Making Dinner

Around here dinner time used to be a scary time.  I’d scour the pantry for some sort of boxed mix (hamburger helper, blue box mac and cheese) and try really really hard not to burn, sometimes I was even successful!  I have come a long way since the days of over and under cooked hamburger helper (sometimes so runny we had to put in bowls!).  I’ve really been making an effort to make varied and interesting dinners that we will all eat, even with a couple of picky eaters in the house.  Last night I went for a frugal classic, Beanie Weanies.  I’m sure we all remember this staple growing up!  It’s cheap, quick easy and filling.  Even when i do “cop out” and make a meal like this I do try and add a little something to it.  Last night that was mini cornbread muffins, I got the mini muffin pan for a couple of bucks at the notorious Wally World and everyone loved them.  I have also been maing a weekly meal plan to best utililize local sales, food we already have in stock and to eliminate the 5:30 everyone is fussy and hungry and I have no plan so we order takeout instead.  This weeks plan is:

Monday – Ham Steaks, homemade macaroni, broccoli

Tuesday – Beanie weanies and mini cornbread muffins

Wednesday- nachos with homemade tortilla chips

Thursday- Cobb Station subs (david’s specialty)

Friday- Chili Cheese Dogs (using up the hotdogs from Tuesday that were on sale) french fries and carrots

Saturday- Make your own pizzas on hotdog buns (using up the on sale hot dog buns from Friday)

Sunday – Spaghetti with meat sauce (using up the marinara from saturday’s spaghetti)

As you can see, often the meals all flow together.  I’ll decide on one meal and that will produce 2 or 3 other meal ideas to use up supplies and minimize food waste.  Annother thing I do to decrease waste is, if  I am making a large meal (roast, a whole chicken, ect) I will not plan a full 7 days worth of meals to allow for leftovers to be eaten or re-made into something entirely new.  I also don’t plan lunches, some meals lend themselves better to packed lunches than others, and I try to have fill ins on hand like cheese and crackers, eggs to hardboil and lunch meat.  Happy New Year’s Eve, what are you having for dinner tonight to celebrate?

Emily

Beans Beans the musical fruit

What kind of beans to plant?  You know I find it quite amazing at how many varieties there are or beans.   I’ve been reading this and reading that.  I think every time I find a bean I like ill post it here in this post.  A viewable reminder if you will.   I cant wait until next year when I can use my own pictures and have my own descriptions of what I think the the things I grow taste like.  I enjoy looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions but I will enjoy it even more doing it myself.

Purple podded pole Bean.  Now come on, you cant get any better than a purple bean.

European heirloom discovered by Henry Fields in an Ozark garden in the 1930s. Plants climb vigorously to 6′ and are extremely productive. High quality, meaty, stringless 1/2″ by 5″ reddish-purple pods blanch to light green. Pole habit. Certified Organic. (68 days)

I live in KY and I eat in KY so the KY Wonder Bean should be a good Choice.

Popular, heavy producing Pole Bean. Excellent for eating fresh, freezing or canning when pods are young. Makes a good shell bean when left to mature fully. Approximately 66 days to maturity

Henderson’s Black Valentine
53 days. Introduced in 1897 by Peter Henderson & Co., this excellent fresh snap bean has tasty pods.
Also makes a fine dry soup bean. Great yields! Any seed that has “Henderson’s” name on it just has to be good— that’s why we offer so many of his fine varieties throughout our catalog. A perfect all-purpose pole bean!

Lima Bean info came from http://www.victoryseeds.com/catalog/index.html

Fordhook 242 Bush Lima
80 days
— This is an improved variety of the old W. Atlee Burpee release that was an “All-American Selection®” winner in 1945.  developed by the USDA, Beltsville, MD. The plants are sixteen to twenty inches with pods containing three to five large, flat greenish-white seeds.  Good for northern and maritime climates.

These look like good ole Lima Beans

70 days — It is also known as ‘Henderson’s Dwarf’, ‘Henderson’s Baby Lima’, and ‘Earliest Bush Lima’.

An old-time favorite used for canning, freezing and dry.  The seeds dry to a creamy white.  The erect, bushy plants are reliable and set pods until frost.

