Wednesday, July 27, 2011


We have melons at the McGatha Garden Co Op!!

We have not had very much luck growing melons thus far.
We had trouble with bugs and disease in years past.

So this is our first melon harvest and we are super excited!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

McGatha Garden Update- Day 87

Day 87

The BIG Tomate plant fell in a bad storm

I think this plant has more tomatoes on it than it did last week!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Recipe by

2 C flour
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t baking soda
6 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 C canola oil
1 C sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
1/2 C sour cream
3 C grated zucchini
3/4 C mini chocolate chips

2 T brown sugar
2 T white sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 loaf pans and set aside.
Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Place flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

With a stand or hand mixer beat oil, white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs until combined and slightly fluffy, 1-2 minutes.

Add vanilla and sour cream and mix until combined.

Gently stir in the grated zucchini.

Take a spoonful of the flour mixture and stir in with the chocolate chips (that will help keep them evenly distributed.) If you only have regular chocolate chips, or a chocolate bar, just give it a chop so it's the size of mini chocolate chips. Stir remaining flour mixture into batter and mix just until combined. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Divide the batter between the two pans. and sprinkle topping over each.

Bake in your preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. I set my timer for 45 minutes and then keep an eye on it for the remainder. Ya never know how different ovens handle things.

When it's done a toothpick or skewer should come out without goopy batter on it and the top will be gorgeous and cracked with sugar.

Let it cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes and then remove from pans. You definitely have to eat a slice warm. And slathered with butter.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What I am Reading

Safe & Ready Life

We visited the Safe and Ready Life Store in Milford, OH yesterday. We got some great emergency preparedness stuff and even more ideas for things we want to add to our supplies.

This Store has what you need to be prepared for most anything. They are an excellent source for emergency and disaster supply merchandise.

You can shop online or in store. The friendly, knowledgeable staff can help with product selection. They are even having a class this weekend on Cooking without power!

We highly recommend Safe and Ready Life.

Just click one of the links and check them out!

Monday, July 18, 2011

McGatha Garden Update- Day 80

Look at all the tomatoes on this ONE plant!!

Backyard Garden- Mid July

The grapes are planted and growing!

Bed 1 and Bed 2
Both survived the straight line wind storm we had last week
It just pushed the peppers over a little.
We stacked them up to help support them.
Just in time for some storms tonight!

The tomatoes are growing tall!!

The blackberries are turning!

Cucumbers on the trellis

Linked to Homestead Revival's Barn Hop

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What I am Reading

Free Salad

Fresh Express® salads washed in Fresh Rinse™ are ready to eat...not ready to wash.

We're giving away coupons so you can try them for FREE:

Fresh Express® has developed a breakthrough, eco-friendly produce wash called Fresh Rinse™ that is 7x more effective in cleaning salads than traditional chlorine wash,1 but is still gentle on lettuce.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A List of Edible Perennials

Perennial Foods

Want to enjoy home-grown food year after year without having to start your garden from scratch each spring? Then, it's time to discover the perennial food garden.

All of the following herbs, vegetables, fruits and legumes can be planted once and enjoyed for many seasons to come:

Perennial Herbs
Basil (African Blue, East Indian)
Lemon Balm
Onions (Potato onions, Shallots, Japanese bunching onions, Welsh onions)

Perennial Vegetables
Artichoke (Jerusalem, also known as sunchokes)
Broccoli (Nine Star, Purple Cape)
Spinach (Ceylon, Sissoo, New Zeland)
Sweet Potato
Water Cress

Perennial Fruits
Goji Berries
Strawberries (Ever-bearing varieties can be maintained as perennials in colder climates)

Perennial Legumes
Beans (Winged bean, Scarlet Runner)

Note: While all plants listed are perennials, they may not grow perennially in all locations. Check for compatability with your region before making a purchase.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Lanscaping with Edibles

Planning to do some landscape work on your yard? Think about going with edible plants.

