Mini Homestead…In A Trailer Park

Learning to Live for the Future

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Archive for the ‘Winter Holidays’ Category

Homemade Food Gifts: Homemade Baked Goods

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on December 3, 2010


Fall Quick Bread

Image by whitneyinchicago via Flickr

(I am almost done posting the Homemade Food Gifts series here and on the Frugal Recipes blog. I hope that you are all enjoying it, and coming up with ideas for your holiday gift giving.)

The most frugal way to make these food items is from scratch. Admittedly, I often use boxed items when I am able to purchase them on sale, with a coupon. They can be pretty affordable just before and during the holidays. The trick to doing this in the most frugal manner possible is by figuring out whether it is cheaper to bake from scratch or a box when all factors are added in, or deducted. :) Be sure to factor in home preserved produce for the food items that have fruit as an ingredient.

Fill baskets with one or more of the following:

  • HM (Homemade) quick breads
  • Quick breads from a box: Lemon poppy seed, apple cinnamon, pumpkin and cinnamon swirl are all tasty options.
  • Brownies
  • HM pumpkin chocolate chip cookies or bars.
  • HM sugar cookies decorated with colored sugars or icings.
  • HM apple or zucchini bars with chocolate chips.
  • HM mints

Tips

  • To save money on electricity, I bake multiple items at once.
  • To save time, I mix up multiple batches at once in large bowls.
  • To save a few more pennies, when mixing up multiple batches I delete and egg or two.
  • To save more money, I use small or medium eggs – or large depending on what is on sale. You can use any size eggs in baking, even if large eggs are specifically called for. 1 small or medium egg = 1 large egg.
  • Use mini loaf pans, if possible.
  • Use mini decorative cake pans for breads, bars and cakes.

What homemade baked goods do you make to give as holiday gifts? Please share with us in the comments below.

Shannon

Posted in Food Gifts, Winter Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Homemade Food Gifts: Herbed Butters

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on December 2, 2010


Clarified butter at room temperature

Image via Wikipedia

(This was first posted to the Frugal Recipes blog this morning. I am sharing all of the gift making ideas from that blog with all of you. I hope you enjoy the posts.)

Purchase sweet butter in large packages, preferably on sale. Generic and store brand butter is fine. Use a coupon if you have one.

Herbed butters are simple to make, and can be made up to three months before the date they will be given as gifts. Simply freeze them in 1/2 or 1 pint canning jars, or other thick jars that have been saved and cleaned for this purpose. Be sure to sterilize the jars before using them for the butter.

Two days before you wish to give the gifts, take the butters out of the freezer and place them into the refrigerator. The next day, you will want to tie a square or round of fabric over the jars’ lid with raffia or twine. Add a tag or a sticker with the name of each butter and its’ ingredients, as well as a line that reads ‘From the Kitchen of (Your Name).’

RATIO: 1/2 cup butter to 1 Tablespoon of herb or herb combination.

USE: Herbs fresh from the garden. Wash and mince them before use.

Variations:

  • Dill and mint
  • Garlic and marjoram

Experiment with different herbs and combinations of herbs.

NOTE: These jars of butter do not need processing.

What combinations of herbs do you use when making butter? Please share your experiences with us in the comments below.

Shannon

References:

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs (1987, Rodale Press)

Posted in Food Gifts, Recipes, Uncategorized, Winter Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Homemade Food Gifts: Herbed Oils

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on December 1, 2010


Olive oil from Imperia in Liguria, Italy.

Image via Wikipedia

(Here is another gift idea, originally posted to the Frugal Recipes blog this morning. I hope you all enjoy it.)

Herbed oils can be made easily and used in small ratios (1/2 to 2 tablespoons) on salads and in stir fries. Experimentation is allowed, in order to find other ways in which these oils can be used.

Make these when the herbs are harvested from the garden, so they are at their freshest. The oils will store for up to one year after making them.

The basic preparations work like this:

1. Place three 2-inch sprigs of herbs/leaves into each, per each cup of oil that the jar will hold.

2. Put one garlic, shallot or other ingredient into the necessary jars as well, per cup of oil that each jar will hold.

3. Heat oil over low-medium heat until warm with a good scent; about three to five minutes (longer if lots of oil). Do not boil.

