Bulgur Salad with Chick Peas, Cucumbers, Red Peppers, Lemon and Dill

Bulgur Salad with Chick Peas, Cucumbers, Red Peppers, Lemon and Dill

Bulgur Salad with Chick Peas, Cucumbers, Red Peppers, Lemon and DillIf you’ve never used bulgur in a recipe, this bulgur salad recipe is the perfect one to start with. You can adjust the veggies used to what you have on hand, too. It’s pretty versatile. It keeps great in the fridge all week long, so you can serve it for a few meals. Or just grab it out of the fridge when you want a quick snack.

Ingredients

1 cup bulgur
1/3 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 sweet bell pepper, diced
1 small English cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2  garlic clove, finely minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

chopped red onion

Directions

Cook your bulgur. I like to cook it in either a rice cooker or a slow cooker. It cooks just like white rice, so the most important thing to remember is to use the ratio of 1 part bulgur to 2 parts liquid {I use vegetable stock most of the time}. For example, 2 cups of liquid to 1 cup of uncooked bulgur. Let the bulgur rest for a good 15 minutes after cooking.

If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can boil the water {or whatever liquid you’re using}, add a pinch of salt, then stir in the bulgur. Cover and let it sit until all the water is absorbed, normally about 30 minutes.

Bulgur Salad with Chick Peas, Cucumbers, Red Peppers, Lemon and DillCombine all ingredients in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. I added a bit more salt than the sprinkling I normally use {I used about a teaspoon}, and it gave it just the right about of seasoning.

Serve cold and enjoy!

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Angela From Central Wisconsin Sends in Her Chicken Coop Photos

red barn chicken coop

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other people’s pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have rock star gardens, chicken coops and adventures this summer. Keep them coming!

red barn chicken coop

Hello, Mavis! My name is Angela and this is our chicken coop in central Wisconsin. My husband wanted chickens when we moved out to the country and his dream is coming true! We got our first flock in May 2014, just six in that flock. We call them the big girls, and have just added another flock of 15 chicks: the little girls (not laying yet.)

My husband and I knew next to nothing about backyard chickens and I researched quite a bit before we ventured in. The first thing we built was the broody box (hope I said that right.) We have a screened porch with patio doors connected to our kitchen/foyer and keep the chicks in there for the first 6 weeks or so.

DIY chicken coop ideasThis side of the box has a piece of Plexiglass and is set up against the patio doors inside our screen porch. That way, we can check on the chicks often, but we don’t get any smell or mess in the house. The box is cleaned out in this photo, but we have had success with covering the bottom with sand–very easy to clean, like a cat litter box. Also, the sand beneath the red light stays warm.

electrical chicken coopMy husband is a Controls Engineer and so he made some improvements to the idea of using a red light for temperature regulation. This view of the back of the broody box shows a low-voltage digital programmable control. On the inside of the box, he installed a temp and humidity stat to maintain a setpoint temperature.

Using his computer, he programmed the red light to a specific temperature the first week. A relay switch turns the light on when the temp. drops below the set point; the light stays on for a certain amount of time and then goes off. He programmed the desirable weekly temperature to go down by 5 degrees each week, as the chicks got older and feathered out.
Neat, huh?!

red barn chicken coop ideas

The actual coop is a renovated corn crib on one end of our shed. We only have 15 chickens right now, but have room for many more! The above photo shows the side windows, which are covered with hardware cloth (wire.) They each have a shuttered door we close in bad weather.

In the winter, we put in Plexiglass, so the girls can still have plenty of light. On the back of the shed is the chicken run– all surrounded with the same hardware cloth. The wire is buried 18″ and so far we have not had any predators try to get in. However, the big girls BEG to come out each day and don’t spend much time in the run.rustic chicken coop red barn

As it turns out, the new flock of little girls enjoys the run! Looking at the side of the corn crib/coop, please note that we built walls inside….had to, so the snow wouldn’t blow in! We regret not putting in at least a little insulation, though. There is a lot of ventilation up high inside the coop, all openings covered with protective wire.

pictures of chicken coopsThe above photo shows the run and it’s Arctic entry to keep out winds. The little girls are still learning this is their home, so we don’t let them out yet. One of the big girls, an Easter Egger Bantam (she lays green eggs!) can be seen on the outside; her name is Prissy and she is our “tattletale” that alerts us when something is amiss!

