Thriving in My Thrifty Week–August 13, 2018

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Can you say “mouse hotel?”  This is what the funny smell and awful sound from my air conditioner fan came from.  Thank goodness for our good mechanic friend who fixed it on the same day Rob mentioned the problem.  It is so nice to have my car back, and even nicer that this is not longer in side of it!  My car is fixed, drives great, and God provided the means to get it fixed from all its major, awful problems (I now have a new-to-me motor, new brakes all around, my air conditioner is newly serviced, and of course, no mouse hotel to boot!).

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I was able to make these pillowcases for my friend, Harnet’s, birthday. I added some lotion I had in my gift bin I keep in the shop.  She loved them, and I was glad to have actually been able to find the fabric in my stash out in the shop.  That is an organizing project waiting to happen, for sure.

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I had fun playing with Danait.  She used toys that Rosalie, my sister, has had for years.  They were all new to Danait!

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Even though it was Mama’s birthday, she was glad to eat the cupcakes we brought.  We had a simple taco meal with watermelon and Harnet loved the entire celebration.  We ate outside by my sister’s garden.  During the afternoon, we took turns down at the u-pick peach stand, because they were open for business that day.

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It was simple, and pleasant, and meant a lot to Harnet.

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I have used so much garden produce that I only needed to spend $30 on groceries for the past 2 weeks.  To do this, I concentrated on using what I had, and garden veggies.  Of course, this is not sustainable over a long period of time, but it sure has been nice to have so much produce to work with in our meals.  I’m just saving the other grocery money for the day that will inevitably come when I need to restock those ice cream buckets, gallon ziplocks, and other containers that I’m emptying out.

I have now used most of the potatoes I have grown. I only had a few short rows.  The big ones were used for mashing, salad, roasting and baking, and the tiny ones I just roasted with salt, pepper and olive oil.

I made an enormous amount of potato salad for Sunday, some for dinner and some for the teen gathering my sister was hosting after their regular teen Bible Study on Sunday night.  She asked my husband to BBQ, and she provided chicken, steak and hamburgers for him to cook.  We spent most of the day over there after church, eating in addition to helping out.  Those kids can pack it away.  She made 2 –9 x 13 fruit crisps and they ate them both.  That was after the family ate the 3rd one for lunch.  Good thing my sister likes to cook! We did bring Jake home in the middle for a couple of hours so they could clean and it would stay that way.

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Today, I did something unusual.  Since I have been involved with 4H food preservation project for years, I received an unexpected phone call on Friday.  The county where we used to live was desperate for a judge to judge the 4H Food preservation today.  I have no idea why the real judges could not do it, or if they just absolutely could not find one.  So they asked me if I would do it.  I said I sure would, as long as they understood that it was my first time, and I was not trained in any way except for all the years of experience in teaching 4H and my personal canning.  I had a fun day.  It went very well.  And, they even paid me something for my time, including some money for mileage since I live a distance away now.

I love kids and had a great time explaining to each one why they were getting the ribbon they were getting, and ate so much jam that I’m sure I will be very sweet tomorrow:). There were some unique items kids made, beyond the jam and canned peaches.  One girl made chili starter– meat and seasonings that you were to add beans to when you ate it.  Another girl made chicken noodle soup starter–just add noodles when you cook it for a super fast supper.   There was a home-canned cranberry sauce, some dilled green beans from a young man, and pie fillings.  My personal favorite was a girl who painstakingly hand-cut, with a knife, all the ingredients for relish.  The pieces were insanely even, but I can’t even imagine how long it must have taken!

At the end of the day, I got to choose who would receive champion ribbons and cash prizes.  The crew was well-organized and efficient, and we were done by 5:30.

