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Thursday, June 16, 2022

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for Early to Mid-June: Using Lots of Garden Produce

this week's beverage experiment -- if rose-ade was good, perhaps lemon balm-ade will also be delicious
I packed a bunch of lemon balm leaves into a quart jar, then filled with water. I'll let it stand on the counter for 2 days, then sweeten. Here's hoping it's good.


homemade pepperoni pizza, frozen broccoli microwaved, apple wedges, leftover rhubarb custard pie

refried beans, homemade tortillas, carrot sticks, Swiss chard, leftover cookies/pie

chicken and vegetable soup, radish green and nasturtium leaf salad


meatloaf, gravy, brown rice, roasted turnips, sautéed turnip greens, rhubarb-Koolaid sauce, pumpkin pie

I used more of that Koolaid that my daughter bought but didn't like in a rhubarb sauce. It added flavor and sweetness, while using up something that was just lingering in the fridge.


pumpkin pie, ham and potato casserole, broccoli and turnip stem pieces

I used the leafy part of the turnip leaves in Monday's dinner. I cut away the thick stems. I was going to compost these stems, then I tried cutting them, and they seemed tender enough to cut, not stringy. So I set these aside to add to broccoli. They worked well and kept me from wasting another food item. By the way, you can do the same thing with kale stems, if you're using fresh kale in salads and don't want the thick stem pieces in a salad.
The casserole was tasty. I had about a tablespoon of cream cheese that needed using and some frozen chopped chives and garlic. I mixed these items into some mashed potatoes, then layered with ham chunks I had in the freezer. That ham had been frozen in ham stock. I saved that ham stock and used it in a soup for lunch the following day.


tomato soup, sandwiches, canned pineapple, rice pudding
Both of my daughters received coupons for free sandwiches at a local sub shop. One daughter used her coupon for a footlong sub tonight to serve with other items. The rice pudding used rice leftover from Monday's dinner. It's the baked kind of rice pudding.

sandwiches, meatballs in BBQ sauce, radish green and lentil sprout salad, applesauce
The other daughter used her coupon for another footlong sandwich. We had an "incident" with one of the freezers (not the one my friend had her stuff in, thankfully). A couple of prepared items in the freezer felt like they should be used right away, hence the meatballs with dinner. Most of the rest of the frozen foods will be okay and safe to eat. I used a digital thermometer to check the temperature of various foods we had in that freezer.

spinach pesto on pasta using stems as well as leaves of spinach

Foods I'm harvesting

We are still stuck in a heavily cloudy, rainy, and cool pattern of weather. That means that the warm weather veggies of our garden are stagnating. However, I continue to find foods to harvest. I've used small nasturtium leaves in salads and large nasturtium leaves shredded in soups. I pulled out the last of the spinach plants from one pot on the deck and used all except the roots (meaning I used stems, leaves, flower heads not yet in bloom) in lunch one day. I made a pesto with the spinach plants, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. I tossed the pesto with cooked pasta. It made a delicious lunch addition. I also harvest a bunch of chives and garlic greens to chop and freeze for later in the year. I pulled a few more turnips for dinner one night. I roasted the roots and chopped the greens to sauté. Before I chopped the leaves I removed the thick stems. I set aside these stems to chop small to add to broccoli later in the week. On Tuesday, I steamed some of the chopped turnip stems along with some frozen broccoli, stretching my dwindling supply of frozen broccoli. I harvested rhubarb to use in sauce and to toss with sugar then dehydrate for use later. I also dehydrated more rose petals to use in winter tea. And of course, my indoor radish greens and counter top lentil sprouts always provide something for salads.

Lemon Balm and Rose Petal Tea Cake

My lemon balm is quite bushy this week. I read a couple of recipes online that use lemon balm and settled on this recipe for a lemon balm tea bread. The recipe reminded me of one I saw in a Victoria magazine many years ago. That recipe called for lemon thyme and rose petals, plus maybe the lemon balm. Anyway,  I decided to make something similar to that Victoria recipe. In the Taste of Home recipe, I used the lemon balm called for, but I also used 1/4 cup of finely shredded rose petals and about 3/4 teaspoon of lemon extract. I didn't have any lemon zest at home for the lemony flavor, hence the extract (which, oddly, I do have). The rest of the recipe I baked as directed, leaving off the lemon glaze, as I didn't want a too sweet tea bread. While I was chopping the lemon balm, I chopped enough to freeze for a couple more loaves of tea bread at a later date.

It looks absolutely beautiful, doesn't it?

Now the bad thing. The recipe only calls for greasing the pan, which I did. I think with this recipe, you should also line the pan with waxed paper or parchment going up 2 sides, so that it will come out of the pan easily. Mine stuck and then broke in half as I tried to remove it. Disappointing. I'll try again, though, as I really liked the flavors of the rose petals, lemon balm, and lemon extract.

