Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Earth Box?

The relationship in our house with salads is one of a sort of love/hate.  We LOVE salads, but I can not stand paying a small fortune for lettuce!!  Even BOGO ends up making it $2 or more for a bag of salad that lasts one meal.  Our solution...a small earth box in the front yard.

"What is an earth box," you ask?  It's a fancy name for a raised bed that will help me stay out of trouble with the homeowner's association :)

We built ours Memorial Day weekend.  It was a fun Family Project.  The hubbie did most of the work, but for those of you that just can't wait on the hubbie, it was so easy I could have done it myself.   
First, plan out where you are going to put it.  That will dictate the shape.  Since ours was on the corner of the sidewalk, we use an L shape.  It helps to make a little sketch before hand so you write measurements down.

Use 2' x 10" pressure treated pine and galvanized screws (they don't rust here at the beach).

Cut the wood to the measurements you need and build your box.  You may need to predrill the holes for your screws.  Just use a drill bit slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw.

You don't have to paint it.  We brought a chip from a broken terra cotta pot to Home Depot and had them match it.  It helped add some color to our front yard.

We filled ours with dirt from the compost bin, but some black cow from your local home improvement store will work just as well.  Then, just like we did with the peas, mix some organic fertilizer into the top layer of the soil.

Plant whatever you would like in it.  We planted lettuce, and we now have a never ending supply!!!  You can buy packages of seeds that are a garden mix.  We used Gurney's lettuce mix and spinach seeds.  It's not too late in NE Florida to plant lettuce and spinach.   Just sprinkle the seeds onto the soil and sprinkle more soil over the seeds (about a 1/2").  In 4-5 days you will start seeing little seedlings pop up.  I will get some pics of what our "Earth Box" looks like now and post them.  It has filled in beautifully, and really does look pretty

When you harvest the lettuce, just cut the leaves off at the base and more leaves will grow on the same plant...hence, the "never ending" supply.  I've been clipping mine when they're pretty young just like the spring greens mix you buy at the grocery store.  The taste is amazing.  I was really surprised how much flavor lettuce loses in those bags!!!

Black Eye Peas Recipe

Just cooked up another pot of black-eyed peas.  It is so simple.

All you need is

1/4 lb bacon
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
16 oz fresh black eyed peas (hopefully from your garden)

Cut your bacon into small 1" chunks.  In the same pot you plan on cooking the peas (I like to use my enameled cast iron), cook the bacon until crispy on Medium heat.  Chop onions and garlic.  Add them to the bacon in pot.  Cook until onions are transparent.  Add the peas.  Cover the peas with water (about an inch above the peas).  Salt and pepper like you like it, lower heat to simmer and cover.

I like my peas a little on the firm side which takes about an hour.  If you like them softer, then cook them until they're soft enough for you.  Just keep testing them.  I promise you will never want one of those dry peas again!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Last Pumpkin Post (For Now....)

I usually like to make my own frosting, but Betty Crocker was BOGO last week and there was a $.50 coupon to go with it making frosting $.39 for two cans...I couldn't resist!!!!   So,  I stocked up on cream cheese favorite!!!

What better to put all that yummy frosting on, but PUMPKIN CUPCAKES..YUM!!!  
Good Ol' Martha had a really good recipe.

They're so good, I've already eaten two and they just came out of the oven  15 minutes ago!!

If you missed the deal on the BC frosting, Publix has cream cheese this week for $1.19 and there are a ton of $1 coupons out there making it $.19 for cream cheese!!!!!!   Check out to find your coupons and make some really cheap frosting.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I made some pumpkin bread with my Jack O Lantern, and it was YUM!!!!!  Both loaves were gone within 24 hrs....even the hubbie ate 4 slices (he's not a sweets person). 

I used this recipe.

Out of pure laziness, I didn't have 4 eggs, so instead of running to the grocery store, I only used 2.  It still turned out awesome!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pumpkin Fun

So, after roasting for about an hour, I let our Jack O' Lantern cool. 

I drained probably 1/2 a gallon of water from the bottom of the pan. 

The next step was to scoop the flesh from inside the pumpkin.

I ran it all through a food processor next.  It took me half the batch before I realized that I should be squeezing out as much of the water as possible before processing. 

I moved it from the processor to a colander and let excess water drain out. 

All in all, there was about a gallon of water drained off...they weren't kidding when they said there was a lot of water in Jack O' Lantern pumpkins. 

I'm going to test it out in a Pumpkin Bread tonight...stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm Feeling a Little Nuts...

Every year, we take a family outing to the local (makeshift) pumpkin patch.  Gotta love those empty lots that once a year magically turn into a pumpkin patch and disappear as fast as Cinderella's coach.  What ever happened to a REAL patch where they actually GROW some pumpkins!?!?!  Anyways, every year, I cringe at the amount of $$ we dish out to buy an pumpkin for the kids to "carve" and use as a Halloween decoration.  What a waste!!  Think about it, we buy 10 lbs of food, carve it (more like mutilate it), set it out to rot and throw it away.  Then, we run to the grocery store to buy 15 cans of pumpkin over the next three months to make all the goodies that satisfy our holiday cravings.

So, this year, as I write, our Jack' O Lantern is sitting on a roasting pan at 350 degrees in my oven.  We waited until Halloween morning to pick out our victim, carved it up at 5pm, set it in the window for a few hours (safe from bugs) and stuck it in the refrigerator until today when I had time to cook it up.

From what I heard, the Jack O Lantern pumpkins are a little less intense in taste and more watery.  The careful when adding spices and after pureeing the flesh, let it strain.

Like I said, I'm feeling a little crazy cooking a Jack O Lantern, but hey, if it saves me from wasting an entire pumpkin, then it can't hurt to try it out.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Just an update--Here's the finished product...creepy :)