Monday, June 29, 2009

potatoes, tomatoes, and squash - oh my!

There was an awesome assortment of produce at the Durham farmers' market this afternoon! In addition to greens and peas and other things we've been seeing for a few weeks now, I was super excited to find not only organic tomatoes and cucumbers, but also red potatoes at the market. It'll be tomato/cucumber salad and squash casserole for dinner tonight!!


The recipe for our summer squash casserole -

1. Cube up some summer squash into little bite-sized cubes - we like to use pattypan squash, but if that's not available, pretty much any summer squash that you like will do! Also chop some onion and slice some garlic. For four little squashes, we use about half a large onion, and 4 cloves of garlic.

2. Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a frying pan. Add the onion. Once the onions start to turn clear, add the garlic. Continue to heat for about a minute, then add the summer squash. Cook for a few minutes until the squash starts to change color a little (starts to pale).

3. Add some breadcrumbs to the pan (we make our own - we use 3 slices of bread, toasted and then put through the food processor until they're chopped up but still pretty chunky - more like half way between a crouton and a breadcrumb). Stir well to ensure the breadcrumbs are mixed in with everything else.

4. Transfer to an oven-safe dish (sprayed first with a little olive oil). Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until the top is nicely browned and crunchy.

5. Enjoy!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

free dental floss at walgreens

If you print the $2.00 off Listerine coupons that are available on coupons.com, you can use them to get free dental floss at Walgreens again this week. Although the picture on the coupons is of Listerine, the fine print says that you can use them on any Reach dental floss. Walgreens has Reach floss for $1.99, so I picked up two packages for free while I was there anyway buying a couple things we needed. Good deal!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

craigslist is a wonderful thing!

I've been wanting to try making my own bread for some time now, and since I'm not much of a baker at all, I thought a bread machine might be a fun thing. Then I looked around at the prices of bread makers that had the features I wanted, and I was surprised to see that many were well over $100. That was definitely more than I wanted to spend. Craigslist to the rescue! I found the exact bread machine that I wanted (about $120 new) on Craigslist in like-new condition for $35. Sold!!

So this afternoon, I baked my first loaf of bread. I took the picture while it was cooling - and right now, I'm munching on a slice while typing this post. Yum!! I haven't figured out the cost of the ingredients that went into my little loaf here yet, but I'm pretty sure from what I've read elsewhere that even using organic flour like I did, the cost per loaf is much less than what we've been paying at the bakery where we normally get our bread. And since I don't need to pay for gas to get to the bakery, I imagine it won't take too many afternoons of baking before I make up the cost of the used machine. All good!

Now, I just need to find a good source for local flour... any ideas?

a fabulous new farmers' market

Instead of heading out to the yard sales this morning like we usually do on Saturdays, we decided to check out the new farmers' market in Newmarket, NH. I'm really happy we went - not only did we pick up some peas, broccoli, squash, kohlrabi, and spring garlic - but we also got a dozen eggs and a pork tenderloin! I'm definitely looking forward to some yummy meals this week!!

If you find yourself in or around Newmarket, the market's in the Stone Church parking lot on Granite Street - from what I heard, there'll be live music every week, and there's definitely lots of awesome local food! For photos of the market, more information about the bands that will be playing, etc. check out Newmarket Happenings.

Friday, June 26, 2009

free quart of glidden paint

Through July 2, you can go to the Glidden website to request a free quart of Glidden interior paint, any color you like of the "swatches" they have online. I requested a quart of white - I figure it'll come in handy for one project or another!

good news in the garden!

After a week away at the Cape, we were very curious to get outside today and see how our garden did in all the rain we've been having here in New Hampshire. All in all, things are looking pretty good!

The Brussel Sprouts and the tomatoes are coming along...



I think the pumpkin patch needs some weeding... but there are pumpkin plants growing in there!


There must have been a hungry critter or two outside these past few days, as we came home to a mostly-eaten broccoli plant, and a lovely red strawberry, also mostly eaten. Whoever enjoyed the berry (hope it was tasty!) left the remains laid out for us to find right on top of one of the rocks by the garden...

Even after taking away the damaged leaves, looks like we have enough lettuce for some nice salads!

