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Archive for February, 2010

Snow!

This past weekend, it was in the mid to high 70s.  Today, it snowed on and off all day.

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For the middle of February, I can still only see lettuce, oregano, strawberries (without the berries), and rosemary in my garden.  The potatoes and carrots have yet to make an appearance, probably because we’ve had lots of rain and cold weather.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the potatoes show soon, but I’m having my doubts about the carrots.  Still, if the weather warms, they may decide to make an appearance.

I hope to add onions, but that will probably be in March.

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When to get the jogging in?

For all of you busy people out there, when do you get your exercise in?

I’ve decided that the only way I’ll get my exercise in each day is to have a set time.

I’ve thought about first thing in the morning, but I’ve come up with mostly negatives:

  • I prefer to sleep in
  • The treadmill wakes up the rest of the house
  • I would have to blow dry my hair before work, which takes time and also dries it out
  • I would have to wake up earlier (Note the desire to sleep in?)

First thing home after work seems to have problems, too:

  • I’m usually extremely hungry
  • I’d be happy to just climb in bed and collapse as well

Thus, we have the idea of a set time before bed:

  • It should be long enough after dinner for the food to have digested
  • I’ll be able to take a shower at night and not have to worry about it in the morning, thus getting the opportunity to sleep in a bit later
  • It’s an excuse to watch a movie on the TV (while I’m on the treadmill)
  • It’s an excuse to continue to watch the movie as I stretch and possibly move on to sit-ups after jogging/stretching
  • It might make me tired enough to sleep well

Thus, I will attempt to have a set time for jogging each evening.  We’ll see how it will work out.

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Revised Jogging Plan

I always seem to be changing up my exercise plan.  I come up with a plan, get geared up for it, try it for a while, and then it fizzes out.  With that said, I’ve got a revised plan.  Part of my inspiration comes from watching a marathon go through my neighborhood.  It was very inspiring, and I think it would be great to jog every day, even if it’s only a small distance that gets increased over time.

Most recently, I’ve been trying the plan from the Navy Seal Workout Book.  For my new plan, I’ve taken out the push-ups and sit-ups.  That leaves me with a walk or jog warm-up, stretching, and then a jog or swim.  In a way, it’s similar to triathlon training, just without the bike (thus biathlon).  I guess I’m more into swimming and jogging than cycling.

I typed up a chart to organize my exercise.  I’m currently in Level 2 of the book.  I walk 15 min. for my warm-up and then jog 1 mile (or swim 825 yards = half a mile).  After 5 workouts, I warm up and then jog 2 miles.

As you can see in the picture above, I’ve taken into account that I’ve already done the workouts for the first week.  (I’m doing 4 weeks per level.)

If I feel up to it, I’ll add in the push-ups and sit-ups from the book, but I don’t want them to hold me up.

I don’t have a wall calendar right now, so I made a workout one using a page from a travel guide, construction paper, and my workout plan.  Seeing the mountains inspires me to get moving, and seeing the 1 mile jog (and the fact that 1 mile is not so bad, especially when there’s no longer push-ups and sit-ups that must go with it) makes it seem a reachable thing to do each day.

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I know that I can get onions for 39¢ a pound at the grocery store this week.  Why would I grow my own?

Reading Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn, gave me some insight into this.  I wonder why I didn’t consider it before.  When we grow our own veggies, we are essentially going organic, because we don’t use pesticides.  Organic veggies cost more at the store or at farmers’ markets, so if I consider the cost of organic onions, I figure I do pretty well.

I also consider how much I enjoy working outside in my garden.  It really makes my day and brings such happiness to me.  =

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New Square Foot Garden Box

I made a new square foot garden box, 4 ft x 4 ft, and 6 inches tall.  To stay frugal on the purchase price, I used 4 bags (1 cu ft each) of topsoil that were pre-mixed with peat moss.  I also used 2 bags (2 cu ft each) of Miracle Grow garden soil.  I compared the costs of using compost for my plant food, but I found it more affordable at my local garden supply store to use the Miracle Grow.

After I built the frame, I lined the inside with newspapers and put the soil inside.

My next step (this week or next week) is to lay out a twine grid to make 16 squares.  I plan to put potatoes in this box.

Here, you can see my three raised garden beds.  The one on the left has strawberries, rosemary, and oregano planted, as well as carrots that have not come up yet.  The box in the back has romaine lettuce.  I figure I have about 40 romaine plants.

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In an effort to be more frugal and stay within my grocery budget, I’ve taken to making bread at home.  We’ve used our bread machine with success many times, but I don’t like having a hole in the bottom of my bread (from the mixing blade in the bread machine).

I came across Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day at the bookstore and requested it from the library.  I’m so happy that I did.

First, you mix warm water, yeast, salt, and flour in a container with a lid.  You let it sit, covered, on the counter for two hours.  Then, you can make some bread.  If you don’t want to bake that day, you put the container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

You only have to mix.  You don’t have to knead the dough.

When you’re ready to bake, you sprinkle the dough with flour, cut out a piece, and shape it.  Then, you put it on a surface (or in my case, a bread pan, because I wanted a loaf shape instead of a round shape) to rise.  If you haven’t refrigerated the dough, you let it rise 40 min.  If the dough is cold, you let it rise 1 hr, 40 min.  You don’t have to cover it or make sure the temperature is just right for rising.

20 minutes into the rising time, you turn on your oven, with an empty pan with sides in the bottom (I use a round cake pan).  This pan will be to hold hot water.  If you plan to use a pizza stone, you stick that it to heat up, too.

At baking time, after slicing some slits in your bread (I always have trouble remembering to do this), you put your bread in the oven (on the pizza stone or in your loaf pan) and also pour about 1 cup of hot water in the pan at the bottom of the oven.  This will produce steam and make the crust of your bread hard.  Bake for 30 minutes and you have fantastic bread!

Let’s say that you finish that bread partway through the week and you want to make another loaf…  All you have to do is take your bread dough out of the fridge, shape it, let it rise, and then bake it!

When you finish the dough in the container, don’t wash it, because the dough gains more of a sourdough flavor over time.  Instead, leave the container in the fridge until you’re ready to mix another batch of dough.  I tend to mix a batch every weekend or two.

If your fridge is large enough to accommodate the container, you can mix double, triple, etc. batches of the dough.

The book also contains additional bread recipes, as well as how to use the dough for pizzas, etc.

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