Saturday, March 29, 2008

Eating Out

I love to eat out. It's so nice to have someone else cook and clean for me. All that yummy food brought out to me so nicely.

Then there is the remorse. I have a full(usually over full) tummy. I also have a bill in front of me for an amount that could feed us at home for a week. Pretty pathetic. Why do I keep doing this to myself? Rich is no help. He loves to go out as much as I do. We really have no other vices. We don't drink, smoke, do drugs or anything else. It's just the restaurants. Good grief.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


What a productive morning and its only 9:30 AM. We had a turkey last night so I threw the carcass and any meat still clinging to it into a pot with the requisite carrots, onions, celery, bay leaves and pepper corns. It smells awesome and will be made into open faced turkey sandwiches later today. The remainder of the broth will be canned up later.

They had ham at the fire station this week. Rich asked for the ham bone and brought it home to me. They all thought he was nuts, but I love it! I had the white beans that Loni had given me and so we have free ham and bean soup!

Ham and Bean Soup

2 cups white beans
1 meaty ham bone
1 onion chopped
2 bay leaves
6 peppercorns
water to cover

Soak the beans the night before. The day of drain the beans and throw them in the pot with the remainder of the ingredients. Put enough water in to cover the beans by about 1 inch. Probably about 4 cups. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 2 hours. Pul out bay leaves and pepper corns as best you can. Pull meat off of bone and discard bone. Mash soup slightly with a potato masher. Yummy with crusty bread or corn bread.

Now on to the bread. I've been reading a lot about no knead bread and finally decided to try it. You combine all the ingredients with a spoon and let it sit for 12-18 hours. In the morning you fold it over once or twice and let it rest for 15 minutes. Then make it into a ball and place it on a floured dish towel and cover with another towel. Let it rise for 1-2 hours. Put a dutch oven in the oven and turn it on to 475. When hot turn the dough into the pan and cover it. Bake for 30 minutes then remove cover for 10-15 minutes. It looks awesome and I can't wait to eat it.

I'm also trying an experiment with the celery. I took the root end of the celery and put it in potting soil and put it in the window. I'm told it will grow more celery from the one root. Since we don't use much celery, this could last for quite a while.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Getting things done

It's been a productive morning so far. School with Noah went quite well today. He finished his 1st grade grammar book that he loves and we'll be starting grade 2 on Monday.

Then it was off to the basement. I had to clean off the work bench that Rich had been using since we bought the house 5 years ago. It was a mess and I know he has no idea what is truly there. Everything just went into boxes for now and moved to another section. I needed his workbench for the plants. He had the only area with a bench and electricity. I set up the second grow light and made sure it worked. The plants started the other day haven't started sprouting yet, but seem to be doing ok otherwise. I compacted all the boxes and paraphernalia and put them in the recycling pile. We bought a new set of shelves to go in there when Rich has a chance to help me.

After that Morgan helped me repackage the whole wheat flour, cornmeal and oatmeal that I had gotten in bulk. It made things much neater and safer from bugs etc. Everything got labeled and dated and neatly stored. I'm planning to go to the LDS cannery with Lauren next week, so I need space to put my new stuff. There is so much in the basement and as long as it stays neat and organized, its fine. Unfortunately it has been a big mess lately, so I needed to fix that. I made lots of headway today. The rest will get done when Rich can come and help me.

The next project was more plant starts.

I planted

broccoli 24
cabbage 6
lettuce 12
hostas 6
echinacea 6

These and all things planted will be split with my mom and any extras will go to friends. I'm trying to encourage any and everyone to start a garden this year. Even if they only put in a tomato plant or some herbs, its a start. I feel very strongly that we need to be more active in our food production. Its all well and good to guy local, even better to grow whatever you can for yourself. Food not lawns!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Planting day

In the ongoing effort to do it all, I have planted 72 cells of veggies, herbs and flowers today. I got one of the 72 cell starter kits from Walmart and happily went about planting anything I could. Strangely, I hope it is way too much.

Tomatoes planted
Delicious 12
Berkeley Tie Dyed 6
Zebra 1
Bull's Heart 1
Wisconsin 55 2
Wayahead 2
Yellow Pear 2
Super Marmande 2
Super Beefsteak 1
San Marzano 1

Peppers Planted

Mini Bell 6
Quadrato D'Asti 6
Chili De Comidia 2
Cayenne 3
Hot Cherry Pepper 3
Long Red Slim 2
Pimento 2

Herbs planted
Sage 2
Thyme 4
Basil 4

Flowers planted

Marigold 5
Zinnia 3

I also set up the heat mat under it and set up the first set of grow lights. The grow lights won't get lit for a few days until the seeds sprout, but I wanted to make sure they worked. I need to go downstairs to set up the other set for the same reason. Lowes had peat pots in multiple sizes, so I got small and big 5" pots to transplant into.

