Episode 6: Homestead Happenings and Service Animal Access

In Episode 6 of The Claiming Liberty Podcast, I discuss homestead happenings including a 4 pound cinnamon roll prototype and my excursion into the world of sprouting.  I also discuss changes to Delta Airlines’ policies regarding service animals that will go into effect on March 1, 2018.

Homestead Happenings

  • gigantic frosted cinnamon rollThe gigantic cinnamon roll was finally prototyped.  It weighed over four pounds when it was done, and it was one of the biggest pains ever in the baking world.  I’ll save that creation for bartering.
  • I started some sprouts after receiving my lids.  The mix contains broccoli, kale, and onion seeds.  I’m anxious to see how they turn out!

Service Animal Issues

  • Sarah & Leader Dog DenverDelta Airlines changes their policy for folks wishing ot fly with service animals.
  • What does the ADA say? What constitutes a “service animal”?
  • Is there a real concern? Won’t this help with “fake service animals”?
  • How does it affect me and my Leader Dog, Denver?
  • She I be worried about other businesses following Delta’s lead?

Listen to Episode 6 of The Claiming Liberty Podcast

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Episode 5: Going Keto Update for Week 20

In Episode 5, I talk about my continued progress on this keto journey toward weight loss and health gain.  Things are going well, and it’s my hope that I can continue to be an inspiration to anyone who’s trying to make positive changes in life.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!

Download the episode now!

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Episode 4: Coffee, Ice at the Homestead and ButcherBox

In today’s episode, I talk about my favorite coffee and my new French press because did I mention I live in Indiana? It’s cold here again and we woke up to a nice coating of ice on everything, so why not talk about coffee and winter preps?

Then I spend a little time talking about my newest favorite food subscription service over at ButcherBox.  It’s a really great option for those of us who don’t have access to the kind of meat quality we wish we did.

Don’t forget that I love your feedback, and join us on Friday for the next episode of The Claiming Liberty Podcast!

Listen to today’s episode now!

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Episode 3: The Website, Brave & Cinnamon Rolls

fresh baked bacon cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting

On today’s episode, I share details about last week’s tasks that further the year of “git ‘er done”.  I cover:

  • migration of the Claiming Liberty website to a new web hosting provider
  • my confirmation as a content publisher for Brave Payments
  • more discussion about Indiana’s cottage food laws which HAS to include cinnamon rolls

Download the podcast now!

And as always, don’t forget to connect with me here on the site or over at the Claiming Liberty Facebook page.  I look forward to your feedback!

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Podcast Delayed

This is just a quick post to let everyone know that I won’t be uploading the podcast today.  Over the weekend, I changed hosts for the website, and along with some other housekeeping, some technical elements have taken a bit longer than I thought they would.

I’m so excited by everything I’ve already accomplished in the year of “git ‘er done”.  I’ve already learned so much, and I appreciate everyone being patient with me as we go through this process together!

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Episode 2: Going Keto Update and More USPS Woes

Download Episode 2 of The Claiming Liberty Podcast!

I’m trying a new format for my “Going Keto” updates.  I plan to share a short update every Friday on the podcast, and there’s no time like the present to get started, right?

Also, I share the most recent happenings with my United States Postal Service issues.  After I posted an update to that story, I’ll bet you all were thinking my problems were solved, right? Unfortunately, there’s no such luck for us.  The issues have escalated from an unwillingness to deliver packages to missing mail.  Listen to my rant to hear how the saga continues.

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Introduction to the New Claiming Liberty Podcast

After 6.5 years of blogging and promising some sort of podcast, I’ve finally done it! Today’s episode is a basic introduction to me, my interests, and the plans I have for the podcast.

Feel free to offer feedback, but be merciful.  There was a pretty steep learning curve to publishing a podcast.  Posting on my blog is so much easier! Here, I don’t have to worry about audio editing software, podcasting apps, and third-party syndication services.  I’m really proud of myself! The struggle was real but so was the sense of accomplishment after getting my first podcast out there!

