Friday, March 31, 2023


Today's Harvest: Snow Pea Pods and Vine

It rained late last night and early this morning, but, later in the morning, it was sunny.  I woke up relatively early for me because M had rescheduled his visit from Wednesday morning to today, saying he be arriving between 9:30a.m. and 10:00 a.m.  When I went outside to unlock the gate for him, I realized that it was nice and warm in the sunshine; warmer than it was inside the house, anyway.  So, I sat outside in the sunshine to say my morning prayers and afterwards, I picked some snow pea pods.  I also did a little bit of weeding in the planting bed with the pea vines, but, stopped when I was realizing that I was pulling out the pea vines along with the weeds as they were all tangled up together!  I replanted the pea vines that I had accidentally pulled out, but, a piece of another vine broke off and I brought it in with me.  I will add the growing tips of the pea vine to the leftover stir fry.  

M texted to say he was delayed a bit, but, he'll be here around 10:30 a.m., which was fine with me.  He checked on the plants in the backyard and fertilized the blueberry bushes.  But, today's main project was to tidy up the front section of the side yard.  This is the area behind the chimney and it's where the gas meter is located and one of the feijoa/pineapple guava trees is growing.  The guava tree was already here when I bought the house, 30+ years ago and it is showing signs of stress, with several sections of it drying up.  There is some new growth at the bottom, though; maybe if we cut down the dying branches, it might regrow.   In any case, that area was overgrown with weeds and M cleared it out, today, and pruned some of the nearby euphorbia branches, too, as they were growing over the fence into the neighbor's yard and knocking against their motorhomes that are permanently parked in their driveway, these days.  While he did that, I pulled some of the weeds that were growing in the front yard.  At least, the ones that were easily pulled up!  There are some others that need to be dug up, but, I'm leaving them for another day.  

The clouds moved in by late morning, before M left at 11:30 a.m.  It was no longer sunny and warm and I went inside. 

Last August, I had baked a Welsh bread known as bara brith and there was another portion of it in the fridge.  I had wrapped it well and it had not spoiled, but, it had dried out.  Well, I wasn't going to let it go to waste, so, I cut up a portion of it. mixed up the milk and egg mixture, added a few more raisins and cashew nuts, put it all in a dish, and left it in the fridge overnight for the bread to absorb the egg/milk mixture and soften.  Early this afternoon, I baked the bread pudding:

Bara Brith Bread Pudding

I cut myself a piece of it while it was still warm from the oven and had it for my brunch:

Piece of Bread Pudding

I must say it tasted very rich and I could definitely taste the orange rinds, the ginger marmalade, and the spices I had used to make the bara brith.  I think it would be great served with some custard for a dessert and I just might do that, later.  But, today, I had the piece of bread pudding on its own.

I spent the afternoon repairing the quilt and I watched a few videos while I did that.  It started to rain around 4:00 p.m., and it rained for about 1 1/2 hours.  Then, the rain ceased and I think that might have been our last rain shower for March.  There's no rain in the forecast for Friday and April promises to be a drier month.

I watched the news in the evening and warmed up leftover rice and smoked sausage stir fry for my dinner.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:

- A sunny morning
- More rain for the garden
- M's help with the garden
- Today's harvest
- Working appliances

Today's joyful activities included gardening and baking bread pudding (not to mention eating bread pudding!)  

Plans for tomorrow include more gardening with M. some housekeeping tasks, and quilt repairs.

How was your Thursday?  What are your plans for Friday? 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Rain on Wednesday

A Peek Into the Garden Shed

It's been just over a year since I cleaned out the garden shed and I took this photo, yesterday, to show that it is still, relatively, tidy.  Garden-related stuff from the garage were relocated to the shed and things have been shifted around a bit, but, it is, for the most part, still organized and functional.  The floor gets wet when it rains and it is a bit muddy, but, I will go in there and clean it once it stops raining, in the summer.

It rained, late last night and early this morning (and it is raining, again, tonight, with more rain in the forecast for tomorrow evening, too!)  M texted me in the morning to say that it was too wet to tend to the garden and he could stop by tomorrow (Thursday) morning, instead.  I said that would be fine with me.  

It didn't rain during the day, but, it was cloudy with some sunshine.  It was a bit chilly, too (for me, anyway) and I stayed inside for most of the day, going outside only to check the mail and pick a few snow pea pods from the plants we planted near the trellis in the front.  

I had a scrambled egg and toast for brunch, today.  For dinner, I had a bowl of the canned stew, with some frozen green peas added to it before I warmed it up:

Canned Beef Stew

I know I said I was going to make beef pot pies, but, I got hungry rather early, this evening, and didn't want to take the time to make pastry for the pie crusts.  But, there's more beef stew leftover and I will make the beef pot pie tomorrow.  I might add some green beans to it, too, before I make the pie, because the canned stew only has carrots and potatoes for vegetables.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- More rain for the garden
- More snow peas from the garden
- Working appliances
- Phone calls and emails with family and friends
- Clean water to drink

Today's joyful activity was playing online word games with my daughter.

Plans for tomorrow include M's visit (weather permitting), some baking, and more quilt repairs!

How was your Wednesday?  What are your plans for Thursday?


