Giveaway – Enter to Win a $50 Gift Card to LL Bean

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LL Bean Flagship Store Giant Boot Freeport Maine

We recently took a trip to the East Coast and one of the places we stopped was Freeport, Maine the home of LL Bean. I LOVE LL Bean so we stopped in and picked up a $50 gift card to giveaway to one lucky One Hundred Dollars a Month reader. Yay!

ll Bean gift card image

All you have to do to enter this giveaway is leave a comment below and let us know: Have you ever been to New England? If so, what was your favorite town to visit?

ll bean flagship store freeport maine boots

Rules

1 entry per person/ip address. If you cheat, you will totally be disqualified.

One person will win one $50 gift card to LL bean.

This giveaway ends Sunday, May 5th, 2013 @9 pm PST and the winner will be announced in the May 7th, 2013 edition of Mornings with Mavis. You will be notified via email and have 48 hours to claim your prize. If the prize is not claimed within 48 hours it will be forfeited.

Good Luck, I hope you win.

 Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Creamy Broccoli and Spinach Pasta Salad

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Creamy Broccoli and Spinach Pasta Salad  recipe

I whipped up a quick and easy creamy broccoli and spinach pasta salad with some of our homegrown spinach today. I am a BIG fan of pasta salads because they usually last a few  days and they’re are great for a quick and easy lunch.

Here is the recipe. I hope you like it, we sure do.

Ingredients
16 ounces spiral pasta
8 ounces fresh broccoli florets, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sliced sweet peppers
1/2 cup sliced olives, pitted and quartered
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Recipe Creamy Broccoli and Spinach Pasta Salad

Directions

Prepare the pasta according to package directions, drain and cool. Place the broccoli, spinach leaves, olives, sweet peppers, and pasta together in a large bowl and stir together. Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, sugar and salt until smooth. Pour over pasta mixture and stir until the pasta is evenly coated. Garnish with chives and refrigerate for 2 hours or until ready to serve.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Sale Cycles – What’s on Sale in May?

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Sales Cycles what to buy in May

One thing I’ve learned over the past few years as I’ve whittled my family’s grocery budget down from $800 a month {2008} to $100 a month {since 2010} is that there are specific times of year when groceries, household items and other goods go on sale.

Just because a certain fruit or vegetable isn’t in season in your neck of the woods, doesn’t mean grocers are not willing to have it trucked in from somewhere else to offer you a great price.

May brings Cinco de Mayo, the official kick-off for grilling season, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and most Farmer’s Markets will be up and running.  It is a busy month, with lots of sales.

While you are out this month, look for:

Roasted Chicken Salad with Cranberries{Recipe : Roasted Chicken with Cranberries Salad}

Food

Marinades
Steak Sauces
BBQ Sauce
Condiments
Salad Dressings
Hamburger Buns/Hotdog Buns
All things Mexican food
Pickles
Grilling Meats {ribs, steaks, hamburgers, chicken breasts, etc.}
Chips
Ice Cream
Bottled Water

rhubarb cinnamon jam{Recipe: Rhubarb Cinnamon Jam}

Seasonal Produce

Zucchini
Artichokes
Asparagus
Spring Peas
Broccoli
Lettuce
Cherries
Strawberries
Pineapples
Radishes
Rhubarb
Swiss Chard

Non-Food Items

Paper plates, cups, napkins, tablecloths, etc.
Flowers, Chocolates, Greeting Cards {on clearance after Mother’s Day}
Cinco de Mayo Decorations {on clearance after Cinco de Mayo}
Vacuums
Cookware
Grill Supplies {charcoal, lighter fluid, etc.}

Is there a particular item you always notice for sale in May? Let us know in the comments below and I’ll add it to the list.

Saving money is cool!

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Container Gardening with Andy the Plant Whisperer – The Steamy Greenhouse

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greenhouse gardening andy the plant whisperer

Yesterday my German neighbor Hudla stopped over for a little garden tutorial.  In the middle of my Gardening 101 Lecture, Andy popped out to introduce himself, and “provide good Juju for the plants,” whatever the heck that means.  He looked a little, crumpled.  I asked him if the basement was meeting all of his needs.  He assured me it was, but he just had a little jet-lag.  I’m not sure how that happened since he drove up in an old VW Van, but okay.

