Lola's Victory Garden

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Sfincioni is like a cold Italian pizza. There is really no other way to describe it. I’m not exactly sure how my grandmother made it, as I never actually saw her, but this is my best guess based on how it looked and tasted.

Pizza Dough (I make pizza dough using the dough cycle on my bread maker.)
1 Can of Tomato Paste
Sliced Onion (sweet yellow or red onion)
1 Can of Anchovies (optional)
Olive Oil
Dried Basil and Dried Oregano (or Italian Seasoning)
Grated Parmesan, Romano or Pecorino Cheese
Cornmeal (for dusting the pan)

The dough is baked on cookie sheets (or baking pans of similar size). I make a pizza dough in my bread machine. (I have also in years past used the boxed pizza dough or the Pillsbury.)

Olive oil is drizzled on the cookie sheet and cornmeal sprinkled, before putting the pizza dough on the cookie sheet. The dough is pricked with a fork so that you don’t get large air bubbles when baking.

Brush the top of the dough lightly with tomato paste (not a lot, I think this was another way of being frugal, just a bit brushed on for flavor).

Sprinkle with dried basil and oregano.
Place slices of onion on top.
For those who like anchovies, add some anchovies over the top.
Grate a good quality parmesan or romano or pecorino cheese over the top.
Lightly drizzle olive oil over the top.
Bake at 400 degrees until done. (In a stove that would be probably 20 minutes.)
This is served cold or at room temperature.

It’s perfect for Christmas Eve because it can be made a day or 2 in advance. It gives the hostess the opportunity to join in the fun or go sneak off upstairs to wrap a few gifts.
It looks so good I want to make some today, but you have no idea how much time it takes to cook in a Nesco Roaster. I think 2 trays, cooking 1 at a time took almost 3 hours. We still don't have our stove hooked up. Between the holidays and the snow it's impossible to get a hold of a handyman around here.

Lola's Victory Garden

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Superb Cowboy Stew

Now that the garden is on hiatus, I thought I would start posting some frugal recipes. I've reserved several books from the library on Depression era cooking and I can't wait for them to arrive at my library so I can check them out, try out some recipes and share them with you.

This recipe I got from Stephanie @ A Year Of Slow Cooking, which by the way is an awesome site for crockpot recipes. Stephanie got it from The Adventures Of The Headless Family.

I've made this several times and it's always a hit with our kids. In fact the other night night when I made this our daughter said it was 'great'. Then our son said "No, it's superb. That's better than excellent."
I made several modifications based on what I had on hand. First off, I was dividing a 5 pound package of ground meat. To stretch it further, I took about 3/4 of a pound and added about a 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of Oatmeal. Threw it in my KitchenAid mixer with the mixing blade on a low speed to combine it. (I then browned the meat/oatmeal mixture as usual. No one could tell I did this and it did not affect the flavor.) Then I mixed the rest of the meat in 3 batches with 2 Eggs, Oatmeal, Worchestershire Sauce, a bit of Catsup, Onion Powder and Garlic Powder and formed part of the meat into 1/3 pound Hamburger Patties using a Hamburger Press. I made 5 1/3 pound burgers and the rest of the meat went into a very large loaf pan for meatloaf.

I only had Diced Tomatoes with Onion and Peppers, so I used that.
No stores near me carry Ranch Beans, so I substituted Chili Beans. (Use the beans and the sauce.)
I used a 4 ounce can of El Zapato Tomato Sauce.
1 can of Butter Beans, drained.
1 Can of Garbanzo Beans.
A sprinkle of Cayenne Pepper Powder (about a 1/4 teaspoon.).
Instead of adding water I used the liquid from 1 can of Potatoes.
I was out of corn, so I skipped it.

Here is the recipe from A Year Of Slow Cooking:

Cowboy Stew
1 pound browned hamburger (can use turkey)
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced Italian seasoned tomatoes
1 can corn, drained
2 cans whole baby potatoes, drained
1 can tomatoes with green chilies
1 can Ranch Style beans (with the baked beans in the grocery store)
1 cup water
sliced jalapeno peppers for garnish (optional)

This makes a lot. Make sure that your crockpot is at least 5qts.

