Monday, August 17, 2009

South Carolina Peaches - August 15th, 2009

We just got back from a trip to South Carolina. We went to Brendt's graduation from BASIC and then to Myrtle Beach to swim in the ocean. On the way back to Kansas, we stopped at a road side stand and bought a box of well advertised "farm fresh peaches." There were stands similar to this all over Georgia and South Carolina. For $18.00 we came home with a box of 50. They are very, very good. They were just picked and unripe when I bought them. They were fine in the car riding home unrefrigerated for 2 days. They are ripe now on day 3 and taste wonderful.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

August 9th, 2009 The Cost of Food

Consider for a moment a sale on soda at the store. Half off - soda normally selling for 50 cents is now 25 cents! It may seem like a bargain. At first glance you assume that saving 25 cents and being frugal. But, wait... the soda is still costing you 25 cents, and 25 cents spent on something that yields you no nutritional value what-so-ever, zero, nada, zilch, is 25 cents wasted. In fact, in return for your 25 cents you may reap the benefit of cavities, obesity and diabetes, the secret benefits of junk food. Next time you think of being frugal, consider what you are getting in return nutritionally for your dollar!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August 4, 2009, Salsa, Garden Vegetables & Blackberries

Today, I made 6 pints of salsa from tomatoes, jalapenos, peppers and onions from the garden. I also used garlic powder I had made myself by dehydrating and grinding it in a coffee grinder. The only thing in the salsa that came from the store was the salt and a lemon for lemon juice. I froze the salsa instead of canning it because I didn't want to cook it. I just love fresh, raw salsa. Here is the recipe: How to Make Freezer Salsa from Garden Fresh Tomatoes. The boys and I ate half a pint of it right away. If I can put up 12 more pints of salsa this summer, I will not need to buy salsa all year. We eat a lot of salsa!

For dinner I made a Fish and Garden Vegetable Fry that I love. I use fish that Steve or my dad have caught at the lake (walleye or crappie). I had a zucchini from a neighbors garden, tomatoes from our garden, and sage from my herb garden. The only thing in the dish that wasn't homegrown was the potatoes. It was marvelous.

Tomorrow evening, I am picking more blackberries. Here is my recipe for Blackberry jam. I made a batch early this summer and it turned out a little runny. I am going to cook it for 40 minutes this time and see if it sets up a little better. The boys liked the runny jam it soaked into their toast. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

August 3, Lavender

When I decided to live a "more natural lifestyle" several years ago, one of the things I gave up was lotions. My reason for doing this is that they often contain a lot of chemicals and ingredients you can not read.

Now, when you give up your commercial cosmetics and body care, there are two was you can do it: The cheap way, or the expensive way. I have tried both. There are lots of very pricey organic skin care products. To be honest, I still use some of them. Alba, kiss my face, and some other organic cosmetic companies makes some safe alternatives to things like mascara, facial powder and shampoo. But, if I can make something quickly and easily that works just as well as the pricey organics sold in health food stores I do!

Olive oil infused with herbs or essential oils makes skin care oil that keeps my skin healthier than lotions. Granted it takes some time to get used to, but I honestly love my oils. In addition to being good for skin care, they also work for first aid like burns and bites.

I wrote about how to make herbally infused oil on eHow. Basically, you put chopped up herbs or already prepared essential oils in a base of olive oil. If you use fresh herbs, put the herbs and oil in a sunny window for two weeks and shake them up regularly. I made lavender infused oil last week from lavender in my herb garden. It smells like lavender, but a bit cinnamony also. That was a suprise.

August 3, 2009 Salsa

Last week, we harvested the first tomatoes from the garden. We also dug up some onions and picked some peppers to make the years first batch of salsa. We planted the garden right around the 15th of May, since that is the last spring frost date in our area. Steve said the corn dried up, so we are going to make it into chicken feed. He said it was good corn, I am not sure why he didn't pick it before it got dry. If we get enough tomatoes this year, I will be making spaghetti sauce and ketchup also. We are going to plant a fall garden where the corn and onions were.

The chickens and the garden have kept us from picking blackberries. I'm guessing we've already gotten over 5 gallons this year...and there are so many more.

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