door with the news. We had been expecting it since early October, even before corporate sent word. There were tell tale signs for those who choose to read them. Shoppers shopping but not really spending. No longer was it the guy down the street who was laid off now it was a brother, a sister-in-law, or a partner. Recession was moving into the hood and the burbs.

So we began planning, putting pencil to paper, taking inventory of debts & goods assigning them a spot on teams.
Black is good.
Red not so much.
Grey is the worst, a short list of luxuries that border must haves. Hard to make that call because well it's not black or red it is grey.

When news of the company closing this branch hit our own six degrees, acquaintances and friends all asked what we would do. For those who really know us their comments were spoken to the tune of if anyone can handle this you people can. Good to be known as you people, lol.
We aren't in a situation like most in our crowd so yes we are those people.
No car note, cheap mortgage, a hearth to cook on, a bit of land to till.
The drive to learn the old ways even if it's gathered in cyber space.

It's all good.
We put this in God's hands.
Besides, the light @ the end of the tunnel isn't a train.
The lamps not lit.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Last year after our federal income tax deposited hubby and I visited Niblack Foods @ the Genesee Regional Market in Henrietta, New York. I wanted to stock the pantry in bulk with a food items that we use along with several that were new to us. One of those items is Textured Vegetable Protein made from Soy. I bought the unflavored granular version but it also comes in beef, chicken, & pork, as well as chunk form.

Dinner was a pasta sauce melody of Green Bell Peppers & fresh mushrooms both past there prime (food bank cast offs) along with an onion (on sale from Aldis), Italian herbs grown in the backyard this past Summer, and olive oil bought a few years ago @ Big Lots. Oh a quart of home canned tomatoes. Whole Wheat pasta was a barter.
Sometimes it takes many different techniques to put food on the table when money is tight.

The TVP was easy to cook I just added it to the sauce pot along with everything else then let simmer til done. No taste either way but it did of course make the sauce thicker which was nice. If I had known it was this easy to use TVP would have been on the menu years ago.

Diffidently going on my Amazon grocery list both as a pantry staple & as a long term prep item.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Teaching a Virgin to Hunt

The old biblical addage about giving a man a fish versus teaching a man to fish ...
Last week I accompanied Woodsrunner, out to the wilderness as I call it for a day of deer hunting. In reality we were less than an hour from our city lot in one of the many multi-use sections of New York State land the website lets you download maps to print as well as a Google earth link.
Notice the pine tree with the painted yellow markings ? Gang tagging ?

Besides just hanging out hubby was teaching me the skills of the hunt (virgin here). I'm a fairly accomplished semi-backwoods camper (I can set up a tent in five minutes while parenting three children under 4), having tent camped in several states and climates from the beaches of Oahu to California, mountain and desert. But my outdoor skills such as trail & game reading are pretty much none existent unless you count that I can recognize bear scat & coyote tracks.

An unseasonably warm Autumn day reaching almost 60° slight breeze hadn't rained in over a week.
If I positioned myself  just right in a dabble of sunlight all was right in my world. I was communing with nature, basking in the good vibes given off by my man, and reading my Kindle.
K, before you judge I wasn't actively hunting, sitting motionlessness for any length of time got old quick. Boredom sets in. Bad things happen when I'm bored.
Later after a lite lunch in the woods, husband found a nice spot where he could set up and I could lean up against a fallen tree. Yes, it was a good nap. No, hubby didn't bag a doe for the canning pot. Yes, I'll be taking my hunter's safety course so I can hunt next year. Yes, we've worked out a trade agreement for him to field dress anything I'd manage to shoot.

It's a powerful concept standing while one ...

As it turns out this is my 1st free homesteading tool bought on Amazon using my Swagbucks. I'm classifying this as a tool because it will allow me to do other homesteading "chores" more efficiently.