I want a salad when I look at this picture.  I wonder how they taste raw?  I bet they would be great on a salad.

Jackson Wonder Lima
68 days
— This heirloom originated on the farm of Thomas Jackson near Atlanta, Georgia in the 1880s.  The three inch pods are set on twenty to twenty four inch plants and contain three to five seeds that are light brown splattered with purplish-brown.  Does well even in dry, hot weather.  Good as a butterbean or dried for soups.  Not for sure about these but we may give them a chance.

Lets talk lettuce

I love lettuce.  I have done some research and I think I want to grow these 2 types.  I had something like the tango last year and loved it.  It grew very quickly each time I harvested it to.  I actually grew to much and was giving it away to all my neighbors and anyone that came by the house.  Below the pictures i posted a reference of the different kinds of lettuce for the people, like me, who really have no idea.  Plus its a good reference for me as well to go back on.

52 days. Lactuca sativa. Plant produces good yields of dark green color leaf lettuce. It resembles endive in appearance. This variety is rich in vitamins and has a tangy flavor.

http://www.reimerseeds.com/tango-lettuce.aspx

45 days. Lactuca sativa. Plant produces flavorful glossy dark green loose leaf type lettuce. Leaves are frilled, crinkled, and crisp. A fast maturing slow to bolt semi-heading looseleaf lettuce. Excellent for salads and garnishes.

http://www.reimerseeds.com/green-ice-lettuce.aspx

With so many types of lettuce to choose from, home gardeners will never become bored with this garden favorite. Lettuce types are separated into Butterhead, Cos (Romaine), Crisphead, Loosehead (Leaf) and Mixed. These varieties within those types are listed below.  http://home.howstuffworks.com/lettuce2.htm

Butterhead varieties:

  • Bibb, harvest at 75 days, has a delicate-flavored, dark green, open head.
  • Buttercrunch, harvest at 75 days, is an All America Selection with compact heads and a buttery texture; it can tolerate some heat.

Cos (Romaine) varieties:

  • Little Gem, harvest at 65 days, gives early, compact, and productive plants.
  • Paris Island, harvest at 70 days, is the standard romaine type; it has 10-inch heads and resists bolting.

Crisphead varieties:

  • Great Lakes, harvest at 90 days, produces a large, full head that will tolerate some heat.
  • Iceberg, harvest at 85 days, is compact with a light green color.

Loosehead (Leaf) varieties:

  • Green Ice, harvest at 45 days, has crisp, sweet, heavily ruffled green leaves.
  • Red Salad Bowl, harvest at 50 days, produces finely divided, dark burgundy leaves.
  • Oak Leaf, harvest at 50 days, is a heat-tolerant, deeply lobed, dark green leaf variety.
  • Majesty, harvest at 50 days, is deep purple-red.

Mixes:

  • Many mixed lettuces are now available. Summer Glory contains 7 heat-resistant varieties.

Beer Cheese

Anyone else like this stuff?  I love it to death but its about 6$ for a tube the size of this.  They sell Halls beer cheese around here that started at a great restaurant called Halls on the River.  If you still go to Halls the beer cheese is good, The stuff you get elsewhere is not near as good.   Ive tried making this before and never had any luck.  It was to bitter, thick, thin, sweet, harsh, and/or inedible.  I had a client bring some by before Christmas and it was awesome.  She was in today and i ask her for here recipe.  From her mouth:

20lbs of soft chedder

1 jigger of Garlic

1 jigger of cayenne pepper

1 beer

Mix it all in abowl by hand and package it up.

How much is a jigger you say?  45 mil.  I think thats about 1/2 an ounce.  On second hand it may be 1.5 ounces.  You may want to check on that.

Hello, All!

Hello, I am Emily, David’s adoring wife!  I had started a blog of my own at the beginning of December but we decided to combine our endeavers because our subject matter frequently crossed.  David has figured out how to combine our blogs so you can look back in the archives and see my posts spanning from December 3rd to December 20th.  At the bottom of each post you can see if David or myself is the author.  I am so excited to join this blog and hope I can give you all a peak into how  I do my part at homesteading witht he inside stuff.  I’ll be posting a lot about cooking from scratch and general family orgainizing and merry-making type things.  Let me know if there is anything specific about how our busy house runs you would like to see, and be sure to scroll back and check out my older posts!

