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Friday, June 17, 2011

Easy cheap dinner!

So Nick is heading in to his second job and i never know how late he'll be so dinner will be in the crock pot tonight!  I love crock pot dinners!  Why?  Crock pots take forever yes but they cook all the flavors together so nicely!  Plus once you dump your ingredients in you really don't have to do anything and then dinner can be served whenever you want.  OK so we got a large picnic roast (pork) it was on sale for around 1.18 lb.  It was a large roast so I chopped it into 3 pieces, I would have done 4 but the bone was to much work to cut around.  So tonight the largest chunk is dinner.  Anyways; in a frying pan I used the left over bacon grease from this morning to lightly cook onions, some finely chopped celery, carrots, and some mushrooms.  I know bacon grease is bad for you but it adds awesome flavor and I wanted something to cook the veggies in so it saved me using some sort of grease I had to pay for!  I then browned the meat a bit just because I like the taste it gives it when browned.  I also added a bunch of potatoes after cutting off the sprouts some had!  After dumping the meet and veggies in the crock pot I dumped a can of cream of mushroom soup over everything and added some garlic powder.  This will cook for hours and all the flavors will mingle together into a tasty dinner!  All I have to do later is scoop a little bit of veggies out and cut off some meat.  This will feed us several times and the total cost of the meat was around 10 bucks.  So I figure dinner cost us around 10 bucks with about a third of the meat and the veggies and soup added.  I figure if I can feed us 3 times out of the crock pot dinner I've done a decent job!  I admit I can't wait till I'm using my veggies out of my garden.

If you don't like pork you can use beef or chicken or whatever you want.  If i had been in a hurry I would have just tossed all the same ingredients into an oven bag.  If you haven't tried an oven bag I highly recommend them.  You can toss all the ingredients into the bag including the soup; and it cooks fast and keeps the meat nice and moist plus clean up is much nicer just toss the bag away!  I like adding the soup it helps with the flavor keeps it moist and; hey I don't have to make gravy!  Not to mention all the veggies taste great so even Nick who isn't a big cooked veggie person will eat them.  Now the debate is do I make rolls or not?

Making Money Online

So since I don't have a job at this point I've spent hours surfing the Internet for jobs I can do from home.  I have no particular gift for sewing or crafts so I avoid etsy.  Mostly I do surveys it gives me something to do and earns me a small income.  SO I guess  I haven't discovered those ones that offer to pay you 75 dollars a month!  If Anyone does find them let me know.  I just mypoints a lot and have made 100 bucks with them in under a year!  They have a lot of ways to make money using them.  They offer daily emails that give you 5 points a piece just for clicking and if you already shop with someone you can earn points by clicking on the stores website through my points.  Searching also earns you points.  There just a super easy place to earn some money with stuff you already do.  Not to mention they also offer surveys and some of them are rather long but if you have nothing else to do and could use some money it works.  I have done surveys through a ton of websites some actually pay fast and are worth it while others get all the info they need then tell you sorry you didn't qualify. 
My latest adventure is data entry I've signed up for a website and am hoping its legit on making money.  I took a test for it and they will let me know if they have any work for me to do.  We shall see I'm really hoping I can find something with a slightly better income then my surveys that  I do on a regular basis.  I probably make a hundred or so bucks a month doing surveys part time.  Like I said some sites are better then others!

If your interested in websites I've actually made money on leave me a message on here and I will gladly forward you links for the best ones that I've actually made money on!  Plus they send you stuff to test and try I do love getting free stuff in the mail!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Container Gardening

I suppose the people that usually do container gardening are ones with little space.  For me it's because my fiance works a lot and I don't want to run the borrowed tiller!  Bad things seem to happen with my operating equipment.  Nick always says to me this is why we can't have nice things when i break something.  To be fair though he broke 2 chairs while visiting my family.  We're slightly destructive I guess.  So back to the containers I'm planting in them because a) I need more space, b) I've got a lot of barrels c) I'm hoping I can have a longer harvest time since I can just move them into the garage when it starts to get cold and finally d) if I want fresh herbs for my cooking I can just walk out the front door.  I know your thinking how far away is the garden not that far but the bugs are horrible here especially where my garden is.  It just will be convenient for me.  I'm hoping it works well; I guess if it doesn't I wont waste my time next year.  If you go on you tube you can see plenty of awesome videos on how to make your own garden while getting the most out of your containers.  I likes the barrel they had lettuce growing out all of the holes in the side of it.  It was pretty and convenient.  The plan is to eventually get Nick to get my strawberry barrels done co I can have them close to the house for easy picking while avoiding the deer.  Ugh the deer have pretty much decimated our poor raspberrys' I tried spraying them with hot pepper spray maybe it will help.  Maybe I should just invest in a licence this fall and get some venison to go with my veggies!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another Day Gone

