Mavis’ Square Foot Gardening Update

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square foot gardening

After I watered the square foot garden this morning I snapped a few pictures so I could share them with you. The good news is, all but 2 squares have something growing in them. The bad news? The zucchini seeds I planted were eaten by slugs. Boo! Since it’s too late in the season to plant new ones, I think I’ll just wait a few more weeks and plant some lettuce seeds instead.

kale

I’ve pretty much decided that kale is the Energizer Bunny of all seeds. Yep. Not only will it grow well anywhere, it keeps growing, and growing, and growing. It’s magical and weird all at the same time.

square foot garden celery

Celery. It’s thriving in the square foot garden. I wish I would have planted more.

roma beans

Roma Beans. Aren’t they nice and fat? These are by far my favorite green beans to grow. Pole beans are fun to grow up tepees, but I think you get a little more bang for your buck with bush beans. What do you think?

red oak leaf lettuce

Oak Leaf Lettuce is amazing. If you’ve never tried it before, put it on your list for next year. I add a wee bit of olive oil and vinegar to mine for a quick lunch salad. cucumber plant

Cucumber plants. I think {?}
green tomato

And last but not least, the Japanese Black Trifle tomatoes are getting big! Maybe they’ll be ready in another week or two. We’ll see.

Overall, I really like how everything is growing in the square foot garden. Before I started it this year, I really had no idea you could pack so many plants in to such a small area.

Pretty stinkin’ cool if you ask me.

~Mavis

Read more about my adventures in Square Foot Gardening. Are you thinking about putting together a Square foot garden? See the how I built a square foot garden grid HERE. All New Square Foot Gardening

For more information, check out All New Square Foot Gardening.  It is an amazon bestseller and the author, Mel Bartholomew is basically the king of square foot gardening.

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.



Garden Apartment in Harlem, New York

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Harlem Garden Apartment

Wow! Check out this email {and all the juicy photos I received from Holly in Harlem, New York!

Hi Mavis!

I have been reading your blog since late winter/early spring of this year and I just love it. My husband Max (I call him Massimo!) and I bought our apartment in Harlem in NYC last summer. We live in 700 square feet, but the best part of the apartment is the deck out back that’s all ours! This was pretty much the selling point for the unit, and we LOVE it.

small space container garden

We’ve been in NYC 8 and 10 years respectively, and had never had outdoor space before or room for any gardens.  I spent all winter researching gardening and we have had a great first year trying it, with mixed success – I like to call it square inch gardening, as opposed to square foot gardening :)  I blog about it and cooking/DIYing/decorating at southernharlem.com.  I am a fellow couponer so I love your money-saving tips and tricks!

container herb garden

I also started some basil indoors from seed on a window sill using pots and plastic bags with holes punched in them.  This worked ok but the plants were leggy – I think they really didn’t get enough light. I think next year I want to turn our dining area into a seed starting area with grow lights in the spring if I can get Massimo on board. Of course, this is a hard sell when you live in 700 sq ft. since then we’ll just have to eat dinner in the bed (or outside, but in March that’s not so appealing..)

vertical pallet garden

Massimo built the pallet planter himself with a pallet a neighbor found and brought home for us on the subway (great neighbor!).  We used gutters to line it and drilled holes in them for drainage.He also built some of the planters (the one with the herbs in it, for example).  Next year we want to build planters all along the top of the wall surrounding the deck and also hang gutters on the walls for more planting space (at least one of us wants to..).

peach tree

We also have to leave room for actually using the deck, as Massimo likes to remind me.  I grew up on a farm in North Carolina, and I never really knew I had the farming gene in me until we got started here. Now I dream of raising a 4-H pig in my back “yard” and having a few chickens. Sadly, I don’t think our neighbors would go for that.

holly harlem

We signed Max’s parents up for a CSA in the winter and get their leftovers/get their shipments when they’re out of town and LOVE that as a way for urbanites to access fresh local produce.  In addition to our deck, we take great pride in our window boxes since all our neighbors see them.

murphy the dog

We also planted around the trees on our block, which has greatly cut back on the amount of litter. Our dog Murphy likes to help us – she actually eats potting mix with seedlings in it (got a good amount of our chives) – what’s with that?

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and providing a great platform for ideas.

Keep on being green,
Holly

garden boxes raised garden beds18 Amazing Garden Boxes from New York

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!