When I'm urban I keep a mental map of where the best powder rooms are along with the locations of public restrooms that fall under the gotta go NOW category. When your out & about via car it's no big thing to stop & go pee. On a bike it's a different story. Besides pedaling out of my way I may have to remove & bring in any items I'm carting around with me like groceries or fruit that I've gleaned. 

Product review for the GoGirl Female Urination Device, Khaki -
Worked like a charm except for a bit of operator error on my part, say it with me practice, practice, practice... Wonderful feeling of power overcame me fueled by the fact that I didn't feel a draft on my bum. As the oldest of five four brothers I have always been jealous. It was always such a big deal for me to to potty when we were kids hanging out in the woods near our house.

Husband found the audio portion of my testing unnerving but did appreciate not having to leave just to find the woman in his life a suitable public restroom. 
As the add copy says I can see using this for public restrooms instead of the old hover maneuver. 
I added a small sandwich bag filled with wipes and a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer plus an empty bag to keep the GoGirl in after use. Everything fit neatly in the inside pocket of hubby's wool hunting jacket. 
If you're real picky add a couple of medical exam gloves.  

Worth the under $8 spent.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Modern Homesteading Mercantile a.k.a. 2nd Hand Store

Yesterday Woodsrunner & I headed out to rural Genesee County for a few errands. While there we stopped off in Indian Falls @ an awesome modern day homesteading mercantile. As the sign reads Your 2nd Hand Store.
For an urban homesteader, a fugal homesteader like myself it's like going to the mall with a pocket full of coupons and some change in my pocket. While this isn't a true mercantile in that I didn't see any food for sale for the average fugalista or treasure hunter it's a gold mine; cloth & sewing supplies vintage patterns, sick room equipment, dishes, pots and pans, furniture, appliances (more on that later).

There is the usual "antiques" which to a homesteader really translates into lifestyle tools. This hand cranked wringer would require both elbow grease to use & restore. The wood is solid on this model, surface rust only but the rollers would need to be replaced. I've often wondered if something like a rubber inner tube could be slid over each roller, a sleeve. Just something I've been playing with in my head. The hack would have to be of clean laundry quality of course.  

A lamp to read by - there were no Aladdin Lamps but plenty of good usable complete oil lamps, as well as parts to be had. Sconces & candle holders, wick snuffers too.

See anything you need?
 For a mercantile like this you should dress accordingly. Clothes that you can crawl around in. I also like to have a fanny pack or a nail apron (think waitress apron two big pockets), that I keep camera, note pad & pen, tape measure, baby wipes for hand washing.  If I'm shopping for a specific item like a lid for a fry pan I have those measurements.

Medical prepps

Good things come to those who search - hemo stats, cuticle scissors, tweezers. To the right was bar supplies like ice strainers & shot tumblers.

Sausage making - Breakfast, Italian, Polish, and yes even Blood. 
Manual meat grinders and a few that did more. The large one might be a cherry pitter. To the left is a container full of poultry trivets, cooling racks & toaster oven shelves. * Note to self bring camp oven to fit for extra shelves !

Valuable tool come Apple harvesting time.
Some homesteading tools are in mint condition minus the box. Notice the aluminum colored press? I didn't when I snapped this pic. Might be something I haven't realized I can't live without.

Stop, look, touch, consider with an open mind. 
Sometimes a homesteader's tools are hiding in plain sight. On this shelf was a Squeezeo style food strainer (center tool with wooden handle), four red bottle cappers, more manual grinders, and some shop tools.

I saw a few non-wire bail canning jars, huge selection of funnels & tongs along with water bath canners or pots that would work. No pressure canners but quite a few pressure cookers.

Next Saturday is shop small local biz day an add marketing campaign sponsored by American Express - FYI bring cash. We have always found everything here reasonably price so I've never attempted negotiating.
If your in the area stop by 48 A to Z. Please give Ginger the owner a shout out from me.

Do you have a favorite junk store full of hidden treasures ?