Another day gone and as always I never seem to get as much done as I want too.  I admit it, I took a nap today because I just felt tired.  I did get all my herbs planted and my potato's in grey tubs!  However I didn't hook up my incubator as planned I know there's still time tonight so I think after this entry I'll head out and hook the thing up.  I know I'll be looking for directions online since I can't remember if I'm supposed to add water now or later and what;s the perfect temperature to hatch.  Is the temp for hatching chicken eggs 100 or 99 or does it not matter a degree.  I'll probably get them in there turn them everyday 3 times a day and none will be fertile; just seems to be my luck sometimes. 

I tried another cornbread recipe using molasses instead of brown sugar more milk and less butter but Nick tells me he doesn't like the molasses after taste so it's back to the drawing board. 

I guess i get lonely at night because it seems to be the worst time of the day for stuffing my face.  Does anyone else see the trend where later in the day they tend to lose their will power?  I;m sitting here searching for instructions on my incubator and I think ill just plug it in set the thermometer in and see what the temp says in the morning and then call my amazing mom for advise!  Oh yea I've got homemade popcorn...I wish I had more will power I guess it's the lonely factor my fiance is the only friend I have here and with him working 2 jobs I rarely see him.  So I'm a lonely eating machine! 

On a good note I made a few bucks doing surveys from home not much but something!  Also I love this site and have earned a lot of gift cards from them just from using them as a search engine.  They give you points randomly for searching and you can turn them in for gift cards.  I always do amazon gift cards because hey I love amazon.  I'm going to try and attach a banner to sign up through it helps me if you do it through my banner if you don't want to that's fine.  Thanks to those of you that do!
<a target="_top" href="http://swagbucks.com/refer/countrychic84ny"><img alt="Search & Win" title="Search & Win" border="0" src="http://prodegebanners.sitegrip.com/images/swagbucks-173x63.jpg"></a>

So tomorrows plans, do the dishes, put the eggs in the incubator, get my flowers planted, feed Nick left overs!  Hopefully get some more surveys done make some more money really hoping some of my checks will be here soon!  I do love seeing the free boxes of samples and checks in the mailbox!  Maybe I can con the fiance to take me to the thrift stores this weekend there's always a bargain to be found.  Since we don't go the movies much we usually spend around 20 bucks at the pawn shop and get a stack of DVDs.  I usually figure 3 bucks or less per DVD is our average spending price.  I do love the bargains.  Thanks for reading!


So this morning I got up fed the chickens, geese and myself.  The chickens are out hopefully eating some bugs while I decided to have cornbread left over from last nights supper of cornbread and chili.  It's weird cooking for just 2, I'm used to being with at least 3 other people so here I always make to much.  On a good note I don't like my chili to burn my face off and yet Nick likes food hot...so you see the problem?  Well I made the chili with a slight kick and figured he wouldn't like  it but he did tell me it was pretty good!  Yay!  Of course the cornbread rocked!  Yes, I ate to much.  On a good note I made the cornbread with brown sugar instead of white and whole wheat flour instead of the white flour it called for.  Less processed is better for you!  OK at least in my opinion.  Nick told me that it seemed pretty heavy and he likes it a bit lighter so i guess more baking soda next time?  I'll post the recipe since I liked it so much and hope you will enjoy it too.  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Grandmothers-Buttermilk-Cornbread/Detail.aspx

So I'm sure people looking at my title are like where do herbs come into this.  That's my plan of the day!  To get my herbs in the cut off barrels Nick made for me.  Sounds easier then it is.  I have to fill the wheelbarrow full of dirt lug it over to the house dump it in the barrels and did I mention I have a lot of seeds and barrels.  I know its going to be a pain now but when i can have fresh herbs I'll be loving it.  What we don't feed the chickens goes into a compost heap and we have a lot of nice compost I plan on using.  I'm hoping to get enough dirt from the pile that I don't have to go get it from anywhere else.....we'll see.  I refuse to buy bags of dirt when the soil is so nice out here.  We have black dirt and when he plowed my first garden here there was only one rock in the whole 40'x60' lot.  No this really isn't as big as I wanted but next year we'll start earlier and go bigger!  I also plan on getting the potato tops i cut off in and seeing how those do!  wish me luck lugging all this dirt around.  Yes i am still going to go for my walk because of all the corn bread I ate!  I'll take pictures of my barrels once I'm done!  Some of you are thinking where is her big strong man for all this?  We'll he's at his secnd job.  He tells me it's to keep me in my life of luxury.  Ha Ha. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Working on Losing Weight Without Huge Cost

