Gardens, Green, and Confessions


That basil plant sitting on the window ledge above my sink is just about the extent of our garden so far.  Plans for planting lettuce, carrots, potatoes never translated into action.  Does that ever happen to you?

We do have 1 square foot garden box of strawberries coming up nicely.  Last year, they blessed us with heaps of sweet berries.  I hope we’ll be so lucky again.

And Jim built a new box for our tomatoes and whatever else we decide to plant in it.  The other 2 boxes are going to be planted with more strawberries.


My goal for April was to do lots of posts on veggies, organics, farmer’s market shopping etc.  Um…yeah…about that…

I got a little sidetracked with sugar.  Story of my life.  Easter hopped in and so did the sweet treats.  The next thing I knew, I’d dedicated an entire week to my sweet tooth (or our collective sweet tooth (tooths?  teeths?).  Anyway, it was surely fun, but I left my plans for healthier fare in the compost pile.

We did have a post on How to Save Money on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.  We also covered How to Freeze Fresh Spinach.  Both of those are guest posts by bloggers who have better habits than I do.

Which leads me to Confessions.

I’m not a very good earth-lover.

Despite the fact that I do cook with whole wheat flour and lentils, I also use cream soups and Velveeta sometimes.  I know it’s processed cheese food, but I like it.

I recycle.  Kind of.  Sometimes.

I own re-useable grocery bags.  I even use them.  Or used to. They need washed and most of them have been sitting in the laundry room floor for months.  Clean undies takes priority over clean grocery bags.

I rarely ever buy organic.  I don’t shop for local foods as a rule, unless I want a really good tomato and my own aren’t producing.

All of this might make me the black sheep of internet foodies.  I know this attitude isn’t politically correct or responsible either.

Here’s the thing though.  Except for a small amount of guilt that I should be doing these things, I’m pretty much happy the way I am.  Part of me wishes I were more crunchy, but my creamy-center real self keeps it from happening.

There’s no point to this post.  I just wanted to come clean on the lack of green posts during the month of April.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, but please don’t beat me with the nearest zucchini.  How green and crunchy are you?



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  1. All is forgiven because of that cute can your basil is in! I like to be green, but there are still areas I know are big fails. I can’t get too caught up in them though. There are plenty of other things that I think deserve my energy.

  2. I’m not especially green either. My local grocery stores don’t stock organic foods and they are too expensive at Wal-Mart. Recycling isn’t offered either but I do reuse everything possible. Empty glass jars are used for dry goods storage or as drinking glasses. We have reusable shopping bags that we use if I can remember them.

    I use vinegar for cleaning when I can because the only place I have to store cleaners out of the reach of my niece and nephew is in the food cabinets which doesn’t seem safe either. I use rags for cleaning instead of paper towels because they are cheaper and we use a clothesline because our dryer quit working and it was $40 for the clothesline compare to $200 or more for the dryer repair.

    I’m a black sheep right along with you Tiffany.

  3. GIrl, you’ve just opened the floodgates! I could have made the exact same confession. I try to remember to put my reusable grocery bags back in the car after I unpack them, but I rarely do. Our state charges for recycling(which is criminal, I think) and we honestly can’t afford to pay for it. We do save cans and newspapers and drop them off at the university where my husband works. We lived in NY for several years, which is a leader in recycling, so I die a little every time I toss a milk jug. I buy one or two organic items regularly, but can’t really seem to justify fresh organic produce into our grocery budget.

    Our garden is WAY behind. My rosemary from last year is in full glory and a little parsley came back. I need to get planting!

  4. I hear you!!! I try to be as “green” as I can, but I know I fall far short. I, too, have reusable grocery bags but usually they are left at home or even in the car! I love to grow our own produce during the summer and do buy quite a bit of organic only because I am sensitive to a lot of chemicals used to “preserve” the fresh fruits & veggies. Our small town does now offer any recycling services either which is a shame, but I know money is tight everywhere.

    I do have lettuce and carrots coming up in my one raised bed and plenty of green strawberries. I hope to finish planting our little garden in the next couple of weeks.

  5. Christine says:

    Once I made it a habit to bring my re-usable bags, I never forget anymore. I do keep one that scrunches up into a pouch in my purse so I always have one with me for trips to Walgreens, etc. But, I had grand plans for a garden at our new house but I haven’t done anything about it.