It’s 2018.  Git ‘er done!

Download the episode!

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Product Review: Masterbuilt 30″ Digital Electric Smoker

Back in December, Fred and I were walking through Wal-Mart when we happened across a large stack of smokers near the clearance aisle.  I’d been wanting a smoker for a long time, but I was ready to dismiss the pile.  “They probably won’t do what I want,”, I told Fred.  We ended up taking a long look though because they were marked down to $99.

We talked about it for a minute, and we decided to take note of the model and do some research.  We finished our shopping, and we headed home.

Once we got home, through the wonders of modern technology, we were able to determine a few things.  First of all, the price was fantastic! Amazon sold similar models for $200-$250, and the retail price on Masterbuilt’s site was nearly $300.

Next came the fact that we could use this inexpensive smoker with a cold smoke generator (sold separately), and that requirement was a must for me since I plan to cold smoke homemade bacon.

After some talking and a bit more research, Fred and I headed back to Wal-Mart after 11:00pm to buy a Masterbuilt 30″ digital electric smoker in the middle of December in Indiana.  Crazy, I know!

Masterbuilt 30" smoker stock imagePros

  • The unit was easy to assemble.
  • The unit is sturdy and well insulated.
  • The controls are easy to use.
  • It is incredibly easy to load wood chips into the unit while it is smoking.

Cons

  • I have concerns about the long-term durability of the chrome-plated racks.  They seem a little flimsy.
  • The unit doesn’t accommodate more than about 1/2 cup of wood chips, so until we get the cold smoke generator (which also allows for extended smoking times), the unit needs a little more tending than I was expecting.
  • This particular smoker isn’t very deep (front to back) so smoking larger items may pose problems.

Despite the cons listed above, I’m so happy that we got this smoker.  It has given us a chance to learn the ins and outs of smoking, and it has allowed us to make some utterly fantastic food!

smoked chickens in a steam table panI brined some non-GMO chickens from Sam’s Club to use in our first attempt with the smoker.  It did take a lot longer than I expected — about three hours — and the chickens didn’t have crispy skin, but they tasted AMAZING!

We used mesquite wood chips with the chicken, and we all liked the flavor, we all agreed that next time, we’d use less smoke and we’d finish the chickens in the oven to crisp up the skin.

brats in a steam table panNext, we tried brats.  We didn’t use anything fancy.  We just got some Johnsonville brats from Sam’s Club and smoked them with cherry wood.  When the sausages hit an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, he transferred them to our propane grill to finish them.

My husband said the brats tasted like they’d been injected with cherry juice, and while I didn’t think the cherry flavor was that strong, I still thought the brats were great! In fact, we enjoyed the brats so much that we offered to bring them to a family get-together at Fred’s parents’ house.  They were a hit there too.

apple wood smoked standing rib roastThe third item we cooked in the smoker was a standing rib roast.  My mom managed to snag one for us for a good price, and a friend of mine sent me a really great resource called Smoked Prime Rib Made Easy.  I was a little intimidated with this particular roast since I’d never cooked one before, but the instructions, our bluetooth meat thermometer, and the smoker made it so easy.  The roast was cooked to a perfect medium rare and aside from an over seasoning issue — I should have listened to my gut rather than that part of the instructions — it too was really tasty!

We used apple wood to smoke the standing rib roast.  In doing that, we learned that apple wood doesn’t really work for such a heavily seasoned piece of meat.  The apple wood flavor was only barely perceptible.

Although we’ve only had the smoker for about a month now, we’re looking forward to all sorts of delicious things to come, and I’m certain we’ll be sharing our experiences here on the blog.

 

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Update to Mail Carrier Woes

After all the frustration I shared in a previous post about my postal service woes, I thought it only fair that I post an update.

