DIY Cleaning Solutions – Toilets

Frugality has always been a big part of my life. I like to buy things used when I can, and I hate spending money on consumables. My family has some pretty ambitious homesteading goals that require us to save up as much money as we can, and it’s pretty bad for the environment to waste stuff – especially plastics. On top of that, I try to keep my home as chemical-free as possible, because chemicals are bad for you. I learned a whole bunch of tips and tricks from my mom, and more on my own as an adult, and I thought I’d share a few of them here.

Why Make DIY Toilet Cleaner?

Of all the parts of my house, my toilet is probably the thing I am most anal about cleaning because it’s where you poop. Guys, poop is gross. Like, actually gross with icky bacteria and stuff.

Heh. ANAL about keeping clean. POOP.

I’m funny.

Anyyyywwayyyy……. Continue reading “DIY Cleaning Solutions – Toilets”

Kitchen Renovation Part 1: Planning

I can’t start a story about our kitchen renovation without starting with the story of how we bought our house.

Well, how I bought our house. Matt and I weren’t married yet.

Wait, I’m Buying A House?

One rainy, crummy day in September, I was sitting in the living room of my apartment watching Netflix and wishing the rain would stop. Suddenly, I realized that there was water dripping down one of the walls. I called maintenance, but it was a Saturday, so they couldn’t help me until Monday and since it was an apartment, I couldn’t fix it myself. All I could do was put a pot under the leak and watch the wall get wet.

That night, I was hanging out with a friend watching a Detroit Lions pre-season game, and he was complaining about his apartment and we just got going on a mutual rant of why apartments suck.

And then we got to wondering – was it a crazy idea to think about buying a house? Continue reading “Kitchen Renovation Part 1: Planning”

Are GMOs Safe?

You’ve heard the term “GMO”. Maybe you’ve seen the “Verified non-GMO” labels on certain products in the grocery store. Your neighbor told you that GMOs are killing children, but your cousin said that the anti-GMO is the biggest farce since the low-fat craze. But what exactly does GMO mean? Is it bad?

Definition:

GMO stands for “genetically modified organism.” This basically means that a group of scientists took the DNA of a plant or animal and changed it in some way.

What the H— Does That Mean? Is It Like Breeding Dogs?

For millennia we have been changing gene expression through selective breeding. When people breed dogs to create new breeds, they are essentially “genetically modifying” the subsequent generations of dogs. We don’t usually refer to breeding as genetically modifying however, because scientists aren’t altering the DNA on a microscopic level; they are simply counting on nature to mix genes in a certain way if they force Dog A to breed with Dog B. This is usually called “hybridization” and is generally accepted by most people. Pluots are an example of a hybridized fruit – they are a cross between a plum and an apricot. Grapefruits are also hybrids, resulting from a pummelo (a type of citrus) being crossed with a sweet orange.

So what makes a GMO different from a hybrid? Well, basically, GMOs are created in a laboratory. Instead of breeding two existing things, scientists manually go on and turn genes on or off OR they add or remove bits of DNA from an organism. When this organism reproduces, its offspring will carry on the modified genes. A popular example of a GMO crop is Round-Up ready corn. This corn had a gene introduced to make it tolerant to glyphosate (the active component of the herbicide Round-Up). Another example is Golden Rice, which is rice that is engineered to contain more Vitamin A than normal rice (not yet available on the market).

Pro-GMO VS. Anti-GMO

Listed below are some common arguments made by both those who are pro-GMO and those who are anti-GMO. Continue reading “Are GMOs Safe?”

Meet My (Fur) Babies & Check Out our DIY Scratching Post

Somebody drew attention to the fact that I have a cat picture on the homepage of my blog, and have shared cat pictures in my previous post (a meatloaf recipe), but never explained or introduced my cats to you guys.

So here goes.

Prepare for a fun post about cats, and little tutorial for a making a scratching post (since I didn’t want to give you guys a completely impractical post). It doesn’t really have anything to do homesteading…

Well, actually I think cats have a lot to do with “home” part of homesteading, but that’s just me. Continue reading “Meet My (Fur) Babies & Check Out our DIY Scratching Post”

Meatloaf Pie

I grew up in a blue-collar family, and meatloaf was a staple. Actually, it was a favorite staple – I loved it. I would ask for it if we hadn’t had it in awhile. Is that weird?

Either way, when I became an adult, I took several meatloaf recipes with me, and tweaked my favorite to become perfectly tailored to my taste. There was one problem…

Making meatloaf was annoying, because it had to bake for an hour.

That may not seem like a long time – and it’s not – but when you get off work, get to the gym, then make dinner, you want dinner ready in LESS THAN an hour, from start to finish. I found myself not eating meatloaf as often as I wanted.

