2013 Garden Update Part 2

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:07 am on Monday, June 24, 2013

Garden Update 1
Garden Update 2
Garden Update 3
Garden Update 4

The garden is going well this year. I’ve harvest a lot of zucchini, lettuce, and blueberries so far and am starting to get beets, peas, peppers, carrots, and beans. I’ve been eating salads and making zucchini soup and churning blueberry ice cream and experimenting making homemade nocino liqueur from green walnuts growing on a tree not too far from my house.

I also discovered a swath of blackberry vines that grew up behind the garage is loaded with berries, so I decided to let them ripen before I take the vines out. The currant bush I put in behind our shed had a ripe currant on it, and the fig I put in this winter has a tiny baby fig on it.

Most gratifying, I’ve nursed several sickly plants back to health. The nectarine, which had leaf curl last year, is doing great, as are the two artichokes I transplanted to a better spot. In short, I have little to complain about this year… so far. Knock on wood!

Here are some pictures:

The tomato plants in the background are huge. I have to trellis them again. The smaller plants in the front at peppers. Here’s a close up on a pepper plant:

My green tomatoes:

Ripen already!

Here are the zucchini plants:

They have produced so many zucchinis that I’m already thinking of pickling some of them.

I have a butternut squash plant in this bed too. It’s already starting to produce baby butternuts:

And the green beans are so lush that I had to extend the trellis higher today. These are Kentucky green beans.

I’ve picked some French green beans and the flowers on the scarlet runner beans are making the bees happy. The only sad thing is that grasshoppers ate some of the flowers off the vines, so I think there will be fewer scarlet runner beans than I had hoped. What can you do?

Make Your Own Sour Cream

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:45 am on Friday, June 21, 2013

Here’s a post on making your own sour cream. All it takes is cream and buttermilk.

I suspect homemade sour cream tastes awesome, but I’m not sure making it will save you any money–unless, as the post suggest, you have made butter and have buttermilk left over.

Or, you can always make your own buttermilk and then use that to make your own sour cream.

Maybe I need to buy a cow…

From Tennis Racket To Mirror

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:13 am on Thursday, June 20, 2013

Here’s a cool use for a vintage tennis racket: turn it into a mirror. From the site:

Take a racket to a glass shop and ask for a custom-cut beveled-edge mirror that fits inside the rim — this should cost $30 to $50. Then following the package instructions, squeeze Liquid Nails Mirror Adhesive onto the back of the looking glass and firmly press it onto the strings (be sure to protect your work surface with newspaper). Let the adhesive dry overnight before hanging this decorative ace from a nail.

Kind of a cool idea, especially if you’re into tennis.

Reusable Baby Food Pouches

Filed under: Kids — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:22 am on Wednesday, June 19, 2013

While I make most of my baby food, sometimes I buy baby food in pouches out of convenience when we’re out and about and my son needs to eat. Well, as we all know, convenience costs. The pouches run about $1.39 each, which adds up when you are buying two or three at at time.

A clerk at a grocery store told me about these reusable baby food pouches. The idea is that you fill them with your own baby food and then wash them out and reuse again later. If you plan ahead and have these ready to go in the fridge, they can be just as convenient for when you’re on the go–plus homemade baby food tastes better and is often more nutritious.

These particular pouches, while cute, costs $18.49 for four, or $4.62 per pouch. I think that’s a little pricey. So I also found these, which cost $9.99 for three pouches, or $3.33 per pouch. I wonder if there are some even cheaper ones out there…

Skinny Piña Colada

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:54 am on Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Remember how I recently made coconut vodka? (Easiest liquor infusion ever–just add coconut from that bag languishing in the back of your pantry to vodka for 1-2 days.) Well, I decided to try making a piña-colada-flavored drink with it.

DIY Cocktails and I came up with a drink that tastes a lot like a piña colada, but with almost half the calories–around 230 calories compared to 530 calories in a real piña colada.

If you want to go even skinner, cut the vodka in half for about 115 calories, less than a glass of wine. The one we made uses three ounces of vodka, which is quite a stiff drink.

The Skinny Piña Colada uses only three ingredients: coconut vodka, lime juice, and pineapple juice. I ran a pineapple through a juicer, but canned juice would work just as well.

