Wednesday, June 23, 2010

We have a Rat!

I call him Ratamus Prime. Our mission this weekend... To safely catch and relocate said Rat. lol :)

He has been living in our storage shed and sharing the chickens scraps for I don't know how long. He is still kinda small. Not full grown yet. I am hoping he is by his lonesome... I don't want babies.

video

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

No Bake Cookies

The other night I got a huge craving for No- Bake cookies. My mom made these all the time when I was little so I called and got her recipe. It wasn't vegan. But super easy to to switch out the milk and butter.

4 Tbsp Cocoa
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
2 Cups Sugar
1 Stick Smart Balance (1/2 cup)

Bring all these ingredients to a boil over med-high heat. Continuously stir so it doesn't scorch. Keep it in a full boil for 3 minutes. Take off heat.

Add

1 tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Peanut Butter

Mix well

Then quickly add the 2 cups of oatmeal. Old Fashioned or Instant. I prefer Old Fashioned.

This makes 34 1-tbsp cookies. Let cool and put into an air tight container.

Another new friend

The other day we were outside working on the "greens" garden bed and John came across this little guy....


It took him two tries to catch him. But he has been safely relocated to a brush pile. But I am almost positive with the chickens and a nice warm wood pile that he will be back...



One more garden bed done

All of the tomatoes we purchased have finally been planted ! :) I even have one baby tomato :) I only have two left. One for flowers and one for greens. The husband has the green bed almost done! Happy things are getting done and can't wait to reap the rewards :)

My flowers have finally started blooming. Poor things need transplanted. They are so crowded!

Pictures of garbage

Well, I now get to take pretty pictures of my garbage! I know... That is the best thing to take pictures of right??? :) Well, this months garbage bill had some extra charges on it. I called in to see why. I was told in March I had 10 bags of garbage at one time and in May I had 8 bags of cat litter...

Yeah eight bags...!

Now you may ask.. how many cats do you have!!!???
The answer... 6.... So I guarantee that I didn't have 8 garbage bags of cat litter. I might have had 2 small, grocery bags with some litter in them... But not eight garbage bags...!

Then the 10 bags in March... I recycle everything I can.. 1 & 2 plastics, grocery bags, paper, cardboard, steel, aluminum, and clear & green glass... so what is left to throw away? Paper towels.. which I don't use very often... almond milk containers, the bags from the cat & dog food, frozen food packaging, puppy pads... I don't know but I sure as hell don't have enough trash to make 10 bags.

The only time I have had 5 or 6 bags was during after winter, outdoor clean up in May.

On top of that. The lady was rude and had a huge attitude. She was like... What are you calling us liers????

Me: No... Maybe you have the wrong address... My neighbor has had extra charges and only has 1 or 2 bags of garbage a week too...

Lady: well then! do you want us to take pictures? cause we can and will....

Me :Ok you don't have to do that but if you want to.. be my guest...

Lady: Cat litter is hazardous waste... so there is an extra charge!..

Me: I talked to someone at your company last year about picking up our cat litter and they never said anything about it being hazardous waste or having an extra charge...

She had no response... She was done talking to me...

This will be the first and last time I will pay extra for trash I didn't have...

Next I am sure I will get a photographers fee for that...lol. So I have started taking pictures and writing down how many bags of garbage I have as well as what is in them...

This weeks garbage: 3 bags... Because I am puppy pad training one of the dogs till we get the new backyard, out door access open. So 1 bag of puppy pads with 2 small grocery bags or litter in it, A kitchen bag, and a bag with some empty dog & cat food bags and some kitchen stuff. And a piece of corrugated plastic ( the stuff signs are made out of)..

So I better not have any extra charges!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gardening... Another bed down...

Went to town to get organic soil for the last few garden beds. Got 3- 2 cubic feet bags enough to do 1 and a half beds. Picked up a few groceries and then came home. Hand tilled one garden bed and planted some more tomatoes. Trying to kill the grass off in the other so its not so hard to till up. Have a few more beds to go but need some more dirt. Need to still finish planting some veggies and flowers. Better late than never... right?