inside chicken coop photosInside the coop, you can see we have separated the two flocks using chicken wire and a large sheet of vinyl screen that hangs down from the 8′ high ceiling. This has worked well. The two flocks are getting to know each other…the big girls still come and go through the “human door” and have access to their nest boxes. The little girls were still eating crumbles, not pellets, in this photo, which the big girls didn’t have access to.

chicken coop feeder and beddingThis is the little girl side, with their own water and the Arctic entrance to the run. The milk crate and board on top is just to give them help up onto their “poop board/roost.”

chicken roostThis is the big girls’ side of the coop. We have been using PDZ (a horse stall product) on the poop boards and it has worked great! Just like scooping a cat little box. The water is set up on a heater that my husband programs to turn on when the temperature in the coop drops below 38 degrees. That is a very nice feature in the winter! (There’s a thermostat inside the coop.) The floor is covered in construction quality sand: $10 a ton, delivered, in our area.

heating lamp for chicken coopThis photo shows just how high the inside ceiling is…and a red light that is–you guessed it– programmed in the winter to turn on when the temperature inside the coop gets really cold. We have had problems with frostbite with our first flock: one girl lost all her toes on one foot! That would be Missy, Easter Egger Bantam sister to Prissy. We nursed her back to health and she is the sweetest chicken we have…a decent layer, too! (A tiny pinkish/ivory egg.)

chicken coop pictures and ideasIn the above photo, the “human door” can be seen. The three nest boxes are cut into the wall and can be accessed inside the shed from the back of each nest. That way, I don’t have to risk messing any nice shoes going inside the coop when all I want to do is check for eggs. (My “coop shoes” are rubber restaurant workers shoes I got at Wal-Mart for $20–similar to Crocs.)

We also keep pellets and black oil sunflower seeds in galvanized steel garbage cans with lids inside the shed. Since this photo was taken, we have removed all the screen and wire and the flocks have mingled–somewhat. So far, no fights!
broder boxThe last photo I have to share is a picture of our “broody breaker box.”

At times, we have a chicken go broody. Since we have no rooster, the chicken is sitting on a nest, day and night, not laying and not allowing the other chickens to get into the nest boxes. Online research led us to build this well- protected box with the intention of cooling off the chicken’s tummy to break the broodiness. The bottom is covered with hardware cloth and cardboard underneath to aid in cleanup.

We have two heavy boards we place on top and occasionally have to cover this with an old heavy blanket in cold nighttime weather. Can you tell this box is right up next to our patio doors? It’s technically inside our screen porch, which is not predator safe, but this location allows us to keep a close eye on any chicken that is in the broody breaker. Usually, it takes less than a week to “reset” the hormones…sometimes longer, if a chicken’s name is Prissy!

Although it was initially my husband’s desire to raise chickens, our three children are a great help in this venture! “My” chicken lays the largest egg–a standard egg carton won’t close over it because it’s so long–I named her Chicken Jane. When I go outside with some kitchen food scraps I just call out, “Janie-e-e” she comes running!

~ Angela

Send Pictures of Your Garden For a Chance to Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts – Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

See More Mavis Mail Submissions

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How to Break Your Caffeine Addiction

starbucks

starbucks
Before the 30 day emergency food supply challenge, I didn’t even know I had a caffeine habit.  Admitting to about 20 cups of caffeinated tea a day kind of tells a different story, but I never really even thought about it until it was time to stop.  It was the stopping part that got me.  Holy buckets, people, the headaches were a real bummer.

After about a week, I started to notice that I felt better, slept better, looked better, etc.  And that’s when I really started to valuate if my tea ritual was worth it {for the record, it is not worth it}.

If you are trying to cut your reliance on caffeine to make you feel awake and alert, here’s some tips to make it a little less painful:

tea cup

  1. Try Dandelion root or other herbal non-caffeinated choices.  Non-caffeinated purist swear by it.  It gives you the same morning ritual, without the side effects of caffeine.
  2. Prepare mentally for the withdrawals.  There will be headaches.  They suck.  If you are going cold turkey, you may want to do it during a week when  you can deal with a throbbing headache for 3 days straight.
  3. Gradually wean yourself by doing half caff.  Make your tea or coffee with half caffeinated and half decaf.  Gradually increase the decaf until that’s all that’s left.
  4. Replace the morning ritual with something more benefiting to your health.  Meditate, go for a walk, read or journal instead.  Eventually, you will look forward to that private time the way you did coffee–fair warning, though, it won’t give you the same immediate lift.
  5. Make sure to get PLENTY of sleep as you are coming off caffeine.  You will feel tired, because you won’t have your usual pick-me-up.  Make sure you don’t add to it with sleep deprivation.
  6. Dig your heels in and muster up some good old fashioned willpower.  I know it’s easier said than done, but you have to believe you can do it and fight the cravings, or you will give in.
  7. Resist the urge to replace the habit with something equally destructive, like copious amounts of chocolate.  That is not to say that chocolate should be off limits.  That would be crazy talk.

