Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

My eldest daughter and I had a very wonderful and quiet Christmas day together. Christmas Eve Day we spent with my younger daughter and my wonderful grandsons. It had been a while since we'd been together and we shared a simple breakfast, gifts, and many, many hugs. The boys are growing so fast and at 13 and 16 it still feels good to get those hugs. The discussions were more colorful and their opinions are getting to be a little more adult, but we got caught up with music and sports and their busy lives. 

We kept the holiday simple. Our table held this wonderful Poinsettia plant that was so large we called it our tree and it was just enough to put our gifts under. 

As promised to ourselves we kept breakfast simple too. Just coffee with home made donut holes and fresh fruit. It was a day of relaxation and shutting out the world. Christmas dinner was left over Thanksgiving turkey that I vacuum sealed and froze. The only cooking was a pot of potatoes and a fresh vegetable and  we promised that we would continue to celebrate simply from here on. We hope you all had a wonderful holiday and thank you for stopping by for a visit. May 2016 bring good times and many blessing to all. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Happy Holidays!

It's been very quiet and relaxed here at the townhouse. Ya sure, who am I kidding? Well we've been trying to make it that way. It seems like there will always be stress mixed into the plan. 

So, in keeping this post light, there is a lovely young lady who is still gardening here in upstate NY. This past week she gifted me some fresh rosemary and parsley. Two of my favorites. Being a farm girl at heart I took the chance and started to propagate a couple of very healthy sprigs. I'm trying a green house method and sealed it in a plastic bag because my reputation with propagating rosemary has been challenging to say the least. I am drying a bit for future use, and I made this wonderful loaf of rosemary olive oil bread. It is so good. The parsley has been added to some smoothies and of course this lovely white garlic pizza with tomatoes. I love fresh herbs and I always manage to add fresh vegetables.

Remember this fine collection of thrift store bottles? Well, in my search for pour spouts so I could use them to hold creamers for my holiday coffee, I was led to the Dollar Tree store where I purchased packages of them at 2 for $1 keeping them in my budget. It pays to read reviews on line and get the information we need to stay economically stable and still have nice things.

Here they are all decked out with our vintage tray, Mikasa sugar and creamer, and mugs for Christmas morning. The green holly fabric are home made napkins and I'm sure once I bake some breakfast items, or simply take some out of the freezer, we'll have a simple and relaxing holiday. It is well earned and deserved. We are wishing everyone a great holiday season and thank you for stopping by for a visit. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Thrift finds

The mission was to go to the thrift store and find one item to be used in an up cycle project. Many dollars and more than a few minutes later, the words from my daughter were "It's like Gramma's house got delivered to the thrift store and I couldn't resist". She was right and we left plenty behind for others but what wonderful fun and finds.

The first find was several cases of canning jars. We kept the pint size jars and my daughter's co-worker wanted the half pints. The timing of this find was perfect. These are two of the vintage table cloths that we chose. The blue with flowers was in almost perfect condition. The gingerbread print one needed, and still needs soaking, but the stains are coming out. 

We found two new vintage Vera table cloths and a vintage terry towel. It was hard choosing some items, but we've already sold one tablecloth.

Here we found some vintage 70s double knit fabric and some Christmas yard good. The bright pink and purple fabric is another tablecloth. There were boxes and boxes of fabric on bolts and yarn, but the baby yarn is all we got and it was only 99 cents. Not shown were some aqua soup/cereal bowls that immediately were cleaned and put to use in the kitchen and of course the original item we went for we did find plus a few more. We had promised ourselves not to bring a lot more home, but it was a great shopping trip and the items were fabulous. Thank you for stopping by for a visit and have a wonderful week. If you need some last minute items for holiday gift giving my daughter's store is having a 40% off sale so stop by and check it out. Here's the link and you can find the shop on my side bar. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Holiday Farmer's Market

My younger daughter and I have visited the farmer's market for the past two Sundays to enjoy the holiday celebrations. The weather has been more than wonderful for the northeast, but we sure would have loved a few snowflakes for our visits. 

Oh, the fresh air and the aroma of fresh cut evergreens. There were trees, wreaths, swags, and home made decorations of all kinds for sale. There were vendors selling vintage Christmas, vendors selling roasted nuts, festive foods, cookie waffles made on antique pie irons, apple cider donuts and festive anything you could think of. 