So I figure the garden will help me eat better and get exercise.  I've packed on so much weight from my high school time that I just feel tired all the time.  I've been walking an hour every day.  It honestly makes me feel better, except for the shin splints!  i figure its cheap exercise.  I already had the sneakers so the only cost is the bug spray I use!  I  have never seen bugs like there are here in S.D.  I seriously look like I have hives from spending time in the garden.  I'm using the deep woods bug spray which sort of works.  Any suggestions for keeping them away would be awesome!    I'm looking for some good advice on DVDs I can do at home.  Since I don't have the money to spend on a gym membership or gas money to drive the 40 Min's to the gym, I'd love some feedback!  I use listia to get most of my DVDs.  It's free and seriously I've got a lot of neat stuff off of there.  It's like eBay but instead of money you get points.  I'll post a link that if you sign up through you will get an extra 100 points and so will I.  So thanks ahead of time.  http://www.listia.com/signup/233313
This site is awesome it makes me feel like I can still have little luxuries without worry about the money spent on them!  I do love my movies.  :-D

Anyways back to the weight thing you would think doing all the cooking I could handle losing some weight without an issue.  I do cook healthy I just have an issue with portion control and I'm used to living with 3 or 4 other people; not just Nick and I.  I do love homemade breads and sweet rolls and....well you get the picture.  I have a portion control issue :-D.  I need a little self control.  Tell me your story's?  I've done Atkins and lost weight but then packed it all back on.  I need something that I can handle not feel super deprived.  I currently walk a lot work in the garden and drink lots of green tea to help me feel fuller.  I'm also trying to manage my portions and not eat to late at night.  This is hard for me since Nick works the night shift I'm usually lonely, bored, and eat late. 

Ugh I'm drinking those powdered weight loss supplements.  I have 2 different kinds.  The one flavor is lemonade, it's not horrible.  The other is peach and seriously if i hadn't paid for it, I'd toss it, its terrible.  On top of that I haven't noticed me shedding pounds like crazy. Ha Ha.  Who knows.  Leave me  a comment on your battles. 

My Chicken/Goose Project

So the other pet I have running around is a blue Cochin hen and a silky rooster.  I know I need some more chickens!  I'm working on getting some money together to get some!  Fresh eggs is amazing and you can always use eggs for something!  Mmmm homemade pudding with fresh eggs is amazing!  The color is much nicer when using free range eggs since they get outside to get the grass the yolks are much yellower almost orange.  OK I know its crazy to get excited about chickens but I do.  The other benefit to them is meat.  Harsh sounding huh?  What do you do if you have  a bunch of roosters tho?  I personally can't kill them.  It's one of my failings as a provider.   I have been trying to get my fiance to get me a thermometer so I can try hatching out my chickens eggs she was in with a blue Cochin rooster so I'm hoping ill get a few chicks. The little guys/gals (hopefully mostly hens) are silkies also just different colors.  In the picture with the blue Cochin or the grey chicken as Nick calls her I'm feeding them the sunflower seed rolls nick didn't like.  I try to keep my feed bill pretty low!  They eat a lot of grass bugs and whatever scraps we have left over.  I always have food on hand for a treat and the babies have to get special crumbles because everything else is to big for them. 

If your wondering if the chickens bug my garden; no they don't.  Most likely because they have so much room to run around the yard.  Nick has about 11 acres so the chickens tend to just free range around that and come back to their pen at night. 

I also have 2  geese.  They seem to be pretty worthless!  I like them tho, that's why their here!  They were both free and I think one may be sterile since last year she sat on eggs and none hatched.  There a good warning when someones here...geese make some serious noise when someone pulls in the driveway.  No they aren't even worth anything for eggs since she doesn't lay very well.  I guess I wouldn't like her so much but she was a friends pet and when he died the family brought me her.  She is a lovely sweet goose with pretty blue eyes.  However her mate is mean; he bites and hisses!  If your going to go for the better deal get chickens they're smaller, eat less, take up less space, make more eggs, and make a lot less mess! The geese do mow down the grass nicely tho!