An edible landscape will:

•Reduce your grocery bill

•Allow you to enjoy foods at peak freshness

•Make it easy to eat more fruits and vegetables

•Help you to weather financial hardships

Here are some great edibles to work into your landscape design:

10 Tribute Everbearing Strawberry Plants - BEST BERRY!

Ground Covers
Vining cranberries
Creeping thyme
Alpine strawberries
Lowbush blueberries

Native Apple Tree 20 Seeds - Be Johnny Appleseed -Malus

English Walnut
Filbert (also known as hazelnut)

A Potpourri Of Pansies
Roses (the hips)
Sunflowers (the seeds)

Ferry-Morse 3053 Organic Eggplant Seeds, Early Long Purple (500 Milligram Packet)

Ornamental Shrubs/Plants
Passion fruit
Prickly Pear cactus

Toro Blueberry Plant -Huge Berries-Early - Self Fertile

Privacy Plantings
Bush apricots
Bush cherries
Goji berries
Highbush blueberries
Roses (the hips)

Boston Warehouse Napa Grapes Timer

Vining Plants

So research what would grow well in your area and..........Grow your Own!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

How to Eat When You're Really Broke

How to eat when you're really broke

Forget fast food, processed foods and eating out frequently. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can still serve healthful, tasty meals.

The average American family of four spends $727 a month on food -- but you can spend substantially less and still be healthy.

Nutritious meals for two adults and two kids can be prepared for just over $500 a month, said Robert Post, the deputy director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. A single person can get by with a monthly food budget of about $225 a month.

You do not have to sacrifice the healthy choices on a low budget
If you're newly broke, or trying to save money for other purposes like paying down debt, your grocery list is a great place to look for savings. Although food is the third-largest expenditure for most households, after housing and transportation, it's also one of the most flexible and can easily be trimmed on the fly. Here are some general principles to keep in mind:

Eat mostly at home.
U.S. households on average spend 41% of their food budgets outside their homes, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey (the proportion is 44% for singles). While you may think you're saving money dining off the dollar menu, you could be courting health problems, since the cheapest fast food items are often the ones loaded with fat and sugar. The foods that should be filling half your plate -- fruits and vegetables -- may be hard to find or overly processed when you buy them from fast-food outlets, so ultimately you'll save money and eat better preparing food at home.

Skip the processing.
Steer away from foods with lots of additives, chemicals and packaging; they're often not as good for you, and they can drive up the cost of your groceries. Instead, opt for foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. That may mean you have to spend a little more time preparing your meals, but I've included helpful tips below on how to make that more convenient.

Demote meat.
Beef, chicken, pork and fish often take a starring role in American meals, whereas in less-wealthy countries they're often supporting players or make only cameo appearances: Think bowls of rice or grain topped with lots of veggies and a few bits of meat or seafood. Or you can skip meat entirely for much cheaper protein sources, such as eggs or beans (a half cup of beans has as much protein as 3 ounces of steak).

Planters Deluxe Mixed Nuts, 32.5-Ounce Tubs (Pack of 2)

Nuts, legumes, seeds and dairy products, including milk, cheese and yogurt, are other good sources of protein. Water-packed canned tuna and salmon, which you frequently can find on sale, can help you get the 8 to 12 ounces of seafood the USDA says you should have every week. The new "Healthy Plate" guidelines, which the USDA recently introduced to replace the old food pyramid, reflect these changes by replacing the old "meat and beans" category with "protein foods."

Promote veggies.
The typical household should spend about 40% of its food budget on fruits and vegetables, Post said. Buying in-season produce on sale is one way to save while filling your plate. Also consider frozen or canned vegetables and fruit. Frozen produce is typically processed soon after harvest, which preserves more nutrients, but be careful with canned foods, because they can have too much salt and sugar. Opt for low-sodium versions and fruit packed in juice, not syrup, Post recommended. If you have a farmers' market nearby, consider shopping there, especially toward the end of the day when you may be able to negotiate deals on produce farmers would otherwise have to haul home. Or grow you own!

Homegrown Whole Grains: Grow, Harvest, and Cook Wheat, Barley, Oats, Rice, Corn and More

Go for the grains.
Wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley and cereal grains are filling and fairly inexpensive, especially if you buy in bulk. Opt for whole grains, which offer more nutrients and fiber. Oatmeal makes a nutritious, satisfying breakfast for just pennies a serving, while brown rice can be served at any meal (it's pretty good heated up with milk and honey).

Watch the waste.
Studies estimate that Americans waste up to 40% of our food supply. If that's the case in your household, you could save hundreds of dollars a year just by patrolling your refrigerator, freezer and pantry each day so you can use stuff before it rots.

Drop your bad habits.
Alcohol, tobacco, soda and sugary treats may be pleasurable, but they don't fill nutritional needs. That's not to say you can never indulge, but when money's tight, you need to rein in your guilty pleasures.

If you need help finding recipes or more suggestions:

• Use the USDA's "recipe finder" or search for "budget recipe" sites.

