Tuesday, November 29, 2011
by Jennifer

In Defense of Fruitcake

This holiday season I feel compelled to speak up in defense of fruitcake.  I know most people hear fruitcake and think of those awful, too sweet concoctions filled with tragically neon mystery fruit, but I wish the world would try a REAL fruitcake just once.  When I was a kid I remember my Grandma making fruitcakes for the holidays and I loved how they tasted.  She used lots of fruit, lots of super fresh nuts and plenty of liquor to make a dense, delicious cake that was the perfect accompaniment to the cups of coffee that she would serve us when my parents weren’t looking. Continue Reading →

Thanksgiving Dinner

Sunday, November 27, 2011
by Jennifer

Menu for the Week of Nov 28

I hope everyone had a chance to spend some time with family and friends this past week.  I really enjoyed taking a little break to count my blessings and to re-connect with my loved ones.

One thing I didn’t do was holiday shopping, I don’t like shopping that much to start with and the idea of fighting crowds of bargain hunters for those hard to find deals is very unappealing to me.  So of course that leaves me in my usual predicament of wondering what on earth I am going to get for all the people on my list, it will probably turn out to be a mix of homemade and store bought items that I hope will make everyone happy. Continue Reading →

Solar Panels

Thursday, November 17, 2011
by Jennifer

Solar Power Is In My Future

In my green daydreams I have a solar power system installed on my roof that provides my family with all of our electricity and a large cistern so that we can harvest and store rainwater to use in the house and the garden.  In reality, I can’t afford to build a huge cistern or to install the solar panels – or can I?

My husband sent me this article link from Bloomberg about the expected future costs of using solar power.  Basically the costs for solar power are moving steadily downward while costs for traditional energy continue to rise.  At some point in the near future, solar power’s cost per watt will fall below traditional energy’s cost per watt, at that time it will make sense for homeowners to invest in solar panels.

I am very excited to hear this news as I have been particularly frustrated that I live in “the sunshine state” but can’t afford to harness the plentiful energy that shines down relentlessly on my home day in and day out. Now that solar energy seems to be less of a dream and more of an inevitability, I will revise my daydreams to include an electric car plugged into the house being charged by the solar panels on the roof!

What about you? Do you use solar power, wind power or any other type of alternative energy? I would love to hear about it, please feel free to comment below.


This post is participating in On My Mind.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011
by Jennifer

My New Favorite Salad!

Normally Autumn has me thinking about cozy casseroles and savory, comforting soups but I just stumbled across my new favorite salad and I wanted to share!  I have a beautiful crop of radishes from my garden that I wanted to find a new way to use, so I looked up radish recipes online.  To my utter delight, I found the following recipe from Tyler Florence on The Food Network’s website that combines radishes, carrots, mint and a wonderfully exotic spice flavor combo that I find irresistible. Continue Reading →

Healthy Lunch Box

Sunday, November 13, 2011
by Jennifer

Menu for Week of Nov 14

What an exciting weekend!  I can’t believe how much we did over the Veteran’s Day long weekend.  First, let me once again thank all of the veterans who stand up for us and our country.  You are a special group and we owe you a heartfelt thanks for what you do and what you are prepared to do if needed to protect us.

We started the weekend off with a day of mountain biking at our favorite state park for this exciting sport.  We are all getting better and better and we are able to tackle increasingly tougher courses.  It is so exciting to challenge yourself to make it through a trail without wiping out and in a faster time than the previous attempt.  Of course I wipe out regularly and I have the scratches and bruises to prove it!

Continue Reading →

First radishes from SFG

Thursday, November 10, 2011
by Jennifer

First Harvest From My Square Foot Garden

I just had the first harvest from my Square Foot Garden!  I have been watching my radishes start to swell up and show their beautiful ruby red shoulders just above the soil over the past week.  Today, I determined that four of the 16 in one of the squares of my SFG were ready to pick.

This is the first time I have used the SFG method and also the first time I have ever grown radishes.  What a thrill to pick those beautiful red veggies out of the ground, I get so excited whenever I harvest from my garden.  Somehow it feels like a random miracle every time I harvest from my garden, despite all of the hard work and constant attention I put into it.  Vegetable gardening is truly one of life’s simple pleasures!

