Tuesday, 28 February 2012

My Top 5 For The Garden

Spring is in the air! Can you smell it? Can you feel it? The end of winter may not be here just yet, but as the months move alone, the end of February reaches us and I start itching to throw open the windows and welcome warmer weather. Not the smartest idea yet, I know, but temping all the same. 

One thing we can be sure of, though, is that spring will be ready to great us soon and for those of us with green thumbs, it’s time to start dreaming, I mean thinking about our veggie gardens. 

I love, and I do mean love my vegetable garden. I’m not much for flowers, but my vegetable garden is like an oasis for me. The warm earthy smell as the dirt sifts through my fingers; the victorious feeling of yanking those nasty little weeds out of my neat little rows of green goodness; the sun warming my back and face as I work, are all wonderful feelings, to be sure. However, that’s not what draws me outside all spring and summer long. The best part of having a garden in my mind can be summed up in two four letter words. 

Free food!

Yes, that’s right, free food. Now, before you say it, I know, it’s not really completely free. The seeds cost money (unless of course, you’re like me and save as many seeds as you can for next year, in which case, yes, they are free). You will burn electricity if you start your seeds yourself. Fertilizers, watering, herbicides (if you choose to use them, of course. I don’t, but some do choose to). The costs, however are absolutely minimal when compared to the harvest you will reap. 

Do you know, I haven’t had to buy anything more than vegetables that can’t be grown in this area? Imagine the savings!

So, as I sit here on a bright February afternoon, dreaming of the day I can start up my rototiller again, I’ve decided to share with you a very basic list of veggies that anyone can grow with ease. If you are short on space, not all of these will work for you, but I do promise, that you will find more than enough to fill both your freezer and your belly from this list.

1.       Potatoes – A person can find a large variety of potatoes to choose from in any gardening supply store or even your local Walmart or Canadian Tire. With potato prices getting as high as $4.99-$5.99 for a 10 lb bag, growing your own only makes sense. The biggest drawback to these is that they don`t freeze very well. If you have a cool basement or a root cellar, however, you will be able to keep your potatoes for quite a long time. 

  Peas – So very easy to grow, delicious and freezable. Peas are an absolute must for any garden and freezer.

     Beans – Yellow and Green – Again, very , very easy to grow and they freeze quite well. In fact, I`m still eating beans from last year`s garden and they
       taste just as good as the day I harvested them.



     Tomatoes – The ultimate have-to-grow for any garden. Tomatoes are extremely versatile, they freeze, they can be canned, made into salsa, chili sauce, tomato sauce and so much more. Honestly, the list of what you can do to keep tomatoes is longer than I have room for here. And again, there is an amazingly large variety of tomatoes that you can choose from.


     Carrots – They`re not just for bunnies, you know! Not only are carrots generally incredibly easy to grow, it`s fun for the kids too, which just might help to grow another generation of avid gardeners. You have to get them young, you know! I always freeze my carrots. They don`t work overly well as a side dish, but they are still great in soups and stews. 

This is of course, a very short list. My garden includes so much more than what I have room for here; zucchini, squash, pumpkins, corn, watermelon and son. I have simply listed my top 5 must haves if you are gardening to help save money on groceries. With these in your freezer or cellar, you will be very pleasantly surprised at what you will save every week. 

If you`ve never had a garden, don`t worry, it`s really not all that hard. I highly recommend you give it a try. You never know, you may just end up loving it!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Easy Peasy Cake in a Cup

Ok, I have a new recipe for you. Actually, it's not really a "recipe" in the traditional sense. But, it is delicious and it is very, very, in fact incredibly frugal. And easy. So, so very easy.

What you need:

one angel food cake mix
one cake mix of your choice
coffee mug

Mix the 2 cake mixes together thouroughly. Store in an airtight container. Add 3 tablespoons of the mixture to your coffee cup and mix with 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave for 1 minute and voila! You have one serving of cake in a cup! You can top it with whatever you like, fruit, icing, cool whip, whatever your little heart desires. It's so tasty!

I have a mixture in my cupboard right now. It cost me about $2.00 for the two mixes and since I only use a very small amount to make the cake, it's costing me less than a penny a cup. Can you believe that? And because it's in an airtight container, it won't spoil. So, now, whenever I have a sweet tooth (which is often, I must say) I just go to the cupboard and in less than 2 minutes, I have a tasty treat that makes me feel good inside because it cost so little.

Sorry there's no photo's. My camera is on the fritz. :(