Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What's Growing in the Garden?

So far we have lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers. Hopefully we'll soon be seeing the yellow squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, and cucumbers (I want to make pickles this summer). I also have a big pot on the back porch where I've planted oregano, cilantro, and basil.

Our garden isn't very big, so the plants will be sort of crammed in. We put down newspaper, then put topsoil mixed with compost on top. The newspaper is supposed to keep grass and weeds from growing up from underneath, but will let the roots of the vegetables grow down through it. We'll see how it works. We edged the garden area with leftover wood from an old wooden swing set.

We bought the compost this time from a home improvement store, but we have started our own compost pile for the future. It's currently mostly grass clippings, but we have added eggshells, apple cores and orange peels over the past few days.

Friday, April 25, 2008

One of My Favorite Cookbooks

This is one of my very favorite cookbooks (click picture to see a larger view). I bought it years ago at a garage sale. I think I paid 25 cents for it. It was put together by a family using one of those self publishing companies. Most of the recipes are intended for large families and I used them quite often when all five of my kids were still at home.

Here's one that I plan to try when we start harvesting our tomato crop (updates on the garden coming soon).

Best Big Batch Tomato Sauce
1/4 c. salad oil
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 large carrots, thinly sliced
2 medium green peppers, diced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
12 lbs tomatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. oregano leaves
1 1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste

In 8 quart Dutch oven over medium heat, in hot salad oil, cook onions, carrots, green peppers and garlic until tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Over high heat, heat to boiling. reduce heat to medium low; partially cover Dutch oven and cook 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Makes 9 pints.
Each pint is enough to serve over 1 (8 oz.) package spaghetti, cooked. Or use sauce over Swiss steak, pizza or lasagna.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Day in My Life - April

I'm joining Jenny again for A Day in My Life.

She says:
"The purpose is not to show how busy, lazy, exciting or organised your life is though it may be all of those things. The purpose is just to document a day and over a period of time document a series of days to look back on."

Be sure and check out her blog to read about her day and see the links to others who are taking part.

Today was a little different from my usual Mondays. School is out today and Mike is home. We had a very busy weekend, so today was a perfect opportunity for us to sleep in. We straggled into the kitchen one at a time for breakfast (make your own) and spent most of the morning in our PJs. It was so nice not to be rushing off somewhere. Mike and I were still sitting around drinking coffee at 10:00 am! I threw our sheets in the washer and that's about the extent of my morning accomplishments. :)

After sandwiches for lunch I made my menu and grocery list and did a quick fridge cleaning. I try to wipe down spills and throw out anything yucky before I shop. I usually go grocery shopping on Fridays and didn't get to it last week. We had an almost bare pantry and fridge. Mike stayed home with the kids, so I went to the post office and grocery store by myself. When I got home everyone helped bring in the groceries (it was a LOT) and put things away.

Once we had all the groceries put away, it was time to once again have Cindy lace up her cleats and head out to the softball field for a game.

They lost the game, but played hard. The team they played is one of the three best in the league and doesn't have any first year players. About half our team is first year.

By the time we got home it was nearly 8:00pm. I had the girls take a quick shower while I threw together a pizza. We really don't have pizza every night, it just seems that way sometimes. :)

After supper the girls got their backpacks ready for tomorrow and went to bed. Bobby and Mike settled in to watch a few minutes of TV while I checked email and started blogging.

I feel like I didn't get a thing done today. I still have a huge pile of laundry to do and the house is in disarray after the weekend. I have my work cut out for me tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Growing a Garden

This will be my first year to have a REAL vegetable garden and I am so excited! We've grown tomatoes before, and we planted all the flowers in my flower bed (and a few trees and shrubs), but that's about it. I don't really even know where to start other than the seeds I've purchased, so I'm doing a little research. I think I'm going to get a spiral notebook to keep track of what I am learning.

We live in a regular suburban neighborhood, but we have an over sized lot and a big backyard. I think I'm going to put the garden in the spot where we used to have an above ground pool. There's very little grass there for me to dig up and it's to the side of the house and not right off the back porch. That way people won't have to walk through it if we have a backyard barbecue.

I'll keep you posted on how it's coming along. :)