Sunday, May 31, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 6/1/09 - Make it Myself Edition

This week, I'm feeling quite ambitious so we are "making it ourselves" on a lot of things we usually buy. It had been a while since we made yogurt, and I think that might be what started the whole "make it myself" week idea. Homemade yogurt has a taste that is far superior to store-bought and you can flavor it any way your family likes. Our current yogurt flavor obsession is Maple Syrup.

Here is our soon to be yogurt, warming up on the stove. I put the container it will "reside in" into a pot of water which helps to heat the milk quickly without scorching.

Since the last time I posted about making yogurt, I've changed a few things about the way I make it. I used to use organic whole milk, but I don't any more. We still use whole milk because whole milk is less likely to contain oxidized cholesterol, (read "Real Food" by Nina Planck) but now we use a brand of milk that, while not organic, does indicate on the label that they use farmers who do not use rBGH in their cows. The reason we switched from organic to non-organic is because the organic milk is Ultra-pasteurized which denatures the proteins to an extent that it is harder to get the milk to curdle properly. I am comfortable with the milk we are currently using and have been pleased with the results. I am hoping that we can find a local source of fresh milk. I'd love to experiment with fresh milk yogurt and maybe even some easy cheeses.

This is the finished yogurt straining in a tea towel placed in a strainer over a bowl to catch the whey as it drains. We like really thick, Greek style yogurt.

This week's menu:

Scrambled eggs
French Toast
Banana Nut Bread

PB & honey
Broccoli Cheese Soup
Leftovers from dinner

Hummus and pita or cut up veggies
Banana Nut Bread
Cheese cubes (yummy fontina cheese - my current cheese obsession)
Popsicles (aka - frozen smoothies)

Dinner: (I will post pics of these "homemade" experiments as they happen, so check back)
Monday - Beef or Cheese enchiladas made with homemade tortillas, side salad

Tuesday - Shrimp and Corn Chowder, tomato and cucumber salad

Wednesday - Calzones (shrimp and artichoke for Mom & Dad; sausage and olive for the boys) made with homemade dough, and a side salad

Thursday - Italian Meatball Subs with homemade bread and steamed broccoli

Friday - Sushi (we have never made this before, though we love sushi). I will put out lots of ingredients like avacado, thinly sliced cucumber, grated carrot, sprouts (hoping to sprout them ourselves), cooked shrimp, and anything else that sounds good. This will give everyone a chance to choose a few ingredients and make their own. We have one family member who will not touch anything sushi, so he will be able to make his own "sushi" with a tortilla and the fillings of his choice. We will have this with edemame, which we all love.

Saturday - Either Veggie Burgers or Tuna Burgers. Haven't decided yet, but either way, we will make them ourselves along with the whole wheat buns to go with them.

Sunday - leftovers

Is there anything you make that most people purchase? I'd love to read about it. Leave a comment with a link to your blog post.

Check out lots of menus at I'm An Organizing Junkie and Menu Plan Monday.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

GIVEAWAY: The Laptop Lunches Users Guide book - WINNERS!!

Here are the randomly chosen winners. They are the authors of the comments 4, 6 &7:

 4 - Casserlys
6 - Sherri
7 - Melanie (My little Patch of Sunshine)

Timestamp: 2009-05-28 20:46:29 UTC

If you were chosen, please email your shipping address to me at motheringwithgrace at yahoo dot com . I plan to ship on Monday. Congratulations!!

Check back often as I will be holding another giveaway (another book) very soon!!

ETA: I finally got to the post office today. Winners, your Users Guides are on the way :o)

Garden Update 5-28-09

Its been an exciting week for our little container garden. Things are growing - yay! We picked our first cherry tomato and will use it tonight in a salad with other tomatoes. Also, last week, while straightening up the dining area of our home, I picked up the box that contained all of the heirloom seeds I ordered last fall. Because I was planting a container garden this year, I didn't use my seeds. I guess I was afraid they would not grow in containers. Anyway, I realized how silly that idea was. I mean, even if they don't grow, its okay. I can always buy more seeds, right. So, I planted my only 5 Black Krim tomato seeds last Thursday, and by Monday, they were up!! You can barely see them in the above photo. As soon as they are strong enough, 4 of them will be replanted into their own containers. If you've never had a Black Krim tomato, they are the tastiest tomatoes I've ever eaten - yummy! They make a purple/ burgandy tomato with green "shoulders" so they are interesting, as well as tasty. I'm trying not to count my tomatoes before they ripen, but its really hard.

