Friday, March 27, 2009

Eatin' Peas

We had our first meal with homegrown peas last night.  They were SO tasty....very tender and slightly sweet....Yum!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Potato soup and homemade bread...Yum!  Not getting any potatoes out of the garden yet but the plants look great and I see lots of potato dishes in our future.  I did put a few homegrown snow peas into the soup and used homemade broth, so it's somewhat local. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

More Grapefruit

Steve's aunt, who doesn't eat grapefruit, gave us access to her 2 trees this week.  We never turn down free fruit, much to my kids chagrin (they like the eating part, not so much the picking and juicing part)  And yes, that is a bucket of oranges in there also.  We're going back for more of those and the rest of the grapefruit later in the week...there's still gobs left on the trees!

Our wonderful neighbor Joyce showed me the canned grapefruit slices she buys at the market (cha-ching) so I decided to give those a try.  I've never even seen them in the store so I was pleasantly surprised to find a recipe in the Ball Canning book.  

Cut off peelings, slice, discard seeds (or most of them :) fill jars, add light syrup, process for 10 minutes and ...ta da!

We now have 12 quarts and 7 pints of grapefruit on our pantry shelf.
(also ate one and gave one to Joyce)
Not sure if they are as good as the 'professional' version, 
but I like them.  
Maybe we can get an expert to give us their opinion.
....hint hint Joyce?

Friday, March 20, 2009

They're Heeerrre!

Yippee Yahoo!

Though apparently we have now ruined our daughters social life; she can no longer have friends over to visit because we are 'weird'.  (note to dd - we were  weird before we got chickens :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pantry Replacement.....Bread!

It wasn't really on my list of stuff to replace but I have stopped buying sandwich bread.  After some tweaking of the recipe to get it soft enuf for the kids to make sandwiches, I think we've got a keeper here (talk to me when it's 110 outside in July....not sure I'm gonna want the oven on at that point, but we'll see)

The original recipe was on the wonderful blog Beauty that Moves but mine is as follows...

2 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup + 1 T  oil (I use canola)
1 3/4 teas. sea salt
5-6 cups flour (I use half white bread flour and half whole wheat)

Dissolve yeast and honey in warm water, let sit for about 10 minutes.  Add rest of ingredients till dough forms and pulls from side of bowl.  Set on floured board and knead for 5 minutes, adding flour as needed.  I like my dough just a tiny bit sticky but that's really a personal preference.

Roll into ball and place in oiled bowl, cover and set in warm spot (usually I put it in the oven...if it's cold out I will turn the oven on for a minute or 2 to heat up just a bit).  It takes about an hour to double in size.  Punch down and knead for another minute or so.  Divide in half and place in greased bread pans.   Cover and let rise for a half hour or so.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Cool on wire rack covered with towel.

This is a great sandwich bread and wonderful with soup right out of the oven, but I will continue my search for an artisan bread that matches Panera's yummy pugliese (how is that pronounced anyway?).

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cat Guards

Double Entendre?....
...The 'cat guard' is doing it's job...and the actual cat makes a pretty good sentry.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Coach!

Today is Steves 52nd birthday...yipee yahoo!  Here's hoping he is around for another 52.  Ok, maybe that's pushing it.  Let's just say that I hope he's around for at least one day more than I am, not sure what I would do without him. For an actual photo of the old guy....check out the family blog.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I just want to buy Socks

It's a minor thing, I know, but a few weeks ago (note time period) I was on a blog that said you could get a $5 coupon from the JCPennys website to use on any purchase (no minimum) WITHOUT giving any credit card info. The gal took us thru the steps to avoid giving out that information and wrote of her success in acquiring said coupon. Well, free stuff is right up my alley so of course I immediately went to the Penny's website, found the reward section and signed up for my INSTANT $5 coupon (no strings attached). After several unsuccessful attempts I wrote to customer service and was informed (several days and many emails later) that the rules had changed and that now you did have to input one credit card into their system tho it would not be used for anything (other than tracking your spending and inputting that info into a government data base for possible future use by storm trooping Nazis to crack down on subversives and environmentalists....but I digress).

