Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Apple Picking and Crock-Pot Beef Tips in Mushroom Sauce

This weekend, Nick and I went to Linvilla Orchards to go apple picking.  It was such a gorgeous day for this classic Fall activity!  We picked 4 different kinds of apples: Jonagold, Macoun, Mutsu, and Ida Red.  Linvilla provided this really handy chart of different apple types and how to use them best.  The Macoun apples are indeed tasty to eat fresh.

We also brought our new DLSR camera (Nikon D3200) with us to test out our photography skills.  

Butterfly with its proboscis sticking into the apple to drink the juice. 

Exercising those muscles.

I'm pretty sure apple picking counts towards some type of activity points for the day.  We did a lot of walking, and those apples started to get quite heavy! 

Needless to say, it was a wonderful morning/afternoon.  After we collected a 1/2 bushel of apples, we stopped by Linvilla's Farm Market and Garden Center.  I was beyond excited to find out that they sold potted herbs!  I've been searching for fresh herbs to grow since we've moved into our new apartment, and before this weekend, I had only managed to find basil.  To go along with our basil, we bought parsley, cilantro, mint, and dill.  

I'm hoping that this investment will save me some money in the long term.  Herbs from the grocery store are so expensive.  On top of that, I usually only end up using a small portion of the herbs I buy and then throw away the rest because they go bad.  Money right down the drain.  By growing my own herbs, assuming I can remember to water them and keep them healthy (fortunately, I have Nick who is much better at remembering to water the plants than me), I will be able to snip off only what I need.  Let's do a small calculation, knowing that each plant was purchased at $3.99.

Did Sarah just waste her money?

4 plants x $3.99 = $15.96
Leftover potting soil: $0
3 x ~$6 for pots/under plates: $18
Extra pot I already had: $0
Water: negligible
Total cost: ~$34

Let's assume I need to purchase 2-3 bunches of fresh herbs from the store approximately every 2 weeks; each herb bundle costs $3-4.

2.5 x $3.50 = $8.75 (average for every 2 weeks)

At what point do I break even?
$34/$8.75 = 3.9
3.9 x 2 (every 2 weeks) = 7.8 weeks 

I have to keep my herbs alive for approximately 8 weeks (2 months) in order to not have wasted my money.  Challenge accepted.  Does anyone have any herb-growing tips?

Being outside, enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery, spending time with my love, and practicing my photography skills was just what I needed... some quality "love life time."  It was a time set aside to just enjoy the present moment and breathe in the beauty of life.  It's important that we each schedule some "love life time" in every day (or better yet, every moment).  Have you loved life today?

Crock-Pot Beef Tips in Mushroom Sauce 

For dinner, we made another Pinterest recipe: Crock-Pot Beef Tips in Mushroom Sauce.  I used regular Sprite instead of diet and halved the recipe so it would fit in my baby Crock-Pot.  We served it over egg noodles and with a side salad (baby spinach, baby arugula, slivered almonds, dried cranberries with oil and balsamic vinegar) and glass of red wine.

The meal was tasty, though a bit on the salty side.  It was definitely comfort food material.  Leftovers were great for lunch the next day!  (I got complimented on how good it smelled.)  

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