I turned my back for one minute and Andy started teaching Hudla how to gently massage the stem of the plants—hmmm, a bit unorthodox, but who can argue his methods, when his passion for the plants is clearly steaming up the greenhouse windows.  Plus, he came so highly recommended, I am going to let it go.

greenhouse gardening grow lettuce in gutters

After Hudla left, Andy told me to go about my business while he introduced himself to my greenhouse plants.  First, he introduced himself to the lettuce, “Hello my beeeautiful baby salad.   How do you feel today?”

kissing strawberry plants andy

Then, I caught him talking to the strawberry plants, “Sweet succulent little strawberries, I will kiss you with my mind.  Mwah, mwah.”  Well, I put an end to that right away—let’s keep it G-rated, alrighty Andy?

greenhouse gardening puggle andy

After awhile, Lucy found her way into the greenhouse.  Andy swept her up and Lucy began licking his face. Luckily he likes to communicate with each living thing by “speaking their language”.

Let’s just hope a bear doesn’t wonder into the yard.  Still, I must admit, Lucy really took to Andy.  Do you think he could he be related to the pet whisperer Cesar Millan?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Store Fresh Basil

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how to store fresh basil

The other day a friend asked me if I knew that you weren’t supposed to refrigerate basil.

Um, no I did not.  I guess I have actually never thought about how to store basil because I grow my own and I usually just cut it as I want to use it.  She told me the produce guy at her grocery store said it affects the flavor and texture when you stick fresh basil in the fridge.

Huh, who knew?

So, in case you didn’t know either, Mr. Produce Guy suggests that if you are not using it right away, don’t just pull off the leaves, cut it off at the base of the stem.  Then keep it in a vase or jar of tepid water on the counter.  It will last several days and maintain its flavor.

How easy is that?

Do you store your basil this way too?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Grow Your Own Food – 5/1/2013 Garden Tally

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DIY Raised Garden Beds

This year I’m on a mission to grow 4,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in my suburban backyard. In 2012 I was able to grow 2,028 pounds, and in 2013 I’m going double or nothing. I have absolutely no idea if I’ll be able to achieve my goal. But, as with any adventure, half the fun is getting there.   ~Mavis

*******

What a great time to be a backyard gardener! This past week we collected 80 eggs, fresh spinach, fresh basil, fresh chives and also grew some fenugreek sprouts as well. Being able to walk out your back door and collect a few ingredients to add to your dinner is pretty rad if you ask me.

I have a feeling that from here on out the weigh in’s will start to increase and I could not be more excited.

Yee- Haw. Let’s get farming!

~Mavis

Here is what I have harvested so far this year:

fresh organic  basil

Basil – 2 ounces

First basil harvest of the season. Now I just have to figure out what to do with it.

beets

Beets - 14 ounces

carrots

Carrots – 3 ounces

grow your own chives

Chives – 5 ounces

fresh eggs blue and brown

Egg Count – 936

Not only are chickens super low maintenance, but they lay magical eggs too. This week our gals left us 80 fresh eggs. We could not eat them all so we gave a few dozen to our German neighbor Hulda as a thank you for helping us re-pot some seedlings in the greenhouse. Bartering with your neighbors is rad!

romaine lettuce
Lettuce
– 10 ounces

microgreens
Microgreens 5 ounces

oregano container herb garden

Oregano - 1 ounce

potatoes

Potatoes – 2 pounds 9 ounces

fresh organic spinach

Spinach – 3 ounces

grow your own sprouts

Sprouts -1 pound 2 ounces

We harvested a bunch more sprouts this week, I’ll be posting about those a little later, but if you don’t already grow your own sprouts, they are super simple to grow. Here are instructions for growing your own sprouts.

Rainbow-Swiss-Chard-picture

Swiss Chard 11 ounces

cut-wheatgrass

Wheatgrass - 7 ounces

Total Food Harvested in 2013: 7 pounds 8 ounces
Total Eggs Collected in 2013: 936

little house in the suburbs
Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard farming and home skills for self-sufficient living

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mornings with Mavis – Digital Photo Frames, Free Kindle Books, Maxi Dresses, Beach Bags, Taste of Home

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red tulips flowers mornings with mavis

Happy May Day!

