Friday, September 30, 2011

The City Homesteader- A Book Review

“The City Homesteader -Self Sufficiency On Any Square footage” By Scott Meyer

I got this book from the public library. I very easy reading book, I am guessing I will download to my kindle soon.

What Scott Meyer has written is an easy to follow instruction book, with no-nonesense illustrations that explain how to build/bake/grow various things in making your own Urban Homestead. The information is basically everything I read in blogs, but it is nice to have a “reference book” to look at from time to time.No need to be a gentleman farmer to use this book. Easily read and comprehend, I give it 3 green thumbs up!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bring it on, Winter

I am ready for when the wind blows and our overhead lines give in to falling trees and branches. I purchased a Mr. Heater Big Buddy indoor propane heater to use for emergency heat this year. I have a Coleman indoor heater, but that is like trying to heat an igloo with a match. This bad boy is 18000 BTU's and can heat a 400 Sq. foot space for 220 hours (depending on what size tank you use). I chose this because, let's face it, I am not into cutting trees and too lazy to cut and stack wood, and my electric fireplace does not work so well in a power outage. So, let it blow let it snow I am ready for you Old Man Winter!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fresh... The Movie
Fresh The Movie is a film by Ana Joanes

From the movie website:

"FRESH is more than a movie, it’s a gateway to action. Our aim is to help grow FRESH food, ideas, and become active participants in an exciting, vibrant, and fast-growing movement.

When I write we, I don’t mean our small team (officially two of us, with lots of amazing helps from our interns and volunteers) but I mean YOU. All of you. FRESH is a grassroots efforts for a grassroots movement. It’s been tremendously exciting to see the movie catch on and spread like wild fire, being used all over the country as a platform to raise awareness and connecting people to the solutions available in their community.

Within a month of our launch, we’ve received over 20,000 visitors and hundreds of screenings have already been organized. We want to reach 1 million folks. Not just because that would totally feel nice to our ego (mine especially!), but because, we believe that FRESH can truly help get us to a tipping point, when sustainable food will no longer be just a niche market."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Weekly Challenge Update

Independence Days Challenge Year 4, Week 40
Plant something- Cauliflower, arugula, Chard,
Harvest something- tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, zucchini, Amaranth, mushrooms, chard, green peppers; Discovered my volunteer tomato plant was a “yellow pear cherry tomato”, which is funny as I did not plant one either season at the community garden
Preserve something- Froze amaranth, chard, peaches
Community: Found some more cans of cat food, donated to Pet Food Bank; Attended a benefit Auction for AARF, one of the local animal charities in the area
Preparation: Starting to think about winter and cold weather (and power outages) and doing some research on emergency heating
Eat the food/Try something new: A frittata with zucchini, mushrooms and green peppers
Waste Not/Repair, Re-Use, Recycle- made some vases out of old industrial light bulbs and some lamp parts
Want not: Bought some upside down planters at closeout price at Lowes- some for Christmas gifts, some for me!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Easy ways to try "heat retention" cooking

Well I know Chile has done it. So has Fleecenik farms. Do what? Heat retention cooking A.K.A. Hay Box cooking. This is an great an easy way to cook dishes like Quinoa or pasta or rice. Here are some easy ways to try heat retention cooking.
1- Cooler Cooking-
Via my frugal friends, the two frugal chicks a week or so ago posted how to cook cooler corn, Simply take a clean cooler, place your ears of corn in it, pour boiling water over it and close the lid for 30 minutes. I tried it with a couple of ears of corn and a smaller cooler... and it worked!
I have also tried Thermos pasta (just put your serving of pasta in a coffee thermos and pour in hot water to the top and in 10 minutes you should have perfectly cooked pasta.

Heat Retention Cooking:
Thermos cooking:

Note: you can find stainless steel thermos at thrift stores and garage sales for cheap!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Volt VS. Leaf

I have been looking at Electric cars again. This time I looked and did some test drives. I test drove the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf.

The Volt- I cannot get over the sticker price of the Volt- over $40K. But it does have some advantages- Your batteries run down below 50% and the gas "generator" takes over. But i still cannot also get over the fact the GM had the EV1 and the way they got rid of them. GM could have been a leader and chose instead to cow tow to the Big Oil companies and withered away their opportunity.

