Saturday, July 30, 2011

time to head to the farmer's market

Since I am having so many struggles, with my garden, I turn to the farmer's market. (it's really more of a road side stand, but they are home farmers so....) There isn't a whole lot yet, but I was so happy to find some new potatoes!

The potatoes will be sauteed tomorrow, with some onions, fresh herbs and garlic. {I will quarter them first} YUM!

I also found some zucchini. I didn't get a picture of it. I came home and got right to work turning them into stuffed zucchini. This is one of my family's favorites. I only make it during the summer, so it's an annual treat. Sorry family. Normally, it wouldn't cost anything to head outside and harvest some, but we were happy to support the local farmer. The guy put us on his email list, so we will know what he's bringing each week. That's pretty cool. I may not have my own veggies right now, but at least we're helping others.

To make the stuffed zucchini, wash the zucchini and cut off the ends. {Usually about 6 medium sized} Place in boiling water
for about 5 minutes, until softened. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and pulp. Then scoop out a little bit of the flesh, and chop, to use in the filling.

for the filling you will need:

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 pound ground meat

1 cup chopped tomato

1/4 seasoning {I make my own spaghetti seasoning}

1 small can tomato paste

1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

dash of pepper

fresh basil, if desired {I add about 10-12 cut up leaves}

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook meat and onion. Combine with chopped zucchini, tomato, seasoning, tomato paste and cheese. Arrange zucchini in a 9X13" pan. Spoon filling into each zucchini half. Bake for 30 mins.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

coffee time

I love a good cup of coffee. Not in the morning. That's tea time. Early afternoon is coffee time.


There's something comforting and relaxing about going to a coffee shop. Ordering your coffee in a ceramic mug. Not a paper cup. Sitting back and reading the paper, a magazine or a good book. Working on your laptop or visiting with a friend or loved one is also a good choice.

Well, that can't happen everyday. So, you make coffee at home. Really good coffee is not good for the ole budget. I found a solution that works well for me. I buy the store brand coffee, when it goes on sale. I wait for coupons for the really good coffee, also on sale {the kind you need to grind yourself} and get the smallest package the coupon will allow. Hopefully, I have more than one coupon.

When I get home, I grind the beans of the good vanilla coffee. {yum} and mix it approximately half and half with the store brand coffee. This way, I get the tasty expensive coffee, but the pay the store brand price. This last time, I bought a 13 ounce can of coffee and a 1/2 pound of bulk coffee and spent less than $5.00. Since I only drink 1 cup per day, this will last for months! {I make a small pot and keep it in the fridge. I just reheat one cup at a time}

As I type this, I am enjoying a cup of coffee with a pizzelle cookie purchased at the farmer's market. I am using a beautiful mug given to me by my son. Awesome.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nooo! Not my tomato!

Almost two weeks ago, we had a pretty bad summer storm. (I was going to link it here, but my iPad won't support the HTML code. Bummer) if you read my previous post then you know that I pretty much lost all fruits and veggies growing in my garden. I have a few herbs that survived as well as my root veggies.

I did have one tomato plant that survived the hail. The foliage was pretty torn up, but I had one tomato that was going to keep on growing. I was so excited. I have my new canning jars and lids, ready for lots o'tomatoes. Those dreams were crushed. But that's when I saw the ONE Roma tomato. I babied it. I fed it. Watered it. Watched it change from green to yellow to orange. It was just beginning to get a hint of red.
Then I went to the garden this morning. Walking up to greet my one lonely tomato, I discovered it missing. What the heck? Well, I found it. On the other side of the garden. Half eaten. Seriously. If you are going to steal my tomato, at least eat all of it. (squirrel? Raccoon?)

There goes my fantasy of harvesting one tomato this year.

Insert sad face here.

The good news/bad news is this: I left all of the plants in the ground hoping that they would regrow. I watched as my pumpkin and squash plants started regrowing new vines. Good news! Yay! Then, I discovered that the critters have also been dining on my squash blossoms. Ah man! I can't catch a break this summer.

Hopefully, I will be able to harvest herbs this year. At least let me harvest something. No zucchini in the freezer? No raspberry jam in there either? Bummer. If I can't open my freezer, all winter, and have fresh herbs there my heart will break.

I will have carrots and beets for sure. I'm not sure about the potatoes since the vines are completely gone. I thought that they would be fine, but a neighbor informed me that they indeed need the vines to grow underground. We shall see.

The troubles of the home farmer. I can feel the pain of actual farmers that grow cash crops. How devastating to lose all of your hard work to a violent summer storm!

Monday, July 18, 2011

going bananas

Half price bananas! They are still perfect inside, just a little spotty on the outside.

These will become smoothies, bread, cookies, muffins etc.....


Friday, July 15, 2011

I cried a little....


...and this.....

... ended my vegetable garden. All of my yummy veggies. Most of them lovingly grown, from seed, in my kitchen and family room. Gone. 15 minutes of hail. Sad.

My fruit trees lost 90 % of their fruit. No cobblers. No jam. Nada.
Berry bushes? Gone.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


There are about 2 pounds of pinto beans simmering in the Crock Pot. After about 10 hours, those beans will become many yummy things. Tonight, they will become refried beans on top of fried corn tortillas. Yep, tostadas.

In the next few days, they will become baked beans, similar to pork and beans. Just without pork. (not a fan)

Some will be heated up with a little bit of cheese and salsa for a quick yummy lunch.

Later, they will show up in some soups.

There are so may ways to use pinto beans. They are very versatile. I found them for $.50 per pound. Yay!

After they cool, later tonight, I will put about a cup of beans into each Mason jar and then right into the freezer. This is so much cheaper than store bought refrieds and I can control the seasonings. If you freeze your beans, just remember to let them have enough time to thaw. Never thaw them in the microwave. Even thawing in some water could potentially crack your jars.

Next up, black beans. Same process, different day.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Support your local farmer

Today is a perfect day for a stroll around the farmers market. It is sunny and 92 degrees. Since I don't have much to harvest, I like to support the farmers for my veggies.

We didn't get much today. Just some vine ripened tomatoes, a bunch of cilantro, some onions and a nice bag of red cherries. I came home, and made some pico de gallo right away. Yum!

It sure is nice, for this homemaking mama, to get out of the house once in a while.

Happy 4th of July! Stay safe.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Garden update and a bad deal

Even though our neighborhood critters ate most of my seedlings, we are still doing okay in the garden. We have: 2 types of squash, zucchini, pumpkins, 5 tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, potatoes, sweet peppers and herbs: oregano, basil, cilantro, lemon balm, chives, peppermint and spearmint. The weeds are a real challenge this year. There's a lot of digging and mulching, just to try and stay ahead of the weeds. I have been trying a new way to mulch this year. I have been using shredded white paper.So far, so good. I'll have to take some new pictures.

When is a deal a bad idea? When it's bad meat. I recently found ground turkey for $0.99 per pound. The cheapest price I have seen lately has been $2.49. I bought 20 pounds. I cooked it up, and discovered that it doesn't taste very good. Unfortunately, I didn't have a back up plan for dinner. I threw dinner away. I guess I will be taking 19 pounds of meat back to the store. Bummer. Lesson learned.