Thursday, June 7, 2012

Today is an exciting day.  Today we are going to eat our first meal from the garden.  I suppose 'meal' is a little misleading.  We picked 1 cup of spinach, not enough for a salad, but maybe I'll add it to our lettuce.  These things make me so happy.  It's a landmark day in our summer.

Here is our new garden.  This one we planted on May 11th.  We covered it with plastic and made a nice little green house to protect it from the frosts that we've had since then.  I think next year we could start earlier.

Nothing else is even close to ready yet,  so it's lots of spinach for now.  If you're like me and will only be eating spinach for the next month check out this website for important info on spinach.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

  Alex and I have always dreamed of being those types of real gardeners,  the kind that eat there own carrots all year and never buy a store bought tomato and have enough to feed their neighbours too.  The problem is, we suck at gardening.  I don't have a clue what I'm doing and Alex is usually too busy to help me out.  This year though,  we both want to make an effort.  We really want to be amazing gardeners,  it might not happen this year,  but at least we'll try some new things and maybe learn what works and what doesn't.  So,  here is a tour of our soon to be garden.

This is the first time ever we have tried to start our own seeds.  We used egg cartons, milk cartons, and last years seedling pots and then strawberry containers to make a little green house. So far, so good but, I hear the tricky part is transitioning them to the garden.

And here is our new garden.  Soil to come soon (hopefully).  We are going to try the square foot gardening method,  we'll see how it goes.  After a few years of our garden getting completly washed out or having terrible weeds or some type of disease we finally took the plunge and got raised beds.  I'm so excited.

This is our compost system.  We put all of our new compost in the garbage can with holes in it.  We roll it around everyday to mix it up.  Then we store our almost ready compost in this box type thingy that Alex made out of old pallets he got for free at home hardware.

I can't wait for the weather to get nice.  I'll try to update our garden progress through out the summer.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

And the secret ingredient is.....

       Last week I wrote about how I'm trying new vegetables.  Kale was our big suprise,  we love kale and I'm constanly finding ways to add it to our food.  This week's secret ingredient is  Fennel.  I don't know a thing about fennel,  except what I need to know and that is this.... it's a cure for gas.  A few people in my household may or may not have an 'issue' with flatulence,  that's all I'm saying.  But, we've been enjoying having fennel around.
       So,  what do you do with fennel?   I really don't know.  I chopped it up and ate it fresh,  it tasted like celery but sweeter.  I also added it to my potato soup in place of celery.  It tasted the same.  Looking online for recipes was no help,  it seems that most people who cook with fennel also cook with things that are outside my sphere of home cookin'.  Food snobs I call them.
       Anyways,  fennel is here to stay.  If anybody has some regular person recipe that uses fennel, please share.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Real Food Menu Planning

This post is actually about how I don't menu plan.  In the past I've been a big fan of planning our meals,  it just seems to make the week go easier and I think I do a better job of using all my food and saving a bit of money.  These days though,  I don't know how to cook.  Real Food is very new to me.  It used to be that I knew that in a pinch I could always throw a roast in the crock pot with a can of mushroom soup,  serve it with pasta and some frozen peas and everyone would be happy.  But, alas those are the old days, time to become fluent in the language of 'real'.

This is what we've been doing lately.  Alex goes grocery shopping once a week and has WAY too much fun in the produce section.  He comes home with piles of fruits and vegetables and then it's my job to figure out how to use them.  It's a very fun challenge to find ways to use everything by the time he goes shopping again.  Basically this is what I do everyday.  I decide on the meat and prepare it.  I then say a little prayer and go to my fridge and just start taking out vegetables and chopping and sauteeing or roasting.  I make myself try new combinations and new (to me) ways of preparing them.  In general I've learned that as long as I can add a good layer of cheese it will always be okay.
Here is one of our favorite recipes that 'just happened'.

Upsidedown Shepard's Pie (that doesn't really fit,  but I have no better ideas for a name)

1. Brown a pound of hamburger.
2.Chop up a large sweet potato and boil until soft.
3.Sautee some mushrooms in butter and then add a bunch of chopped up kale and some minced garlic and cook until the kale is wilted.
4. Layer in a casserole dish;  sweet potato,  kale and mushrooms, hamburger and of course top with cheese.
5.  Bake for about 20 mins at 350 F.

Two months ago I didn't know what kale was.  I thought it was a seaweed,  I think that's kelp.  I have yet to try kelp.

This has been shared at Healthy 2day Wednesdays and Frugal Days Sustainable Ways.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

through the Bible in 90 days

  This isn't really regular programing here,  but I wanted to write about something I'm doing.  I've started reading the Bible in 90 days.  I've done this once before so I know what I'm getting myself into.  I'm really excited.  These past few weeks have been really tiring and it's become increasingly apparent that the most important thing I can do as a mom is read my Bible all the time.  Reading on a fast schedule like this puts everything in a different perspective.  For instance, it was once a drudgery to get through Leviticus,  it was so long and by the time you're near the end you could really care less who the Levites were and why they had a bunch of laws.  On this schedule Leviticus takes 2 and a half days and it's actually really fascinating in the perspective of the Exodus account.  The reading takes me about 45 minutes.  I read here and there throughout the day and then just finish up when the boys are in bed.  I like reading around the boys because they inevitably will ask about what I'm reading.  It's made for some memorable conversations.
Anyways,  that's what I'm doing these days.  If you're interested here's the schedule.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ranch Dressing

We are pretty addicted to this stuff.  When I was pregnant with Bennett we started going through bottles of ranch dressing like nobody's business.  We almost never eat salad, but we put ranch dressing on everything. Have you ever looked at the ingredients?  First of all there are tons of them and sugar is only third on the list.  I'm a bit on the hypoglycemic side so I need to limit my sugar and it really bugs me when something that is not even sweet uses up my sugar quota.  There is also MSG and a bunch of ingredients I can't say.  Since this is hardly 'real food' there is no longer a place for bottled ranch dressing in our home.  This is not as sad as it seems because I have finally found a recipe I love.

'Real Food' Ranch

homemade sour cream
onion flakes
parsley flakes
apple cider vinegar

No measuring, just throw it all together until it tastes good, add yogurt or kefir to make it a bit more like dressing.

this post was shared at domestically divine tuesdays, Real Food Wednesdays and healthy 2day Wednesdays.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Baby Bum Balm

I love this stuff!!  It's really easy to make and really cheap and it really works.

Baby Bum Balm

3 parts olive oil
1 part beeswax
vitamin E oil.

put the olive oil and beeswax in a jar and place the jar in a pot of boiling water.

I'm also making hand lotion.

When it's melted, add a little bit of vitamin E oil,  about 1/4 tsp. 

I poured it into an old diaper cream tin.

Let it cool in the fridge.  That's all you have to do.  This stuff works really well,  Bennett had a pretty good diaper rash when I made this for him and it cleared it up super fast.  It's so cheap you can use it at every diaper change to prevent a rash.

My master plan is to have an amazing garden this summer and to grow calendula flowers in it.  Then, I will infuse the oil with calendula flowers before I make the bum balm.  Apparently calendula is really good for treating rashes, eczema and even fungal infections.

Also,  I couldn't find beeswax in stores,  maybe I didn't look in the right places or maybe stores don't carry it because nobody else is interested in making things from beeswax.  So,  I called up a local bee keeper,  they had lots of beeswax they were happy to get rid of.  It was a win win.

This post was shared at Simple Lives Thursday and Your Green Resource Thursdays.