I have a confession. I waste food a lot. I’m so ashamed! My grandmother grew up during the Great Depression, and she would be disappointed if she found out. I always get excited to try a new recipe, and buy an ingredient or two that I know I will never use again after the one new recipe. (Please tell me I’m not the only one!) Then whatever it was that I bought ends up just going bad in my fridge. And when I go to clean out my fridge months later (that’s a confession for another day; I’m terrible at getting around to cleaning out the fridge), I find it and am reminded of the vow I made to myself when I bought it that I would find another recipe with it in it so I could use it up before it went bad. Then once again I feel ashamed of money wasted and my privileged American ways.
But I’m getting better.
I had never used sun-dried tomatoes before. Is that weird? I have this bad habit of just cooking what my mom cooked for us growing up, and buying the ingredients that we routinely had in our home. Which means that as I’ve recipe searched on the internet, my eyes have been opened to a whole bunch of food I didn’t know was out there! (That’s what brings up my concern of trying new recipes and wasting ingredients. But like I said, I’m getting better!)
I bought sun-dried tomatoes for a certain recipe which turned out okay, but in an attempt to not waste them, I made some INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS chicken in sauce. If you’re looking for a great comfort food for dinner tonight, this is it! I will share my good finds with you:
1/3 jar (11.5 oz) sun-dried tomatoes, chopped small
1/2 c frozen corn
1/2 t Red pepper flakes
1 1/2 t Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 c Mashed potatoes
Make Alfredo sauce in a saucepan. Add sun-dried tomatoes (without adding any oil), corn, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to the sauce.
Throw chicken breasts into the crock-pot. Drizzle a small amount of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes over the chicken. Cover the chicken with the sauce.
Let cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours.
Serve over mashed potatoes* and enjoy!
*You can also serve the sauce over fettuccine noodles if desired.
One more thing about this recipe: I DO NOT like chicken once it’s been reheated in the microwave. But with the leftovers I had of this, the chicken still tasted so good, and was still so tender from being cooked in the crock-pot. You can’t go wrong with this recipe!
My mom never bought the Alfredo sauce in the jar when I was young. When I became a lazy college student, I used it all the time. But now I’m wondering why I ever did that! Making a basic white sauce is SO simple, and it uses ingredients that I regularly have at my house. (Ingredients that are inexpensive and that are used in very small amounts in this recipe!) When I’m done making this simple sauce, I add Parmesan cheese to make it into an Alfredo sauce, add a few spices, and let the cheese melt. Then it’s good to go! I’m going to be referring to this white sauce recipe for a lot of different recipes, so here it is!
Basic White Sauce
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 c. milk
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Mix in butter and mix until thick.
Add milk slowly and stir until thickened.
To make into a basic Alfredo sauce, add:
1/4 t garlic powder
3/4 c Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Let the Parmesan cheese melt completely before serving.
That’s it! It really is that simple. Like I said before, I use this white sauce in a lot of things. Not only as an Alfredo sauce, but in many soups and sauces. I love making it myself because it saves me money, and does’t take up much time at all.
I have finally finished my worm bins and its time to buy some worms. However, I’m not just buy any worms though, I am getting red wriggler worms that are best for composting (also called vermicomposting) in worm bins. I live in a basement apartment without much space. I also have to share the backyard. This means that having a big compost pile is not really plausible for me right now. However, I wanted to have a way to compost so of my kitchen scraps in a small setting. This is where my worms come into play. These worms will eat the food that I put in for them and on the other side they will produce worm castings (their poop).
These worm castings are very good compost to add to gardens. I started my journey with studying about how to raise worms. I found many different methods and bins to do it in. After doing this research, I took everything that people agreed on as basic truth for right now. Then I tried to piece together the things that they disagreed on and find what worked and what didn’t work. This is my attempt at raising worms. I will share as I go things that I have learned.
For me it started with the worm bins. I found that a taller narrower bin worked better. It also has to be dark inside so if you use plastic it must be a dark colored one as to keep the light out. The worms will hide from the light, and if it is clear then it will mess with their ability to produce in the bin. I first made a wooden bin and stained it with boiled linseed oil. I then drilled dozens of holes in the top, sides, and bottom. The bottom I covered with tool so the worms couldn’t get out (even though I don’t think they would. The worms stay toward the top where there food is).