And best of all, we have snap peas!! Not very many yet (this was literally it for today) - but this is the first time we've ever grown our own peas, so we're feeling very happy about this little mini-harvest! There are a handful more peapods still growing but not ready to be picked yet, and more pea flowers are still opening up - very exciting. There's something really wonderful about growing some of your own food!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

a simple local meal

There was a break in the rain around lunch time today, so we decided to grill some kielbasa that we got last week from Popper's Sausage Kitchen, and we paired it with a nice simple salad made from what was left of our CSA share. Very tasty - and all local except for the horseradish, (which is from Michigan). I'd love to grow our own horseradish next year - any thoughts from folks who've tried growing your own would be much appreciated!

Monday, June 22, 2009

letterboxing is fun!

Today between rain showers and downpours, we tried letterboxing for our first time.

Letterboxing is, according to Atlas Quest online letterboxing community, "an intriguing pastime combining artistic ability with delightful "treasure-hunts" in beautiful, scenic places that the whole family can enjoy. Participants seek out hidden letterboxes by following clues, and then record their discovery in their personal journal with the help of a rubber stamp that's part of the letterbox. In addition, letterboxers have their own personal stamps which they use to stamp into the letterbox's logbook."

Sounds like fun, right? We thought so - so we printed a clue from the Atlas Quest website, and packed a backpack with a blank book, a pen, an ink pad, and some snacks and water, and off we went into the woods. Even though it was a grey afternoon, it was a beautiful walk - complete with red-winged blackbirds singing along the side of the path, and a very happy 6 year old who couldn't decide if the hike or the actual finding of the box was more fun!

We're looking forward to going again and finding another box soon. Definitely a fun way to spend an afternoon!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

free gum at rite aid

If you've saved the $1.00 off Mentos gum coupons that were in the Sunday coupon inserts recently, you can get free gum at Rite Aid this week! Mentos gum is on sale, 2 for $2.00 - we had four coupons saved, so we picked up 4 free packs of gum. Great deal!

local eating, cape cod style

We were away for a few days at the Cape, and my parents took my son fishing. The guy in the picture above, they threw back - but they caught others... so this week's One Local Summer meal was fresh caught fish, grilled, with a side salad of New Hampshire greens (from our CSA) that we brought with us on our trip, and bread that we bought at a local bakery here on the Cape. We would have bought the salad greens at the farmers' market here, but since we had plenty left from last week's share, we packed them up in a cooler and brought them along - can't let those veggies go to waste! So I guess you could say it was a combination meal - part of it local to where we live, and part of it local to where we are now. All good, though!

Also, we learned something about Cape Cod farmers' markets - and that's "GO EARLY!!" We arrived at the market about 30 minutes after it opened, hoping to get some snap peas to go with the veggies we'd brought from New Hampshire, and already the farmers were sold out of strawberries, asparagus, peas, and squash! It was still fun to look around though - there were lots of people selling beautiful garden plants, and even someone offering worm tea. Worms eat our garbage too (I still need to write a blog post about our worms... it's on the to do list (grin)) - so it's always interesting to me to see how some folks have turned their vermicomposting hobby into a business. Maybe someday we'll do that too! But for now, happy weekend, and I hope wherever you are, there's sunshine!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

a wonderful day for a csa...

Check out those veggies! We went to pick up our CSA share this week, and I was excited to see red lettuce, green lettuce, pac choi, radishes, garlic scapes, scallions... and I saw swiss chard too. But you can't see swiss chard if you look at this picture, because we ate it for dinner last night (grin). Swiss Chard with Lemon and Feta. Discovered the recipe last year, and it's fabulous:

De-stem and slice a bunch of swiss chard into 2" pieces. Meanwhile, boil up some pasta. Combine juice from a couple lemons, and a couple spoons of olive oil in a bowl with some salt and pepper. How much of everything depends on how much pasta you're making - you just want enough "sauce" to coat the pasta, and enough swiss chard to be happy (grin again)...

When the pasta's done, combine the pasta, sauce, and swiss chard in a large bowl, stir, crumble on some feta cheese, and enjoy!! The warm pasta sort of steams the chard, but it stays pretty crispy, which I like. Other folks have suggested steaming the chard first until it's a little wilted - and the recipe also says you can substitute beans for the feta. Might try that next time - but I do love feta!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

pea flowers!

