Food is Art

Being the foodie that I am, I love taking pictures of food and making displays with food. Being creative is fun for me and I love to see what new and interesting things I can come up with. Food is my passion! Don’t be afraid to play with your food!

 

IMG_20170316_170612_070000IMG_20170316_170701_833000IMG_20170316_170759_970000IMG_20170316_170852_976000IMG_20170316_171012_111000IMG_20170316_171154_103000IMG_20170316_171335_3330002016-12-28-20-49-465262017-01-13-17-04-002017-01-22-17-54-172017-03-10-10-13-022017-03-10-10-14-3020141127_110537

 

 

 

 

Preparing Your Homestead Garden

It’s spring here in Pennsylvania, WAIT, it’s only winter still. This past Thursday and Friday has been high of 75 degrees(but now it’s Monday and 37 degrees with snow)  and has really got my wheel spinning on what grow this summer in my family’s garden. If you are new to this blog, you know that I live in an apartment homestead where gardening or container gardening is off limits. With that being said, I am very fortunate that my parents allow me to grow produce in their garden.

I have done my research and drafted up a layout for how I want to set everything up. It is important to pre plan your garden months in advance. Why you might ask? It is always about the timing when it comes to gardening. Each and every plant have specific time frames when they grow and thrive the most. You don’t want to start a plant too early or even too late into the seasoning. Some plants you have to start from a seedling and then transplant into the ground. Other plants you can just place the seeds in the ground and not have to worry about growing seedlings. It a very rigorous and meticulous process. Individuals who say gardening is easy and doesn’t take much work. Well I beg to differ on that one. The countless hours of planning, growing, pulling weeds, processing the products, and preparing them YEAH IT’S NOT A WALK IN THE PARK! But it is completely worth it in the end when you are enjoying your delicious harvest. Now my ranting is over, lets get back to how I plan out our garden.

I base a lot of my location of specific plants on companionship. I don’t want us to plant an item next to something that will not make it thrive. Yard Surfer  has a great article and companion cart that I follow for my planting. It is also important to factor in the amount of sunlight that specific plants needs based on your gardens location to the sun. Some plants like cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi can thrive on minimal sunlight of 3 to 6 hours. However, plants such as radishes, corn, and beans prefer to have the most sunlight as possible. We are fortunate that are garden is in the middle of the yard with no worries of not enough sunlight, unless of course it is rainy and miserable outside.

Below I have a picture of my layout for the garden. Now this is just a rough draft, my dad and I tend to add more items to the garden or take things out depending on if we think we will use the product enough to plant a lot of it.

brainstorming

We like to stay around the 10 to 12 plant mark when it comes to planting. Our raised bed can hold more, but we don’t want to crowd the plants. So this year, so far, we have decided on the following 10:

  • Peppers (green, red, and hot)
  • Onions (yellow onions & green onions)
  • Cabbage (head cabbage)
  • Lettuce (leaf lettuce)
  • Spinach (leaf spinach)
  • Radishes( watermelon radish)
  • Kohlrabi
  • Cucumbers(burp less & pickling)
  • Corn (sweet corn)
  • Tomatoes (beefsteak)

In the month of April we will start our seedlings. The Farmers Almanac has a great chart on when to start your seedlings, transplanting, and harvesting depending on your location Planting Dates .

I cannot stress enough the importance of pre-planning a garden. Knowing what you need to plant and how much is so important to have a successful harvest. With that being said, it is important to know how much to grow. Melissa K Norris has a great chart for determining the amount of produce you will need How Much to Plant for a Years Worth of Food . Every family is different and it is important to only plant things you know you and your family are going to eat. If you only each squash twice a year then I wouldn’t suggest planting it because more than likely, it will go to waste. The best way for us to determine how much to grow is to see how much produce we purchased and/or grew in one year. We kept our receipts  and made note of what was eaten out of the garden make a determination for the following year.  We go by the following:

  • 1 tomato plant for each of us plus 1 = 5 plants
  • 6 pepper plants  (2 green, 2 red, 2 hot) = 6 plants
  • 6 onions per person = 24 plants
  • 3 heads of cabbage a piece =12 plants
  • 1 row of lettuce per person= 4 rows
  • 1 row of spinach per person= 4 rows
  • 1 row of radishes for all= my dad and I are the only ones that like them
  • Kohlrabi we grow one row= my dad and I are the only ones that like them
  • 1 burpless cucumber plant per person= 4 plants
  • 1 pickling cucumber plant per person= 4 plants
  • 1 row of corn per person= 4 rows

Now you may notice that this isn’t very much produce. With the amount of space we have in our apartment, we cannot preserve bulks of produce at one time. We unfortunately, have to be realistic and can’t go to over board because of limited space. Also, I don’t want to plant too many items because my parents are located about 40 minutes away from me, so I cannot be there all the time to help maintain the garden and wouldn’t expect them to do it all with their busy schedules. I look forward to the days where I can have a bounty of fresh produce right from my backyard.

Have a good day everyone!!!

-Justine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apartment Homesteading

The journey in apartment homesteading! It will be a wild ride but join me for it!

As I stare out my apartment window at the bare trees and highway I image what it would be like to stare out the window of an old farm house. I would see the chickens roaming the land, goats and horses frolicking along the fence line, and beautiful fresh produce shimmering in the sunlight. Well, it’s good to dream right?!  For now I am staring out into the highway and hearing the hustle and bustle of the cars zooming by. I have big dreams of have a huge homestead and living a sustainable life. But for now, I will be an apartment dweller and that’s okay.

Homesteading isn’t limited to having acres, a huge garden, and animals. Anyone can truly be a homesteader. Homesteading isn’t about the physical stuff, it’s about the practices and methods you partake and believe in. I consider myself an Apartment Homesteader and honestly I am proud of it! I face different obstacles because I am limited for space, not allowed a container garden outside, or have animals. Those are only of the few obstacles I run into. Why do I want to share my apartment homesteading with you? Because there isn’t a lot of information out there on apartment homesteading and I feel there needs to be. So this is why I truly invented this blog to educate people on how I run my apartment homestead.

Below I am going to list some things that I do as an apartment homesteader. I could write for days on everything I do, but where would be the fun in that? I guess you will have to come back more often to visit for new insider information!!

 

Garden Supply

Well our apartment complex is a little ok more than a little picky about any items being outside our apartment. They say “It’s all about the curb appeal,” I loved to tell where to shove that curb appeal up but that’s not nice or is it 😉 So with that being said, we have to be a little creative if we want fresh produce. Since we can’t have container gardens outside we get our fresh produce different ways. My parents are always more than happy to grow extra produce in their garden for us. I usually sit down with my dad before growing season and talk about different items to plant and how much of each. But I can’t expect my parents to grow enough for two households, so that is why we also buy from local farmers markets and farms. I honestly don’t care if the grocery store has produce cheaper, I would rather support local agriculture and not to big companies. Part of being a homesteader is trying to be more sustainable not rely so heavily on outside companies. And unfortunately when SHTF and these stores close their doors, and if  you solely rely on them you are going to be in a world of poo poo. I also encourage people to also look into CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for fresh produce delivered right to your door. It is a wonderful program that self support local agriculture and you don’t have to even leave your home to receive it!

 

Preserving Your Food

Okay so if you can’t grow your own food you can’t preserve anything right? WRONG! Like I stated above you can get fresh produce from local farmers to preserve. Actually, a lot of local farmers have specials on bushels and mass quantities of products. Our local farm always has specials going on each week on bushels and baskets full of produce. The best time of the year to load up on produce is at the end of the season when farmers are trying to eliminate some of their products. So what do you do if there is no fresh produce available in your area  and you want to preserve? Well if you see produce on sale at the supermarket and it a banging deal, just get it! You are not going to be frowned upon because you buy produce at the store. Not everyone has the luxury to have local farmers markets in their area.  My only suggestions is to buy it organic if possible. Heck, I buy some produce at the grocery store too. I am not going lie and say  if I don’t see a great deal on strawberries that I am not going to buy 20 of them to make jelly.