~Mavis

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.

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 – Cool Kitchen Tools, V-Neck Tees $4.67, The North Face, Baker’s Chocolate Coupon

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one hundred dollars a month

Happy Friday everyone! I don’t know what the weather is like at your place but it has been hot, hot, hot around here. The HH says it’s suppose to cool off this weekend and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s would actually be nice to be about to garden DURING the day instead of the crack of dawn when it’s nice and cool.

I hope you have a great weekend!

~Mavis

banana slicer

Hutzler Banana Slicer $2.76 {Go read the reviews, they are hilarious!!!}
Amco One-Step Corn Kerneler $4.04
Back To Basics Apple And Potato Peeler $13.00
Progressive International Cherry-It Multiple Cherry Pitter $14.97 {I use this one!} $14.97

happy dog box

How does a FREE box of treats for your favorite pooch sound? 

Here’s how it works: complete a 3-question survey about your dog HERE, and then enter your contact info to score a FREE Happy Dog Box of Dog Treats and Toys {It’s worth $42!!}. Just pay $9.99 shipping and this awesome deal is all yours.

I’ll be sure to post pictures of what I get in my box when it comes, but I’m not sure how long the free box deal will last.

For more information see my original post.

cheap v-neck shirts

Looking for some inexpensive V-neck shirts? Prices start at $4.67 for these Next Level Apparel Women’s Deep V-Neck T-Shirts. Now that’s a great deal! There are 16 colors to choose from.


Have you signed up yet?

With all the garden and DIY projects I have on my list, I end up at Home Depot a lot. So anytime I can save money when I’m there, I’m in. I signed up for the Home Depot Garden Club and I’ve saved a ton of money! Last winter I received a $25 off a $50 purchase coupon in the mail just for being a member and I’ve received other cool coupons since then like $10 off a $20 purchase and $5 off a $25 purchase.

You get exclusive savings/coupons that are worth a combined $300 through the year. Sign up for the Home Depot Garden club and save big plus score a $5 off coupon when you sign up. Click on the banner above to sign up and save!

sloggers sun hats

Sloggers Original Women’s Wide Brim Braided Hat $16.49 {This is the one I have}
Sloggers Original Women’s Wide Brim Braided Hat $16.06
Sloggers Faby, Women’s Short Brim Two Tone Braided Hat, Light and Dark Brown $17.24
Sloggers Sara, Women’s Braided Garden Hat $17.12

zulily

Zulily is having a HUGE Fall Preview Sale with everything from clothing to shoes to accessories. Lot’s of great stuff!

Already a Zulily Member? Go HERE to Get This Deal.

the north face coupons

REI Outlet Deal has The North Face up to 30% today as well as 50% off or more in their reduced section.

PicMonkey Collage

6pm has Kenneth Cole Reaction bags and totes on sale for up to 65% off. Plus you receive FREE SHIPPING too!

cherrios

Too tired to go to the store? Amazon Grocery has the 4-pack of 14 ounce Cheerios on sale for $7.44/$1.80 a box with their add-on program.

crazy 8 coupons

Crazy 8 is offering back to school essentials starting at just $5.99.

Baker's Chocolate Coupons

Print a coupon for $1.00 off TWO (2) ANY SIZE ANY FLAVOR BAKER’S Bar

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.

Old Fashioned Blueberry Crisp Recipe

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Blueberry Crisp Recipe

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE fresh blueberries! In addition to growing blueberries in our backyard {we have 12 blueberry bushes} I also like to stock up when I can find a deal and freeze them for use throughout the year.

Fresh produce rules, there is no doubt about it!

Here is my favorite Blueberry Crisp recipe, I hope you like it, we sure do.

Ingredients for the filling

6 cups fresh or frozen blueberries {I used frozen berries}
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup all- purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped into bits
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Ingredients for the topping

2 cups old fashioned oats {I used quick oats}
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, melted

Old Fashioned Blueberry Crisp Recipe

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine blueberries, butter, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Pour into a 9×13 buttered baking dish.
Place the ingredients for the oatmeal topping in bowl and using a fork, work the ingredients together for a minute or two until they are nice and crumbly. Sprinkle over blueberry mixture, cover with foil and back for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook an additional 20 minutes or until the juices are bubbling.

Serve warm with ice cream.

For more rustic recipes, be sure and check out Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More. I own a copy of this cookbook and I love it!

