It's no secret that I am NOT a gardening whiz.
It's also no secret that I believe in focusing on both the big AND small things when it comes to my personal finances. Here's an update on a small thing - my attempts at container gardening.
The soil in my yard will NOT grow veggies. To amend the soil or build raised garden beds is, for me with my brown thumb and gardening laziness, an absurd thought.
In the spring I planted 4 items in containers. 2 were dismal failures. The containers were not nearly big enough to grow daikon (what was I thinking?) and the cherry tomato plants yielded only a handful of fruit.
But, the sweet basil starter plants have been a success (still yielding). My biggest success by far was green onions grown from seed. DH & I have been enjoying piles of fresh green onions, and I only planted half of the packet. Since we live in a hot climate (Texas), I will plant the second half of the packet in a week or two for fall / early winter harvesting.
Next spring I'll plant green onions again (they are so expensive at the grocery store and have proven so easy to grow - definitely worth it), and will try basil from seed instead of from starter plants so that I can (hopefully) get a lot more. I'll probably experiment and try one other item as well.I'm going to look through my "Healthy Mind Cookbook" to come up with some ideas. I want it to be something easy to grow in containers, expensive to buy in stores, and beneficial. Something that I can get 2 plantings out of would be nice too. Hey! Maybe I'll even try something new this fall. Why not?
I'm open to suggestions if anyone reading this has any.
It's no secret that I am NOT a gardening whiz.
This morning I made myself an open face sandwich: 1 slice of whole wheat bread + organic cheddar cheese + 1 sliced small avocado. 12-cents for the bread (regular price, store brand) + 0-cents for the cheese (had a cash register coupon for free cheese) + 33-cents for the avocado (they were on ad at 3/$1).
I had coffee with milk as well but am not able to calculate the cost of that very easily. I'm definitely under $1 even with the electricity & water costs for prep and cleanup.
Now that I am fueled up, I am going to start on my year-end and year-to-year review. I'm just getting around to it today because on the 1st we hit the Dillard's New Year's Day sale followed by 2 parties (with potluck prep for 1 of those parties), and yesterday I was job hunting and emotionally needed to just chill in the evening.
I'll check in later when the numbers have all been checked and run.
I splurged at the grocery store yesterday and purchased 2 prepared hatch chile salmon patties from the seafood case ($5 for 2). We will have those for dinner tonight with homemade cream of vegetable soup which contains five different vegetables including leeks, also a splurge at $2.97 a bunch!
The soup will last for several days, and is supposed to be good cold.
Instead of hiring someone to re-landscape our yard, we are taking the DIY approach. This weekend we are cleaning out the backyard bed, pushing it out a bit (to reduce the amount of grass, something I really want to do to reduce our water consumption), and creating a border using free bricks left over from our home's construction. Next we'll put in a few low plants (or annuals or perennials, we haven't decided yet but there will definitely be some milkweed for the monarch butterflies) in the pushed out area and spread mulch.
DH bought a 15-lb bag of Texas red grapefruit for $3.98 today. I love grapefruit season in Texas!
What are the current seasonal deals in your neck of the woods?
DH is out of town, which means lots of salads & sandwiches for me. I like them, and I LOVE the fact that they result in little cleanup work.
When he leaves, I buy a 6-pack of romaine hearts and other salad fixings (other veggies, tuna, dressing, etc) so that I know I can always throw together a quick salad even when I come home from work tired and not wanting to cook.
Today's lunch was salad (romaine heart + tomato + yogurt caesar dressing) plus a whole grain bread round with margarine & a nice dollop of Sarabeth's.
No protein (except for the teeny amount in the yogurt dressing) because I had a salmon patty for breakfast, I'll grab a handful of raw almonds for an afternoon snack, and I'll probably have sardines for dinner.
As you can see, I'm not a big meal planner other than to make sure I have things on hand that fit with my lazy home "cook" (or perhaps I should say little or NO cook) mindset.
Eating economical and healthy foods at home can be done without much work and with just a bit of advance planning, even if cooking is not your "thing"!
Recently there was a post by a newer SA member who is trying to do more home cooking. It included some comments made by her children about the appearance of the food. Some of you suggested that adding fruits or veggies are a great way to brighten up a dish. I decided to post these photos of our dinner tonight as a form of encouragement to her.
There are a lot of gourmet cooks on this site (Lucky Robin, ceejay, Disney Steve, and Brooklyn Girl come immediately to mind.) I am NOT like them!
I have stated many times that I am a "lazy cook." I can do a big blow out fancy meal occasionally when the mood strikes me or I feel obligated, and I do know how to handle a knife and follow a recipe, but really I don't want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen.
But we eat at home all the time. (Thank goodness DH likes to cook.) In the last month, we went out to eat exactly once.
I decided to share some photos to show how a bit of color can perk up a dish prepared by a lazy, non-gourmet home cook like me.
This is one of our favorite winter dishes, called nikujaga. It's braised meat and potatoes with other veggies (in this case onions, carrots, and edamame ... the recipe I use calls for green peas but I had an open bag of edamame in the freezer I wanted to use up).
1. straight out of the pot
2. picked out the carrots & edamame (to show it without color), which messed up the bowl
3. sprinkled the carrots & edamame back on top (bowl is still messed up but it shows what it would look like with even more orange & green, or if the veggies were used as a garnish on top of a bland colored dish).
Doesn't a bit of color make a difference? Not only does it improve the nutrition of the dish, I think it looks so much more appetizing.
So, there you have it. Adding a bit of color to your home cooking, even if you're far from being a master chef, really can make a difference.
Don't give up on your efforts to cook at home!
We got our Target gift cards at a 10% discount this morning.
I thought that would be our only Black Friday shopping but DH went to Dick's and purchased a dozen golf balls for $5. Excellent deal on something he buys regularly! These balls aren't one of his preferred brands, but he'll save them for times when the odds of losing a ball to a water hazard is high.
Garlic bulbs have been roasted.
Cornbread has been baked.
Rice is cooking.
Tomorrow I'll prepare quick buttermilk whole wheat bread, Low Country Stuffing, and succotash and then we'll head over to the neighbors for dinner. I'm going to teach their son how to make homemade butter (shake whipping cream in a jar), and will take their sweet dog for a walk after dinner.
I have a big service project I'm working on that I hope to wrap up by the end of the day on Saturday. (I'll spend most of the day Friday & Saturday working on that, in addition to a couple hours tonight and tomorrow.)
I'll get up early on Friday to get the Target Black Friday gift cards, but that is the only shopping I plan to do.
Life is good.
Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
We potlucked out on the sidewalk with neighbors. That has become an annual tradition. It's low-key with good but not fancy food, so no one spends any more than they normally would for dinner, and we really have fun.
I spent $22 on treats. We had about 120 kids come by. There is nothing left over. I ate exactly ONE treat.