Something new

Monday, March 31, 2014

My wife has been asking me for some time now to write a post for our blog. I have given some input to some of her posts, but for the most part all of it so far has been in her words. I suppose she feels that the blog could use a bit of my voice. I have been there with her this whole time doing the work I just do not have the talent for writing that she does.

How baking cookies from scratch is an act of rebellion.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I'm not going to lie.. I'm sort of a cookie monster. I can easily devour 8-10 cookies at one time.. let me re-phrase I used to be able to eat that many cookies in one sitting when I was eating "food-like" products.

My husband knows this about me, and the thing he enjoys the most is making me happy.. so in order to "give me cookies" <-spoken in the voice of Cookie Monster, he started baking them from scratch.

When you cook or bake from scratch you know exactly what is in your recipe, and can always change up the ingredients if you want to (or need to for dietary concerns). For instance, we made a batch of cookies using Avocado in the place of butter and by doing this made a health food. However.. Avocado's cost a lot more than butter so for now we are primarily using butter in our cookie making.

Making cookies from scratch is an act of rebellion because we are questioning the current system and relying on our own intelligence to determine what is best for us. When we blindly followed the crowd and purchased pre-made cookies or even a box of pre-measured ingredients to makes cookies we were blindly eating "food-like" products and making ourselves sick in the process.

Now I eat 2-3 cookies and I'm full, as if I had eaten a meal.. because guess what?! These cookies are made from real food ingredients!! I also crave "junk-food" less often because we have started cooking more and more from scratch (not only cookies but as many meals as possible). 

Although my husband enjoys making cookies for our family and friends if we felt comfortable picking up a box of cookies off the shelf we would. However.. sadly, we can't trust our once loved brands and now that we have become accustom to cookies from scratch anything else tastes.. well.. gross.

For the remainder of this post I am going to let Mr. Winter describe how he makes his cookies, which are now famous in our neck of the woods by the way!! =D

He says: Pretty much any recipe will do, the trick for getting the cookies the way we like them is in the preparation. Where I think people mess up in their cookie making is by rushing. I take the time to ensure when I mix my batter it is put together properly, I try not to skip any of the steps. For instance if you are supposed to mix the ingredients into two bowls, I mix them into two bowls. I find that the softer the butter the better the cookie, so I leave my butter to melt in the window sill so it is always soft when I am ready to bake.

I have three or four different bases that I use, then I add what people like depending on which type of cookie I am making. If someone I know loves dark chocolate chips I will start with a chocolate  cookie base and for half of the base use dark chocolate chips and for the other half I will use peanut butter chips. This way I can ensure everyone will enjoy my cookies!

One of the big things that helps me, because I know I am going to make a lot of cookies, has been designing my kitchen with all of my tools and ingredients for baking cookies in one area. This has cut my prep time in half.

Making cookies, for me, is fun. I turn on a podcast (usually the History of Rome) and when baking I look forward to others enjoying the fruits of my labor.

Our Kitchen..

Thursday, March 13, 2014

**Update: This post was written two months before we found out that we had to leave our homestead. However we find ourselves telling new friends about this makeover so we wanted it to be visible again.**

We don't want the best of everything, instead we want to make the best out of everything that we have. Welcome to our kitchen makeover!

I'm going to try to make this post with more photos than words, after all a picture says a thousand words right? Hmm.. let's see!

Our first look at the kitchen when we moved in. Our refrigerator was too tall to fit in the allocated spot so we placed it across from the oven.

The oven only worked for a few months, I'm not blaming the oven though.. we cook 99% of our meals at home and it was a little old. So we bought a new oven, that of course wouldn't fit in the allocated spot. So, my husband built a new cabinet for our like-new double convection oven out of pallets!

I loved the look of the pallet cabinet without paint, and we thought about staining it however we felt that the kitchen would look better and be easier to keep clean with a fresh coat of paint!
The space where the original oven went was meant to house a dishwasher, when the "like-new" dishwasher was installed we realized it didn't work so now that space is for storing bulk baking/ cooking goods!

Adding the shelf for our small appliances.
We took off all of the hardware and soaked it in Coca-Cola to loosen up the gunk. This bowl bubbled for over six hours!

Once we removed the hardware from the coca-cola we soaked them in hot soapy water and scrubbed each one with a toothbrush with a diy soft-scrub mixture.

I ended up having to scrub each one twice to get the hardware back to it's original beauty, can you tell the difference between the clean one and the dirty ones? The (semi) clean one is the bright copper looking one! Wow what a difference a little elbow grease made! We didn't want to buy new hardware because we loved the character of these..
First coat of paint.

Alright, by this point we made less time for photos and we were just ready to get our kitchen back together! So here the second coat has been finished, the doors got two coats of paint and I screwed the hardware back on so Mr. Winter could attach the doors back in place!

If you are in my kitchen you will always see dishes in the sink or drying on the counter, as I said earlier we cook 99% of our meals at home. My husband says "Dirty dishes are better than empty bellies any day!" I agree!
We decided to take off the cabinet doors below the sink so that if the fabric got dirty we could just wash it, we also think it looks nice and matches the fabric in front of the bulk storage area!

The final project really is amazing! The hardware looks new, the entire kitchen sparkles and inspires us to enjoy spending our time in the kitchen! Yes, we would like new counter tops, and a new stainless steel sink one day.. but for now we love the makeover just the way it is! Thanks for reading!


Monday, March 10, 2014

What is enough?

Are you smart enough, fast enough, do you care enough... fill in the blank.

My point here is about perception. Each person wants something different out of life, if we all wanted the same things life would be pretty boring. However.. when you are constantly comparing yourself to others you will NEVER have enough.

The first step in realizing how much you actually have is to be grateful for all that you have; whether it is your intelligence or the clothes on your back. If you are reading this then you have more wealth and a better education than half of the people on this planet... let that sink in.

When you stop comparing yourself with others you will wake up to your true potential.

What is true potential?

Potential is another one of those words that is different based on each persons perception. Of course my potential is going to be different than yours. I want different things out of life.
What would happen if you suddenly realized that you have enough, you are enough, and that your dreams are worth reaching out for? You would find out that you have enough potential to live the life you want. You will also start to love it! That my friends.. is enough!!


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