I know none of these tips are rocket science, but together, I found they worked pretty darn well.  I promise that you’ll feel better in the long run.  Though, in the short run, you may hate everyone with a pulse.  Just know it will pass.

~Mavis

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Free Kindle Books, Duplo Sets, LARABars, Yoga Pants, Pillows and More

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infirmWord of the Day: Infirm Definition: Weak, irresolute, impaired  Used in a sentence: Because he was a man of infirm of purpose he failed.

lucy the puggle dog

Lucy the snuggle puggle says hello and happy Tuesday! The Girl took my car for the day so I’ll be hanging around the house {hopefully getting a lot done} and doing a bit of gardening. I’m planning on sharing some pictures of my garden later this morning as well as the most delicious bulgur salad ever later this afternoon.

Have a great day everyone,

Mavis

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Cooking From Your Pantry | Menu Plan Ideas, Freezer Meals and Simple Recipes Week 30 of 52

Cooking From Your Pantry  Menu Plan Ideas, Freezer Meals and Simple Recipes Week 30 of 52

Cooking From Your Pantry  Menu Plan Ideas, Freezer Meals and Simple Recipes Week 30 of 52

Another week, another round of recipes selections from my family to yours. One word of advise: MAKE THE NUTELLA CINNAMON ROLLS!! You won’t be disappointed. nutella cinnamon rolls3 Breakfast Ideas

Nutella Filled Cinnamon Rolls – Feeling guilty over wishing school was year round by now?  Make a batch of these for the family and it will wipe your guilt away.  They’ll think you’re the best. parent. ever.  {Pin it for Later}

Poppy Seed Muffins – You can’t go wrong with a classic.  {Pin it for Later}

Crock Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apples and Brown Sugar – The HH gets breakfast in bed every Sunday.  If I know I want to sleep in, I’ll start a batch of this Saturday night so that I can quickly put it together for the hubs Sunday morning.  {Pin it for Later}

Lasagna Cupcakes recipe4 Lunch Ideas and Dinner Ideas

Bacon Wrapped Corn on the Cob – Bacon and corn should get married.  It just makes sense.  They are good together.  {Pin it for Later}

Our New Favorite Barbecued Salmon Recipe – I made this for the first time this year, and we can’t get enough of it.  It’s pretty much the only way I’ve cooked salmon lately.  {Pin it for Later}

Strawberry Focaccia with Balsamic Onions – This is perfect paired with a simple salad.  {Pin it for Later}

Lasagna Cupcakes – These little suckers last about as long as actual cupcakes around here-which for the record is not very long.  {Pin it for Later}

apricot tart3 Sweet Treats 

Dehydrated Kiwi – This is one of those guilt-free sweet tooth fixers.  {Pin it for Later}

Apricot Tart – This recipe would work well with just about any stone fruit.  {Pin it for Later}

Peanut Butter Blossoms – Chocolate and peanut butter.  Peanut butter and chocolate.  It’s one of the finer combinations in life.  {Pin it for Later}

freezer pancakesFeatured Freezer Meal Recipe

Freezer Pancakes – These are the best when  the kids are home for the summer.  You make them one time–they make them the rest.  {Pin it for Later}

how to dry basilFeatured Preservation Recipe 

How to Dry Basil – If you planted basil this year, make sure to dry some to use all year long.  It is ridiculously simple and tastes so much better than the stuff that’s been sitting in the store for who knows how long.  {Pin it for Later}

What are YOU planning on making this week?

~Mavis

Find more recipes on One Hundred Dollars a Month as well as on my Pinterest Recipe Boards.

 

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The Half Marathon, The Hillbillies Sick Chicken and The Coat that Won’t Stop Ripping!

half marathon mavis butterfield

half marathon mavis butterfield

The Half Marathon

On saturday I participated in the Foothills B&O Half Marathon and HAD A BLAST. As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a runner. I do no training {because I am a total slacker}. Yet every once in awhile I still sign up for races with a friend or two because hey, why not. How hard can it be right? Roll out of bed, exercise, eat yummy treats afterwards, and then spend the rest of the day moaning in bed watching PBS documentaries.

