Tag Archives: vegetable garden

Garden update + Meal plan {04.14.2013}

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Finally, Spring arrived and we have had an amazing amount of pollen fall this week. This picture was my attempt to try and sweep the pollen of the deck. Yes, all that yellow dust is pollen. I have lived in several places, and North Carolina is the only place I have seen this visible layer of pollen.

Good news, with the warmer weather, my winter vegetable garden has taken off. I picked the first lot of spinach, which we made into a salad for dinner tonight.

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My first head of broccoli is nearly ready, I am thinking I can harvest it over the next day or two.
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The cabbages, carrots and cauliflower are coming along. We tried a couple of the carrots but they are still quite small – the rest of these will be ready in the next 3-4 weeks.

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Our meal plan this week includes some of our fresh vegetables, which saved us a little money. I did really well this week with staying away from sugar and process foods. I even got outside one lunch, at work, to exercise !!!

DAY BREAKFAST DINNER EXERCISE
Saturday Granola + Soy Yoghurt + Banana Beef tips (from meat house) + Spinach salad
Sunday Whole wheat banana buttermilk Pancakes Broccoli + Tomato Fettuccine (GF) Walk 3-4 miles
Monday Bircher Muesli “Fried” Rice (Brown rice and vegetables – prepared over the weekend)
Tuesday Berry + Banana + Spirulina Smoothie Vegetarian Burgers + Salad 3-4 Mile Walk
Wednesday Bircher Muesli Zpizza (Pizza with whole wheat crust and organic ingredients) 20 mins. HIT
Thursday Granola + Fruit + Soy Yoghurt Vegetable Pasta Bake (prepared over the weekend)
Friday Berry + Banana + Spirulina Smoothie Grilled fish + salad 20 mins. HIT

We are usually spending ~$70 a week only, for our meals. This week we were well under…here is our shopping list:

GROCERY LIST (NEW STOCK) IN THE CUPBOARD/FRIDGE
  • Strawberries (TJ)
  • Blueberries (TJ)
  • Bananas (TJ)
  • Baby carrots (TJ)
  • Mushrooms (TJ)
  • Lettuce (TJ)
  • Tomatoes (TJ)
  • Soy Milk (TJ)
  • Low-fat herb cream cheese (TT)
  • Juice (TJ, TT)
  • Brown Rice (TJ)
  • Gluten Free Pasta (TT)
  • Vegetable Stock (TT)
  • Onions (TJ)
  • Spinach (from the garden)
  • Broccoli (from the garden)
  • Bell Peppers(TJ)
  • Cucumber (TJ)
  • Garlic (TT)
  • Apples (TJ)
  • Butter (TJ)
  • Flour/ WW and GF (TT)
  • Granola (TT or BJ)
  • Oats (BJ)
  • Frozen Peas + Corn (TJ)
  • Vegetable Patties (TJ)
  • Sultanas (TT)
  • Stir Fry Sauce (TT)

NOTE: We shop majority at Trader Joe’s (TJ), Target (TT) with an occasional visit to Whole foods (WF), BJ’s , Harris Teeters (HT), Lowes Food (LF) and Fresh Market (FM).
NOTE: We do not typically use coupons mainly due to time.
NOTE: Items indicated by * are specials for the week we took advantage of.

How are your vegetable gardens going? What meals do you have planned this week? Leave a link in the comments below and I will check them out.

New recipes for inspiration this week – week 10

I have been so inspired for this week’s menu – look at this site for “Meat Free Week (March 18-25)” recipes. I was reading them out to my husband last night with my mouth watering. So, I am going to choose from this list all week (except Saturday). I will let you know my favorite and any changes I make to the recipes.

You may say a recipe every day … yes, I work full-time but….
My husband can not drive at the moment, due to a shoulder injury from playing soccer and thinking he was still a teenager ;-), and I will have to pick him and my son up by 3:30 pm every day. This will give me more time in the evening to cook 🙂 before I catch-up on work in the evening.

My major task over the weekend:
I do have to plant my indoor seeds this weekend for my summer garden – I am putting in  tomatoes, romaine lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers (planting a little later this year) and maybe some spinach. I am excited about my winter garden which now seems to be coming along (yes in Spring)….my photo’s the week are of, my first head of broccoli and cabbage which appeared this week.

Head of broccoli Head of Cabbage

So here are the meals we are trying this week:

DAY BREAKFAST DINNER EXERCISE
Saturday Granola + Soy Yoghurt + Berries Creamy Vegetable Shepherds Pie
Sunday Oatmeal + Banana + Almond Butter + Soy Milk Chargrilled Bell Pepper Tagliatelle (Gluten Free) or Fresh Tomato and Herb Pasta (Gluten Free) 3-4 Mile Walk
Monday Mini Breakfast Frittata* Eggplant, herb and feta patties + Salad
Tuesday Berry + Banana + Spirulina Smoothie Stir Fried Curry Brown Rice + Cashews * 3-4 Mile Walk
Wednesday Oatmeal + Banana and Almond butter Tomato, Onion + Goat Cheese Tart (Gluten free crust) + Salad (replacing zPizza this week)
Thursday Mini Breakfast Frittata* Gluten-free Spaghetti + Broccoli, herbs + hazelnuts crumbs  3-4 Mile Walk
Friday Berry + Banana + Spirulina Smoothie Vegetable Biryani *

* Some ingredients will be pre-made/pre-cooked, for example a batch of brown rice

My Winter – Spring Garden and Meal Plan – Week 8

The winter has been a little longer and colder which means my vegetable garden has been producing very slowly. This is my first winter garden and it seems to be going ok. Lessons I have learned:

  1. My swiss chard did not survive as something ate that – not sure what. So, next time I may have to place little wire cages around them
  2. Next year, I will invest in some recycled windows to create a cover so I have a mini hot house

Two surprising things happened with this crop:

  1.  My plants survived the snow and ice. I will definitely get a crop of  broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and cabbage (respectively in photo’s below)….and a little bit of spinach.
  2. And my parsley which had died out came back to life and is flourishing.