I decided to make two different bins so that if I screwed up my one of them, I wouldn’t have killed all my worms. My second one is made with two rubber containers, one stacked in the other. I drilled holes in the bottom of this one too. However I cut out bigger holes in the top and glued tool around them to keep bugs out better. Worms need lots of air flow to survive.
I have had an experience this last summer that has taught me a valuable lesson about taking responsibility. I have had the attitude for a while that I am an invincible twenty-three year old. I can anything and nothing can harm me. I had even had some close calls that have even reinforced mentality. I am also in the first time of my life with a direct responsibility to someone besides me. I am a husband to a beautiful wife and the soon to be father of a son. i care the most for these people and they depend on me to help take care of them and provide for them.
Last summer I was in St. Louis visiting family and we went to the City Museum there. They had a human sized hamster wheel that you could run on. I started running on it and was getting the hang of it when i decided to show of my invincibility and push it to go faster.
Well, as you can see from the video, it did not turn out very well for me. (Sorry for the bad orientation on the phone). We then procceded to go to the urgent care to get an x-ray. Luckily for me this time, I had no broken bones. I just got a badly brusied shoulder, weakness, and lots of pain. If I had been working a physically demanding job then just this hurt shoulder would have kept me from working for a couple weeks. That would be a couple of weeks that I wouldn’t not only be able to make money, but also not be able to take care of the daily household chores like I need to.
I have come to relize that I need to start asking myself the question “Is what I am about to do worth the potential harm”. I was clearing not thinking of this when I was on the hamstwer wheel. This question for me applies more to just the stupid things that I do. It also applies to the household chores, serivce I do, and recreation.
For example, I know nothing about working with and fixing a breaker box (besides flipping breakers). If it were to go out and need fixing or replacing, the independant and frugal man that I am would attempt to do it myself. This way I would save on money and learn a new skill. However, I would need to ask myself before I attempted it if the benifits outway the potential for being electricuted. The threshold for when something is acceptable to do and when it is to potentially dangerous is different for each person and specific task.
I am not saying that we need to live our lives in fear, too afraid to do anything or have fun. I am just saying that rather then fearing the task at hand, we need to respect it for what it is. If I respect the electicity in the breaker box, I will make sure that I shut down the main power line and use tools to test if the power is live or not. With these simple measures I could do this job without fear of being harmed. Taking responsibility for someone else should only make it so that you respect more then fear and lean on the side of safty.
My goal this week is to completely finish my first planter boxes that I will sale and give away. This was a big task so I have been putting every spare minute that I have into finishing them. Last night I was putting in the plastic to protect the wood from water damage.
My original plan was to not put in a drainage hole and to just put rock in the bottom of my boxes. I wanted this so that the water doesn’t drain right through and onto your inside window seal. I only had enough rock from a previous project to put in one box. I put that in and filled it with dirt. I was about to go to my home away from home (The Home Depot) to get more rock when I decided to google what time of rock was best for my purpose.
What I found really surprised me! Every site that I went to said that I was asking for trouble if i didn’t put in a way for the water to drain. This really surprised me. One site called it the myth of putting rocks in the bottom with no drainage hole. After spending way to much time studying this, I made the decision that I have to redesign my boxes to have drainage.
My problem is that I have to design it so that it still looks good, doesn’t get your window sill dirty, and lets the water out. I haven’t come up with a good fix for my boxes yet but I do have some ideas. I went to The Home Depot and bought some plastic and some silicone sealant and I hope to find a way to piece that all together. Wish me luck! If you have any suggestions leave it below in the comments.
Thank you for stumbling upon my site, Simple Steps to Liberty. As you can tell I have not published anything on my site yet. The site is up and running mainly just so that I can learn how to use word press. I am starting from scratch without any previous knowledge on how to run a website. I want to be the best I can at helping you so that is why nothing has been published yet. However, within several weeks I will be starting an adventure at consistently posting to my site in order to chronicle my life at beginning my journey to liberty. Stay tuned for me to start posting!