I also planted 3 varieties of heirloom carrots in a container. I know that typically, in our climate, carrots are a fall or spring crop, but last year, I had great success planting them in summer, so I figured I might as well try again.

In addition, 3 more garlic cloves in our pantry were beginning to sprout, so I stuck those into the dirt. As you can see in the above picture ( in the background - you can see it sharing a container with the last of the baby romain), the garlic is growing very well.

We are still harvesting parsley, oregano and basil. In fact, we could really use another parsley plant or two. Since parsley winters well in our area, I think I'll add another plant or two to our garden.

The lemons are growing nicely. In fact, I had to tie supports to one of the branches as it was getting too heavy for the poor tree. And it looks like we may have fresh figs in 4-6 weeks based on their growth.

A High and Noble Calling is hosting How Does Your Garden Grow today. If you have a garden, snap a few pictures and consider participating, too.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WFMW: Packing Lunch for Work or School

As I mentioned in my giveaway post, and many other recent posts, we are huge fans of Laptop Lunches. I was talking with a friend about Laptop Lunches and she was saying that she wondered if she would be able to pack lunches for her whole family and still get everyone out the door on time. In the Laptop Lunches User's Guide, on thing the authors suggest, and something that will work even if your Laptop Lunches System has not come in yet, is packing the lunch the night before. When you are clearing the table, putting away the leftovers from supper and washing the dishes, if you pull out your Laptop Lunches and place them on the counter, you can quickly and easily pack them with leftovers from supper and then just add a few "side dishes" or snacks to the box and then put the whole thing in the refrigerator, ready for morning. Again, this can work even if you don't yet have a Laptop Lunches system.

Click here if you'd like to enter my Laptop Lunches User's Guide giveaway.

With things so uncertain these days, more and more people are starting to pack their lunches instead of dining out every day. Packing a waste-free lunch (where everything is reusable) is easy (and usually much healthier) with just a little planning and advanced preparation.

Go to We Are THAT Family to see more Works For Me Wednesday posts.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kitchen Tip: Using up Fresh Produce Before it Goes Bad

For years I struggled with the idea that we were supposed to eat 5 or more servings of fresh fruits and veggies a day. I'd buy fresh produce, bring it home, put it in the refrigerator and then some of it would get pushed to the back and forgotten until excavated a week or so later. Also, even though I knew it was best for my kids to snack on fruit or veggies, it was harder to offer them because it seemed that when I did, I spent what felt like all day peeling, slicing or chopping. What I try to do now is, when we get home from the Farmer's Market or grocery store, I try to prep all of the fresh produce before it goes in the refrigerator. Lettuce gets washed, torn and spun dry. Melons are peeled, seeded and cut into large chunks. Carrots, peppers, cucumbers, squash all chopped, sliced or peeled and stored in containers. That way, its all ready to go when I need it. And with everything prepped, I am much more likely to offer fresh fruit or veggies when the kids want a snack.

Check out Tammy's Recipes for lots and lots of Kitchen Tips.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 5/25/09 - Our Stocked Pantry Saved the Weekend!!

Click HERE to enter my Laptop Lunches User Guide Giveaway.

Our stocked pantry saved the weekend!! We found out on Friday morning that we would have weekend guests starting Friday night. We were so excited about entertaining and it was especially nice that I did not have to run out to the grocery to be able to feed a crowd. Here's how we did it.

On Friday, I pulled out the ingredients for Baked Oatmeal and baked a pan. That took care of breakfast for Saturday and Sunday. I also realized that I had the ingredients for a cheesecake, so we baked one of those as well. It made a nice dessert on Saturday night. That's all the prep work we did on Friday. Our guests arrived late Friday evening. We visited for a while then when everyone was too tired to stay awake any longer, we said good night and everyone went to sleep.