Also, who says you can only preserve produce? WRONG! There is so many items you can preserve that if I stated all of them, I would be here for a whole month if not more. Some great options to start preserving are:

  • Meats- I try to buy my meat from a local farmer who has amazing products that are all organic. If they aren’t open usually during December-February (they take the months off to enjoy Florida!) I try to find a good deal at the supermarket. Trying to buy organic products is important to me, but it isn’t always available at the store. So what do I do? I am that crazy lady at the local supermarket waiting for the doors to open up at 6 am to buy all the quick sale products that need to be sold that day. Want to know why? Because it’s cheap! Living in an apartment isn’t cheap at all. Most of the time, apartment renters spend more in rent and utilities than an homeowner. I try to find ways to save money as much as possible. So buying meat at half price is how I roll!  There is many methods of preserving meats.
    • Dehydrating– this one is one of my favorites for deer meat! But you can also dehydrate pork, beef, turkey, and chicken. It is great for a quick snack or chop it up into your favorite recipe.
    • Curing-unfortunately for an apartment homesteader this one may be a little tricky. Curing involves preserving your meat in salt, sugar, and nitrates. They suggest you hang your meat in a barn, shed, or old refrigerator. It was a method that dates back many years that people would use because they didn’t have the many luxuries today we have to keep their meat preserved. There is however, new modern day appliances that the curing for you, but you will be paying hefty price for it!
    • Canning– a lot of homesteaders partake in this method. It is a great way to preserve your meat without worrying, because you don’t need electricity to keep it fresh. You will have to have a pressure canner for this process and follow instructions on how to do it from your local extension office. I am not a big fan of canned meat for some odd reason, but I really wish I was because this is a great method.
    • Smoking-I don’t have much to say about this one. I haven’t been able to partake in this process because obviously our apartment owners won’t allow a smoker on the back porch. They are meanies!
    • Freezing-Last but defiantly not least on my list, is freezing! This method is what we use the most. Like I said above, when I find a good deal on meat I buy a lot of it! I use my food saver and repackage the meat and label it. This is the easiest method for us. However, there is a downsize to freezing a large amount of meat. If the electricity goes our in the apartment, we are totally in a world of dog poo. Depending on the time it takes them to restore the power, which isn’t very long because we live in the outskirts of a college town, it could ruin the products.

 

  • Condiments-Say What!? This is one of my  favorites! I am a huge lover of homemade ketchup, bbq sauce, and chili sauce. I think it taste so much better than the store bought products. Plus in the long run it is so much cheaper! Some of my favorite recipes are listed below:

 

  • Seasonings– This one makes me so happy! I am such a fan of making my own seasoning. Growing up I would always get headaches if I would eat certain things. Now that I am older, I understand that I have a sensitivity to certain colors and preservatives that are in some products. When I would eat store bought taco season I would get a headache within 2 minutes of consuming. That’s when I decided I was going to start making my own. At least I would know exactly what is in my product. Now that I have made my own, I am addicted and won’t go back to the store stuff. Just store them in mason jar and keep in a dark location and they will last up to 6 months to a year. Also, they cost less in the long run as well.Below is a list of my favs:

From Scratch

I am a big fan of making my food from scratch. Being a graduate of Nutrition, it is important to have a balance in my diet and know what I am consuming. I truly believe that making your food from scratch is the best way to help become healthier. Yes, going to the store and buying that box of fruit snacks and loaf of bread would be easier, but its the mystery of not knowing what is in it that scares me a little. Like I said above, I get headaches due to some dyes and preservatives. So making I myself allows me not to suffer days with headaches. Some of my favorite items to make is listed below:

 

Homemade Products

Yes it takes some time but you get really great safe products!! When I first read an article about making homemade chapstick I was in disbelief that you can actually make a successful product. It wasn’t until I actually starting making numerous products that I was hooked on how great homemade product are and how cheap. BOOM,the cheapskate comes out of me again. There is so many different products you can make that you may never want to buy a product at the store again. Lets talk about the amount of harmful ingredients that are in your products. I can’t even pronounce half of the things in it so that’s probably and indication I shouldn’t be using them. Here is a list below of some of the items I make:

 

Well folks that’s the ball game on this blog post! I hope you enjoyed some of my ways I homestead while living in an apartment. There is so much more I could tell you, but you need to come back again soon to read another blog post. Stay tuned my friends because this journey is going to be wild!