Yesterday John got home from work early so we went out and worked on cleaning up some of the yard. We have to make room in the opposite side of our yard for our huge heating oil / kero tank and our extra smaller holding barrels. As soon as we started working and moving wood scarring things started happening. First something cute not scary... A salamander was on a small rotten piece of wood. Turned him lose on the side of the creek bank. Then John and I was standing there talking about were all the barrels were going when I heard what I thought was a small mouse running across a tarp. We both looked over and seen a HUGE spider. HUGE.... I have never heard a spider walk... so... I decided I was going to go mow the grass while the husband finished moving all the spider infested... things around.. ok not infested but one was good enough to get rid of me. I hurried and mowed the grass and come back and he hadn't come across anymore so I started helping him. Then he picked up the tarp and there was another HUGE spider!!!!! So then I was done... I sat up on the stairs and watched him make a burn pile and garbage pile.... I have wiped my hands of cleaning around the back porch... :)

Salamander

Spider #1

Spider #2 ok.. so maybe big.. not huge.. but you don't find spiders that size around here very often... but I guess it wasn't a terachala... Maybe a small teranchela... It was actually just a dock spider.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My First Etsy listing...

Which was supposed to be up by march 2009.... is finally up in June 2010... Not what I was originally wanted to sale. But this is what is up right now and only one of them. I decided just because I didn't have ten things to put up at once that it shouldn't stop me from posting one or two... So hopefully this will get me up and going. I am excited and hope that I can get more stuff up in the near future :)

Check out my listing... More sizes are available just not listed right now.

Etsy

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Spring Showers Bring May flooding

Well its that time of year again. We have been lucky (knock on wood) and gotten some rain but not huge amounts at a time. We could even have used more rain this year just not all at once.

Today we got a bunch of rain all in about 40 minutes. So even after it stopped raining the creek kept rising. We had flash flood warnings. Mom had to help me move the empty chick brooder house. John and I had just put it there the day before... Something told me not to put it down that low. O well. Then I went to the burn pile to move it out of the water. Move my burn pile and turned to my dads wood pile moved 2 pieces. I was thinking if I am going to run into a snake this would be the place... Then I though .. no... The water is already under the pile. So I started moving it again... 3 pieces later a snake freaks out and comes straight out of that stupid pile of wood... after that I decided the rising water could have it.

So about two hours after it stopped raining we was lucky.. and the water started to reseed.

On to the next rain storm.... :)

This is the tree behind our back porch and garden. The water is up on the tree trunk about 10 to 12 feet.
Thats my parents garden. Before the creek stopped rising we had to move the metal circles and a lot of her new dirt got washed away.These are Moms hunny suckle bushes and you can see the side of the chick brooder house and some of the chicken enclosure. The 2nd picture is on the other side of the honey suckle bushes were the water was.
This picture is from our back yard right in front of the rhubarb plants.
Right behind the chicken coop. The water was about 4 feet from the enclosure.
This is the giant moth that was on my door this morning. It doesn't look that big but it wings were about 2 inches tall.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Vegan Funnel Cake

Very easy to make vegan. Love funnel cake. Might actually make some tonight when The husband gets home from work.

Makes 4

1 1/2 Cups Almond milk ( or non dairy milk of choice)
2 tbsp Sugar
1 1/4 cup All purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Tsp Baking Powder

Oil for frying
Powder sugar for topping

Mix this up till nice and smooth. Like a thick pancake batter. Put through funnel or just pour slowly into really hot oil. Let turn light tan than flip to other side. Take out and sprinkle with powder sugar. Do not fry for more than a couple minutes on each side or it will get hard.

The batter will keep in the fridge for a few days up to a week.

Finally Cooking- Vegan Vittles & The 100 Best Vegan baking recipes

I have finally been cooking again. Trying some recipes from the cookbooks that I don't use often enough and some new cook books. In 2 days I tried out 5 new recipes. Some of them I liked some I wasn't to impressed by while some that I didn't like John loved. As always. Even one that surprised me that grew on me. So the two books I have been using this week are Vegan Vittles & The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes. All these recipes were pretty quick in active time.

Some of the links below go to the book some of the links go to the recipes.