Saturday morning, after breakfast, I traveled to the next town over to pick up our grass fed beef order. Great timing! We were planning to have burgers that evening anyway, so we just thawed out a little more and feasted with our guests. For lunch, we all pitched in to make pizzas. We made 3 different kinds using this food processor pizza crust recipe. The first pizza, was cheese and olives - half black olives and half green olives. This was the kids' pizza. The second pizza was a caramelized onion pizza. We've seen this on menus at upscale pizza restaurants, but have never had one. This pizza was beyond delicious and will be in our regular rotation from now on. It was so easy to make. We just caramelized 2 medium sweet onions in butter and olive oil. When the onions were nicely browned, we poured the whole thing, oil and all, over the prepared crust and topped with mozzarella and baked. That's it. No pizza sauce. It had a nice subtle sweet onion flavor and we polished it off completely. The third pizza was a Muffaletto pizza. We had about half a jar of olive salad in the refrigerator that needed to be used before it went bad, so we took that and some sliced ham and put that on a crust brushed with olive oil. We topped it with mozzarella and baked. Another huge hit that we'll be making again soon! In fact, that one was such a hit that most of it was gone before I got a picture, lol.

Our guests have a garden, and were kind enough to bring new potatoes, cucumbers and purple hull peas from their garden. We had them as side dishes with the burgers made with our grass fed beef making Saturday's supper a completely local/ home grown meal.

Today, we had leftovers from Saturday. That was THE easiest entertaining I've ever done!! What a blessing it was to have a stocked pantry.

This week, we will be eating from the pantry again, except for milk and fresh produce. Here is the menu:

Baked Oatmeal (we still have some left from the weekend!!)
Maple Pecan Waffles (got the pecans at the farmers market!!)
Eggs and grits (pastured eggs from the farmer's market)
french toast (using those pastured eggs again)

Turkey Sandwiches
Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches
Broccoli and cheese Baked Potatoes (grown by our weekend guests)

Homemade bread with honey butter
Coconut/ Macadamia Nut cookies
Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies
Hummus and Bagel Chips
Homemade soft pretzels

Monday - Oven Toasted Sandwich on homemade French Bread with oven roasted summer squash, zucchini, onions, peppers and eggplant.

Tuesday - Grilled Chicken Feta Salad

Wednesday - Pizza & a movie night. We're making a Ham, Bacon, Olive and Pepper pizza with Asian Broccoli Slaw and eating it while we watch a movie together.

Thursday - Leftover Buffet.

Friday - Toasted Turkey Pesto Sandwiches with a garden salad (hopefully with our homegrown tomatoes - some are starting to turn red!!!) and fresh berries for dessert.

Saturday and Sunday we will be eating with family and friends.

Hopefully, we'll be able to pull this off without a trip to the grocery store. I'll try to update at the end of the week.

Check out lots and lots of menus at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Garden Update 5-21-09

No pictures today as the garden (container) looks much the same as last week. We are still harvesting lots of herbs and having pesto and tabbouleh often. Yum!! Since things were growing well in containers, I decided to try planting some new containers. This week, I planted a few garlic cloves (just to see what will happen - never grown garlic, though I think this might be the wrong time of the year for planting), some heirloom carrots (lunar white, little finger and tendersweet) and my personal favorite, 5 Black Krim tomato plants. These are my all time favorite tomato and if the plants grow and produce, in 3 months, we'll be in tomato heaven :o) Hopefully we'll have baby plants to show next week.

Also, the owner of the house we rent recently told me that we are welcome to the fruit on the fruit trees. There are pear and fig trees on the property. Yay! There was a late frost this year which I think, killed most of the pear blossoms, but the figs are growing well.

Here are links to the last few weeks' updates if you'd like to see pictures:

5/12/09 - includes a picture of our dwarf lemon tree with lemons!!


Visit A High and Noble Calling to see more Garden Updates.

GIVEAWAY: The Laptop Lunches Users Guide book

About a month ago, I wrote this post about our Laptop Lunches bento boxes. We still love our boxes and use them any time we'll be away from home at lunch or supper time. And as an added bonus, we've kept at least 200 sandwich bags out of our landfill so far.

In addition to the boxes, we also love the user's guide put out by the owners of the company. Its called The Laptop Lunch User's Guide: Fresh ideas for making wholesome, Earth-friendly Lunches your Kids will Love. This little guide is a gold mine of great ideas for making healthy lunches for your family. I've used their recipes and ideas not only for the kids and I, but also for my husband's lunch, which he takes to work every day. And while the ideas in the book fit nicely with the Laptop Lunches bento style boxes, they can be used even if you don't yet have a Laptop Lunches system.

