On a recent camping trip, a loaf of pre-sliced homemade raisin bread that we brought along ended up being moved back and forth between locations in the vehicle. This happened because we had more food than space to store it in and the bread got kicked out of the cooler. When we started out it was a fresh loaf and when we arrived home with it uneaten, it was in mostly tiny pieces.
I was able to salvage about 3 pathetic slices for breakfast after we got home. My first thought was to toss it, but then I quickly realized it could be made into bread pudding. I have never made or even eaten bread pudding, but have heard many people rave about it. So I used the whole loaf and made some up.
Luckily my husband eats anything, because after tasting it, I decided I am not a fan. This is not to criticize anyone who loves it, for sure. It is just my opinion. What I do love about it is that the bread does not go to waste, which is likely what happens a lot to bread that has become stale in most households. One of our goals in life is to waste nothing and live frugally, and I believe this is where bread pudding originated – from people living frugally and not wanting to waste anything. If the bread had not had raisins in it, I would have likely given it to the dogs over several days mixed in with their regular meals.
The recipe for bread pudding is simple – bread, cream or condensed milk, hot water, butter, salt, vanilla and eggs. You mix the milk and hot water, and pour it over the bread in a bowl. Once it cools to luke warm (so the eggs don’t cook in the bowl), you pour the mixture of eggs, vanilla, melted butter and a bit of salt into it, mix it up and bake at 350 F for 1 hour.
If I didn’t remember the recipe and needed to make this I would just make it to taste using the above ingredients. You don’t even really need vanilla. We used real maple syrup as a topping but anything sweet could work. The recipe called for a runny brown sugar topping but since we don’t have brown sugar in the house, the maple syrup was more than acceptable.
With the syrup, it tasted to me sort of like soggy french toast. This stuff could definitely pass for a breakfast and could be gussied up with more raisins and maybe even walnuts and cinnamon. I think I might have cooked it in a pan that was too high though. It did puff up quite a bit and would have overflowed if the pan had been smaller, but after cooling it shrank considerably. The texture was the part that I found the most unappealing.
I don’t foresee making this again for a very long time, mostly because I hope we don’t destroy bread this way again. If we have any dried out bread that is not in so many crumbs and pieces, I will attempt to make croutons, which I prefer to the sweeter and softer bread pudding.
So to clarify, there is really no need to waste anything, especially food. We go out of our way to use up anything that we haven’t eaten soon enough in different ways, like this bread, and of course we compost everything else that is inedible for us or the dogs. Our dogs really appreciate any real food we can give them that is not spoiled.
I have tried the pudding once again and doctored it up with walnuts and cream and I can now say that I like it.
We don’t buy anything fancy when it comes to stuff for the yard. IF we do need something, we buy local or North American made. The picture here is of the table we have on the deck. It is made from brown treated 2x4s and set on top of cement blocks that have been at this house for decades – before I was even here.
The flower pot on the table is from the garbage dump. Oops there is a dent in the flower pot…
Just a quick update on our container onions. Shown below are the onions planted in a plastic container along with some of our onions from our 2013 harvest. This year our large onions are not rotting in our cellar, likely due to the cooler weather he have had all winter. This has never happened before, but it is nice so we will probably have onions until late spring.
We have a small house because it is:
1. less to clean
2. an interesting older building (almost 100 years old) that has been renovated
3. saves us money because we own the house
4. reduces waste because we aren’t tearing it down to build a new one
Our decor is rustic/vintage. I will be discussing this in the next several blog posts.
The most important point here for homesteaders is that they use what they have. We didn’t tear down what we have to build something new to make it was more stylish or more impressive.
For example, we will start with the business. I groom, train and board dogs for a living. Most people who do this build new and make it as fancy as they can, usually a modern look. I decided to make the grooming and boarding area in a small section of the garage which is also the workshop. The whole garage is about 12 feet wide and 24 feet long. Because of the small size we have to make use of every but of space in a way that maximizes the storage capacity.