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Still Sunny

Persimmon Tree is Leafing Out

Monday was a lovely, sunny and warm (highs in the upper 60Fs) day.  I had my appointment with the tax preparer at 1:00 p.m. and it went very well.  I am glad that the taxes were done and filed in good time.  I took some of the banana muffins I had baked and gave them to the tax preparer; she was very happy to receive them.  She called me, today, and thanked me, again, for the muffins, saying she shared them with her husband.

I noticed a bit of a pain at the back of my right leg when I drove to the tax preparer's office and it persisted for a good portion of the afternoon.  Ever since I had my sciatica pains, summer before last, I get worried when I have any leg pains!  I think I was dehydrated and maybe low on potassium, as well (my blood tests have indicated that I have low potassium levels).  I made it a point to drink some water and kept a heating pad on my leg and the pain went away.  Then, I watered the newly planted loquat seedlings, picked more snow peas, cleaned the litter box, took the trash can to the end of the drive way, and cooked dinner.  By then, the leg pain was back!  I drank more water, ate dinner, ate some raisins, and had some cereal with milk before I went to bed.  Both raisins and milk are high in potassium.  Brunch had been sauteed garbanzo beans and a banana muffin; dinner had been rice and smoked sausage stir-fry.  

Neighbor T called in the afternoon and I chatted with her for a bit and, later, I called friend R to check on her.

I have not had any leg pains, today, and I am trying to drink plenty of water!

Today was another sunny and warm day.  I brought the trash cans in, picked more snow peas (I am able to pick about 6 or 7 snow pea pods almost daily), brought in the mail, and checked the grocery ads (not planning to buy groceries this week, either, because I spent all my March grocery budget, but, I like to see what the deals are).  In the afternoon, I watched some online videos and continued to repair the quilt.  Later, I watched some news and a couple of TV programs.

Brunch had been the last banana muffin.  Dinner was a three course meal!  A garden salad with lettuce from the garden, followed by sausage stir-fry over rice, and canned pineapple chunks for dessert!  

Friend R called me in the evening to see how I was doing and I video chatted with my daughter.

Today was the anniversary of my father's birthday.  I debated making a cake in his memory, but, I didn't.  Instead, I remembered him with a prayer.

My Father and I

I am grateful for:
- Sunny days
- The taxes were completed and filed
- Garden produce
- Memories and old photographs
- The leg pain seems to have subsided

Joyful activities have included chatting with family and friends, picking and eating garden produce, and being able to share some of the banana muffins.  

We have rain in the forecast for later tonight/early tomorrow morning and tomorrow evening.  If the rain ceases later in the morning, M will be able to tend to the garden.  We will have to wait and see.  Plans for tomorrow include tending to the garden with M (weather permitting), doing a bit of tidying, and housework.

How is your week coming along?  What are your plans for Wednesday?

March Meal Plan - Week 4 Review and Week 5!

This was my meal plan for last week:   

Brunches: Frozen burrito (Monday & Sunday)✔, salads✔, fried rice✔ (eaten for dinner instead of brunch), sauteed garbanzo beans (eaten for dinner instead of brunch) ✔, egg salad sandwiches, toast with cheese ✔

- Breakfast for dinner (Monday; scrambled egg, fried Spam, toast)✔
- Smoked sausage/vegetables stir fry with rice
- Baked frozen fish fillets with rice and pea pods✔
- Chicken curry and rice? ✔
- Leftovers✔

And here's how it all turned out:

Brunch: Frozen burrito
Dinner: Scrambled egg, fried spam, toast; followed by salad and a mandarin

Breakfast: Toast, butter, and apple-cranberry jam
Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich
Dinner: Baked (frozen) battered fish fillets, savory rice, snow peas; Apple slices

Brunch: Ramen noodles
Dinner: Spinach and cheese burek, bread and butter, chocolates

Brunch: Cup noodles
Dinner: Rice, chicken curry, cucumber slices

Brunch: Salad - garden lettuce, grapes, cucumber, bottled dressing
Dinner: Fried rice with spam, snow peas/garbanzo beans, and cashews

Brunch: Salad - garden lettuce, canned chick peas, bottled dressing
Dinner: Cheeseburger - hamburger patty (from the freezer), bread ends for the bun, slice of American cheese, lettuce, ketchup

Brunch: Frozen burrito
Dinner: Sauteed spicy chick peas, banana nut muffins

I went off the meal plan a few times, but, I think I did well, on the whole.

Which brings me to this week (March 27 - April 2) that I am calling March Week 5.

Here are my options:

Brunches: Sauteed garbanzo beans (Monday), banana muffins, scrambled egg and toast, salad, frozen burrito, milkrice with seeni sambol and mackerel curry (on Saturday, April 1), leftover milkrice and mackerel curry

- Smoked sausage/vegetables stir fry with rice (Monday)
- Beef pot pie (using canned beef stew)
- Turkey and vegetable soup; biscuits
- Leftovers

After listing the smoked sausage and vegetables stir fry for two weeks, I finally made it on Monday!  I used half of a 14 oz. smoked sausage, snow peas picked from the garden, two carrots, some broccoli florets, part of a can of pineapple chunks, and a handful of cashew pieces, and had some for dinner with freshly cooked rice:

Smoked Sausage Stir Fry and Rice

It made a big wok full of stir fry and I now have plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week!  

Are you making a meal plan for this week?  

Monday, March 27, 2023

Sunny on Sunday

Banana Nut Muffins

Thank you, everyone, for the very kind comments about the garden.  I'm hopeful that the little fruit trees will grow and produce well.

