Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Apparently I’m the new kind of domestic diva

My mother will be thrilled. Ha.

Check out this

great article on the ideas of living smaller, cheaper, leaner and greener from the Washington Post.


CPR for a container garden

We have a few survivors from the recent container garden catastophe. Two basil plants and one houseplant we temporarily rooted in water:

basil and dracena rooted in water

Today I was brave (or stupid) and replanted the basil. Mere stalks and a few tiny leaves are left since we turned the larger leaves into margherita pizza and herb bread (recipes coming soon!) I used soil from the few remaining houseplants that the bugs were mostly ignoring.

Our flying friends (ha!) are still with us so I took the added precaution of bagging up the pot and drip tray. If this works, I’ll do the same with my little dracena houseplant.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

catastrophe strikes

I had to kill all of the plants and remove all of the soil from the apartment.

About two weeks ago we started to notice a few little things flying around our plants. Gnats. We got a crop of gnats last year after we brought home  our first few batches of produce from our CSA. I went out and bought sticky stakes (fly paper) to try to deal with the bug problem before it got worse.

Well, 60 sticky stakes, two spray bottles of soapy water and ten homemade gnat traps later, the problem was worse than ever. The bugs loved everything that had home depot soil but were ignoring all of the plants we brought with us when we moved up from Texas and Tennessee. I did some internet research and figured out that our last batch of home depot soil was probably infested with bug eggs.

On the plus side, we did harvest one two-inch pepper, enough lettuce for a salad, and one really tasty tomato.

The gnats aren’t gone yet but when they are we’ll start again, smaller this time.

Time to start again. In the meantime, look for more recipes for seasonal produce — starring the bounty from our CSA!

yuppie gadget + frugal recipe = tasty peppermint ice cream!

One of my favorite yuppie kitchen gadgets is the ice cream maker we got for our wedding. Although it’s one more gadget to own, you can make better ice cream than Haagen-Daas at home for a fraction of the price (with no useless container to throw out in the end.) It’s quicker and easier than you think.

My favorite is peppermint candy ice cream.

1. Smash up some peppermint candies. Break them into pieces with a rolling pin or other heavy object. Exercise AND pre-ice cream stress relief! If the pieces fly everywhere, you can wrap them in some wax paper first. I reused an old ziploc bag.

2. Combine the candy, 2c. heavy whipping cream, 1/4c. milk, a few drops of peppermint extract, and 1/2c. white sugar in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. Let sit for ten minutes for the candies to dissolve a bit.

3. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Eat!

This recipe makes ~1.5  pints of ice cream for less than $3. Much cheaper than Haagen-Daas. The ice cream maker pays for itself and you get better quality than you can buy in a store.

black-thumb yuppie garden

I’d heard about Aerogardens a while ago (probably from a TV infomercial). My concrete-bunker-office is not being hospitable to growing anything edible (the basil is already dead, sigh) so this seemed like an interesting idea. And being a yuppie, I just had to try it.

Not much for week one, but there are little sprouts in two of the cups. Too small to see though.

It’s really hydroponic gardening not aeroponic gardening. They say that anyone can grow anything anywhere with one of these.  You just fill the base with water, stick the little plant cups it comes with in the holes, turn the light on and watch it grow.

At the very least it seems to be good entertainment for my coworkers. The violets are enjoying mooching off of the 17 hour light cycle.  I have my doubts that this is an ‘eco-friendly’ product since it’s plugged in and running all the time  though. And gah, I swore I wouldn’t buy more stuff so I hope it’s worth it!

It’s official, I own too much stuff

The pile of stuff in our walk-in closet in the bedroom is officially taller than I am. I have four shoe racks at home and a shoe drawer at work but suddenly I’m out of space for my shoes. I own six watches (I only wear two). If we’re going to fit into an 880 square foot apartment, something is going to have to change.

Time to throw things out! (or recycle). I’m going to try to rid myself of one object every day, for a total of 365 things in the next year.

The big challenge is to do this in an environmentally friendly way. So far I’ve found the website’s search tool for recycling centers. You can enter your zip code and then the type of thing you want to recycle and it gives you a list of places that accept those items for recycling.

I honed my hoarding skills on my shoe collection. I’ll focus on those this week.  How much trouble am I in? Let’s guess…

The number is going to be scary. So once I decide which ones are going:

Gardening on our coffee table

Our apartment doesn’t have a balcony and there aren’t any community gardens nearby.  Grocery store organic lettuce has frustrated me for a while. It costs upwards of $4 a box (times 52 boxes a week = $208 a year on lettuce alone?!) and you’re left with a huge plastic container. So what’s a girl to do?

Garden on the coffee table!

I took every plant container we had (which ended up being only about 10 containers) and filled them with some leftover soil. The containers weren’t always a great size (nothing was tall enough for carrots) and I didn’t want to spend more money on containers.

Luckily, my husband has an orange juice problem. He goes through about a gallon of OJ a week, which leaves me with four containers for carrots a week! (and less trash, and more cash in my pocket.)

Look, they’re growing already!

Turns out lots of containers can be used for planting. Milk and juice cartons are good because they’re made to keep liquids in. Just be sure to poke some holes in the bottom of the container so the soil can drain.

Lots of other containers work great for our low-cost container garden. Even lids can be used as drip trays.

Now I know what to do with that huge plastic lettuce box!