~~ pelenaka ~~

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Free Dinner almost

Last night while I was searching for barley (shout out to Diane) in my food preps I realized that I never did a product review of the SPAM With Bacon, 12-Ounce Cans (Pack of 6) that I bought on amazon last month. So since it turned out that the cupboards are bare when it comes to barely but not SPAM here is last nights dinner & review. Mind you it's no foodies delight just a good hearty meal.

Feeling kinda wealthy with the house smelling like bacon frying.

Tins now open easier than the old days when you were SOL if the key went missing. I didn't notice any huge chunks of bacon but then again it's SPAM so it's better not to investigate to closely. No, I won't debate SPAM or hot dogs so please no comments about what is exactly in there. All I know is that I enjoy eating it now & then.Besides the upside of affordability, there's the shelf life & easy of preparation. The "I'm eating meat " factor that we enjoy. While we do eat like were vegan/vegetarian 3 or 4 days a week it's nice to experience not just be nostalgic about bacon.  

Everything on the plate except Woods homemade hot sauce was free.
After frying up the SPAM with Bacon, I peeled & diced what was left of potatoes that were gleaned locally then added a cup of minced onion, the last one from the garden. Hubby nixed the idea of adding a vinegar sauce (German Potato Salad) so I just seasoned with sea salt & fresh cracked pepper, fresh rosemary. The green beans were also gleaned & pressure canned by me. Daughter had a serving of warm home caned applesauce on her plate. Both of us shared a pot of green tea I bought on Amazon for free a few months back.

Woodrunner  is all Chard out, so he forbade me to add any but we could have also had a fresh tossed Swiss Chard salad from the garden with dressing. The fancy salad greens that I planted last month never took so it's all about the Swiss for now. In the 3 weeks since I planted the cold frame with mature chard it's filled out well.

The hot sauce was canned by me but made by Woods. Recipe is similar to a few of Rochester's famous - Sal's Birdland & Country Sweet only made with Splenda because of diabetic issues. All I know is that standing over the canning pot filling jars I have no sinus issues. It's that hot. I'd have to say that almost half of the ingredients in his sauce were grown by us. 

We both curtailed our carbs all day yesterday because of the white potatoes for dinner. A better choice would have been sweet potatoes but I cook with what we can afford or have on hand. Unfortunately sweet potatoes don't grow in New York otherwise I'd been gleaning them.  

I give SPAM with Bacon a thumbs up & am planning on buying another 12 tins before the price goes up anymore jumped 4 cents since the last order.

I have $ burning a hole in my digital pocket so to speak just got $60 in amazon gift cards from swagbucks.
As in years past we are planning on making holiday gifts so for now I'll continue to use my free money mostly for groceries.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Monday, November 14, 2011

Resilience for the Gardening Soul

The 4 Amigos (Peppers) riding out a Western New York Winter.

I received this book from Cornelia over @  around this time last year in a giveaway. After having enjoyed and learned from the author's practical (we all know how much I adore practical) gardening wisdom I am passing this on to another gardener who will enjoy this book as much as I did. I'm not very good on writing book reports lets just say that this book touched my soul.

So yes, it is used (in mint condition) and if this offends you what can I say, this isn't the blog for you because the majority of my giveaways are regifts or items that I bought @ tag sales. So if your of the mind set of "well I never" I'd lay my last nickel that you have been the recipient of a regift.
Now more than ever but I digress.

If you'd like to learn more click on the title The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times (how appropriate ) and use Amazon's search inside this book feature. There are also much better reviews than I am able to give.