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.

Travel Tip – Convert Your Hotel Sink into a Makeshift Cooler

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Travel Tips

One of the ways I like to save money while staying at a hotel is to turn our hotel sink into a makeshift cooler.

We live in the northwest corner of the United States, so most of our vacations involve hoping on a plane. And since the HH isn’t really keen on hauling a cooler on an airplane, then on to a subway and then into a hotel room, {really? C’mon, it would be fun!} I make do with the resources I have.

Mainly, the bathroom sink.

How how do I convert the hotel sink into a makeshift cooler?

Easy. Once everyone is done brushing their teeth, I wipe down the sink and then head on over to the hotels ice machine. Having ice cold milk for cereal, TEA ;) and coffee the next morning is not only a money saver, but it saves time as well.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather enjoy a quick breakfast in my hotel room before heading out to see the sights, than spend my time listening to “I’m hungry. What are we going to eat? When are we going to eat?”

I simply grab some easy food supplies the night before on the way back to our hotel room at a local market.

Do you do this too… or am I just weird?

~Mavis

Looking for more Travel Tips? See the full list of Travel Tips HERE!

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.

Potato Tower Update

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potato tower

Well, the potato towers we planted this spring are still hanging in there. I kind of wish I could knock them over to see what’s inside but the leaves are still thriving and everything is green so I better not. {Plus, I know if I wait, the potatoes will get bigger!} ;)

potato tower

Potato Tower #1 - I covered the potatoes with 6 inches of dirt. My plan with tower #1 was to add additional dirt {but no more potatoes} as the potato leaves begin to pop through the soil.

I’ve only added dirt twice so far and since the stems are not super huge, I just decided to stop there and see what happens. This is the only tower with leaves growing straight up.

potato tower

Potato Tower #2 - I covered the potatoes with 6 inches of dirt, then added 5 more potatoes. I ended up doing this 3 times. Someone had suggested I try this method to see if it would grow more potatoes.

So far so so good. Nothing to exciting to report other than leaves are popping out of the sides and I am starting to see a wee bit of yellow. I’m not sure if it’s from lack of water or if this spud plant is on it’s way out.

potato tower

Potato Tower #3 - This tower was planted with alternating layers of potatoes, dirt, potatoes, straw, potatoes, dirt. Again, someone suggested this growing method because it had worked for them.

This tower surprised me. Because we packed so much soil and straw inside of the wire , I thought for sure we’d suffocate the plant and nothing would grow but I was totally wrong. Potato tower #3 seems to be doing the best out of all of the towers.

potato tower

And then we have the compost bin made out of recycled wood pallets. What a show off. Do you see how dark and green those leaves are? Monkey Boy and the HH have been adding grass clippings to the bin each week after they mow.

Basically these potatoes have been drugged with whatever fertilizers they’re using on the grass {I don’t as questions because I have nothing to do with lawn maintenance}.

I think when it comes time to harvest these babies it will be interesting to see how they compare with the ones grown in the towers. I have a feeling thought that the potatoes will be huge. What do you think?

~Mavis

Are you growing potatoes this year?  How is your crop coming along?

DIY How to build a potato tower

To find out how I built my potato towers go here: How to Build a Potato Tower

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.

Tutorial: Hot Water Bath Canning

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Hot Water Bath Canning TutorialBecause canning comes second nature to it me {I swear I could do it with my eyes closed} it never occurred to me that someone might actually want a step by step tutorial on HOW TO CAN using the hot water bath canning method until I received an email from One Hundred Dollars a Month reader Emily asking if I could post a picture tutorial.  Um, yes, absolutely!