That is, until my then-boyfriend (now-husband) invented meatloaf pie. Continue reading “Meatloaf Pie”

My Career Story

When I wrote about vegetable oil, I mentioned that I had been involved in medical research, and that I had been thinking about becoming a dietitian. But when I shared my Irish Soda Bread recipe, I talk about being a teacher. And my site title is “Hardheaded Homesteading Housewife.” You may be confused.

So I decided to share a little bit about my career background. This isn’t a post with helpful tips or recipes or advice – it’s just my story so you understand what exactly I’d done with my life so far.

At the time of writing this post, I am 24 years old (Yup, super young), and I’ve changed my career plans many different times. But each time gave me an incredible wealth of knowledge and some really useful skills.

Childhood

If you would’ve approached me when I was five years old and asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would’ve told you I wanted to be a farmer. I grew up reading the Little House on the Prairie books and thought there was no greater goal than to have a milk cow and grow crops.

Seriously.

Then my mom told me about how modern farming involves selling things to people and following government regulations. It does not mean that you have a little self sufficient farm where you go to town once a month to trade wheat and animal furs for sugar and coffee. I was devastated. My dreams were crushed. Continue reading “My Career Story”

How I Save Money on My Grocery Bill

I advised y’all to buy expensive oils to avoid vegetable oil, and when you saw the inside of my pantry you might and figured out that I like to spend money on food. But this blog is supposed to contain some tips on how to save money, right?

Right.

So here’s a few, super basic ones. I’ll get into some specifics later, when I focus on how to buy healthy spices, oils, meat, and more. Continue reading “How I Save Money on My Grocery Bill”

Why I Won’t Touch Vegetable Oil With a 10 Foot Pole

It’s become fairly common knowledge that olive oil and other unprocessed oils are better for you than regular vegetable oils, but most people don’t think of vegetable oil as BAD for you. Plus, vegetable oil is cheap, readily available, in practically every packaged food you can find, and extremely convenient when cooking. But if you read my Diet Dogma, you’ll know that it is one of the only things on my “NEVER EAT” list!

Lucky for me and my health, my mom switched to primarily olive oil for cooking when I was a small child, after the Mediterranean Diet became popular. As a result, I used vegetable oil sparingly as an adult, though I still used it in baking, frying, and to make certain salad dressings. I thought that the high smoke point and neutral flavor of the oil was invaluable for certain applications, because that’s what some of the cooking websites said (note: It’s really not invaluable. It’s completely replaceable and the replacements usually work better).

The Research That Changed Everything

But in my senior year of college, back when I thought I was going to go to grad school to become a dietitian, I was researching cooking oil. In one of my classes, we had talked about the American Heart Association’s endorsement of vegetable oil and about how saturated fats were terrible…but I had trouble believing that. People have used butter for a bazillion years, and we didn’t have heart disease until recently. In fact, my mom switched from margarine to butter when I was a little kid, and I recalled that both parents actually lost weight as a result.

I decided to investigate these claims myself by really delving into the research. I had already had several years of research experience, so I was quite familiar with reading research papers. As project manager of my research office, I also had paid access to a variety of medical journals through my work computer. One night, when most of my non-working college student peers were home on spring break, I stayed late at the office to dig into some vegetable oil research.

My findings were disturbing.

Continue reading “Why I Won’t Touch Vegetable Oil With a 10 Foot Pole”

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

With a busy week ahead, last night I decided to make a double pot of stuffed cabbage casserole – an easy, delicious, and filling meal that lasts several days. I often serve it with a side salad and fresh bread, though it can be served alone as a meal in and of itself. This recipe serves 4 adults if it’s the only thing on the table, and can serve 6 if accompanied by sides. My husband and I usually get 2 dinners and 1-2 lunches out of one batch of it. This time, I made a double recipe with the intent of eating it all week (no time to cook this week…).

This recipe only takes about an hour total, plenty of built in down time while it is cooking to do other things – like make salad and do dishes. In other words, it’s great for a weeknight! Continue reading “Stuffed Cabbage Casserole”

VERY SCIENTIFIC Egg Taste Test!

So you read about why I think pastured eggs are better than regular eggs, and saw that although I thought there was a taste difference, some studies showed that there was no taste difference. Am I insane? Are the studies wrong? Obviously, I needed to do an egg taste taste.

BECAUSE SCIENCE.

So. Do pastured eggs taste better than conventional eggs?

The short answer:

OH MY GOD, YES. GO BUY THEM. BUY THEM NOW (read where and how to buy them here!).

The long answer:

Continue reading “VERY SCIENTIFIC Egg Taste Test!”