I got it planted and I got two new planters made!
There's a five minute YouTube tour of the garden. I'm going to try to do a video every month so you can see the growth and change.
What's in your garden?
I got it planted and I got two new planters made!
There's a five minute YouTube tour of the garden. I'm going to try to do a video every month so you can see the growth and change.
What's in your garden?
That's quite the title isn't it? I decided to not simplify or be catchy, but rather to go with something as complex as my life. I think all moms should, at some time, acknowledge how complex and all-encompassing it is to run a household.
This post has been rattling lightly in the back of my head for a while. You know why I did it today? Because it's an imperfect day. I was waiting for a great day that flowed smoothly and I was productive and...and while I wasted time waiting for that day, I realized it also wasn't real. It's not the reality of my day to day. My day to day rarely works out as planned. When it does, I've noticed, it's a day that doesn't have much planned because of some event, like an all day field trip.
So here's the truth about how today started. (I started this post last Thursday, so it's really about how last Thursday started.) ;)
I woke up a little after 2 this morning to go to the bathroom. That happens almost every night since having children. ;) But I couldn't get back to sleep for quite a while. I fell back to sleep around 4:30, but my alarm goes off at 5.
5- got up and tried to go back to sleep on the couch
5:30- couldn't get back to sleep so I got up and made lunches, sent my hubby on his way, and started the kids a breakfast of waffle sticks (homemade and frozen waffles from another time make a fast school morning breakfast!). I reviewed my day and prioritized it, and wasted a bit of time doing something I can't remember right now.
6:45- Woke up the kids for school. Got them and myself ready. Swapped a load of dishes.
7:30- Took the kids to school and then went to Trader Joe's for just a few items I forgot on Monday. I don't usually forget items. I am a great list maker. But this week is somehow off. My husband thinks I'm getting sick. I'm in denial about that because I've been eating healthier and that has relayed into getting sick less than everyone else in the house. I carry a bit of pride about that. I might soon be humbled.
8:30- Stopped at Starbucks on the way to home to treat myself to a mocha. I've been Whole 30 -ing January so at the last minute I ordered a hot tea instead. I'm proud of that one. I pulled into that drive through fully intending to break my no-sugar streak.
At home I unloaded groceries, and realized that I never started the dishwasher so I did that. ;)
9 am - Put dinner in the crock pot and sat down to waste a bit of time going through e-mails and watching YouTube. My plan was to work on a Social Studies curriculum unit I'm writing and I got stuck on it so I sent a survey out and took a break.
I wasted a lot of time on You Tube. I was really tired. I put a load of laundry in and that made me feel less lazy.
11 am- I was waiting for dishes so I could start some chili for myself. They were still drying so I put some apples in a pot to make applesauce. I scored organic red delicious apples at Sprouts yesterday for $0.48 per pound! They're not my favorite to eat but they make good sauce and we eat applesauce so I decided to make some. They also had organic Braeburns and I do love to eat those so I got those too ($0.98 per pound).
Once that was simmering on the stove I decided to take my iPhone outside to the backyard and do a quick tour of my backyard suburban homestead. Over the last few years, and with a Back to Eden no-til garden, I've had great summer gardens that are constantly expanding. That has given me a little more confidence to add more in to my yard and try a fall/winter garden. Here's the YouTube video I made of that tour.
I am slowly adding more, but not too much. We plan to start looking for property to move to in about 5 years so I want to plant stuff I'll be able to use a lot between now and then. I can't have chickens in my area of the city and I have elementary aged kids who love to play outside so there is only so much room for growing, but I thought it'd be nice for someone in the same situation to see how I make it work as much as possible.
This video tour doesn't include my front yard, which is slowly getting fruit trees, a butterfly garden, and an herb garden.
Then I sat down to write this post. I stopped in the middle to turn off the apples while they cooked so they could cool and be blended and I switched the laundry.
