Weekend Coffee Share – Staycation Week 5

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Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)! Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! There is regular hot coffee in the French press (very strong,) ice tea and ice coffee. What would you like?

It’s been a lovely (mostly) sunny and 75 degrees week. Today it’s cloudy, but still very nice. Let’s sit in the garden! Make yourself comfortable, there is plenty of chairs to choose from, or maybe you’d rather sit on one of the big rocks? There is a few big rocks scattered around the place, my daughter and I have ‘picnics’ on them sometimes. Last night we had a picnic by the lake, and we both came to the conclusion that everything tastes better when you eat outside. It’s the taste of adventure! Let’s have a coffee adventure today 🙂

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Bell pepper, and bush tomato plants. 

The mild weather, and absence of rain the past few days have been beneficial for my garden. June was scorching hot without rain, but then we had too much rain the ten first days of July. I am amazed how well my garden is taking this crazy weather, first super hot, and then drowning. We are actually seeing the beginning of a zucchini invasion, and nothing could make me happier garden wise 🙂 

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It’s the bigger zucchini plants standing on the old bench, that are starting to produce. I am practicing succession planting, and have newer zucchini plants below, that (hopefully) will produce late this fall. Same for the barely visible, new tomato seedlings to the left in the photo.

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Facebook sent me this memory of my daughter, with zucchinis shew grew herself, four years ago. Notice our homemade garden beds in the background..I remember getting 38 huge truck tires for free (19 garden beds,) and two truck loads of excellent organic soil from an abandoned walnut orchard. I had to pick up the tires myself, load them up, drive them home (I could fit 7 tires at the time, if I balanced them very carefully in the back of my truck,) and unload them, roll them to the back of the house to my garden. I don’t think I would use tires today. We did work with what we had, and we had a successful garden. At least I do remember cleaning the tires thoroughly, and lining them with something before filling them with soil…notice the water melon vines around her legs. We sure were making use of that space to the max! 

I’ve been starting to track the weather, and growing zones in Sweden, since it seems like things have change a lot lately. The weather differ a lot within the same region, and that is something I want to take into consideration when purchasing property a couple years from now. Our growing zones are not measured exactly the same way as the USDA zones, but it is a similar system, and within commuting distance to my job I could live in three different zones. I’ve been spending some time this week to learn about this, since gardening is something I enjoy so much. Related to my dreams of the perfect property in the woods I’ve looked at these amazing tiny houses, and even micro houses, made by a company only two hours from me. When I lived in my RV for two years while traveling in the US I never missed a thing. In fact I had space I did not use. I can see myself living in one of these incredible little homes, in a beautiful spot, with a  greenhouse of course 🙂 

Speaking of gardening, I would like to share a little secret with you. Something an old wise lady in California that had been gardening for 60 years told me, and that I am practicing with success. I guess you could say that it is a different type of composting. It works very well if you are into container gardening, but the method could be modified and used for traditional gardening as well. I do it the way this lady taught me. At all times I have several big pots/containers on hand that I am planning on using for gardening in the future. It is very important that they have holes at the bottom for access liquid/water to get out. I take one of the pots and cover the bottom with soil, about one inch of soil. When I have vegetable scraps, used coffee grounds, eggshells, fruit peels, or prune my plants I put the waste in the pot. I cover the pot with something while filling it up, to not attract insects, or animals. 

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This is the pot that I use to put my organic vegetable scraps (etc.) in. I put another pot on top of my ‘compost’ just because I had one. You can cover your pot/container with anything you have on hand. Make sure no animals can get into it.

The pots I am using now are 15-25 gallon pots (the perfect size for a good sized fruit tree, or 1-2 big vegetable plants.) When the pot is almost full I top of the last 2-3 inches with good organic soil. Then I water the pots well, and put them aside, without cover, for future use. The longer these pots sits the better they become.

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These pots have been sitting for a while, and my daughter and I planted late season crops in them yesterday.

This is a frugal, long term solution. As the materials turns into a highly nutritious soil it’s going to get more compact, and you will have to fill up with new ‘waste material’ yearly. Unless the plants you plant in the containers catches some disease from an outside source, you will not have to change your soil, you just keep feeding it. If you don’t use your containers (or your garden beds) during the winter, add a layer of organic fertiliser on the top, something you have on hand leaves/grass clippings/cow manure/horse manure and you will get a kick start to your garden when you start planting in the spring. 

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As an added bonus you sometimes get surprise plants, like this one that was coming up inside the compost a couple weeks ago. I replanted it in its own pot, and it is thriving.

Do you have a garden secret that you swear have change your way of gardening, that you want to share? Please tell me in a comment!

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I planted some culinary sage from seeds this spring, and they are actually doing quite well. I love the fragrance that I sometimes catch a swiff of while sitting on my porch a breezy evening. 

Would you like a refill on your coffee? I really enjoy sitting in the garden this time of the year, especially when the weather is like this, not too hot, and not too cold. Have you been swimming in a lake, or in the ocean this summer? We played by the lake yesterday, and I hope there is many more days by the lake to come. What have you been up to this week? 