After the survival experiment last month, and getting food poisoning the week before last, my only goal was not to finish last. There were only 156 runners and I was worried about it being a real possibility. But in the end, I managed to finish 133rd out of 156 runners with a time of 2:35:30. I was shocked. And thrilled.

half marathon snack

Somewhere around mile 6 there was a water station. It had GU, and Gatorade and water. But what I really wanted was a donut from the box shoved behind the table that was for the volunteers. Once I saw those, all I could think about was crossing the finish line so I could get a donut somewhere. Oddly enough, there was a bakery across from the finish line.  {Saweeeet!} Let me tell you Bob, a custard filled donut with chocolate icing has never tasted so good.

The Foothills B&O Half Marathon was by far, the best course on the planet. Lot’s of trails, mud, bridges, scenery, volunteers you name it, they had it. Only 250 runners are allowed to sign up each year so if you are thinking about doing a half marathon next summer… this is the one to sign up for.
chicken in cage
The Hillbillies Sick Chicken

Last week The Girl and I got a call from Mr. Hillbilly. There was something wrong with one of his hens and could we come over right away and diagnose the problem. We all suspected the chicken was egg-bound. So Mr. HB checked with Dr. Google and ended up putting the chicken in a warm water bath and massaging the sweet little bird {named Hanna} for 30 minutes.

petting a chicken

The next day the chicken was all better. No egg, but the chicken was no longer showing signs of stress and her vent was no longer pulsating like it was the day before.

The Hillbillies have come to the conclusion Hanna was stressed out from being molested by their rooster. Which of course has traumatized the whole family. Needless to say they are looking for a new home for the roo. Good thing this is suburbia and they can buy more egg layers when they need them. If they were true pioneers, they wouldn’t have this option.
harvesting winter vegetables in the snow

The Coat That Won’t Stop Ripping

2 years ago I purchased a winter coat on clearance from REI. If I remember correctly the original price was something like $199 and I ended up paying $79 for it. Which was a TON of money for me to spend on a coat. But it was so lovely and warm and fit me PERFECTLY that I decided to splurge on it.

rei winter coat rips and tears

The VERY first time I wore my fluffy new coat was to a sporting event for one of the kids. I had been sitting on some bleachers and when I got up I heard it rip at the very bottom and feathers went flying everywhere. I was so ticked I had snagged it on the bottom of my seat.

The next fall I snagged the back of the coat on who knows what and had to make yet another crappy repair {I will never win any awards for my sewing skills}. Then, last winter the seams of the left inside arm busted open {I have no idea how} and made another hole {which I never got around to repairing because I’m lazy and c’mon, nobody’s going to see it right?}.

Then on friday, I was walking Lucy the puggle princess with her leash around my right hand {with my hands in my pockets} when the UPS truck drove by and she lunged at it. Our old UPS driver always gave out cookies to the neighborhood dogs. So any time she see’s a big brown truck and it doesn’t stop to give her a cookie, she freaks out. When she lunged at the truck it made my arm jerk out of my coat pocket and I TORE THE COAT AGAIN.

Goody Gravy people. Has this type of thing ever happened to one of your favorite articles of clothing? I LOVE my coat. I even thought about returning it for a replacement but I don’t think my coat qualifies since it’s been a little over 2 years since I purchased it {and I didn’t keep my receipt}. Also, REI’s guarantee doesn’t cover ordinary wear and tear or damage caused by improper use or accidents.

WHY CAN’T THINGS LAST FOREVER?

I’m not ready to give up my tattered coat just quite yet, but when I do, I’m going to splurge on L.L. Bean’s Ultra Long Winter Coat {in black of course} and my dream boots to complete the look. Sure, I could use my garage sale money and invest in them now {L.L.Bean has a 100% satisfaction guarantee NO MATTER WHAT policy} but I’m just not ready to throw in the towel yet.

~Mavis

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Penny Pinching Tip – Wash Your Ziploc Bags

Penny Pinching Tip - Wash Your Ziploc Bags

Penny Pinching Tip - Wash Your Ziploc BagsOkay, so I am going to admit something to you, and you’ll probably judge me, but here goes:  I wash my ziploc bags and re-use them.  I know they are meant to be a one-time use sort of thing, but it just kills me when I haven’t really used them for anything gross {like meat or cream sauce–those go into the trash–they aren’t worth it to me}, to just throw them out.  So, I squeeze a couple of drops of soap into them and wash them with hot water.  Then, I place them over a tall mason jar on the counter to dry for awhile.