Those were some of our meals this past week. What was on your menu? Have you ever had a cake not come out of the pan? It's frustrating, isn't it? Do you have a tried and true way to make sure cakes don't fall apart when taking them out of the pan?


  1. I should learn by now that I need to know what we ate so I can tell you all but no, I just can't even do that.

    I'll try. Mashed potatoes, cabbage, small roast beef with meatballs, green beans, orange chicken over brown rice, salad, beef stew, sloppy joes on ciabatta buns, homemade bread and homemade strawberry jam, leftovers from the above. It's been very warm here so cooking and being in the kitchen is not such a good idea. I did need to use the oven for bread but that's only 25 minutes. Instant Pot to the rescue!


    1. Hi Alice,
      I'm glad you have your Instant Pot for quick and cool summer cooking! All of your meals sound delicious, so the IP must work very well for your needs.

  2. My husband was in Alaska fishing. He left last Friday and returned Tuesday evening. While he was gone meals were hit and miss lol. Friday 2 of my kids and I got carryout from a place I have been wanting to try for YEARS. Should have skipped that. I don’t remember Saturday or Sunday. Monday I made pork chops. Since he returned we’ve had hot ham and cheese sandwiches, halibut, and stroganoff. He brought home about 20lbs each halibut and king salmon, plus some rockfish and cod. We will have no problems eating the halibut, but none of us care for king salmon much so that’s going to be tough. I much prefer Coho salmon, but he didn’t get any of those.
    Not sure what we will have tonite.


    1. Hi Diane,
      Wow, that's a lot of fish! I hope you can find a way to prepare the king salmon that you will enjoy.
      That's too bad about the restaurant that you'd been wanting to try. At least now you know that you hadn't been missing out on much for these years.

  3. Hi Lili I've been cooking for over 50 years and I always grease and flour my loaf and cake pans and that way they just pop right out.I know recipes say to just grease the pans but they sometimes stick when you just do that.I've never bought parchment paper either,it's just a waste of money to me,it just takes a minute to grease a pan but maybe I'm just old fashioned !I really enjoy your blog and have learned so much from you,thank you!

    1. Hi, I guess I should have buttered and floured the loaf pan. I always butter and flour cake pans. I just thought this one would come out as easily as a loaf of banana bread does. Oh well, now I know. Thank you for your input! Much appreciated.

  4. I also grease and flour my pans for cakes. I've had hit or miss results with the kind you buy in spray cans and would say not to waste your money on them. So frustrating when that happens, isn't it?

    My husband and son won passes for free sandwiches from Chick Fil A when they attended a local baseball game Sunday, so we ate there Monday. Nice to eat out! I made goulash one night, had my daughter make chicken in honey and soy sauce in the crockpot with rice, and tried a new pizzadilla recipe from another night. I highly recommend that meal! Simple and delicious and kid pleasing. We've had salad from the garden, asparagus, and rhubarb blueberry sauce as sides. We're visiting my in-laws this weekend so I won't be cooking for a few days.

    1. Hi Kris,
      Two votes for greasing and flouring. I do that for cake pans. I just never thought I'd need to do that with a loaf of tea bread. Now I know. I wonder if it's because this recipe was more delicate, like a cake? I do like the cooking spray for when I make bran muffins. The recipe I follow has very little fat, so a lot of the muffin winds up sticking to the papers, whereas these particular bran muffins pop right out of the pan with the spray.
      What a fun prize at the baseball game -- the Chick Fil A coupons. I've never eaten there before, but I hear that it's quite popular. I have never heard of pizzadilla before. I learn something new everyday. Oh, yum! I just looked up the budget bytes recipe and those look delicious!
      Here's what pizzadillas are for anyone who hasn't heard of them either --
      I hope you had a great time with your in-laws.

  5. It’s already steadily hot here. After working in the heat it’s hard to want to make dinner when I get home. I meal prepped today and use the crock pot often. Modified and doubled a recipe from the easy cheesy vegetarian website for lentil and quinoa taco filling. That will cover 2 dinners, a couple of lunches and will have some to freeze. Crock pot baked potato bar has been making a weekly appearance, usually with a salad and fruit. The big oven is off limits until September. Just gets too hot in my little kitchen. Our meals are very simple in the summer but with the right trimmings, no one seems to mind. -VKC

    1. Hi VKC,
      Your hot season meals sound very tasty to me.
      I'm guessing this is the recipe you followed for the lentil and quinoa crockpot taco filling:
      That looks delicious. I'll give them a try when my peppers are producing. Thank you for mentioning the recipe and the site.


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