I once again looked through Vegan Vittles and made a huge list of recipes I want to try. So I figured I would start with a pasta called Igors Special for Breakfast/lunch. Recipe on Page 167. I wasn't sure about this recipe because it had balsamic vinegar and curry powder. Two ingredients I'm not to fond of. But I was surprised after I took a few bites that the salty background was really nice. The tangyness of the vinegar reminded me of the edemame, corn, and tomato salad that I really like. So I guess I shouldn't judge balsamic vinegar just by the Portabello & onion recipe from one of Sarah Kramers books. I do like that recipe too. But I'm not a big fan of to much balsamic vinegar on the onions... Anyways. I didn't add the green onions the recipe called for. I don't like raw onions. But the walnuts, tomatoes, curry, Cayenne, soy sauce, and what ever other ingredients were in the recipe turned out nice. I kept the sauce in a separate bowl so when I heated the pasta back up the sauce stayed cold and was a nice topper. The warm pasta warmed the mixture just enough. I did heat it up all together once and I didn't like it as much. After you eat a few bites you also feel just a touch of the Cayenne. A nice background feel.


Click Link for Recipe.
The next recipe I tried was Not you Mamas Meatloaf. Recipe on page 150. My husband had been wanting me to find a meatloaf alternative. Even when he did eat meat when we first moved in together I would never fix meatloaf for him. yuck... And before this I had never had any meat loaf vegan or meaty... I had really high hopes for this recipe. But when I mixed up the sauce I really wasn't sure how everything would taste. One simple ingredient was what turned me away from this recipe.... Peanut butter. This I think is used for the sticky texture to hold the loaf together. And it does work in the flavor. My husband liked it but I didn't. I couldn't get around the peanutbuttery flavor. I have a really strong since of taste & smell. So to me if any one ingredient sticks out it can ruin a meal for me. But for someone with a normal since of taste or small like my husband he really likes it. He had half of it for dinner and took the other half for work. So I would still call it a success but I will be looking for a different "meatloaf" recipe. The outside of this loaf also got really crunchy and almost burnt when left in the entire time at the given cooking time.


Click Link for Recipe.
And the next recipe I tried was Messy Mikes. Recipe on page 98. These were not bad. We haven't had Sloppy Joes or it equivalent in a while. I used to purchase the Manwich mix and mix it with the Boca Crumbles but I stopped doing that a few years ago. So I really wanted this to work out. I used TVP as the meat and made the recipe. It was pretty good. I am just used to the stronger taste of the manwich. Plus to me it wasn't messy enough. It needed more sauce. The recipe said to cook it for 10 minutes after you place the sauce in but I had to take it straight off the burner because of the lack of sauce. But it tasted pretty good just a little bland. Needed more tangyness. John again really liked it and finished off the rest of the meal. I forgot to take a picture of these till John was eating the last one. oops

I will say I still do like this cookbook. One of my favorite comfort recipes is in Vegan Vittles. When I am sick its almost like Chicken Noddle would be for other people. That recipe is called Creamy Potato kale Soup & its on page 127. Check this book out on amazon and click the "Search inside this cook " and "surprise me" link. Many recipes can be seen and tried.

The one recipe that stuck in my mind from one of the new cook books I just purchased was Mocha Stripes Pg 38 of The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes. I hasTh been eating at me... saying make me make me..lol. So I finally purchased some instant coffee and went for it. The dough was really really coffee tasting. Not bitter but very strong coffee like mocha without the chocolate. It was pretty yummy. Although I probably ate a little more than what I should have and ended up having heart burn from it. The recipe does have alot of butter.. 3/4 a cup. I tend to stay away from really buttery cookies. But I still had to make these. I cooked them up one tray at a time and ended up with 30 - 1tbsp sized nice cooking. The flavor of course kinda sobers after you bake it like most baked goods. So it was still good, a little less coffee tasty, but kinda oily to me. But they were nice and chewy while they were still warm and even still chewy when they cooled. I started melting the chocolate and put it into a pastry bag and went to squeeze it onto the cookies and it was super super hot through the bag. I didn't think of it at the time but you could put a towel around the bag and that would help some. With the chocolate it definitely finishes the Mocha flavor. I do really like them. I ended up having to put them in the fridge to get the chocolate to set. So I think next time I will make them like chocolate chip cookies and see how it works out. Less dishes, less clean up, less mess that way. Wish they were not so oily but I will fix them again. Nice alternative to a regular chocolate chip cookie for anyone who likes mocha. Coming from a person who doesn't like coffee... :) I will probbaly make these in the future for family events and bake sales.. I think they would be nice at a bake sale because I have never seen a mocha cookie at one.

These cooking would also be really good with some salty nuts cooked in. :)

I also made another Strawberry Pie this week. This is the third strawberry pie I have made in the last month or so. But this is the first one we got to keep for our selves.