Homesteading Tip-Make Your Own Coffee Bags


Sometimes I will lay down for a nap and get to thinking about things, and really obvious ideas hit me.

I have a Keurig, that I use in the winter more than anything (with reusable filters, not the cups from the store), and a French press that I love but hate taking apart to clean (and then the grounds get everywhere). I also have a ‘normal’ pot that I don’t think I’ve used in years and keep meaning to pull out for camp.

I also have a box of fill your own tea bags that got pushed to the back of the cupboard and forgotten.

Have you ever seen those coffee bags? The ones that look like tea bags? I lived off of them in college. I actually love them, and you can dispose of them the same way you can tea bags (and I -believe- they can be composted. You might want to double check on that one though). But they’re so pricey.

If you have a box of filters and paper folding skills (I don’t) or a box of tea bags, you can make your own coffee bags. Just putĀ  1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of coffee into the bag and tie off or staple shut. You can use a filter and then fold it into an envelope and staple that shut. You can staple twine to the bag to fish it out if you want.

You steep like a French press-almost boiling water for four and a half minutes or so, to taste.


The Case for the Vegetable Patty

fried potatoes

We upgraded our phones today. I’m never sure how I feel about upgrades when I do it. I always feel wasteful; I think I want my phone to shatter into a million pieces before I feel comfortable turning it in. But a not-scratched up phone and better speakers are starting to sway me.

These photos are still going to be dark because there’s nothing a phone’s going to do to make my already dark kitchen brighter after sun down.

I really thought that I had blogged about these before, but if I did, I called them something so archaic I can’t actually find them again.

before frying

I make these a lot in the fall as one of my repeat harvest dishes. This is the time of year where living in WNY is easy-our produce is finally in and it’s not too cold to want to go get it. I go and pick up a little of a lot of things, which is great to feel like I have a full kitchen but sometimes leaving a general sense of ‘now what?’.

I also find that vegetable patties like this are great to use up leftovers or produce that’s about to go. Use premade mashed potatoes and whatever you have lying around-including apples or applesauce. Really, use whatever you have. If you have left over roast squash, use that as a base instead of potatoes. Go wild with it.

Because it’s such a flexible dish there’s really no true recipe with quantities here.

Vegetable Patties

3-4 potatoes’ worth mashed potatoes

shredded cheese

bread crumbs (optional)

1-2 eggs (optional)

shredded or chopped (or frozen even) vegetables, assorted

applesauce (optional)

Mix everything together, and fry over medium heat with a little oil or butter. Give it a minute or two per side to let everything heat up and come to a golden brown.

I top with additional cheese and bbq sauce.

pre mixed potatoes

Chana Dal Tadka


You really can’t get much more frugal than lentils.

They pack a punch for nutrition and are insanely cheap per bag. Put them in soup, eat them as dal, use them like beans.

I have a confession though: as much as I love the humble lentil I haven’t made them in -years-. I have a bag of yellow ones, and every time I cooked them for the recommended length of time, they were still hard. So I put them in a jar and put them in the cupboard. I would glare at them every so often. That would be the full amount of use they would get-move the jar around, glare.

I found this recipe on Pinterest. It’s simple-lentils, onions, garlic, curry spices, a little bit of salt. But the kicker is that it calls for twice the amount of cooking time-which assures me that it’s not me or my lentils, it’s the stuff that I’ve been reading.

So my hack on this recipe, though I do fully encourage you to go read and use the original:

I put 1 cup lentils in a pot with about four cups water. Placed on medium heat.

I added about two tablespoons rogan josh powder because Mid will only eat lentils with a heavy flavor profile. Use whatever curry powder you have in the house, or mix yours fresh. Add a little salt.

Cook for about 40 minutes, and while cooking the lentils fry some garlic and onions. Stir into the lentils.

Holly wants to add chicken when she tries it. I think that adding another protein source would be lovely, but this is crisis cooking in our house-two days before payday and my s.w.agbucks gift cards haven’t come in yet, so no money for meat right now. Lentils are solid enough you probably wouldn’t need meat (or mead, either, since that’s what I wrote first).

Original recipe-Chana Dal Tadka on NY Food Journal

Cosmetic Confessions: L.A. Colors

I cheated, this is one of my ELF pans.

I cheated, this is one of my ELF pans.


My name is Katie and I confess to be marginally obsessed with L.A. Colors eye shadows.

You probably haven’t heard of them. If you’re obsessed with Sephora…you most definitely haven’t heard of them.

Because finding them will most likely involve a trip down the dollar store cosmetic aisle.

Cue up the theme from Halloween.

No, seriously, I understand that the dollar store make up aisle sounds like a terrifying place-and for a woman who pretty much only wears Tarte foundation now, I get it. But I will further admit that I didn’t go into this blind. I don’t just buy random products and start applying them to some of the most delicate areas of my body.

I kept reading reviews of this company on line and when I finally found them I was really pleasantly surprised. And now I stockpile them, especially for my travel palettes. Who cares if you trash out a dollar store tray?

So the run down:

1. I don’t ‘do’ swatches since I’m not a beauty blogger, but the pigmentation is at least as good as some of my other drug store level shadows. I don’t have any Sephora level shadows, so I can’t compare there. But it’s like most of the other brands I’ve found-some are hit or miss.

2. Fall out is about on par with my E.L.F. shadows, which I also hoard. Actually, I think my E.L.F. pans are worse for fall out than these.

3. Color range is actually pretty awesome, especially for neutrals.

4. If I remember correctly, L.A. Colors is made in Canada and is cruelty free. They might be vegan? You’ll have to double check.

5. They rotate colors, a lot. I feel like there’s another tray there every time I go, and I go a lot.

6. I actually have fairly sensitive skin and I don’t react to these.

7. I do wear these with primer. I feel like primer is the trick to a lot of the cheap eyeshadow brands.