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Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Week of 8/30

Last week was a little crazy around here. Big K's entrance into kindergarten also meant being introduced to new germs his immune system wasn't used to, and so that meant a 3 day tummy bug for the little guy. No one else in the family caught it, just him---made more serious because of his hypoglycemia. When he's not eating or drinking, or not able to keep anything down, it's REALLY hard to get that blood sugar up. Somehow we got it done, though---I think had he been sick one more day we would have had to get him in for IV. And of course he got sick Sunday night, so I just ended up flying by the seat of my pants for a meal plan. I was pretty impressed with how we did, considering.

This week's menu continues to take advantage of our garden. I will post the pictures and recipe for the spaghetti sauce this week. I used my food mill this weekend and it turned out wonderfully! 7 meals for a family of 4---and coming in at just over $31.




spaghetti w/ fresh homemade marinara- $1.00

meatballs- $1.50

salad- .75

sauteed zucchini- .75



chicken stroganoff- $3.50

green beans- .50

melon from the garden- .00



turkey tacos- $3.25

corn- .50



grilled pork chops- $1.75

brown rice- .75

grilled veggies $1.50



brisket sandwiches- $3.50

fries- $1.00

pasta salad- $1.00



Pizza Night (homemade)


Friday, August 27, 2010

Greek vinaigrette using fresh herbs

We eat a lot of salads here. Not just because they're good for you, but because we actually enjoy them! Especially in summer when so much of the salad comes from right in the back yard. Greek salad is one of those salads that features so much of what I grow.

I make our salad dressings from scratch, and usually for a vinaigrette I would use dry herbs. I decided this time, however, to take a stab at a vinaigrette with fresh herbs, and I was very pleased. The key, I think, is to chop them very, very finely. When you think you've chopped them enough, chop them some more. It helps spread the flavor throughout the vinaigrette so nicely.

2T fresh oregano (I used half oregano, half marjoram)
1t lemon rind
1/4t salt
1/4t pepper
3T red wine vinegar
1T water
1/4 cup olive oil
whisk ingredients together. Pour over salad and toss to coat.

Monday, August 16, 2010

School Starts Tomorrow

I took this of the boys yesterday before they took off for the pool. Besides the fact that I'm comforted by this photo as proof that we DEFINITELY try to do whatever we can to protect them from the sun, I wanted to have a picture of one of their last trips to the pool this summer. It closes now during the week and will only be open weekends through Labor Day, which isn't that far away. Yikes!

Where did summer go?!?!? The boys head to school tomorrow. My baby's first day in kindergarten. Where did the last 5 years go?!?!?!

Roasted Tomato Salsa

I am on a roasted tomato kick. I love them for pasta. It occurred to me that they might also be lovely in salsa. Boy, was I ever right! Roasting the vegetables before making the salsa adds an incredibly nice flavor.

24 romas, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded and cored
3 jalapenos, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded
1 anaheim pepper, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded
2T olive oil
1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 limes
1/2 cup diced fresh cilantro
1/2t cumin
additional salt, if desired

Preheat oven to 425. place tomatoes, peppers, onion and garlic on cookie sheets. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in oven for 30 minutes, until vegetables are done, and skin has crisped in some spots. Remove from oven, and allow to cool. Dice vegetables finely, place in medium sized bowl, and add juice of 2 limes. Add remaining ingredients, and toss to combine. Allow to chill in refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Menu Plan Monday Week of 8/16

The garden continues to influence our meal choices and sides this week. The roma tomatoes are all coming ripe quickly, and we should start seeing our first Better Boys in the next week or so, I think. This week's meal plan provides 7 dinners for 2 adults and 2 kids, and comes in at around $34. I threw an estimate figure on the pizza night as I haven't decided my toppings yet. I do know that I will be doing a roasted tomato sauce for them, though!

steak tostadas w/ roasted tomato salsa $3.00
corn .50
avocado slices .75
melon .00

lemon oregano chicken drumsticks $2.50
baked potatoes .75
spinach salad .75

cheeseburgers $3.50
fries $1.25
melon .00

pork chops $2.50
tomatoes au gratin .75
lemon scented broccoli $1.00

tacos $3.75
refried black beans .75

italian beef sandwiches $5.00
hand sliced fries .75

pizza night

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Preserving the garden's bounty

Hubby and the boys have spent the day at the pool today. Has been just lovely for me, because I've finally been able to tackle some projects I had been putting off this week. First up, doing something with the oodles and oodles of jalapenos I had. I canned a batch of sliced jalapenos for nachos, etc. These tend to go pretty quickly around here, between hubby and our neighbor across the street. I also tried my hand at a batch of jalapeno jelly. You can use this to glaze meats when grilling, or serve over cream cheese with crackers. Really excited to sample how this turned out!
I'm also starting the project of drying the herbs from the garden. Rosemary, thyme, marjoram and oregano will all be dried and jarred. I hope to create some herb blends to give as Christmas gifts.

This week should bring another batch of pickles, and perhaps a batch of tomato sauce.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Menu Plan Week of 8/9

What the? You mean she's actually posting one? YES! Now, I will say that some of these might move around, but overall this will be the meals we're having for the week. I'm still wavering on whether I want mexican or italian tonight. 7 dinners for this family of 4 clock in at just over $31, and feature lots of fresh produce from the garden.


tacodillas $4.50

corn .50

melon from the garden .00



bacon wrapped smoked pork tenderloin $4.00

capresi salad w/ tomatoes and basil from the garden $1.25

green beans from the garden .00



angel hair pasta with grilled veggies $2.50

salad .75

melon from the garden (I think there will be a lot of melon on the menu!) .00



beef brisket sandwiches $3.00

fries $1.00

tomato and cucumber salad .50



grilled pork chops $1.50

rosemary potatoes .50

salad .75



grilled pizza $3.00

greek salad $1.50



chicken fajitas $3.50

black bean salad $1.00

guacamole $1.50


Stuffed jalapenos in the smoker!

We've made stuffed jalapenos in the oven for years, but now, hubby has gone smoker crazy with them, and they are AWESOME! We used 12 peppers, cut in half and seeded. I boiled them for 2 minutes and shocked them in ice water, as my peppers are really hot, and the boiling takes a little bit of the heat out of them. In a bowl I combined 1 block of cream cheese, 1 bag of shredded mozzarella, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp garlic. Stuffed each pepper with about 1 heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture, wrapped with a half slice of bacon, and secured with a toothpick.
Hubby smoked these at 235 degrees for about 2.5 hours, with pecan smoke for about an hour. Yum!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The garden is in full produce mode!

This is my favorite time of the year! Of course, it keeps me really busy, but I love it! The cucumbers had been coming in for a while, and I'd been getting herbs and some green beans, but we now have lots of tomatoes!
I've now made two batches of pickles- one dill and one sweet....relish is next.

Today I used some of my peppers in the smoker stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. We'll have those with dinner. I also made a batch of roasted tomato salsa, and I will post the recipe this week.

This year is a first for the melons. I have 2 heirloom varieties I'm growing, and the first few are just starting to ripen. We are going to have a bunch!

I tried to take a picture from upstairs of the garden for you to see, but it didn't turn out well, and it's HOT out today, so I'm pulling the a/c card today :) I will take a picture for you this week, along with pictures of the canning I'll be doing to preserve all of this!

A new look for the blog!

Every girl needs a makeover from time to time. That includes her blog. A huge THANKS to Jessica at So Stylilized for the new blog layout and design! I absolutely love it, and I hope you enjoy the new look too!