People were dressed in holiday colors to shop and this woman was checking out a farmer's livestock. There were chickens, rabbits, and goats for sale. 

Santa rode in a horse drawn carriage with parents and children expressing their wishes for holiday gifts. Santa was very attentive, but he took a minute to wave to everyone and wish them happy holidays. Children could also decorate a sugar cookie for free as part of the festivities.

This young elf was working her hardest to help sell the family trees. She was in the spirit although she admitted to being quite cold. Her selling spot was shaded, but she hung in there with youthful enthusiasm. This coming Sunday is the final day for this holiday event and I'm not sure we'll be going, but it was so much fun to be out enjoying the holiday at the market before they build all enclosed structures. I will miss the outdoor market, but progress is what it is. Thank you for stopping by and visiting. I hope this brought you a bit of holiday cheer.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Thrift Finds

Well it's getting closer. After the first of the year my daughter will begin her search for a home and stability. We have gone to thrift stores and come home with very little if anything. We have begun packing and labelling boxes and realizing that the last five years of paying off debt and saving will have us in a home in nine months or less. With the Christmas holiday approaching we have decided to decorate very little. We are choosing instead to attend tree lightings and small holiday events. It's sort of if we feel like it we will, if not then we'll relax and craft. The next couple of Sundays at the farmers market the vendors are selling trees, wreaths, vintage Christmas items, specialty foods and there are even horse and carriage rides. It's free to walk around and get into the spirit. The only purchase I made were these vintage bottles. I got them for $1 each. After a few days of soaking and scrubbing I got them clean and am thrilled with the find. 

There is a snowman with a cork stopper, a Gingerbread man, and a Penguin. They were too cute to leave behind. This is my plan for them.

I will add them to my holiday counter Christmas morning with my coffee and hot chocolate. This snowman will hold my French vanilla creamer.

The Gingerbread man will hold...yes gingerbread creamer or ginger syrup.

The Penguin will hold either butter pecan creamer or peppermint syrup. Earlier this year I found a Honey Bee shaped jar that I'll put honey in. This will be our holiday treat to start our day and make it special while keeping it simple. Thank you for stopping by to visit and have a wonderful week. Happy thrifting. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Happy Thanksgiving

We will be taking some time to enjoy family, friends, and the blessings of this past year. It is our busiest sewing weekend of the year and we hope to create as many pairs of mittens for donation as we can. We wish you all the best and hope that you help someone who is in need too.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thrift finds

It's been a couple of weeks of quick stops and being very selective with thrifting. We've been looking mostly at small items so it's easy to move and store. 

Here we found two yellow Glasbake soup mugs/bowls, some vintage wooden tree ornaments, and just above the word lemons on the vintage 1978 screen print is the head of an elf. My daughter is giving it new life. The screen print came with a wooden frame.

The cute cat is a bank. It was made in Japan. We found photo corners, vintage Easter cards, a glass sleigh that  is a candle holder, but the vintage stained glass Santa found happiness sitting in his new mode of transportation.

In addition we found a set of six silicone Christmas tree molds that will be used to make holiday lotions or something with beeswax. There was a bright funky two yard piece of fabric, some hand made crochet dresser scarfs and a Christmas print clutch.

Finally we found a couple of cookie cutters, a wooden reindeer ornament, a sweet charity key chain and a white opal Pyrex pie plate. Even though we do not need to bring anything else home we can't stop looking and shopping. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. Keep on thrifting.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

It's been all about pumpkins.

Are we tired of pumpkins yet? Not at all. It's been a wonderful pumpkin season and although I've got to do the work, to me it's well worth it. I processed the pie pumpkin and have been enjoying it, and last week a co-worker of my younger daughter gifted me another pumpkin. We had been to a few farm stands, but they were mostly out, but this gentleman had grown a few and wasn't quite sure what he would do with them. 

Yesterday I began putting this large pumpkin up. I cut it and cleaned it and started dehydrating it. My five racks held one quarter of the shredded pumpkin. I guess I'm going to be busy for the rest of the week. It took my old dehydrator eight hours to dry the pumpkin, but I'm fine with that. When the whole pumpkin is done I will make powder and vacuum seal it in a canning jar for future use. I also retrieved two cups of seeds, so I roasted one cup of lightly salted and one cup roasted with sirarcha sauce. 

