Monday, February 22, 2010

Garden Update - Feb 22, 2010

Here is a picture of my indoor garden. I have 4 containers of lettuce planted and sitting in a sunny window growing like wild. The container in the foreground was newly planted. The one you can see in the background is almost 2 weeks old. So far we have only used it as micro greens on sandwiches, but it is growing really well and I am hopeful that some will grow past the micro stage and we will get some baby greens. I am very pleased with how well this is working out. I hope to continue growing these indoors all year, since we eat a great deal of lettuce - more than I would be able to grow outdoors (for now, anyway).

I've also pulled all of our carrots and since the adorable little forest creatures at the rest of the garden, I've planted new seeds in those containers and put a screen on top (pictures coming - its raining right now). So far I've planted one 2X2 box of kale and one of sweet peas. I'd love to try beets again, and I have one 2x2 that is not yet planted, so I will probably put beets in there. The garden beds will be ready for planting in a week or two, and I'd like to put some cool weather crops in one 4x8 bed. Lettuce, spinach and carrots for sure and if I have enough room, cabbage and broccoli, though I'd have to buy the last two as plants for them to have enough time to mature before the heat kicks in.

The onion tops are starting to grow back and I am hoping that they will still be usable this year. In addition, the parsley is growing back. I hope that I can keep the local wildlife out of them both long enough to be able to harvest.

Its hard to believe that it will be time to start planting the summer garden in our area in anther month or so. Have you started planning your summer garden?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Living Room Pictures

If you've ever been to my house, you will know that I'm not much of a decorator, but I did a little "arranging" of some things around the new house and I like it. Here are a few pics of the living room.

This wicker chest was in the boys room in our old house. Our coffee table from our last house is too big for this living room, and we needed something else, but I did not want to go out and buy something. Since the boys didn't need the chest, we put it in the living room with a tray and candles that were in the master bedroom in our last house. We tossed the throw on it to add a little contrasting color.

I'm still looking for a way to break up the dark brown in this picture - the sofa and the wall are almost the same color. I was thinking of hanging curtains on the wall, even though there is no window there, just for the color. I have some green sheers that are 80+ inches and so would reach to the floor. If I got a pretty curtain rod with some sort of pretty scroll work on the ends, I think it would look nice. I would keep the picture but hang it a little higher.

I love this pillow. We are using green as an accent color in the living room, dining area and kitchen. I like the way a pillow can add a splash of color to an area but I really don't like how much they cost. So I was thrilled when I found throw pillow covers at Target yesterday. The above pillow was blue and brown before the cover and $4.99 later, it goes with our living room :) I really love that!


We are still looking for an area rug for the living room and maybe another lamp, but I think other than that, we are done and happy with the results. We love our little cabin in the woods and it is really beginning to feel like home.

Menu Plan Monday 2-22-10

locally grown/ raised

Breakfast this week will mostly be either scrambled eggs, yogurt with maple syrup and pecans or smoothies made with frozen fruit and yogurt.

Lunches this week will be either leftovers from supper, or (for me) mixed greens salad with some kind of protein(and lots of olives) and (kids/ hubby) turkey or chicken salad sandwiches.


Monday - roasted chicken, asparagus and rolls

Tuesday - BBQ roast sliders (I will have mine in a lettuce wrap - I'm trying to limit carbs to one serving a day during lent - the others will have theirs on leftover rolls) with steamed broccoli

Wednesday - Thin crust pizza (either BBQ Chicken or Plain Cheese) with a side salad and roasted veggies

Thursday - Muffaletto sandwiches on focaccia bread with a side salad.

Friday - baked tilapia, sweet potatoes and a green salad

Saturday - Celebrating our oldest son's 10th birthday - his choice

Sunday - probably leftovers or a sandwhich

Check out hundreds of menu plans at Organizing Junkie.

Can you compost Valentines Day flowers?

I know you "can", but I guess my question is actually, should you compost them. Is there anything in them that would make it unsafe to use them, composted, in our veggie garden?

Lego Rock Monster Cake

Our oldest is having a birthday this week and requested a Lego Rock Monster for his cake. Feeling adventurous, when he found a picture of a 3-D cake online, we decided to give it a try. We decided to make a "test cake" and if it worked out we would make it for his birthday party. It turned out cute, but was not stable enough to stand for long. It is definitely not Ace of Cakes, but for two novices, I think it came out pretty good.So we are going to keep the parts (face and upper body) that worked and put it on a sheet cake as though it is crashing up through the ground. I will try to get a picture of it and post it once we make it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lent 2010 - I really need some advice

As usual, though I knew it was coming, I didn't really think about how to prepare for Easter until yesterday - Ash Wednesday. I'm not sure why I do that every year, but I put it off until I don't have any other choice, then decide what to do. Maybe one day I'll work on that.

As I thought about it yesterday, I really felt called to stop being so lazy about our health. I know that I do more than many to have healthy foods here to offer to my family but I know that I could do more. I know that I rely too much on carbs for all of us, but especially for me. I know that we could eat less meat than we do and I know that I could try harder not to let a processed food cross our doorstep.

