Tag Archives: coleslaw

Garden in January, Eastern NC, Zone 7b and Harvest Monday

January 12, 2015

I am combining Harvest Monday with my monthly garden update this week. It is AMAZING to see how the garden has changed in the last two months!

Beginning of NovemberDSC_6008-EditBeginning of DecemberDSC_6282Beginning of January© Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher NietoWow. In the course of two months, the bushes and trees went from green, to red, to nothing! I never realized how quickly that happened before documenting it in pictures.

We dipped into the teens multiple nights this week and never got out of the 30s many days. So I went ahead and harvested a bunch of veggies — better safe than sorry! The garden is still covered. I am hoping the kale and broccoli plants will survive the cold and will bounce back. We will see.

Celery (from store cuttings) Used them juicing and in soup.

© Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher NietoCabbage (softball size but again, better safe than sorry! And they made enough coleslaw for three nights!)© Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher NietoKale (salad) © Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher NietoLettuce (salad) © Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher NietoI remembered to take a picture one night as an example of how we ate from the garden this week:© Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher NietoThis is my 2yo’s plate. Sloppy joe (marinara sauce from our tomatoes & wild onions), coleslaw (our cabbage), roasted sweet potatoes (ours), steamed green beans (ours). Bread is homemade from freshly milled flour.

All-in-all I spent money on pinto beans, chickpeas, carrots, mayonnaise, mustard, some spices, honey and olive oil (bread). (I buy dry beans, soak, cook, and freeze them in 15oz bags) I may have spent 50c on the whole meal (no more than 10 cents/child, including seconds). Tell me eating healthy is more expensive! Pbsh!

Most of our grocery money these days is going into buying fruit! Fruit is costing us so much, I have fruit on the brain. I ordered extra watermelon and cantaloupe seeds for next summer. I ordered ground cherries. And this past week I ordered two sweet cherry trees and two fig trees. I wanted to order concord grapes as well but the order was getting pretty expensive so I guess I’ll have to wait until next year for those.

My hope is that soon, I will not have to buy any fruit during the spring, summer, or fall and maybe we can dry some fruit so we will not have to buy very much during the winter months either.

Right now, we freeze strawberries and blueberries for use during the winter. We went strawberry picking last May and we are still eating raw strawberry jam. We eat our blueberries in cereal and oatmeal.

Are you harvesting? Are you still eating from your stores? Whether it is your goal to eat only from your land one day, eat only in season, or you just like looking at others’ gardens, check out Daphne’s Dandelions this Harvest Monday 🙂


Harvest Monday

December 23, 2013

I harvested another patch of carrots yesterday in what is going to be the sweet potato patch this year. I wanted to clear it out so I could add some chicken manure from the coop – to give it some time to fertilize the patch before I plant the slips in the late Spring. The chickens ate all of my greens this Fall but hiding among the carrots was some baby spinach! I left that & hopefully, when it warms up in the Spring, it will be some of our first greens we have to harvest. 🙂

December 19 13 - 0003 December 21 13 - 0146(again, looks like a bunch of wood shavings but it’s mostly poop)

It has warmed up a few times this Fall and on those days, I have planted lettuce & carrots and covered them. Some of the carrots have sprouted but none of the lettuce has. I really miss my fresh greens!

So, this week, I went ahead and started some greenhouses. I do not have many milk jugs yet so I need to save them for things like tomatoes & peppers but for now, I went ahead and planted some lettuce & kale seeds in them. Because they are cool-weather crops, they will sprout & grow pretty quickly so I can transplant them & reuse the jugs for heat-loving crops. Maybe I’ll get a nice head start on my greens this way 🙂

December 21 13 - 0273I also went ahead and planted cabbage and broccoli in my greenhouses this week. Oh! Speaking of cabbage…I finally used my first cabbage! I have been making my own coleslaw for awhile now. It has always been a goal to use my own cabbage & my own carrots in the future and this week, the future arrived 😀

December 20 13 - 0005I’m sure this may seem silly to some but before my BTE garden, my past attempts at carrot-growing have been dismal…and growing my own cabbage seemed a lofty goal (I thought worm-infestation was inevitable). So my first coleslaw with my own cabbage & carrots was quite the accomplishment! It was SO yummy!