Today (Sunday) was a sunny day, but, cooler than it had been on Saturday.  Even a longer than usual hot shower didn't warm me up, so, I kept the heater on.  

I had another rather relaxed day.  I started the car since it hadn't been driven all week, picked a few more snow peas, called and wished my half-sister for her birthday, watched a few online videos on a variety of topics (ancient Christianity, the rising prices of groceries in different stores, some cooking videos, etc.) and continued to repair the quilt.  

Later in the evening, I took the last two bananas that had turned quite brown and made a batch of banana walnut muffins.  While they were baking, I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen counters.  As I mentioned to one of my friends, one of the problems with brining in a bunch of lettuce from the garden is creepy crawlies sometimes hitch a ride and come into the kitchen along with the lettuce!  Although I wash the leaves carefully, first soaking them in a bowl of water and then, rinsing them in a mixture of vinegar and water, sometimes a creepy crawly will, you guessed it, creep and crawl out!  I didn't notice it, on Saturday, but, today, I suddenly noticed an earwig (the insect, not a song that you keep hearing over and over in your head) crawling on my kitchen counter!  By the time I went to get a piece of paper towel to gather the insect and take it outside, it had crawled into the crevice between the counter and the stove!  Fortunately, I'm not creeped out by the sight of creepy crawlies and other such insects, but, I gave the kitchen counters a good wipe down and made sure everything was clean before I kept the muffins to cool on the wire rack!  

Brunch had been a frozen burrito (reheated in the microwave, of course).  I didn't feel like cooking a big meal for dinner, so, I made spicy sauteed chick peas from the leftover canned chick peas and had some of that for dinner, followed by two banana muffins.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Another sunny day
- Hot water on tap
- A working heater
- Chatting with family and friends
- The car started without any problem

Today's joyful activities included video chatting with my daughter and baking banana muffins.

Plans for tomorrow include the appointment with the tax accountant in the afternoon and taking the trash cans out to the end of the driveway for pick up on Tuesday morning.  I might also give the newly planted loquat seedlings a drink of water as the forecast says the expected rain won't arrive until Wednesday.  

How was your Sunday?  What are your plans for Monday?

Edited - a song that keeps playing in your head is an "earworm" not an earwig!  I shouldn't write blog posts at 3:00 a.m.!

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Sunny Days and More Garden Photos

Hellebore Flowers

We are having a few sunny days before the next storm arrives on Tuesday!  I thought I'll take a few more photos of the back yard to share!  The hellebore plants is flowering, although there are fewer flowers than it had last year.

Last year, in May 2022, neighbor S gave me two loquat seedlings her aunt had given her.

Loquat Seedlings in May, 2022

Last week, M planted them in the ground for me.  We planted one on Wednesday:

Loquat Seedling - March 2023

The second one was planted on Friday:

Snowball Memorial Loquat - Planted March 2023

I'm calling it the Snowball Memorial Loquat because we planted it where we found Snowball's body.  She would appreciate it, I think, because she loved to climb trees.

Painted Lady Butterfly on Osteospermum Flower

The garden flowers are attracting butterflies; this Painted Lady obliged me by staying on the flower long enough for me to take a photo!

While I was out in the garden, I took a photo of the area behind the garage and the shed:

Looking Towards the Corner Where the Side Wall and Back Wall Meet

Looking Towards the Back Wall
(Shed is on the left)

And this is the view of the garden, looking straight ahead from the front of the shed:

Another Look At the Garden

I wanted to give an idea of what you are seeing:

The Different Trees
1 Curry Leaf Tree
2 Peach Tree
3 Orange Tree
4 Plum Tree
5 Avocado Tree
6 Nectarine Tree
7 Calamondin Tree
8 Feijoa/Pineapple Guava Tree (behind the orange tree)

You can't see the other curry leaf tree, the Asian pear tree, the Fuyu persimmon tree, the newly planted loquat seedlings, the three lemon trees, the passionfruit vine, or the blueberry bushes from this angle.  And, of course, the pomegranate tree and the second feijoa/pineapple guava tree are in the front and side.  

After touring the garden, I picked another bunch of lettuce for my brunch:

Garden Lettuce

Friday, I had salad for brunch (garden lettuce, grapes, the last of the cucumber, bottled dressing) and fried rice (leftover rice, the last of the Spam, snow pea pods, cashews) for dinner.  I picked more snow peas, too, and shared them with M.

Saturday, I had salad for brunch (garden lettuce and canned chick peas/garbanzo beans, bottled dressing) and a cheeseburger for dinner (hamburger patty from the freezer, bread ends for the bun, slice of cheese, ketchup, and more of the lettuce from the garden).

I am grateful for:
- Sunny days with slightly warmer temperatures
- Garden flowers
- M tending to the garden for me
- Garden produce
- Working appliances

Joyful activities have included enjoying the sunshine and being in the garden.

How is your weekend coming along?  Hope you are all enjoying some sunny days.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Cloudy Thursday

Dinner: Rice, Chicken Curry, Cucumber Slices

It was cloudy, today, but it was dry and, occasionally, the sun shone through the clouds.  The daytime high was 56F, which is rather cool for us.  I have to admit that I had the heater on all day.

Speaking of the heater, I received my natural gas bill, today: $222.95.  I had hoped to keep it to $200, but, the last few days have been cold and I've had the heating on.  I am OK with a $223 gas bill during a winter month, though.