Autumn is a fun time of year with all the harvests and holiday celebrations and what would be better than pumpkin goodies. I tried for the first time pumpkin empanadas and they are delicious and easy to make. I am going to use some of the leftover filling in a regular pie crust. I've made hand pies all of my life using pie crust and I think these would be awesome in a flakier crust. Here's the recipe I used.
I'm not tired of pumpkins yet and if more came my way they would be put to good use and preserved and enjoyed with love. That's just the way it is. Thank you for stopping by and visiting. I hope you all have a wonderful week and enjoy your pumpkins. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Well, another long and busy week is behind us and the learning continues along with confusion and wonder as to why things are the way they are. 

I finally found time to enjoy the process of baking my pie pumpkin last week. It's one of my favorite vegetables to put up and it makes the townhouse smell so wonderful. I roasted the seeds and can not wait to start cooking this week. My $2 pie pumpkin yielded six cups of puree and one cup of seeds. 

It's coming up on the holiday season and I'm always looking for home made things to do. I enjoy working with textiles and have been learning more knitting stitches and making more ornaments. This is the first time ever that I have knit with five needles at once and this star is the result. I was intimidated at first, but it is really easy once you are familiar with the pattern.

Here they are in red. It uses so little yarn and I am using the leftover from my knitted sock adventure.

I also found a few minutes this week to work on a Christmas fabric ornament. I have a personal collection of red, white, and green folded fabric ornaments. These are three inches square and are the Cathedral window quilt design. I will add a bead to the middle and attach a hanger. I love folding and manipulating fabric and this is using up a lot of my scrap holiday fabric.

Isn't this the most beautiful picture of fruit, vegetables, and snacks? There are 2 large heads of cauliflower, 15 cucumbers, 5 oranges, 4 bags of baby carrots, 4 snack packs of graham crackers, 6 yogurts, 25 apples, and a large container of guacamole. Well, this was all rescued. Headed for the landfill. Yes, this is what makes me wonder why things are the way they are. It is a liability to give this food away. I am grateful that it was rescued and given to us. There's been cooking going on, sharing going on, and healthier eating going on. It can only do good if we overlook the liability. I find that as I'm maturing there are fewer things physically that I can do, but if I can be gifted food because people know I won't waste and will put it all to good use, then that will be the direction I take. From the townhouse, a great big thank you for stopping by to visit and please have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

This is going to be a short post today. I want to find time to get to my sewing room and it might look like I've been a bit lazy because I have so little to post, but this is absolutely not the truth. I always have something to do and there are a few changes coming in the next ten months that I am preparing for. 

We are looking forward to our Thanksgiving holiday. There is so much to be grateful for this year. My pilgrims and turkey have not fallen victim to the packing I've been doing so I did a little counter decorating so we feel the holiday goodness. I did make cookies so that I could fill the thrifted pumpkin jar I got this past weekend. It helped that it was 50% off.

I have been blessed with vegetables as gifts. Yesterday it was this five pound bag of snap peas that were headed to the garbage. Perfectly good snap peas. This morning I cleaned and blanched enough of them to load the dehydrator. I will freeze some for stir fries and clean some just to snack on. I spent some time this past weekend putting vegetables up in the freezer that I was given or purchased at the farm market. I put up diced and sliced peppers, sweet potatoes in one cup portions, broccoli, and sauteed cabbage that was given to me in olive oil and butter for my winter lunches. I also put up my cooked celery and onions in poultry seasoning as starter for my holiday stuffing. I think that this winter will be easier than past winters because I have a full freezer and pantry to prepare meals with. We have also been quite successful at eating less meat and sticking to creating a meal plan. Small successes, but great ones. Thank you for stopping by for a visit. I hope all is well with everyone and that you all have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

We are still enjoying the farmer's market here in upstate New York. Actually it goes all year and this past Saturday we were there early. Cannot say bright because it was before sunrise. It was an in and out sort of visit to get what we needed and a couple of the seasonal deals. 

Here is the counter full of goodies. I got a pie pumpkin, half a peck of apples, 6 large peppers, 6 cucumbers, broccoli, parsley, celery and pears. All of this goodness cost $14 and for the two of us it will last or be made into meals for the next couple of weeks. That in the back is my daughter's new Nutribullet and we are incorporating more vegetable smoothies into our days too.

