Strawberry Tower and Winter Coat Storage

I’ve got beets and carrots roasting for salads this week, and thought I’d sit down and write about what’s been happening around here.

May is a busy month with school and some activities coming to a close, but I’m ready for summer. I asked D last night what she wanted to do this summer and she said, “Sleep in late!” I’m with you, kiddo. Fourteen and a half school days left!

Home

We did a lot of yard work the past two weeks. Last weekend we got our vegetable garden really going. (We already had peas, spinach, lettuce, beets, garlic, and other cold crops in). And we built my vision of a strawberry tower (above).

So far, sprinkling garlic powder (I buy it in bulk at Costco) around the edges of the boxes is keeping hungry bunnies from raiding the tasty greens. We’ll probably need to put netting over the strawberries once the fruit gets going to keep the birds away.

We’re hoping this will be a good fruit year!  The apple, peaches, ditch plums, and cherry trees are blooming valiantly. We’ve already purchased tree netting to try to keep the critters away (something ate ALL my cherries last year and I watched a squirrel make off with one of my peaches). It looks like I may get to harvest some rhubarb this year as well!  Looking forward to it.

We’re also using a simple natural weed killer recipe to keep things from growing in the cracks of our patio. It works great. We make up a big batch of it and bought a big sprayer to keep it on hand. Best to spray mid-morning because it needs the direct, hot sun to “burn” the plants. Very effective and safe for pets and kids.

Keeping

My big project for this week will be getting our winter clothes ready for storage. (I hope I’m not tempting the gods by putting them away! Yes, it’s May, but this year has been weird!)

Planning to take all our winter coats to the dry cleaner this week, have buttons tightened and reattached as needed, etc. before they’re stored. I’m also hoping to source some good fabric garment bags for the coats.

I’ll wash all the hats, gloves, scarves etc. and try to organize them in the closet a bit better.

I’ll also move the last of my winter clothes into my cedar chest and weed out most of D’s long-sleeved and winter clothes as well.

Finally, I need to clean some of my boots (MUD SEASON) before I put them away.

Eats

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins — These muffins are excellent, if a little sweet. I will probably cut the sugar by 1/3 to 1/2 when I make them again.

Tabbouli — Had some parsley looking sad in my crisper drawer so I decided to make this last weekend. I was surprised at how MUCH the fam liked it. Added a can of chickpeas for protein and some chicken to mine one day. Very tasty.

The asparagus is finally in! We’ve been picking handfuls whenever we’re out in a ditch. First of the year were served with a basted egg and lemon butter on whole wheat sourdough toast.

Crackers — For our first cheese plate of patio season, I didn’t have any crackers on hand, so I whipped up some cream crackers from “How to Cook Everything” that were delicious and easy. Basically this recipe without the Parmesan (which I’m sure would also be amazing).

We had dinner at Smokin’ Fins restaurant in Arvada; excellent smoked prime rib tacos! And then, of course, a scoop or three from Scrumptious for dessert. I went wild and had a scoop of the “mystery” flavor — I could identify two kinds of chocolate, coconut, blueberry, maybe strawberry, and something with cinnamon in. Tasty and exciting. 😉

Meal Planning

I’ve been enjoying the recipes from this salad-a-day challenge, and I’ll probably make some more this week for lunches. I’m cutting the recipes down to make only one or two servings, since I’m home alone for lunch most days!

Some dinner ideas:

For both the paninis and the grilled chicken skewers, I’ll use my Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler. I like it because it has interchangeable plates, so I only need one appliance for a griddle, grill, panini press, and waffle iron.

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