It has been a relaxed day, today.  I did a load of laundry,  did a few (very few) housekeeping tasks, sewed another patch or two on the quilt I'm repairing, chatted with friend R, video chatted with my daughter, and watched several videos.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- A dry day
-Working appliances
- Being able to have a relaxed day when I feel like it
- Chatting with friends and video chatting with my daughter
- A warm house

Today's joyful activities have included watching videos online.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a mostly sunny day.  I'm looking forward to that!  M will be here in the evening to tend to the garden and we might plant the other loquat seedling, then.

How was your Thursday?  What are your plans for Friday?

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Rainy Wednesday

Nectarine Flowers

It was partly cloudy this morning, but, there was some sunshine, when I woke up.  M texted me the weather forecast which said 50% chance of rain and asked if I had anything I needed done inside.  I said I didn't have anything that needed doing inside, but, it was sunny at the moment, and left it up to him to decide.  Afterwards, I opened the windows to air the house and went outside to walk for 15 minutes.

I was just finishing up my walk when M arrived and with him, the rain!  LOL!  It was mostly a light drizzle, but, it would pick up, occasionally.  He decided it wasn't too bad and I joined him in the garden, picking another handful of snow peas and checking on the plants.  Today, M pruned some of the Euphorbia tirucalli plants I have growing in the side yard (I had planted them opposite the windows to provide a bit of privacy. but, I didn't want the branches going over the wall into the neighbor's side), planted one of the two loquat seedlings that neighbor S had given me last year, and did a bit of weeding.  I also had him empty the buckets of rainwater I had collected into the blue recycling bin for storage (the plan is to collect more rainwater in the emptied buckets during the next rain storm, due next week) and we found out that we can't fill the bin above a certain level because there is a metal handle like thing on the outside of the bin, about one third of the way up the bin. and the water leaks from the two ends where that handle has been inserted into the bin.  The excess water drained out but, that's OK.  I now have a few gallons of water stored in the blue recycling bin!  

Then, it began to rain in earnest and I told him to go home and I went inside.  The rain ceased, eventually, and we are supposed to have mostly sunny weather until next Tuesday when the next rain storm is expected to arrive. 

I didn't realize until later in the evening, when I was watching news, that we had a small tornado touch down, this morning, in a nearby city, close to downtown Los Angeles!  

Oh, and by the way, M's repairs to the garage roof didn't hold up under this week's rain and winds.  Some of the shingles had blown off and I found them on the driveway, this morning!

After M left, I had my brunch.  I wanted something warming after being outside, so made myself a packet of ramen noodles.

Ramen noodles were on my mind, partly because I had commented on another blog, yesterday, and mentioned ramen noodles.  Pensive Pensioner at Small Treasures had asked if one can eat on 50 (British) pence for one day (she had seen the challenge on another blog).  She had been able to buy a 200g can of baked beans for 21p, a loose baking potato (70p for a kilo) for 14p, and a small banana for 12p; those three items came to 47p.  According to the rate of exchange, yesterday, one British pound was equal to US $1.22, so 50p would be the equivalent of $0.61.

I checked the prices online at the grocery store I have been using for my groceries since the pandemic first started, and I found out that $0.61 didn't go far!  The smallest can of baked beans at my store was 8.3 oz. (235g) for $1.99!  Loose baking potatoes are $.99/lb. (and they tend to be rather large), and bananas are $.65/lb.  Ramen noodles and instant cup noodles were $.50 each and I might have been able to find a tiny carrot ($.99/lb.) for the remaining $.11 to grate into the soup.  Or, I could have bought a single bread roll for $.33 and perhaps found a small banana for the remaining $.28.  I thought I would have got most food for the money with the ramen noodles and I'd have to have half for brunch and half for dinner!  That would have been a most frugal meal!  As I mentioned to her, I guess our food prices here are higher than UK food prices (or, at least, the food prices at the store from which I order my groceries are higher; the ethnic store might have had lower prices, but, I don't shop there, anymore, because they don't offer pick up services).  

But, as you can see, I had ramen noodles on my mind!  LOL.

After brunch, I made a birthday card and mailed it.  Then, I watched a couple of videos while I continued to repair the quilt.  I also mended one of my knitted wool socks - I had previously darned the heel but, this time, it was the area just below the toes!  

In the evening, neighbor S called me to ask if I'd like to have some burek (made with phyllo dough, spinach, and cheese), some of the brown Armenian bread that I had liked earlier, and some candy!  Of course, I said I'd love to have some!  A few minutes later, she brought me some delicious food (and chocolates!):

Dinner and Dessert Compliments of Neighbor S

I ate a slice of the bread with a little butter while I warmed up the spinach and cheese burek which was very tasty.  Afterwards, I ate one or two of the chocolates!  

Today, I am grateful for:
- Neighbor S sharing her delicious food with me
- M's help with the garden
- A working heater (yes, I switched it on this evening)
- I don't have to manage on $.61 for meals a day
- There were no tornados in my area

Today's joyful activity was planting one of the loquat seedlings.  It replaced the loquat tree which died a few years ago.  My little orchard continues to grow!

Thursday is supposed to be a mostly dry day.  I don't have any specific plans for the day, other than more quilt repairs and maybe some housekeeping.

How was your Wednesday?  What are your plans for Thursday?  Could you manage a day's meals with 50 British pence or US$.61?

