Posts Tagged ‘food’

This year I was so lucky that Jason and I’s friend Mike offered us a huge amount of space in his huge backyard for a garden. You see he wants to garden and has a yard, but has never really gardened before. I have gardened before – pretty much my whole life except for the last 3 years – and want to so badly! So he tilled up a 20 X 24 foot plot and is letting me do whatever I want to in it. All he asks is that there are lots of green beans, potatoes, carrots, and onions – easy! I want all those things too!


After an average of 4 hour a day for the last 3 days (saturday, sunday and today) I finally have everything all set and planted. Just some twice a week weeding, daily watering, and more seeds in 3 weeks so we can get some staggered harvests.

So what did I plant? it’s a long list.



Leafy Greens

Lettuce – four seasons
Lettuce Romaine Cos
Lettuce Salad Bowl Red
Lettuce Tango
Lettuce Blackseeded Simpson
Lettuce Oakleaf
Lettuce Romaine Cimmaron
Lettuce Ruby
Spinach Bloomsdale
Swiss Chard Golden
Swiss Chard Magenta
Endive Broadleaf Batavia
Mustard Mizuna
Mustard Red Giant
(all the the above were in a great huge packet labeled Sassy Salad Mesclun)

I already kicked a bird out of the salad patch – he was eating up all my seeds! B@#%ARD!


Tomatoes – beefsteak, large red cherry, celebrity, and rutgers select
Jalapeno Peppers
California Wonder Orange
Poblano Peppers
Sugar Snap Peas
Carrots – danvers half long, little fingers, danneens
Table Queen Squash
Small Sweet Pumpkin
Black Beauty Zucchini
Black Diamond Watermelon
Beet – Detroit Dark Red
Peas – Early Frost
Radish blend
Green Pole Beans


Onions – yellow and white
Potatoes – red, russet, sweet potatoes, and some other potato I can’t remember the name of


Cardinal Climber
Canterbury Bells
Bachelor Buttons
Candy Tuff
Four O Clocks
Sweet Peas
Black Eyed Susan Vine
California Orange Poppy
Morning Glories
Moon Flowers
Grandmother’s Cut Flower Garden (seed mix from botanical interests)
The flowers are mostly borders or fit in with the herb patches. I had a lot of really old seeds from 4+ years ago that I just spread around. So even though the list of flowers looks long, I’m expecting most of them will not be showing their pretty heads around the garden this year.

Today I did the final planting and built a compost bin. When I got home I did my frist test run of canning. The way I figure it I want to have everything all square and figured out by the time I start getting huge yeilds of tomatoes and basil (I planted so much basil so I could make a ton of pesto and can it for the winter). I’m going to do another test run of canning tomorrow and I’ll take pictures so I can post them and some general instructions and links to canning veggies.

Oh you can see how I built my compost bin on Craft Leftovers – like how I built up the pile and also how I made this “open” pile into a dog safe pile.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a post about canning. I can’t wait to try my hand at strawberry jam – yum yum yum!



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Last week was strange anyway because we had a ton of leftovers from Jason’s surprise birthday party. A few brats, lot’s of veggies, potato chips and dip mainly. So we snacked on that until lunch on Sudnay.

Sunday for dinner we had some great spaghetti mince up for dinner – just mince up any veggies in the frig (onions, tomatoes, and a portabello mushroom from grilling out), sauté in just a little butter, and then add in a little spaghetti sauce at a time until there is a nice sauce. Make noodles and enjoy! We had a salad on the side too. Quite delicious!

Yesterday was a fend for yourself day, and here we are at today. Jason made Tuna Helper for lunch (he bought tuna in bulk from amazon, so it’s about 4 servings for under $3 when you throw some veggies into the mix). And for dinner we are just doing our own thing – I’m thinking pb&j with some yogurt for me and he will have what he will have.

After reading about the JANE4girls blog (which we did connect up through email and she’s agree to answer some questions for us, what would like to know? leave a comment with your question and I’ll make sure to ask her) and listening to Mindless Eating (audio book), I really feel like there is so much room in my diet to cut back. I feel like if she can feed a family of 4 on that much, I can certainly feed a family of 2! Things like cream and sugar in my coffee every morning, randomly eating a bonbon or a plate of nachos. I’m starting to follow the “if you are hungry, drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes” rule to see if I’m really hungry or if I’m just randomly craving. I’m happy to report that last night Jason and I had nachos (we shared a plate and loaded it with tomatoes, onions and peppers and skimped on the cheese) and we both wanted more after we had finished. We decided to wait 10 minutes and you know what? We ended up both being just fine and not really hungry at all. It was all in our heads.