The Leaf- Me personally I think the Leaf is a sharper looking car. Great lines and such. And it has features that even Romeo is looking for.
But all that being said, Neither company seems to get the fact that putting a deposit down to order a car is a turn off. Just sell me the damn car. Don't take my deposit and make me wait 3 to 6 months to buy my car. Nothing turns me off faster.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BLT... The Salad

Ever wonder what to do about cherry tomatoes? Well this is the first year I can remember tomatoes being so late to ripen, and so many... Anyway I picked about 3 pounds of Cherry tomatoes and thought Now what? I started to think and came up with this ridiculously easy salad for supper.

BLT Salad
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1 cup of lettuce, shredded
2 TBLSP. of mayonaisse
4 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese
1 SLice of toast, cut into small cubes

Place cherry tomatoes, lettuceand 3/4 of the bacon in a medium bowl, gently toss, add mayonnaise, cheese, toss again until well mixed. Top with toast cubes and the remainder of bacon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Vase or Vaz?

Just thought I would share my vases I made. These are made from old industrial light bulbs found in the trash, I drill out the end and remove the filament. They are mounted on some old lamp parts I had lying around. The Geberra Daisy's are from Gehl Flowers and Gifts in downtown Burien

Friday, September 16, 2011

Call Me Martha!

I don't mean to go all Martha Stewart on y'all, but just thought I would point out some ideas to use leftover and scrapped food items I have picked up over the years- So relax, we are not going to forge our own frying pans! And I am sure folks out there have their own little ideas so feel free to comment and share!

  • You can polish leather shoes with bananas. Really! Rub the inner rind on the entire leather portion, making sure to avoid any laces, and wipe clean with a soft piece of cloth. Bonus green tip: reuse an old t-shirt or other used clothing item that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
  • Add some zest to your stove cleaning (literally). Sprinkle some salt on the inside of halved, just-pressed orange or lemon peels and go to town on stubborn stove-top messes.
  • Orange, lemon and grapefruit rinds can be added to preserved fruits and jams to add a little zest. Did you know that you can also pickle citrus rinds? They make a tangy snack, and require just a few ingredients.
  • Citrus rinds, herb stems and peels add unique flavors to any clear alcohol. Add lime rinds to tequila blanco (white), or mint leaf stems to light rum for an extra-refreshing mojito. Let the flavors mingle in a cool, dry place for 2 weeks, and you’re ready to drink! For an instant, non-alcoholic treat, add cucumber and lemon peels to fresh filtered water for a subtle, cooling refreshment.
  • Add orange, grapefruit, or lemon peels to a hot bath before submerging yourself. They add an energizing scent, and lemons are know to lighten age spots and freckles.
  • It’s never too late to start making your own soup stock. Add vegetable peels like carrot, celery and potato to the simmering broth to add some extra flavor.
  • Save your potato peelings from baked potatos to make potato skins!
  • Make "Ribbollita" a soup that uses up your leftover vegetables and stale bread!
  • Make "Croutons" out of stale bread!
  • Make Bread Pudding out of stale breads... I have made them out of biscuits, croissants and donuts!
  • Don't forget... good old Composting!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I bought a night guard and saved money!

Well after spending the amount of a used Subaru, I Finally got my tooth implant. And now they (My dentists) are all hot and bothered for me to get a Night guard (even though I do not grind my teeth).
My family has a little experience with night guards. My mom got one years ago. And left it in a motel room in Billings, Montana, when she and dad went on a trip to the Dakotas.
So she got an over the counter Night guard.
My dentist, bless his heart, is sure trying to hard sell these night guards. He was talking to another patient when I came in to get my crown on the implant. He was telling this poor guy he needed a night guard. $400 dollars a pop. Got me to thinking…
$400 for something my meticulous mother lost, What chance do I have?. So I went to the drug store and bought an over the counter (actually the come in a pair) for $30. Went home, boiled it, formed it in my mouth. Done. Now I have a night guard at a fraction of the price! Sorry Doc, but dollars are dollars. And they don’t grow on trees! (apparently they grow in my mouth!) Now I am not a dentist, nor have I ever played one on T.V., but ask your dentist the difference when and if he tells you you need a night guard!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Independence Days Challenge Year 4, Week 39

