My first container garden

So what’s a girl to do if she decides to homestead, but can’t move just yet.  Baby steps…

If I want to be a homesteader, I better learn how to grow my own food.  Since at the moment I’m without a yard, a container garden was the next best option.  My condo is a ground floor unit so I can spread my plants out beyond just the patio where the real sunlight can reach them.

To get started I went by my local nursery and picked up some basics. Included here are a tomato plant, basil, cilantro, dill, rosemary, and bell pepper.

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Then I checked out a nearby plant sale hosted by a local park, Green Springs Garden. So many options! I can’t wait to have a full yard to landscape.

Brought home a couple more additions to the garden: arugula, zucchini, cucumber, rhubarb, tomato, and some grocery store basil.

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Got them planted and happy in their new soil.

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And here’s what it looks like two months in:

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Two causalities so far, both the cilantro and bell pepper plants drowned in some May thunderstorms.

I’m hoping to start harvesting jalapenos and tomatoes very soon!!

I have a habit of letting my plants get to dry, so learning to gauge how much water they need has been a challenge.  I’m starting to see some yellow leaves and will let you know how my experiment with organic fertilizers goes. Fingers crossed!

Who else is working on a garden for summer??

Sarah

 

 

 

Homesteading 101 – Give me a farm, don’t call me a farmer

Over the course of the long winter months, boyfriend and I decided we want to be homesteaders. That is, we want a little bit of land, some animals (chickens, goats, maybe a pig) and to grow some of our own food.  We’re not looking to have a dairy farm with thousands of cows, just our own little space surrounded by animals.

One problem, we live in the Metro Washington D.C. region with ridiculous property values.

Got a million dollars, you can buy a  four bedroom house!!!

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So even though we realized this shared dream, we’ll have to start small, educate ourselves, and plan for a move to a homestead friendly/affordable area down the road.

So here are some of the fun free resources I’ve found so far in my attempt to learn about homesteading.

Gourmet Farmer, Australian TV

One of the most entertaining shows we’ve found is a couple of years old, but new to us!!

Urban Conversion, PBS

I can catch this show sporadically on the WETA PBS channel, sadly can’t find it on the PBS roku/amazon fire channels.

We Bought the Farm, HGTV

I know, I know, another HGTV show.  They only did 8 episodes, but you can find them all on their roku/amazon fire app.

Homesteady – Podcast & Videos

Great content focused on the business decisions that need to go into a homestead.

Just the start of my education, but a girls got to dream!!!

Have you tried the farm life? Ready to escape your current l0cal?

Sarah

 

 

 

Oh Hey Blog, what’s up?

spring

I never intend to take a break from blogging, life just gets in the way and before you know it, it’s March!!

So what have I been up to lately? Working my Posh business of course! Checkout my latest newsletter, exploring the miracle that is Argan Oil.

Watching all the Profit episodes I can get my hand on…

I’ve become obsessed with the idea of becoming a “homesteader” and found this adorable tv show from Tazmania (I know, so random):

And working on my own youtube videos, scary and fun at the same time:

I’m excited to re-focus on the blog and spend the next couple months exploring more of the Homesteading lifestyle, some easy condo updates, and lessons learned from my new small business.  Please stick around, I’ll be back!!

 

 

 

Potluck MVP! Stuffed Artichoke Casserole

My first visit to New Orleans was in the fall of 1998.  I studied for my undergrad degree at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. Go Badgers!!

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My freshman year roommate brought me to her hometown of Metairie, Louisiana. There I tried my first ever stuffed artichoke, we spent at least an hour peeling off its leaves and scraping the artichoke meat and breading off. Amazing!

stuffed artichoke

I’ve tried to bake my own stuffed artichokes over the years but it takes so much time and effort.  This week I tried a recipe that gives all the flavor without all the cleanup!  It makes a great addition to a holiday meal, it may even replace green bean casserole at my family dinner. The recipe can be found on the local Nola site, re-posting here:

Stuffed Artichoke Casserole

Makes 8-12 servings

3 (16.8 ounce) cans French-cut green beans, drained

2 (14 ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained

2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs

8 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

3-4 pods garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain the artichoke hearts and chop into pieces.

Pour the green beans, artichoke hearts, bread crumbs, cheeses, chopped onion and garlic, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese into a 9- by-13-inch baking dish that has been coated with nonstick spray. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to blend everything thoroughly. Drizzle olive oil over the top and cover the dish with aluminum foil.

Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

Note: I’d squeeze some fresh lemon juice on the casserole just before serving.

IMG_1979Try it, you’ll love it!

Sarah

 

Win that Cookie Swap! Ginger Cookie Recipe

This past weekend was a whirlwind of to-do lists and fun events.  I started off Friday by posting my first ever youtube video!

Then it was off to Virginia Beach to celebrate a friends birthday.  It was 78 degrees at the beach on Saturday.

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The only hint that it was December was the Santa surfer.

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Finished off with a sold out show in downtown Norfolk.  If you haven’t heard this song, it is so much fun to sing at the top of your lungs!

By Sunday it was time to drive back home and bake up a storm for my cousin’s 13th annual cookie swap.  If you have never attended a cookie swap, everyone brings 6-7 dozen of their favorite homemade holiday cookie. Then you swap your cookies with everyone there so you get a huge variety of cookies without all the headache.