 

-Justine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apartment Homesteading

The journey in apartment homesteading! It will be a wild ride but join me for it!

As I stare out my apartment window at the bare trees and highway I image what it would be like to stare out the window of an old farm house. I would see the chickens roaming the land, goats and horses frolicking along the fence line, and beautiful fresh produce shimmering in the sunlight. Well, it’s good to dream right?!  For now I am staring out into the highway and hearing the hustle and bustle of the cars zooming by. I have big dreams of have a huge homestead and living a sustainable life. But for now, I will be an apartment dweller and that’s okay.

Homesteading isn’t limited to having acres, a huge garden, and animals. Anyone can truly be a homesteader. Homesteading isn’t about the physical stuff, it’s about the practices and methods you partake and believe in. I consider myself an Apartment Homesteader and honestly I am proud of it! I face different obstacles because I am limited for space, not allowed a container garden outside, or have animals. Those are only of the few obstacles I run into. Why do I want to share my apartment homesteading with you? Because there isn’t a lot of information out there on apartment homesteading and I feel there needs to be. So this is why I truly invented this blog to educate people on how I run my apartment homestead.

Below I am going to list some things that I do as an apartment homesteader. I could write for days on everything I do, but where would be the fun in that? I guess you will have to come back more often to visit for new insider information!!

 

Garden Supply

Well our apartment complex is a little ok more than a little picky about any items being outside our apartment. They say “It’s all about the curb appeal,” I loved to tell where to shove that curb appeal up but that’s not nice or is it 😉 So with that being said, we have to be a little creative if we want fresh produce. Since we can’t have container gardens outside we get our fresh produce different ways. My parents are always more than happy to grow extra produce in their garden for us. I usually sit down with my dad before growing season and talk about different items to plant and how much of each. But I can’t expect my parents to grow enough for two households, so that is why we also buy from local farmers markets and farms. I honestly don’t care if the grocery store has produce cheaper, I would rather support local agriculture and not to big companies. Part of being a homesteader is trying to be more sustainable not rely so heavily on outside companies. And unfortunately when SHTF and these stores close their doors, and if  you solely rely on them you are going to be in a world of poo poo. I also encourage people to also look into CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for fresh produce delivered right to your door. It is a wonderful program that self support local agriculture and you don’t have to even leave your home to receive it!

 

Preserving Your Food

Okay so if you can’t grow your own food you can’t preserve anything right? WRONG! Like I stated above you can get fresh produce from local farmers to preserve. Actually, a lot of local farmers have specials on bushels and mass quantities of products. Our local farm always has specials going on each week on bushels and baskets full of produce. The best time of the year to load up on produce is at the end of the season when farmers are trying to eliminate some of their products. So what do you do if there is no fresh produce available in your area  and you want to preserve? Well if you see produce on sale at the supermarket and it a banging deal, just get it! You are not going to be frowned upon because you buy produce at the store. Not everyone has the luxury to have local farmers markets in their area.  My only suggestions is to buy it organic if possible. Heck, I buy some produce at the grocery store too. I am not going lie and say  if I don’t see a great deal on strawberries that I am not going to buy 20 of them to make jelly.

Also, who says you can only preserve produce? WRONG! There is so many items you can preserve that if I stated all of them, I would be here for a whole month if not more. Some great options to start preserving are:

  • Meats- I try to buy my meat from a local farmer who has amazing products that are all organic. If they aren’t open usually during December-February (they take the months off to enjoy Florida!) I try to find a good deal at the supermarket. Trying to buy organic products is important to me, but it isn’t always available at the store. So what do I do? I am that crazy lady at the local supermarket waiting for the doors to open up at 6 am to buy all the quick sale products that need to be sold that day. Want to know why? Because it’s cheap! Living in an apartment isn’t cheap at all. Most of the time, apartment renters spend more in rent and utilities than an homeowner. I try to find ways to save money as much as possible. So buying meat at half price is how I roll!  There is many methods of preserving meats.
    • Dehydrating– this one is one of my favorites for deer meat! But you can also dehydrate pork, beef, turkey, and chicken. It is great for a quick snack or chop it up into your favorite recipe.
    • Curing-unfortunately for an apartment homesteader this one may be a little tricky. Curing involves preserving your meat in salt, sugar, and nitrates. They suggest you hang your meat in a barn, shed, or old refrigerator. It was a method that dates back many years that people would use because they didn’t have the many luxuries today we have to keep their meat preserved. There is however, new modern day appliances that the curing for you, but you will be paying hefty price for it!
    • Canning– a lot of homesteaders partake in this method. It is a great way to preserve your meat without worrying, because you don’t need electricity to keep it fresh. You will have to have a pressure canner for this process and follow instructions on how to do it from your local extension office. I am not a big fan of canned meat for some odd reason, but I really wish I was because this is a great method.
    • Smoking-I don’t have much to say about this one. I haven’t been able to partake in this process because obviously our apartment owners won’t allow a smoker on the back porch. They are meanies!
    • Freezing-Last but defiantly not least on my list, is freezing! This method is what we use the most. Like I said above, when I find a good deal on meat I buy a lot of it! I use my food saver and repackage the meat and label it. This is the easiest method for us. However, there is a downsize to freezing a large amount of meat. If the electricity goes our in the apartment, we are totally in a world of dog poo. Depending on the time it takes them to restore the power, which isn’t very long because we live in the outskirts of a college town, it could ruin the products.

 

  • Condiments-Say What!? This is one of my  favorites! I am a huge lover of homemade ketchup, bbq sauce, and chili sauce. I think it taste so much better than the store bought products. Plus in the long run it is so much cheaper! Some of my favorite recipes are listed below:

 

  • Seasonings– This one makes me so happy! I am such a fan of making my own seasoning. Growing up I would always get headaches if I would eat certain things. Now that I am older, I understand that I have a sensitivity to certain colors and preservatives that are in some products. When I would eat store bought taco season I would get a headache within 2 minutes of consuming. That’s when I decided I was going to start making my own. At least I would know exactly what is in my product. Now that I have made my own, I am addicted and won’t go back to the store stuff. Just store them in mason jar and keep in a dark location and they will last up to 6 months to a year. Also, they cost less in the long run as well.Below is a list of my favs:

From Scratch

I am a big fan of making my food from scratch. Being a graduate of Nutrition, it is important to have a balance in my diet and know what I am consuming. I truly believe that making your food from scratch is the best way to help become healthier. Yes, going to the store and buying that box of fruit snacks and loaf of bread would be easier, but its the mystery of not knowing what is in it that scares me a little. Like I said above, I get headaches due to some dyes and preservatives. So making I myself allows me not to suffer days with headaches. Some of my favorite items to make is listed below:

 

Homemade Products

Yes it takes some time but you get really great safe products!! When I first read an article about making homemade chapstick I was in disbelief that you can actually make a successful product. It wasn’t until I actually starting making numerous products that I was hooked on how great homemade product are and how cheap. BOOM,the cheapskate comes out of me again. There is so many different products you can make that you may never want to buy a product at the store again. Lets talk about the amount of harmful ingredients that are in your products. I can’t even pronounce half of the things in it so that’s probably and indication I shouldn’t be using them. Here is a list below of some of the items I make:

 

Well folks that’s the ball game on this blog post! I hope you enjoyed some of my ways I homestead while living in an apartment. There is so much more I could tell you, but you need to come back again soon to read another blog post. Stay tuned my friends because this journey is going to be wild!

 

-Justine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I use my produce!

Living in an apartment homestead can be difficult. Growing a container garden is off limits where we live so unfortunately, if I didn’t get enough produce from my parents garden for the winter then we have to resort to store bought. We usually try to stock up at local farmers market before winter hits but sometimes you run out. With that being said, I have to resort to strolling down the lane of a local grocery store produce aisle. When I do have to shop for produce, I always stock up on good deals. Below is a list of all the things I do with some of the bulk produce that is on sale. These are a few recipes from some of my favorite websites!!