The tulips are bursting with color around here, are they in bloom at your place?

Today is going to be another great day up here in the Pacific Northwest, lot’s of sunshine in for forecast so I better get out there and water the garden.

Have a great day everyone.

 ~Mavis

Amazon Deal-of-the-Day-Digital-Picture-Frames

Today’s Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day – Save Up to 50% Off Select Digital Picture Frames

kindle books

Available Kindle Books I think are cool…

ROCKIN RHUBARB RECIPIES! FREE
Weekend Homesteader: June $0.99
Market-Fresh Mixology: Cocktails for Every Season FREE
Cooking Light Pick Fresh Cookbook $4.99
Organic GardeningFREE
Easy Orchid GrowingFREE
Fairy Gardening: Creating Your Own Magical Miniature Garden $7.69

The prices on Kindle Books can change quickly, so grab them while you can.

strawberry bag

Amazon has these cute reusable strawberry bags in stock for only $1.08 each SHIPPED.

maxi dresses

Maxi Dress Alert!!! Zulily has oodles of maxi dresses in stock starting at $15.99!

Already a Zulily Member? Go HERE to Get This Deal

living social deals

Living Social

Picture Bungalow – Custom Photo Prints on Wood or Metal {This is cool!}
Beverly Hill Luggage – Starting at $59
Build a Head – Custom cut-outs {These are hilarious!}
Shari’s Berries $30 to spend for only $15

beach bag

6pm is having an Oliva + Joy handbag sale {I really like this beach bag!}.  As with every 6pm purchase you receive FREE SHIPPING too.

utopia wash clothes

Amazon has the 24-pack set of Utopia Wash Clothes on sale for $14.99 in both white and tan back in stock. These wash clothes have excellent reviews!

taste of home magazine

Discount Mags is offering a 1 year subscription to Taste of Home Magazine for only $4.49 a year when you use code 4171 at checkout. This deal will expire tonight 5/1/2013 at midnight EST so be sure and grab your subscription before then.

If you have never ordered from York Photo before, now is you chance. Right now you can order a FREE Custom Mug and 40 Free Prints when you use code MYMUG at check out. You do have to pay a $5.99 shipping fee but I think this deal is totally worth it!

amazon local deals

Amazon Local has some great deals today, here are my favorites:

Tacoma Rainiers $33 ($87 value) for tickets, meal, and hats for two
Savvy Mattress Outlet - $199 for $500 to spend on Simmons, Sealy, or Serta mattresses
Teleflora.com – $20 for $40 to spend on flowers
Photo Bin - $10 ($39.99 value) for a 20-page, 8.5×11 hardcover photo book

Be sure and Sign up HERE so you’ll know what the daily deal is each day.
$1.00 off 1 Crest ProHealth Rinse 458mL or larger$1.50 off 1 Always Pad AND 1 Always Liner 12ct$1.00 off one (1) Revlon Grow Luscious™ Mascara$0.55 off any two HORMEL Chili products$0.75 off ONE Always Xtra Protection Liner 30ct$2.00 off TWO Pantene products

Find More Printable Coupons

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Mail – Amazing Garden Photos from Central Florida

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amazing garden photos florida

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

raised garden planters container gardening

Here is what Nanette had to say about her garden-

My husband Bob and I live in Central Florida – DeBary and started gardening about three years ago. Well, it’s become our favorite past time. A freezer was purchased last fall and is constantly replenished with our harvest. With three growing seasons a year, we’re always, cooking, freezing or preserving!

Bob has discovered that he’s a bit talented when it comes to woodworking, too.

raised garden beds bean trellis

Last summer’s project was our greenhouse/shed. This spring he added more raised beds and a pole bean pergola and now he’s adding my outdoor sink and potting table! Needless to say, I think he’s great! {So do I!} I love your blog and always look forward to your new ideas and recipes

DIY greenhouse build your own

Our greenhouse/shed built from heat treated 2 x 4 wood that was being tossed where I work….of course, like your chicken coop project, we had to buy add’l finishing wood, but the “garbage wood” and the “trash” windows from our neighbor were the backbones (literally) and the inspiration.

