Stay tuned…. Big things are coming!

Sorry we have been away from the blog for a few weeks, its been crazy around here! ¬† Big News is coming very very soon! Stay tuned and bare with us! Trust me it will be worth it ūüôā

 

Any big news in your neck of the woods?

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From Scratch: Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

What would you say is more “from scratch” than a flaky buttery buttermilk biscuit? ¬†I would say, not very much!

I tried my hand at this recipe from Jill over at the Prairie Homestead¬†Blog. ¬†Its a simple, straight forward recipe that you can change up to fit your families needs. ¬†I used whole wheat flour and organic unrefined brown sugar, so mine look a little more tan as apposed to her golden crumb. ¬†Also, I used the food processor and pulsed the ingredients instead of hand mixing. ¬†Did I mention from start to glorious finish only took 18 minutes?! REALLY! Quick, easy and healthy, I’d say its a winner.

Give them a try and let me know how they turnout!

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Our First Fruit Tree: San Pietro Fig

As I look at my window and see little snow flurry wisps falling from the sky, I am dreaming of Spring.  Dreaming of tilling the land, planting our harvest and enjoying our delicious sun ripened bounty. Hating to sit dormant, I went ahead and pre-ordered our first fruit tree, the San Pietro Fig.

Order Yours Here

We live in Zone 6, and although it is fully feasible and people do grow fig trees in ground here, it will take a lot more work to keep them alive during our harsh winters.  Because of this, we have decided to plant ours in a container and bring it inside before the frost hits.  Planting in a container will only allow this tree to reach 6-8 feet, instead of its normal 12-15, thus producing less fruit.  We are fine with less fruit if it means our tree will last for years.

If your first reaction was, “figs YUCK,” then you more than likely are basing your feelings off of fig newtons and dried figs. ¬†Up until a few years ago, I felt the same way and had never enjoyed a fresh juicy tree ripened fig. ¬†After that first fresh fig experience, you will never be the same! OK, I am being dramatic, just don’t knock it til you try it, k?

Figs are not only yummy, but they are SUPER healthy!

Health Benefits of Figs

There are so many things you can do with fresh figs! My favorite is a fresh fig stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped with prosciutto and drizzled with honey, so good!

 

Recipe Here

Update: May 25, 2014

Our Fig Tree was delivered in the mail this week!  The first sunny day we had was filled with soil and plants.  Our little tiny stick with two leaves made its way into the big boy container it will call home.

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How do you like to prepare fresh figs? Any tips from seasoned fig tree owners about caring for this varietal?

Taking the Plunge and Going “No-Poo”

**Newly Updated: 4/24/14**

No, this post has nothing to do with #2! ¬†“No-Poo” is the practice of washing your hair without shampoo or other chemicals, that is where the “poo” comes from. ¬†Using natural household ingredients, you slowly transition your hair and balance it’s PH so your own oils take care of it’s hydration. ¬†It is a fairly easy process, however, it does not work for everyone, and for some people it will take a lot of trial and error.

Why “no-poo”? ¬†A few reasons; to continue to rid your life of chemicals, if you wouldn’t eat it then why would you rub it into your pores, saves tons of money, less reliance on the “system”, and to have more natural luxurious manageable hair!

Personally, I am three weeks into “no-poo” and I found a method that works great! I use a BS (baking soda) wash, ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinse, arrowroot starch for oil management, tea tree oil for a more antiseptic scalp treatment, and coconut oil for dryness. ¬†In between, I also use WO (water only) to keep my head clean and a BBB (boar bristle brush) to push down the oil from my scalp after washing.

Here is a quick overview of the process, there are tons of sites and tutorials out there, but this is what worked for me.

  • Gather your ingredients: missing from the pic is the coconut oil and the BBB

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  • Prepare your wash and rinse: 2 T of BS and 2 T of ACV in each container, diluted with water

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  • Use the BS as your shampoo as you normally would and the ACV as the conditioner. ¬†Don’t forget to hit your head with cold water to seal up those pores and regulate the oils at the end of the wash.
  • Before bed, use your BBB with a few drops of tea tree oil to push down the oils and for some added antiseptic, if the brush is used during the day it tends to cause major static, so keep this to a nightly routine. ¬†Wash the brush as needed.
  • Try to extend your washes each time with WO washed in between, the goal is 7+ days between treatments, and try not to do less than 4 days (I found out quickly this will damage your hair)
  • Don’t get discouraged if it does not work right away, it may take time and some different methods before its beautiful and easy to manage.
  • The ultimate goal is chemical free, so you will also need to find natural substitutes for your styling products as well, but one step at a time I feel ūüôā

Week 1: 2 days between BS/ACV

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Week 2: 3-4 days between BS/ ACV

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Week 3: 5-6 days between BC/ACV with WO in between

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UPDATE: 4/24/14

So, here we are at week 10 of “no-poo,” how do you think its going? ¬†Honestly? ¬†It is wonderful! ¬†My hair has never felt better and never have I received so many nice compliments from friends, and even strangers, on my au natural locks.

