Caturday

A Small Furry Usurper Attempts to Overthrow King Shadow Kitty

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Caturday has returned! Last week I didn’t do a post for a number of reasons. Mostly because 1) I was tired of it and 2) the stories were getting super boring…which is why I was tired of it.

So I’ve decided to do a Caturday post I hope at least once a month. Provided I can come up with interesting stories. Because let’s face it, it’s not the cats faults that they are sometimes (ok a lot of the time) boring. They are cats. Cats like routine.

However…

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Found this guy/girl (lets just settle for the male gender for clarity) in the backyard trying to sneak some cat food. Mostly just annoyed Shadow. Because lets face it pal, my cat can take you 😜 He had a brief spat with Shadow and then lurked around.

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Watching. Waiting.

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I was able to get gradually closer, hoping I would be able to pet him. But no luck. He was more interested in Shadow’s food. Sorry kitty it’s food for one, sadly I can’t feed the whole neighborhood.

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Yes I see you!

After this picture was taken, he decided to run into the cornfield and I didn’t see him again.

But right after that another cat approached from the opposite direction. I saw him from inside and chased him off. Seriously! Scram! Haha. I do love cats but there are a lot of cats around these here parts (haha) and I’m totally not feeding them all or the husband would put his foot down. And we’d have to eat rice and beans. And the kids would not have that. Because I cannot get them to like either.

What kind of frugal mom am I anyway? The kind who keeps away stray cats, bar one so her kids and husband aren’t forced to eat unsavory food I suppose.

What about you? Any issues with small furry usurpers? How do you keep them away?

~Rachel

 

Food, Main Meal

Super Yummy Spicy Mexican Lasagna

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The first chilly days of fall have arrived! A few days ago I was really in the mood for something spicy. Maybe it was the chill of fall. Maybe it was the change of seasons that prompt my tastebuds to say, “We crave something different!”. Whatever it was, I came across this recipe from allrecipes.com for Mexican Quesadilla Casserole. It looked good but I didn’t have corn tortillas. Or some of the other ingredients.

So I improvised this and that and decided to make it a Mexican lasagna instead.

It turned out wonderful. Like pitch-perfect, 100% awesome flavor yet still easy to make perfect. And my husband loved it. So it was a must for me to share 🙂

I do not have a lot of pictures of this one. I’ll just be real…it isn’t always easy to get a picture of my food creations. I’m hungry, my family is hungry. Time is limited. Kid raising takes a lot of energy! But I am learning, I promise. And busier women than I have done more and made it work. I will keep at it.

Anyways. Enough about my blogging aspirations. Sometimes I just have to get real with ya’ll. Sometimes it feels like my blog is a stage. And I’m the performer, manager and back stage crew all combined! Any one else feel that way too?

Haha well anyways here’s the recipe!


 

Super Yummy Spicy Mexican Lasagna

*Servings: 9+

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • (2) 8oz cans tomato sauce
  • (1) 15.5oz can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
  • (1) 10oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn (GMO-free, if possible)
  • **2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 8oz shredded cheddar cheese

*This recipe can easily make a 9×9″ pan of lasagna. But there will be leftover filling. It could also be made as a 9×13″ pan, if you stretch it a bit, or as (2) 9×9″ pans (one could be frozen for later!)

**I make my own chili powder and this is the recipe I use.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a 9×9 pan with cooking spray or lightly grease with oil.

2. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Add noodles and cook till al dente.

3. Mix the next 9 ingredients together in a medium sized pot. (All but the noodles and cheese.)

4. Cook beef and onion in a large skillet till beef is barely cooked through. Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup water, scraping the pan to remove any browned bits.

5. Add beef to the tomato mixture, stir and simmer for 5 or so minutes to combine flavors.

6. Layer the lasagna. Beef mixture, noodles, cheese. More noodles, beef mixture cheese and repeat, if desired. I stopped at 2 layers.

7. Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese has melted.

Cost:

Pricing this recipe proved a bit tricky as I wasn’t sure of the price of certain items. But I can say for sure that this entire recipe makes at least 12 servings for $12 or less.

I used frozen sweet corn that I blanched and froze myself, which turned out to be 46¢ a cup. I also bought a block of cheddar cheese and grated it myself which cut the cost a bit as well.

~Rachel

Awards and Tags

The Fall Tag

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Many thanks to Maggie, of the blog Dreaming of Guatemala for creating this Fall Tag. What a neat idea! Kinda like spreading Christmas cheer, but with fall. I love it. I have been tagged by T.R. Noble, of the blog Peaking Beneath 🙂 Thanks T.R.!

