Archive for June, 2011

Attention neighbors…  This is your one and only warning… Zucchini season has officially begun.  If you know what’s good for you…Lock.Your.Doors.  Do not slow down when I wave as you drive by my house… Got caller id?  Better check it before you pick up the phone… 🙂

In other earth shattering news… The radish seeds I planted last week are coming along nicely…  I’m going to have to weed them though… I always hate that part… I feel bad for the seedlings that get yanked… I hope they don’t take it personally…

I think one of my favorite things to grow in the raised garden beds is green beans.  And by the looks of it… It won’t be long until they’re  ready…

Also, I’ve been tempted to dig up a few potatoes… But I haven’t yet.  It sorta feels like cheating… After all I want as much poundage as I can possible get out of my volunteer potato field… Not that I’m weighing anything this year… but still.

However tonight… tonight I’ll be serving stir fry for dinner… The main ingredient?  Snow Peas!

How about YOU?  What’s for dinner at your house tonight?

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It’s that time of year again… Time to break out the Canning Supplies and steam up the kitchen… And this past weekend I did just that.  I still have about 2-3 weeks before raspberries begin to ripen in our backyard… So I thought it was as good a time as any to clear out the freezer of last years berry harvest and whip up a few batches of jam.

I think I might pass out scone mix and raspberry jam for teacher/neighbor/ hostess gits this year… I did it a few years ago and the gifts were well received so I think I’ll do it again… Last year I gave away cases of free pasta, shampoo and razors for Christmas… so I think this will be a nice change.

If you want to make your standard raspberry jam… All you need to do is follow the directions that are included in your pectin box.  It’s pretty cut and dry.  Sterilize your jars, get the water boiling in your hot water canner, combine 5 cups of crushed raspberries, pectin and a 1/2 tablespoon of butter (to help reduce foaming) in your pot and bring to a boil.

When the mixture gets all warm and bubbly and comes to a roiling boil… then add your 7… YES… I said 7 cups of sugar…

It’s amazing we all still have our teeth in this house…really it is.  After you stir in the sugar return the mixture to a full boil again… this time for EXACTLY one minute (according to the directions… although I have no idea what would happen if you let it boil let’s say 1 minute 2 seconds… who knows?)… Then with a big spoon skim off any foamy stuff that’s sitting on top of your raspberry mixture.

Spoon into Canning Jars (the ones pictured above are my new favorite for gift giving ($4.19 for 4 jars at Target)…the occupants of this house however can eat their jam out of the old and boring 1/2 pint jars…but for gift giving… I think these are pretty darn cute!).

Put on the canning lid, and the canning ring and tighten…

Place in your hot water bath for 10 minutes (or longer depending on your altitude… it will tell you on the directions sheet in your pectin box).

Let cool…

And a fancy smancy sticker you had custom printed… (I got a deal on them from a Plum District offer several months ago)

Stack all nice and pretty so you can take a picture and have your Martha moment… Then pack ’em away til gift giving season arrives. 🙂

If you want to try something a little more unique… You know… Something beyond the standard jam recipe that comes in the pectin box… I highly suggest The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook.  It’s packed full of unique recipes… Including tomato jam… Which I plan on trying this summer FYI. 🙂

So… Mavis wants to know… Have you canned anything yet this season?

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Monkey Boy had a friend over last week… The boys hung out, went to the beach, played video games, rode skate boards and ate a boatload of food.  I guess that’s what boys do…They eat… NON STOP.  Luckily I have a decent stockpile for them to choose from… that… and a bunch of FREE doughnut  coupons thanks to Albertsons Sizzlin’ Summer Sweepstakes game.  I haven’t won any of the big prizes yet (I’m hoping I win either the $50 gift card or the 10K vacation getaway) but I am swimming in free doughnut coupons.

Another thing I was able to pick up for FREE this week was a bunch of swiss chard.  🙂  Yay for real… homegrown food!

6 Red Peppers $2.00  a total bargain if you ask me.

Crappy hot dog buns for crappy gross hot dogs .59 cents.

Can you tell I’m not a big fan of hot dogs?

Oh look… another FREE item… Fresh strawberries… from Mavisland… I’m beginning to think the chipmunk traps the HH set are working… Chippy the chipmunk and friends are either on vacation… or dead. Vamos a celebrar! 🙂

I splurged and spent $ 7.68 on the appropriate supplies for panini sandwiches… And let me tell ya… It was money well spent.

Albertsons Double Coupon Sunday… $10.14  Let’s just say everyone in this house (and any teenagers that come to visit) will be eating yogurt this week… Lot’s and lots of yogurt.

And last but not least… I paid $6.50 for the 5 boxes of Granola Thins you see above…Crazy I know… BUT… Because I’m a Coupon Rock Star… I actually made money on this deal… I paid $6.50 and got back a coupon for 1 FREE gallon of milk and $8 in coupons good of my next purchase.  So it’s like they paid me $1.50 to take 5 boxes of Granola Thins home.  Gotta love that one. 🙂

Total Spent This Week $26.91

Total Spent Year To Date $653.32

* My goal for next week is spend less than $10 on groceries.

