Monday, October 13, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments

I'm joining in with Brandy for last week's frugal accomplishments.  I harvested passion fruit, raspberries, pears, tomatoes, okra, & persimmons; decanted pineapple vinegar & started another batch; juiced some grapes we were given, and froze them for future use; made pumpkin pie using homegrown pumpkin and eggs from our chickens; made a quinoa dish, using yellow squash, onion & parsley from the garden.

At the discount grocery store, favorite finds were jasmine rice @ .60/# (best by 3/16; compared to sale price 1.50/# this wk at Lowes) bought 15#, OG raisins 1.25/#, Annie's Organic mac & cheese .50 ea, kalamata olives 1.25 a jar,  Seventh Generation dishwashing liquid @ .70, and maple syrup 4.00/ 8 oz (sale price this wk 4.99 @ Lowes). I see more maple lattes in my future!

I froze yogurt and made a batch of yogurt.  A few times a year, I buy a small cup of plain yogurt, to start fresh with.  After a few months, I know that stray bacteria gets in a batch, so I like to begin with new yogurt again.  I usually forget to freeze the remainder of storebought yogurt, but remembered this time.  It seems in years past, the frozen yogurt did not perform well, but reading about all the other people that do it made me want to give it another try.  I made batches of kefir.

I made tomato rice loaf using the above jasmine rice, and tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic, kefir and breadcrumbs from here; froze sweet red peppers & dehydrated hot peppers, dill and basil from the garden; made balsamic vinaigrette - the recipe is here. The lettuce in the coldframe is growing nicely.  Looking forward to having some homegrown salads in the not too distant future.

I cut up a Cheese Wheel pumpkin & Hopi Gray squash that the borers had gotten to.  The pumpkin was in great shape, with only exterior damage.  The Hopi Gray was in bad shape, so the chickens got it, along with our last 2 watermelons.  Pumpkin soup was made with the pumpkin.

Froze celery for the first time.  My Mom had been freezing hers, and I've been meaning to do it for months, as I only use celery in small quantities, for waldorf salad, and a couple of cooked dishes, and end up throwing most of it into the compost.  While this won't work for the waldorf salad, it will for the cooked dishes.  And when I need raw celery, I have some in the coldframe, from planted celery bottoms.  I have planted celery bottoms several times, and have gotten some nice celery from it, but it has always rotted after a time. In looking at the link again for this post, I realized I was not totally covering it with soil, which allows rain to settle in the bottom, making it more likely to rot.  After I took this photo, I covered my celery bottoms with soil, to see if I can keep these going all winter.  If you use celery, try this... it works amazingly well!  If you use Pinterest, there are tutorials on regrowing all sorts of vegi's from scraps.  Celery is the only one I've tried.  Well, except for an avocado pit, but I don't expect to get actual avocadoes here in NC.  I also started lemons from seeds last winter, which are doing well.  This was another Pinterest idea.  It would be lovely to eventually get lemons.  I remember a neighbor girl who used to come to my door, when I lived in Los Angeles, selling lemons and avocadoes from their trees for a dime each.  I, of course, always bought some from her.  Have a good week, friends!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Funny, It Doesn't Feel Like Fall

Today, I was shop sitting for one of the local potteries.  I wandered a bit, noticing the signs of fall all around me.

It does not feel like fall, however, with the days in the 80's.

After work today, I joined my sister on the outdoor patio of a local establishment, where we enjoyed glasses of seasonal pumpkin brew.

I hope this photo is not terribly offensive.  I was beyond delighted when I was able to coax that splinter from my finger yesterday, after a week had gone by.  I had gone through all the packing and unpacking of the car and show, and made it through 10 massage appointments with it in my left index finger.  I happen to be left handed, so it made for some rather uncomfortable days, and just would not budge, no matter how I coaxed, until yesterday.  Now I know why... it was 5/16 of an inch long! Can you feel my glee?  Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pears, Pasta & Frugal Accomplishments

There was beautiful fall weather for the Fall Festival over the weekend.  A little gusty at times, but clear blue skies and lots of sun.  I was set up very close to one of the stages, and was able to hear lots of music, a book reading, and see some young dance groups.  There was even a harpist on Sunday.  I so enjoyed sitting in the sun, listening to that lovely music.