I saved money by not stopping on the way home, even for a drink, as Rob had texted me that he had cooked me dinner.  Boy was it good!  My lunch was provided, but the sandwiches were pre-made, so I had to skip them (gluten).  I did get some of the potato salad they bought, which was delicious.  It wasn’t a stellar lunch for my diabetic dietary needs–potato salad, chips, fruit, and of course, all that jam I was eating all day, but I gave myself a little extra insulin, tried to limit my portions, and powered through.  Another time, should that occasion arise, I will tuck some protein into my bag and be better prepared.  I simply did not know what to expect when they said they would provide lunch–I’ve always seen cold cuts at those occasions before, and thought that’s what I would be having.

Tomorrow, it’s back to my normal life.  I’m almost afraid to look at the garden, especially the zucchini!  Maybe Jake would like to make zucchini muffins.  We’ll see!

 

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What Did We Eat? August 10, 2018

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Last Friday, I did not find time to do my normal weekly shopping.  I was too busy with canning and taking care of kids.  I didn’t seem to be out of very many things, so just kept cooking with what I had, and had Patsy make a list on the whiteboard of things when I ran out of something.  I rolled the weekly grocery money over for another time, as I know not buying groceries is not sustainable, and I will need to re-stock sooner or later.

I ran out of some things I wasn’t expecting, such as baking powder and baking soda.  Thankfully, there was some in the camper, and I just continued cooking up a storm.

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I soaked and cooked a large amount of pinto beans.  Most of them, I froze for later.  I made a small batch of chili from the rest.

Patsy was in a cooking mood.  She made gluten-free calzones one day, and tamale pie casserole the next.  Both recipes were very good, and used items we had on hand.  She got the recipes from Pinterest, and enjoyed looking at all the choices before she chose those recipes.  She picked wild blackberries from my sister’s house and made a crisp with them.  She also froze a few more for later.

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I needed to cook a bunch of food for the college-age group at church.  They have a retreat this weekend.  The leader asked the ones of us who regularly cook for their Tuesday night dinner/Bible Study/worship time if we could each sign up for a meal, cook the food ahead, and then send it along so that all that had to be done on the retreat was warm food up or put the finishing touches on it.  It needed to be enough for 30 people.  I made 5   cake-sized breakfast casseroles with hash browns on the bottom, eggs plus 1/2 and 1/2 filling, with ham and cheese on top. To go with it, I made 3 loaves of zucchini bread and sent 5 cantaloupes for them to cut that morning.  Then, I made gluten-free zucchini muffins, gf brownies and 3 tiny gf spaghetti pies and sent small quantities for those who needed that option.  While I was at it, I made our family a spaghetti pie, some brownies, and some zucchini muffins.  It was a cooking marathon for sure! (I will be reimbursed for the food I bought for that project, except what I had on hand and donated.  I would have paid them to take the zucchini-ha, ha!  Seriously, I was glad to find a use for more of this bumper crop!)

My excellent helper, Jake, helped me shop for the college-age food.  He carefully checked the 2 dozen eggs I bought for the casseroles/baking.  He found a broken one, and then proceeded to march over and inform a near-by worker about this discovery, stressing how bad it was that they had a broken egg in their cooler, and so on.  The worker was very patient, and agreed that it was bad, and assured him it would be taken care of.  He had fun shopping with me, and later in the day, we discovered that he likes gf yellow zucchini muffins.  That was a pleasant surprise!  He ate them for 2 days straight.  I hope he likes them next week, too.  I’ll make more.  I’m not short on zucchini!!!   (I think I’ve picked at least 60 by now…)

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Garden produce played a large part in my menu plans this week.  These cherry tomatoes were picked at my sister’s house.  She has a LOT!  I am getting a few from my bushes, and plenty of regular tomatoes.  I picked and served corn a couple of times.  The earliest variety of corn I planted is almost finished. Boy, was it good, but I only had space for a small square area of each planting.  The green beans are still putting out a handful every few days, but are almost finished.  I ended up freezing a few quarts, and we ate beans a couple of times.  I picked the last of the lettuce that was ready and am waiting for the next succession planting to get big enough to eat.  I have 2 more small plantings growing, and a third that just came up to take me into the fall. IMG_7605