There's sunshine in New Hampshire today and the garden is happy!! The peas are flowering, the tomatoes are getting taller, and the lettuce has gotten a lot bigger on account of all the rain we've had lately. I had a sandwich for lunch today, and added fresh lettuce straight from the garden to the top. Awesome! Hope your gardens are happy too - tis the season for fresh veggies!
And speaking of veggies, our CSA starts soon. Can't wait to see what we get in our first pick-up! Stay tuned for photos in a later this week...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

an attempt at a thrift list

I decided to make a "thrift list" to help me keep track of things I'm looking for when we're out and about at yard sales.

On my list...
1. a food processor (ours has suddenly developed a crack, so I'm guessing it's not going to last much longer!)
2. copper molds, to add to the collection I have hanging in the sunroom
3. milk glass
4. Star Wars toys (my 6 year old is always watching out for good deals on these, and insisted they be on the list!)
5. bike rack for storing bikes up out of the way in the basement
6. hanging shelf to display a vintage salt and pepper collection we've been given
7. outdoor/deck furniture
8. a garden gnome
9. wood signs for our kitchen (we have two signs right now - one says "COFFEE" - and one says "EAT" - does that say anything about our priorities? I think maybe...)
10. cookbooks - the older the better!

So, yesterday we went to a handful of yard sales, like we tend to do on Saturday mornings. And what did we come home with? Yep - that would be a golf putting game for outside, and a set of decorative copper kitchen tools. Are these things on my list?? No... but one's a toy... and one's copper... so they sort of almost fit. I guess this is what folks mean when they talk about "best laid plans..." LOL - I do love those yard sales!!!

sunday shopping at walgreens

Since it rained, rained, and rained some more in New Hampshire today, and we couldn't be outside in the garden, we decided to do a little shopping at Walgreens. Some good bargains this week!

If you want to go for these deals too, go to coupons.com and print a few of the $2.00 Dry Idea coupons, and also the $1.00 Listerine coupons (you'll see once you print the Listerine coupons that you can also use them on Reach floss). Also pick up this week's Walgreens circular if you don't already have a copy, as there's a coupon in there you'll need too.

For our shopping trip, I used the Walgreens coupon (from their circular) to get two Dry Idea deodorants for 99 cents each, and then used two of the $2.00 coupons that I printed to get them for "better than free" (basically I made $1.01 for each one that I bought). I also saw that they had Reach floss on clearance for 99 cents each. So we used two $1.00 Listerine/Reach coupons from coupons.com plus the $1.00 Reach coupon from today's Sunday paper inserts to get three of these for 1 penny better than free each. They also have St. Ives body wash for $2.99 with a $3.00 Register Reward back at checkout, so I got one of those too. All told, I spent 94 cents at Walgreens after all my coupons, and they gave me $3.00 back in Register Rewards to use next time. Awesome!

Happy shopping!
And, if you are reading this from outside of New Hampshire, and you have sunshine where you are, please send some our way!!
:-)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

one local summer, grilled up

For this evening's One Local Summer meal, we decided to go with some grilled chicken and squash, seasoned simply with some Two Sisters garlic powder and a little salt and pepper, more fried garlic scapes (like we made on Thursday), and some nice, fresh sliced tomato. The salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar that we used aren't local, but everything else was. We had some chicken in the freezer from a little farm we love in Deerfield, and some garlic scapes left from this week's Exeter Farmers' Market trip (the rest of the scapes are going to become pesto tonight!). The squash and tomatoes we bought at 2 farm stands that we passed by in our travels today. We're pretty simple when it comes to many of our summer meals - so we do a lot of grilling, and eat a lot of salads and raw veggies. This meal was tasty, and just the thing to wrap up a beautiful sunny New Hampshire day!



some fabulous local eating today!

While out searching for yard sale treasures today (more about that in a later post...) we happened by both Barker's farm stand in Stratham, where they had a small bin of their own terrific looking summer squash, and Emery Farm in Durham, where they had local tomatoes! We of course had to get some of both... and we'll be using them in this week's One Local Summer meal, which I'll post about later tonight!