At 11:40 I realized I hadn't eaten much today and was suddenly starving. I do that sometimes. I started the chili and contemplated waiting for it to finish and decided that was a bad idea. Waiting for food when I'm hungry usually ends up with me making bad food choices. I made a few of these prosciutto wraps with arugula from my backyard and avocado. I made them earlier in the week with apple instead of avocado and I like that better.
While the meat in the chili was browning I started back on this post. Once caught up I started working on my Social Studies unit again.
1 pm- I worked for an hour on my unit, stopping occasionally to stir the chili. Then I felt the sleepless night hit me like a wall. I tried to lay down and get a quick power nap in before getting the kids. It's about balance here, trying to give myself grace and still be productive.
1:30- Got up, wasn't sleeping. Starting catching up on itemizing my expenditures.
1:45- got snacks and water and left to get this kids from school.
3:00- return from getting kids from school and got them started on homework.
While I was helping them with homework I was putting the final touches on dinner and swapping laundry and dishes...again.
5:00 By the time all this was done it was 5 and time to actually sit down and eat.
Anyone else fee like they spend far more time preparing food than eating it?
After dinner (5:30 ish) we took the dog for a walk.
By six we were home and I was having kids put their laundry away while I did mine, making notes for tomorrow, etc...
6:30 showers were started and rooms were getting ready. Some electronic play time was going on as well as some snuggle time. I got in the shower at 7. I prefer night showers.
7:50- prayer time and off to bed at 8.
The hubby got home right after 8. While he kissed the kids goodnight and read the Bible with our oldest (who actually has time in his room until 8:30) I got his portion of dinner heated up. We watched a recorded show, I think it was Fixer Upper and then I was in bed by 9.
I read My Utmost For His Highest in bed, but barely kept my eyes open. Lights were out for me by 9:15.
That's an exciting day around here. ;)
Every day looks different, some more productive than others. But I find that I'm often productive on some fronts but not all. I may nail my curriculum writing time but don't get much done around home. Or I get house projects done but not much of anything else. One day soon I hope to get into my craft room.
Yep, I wrote out the meal plan on Sunday, but for some reason haven't posted it.
Due to my kids cleaning out all the staples when they were home for Christmas break, we were out of a ton of stuff so I am already running low on this month's grocery budget. As a result, I'm planning a lot that uses up the pantry (what's left of it), freezer items, and anything else we have on hand right now. Also, I have potatoes on hand and arugula and kale in the garden this week.
As mentioned in my last post with a meal plan, I plan my meals to be similar to my family's but Paleo with my own allowances so I don't have to prepare different meals.
A lot of my meal planning revolves around trying to not waste what we already have.
So here goes:
Monday was: Breakfast was breakfast bowls (note to self, share that recipe soon).
Dinner- orange roasted chicken- it was a new recipe I wanted to try and was friendly to my eating habits too so we all ate that. I also had raw veggies with ranch on the side and served the chicken over brown rice for the rest of the family.
Tuesday: Breakfast- cereal for kids, leftover cauliflower soup with prosciutto dippers for me
lunch for me - tuna on lettuce rolls
dinner - crock pot chili and corn bread - I'll have the chili without the cornbread
Wednesday- Breakfast - croissants with homemade pomegranate jelly, bacon, and fruit. I'll just have the bacon and fruit
lunch for me- cinnamon broiled grapefruit and I'll probably throw some nuts or meat slices in too
dinner - egg rolls, I'll have my filling on lettuce.
Thursday- Breakfast: cherry muffins for the kids and hubby, leftovers for me
lunch for me- nuts, hard boiled eggs, veggie sticks
dinner- homemade creamy chicken taquitos, I'll have the chicken filling on a salad.
Friday: Breakfast - sausage and applesauce for kids and I
lunch- arugula prosciutto salad rolls with arugula from the garden and leftover prosciutto
dinner- Black bean lettuce wraps with mango avocado salsa for everyone
Saturday: Breakfast- breakfast bowls
dinner - out after church
Sunday: cereal bars for kids, leftovers for me
lunch- harvest Cobb salad with eggs and kale from the garden
dinner- appetizers I make with leftovers
Are you getting into the habit of meal planning right now? I have a few tips that I thought I'd share as several of my friends have asked me for help in this area lately.