There were enough cucumbers to make a few quarts of dill pickles, to add to the 2 batches of sweet pickles I’ve made so far.  Today, there should be more that need to be picked and processed.  I keep picking the dill heads off as I make pickles, and so far, there have been enough.  The plants keep making more smaller flowers, and so sometimes I have to put 2 small heads in a jar, rather than one big one, and I also add in some leaves if I think the flowers weren’t enough.  It’s working so far, but I may need to plant more dill next year.  Most of these are volunteers anyway, but the plants are getting hit pretty hard.  I’ve made an awful lot of those zucchini dill chips…..:)

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The peach tree in our back yard has been providing us with plenty of peaches.  I made more jam and keep freezing more every few days.  We are eating sliced peaches frequently.

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We spent yesterday up at my sister’s farm.  The menu was taco bar, watermelon, and birthday cupcakes for our friend, Harnet’s, birthday.  Everyone brought something, and we had a lovely time eating, visiting, and taking turns helping at the u-pick peach stand, as they were open for business!

Yesterday morning I ran out to the store very early, as I was down to about 1 cup of milk.  I ended up spending $30 on whole wheat bread, milk, celery, baking powder, baking soda, grapes, garlic, and a few other things.  I was very pleased that I only needed that many groceries after 2 weeks!  That garden is really paying off:). We will do the same this week as we did last week–just make a list as we run out of things while focusing on eating garden produce. I would not be surprised if I went back to the store in a few days to re-stock a few items, but I’m not sure which day.  I’m just setting the extra money aside and will go to Costco one of these days for a few things I usually get there.  I like to get 5-dozen packages of eggs there, and am getting low.  My sugar supply has also taken quite a hit with all the jam I’ve made, and I’m going to get 25 lbs. either there or at Cash and Carry.

It’s a busy time of year, as I get all of this produce stored away for winter, but I wouldn’t trade it, as I enjoy it so much!  I will, however, not turn down a nap if I can ever carve out the time for one:). We’ll see what today brings.

Thriving in My Thrifty Week–August 6, 2018

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We enjoyed a wedding yesterday afternoon.  This is the car they drove away in:). We enjoyed seeing many friends we had not seen for a while, the beautiful bride in her gorgeous dress, the handsome groom in his suit–a young man we’ve known and loved since he was 5,  the cool breezes as we sat under the hazelnut trees for the wedding and reception–a lovely venue and a very pleasant afternoon.

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The rest of the week was not as restful, but it was fun as well!  At the beginning of the week, I worked in the garden quite a bit, processing or serving the harvest as I picked it.

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On Tuesday afternoon, we escaped the heat and drove down to the beach.  We did a little shopping at the outlet mall for Patsy, and then just went and sat on lawn chairs and watched the waves. IMG_7580 I often forget that beach is only a little over an hour from our house now…we could go more often if I just remembered that it was an option.

 

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Since Jake and Michaela spent from Wednesday-Sunday with us, as their parents were out of town, we did a few extra things with them.  Rob took Patsy and Michaela to a train museum one day, as trains are one of her absolute favorite things in the world.  It was free, not very big (so not overwhelming) and they had fun.  He also took her to her volunteering opportunity so her schedule could continue uninterrupted.

Alissa showed up one evening with popcorn, popcorn buckets and a movie, and we had a movie night.  We had a very fun evening, and Jake loved seeing his big sister.  I really liked the music in the movie she brought–The Greatest Showman.

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Jake and I are in the book, “The Long Winter”,  so one morning I made him “flapjacks” and bacon like Almanzo and his brother ate during the winter storms.  He was sure theirs were bigger, and I am too, but he didn’t even finish these, so…..

We went swimming with them a couple of times.  We went to the library to check out books and movies.  He got another “Betsy” book (by Carolyn Haywood) and we had to read part of that, as well.  He likes having the Little House books going on all the time, with Betsy books thrown in.  It’s a treat for him to find one at the library we have not read yet.

They both did very well, and we were pleased with how it went.

