Archive for July 27, 2012

My Garden 2012

Well, I must say, this year’s garden is a bit of a disappointment so far.  Between the cool, damp weather, inconsistent warm days, slugs and the rabbits, it’s had a rough go of it.  It’s still struggling along though, slow and steady.  Some things are doing great…

Pole Beans
Carving pumpkins
There’s a little pumpkin!
Jack-Be-Little Pumpkins
Spring Mix Salad Greens
Romaine Lettuce
Potato Towers (man, I hope this things work)!

And some things are not doing so well….

Basil (this is the second planting)    
Kale (I think a rabbit got to it). I put slug bait out, too.
Tomatoes (are showing signs of blight) NOoooo!

I’ve read there’s no way to stop blight once it starts, but you may be able to slow it down a little.  I picked all the lower leaves off the tomato plants and watered them with a watering can to keep the water off the leaves – then it sprinkled this morning – go figure!

I’ve also got carrots, cilantro, jalapenos, green pepper, Sweet William flowers and spinach..

Chicken Under A Brick

Chicken under a brick is a method of baking or bbq’ing a chicken under the weight of a foil lined brick.  I had a whole fryer in my freezer from when QFC had them at a stock up price (.68 cents a pound, if I remember right).  What you do is, you take kitchen shears (which I don’t have and is now on my Christmas list) or a sharp knife and carefully cut out the backbone.  Turn the chicken breast side up and press the chicken down firmly to get the chicken to be as flat as possible.  Now season the heck out of it on both sides.  I used garlic powder, Monterey steak seasoning, coriander, celery salt and pepper, but you can use anything you have on hand.  Rub some spices as far under the skin as you can, and season the outside of the skin, too.

Put the chicken on a grill, breast side down, over medium heat. Instead of wrapping a brick in foil and setting it on top of the chicken to weigh it down, I just laid a piece of foil over the chicken, and set my big heavy cast iron skillet on it.  Then a light bulb went off and I thought “What if I cook my green beans in the skillet at the same time the chicken is cooking?”.  Brilliant!  So, I loaded up the skillet with green beans, Walla Walla sweet onions, a little olive oil and some salt and pepper and set it right on top of the foil I had laid over the chicken.

(That picture reminds me of when Dorothy’s house fell on the Wicked Witch of the East, see those legs sticking out?).  Now close the grill and cook the chicken for about 20 minutes.  Remove the brick (or skillet and the foil) and turn the chicken over.  I set the skillet right on the bbq grill next to the chicken and let it continue to cook. You will no longer need the brick at this point.

Continue to cook the chicken for another 15-20 minutes, or until the juices run clear.

Crispy skin, juicy, tender meat.  Yummy green beans.  This was a really frugal meal since I had stocked up on the chicken when it was cheap, the green beans came from my Bountiful Baskets produce co-op, and we had a salad made from lettuce and cucumbers from my garden.

Posted by Shelley .

Raspberry Jam

My neighbor came over and asked me if I wanted to pick some raspberries from his yard.  Hmmm, let me think about that for a nano-second – heck ya I do!  I grabbed a bowl, a dozen eggs to trade for the berries, and my daughter and off we went.  An hour later we had this big beautiful bowl of raspberries.

 Peeps was curious about what was in the bowl….

I made one batch of jam which, besides the sugar and pectin, cost me next to nothing to make.  I already had everything I needed from making strawberry jam the other day, plus the raspberries were free. And, I froze enough raspberries to make another batch later. Woohoo!

Is this the yummiest PB&J you’ve ever seen or what?

Posted by Shelley.

Strawberry Jam

It’s that time of year again…time to make strawberry jam.  On a whim, I stopped by Carpinito’s in Kent just to look around and found this beautiful flat of strawberries.  So I bought it…..

and that sent me into full strawberry jam making mode; fresh berries can’t sit around for very long.  I made two batches of jam out of this flat and had two quart size bags of berries left over that I put in the freezer.  “So is making homemade jam frugal?”, you might ask. I made 6 pint jars and 8-8oz jars of jam.  At Safeway, Smucker’s strawberry jam priced out at $3.79 for the pint size and $3.19 for the 8oz size for a total of $48.26.  I paid $21.95 for the berries, and $16.95 for the supplies – sugar, two boxes of SureJell pectin and two boxes of lids for a grand total of $38.90.   That’s a savings of almost $10 – but – I already had all the jars.  If you had to go out and buy the jars (which you can find at garage sales quite often) then you may come out a little behind.   But whether I save money or not, it is something my mother taught me and I love doing it….it makes me feel homey.

And the chickens benefited too….

although they were acting a little skittish.  You don’t think this had anything to do with it, do you?

This is what happens when you have two bored boys, an old dead riding lawn mower and a red wagon. (Although I was quite proud of them for getting that old hunk of junk going, and yes, they removed the mower blade). By the way, I never knew a riding lawn mower could do wheelies.  Did you?

Anywho, if you would like to try making your own jam (it’s super easy and SO much better than store-bought), just follow the directions in the SureJell package – that’s all I do.  And when you see the sugar to berry ratio in the recipe, don’t try to cut back on the sugar, your jam will not set.  Just remember that jam is a condiment, a confection really, and that you are only eating a small amount at a time, not a whole jar.

Posted by Shelley .

Rotary Auction

We have officially experienced the craziest, most fun and GINORMOUS rummage sale imaginable – bigger than any swapmeet we’ve ever been to.  It’s the Bainbridge Island Rotary Auction & Rummage Sale – 6 acres of everything you can imagine, and not just one of everything, but tons of everything – hundreds of bikes and lawn mowers, sporting goods, couches galore, antiques, thousands of books, jewelry, camping equipment and on and on.  Some items are part of a silent auction, but most are priced to sell.  And what a free-for-all…at 8A.M. the National Anthem is sung, and no sooner than you hear the last line: “and the home of the brave” the caution tape comes down and people sprint for what they want.  If you don’t run, you will be run down. Pure insanity, but what a blast.  Here’s just a few of the things we scored –

A planter
Another planter and a plant stand
A smoker (which is smoking a brisket as we speak)
A fruit basket (although wouldn’t it be cute
with moss and succulents planted in it?)
A sun-catcher

It’s only held once a year.  Mark your calendars, next year’s auction is June 29th, 2013.  Here’s the website to learn all about it..