So . . . I will be giving away 3 Laptop Lunches User's Guides to three lucky winners on Thursday, May 28th at 12:00 noon central time. You can enter 3 different ways. First, leave a comment on this post. Second, subscribe to my blog, then leave a separate comment telling me you subscribed (or that you already subscribe) and third, you can blog about this giveaway and then leave a comment linking to your post. If you don't have a blog, tell your friends about the giveaway then leave a comment telling me you referred friends. We'll count that, too :o) Be sure to leave separate comments, as that will increase your chances in the drawing (random number).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

WFMW: Remembering Reusable Shopping Bags

Be sure to enter my giveaway by clicking here.

For years, I loved the idea of reusable shopping bags. There are so many benefits to using them. They are better for our Earth, many stores will give you a small discount for using them, they are cute, and the hold a lot more than those flimsy plastic bags. The only problem I had was remembering to bring them into the store with me. Even when I kept them in my vehicle, that did not guarantee I'd remember to take them in to the store. That all changed a little over a year ago, when I figured out how to trick myself into remembering.

Before we leave for the grocery store or farmer's market, I grab our stash of reusable bags from the back of the vehicle and place them on the passenger seat on top of my purse. When I get to the store, I have to pick up the bags to get to my purse, and that is all it takes to remember to bring them in.

Check out We are THAT Family for lots and lots of great Works For Me Wednesday Tips.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I know a Secret

Click here to enter my giveaway.

I have a secret. I know where you can get the most delicious food in the world, and its within 30-50 miles from where you live (most people in the USA, anyway).

When produce must be picked before its ripe so that it can hop a train or flight just to get to your local grocery store, it never has the chance to soak up the sun as it ripens and fully develop its flavors. But, when you visit your farmer's market to buy locally grown produce, eggs and meat, you have the best tasting food at your fingertips. We love buying locally grown food and cannot believe just how delicious fruits and veggies can be when in season. In fact, we find that we gorge (in a good way, of course) on in season farmer's market find such as sweet corn, peaches, berries, carrots, watermelon and tomatoes (ah, the tomatoes!!!).

Plus, buying locally grown food helps your community. Supporting your local farmers is one of the most important things you can do. Your local farmers depend upon customers to be able to make a living. No income? No Farmers. No Farmers? No food! So, visit and find your local farmer's market (most areas have farmers' markets either currently open or opening in the next few weeks) and make a commitment to visit and shop your market. Get to know the farmers. Buy their fruits, veggies, eggs and meat. Support them and enjoy the best tasting food in the world.

Check out Tammy's Recipes for Kitchen Tips Tuesday.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 5/18/09

Be sure to click here to enter my giveaway.

We received an email late last week from the farmer who raised our beef order, that our order would not be ready until next week. This is going to affect our plan for this week, unfortunately, as we were looking forward to that beef. Its been about 6 months since we've had clean beef (we won't eat CAFO rasied beef). Hopefully, it will indeed be ready on Saturday, as we are planning to add it to our menu this week.

This week, we will be eating from the pantry. I made a list of all meals we could make with what we had on hand (except for Saturday, for obvious reasons). We should only need to stop by the store for milk and maybe fresh produce.

Here's the menu for the week:

Baked Oatmeal
Eggs and grits
Cold Cereal

PB sandwiches
Sliced Turkey Sandwich
Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Banana Nut Bread
Home baked Bagels
Hummus and flat bread


Monday: Chicken Noodle Soup with bread sticks and salad (by request, we're having this again this week) - The chicken noodle soup is cooking in the crock pot right now.

Prep for tomorrow: soak black beans, make tea, bake banana nut bread

Tuesday: Cuban Black Beans and brown rice with steamed broccoli

prep for tomorrow: peel and season shrimp, bake bagels

Wednesday: Yakisoba shrimp and veggies (we didn't get to make this last week because we were eating leftovers)

prep for tomorrow: bake flatbread (for hummus snack)

Thursday: Mini Muffaletta sandwiches and a green salad

prep for tomorrow: make a pitcher of tea, bake cheesecake

Friday: Pan friend Tilapia, salad and corn on the cob

prep for tomorrow: bake hamburger buns

Saturday: yummy grass-fed beef burgers, dressed with lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions and cheese, with either steamed or roasted broccoli, cheese cake

Sunday: Leftover buffet.