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I did get some gardening done, such as clipping off some vines, a little weeding, and Rob tilled up a small area in the garden that was finished and I planted some more seeds–lettuce, spinach, snow peas, cilantro, basil and beets.  The lettuce I planted a couple of weeks ago is up, but patchy, as it’s been so hot.  I’ve been out there all morning again today, but, now, I’m going to tear into the inside work as it’s pretty hot out there now.  Today’s my only day off for a while, so I have lots I want to do.

I have no grocery bargains to share this week, as I didn’t have time to go shopping.  I guess that’s the best bargain of all!  We are making out like kings and queens with all the garden produce, and things in the freezers and cupboards, so I think I’ll hold off until next weekend, unless we run out of milk.

 

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–July 29, 2018

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It was all about food preservation this week!  As you can see, it’s starting to crawl toward the edge of the counter–but I’ll let you know I took care of it before it fell off!

I did several more batches of zucchini dill chips.  I did 2 jars of cucumber dill chips, using the same recipe,  and 1 pint of dill pickles.  I finished and canned the sweet pickles.  It’s a 4-day process, with something to do both morning and evening for the 4 days.  Rob and I canned 7 quarts and about 22 pints of green and yellow beans.  I froze peaches and made peach jam.

I picked tomatoes, dill, basil, cilantro, potatoes, cucumbers, a lemon cucumber, numerous zucchini, snow peas, green and yellow beans, lettuce, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and a few carrots from the garden.  I picked peaches at my sister’s house, along with some wild blackberries.  She also gave me a small cabbage and some jalapeños.

I got bulk dill seeds for a much lower price than the little jars cost.  It did take 3 different stores, but I finally found some at Natural Grocers, of all places.  It was 3-4x the amount of dill seeds in the bulk package for less than 1/2 the price of the jar I passed up at the other stores.  I refilled my mustard seed from a large bulk package I’ve had for some time.

I got the KIND bar at Fred Meyers as my Friday Freebie.  At Safeway, I got a Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice packet for free.

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Safeway had bone-in chicken breast for 79c/lb.  Ever since Jeannie, at GetMeToTheCountry blog told about canning chicken, I’ve been dying to try it.  I seized my opportunity and bought the 4 allowed packages.  As she did, I cut the chicken off the bone for Rob to load into jars, and boiled the bones with water to make broth.  Then, he watched the canner for the 75 minutes that were required, and we had 18 little jars of canned chicken.  We also canned 7 quarts and 6 pints broth. Broth is done in 25 minutes, but he still sat there and watched every minute.  That’s what we do when we are using the pressure cooker.  I was very low on broth, and was delighted to get that.  This was our first time canning chicken, but I’ve done broth numerous times, and I love having the convenience of canned broth on the shelf.  I don’t love paying the price for what is basically water and salt boiled with bones–it’s much more economical to make my own.

I used all the little jars Rob got for free last week at a garage sale.  There were way more than the 20 I estimated–probably closer to 35 or 40.  In the same box, I had not noticed the 3 boxes of small-mouthed jar lids.  I happily used them as well.  There were lots of rings, too, and many of them are nicer than the ones I had.

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We watched Jake 3 days, and Michaela 2 days.  Among other activities,  I helped him make cupcakes and cake from a mix and some sprinkles that had been around for quite some time.  He had fun, and I was glad to send most of it home with him. Rob took Michaela to her volunteering activity and some other errands, and we took them to the YMCA to swim.  I let Jake play in the sprinklers with Patsy, and you would have thought I had taken him to the zoo or something, he had so much fun.

Watching the kids meant that we did the picking, most of the processing and especially the canning with the pressure cooker when they were not here.  So, I put in several early mornings and late nights.  I paced myself and did part of a job one day (like snap beans) and the rest the next (like the actual canning).  I have a couple of days to re-coup as their older sister, Caitlyn, wants to spend a couple of days with them while their parents are out of town.  She has the time, and misses them.  They were all here for lunch today, and we mapped out the week.  Once she goes back to work on Wednesday evening, Rob and I will take over, and it will be busy, busy, busy for the rest of the week.