• Your local library has budget cookbooks and other information on saving money.

• Check out frugal-living websites; a good one to try is the Dollar Stretcher.

If your problem is a lack of time to prepare budget meals -- which leads to the temptation to spend more eating out -- here are ways to make sure you still can eat well on a budget:

Crock-Pot SCR300SS 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel

Get a slow cooker.
You can pick up a basic Crock Pot for as little as $16 online or find one for even less at a garage sale. Slow cookers allow you to assemble a meal in the morning so you can have a hot, ready-to-eat dinner when you get home.

Cook once, eat twice.
Make double the number of servings you need and freeze the excess to reheat later. Some foods don't freeze well, such as potatoes and crisp vegetables, but most -- including soups and stews -- do just fine. Use freezer-weight storage bags or containers, and mark them with the date so you can use them within three months.

Bob's Red Mill Red Lentils, 27-Ounce Units (Pack of 4)

Learn to love lentils.
Like beans, these legumes are loaded with protein and iron but are typically much faster to prepare, with cooking times under 30 minutes for most varieties. Couscous and quinoa are two grains that are fast to prepare as well -- five minutes for couscous, 15 minutes for quinoa, compared with 30 to 40 minutes for brown rice.

Have some go-to recipes.
Egg dishes, pasta and many casseroles tend to be easy to throw together in a hurry. Keep some veggies, such as a carrot and celery sticks, in a glass of water in the fridge for snacking while you pull together the meal.

From MSN Money

*Linking to Homestead Revival Preparedness Challenge

Friday, July 8, 2011

14 Grocery Staples Getting Costlier

14 Grocery Staples Getting Costlier

High prices at the gas pump have been grabbing headlines, but it's rising costs at the supermarket that are really starting to take a bite out of household budgets. The component of the consumer price index that tracks grocery prices, known as the food at home index, jumped 0.5% in May from where it stood in April, calculated on a seasonally adjusted basis. Meanwhile, the gasoline-index component of the CPI fell 2.0% in May, the first decline since June 2010.

Food prices have been creeping up all year. According to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey, 14 of the 16 supermarket staples it tracks have increased in price between the first and second quarters of 2011. Boneless chicken breasts (down 7%) and shredded cheese (down 1.5%) are the only two grocery items that cost less than they did three months ago.

Here are the 14 common grocery-list items from the Marketbasket Survey that have climbed in price since the first quarter, as well as the federal agriculture department's latest projections for food-cost increases in 2011. As a bonus, we've thrown in a few tips on how to save on these grocery items.

Russet potatoes
• Current average price: $3.07 for a 5-pound bag

• Price change (from Q1): up 43 cents

• Percent change: 16.3%

• Projected change for 2011: 4.5%-5.5%

Savings tip: Make the most of a bargain 20-pound sack of spuds. Mashed, fried, baked or roasted, potatoes are filling and can stretch a meal budget. Store in a dark, cool place to keep fresh longer.

Sirloin tip roast
• Current average price: $4.48 per pound

• Price change (from Q1): up 52 cents

• Percent change: 13.1%

• Projected change for 2011: 7%-8%

Savings tip: Minimize your mealtime costs and make your cardiologist happy by going meatless twice a week. A family of four can save $624 annually.

• Current average price: $4.18 per pound

• Price change (from Q1): up 32 cents

• Percent change: 8.3%

• Projected change for 2011: 6.5%-7.5%

Savings tip: Get a better deal by buying your bacon in bulk from a warehouse club. Put your extra slabs of pork in re-sealable plastic bags, and stash them in the freezer. Bacon defrosts rapidly.

• Current average price: $1.56 per pound

• Price change (from Q1): up 11 cents

• Percent change: 7.6%

• Projected change for 2011: 3%-4%

Savings tip: Buy apples by the bagful rather than individually to reap a lower unit cost. Stow your Granny Smiths and Red Delicious in the refrigerator to keep them crisp and juicy.

Sliced deli ham
• Current average price: $5.26 per pound

• Price change (from Q1): Up 35 cents

• Percent change: 7.1%

• Projected change for 2011: 6.5%-7.5%

Savings tip: Ask your local butcher for the lunchmeat ends that may otherwise go to waste. They're cheaper than a pound of deli meat and just as tasty in your brown-bag lunch.

Ground chuck
• Current average price: $3.29 per pound

• Price change (from Q1): up 19 cents

• Percent change: 6.1%

• Projected change for 2011: 7%-8%

Savings tip: Instead of buying ground beef, purchase a chuck roast on sale and grind it yourself. It'll taste the same -- or perhaps better, considering the money you'll save -- and allay your mystery-meat fears.