Check out I'm An Organizing Junkie, host of Menu Plan Monday, for hundreds of menus.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Free Organic Gardening E-Book

Click here to download a free beginner guide to organic gardening. This site also has a nice library of articles so check those out too while you are there.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mushroom Pizza

For supper Tuesday, we had yummy homemade mushroom pizza. I tried a new crust recipe made in a food processor. We loved it and it was sooooo easy. I think it will be our go-to pizza crust from now on. It "Works For Me". Here's how it was done:

2 - 2 1/2 cups flour
1 pack of quick yeast (or 1 tblsp)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tblsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup very warm water

Combine 1 3/4 cups of flour, yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Add 1/4 cup very warm water and the oil and process until a soft dough forms (I had to add a little extra water to get the dough formed). Add as much of the remaining flour, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough is manageable. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides with oil. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about half an hour). Roll out and use as needed in recipe. (You can check out lots of great Works For Me Wednesday Tips at We Are THAT Family.)

Dough getting ready to rise

For the toppings on the pizza, we used a recipe that I found in a Better Homes and Garden's Special Interest Publication called "Italian". On page 90 of the magazine is a recipe called Mixed Mushroom Pizza.

1 Recipe Pizza Dough
8 ounces Fontina, provolone or mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 large sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced
3 Tblsp olive oil
3 Cups sliced fresh mushrooms (we used shitake and portabella)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tblsp snipped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 375 deg. Prepare pizza dough in pan. Arrange cheese over dough in pan.

In a large skillet, cook onions in 2 Tblsp olive oil covered for 13-15 minutes or until onions are tender, stirring occasionally. Uncover; cook and stir over medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes or until onions are golden. Remove from pan; set aside.

In same skillet, cook mushrooms, garlic and rosemary in the remaining olive oil over medium heat until mushrooms are tender; drain.

Spoon over cheese. Top with onions. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crust bottom is crisp and brown. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Cut and serve immediately.

This pizza recipe is definitely a keeper! Delicious!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kitchen Tip for Keeping Lettuce Fresh

When we can grow our own lettuce and spinach, we just harvest leaves as we need it. Now that temperatures here reach into the 80's every day, we are having to look to other options for lettuce. Whether you shop at the farmer's market or grocery store, there are some things you can do to make your lettuce stay fresh in your refrigerator for a week or more.

As soon as I get home from purchasing lettuce, I pull off all unusable leaves from the outside. I keep as many outside leaves as possible, because many of the vitamins are in these darkest green leaves. But I do take out all bruised leaves as these will cause the rest of the leaves to start going bad if kept together in the refrigerator.

After separating and washing the leaves, I let them drain in a strainer while I finish putting away the rest of the groceries. Then I pull them apart and remove the ribs from romaine.

Next, the leaves go for a spin in a salad spinner. Removing as much moisture as possible is key if your salad greens are going to last in the refrigerator for more than a day or two.

Lastly, after transferring the lettuce to a reusable container, place a paper towel on top. This will help prevent condensation and keep your salad crisp for longer.

With this method of keeping lettuce, not only will the leaves last longer, but you also have the convenience of bagged lettuce without the cost. For only 5 minutes or so of time invested, I was able to put away the equivalent of 2 bagged salads, which would cost between $5 & $6, for only $1.39.

Check out the yummy Mushroom Pizza we had with our salad on Tuesday!

Tammy's Recipes has lots of kitchen tips. Go check them out.

Garden Update 5-12-09

The garden is growing better than I could ever have imagined. I've never had success before with container gardening, so this success is so sweet.

Here are some pics:

Cherry tomatoes are growing really well. We should be able to use these soon.

Last Christmas, my kiddos gave me a lemon tree. At the time, we expected we'd be buying a house in the country on lots of acreage soon after Christmas, so we thought we'd have land in which to plant it. When hubby was laid-off a few days later, we realized we'd have to put off the land purchase for a while, so we put the tree in a large pot for the time being. I am amazed that it is growing and producing, but it is.

In this close-up picture you can see some of the lemons on the tree. It is hard to tell from the picture, but these little lemons are about the size of a golf ball now. To me, the amazing thing about them is that we have 18 of them on this little tree.

The mesclun is growing so well. The temperatures here have been getting into the 80's at mid day, so we will probably use up all of the lettuce this week before it starts trying to go to seed.

We've been using a lot of our parsley and basil, and we're drying some oregano for storage. We also have one small bell pepper and lots of flowers on our red pepper plant. DS9 planted watermelon a few weeks ago and it is beginning to grow. DS6 planted sunflowers a few days ago. They have yet to sprout, but we are hopeful that they will soon.