How are your winter gardens? Harvesting anything? Check out what everyone else is harvesting at Daphne’s Dandelions!

March Review (Budget, Garden, Chickens)

March 28, 2013

How did you do this month, budgeting? A long month is always hard when it comes to money.

Still juicing! Will it ever end? Idk but one day, when our diet gets back to ‘normal’ (hopefully a new normal in which we only eat healthy food – even desserts!), maybe our budget will as well.

Still going over the budget in the area of groceries but we are also limiting car use so that has helped even out the budget a bit. We still went over for the month (BOO!) –  $50 over, which is worse than last month but all I can do it not give up!

I’ll just keep trying. Right now, these are the foods we are making instead of buying: jelly, bread, beans (instead of buying canned), coleslaw, pizza crust, sloppy joe buns. We are growing and eating kale, spinach, lettuce, and some broccoli from the garden.

March 26 2013 - 0029I make as much as possible on bread baking day so I do not have to have all of the equipment out as often. I freeze the bread and it tastes fresh (but not as squishy, which is great when slicing) out of the freezer! The wrinkled ones were the last ones of the day. They were forgotten about and rose for too long. They are still uniform on the inside, the tops are just not as smooth.

February 24 13 - 0116(This was a month ago, so everything is bigger. There is not much lettuce left, as we have been eating it up!)

Last week I sowed carrots and peas and planted more summer crops in our milk jugs. I have not done an update on them because of the 15 or so jugs I have outside, only one has any sprouts. It seems like such a wonderful idea and it is not costing me anything so I will stick with it this year but it does not seem to be working…we’ll see…and I will give an update when I have final thoughts on them 🙂

Hopefully the weather will turn warmer soon so we will be able to enjoy peas, carrots, more greens (they really take off when the weather warms), etc., which will help our budget.

Eggs are still a number of months away but, again, if it warms up a bit, the chicks are just about big enough to spend some time outside each day, which means they can clear more grass and weeds in order to expand our garden more.We are finishing up our tractor to keep them safe from the hawks around here.

March 20 2013 - 0089

In the meantime, they are growing more and more!

orpington3 weeks old. Feathers are coming in (all but one bird who has no feathers on his back…odd…)

flying chickenThey have made it up to the third rung (which leads to the roost).

connor with birdMy 2yo LOVES going to see the chicks 2-3x/day. He is great with them!

How is it almost April and we are still holding our breath for Spring? We live in North Carolina for goodness sakes!

oh my goodness! i forgot to link back to Simple Lives Thursday! Sorry ladies!

Nestling Method

March 18, 2013

A friend gave me a book about baby food when my first child was at that stage. It talked about cooking, pureeing, and freezing food in ice cube trays so when you need to feed baby, you have the perfect amount. I know a lot of people who do this.

It also talked about when baby is older and you need to freeze larger amounts of food, put the food in baggies (just cheap, sandwich bags) and nestle them in a large freezer bag. That way, they are already in individual portions and the only big expense is the one freezer bag.

I have taken this information and run with it. I never actually used it for baby food but I use it for EVERYTHING else.

BEANS: I do not like buying beans (or anything, for that matter) in a can. There are a LOT of things in the can besides beans. Besides, beans in a bag are way cheaper. Because we eat a mainly vegetarian diet at home, we eat a good number of beans.

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So, here’s what I do:

      1. Soak the beans overnight
      2. Rinse them the next day
      3. Put them in a pot of fresh water
      4. Bring to a boil
      5. Boil for 30 min or so
      6. Rinse in a colander w/cold water
      7. Let them come to room temp
      8. Scoop 15oz (about 2 cups), which is how much a typical can of beans is, into a cheap sandwich bag (not the zip kind – the kind that fold over)
      9. Nestle sandwich bags into a gallon freezer bag.
      10. Place in freezer on ‘beans/meat’ shelf

Now, when you have a recipe where you need a can of beans, take a sandwich bag out of the freezer in the morning to let thaw, and you’re good to go. The only ‘work’ you do is that first day and you have 8-9 cans-worth of beans on hand for a 2lb bag of beans ($1.98). Cheap, easy, AND healthy!

