May 30, 2012

Garden Progress- Day 39

It's been 39 days since I started my deck/patio garden.  It's only day 27 for my green bell pepper plant.  That's why he's so much smaller.  :)

Here's my tomato plant.....getting bigger and bigger every day.  I moved leaves around the bottom and decided just to check out the plant and I couldn't believe my eyes.....

I have several tiny tomatoes growing!!  YEY!!  I did it!  Now I just need to get them to mature and ripen.

How cute?  :)  

I also inspected my red bell pepper plant.  One of the white flowers has fallen off and there is now a pepper there growing.  YEY!!  :)  There are several other white flowers on there too.  Pretty soon those will be peppers.

I can't wait till it's fully grown.

 I'm sorta nervous b/c I saw a baby bunny in my backyard eating grass yesterday afternoon.  I read that tomato plants are toxic to them.  (not the tomatoes...just everything else).  And I read that they should not have peppers.  I hope this little guy doesn't come up on the deck and bother my plants.  I'm trying to think of  something I could make with a net.  Let me know if you have any ideas.  :)

May 28, 2012

New Things Monday

The other day, I picked up a box of Special K's new Granola Bars.  I got the Chocolatey Peanut Butter kind.  It was the last box on the shelf (woo-hoo) and I had a coupon.  I love coupons and I especially love when stores double the coupons.  Every penny counts right?  :)  Anyways, back to the granola bars these are really yummy.  It's the perfect amount of chocolate and peanut butter and you don't feel like your eating a healthy granola (crumbs everywhere) bar.  It's just a perfect snack on the go.  :)

May 27, 2012

How to Freeze Bell Peppers

I bought a big pack of red bell peppers and a big pack of green bell peppers the other day at the grocery store.  I didn't use them at all this past week and I didn't want them going bad before I could use them.  I googled how to freeze bell peppers and came across this blog.  It was very easy to do and now I've got peppers that won't go to waste. WINNING!  :) This will come in handy for my peppers I'm growing too so none will go to waste.  WINNING (again)  :)

First you want to wash off your peppers.
 Nice and clean peppers.  :)

In certain dishes I make, I use red and green peppers.  I matched up each of my red peppers with a green pepper.  Then you will chop them up into pieces or into slices.  I made 2 bags of sliced peppers and then 4 bags of chopped peppers.  After I cut each pairing, I placed them on a paper towel, so I had each section ready.  I then got a cookie sheet and placed one cut up pair on one side and another cut up pair on the other side of the cookie sheet.  Remove any ice in your freezer and turn off your ice maker from making more ice.  See update on bottom of post.  I stuck the cookie sheet in the freezer for about 30 to 40 minutes.  This will freeze your peppers before you put them in freezer bags.  It will keep them from sticking together.

After about 30 to 40 minutes here are the frozen pepper pieces.  :)  I put them in a freezer bag and got rid of all the air in the bag then sealed it and placed in the freezer flat.

Now, I've got peppers ready to go for dinners.  I love that this will save me time while cooking dinner too.  Just take out of the freezer, empty the peppers and cook.  Easy!  :)

The original blogger says that these peppers will last 8 months in the freezer.  I know I'll be using them way before 8 months.  But it's good to know that if you find peppers on clearance or grow your own and end up with way more than you need you can freeze them and you'll have 8 months to use them up.  :)

UPDATE:  I remove my ice container/trays and turn off the ice maker so the ice doesn't end up tasting like peppers.  This happened to me after I froze my first batch.  I mean I love peppers, but I don't want my ice tasting like them.  haha

May 24, 2012

Garden Progress- Day 33

Today I managed to visit another Lowe's in my town to get some bigger pots for my pepper plants.  I was going to get 12 inch pots but thought about maybe just getting one big 20 inch pot and planting both the red and green bell peppers in there.  I asked a Lowe's employee if he thought that would work and he went off and asked another employee.  Then he came back to me and said "No, that won't work b/c they need their individual pot".  I said "okay, thanks" and then went back to the pot shelves to get 12 inch pots.  Then I saw 16 inch pots.  They didn't have the terra cotta color I wanted so I got a red pot for the red bell pepper and a green pot for the green bell pepper.  :)  

As soon as I got home, I repotted them in their new pots with some fresh soil as well.

Here is the green bell all tucked in.

Here's the red bell nice and cozy.  :)  Look at the little white flower.

How awesome.  :)  Read about the flowering here.

Here's my tomato plant.  :)  More yellow flowers are popping up all over.  And the plant smells like fresh tomatoes already.  What's that I see?

Awww....a cute little lady bug.  :)  She's protecting my tomato plant from those pesky bad bugs.  :)  I hope I don't drown her while watering the plants.  LOL

Here's my cute little deck/patio garden.  I think the pepper plants will be much happier in there new pots.  So much more room for them to grow in.  :)

May 22, 2012

Garden Progress- Day 31

My little patio/deck garden is still doing wonderful....

I wanted to get a picture of the little tiny red bell peppers so you can see them.  :)

More little yellow flowers on the tomato plant.  YEY!

It seems like it's grown another foot in just a few days.