1- Look at your schedule for the week before you plan. I have chili in the crock pot tonight because I know I have a meeting after school and there will be a time crunch for meal preparation. Planning this way helps me know when I will and won't have time to put something in the crock pot, when I can just prepare a chunk at some point ahead during the day, or when I can cook at a leisurely pace. Doing this has helped me eliminate fast food dinners! This is especially helpful when we're in the middle of a sport season and have practices and games that make dinner time hard. I really sucks to take the time to meal plan and then realize that on Wednesday you have practice and if you make the casserole no one will be eating until bedtime! Deep breath.
2- Look at what needs to be used up and by when. It doesn't help to know you need to use up lettuce if you put in on the end of the week and it's limp and gross by then. Put it earlier in the week.
3- Of course shop your fridge, freezer, and pantry first (and garden if you have one). Don't know what to do with odds and end you need to use up? Put it on a quesadilla or pizza, or in a burrito, salad or eggs. One of those options usually ends up working out for me.
4- Check out the grocery ads. This doesn't help so much with meal planning, but totally helps with the budget!
5- This may not help you but it helps me. Check the weather forecast! I live in an area that doesn't get much soup/chili weather. I plan it on one of the few days that are going to be cold! Same for salad in the summer. I plan things like Chinese chicken salad on the hottest day of the week.
Have any other meal planning tips? Share them in the comments!
This year is the first year I've ever had a weight loss goal for New Year's. I still don't have a number, just a pile of clothes I need to fit by a certain date. I took my weight and measurements, I bought a fitness planner, but the scale has not been a good guide for me in the past. Because I am hypoglycemic I am going the Whole 30 type route for weight loss.
Since I'm trying to lose weight and continue my journey to less and less processed and more and more whole foods for the family, I am being very meticulous about meal planning. I don't mind making myself something different for breakfast and lunch, but I don't want to make 2 dinners. And really, since we've been eating increasingly more whole foods over the last few years, planning meals that I can eat with the rest of the family hasn't been as hard (so far) as I thought it would be.
Because I'm trying to do this the whole year, not just 30 days, I have a few concessions. I'm allowing myself Paleo style desserts, 1 brown rice or dry bean serving a week, cream in my coffee, homemade ranch, 1 other dairy serving a week (cheese addict here), and up to 2 all natural tortillas a week. Other than that, it's pretty much protein veggies and fruits.
To keep track of how well I'm sticking to things, I'm writing my menu plan in my fitness planner in pencil, and going over in pen when I eat it. That way I know at a glance how many things I planned to eat but didn't, and how many things I ate that I didn't plan to. Not that it's good or bad, just for reference.
Side note- Anyone else's kids go through a ton of food while off for Christmas break? Seriously, I try not to complain because my cart is at least half produce, but wow!
So here's what my menu plan looks like for the week:
Those bottom 4 columns would be the grocery list. Seriously. I've had problems keeping up lately. I used to able to go to the grocery store one time per week. It's hard to stick to that now. Even with the extra fridge in the garage.
Now here's that plan in print that's not too tiny to read ;) : (lunches are just for me since kids and hubby have packed lunches for school and work that consist of sandwiches, leftovers, and bento style lunches).
Monday: Breakfast - kids cereal, me sausage and applesauce
lunch - me - salmon with grapefruit avocado salsa (I'll be reviewing that on here and my Daily Ration FB page)
Dinner - Hamburger chili dish- haven't decided yet if this will be my 1 rice this week or if I will pull mine out before I add rice to it.