My Story and the garden

All of my life I've lived in upstate N.Y. till I met my fiance and moved to S.D.  Talk about a change!  I went from hills with trees to flat ground with corn and soy as far as the eye can see.  Did I mention there's not many jobs out here?  OK I should rephrase theres not many jobs for someone with my skills.  I grew up and worked on the same farm for the past 27 years.  I do have 2 college degrees an associates in liberal arts, and a BS in English.  The primary jobs I've seen in the paper here are concrete worker and nurse.  Now if it was a cow nurse I'd be all set unfortunately it's not.  So I have a lot of time on my hands while looking for a job!

Most days involve cooking and cleaning.  I like the first hate the second but seriously who likes cleaning?  My fiance who lived here when I met him has 2 jobs.  No, he doesn't have any college degrees.  He just seems to be good at whatever he does.  Yes, I do wish I had the skills he does but I don't so here I am looking for a job on the computer and it seems my only option is Subway.  Has anyone ever worked there? 

My fiance pays most of the bills but I have student loans I need to pay back so I'm sure your wondering what I'm doing for income right now.  Basically I've been doing as many surveys as I can.  What a living at home with surveys is it possible?  Well so far I haven't made myself a millionaire. 

The trick is to be as thrifty as I can and try to help cut the fiances bills too.  So he doesn't decide I'm dead weight and kick me to the curb.  I have put a huge garden in to help with the cost of food.  Since I came late in the year a lot of the plants I've always started in the house would not have made it to harvest had I tried my regular methods.  So I bought a bunch at the local nursery.  It was rather nice to put peppers, tomato's, and squash in the garden with buds already on them.  I figure if I'm going to go through the effort of a garden I'm going to have a big one!  I want to be able to can up a lot of food for this winter.  It will cut the cost of veggies and hey I actually know where these came from.  The seeds I planted in the garden (ones with a shorter time to harvest) were my valentines day present from my fiance.  I figured for 50 dollars I could either have pretty flowers for a week or a winters worth of food.  Yes ladies, I like flowers too but I like  food way more! 

So my garden doesn't have anything fancy.  I have several rows of beans and peas.  Why so many?  Mostly because it's something easy to can or freeze plus we both like them.  I wont can the peas they'd just be mush.  So the plan is to freeze them and can the beans!  I planted several short rows of corn and am hoping for good pollination with it.  Whenever you plant corn go for short rows from what I've heard its the best way to get your corn pollinated.  Without pollination no corn.  Yes, readers I will let you know if my garden was a flop or not!  I also have a lot of onions planted.  Why?  Onions will last a long time if properly stored and they are awesome in cooking.  Plus a bag of 100 starter onions you can usually get for less then 2 bucks!  Plant them shallowly for bigger onions as I understand it they will grow bigger because they dont have to fight the dirt to expand.  Not sure if its the real reason but I seem to have better luck planting them shallow. 

I planted a ton of winter squash, no it's not my favorite or his either but it stores well and I'm sure with all the online sources I can find at least a couple recipes I like.  I also have about 3 hills of zucchini and yellow squash.  Again, I know some of you are asking why?  Well because of all the good things you can make with squash.  I know most of you are just thinking bread?  I have a great  recipe for brownies with zucchini and found one for cheese fried zucchini I plan on trying.  If you want the recipe comment I will gladly email them to you. 

We also have a bunch of potato's planted out there.  No I didn't buy the seed potato's they sell in the store.  You can if you want but i figure if i just cut the potato's that have started to sprout and save them in a baggy in the fridge I can plant them in the garden.  I have several hills of potato's and am thinking I will plant some more in barrels.  Why barrels well because I hate digging potato's and I'm thinking if I find a dark barrel I can just flip the thing over dump it on the lawn and no digging or stabbing any of the potato's!  Why a dark barrel?  If light gets to your potato's it causes the skin to turn green and are not great for eating.  Why because a reaction with the sun causes the production of toxin which can make you ill.  I found this post if your interested in it.  http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=5658.  Below you will see a picture of the potato tops I've saved for my barrel project.

I also have broccoli and cauliflower this is my first year attempting it.  I know I have to tie the leaves shut to keep the head white any pointers on cauliflower would be awesome! 

We have tons of okra and carrots planted,  Why Okra?  I planted several rows because my fiance likes it pickled and the pickled stuff at the store is spendy.  So I'm hoping to save him money and make him happy all in one!  We shall see I may regret it when I have an epic failure with my pickling this fall!

Well now that I've wrote a short novel I'm actually going to work on some surveys and I will let you know if I make any money today! Thanks for reading please comment!