Whole milk
• Current average price: $3.62 per gallon

• Price change (from Q1): up 16 cents

• Percent change: 4.6%

• Projected change for 2011: 5%-6%

Savings tip: Reserve your regular milk for your morning bowl of cereal. For recipes that call for milk, use the less expensive powdered version instead. Just add water. You won't taste the difference.

Vegetable oil
• Current average price: $3.01 for a 32-ounce bottle

• Price change (from Q1): up 13 cents

• Percent change: 4.5%

• Projected change for 2011: 6%-7%

Savings tip: If you normally use expensive extra virgin olive oil for cooking, opt for a lower grade instead. Scan your supermarket shelves for bottles labeled simply "olive oil."

Toasted oat cereal
• Current average price: $3.17 for a 9-ounce box

• Price change (from Q1): up 12 cents

• Percent change: 3.9%

• Projected change for 2011: 3.5%-4.5%

Savings tip: Try your grocer's store-label equivalent or buy a generic version of your favorite morning munchies. If you can't live without name brands, look for coupons in the Sunday newspaper.

• Current average price: $1.65 per dozen

• Price change (from Q1): up 3 cents

• Percent change: 1.9%

• Projected change for 2011: 4.5%-5.5%

Savings tip: Visit your farmers' market near closing time for a better deal on fresh, locally produced eggs. At day's end, vendors are more likely to slip something extra into your bag.

Orange juice
• Current average price: $3.18 for a half-gallon

• Price change (from Q1): up 4 cents

• Percent change: 1.3%

• Projected change for 2011: 3%-4%

Savings tip: Head to the frozen foods aisle for cheaper-per-ounce and just-as-refreshing orange juice concentrate. Add water, stir and enjoy the very same vitamin C rush.

• Current average price: $1.86 for a 20-ounce loaf

• Price change (from Q1): up 2 cents

• Percent change: 1.1%

• Projected change for 2011: 3.5%-4.5%

Savings tip: Pounce whenever your grocery store or bakery has a two-for-one sale. Eat one loaf immediately -- French toast for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and grilled cheese for dinner -- and freeze the other for later.

Bagged salad
• Current average price: $2.67 per pound

• Price change (from Q1): up 1 cent

• Percent change: 0.4%

• Projected change for 2011: 3%-4%

Savings tip: Go online to find discounts for popular brands of bagged salad. Check Facebook and Twitter pages for printable coupons, and subscribe to email alerts for special deals. Or grow you own!!

• Current average price: $2.52 for a 5-pound bag

• Price change (from Q1): up 1 cent

• Percent change: 0.4%

• Projected change for 2011: 3.5%-4.5%

Savings tip: Unless you're an avid baker, you probably don't use much flour. If that's the case, buy only what you need when you need it from a bulk bin. Don't let your money sit idle in the pantry.

From MSN Money

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blueberry Betty

What is a Betty?

A Betty consist of a fruit, most commonly apples, baked between layers of buttered crumbs. Betties are an English pudding dessert closely related to the French apple charlotte. Betty was a popular baked pudding made during colonial times in America.

Desserts like this are called by various names such as cobbler, tart, pie, torte, pandowdy, grunt, slump, buckles, crisp, croustade, bird's nest pudding or crow's nest pudding. They are all simple variations of cobblers, and they are all based on seasonal fruits and berries, in other words, whatever fresh ingredients are readily at hand. They are all homemade and simple to make and rely more on taste than fancy pastry preparation.

Early settlers of America were very good at improvising. When they first arrived, they bought their favorite recipes with them, such as English steamed puddings). Not finding their favorite ingredients, they used whatever was available. That's how all these traditional American dishes came about with such unusual names. Early colonist were so fond of these juicy dishes that they often served them as the main course, for breakfast, or even as a first course. It was not until the late 19th century that they became primarily desserts.

Blueberry Brown Betty
2 pints blueberries, washed
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 cups french bread  ( I used day old homemade honey white bread)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In large bowl, combine blueberries, sugar and cornstarch. Toss to coat.

Add bread and melted butter. Mix well then spoon into prepared baking dish.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and the bread is golden. Serve warm

It's not very pretty but oh is GOOD!!

*Try the recipe with other kinds of fruit too!

*Linking to Homestead Revival Barn Hop

Saturday, July 2, 2011