The Bee Hive

Sometimes it's honey; sometimes it's sting...

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Today was a pleasant day all the way around...well except for the cold weather. It was sunny, though, so that was good. Zach and Mathieu did very well at the horse show today, although where they placed isn't offical yet. I picked up a couple of bags of nice men's clothes from Freecycle and took it to someone who I thought would like them. After picking up the clothes from the woman giving them away, I stopped by Goodwill and they were having a sale on baby clothes. So I picked out 21 little pieces of cute baby girl clothing for Andrew and Samantha's baby who is due very soon. On the way home I passed a garden where there was a big "OPEN" sign and another sign saying "Fresh Produce". So I stopped and bought some beautiful bok choy. The man had spinach, broccoli and green onions too. So I cooked the bok choy for dinner, and it was really good! I'm kicking myself now, because I didn't even think to take a photo of his garden. Also photo-worthy were the South Texas Trail Riders that I passed both going to and coming from Beeville. It was really picturesque this year with a lot of horse pulled wagons of all kinds as well and the usual horseback riders. There was even a stage coach... all heading to San Antonio.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


This was what I made for dinner tonight - tuna and noodle skillet and a green salad. The salad is mostly oak leaf lettuce, kale and green onion tops which are fresh from the garden. It really was good.
I think I mentioned a while back that I joined both a Monthly Menu Planning Challange and a Pantry Challange on a frugal website. Both have really been helpful AND a lot of fun this month and they fit very well together. So before January 1, I went through everything in my kitchen food cabinets, the fridge and the freezer. By 'freezer', I mean the small one over at the top of the refrigerator. We didn't move the separate one from the other house. I listed most of it in a notebook, (after listing about a dozen spices, I decided to let myself off the hook for that!) and worked with that list to plan dinner menus for the month. I was really pleasantly surprised to realize that there was enough food in the house to make a 31 day menu from! That seems like a lot. Now this is a FRUGAL challange, so none of the menus I planned are elaborate. I did have to do some menu juggling already this month, and will, no doubt, do more. Sometimes I counted on leftovers for the next meal, but it turned out that there were none. And sometimes I had a new dish listed for a meal on a day when there WERE leftovers...or there was some other reason why I had to switch things a little. But this has made meal preparation SO much easier. And I actually look forward to making dinner each night now. I am going to continue doing it permanently.

As for the Pantry Challange, the idea is to use up what you already have so things don't get 'lost' or passed over indefinately, or just plain wasted. This has really helped me too. Not only because of the money saving aspect of it, but just knowing I am making use of things that we have and like, but might not even think to use. And this challange doesn't mean that you can't buy any food items during the time you are in it...which is however long until you can't put a decent meal together from what you have left. Fill in items, perishables like milk, and things like that are 'legal' if you need them and choose to buy them. So since December, the only groceries I have bought are a bottle of catsup, that Chuck couldn't live without, a jar of coffee, a carton of cream, a loaf of bread, a carton of eggs and a package of bacon for seasoning. And I didn't stock up or even do a regular 'meat and potatoes and all the trimmings' grocery shopping trip anytime recently before starting the challange. When I started this Pantry Challange, it only stretched out until the end of the month on paper. In actuality I think my pantry challange will go a few days to a week longer. That really surprises me, too! And it is nice not having to do bigger grocery shopping runs until then.

Monday, January 11, 2010


...and third, fourth and fifth thoughts. The day before Christmas, I got the great idea to really start making quilts for the family this year. Flannel was really calling to me. So I went to Walmart, since that is the only place to get fabric within 50 miles of here. Unfortunately, their flannel choices were all cartoonish. I decided to go with solids. This 'lovely' selection is all the solid colors they had. Blah. But I got some of each and more of the turquoise that it is all sitting upon. And I thought that I would tie the quilt with black crochet thread. But after I got it home, it all just looked soooo dull. I considered just making a quilt of plain squares, and embroidering a little picture on each one. Now I am not so least with these colors. So I don't know... It might be better to just make regular quilts from a bunch of the fabrics in my stash. But whatever I decide to do, I need to get on it, despite my missing cutting mat, soon, if I am going to finish a good number of quilts this year.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Our meal tonight is being "spokesmodeled" by Carmela-Ruby.