I don’t always use them for food again, but they totally come in handy for other things, and they are guilt-free when I need them.  When I travel, and need to put my toiletries into a ziploc, I grab one of the washed ones.  If I am heading out to collect pine cones, leaves, etc. for a crafty something, something, I grab a washed used bag.  I throw the used ones into my beach bag and then throw my wet swimsuit into it so it doesn’t get my whole bag sopping wet.  I seriously use them all of the time.

So, am I a cheapskate weirdo, or do some of you do this too?  Please tell me there is safety in numbers on this one…

~Mavis

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Weekly Grocery Shopping Savings Show and Tell {Week 30 of 52}

homemade soft tacos

bakery outlet dealsThe Bakery Outlet $10.00

I was in the Tacoma area so I stopped by the Bakery Outlet and stocked up. The prices have gone up a wee but since I was there last but still, their prices were less than half if I had shopped Costco. The 2- packs of giant loaves of oatnut bread were $2.60 a bag as were the 4- pack of English muffins. These same items run about $5.89 at our local Costco. The bagels were $1.10 a bag {Costco makes you buy 2 bags for $5.69} and because I spent $10.00 I scored 1 free loaf of bread. GIDDY UP!!!

Luckily we have extra room in our chest freezer in the garage so we can freeze the bread until we are ready to use it. Seriously though, don’t you think that was a great deal for $10?

lays potato chips

Target $7.00

Normally, I wouldn’t’ buy 6 bags of chips at one time but Target had a pretty good deal last week so I went ahead and stocked up on chips {they ended up being $1.16 a bag each after coupons}.

target cartwheel

Basically the deal was this. Spend $15 on Frito-Lay Products and get $5 off text message coupon. Then, stack that coupon with a 30% off Frito-Lay Target cartwheel coupon. Easy peasy, right? Sadly this deal ended on 7/25.

But because I’m super sneaky, I hid 4 of the 6 bags of chips. So now we {okay, Monkey Boy} has enough chips to last him through the end of summer. He just doesn’t know it yet. 😉

fresh produce

Tacoma Boys $6.63

Tacoma Boys is nearly right across the street from the bakery outlet so I zipped in and picked up 5 avocados for $ and a couple of Fiji apples for $.69 a pound.

milkAlbertsons $6.18

The HH picked up 2 gallons of milk on the way home from work. Although it’s nice to have NORMAL milk jugs again, I think Costco prices are about $0.75 less for 2 gallons of 2%.

zaycon patio steaks

Zaycon Fresh Steak Free with Credit

This was our first time trying a Zaycon Patio Steak, and let me tell you Bob, they were delicious.

oatmeal cookies

And now for a few of the side dishes and meals we made this week:

The Girl baked a double batch of oatmeal cookies. One for us to much on and one for the freezer to enjoy later. Wasn’t that sweet?
steak dinner

Steak dinner? Yes please!Bulgur Salad with Chick Peas, Cucumbers, Red Peppers, Lemon and Dill

Bulgur salad. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow. bbq sauce homemade

Made another batch of quick and easy bbq sauce for grilling burgers and chicken.english muffin with egg and cheese

Thanks to the sweet deal on English muffins I was able to make a batch of Freezer Meal Egg and Cheese English Muffins for Monkey Boy and the HH to take to work in their lunch bags. I love homemade convience food, don’t you?
chop cobb salad

We harvested 2 fresh cucumbers out of the garden this week so I made a chopped salads one night for dinner. The avocados were a nice addition.

homemade soft tacos

I also made chicken soft tacos with homemade tortillas too.

crusty dutch oven bread

And crusty dutch oven bread for pasta night. spaghetti squash

The HH was gifted a spaghetti squash from someone at work. I think I’ll store it in the pantry until I figure out what to do with it. Maybe you have some recipe ideas for me.

homemade peach jam

And last but not least, The Girl and I whipped up a batch of peach jam. There are only 1 or 2 more jam recipes I need to make for this year and then I’m done {with jam}. Yee-Haw!

It was a productive week.

~Mavis

Total Spent This Week $29.81

Weeks 1-28 Shopping Exclusively at Costco $1,229.25 {$43.90 a week/$175 a month average}
Weeks 29&30 Shopping wherever the heck I want $68.24 {$34.12 a week/$136.48 a month average}
Total Spent Year to Date $1297.49

Go HERE to read more Shopping Trip Stories.

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