Ditch the Non-Stick: Alternatives to Teflon

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Farewell to Teflon!

My husband and I have recently decided to start transitioning from all of our non-stick cookware to cast iron, glass, and stainless steel. In this post I will explain why teflon is not a safe choice, what alternatives I have found that work well for me, and how I started transitioning.

To start with, you should know that I have been using Teflon for years. I would never look down on anyone who reads this and chooses to stick with Teflon. So with that in mind, let’s get into why Teflon is not a safe choice

The Sticky Truth About Teflon

The wonderful thing about Teflon, which I would believe everyone would agree, is that it’s non-stick (duh). You don’t have to worry about your eggs sticking, or scraping the bottom of your pan after cooking up a nice, big pan of bacon. While all of these things are great, it doesn’t necessarily outweigh the potential dangers.

Teflon is made from a chemical known as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). I was never very good at chemistry, but I’m pretty sure that’s nowhere on the Periodic Table. That’s because PTFE is a man-made chemical.

One of the risks of using Teflon products while cooking, is the danger of the toxic fumes that can be released into the air when the pan or pot reaches high temperatures. These fumes can cause flu-like symptoms and could possibly kill small pet birds. That sounds scary enough for me!

Teflon also has the tendency to chip and flake apart. If you don’t dispose of these chipped pots and pans, you can risk ingesting them. Yuck!

That’s enough about that! I think you get the point.

What CAN you cook with?

Here are a few options I have come across:

1. Stainless steel: I love this choice for pots and some skillets. I have a lot of trouble keeping food from sticking to a stainless steel skillet, but who knows, I’m probably doing it wrong.

2. Glass: When baking, Pyrex is always a great option. I have also been able to find vintage glass pots for dirt cheap at garage sales and thrift stores.  I LOVE using my glass skillet for cooking scrambled eggs because they don’t stick!

3. Cast Iron: This is definitely my favorite alternative. They are sturdy, cheap, and will last you a lifetime if you take good care of it. It might take some time figuring out how to season your cast iron skillet but there are plenty of helpful guides on the internet (like this one). Although they can be heavy, cast iron cookware can be a great non-stick alternative.

Where should you start?

Over the past couple of years my family has brought up the subject of changing out my Teflon cookware numerous times. I admit I brushed it off and didn’t think much of it. I started doing my research and made the decision that it was time to make a change. But where to start?

I started making trips to different thrift stores and garage sales. I was able to replace most of my Teflon products for less than $30 in under 2 weeks! I was also able to return many of my pots and pans to the stores I purchased them from, as I kept most of the receipts. If you are able to do this, you can get store credit to replace some of the products you need. It’s a win, win! The others that I could not return, I donated to charities or recycled depending on their condition.

All in all, it didn’t take much time or effort to make the change. I hope you feel inspired to do so yourself! I promise you won’t regret it!

Thanks again for reading and I hope you will come back again! Don’t forget to follow and subscribe to my blog for updates!

Malorie

Don’t be such a chicken!

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I tell just about every person I know or meet, that EVERYONE should own chickens. Of course, most people brush it off, but if you realized how easy and beneficial it is to keep chickens, I bet you would be game! Trust me, I didn’t see it coming myself.

One gorgeous morning in Colorado Springs, Justin woke up and said “Hey! Do you want to go on an Urban Chicken Coop Tour?”. I said, “Uh, sure?” Justin is really good at coming up with random, fun adventures, and I’m typically down for whatever he has in mind. So that Saturday morning we got in the car and drove to the Take a Peak Coop Tour in Colorado Springs. At that point I had never even thought about people raising backyard chickens, much less wanting to own any myself. The tour was a blast and the people were incredibly helpful. It was really interesting getting to see how some people had very simple coops (one basically being  a small box with a lid to lay their eggs in), while others went all out! One person built their chicken coop by hand using mud. What?!

While visiting each home, we asked the same question to every owner. “What was the most surprising part about owning chickens and getting things started?” You know what their answers were? “Just how easy it is”. Yes! Every. Single. Person.  I thought it had to be some sort of conspiracy. I started doing a little more research and began to see that it really could be that simple!

Before I get ahead of myself, let’s go over some of the MANY benefits to owning chickens:

  • FRESH EGGS (Duh)
  • You know exactly where your eggs come from and how old they are.
    • Did you know that most supermarket eggs are a month old? Uh, no thanks.
  • Store-bought “Organic” and “Free Range/Cage Free” eggs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be (no pun intended)
    • I urge you to do some research on this. I chose not to provide links on this subject as it may be disturbing to some people. Let’s face it… I just started this blog. I wouldn’t want to scare anyone off yet 🙂
  • It’s a great learning experience for kids and adults alike!
  • It can be profitable or at the least, you will break even.
    • People love the idea of buying “farm fresh eggs”. If you have enough chickens you could provide eggs for all of your neighbors and then some!
  • It’s easy! Did I already mention that?