Here's the rules for one entry each (please leave a separate comment for each method you use to enter) -

  • Become a follower of my blog, leave a shout out (comment) with your 411 google id & email addy, along with what type of gardener you are; cheaper than dirt green thumb, or embracing the concept of growing your own dinner.
  • Like me on facebook (pelenaka lopez) & post a link to Thirtyfivebyninety on your wall, then leave a shout out here on the blog with your 411 that you did.
  • Stumble my blog (35x90), give me a shout out that you did here on the blog. 
Giveaway dates are today Monday November 14, 2011 to December 11, 2011 2300 (11 p.m.). That will leave me enough time to wander down to the post office the next day and slip the package in the mail. 
In the meantime I'll see what I can come up with to sweeten the deal maybe some seed packets either commercial or from hubby's stash

~~ pelenaka ~~

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Swagbucks Update

One of the big deals going on over @ Swagbucks is that they have doubled the amount you can earn clicking on swagtv from 75 swagbucks to 150 until the end of the year. Per swagbuck's blog a swagernault (peeps who swag) have the potential of earning 10,000 swagbucks.
To put it into "real life terms" that = $5 amazon gift cards x 5 for Nov. ($25) + $5 amazon gift cards x 5 for Dec. ($25) + if you add in 400 swagbucks a $50 gift card = $100 in amazon gift cards. Being a savy shopper coupled with holiday deals would mean a good haul.

Or the 10,000 swagbucks = $50 paypal + $25 paypal + $5 amazon gift card (with 5 sb left over). Spend a bit more effort transfer the paypal $ into your checking account then go grocery shopping or write a check to pay a bill.

Besides Amazon & paypal, there are gift cards for CVS (think bonus bucks/coupon stacking), Home Depot, Lowes, K-mart all of which can be printed out and used in person.

For now I'm sticking with amazon gift cards so I can load up my account balance. Murphy's law and all now I only have $10.96 in my amazon account I keep stumbling over some great grocery deals like Chicken of the Sea Tuna Chunk Light Water, 5 Ounce Tins (Pack of 48) which works out to 69¢ per tin free shipping & handling.

Amazon is also having a count down to Black Friday great food deals which means if you save on the grocery budget you can splurge on a few gifts or pay the mortgage as is in our case.

I'm 259 swagbucks away from my next $50 amazon gift card. That's a whole lotta tuna ...

If you decide to sign up please consider use this link as I get referral points for the first 1000 swagbucks you earn searching.

ETA: tomorrow is a code extravaganza which means that through out the day codes will be given out with a total value of 60 swagbucks or a bit worth 1/9 of a $5 gift card. With the news higher earning limits on swagtv it takes me about 3 days to earn a $5 gift card. Not including  my own search wins, referral's search wins, polls, tasks, or fb tie ins.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Friday, October 28, 2011

Occupy This

I try not to get political on my blog but with the recent Occupy Wall Street Protests both in NYC & Buffalo , I just wanted to write that before you look @ corporate America take a good look in the mirror. Walmart wouldn't exist if we the consumer didn't patronize their supercenters. 

Recently a journalist made a comment about my husband's place of employment & how that the store closing was just another example of corporate greed. I am touched @ his sediment but if he & other's would buy/support American made products then my husband would be gainfully employed @ his given profession instead of depending his livelihood on retail.


Transplanted Rainbow Chard & Marigolds for bug control into our cobbled together cold frame 
We had our first hard frost of the Autumn last night a chilly 29 degrees in the backyard. Earlier in the day there was wet snow flurries that thankfully didn't stick. Wet slushy snow is heavy and with tress still half their leaves the weight on branches makes for some interesting times a.k.a  Friday the 13th Snow Storm here in Buffalo.

I transplanted what was left of Rainbow Chard that I started from seed, that was in another raised bed. Not a real fav of our's in salads but it is hearty in cooler temps. I'm hoping that this cold frame receives allot of sun this Winter so I can plant it with fancy salad greens (any suggestions?) which I can grow, beef not so much. 
Doing this was also very therapeutic for me the whole I'm not gonna be a victim of our own personal economic crisis. For hubby it has been tracking down quality firewood. 

I also saute chard for adding in tomato sauce along with other veggies I have on hand. Toss with whole wheat pasta makes for a good meal as long as hubby doesn't start humming the song on top of old smokey all covered with cheese I lost my poor meatball ...