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Rainy Days

Tuesday Dinner: Baked (Frozen) Fish Fillets, Savory Rice, Snow Peas

It rained on Monday morning, but ceased for a while in the afternoon.  It was cloudy, but, warmed up to 63F in the late afternoon, and I aired out the house.  I had a fairly productive day; I put away the laundry I had done, earlier, ran the dishwasher and washed a few other dishes by hand, cleaned the litter box and swept the bathroom, took the trash can to the end of the driveway, picked more snow peas (you can see them in the photo above) and lettuce from the garden, and did my meal plan for the week.  In the evening I had a long phone chat with my aunt C, chatted a bit with friend R, exchanged emails with a couple of friends, and video chatted with my daughter.  It started to rain again, in the evening, and it rained practically all night.

It was still raining when I woke up this morning!  Quite heavily at times, but, it stopped for a couple of hours in the afternoon before it started to rain again!  During the break in the rain, I went outside to bring in the trash can and to check on the garden.

I had scheduled an appointment with my tax accountant for this afternoon, and, at first, when I heard that there would be quite a bit of rain today, my first instinct was to call and ask to reschedule the appointment.  Yes, it is a very southern California thing to do.  Rain puts a halt on everything!  But, I decided that I would brave the weather and keep the appointment as rescheduling might be difficult.  I need not have worried.  My tax accountant emailed me in the morning asking me to cancel the appointment and reschedule it...due to the rain!  She said she didn't want me to get sick, getting exposed to the rain!  LOL.  She also said that both the IRS and State of California has extended the tax filing deadline until October 16, for residents and businesses located in certain counties in California which have been declared natural disaster areas due to the recent storms and Los Angeles County is one such area.  I emailed her back saying I'd be happy to reschedule, but, I would like to get the taxes filed before the regular April deadline.  So, we rescheduled it for Monday, March 27, which is supposed to be a sunny day before the next storm arrives on Tuesday, March 28!  

As a result, I didn't have to go out in the rain! 

I spent the afternoon repairing the quilt and watching some videos (some frugal living videos, a visit to Amsterdam, an episode of a news program I missed watching, etc.)  Afterwards, I watched news and a program on the public television channel about cats.  

I had some toast with jam in the morning for breakfast, today, and a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.  Dinner was baked fish fillets using frozen, battered fish fillets I have in the freezer, some rice I cooked with a little vegetable stock powder, and the snow peas I picked, yesterday.  I put some Sri Lankan bottled chili sauce on the fish fillets.  Sliced apple for dessert.  I have some of the rice, left over.   It's only the second day, I know, but, I'm keeping to this week's meal plan, so far!  LOL.

Daughter's internet connection has been down all evening, so we said our goodnights over the phone, today.

Today, I am grateful for:

- More rain!
- Being able to reschedule the tax appointment
- Not having to drive in the rain (several intersections in my neighborhood get flooded when it rains)
- Working appliances
- Internet access, electricity, etc.

Joyful activities during these rainy days have included chatting with family and friends and watching online videos.

Plans for Wednesday include tending to the garden with M if the rain permits, more quilt repairs, and some card making.  

How is your week coming along?  What are your plans for Wednesday?


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

March Meal Plans: Week 3 Review and Week 4 Plan

This was the plan for Week 3, which I started with a lot of leftovers and some chicken that needed to be cooked and frozen:

Breakfasts/Brunches: Scrambled egg and toast or fried potatoes; ham & split pea soup with biscuits(on a day when I want more of a lunch than a breakfast)✔, yogurt with cereal and fruit preserves (eaten mostly as dessert instead of brunches)✔ 

Dinners: Ham & split pea soup (on a day when I don't have it for brunch)✔, patties with ground beef filling and salad✔, smoked sausage sauteed chicken stir-fry with vegetables and rice✔, leftovers✔.  Or...I might have something quite different!  It'll depend on how much I feel like cooking, or not!  

And this is how it worked out:

Brunch: Drop biscuits with cream cheese
Dinner: Rice, sauteed chicken, carrots & broccoli stirfry
Dessert: Yogurt with strawberry jam and cereal

Brunch: Ham and split pea soup, drop biscuits with butter and golden syrup (the last of the drop biscuits)
Dinner: Patties, salad
Dessert: Yogurt with strawberry jam and cereal

Brunch: Patties
Dinner: Soup & cheese crackers
Dessert: Yogurt with palm treacle

Brunch: Soup
Dinner: Rice, chicken, stir fried vegetables (broccoli, carrots, snow pea pods)
Dessert: Yoghurt with apple-cranberry jam and cereal

Brunch:  Spam sandwich (yes, the canned luncheon meat! Not as good as canned corned beef, in my opinion, but half the price.)
Dinner:  Soup and salad (the last of the ham & split pea soup; shared it with M)
Dessert: Yoghurt with apple-cranberry jam and cereal

Brunch: Spam sandwich
Dinner: Spam fried rice (leftover rice, cubed Spam, an egg, frozen green peas)
Dessert: Chocolate wafers

Brunch: French toast
Dinner: Sauteed chicken, boiled new potatoes, steamed pea pods 
Dessert: Chocolate wafers, ice cream!

Snacks included grapes, homemade cheese crackers, and chocolate wafers
Beverages included homemade passionfruit lemonade and apple juice from the store

Well, that turned out quite well, I think.  I finished all the leftovers I needed to finish and nothing went to waste.  

On to Week 4!  I have some of the Spam leftover and just a little bit of the yogurt I made (which I am keeping as the starter for the next batch).  

