Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Menu plan? What menu plan?

Yes, yes, it's been a couple of weeks since I posted a menu. I know you've all been waiting with bated breath... :-)

Quite frankly, I lost my menu planning mojo. I found myself staring at a freezer and pantry full of food and finding no inspiration. I didn't want to make ANYTHING. That's usually when I pull out the cookbooks and try to re-inspire myself, but, well, we've had nice weather so I went outside to play instead. In spite of that, we did pretty well. I picked dinner up on the way home a couple of times, but, for the most part, we were still eating at home.

This week, I'm striving to get back on track. I was lucky to be able to start out the week with a couple of leftovers meals, which helps!

Monday: leftover pizza with a salad (I've been making a ton of salad lately. It's been great!)

Tuesday: leftover cube steak, with baked potatoes and some kind of veggie. I haven't made cube steak for a while, but Friday I was inspired so I stopped and picked some up. I don't make it very often, because, well, it's not at all healthy (I basically chicken fry it), and it costs way too much for what it is, but it's one of hubby's favorites so I indulge him from time to time.

Wednesday: Chicken Cacciatore (we have leftover sauce in the freezer from last time, so this will be nice and easy!

Thursday: Tuna casserole

Friday: Crock pot pot roast (last time I made a roast in the crock pot, my daughter must have pushed a button and turned off the program, because I came home to a cold crock pot and a half-cooked roast. Must remember to push it farther back on the counter this time - she's big on button pushing!).

Have a great week, everyone, and remember to go to orgjunkie.com for all your menu planning needs!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Garden 2010

I'm very excited about my garden this year. Actually, I'm very excited about my garden every spring, and then somewhere around July I lose steam and things fall apart. I'm going to do my darndest to not let that happen this year.

We have some new hardware additions this year that I'm especially excited about. Hubby got tired of me whining about having to drag the hose across the yard, and of having to put the hose away every time the mowed the lawn (because I hate dragging the hose across the yard so I never bothered to put it away), so he put an underground water line out to a spigot next to the garden gate. Voila - garden water!

One day I read an article somewhere about the convenience of having a sink in your garden, so that you can just wash the vegetables right there and not have to bring all the dirt and crud into your house. I thought that was a brilliant idea, so he built me one of those, too. He really went the extra mile, though, because he made sure it had a counter top, so I can trim everything up on the spot and toss the trimmings right into the compost pile! It turned out spectacularly, as you can see...

The bucket, which has since been replaced by a watering can, catches the water so we can put it right back into use on the garden and nothing is wasted. We went with a regular garden sprayer instead of a faucet. Now I just need to head to Goodwill and get a colander and cutting board to live on the shelf!

We're planting a bit differently this year. Since the tomatoes take over every year (literally - last year we had a 5-foot square hedge in the middle of the garden!), we're putting them in half-barrels this year. I also bought two potted blueberries that will be going into half barrels, just as soon as we get some soil to fill them. I've been wanting blueberries for a long, long time, but, outside of the garden itself, we have the worst soil in the universe, so this seemed like the best option.

I'm planting potatoes for the first time in about 10 years. Last time, I got a grand total of three potatoes. I hope it goes better this time! I bought a couple of planting bags for them - they're pretty cool, with side flaps that you can use to access the potatoes, allowing them to keep growing even as you harvest them.

Moving the tomatoes out frees up more space for other vegetables in the garden proper. So far, I have planted peas, onions, carrots, fennel, Swiss chard, lettuce, radishes, and spinach. Things are growing nicely so far. Still to come - beans (two kinds - yellow and green), zucchini, cucumbers (also two kinds, if last year's seeds are still viable), and pumpkins.

I also need to update my herb beds this year. Last year, we pulled out a couple of mistakes that were taking over everything - namely lemon balm and peppermint. They're still trying to take over everything, so I need to get some new things planted to help keep them back. I have basil and flat-leaf parsley started on a windowsill, and next month I'll head to the garden center and pick up a few more things. My rosemary is all but dead, so that needs to be replaced as well.

Lastly, I have a 5x3 trough of decent soil in the front yard that I need to fill with something. We pulled the roses out of it last year. I may let it lie this year and put raspberries on a trellis, or something like that, in it next year. That's originally where the blueberries were going to go but we decided it wasn't big enough to satisfy them. Decisions, decisions...