Archive for Gardening

Groceries for a Month?

For a while now I’ve wanted to reduce the number of times I grocery shop per month. Now, that being said, I have to be honest and say that normally I shop twice per month. But that’s too much for me. I HATE grocery shopping. I would rather do just about anything than have to navigate my cart around all those people on their motorized scooters and listen to them mutter under their breath that all of us walkers should be more courteous to those on scooters- even though they just cut you off back on isle 9 and are now asking you to hand them a can of green beans. Um no. And then you get to stand in line for 20 minutes- on a good day! It’s not so much the “shopping”- i like looking at different things and seeing the new foods an coming up with all kind of ideas of great things I could cook- if I had the time! It is the people. And I know that sounds horrible- but when you work with the general public all day you are a little less tolerant of their shenanigans after 5. But…I love to eat. And I love to cook. And I really like to cook and eat (somewhat) healthfully. So shopping is a necessary evil.

So back in mid-September I decided October would be different. I would shop once. I also decided I would NOT fill my cart with processed junk that you can just reheat because- that’s the stuff that lasts the longest. I would not spend more than $200. That’s a pretty lofty goal but if you know me- you know I like lofty goals.

So I made a menu and a list.
Here is my menu:
Spicy Thai Noodle Bowl
Hamburgers
Sandwiches
Chicken and Rice
Chicken Cordon Blue
Bean and Rice Burritos
Grilled Steaks with veggies
Black Bean Soup
Tomato Soup
Roast with Potatoes an Carrots
Homemade Chili
Asian Salad
Salisbury Steak c Mashed Potatoes
Lasagna

This is 14 main meals. I know you’re thinking “what about the other 17 days in October?” Well, we eat leftovers and all recipes are for 4 and there are 2 of us. So this should cover us for dinners.

For lunches: we will have either a) left overs b) sandwiches/wraps c) tuna salad d) starve

Here is my grocery list:
Gatorade *2,Tea bags, milk, cereal -2 boxes, breakfast bars – 2boxes, bacon – 2 pkgs, cottage cheese- lg tub, cream cheese, yogurt – 2lg tubs, 1 pkg English muffins (12 in pk), 1 pkg linguine, 1 pkg lasagna, 2 pkgs chili mix, 1 box macaroni and cheese, 1 small pkg velveeta cheese, 1 box orzo, 1 lg bag shredded cheese, 2 frozen pizzas, 1 pkg hot dogs, 1 can chili, 1 bag sugar snap peas, 1 lg bag spinach, 1 bag apples, 1 bag potatoes, 6 plums, 1 bag frozen chicken breasts, 2 steaks, 1 lg roast, onions, 3 bell peppers, 1 pkg mushrooms, 1 can peanuts, 1 can mushrooms, 2 lg containers chicken broth, 3 containers cherub tomatoes, 1 bag dry black beans, 1 bag corn chips, 1 bag pretzels, beer can chicken spice, 3 cans pumpkin, 1 can tomato paste, 1 lg can crushed tomatoes, 2 can title, 1 jar alfredo sauce, sour cream, 1 box wheat thins, 1 dzn eggs, 2 cans cream of chicken, 1 sm heavy cream.

Total cost (including $13 spent on toilet paper) $195.62

Now- I already have: 4 lbs ground meat, 1/2 dzn eggs, canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, flank steak- 2 lbs, and some frozen veggies.

On October 1st I will start cooking according to my menu. I will do a weekly post to let you know What I’m cooking, if we’ve eaten out, and other general info about this adventure! Stay tuned!!!!

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Porches

Like all good Southerner ladies I picked up the August edition of Southern Living today. I love that magazine- saying anything negative about it would, in my opinion, be blasphemy.
My fondness of the magazine stems largely from my memories of looking at them growing up. My Mimi always got Southern Living in the mail. We would go to the post office and pick up the mail on Saturdays and the first thing I did was thumb through looking at the beautiful homes and tasty looking recipes. Looking at the magazine today is a bit of nostalgia for me. It brings back that familiar feeling. I love it.

This month’s addition has an article called The Porch written by Rick Bragg that gave me that old feeling and brought memories to light that had began to fade. While reading Mr. Bragg’s memories of his childhood porch, I was compelled to share memories I have of sitting on front porches as a child.