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Rules:

1. Put the tag badge and rules in your post.

2. Answer the 10 fall-related questions.

3. Tag at least 5 other bloggers to join in the fun!

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1. What’s your favorite fall outfit?

Skinny jeans, probably with an orange shirt and my favorite long purple cardigan. I am decidedly not fashion minded, more comfort loving. I do love wearing fall colors and cozy scarves though.

2. What is the fall weather like where you live?

I live in the midwestern area of the USA. Typically fall weather begins a bit earlier than it has this year. For October, it has been uncharacteristically hot..reaching into the upper 80s earlier in the month. We are in deep fall now though. The temperature has dropped and soon I gather it will become wet and ick. But for now, we enjoy our crisp and picturesque fall. Short as it may be.

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A few years ago we went to The Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Vermont. We got to see the cider being made & it was sooo good!

3. Your favorite drink to have in the fall?

I am a mulled apple cider girl. I love it. And it must be hot! So many memories I have tied to this special drink.

4. Does your family have any fall traditions? If so, what are they?

We enjoy doing a few things. We have fall snacks and typically carve a pumpkin. I save and dry the seeds. We rake leaves and let the kids play in them. Last year I took the kids out to a farm where they got to play in a giant swimming pool full of corn, which they loved. My daughter was a baby and wanted to eat it. My son never wanted to leave. We all had a lot of fun. Sometimes we go to a festival or two as a family. Music, vendors, food. All that good stuff.

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5. What are some activities and events you enjoy going to in the fall months?

Haha so I guess I went on a tangent in the answer to question #4. (See above.)

6. What’s your favorite fall scented candle? 

Oh my so I got these wax melts from Aldi that are pumpkin brulee scented and they. smell. so. divine.

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I don’t use candles much bc I’m afraid I’ll forget about them. (I’m slightly paranoid, ok?) So wax warmers are my thing. I’m dying to try this one but my lightbulb gave out on my wax warmer. So I need to buy another. I think that’s the problem anyway.

7. Tell us about one of your favorite fall memories?

One of my very best memories I have is of my brothers and I raking leaves and jumping in them. I loved that. We all worked together. Giggling. Having fun. Mom would take our picture. It was a fun time.

8. What are some fall movies you enjoy watching?

I guess I don’t particularly have any. Although we used to always watch The Christmas Story (with the Red Rider bb gun and the leg lamp) on Thanksgiving.

9. What’s your favorite fall treat?

I love apple dumplings. I don’t eat them often. Typically only once or twice a year. And that’s what makes them special 🙂 They are so good with that warm cinnamon sauce!

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10. If you celebrate Halloween, what is the best outfit you’ve worn?

Oh boy I haven’t gone trick-or-treating or worn a Halloween costume in a long time. I can’t remember many of my costumes, or how many years my family did trick-or-treating. I remember one year my Grandma made me a Jasmine costume because I was a hardcore Aladdin fan. That was special and so thoughtful of her. I appreciate it much more now than I did then.

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My tags:

I’ve decided to leave the tags open! It’s a bit tricky to decide who might want to participate. So if you want to and have not been tagged yet, go ahead! It’s a lot of fun 🙂

Happy Fall!

~Rachel

Uncategorized

healing instinct

I loved reading this post by bam, of the blog pull up a chair. I found her blog after reading her book Motherprayer: Lessons in Loving. Her thoughts on the troubling current events in the US and the world as a whole resonate with me deeply. It’s hard to make head or tail of the difficult things in this world. The world can seem dark, but it doesn’t have to be. There is goodness, and it begins with us. Take a look at her post 🙂

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healing instinct the steam tent: steaming hot water + peppermint essential oil + not-so-raggedy towel = deep breathe

if you listen to the news, and i do, if you read the news, and i do, it is hard not feel this old globe is a raw wound right now, gashed with despair, pocked with pure evil.

i am haunted, especially, by a story i read of the atrocities that rained down on rohingya women and mothers and children. babies ripped from their mothers’ arms. babies tossed into infernos. worse and worse and worse. i can barely stand to spread the poison. (it’s here, from yesterday’s new york times, written by jeffrey gettleman, a kid from the town next door, who grew up to win the pulitzer prize for international reporting.)

i am haunted too by the ghostly images coming from northern california. charred silhouettes. hillsides exposed, stubbled with blackened bits…

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Natural DIY, Natural Skin Care

Healing Sunshine Salve {with Calendula, Dandelion and Goldenrod}

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I made a lovely Autumn inspired salve yesterday and I had a lot of fun with it 🙂 Sometimes I just need to create something. You know what I mean? It’s therapeutic. And its good to invest in hobbies.