Brown the hamburger with the chopped garlic cloves on the stove top. Drain the fat. Let sit in the pan for a bit to cool.

Open all of you cans, and dump them into the crockpot. Drain the corn and the potatoes, but add the rest of the can liquid to the crockpot.

After adding all of the can contents, add the browned meat and a cup of water. Stir with a spoon to mix a bit.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-5. Soup and stew tastes better the longer you cook it, so opt for the longer cooking time if you can.

Garnish with sliced jalapeno peppers, if desired. (Both the kids and I added lots of jalapeno peppers, but that photo didn't turn out.)

You can serve this with homemade biscuits or even better...cornbread.

Lola's Victory Garden

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo Salsa Verde II
From The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest.

2 lbs about 8 cups tomatillos
2 cups chopped onions
1-4 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro, minced
4-8 garlic cloves
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice

After removing husks, halve and then coarsely chop the tomatillos.

Lightly coat the bottom of a large pot with oil, turn the burner on high, and add all the ingredients. Stir frequently and bring to a boil.

Lower the temperature and let the salsa simmer for about 20 minutes.

Other recipes call for cumin, oregano, water, oil, lemon thyme, salt, pepper, tarragon, cognac, sugar, tart apples, vinegar, and sweet red peppers. Feel free to add a bit of any or all of these to your salsa according to your likes before you bring it to a boil.

Carefully fill sterilized pint or half-pint jars and process them for 20 minutes using the boiling-water-bath method.

Note: As the Salsa "ages" in the jar, the heat of the Hot Peppers (I use Jalapenos) intensifies. If you like your salsa only slightly spicey, you're going to want to make sure that you remove all or nearly all the seeds and membranes from the peppers. Also, remember when prepping Hot Peppers to wear gloves because they can cause skin irritation.

Lola's Victory Garden

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Coming soon...Tomatillo Salsa

I've been saying I needed to stop by the Mexican grocery to get some tomatillos. Actually it's the place to go after the Farmer's Markets close to get the best deals on produce.

And did I get the best deal! Last year I paid $0.99 and $0.89 a pound for tomatillos. I paid $0.49 a pound! I bought almost 10 pounds. That should translate to about 3 batches of salsa. I also got cilantro, 2 bunches for $1.00 which is pretty good. I forgot garlic cloves, so I've got to run to the store before I begin my first batch.

According to, this is how to select tomatillos:
1. Locate the tomatillos in the supermarket. They are now found in most U.S. grocery stores, and usually located next to the hot peppers.
2. Select a tomatillo and pick it up. Most of the tomatillos will still have the papery husk attached. This papery husk should be in tact and relatively crispy and free from moisture or mold.
3. Peel the husk back slightly and examine the color of the tomatillo. It should be bright green and evenly colored. Avoid selecting tomatillos having black or brown spots, which can be an indication of spoilage.
4. Squeeze the tomatillo. It should be quite firm and will not yield much to pressure from your hands. Soft tomatillos may be spoiled and should be avoided.
Stay tuned for the recipe.

Please check out my post at Lola's Diner. I need to raise $250 to avoid foreclosure on my house. I'm selling Ad Space as well as Guest Blog Posts. I am also taking donations. Please check out my post and if you can help, I would be very grateful. Prayers are also welcome.

Lola's Victory Garden

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's Been Awhile...

Remember this?

Now it looks like this:

It's so sad. I haven't been able to bring myself to buy salad fixin's since we ate the last tomato from our garden. We didn't have a very good harvest. We didn't even have enough left to can any spaghetti sauce. Very disappointing harvest.

So it's on to other things. I'm going to be stopping by the mexican grocery the next time I'm in the neighborhood to see if I can get a good price on some Tomatillos for salsa. We're down to just 1 jar and we love the stuff. I'm also going to be canning some jams. I froze the fruit because I didn't have time to can when I purchased them at their peak of flavor and at the best price. I'll also be making a pepper jelly for serving over cream cheese with crackers. It's perfect for serving during the holidays. Watch for these and other posts coming up because Lola's Victory Garden is not shutting down for the season. I will be continuing to post canning recipes and frugal tips until I begin work on next years garden, so be sure to continue to stop by to see what's new.

