Ananas D’Amerique A Chair Verte Melon

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:41 am on Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One of the nicest surprises in my garden this year was the Ananas D’Amerique A Chair Verte Melon. I don’t know why it has such a crazy name. I planted it on a whim because I read that Thomas Jefferson planted them in 1794. (Anything that can bring my garden closer to Monticello is fine with me.)

This melon is a cross between a honeydew and a cantaloupe. It has green flesh with a yellow/orange tinge on top. It’s incredibly juicy with juice dripping all over your arms when you eat it. My son is crazy about it.

At one time, this melon was popular to grow in the United States, but it fell out of favor because its short shelf life didn’t lend itself to shipping. Now, it’s very rare to get your hands on an Ananas Melon.

But one of the exciting things about gardening is that you can grow out things you’d never eat otherwise.

You can buy the seeds to grow your own Ananas D’Amerique A Chair Verte Melon here.

My 2014 Fall Garden

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:33 am on Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Can you believe August is half over? I’m busy harvesting. This is today’s haul: kale, tomatoes, four different types of green beans, three different types of peppers, corn, lemons, oranges, baby carrots, and an egg.

And while all this is going on, it’s also time to think about my fall garden!

Here’s my plan for My 2014 Fall Garden:

To plant now:

    Brussels Sprouts

To plant next month:

    Fava Beans
    Turnips or Rutabaga

I’ve never grown Turnips or Rutabagas before, so it’ll be interesting to see how they do. I try to grow something new every season to keep things interesting.

What’s your fall garden plan?

5 Ways To Organize Blankets

Filed under: Cleaning/Decorating — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:24 am on Monday, August 18, 2014

Babies. They sure have a lot of blankets. Am I right?

Here are five ways to organize blankets, baby or no:

Roll Them On A Shelf

Install A Towel Rack On A Door

Put Them In A Organizing Bin Or Basket

Fold Them In A Drawer

Hang Them In The Closet

Water Draining Soap Holder

Filed under: Pretty/Cool — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:13 am on Friday, August 15, 2014

Here’s a nifty gadget: a Water Draining Soap Holder. No more icky standing soap-scum water! $5.

[Oh Gizmodo]

Make Your Own Glow-in-the-Dark Shelves

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:57 am on Thursday, August 14, 2014

Check out these glow-in-the-dark shelves that Mat Brown made for his kitchen. The shelves are from a piece of chestnut wood. He filled the cracks with resin mixed with powder that glows in the dark, like so:

The shelves were then sanded down and coated in linseed oil. The results are pretty nifty.

How I Made Blackberry Jam For $.69 A Jar

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:31 am on Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This year, I took a lunch hour to pick some berries from a patch down the road and got a pretty good haul. Since Savvy Jr. has been eating a lot of toast, I decided to make jam with it the berries. I made the following recipe, which makes eight 8-ounce jars of jam.

Since I got the berries for free and re-used jars, the only things I bought for the jam were the pectin ($3.99) and the sugar ($1.50). That means each jar of jam cost only $.69 to make.

My recipe uses 5 cups of sugar. Most jam recipes call for more than that—7 cups of sugar is common, sometimes you even see 10 cups.

That might be necessary if you have sour berries (which is often the case with frozen berries or store-bought berries), but that’s way too much sugar for good berries, if you ask me. My idea of jam is summer in a jar. You want it to taste like mashed, sweet fruit, not gelled sugar.

I find this recipe works fine with regular pectin, but to make sure it gels nicely, use low-sugar pectin if you have a choice. It acts and tastes like regular pectin—you won’t notice the difference.

Blackberry Jam
(Makes 8 8-ounce jars)


    5 cups blackberries
    4-5 cups sugar
    1 (1 3/4 ounce) package low-sugar pectin
    1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Sanitize your jars, either with a dishwasher’s sanitize mode or by boiling them for 10 minutes. Wash the lids and rings with soap. Put the jars upside down on a clean towel until you’re ready to use them.

Wash the berries and remove any twigs or debris.

Put the berries in a large stainless steel pot. Mash with a potato masher.

Add the pectin a little at a time, stirring as you go. Heat the berries on high heat and bring to a full boil.

Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Taste the jam. Add more sugar if needed. (The finished jam will taste pretty much like the jam in the pot, so keep that in mind when tasting.)