I'm still enjoying maple lattes.  The mug above holding one was purchased from Blue Hen Pottery.

pear vanilla sauce
Joining in with Brandy for this week's:

Frugal Accomplishments

canned 10 half-pints of pear vanilla sauce

made "zucchini" soup, using tromboncino squash, tomatoes, garlic & basil from the garden

harvested rainwater

borrowed books from the library- finished this, which I enjoyed

purchased a number of sale items at Aldi's, including 6 lbs of organic quinoa @ $3.99/lb.  The best price we are usually able to find is $4.99/lb.  Purchased cans of organic black beans for .40 ea. at the local discount grocery store.

used homemade soap, laundry soap & deodorant

washed plastic bags for reuse

made Pasta Norma using eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano & chives from the garden.

brought lunch, water and snacks both days to the Fall Festival, & cut a bouquet from the homestead for my booth

That was the last of the eggplant, used in the pasta dish.  As temperatures were dropping into the 30's this weekend,  I brought in all the orchid plants, plus a couple others, and covered the remainder with plastic.  Joseph did preparations for and started our first fire of the season on Saturday.  Nights have been in the 50's and 60's, so that was a bit of a surprise, but they are rising again. I think we have a bit more time until our first frost.  I expect there won't be much else harvested from the summer garden, save a few okra and tomatoes if we're lucky, and chard.  But, we'll be harvesting greens, carrots, and the hardier herbs.  Onward to the next season.  I'm looking forward to making the first batch of pumpkin soup.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Coastal Encounter & Frugal Accomplishments

Joining in with Brandy with this week's Frugal Accomplishments:

I harvested okra, tomatoes, chard, lima beans, pears, parsley from our garden (J also harvested potatoes, peppers, the last pumpkins, & onions)

dried laundry on the line

gave pups baths with homemade dog soap

As you can see from the photos, we took a few days vacation at the coast last week.  Though there were a couple of lovely dinner's out, we also had some frugal moments.  On our drive to the coast, I spied a discount grocery store, which we stopped at on our way home.  I found several good deals, including Maranatha organic peanut butter for 2.29 (reg. 7.29 - I bought 8),  a 14# bag of Evolve grain-free dogfood (reg. 24.99) for 6.99, and Annie's organic mac & cheese for .69 (reg. 3.50).  All of the above expired sometime in 2015, so nothing out of date.  Too bad they're several hours from us.  We do have a couple of new discount grocery stores in Asheboro.  I've been to one a few times, and plan to visit the other soon.

My list will probably be a little short this coming week as well, as I will be getting ready for a show.  I have 6 dozen bars of soap to wrap, along with other preparations.  I saw mention of a maple latte online, and have been enjoying them this weekend, homemade of course.  It seems just right for the early days of fall.... yum!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Okra Experiment & Frugal Acomplishments

Hearts a bustin' (Euonymus Americanus)

Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

mended two items (sewed button on shorts & clasp on pants)

canned pear sauce

saved vegi trimmings and some large okra for broth

while cleaning edges of soap for an order for a local B&B, I saved the tiny slivers in a mason jar, to be made into liquid soap or soap paste for home laundry use

made yogurt & kefir

canned applesauce, froze corn and dehydrated a red onion

harvested tomatoes, okra, basil and pears from the garden

morning glory

My experiment with trimming back the tall okra looks to be a success.  All the plants look happy, with lots of side shoots and some flower buds sprouting forth.  Next year, I plan to trim them sooner, and do it in waves, to minimize down time.  Happy autumnal equinox, friends!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

The sofa table is our most recent custom order from my etsy SoulSeeds shop.  This one shipped today, and is on its way to Wisconsin.  I have been inspired by The Prudent Homemaker blog, and the comments that are written.  So, this week I'm joining in with her usual Monday post.  Her blog is one of those I always find a treat to visit.  I hope it inspires you too!

Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Doing laundry with homemade detergent and hanging it on the line

Freezing corn & peppers from the garden, patty pan squash from a neighbor, and lambs quarter, which grows wild here

Making a pie with pumpkin from the garden, using eggs from our chickens

Buying a new "second" T-shirt for J for $1 at a thrift shop, much needed as a work shirt

Bathing the dog with homemade dog soap

Planting a free parsley plant from my Mom's

Planting kale and winter salad seeds in the cold frame for our winter garden

Harvesting and eating squash, tomato, potatoes, basil, rosemary and garlic from the garden

Harvesting pears and apples, which I plan to sauce

Harvesting red raspberries, eggplant and chard from the garden

Borrowing books and movies from the library

Canning a large batch of  broth from vegetable trimmings, which I save in the freezer

Harvesting sweet potatoes and sunflowers from the garden

Tried signing up for Pinecone Research, though they were not accepting my demographics at present

Had the A/C off most days and nights

Harvesting rainwater, and watering plants with the dehumidifier condensation

Monday, September 8, 2014

Grilled Peaches, Patty Pans and Pumpkin Chai Soap

Hello, friends!  There have been a lot of gardening related activities going on around the homestead.  Sweet potatoes have been dug, and are drying.  We got several football-sized ones in this year's batch.  The ants had found some of them, so it's good we dug them when we did.  I cooked up some that had gotten cut up during harvesting, and the dogs enjoyed them last night.  It takes a month or so for the sugars to change, and make them nice and sweet, so we'll wait a bit to enjoy them.

The sunflowers on my table were a birthday surprise.  Sunflowers are one of the most cheerful flowers, don't you think?  J harvested sunflowers in our garden, and the heads are drying for winter use for us and the birds.  Some of the heads that had fallen over and were being eaten by the wildlife went to the chickens.  They didn't seem terribly interested, until I began removing the seeds from the heads, then you can bet they were pretty excited.

I tried something new with the okra this year. We're growing both red and green varieties.  The green okra grows so tall that I can no longer reach it.  For the past 2 or 3 weeks, I was bending over the stalks to get to the okra, but they were getting too tall for even this, plus it was really making my neck sore, straining upward for many minutes each day.  I decided I'd try pruning them this weekend.  Quite a few plants had side shoots with buds already, so I'm sure they'll be fine.  We'll see how the others fare.  We are getting some much needed rain today, which ought to encourage them to grow.

A neighbor gifted us with a large amount of patty pan squashes.  Unfortunately, many were wormy, and many were picked too large, having big, tough seeds.  Not being one to waste food, I did manage to cut nice rounds out of the top portions, which have no seeds, for freezing.  The sides were cut away and put in the vegetable broth bag I keep in my freezer, adding to it until there's enough to make a nice batch of broth.  The middle pieces with all the big seeds went to the chickens, and other bits went to the compost.

Try as I might, I could not get a clear photo of the Pumpkin Chai soap this morning.  I'm going to chalk it up to very dim light, rather than stinky photographic skills :o).  Once I finish this post, I'll be moving the Pumpkin Chai soap to the drying rack, and starting a batch of Kitchen Thyme soap.

We tried the second grilled peach recipe I had been wanting to try this weekend.  I bought big, beautiful, organic peaches, but unfortunately they didn't have much taste.  I'd like to try the recipe again with some really good peaches, and see what that's like.  We thought they were decent, but not wonderful.  Here's what I did:

Grilled Peaches with Honey, Balsamic and Cambozola

Cut peaches in halves, remove the pit, and place on foil cut side up

Add several bits of Cambozola cheese in the indentation where the pit was

Drizzle with honey, then balsamic vinegar

Grill until soft (5-10 minutes or so)

The original recipe is on Pinterest.  If you'll click on my Pinterest link in the sidebar, and go to my Yummy Eats board, you'll find it there.  The two things I did differently were using Cambozola rather than Gorgonzola, because it needed to be used.  And, the recipe called for grilling the peaches cut side down, then turning over and filling with cheese and drizzling while on the grill.  J felt this was pretty much guaranteed to be an ugly mess, and I had to agree, so our peaches stayed upright the entire time, were put on foil, and I added all the ingredients before grilling.