Lola's Victory Garden

Monday, August 31, 2009

What's For Lunch From The Garden?

I'm home alone now for the most part during the day so lunch is lazy. Yes, I said it, lazy. I'm not cooking anything, I'm not using more than 3 ingredients and I'm not Mickey D'ing it.

So lunch is from the garden.

Last week we had cucumbers, so cucumber, tuna and mayonnaise sandwiches were my thing. Slice the cucumber super thin and layer on top of toast spread with a thin layer of mayo. Add a little mayo to the tuna, spoon it on top of the cucumber slices, then layer more cucumber slices on top of the tuna and top it with a slice of toast with a little mayo. Season with salt if you like, but I skip it because salt is not my friend.

This week, :( no cucumber. What to do? BLT sounds good, but I'm not frying bacon. Too much mess and then what happens with the rest of the package? Do I fry it and save it for another day. (Hello! I have a teenage boy, if he sees bacon already cooked, he thinks delicious snack!) Do I put the package away with just 2 strips missing? No, then that means I have to use it within x number of days. (Solve for x? Not me, I don't do algebra.) Solution? Baconnaise!

Behold: The Tomato and Baconnaise Sandwich:
No lettuce? Well, we did have some, but that would be a bother to find it in the fridge because the kids have yet to learn that lettuce is a vegetable and it belongs in the Vegetable Bin. Besides, this is so good just as it is.

Home grown tomato + Baconnaise + Toast = bliss!

Disclosure: This is not a paid ad, but if the Baconnaise people would like to reward me with some bacony goodness, I would be happy to take it.

PS: Baconnaise is available at Jewel Foods in the same aisle as regular mayonnaise.

Lola's Victory Garden

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Our Weekend Garden Harvest

These are part of our take from our garden from Friday and today. We also ate a cucumber about that size and had about 1/2 that bowl full of cherry tomatoes that we used in a wonderful salad yesterday.

All I did was slice the cucumber thin, arrange on a plate, then quarter some of those cherry tomatoes. Then sprinkle on some Feta Cheese crumbles. The sweetness of those cherry tomatoes combined with the taste of the Feta Cheese was just fantastic.

Still no zucchini (I'm betting they all come at once.) And no broccoli yet, but that should be ready soon. The tomatillos are looking good, I'm thinking the papery skin has to be...well, papery before they are ready to be picked. (At least that's the way they are in the store when I've bought them to can Tomatillo Salsa.)

Our Sunflowers are growing like crazy. I wish I had a photo for you, but I'm taking it easy today and trying to recuperate from all the crazy running around and driving I've been doing. My bad back hasn't appreciated all that and it's been letting me know, so today I'm just taking it easy. Our daughter was nice enough to go pick those veggies, she's a good helper.

I have a question for anyone who has grown sunflowers before. Are all the seeds good for eating, or does it depend on the variety? Also, do you pick them and dry them, bake them, ???? Has anyone used the seeds from the sunflowers they've grown for eating or store them for use later in their bird feeders?

Lola's Victory Garden

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Slow But Sure

We're starting to get some tomatoes in. A few cherry tomatoes here, a few there. I can't manage a photo because they end up getting gobbled up almost immediately.

I've got several cucumbers about 4 inches long, at least 1 zucchini slightly bigger than the cucumbers. I like zucchini to be about as big as my forearm before I pick them because I use them for Fried Zucchini or cooked with tomatoes. Either way, bigger is better. (For Zucchini!)

If I can get a helper Friday I need to put up my homemade net for the cucumbers and feed their stringers through to keep the veggies off the ground. It looks kind of like a soccer net made out of garden twine. It will do the trick nicely.

We've also got 1 head of cauliflower about ready for picking. Looks like some Aloo Gobi is in our future. The whole family loves any Indian food and Aloo Gobi is a favorite.

I hope to have some garden pictures up over the weekend.