  1. First, pop over to my canning essentials post to make sure you have everything you need.  
  2. Wash all of your canning jars {I use the dishwasher, mostly because I have a sanitize function on it, and I am lazy.}
  3. Fill your canner  with water.  The water will need to completely cover your jars and lids, so how full you fill the canner with depend what size of jars you use.
  4. Pour a 1/2 cup or so of white distilled vinegar into the water.  This will help keep your canner and jars from getting a film from minerals in the water.canning lids in pan
  5. Bring the water in the canner to a boil.  You will want to do all of these steps BEFORE you start prepping whatever you are canning, because it takes forever for the water to boil.  Seriously, wars have been won and lost in the time it takes to get my canner to come to a rolling boil.
  6. After you have prepped whatever you will be canning, heat a small sauce pan with water.  When it reaches a LOW simmer, drop your lids into the pan and turn the burner off.  Leave the lids to sit until you are ready to use them.dilly-beans-canning-recipe-dill (1)
  7. Fill your canning jars, leaving the appropriate amount of head space {space between whatever you are filling the jar with and the top of the jar}.
  8. Now wipe all of the rims of the jars with a wet clean washcloth or paper towel.  This is to remove anything that might cause the lid not to seal properly.how-to-can-pears-recipe (1)
  9. Place the lid on the jar and screw a ring onto the jar.  Don’t over-tighten the rings, just screw it on like you are putting it away in the fridge, not like you are hoping to ask Ryan Gosling to help you open it later.
  10. Now, fill your wire canning rack with jars and gently place the rack into the canner.  The water will stop boiling the second you submerge the jars.  That is normal. Make sure the jars and lids are completely covered and will be the entire time you are processing {boiling the jars}.Hot Water Bath Canning
  11. When the water reaches a rolling boil again, start your time.  This may take awhile, don’t be worried.
  12. While the jars are processing, lay out towels on your counter to place the jars when you remove them from the canner.canning pears
  13. Once the timer goes off, grab your jar lifting tongs {the jars are, I’m pretty sure, as hot as the sun, so the tongs are a must} and gently lift the jars out one by one, placing them on the towels you laid out.  Be careful to give each jar plenty of space on all sides, placing the hot jars too close together can result in the jars breaking.  Also, accidentally hitting the hot jars on another jars equals breaking, or so I’ve heard.  Ha.
  14. You may hear a popping sound as the jars cool, that is the lids sealing.  Yeah!  {You may not hear that noise, either, but that doesn’t mean they are not sealing.  No noise good.  Noise good.  Everything good.} After the jars have cooled, check the seals by pressing the middle of the lids with your finger. If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.  You can further test it by removing the rings and lifting the jar an inch or two holding only the lid.  If it stays sealed to the jar, you did good.
  15. Now remove all of the rings for storing your canned goods, the sealed lids are good enough.  Clean your jars with a wet cloth {stickiness on the jars is pretty normal, but you don’t want to store it that way, it will attract ants, etc.} and store them.

That’s basically it.  In a nutshell, water bath canning is just boiling your jars of canned goods for a designated amount of time.  Sheesh, I should have just said that instead of breaking it into 15 steps!  Ha.

Happy Canning,
Mavis
basic canning set
Need a Water Bath Canner?  Amazon has them in stock and ready to ship.

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

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.

Pallet Gardening – An Abundance of Strawberries!

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pallet garden

Last night after I watered the pallet garden I snapped a few pictures so you could see how it’s coming along. To be honest, I think I get more bang for my buck with the pallet garden in the spring and fall.

Using the pallets to grow cool weather crops like lettuce is not only a space saver but it looks better too. And you know when your’e a gardener living in suburbia, you gotta have that cool factor. ;)

pallet garden strawberries

I’m not sure what happened, but the strawberries are growing like crazy all the sudden.

wood pallet garden strawberries

This is just one strawberry plant and as you can see it’s loaded.

strawberries in wooden basket

I ended up picking a little more than a half quart of juicy berries. They may not look as good as the ones they sell in the grocery stores, but let me tell you Bob, they taste a heck of a lot sweeter.

pallet gardening celery

After a little pruning, the celery is starting to come back to life. This won’t be picked until fall anyway so it still has plenty of time to grow.

pallet gardening swiss chard

And the Swiss chard I transplanted from the greenhouse last month is looking good as well.

pallet garden

And last but not least, the green beans! I should be picking them by this time next week!

Yee-Haw, backyard gardening is cool.

How about YOU? Have you ever tried growing anything in a wood pallet before?

~Mavis

heat treated wood pallet

Want to learn more about wood pallet gardening and how I put mine together? Click on the pallets above and it will take you to my first pallet garden post of the year. You’ll also learn what to look for when choosing a pallet.

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 – Baking Mats, Stylus Pens, Rain Boots, The North Face, Hot Camera Deal + More

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lucy puggle puppies

Yesterday I was in the backyard watering and all the sudden I noticed 3 pear cores on the ground and Lucy munching on one of them. I asked The Girl if she new anything it and she said “Ya, I wanted a snack so I picked a few pears.”