If I can work a barter deal for Swiss Cheese then I'll make up some quiches.

This is my latest amazon purchase using gift cards I earned on - tweleve 16 oz. bottes of Kraft Three Cheese Ranch dressing & dip which worked out to $1.58 per container or $9.49 per 6 bottles. I also ordered a personal prep tool to round the entire purchase out to a bit over $25 so it qualified for free shipping.
I'll blog about in in the next week or so after I've tackled the learning curve.

Found in the manager's special section of amazon great dealslisted as only two in stock (expires 12Jan2012). Like with any shopping experience one has to be on the look out ready & able to snatch a great deal.
Stilltasty lists it as good for 12 to 18 mos. past the labeled manufacture date.
I think I can grow enough fancy salad greens to use all 12 bottles up before next year. Who knows I might figure a way to grow chicken wings in a raised bed.

ETA: called Kraft read off the bar code according to the rep the salad dressing I bought was made in America.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jay oh Bee Not

Have you ever heard that news quote about how the majority of Americans are just 2 paychecks away from being homeless.
Two, dos, one two.
Husband, along with his coworkers have been downsized or in plain terms no one will have a  J O B by the end of next month. So in reality three paychecks.
While we're not gonna be homeless nor go hungry we are just 3 paychecks away from zero income.
Zip, zilch, nada, goose egg.

Hard days night or slept like a baby ?
While I would have hoped to have every last one of my mason jars filled or shelf after shelf filled with commercially canned food it's all good. We have 4 cords of firewood, no car note, and a good half gallon of elbow grease coupled with good old fashioned survival skills.

We've been practicing living on the (poverty) line. Now we just need to kick it up a notch.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bringing Home the Bacon

Well not really 100% bacon but pretty close for free, SPAM with Bacon.

Let me backspace a bit.
I finally (actually took 15 days to redeem) got the $50 Amazon Gift posted to my Swagbucks account this morning. Yes, I actually got 50 clams, smackeroos, greenbacks, half a dead president for free. Well not free it did take some elbow grease on my part but compared to baking a pie to earn $ it was free.

So now that I had $63.99, $13.99 left over from last month's redemption of $25 worth of amazon gift cards I went grocery shopping on amazon.
Dairy & meat has for the most part been the two grocery categories that I have a hard time bartering for or obtaining for free so I am going to concentrate on those two.

SPAM with Bacon 12 oz. cans, pack of 6 for $14.88. Use the subscribe & save option knocking the price down by 15% = $12.65 / 6 tins or 18¢ per once or $2.10 each. Free shipping & handling. No coupon clipping. No driving to the store.
I set my delivery for every six months and ordered 12 cans.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Prepping 4 Peppers

3rd follow up to my posts on solo gardening. 

Two year old Green Bell Pepper Plant misshaped  & looking ruff but still alive and producing. All told I've harvested over a dozen bell peppers from this one plant generally averaging around the size of an orange.
I'll repot in a larger container for the winter. On days that are especially cloudy add a grow light. Right now this time of the year the Sun is lower and the trees still have enough leaves to block sunlight in this side window.

Hopefully we might even get a Winter harvest which would be a nice addition to the salad fixings that we are able grow in the cold frames.

Hearth and stove are dusty from remodeling not use even though we've had more than a few chilly nights. Later this week weather forecasters are predicting lows of 40 with rain. It will be nice to have a small fire in the evening to take the dampness out of the house.

This is the two Yellow Bell Peppers that I received from a barter this Spring (Plant Sale) that a former co-worker's mother started from seed. Got 4 good sized peppers which I used to make 9 pints of Zesty Salsa pg. 207 Ball Complete Book of Home PreservingCanned 8 pints left one in the fridge for hubby to snack on. Lasted two days which is a good sign that we approved of my canning efforts.