At this point, and because I actually shop at Penny's occasionally, I put in a rarely used credit card number (rarely used because it has a low limit and is usually maxed out....sigh) and anxiously awaited my INSTANT $5 reward certificate. INSTANT apparently has taken on some new alternate meaning in the JCPenny corporate universe because as of this writing....more than a week has gone by (since I put in the card number) and I have yet to see my reward. I've sent dozens of emails regarding my $5 reward certificate and am pleasantly informed (repeatedly) that I am indeed 'in' and that all I have to do is print out my $5 reward certificate from the my account reward page....except when I go to the my account reward page to print out my $5 reward certificate I am told that 'there are currently no rewards for this customer'....Ugh!

Now, I know what you are thinking - this is SO not worth it for a measly $5...and you'd be right. But I am determined to see this thru, if only to have a good blog post vent. be continued.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cause we are really tired of Broccoli

Peas....Yippee Yahoo!

...and the last of the broccoli got picked from the front yard garden...I'm making soup:)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

In the Future....Shop ALONE

Our trip to Fresno was such fun.  The boys are a hoot en masse....even if it's just discussing the relative merits of Cocoa Pebbles vs. Cocoa Puffs (Pebbles good, Puffs bad).  We had lunch at BJs and did some shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

Note to self....never take 3 large boys (MEN) food shopping without restrictions.  While I was comparing the cost of bulk vs. bagged organic wheat flour and Steve was picking up shaving soap and wine, the aforementioned children (MEN) were filling up our cart with chocolate.  Expensive, organic, save the endangered species (?) dark chocolate.  And while I appreciate the discerning nature of my growing boys and understand that Green and Blacks is a much better choice than Hershey's, it is nevertheless quite a shock to realize that one-fourth of our total ($107.91 to be exact) was spent on CHOCOLATE!
(for those of you who need help with the math.....the total bill was over $400....eek!)

 Gotta love 'em!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Garden Tally

Steven and I are participating in the Freedom Harvest Challenge over at Freedom Gardens.  The challenge is to see if their members (right now they have nearly 2500-and anyone can join) will reach a total of one million pounds of produce in their collective gardens for the year.  They have even done the math for us - 400lbs. each.....eek....but we're in!

January we harvested 20lbs. from broccoli, cauliflower, pecans, and a few oranges.  This month we got another 28lbs......

9 lbs. broccoli - that translates into about 11 heads plus the side shoots

10 lbs. pecans

4 lbs. cauliflower - 6 heads

3 lbs. blood oranges

2 lbs. lettuce - we eat salads about every other night and have unlimited lettuce, but it's very light :)

This month we will be eating the last of the brocoli, which is probably a good thing; our kids love broccoli but even they have reached their limit.  We should be getting some peas (Wilson's favorite) and I'll harvest the spinach to blanche and freeze (love it in lasagne).   Plus the orange tree has about 10 more oranges on it (we pick them as we need I love citrus trees, they're like nature's 
refrigerator :)  Not sure about the onions and potatoes...they are both going strong but I think we won't be digging either of them up until at least April.

Someday I should probably try to figure out if we are actually saving money with the garden;  for now I'm just happy to have fresh organic produce when I want it.  And we are really learning the concept of eating seasonally. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Things I Love

My internet freind and fellow sarcastic blogger Mandy (her rants are right up there with the best of my Verizon tirades) tagged me with this blog award...poor thing obviously has no freinds ;) <-----universal symbol for 'just kidding'.   Seriously, I do appreciate it Mandy (and the rest of you go check out her!)

The rules are as 7 things you love and tag 7 people with the award.  I am, of course, going to change the game just a bit...mostly because I don't have 7 friends (and I'm not kidding) and because several of the ones I'd like to give this to are fairly new bloggers and might also be hard-pressed to tag 7 people.  So, for MY game, the rules are.... name 7 things you love and tag up to 7 people ...or just enjoy the award, bask in the glory, and don't think about the fact that you have no friends ;) <---again with the symbol.

Ok, my list would have to include...

1. My family

2. My God

3. Gardening

4. Photography

5. Quiet mornings with a cup of coffee and the newspaper

6. A good book to read at night (with a cup of tea)

7.  Getting packages in the mail

Now I would like to tag...

Crunchy Christian Mom  <------this is a new find...wonderful blog and she's in the valley!