What a stinker! The pears aren’t even ripe yet and she’s picking them because she misses eating them. Ha! Well now I know Lucy likes them too. Kids and dogs are funny. :)

 ~Mavis

Today’s Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day is the Vornado 154 Whole Room Tower Fan on sale for $59.99 shipped.

baking mats

Nordic Ware Bakers Half Sheet, 13 by 18 by 1 Inch $10.97 {I use these ones!}
Artisan Silicone Baking Mat Set {2pk.} $16.78
USA Pans Mini Loaf Panel Pan, 8 Wells $22.44 {perfect for mini loaves of zucchini bread}
Kitchen Supply Paper Loaf Pans $15.29 {Perfect for gift giving!}

stylus-pens

Need a new stylus pen? Grab 5 silver and black stylus pens for only $1.52 shipped.

children's rainboots

Zulily has kid’s rainboots on sale for as low as $8.99 in their Puddle Lover’s Sale. Perfect for this fall!

Already a Zulily Member? Go HERE to Get This Deal

Pearl Izumi Aurora Lightweight Hoodie

REI Outlet Deal of the Day - Woman’s Pearl Izumi Aurora Lightweight Hoodie on sale for $39.73 {was $85}

The North Face Sale

There are lot’s of deals on The North Face clothing this morning in the 6pm Outdoor Explorer sale. Plus you receive FREE SHIPPING too!

eating well magazine

Discount Mags is offering a 1 year subscription to Eating Well Magazine for only $7.50 a year as well as Arts & Crafts Magazine for $6.99 when you use code MAVIS at checkout. This deal will expire tonight 7/25 at midnight EST.

DIY Living wall sedum succulent planter

Are you as obsessed with succulents as I am? Check out my DIY Sedum and Succulent Living Wall Planter.

Testing the pH Level of Soil

Have you tested your soil lately? Amazon currently has the Luster Leaf 1612 Rapitest pH Soil Tester on sale for $6.47.

Testing the pH Level of Soil – See my results.

groupon deals

Groupon has some great deals today, here are my favorites:

Andis 1″ Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron $24.99
Hot Wheels Mega Loop Mayhem Track Set $29.99 shipped {Beats Amazon by $6}
Samsung 14.2 MP 18X Zoom WiFi Smart Touch Digital Camera $149 shipped
400-Thread-Count Egyptian Cotton Comforter Free shipping

New to Groupon? Join Groupon Here!

photo mug

Get an 11 OZ Custom Photo Mug for just 99¢ {Save $9} When you use code: 99MUG at checkout

#StJudeorBust

Last night we opened more packages for our road trip to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and will be uploading the pictures this morning. Only 14 days to go. Can you believe it?

This week you can expect to find 2 coupon inserts  in your Sunday paper. 1 Smart Source and 1 Red Plum. See all the coupons that should be in the inserts HERE.

Don’t get the Sunday paper? Check this site for great deals for newspapers in your area. In many areas you will be able to subscribe to only the Sunday paper if you’d prefer.

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.

Grilled Plum Salad

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Grilled Plum Salad

Got plums? The Girl and I picked up some plums today at a local roadside stand. Luckily by the time we got home there were still four left in the bag so we could make this grilled plum salad.

If you have never tried grilled plums before, you are in for a real treat. This salad is not only easy peasy to make, but it’s good for you too!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon canola oil
4 medium black plums, halved and pitted
2 large limes, zested {reserve juice for dressing}
1 head radicchio, sliced
1 head butter lettuce, sliced
8 oz. jicama, sliced thin
2 serrano chilies, sliced thin

Lime Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons agave syrup
2 large limes, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

grilled plums

Directions

Oil the grates of your stove top or outdoor grill and preheat for 5 minutes on high. Sprinkle plums with a little salt and pepper and place cut side down on hot grill leave in place for a minute or two until your have some nice grill marks and then set aside.

Toss the radicchio, butter lettuce, lime zest, chilies and jicama in a large bowl and set aside. Meanwhile in a small bowl, whisk together all the lime vinaigrette ingredients.

Pour dressing over salad mixture and toss until coated, add grilled plums to the top and serve.

132+ Delicious Salads, Dressings And Dips

Looking for more delicious salad recipes? Check out 132+ Delicious Salads, Dressings And Dips by Gabrielle Raiz, it has crazy good reviews.

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