My granddaughter messaged me this week and asked if I eat cauliflower. The answer of course was yes. She replied and said she was getting me some because her work place was throwing it away. What a shame that they are doing this. I wish we would do what France has done and make it illegal to throw food away, but who am I to judge. I was excited to receive these three heads from her, but traded with her and brought her five ready to heat and eat meals, pumpkin and banana bread, along with a few other goodies. She is a college student who lives on her own and I try to do for her too. I can't always, but it was a good trade.

One head of cauliflower, along with some broccoli, chopped chicken from a roaster I got for less than $5, a 99 cent package of cream cheese and some herbs, spices, and a bit of milk made these two casseroles. 

The next head of cauliflower made these Buffalo florets. They are just yummy and better for us than the chicken wings and the price was almost nothing. A little butter, hot sauce, and a bit of spice then toss the cauliflower in, make sure they are covered well and bake for twenty minutes. I will use them for a side and toss some on my salads this week or just snack on them.

The third and last head of cauliflower was used to make these cauliflower crust cheese breadsticks. I had never tried this before, but what a way to use the cauliflower. We cut it into bread sticks and ate a few that way, while we were waiting for them to cool. It ended up being our dinner. I have added the links to the recipes and found that I could adjust them for what's in my pantry without doing extreme changes to them. I've given away half of what I made to keep others going with meals. Sharing the bounty in the form of good meals feels right. 

This is a carrot, apple and ginger smoothie I made for myself. It was quite good. We need to change some of the ways we've been eating and take better care of ourselves and others.

The reward for trying to eat better was this Jello no bake pumpkin cheese cake. I made these as cup cakes to keep from eating too much. I added the Reeses peanut butter cups and topped it with whipped cream. It's hard to give up the good things and it was discounted at the store. I got the kit for $1.29 and it made 12. Okay, so we will keep working on cutting out the desserts but it is autumn and pumpkin is in. That's what's been going on at the townhouse. Thank you for stopping by and have a great week.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

I've had a couple of days this past week that I was feeling a bit under the weather, literally. With the change to cooler temperatures we've had to turn on the heat, and the dust from the furnace has made my sinuses react. This along with the rain and damp that have made my body ache more than ever has been a challenge. 

Our dear friends Karen and Richard let me grow tomatoes and squash in their back yard. It's been a great learning experience and we know that we can do it and we know more about how to do it. 

These butternut squash are what I harvested last week that I grew in buckets from seeds that I had saved. They are small and have bumps and bruises, but the larger one will become a stuffed squash dinner for us and the others will become a serving of smashed squash, a loaf of butternut squash bread, or chips. I haven't decided yet and for now I'm still working on the vegetables I got at the farmer's market the weekend before last. I am also going to look into purchasing heirloom seeds for the future.

With the change in temperatures comes a change in menu. This is a large pot of cabbage soup. It was so good and most of all economical. I have been cooking the full pot because it freezes well and I can put it up to share.

Another large pot of stick to the ribs meals was this Pasta E Fagioli. This also freezes well and the only change I would make to this recipe would be to boil my carrots a bit first. The time the recipe said to cook them was not long enough and I thought they would cook more as the tomatoes did, but they still had crunch to them. There is plenty to share here too. These meals were all on my new menu plan and I am on week ten. The menu for week ten is blank and I am trying to constantly try new recipes and vegetables. In ten weeks we've had only two meals twice and that was baked chicken leg quarters and pork stir fry. Not bad when you think about how many meals we eat in ten weeks. Leftovers for lunches have helped saved the budget too. That's what I've been doing for the change of season. Thank you for stopping by for a visit and have a great week. If it's cold where you are I hope you are staying warm. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Thrift finds

It was just a random stop on our way to treat ourselves to ice cream. Well deserved for all the hard work we have been putting in. It was also an excuse to use a coupon I received for a buy one get one free offer. While the weather was still pleasant and we didn't need to bundle up we just went.

We were not really looking, but here are a few items. Books, always looking for books and here are three more to check out. The one titled Green Winter by Elise Maclay is a collection of one page shorts about aging. I'm getting a chuckle with some and thinking with others. There is a finance book and another herb book. There was a box of blue Christmas ornaments, a vintage Hallmark holly print metal tray, a package of Ball red checkered lids and rims and best of all a Pyrex bowl. Now this bowl looks like a plain white opal bowl, but it isn't. It was however a vintage white bowl with a gold rim. You can just barely see the gold rim because it is so worn off. It is a 404 that was well loved, but in excellent condition and my daughter is just happy to have another large bowl for her collection.

