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Thursday, September 8, 2022

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for the Week of Labor Day Holiday

I've been feeling very tired the last month or two. Over the weekend, I asked my family members to take on some of my smaller tasks, so I could focus on my main ones. One such task was organizing the kitchen fridge. One daughter went through every container in there, freezing some items, combining same and similar items into a single container, asking family members to eat up their own leftovers, and throwing away a few spoiled foods. She also put foods that should be used up in everyday meals soon in one spot and suggested a plan for using those foods. I didn't take a before photo, but here's the after. It is such an improvement!

This same daughter will be picking vegetables for our lunches each day, too.

My other daughter agreed to bake desserts for us. She picked the blackberries and made a pie for us on Wednesday. This daughter has also said she'll bake cookies for us each week.

My husband has volunteered to clean up the kitchen in the mornings after breakfast for me and tidy up the deck and patio periodically. All of these changes have been making my week a lot less stressful. I was wearing myself out trying to fit everything in each day, Since the changes, I've had more time to make jam, syrup, and blackberry juice, as well as dig all of the garlic, start winter salad seeds, organize all of my saved seeds for next year, and put together all of the food for our Labor Day cook-out.

This year's garlic -- I hope it lasts 9 or 10 months.
I'll be replanting about 70 cloves in October for next year's harvest.
We actually didn't have a family dinner this night. I was feeling under the weather, so I went to bed early.

bean and garden vegetable soup
scratch biscuits
fresh blackberries

refried beans
sautéed kale
homemade flour tortillas
fresh blackberries

I was able to use all of this produce in our cook-out on Monday

Monday Cook-out
We invited our son and daughter-in-law over for the afternoon and evening. The two of them picked a couple of quarts of fresh blackberries to take home with them. We cooked out over our patio fire ring and enjoyed conversation and a star-filled sky.

I used what I could from our garden and foraged produce, as my son and daughter-in-law don't have a garden. I like to share the extra good fresh stuff with them when we can. I didn't have chocolate bars for making s'mores, so I melted chocolate chips with a bit of shortening and made semi-sweet chocolate patties on a sheet of foil, then hardened in the fridge for a couple of hours. The blackberry lemonade is juiced blackberries combined with homemade lemonade (bottled lemon juice, sugar, water).

hot dogs in homemade buns
rosemary, garlic, Parmesan and olive oil mashed potatoes
tomato, basil, cucumber, mozzarella salad
kale, apple, celery, raisin, pecan salad
blackberry lemonade

ground beef, zucchini, green bean, garlic, onion sauté, served over
brown rice
fresh figs
tomato salad

baked beans (using up 2 almost empty ketchup bottles and some flat cola)
watermelon rind pickles
garden green beans
pasta, garden vegetable and mozzarella salad (using up some cooked pasta)
blackberry pie

black-eyed pea, vegetable and hot dog soup
scratch cornbread
tomato and cucumber salad
leftover blackberry pie

the last serving of apple crisp baked with apples that had been knocked off the tree

I baked a double batch of hot dog buns, 2 loaves of sandwich bread, a small batch of blueberry muffins using the last of the garden blueberries, and this apple crisp to use as breakfast 2 days this week. Our breakfasts have consisted of homemade yogurt, blackberries, fresh apples, apple crisp, eggs, toast, biscuits, blueberry muffins, milk, coffee, tea, and juice. I salvaged enough fallen apples over the past month to trim bruises, then chop and fill 3 gallon sized bags of apple pieces to use in crisps this fall. I know many people eat apple crisp as a dessert. In our house, apple crisp is breakfast fare for late summer or early fall mornings. Our lunches used produce from the garden plus bread, cheese, peanut butter, raisins, eggs, rice, and blackberry lemonade.

We are now harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, zucchini and patty pan squash, green beans (pole, mainly, but a few bush beans too), lettuce, kale, carrots, spinach, nasturtiums, radish greens, garlic, blackberries, apples, figs, blueberries (the tail end), and rhubarb. When I pick celery, we use the entire rib, leaves and stem both. If I only need the stem for a salad, I save the leaves to use in something else, like soup. And I'm only cutting one rib at a time, not the whole plant like what you would buy in the store. I'm hoping to get more celery overall this way. 11 of my celery seedlings made it to the plant stage, and of those 11, only 6 really grew well.  

I hope all of your meals hit the spot this past week. What was on your menu? Do you like crisps and cobblers as breakfast foods, or are they strictly desserts in your household? It's beginning to feel a bit like fall here -- cooler mornings and the aroma of apples baking in my kitchen. Is it feeling like fall there yet?

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!


  1. We finally had a cold front come through, so we've had cooler weather this week temps no higher than 80s and 60s at night. So the hint of fall is in the air. We had chicken and rice this week along with Gyros. And cucumber, tomato, pepper salad from the garden. Not sure what else, but we did not go hungry.

    I'm glad that you off-loaded some of your chores to your family. However, it looks like you filled the extra time with new ones. Things should slow down in the winter a little, right?

  2. Such good food on your menu! We had two of the kids and grandma over on Sunday so I roasted a whole chicken, mashed potatoes, applesauce, corn and green beans . They all went home with leftovers. Monday was our anniversary but we did a lot of yard work and grilled burgers in the afternoon eaten on homemade buns. Tuesday was leftovers along with some chicken ala king over the homemade buns. Wednesday was leftovers. Thursday was Chili Mac and zucchini brownies. Tonight will be chili mac leftovers. Good but simple meals since I'm not feeling like cooking much lately but I don't want to go out to eat since our evenings are too short after work. I'm not shopping much but still cook from scratch each meal.

    We also have cooler nights and really nice sleep. The days are nice and high 70s to low to mid 80s and not terribly humid. But it's just a perfect storm for sore throats and colds to begin. Need to get good rest and plenty of vitamins to ward it off.


  3. Really enjoying the fresh produce! We've had chicken in honey/soy sauce with potatoes, Thai style chicken over polenta, BLTs, and some other stuff. :) Been enjoying the nice weather lately.

    Lili, I'm wondering if you've had your blood levels checked lately. Things like anemia and low thyroid can sneak up on you (from personal experience). Good for you for seeking help!

  4. Such delicious meals everyone has had!

    I love Greek food, so Live and Learn, I'm envious of the gyros. About me filling my new-found time -- I'm just wired this way. If there's extra time, there's always a job to fill it. I schedule in breaks from time to time. I think I need to do that again soon. Maybe after the harvesting and processing is finished.

    Happy belated anniversary, Alice! Also, your meal with Grandma and 2 of your kids sounds like it was well-received. Getting to take home leftovers is always appreciated. Good reminder on keeping up our immune systems.

    Kris, you reminded me about polenta. Thank you! I'll have to add that to our meals this coming week. I now do it in the crockpot as you suggested. And yes, I had my iron levels and thyroid checked somewhat recently. All in the normal range. But I could do things to take better care of myself, and that's why I asked my family to take on a couple of my smaller tasks.

    I hope everyone had a great weekend!


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