Garden

Productive planting

Yesterday was an incredibly productive day. I mean seriously productive. I got up at 4:50 a.m. and went to a spinning class. When I got home, I took my dog for a walk before work. I made breakfast for two days and lunch. I got a ton of stuff done at work, too. AND when I got home, we made dinner that I had marinated overnight before running to Home Depot to buy mulch. And yes, I spread it, too! This seriously never happens! I don’t know what took over and said “You are not gonna sit still for a single second today,” but it needs to happen way more often.

On to my productive planting…

This weekend my dad met up with a parent he met at on of Elliott’s baseball games go was splitting her perennials. She gave him an entire trunk-full of plants for us to plant in our yard! Thank you so much, Rene!

Free plants

We got right to work unloading and planning where to plant our plants so we could get them back in the ground and soaked with water. Three hours later we planted two hastas, three liriope, a bunch of lamb’s ear, a bunch of fern…. and a ton of other stuff we didn’t know the name of. We also transplanted one of my strawberry patches to join it with the other patch, so now I have one huge patch! Yummo.

Last night on my productive spree, I dragged the hubby (OK, OK, he went rather willingly) to Home Depot to buy mulch so I could mulch my new garden beds. We bought 15 bags for only $1.48 each. Score!

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In the photo above we have some daffodils braided down on the left and my strawberry patch on the right. I’m not crazy about daffodils, so I am thinking I might eventually make the whole thing a strawberry patch 😀

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This picture is less exciting, seeing as I don’t know the name of this plant, but it has pretty purple flowers and will hopefully wind up the fence when it grows. It also shows my next plan for my garden, which is lining all of my beds with big(ish) rocks. The tricky part — I don’t want to pay for them haha. I will be rock  scavenging to try to complete this task. I’m starting with the beds on the side of the house so the incompleteness won’t be super obvious when you drive by. I think it will look really great when it’s done.

This weekend I’ll be planting six tomato plants, which is absurd because how many tomatoes does one person really need? And yes, only one person in our house eats them — me!

I got three regular plants, one Roma plant and two cherry tomato plants. CAN’T WAIT FOR TOMATOES!

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Speaking of gardening… my broccoli are doing well (I think). We cut down the itty bitty tree right behind our car port earlier this spring to help get my garden bed a bit more light. The broccoli look like they are doing well, but I know my dad’s plants will be 80 times the size because of their direct sunlight all day long. I think this year will be really telling for future garden plans. I thought about moving my garden to the back corner of the yard that gets more sun, but that was gonna be way more expensive so I decided to give this area one more try.
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And to round out a productive planting post… you know what isn’t productive?

This guy….

He just wants to play in the dirt and chase water from the hose. In fact, last night he took to crying when we stopped playing with the hose. Needless to say, he was rather soaked by the time we went inside for the night.

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And when he isn’t sidetracking me from gardening, he’s certainly not being productive inside….

Lazy bones!

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Recipes

Spicy Taco Soup

What I’m about to share with you is possibly one of the yummiest recipes of all time. That’s right, folks… it’s Spicy Taco Soup time.

I discovered this recipe years ago online and have since altered it to perfection. It is a staple in our house during the colder months and a staple at my mom’s house at Christmas time. It’s also way easy to make and not terribly bad for you. #Winning!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs Ground beef/chicken/turkey: Use whichever meat you’d like and however much meat you like. I usually use 1.5 lbs because I like my soup to have a lot of meat in it.
  • 32 oz. Beef stock/chicken stock: Depending on whether you choose to make your soup with ground beef or ground bird, grab the corresponding broth to go with it. Also, I liked to get low sodium broth. It doesn’t affect the taste and it is way better for you.
  • 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes: Feel free to use petite diced tomatoes with green chillies or onions in it. Tomatoes must be petite!
  • 1 can of pinto/black beans: I use black beans in my soup and only one can. The original recipe I found online called for two cans of pinto and two cans of black beans. That was way too much for us. Grab low sodium beans if you can.
  • 1 can of sweet yellow corn
  • 1 cup chopped onion: Frozen or fresh works. You can add more if you’d like.
  • 1 cup chopped green/red/yellow peppers: Frozen or fresh works, and any color works! You can add more if you’d like.
  • 2 tbsp Red Pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • HOT SAUCE!!!: Add as much as you can handle 🙂

Directions:

In a frying pan, cook up the meat of your choice with the onions. Drain the grease.

In a large soup pot on medium to high heat, combine tomatoes (do not drain), corn (drain & rinse), beans (drain & rinse), peppers, red pepper flakes, and meat. Add in your broth (Note: I add a whole “box” of broth, but you can add however much you’d like. It will change the consistency of the soup. So, if you like chunky soup, don’t add too much. If you like a soupier soup, add all of it.)

Add hot sauce to taste.

Heat until hot! Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream on top — maybe even a few crushed up tortilla chips! Enjoy!

The best part about this soup is it is easily customizable without totally altering the taste. If you want more meat, add more. If you want less broth, add less. If you love green peppers but hate corn, the recipe will still turn out. I made it last night with three cans of petite tomatoes (total rebel, right?) and no green pepper (I forgot to buy them… oops!), and it was still delicious.

What are your favorite soup recipes? I also make a mean rustic tomato soup. Yummo. No soup beats my parents’ homemade chicken noodle, but Spicy Taco Soup is definitely my next favorite.