Snacks: juice (hubby got me a juicer for Christmas), hard boiled egg, nuts
Tuesday: breakfast- kids breakfast cookies, me vegetable soup
lunch- smoothie and lettuce wraps
dinner- Chicken Prosciutto Involtini from Nom Nom Paleo for the whole family with salad
snacks: smoothie, nuts, fruit
Wedenesday: breakfast- kids yogurt, me sausage and applesauce
dinner: meatball sammies for the family with fruit salad, just meatballs/veggie sticks/fruit salad for me
snacks: juice, hard boiled egg, nuts
Thursday: breakfast - kids cinnamon rolls, me vegetable soup
lunch: wrap on a tortilla
dinner: crock pot taco bowls for the family, taco salad for me (this is an easy substitution, I just leave out the rice and put a bed of lettuce down under the toppings.
snacks: avocado mousse
Friday: breakfast- kids- cinnamon toast, fruit and bacon, me- fruit and bacon
dinner: spaghetti and salad for the family, spaghetti sauce (homemade meat sauce) over steamed broccoli for me
snacks: nuts, juice
Saturday: breakfast- kids pancakes, me eggs or Paleo breakfast bars if I feel up to making them
lunch: vegetable soup with chicken
dinner: out after church - I allow myself to pick a healthier menu choice and don't obsess over every ingredient.
Sunday: breakfast- kids cereal bars (Sundays I try to rest), veg omelet for me (at least one of my kids usually end up wanting this too)
dinner: appetizers - we do this every Sunday night with either a football game or family movie. I will have fruits and veggies on a tray as part of the appetizers but usually make the rest based on what needs to get used up in the fridge. Not sure yet what I'll be eating this night other than the fruits and veggies. I might get back to you on that on Sunday.
And on to the winter garden!
I've wanted to do a winter garden forever. I just keep getting lazy. This year I was determined. It probably helped that my Back to Eden style garden has little to no weeds so it has become a matter of just sticking plants in the ground. But I was still late getting it in. I should have planted in September but here we're still getting summer veggies in September and I couldn't bear to pull them out. We didn't plant this until December 4th so we'll wait and see if things actually grow. We planted arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, beets and carrots.
What are your New Year goals? Share them in the comments!
As the past decade has gone by, I find myself more and more wanting to live a simpler life. I find myself less and less trustful of what big companies and government provide. Changes in thinking have me slowly doing more of my own food growing, buying at farmer's markets, planning for taking care of myself, not counting on the government to do it, etc...
Along the way I've become a bit of an urban homesteader. I live in a fairly big city in southern California. While I've recently begun to dream of moving to some place with seasons and more space around me, I know I'm stuck here for at least 3 more years. I might address this in more detail another time, but this post is about what urban homesteading looks like at my place.
Just so you know, homesteading, urban or otherwise, does not have to reflect one hard and fast look. It can be many levels and take on many different looks. I started with a small garden plot, that is now double what it used to be. I'm in the middle of a two year plan to put a mini fruit orchard in my side yard. I can't have chickens in my area but I hope to (some day when we move). ;)
I also do more cooking from scratch. I make more chicken stock, can items, freeze things, etc....And I've found that the things I started canning and freezing and such, are really not as time consuming as I thought they'd be. Cooking and freezing dried beans instead of buying canned is way cheaper, way healthier, and pretty much all inactive time. Sometimes, in the midst of food preservation, I can't believe I thought I didn't have time for these things before.
So how do I "homestead" with a regular city tract home lot? Let's start by listing what I have to contend with:
-small lot- slightly less than 1/5 of an acre. It's around 7,800 square feet if I remember correctly. The house takes up quite a bit of that.
-City codes do not allow chickens on my lot size, or anything other than regular pets like dogs, cats, fish, etc...
So if I don't have room and can't have animals, what do I do?
- Last winter I started a mini fruit orchard using bare root trees. They're not producing for a another 2 years because they're bare root, but that allowed me to put in 5 trees in one month. That was nice on the pocket book. If you're not familiar with mini fruit orchards, I highly encourage you to go to YouTube and watch Dave Wilson Nursery videos. He has a whole series on high density fruit tree planting that will rock everything you think you know about having fruit trees. In the back I planted a peach tree several years ago that I espalier along the back wall to save space.
- I also have a garden in the back. I takes up a strip along one side of our patio so there is still room for the kids to play in the grass, swing set, etc...