I was blessed enough to grow up knowing my great-grandparents. We visited them every single Sunday from the time I was born until they passed away when I was about 14. We may have missed one every now and then, but in my mind’s eye and memory, it seems like literally every Sunday the entire family would gather for lunch.
When I think back on those days I remember several things, but I wish I could recall every single detail. It’s funny how things don’t seem that important until they don’t happen anymore. I long to hold on to some of those traditions because they were fun. They were simple. And they made me who I am.

Blue Cream Soda
One of my great-uncles always brought a cooler full of these that sat on the porch for the day. I don’t know that he particularly like them- I’m assuming he must have- but who knows??? When I see one now I HAVE to have it. It’s no longer a drink to me- it’s an experience.

Home Made Ice Cream
Vanilla, strawberry, and peach. I don’t remember any other flavors ever being made. Who needs anything else when you have Heaven in a bowl? I made my own this year for July 4th. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time and it made me think- I am now the age that the old generation was when they started doing the exact thing for their families. That is a special feeling.

Porch Swings
They are the most therapeutic thing in existence. If more people had them, more therapists would be out of work! We use to swing like our life depended on it. The kids would get into arguments over “whose turn” it was! On a hilarious note- some cousins and I were swinging, and I guess there were too many of us or we were too heavy, or maybe someone just did a really crappy job of hanging the swing, but it fell while we were mid-swing! I barely remember that now- but it still makes me chuckle! Typing this now make me realize how much I want a swing!

42
If you know what it is- you rock! If you don’t, I’m sorry, you have truly missed out!
42 is a domino game. Usually people play on teams of two. I haven’t played on for-ev-er… So I can’t remember all the rules. I’m going to have to re-learn! Anyway, the “old people” always played when I was growing up- very loudly! I’m talking slamming dominoes on the table, keeping score, raising voices. Thinking back, that was kind of extreme.

Walking
We must have walked thousands of miles. For no good reason, we just walked to walk…and talk. Granny and Paw Paw lived about 150 yards from my Mimi and Papa and about 100 yards from the cemetery where most of our family is buried. We walked to the cemetery all the time (yep, kinda creepy!) Granny would tell us stories about the different people who were buried there. I don’t really know how that got started- but it was nice.

Cousins
I have 11 first cousins and got to see all of them on a regular basis. I didn’t realize it then but that is special. Not many kids get the chance to have those close relationships. Not all of us went to school together- but we knew on Sundays everyone would be there telling tales, playing hide and go seek, and just plain having fun.

Go sit on your porch. Or your neighbor’s porch. Or, for that matter, anyone’s porch who will let you sit with them a spell. Listen to the cicadas sing. Swat mosquitos. Take it all in.

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Empty Promises or I Swear I’ll Be A Better Blogger…someday.

It’s been a long time blogger friends…a very long time! Before you start throwing cyber stones at me, please give me a chance to explain. I haven’t been a neglectful blog-writer just because. I have reasons!

I haven’t shared this with you all before, but in my attempt to redeem myself I’ll share the reason for my hiatus. Brace yourself- my husband has been battling cancer. Since January we have faced 2 surgeries, a round of radiation, multiple physician visits, and a mountain made up of fear and worry. It has been a beautiful and traumatic journey that has not been nearly as bad as one would imagine. However, cancer sucks. It’s no fun. It takes you (and your emotions) to hell and back. It is more exhausting and trying than anything I could possibly imagine! But we have made it! I have the urge to shout that from the roof tops! WE HAVE MADE IT! We have lots of follow ups to come, but hopefully, we are on the down hill slope and D will have a complete cure. This is my prayer and my meditation daily.

I have not shared that with you before for many reasons. Lack of time and a need for privacy being the two most prominent. And because honestly I really haven’t given much thought to the backyard in the last several months. I am only divulging it now because you, my readers, deserve at least that nugget of information. I hope that you’ll all be understanding and give me another chance to entertain you with tales from my backyard!

We are down to 2 chickens. Harry and Sally. Sally laid her very first egg last week! We aren’t sure of the day but when we found her “stash” there were 3 there- so its safe to assume she’d been laying for 3 days. Harry refuses to lay an egg. I think it’s her way of punishing me and D for giving her a boy name. Maybe she’s sexually confused. IDK. I’ve been letting them free range around the backyard since it’s just the two of them and they love it!

I plan on bringing more chickens into our brood in the next couple of months. I want to get them past the tiny baby stage before it starts getting cool. Stay tuned for that!