These warm cement steps belong to my next door neighbor who still receives sunshine on her front yard in the waning days of Summer.
When it's one of those wonderful sunny bright Autum afternoons I sit with her and we watch her granddaughter who is two as she thoroughly enjoys chalking up the city sidewalk a few feet away.

The line up on the top step on my neighbor's front porch just after the Sun was eclipsed by a city tree; Yellow Bell Peppers transferred to a larger pot, Italian Roasting Peppers, a Habanero Pepper plant from a coworker of Wood's, bright red peppers of made it into the Zesty Salsa, and the old timer of the bunch Green Bell Pepper plant.

They are all looking a bit wilted due to high somewhat dry winds we've had lately. Need to come up with a good liquid fertilizer for Winter Feeding.
Hopefully the grow light won't be too expensive to run.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Free Coffee

Ask me how happy I was when the ups man delivered my latest amazon package.
Free coffee.
I love coffee soo much as my children you to say I should marry it. The problem of course is that I couldn't remain faithful to just one bean with so many flavors to choose from. I won't even start discussing grinds, my heart will flutter.
No doubt I would be a serial bigamist coffee spouse. Wrong on so many levels I know.

Amazon's deal on coffee for September is save 10% when you enter this code 8COFFEE4 @ checkout.
Use Amazon's subscribe & save option for an additional 15% off.
25% off of a name brand quality coffee.
Use your Amazon gift cards earned on Swagbucks and you get a free cup of coffee for ... depends on how much of an addict you are. This stash should last me 3 or 4 months if I don't alternate with another flavor. Did I mention it was free ?

Here's what my packing slip reads - four 11 oz. bags of French Vanilla Whole Bean - $18.13, minus promotional code $4.53, minus the 15% from subscribe & save  = $13.60.

If flavored coffee isn't your cup other varieties of 8 o'clock coffee are also on sale remember to use the promo code 8COFFEE4.  

One bag is going on the kitchen shelf the others will be vacuum sealed then placed in a 5 gallon bucket marked coffee for long term storage. Whole beans store better then ground coffee. These bags of coffee have an expiration date of 6/27/12 08:43. Down to the hour hmm anyone wanna make a bet that they last that long ?

In honor of my new supply of whole bean coffee I'd like to introduce a new label on my blog 
Non-Electric Tools
The coffee grinder pictured above was brought to the homestead when I married hubby. 
It's a Mr. Dudley International I believe that he bought it @ a thrift store for under $5. Interesting enough he wasn't a coffee drinker when I met him. 
Yeah I turned him. 

~~ pelenaka ~~

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Free is my Cup of Tea

Amazon green tea order bought with my August swagbucks which makes all 120 Lipton Green Superfruit Black Currant & Vanilla Tea bags free.
Here how the deal went down - $26.60 minus a promo code for $3.99, minus the subscribe & save option (free shipping), total was $22.61 or $3.77 per box a savings of $2.88 on each.
Kept one box out for immediate use the rest were vacuum packed in canning jars earmarked for next Summer when a tall refreshing glass of ice green tea sweetened with home grown Stevia is called for.

What is it with cats & boxes anyways ?

~~ pelenaka ~~

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Almost a pound

Sink full - these are the tomatoes that were grown by the gf who had bartered pork for tomato seedlings last Spring.  Hodge podge of what was ready to pick that morning, including Cherokee Purple & Howard German. The third variety floating in the sink is a hybrid canning tomato she bought @ a local nursery. 
Her garden receives all day sun like no body's business.
I have garden envy. 

Proof is in on the scale a 12.8 oz. Howard German Canning Tomato.
Dry & meaty but a bit bland. I would mix this variety with a stronger tomato tasting one such as San Marzano when making pasta sauce. 

I am on one hand very proud that she has already put in her seedling order for next spring not to mention that her neighbors have all asked her where she bought her tomato plants. One, a little old Italian gentleman asked for a tomato so his friend could seed save. He apparently was a bit taken aback when he was told that the large horn shaped tomato wasn't an Italian canning tomato. 
On the other hand seeing one grown to this size makes me realize I need to come up with a better plan or quit gardening in my backyard.  