Between the two farm stops, we were in Newington, so we stopped to check out Fresh Local Bayside at Great Bay Marine. I've heard wonderful things about their pulled pork sandwiches, and I've read about their commitment to serving local fare. When we go out to eat, we rarely order a dish with meat in it, as we really are committed to eating meat from animals that have been raised in healthy, humane conditions. There are definitely many things we don't "eat local" - cereal, pasta, rice, etc. But when it comes to meat, we're a little more strict with our "rules" for ourselves. Anyway, the Fresh Local folks get much of their meat (and other food) from local farms and producers, so we decided to give the restaurant a try. And oh my word, what a great place! The pulled pork was amazing, the fries were tasty, and the crumb cake was, according to my 6 year old, "the best, and definitely homemade!" Everyone there was super friendly - and the water-side location was great too. If you find yourself in Newington, it's definitely worth stopping by. Here's a sandwich picture, just in case you weren't already hungry reading about this great food... there's so much pork in the sandwich, it's falling out the sides!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

garlic scapes


We went to the Exeter Farmer's Market today, and were excited to see garlic scapes! We first heard about garlic scapes two years ago when we joined a CSA, and the first recipe we tried with them was garlic scape pesto. Absolutely wonderful - just scapes, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and a little lemon juice, chopped in the food processor until smooth, and then spread on anything from crackers to toast to sandwiches - you get the idea. Fabulously tasty.

We also like scapes in a stirfry with snap peas - but didn't see any peas at the market today (if we had, that would have been dinner tonight!). So instead, we took a handful of scapes, chopped them into 1" pieces, and sauteed them in a little butter for about 5 minutes. Then we added a splash of balsamic vinegar, cooked another minute, and served with spaghetti. The spaghetti was organic, but not local, so we won't make the dish this week's One Local Summer meal -but it was so yummy, we had to share the "recipe" with you, in case you come across some scapes in your own travels!

I would include photos here of our other farmers' market purchases, but somehow the pint of organic strawberries didn't make it home (I admit - we ate a PINT of strawberries on the ride - they were that good!!). And the pork - well, it's not at its most photogenic in its current frozen, packaged state. I figure it'll be better to share a picture once it's cooked up into a yummy dish or two!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

organic coupons!

Stonyfield Farm is offering several printable coupons on their website right now - for their products and also for things from Annie's, Earthbound Farms, Organic Valley, and other organic companies. Several of the coupons are for $1.00 off, making for some awesome savings!

flowers for a rainy day

I took these flower pictures outside in our yard this weekend, and tucked them away for a soggy, dark day just like the one we're having right now. They remind me that it really is almost summer, even though temperature-wise it feels like just barely the start of Spring!




Does anyone know what the white flowers are called? We bought a Hosta from the Lee plant sale two years ago, and a tiny (and I mean really tiny) part of whatever plant they're from was growing in the pot along with the Hosta. We planted it without really thinking about it - and now in 2 years it has grown into half a flower bed full of white flowers and interesting green leaves. It's quite prolific, I believe you'd say... Anyway, we want to try to transplant it to somewhere in the yard where we can still enjoy it, but where it's mischevious growing habit will be more appreciated than it is among the Hostas and ornamental grasses... but we figure it'd be good to identify it first!

Monday, June 8, 2009

squash, before and after

We had read Virginia's post that included mention of the baby summer squash that she picked up at the Dover Farmers' Market last week, and so we were excited to head to the Durham market this afternoon to see what we would find. Sure enough, we arrived in time to get three little summer squashes - but we were too late for kohlrabi, strawberries and peas... they sold out within minutes of the market opening. Better luck next week!

We brought our cute little squashes home, and grilled them up. YUM! This would be one of those instances when the "ready to eat" picture doesn't really do the dish complete justice - but I included it anyway, as it really was a fabulous side dish for our early dinner today. So here's organic, locally-grown summer squash, before... and after...



here come the beans!

I read an article on WMUR.com this morning that says New Hampshire's growing season is right on track, despite early high heat ("unseasonable warmth" as the weather folks say...) followed by some cool nights and even frost. This is great news for those of us who are hoping for good gardening fortune to smile on us this year!