Apparently, complaints do affect change.  Although we didn’t get an immediate response, much to our surprise, our postmaster sent an email to my husband on December 28 inviting him to call her at his earliest convenience.  I had called the post office earlier that week, and I was told that the postmaster was on vacation, so I had expected no contact until after the new year.

Since I learned about the email after the post office closed, I called the next morning.  The postmaster was the one who answered the phone, and she seemed very pleased to talk with me.  She remained professional, energetic, and motivated to solve our mutual problem.

Long story short, she claimed she needed permission to turn around in the yard.  Our property is such that there’s no way to avoid turning around without using a bit of the green space, and if we’d known that was their concern, we would have addressed it much quicker.  I said that they were absolutely authorized to use the green space if that’s what they needed to do, and she seemed satisfied with that.

She also offered an alternative which we discussed at length.  She suggested a drop box by our mailbox, but I explained that we thought that’d be less safe for the mail carrier since she’d have to get out of her car on the highway to place the packages in said box.  My husband also pointed out that it wouldn’t exactly be possible because there’s a very steep ditch with no level spot to leave such a box.

smiley faceIn the end, it was irrelevant, of course, since they’ll now be bringing packages to the house.  Hopefully, the situation is resolved and we won’t have to fight over our mail anymore.

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Going Keto: Update for 12/29/17

Today marks the end of week sixteen since committing to a ketogenic eating plan, and I’m still plugging along.  The scale is moving, albeit slowly, and I’m continuing to get lots of practice at making this a lifestyle rather than a diet.

I’ve only lost 3.4 pounds since my last update, but the losses are really starting to add up now.  I’ve lost 25.2 pounds in the last sixteen weeks, and I’m going to need new pants soon.  I guess there are worse problems to have.

More important than the weight loss though is the way my thinking has changed.  Food is nothing more than fuel to me now, but I have remained vigilant, never taking my success for granted.  I will always have food demons, and the moment I let my guard down for even an instant, I’ll risk all the progress I’ve made so far.  That’s not something I’m willing to do!

Let’s take Christmas as an example.  In our home, we have a tradition.  I bake cinnamon rolls, and everyone expects them.  My husband takes some to his job, my kids expect them, and they’re gifted to friends and family who’ve come to appreciate them.  I went into the process of baking them by deciding I wasn’t going to have even one this year.  I know what they taste like.  I know they’re amazing.  I also know I’d regret it if I had one.  To me, it wasn’t worth it.

What I didn’t expect though was the deliberate thinking I did while making them.  It didn’t hit me until I was making the cream cheese frosting.  Making the frosting is messy.  Frosting the rolls is messy.  My hands were covered in the stuff and I really wanted to have just a little bit.  Soon, my thoughts were overrun by frosting.  “It’s a shame that so much of this frosting is getting wasted.” “Nobody would blame me for licking frosting off my hands.  It’s not that much, is it?”

For the briefest of moments, I worried about my resolve, but I remembered the decision I’d made before I even started the process.  I’m too fragile right now.  I can’t handle just one taste, and my success so far means more to me than some stupid frosting on my hands.

The conversation that I had with myself couldn’t have lasted more than a few seconds, but it was significant.  I know that some folks can handle “just one taste” or “just this once”, but I’m not one of those people.  Do I wish I were? Of course I do! Have I talked myself into believing that I could be one of those people in the past? You better believe I have.  It’s for those reasons though that I had to hold my ground.  I owed it to myself, and feeling of accomplishment that I gained from working through that uncomfortable situation wasn’t worth all the cream cheese frosting in the world to me.

That’s one thing that has been different during this journey.  I’ve taken moments to work through some of my issues rather than just ignoring them or pretending that they aren’t there.  It seems so much more effective to do it this way because I’m building skills that’ll help me during the tough times (that I know will come.)

People who tell you that changing your life is easy are liars or fools.  I know.  I’ve been the liar and I’ve been the fool.  I’m determined to do things right this time though, and for now, with lots of hard work, I’m getting there.  What you do matters! Remember that!

 

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