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After the transition period and a little adjusting of the ratios, here is my daily routine:

Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar Wash every 7-10 days, depending on how dirty my hair gets
Water Only Wash in between
Arrowroot Starch on my roots when they get oily, maybe once every two weeks or so
Coconut Oil on my ends if they are dry, again maybe once every two weeks
Boar Brush after every BS/ACV Wash
Minimal Flat Iron and Blow Drier use

Next up, natural skin and body care.  Doing the research now, I will put up a new post when I start experimenting.

Has anyone else gone “no-poo? How is it going?

[Disclosure: Salty Suburban Homestead is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We receive a small commission whenever a product is purchased through these links.  So if you decide to order anything that is recommended on the blog, we would LOVE it if you used the affiliated links. We thank you in advance for your support!]

80/20 Organic: Feeding a Family of 4 for under $100 a week (plus pantry staples)

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So many families are on a super tight budget these days, honestly, I would say almost every family I know is. ¬†Just trying to stay under $100 normally is hard to do when buying food for four people, but then to up the ante even more and say go organic? ¬†For some that just feels impossible. ¬†Impossible? I don’t think so, but, it does take more time and effort.

Pictured is our grocery haul this week. ¬†We try to stick to an 80/20 rule and purchase at least 80% of our food in organic and all natural varieties (please be careful with the term all natural, a lot of companies are just throwing those words around and there is little to no regulation). ¬†If we only end up with half organic, we don’t stress too much. ¬†We just try to do as best we can with the resources we have. ¬†Also, 2 of us eat lunch at work so only 2 people need lunches, and it is usually leftovers of some sort.

The total cost for all of this was $65 and there is also about $35 worth of fish, chicken breast, ground turkey meat and shredded cheese in the refrigerator.  Using these items, along with pantry staples, I am going to outline a sample meal plan you can use to feed your family of four for under $100 a week.

I did not list exact brands, just try to find an organic brand that you feel comfortable with and is in your budget.  Brands vary from state to state and even town to town.  Also, it is MUCH easier to budget in the summer when you get the majority of your produce from your own garden or CSA.  In the winter, you can rely on your home canned produce and frozen harvest from last summer.

Saturday
Breakfast: Whole grain waffles and sliced strawberries
Lunch: Scrambled eggs with spinach and toast
Dinner: Breaded eggplant, penne with tomato sauce, a green salad and homemade bread made into garlic toast

Sunday
Breakfast: Fruit yogurt and toast with jam
Lunch: Leftover eggplant and garlic bread
Dinner: Baked lemon butter fish with peas and a green salad

Monday
Breakfast: Breakfast cookies and grapes
Lunch: Leftover fish on a bed of salad greens
Dinner: Rice and beans topped with a fried egg

Tuesday
Breakfast: Whole grain waffles with sunbutter and jam
Lunch: Grilled cheese and peas
Dinner: Taco Tuesday ground turkey tacos with rice and beans on the side

Wednesday
Breakfast: Banana and fruit yogurt smoothie
Lunch: Cheese quesadilla with rice and salsa
Dinner: Chicken and asparagus bow tie pasta tossed with olive oil and garlic

Thursday
Breakfast: Breakfast cookies and sliced strawberries
Lunch: Leftover chicken and asparagus bow tie pasta
Dinner: Breakfast for dinner. Banana pancakes with scrambled eggs and toast.

Friday
Breakfast: Leftover banana pancakes
Lunch: Grilled cheese and any leftover fruit
Dinner: Treat yourself to take out for a job well done!

Some Tips!

  • Try to make only as much as you need for the meal and just a little left over for lunch the next day, we used to (and sometimes still do) throw out SO much food that was leftover.
  • Going meatless a few dinners a week can save some major cash. ¬†Just substitute the meat protein with beans, lentils or eggs.
  • Make your own bread. ¬†The recipe I shared makes 2 loaves of bread for about $1.25 each, a major saving since a normal loaf in the store runs close to $5.00.
  • We make a bag of greens last all week and have salad at every dinner, so I am not too worried if we don’t have a specified vegetable because there are plenty in the salad.
  • Keep your pantry stocked with dried beans, rice, tomato products, dried pasta, nut butters and spices. ¬†Also, keep your freezer stocked with frozen fruit for smoothies and bulk shredded cheese. ¬†We usually take a big trip once a month to a big box store and stock up on these items as well as paper goods.
  • Skip the processed snacks. ¬†We try to stick with nuts, fruit and homemade cookies when it comes to snacking. ¬†This will save major money, because the cost of packaged snack cakes and crackers is CRAZY.
  • While you’re at it, skip the processed beverages. We drink primarily water with some almond milk and hot tea here and there. The little guy also drinks extremely watered down (I am talking a 40 to 1 ratio here) apple juice in his sippy cup. ¬†We even got rid of bottled water and just installed a drinking water filter on the sink.

If you have any other tips or ideas please share!  We love to hear what others do to eat well on a budget.