I went to Lowe's today to get 2 new 12-inch pots for the peppers.  Lowe's was out of them.  I asked if they would be getting more in stock and the cashier told me yes.  I might just go to another Lowe's in town tomorrow and check there for the pots.


Our friend Laura came to town over the weekend to run the half marathon with Nate.  :)  Laura's mom, Ann came down from New York to pick her up on Sunday afternoon and then they were headed to Atlantic City to try their luck.  As a thank you for letting them stay with us Ann gave us some lilacs.  They are soooo pretty and they smell so good.  :)

Ann also gave us a lilac bush.  Right now we have it in a painters bucket with some water.  I need to do some research and see where they like to be planted and how to care for it.  Nate thought maybe I could plant it in a big pot and add it to my little patio/deck garden.  I know these things get big.  My grandmother had a huge one at her house at Smith Mountain Lake.  She gave my mom some clippings from one and my mom's plant is pretty big now too.  It's something else I can try my green thumb at.  :)

Oven Chicken Risotto

For dinner last night I was inspired by this recipe I found on Pinterest.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter

minced garlic

1 small can of chicken broth  (reduced sodium)

1 cup water

2 cups Arborio rice (short-grain)

1/2 small onion



2 chicken breasts (cooked and cut up)

shredded mozzarella cheese (I also mixed in some Italian blend cheese)

Cherry tomatoes (halved)

parsley flakes

Preheat oven at 400 degrees.  Place butter and minced garlic into your oven safe dish.  (I used my pampered chef baker)  Add chicken broth and water and the arborio rice.  Stir well.  Bake 5 minutes with the lid off.

Carefully take out of oven and stir in onion, salt, and pepper and parsley.  Put lid on the dish and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Remove lid and fluff the rice with a fork.  Stir in chicken, cheese and tomatoes.  Add more pepper and salt to taste.  Serve immediately.

Nate's first Half Marathon

Sunday, May 20th was the big day of Nate's year long weight loss anniversary.  He's almost at his goal of 100 pounds loss.  It was also the day for his half marathon.  He was so excited and a little nervous.  Saturday night, after we'd gone to bed I texted our friends Kristen and Sharon and told them we went to bed.  They came over and got to work.  They decorated our porch, trees, bushes etc with white streamers and some signs.

When Nate got up he said to me "I think we were tp'd last night".  I smiled and said "nope" and he said "have you looked outside".  I said "I know, but it's not TP".  He laughed and said "what do you know".
We got ready and came down to check it out.  Nate was excited to get the newspaper out of the newspaper box so he could read his article that was in the paper.  "Tube sock guy"

Nate had to conquer the streamers before he could get the newspaper......

Look how cute he is?

Busted through....

Here are some signs I made for the fence.  :)

Streamers were even on the cars.

And Sharon and Kristen even wrote with chalk on the driveway.  Awesome!  :)

Nate is ready to go.....

I did my 5k in 59:23.  Not my best time but my goal was to be under 1 hour and I was.  :)

Moving on.....We had text messages and facebook msgs track Nate's time so we knew his timing.  He did very well.

Nate running up to the finish line....

Nate crossing the finish line.....look really close.  You can see his shoes.  :)

Nate finished!  2 hours and 49 minutes!!  Nate's very first half marathon (13.1) miles!  He said "it was a piece of cake".  :)

Here's Nate posing with friends who made signs and cheered him on.  :)

Here's Nate's medal.  He's proudly wearing all week.

Here's my medal for the 5k.  I've got it hanging up with my medal I got last year.  :)

May 21, 2012

New Things Monday

I love Unlce Ben's 90 second Rice packs.  I love them b/c they take 90 seconds and I don't have to worry about making rice on the stove when I'm already making other things for dinner.  It's one less thing to worry about.  One day while at the store I saw a new product by Wegmans.  It was rice packs that you cook in the microwave.  They were .10 cents cheaper than the Uncle Ben's packs so I thought I would try them.  I love just about everything in the Wegmans store brand so I thought maybe I'd love this too.  But was gooey and gummy like.  I felt like I was eating paste.  :(  It was not good at all.  Nate said it was okay but I will not buy this rice again.  It just didn't seem like rice.  Blech....I will stick with Uncle Ben's rice packs.

May 19, 2012

Garden Progress- Day 28

My little patio/deck garden is still thriving and very happy.  :)

My tomato plant.....

The tomato plant has little yellow flower which will become little tomatoes.  :)

The pepper plants.  (the bigger darker green one is the red bell pepper and the smaller lighter green one is the green bell pepper plant).  You can't tell in these pictures but there are some tiny little peppers on the red pepper plant.  Looks so awesome.  In a few more days I'll transfer the bigger plant into a bigger pot.  :)

Just happy plants.  :)

Top view of the plants.

May 15, 2012

Garden Progress- Day 24

I'm not sure if you notice as much as I do but look how much my patio tomatoes are growing!  :)  Today, is Day 24 of my little deck/patio garden.  We've had some nice rains the last couple of days so I haven't had to worry about watering my plants.

They are all doing pretty good.  :)

The left plant is my red bell pepper.  I think I'm gonna have to re-pot it soon.  It's getting really big.  The plant on the right is my green bell pepper.  I started him later than the other 2 plants.  He's bigger than when I first got him.  I think all my plants are right on track.  :)