  6. I have reusable grocery bags but still get plastic most times as we use those for pet clean ups. We do recycle everything we can but it is a pain and I refuse to wash out the things I am recycling. We buy organic eggs, milk, bread, apples, lettuce and a few other things but sometimes the price makes me refuse. I do like to shop at the farmer’s market and get local items but do not always have the time. We avoid most processed foods as much as possible because two of my children have sensitivities. I am moving more towards natural cleaners but haven’t made a total switch yet. Our garden was started but has been under water for three weeks and I have yet to check on it. My “greenness” tends to come and go in waves. I say, do what you are comfortable with!

  7. Gaye Christmus says:

    A few more “not green” confessions! I think that God wants us to take good care of the earth, but the constant push to be “green” annoys me to no end. I have some cloth grocery bags, but I don’t use them. I drive the same old minivan I’ve driven for years – you can’t fit many high school soccer players into a hybrid. Even though my husband and I work in the same general location we don’t usually drive together, because I like to leave work at 4:00 and come home and start dinner (so we don’t have to go out to eat!). Our best local market is 15 miles away and takes place on Saturday morning, the only morning I can sleep in a little, drink coffee, and read the paper. So I don’t go. On the plus side, we do recycle, and we compost (sometimes!). And I just finished planting our two 4 x 4 raised garden beds with heirloom and hybrid tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, herbs, and sweet onions. And my husband is getting ready to till up an area for a small in-ground garden. I think that each person has to do the best that she/he can do, and not worry about the rest. It’s interesting to me to see the differences just between my sisters and me. One of us shops weekly at her local farmers market, the other belongs to a local CSA year-round, and I garden – different ways of being “local” and “green,” but all valid, I think.

  8. Dana Park says:

    I am also totally ungreen. I have had intentions of planting a garden and have tried several times, but I don’t have a green thumb. The only organic store close to us is horribly expensive and yes organic is better, but I have to feed 3 kids, me, and a husband on a limited income. I have tried recycling, but it seems to be more of a mess then anything else since we do not have trash or recycling pick up on our road and it is hard to find the time to take mountains of can to the recycling facility. The greenest project I have tried lately is to buy some chickens for farm fresh, organic eggs, but it turns out that my husband bought chickens that are meant to for meat, not egg producers. *Gasp* I can’t imagine killing them after I have watched them grow from tiny little chicks into beautiful, feathered chickens, so I now have 10 more mouths to feed, however they are great at eating bugs and grass! I have some recycleable grocery bags, but it seems they get used for everything but grogeries, however we do try to reuse plastic grocery bags for other projects including the filling of our old dogs bed which took ALOT of bags. (but it has stayed pretty fluffy).

  9. Thank you for your true confessions. I try to reuse and recyle items. I use the plastic grocery bags for garbage bags in the bathroom and office. I am hoping to plant a garden this year but today in Utah we had several more inches of snow. We are not having a Spring this year. I don’t buy organic because I think it is over priced and spoils before I use it. Thank you for such a great blog. I love your articles and your recipes.

  10. I try to be as green as I can! I love shopping at central market to buy organic fruits & veggies and grass fed beef, and free range chicken. I try to picture my shopping cart in sections, I want it to be mostly full of produce, and only a small portion of processed foods.

    I try and remember my reusable bags as much as possible. I have so many, that if I need to wash 1/2 I’d still have enough for a shopping trip. It can take up to 100 years for a plastic bag to decompose. So, if you are going to use plastic bags, I’d highly recommend that you recycle them at Target, Wal-Mart, etc.

    A few years ago, my friend told me that she shops at Central Market, and I couldn’t fathom spending that much money. She said, “for food I’ll spend whatever it takes.” And that really changed my perspective. It’s food, we ingest it, we should know where it comes from, and spend what ever it takes to be healthy.

    With the increasing incidence rate of autism, diabetes in young children, cancer, heart disease, ADHD something needs to change, and I think most of the finger pointing can go to the food.

    You are doing an awesome job cooking at home. I think that makes a huge difference! Eating out is always higher in calories than the worst thing that you could make at home.

  11. We’ve used reusable bags since before they were required–but only because our local stores were going to be charging for every plastic bag we used, and we wanted to get into the habit before that happened!

    We garden, but it is a small one in a pretty shady yard, so doesn’t always produce tons.

    And the only organic thing I’ve bought recently is prunes! Don’t ask. They are supposed to be very healthy. And they don’t taste great either.

  12. My favorite posts from the blogs I read are the honesty ones. They remind me that no one is perfect. Thank you for your honesty. It’s refreshing.

    I recycle, and use reusable shopping bags but I don’t buy organic and I use some processed foods as well. Not as much as before due to high blood pressure but more than I’d like. We live in the midwest so we can’t plant yet. We have big plans…we’ll see how those go.

