Drying Home Grown Herbs

Growing your own herbs in and of itself is rewarding but preserving them to extend their usefulness is even more rewarding!

I grow and preserve my main staple herbs like basil, parsley, chives, lavender, lemon balm, oregano, sage and thyme. I also like to grow and preserve things like my own sweet pepper powder, rose and celery leaf powder.

Honestly it has been a long time since I have had to buy any of these herbs and powders.

I have found that my preferred method of preserving most of these herbs is NOT the dehydrator. Other than the sweet pepper powder, everything I have tried dehydrating seems to lose it’s distinctive flavor.

So how do I dry these herbs then? I hang them to dry.  Yes it may take a week or two to dry them but the flavor in my opinion is much better.

Here is my process;

I hope this helps inspire you to grow and preserve your own culinary herbs. As an added note I also grow and preserve my own herbal tea and medicinal herbs like rose, lemon balm, lavender, nettle, and echinacea and more! The possibilities are endless really.

Do you grown and preserve your own herbs? I would love to hear from you -MM

Not Impressed with our Debt – Back at it Week 5

Financially we had a pretty darn good week last week!

At the end of Week 5 we are at $33,376.54 for debt amount and $440.00 in savings. That’s a decrease of $466.79 in debt and an increase of $80 in savings.

I would have added more to savings this week but we decided happily to explore the Lake Ontario area and paid cash for our dinner last night which we most definitely deserved!

Here’s the breakdown so far this month:

  • Week 4 – $33,843.33
  • Week 5 – $33,376.54

Goal for August is $1,500 in total debt paid off so just another $1,033.21 left to go and goal for savings is another $140 saved so just $60 left to achieve that goal!

Next update August 16th – MM

Ripley Victory Garden Week 9

Today is weigh in day! Let’s see how many pounds of produce we have harvested in the last nine weeks.

Last update was 73.5 lbs of fruits and veggies picked.

Total as of yesterday is 181 lbs 10 oz!

That’s over 100 lbs picked in the last 2 weeks, and the garden hasn’t even hit it’s full stride yet!

Here are some pics from around the garden this week:

I have taken the month of August off from baking to get my garden chores and canning done. The hubs and I feel the way the world is right now that anything we can do to set ourselves up for self sufficiency is top priority for us.

Next update August 10th – See you then! -MM

Not Impressed with our Debt – Back at it Week 4

Once again it was an even busier week than it was last week, if that is even possible.

At the end of Week 4 we are at $33,843.33 for debt amount and $360.00 in savings. That’s a decrease of $395.13 in debt and zero change in savings.

My goal for the month of July was $1000 in total debt paid off and an increase in our savings. Below is this month’s final breakdown.

  • Week 1 – $35,100
  • Week 2 – $34,838.65
  • Week 3 – $34,238.46
  • Week 4 – $33,843.33
  • Total debt paid off for July $1,256.67

We reached our goal for the month and then some!

Goal for August is $1500 in total debt paid off and another $140 saved for a total of $500 in savings.

Next update August 9th – MM

Not Impressed with our Debt – Back at it Week 3

It was a busy week last week but I still managed to make a sizeable dent in our debt and savings.

At the end of Week 3 we are at $34,238.46 for debt amount and $360.00 in savings. That’s a decrease of $600.19 in debt and an increase in $110 in savings!

My goal for us this month is $1000 in total debt paid off and an increase in our savings. Below is this month’s breakdown thus far.

  • Week 1 – $35,100
  • Week 2 – $34,838.65
  • Week 3 – $34,238.46
  • Total debt paid off so far this month $861.54

Just $138.46 left to go to reach July’s goal and I am already happy with our savings increase.

Since I started posting our debt shenanigans again I have had a few of you tell me that you appreciate the honesty about our money and debt journey and how we are handling it. Debt and money management is not easy. There are all sorts of reasons why people fall into debt and I am betting most of the time it’s not because of misspending.

We didn’t get into debt because we were taking lavish vacations and buying toys and things we didn’t need. We got into debt because of divorce, a failed business and having crappy medical insurance. Seriously, all from things that just happen in life. But when bills add up to more than what we bring home in our paychecks that’s when debt builds plain and simple.

Keep the comments coming. I love hearing from you!