You might be reading this thinking, yea, that sounds great and all Malorie, but ain’t nobody got time for that! Trust me, you do! Here are the things chickens require:

  1. Shelter
  2. Water
  3. Food

That’s it! Easy! The beauty of it is, if you provide them with enough food and water at one time, you will only need to refill it once or twice a week. If that!

I would recommend starting with 3 or 4 chickens. That will provide you with plenty of eggs for your family and a few others. Justin and I started with 10 and I think we were being a little over zealous. Thankfully I worked at school during that time so we had plenty of customers!

So, if by now you are convinced that you simply MUST have chickens (which you should be, unless you hate eggs), the only thing that could be standing in your way are the zoning laws preventing you from keeping chickens (click here to find your zoning laws). There are a few ways to work around this:

  • Try to get the law changed (Here is a link about this process)
  • 4H Club- If you have children that are old enough to qualify for the 4H Club, you may be able obtain a waiver of sorts to keep chickens in your backyard for learning purposes. I don’t know the process for this, but I DO know it can be done.
  • If you feel comfortable enough with it, you can talk with your neighbors about the idea of having chickens, offer them fresh eggs, and if they approve, I say go for it!
    • Roosters are typically not allowed within city limits, but they are not necessary unless you are breeding your chickens. If you were concerned about the noise level, you can rest assure that hens are no louder than dogs. They typically only make loud noises when they lay their eggs once a day.

Well, that about wraps up today’s blog. Stay tuned for more tips on how to raise backyard chickens. Feel free to ask questions or make suggestions for future posts, especially those pertaining to chickens. Don’t forget to subscribe and  follow my blog to get updates on future posts! Thanks again for reading!

Malorie

 

 

It’s time to cut the cord …

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With cable that is! I know, I know … this is a wild proposition, but I urge you to give it some serious thought. When Justin (my husband) and I moved here I told him that cable or satellite was an absolute MUST. We were moving out to the boonies and we didn’t know anyone in the area. I am also a stay-at-home mom (hence the name of the blog … wink wink). What else was I supposed to do?! So being a great husband, he signed a contract with a satellite company, that being our only option. I was thrilled because it had been about 3 years since we had had cable in our house. We had been using Netflix and Hulu during that time, which I loved! Unfortunately, those options were not available to us here. This further proved my point that we NEEDED cable.

Soon we had everything set up and a gajillion channels to choose from. Sounds great, doesn’t it?! Not quite. I quickly realized that I couldn’t find anything on TV when I wanted to watch it. Ok, so I’ll record some shows. Hmmmm … what to record? I know! “Dance Moms”! Or “Kim and Chloe Take the Hamptons”! The list went on and on. I started recording junk shows just to give me something to watch during the day.

The next problem I found was that when Justin got home, we would plop down on the couch in front of the TV and watch the shows that we had mutually decided to record together. We would eat our dinner on the couch and just watch. Of course there were some conversations between fast-forwarding through commercials or when we paused to discuss the show, but they had little substance. This was also Justin’s way of unwinding after a long, hard day at work. It was easy. Just the click of a button and he could veg. At first I didn’t see anything wrong with this until I felt like he would rather watch TV than talk to me. But that wasn’t fair. I got to watch my shows all day. Shouldn’t he get his time as well?

Finally one day, Justin and I decided to change things up and sit at the table to eat dinner. That’s when we started discussing how much time we actually spent in front of the TV instead of enjoying each other and the beautiful property we live on. We discussed the importance of raising our kids in the absence of cable TV. We want them to experience life and the things outside our front door. Just like we did as kids. Don’t you remember? Not to mention, cable is EXPENSIVE! Why pay over $100 a month to record junk all day? The numbers just didn’t add up. We sat down at dinner one night and wrote a list of “Anti-TV Activities”:

cart ride
board game/card game
make a dessert
read a book
look at old pictures
go for a walk
campfire
play guitar
sit on porch
shoot the bow
plan estate/garage sales
call an old friend
practice throwing knives (don’t judge)
research a new skill or interest
hit golf balls

After a couple months of debating whether or not to cancel our contract with the satellite company, we finally bit the bullet and did it. We started eating dinner at the table every night and sitting on the porch with a beer and talking. Yes, talking. I have to admit, it was a little awkward at first. You would be surprised how hard it can be to strike up a normal conversation during dinner when you are used to discussing what’s on TV.

