Friday, August 22, 2014

Free Books Guide to Shopping & Cooking Frugally, The Cast Iron Recipe Collection For Busy Families,The Green Gourmet Little Book of Charcuterie

Making your own food at home is almost always cheaper than ready made meals or eating out.  It is also healthier and most often better tasting.  If you like these free books like me on facebook, follow me on Google Friend Connect or any other way!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Free Amazon Books on Easy Beer Brewing at Home, Detox Teas, Uses of Mustard, Minimalist Living

More great free books from my Amazon Affiliate Partner!  Just click on the pic or the name below each pick to be taken to the product page.  If you like seeing these free books like me on Facebook and Follow me via Google Friend Connect and Google +

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Late Planted Garden- Frustrating and Rewarding

We moved to our new home at the very end of May.  May 31st actually, my 35th birthday.  My first priority after getting the house in order was getting my garden planted.  It was very late by this areas standards.  I knew it was a crap shoot as to whether things would grow as it was already hot and many seeds will not germinate in very hot weather.  So far carrots have been a wash and so have turnips, lettuces,  and beets.  However, my pumpkins tomatoes, summer squash, eggplant, swiss chard, melons, and cabbage are doing well.  I will be planting more cool weather crops this week now that the hot weather seems to be behind us.

The winter squash patch

A pumkin already the size of a jack o lantern


the summer squash patch


the melon patch
cabbage and Brussels sprouts

Friday, August 15, 2014

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors... Until They Break!

The Chicken Coop is on the right
In the pasture next to us we have a neighbors beef cattle herd of about 20 cows and calves with two huge bulls.  They have been peacefully grazing away but yesterday we discovered that they have been walking down the canal next to our chicken run and getting in.  The evidence was some cow pies scattered throughout.  I think they were interested in the corn/barley/oats we had thrown out for the chickens.  It's amazing how well cows can scent that from far away.

Loitering with intent
Our chickens were highly discombobulated by the whole experience.  Having a  cow suddenly appear in you home and start eating your food is not a good thing in chicken land.  And this morning I go out and all the cows are clustered by the chicken coop.

The busted fence
When I walked around I saw that they also busted down the fence that divided the chicken coop run from the pasture.  So I had to call our neighbor and let him know, but before I could one of the half grown calves decided to visit the chickens.  Lots of outraged squawking and flying about ensued.

Evidence of a visitation
Our neighbor is a great guy however, and was out in a jiffy to fix the fence and do some stern talking to his cows about un-neighborly visits.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

11 Fruits and Vegitables That Last For Months and Save You Money

Every fall I buy about 100 pounds of apples from local growers in the Tri-Cities Washington.  They sell in bulk, often for 50 cents a pound.   With six people in my family, and all of them loving apples for fresh eating and pies you can imagine we go through allot. I always buy varieties known for their long keeping ability and store them in a cold room.  They usually last us well into February. There are many fruits and veggies that store very well and therefore save you money because your not throwing rotten food out.  If you have a root cellar look into ways to store your veggies there this fall. Or there are tons of other ways to store fruits and veggies for long term in a cold garage, unheated room, or even in the ground.

Long Keeping Fruits and Veggies
Apples- Store in a cold but not freezing room, eat the biggest first because they go bad faster and don't store near other fruits and veggies because they let of a gas that causes them to go bad.
Beets-  These can last for months in the fridge or a very cold room. Cut off the greens before storage.
Cabbage- I love cabbage and it lasts up to two months in the fridge.
Carrots- These can be stored in a variety of ways and last for months
Garlic- This will keep for months in a moderately warm environment like a dark cubbord
Onions - These will keep up to a year in a 30-50 degree dark area.  Sweet onions like Walla Walla sweets will not keep half so long
Potatoes - These can easily last all winter if stored properly. 40 degrees is the perfect temperature with high humidity, so a cellar or basement is a good spot.  Keep them out of the light and do not store them near apples which make them sprout.
Winter Radish - Store as you would carrots with the greens removed
Winter Squash - There are so many varieties and uses for winter squash and they will last all winter if stored right.  They like a temp around 60 with lots of air circulation. So a nice airy cupboard works well.  Don't let them touch!
Rutabagas -  store on a bottom shelf in your fridge wrapped in plastic.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Free Amazon Book 100 Easy Recipes In Jars

This is a great book to get for free right now because these would make wonderful gifts for Christmas and Thanksgiving.  If you like this post please like it, share it, pin it, or tweet it! Click the picture or the title below to be taken to the page.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Our Cat Had Kittens! With Pics!

Here she is in labor before the first kitten. 
She kept lifting her leg.
Well our cat Chirpa (my 11 year old son got to name her. It's the name of the Ewock Chief in star wars) has been getting bigger and bigger over the last few weeks until I thought she would pop! And then finally she went into labor.  Right before for about two days she became very clingy and at night would try to sleep on my head all night!

So the labor went fine with no complications.  I was home so we made a birthing center on top of my bed so that I could monitor the progress since this is her first (and last!) birth.  Within two hours she had four little kittens.  Three white and one black and white just like her.

In the middle of birthing

All kittens are born here and searching for a nipple

2 days old
A happy attentive mama

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review/Giveaway Zim's Naturaly Based First Aid Products

Zim's USA
As a mom of four active kids, who also love the outdoors, I have a well stocked first aid cabinet out of necessity.  Every day brings its harvest of scrapes, bug bights, slivers, and bruises.  There seemed to be little option but over the counter meds for many of my go to products to treat these minor injuries.  But now I have been introduced to Zim's Naturally based Products
Zim's® started over 60 years ago with the creation of Zim's Crack Creme® by a pharmacist in Austintown, Ohio. Today, the Zim's® brand has expanded to over 25 products ranging from lotions and cremes to pain relief gels and diabetic care items. The Zim's Max-Freeze® brand provides an affordable topical pain relief gel that emphasizes the use of natural ingredients such as Ilex Flower and Aloe Vera.