This is the boarding room or “dog room” as we call it. It is certainly not new, but it really works and instead in of tearing the whole thing down and re-building we are simply making changes with what we have. Everything that is in this room is made with recycled materials with the exception of the wood that goes up the wall.
The cupboards above the kennel were taken from a house I used to own and found a use here. The owner of that house actually MADE those cupboards himself out of plywood several decades ago.
You can see the large green fan on top of the kennels. This is an old fan but works perfectly and you can’t buy fans that are this sturdy that are made in North America anymore.
The sliding glass door that you can see on the far right was also salvaged from a relatives home as it was being thrown out. Works perfectly.
Sure the cement floor has a few divots in it but that is only cosmetic. It does not need to be replaced.
The only thing in this room that is not my favourite and needs some adjustments is the door. This is the only door we could find because the roof is low and the door had to be cut down to fit so a metal door which would be preferable will not fit. We are keeping our eyes open. For now this will do.
Here is a way to get your creative juices flowing without spending a lot of money and make something necessary and useful in the process.
This bed was made by my hubby out of 1x6s. We wanted a certain look so we made it instead of travelling to the city and buying a cheap frame made out of particle board. This bed is sturdy and cost $50 in materials.
Even if you don’t do any building you can still figure this out. All you need is a measuring device – ruler, tape etc, wood, screws and screwdriver (you may want to have a drill to pre-drill holes as the wood may crack if you don’t. You can use a hand drill for this), and metal braces the length of the bed to support the mattress. Salvage braces could work well for this as well.
This mattress is old. I don’t recommend getting used mattresses from people you don’t know. Buy new or make your own (that is for another post).
We also added a headboard made out of scraps that we had left over from panelling the stairs. Very economical and sustainable if you get your wood from the right source. You may want to harvest your own from your woodlot if you have one. That would make a nice rustic decor. We will likely do that in the future.
It is often believed that it costs a lot to eat well. Part of the point of this blog is to prove that this is a myth. Eating well – or eating poorly is a matter of educating yourself on how to do this, not on how much you make.
This brings us to the lesson for today – Making your own PASTA.
Real pasta has has TWO ingredients – flour and water. I actually learned this method from a Lydia Bastianich, the famous Italian_American celebrity chef. I was shocked to see her do this in one of her TV shows and have been making it every since.
How To Make It
Take some water – about 1 cup – and add flour until you have a dough. You can mix it in a bowl by hand or use a food processor. Once the dough is fully mixed, cut a smallish chunk of it and remove from the bowl. Don’t take too much off at once if this is your first time trying this method. You will have a limited amount of space (likely) to roll this out and starting with a small amount is best.
Roll out the section and cut into long, thin pieces or use a hand crank pasta machine if you have one or can find one at a yard sale or auction. The key to making it easily is to use enough flour when you are rolling out the dough so that it does not stick to everything. You must shake the flour off the pasta somewhat before you cook it.
Here are some lasagna noodles that I made.
It takes a little more time to make your pasta this way, but not really. The pasta tastes better and is something you can do yourself without relying on anyone to make it for you. .
After reading many blog posts about being frugal, saving money, being happy, how to find your purpose in life (thank you James Altucher), I decided to make a post.
I am happy. I do not own a cell phone. I do not make a lot of money. I do not live in a big city. I do not have a lot of “things”. My truck is a hand-me-down and works when I need it.
Things do not make us happy. It is our attitudes about “things” that make us happy or miserable.
I have always known that I cannot keep up to the “Jones” as “they” say. I just can’t. I only feel good when I am working for myself at something that I love doing no matter how much I make. When I don’t do this, I become unhappy. Then I get sick.
My husband was born right after WWII. His family was REALLY poor. But he remembers being happy. Happiness is an inside job. And after many years of self help because of trying to find out my life’s purpose, I just let go and let it happen.
Allow what is trying to work its way into your life. Trying too hard, especially if you are not doing what you really want to be doing, will result in stress and unhappiness. Oh, and most if not all of this will get easier to do after 40.
Here are some of the things that I do to make me happy: