Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Garden Supply Wishes...and I Need Some Inspiration

Work and home have been so busy lately - I have a moment to catch my breath and mention a few random thoughts I've been kicking around in my head lately:

I'd like to get some of these grow tubs to grow lettuce and herbs in them this gardening season. I've planted lettuce in the ground which grew great, but the herbs...well, not so much. Last year the weeds took over to the point that I couldn't tell the difference between most of my herbs and the weeds. So I gave them up. I'm hoping tubs like these will help me cut down on my *duh* gardening factor.

This composter is one I'm interested in. I won't be making a pile and turning it with a pitchfork - I can easily see myself getting lazy about that. What do you think? I've heard I might need to get 2 if we really get into composting this year. We'll start with 1 and see how it goes.

And our bean challenge...I've fallen woefully behind. We have missed 3 weeks of bean dinners - our family's schedules have changed recently and my cooking habits have changed along with it. Or more accurately, I have not been cooking on a regular basis. What happened to my inspiration and motivation?

Any cooks out there who struggle with occasional boredom? How do you reinspire yourself?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Delicious.com & Twitter

Have you heard of delicious.com? It's a place to put your bookmarks on the web, as opposed to keeping them on your computer. I've put my bookmarks here. Check them out every so often - I'll keep adding.


And also I've been using Twitter more often. If you're Twitter inclined, you can check out my updates. Sometimes musings, sometimes links to things I find interesting.


Let me know what you think!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We've Joined a CSA

We've officially joined our first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Starting in May, we'll get 22 weeks of organic local fruits and vegetables, like these beauties:

This is the "Week 4" box. It includes: Strawberries, Peas, Red Romaine Lettuce, Salad Mix, Spinach, Zuccinni or Summer Squash, Kale or Chard, New Potatoes, Garlic Scapes, & Parsley.

I wasn't sure how many CSA vegetables we could eat per week, considering I'll also be planting my usual garden. So we decided to get a smaller box and split it. This is our maiden voyage - we'll learn more about how much fresh produce we can eat in a week. I'm guessing a lot. We go to the grocery store every few days to replenish our fruits and vegetables, so it will be nice to save ourselves a trip.

The cost for a smaller box size: $470 for 22 weeks. That's $21.36 per week for fresh, locally grown, organic vegetables (and some fruit). This is considerably less than what we typically spend per week on produce. And we'll be splitting our share in 1/2 so we'll be paying $10.68/week. We're lucky our kids eat lots of produce - but man, it gets expensive.

Typically, CSAs have a drop off site (a church parking lot, or even somebody's front porch) and you have to pick up your weekly delivery during a certain date and time. I lucked out my first year - the drop off site is at my employer because they're coordinating a CSA delivery this year.

I'm glad we've accomplished one of our 2009 goals!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Reusing: Art Supplies

  • Today I took the kids to an art supply store that specializes in salvaging items that companies normally throw away. It's a "creative materials reuse store"! We spent $7.20 for the following:
  • Seedling Planter Kits - The pot is an reused utility meter cover - cool idea!
  • Beads (and bead containers)
  • Wax stickers (not sure if these will work!)
  • Confetti
  • Tennis Balls
  • Yarn
  • Cardstock
  • Glow in the dark stickers
I'm not much of an arts-n-crafter type, so I'll have to let the kids take the lead. I'll observe and act as an assitant. The one thing I did suggest we make a tennis ball puppet. We'll see what they come up with!
Epilogue: Here are our tennis ball puppets. Make a cut by the mouth, squeeze to make them "talk".

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Week 33 Bean Challenge: 1 Dinner a Week

Lentil tacos were on the menu for our most recent bean challenge. The reception was lukewarm from the children, but I thought they were tasty. Don't miss the chipotle chiles in adobo sauce that this recipe calls for. You mix it with sour cream, and it gives a really smoky satisfying flavor that you can enjoy as taco topper. If you don't know where to find chipotle chiles, look in the Mexican aisle of your grocery store. It's likely in a small unassuming can, like this.

I had the intent to add some Gimme Lean, which is like Jimmy Dean (see where this is going?) except vegetarian. It's a great alternative to bulk sausage. I struck out at the grocery store - I'll have to buy it at our local co-op. Instead I bought some organic ground turkey to supplement the lentils. Not that lentils need to be supplemented, it was just a thought I wanted to try.

Here is the result, with tomatoes and broccoli on the side.

By the way, my newest YouTube obsession is these videos by 93-year-old Clara called Depression Cooking which are recipes from Clara's Depression Era life-experience. Thanks Tina for alerting me to these. Below is an episode where Clara cooks with Lentils to create a "Poor Man's Feast". Yes - a feast AND lentils. "We have to have lentils. Lentils are not expensive, nourishing and they're good for you." And I love how thinly she slices meat. "We didn't know what thick was".

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Buh-Bye Microcomputer - Reducing

I'd like to publicly thank my friend for giving us a microwave she was no longer using. THANK YOU DEAR FRIEND!

She noticed our microwave was in rough shape and rusting out on the inside. Yeeesh. I knew it was time for a replacement. She offered use of one that has been sitting in her closet for about a year.

It's a stainless-steel beauty:

Especially when you compare it to our 1983 "Microcomputer" (?) microwave:

By the way, did I mention we have 2 microwaves? 80's microwave sits above the stove and shiny-n-new sits on the counter. 80's microwave is rarely used, due to its lack of power. I'm glad we benefited from my friend's keen sense of reducing. She figured why let a friend buy when I have a perfectly good microwave that is not being used?

Again, thank you dear friend! Some day we will get rid of 80's microwave - and have just one. That should be plenty.