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We had stir-fry at least 5 times, with various veggies at times, but it always included zucchini.  We had chicken several times.  When I was in a big hurry, I just chopped off some of that not-yet-canned chicken breast and stir-fried it with zucchini and onion.  I used the last of my store potatoes to make mashed potatoes today because Alissa requested them.  I will use garden ones next. Lovana made zucchini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and chocolate zucchini cookies.  I made a crock pot of Marinara sauce, using frozen peppers from previous years and canned tomatoes.  I used it 2 times with frozen chicken meatballs the needed using up.  I still have a bunch left to serve or freeze in the next couple of days.

I mended a swimsuit for my sister.  I have some more sewing I’d like to start, now that my machine is out:). I also have extra cleaning I’d like to get done.  There may be a little more preserving to do, although Rob has been gently asking me how many zucchini dill chips I think we need..even when some will be gifts:).   It’s still blistering hot, for a couple more days, so I’ll be glad to stay inside tomorrow.

Do you have any preserving or other money-saving projects you hope to do this week?

 

Thriving in My Thrifty Week–July 22, 2018

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I continued cooking up a storm this week.  This morning I used the last of some clearance mushrooms in omelets for breakfast.  I put a little basil from the garden in with the eggs to give it a little different flavor.  Rob wasn’t sure what it was, but he liked it:)

We got gluten-free bread for $1/loaf at a salvage grocery store. We bought several.  I froze a few, and gave a couple to my sister.  (Mom, be warned–I’m sending a couple of loaves up to your house one of these days–hope you have freezer room).  At the same store, I got Enjoy Life gluten-free, dairy free chocolate chips for $1/bag.  If you need them, you know what they are and how much they usually cost–usually around $5/bag.  I’m not dairy free, but they work fine in cookies regardless.

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I made a sandwich with the gluten-free bread, garden lettuce, ham, and some of those zucchini dill chips.  We opened and ate the first jar, because I don’t want to make them again if I don’t like them, but they were very good. They will improve with time, so should be terrific.   I’m glad, because the zucchini bushes are still producing heavily out there.  I picked them extremely small for these pickles, so bought myself a couple of days that I don’t have to pick any.  (I mean, over 35 in one week?  What’s next week going to bring with the hot temperatures we will have–either lots more, or they will slow down in protest.  Either way, I’m happy)

We were able to get together today for Family Sunday Dinner for the first time in a while,  due to vacations, etc.  Rob made brisket from the freezer, and I made coleslaw from cabbage my sister grew, zucchini and other veggie stir fry, sliced garden tomatoes, and canned corn.  There was also watermelon and drinks from others.  It saves us at least $100 every time we eat as an extended family after church vs. going out to dinner, and I doubt we could have taken the 14 people that came today out to dinner for that amount.  My sister’s family used to eat out a lot on Sundays, and is thrilled that we all do this now.

I will go grocery shopping sometime later in the week, but never found the time on either Friday or Saturday, my normal weekly shopping times.  The few items I picked up mid-week were enough. Since we are making out just fine, I’m concluding that I really didn’t need those other items on the list quite yet, so am just hanging onto the money until I really need them.  Having so much garden produce is really helping me stay out of the regular grocery store.

We have been pulling meat out of the freezers that has been there for a while and using it up.  This week, I used some very old turkey drumsticks and pork chops, along with the not-so-old meat and other items we also ate.  Both older items were just fine.

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We continue to enjoy flowers from the yard and garden.  Patsy especially enjoys making bouquets.

Rob got a box of jam and jelly jars for free at a garage sale.  There are at least 20 in there. I usually give jam as gifts for Christmas, so am glad to have more jars for free.  The included pectin was from 2009, so I’m going to throw that away.

He found some items at yard sales that he has already listed and sold and made a small profit.