  13. Love this! I have somewhat of a creamy center too (which I guess could really be mis-construed) but I strive to be more crunchy! I don’t use the reusable grocery bags right now b/c it would take at least 20 b/c I buy so many groceries at one time, and I only own 2 or 3. I don’t buy organic b/c it’s so expensive and again, I buy a lot of food! I am trying to grow a garden…we’ll see how that pans out. It’s only my 2nd year doing so….I have greatly decreased the amnt of processed foods my family eats, but sometimes…it’s just easier. Life with 3 kids is hectic and sometimes I just need something I can throw in the microwave! ahhhh, this coming clean about not being so green does feel pretty cathartic! thx 😀 oh, and I only recycle plastics right now (and sometimes, the plastic finds its way into the regular trash). and I don’t compost either (but would like to for the garden. Maybe one day.)

  14. Wow! You are singing my song. I have so many good intentions in this area. We are pretty good about recycling, but beyond that I err on the side of convenience. We either reuse plastic grocery bags or return them to the store. I’ve never composted and rarely buy organics. If I do buy organics, it is usually by accident! I would love to have a garden, but don’t have much of a green thumb. I intend to hang on to my good intentions and hope to actually attempt to fulfill them over the course of time. Here’s to trying! 🙂

  15. Even your confessions are a good read!

  16. OldNuffToKnoBtr says:

    I recycle most paper in the summer and some plastic and metal. In the winter almost nothing because It is hard to get them to thedrop offwhen the weather is bad. Ibuy organic sometimes not too often. I’ve lived this long being non organic and organic costs so much I just don’t buy organic. I try to buy local in the summer–that is seldom organic.

  17. Thank you!! I love your honesty! And I love that your recipes make my mouth water every time get your e-mail. And I love that I can sub what I have on hand and still make your great recipes.

    I visited a different blog this week that promotes all real food (no cream soup or velveeta) and I liked the recipes but not the superior attitude. I know that even if you had done all that you had intended you would not condemn the rest of us for not doing it all.

    Thanks again! You have a loyal follower here!

  18. Hi, not everyone can be organic or green, I looked over your recipes because I was looking for a more budgeted menu. I’m curious how often you buy natural or ingredients without dyes, msg, phvo, and hfcs? Also, I see a lot of white flour on the menus. We watch what we buy pretty carefully. I like the ideas for your menus, but I just want to let others know, that by substituting for healthier ingredients, and meat/poultry w/o hormones or antibiotics, the cost is going to go up. I just can’t for the life of me, chose a non healthier version of a food, when a healthier one is a few cents to a dollar more. Just something to think about.
    Also, those who do not shop at Walmart, will find the grocery bill more as well.

    • Marlo,

      One of the things I like about this site is that you can change the recipes to suit your tastes and budget. And you can always use the best ingredients you can afford! Which here in Indiana is way easier in the summer since we have so many farms close by.

      Are you good at adapting recipes to use whole wheat flour or substituting processed ingredients for homemade options? This is something I would love to learn more about and how to make the changes. If you are do you have a site or one that you recommend?

  19. Shreela says:

    I started gardening about 5-6 years ago, and actually managed to eat a lot of yard long green beans and squash, and a few tomatoes, once I figured out I had to dig through that hard clay gumbo and amend the heck out of our soil. But then I started getting sicker and sicker – on and off, and it took me almost 4 years, 2 GP’s, 3 GI’s to figure out I can no longer tolerate certain food additives, then I was told there’s no tests to figure out what I’m intolerant of. I started feeling better pretty quickly once I went 95% scratch, but after a while I’d fall off the wagon and sometimes paid the price with another painful attack.

    Many attacks later, I figured out 3 additives to avoid (funny that MSG isn’t one of them LOL), with at least one more to figure out. It’s during this time I start to figure out that it’s not that much cheaper shopping at discount box stores when buying unprocessed or low processed foods, that the big savings at box stores are in the processed foods.

    So I wanted to get back into gardening because unlike when I was growing up, it’s now more expensive to buy some scratch foods. Those 4 years of on and off pain caused me to become very out of shape, so hoeing up gumbo soil wasn’t going to happen, plus our yard floods easily when it rains. So I have a very small container garden going, and so far it’s looking better than my ground garden did, except for the purple potatoes didn’t grow very big, even in the container with potting soil from the feed store. At least we got one meal out of them ROFL. Oh and my basil looks ragged because I keep finding black fuzzy caterpillars eating it.

    My biggest recycling weakness is paper towels. I love using them because each one is clean. But I feel guilty about my weakness, so I tear off little pinches as needed. DH no longer complains about finding odd shaped pieces of paper towels.

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