-Besides gardening and growing fruit, I do a lot more 'from scratch' cooking. I like knowing that when I cook and freeze beans, it's just the beans. There's no salt unless I add it, and even then it's good quality salt in the amount I want. There's no BPA from the can or plastic; there are no chemicals that aren't required by the government to be on the label. You get where I'm going? I know exactly what's in it, and that's just hard to know anymore when you buy stuff at the store. The labels are full of stuff that isn't food and not everything is required to be on the label.
I do the same with chicken stock as much as possible. After roasting a chicken, a carcass simmering away for a while with fresh herbs from the garden makes great chicken stock that I can trust. Saved money too.
-I bake a lot of bread, but not all of it. Someday I will. ;) I don't bake the regular wheat sandwich slices very often, but I frequently bake rolls, biscuits, and other loaves like dill bread and french bread. Again, have you looked at the ingredients for bread in the store? Bread shouldn't have an ingredient list more than about 5 items long.
-I make a lot of cleaners, but who doesn't these days. I still buy bleach and laundry soap, and furniture polish. Does anyone have a dusting spray recipe that's good? I haven't liked any of the ones I've tried but I don't want to keep using Pledge. :0 I do make my own rinse aid, fabric softener, room spray, and all purpose spray.
There might be more that I can't think of at the moment, but maybe I'll make a part 2 of the Urban Homesteading blog post. I might go more in depth about the cooking part. We shall see.
Do you homestead? Urban homestead? I'd love to know what 'homesteading' things you do!
...besides not blogging. :)
I have to say, the summer went by faster than usual for me this year. We went on our first family vacation (to Texas) and had a blast. My kids are finally old enough to be able to enjoy hanging out with, but with less of the panicky feeling of always keeping a hand on them.
We stayed in New Braunfels and went the The Schlitterbaan. Oh the memories.
We also visited the Alamo, got boots, and did a lot of other fun things.
I've also been better at keeping up with my garden this year. Though it looks to be in disarray right now, that's purposeful. I'm letting the summer garden lapse and am hoping to actually put in a fall garden this year. I say every year that I want to, but then I never do it. I have plans to to that later this week. It's kind of hard to know when to plant a fall/winter garden around here. It is still 100 degrees after all.
My garden produce wasn't as prolific this year. I've heard everyone is having that problem. I still got plenty, but not as much as I expected. The drought really has us fighting more bugs than normal, and since I'm an organic gardener, that can be exhausting.
I have been neglecting my Daily Ration Facebook page as well, not just this blog. However, I was somewhat better at posting a few recipes there than here. If you haven't checked that out yet, it's a FB page where I post all things food related in my life, especially as I experiment for my new cookbook.
The thing I've been best at keeping up with (though still not as much as I'd like) is my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I'm working real hours on that this school year and it's paying off. It was already doing well considering I didn't have much in there, but now that I'm building my store, I'm really seeing some exciting results.
You can check out my store here: The Elementary Professor Store
or my education blog here: The Elementary Professor Blog
I'm having a blast and barely miss teaching at all when I'm creating stuff for the classroom like I used to!
Next on the list, health!
I've been trying to exercise and I was doing OK at it until I hurt a hip muscle. :( Now it's hard. But I'm still going for it. The first day of September I pulled out any and all clothes in my closet that were too small. I put them in a pile in the corner of my bedroom. They're in my way and annoy me, which helps me go for my goal of fitting them by Halloween. I decided that if I don't fit them (because I haven't for years) then I have to get rid of them. There are pieces I love, pieces with tags still on them, and I've been keeping them for years with all intentions of fitting them. Well it's time. Fit them or ditch them. Sadly, those clothes were more than half my clothing!
On that note, I'm going to do a Whole 30 in October. Since I'm needing to concentrate more on food than exercise, and since I need to re-break my sugar addiction, I'm going to go for it. I'll be posting weekly here about what I ate and how it's going.
I briefly considered an October Unprocessed, but decided I needed to be more disciplined. And really, I usually end up with not much processed for a Whole 30.