~~ pelenaka ~~

Sunday, September 4, 2011


This years 1st harvest of canning tomatoes San Marzano out of our backyard garden.

Ended up picking a market basket full of those mini San Marzano tomatoes. I removed the skins by the boiling hot water method, then threw them in the crock pot with rosemary, basil, and sage from the garden along with a few sauteed carrots, eggplants, onions, and peppers.  Also added some dehydrated parsley from a barter deal a few years ago.  Bay leaf came from a houseplant I use to have way back when.  Original recipe called for red wine so I subbed water with a few beef bullion cubes instead. 
Ended up being enough for 3 for dinner & left overs for hubby's work lunch the next day.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Last Jar Standing

Dead center on the second shelf from the bottom in the far right hand corner of my cellar in what use to be the cistern, is the last jar standing of stewed tomatoes. A staple of my home canned inventory I also ways try to put up @ least two years worth. Stewed tomatoes are very versatile I use them as a base for both soup, stews, rice, & of course chili.
The last few years haven't been kind to my garden or our bottom line.
Two years ago I had tomato blight. Last year I was busy with a good friend & neighbor who passed away this Winter. This year even though I feel that my soil is on the upswing (bio char rabbit manure) I couldn't over come the lack of sunshine that my urban garden is cursed with.
Excuses don't fill the pantry shelves. I'm not holding out much hope for this years garden.
I've gotta come up with a new plan.

Jars with the blue or red caps are filled with brown rice with an O2 absorber then vacuum sealed.

To the right is quarts of Cherry Pie Filling & our own cider that we pressed a few years ago.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Monday, August 22, 2011

Update Amazon Bulk Oatmeal


Gotta love Amazon's free shipping a perk of ordering subscribe & save option . 

To this day every time I make oatmeal I think of Goldielocks and those bears.

Oat groats on the front burner & coffee on the second both acquired for free which of course makes it all the more tasty.
Note to self - cooking oatmeal groats takes much longer than quick cooking oats.
When we have the wood stove lit I'll start the groats before I go to bed simmering in a pot placed on a high trivet. Until then on the advice of my soap maker I'll cook them over night in an electric crock pot set on warm.
I used powdered nonfat dry milk, filtered water, and a bit of honey. Other than an increased cooking time making steel cut oatmeal is as straight forward as quick cook oatmeal. The taste however is wonderfully hearty slightly nutty flavor.
1/2 cup of groats made more than enough for breakfast on Thursday & Saturday.
The 6 containers will be more than enough for the coming year.

Seasoned with cinnamon and accompanied by home canned applesauce, Honey Crispen Apples my favorite. Apples were bought @ an apple farm in LeRoy, New York home of Jello. I remember the day because we stopped off @ a stove store and bought the Jotul wood stove.

That's the unique aspect of home canning. Opening a jar and not only getting wonderful home made food but often a flood of wonderful memories. Sights & sounds of a crisp Autumn day. Smell of the cold storage barn were we picked through a huge crate full of apples. Snacking on cinnamon donuts bought on the apple farm.
Wouldn't you agree my husband.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Giveaway Ball Pectin Coupons

Found these in the bottom of my clutch paper clipped together.
I have more than enough pectin so the first person to both comment & send me an email with a snail mail address with receive 7 $1 off coupons on Ball Real Fruit Pectin Flex Batch.  

Coupons will go out in Monday's mail.

Perhaps you can find a clearance rack before they expire on the 31st of August.
I saw a posting on HT that K-mart was having a sale on canning supplies. If your a member of swagbucks there is also a $5 off of $50 coupon. There is also suppose to be one on Kmart's facebook page.
I know as the Summer wanes allot of stores will be having sales on canning supplies.

What can I say I can't stand to see good coupons go to waste.

~~ pelenaka ~~