We’ve Started our Patio Garden for the Year!

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If you’ve been around here before, you know that the boyfriend and I grow various herbs and vegetables in containers in a small garden on our patio. Each summer we do a whole webseries on youtube documenting the process. I used to write posts on it as well, but I don’t have time anymore. If you’re interested, you can subscribe to our youtube channel to see new episodes each week.

So what are we up to this year? We’re growing some of our old favorites and also trying some new plants. We’re also experimenting with new ways to start seeds.

Here’s the full list of what we’re growing:

  • Basil
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Jubilee Tomato plant

Check it all out in our first video of the season:

You can watch the rest of the videos from Season 3 in this playlist.

Easy Leftovers Recipe: Pita Bread Personal Pizzas

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I cannot take credit for this idea. The boyfriend’s family turned us on to this last weekend, and they read about it somewhere else. I’m just surprised I never came up with this on my own.

These pita pizzas are super simple, quick to make, and perfect for using up leftovers! The first time we did it we used leftover pasta sauce, Thanksgiving turkey, and veggies to make our pizzas.

This makes a quick lunch or dinner for 1, 2 or more. This is a great way to personalize pizzas for a group that make have different tastes.

We buy pitas really cheap from a Pakistani store near our home ($1 for 10 loaves!) and freeze them to keep them fresh. We just pull them out, top, and cook them.

On a side note: if you have leftover white sauce, you can easily make a white pizza. I love doing chicken, broccoli, garlic Alfredo pizzas. Mmm.

So here you go:

Ingredients

  • Pita bread
  • Pasta or tomato sauce
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Italian spices
  • Meat, vegetable, and other toppings

Preheat oven to 350F. (This could also be cooked in a toaster oven.)

Spread the sauce on the pita, and sprinkle on the cheese. Use more that one kind of cheese for more flavors or experiment with other types of cheese (we haven’t tried it yet, but heard goat cheese is fabulous on it).

Add your toppings. This is a great way to use up leftover meat and veggies. The boyfriend opted to use some of the peppers we froze from our garden.

Sprinkle it with your favorite Italian seasonings. We like using garlic powder, thyme, basil, and oregano.

Pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes. Frozen pitas may take a few minutes longer.

Yum.

What are some other great (and easy) recipes for using up leftovers?

Patio Gardening 2010: Week 29 – End of Season

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It looks like it’s finally over for our little patio garden. Last week we hit lows in the 30s and our poor plants started shriveling up a little.

The day before the big temperature drop, I went ahead and harvested all the peppers and tomatoes left on the plants. The last haul was 2 peppers and about 40 green tomatoes of various sizes. Hopefully they’ll slowly ripen indoors.

I’m letting the peppers and tomatoes do their thing a little longer. They keep trying to flower and I’m curious to see what may happen, but I don’t really expect anything. It’s cold out there.

I moved the basil inside even though it’s not looking so hot. I think the plan is eventually we’ll harvest all the basil, make a ton of pesto and freeze it. Then in the spring we’ll start fresh again.

I took the peppers from the garden and the ones left over from our CSA basket and chopped them up and froze them as Sylvia suggested. Now the boyfriend will have lots of peppers to last him through the winter.

For those who are new, this year the boyfriend and I are doing a little container gardening experiment where we are trying to grow various herbs and vegetables on our patio. We live in the city of Chicago, so traditional gardening is out of the question. You can subscribe to the RSS feed to instantly receive the posts each week and also check out our previous posts. Feel free to subscribe to our Youtube channel as well.

My 5 Must Read Thrifty Blogs

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This may come as a major shock to you, but I am not the only blogger out there who writes about thrifty topics. Oh no, there are many many others. In fact, in the time it takes me to type this intro, I bet at least 10 new thrifty-themed blogs have been created.

This great community of blogs offers so many different ideas and strategies to be money savvy while living and enjoy life. I decided to share a few of my favorites today. These are the sites that I consider “must reads.” If I could only read five blogs a day, these would be it.

Freebies & Samples: Hey it’s Free

I post a freebie round-up every Friday, but if that’s not enough free stuff for you, then Hey It’s Free is the best source. The site is updated daily, whenever the freebies are available. The posts are all freebies and samples, along with funny and silly commentary.

Grocery Shopping: Mashup Mom

I don’t post grocery store deals because I don’t have the patience or energy to look at all the ads and do coupon match-ups. Luckily for me, Mashup Mom has all the deals every week for the stores I shop at. Though it’s targeted towards moms, anyone can find it beneficial. As a bonus, Rachel (the Mashup Mom) is very patient with her readers, answering questions and creating easy scenarios for newbies.

Note: She is a Chicago-area blogger, so most of the stores she covers are Illinois & NW Indiana stores, though she covers bigger chains like Target, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, etc.

Target Savings: Totally Target

I love shopping at Target, but like most people, I end up spending way more than I meant to every time I go in there. Totally Target is completely dedicated to Target deals, coupons, freebies–everything you need to know about saving big at Target you will find at this site.This blog is so thorough it’s mind-boggling. This is a must-read for any Target shopper.

Cooking: Broke Ass Gourmet

I love cooking, and every week when I plan the dinner menu, I try to pick at least one new recipe to try. I find most of these recipes online, and lately most of them came from Broke Ass Gourmet. Besides featuring an edgy name, this blog also has yummy, unique recipes, that are relatively inexpensive to make but go further than just dumping a box of pasta into some boiling water.

This week we’re making the Bacon-Parmesan stuffed Mushroom recipe I found on the site.

Investments, Debt Reduction and Prevention: Frugal Dad

I think every twenty something should read some sort of financial blog, especially one that focuses on eliminating or preventing debt and investing for the future. Many people our age rack up credit cards, student loans, and other debt, which can become a horrible burden. Frugal Dad is like getting wise advise from your own dad about what not to do and how to become a millionaire in 10 years.

Those are my top five thrifty blogs. What thrifty and money saving blogs are on your must-read list?

Patio Gardening 2010: Week 26 – Surprise Green Onions

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Fall is here but the garden is still going. It looks rough, but it’s going.

We’ve had roller coaster temperatures for the past few weeks, with temperatures in the 60s and then the 70s and the past few days in the 80s.

I’ve basically just let the garden do it’s own thing for awhile now. The tomato and pepper plants look like a hot mess still, but they’re all flowering and producing.

Some of the peppers are even turning red. It will be time to harvest them soon.

The big surprise this week is that the green onions are still growing. We had a few that browned and died before we could pick them, and now they’re growing again, so I guess we’ll get a small round of resurrected green onions before the season is over.

The basil is still a powerhouse that we plan to keep growing until first frost, at which point we’ll harvest it all, make a ton of pesto and freeze it for the winter. Who knows when that will happen, though the temperatures will be back into the 50s and 60s this week.

Still no video. I tried to get the boyfriend to do one this week, but he was working all weekend.

For those who are new, this year the boyfriend and I are doing a little container gardening experiment where we are trying to grow various herbs and vegetables on our patio. We live in the city of Chicago, so traditional gardening is out of the question. You can subscribe to the RSS feed to instantly receive the posts each week and also check out our previous posts. Feel free to subscribe to our Youtube channel as well.

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