Think I can do it?

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In the paper the other day there was a picture that caught my eye.  It was a story about an upcoming chicken coop tour in Tacoma.  2 things immediately caught my eye.  Chickens & FREE Admission.   🙂

In order to get the map for the tour we first had to drive to the Garden Sphere in Tacoma.  I thought this was a very clever idea on the part of the store owners.  If they had simply put the addresses online we would have never gone into the über cute store and seen all they had to offer. Plants, baby chicks, garden seeds, super cute garden boots… you name it… they had it.  It’s exactly the type of store I’d be willing to part my money with (and that’s saying a lot).  Small, local and friendly.

The thing I liked most about the colored coop map (besides the awesome directions) were the pictures of the individual coops.  Since we were short on time it was nice to be able to pick out the ones we were really interested in rather than having to drive all over town and hope for the best.

My hands down favorite was the first one we visited.  It looked like it was right off of the pages of a magazine. The owners were friendly and it obvious they had put a lot of time and effort into the upkeep of their yard and chicken house.

The living roof was pretty cool too.

Next on the list was the red barn looking coop on Visscher Street.

I think what I liked best about this tour stop (besides the coop) was their property was situated right in the middle of a typical city neighborhood.  If you were driving by… you’d have no idea this family had chickens…

Or a garden in their backyard.

As I was walking up to their raised garden beds I noticed something a little peculiar about their vegetables…

THEY.WERE.ENOURMOUS… And one thing immediately came to mind.  Tagro.  So I complimented the homeowner on his bountiful crop and asked if he used Tagro.  He said he used “mostly Tagro” to grow his vegetables.  Wowza!  If you don’t know what Tagro is… it’s basically bio-solid waste from the city of Tacoma that has been treated.  Humanure at it’s finest.  And it’s FREE if you’re willing to shovel it yourself! 🙂  Holy Garden Crack… I gotta get me some of that!

After the giant vegetable/chicken tour The Girl and I headed to our last stop of the day…

This guy had built his coop out of 90% recycled and repurposed materials.

He had built two of them in fact.  Pretty neat-o if you ask me.  If I was a chicken I’d totally want to live in one of these.  Even though this property didn’t have a ton of landscaping or giant vegetables growing in the back yard… The chicken owner was very friendly.  He happily answered people’s questions… and I thought that was pretty cool in itself.  If people came into my backyard to look at my Eglu I’d probably just head inside and lock the door until they left.  So to stand out there for 6 hours and talk to people is pretty amazing if you ask me.

As we were leaving the recycled materials coop… The Girl pointed out his neighbor’s yard (how did I miss that?).  It was an edible front yard… and the first of its kind I had ever seen up close and in person.  Besides the standard herbs I spotted raspberries, strawberries, squash, lettuce and peas.

It totally makes me want to dig up my front yard and open a u-pick farm… Although I’m sure The Handsome Husband would have something to say about that. 🙂

All in all… a great event!

 I’m in LOVE with these boots!

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Ahhh Summer… You know what that means right?


I’m thinking Monkey Boy will totally be able to clear the entire back yard by the end of summer…

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This round of baby chicks (now teenagers) are just a tad bit different from the last batch.  For starters… there’s more of them.  And although they seem to get along just fine with the big chickens… they do have their quirks.  Like needing to be tucked into bed each night.

For the last two weeks (since I took away their small Eglu (chicken house) each night they have been flying to the top of the Chicken Mc Mansion and waiting patiently for The Girl Who Thinks She’s A Bird to pick them up one by one and put them inside the cage…

As soon as they’re within the confines of the Chicken Mc Mansion they’ll hop up the orange plastic ladder and head to bed… But the strange thing is… they wait for her to put them in the cage.

They refuse to go in by themselves… One night we even waited until 10:30pm to see if we could wear them down… to see if they’d go in… but they didn’t.

So now what?  How do we get the chickens to go into the Chicken Mc Mansion by themselves at night? How to we get them to behave like normal chickens? We need our beauty sleep!  If you have any suggestions… please leave us a comment… we’d appreciate it.


The Natural History of the Chicken

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Step #1 Plant Swiss Chard Seeds. Water.  Nurture. Defend your crop against slugs.

Step #2 Harvest Swiss Chard.

Step #3 Find an Eglu with wayward chickens holed up inside…

They will refuse to get off their infertile eggs so you’ll have to force them out of the nest.

One by one.

Step #4 Steal their eggs.

Step #5 Walk away…

Step #6 Rinse Swiss Chard…

And spin in your handy dandy Salad Spinner

Step #7 Gather up 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped red pepper, 1 salad spinner full of Swiss Chard, 6 slices of cooked bacon, 4 oz of Feta cheese, 6 eggs, 1 pie crust and some salt and pepper.

Step #8 Saute the onion and pepper…

Step #9  Add the bacon…

Step #10 Add the Swiss Chard… and saute a little longer.

Step #11 Fill your pie crust…

Step #12 Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes…

Step #13 Let cool… and serve for dinner.


ThyHand’s Original Recipe

More delicious ideas…Gale Gand’s Brunch!: 100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend’s Best Meal

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