Bring the mixture back to a full boil. Let boil for one minute.

Remove from the heat. Ladle the hot jam into the jars, leaving about 1/4-inch space at the top. Put on the lid and rings on the jars.

Put the jars in a pot and cover completely with water. Bring to a boil and let boil for 10 minutes.

Remove the jam from the water and let sit upright on the towel at room temperature for 12 hours.

Ta-da! Jam! You can eat it within a day or two after making it. Enjoy!

Vegetable-Heavy Entrees I’ve Made Recently

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:03 am on Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My fridge is jammed with vegetables from my garden right now. We’ve been eating like kings for very little money. There’s a reason they say the living is easy during the summer.

Here’s some dinners I’ve had lately that have been vegetable heavy that I heartily recommend.


I had never made ratatouille before and was doubtful I would like it. I was wrong. Ratatouille is AWESOME. I made Jacques Pepin’s recipe and served it on the side of red snapper en Papillote, along with some nice bread and wine.

The thing is, I didn’t care about the fish because the ratatouille was so good. I just wanted to eat more and more of it. And it takes a tons of veggies: eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, onions, zucchini, olives, and peppers. Because most of the veggies were from my garden, the only things I bought for the ratatouille were the eggplant, olives, and olive oil.

Lamb Kebabs With Sides Of Sauteed Chard and Caprese Salad

This was one of those “riches of summer” meals where you really feel the season. I marinated cubed lamb in a way similar to this recipe, using all herbs from the garden. Then put them on skewers with sliced fennel bulb and zucchini from the–you guessed it!–garden. While Mr. Savvy grilled the kebabs, I sauteed fresh chard (garden) with garlic, onion, feta, pecans, and a slight squeeze of lemon (garden). Then I made a Caprese salad, using tomatoes (garden), basil (garden), and fresh mozzarella. It was a lovely dinner.

Zucchini and Corn Quesadilla With Easy Guacamole

[Image From Ezra Pound Cake]

This was a big hit. It’s a cheese quesadilla with zucchini (garden), onions, and corn in it. (Canned corn worked great, but it’s easy to get fresh right now.) I used Martha Stewart’s recipe. Then we ate them with my version of easy guacamole: mash up an avocado and sprinkle in a little bit of salt and pepper in it.

Vegetable Pot Pie

You can make a Vegetable Pot Pie on a Monday and get a couple of dinners or lunches out of it. I have my own recipe that I’ll eventually share, but in the meantime, this recipe looks pretty decent. My veggie pot pie had zucchini, carrots, green beans, onions, garlic, (all garden) and mushrooms.

Fettuccine with Sausage, Basil, and Sun-dried Tomatoes

I made fresh fettuccine with my pasta machine and tossed it with Mario Batli’s sauce of sausage (homemade), basil (garden), and sun-dried tomatoes (leftover from last year’s garden). There’s nothing like fresh pasta.

Yep. We’re eating well around here.

And we’re not done yet. Here are some upcoming vegetable entrees I have planned:

What To Do With Chard

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:52 am on Monday, August 11, 2014

I have four thriving chard plants in my garden this year. That’s fine with me, since I like chard better than other greens, like kale. And you can use chard (or beet greens) in any recipe that calls for kale or mustard greens. Here are some ideas:

Spicy Rainbow Chard with Bacon and Polenta. This looks like a great Monday night dinner.

Chard Fritters. Hm. Kinds like chard chips, only in fritter form.

Swiss Chard And Bacon Turnovers. You could do an easier version of this with frozen puffed pastry, too.

Chard Pesto. A good way to preserve extra chard.

Orecchiette with Sausage, Chard, and Parsnips. Yum, is all I have to say.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With White Beans and Chard. I love this idea. I think I’ll try it.

Desk Hammock For Your Feet

Filed under: Pretty/Cool — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:56 am on Friday, August 8, 2014

Check it out: a Desk Hammock For Your Feet. I like it. $30.

Make Your Own Altoids

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:44 am on Thursday, August 7, 2014

Well look at this: Make Your Own Altoids.

It takes gum paste, powdered sugar, and flavored oil, presumably peppermint.

I like Altoids, as you can tell by my post about what to do with Altoids tins. I wonder if making your own is cheaper than buying them. Hmmmm…

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