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!

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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.

 

Why Posh

Two posts in one week! Crazy talk

I want to introduce you guys to a little business endeavor I’m trying out. I figured instead of just throwing out some marketing materials randomly, I’d explain why I decided to get involved with Perfectly Posh  with the business and what factors impacted my decision.

Posh Summary

For a long time I’ve been thinking about how/when I could start exploring having my own business.  I try to stay open to ideas and possibilities, there seem to be so many exciting small businesses out there.  Do I want to start a bakery? coffee shop? etsy shop? furniture restoration? start flipping houses? It’s been difficult for me to pinpoint where my strongest skills are and what I could do full time and still enjoy.

I was first introduce to Perfectly Posh back in July by my friend Sharon.  She had just signed up as a consultant and peaked my interest.  I had never heard of the business and their packaging is really appealing to me.  Finally got ahold of some samples and liked what I tried.  Talked with Sharon about the buy-in for starting my own business, $99 for a starter kit. What appeals to me? The packaging, natural ingredients, and cruelty free product.

11924771_970891519820_375984976079277419_nSome background, I witnessed my own mom get into a sales pyramid arrangement and it ended badly.  It was for a nutritional supplement program in the late 90’s.  They required their consultants to purchase high amounts of product and by the time my mom got out she was in debt $4,000.  I saw first hand the stress and pressure to sell to every person you knew and all the leftover unsold product once my mom got out.  So I’m already uneasy of these types of businesses.  I also have more then a couple Mary Kay ladies blocked on my phone, way too aggressive.

So why get involved with Perfectly Posh?  Here are my reasons in a nutshell:

  • Market saturation – Mary Kay has 3 million consultants, Avon has 5.8 million, Perfectly Posh just hit 30,000.  I hadn’t seen any Perfectly Posh info floating around my area and circle of friends, I feel like this is a good time to get ahead of the curve.
  • Tailored business model – There are plenty of options for growing your business in Perfectly Posh – they support more then the traditional house party. Social media tools and website sales are supported and encouraged.  I don’t know personally what I’ll be comfortable doing from a sales perspective, so I’ll test the waters and see how it goes.
  • Marketing/Branding tools- I’m using this experience as a trial run of starting my own business down the road.  I can work on where I know some of my shortcomings are – talking to strangers, public events – and the product is already created, packaged, and ready to go.
  • Most importantly – I actually like the products and get excited about trying them!

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I’ll occasionally post some information on the blog about products I like, but will also post what I learn from the business side. Part of being dedicated to a Do It Yourself lifestyle is being your own boss 🙂

Wish me luck!

Sarah

Obsessed: GBBS

I’m in prime tv watching mode, between the crummy winter weather and the urge to carb load, a baking show is the perfect fix.

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The Great British Bake-off (or Baking Show here in the U.S.) finally jumped the pond and was picked up by PBS.  They started screening season 5 in early January.

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Why bother with this show when we have so many reality cooking shows already running? For one, this one is actually cheerful and funny.  If I hadn’t seen this article on Buzzfeed, I probably would have ignored it. After watching an hour of Gordon Ramsay I want to yell at someone.

I also love seeing the unique British phrases and slang that are thrown around.

It’s fascinating to see all the different types of dessert they treasure that didn’t really make it over with so many of the British immigrants to early America.

It’s also led me to try my hand at baking.  Might as well, too darn cold to go anywhere!  So I’ve whipped up some batches of macaroons in the hopes of perfecting my baking skills.

Earl Grey macaroon with lavender buttercream

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Pistachio macaroon with rose white chocolate ganache

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I’m also stalking the interwebs and pinterest for the shows recipes to replicate later. Feel free to checkout my Pinterest board.

If you want to catch up with this season before the finale next week, Season 5 is on the pbs website for streaming as well as youtube.  Seasons 1-4 can also be found online, as well as two seasons of the Great Irish Bake Off.  Fair warning – you’ll need subtitles for that one.

Cheers!

Sarah