Brunches: Frozen burrito (Monday), salads, fried rice, sauteed garbanzo beans, egg salad sandwiches, toast with cheese

- Breakfast for dinner (Monday; scrambled egg, fried Spam, toast)
- Smoked sausage/vegetables stir fry with rice
- Baked frozen fish fillets with rice and pea pods
- Chicken curry and rice? 
- Leftovers

That is the tentative plan for now.  I might change things as I go!  

Did you make a meal plan, last week?  Did you keep to it?  Will you be making a meal plan for this week?   

Monday, March 20, 2023

Rain on Sunday

Dinner: Sauteed Chicken, New Potatoes, and Snow Peas

Well, the forecast had been for a cloudy day, and it was that, but, it rained, too!  A light rain, but, it started late last night and went on for most of the day.  At one point, I looked out from the window and Mama Cat was seated under the curry leaf tree, flicking her ears as raindrops fell on her head!  I guess she didn't want to get up and move a few feet to be under the patio roof, even though I had put out a rug for her to sit on and a cardboard box to sleep in!  She is a feral cat although she lives in my garden.  

I made French toast for brunch, today and had the new potatoes and snow peas from the garden with a piece of sauteed chicken for dinner.  

I spent a good part of the day chatting with friends and one of my cousins.  In between, I continued to repair the quilt and watched some videos.  It was a very relaxed day and I had the heater on because I felt cold.

Today, I was grateful for:

- More rain for the garden!
- A working heater
- Chats with family and friends
- Being able to watch videos online
- A relaxed day

Today's joyful activities included chatting with family and friends and relaxing!  

Plans for tomorrow include some housekeeping activities and making a birthday card for my half-sister.  

How was your weekend?  What are your plans for Monday?

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Sunny Saturday and the Front Garden in March

Saturday's Harvest

I picked more lettuce and snow pea pods from the garden on Saturday!

It was a sunny day with clear blue skies and an afternoon high of 73F!  It was warmer outside than it was inside, so, I spent the morning and part of the afternoon outside!  It was pleasant to listen to the birdsongs and watch the butterflies and the lizards, while I had my morning cup of tea and said my morning prayers.  I watched a pair of hummingbirds drink nectar from the crocosmia flowers, but, they flew away when I tried to take a photo.  I also did two loads of laundry and changed the dust sheets on the family room sofas.

Later in the afternoon, I sewed a bit on the quilt I am repairing and watched a couple of videos while I did so.  Still later, I watched news and some TV programs and knitted.  

Time for the monthly photos of the front garden:

The Front Garden in March

Looking Straight Down Along the Sidewalk

The Succulents Bed Along the Sidewall/Fence 

The Aloe Plants are Done Flowering

New Growth on the Euphorbia Tirucalli

New Leaves on the Pomegranate Tree

Flower Buds on the Jasmine Plant

The front garden is sort of in a transition phase right now.  The lantana bushes have suffered some frost damage from those nights when the temperature dipped down to 35F and are not looking their best.  The succulents beds need some tidying up, too.  But, the plants are all doing well and there's more rain in the forecast, so, they will get plenty of water, again!  

On Saturday, I was grateful for:

- Another sunny and warm day
- More garden produce to harvest
- Working appliances
- Phone calls with family and friends
- The car started without any problem

Saturday's joyful activities included sitting outside listening to birdsong and enjoying the sunshine.

How was your Saturday?  What are your plans for Sunday?

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Sunnier on Friday

Friday's Harvest

We had a sunnier day, today!  The house felt cold when I woke up (I had turned the heater off before I went to bed), but, it was warmer outside (63F)!  So, I opened the doors and windows and went outside for a bit.  Walked around the garden, did a bit of weeding, and then, walked up and down the driveway for 15 minutes.  

I did a little tidying and sorted through some papers in the afternoon and replied to blog comments. Watched some videos and later, watched the news.  

M was here in the evening to tend to the garden and I shared some soup and salad with him before he left.  He fertilized the nectarine tree and the Fuyu persimmon tree which is just starting to form leaf buds:

Leaf Buds on the Fuyu Persimmon Tree

The lantana and plumbago hedge is behind it.   There is a little strip of ground between the persimmon tree and the hedge and I had planted a couple of potatoes that had shriveled up and a sweet potato top.  Both potato and sweet potato vines had died back and I had M dig them up to see if we had anything.  There were four tiny potatoes (shown in the first photo at the top) and one skinny little sweet potato!  I put the sweet potato back in water to see if I can get it to sprout, as it was not worth cooking it.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- A sunnier and warmer day
- Having the garden to walk in
- Chatting with family and friends
- M helping with the garden
- Today's harvest!

Today's joyful activity was walking in the garden. 

I don't have any specific plans for the weekend.  It's supposed to be sunny and warmer (a high of 68F) on Saturday and cloudy and cooler (a high of 57F) on Sunday.  

How was your Friday?  What are your plans for the weekend?  

Friday, March 17, 2023

A Stroll in the Back Yard

The Peaches Are Forming

Thursday was another cloudy day, with some rain in the early morning.  The rain had ceased by the time I woke up, however.  I walked around the back yard, today, and as you can see, the garden is doing well with all the rain.

The peach tree has set fruit, but, according to M, some of the fruit are showing frost damage and, of course, we will have to thin out the fruit in the weeks to come.  