Next weekend is my daughter’s birthday. She only wants her best friend to come to her party, and no-one else, but it is really important to have a party, she WANTS a party. Due to Covid -19 it is going to be outside in the garden, with proper distancing. The girls will eat cake, and play, maybe go to the beach afterwards. I’m very happy that she actually wants a small party, and not a HUGE one. We live a very minimalistic lifestyle but I try to make every birthday just the way she wants it, so that it is really her day. Last year the dress was very important, this year she do not wear dresses! I don’t have a clue to what she is going to wear. I don’t care, as long as she is happy, I just don’t want her to be regretful afterwards (birthdays have been a big thing for her, and she often asks to see the photos from birthdays of the past.) I will make a smaller cake than usual this year, and we have yet to agree on what kind of cake it will be. Well, well, still a week left. The balloons are apparently very important, and I already have them. I believe she is mostly excited to play with her friend in a festive mood. Besides the cake she’s asked me to make her favourite burritos, and homemade pizza for her birthday. In case you missed it, I shared a Fabulous Tortilla Bread earlier this week, that we use for making burritos, very popular right now.

This is pretty much what’s been going on at my house this Week 5 of my staycation, 2 free weeks left before it’s time to go back to work. Thank you so much for joining me for coffee this weekend. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!

Love,

Maria 

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PS. Disclosure, after this article was written we agreed upon making a Confetti Birthday Cake, with layers of vanilla cream inside. Phew..one less decision to make 😉

Fabulous Tortilla Bread

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I’m a big fan of cooking everything from scratch. I know what we eat, and frankly it is cheaper to cook your own food. Of course It’s really nice to go out every once in a while, and I’ve had periods of my life when I’ve been eating out a lot. My daughter is a big fan of Mexican food, especially burritos in every imaginable way. Maybe it’s partly my fault that she is such a big fan of Mexican food, when she was little we use to visit this wonderful Mexican restaurant every weekend. It was our thing. We lived far out in the countryside, very rural. Once a week I gave myself a reason to dress up, and see other people. We lived in California then, and Mexican food is really good there, so close to Mexico. Since we don’t have that here in Sweden I’ve learned to make amazing tortilla bread myself, and my daughter is older and can create her own burritos with them. Burritos being her absolute favourite food. It is actually really simple to make fabulous tortilla bread, that said, I struggled a lot before coming up with the perfect recipe. I’ve been given so many recipes that other people swore were the best, but for some reason they did not work out for me. This one does! It’s the results of many hours of tweaking the recipe. My daughter is a picky eater, and she approves  🙂

Fabulous Tortilla Bread – 6 big tortilla breads, or 10-12 smaller ones 

3 cups of wheat flour (all purpose/whole wheat/bread – pick your favourite)

1/2 cup of olive oil

1,5 cup of boiling water

pinch of salt

 

Mix flour and salt in a big bowl. Add boiling water and olive oil (you can substitute for another oil if you don’t have olive oil at home.)

Mix the dough for about 5 minutes by hand with a wooden fork or spoon. Depending on what flour you use, you may have to add more boiling water, or more flour when you knead the dough. You finished mixing when the dough is smooth and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.

Cover the dough for ten minutes.

Divide the dough into six or more round balls. Roll them out using a rolling pin. Use a little bit of flour when you roll them out, if you need too. Bake them one by one, in a dry frying pan on a little more than medium heat, a couple minutes on each side. Place the finished tortillas inside a moist (not wet) towel, while baking the rest of your tortillas.

Enjoy the tortillas in your favourite fashion! We made these burritos yesterday, using the tortillas in this recipe. We filled them with beef, shredded cheddar cheese, hot tomato salsa, and a lot of fresh cilantro from our garden. Served with a salad they make a hearty and healthy meal.

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I had kidney beans soaking over night last night, and was planning to serve a beans stew for lunch today. My daughter asked for burritos..I said yes and served the bean stew in a tortilla bread with sliced fresh fruit as a side. My picky eater took both seconds and thirds. Winner, winner..a few weeks ago I had fish on the menu, same thing happen. “Mom can we have Mexican food tonight?” I love saying yes, so I did, and served the fish and salad in tortilla breads. Do you have a picky eater at home? Any tips you’d like to share?

For us it makes sense to buy different types of beans, and flour in bulk. During corona I never had to worry all that much about not being able to get groceries. Did you know that if you store beans, lentils, and other dry good right they can literally last for decades? This homemade tortilla bread cost me less than 50 cent (US) to make. The bean stew that I served in the bread today was even less than that. All the ingredients were organic. It would have been more expensive if I didn’t buy it in bulk of course, but it would still be cheaper than buying the finished product, or eating out. For me as a single mom that matters.

Please let me know in a comment if you try this recipe and what you think about it!

Love,

Maria

Silent Sunday

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