Last summer, thanks to MotherHen68, I learned about adding unrefined coconut oil to my coffee which helped me to decrease my carb consumption by at least 50 percent. At the same time, I lost a whole dress size and saw other health benefits as well. Slowly, though, I have been adding back some of those carbs and I can feel the difference, not only in my clothes, but also in my health. My sinus have beens stuffy since before Christmas without much relief and that is about the time I started adding back a lot of bread and other baked things. If it is doing this to me, what is it doing to my family? I really want to make this change again, and I really want it to be permanent.

So, one of my goals for Lent is to drop most of the carbs from my diet again. In lent, this can be a challenge because of the meatless days. In the past, we always filled meatless requirements with carb heavy foods. It will require a change of mindset to come up with alternatives, but I must do it. And I also want to stay away from the typical Cajun Catholic Friday in Lent crawfish or fish fry scenario. I really don't find that kind of eating to be very sacrificial, at least not for me, lol.

So, I am asking for your help. Do you have any ideas for lower carb or carb free meatless meals? Salads and brothy soups are the only things that have come to my mind so far. Thank you in advance for your help :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

King Cake - Yum!!

Today we made a yummy, yummy King Cake. In case you haven't experienced a King Cake before, it is a sort of cinnamon roll ring usually with green, purple and yellow icing. Where we are from, they are a staple from the Feast of the Tiphany all the way to Mardi Gras day. They are not sold here, so we decided to make our own. We used this brioche recipe for the bread maker to make the dough. Once the dough was finished, I took it out of the machine, rolled it out into a rectangle and added the filling. I wanted a caramel sauce inside, so we used 1/4 cup of softened butter, 1 cup of brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon. We mixed it together and spread it over the rectangle of dough then started rolling it up along one long side. When it was all rolled up, we sealed (or at least I thought we did, but that's another post) the ends and the seam and put it seam side down and connected the edges. We baked it for 30 minutes at 350.

Then, as if there was not already enough sugar, we mixed some powdered sugar with a little milk and vanilla and made a thin icing to drizzle over it. Yummy!

Menu Plan Monday 2-8-10

We are getting settled in our new place - it feels more like home every day. Shopping for groceries two weeks at a time is working out wonderfully for us - we are spending less time shopping because we don't go to the store every time we are missing ingredients, plus we are spending less because we don't go to the store every time we are missing ingredients. Instead, we are using what we have either to substitute ingredients or to substitute a different meal and it is working really well.

This week, breakfasts will include:

Baked oatmeal,
French toast (from the freezer)
Yogurt (homemade Greek style with maple syrup and pecans)
Berry smoothies


sandwiches (including some of our "micro greens" we have growing inside the house)
Salad with feta, kalamata olives ,etc


homemade bread and honey butter
homemade king cake (Mardi Gras is next week)
homemade yogurt with add-in's
homemade crockpot granola with milk or yogurt
cookies (probably some sort of sugar cookie that we can make into hearts and decorate for valentines day and also some sort of breakfast cookie)
carrots and cucumbers with ranch dip
Chips and salsa
pecan/ fig pinwheel cookies
cheese cubes


Pizza - will do individuals that everyone can top as they like - with a green salad

BBQ Chicken Sliders with broccoli slaw

Baked tilapia, steamed broccoli and homemade bread (all three with lots of butter :) )

lasagna from the freezer with caramelized mixed veggies and bread of some kind

white bean chicken chili

We will probably do breakfast for dinner one night since we have a lot of eggs - either scrambled eggs, hash browns and ham or a ham, hashbrown and egg fritata.

Go check out everyone's menu plans at

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Busy Weekend and Dogs

We had guests over this weekend and had such a great time. Our guests were one of my best friends and her family, which are some of my kids best friends. It was such fun. We enjoyed their company for several days and after they left, we were slow in getting back to reality, so, as of yet, I have not posted our menu plan, though we do have one this week. Hubby was off yesterday, so the menu did not get posted then and it won't get posted today either because we have a very busy day with homeschooling friends. Maybe tomorrow :)

Yesterday, instead of posting the week's menu, we went out to shop - for furniture and for a dog. We found some furniture we like, but need to measure to make sure it will fit and we need to think on it to make sure it will end up being what we really need and not just what we want.

On the other hand, the dog search was much more successful. We visited a private animal shelter with definite ideas of what we wanted, but at least somewhat open minded. We wanted a young dog, preferably a German Shepherd or a Shepherd mix. We found a few that met that description, but ended up falling in love with some lab mix puppies. Two, lab mix puppies, in fact. Sisters. We (me) could not bear the thought of separating them (lame, right, lol), so we applied for both of them. This shelter is extremely particular about their adoptive families and how the dogs will be kept, so I am not sure they will agree with our plans to keep the dogs outside some of the time. In other words, we may not get them. But we are hopeful. We should know something by the end of the week.