I’ve been struggling with my weight lately. I just want to be healthy and while I have been working out more and trying to keep my cardio up, my food life could really use a face lift. It’s not that I eat bad food (I’m usually pretty good about that), it’s that I eat too much. Like I’ll eat until it hurts… which is honestly hard for me to admit.  I think there are a few different things that lead to me overeating every day. It really did start when I was a kid. We didn’t get to have treats to often and when we did we all had a tendency to overdo it. Like we would get ice cream and eat a huge bowl instead of just a scoop. Portion control was always an  issue in my family. And even now I know my dad really struggles with it too. And I am my father’s daughter. If I’m eating something good, I want to eat as much as I can because “I don’t know when I’ll get it again.” I’m pretty financially secure now. Yes on a budget, but I can afford to get ice cream when I want it or chips or whatever. And Once I realized that I’ve been making progress on portion control.

From listening to Mindless Eating I’ve come to realize that the extra cream in my coffee, eating two extra bites instead of just one, will add up to 10lbs extra over the course of the year. And on the flip side. If I eat one bite less, if I go with a teaspoon of cream instead of a tablespoon, it could be 10lbs less over the course of the year. And let’s face it, the less you eat, the less you spend in groceries.

Oddly enough, Jason has the opposite problem as me, he eats less than he should. And so we really are both working on finding balance in our portions and snacks and treats. I heard yesterday on npr that a Snack is something you eat regularly between meals to keep you going – like an apple or yogurt or peanut butter toast. A Treat is something you have occasionally as, well, a treat. Like ice cream or cake, or a package of m&m’s. I really like the way they put that. We all know what are favorite treats are, but do we know what our favorite snacks are? This week I’m going to focus on healthy snacks. I’ll post each day what I snack on and my snack time will be 3pm.

I’ve put myself on a regular work schedule this past week and so I know 3pm is an ideal snack time for me (half way between lunch and dinner). I’ll just snap a photo and post about it and then post some links to some other snack ideas.

I was going to post a meal plan today, but because of last week’s crazy food issues I’m going to hold off until next monday. This week I’m going to plan from the pantry. I don’t have a plan yet though, so I’ll post about that tomorrow once I do!

See you soon!


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I LOVE popcorn. I have since I was a kid. It was always a special treat when we made it on the stove with lots of melted butter and salt and YUM! And it was always accompanied by a movie and paper cones made from construction paper and lots of friends (each kiddo was given their own cone of pop corn to eat out of while watching the movie). I think our parents would all rotate who had all the kids for a movie night so it was good for them and for us. So all growing up we had it, and then even when I was a teenager – with the microwave and microwave popcorn becoming popular – it was always a tasty treat. When I moved away to collage I didn’t have a microwave, just a toaster oven. I went back to making popcorn on the stove and I loved it all the more! Being in the middle of the corn belt there are a lot of local farms that sell pop corn and believe it or not, they all taste different and have different textures!

I was shocked when I learned a lot of my friends and classmates didn’t know how to make popcorn on the stove! Travesty!


So here is how you make popcorn for 1 to 2 people.

Popcorn :: The Yummiest!

1/4 cup pop corn kernels
1 T. oil (olive oil or canola works well)

NOTE: Popcorn kernels can be purchased by the bag at any grocery store, but in bulk is pretty cheap at the natural food store. And like with beans there is more of a turn around there, so you will know they are fresh.

Place kernels and oil in a small sauce pan.
Swirl around so all the kernels are coated with the oil.


Cover with a tightly fitted lid and turn on the burner to medium high heat.

Let it sit until you hear sizzling or the first kernel pop. From then on give the pan a good horizontal shake
every few seconds (especially when the popping really gets going).

Once the popping slows down (or there is more than 20 seconds between pops) place popcorn into a bowl and place pan lid on the top – to keep a late popper from exploding out of the bowl and taking a dozen pieces of popcorn with it). And when pouring it into the bowl, keep the lid semi over the pan. The reason you remove the popcorn right away is that the bottom kernels will actually burn… and burnt popcorn stinks like no other!


Right after I took this picture one kernel actually popped – trust me, if that lid wasn’t on there it would be a mess, haha.

Now, for toppings. A big part of how healthy (or unhealthy) popcorn is, is determined by what you put on it. Using a light oil to pop it in and eating a small portion helps.


Use sea salt instead of table salt for some good sodium.

Add some kick by tossing in some cracked pepper.

If you like cheesy popcorn a good alternative is using nutritional yeast (like a 1/2 T. is good). Use the flaked instead of the powdered (which I tend to literally inhale and then I cough like mad for 5 minutes).


Nutritional Yeast is pretty great stuff. It has 8g of protein per 2T, is low in sodium, and has lots of other random nutrients that vegans and vegetarians need but may not get otherwise. It makes a great crust on baked tofu too. I’ve heard people like it on toast and other things like that. So far, a topping for popcorn is my favorite use for it.

Any kind of herb is yummy on there – particularly thyme in my case – but everyone is different.

What do you like to put on your popcorn?

Until next time, have a happy thrift kitchen!

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Soaked and Rinsed Beans

Anytime I decide to make something myself I’m faced with issues of cost of materials, energy, and time. How much am I really saving when I make something myself? Well, if done right, a whole lot actually!

I love beans. There are to me a magical food filled with protein and fiber. Low in fat and sugar they make a great protein source in many types of meals. You can mix them into salads, stir fries, casseroles, stews, and of course chili!

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