He also spent hours on the phone again, getting the insurance corrected–our new cards came with our old insurance still listed as an option on them–oops!  He was on hold for 2 hours, but prevailed and it’s all supposed to be fixed by tomorrow.   Once that is done for sure, he will spend the time needed to change our doctors.  The new insurance doesn’t cover our old primary care physician, and so we need a new one.  All of this is taking lots of time and effort, but is necessary for us.  We are very thankful to have insurance.  Between working with the kids, going to yard sales, and all these phone calls, he’s keeping busy, which is good.

We also spent a good amount of time cleaning in the shop one morning, and where we cleaned looks awesome.  We want to spend some time out there again very soon.  Whatever we find that we don’t need, we are getting rid of.  If we collect enough, we will have another garage sale.  If not, we will send it to charity.  He cleaned so much last winter that I don’t know if we have enough good stuff for another yard sale, or if what’s left would be better sold another way, or is just trash.  There’s only one way to find out!

I wouldn’t actually pay someone to sort my things at this point of my life, but am sure I am saving money by doing it myself vs. paying someone.  It does, however, make me feel very calm and cheerful when I get things cleaned up and tidy, and that’s worth a lot to me in other ways, all money-saving aside.  It’s part of thriving for me.  In fact, on Saturday, I cleaned the front room so well that Lovana thought we were having company!  It gives me a certain peace to sit down in a clean room.

How did your week go?  Did you get anything cleaned, sorted or any food preserved or grown?  Or do something else that you count as thriving or brings you peace?

 

 

 

 

Zucchini Dill Chips

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I made zucchini dill chips today with the 8 more zucchini I picked this morning.  I picked them very small, so that should take care of the problem for a few days:)

I checked out a book at the library Wednesday called “Pickled Pantry” by Andrea Chesman.  The recipe I used was on page 116.

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I put about 4-1/2 + cups of zucchini slices in my big measuring cup and salted them according to the directions.  I used 1 Tablespoon salt, since it was about a double batch.  I let it sit about 5 hours.  There was a lot of water in the bottom of the container, and I dried the zucchini off as instructed.

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Then, I packed the zucchini and other ingredients into the jars.  (dill seed, garlic, dill head) I used 1/2 pints.  I added red pepper flakes because we like things spicy–probably about 1/8 teaspoon per jar.  I left the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar out.  I’ve had sugar in my dills before and don’t care for it.  I also added mustard seed, as I like that in dills–about 1/8-1/4 teaspoon per jar.  Then, the vinegar and water and the pickle crisp.

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I canned them according to the directions, which was 10 minutes.

It clearly states that you can make any dill recipe with zucchini.  Next time, I am going to make up my regular recipe of brine, minus the salt because you sprinkle that on the zucchini at first.  It seems like it would be easier to me.

We opened a jar already, even though it said to wait weeks.  I wanted to make more if they were good, and never make them again if not……They are amazing.  Even on the same day.  There is little crunch, a nice dill flavor, some heat from the red peppers….I’m making more for sure!   I got 5 small jars today.  The recipe is set up for small batches, which worked well for me.

There are lots of other good-looking recipes in the cookbook.  I’m not sure if I will make more or not, but this one was a winner.

What Did We Eat? July 19, 2018

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That’s just my harvest from today!  Over the past week, I think I’ve picked around 35 zucchini. I have shared many, many zucchinis, served them frequently, and still have a bunch.  Tomorrow, I have a day off and hope to preserve some of them.

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We have had mixed grill basket, stir fry, zucchini bread, gf zucchini muffins, and zucchini cake with browned butter frosting (thanks to Lovana).

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I found 2 turkey drumsticks in the freezer.  They were from our old house! It was time to use them up and then some. I found a recipe in the Fix and Forget It (For Entertaining) cookbook and made it.  It was a BBQ sauce with 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/3 cup molasses, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 3 T Worchestershire sauce, 2 T dried minced onion, salt and pepper.  I sprinkled the drumsticks with salt and pepper, mixed the other ingredients, put the sauce over the drumsticks, set the Crock Pot to “low” and left.  5-6 hours later, it  was edible, and I ate some for lunch, but let it go another 2 hours and it got more tender.  I picked the rest of the meat off the bones and put it and some of the sauce in a bowl and put it in the fridge for tomorrow.