We have been considering chickens (hens only!) for next year and your swing set chicken coop has my husband planning!

garden vegetables beans and onions

All I can say is OH MY WORD… Bob you are a freakin’ wood working rock star! Nanette, I cannot believe you two have only been at this for 3 years. You both must have the greenest thumbs on the planet!

Awesome Possum.

~Mavis

raised-garden-bedMelinda’s Garden Photos from Portland, Oregon

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.

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.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Canning 101 – Rhubarb Cinnamon Jam Recipe

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rhubarb cinnamon jam

I posted this recipe last year and I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it again.

I owe Krista a big THANK YOU for sending me this wonderful recipe for Rhubarb Cinnamon Jam.  I whipped up a batch this morning and it turned out delicious.  I love it so much, I plan on making a few more batches of this rhubarb cinnamon jam this afternoon and then stashing it away for hostess gifts this winter.

Seriously, this jam is over the top good.  You need to make it.

chopped rhubarb

Rhubarb-Cinnamon Jam {adapted from a Sure Jell recipe}

Ingredients

6 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 cup water
1 box pectin {I used Sure Jel}
1/2 tsp. butter
6-1/2 cups sugar
1  tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

Bring a boiling-water canner, 3/4 full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

Place the chopped rhubarb along with the water in 4-qt. saucepan and bring to boil on high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the rhubarb is tender {about 2-3 minutes}. Measure 4-1/2 cups of prepared rhubarb into a large pot {I use my dutch oven for this}.

Slowly stir the pectin and lemon juice into the prepared rhubarb. Add butter to reduce foaming {optional but I always do it}. Bring to full rolling boil {a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred} on high heat, stirring constantly.

Slowly stir in the sugar and cinnamon and return to a full rolling boil for 1 minute, making sure to stir constantly to avoid boiling over. Remove from heat and skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands on. Place jars on elevated rack in a canner. Lower rack into canner. {Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.} Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After the jars have cooled, check the seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary. Yields {5} 12 oz jars or {7.5} 8 oz jars

Looking for a few more canning recipes?

Find my Full List of Canning Recipes HERE


A few of my favorite canning books:

The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook
Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Put ‘em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide
Tart and Sweet: 101 Canning and Pickling Recipes for the Modern Kitchen

See More of my Canning Recipes HERE

Need a canner? I used the Granite Ware 11-1/2 Quart Covered Preserving Canner with Rack. And if you need a tool kit, I use one similar to this one.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Choose a Good Tomato Plant

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 How to Choose a Good Tomato Plant

I was at a local store the other day and noticed a lady selecting a few pretty crappy looking tomato plants. I wanted to tell her not to buy them, but the sales clerk was standing right there so I didn’t {shame on me!}.

In case you are buying your tomato plants this year, here are a couple of things to look for to make sure you get a healthy plant:

  1. Choosing your variety:  Determinate, Indeterminate, or Heirloom?  For the first two, check out my post on determinate vs. indeterminate tomatoes.  Heirloom tomatoes are from seeds that are passed down from generation to generation.  They usually have more flavor, color, etc. but they are more susceptible to disease.  
  2. Next, I know this seems counter-intuitive, but go smaller.  I’m not talking itty-bitty, but 4″-8″ is a great place to start.  They seem to do better when transplanted, because they are still small enough to develop a strong root system in your garden with relatively little transplant shock.
  3. Examine the leaves.  Look for leaves with uniform color {no yellow or brown spots}.  Choose plants with 4-6 leaves.
  4. Check out the stem.  It should be straight and sturdy, like Forest Gump after his leg braces.
  5. Check the soil of the container–make sure it isn’t dried out {indicating that the plant has probably endured some level of stress while at the nursery}.
  6. Choose a reputable garden center–sometimes the little extra money can make a lot of difference to the overall tomato yield. Plants that have been cared for by knowledgeable professionals can give you a nice big jump start.

Taking a little care up front in choosing your plants can totally add to the success of your garden {though, nothing is full proof, believe me, I have killed what started out as perfectly healthy plants}.

Do you buy your tomato plants?  What varieties will YOU be buying this year?  What do you look for when your are choosing your plants?

~Mavis

These are the tomatoes I will be growing in my garden this year:

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Recipes Garden Frugal Canning Chickens Travel