Plant something- collards, radishes
Harvest something- Tomatoes, Lemon Cucumbers, hot peppers,leeks
Preserve something- Lemon Cucumber Refrigerator pickles; froze 1/2 pound of Chard
Community: Participated in our City's Lantern Festival at the community garden
Preparation: Starting to build a new more permanent "green house"
Eat the food/Try something new: Lemon Cucumber Refrigerator Pickles; leek and potato soup
Waste Not/Repair, Re-Use, Recycle- Reusing old lights as an art project; made some lanterns for lantern festival out of old water and soda bottles, typical recycling
Want not: Bought a Used Storm door from Second Use for my "more permanent" green house

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Revisiting a favorite recipe... Portobello Parmesano

I thought I would revisit some of my favorite recipes... this week my favorite vegetarian dish... Portobello Parmesano! Ciao Bella!

Not being a big fan of eggplant, or veal (Okay I lie, I love veal, just not how its raised- therefore I don't eat veal) I resorted to making Portobello Parmesan years ago. I saw it somewhere on TV. I like this as much as veal. Really!
(You can use Canned tomato sauce or fresh- it works either way)
4 portobello mushrooms
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Tomato Sauce either 1 jar canned or one and a half cups fresh sauce
1 cup of fresh, shredded Parmesan cheese
Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet, the kind you can put in the oven. Remove the stem from the portabellos. Brown the portabellos on both sides when browned, dump the sauce on top, Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Then cover with Parmesan cheese. Put the whole pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is a bubbly brown. Serve

A Recipe for Fresh tomato sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
6 tomatoes, chopped
3 onions, minced
2 green bell peppers, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; add tomatoes, onions, green bell peppers, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Mix ingredients well; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Garden A Glow

This is our community garden-

This is our community garden on lantern power. Actually this is part of a community festival the Burien Arts A Glow Lantern Festival, and they asked we play a small part. It was fun lighting the garden, we haven't done it since the garden was a dream and all we had was a demo garden at the BIAS.
B-Patch from the frontOur Lullaby singerLights in the gardenMore lightsEven more!Garden from the side!
A visitor!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A fridge that uses no electricity!

Crunchy- the answer to your fridge problems!

Recently, The Crunchy Chicken was lamenting about her GE Profile Refrigerator falling apart. Well, cheer up Crunchy… I got your back. Well actually, two frugal chicks and I got your back! Here is a video on making your own Flower Pot Cooler

Video Via Two Frugal Chicks and Lifehacker

Actually this is a great Idea for emergency situations. Because if there is a natural disaster, you want cold beer!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Earth Friendlier Pens and Pencils

A little while back I reviewed Pilot’s B2P pens(The pens are made form recycled water bottles and are refillable.) Turns out there is a whole slew of writing utensils from different companies that are greener office/school supply alternatives:

Paper Mate’s Earthwrite pencil looks like a Regular pencil except that it’s made from 100% recycled wood.
Dixon -Ticonderoga skipped the wood altogether with their line of Renew pencils made from recycled tires.

Paper mate also has a great line of Pens that supposedly are biodegradeable, and made from upcycling products from Terra Cycle!

Zebra has an “Eco” Line where the pens are made from 75 to 85% consumer waste.

And don’t forget “Smencils” a line of pencils and pens made from 100% post consumer waste! And they will be coming out with a Halloween version soon - great alternative to candy for the little goblins!

Who knows... maybe someday it won't be a gimmick to sell every day items a little differently, and maybe someday common items made from "Upcycled" consumer waste will be the norm!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Looking for something fun to do this Saturday?

Fall planting... let the games begin!

Beets... a great fall garden choice!

It's time to start planting those fall gardens

Radishes, basil, mustard greens and spinach each take as little as one month to mature, and can survive light frost.

Lettuce, Swiss chard, kale and collard greens take as few as 40 days, and the latter two can survive temperatures in the 20s.

Beets and cabbage take as much as two months to mature, but can survive temperatures in the 20s. And beets are a great fall crop!

Garlic and leeks can be planted now for harvest next summer. And you can plant garlic in a container...I have successfully planted it in 5 gallon buckets before! 2 or 3 cloves per bucket!