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

The lighting in our kitchen is not the best. With better light, I think the picture would look more appetizing. While it doesn't look wonderful, it did taste wonderful. Here is how I made it.

First, I simmered the carcass of a roasted chicken in about 1/2 gallon of water for about 5 hours. Then, I strained the broth into another bowl, removed the meat from the bones and added it back to the broth, which I then put back into the crockpot. To that I added parsley, bay leaf, carrots, caramelized onions, red peppers, asparagus, yellow squash, cooked white beans and a little salt and pepper. This simmered for another 4 hours. About half an hour before we ate, I tossed in a hand full of pasta and some frozen spinach. It was yummy!

This is the Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Beer Bread we had with it. This bread came from an amalgamation of recipes I found online. Here's how we made it.

3 Cups Flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder (I think I might try using less of this next time)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I used about 6-7)
2 tblsp finely chopped fresh basil or about 1 tblsp dried basil
1 (12 oz) bottle beer
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven 375 deg. Grease 9X5 loaf pan

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour beer over the top and mix to combine (I ended up adding about 1/4 cup milk to the batter as it was a bit dry). Be careful not to over mix as this could result in a tough texture in the finished bread. Poor into the loaf pan and pour the melted butter over the top.

Bake for 30 or so minutes (recipe called for 30 minutes, but it took about 40 minutes in my oven) or until golden brown.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 5/11/09

See hundreds of menus at Organizing Junkie. Here is our plan for this week. This is our "use it up" week. We're trying to make our meals and snacks from the pantry or freezer.

Monday- Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup with sun-dried tomato/ basil beer bread. I'm using a left over roasted chicken from last week to make the stock for the soup - Monday evening is Karate, so we need something easy.

Tuesday - Mixed Mushroom Pizza with bread sticks and a green salad. I found this recipe in a magazine. It looks yummy and we love carmelized onions, mushrooms and fontina cheese, to I think it will be a hit.

Wedesday - Turkey and roasted veggie paninis with chipotle mayo and pesto pasta salad. We are making the pesto with our homegrown basil and parsley (we use both in our pesto). I'll post a recipe and pics as soon as I can.

Thursday - use it up - leftover day

Friday - Shrimp and veggie yakisoba

Saturday - Roasted chicken and veggie tray

Sunday - Beef kabobs, veggie kabobs and tabouli - The beef is will be from our order of locally raised grass fed beef. I'm so thrilled to have found a local source of grass fed beef and we're so excited that it will be in this weekend.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bento Lunch 5-01-09

Today, Hubby's lunch is (clockwise from bottom left) leftover crispy chicken strips (pan fried them after rolling in Panko bread crumbs which gives them a really nice crunch), carrots, trail mix, strawberries, grapes and blackberries and in the last compartment, edemame.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Here is a "before" pic of the BBQ Chicken (and 1/3 olives) pizza we made for supper yesterday.

And here it is again, after coming out of the oven. Yummy! This recipe is very close to the one I use for my pizza crusts, except that I also use a little salt and a little sugar in mine and I use a lot more parmesan cheese in mine, lol. We formed the crust into a jellyroll pan, added bottled BBQ sauce, cooked chicken, thinly sliced red onions and fontina cheese (my current fav. cheese). It baked for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Once we get our grill moved here, we can once again bake our pizzas on the grill the way my friend Melanie does.

Garden Update 5-1-09

Here are a few pictures of the container garden. I'm amazed that it is growing. I'm not sure why, but I didn't expect it to grow and so I am very pleased that it is.

The tomato plant in the foreground is younger than the one towards the back, but is definitely growing faster.

Here is a picture of our lone tomato. Its a red cherry tomato. I hope it is joined by others very soon.

The mesclun lettuce mix is growing well. We're going to start using these is small salads next week. Usually, we just pick some of the outer leaves for our salad and not harvest the entire plant. That way, it continues to grow and we can make salads for months off just a few plants.

We also planted two watermelon plants in some of the landscaping, just to see if we could get them to grow and produce. Our oldest son has taken this on as his personal project. I hope its a success. Our youngest is planting sunflower seeds in another part of the landscaping. The area gets alot of sun, but not full sun all day, so I'm not sure how they will do, but again, we'll give it a try. We'll put up pictures once stuff starts sprouting.