4. Pour oil into jars, over the other items.

5. Let cool.

6. Cover each jar.

7. Tie a tag around each bottle, with raffia or twine, with its’ ingredient list and ‘From (Your Names’) Kitchen.’ Also note how long the oil will last (once given as gift). Mention how each oil may be used.

Variations:

* Olive oil: Garlic, oregano and thyme.

* Sunflower oil: Garlic and dill.

Tips:

* Purchase oils in bulk and/or on sale to save money. You can also use coupons to save money.

* Find other oil and herb combinations.

References:

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs (1987, Rodale Press)

Posted in Food Gifts, Winter Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Homemade Food Gifts: Herbed Vinegars

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on November 30, 2010


Vinegar is commonly infused with spices or her...

Image via Wikipedia

(I have this series (Homemade Food Gifts) posting to the Frugal Recipes blog this week. I want to share them here on this blog as well. I feel that homesteaders may enjoy them.)

Herbed vinegars are not difficult to make, and they add flavor to salads, other recipes such as meat marinades. These are best made during the herb harvesting seasons during the summer and autumn months, when the herbs can be used fresh.

NOTE: These vinegars will last up to a year if stored in a cool, dark place.

You will need jars or bottles to pour the vinegars and other ingredients into. These can be washed and saved throughout the year, and should be sterilized just before using.

The basic preparations work like this:

  1. Place three 2-inch sprigs of herbs/leaves into each, per each cup of vinegar that the jar will hold.
  2. Put one garlic, shallot or other ingredient into the necessary jars as well, per cup of vinegar that each jar will hold.
  3. Heat vinegar; do not boil.
  4. Pour vinegar into jars, over the other items.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Cover each jar.
  7. Tie a tag around each bottle, with raffia or twine, with its’ ingredient list and ‘From (Your Names’) Kitchen.’ Also note how long the vinegar will last (once given as gift). Mention how each vinegar may be used.

Variations:

  • Rosemary, orange peel, garlic and white vinegar.
  • 1 tablespoon honey, mint, cardamom seed and white vinegar.
  • Blossom from chives, savory and cider vinegar.

Tips:

  • Keep marinade and other sauce type jars from purchased foods to save money. Or have friends and family save them for you.
  • Other cheaply purchased glass jars will work as well, including canning jars.
  • Purchase white and other vinegars in large bottles, on sale.
  • Purchase vinegars that don’t come in large bottles as cheaply as possible.
  • Purchase store or generic brands, if possible.
  • Experiment with your own variations.

What vinegar variations have you tried? Please share the results with us in the comments below.

Shannon

Reference:

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs (1987, Rodale Press)

Posted in Food Gifts, Winter Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Homemade Food Gifts: Dried Herbs

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on November 30, 2010


Dill Anethum graveolens

Image via Wikipedia

(Originally posted to the Frugal Recipes blog earlier today. Wanted to share with you as well.)

Throughout the summer and autumn months, you have harvested and dried organic herbs to use in your culinary ventures throughout the winter. As is usually the case, you have far more of these dried herbs than you will be able to use before the next harvest season. Why not share your bounty with family and friends?

Hopefully, throughout the year, you have been cleaning and saving the jars from your food purchases. Perhaps you have purchased canning jars, lids and rings frugally at yard sales and thrift shops. You may also have fabric, twine or raffia from the projects that you have been working on throughout the year. If so, you have the makings for great holiday gifts.

Single Herb Examples

Basil

Bay leaves

Parsley

Rosemary

Sage

 

Herb Mix Examples

Basil, oregano and thyme

Basil, thyme and parsley

Dill, mint and parsley

Lemon balm and mint

Parsley and rosemary

1. Sterilize all of the jars, lids and rings. Dry completely. It is important that no moisture is evident when packing the dried herbs.

2. Fill the jars with single herbs, or herb mixes.

3. Tie squares or rounds of fabric onto the cover of each jar with twine or raffia.

4. Add a tag or sticker to the jar with the name of the herb, and with ‘From (Your Names’) Garden.’

How do you package your dried herbs for gift giving? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Shannon Reference:

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs (1987, Rodale Press)

Posted in Food Gifts, Winter Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Mini Homestead in a Trailer Park for 1/1/2010

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on January 1, 2010


Happy New Year!!!! I have ll of my goals written out and posted, for me to work on throughout the year.