Broccoli Cauliflower Carrots
Cabbages Parsley

In the meantime, waiting for this crop to grow, we are buying our veggies (still within the $70 budget). Here is our meal plan for this week – it will be similar to last week (its better not to even talk about it :-)). I have decided to cook most of the meals in the weekend to see if that it is easier to stick with the plan.

DAY BREAKFAST DINNER EXERCISE
Saturday ^Breakfast Sandwich Creamy Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie (thanks to Kristel’s list and links)
Sunday Bircher Muesli (with soy) Chicken and Vegetable Cacciatore + Quinoa or Wheat berries 3-4 Mile Walk
Monday Bircher Muesli (with soy) Vegetable Frittata
Tuesday Whole Grain Cereal+Soy Vegetable Soup (Slow Cooked) 3-4 Mile Walk
Wednesday Oatmeal with Banana and Almond butter ^Pizza @ zPizza (love the options at this place)
Thursday Whole Grain Cereal + Soy Slow-Cooked Indian Dal
Friday Smoothie Vegetable Pasta Bake + Quinoa Pasta 3-4 Mile Walk

^ indicates my splurge for the week

Goals for 2013: life style challenge

I decided that I would follow others in sharing my goals for 2013. I wanted to do this in two separate entries; one for my life style goals and one for my crafting/activities etc.

Reflecting back, 2012 was a difficult year. I was sick with a chronic sinus issue from February to December. It’s amazing the side effects of what you think is just a small thing – I had constant low-grade fevers, lack of energy and concentration, sleep issues, mood swings and side effects to medication. Finally, after 7 rounds of antibiotics, 2 doctors and a ENT specialist, surgery in September, we finally found it was all caused by a strep infection under/within a single papilloma granuloma in my left nostril. Apparently, it was an unusual situation; when it all cleared and healed I had the whole ENT nurse and doctor staff congratulate me on being better – nothing like being told you are unique ;-).

While recovering from surgery, in September, I started investigating things that I could try to change in my life style, to possibly help my situation. I found Dr. Fuhrman’s “Eat to Live” book fascinating. I did make some small life style changes at that point, not to lose weight – just to see if I can feel better and create a better immune system.

I would like to take that further for 2013. My goals for my life style challenge are:

  • I am going to do a 6 week challenge using Dr Fuhrman moderate eat to live plan. At 6 weeks, I will assess and see if I make changes.
  • Keep to our weekly budget for food. My husband and I take $200 out in cash every week, $70 is allocated to food, the rest to incidentals/general expenses (does not include the mortgage).
  • Stay accountable by creating a new category in my blog for “Life style challenge”, and posting our meal plan for breakfast/dinners for each week, with recipes where possible. We typically plan our meals and go shopping on Saturday, that is when I will post.
  • Exercise 3 times a week (minimum) – I enjoyed doing the Firm express early last year, which I think is where I will start. Right now I just have to start.
  • Re-commit to reducing our TV watching to 8 hours a week.
  • Go to bed before 11pm, to get 8 hours of sleep.
  • As last year was our first year with a vegetable garden I want to continue that by planning and planting my summer vegetable garden.

Backyard design and garden update

We survived the night in the tent, but we did wake up to a frost. I am very thankful that it was for only one night. I get to sleep in my own bed tonight.

After spending time outside yesterday, I realized that the backyard has come along way since we posted our design progress a month or so back. We are in fact ready for sod (though it might be too late for us to lay it down before winter).

The winter vegetable gardens are coming along too, though slowly but I suppose that is due to the colder temperatures now. Here are photos of the everlasting bell peppers (still growing from Summer), the swiss chard, broccoli, cabbages and spinach.

    

We have carrots and cauliflower too but they were planted a little late and are still quiet small.

That’s it for today – my new dwell magazine just arrived in the mail and the banana bread is about to come out of the oven – time for a coffee break :-). I will post the banana bread recipe tomorrow.

Backyard Garden Design: Part 1

Over the last year we started redesigning and transforming our back yard.

In the beginning, we started with ripping out our old, enclosed deck which we thought was horrid. We really wanted to open the space so we designed a multi-level, completely open deck with only one side railing.

These photos show it almost completed – its missing the facing wood for the steps.

  

  

Next, I started a vegetable garden. It was an amazing experience I want to share. I am so proud of my garden, I love the nurturing aspect and the delectable results. First of we needed a space – I designed a raised bed garden keeping in mind that we might want to expand if this works.

  

How did we build them?
Dimensions: The garden beds were 4 feet  wide by 6 feet in length, which means the milt-layed bed is 8 feet wide by 6 feet in length.

Materials: We made them from pressure treated grade 2 timber – 4 inches x 6 inches. We used lag screws to connect the wood frame from the outside and we used metal plate connectors in the inside for stability. Garden fabric was laid down and then the soil was added. We did purchase top soil that had fertilizer in it.