Things outside here are really starting to come together. The tomatoes are looking better today after a little TLC over the weekend, and the zucchini that we started indoors from seed and then moved out is looking happy -



The beet greens aren't huge yet, but they're nice and bright - and the pattypan seedlings survived quite well being planted outside.


The garlic is definitely growing well. This is the first year we've tried growing garlic - we planted all the cloves from one bulb in October last year, and we had green poking through the ground as soon as it warmed up outside. If we get a good harvest, we'll definitely plant much more this Fall!

The mint seems pleased in its new pot, and we scattered some pumpkin seeds in an empty area in our front flower bed - the seedlings seem to have popped up practically overnight!

And, last but not least - here come the beans!!



It's going to be a rainy week in New Hampshire after today - hopefully when we see the sun again (which I hear rumor might not be til Friday...) everything will have grown some more! Happy gardening!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

yard sale fun on sunday too!

While we were out this morning bargain-shopping at CVS and Rite Aid, we happened by two unadvertised yard sales that were on our way. And oh my goodness, what fabulous things we found!

For a grand total of $6.00 (!!!), we came home with... a hardly-used beanbag toss/tic tac toe game for outside, a pair of matching pretty vintage bowls made in England (a photo of one is below), 2 milk glass pieces (to go with the two we picked up yesterday!), 2 racquetball racquets, a set of funky orange bowls with a matching measuring pitcher, a Christmas-tree-shaped silver-colored cookie platter, four giant spools of what I'm guessing is embroidry thread (we'll use it for crafting, whatever it is!), a new-in-package pattern tracer tool (a goal for this year is to learn to sew...), three cute teacups with saucers (which we'll use for planting more tiny jade plants), a nice old pie plate with decorative edges, and a bright red ceramic "penny pot" (my son's favorite find, after the tic tac toe game and the racquetball racquets, which he likes to use to play tennis in the back yard).

I've put just a few pictures here of some of the favorites. It was the craziest yard sale trip ever - there were just so many nifty things that we can put to good use, that we couldn't leave them behind.






sunday savings at riteaid and cvs

Seems like there are some great deals at CVS and Riteaid this week!

We went shopping this morning. At Riteaid, we got contact lens solution, a box of dishwasher detergent, and a tube of Colgate children’s toothpaste, all for $1.75 total after rebates and coupons.

Then at CVS, we used the $5.99 in Extra Bucks that we had from our last trip, plus a coupon that had printed out last week for $4 off of $20, combined with other coupons from the Sunday papers and a couple we had printed online, to get one package of Pecan Sandies (you need a treat once in a while…), 2 bottles of Dawn, a Gillette Fusion razor (a bonus pack that had a shampoo and shaving cream included free), two boxes of Special K cereal, three boxes of tissues, and a bottle of children’s Tylenol all for $3.08 cash out of pocket. Plus, another $4 off of $20 coupon printed out at checkout, and because we bought the razor and the Dawn, we got $5 more in Extra Bucks back to spend next time!

So, all told, taking into account coupons, rebates, and Extra Bucks both spent (which here we're adding to the total $ spent) and received (which we count like we do rebates, and deduct from the total spent), everything cost us a total of $4.09!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

yard sale saturday

We went out to Rye, NH today, as there were a whole bunch of yard sales advertised on Craigslist that sounded fun. Since it was still quite cloudy and cool this morning, we figured we'd spend the afternoon in the garden, and take a ride to the shore this morning. Unfortunately, we didn't have any luck finding treasures in Rye (though it was a pretty drive!) - but when we were on the way home, we drove by several unadvertised yard sales. I found these 2 adorable milk glass vases at one house, and this Ironstone bowl at another. I spent a total of $2.00 for all three. Not bad! I have some milk glass pieces from my grandmother, and some others that I've picked up at previous yard sales, so these new pieces will fit right into the collection! The bowl I haven't figured out exactly a purpose for yet... but it's pretty, and for 50 cents, I had to have it!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

the clematis are blooming!

I love the color of these flowers - I think the purple looks so pretty in the middle of all the green we have outside right now.



Speaking of green, we went to the Exeter Farmers' Market today and bought a fabulous head of lettuce (we have lettuce in our garden, but it's not nearly as far along as what we found at the market!), plus two pattypan squash seedlings. I discovered pattypan squash two years ago - I'd never seen them before that. Not only are they adorable, but when cubed and then cooked up in a casserole of butter, onions, garlic, and bread crumbs, they are definitely one of my favorite summertime treats! I'm sure pattypan squash casserole will be part of one of our upcoming One Local Summer meals. We were hoping to get some chicken today too, but no luck. As one vendor pointed out, laughing, "plenty of eggs today... but no chickens!" Maybe next week...

Also, speaking of the farmers' market, they're wonderful resources not only for food, but information too. A couple of our tomato plants have been yellowing over the last few days. I asked around a little as we shopped, and got lots of helpful advice. Seems our tomatoes could have 2 troubles - for one thing, the cold nights we've been having haven't been good for warm-month crops. We've been putting buckets over the plants on nights that're especially chilly, but one farmer suggested that we try warming the soil and the plants during the day, using black plastic or a black board and making use of the sun's energy as best we can. Another overheard the conversation, and suggested that we might also need to add some more nitrogen to the soil around the tomatoes via a little organic fertilizer (which he said would do the job in this circumstance better than the compost we've been using so far to enrich the soil). This was seconded by yet another person standing nearby. So, we're going to try warming things up for the plants in the sunshine, and will look for some organic fertilizer too. Love that you can get great food and great ideas, all in one fun trip!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

ropa vieja, local style

The farmers' markets are open, the garden is starting to take off, the One Local Summer challenge has begun, and we were ready to cook last night!!

We decided to go with ropa vieja, a Cuban dish that's one of Husband's favorites (before I go any further, let me confess - if I ever I say "we" cooked, it's really "he" cooked - I'm not great in the kitchen, but my husband LOVES and I mean truly, really LOVES to cook - so he's our chef, which would make me our official taster, applauder of efforts, and consumer of fabulous cuisine...) -

Anyway, so we (=he) made ropa vieja, which is basically beef (flank steak), pressure-cooked until it's tender, shredded, and then cooked further in garlicky tomato sauce. YUM! And on the side, we had spinach salad with cherry tomatoes. We eat a lot of Cuban dishes, as Husband's family is from Cuba, and it's his favorite cooking style.

The flank steak was from Pinewoods Yankee farm, in Lee, NH. We get almost all of our beef from them - their cows are happy, and humanely raised (the rest of our beef (as well as our Thanksgiving turkey!) we get from a little farm in Deerfield, NH - they also raise happy, grass-fed cows). The tomato sauce was from our freezer - we made a bunch last year with tomatoes from the farmers' markets as well as from a little farm down the road from us, and we're working on finishing it up (and we're looking forward to making more when this year's tomatoes start!).

The sofrito (the base for the dish) was made from cherry tomatoes from the UNH tomato plants now growing in our backyard, garlic powder from Two Sisters in Canterbury, NH, and onion greens from our own garden (normally he'd use a white onion, but those aren't available locally yet, so we improvised with the greens), plus two non-local ingredients (olive oil and a little dry white cooking wine).

The spinach for the salad was from Wake Robin farm, purchased from this week's Durham farmers' market, and again we used the UNH cherry tomatoes on top.

Husband notes that typically we have black beans with the ropa vieja - but we're waiting on this year's green peppers, onions, and more tomatoes before we can make those as a truly local meal. When we do make the black bean dish, we use dried black beans from Meadow's Mirth in Stratham. Again - YUM!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

today's garden visitor

My husband was outside this morning digging up some mint we found in a flower bed, that our house's previous owners had planted. He moved it into some containers, so it'll stop invading everything out there. Now we can hopefully manage to keep it growing, without it taking everything over!

So, while he was gardening, a not-so-little friend sat on the border of the flower bed and watched him as he worked. S/he's one giant toad!!


In other "green" news, we signed up for the One Local Summer challenge. Virginia over at the fun New Hampshire blog Living the Local Life is the coordinator for our area. We'll be posting on our blog every Sunday, starting this week, about a meal that we make during the week with local ingredients. Looking forward to learning about what the other participants make for local meals, and to sharing our ideas too!