One gal freezer bag with 6-2cup bags, one with 2-2cup bags. The bowl has 2c beans for that night's supper.

One gal freezer bag with 6-2cup bags, one with 2-2cup bags. The bowl has 2c beans for that night’s supper.

COLESLAW: Shred a whole, medium cabbage ($1.37) and 2 carrots (1lb bag organic is $1.12) w/the food processor. Mix in a big bowl with salt & pepper.

February 22 13 - 0090-2

Fill sandwich bags w/coleslaw, nestle in a freezer bag! The bowl is for our dinner tonight of sloppy joes (made with mashed chickpeas and pinto beans instead of meat), roasted potatoes, coleslaw, and creamed kale.

February 22 13 - 0098-2

I bought a medium cabbage and filled the bowl and sandwich bags with about 2.5 cups because we like it so much. When I first started making it, I only did a cup & a half. As our taste buds have grown (don’t give up on picky eaters!), the kids have asked for more and more. We are also a family of seven so if you are a smaller family, you could get a lot more than 5 meals out of one cabbage and two carrots. Either way, I spent less than $2 on all of the ingredients and got FIVE meals out of it! Not bad at all!

You only get the food processor messy one time! When you want to have coleslaw, take it out of the freezer in the morning to let it thaw, press it in a sieve (to get excess water out) then add mustard & mayo. Viola! Yummy, easy, cheap, HEALTHY coleslaw! (Just look at the ingredients in a container of coleslaw the next time you’re in the store) 😛

SMOOTHIES (yes, smoothies!): I used to make smoothies every morning for the kids…then I bore the lightest. sleeper. EVER. I make breakfast for the kids before they get up but one little noise and the baby is UP = no more morning smoothies.

Freezing locks all of the nutrients in so all you have to do is make a big batch of smoothies, pour 8oz into a zipping sandwich bag, and nestle those flat into a freezer bag. I have learned 1st hand, if you just stack them like other, dryer food, the bags kind of intertwine and it is difficult to get them apart.

The night before, take the bag out of the freezer and you have your super healthy smoothie on the way to work – it is sometimes more like a slushie but it is still good and nutritious! 😀

We drink such a large amount of smoothie (family of 7 here) that we just stick a huge batch in the gallon freezer bag (w/o portioning it out) but you will have to decide what works for your family.

And the list goes on and on. Pumpkin puree (frozen in 2c portions for pancakes)…Spinach out of the garden (frozen fresh – no need to cook – in portions enough for a smoothie…smoothie is going to be cold anyway – sticking frozen spinach in it is not going to mess anything up!)…

I am linking to Simple Lives Thursday, as this truly can simplify your life! This is once a month freezer cooking minus spending a WHOLE day making casseroles (yuck!)

What food do you freeze? Have you ever tried this? How else do you save money when preserving your harvest?

Part 3: Recipes (American)

March 14, 2013

I am continuing my series on menu planning, grocery shopping, and easy vegan/vegetarian meals…Click here and here to see parts 1 & 2. Today is Part 3: Recipes (American).

We LOVE American cuisine! We love bean burgers, pot pie, baked beans, sloppy joes…
wipe off your mouth & keep reading 😉 Today, I will share an easy meal and a more involved meal. Both are wonderful.