We started our garden late. I imagine many of you may be up to your eyeballs in tomatoes and zucchini.

Let us know how your garden is growing!

Lola's Victory Garden

Thursday, July 23, 2009

BlogHop 09

I'm not at BlogHer. (Sulk.) But if you're reading this you aren't either! (Sorry to rub it in.) So break out the booze and the snackies, cause it's party time!

I live with my partner and our 14 year old son and 16 year old daughter. I don't have a giveaway per see, but I do run a monthly Top Commenter Contest over at Lola's Diner where I reward my Top Comment Whores, (I mean Top Commenters). Still plenty of time to join in. Just start commenting!

At Lola's Victory Garden I blog about the progress of my Victory Garden. With a limited income and tough times I need to stretch every penny. Planting my own garden, will not only give me the freshest, best tasting produce now, but I plan on canning my surplus.

Canned Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles, Dilled Green Beans, Basil Green Beans, Pickled Asparagus, Tomatillo Salsa (yum!) and Tomato Sauce are just a few of the veggies I canned last year. Last year I also made Strawberry Jam, Blueberry Jam, Bluebarb Jam and my favorite, Blackberry Jam. I have also canned meatloaf and barbecued pork. (Yes! It's good too!)

This year I'm hoping to add coleslaw, pickles and brussels sprouts (they are delish! And I'm totally addicted to the ones they sell at my local Farmer's Markets.

If you are on Twitter, follow me. My Twitter Id is "lolasdiner".

Why not become a follower and follow my garden and my canning escapades?

Lola's Victory Garden

If I Could Blog Back Time Thursdays - Worst Cooking Disasters

Come join me for a very special edition of If I Could Blog Back Time Thursdays! We'll be taking time out to share some memories. We'll Blog Back Time with possible ways to right past wrongs or about how times have changed. We'll share childhood memories, school/work memories, family and friend memories.
Today's topic is: Worst Cooking Disasters
Come on, even Lola has had 1 cooking disaster, (ok, 2) what about you?
Did you have some cooking disasters early in college, early in your marriage?
Did you make a disastrous mess?
Did it turn out awful?
This week's topic courtesy of Stephany @ Soulful Sepulcher.
Since this cooking disaster has to do with canning, I thought I would post it here on Lola's Victory Garden. I can't say I've really had many cooking disasters. Mine mostly revolve around taking on too much and making an incredible mess. The second one would be when I tried to can Pumpkin Butter. Before I go any further I must mention that the USDA does not approve of canning Pumpkin Butter because it is too dense to insure proper processing. This was the first thing I ever attempted to can and I had an old recipe book. If you're canning, make sure your recipe book is up to date, or that you are aware of current procedures and what products and/or procedures the USDA approves of.

This was a complete disaster, beginning to end. And so much mess. I can tell you now that I will never take on cooking pumpkin. From that day forward I will only buy canned pumpkin for pies and baked goods. First off, pumpkin is difficult to peel and cut into cubes. Second of all, it takes forever to boil until it is soft enough to mash or process in a food processor and you must first remove all the excess water. My kitchen table and floor was full of pumpkin guts, even though I planned ahead and laid newspaper down. (Only on the table.) After I canned it I put it in my pantry. Before I attempted sampling it I discovered that Pumpkin Butter was not safe to can, per the USDA, so I ended up pitching them, cute little jars and all. (Now I'm kicking myself, because I could be using those cute little jars for jam.) This was at about 10 years ago.

Now it's your turn. Please post your "Worst Cooking Disasters" on your blog. Then come back to Lola's Diner and leave the actual post link here. Please grab the html code for If I Could Blog Back Time Thursdays! Badge HERE.

Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!



Lola's Victory Garden

Monday, July 20, 2009

Weekend Garden

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. Weeds are still getting out of control, even with the hay. I need to motivate one of my kids to help me rake away the hay and lay down newspaper, and then put the hay back on top of the newspaper.