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Caterpillar eggs

Have you ever seen one??? Until this year I hadn’t! I don’t know how, but I had inhabited this Earth for 25 years without ever seeing this before:

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Now, this isn’t something that you would see and forget about (at least I wouldn’t!) so tell me how I’ve missed out on the knowledge of these for my entire life???!!!!

I’ve decided caterpillars are something “good” gardeners use to make you feel inadequate. I mean, they are naturally here and left alone they will ruin your entire crop of tomatoes before you can blink…but has anyone ever told you that you can pick off the leaves before these little puppies hatch (thus saving your precious tomatoes)? Nope- me neither…instead, I was told things like “oh yeah, those caterpillars will just eat up your tomatoes if you dont watch it” or “just put some pesticides on those plants to keep the worms off!”
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have a side of sevin-dust with my tomato and cucumber salad…all the antioxidants in the world couldn’t possibly help me out with the blight that would surely bring!
So here is a little gardening tip I picked up from my garden guru (aka my husband 🙂 ): look at the bottoms of all of the leaves on your tomatoes plants. If you see little clusters of eggs (see picture above or below) pick that leaf off and discard it somewhere far away from your plants.
I have not put any pesticides on my plants all year and have only lost 2 or 3 tomatoes to caterpillars- and all of those got eaten up before my hubby shared this little golden nugget of information with me 🙂 remember, for this to work, you really need to do it at least every other day. I do it about that often and still find eggs here and there.

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Tomatoes!

Hi fellow bloggers! I know that from my last blog entitled “I’m Back”, you probably assumed I’d get back to making regular posts. NOT! For some unknown reason I’ve had a case of laziness writers block and truthfully, the backyard has been a pretty uneventful place.

The chickens have been scratching around the yard…there are still two of them- so I’m deeming myself a chicken raising master!

We’ve been getting a little rain and it has been H-O-T so the grass has been growing like crazy!

Guess what else has been growing like crazy… Yep! The garden has been growing by leaps and bounds every week- but it hasn’t been anything really picture worthy because, other than a few cukes and some okra, nothing had really ripened yet…until today!

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I picked these today! And they were delish!!!!!!!

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These 4 are Early Girls. I guess the name is appropriate because they were the first to ripen! By the end of the week there will be even more to pick from some of the other plants!

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I’m Back!

Hi fellow bloggers! After a brief hiatus, I’m back! It feels so great to be back in the backyard and working in my garden!

I was stunned to see the growth that occurred in just 1 week! Yes, I was only gone 1 week…and yes, I know I haven’t blogged in 2 weeks I wish that I could just sit in the backyard all the time and blog continuously about all the awesomeness that occurs here…but unfortunately life gets in the way of that…maybe one day I can find a way to get paid for working in my garden!!! That would rock!

Check out what’s been happening around here lately:

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I am SO proud of my first bounty! It was very therapeutic to pull these things off the vine…I cannot explain the satisfaction it brought me! I am instantly regretting not planting more!

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These are just a couple of shots of the whole garden. Isn’t it amazing what you can do in such a small space?

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I even had this little lady visit the backyard today! Nothing puts me in a good mood like seeing a lady bug! Don’t make fun of me…I’ll take good luck any way I can get it!!!

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And now for a little confession- I’m down to these two chickens. I know- It seems like I have completely sucked at raising these chicks! However, it has just been a series of unfortunate events (the hawk and Cotton- our dog, being those unfortunate events) that have placed me in this position! I feel terrible for these little guys because between watching the sky for the next dive bomb and trying to keep one eye on our sneaky blue healer, they can’t catch a minutes rest!
I have vowed to keep a closer eye on them, and if these two make it to the fall “D” and I are going to build them a better coup with a protected little yard just for them!

I am about to begin canning so I can put up some of my veggies. Anyone know of a good book?

As always, thanks for stopping by the backyard! Come back soon!

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What’s the dill, pickle?!?!

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Look what came out of the garden!

D and I are still away, but my mom is keeping an eye on the backyard…and one of the perks of watching someone’s garden for them is that if anything matures or ripens while you’re there you get to eat it! So my mom got to enjoy this little puppy! She said it was delish! I cannot wait to get home and try one!

Anyone have a great pickle recipe? I want to can some when all my cucumbers are ready!

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