The basil Lori gave me and the parsley are growing like crazy. The onions are in the compost heap, because they died. Noah planted 6 egg carton cells with broccoli and they seem to be doing well. There are a few that are starting to poke up through the soil.

Lori and Al are coming up in a week or so to till the garden for me. Then I can get busy planting the peas and any other early things out. Rich is going to have to move the rest of the pavers for me so that I can put the fence posts in. Then whenever Al has a chance he can come and til without us even being here. He's such a handy guy to have around.

I can't wait to see how all the plants come up. Its so exciting!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Frugality, or the lack thereof

I like to talk about being frugal. I like to make plans to be frugal. I like to harrass my poor husband to be frugal. Then I like to go out to eat. Its pretty pathetic.

There is a wonderful list of what we'll be eating this week up on the refrigerator. Somehow, that hasn't happened this week. Rich has been at the station, or out on a job for just about every night this week. I went out with some of the moms from our homeschool group on Tuesday night as well, so I haven't done a whole lot of cooking this week. Last night I had chicken all pulled out ready to make into something fabulous. Somehow that didn't happen and we ended up going out for dinner.

Yes, I feel terrible. We could have used that money to pay off the myriad of bills. Somehow that just didn't happen though. I have no willpower. Tonight we are shooting a wedding so we'll have really dry tasteless chicken for dinner and the kids will be at Grandma and Grandpa's. I promise I will use my culinary talents and cook all next week. I promise.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Starting veggies from seed

This is the first year I'll be starting things from seed. I have already started a few things and learned a few things.

Onions- These were started 3 weeks ago in a plastic bin that formerly housed some of the kids art supplies. I washed it out well and filled it with starter soil. This was then covered with plastic wrap and set in the window. The seeds sprouted a few days later and I was very excited. However, I think I left the plastic on too long. There is now fuzzy white mold on the soil and the onions are dying. Lesson learned is to take off the plastic as soon as they sprout.

Parsley- These were started about a month ago and took a little over a week to sprout. I started them in paper cups and put them in the same from window. All 7 seeds sprouted and they are doing quite well. The problem became that the bottom of the paper cups started to mold. So on Saturday I replanted them all into their own little styrofoam cups and returned them to the window. They seem to be doing quite well. I think there will be a lot of friends with parsley planted in their gardens this year.

I've been anxious to get a cold frame made. The idea of extending the growing season is very exciting to me. There have been some windows that were removed from the kitchen last summer sitting outside waiting to be used. I had talked to quite a few people about helping me to build one, since I have no idea how to build anything. It seemed pretty easy. Just a box with slanted opening and glass on the top on hinges. I even went and got some lumber to do such a thing.

Then I chickened out and called my wonderful new brother in law Al. He's such a sweetie. He's been busily getting their own land ready to start a market garden. My SIL Lori had wanted one as well and so while he made one for her, he made one for me! It is so nice and he used plexiglass instead of the windows. We went and picked it up yesterday from their house. I got to see what they are doing and what they are planning. My goodness is that going to be lots of work! Lori and I swapped some seeds and talked a bit before she had to run off to work. I'm hoping to be able to get down there and help them plant all those wonderful veggies this spring.

We got the fencing for my garden. This year it will be just over 1000 sq ft. Since that is about 5 times the size of last years garden its a big leap for me. My mom actually thinks I'm insane and she's probably right. I would love to be able to grow the years worth of certain veggies for us. There will be various squashes, cabbage, broccoli, beans green and dried, beets, carrots, parsnips and of course tomatoes. I can't wait to try all the new varieties of tomatoes this year. There will also be a number of varieties of peppers both sweet and hot. The plan is to dry theses and use them for chile powders. I also have some garlic planted, but since we use a ton of that, I won't have nearly enough for the whole year. I can't wait to get started. The bulk of the seed starting will happen this week under the grow lights in the basement. It's all so exciting.

Let's start bloggin

I'm hoping to be able to track things here. Recipes will be posted and gardening and the like will be tracked for me to look back at in the future.