Next update August 2nd – MM

Ripley Victory Garden Week 7

What a glorious day it is today! The garden is really coming along and as the season progresses I will be weighing all of the produce I pick to see just how much I grow.

So far I have picked 73.5 lbs of fruits and veggies including, sour cherries, zucchini, yellow squash, black raspberries, onions, and apricots. Not bad! My goal is 1000 lbs so I have a bit to go but all the heavy produce is yet to be harvested like potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins. etc

Here are some pic around the garden from this week:

How are your gardens growing? Were you like us here in WNY where for a month it didn’t rain but now we have too much rain?

Next update July 26th – See you then! -MM

Not Impressed with our Debt – Back at it Week 2

Last week I re-started our debt amount at $35,100. and our savings at $50.00

At the end of Week 2 we are at $34,838.65 for debt amount and $250.00 in savings. That’s a decrease of $261.35 in debt and an increase in $200 in savings.

My goal for us this month is $1000 in total debt paid off and an increase in our savings. Just $738.65 left to go to reach July’s goal and I am already happy with our savings increase.

Full steam ahead I say! Next update July 23rd – MM

Food Costs and What We Ate Last Week-July Week 1

Have you ever noticed that food seems to be the biggest monthly expense? It adds up quickly doesn’t it?

Part of my goal is to bring our food bills down which will give us more money to do the things we want to do and also re-route some of that money to pay off debt.

It’s not an easy task though especially when we are tired from work and all of our daily responsibilities. Sometimes cooking is the last thing I want to do when I get home and God forbid the other people in the household give me a dinner idea once in a while, right?

Here is what we ate last week and approximately what it cost us:

Whole Roasted Chicken, corn with fresh herbs and dinner rolls

Chicken and Rice Soup from the leftover chicken

Stuffed shells

Black Raspberry Pie and leftover pie crust treats

Taco Night

Dinner out – I didn’t take a pic but Scott was getting a bit hangry so we opted to eat out last Wednesday night

Lunch out – After working all morning at the Farmers Market on Saturdays we like to go to lunch

Dinner with friends – dish to pass was something quick because it was last minute.

For breakfasts: Oatmeal, cereal with berries and bagels and toast

Snacks: chips, s’mores, ice cream, popcorn,

Lunch was lots of leftovers and one day had soup for takeout

Total spent on Groceries: $97.25

Total spent eating out: $81.67

Total spent on food last week $178.94

Yikes! Not the number I want to see. Multiply that by 4 and potentially we could be spending over $700 a month just on food for 3 people.

I am not even adding in costs for supplies like saran wrap and tissues or personal care items like deodorant and toothpaste.

Lots of work to do in this department of our finances. LOTS of work. How are you all faring with keeping costs for food down?

Next update Tuesday July 20th. See you then! -MM

Ripley Victory Garden Week 6

It’s been a while since I last updated but boy has the garden grown!

Here are a few shots I took this last week:

I also dug up 2 of the raised bed frames and made one large bed that I sectioned into 4 with pallets. I planted buttercup squash, carving pumpkin, pie pumpkins and cucumbers in this area. I really like it! What do you think?

I have already picked close to 100 lbs of produce so far this year. My goal is 1000 lbs so I am definitely on track, especially with potatoes and pumpkins and tomatoes coming on.

How is your garden growing? Are you keeping track of the weight of your harvests?

Next update Monday July 19th. See you then! -MM

Not Impressed with our Debt Back at Week 1

I have two main goals with our money going forward. One obviously will be paying off debt and two is increasing our savings at the same time. For us, savings is more of a way to have money for unexpected repairs and expenses but hopefully we can save above and beyond what I have been doing to have money for larger projects and repairs or even a vacation!

In the last year we haven’t decreased our debt at all but miraculously with help from stimulus monies we haven’t added to our debt either. Considering all of the medical bills we incurred with my husband’s heart attack that really is a miracle.

I am restarting us back at Week 1 and beginning debt is $35,100. This month my goal is only $1000 of debt paid off because we are still recovering from a couple of bad months. Savings I am starting with a balance of $50. Let’s watch these numbers flip-flop over the next 12 months.

Goal: Debt down, savings up.

What are your savings/debt goals?

Next update July 15th. -MM

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