In fact, this is one of the few cocktails I’ve made where freshness is not essential. Canned juice and cooking-coconut-infused vodka is just as refreshing and tropical tasting as fresh.

Here’s the recipe:

Skinny Piña Colada



Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake drink and strain into a glass. Enjoy!

Meat Claws

Filed under: Pretty/Cool — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:23 am on Monday, June 17, 2013

I saw these Meat Claws in the hardware store and started laughing. They are both ridiculous and awesome. The idea is that you put these on to quickly and easily shred barbequed/slow-cooked meat.

Yes, two forks work just as well when it comes to shredding meat, but can you petend you’re a bear while doing it? I think not.

Father’s Day Round-Up

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:29 am on Friday, June 14, 2013

It’s Father’s Day already! Didn’t we just have Mother’s Day?

Here’s a round-up of Father’s Day posts for your last-minute perusal:

savvyhousekeeping father's day

10 DIY Father’s Day Presents.

savvyhousekeeping father's day burgers

Five Burger Recipes For Father’s Day.

savvyhousekeeping father's day

Pliny The Elder Beer Ice Cream.

savvyhousekeeping american dad cocktail father's day

American Dad Cocktail.

savvyhousekeeping bacon father's day present

Oscar Mayer Bacon Boxes.

Happy Father’s Day.

My Boxelder Bug Trap

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:08 am on Thursday, June 13, 2013

I have hundreds of boxelder bugs in my yard this year. I have no idea why, but they are going through some kind of renaissance. In moderation, they aren’t much of a problem, but by the hundreds, they’re pretty annoying.

In particular, they have pretty much destroyed my strawberry crop this year. Sometimes I would come out and there would be 15 boxelders on one strawberries! Disgusting! Since boxelders like fruit, I’m concerned for my blueberries, nectarines, and tomato crops too.

So I looked into it: boxelders don’t seem to have much in the way of predators. Birds leave them alone. Supposedly preying mantis eat them, but I don’t have those in my yard. Spiders are a “minor predator” to the boxelder. Spraying kills them, but I don’t want to spray insecticides or soap on something as porous as a strawberry. They mate on boxelder, maple, and ash trees, and in my case, that means they are coming out of my neighbor’s yard.

In short, I was not winning the war on boxelder bugs.

So what I finally did was put a plastic cup under each strawberry and filled it with about an inch of water. Then I came out a couple of times a day and knocked any boxelders I saw into the water so that they drowned.

It was pretty disgusting, but it has worked. The tide is turning and I’m starting to get strawberries again. There are still plenty of boxelders in my yard, but at least I have a method for reducing the population.

Are boxelder bugs a problem for you?

DIY Coconut Vodka

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:51 am on Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Recently I had an opportunity to try Vikingfjord Vodka from Norway. It had a clean flavor that I thought would be perfect for making some flavored vodkas for summer cocktails, so I decided to try making coconut vodka with it.

This recipe could not be easier. To make the coconut vodka, steep coconut in vodka for 2 days. That’s it. I didn’t even use fresh coconut. I had a half-used bag of coconut in the pantry from the last time I made a coconut dessert.

The result is pretty awesome. You can drink this stuff straight and almost forget you’re drinking vodka. I see some dangerously delicious cocktails in our future. In the meantime, here’s the recipe to make your own coconut vodka:

Coconut Vodka


    1 c vodka (preferably a good-quality vodka)
    1/2 c shredded coconut


Combine vodka and coconut in a bowl. Cover. After 24 hours, taste vodka for desired flavor. I found it got just about right after two days of steeping.

Strain the vodka and transfer to a bottle. Enjoy straight or in any cocktail that calls for coconut-flavored liquor.

Make Your Own Strawberry Fruit Rollups

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:24 am on Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DIY Strawberry Fruit Rollups. There are only three ingredients: strawberries, lemon, and sugar.

It looks easy to make. You puree the fruit, cook to thicken it, spread it on a mat, and dehydrate in an oven or dehydrator. From the site:

You’ll know the rollup is done when it doesn’t feel sticky, just a bit tacky. Don’t bake for too long or the rollup will turn into a crispy chip!


This is especially useful if you’re getting a bumper strawberry crop this year and need to use up the extra strawberries.


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