I know I am working on opposite seasons from most of the country, but have you been harvesting recently? What are you growing?  I would love to hear from you, please feel free to comment below.

This post is participating in On My Mind at Down to Earth.

Gift tower

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
by Jennifer

Let’s Rethink Our Holiday Routine

I just saw a friend’s facebook re-post that urges us to rethink our holiday routine. I wrote a post recently about the pros and cons of homemade gifts for holiday gift giving and I was intrigued by this poster’s ideas.  The lady who posted gave an energetic argument for buying gifts locally and keeping as much money as possible in our own communities in an effort to tangibly improve our local economy.  I am not comfortable with the Anti-Chinese sentiment that somewhat clouds this otherwise thoughtful and thought provoking post, but I really like the idea of communities banding together to support each other during the holiday season and beyond.  I do not know the lady who originally wrote this and therefore have no way to ask permission to re-print it, but I suspect that she would be happy to know that her message is being shared.  Here is what she had to say about Holiday gift giving:

Continue Reading →

Spices in Measuring Spoons

Sunday, November 6, 2011
by Jennifer

Menu for the Week of Nov 7

Here is my menu for the week of Nov 7.  I am still working on inputting all of the corresponding recipes so that I can offer them to my readers along with the meal plan.  Eventually I think I can even work it out to provide a shopping list for the week’s menu.  Please bear with me as the data input process can be slow.  For now, please enjoy my menu as inspiration for your meals this week.

BreakfastLunchboxes for kidsDinnerPrep for next day
Fresh fruit

Peanut butter & jelly on whole grain bread
Cheese cubes
Apple slices
Creole style red beans & rice
Tomato/cuke/avocado salad
Slice veggies for Tues
Wash all fruit
TuesdayWhole grain toast
Fresh fruit
Grass fed beef hot dogs
Baby carrots

Grilled veggie panini on homemade focaccia bread
Broccoli slaw
Bake bread
Make oatmeal cookies
WednesdayFried eggs
Whole grain toast
Fresh fruit
Hard boiled eggs
Cheese cubes
Oatmeal cookie
Szechuan veggie stirfry
Curry noodles
Make bean & cheese pocket pastries for lunchboxes & freeze extras
Fresh fruit
Bean & cheese pocket pastries (homemade)
Fruit salad
Potato & chard gratin
Red lentil soup
Yeast rolls
FridayWhole grain toast
Fresh fruit
Salami slices
Cheese & crackers
Apple slices
Leftover BuffetBake bread
Fresh fruit
Early Thanksgiving with FamilyHomemade pizza nightRelax & enjoy your Saturday night!
SundayScrambled eggs
Fresh fruit
Lunch at In Laws' house
Tea & Toast
plan out next week.
grocery shop.
bake muffins.

Do you plan your weekly menu? I would love to hear about it, please feel free to comment below.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011
by Jennifer

Easy Indian Samosas are Great for Lunch!

Easy Indian Samosas are great for lunch! I love to use Indian food leftovers for lunch because most dishes taste great hot or cold.  One of my favorites is Samosas, which are basically potato and pea stuffed pastries.  Usually samosas are deep fried, but I prefer to bake mine in a yummy homemade pie crust.  I like to serve these for dinner with a little mint chutney and I find that they work out great in lunchboxes because they are as easy to eat as a sandwich but they are way more interesting than the regular old PB&J.

There are tons of different samosa recipes out there and the one I use is actually a compilation of 3 or 4 that I found interesting.  If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making individual pastries, the whole thing can be baked as a two crust pie with very nice results. Continue Reading →

candy corn

Monday, October 31, 2011
by Jennifer

Menu Week of Oct 31 – Happy Halloween!

Here is my menu for the week of Oct 31 – Happy Halloween! I probably should have thought up some kind of “spooky” theme for Monday’s lunchboxes but I forgot and now I am out of time! If I had remembered, I would have bought a pack of Applegate Farms “The Great Organic Uncured Hot Dog” and then rolled them up mummy style in biscuit dough and baked the whole thing to make a “pig in a blanket” that looks like a mummy with a painted on mustard face. I would have also included melon balls with raisins crammed into small holes to look like monster eyes. Oh well, maybe next year… Continue Reading →