Peaches Close Up

The plum tree is full of flowers and I am hoping that I'll get some fruit, later on:

Plum Flowers

The nectarine tree is still thinking about it:

Nectarine Tree

The orange tree is full of buds - the garden will smell so sweet when they start to flower:

Orange Flower Buds

Nearby, a clump of purple osteospermum is flowering :

Purple Osteospermum

The self-seeded broccoli plants are growing well, too.  No signs, yet, of any broccoli forming, but, I'll be happy with just the leaves!  

Broccoli Plants

The lettuces are ready to be harvested!  They are sharing a bed with some of the snow peas.

Salad, Anyone?

The rest of the snow peas are sharing the planting bed with the broccoli:

The Rest of the Snow Peas

I picked a few more snow pea pods, this afternoon, and added them to the ones I picked on Wednesday; they were sauteed and eaten with rice and chicken for dinner.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Having a back yard
- Rain to water the garden
- The fruit trees seem to have survived the winter
- Being able to harvest lettuce and snow peas
- The promise of fruit to come

Today's joyful activity was strolling in the back yard and picking snow pea pods for dinner!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


Today's Garden Harvest: Lettuce and Snow Pea Pods!

I picked some lettuce and the first of the snow pea pods from the garden, today!  Some of the lettuces are starting to bolt!  I picked three more snow pea pods after I took this photo - I'll be having them in a stir-fry, tomorrow.  

Last night, after I posted, I baked the second tray of chicken thighs:

Baked Chicken Thighs

There were 12 thighs in this package.  I seasoned them with some salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, ground ginger, and a little soy sauce.  After they cooled, I packaged them, three thighs per package, and froze them for future meals.  

Then, while the oven was on to bake the chicken, I mixed up some pastry dough and made some patties with the leftover ground beef and dhal curry I mixed together.  There was just enough of the mixture for 10 patties.  I added some freshly grated cheese to the leftover pastry, along with a little garlic salt and paprika, and baked some cheese crackers for a snack.  

Patties and Cheese Crackers

I had some of the patties for my dinner, last night, and for brunch, today.

It was a cool and cloudy day, today, but, the rain ceased and M was able to check on the garage roof and do a few more repairs.  He wasn't very pleased with his efforts, but, he's a perfectionist; I told him that as long as the repairs hold out until I can get a roofer to check on things, it's good enough for me.  M also checked on the peach tree and noticed that some of the baby peaches that are forming are showing signs of frost damage.  We will have to thin out quite a few fruits, in another week or so.  

I called and wished one of my cousins for her birthday, sewed a few more patches on my quilt in the afternoon, watched a walking tour of the Tower of London, and watched news.  Later, I cleaned the litter box.  Dinner was more of the soup and cheese crackers followed by grapes.  Grapes are selling for $2.99/lb. this week, so I am glad I bought some when they were on sale, last week.   

Today, I am grateful for:

- M's help with the garden and roof repairs
- A well-watered garden
- Today's garden harvest
- Working appliances
- A relaxed day

Today's joyful activity was picking the first pea pods from the garden.

Plans for tomorrow include some kitchen cleaning and more quilt repairs.  

How was your Wednesday?  What are your plans for Thursday?


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

More Rain on Tuesday

The Garden Plants are Loving the Rain
(Those tiny plants are osteospermum seedlings)

Monday was a mostly sunny day and "warm" with a high of 65F.  I must be getting used to the cooler temperatures we've been having because I didn't need to switch the heater on until quite late at night.  Of course, I was wearing a pair of leggings under my jeans and three sweaters plus a scarf, so, I was well insulated!  LOL.  But, it's only 55F, today (Tuesday), and rainy; I'm  wearing the same number of layers, plus a knitted poncho and a scarf AND my fingerless mitts, but, I had to switch the heater on as I felt cold (thermostat was set at 65F, but I was still cold and I've since raised it to 70F).  Now we know why I have so many clothes in the closet!  I wear multiples of them in the winter to keep warm!  LOL!  

On Monday, I paid my gas bill of $337.74 (for the billing period 1/20/23 - 2/17/23).  I had used fewer therms of gas (104) than during the same billing period in 2022 (136), but, the cost of gas and associated fees and taxes have gone up, so, the amount of the bill ($337.74) had increased, too (last year's bill was $277.46).  I used 32 fewer therms and paid $60 more!  Sigh.  The next meter reading will take place 3/20/23; the current estimate of that bill is $263.22.

I also cleaned the litter box, took the trash cans to the end of the driveway, took the kitchen scraps to the compost pile, and checked on the garden, a bit.  The blueberry bushes are in planters set under the cover of the patio overhang and they don't get much of the rain, so I watered them.  The rest of the garden is getting rained on, today, and there's more rain in the forecast for tomorrow, as well!  

In the evening, I cooked one of the trays of chicken thighs I had bought on Sunday.  There were 10 thighs in the tray.  I sauteed them with some onions and two of the Roma tomatoes I had bought, earlier in the month.  There was a tiny bit of teriyaki sauce that my daughter had made when she was here and kept in the fridge for me, so I added that to the chicken, too, along with some salt and pepper.  Once they were cooked, I decided to have one for my dinner (although that was not in my meal plan!) with the leftover rice I had in the fridge, and I stir fried some carrots and broccoli to go with it.  