Emily

Planning for the Garden next Year

Edible Flowers – I think im going to try some of these just to see how they are.  I love salads and other raw greens so I think it will turn out good.

Borage Has lovely cornflower blue star-shaped flowers. Blossoms have a cool, cucumber taste. Wonderful in punches, lemonade, gin and tonics, sorbets, chilled soups, and dips. I don’t drink but lemonade is good so are most dips.

Dandelions Member of Daisy family. Flowers are sweetest when picked young, and just before eating. They have a sweet, honey-like flavor. Mature flowers are bitter. Dandelion buds are tastier than the flowers: best to pick these when they are very close to the ground, tightly bunched in the center, and about the size of a small gumball. Good raw or steamed. Also made into wine. Young leaves taste good steamed, or tossed in salads. When serving a rice dish use dandelion petals like confetti over the rice. Ive heard of people eating these and ive heard they are good.

Day Lilies Slightly sweet with a mild vegetable flavor, like sweet lettuce or melon. Their flavor is a combination of asparagus and zucchini. Chewable consistency. Some people think that different colored blossoms have different flavors. To use the surprisingly sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower. Also great to stuff like squash blossoms. Flowers look beautiful on composed salad platters or crowning a frosted cake. Sprinkle the large petals in a spring salad. In the spring, gather shoots two or three inches tall and use as a substitute for asparagus. NOTE: Many Lilies contain alkaloids and are NOT edible. Day Lilies may act as a diuretic or laxative; eat in moderation. now im a pretty boy anyways and love growing flowers.  So not only will I be growing something beautiful but possible something that will go great on salads.

Lavender Sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes. Flowers look beautiful and taste good too in a glass of champagne, with chocolate cake, or as a garnish for sorbets or ice creams. Lavender lends itself to savory dishes also, from hearty stews to wine-reduced sauces. Diminutive blooms add a mysterious scent to custards, flans or sorbets. NOTE: Do not consume lavender oil unless you absolutely know that it has not be sprayed and is culinary safe. this is something i was just talking with Emily about as well.  I love the smell of lavender as it is.  This will most definitely be grown.

Mint The flavor of the flowers is minty, with different overtones depending on the variety. Mint flowers and leaves are great in Middle Eastern dishes.  I can actually get this free from my parents farm.  I think it would grow well around my rain barrels seeing how they all just overflow were they site.  What is the old saying? the grass is always greener by the water barrel.

Yucca Petals The white Yucca flower is crunchy with a mildly sweet taste (a hint of artichoke). in the spring, they can be used in salads and as a garnish.  I would assume this is the same flower that grown ont he yucca bushes at the farm.  I did not know they were edible and will be trying them when They come into bloom.

Most of this info came from http://whatscookingamerica.net/EdibleFlowers/EdibleFlowersMain.htm most of this stuff ive never heard of and cant wait for the next growing season.

Anyone know a good place to buy seeds on the Internet? I found a place on eBay that seemed to be ok.  The prices seemed fair. I couldn’t resist and bought some of these.

Failed at #5

Due to the fact that 8 nuts on my truck were tightened by that hands of God I was unable to get anyting done I wanted to.  I think I will be taking the truck to SandS tires and I exhaust all means trying to get the parts apart i needed.

Seems not much of anything in going on around here.  I did get botht hte horses out.  I got the “ag” tires on the rear of the one tractor that will undoubtabley bee a work tractor.  Ive got a plow and disk, as well as, a set of cultivators for these tractors but our lot is really just to small to use them.   I know this girl looks ugly but it will pull anything I want.  While I was out messing with the tractors I got a few wagon loads of leaves out of the yard.  Something else to add to the compost pile.

Maggie is all about swinging,  I was pushing her the same hieghth as Jackson and it didnt seem to bother her at all.  She is close to setting up but still has a little ways to go.  i can wait.  Shes starting to get frustrated that she cant do it.  Shes tired of being on her back and shes tired of being on her stomack.