I hope you are al doing well.

I have been clearing out some of my clutter. My nieces and nephews are mighty happy with some very special items that I have handed down to them, and my best friends boyfriend is enjoying ,y hand-me down wizards.

We are supposed to be having 1 or more feet of snow this weekend here in Maine. So far, it has only been a few inches. Zowie is gone for the weekend. Some of the shoveling will have to wait until she gets back.

The holidays were nice, filled with friends and family, and few gifts. We gave home-baked goods and homemade candles as gifts. I’m thinking this will be a yearly tradition.

I hope you are all doing well.

Shannon

Posted in Crafting, Family Matters, Mini Homestead Happenings, Winter Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mini Homestead Happenings for 12/30/2009

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on December 30, 2009


Snow. We had a storm the other night. I didn’t even know it. We lost he power while we slept, but i was back on before I woke. I shoveled the porch yesterday, came back in and couldn’t breath. Asthma attacks are no fun.

Last night, Zowie tried to shovel, but it was too cold. She finished today. My stepdad plowed last night.

The holiday celebrations are over, and we are settling back into our normal routine.

Zowie was accepted into three universities for the fall semester next year. We are so excited.

***

2009 is on its’ way out, and 2010 is right around the corner. I always take the first day of the new year off to reflect on the previous year, figure out what I want to accomplish in the new year and create my goals list. I will post career related goals here.

What are your homesteading goals for 2010? How do you intend to go about accomplishing these goals? Feel free to let us know in the comments of this post, or post them on your own blog. You can even post a link to your blog post here if you would like.

Be sure to post these goals in a prominent place in your home, so that you can see them every day. This will help to keep you motivated to accomplish the goals throughout the year.

Happy New Year!

Shannon

Posted in Family Matters, Mini Homestead Happenings, Winter Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Mini Homestead Happenings 12/10/2009

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on December 10, 2009


Hello. Much has been happening here:

The windows are all closed up, the air conditioner is out of the window and the shovel has already been in use. We are ready for winter. Yup! We had a Nor’ Easter yesterday. Zowie had a day off school, which she was not happy about.

I have ordered wigs, so we will soon be making candles again. These will be given to friends and family as holiday gifts.

We are discussing what treats we will be making to give as gifts.

We have been doing some organizing and deep cleaning.

I have written an eBook and a few Special Reports for my freelance writing business, and am waiting for Zowie to edit them so that I can get them online. Zowie gets paid for her efforts.

What is going on at your homestead?

Shannon

Posted in cleaning, Crafting, Mini Homestead Happenings, Winter Holidays, Winter Prep | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Mini Homestead Happenings for 12/26/2008

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on December 26, 2008


I hope that you all enoyed your holidays. My brother and sister, and my sisters boys, came to have lunch with us yesterday. I also talked to my other brother last night. Otherwise, things were fairly calm here, which is nice. There is always so much going on hear and things are usually hectic.

Everyone loved their homemade gifts, which I am happy for. There simply was no money for shopping this year.

My nephew is spending the weekend. We don’t have anything planned, really, other than relaxation and reading.

I will also (likely) be planning the spring garden. At least which seeds I will want. The mail had two seed catalogs when I opened it today. Yahooo!!! I love planning the gardens.

Hope you are all doing well.

Shannon

Posted in Family Matters, Gardening, Mini Homestead Happenings, Winter Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Mini Homestead Happenings for 12/21/2008

Posted by Shannon L. Buck on December 21, 2008


Yesterday was spent making tied felt pillows to give my nieces as holiday gifts. Zowie made sticker books for them, and we made a few other odds and ends.

Today I wrapped the recycled candles that Isaiah and I had made for people, and we put together the cocoa and marshmallow packets that Skye is giving to the kids today.

It is officially the winter solstice (first day of winter) and we are all meeting at Katies this afternoon for a celebration. It should be a lot of fun.

I have a few household chores to do, then I will get dressed. I will read from Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer, the third book in her Twilight series. It is a very good series, even if it was written for the younger generation. My daughter loves the series as well.

Shannon

Posted in Crafting, Family Matters, Mini Homestead Happenings, Sewing/Quilting Projects, Winter Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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