Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thrifty Summer-Time Treats

Here's a thrifty summer-time, any-time treat. If you have children you may know that it costs a whopping $4.69 for a box of 20 popsicles. This week, they are on sale at Lowes Foods for $3.00/box. Wow! What a deal, right? Especially if you have a coupon.

But this deal is a bit sweeter, and costs a lot less.


You can get reusable homemade popsicle containers for $1.00 at Walmart and Dollar Tree. Then, stock up on your favorite flavors of Kool-Aid mix. Food Lion had Kool-Aid packs on sale last week 5/$1.00 AND I used a coupon Buy 10/Get 3 Free. So, for $1.40 I got 10 packs - that's .14 cents/pack compared to the usual .25 cents/pack. That's less than 2 cents a pop (.14 cents for the first round) compared to .24 cents for store-bought brand. It may be only pennies...but hey, those pennies add up to dollars!

Anyway, mix up a pitcher of your favorite Kool-Aid, fill the popsicle containers, pop in the freezer, and when it freezes treat your kids (and yourself) to a cool summer-time treat!  It will put a smile on everyone's face!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hot! Hot! Hot!

These finger-length peppers may be small, but don't be fooled. They pack a powerful punch.

Jalapeno growing in my garden

Made homemade salsa tonight, and let's just say that 1 of these peppers would've been enough. Used 2 large, vine-ripened tomatoes, 2 jalapenos, 2 small purple onions, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp cilantro. Next time I'll use fresh cilantro and only 1 jalapeno. :)

Delicious! But a little hot, hot, hot if you prefer mild.


Nachos with homemade salsa

Saturday, June 22, 2013

And We Have Peaches!

Peaches purchased at Michelle's Produce at the NC State Farmer's Market
Well, here they are! Beautiful and delicious. I tasted the syrup pack and could only utter one (well 3) words-OMG! These peaches are going to be sooooo goooooood! Sitting here listening to the lids pop, pop, pop which means SUCCESS!
I did find a few bad peaches that I had to throw out; and some that weren't quite yet ready. They will sit on the table and ripen a bit more and will be great for snacking on later this week. As a result my yield was only 8 jars instead of the 15 that I had originally calculated. No problem. That's still a deal at $1.00/pint. I'll take it. Here's the link to the recipe I used. http://www.pickyourown.org/peachescanning.htm
It was super easy, and the whole process has taken only 2 hours of my time! What a way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon; and my family will thank me when they are enjoying fresh peaches later in the year after peach season has passed.

Why I am Canning Peaches

Boy, do I get some funny looks when I tell people that I am canning peaches. Why on earth would you want to do that when Del Monte does it for you and sells them for $2.09 a can?! I mean, that's affordable, right? Further....How in the world do you have time?

Well, in my defense, I'd like to share why I am canning peaches.

These bad boys are tree-ripened and ready!

As I've said before, and I'll say it again. If there were no other reason in the world, this one is enough. It is why I do what I do. It is simple. For the Taste. Nothing, and I repeat Nothing tastes better than freshly harvested fruit and veggies from the vine. If you don't believe me just do a taste test. Yep. Go ahead. I dare you. Get some peaches that have been shipped from who knows where, and harvested days (maybe weeks before they were ready). Then, go to one of those pick-it-yourself farms and grab a peach, ripened and ready, straight from the tree. Taste the two. Which one is better? Oh, taste and you will see!

Anyway, the second reason I do what I do is because I am a bit Thrifty at heart. This canning cost me $8.00 in peaches! And with a yield of 15 pints, that's .53 cents a can! Let's see...Del Monte-$2.09? Or, home-canned, NC goodness-.53 cents? Which would you choose?

And what about the time? Well, many years ago a very wise person told me that we make Time to do the things that we value and consider important. Man, did that comment slap me in the face when he said it, because at that time in my life I soooo didn't want to hear it! But it has been some good advice. It comes back to me time and time again. What do you value? I bet you your bottom dollar you are making time for it! :)

Last, but not least, there is one more thing that motivates me as well. It's from Proverbs 31:27, which says, She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness. Beautiful!

Now that I've preached my sermon (3 points and a prayer) I need to get busy in the kitchen. The canner is a'calling! I will post pictures and share the recipe when I'm all done!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lettuce

This was my first attempt at growing lettuce; and it has been a success! I owe it to a long, cool, beautiful spring. Thank you God! Here's my final harvest. The hot summer days aren't being very kind to my little plants, who have served me well this season with lots of yummy, fresh garden salads.

Let us enjoy fresh lettuce!

Highly recommended - Royal Oak Leaf Lettuce. Leaves are shaped like oak leaves. These plants were large producers. A mainstay in my future gardens!