Other odds and ends we picked up were a vintage Pyrex 1.5 quart lemonade bottle, a bag of Halloween gift bags, a new unopened black ink stamp, the can is a raised floral print and large enough to put a plant in or use for some kind of craft project. Last of all we found the two pilgrim figurines. Now usually we don't even look at these things, but if you notice these figurines are blond and the boy pilgrim is wearing a white hat. They were just odd and different so my daughter got them for our simple holiday. They are not vintage or collectible just one of those things she put in the cart. That's what a random trip for ice cream found us. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Life seems to keep everyone very busy lately. My daughters and I have realized that we are living just to work in order to stay financially okay. Not prospering but making it and we are all learning to work together to help each other. We are seeing the positives of working together. It's also been a time for learning. Some days I don't seem to get enough information to answer all the questions I have. The Internet is wonderful, but I am getting back to books, but also being selective. My younger daughter and I went to a library book sale last weekend. We do this quite often. I found one book for a fill a bag sale so she added it to her bag. Here it is. A book of herbs that was printed by a company selling merchandise, but very informative.

Printed in black and white, but loaded with uses, definitions, descriptions, crafts, medicinal uses, and so much information that it's a great addition to our growing library. 

This is a jar of my home made chicken soup. All of my efforts to not waste food and put shelf ready meals in the pantry has paid off. This week I took this quart size jar from the shelf, cooked it up with noodles and there you have it...dinner. My meal plan is paying off also and the budget it staying on track. 

I was gifted a bag of kiwi fruit this week. I ate what I could, but needed to do something different with the remaining fruit, so I made these small loafs of kiwi bread. As you can see I had a slice right away. It freezes well and I'm happy to say that another gift did not go to waste.

My youngest daughter, my granddaughter and I went to the farmer's market Saturday. It was a beautiful day and I got lots of great fruits and vegetables to cook with. That is a five pound bag of carrots in the back and I got it for $2. The head of broccoli is huge. It measured 10 inches in diameter and was $1. Peppers of all kinds were 3 for $1, eggplants were 2 for $1, melons were 3 for $5 so we all got one and shared the price. I got all that ginger for $2, sweet potatoes for $2, yellow squash and parsnips at great prices too. The most expensive were the apples, but they are in season so I would imagine they will be a bit high for a while. I got five apples for $3, but budget wise that was still okay. I have plenty to work with for the next couple of weeks if not longer and that makes me feel good.

Sunday morning was a great start to putting some of that produce to work for breakfast. We had home made pancakes and baked stuffed apples. I stuffed it with a breakfast sausage stuffing, put a bit of maple syrup on top, and a small pad of butter and 30 minutes later we were enjoying a very filling meal. That's some of what happened here at the townhouse this week. We may not have a farm, or big garden, but we are making use of what is around and supporting local farmers while eating better and living better. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Thrift finds

It was a three day weekend for me this past weekend. My eldest daughter was traveling and it gave me the opportunity to spend time relaxing, working, and sharing time with my younger daughter, her significant other, and granddaughter. We went to a couple of yard sales and thrift stores and here's some of what I found.

At one thrift store I found some low priced small canning jars and two more small Pyrex custard cups. I like to use these while I'm baking or making cheese to measure out my ingredients ahead of time. The barrel shaped bottle is a liquor bottle that holds Lithuanian Suktinis brand Mead. It was found at a yard sale and the family was Lithuanian.

At the same yard sale I got this bundle of embroidered folk art linens and I am so excited because they are coming clean and I can probably up cycle some of the pieces. The work and detail in them is far beyond anything I have ever seen and I got this bundle for $3. Real deal and my daughter got a similar size bundle for the same price. 

They had many boxes of linens to rifle through, but I only chose this new in package 100% combed cotton vintage twin sheet. I hadn't seen this print before. 

We stopped to look around a thrift store that we had known about, but had never checked out because like us they go to sales, buy low and sell higher. Most items were priced well and I found myself hunting their junk isle. I found the two Bakelite utensils and the candy thermometer in a basket of stuff and I paid $1 for all three items. I'm hoping the thermometer works, but for the price I'm not worried. That's all of the thrifting we did. We ventured downtown to enjoy some fall activities the city was sponsoring, do some picture taking, enjoy the beautiful weather and stop for a pumpkin flavored beer before doing the grocery shopping and heading home. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful week.