When Zim's offered to let me review several of their products I promptly selected anti- itch ones.  This is due to the fact that we are at the height of mosquito season here and my son has eczema as well.  I pretty much am sold on any product that not only is natural, but also WORKS!  And trust me the Zim's products got a thorough testing! I was sent Zim's Arnica Max Gel, Zim's Advanced Crack Cream, Zim's Advanced Gel, and Zim's Advanced Hydrocortisone Spray.

I first tried the Zim's Arnica Max Gel on my husbands aching muscles.  He is a mechanic and works hard every day so he comes home sore pretty often.  Arnica Zim's Max Gel uses menthol for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with simple backaches, arthritis, strains, bruises and sprains.  Its formula includes Arnica and Aloe along with other inactive ingredients.  It worked well, but does have a strong menthol smell. 

Next I tried the Zim's Advanced Crack Cream on both my son's and my own eczema.  I have it on my hands due to being allergic to many hand soaps.  He also has it on his hands and arms.  It relieved my hands right away and I liked the results. This product temporarily relieves itching associated with minor skin irritations and rashes due to poison ivy, poison oak, sumac, insect bites, detergents, jewelry, cosmetics, soaps, seborrheic, and dermatitis.

Another product was Zim's Advanced Gel. Zim's Advanced Gel Acemannan and Arnica is used as a protectant for minor cuts, scrapes, abrasions and burns. This product contains Acemannan, nature's purest form of Aloe Vera.  I applied it over the many scraped knees and elbows that seem to happen on a daily basis.  It soothed the kids and my own little injuries.

Last but not least is the Zim's Advanced Hydrocortisone Spray.  This stuff works great on bug bites and we used it allot because of all the darned mosquitoes.  Just a little bit goes a long way and gives instant relief.

The Thrifty Housewife recommends these products if you are looking for a more natural alternative to standard first aid products.



Connect With Zim's USA


The Giveaway!

 Zim's USA has generously offered to give one lucky Thrifty Housewife reader their own set of Zim's Advanced Crack Cream, Zim's Advanced Gel, and Zim's Advanced Hydrocortisone Spray!  Use the Rafflecopter to enter, all entries are optional, all winning entries will be verified for completion.  Good Luck!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Thrifty Housewife was not compensated for this post, I did receive a sample product(s) for the purposes of review. This did not influence my review or my opinions. My views are 100% my own. This giveaway is not affiliated with facebook, pinterest, twitter, or any other social media website.  The winner will be chosen through the rafflecopter form which uses  Winner will be notified by email within 48 hours of contest end.  Winner has 24 hours to respond to the  email.  Failure to respond will result in a new winner being chosen.  Open to US only.  All Entries are verified. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cast Iron: The last Pans I'll Ever Buy (and how to salvage and re-season it)

Her is my cast iron collection hanging above my wood cook stove where they stay nice and dry.  Also handy for cooking.
I have 3 medium frying pans, one large skillet, one dutch oven with lid, one grill and one wok and a big griddle for making multiple pancakes on.
I cook allot, and I tend to go through one medium quality pots and pans set every two years.  I always buy copper bottom stainless steel because I don't like the idea of daily doses of aluminum from the non stick kind.  This made frying anything difficult because stainless steel is not non stick.

But then I discovered (or rediscovered?) cast iron pans.  Ahhh how I love them now.  They never wear out and with proper care they will last generations.  Yes they need love and attention, but hey what good things don't?  I keep my big stock pots for boiling things or canning but I have my cast iron for frying, sauteing, pancake making, and even baking. Now I would never go back and I pick up cast iron pans anytime I find them at yard sales.  Many people get rid of them because they don't know how to pamper them.  Good for me, too bad for them!

Cast Iron has many benefits:

Will last for a hundred or more years if properly cared for

Can be used on a wood cook stove, in the oven,  or over a fire

Adds iron to your food so if you have kids who are low on iron its a bonus

Doesn't add toxic chemicals to your food

Evenly distributes heat so cooking is more even and it also uses less energy because it retains heat so well

Can be used as a weapon in a pinch! ;)

I'm sure everyone here has seen that forlorn cast iron pan that is sitting at a yard sale or thrift store. It's covered with what looks like toxic hardened sludge and has rust over that. "What a loss" you think. Ahh but is it? What if you could actually remove all that gunk and then have a perfect looking pan? Many people recommend using oven cleaner to remove the gunk but remember that cast iron is porous. So it will absorb those very toxic chemicals. There is an even better way that is easy.

Here's how to do it

Make a nice fire outside in a fire pit or in your wood stove. Your going to need lots of coals. When just a big pile of coals is left bury the cast iron into it. Leave until all coals are cool and pan is cool. Remove pan. The old grease and food has been burned away. Now wash in hot soapy water and scrub any ash or film off. Rinse well. Now place on a burner turned to medium or on you wood cook stove to dry the pan well. Once the pan is totally dry let cool.

Now time to re season. Take some lard or cooking oil on a clean rag or paper towel and coat the outside, inside and handle of the pan. It doesn't need to be so much as to run off the pan or form a puddle. Then set in a 200 oven for three hours to four hours. Let cool and wipe off any excess oil.

You can re season as many times as you want. I have salvaged pans this way and now my cast iron is so well seasoned I can make scrambled eggs in them without it sticking. I always dry my cast iron on our gas stove after cleaning because it ensures complete dryness and re seasons at the same time. Then I hang the pans over my stove so that they don't sit on stuff and rust from accidental moisture (like my two year old hiding a leaking sippy cup in them).