One of the things that really pushed us to drop satellite was when I came across this antenna:

Mohu Leaf 50 Indoor HDTV Antenna

I wanted to have access to the major news channels, and this antenna reaches channels within 50 miles of our house. It was exactly what I needed! It helped that it was on sale, too. 🙂 Free channels! For those of you who don’t know, living out in the middle of nowhere, your standard “bunny ears” don’t do the trick. Believe me, we tried. Fortunately, we had this option.

In the end, giving up cable was one of the best decisions we ever made. We’ve rediscovered our skills and interests, and now have time to act on them (like this blog). It also eliminates one of the many distractions we have in this world, allowing us more time to spend with each other, our baby girl, and the many, many, MANY animals of the Harrod Homestead. More time for family and friends. Who wouldn’t want that?

Thanks for reading and I hope that you will seriously consider cutting cable out of your life, making things a little more simple. I hope to see you again soon! Don’t forget to subscribe and follow my blog!

Malorie

Guinea-one know what a Guinea Fowl is?

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What on earth is a guinea fowl, and an even better question is why on earth do you have them? Guinea fowl are not among the most attractive animals on this planet, but they can serve a great purpose. One of the main perks to owning guinea fowl is pest control. Our property is the home to many, many, MANY ticks! Most of you know that ticks can carry diseases, such as Lyme disease. They also feed on the blood of humans and animals. I can’t stand those little things. After moving here we quickly realized how much of a problem they were. We have found them on our dogs, ourselves, the goats, and in our beds. After the third or fourth tick I found, I started looking for solutions. That’s when I came across guineas! We were already raising chickens so we had the housing and the food (not to mention the ticks) ready for them! Guineas feast on mostly insects, weed seeds, and plants. All of which we have plenty of! Organic farmers often keep guineas on their property to keep pests away from their gardens. It is recommended that you place guineas in an established garden, as they WILL eat the seeds and seedlings in your young garden.

Guineas are also good alarms for predators approaching their territory. When hawks, snakes, and other predators approach their area they will sound off their “alarm”. Believe you me, these little creatures are loud! If you don’t believe me, just Google it! These two reasons alone made it an easy decision for us to raise guinea fowl.

My husband and I purchased a male and a female in order to breed and raise our own flock. Our goal is to have some living in the area with the chickens and goats and then more living in the fields and woods surrounding our house. In early May the guinea hen started laying her eggs, and after laying about 20 some odd eggs she finally decided to sit. Well, unfortunately, this mama guinea is not a very good sitter. She was up and down frequently throughout the day and never sat long enough to allow her eggs to hatch. We were pretty bummed, but still determined to start a flock of our own. This lead us to buy an incubator. I am currently in the process of setting it up and maintaining the correct temperature for incubation. This process is completely new to me so bear with me!

To start, I purchased a still air incubator and egg turner similar to this one:
Little Giant Farm & Ag Miller Manufacturing 9200 Still Air Incubator

Next, I read ALL of the instructions and set it up exactly as they described. The next step will be to watch the temperature and humidity inside the incubator and then place my eggs! Then its just a waiting game. Eeeek!

Well folks, that’s all I have for you today! I hope this post was informative and gives you a better understanding what a guinea fowl is. Stay tuned and follow my blog for updates on the process of incubating and (hopefully) successfully hatching guinea keets (aka: baby guineas), as well as other fun events and ideas happening here at the “Harrod Homestead”.

Howdy!

Howdy y’all! My main goal for this blog is to share helpful information regarding homesteading, healthy eating, parenting, and living a more simple,”clean”, and self-sustainable lifestyle. I am by no means an expert on any of these topics so please bear with me. My hope is to be able to share my experiences with you along the way!

Now let me tell you a little about myself. I am a new mommy to a beautiful baby girl. It’s hard to believe that she is almost one! My husband, daughter, and I are currently living in South Carolina, away from all of our family and friends. Luckily, we have met several wonderful people here since our arrival. We are living on 45 acres of land to which we have only begun to take advantage of. In the past year we have taken on many new challenges, including a baby, 2 goats, 8 chickens, 2 roosters, 2 guinea fowl, and most recently, a barn cat. Needless to say, we have our hands full!

Growing up as city girl in Plano, Texas, this is far from what I had pictured my life to be at 28 years old. With that being said, living a simpler more self sustainable lifestyle is better than I could have ever imagined in so many ways. Knowing and understanding where your food comes from, how it’s grown, made, and processed has been a huge eye opener. Learning to take care of animals in order to one day feed our family is extremely rewarding. Even the simple, silly things like noticing that every morning I walk out of my front door, across the field, and into the “barn” with no make up on, hair a mess, a night-shirt, and cowboy boots. I wouldn’t have been caught dead looking like that 5 years ago. Now I couldn’t care less!

I love what my life has become and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. Anyway, thanks for reading! I hope to see you back soon!
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