In this diy I am combining several hobbies and passions of mine. Foraging, gardening and herbalism all come into play here. Plus a bit of aromatherapy as well 🙂

Foraging: I found the dandelion in my backyard and the goldenrod in a family member’s yard.

Gardening: I grew the calendula 🙂

Herbalism: What benefits will result from the infused oils used in this salve?

Why calendula? 

-it is gentle to use on children, helps skin heal and good for inflammation.

Why dandelion?

-it is good for sore muscles and rough, chapped skin.

And lastly, why goldenrod?

-it helps heal wounds and burns. It also helps with muscle aches and arthritis pain. And most interestingly, it is said to help with winter blues.

Step 1: Harvest and Prepare Plant Materials

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Goldenrod. I hung it upside down inside a small paper bag to minimize messiness.
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Lovely brilliant orange calendula.
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Dandelion flowers. These ones I foraged from my backyard last spring.
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Ready to make the infused oils!

Step 2: Prepare the Infused Oils

Sweet almond oil allows the delicate scents of the flowers to shine, without altering the golden colors.

I filled the jars with oil. The dandelion jar got about a 50/50 ratio of sweet almond oil to extra virgin olive oil because I ran out of almond.

To make my infusion I followed the “fast way” directions as per The Nerdy Farm Wife.

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Before infusion.
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After infusion, ready to strain.
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Coffee filters with canning rings worked well.

 

Step 3: Assemble and Prepare Ingredients

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Oils ready for measuring. From left to right: Dandelion, calendula, goldenrod.
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Other ingredients: lavender and neroli essential oil blend, cocoa butter, beeswax, argan oil.
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Cocoa butter, beeswax, infused oils and argan oil measured out.

Step 4: Melt and Pour

I don’t have any pics (of good quality that is) of this part. This is a fairly fast step. Melting the beeswax will take 5 minutes or so. The cocoa butter melts within minutes and it all comes together rather quickly.

Be careful and quick when pouring. Melted beeswax can be troublesome to clean up.

Step 5: Let Set

Here are some pics of the gradual cooling process. I love the change of colors.

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Healing Sunshine Salve {with Calendula, Dandelion and Goldenrod}

Makes: 4oz

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons+2 teaspoons calendula infused sweet almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon goldenrod infused sweet almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon+1/4 teaspoon dandelion flower infused sweet almond oil/extra virgin olive oil (I used a 50/50 ratio because I ran out of almond oil.)
  • 11 drops argan oil
  • 4 drops lavender and neroli essential oil blend (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons+1 teaspoon+1/4+1/8 teaspoon cocoa butter
  • 1 Tablespoon+1 teaspoon+scant 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped beeswax

Supplies/Kitchen Equipment:

  • A medium saucepan
  • 2 glass jars, for cocoa butter and oils
  • A clean tin can
  • A wooden or metal skewer
  • An oven mitt
  • A small clean glass jar, for the finished salve

Directions:

1. Measure cocoa butter into a glass jar. Measure oils (all except essential oil) into a separate glass jar. Place the chopped beeswax into the tin can.

2. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and turn the burner on medium high heat. Melt the beeswax in a tin can submerged in the hot water. It will float so you will need to hold it with an oven mit. Stir with the skewer till melted.

3. Melt cocoa butter in a glass jar, next to the can of beeswax. Remove from heat when almost melted. (Some small peices will remain but they will melt.)

4. Add oils to beeswax. Stir and allow beeswax to re-melt before adding melted cocoa butter. Stir and remove from pan.

5. Stir well and pour quickly into prepared salve jar. Add essential oils quickly and stir well.

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Cost:

It cost me $2.39 to make this salve. That’s about 60¢ per oz. The jar was gifted to me so that cost was excluded.

So yeah that sounds pretty cheap, right? But a salve like this is most cost effective when you collect the ingredients over time. All of these ingredients, minus the sweet almond oil I use for other things. I would have paid $31.33 if I bought everything all at once.

I loved it that I was able to save money by foraging and growing my own flowers 🙂 It took a bit of patience to wait for the harvest, but it was worth it.💛💙

~Rachel

All photos are my own.