Monday, February 14, 2011

Starting to plan the garden...

It's that time of year...we're getting tired of the cold and we can see little snippets of warm weather that definitely has me dreaming of spring!!!  Today is Valentine's Day and my youngest daughter and I are going to start some flower seedlings indoors under lights.  We have a tradition in my house to make heart-shaped pizzas and have a few chocolates, but other than that, I'd rather have flowers in the garden than overpriced ones that will die in a few's just me!  We try not to buy into the ridiculous commercialism...we love Valentine's Day and we all love each other, but we do not appreciate the expense or hype just to tell someone you love them.  My husband and I got breakfast in bed from our kids with some heart-felt crafts they made this morning.  They can't sell that in stores!!!

So my youngest daughter (age 9) is my little gardener and loves to pick and grow and plant with me.  We have a splendid time and she is great at preserving seeds for the next year.  We have both been leafing through our seed catalogs which, by the way, are now about three times as much as the picture I took.  If you're looking for a great catalog that is committed to saving seeds and preserving heirloom varieties, my very favorite is the Seed Savers Exchange.  They have beautiful plants and are highly committed to preserving our food and flower heritage of the past.  As you can see by the cover in my picture, it is a stunning catalog.  It's nice to see that many growers are becoming more interested in non-genetically mutated, non-pesticide tested, pure heirloom seeds.  Thank you very much. 

This was just a quick post, but I'll keep you updated with pics with our indoor seedlings and such.  It's still a little early yet for our veggie seeds, but soon I will be starting tomatoes!  For my friends on the other side of the world that are enjoying summer...I'm sooooo jealous!!!  We'll be there soon, I suppose and everything in its own time!  But until then, I'm dreaming of my summer garden!!! MMMMMMMM...fresh zucchini...I'm not sure how much longer I can last!!!  Hahahaha!

Blessings to you and happy planning and dreaming!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stretching the Food Budget Friday


Sorry for such the delay in blogging; between bad weather, getting sick, and my oldest daughter's algebra class, my hands have been full.  So back to blogging I go.  We have to forego getting groceries for an extra week due to some budget issues, but with a well-stocked pantry and freezer, that isn't a huge problem.  I decided to make lasagna last night.  I did have a problem though:  I had no cottage cheese.  The lasagna I make is fairly traditional: mozzarella, meat sauce, cottage cheese, a sprinkling of parmesan.  However, with no cottage cheese, I felt my lasagna would fall pretty flat.  I didn't have any extra meat to put in it so what to do???

Well, this is where the homemaker must get creative and improvise!!!  We had some leftover mashed potatoes...yes, mashed potatoes!  I mixed in extra sour cream and layered the tasty potatoes as I usually would with cottage cheese.  I baked it and served it and it was quite tasty and gave the lasagna some bulk and substance!  It absorbed any extra liquid and made a very nice substitute.  Is it traditional?  Of course not.  But we made do with what we had on hand and turned out an excellent meal without having to run to the store.  Problem solved.  Stretching your food budget means being creative with the food you are blessed with and not running to the market every time something comes up.  Mashed potatoes (or potatoes in any form) can be substituted to give your dish an extra oomph...try it and see what happens!  I'd love to hear what you're doing to stretch your food budgets!

I hope you all have a warm and toasty weekend as I know many are still digging out from the snow!  Blessings to you and hope to hear about any awesome substitutions you have made with your meals!!!