"They had Hamburger Barley Soup tonight, following the recipe on the box of barley....well more or less. It called for canned tomatoes, but the closest thing Wanda had was Hot Rotel canned tomatoes with habeneros. They were *HOT!* and next time she'll use tomato sauce if she doesn't have regular tomatoes. She also didn't have carrots, so she used the rest of a bag of frozen Asian Stir-Fry Vegetables. Overall, despite the hotness, it was very good, (her DH had like 5 bowls over the course of the evening!) and she said they will definately have it again. Oh - the pasty-looking white thing on the bowl is one of her Irish Soda Bread biscuits. Honestly, they are delicious despite how they look. But, I have to go now and get some water - my mouth is STILL burning from those habeneros!"

Sunday, January 03, 2010


As the newest Wandette, Carmella Ruby Bridges, is showing, in a Vanna White kind of way, those three pumpkins are DONE! They are in the freezer, their seeds are soaking in salt water while awaiting roasting tomorrow, and the peelings and strings are going to the chickens in the morning. And all this only took hours to do. I am sooo glad all the pumpkins are gone! And to tell the truth at this moment I am not looking forward to the next crop. But these two bags will make 4 or 5 pumpkin desserts or batches of muffins, and that's a good thing.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Don't worry OR get your hopes up. This is not turning into a cooking blog. The idea that it might, would reduce to laughter anyone who knows me. But I joined some 2010 challanges on a Frugality website I recently joined. One challange is to have a monthly menu plan each month. So I have mine for January posted on my refrigerator and have been diligent in actually PLANNING to have a meal each night. I only plan the main dish, for the main meal, but it is really nice to have things planned in advance. Of course there will be some switching and 'jugglement' going on. It is only January 2nd, and I have aleady moved Corned Beef and Cabbage to January 15th and Meatloaf to today. Then to make things right, I had to move Spaghetti from January 15th to January 27th. And tomorrow was supposed to be Leftover Meatloaf Sandwiches....only there is no meatloaf left, so it looks like the Pancakes from January 4th are bumped up a day to the 3rd. I have no idea what to do about the 4th now... ;) So all of this started with the meatloaf. The reason I moved the meatloaf up by nearly 2 weeks was to take advantage of the leftover dressing that someone said made a terrific ingredient in meatloaf. Judging by none of it being left, with meatloaf not being one of Chuck's favorite dishes, I would say they were right. I also added an egg, celery, onion, garlic, and some catalina salad dressing since I was out of catsup.
Yes those three pumpkins are staring at me. I have been saying for longer than I care to admit that I will cook the last three I have, mash them, and bag them for the freezer. But tomorrow I will - for sure!

Friday, January 01, 2010


Naturally, dinner today was black-eyed peas. I didn't have real ones, or even dried ones. I used canned this year. It's Paulette Bailey's fault. She invited me over recently for our annual Christmas get-together and she served black-eyed peas as a side dish. She mentioned that she had used canned. Paulette is an absolutely swoon-worthy cook, and her peas were unbelievable, as was everything else on the table. So I thought I could manage just fine with canned peas on New Year's Day. Mine were nothing like hers, but they were really good nonetheless. I sauted bacon, celery leaves and onion, then added the peas and after they got hot, added some rice and garlic powder and simmered until the rice was done, 20 minutes later.

The cans looked kind of neat to me, so Mathieu and I put a couple of holes in the can bottoms, added little rocks and soil, and then I transplanted some small artemesia plants into them. These will go to two friends who surprised me with Christmas gifts this year.

I went to the Goodwill Store a couple of days ago and found this vintage tablecloth which I hope to sell on eBay. I also got this book, which looks kind of light, but I thought it might inspire me to actually start on the quilts I have resolved to make this year. We'll see.