For the swap we had 21 different types of cookies!

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It was a tableful of calories, and a full time job to keep the kids in attendance from pigging out.

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Once the swap begins, everyone works their way around the table grabbing 6 of each type of cookie.  After the first round you can go back and get 4 cookies. Everyone keeps going around until the cookies are done!

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At this cookie swap we also vote on best Rookie cookie, most festive, most difficult to make, and best overall cookie.  And guess who won best overall cookie? This girl!! Shared with my favorite cookie tester.

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So here is the award winning recipe:

Ginger Cookie Sandwiches with Caramel Buttercream
Soft and chewy molasses ginger cookies are sandwiched together with caramel buttercream frosting!

Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 18 sandwich cookies
Ingredients

For Ginger Cookies:
1 c. sugar
¾ c. shortening (Crisco)
1 egg
¼ c. molasses
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves
1/4 c. chopped crystallized ginger
⅓ c. sugar, for rolling

For Caramel Buttercream:
½ c. butter, softened
½ c. prepared caramel sauce
1½ tsp. caramel extract (I find this easily at Walmart with the other
extracts)
3 ­ 4 c. powdered sugar

Directions
For cookies:
1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar and shortening.
2. Add in egg and molasses. Mix until well­ combined.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, and spices until well blended.
4. Add flour mixture to mixing bowl, beating until well­ combined.
5. Roll dough into 1­inch balls and roll the balls in granulated sugar.
6. Place them 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-­10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

For frosting:
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and caramel sauce til blended.
2. Add caramel extract.
3. Add enough powdered sugar that the frosting is thick and fluffy, but spreadable. Beat until fluffy.
4. Form cookie sandwiches by spreading the bottom of one ginger cookie with buttercream, and topping it with another cookie.

Enjoy

Notes
You must measure the molasses accurately. Too much, and the cookies will get sticky and goopy.

 

New Fosters – Chanel & Darla

After adopting Maya, I took a little break from having fosters in the house.

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I wanted to give her a chance to bond with the two adult cats, Coco and Max. As well as recover completely from her upper respiratory infection.

But it didn’t take long and I was ready to help some more little cuties. So last week two sisters, Darla & Chanel arrived 🙂

Chanel

Chanel is a spunky all black domestic short hair around 6 months old.  She is a little chatter box! She loves to play in everything and with everyone.  This kitten has no fear of even the meanest of cats (side eye to Max).

Darla

Darla is a black/white domestic short hair around six months old.  Darla is more reserved then her sister, I think she needed some time to figure out if we could all be trusted.  After 3-4 days she started to show her playful side and is exploring more of the apartment. Not really into getting affection, I’m working on getting her to trust me and enjoying lap time.

Both of these cuties are available for adoption from Lost Dog Rescue Foundation and will start attending adoption events next weekend!

http://lostdogrescue.org/chanel-3/

http://lostdogrescue.org/darla-3/

 

 

 

Life and Living Naturally

Fall has arrived in DC, my sister and her boyfriend visited from Florida and had the perfect weather for playing tourist.

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We made a trip downtown for a food truck lunch and stopped by the National Zoo.

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Hopped over to Georgetown for some serious shopping. Katie is a master at finding deals, we both bought markdowns at 60-70% off. Fall wardrobe complete!

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Of course I also shared my stockpile of Perfectly Posh products, Katie has been trying some of their skin line so I introduced her to some of the other body products (bee’s knees body scrub, witchy body wash).

I try not to be too pushy with sharing Posh, I know I tend to shutdown when someone is overwhelming in their sales approach.  I want to share some of the reasons I started moving my personal products towards more natural and high quality ingredients.

  1.  Too many chemicalstoxins

Women on average apply an average of 168 products per day. (article) Every day you hear of another mysterious chemical or common ingredient that is linked to illness and even death. I’ve been trying to simplify the products I’m using both on myself and around the house.  I don’t just go with the cheapest option on the shelf.  Same with my pets, the horror stories of animals that have died due to contaminated and dangerous products from China have made me much more aware.

2.  Know the source

It’s common knowledge that there are many factories and companies abroad that do not care for the health of their workers or their consumers.

I’ve found clothing companies (Everlane) that are committed to treating their employees well. Educating myself on the local farm to table movement and how large volume food production impacts our health. (Thanks PBS!) I haven’t fully embraced organic foods when I shop at the grocery store, but I’m working on it and making better choices for my body in the long term.

3.  Environmental Impactliquid-soap                                                                                 (image source)

We are learning that even the smallest ingredient can impact the ecological environment in big ways.  From plastic micro beads clogging up fresh water lakes (800 Trillion Plastic Micro Beads go down the drain every day) to bleaching of natural coral reefs via sunscreen. It’s impossible not to see the impact our daily routine has on the world around us.

My answer: Perfectly Posh

Posh prides themselves on using high quality ingredients, locally sourced, and made in the U.S.A.

Everything is $25 and under, keeping high quality pampering available to everyone.

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I don’t expect Posh to work for everyone, it’s one of many companies that are now focusing on more simple ingredient lists and environmentally friendly business practices.  But if you haven’t considered them, check out my site.  I wouldn’t have signed up to represent their products if I wasn’t genuinely excited about what they offer.

Sarah