So that's where I sit right now. Next up I'm sitting down to plan out the next month's blog posts. I'm better about posting when I plan it. I'll be posting my Whole 30 adventure on a weekly basis (mostly to help me stick with it), my Whole 30 adventure, the fall garden, a purging update, and anything else that strikes my fancy. ;) Any requests?
I've taken pics from my last two June harvests but not posted these!
On June 23rd I picked these:
The cucumbers were made into Asian cucumbers for a side dish at dinner. My daughter and I made more kale chips, and some kale went into a smoothie too. The strawberry was shared, very sweet. The little tomatoes were snacked on. The zucchini waited until the next harvest to be used.
On June 27 I gathered:
Zucchini from the other day and this one ended up shredded and frozen for zucchini bread in the fall. The big tomato was eaten with lunch. The little tomatoes went in salad. The cucumbers were on a veggie tray as a pre-dinner snack.
And now you're caught up on my June harvest. I'm hoping things will really get going more in July!
What are you pulling out of your garden and what are you doing with it?
And back to the garden for more today!
A small but yummy harvest. I ended up picking more kale after this. This kale went into smoothies, but my daughter later convinced me to make kale chips with her. Yummo!
The little tomatoes were snacked on again.
The cucumbers were snacked on and turned into Asian cucumbers, one of my kids favorite ways to eat them.
The zucchini is still sitting on my counter, waiting for its friend to be picked, and then experimented with.
What's in your harvest basket today?
1st- Let me disclaimer that I'm not including herbs. I have those in pots year round and walk out my back door to get them as needed.
Also - not pictured...2 strawberries and 2 sweet million tomatoes. Ooops. The strawberries never made it into the house. But they were yummy. The same with those two tomatoes. One I ate and 1 went to my mother in law who was visiting.
I have to admit that I'm not a huge zucchini fan. I know, shocker. I normally grow a few plants for some bread recipes (like zucchini bread). Really, it's the mushy texture for me that's the turn off. But since I'm working on a vegetable cookbook, I thought I should try some other ways to make it. And I'll also admit that seeing 'zoodle' recipes around Pinterest has peaked my interest.
So here's what I ended up making with my 2 zucchini, a nice little zoodle lunch for 1. (By the way, this was totally yummy! I'm contemplating adding more plants to my garden now.)
And here's how you can make it on your own:
Lemon Zoodles with Pancetta and Pecorino
(about 12 minutes start to finish)
Serves 1 for main dish or 2 side dishes
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 oz pancetta in small cubes
2 garlic cloves minced
Zest and juice from half a lemon
1/4 c grated or shredded pecorino cheese (you can sub Parmesan if you can't find pecorino)
Start the olive oil in a pan. When it's warm, add the cubed pancetta in and let it get all crispy.
Meanwhile, spiralize the 2 zucchini. If you don't have a spiralizer you can use a vegetable peeler to slice thin strips, then cut them into skinnier slivers if you like.
Once the pancetta is almost crispy (4 ish minutes), add the garlic in and let it just start to turn golden (takes less than 2 minutes on my stove).
Then toss in the zoodles, lemon zest and juice. Stir it around until the noodles just start to soften.
Plate and sprinkle with pecorino. Taste for salting. I find with the pancetta and cheese it doesn't really need salt, but some people like their food salty. ;)
Do you have any zucchini recipes that I just HAVE to try? Let me know in the comments!
I normally post a few pictures of my garden a few times in the summer. This time I decided to do a video tour! This is my second year of Back to Eden style gardening and I'm loving the lower work load. Even with pests being more of problem due to the drought, it's just so much nicer to do things this way.
Sorry about the wind noise. I was just doing this with my iPhone.
I'm thinking about doing a series this summer (pictures on the blog, not video) where I show each harvest and my plans for it. I'm not sure though, that means I'd have to keep up during the times when there's a daily harvest. ;)
Can't wait for summer produce!
Want to see more posts related to gardening and homesteading? Visit this homestead blog hop! I love reading these posts and look forward to the blog hop every week.