Blueberries

Blueberry Syrup by Will Cook For Smiles

homemade-blueberry-syrup-1ed

 

Blueberry Vinegar by Yankee Kitchen Ninja

blueberry_vinegar

 

Strawberries

Homemade Strawberry Jam by The Cooking Bride

strawberry-jam-455-wm

 

2-Ingredient Strawberry Sorbet by Eat Healthy Eat Happy

6ea76c01fb01a65c9a7a345504e55313

 

Peaches

Canning Peach Salsa by So Much To Make

canning-peach-salsa

 

Peach Raspberry Fruit Leather by Oh So Delicioso

9ae52014b80157c1d87975809e467276

 

Oranges

Candied Citrus Peels by My Recipes

candy-citrus-peels-mr.jpg

Orange Honey Butter by Know Your Produce

74af196c1ab4c622c781c9670a9f18be

 

Cauliflower

How to Prep and Freeze Cauliflower Rice by The Pinning Mama

how-to-prep-and-freeze-cauliflower-rice-1w

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce by Pinch of Yum

a50d7e0ff2e4dfdece3c642cc6624bfb

 

Cabbage

Sauerkraut by Eat Drink Paleo

cb6086ff27cbb6318726a71e4fe361df

 

Kimchi by Tasteaholics

kimchi-for-pinterest-2

 

Tomatoes

Tomato Powder by Thethingswellmake

how-to-make-tomato-powder-and-dehydrated-tomatoes-3wmeng

 

Ketchup by The Little Bits Of

9d944c70b54a743e3ee306c40c7ba524

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infused Water to Help Prevent Winter Colds

This time of the year I try everything in my power to not catch that stubborn winter cold. One of the ways I try to prevent this is create fruit infused water that provide vitamins and antioxidants. One of my favorite fruit infused waters is orange. Oranges provide high amounts of vitamin C, a healthy boost of energy, and has healing benefits. Just cut your oranges into wedges and put in the freezer overnight. The next day just pop a wedge or two into your favorite water and enjoy. 

Keep Warm Everyone!

Ham Pot Pie

Christmas has come and gone but unfortunately not all the left overs. Here is a recipe that I use to use up my left over ham.

Christmas has come and gone and well not all the left overs have. I had a chunk of ham left over from Christmas Eve dinner and thought I would put it to good use with a comforting soup. Below is my recipe for Ham Pot Pie Pennsylvania style!

 

Ingredients Needed:

  • 2 cups of ham cut into chunks
  • 4 potatoes cut into cubes
  • 1 cup of baby carrots cut in cubes (you can also use regular size carrots as well)
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of water
  • 32 oz. container of broth of your choice (vegetable, chicken, or beef) -I used vegetable

 

Directions:

  1. In a large pot place broth and turn stove on medium heat
  2. Cut and add carrots, potatoes, and onions and add to broth
  3. Allow ingredients to come to a soft boil
  4. Next add your ham to the ingredients and turn your stove to medium-high
  5. Mixture should begin to boil, place a lid on your pot and allow to boil for 15 to 20 minutes then reduce heat
  6. In a large mixing bowl place flour, egg, salt, and water and begin to mix ingredients until the dough is stiff
  7. Place a clean kitchen towel on top of your mixing bowl and set aside for 10 minutes
  8. Uncover your dough and spread flour onto a clean surface
  9. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thickness
  10. Using a knife, pizza cutter, or pasta cutter, cut squares 2 inch by 2 inch (you can cut them any size you want big or small! The possibilities are unless).
  11. Allow noodles to sit 20 minutes to dry ( you can let them sit on counter or use a cooling rack)
  12. Turn your stove up to medium-high once it starts boiling again, you can begin to add your noodles. I put in a handful at a time and continuously stir till they are all incorporated
  13. Once all your noodles are in, reduce heat to medium-low and cover for 1 hour.
  14. ENJOY!!

 

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