Check with your local garden supply store, or agricultural extension service for advice for varietals that will survive best in your climate. Buy or start seedlings to give yourself a head start if it's too late to plant from seed.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Unusual Mobile Gardens!

You know the affinity I have for strange but cool little container gardens? Well seems I am not alone... Here are some of the most unusual container gardeners I have seen.
All photos Seen at Yahoo Green
A mobile garden assortment
Shopping cart trees
Yes, my plants are my babies!
A greenhouse on the back of a track
Strawberries in a laundry basket planter
Fielder Rushing's Truck garden!
Top drawer!
A community vehicle garden!
An idea if I can't sell my '66 Valiant
Even Cacti grow in a mobile garden
A garden on a boat? Shore, why not?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ideas for recycling/reusing plastic shopping bags!

Ahh The Plastic Shopping Bag... so convienient, so handy, So environmentally wrong. Unless you live in the Bay area, were local cities have banned them, or some other area where voters and politicians se the damage they do to the environment, what so you do with those little marvels of plastic engingeering?
While I believe in using Reusable bags for shopping, I have to be realistic. These bags get slipped into my life no matter how hard I try to use my shopping bag. And boy do they build up over time…
While most grocery stores collect old bags for recycling, some do not. So here are a few ideas for you to ReUse and ReCycle your own plastic bags…

ReUse your plastic Bags... Try taking them back to the store and re-using them! I even took one to Trader Joe's once and had a good laugh watching the clerk try to figure out how to use it!

Dog Parks- While I advocate the use of biodegradable poop bags, I also know that the dog parks (at least the ones in my area) are always in need of bags for the dirty job. The local one here has stations set up were you can just put the bags in for others to use. Great recycle use for produce and bread bags!

Librarys- check with your library if they need bags for the patrons to use.
Schools- many schools use these bags for Art projects. Check with your school.
Food Banks- Local food banks need bags for their patrons as well.

Local Thrift stores- if you have a thrift store, in particular a charity thrift store, ask them if they want your old shopping bags. They can re-use them for their customers.

Make a Rug out them
- I am told you can strip the bags into 1” strips and start braiding them together to make ropes of material to make braided rugs. These would be good for by the door or in a mud room.

Make "plarn" out of them to make crocheted bags, maybe a rain coat!
Another "Plarn" Tutorial try using plarn to make your braided rugs, macrame, etc

Make a laptop case out of them

Fuse them together to make new reusable shopping bags, clothes whatever!:

Friday, September 2, 2011

I should be on Chopped...

Chopped. that Food Network show were professional chefs are given a basket with 4 ingredients and their task is to come up with something good edible in very little time. Of course if I was on it I would be disqualified for calling host Ted Allen a douche bag. And probably at least two of the judges.
Anyway, in the used food store (Grocery Outlet) I discovered a half dozen glazed donuts for $1. So I went out to improve my Bread Pudding recipe. So after much thought, I present you with Donut Bread Pudding. It was either that or use them as hamburger buns for a Donut Bacon Cheese burger. And that is too much even for me!

Donut Bread Pudding
1/2 Dozen glazed donuts, crumbled
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk or skim milk
1/2 cup light brown Sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tbsps. butter
In a Medium bowl, Beat eggs lightly. Add milk, crumbled donuts, brown sugar raisins and cinnamon and mix thoroughly, and pour into a 1 quart baking dish. Dot with butter and bake 40-45 minutes until firm and brown at 350 degrees. Top with a dollop of Whipped Cream if desired. Serves 6.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nice Undies!!!

Nothing says summer like a touch of beefcake! So here is a pic of me in my new Jockey "Stay Cool" Briefs.
Okay. I confess...
That pic is not me. Well, it's my face, not my body.
I am much tanner, and I don't wear "skinny" jeans. My legs are too muscular.
But I am enjoying the Stay Cool Underwear I won at Condo Blues Undies giveaway. I am really liking these briefs! Just a note: Lisa, when I am sitting around in nothing but my underwear, I will be thinking of you. If you aren't reading Condo Blues, you really should, besides great giveaways, she is fluent in Green speak, tool speak, Pirate speak and Peke speak.