Monday Night's Dinner

I froze some of the cooked chicken in meal sized portions and kept the remaining couple of pieces in the fridge, along with the leftover stir fried vegetables, for later in the week.  I will cook the remaining tray of chicken thighs, tonight, and freeze them, too.  Having cooked chicken in the freezer helps; they are easy to thaw and reheat in the microwave.    

Today, I brought the trash cans in and I kept the lids on the green yard waste bin and the blue recycling bin open, in order to catch any rainwater I could in the bins.  I can leave off adding yard waste and recycling material to the bins for another week or two and then, we'll use whatever water gets collected in the bins first.  

Monday's brunch was two of the drop biscuits with cream cheese and dinner was what is pictured above.  Afterwards, for dessert, I had some yogurt with a spoonful of strawberry jam stirred into it and some cereal sprinkled on top.  I should mix up a batch of granola as that would be just perfect as a topping for the yogurt.

Today, I had a bowl of the ham and split pea soup followed by the last two drop biscuits with butter and golden syrup for brunch.  Dinner will be some of the patties I am planning to make after tea (which is brewing as I type this).  I am thinking that I might just bake the chicken thighs in the oven, along with the patties.  Having the oven on will help warm up the house, as well!

I am grateful for:
- More rain for the garden
- Weekly trash collection services
- Working appliances
- M's roof repairs seem to be holding up
- Delivery services - I ordered some kitty litter and one box was delivered yesterday and the other is expected to be delivered today.

Joyful activities have included being in the garden and knitting.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow, too.  If it does, then M will not be able to do any garden work.  

How is your week coming along?  What are your plans for Wednesday?

Monday, March 13, 2023

March Meal Plans: Week 2 Review and Week 3

This was the plan for Week 2:

Breakfasts/Brunches:  Bagels and cream cheese✔, cinnamon rolls✔, leftover noodles from the cup noodles with some leftover shredded turkey added to it (Monday)✔,  scrambled eggs with toast or fried potatoes, lasagna✔, biscuits and cream cheese, cereal and milk (imagine that! Can't remember the last time I had cereal and milk for breakfast!)


- Leftover macaroni and cheese with the last of the shredded sauteed turkey, salad (Monday)✔
- Leftover macaroni and cheese with chicken curry✔
- Rice, chicken curry, dhal, cucumber slices✔
- Ham and split pea soup✔ drop biscuits
- Ground beef with mashed potatoes, broccoli rice and dhal curry
- Leftovers✔

There was, also, yogurt for dessert.

I start off Week 3 with leftover ham and split pea soup, leftover biscuits, a small serving of leftover rice, and leftover ground beef mixture (to which, I added the leftover dhal curry).  Plus an almost full dish of yogurt.  

Breakfasts/Brunches: Scrambled egg and toast or fried potatoes; ham & split pea soup with biscuits(on a day when I want more of a lunch than a breakfast), yogurt with cereal and fruit preserves, 

Dinners: Ham & split pea soup (on a day when I don't have it for brunch), patties with ground beef filling and salad, smoked sausage stir-fry with vegetables and rice, leftovers.  Or...I might have something quite different!  It'll depend on how much I feel like cooking, or not!  

Did you make a meal plan, last week?  Did you keep to it?  Will you be making a meal plan for this week?   

Sunday, March 12, 2023

March Grocery Shopping - Part 2

I picked up my groceries today (Sunday).  As mentioned before, this was a stock up grocery order, to take advantage of sales and current prices before they increased!  

I bought:

Chicken thighs, 2 family packs, 6.58 lbs. @ $0.99/lb. (reg. price $2.49/lb.) = $6.51

Grapes, 3 lb. container, reg. price $7.99, on sale with digital coupon  = $4.99 ($1.66/lb.)

Pancake mix, 1 box, 32 oz., store brand = $3.29 ($0.10 price increase since I bought it last in November 2022)

Rice, 10 lb. long grain, white, store brand = $7.49
($2 price increase since I bought a 10 lb. bag in March, 2022; in July 2022, 10lb. and 5lb. bags of rice were not available for pick up - delivery only, according to the website - and I bought 3x 2 lb. bags for a higher price per lb.; the 2 lb. bags of rice have increased in price to $1.99 now)

Condensed milk, 6 cans, 14 oz.@, store brand @ $2.49 = $14.94 (price increased by $0.10/can since I last purchased in October 2022)

Milk, 1/2 gal. store brand with digital coupon = $1.99 ($0.40 price reduction with coupon)

Flour, 5 lb., store brand, unbleached = $3.19 (same price as when I bought in January 2023)

Sugar, 10 lb., white, store brand = $6.99 (same price as when I bought in December 2022)

Ground coffee, 12 oz., daughter's favorite brand, $6.99@ (reg. price $14.99 per receipt!) = $13.98 (it's been quite some time since I last bought coffee, but, it was on sale for $5.99 back then).

Total spent today = $63.37

March grocery budget = $100.00
Spent to date = $36.42 (on March 4) + $63.37 = $99.79
Balance left = $0.21

I had $63.58 left in my March grocery budget after my shopping on March 4; I think I planned out this week's shopping almost down to the penny!  LOL.

I am not planning to buy more groceries this month.  I have plenty of fruit and vegetables in the fridge and freezer, plus there's lettuce ready to be picked in the garden and I noticed that the first snow pea pods are just about ready to be picked!

How are you coming along with your grocery shopping and grocery budget?  How do these prices compare with what you are seeing in your grocery stores?