Easy meal: Baked Beans, sweet potatoes, broccoli, salad

Crockpot Baked Beans

  • 2lbs navy beans (soak overnight)
  • 1lg onion, chopped
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup
  • 1/3 c. ketsup
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 t dry mustard/2T prepared mustard
  • 2 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5+ c. water

Mix everything in the crockpot. Cook on high 5-6hrs or on low 10hrs. Stir once halfway through & add water if needed. The sauce is not as thick as baked beans you would buy in a can but that is because these do not have HFCS, so I see that as a good thing 🙂

Sweet Potatoes (bake 1.5 hrs or if you don’t have that much time)

  • Chop sweet potatoes
  • place on silpat so it does not stick
  • sprinkle with cinamon
  • cover with tin foil
  • bake at 350 for 30-45 min

“Tastes like sweet potato pie” – child #2 🙂

Steamed Broccoli (we choose this specifically because it is high in calcium)

And, of course a salad! Go as crazy as you want with the salad. Please do not use iceberg lettuce, as it is the least nutritious of all lettuces/greens but other than that, top the salad with anything you want! fruit, beans, nuts, mushrooms, carrots, celery, peppers, cucumbers – whatever you & your family like 🙂

Whatever is coming out of the garden is added to our meals as well – green beans, corn, tomatoes, whatever – add it in for another vegetable!

More ‘involved’ meal: Sloppy Joes, Coleslaw, Roasted Potatoes, Greens

Sloppy Joes

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 oz tempeh, crumbled OR 8-15 oz chickpeas, mashed
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 t apple cider vinegar
  • 1 t maple syrup
  • 14 oz tomato sauce
  • 15 oz pinto beans
  1. Water saute the onion
  2. Cook tempeh 2-3 min (if using chickpeas, skip this step)
  3. add everything else & heat through (15 min on med/low heat)
  4. Place on burger buns

I used to use tempeh for a more ‘meaty’ taste but the only store that has it is 45 min from my house so, trying to save money, I decided to try mashed chickpeas (I have used this as a chicken substitute in ‘chiken salad’) and the Sloppy Joes tasted basically the same. Tempeh is also more expensive so it is a win (gas savings) – win (grocery savings) – win (taste)!

Again, does not taste as greasy (is a lot lighter-tasting) as normal Sloppy Joes but this is a good thing! I promise! 😀

Coleslaw (this is your salad)

  • cabbage (med)
  • 2 carrots
  • salt & pepper
  • mayo
  • mustard
  1. Shred cabbage and carrots (in the food processor w/the grater attachment is easiest – if you have one)
  2. Add salt & pepper
  3. Mix with your hands
  4. You will have extra – I will post soon about how I save the extra for later…i promise!
  5. Dole out how much you want, squirt & dollop with mustard & mayo (or Vegenaise)

February 22 13 - 0090-2

How simple, cheap, and healthy was that?!

Roasted Potatoes

  • chop potatoes
  • place on silpat so it does not stick
  • sprinkle with sea salt
  • cover with tin foil
  • cook at 350 for 45 minutes

Greens: Kale Chips (which I STILL have not mastered), or creamed kale is our favorite

Creamed Kale

  • Kale (pull off stems, roughly chop, steam)
  • Cashew sauce (raw cashews, water, garlic & onion powder in blender)

Steam kale & pour cream sauce over it. This is the vegan version. You could also just saute kale in a *tiny* bit of butter and sprinkle w/ground cashews or parmesan cheese. Whatever makes it palatable for you (remember – your taste buds WILL mature) – just start introducing kale whenever you can!

Those are two of our beloved American meals. I tried to be as detailed as possible – I hate being left in the dark when it comes to recipes online. I will post in the near future how I precook and save beans in order to avoid buying canned beans (for health, taste, and monetary reasons).

One more note: if you sit down for sloppy joes expecting the same sloppy joe taste as beef and canned sloppy joe sauce, you will be disappointed. Prepare yourself – these are beans, not meat. If you go into supper with the right expectations, you will be pleasantly surprised.

I say this because I remember eating mashed cauliflower for the first time, thinking it was DISGUSTING because I was expecting them to taste just like mashed potatoes! Once I changed my expectations, I found I enjoyed them a lot more!

Please try one of these soon and let me know how it all turned out! 😀