Our little garden has done very well this season. And, we have gotten lots of cucumbers, among other things. But, aside from just snacking on cucumbers and adding them to a salad, I haven’t had much else to do with them. So, I finally tried what I’ve talked about doing for a long time – Make pickles! I wish I had done this sooner! What an easy, inexpensive way to make a healthier version of this tasty condiment.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started.
- 3 wide mouth jars with lids and rings
- fresh or dried dill (I didn’t have any on hand. So, I didn’t use it this time. But, I plan to have some for the next time.)
- cucumbers washed
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 3 hot peppers (optional)
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup white vinegar
- ½ cup salt
- black peppercorns (I used about 1 tablespoon per jar)
(Since we had peppers in our garden, I decided to use them…why not, right?)
1. Sanitize jars. I don’t have a canning kettle. So, I just filled my largest pot with water, brought it to a boil and placed the jars in for about 10 minutes. Just before the water came to a boil, though, I placed the lids of the jars in for about 5 minutes.
2.Bring water, vinegar, and salt to a boil in a pot.
3. Put garlic, dill, and cut peppers in jars.
4. Put the cucumber slices into jars tightly until they reach the neck of the jars.
5. Pour brine into jars, leaving ½ inch head space. 6. Add lid and ring to each jar and tighten.
6. Set the jars on towel and turn upside down.
7. Cover jars with a towel until they have cooled off.
8. Once cool, store in a cool dark location. The pantry is a convenient spot. Pickles are ready to eat immediately! Store in fridge once jars are opened.
Of all the different types of cuisine, Mexican food has got to be my favorite. If we go out to eat, I tend to think about going to a Mexican food restaurant. And, although I cook a variety of types of food at home every day, I make tacos and fajitas quite a bit. And, one of the most fun (although not at all good for you) parts of a Mexican meal is chips and salsa, right? The combination is virtually irresistible, if you ask me! 😉
Well, our garden produced a bunch of yummy tomatoes, cilantro and peppers. Check these out! (Cilantro not pictured below.)
What was I supposed to do with these…make salsa, of course!
So, I got to work. I used about 7-8 tomatoes and chopped them up.
Then, I chopped up about half of an onion.
I also chopped up the peppers but didn’t take a picture. (Sorry, I forgot to. And, I was getting very excited about the salsa.) Then, I crushed two cloves of garlic and chopped a handful of fresh cilantro.
Next, I dumped everything into my food processor, added the juice from one lemon, salt, pepper, about a teaspoon of cumin, half a teaspoon of chili powder and a dash of cayenne pepper.
I ran it through the food processor for about two to three minutes. Then, I poured it into a bowl and let it chill in the refrigerator for about half an hour. (That was only because it was almost dinner time. We had leftovers that sat overnight and that batch was even better.)
Who needs store bought salsa when you can have such fresh, tasty and even kinda healthy salsa. If you can manage to eat it without tortilla chips, it really would be healthy. 🙂 Good luck with that, though!
What’s your favorite make-at-home indulgence?
Eating healthy is important to our family; so is saving money. Those two lifestyles don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I’ve posted before about our garden and the yummy ways I get my children to eat broccoli and beet greens. Today, I can’t boast about my children eating everything in the garden. However, my husband and I do enjoy the salads and coleslaws we come up with by just using what we have.
This beautiful thing grows in our garden:
Growing up, I wasn’t a big fan of cabbage or coleslaw. However, as I discovered alternative ways to make coleslaw, I have come to love it! (And, who says it won’t make it into my children’s smoothies today?) 😉
Here is a basic recipe for easy, healthy coleslaw.
1. Chop up some cabbage. This is about half of the head you see in the above photo.
2. Add some chopped onions.
3. Chop some parsley or cilantro. I just use whichever one I have. I had cilantro this time.
4. Then, grate a large carrot or two.
5. Mix it all up!
6. Mix in your favorite dressing. I usually just use equal parts olive oil and whichever vinegar I have (either balsamic or apple cider), a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and salt and pepper.
Not your typical coleslaw, right? Who cares? Make it how you like it, save money and eat healthy, nourishing food!
How do you enjoy your garden veggies?
We just had an ice storm hit our area. This is very unusual for us. As a matter of fact, you who live where it’s really cold and it actually snows for four months out of the year, would laugh at the way our city is responding to this freezing rain/ice. It’s as though the roads are covered with snow…except they aren’t. It’s really not that bad. But, I digress 😉
What’s most exciting for us today is that post-ice, one of my favorite vegetable plants is unaffected. It has survived several freezes (without us covering it) and now continues to produce as though all that hit it overnight were a few sprinkles.
This plant is full of antioxidants, boosts the immune system, lowers the incidence of cataracts, supports cardiovascular health and helps build bones. Oh, and one more thing, it tastes GREAT!
This superfood plant is broccoli. We planted it in the fall and, as I mentioned above, it’s still going strong in the middle of winter. We have had broccoli almost every night for dinner; I also steam it and throw it into the children’s smoothie popsicles (yes, we do popsicles in the middle of winter around here too!).
If you have a garden or are thinking about starting a garden, grow broccoli! It has saved us so much money, tasted great and helped us feel good about what our family is eating.
What do you grow in your garden?
How’s your garden growing?
My little friend here is helping to keep my garden healthy and my vegetables free from pests!
Looking for more help with your garden? I’m sure coupons for Home Depot would be helpful. 😀 I just got a $10 off $100 coupon in my e-mail! Sign up below so you can get awesome coupons too.
I’m gearing up for my fall garden already getting some new seeds started!
If you had asked me years ago, when I was a simple city girl, if I’d ever have chickens, I think I might have laughed my head off…or just looked at you as though you were speaking a foreign language to me. In any case, things have changed. Really changed. I’m now married, a mother of two and have four backyard chickens!
Part of my transformation had to do with marrying a man who loves nature, gardening and all things related to growing good, healthy food for his family. The other part of it came from my own growing desire to have wholesome, natural foods for our family…along with my mutual desire to get these wholesome, nourishing foods at good prices.
So, when my husband asked me about a year ago if I’d be open to getting a few chickens, I couldn’t dismiss the idea immediately. It took a few months. Then we took the leap. In February, we got four chicks that grew–very quickly–and as of just a few days ago, we are getting 3-4 eggs a day!
If you’re on the fence about getting some chickens, let me offer a little encouragement.
It Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive
I’ve seen some very cute, expensive chicken coups on the internet. That is not required. My husband built a simple coup using a bunch of excess wood we needed to get rid of anyway!
As far as food, we now have a productive place to “throw away” all our table scraps. And, with a two year old and a four year old, we have lots of food that is now feeding the chickens and being turned into fertilizer for our garden.
You Don’t Need A Big Backyard
We have a very small backyard, by almost any standard. But, we use it for both a garden and a chicken coup. And, it’s perfect.
The benefit may go without saying. But, I’m going to say it anyway! You get your very own pastured eggs!!!
Do you have any other questions about what it takes to have your own backyard chickens?
The garden is doing well! I’m waiting for my Roma tomatoes to ripen and meanwhile my Little Leaf Cucumbers have already produced 6 cucumbers and working on more. 🙂 I love this time of year!
Even if you haven’t started your garden this year, it’s not too late! There’s still plenty that can be planted now for a fall harvest.
Best of all, save BIG when you sign up for the Home Depot Gardening Club! Over $300 in savings a year! Just click the banner below to go sign up.
Great news gardeners! GET OVER $300 IN ANNUAL SAVINGS!
Fill in your email address, ZIP code and name below to start seeing project ideas, monthly to-do lists and savings delivered right to your inbox.