On that same trip to the shop where I was digging into the freezers, I found some pork from our old house, as well.  I marinated it in olive oil, mustard, salt, pepper and a sprig of rosemary.  Rob grilled it tonight, and we ate part of it.  He also did chicken drumsticks, and we ate part of them, too.  Now, I have main dishes for the next 2 days, and maybe more.  There are a few more things in the freezer that need to be targeted another time.

We also got out some beef brisket that we have not known what to do with.  When we bought 1/4 beef, it came with it.  We’ve bought beef for years, and did not get this cut, but the last 2 times, we have.  So, Rob’s been looking on-line and in cookbooks, and is ready to tackle it.

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I have been picking lots of veggies from the garden.  The potatoes are the ones that grew all by themselves in the compost heap.  I cut them into chunks and roasted them.  I cooked some garden carrots in a little butter and apple juice for lunch.  I’ve been freezing all the little bits of strawberries I collect.  I just drop them into the freezer bag.  When it gets a bunch in it, I’ll start a new one.  I will have lots of strawberries frozen by the end of the summer, if all goes well.  I got about 2 Tablespoons of shelling peas today.  I’m shocked and amazed that snow peas are still growing, despite the heat wave we’ve had.

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I’ve been skimming the beans, and have enough for tomorrow’s meal. I did lose some blossoms in the heat, but am going to have lots.  I cut what I thought was tons of lettuce a few days ago, but I realized today that we have eaten almost all of it, due to the many salad suppers we had when it was so hot.  I have a few more heads to cut, then will have to wait for some little lettuces to grow.  I’m hoping to plant even more seeds in the next couple of days.  I’m very happy because I was able to eat or share much of this batch before it bolted.  There are a few bolted plants I did leave out there from the first batch–hopefully, they will self-seed and I will have volunteers, or I will collect some seeds.IMG_7539

The tomatoes are just starting. What a treat!

We cooked for the college-aged kids on Tuesday, at church.  It is a fun group to cook for.  It seems that no matter what we make, it’s “their favorite” and they slick it up.  We served salad bar, with toppings for both taco salad and chef’s salad, pork and beans (cold, right out of the can), deviled eggs, zucchini bread and gf zucchini muffins, and watermelon.  It went well, and they loved it. It was very hot, and it hit the spot.  Of course, we ate with them that night.

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This account would not be complete without eggs.  Just plain, simple eggs, scrambled with salt and pepper.  I was able to get eggs for 99c/dozen and bought 5, just for us.  That does not count the 3 dozen I turned into deviled eggs for the college kids.  Jake decided he is in a mood for eggs.  He has had scrambled eggs more than once this week, and today ended up eating 4 eggs, total–first I scrambled 2, than 2 more on request.  When I got him into the car after our early morning swimming excursion, he gravely explained that he had not had a single thing to eat today, and was HUNGRY!  The last time he told me that, he meant he had eaten nothing but DONUTS, so I didn’t take him too seriously until those 4 eggs went down the hatch.  Rob did pick him up very early, and then took him to the pool….

Jake has still been eating lots of ramen noodles this week, his favorite, but it was really nice to see him eat so many healthy eggs.  Other family members have been hungry for eggs, too.  Maybe I should have bought 10 dozen……

The one thing you don’t see us eating lately is food from a restaurant.  We just aren’t going out, even for French fries.  It’s been a few weeks now.  It’s been a little hard on Jake and Michaela without the McD’s, but they are getting used to me skipping it.  We (their mother and I) agreed before Rob’s job ended that it would be better for them to eat less of that food, and boy was I glad we had already decided that when his job ended.  It’s been good for both the budget and the waistline.  Rob and I will go out to eat for a date soon, and enjoy every minute of it, and we will take the kids for a treat sometime, but I really want it to be a treat, not an expectation and not too frequent.