2 green tomatoes

Zucchini is flowering

Cabbage is growing


Lola's Victory Garden

Friday, July 3, 2009

Weekly Blog Hop - Intro

***Join me as I embark on this year's Victory Garden. I've had gardens before, but this year more than ever we will be relying on our garden as a food source.***

MckLinky Blog Hop

Lola's Victory Garden

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Garden Update

Our Rose Bush came back. We thought it had died. It kind of did. Last year we had Peach colored Roses and Yellow Roses from this same plant. Apparently the nursery had grafted 2 varieties together. In any case, only the Yellow Rose is blooming.

06/03/09 06/30/09
Look how tall our Sunflowers have grown!
This is what our garden looks like today. I need to pick up some additional garden fence stakes this weekend because we did not have enough. The bamboo stakes Anastasia substituted for the stakes we were short are not working out.
First tomato!
Our first grapes!
The weather was wonderful today! I got a chance to begin tying our growing tomatoes to the cages and stakes. (Ok, to be honest I did maybe 1/3 before I cried Uncle. If Anastasia didn't have a chance to finish I'll be back at it again Wednesday.)

The hay has been working out quite well at helping our garden retain moisture. When I went in to tie the tomatoes I was surprised to find the ground soft and wet even though we hadn't watered for more than a day. I was not happily surprised when I discovered that weeds were still popping through the hay. The hay has greatly slowed down the proliferation of weeds, however, it does not prevent them.

I hope to be motivating our kids over the next few days to turn over the other garden plot so that we can get our seedlings planted for pumpkins, butternut squash and acorn squash. We hope to get those planted by the weekend, depending on the weather. The weather service has been promising rain, but so far has not come through.

How is your garden doing?

Lola's Victory Garden

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Weekend Garden 06/20/09

Look at me! I got a jump on things and took this photo on Friday. Anastasia and our son have been working hard getting the plants in. Wednesday they put the stakes and the fencing in. (This was the fencing we bought on our big shopping trip.) They also put hay to keep the weeds at bay. I had a bit of difficulty finding hay. None of the big box stores had it, but I was able to find it at a local garden center for $6.99 for a large bale.

We are not quite done planting our finds from last week. If the rain stays away this weekend we may be able to finish. All that's left are the peppers: Bell Peppers, Habanero (our son insisted), jalapeno (I use them in canning and in my chili) and yellow banana peppers (hoping to can these because our son and I can't get enough of them).

I also started some seeds this past weekend and they have already begun to sprout. I used my newspaper pot method and mixed seed starting mix with vermiculite.

Lola's Victory Garden

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Weekend Garden 06/13/09

I just posted the photos from last week, so go check out Weekend Garden 06/06/09. (Looks kind of hillbilly right now, but once we get more mulch we can cover the landscape fabric and it will look better.)

Our Sunflowers we started from seeds are going like gangbusters and almost a foot tall.
The other seeds we started = fail. My initial thoughts about the Self Watering Greenhouses proved to be correct. The tiny peat pots with some sort of mesh covering proved too small and hindered root growth. All we got were short spindle like plants that could not even stand on their own. The San Marzano Plum Tomatoes looked like single blades of grass 4 inches high with a couple of tiny leaves. Very disappointing. We dumped the rejects into the compost bin. I hate to tell Anastasia "I told you so", but she doesn't read this blog, so I can type it here. I told you so. Hehehehe! Sorry hon! Next year we will go with my original plan which was to go with the newspaper pots that I rolled. I used them last year to start seeds and they were very successful.

We admitted defeat and headed out to a garden center today. Hoorah for us! They are closing up for the season (just a little roadside stand really) and everything was clearance priced. Clearance is my middle name, in case you were wondering. All their plants were very healthy and were $9 per flat. Vegetable plants and flowering plants, mix or match. Normally they go for at least $3 per 4 plant cube. Since there are 12 per flat that would have been $36. A savings of $27 per flat. Woo hoo! We bought 3 flats. We bought several varieties of tomatoes, peppers; cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini and tomatillos.
That is the statue we purchased last week after the farmer's market. Anastasia has been wanting one of those since we moved to the burbs.

Lola's Victory Garden

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My Weekend Garden 06/06/09

Yesterday we mowed the front and back lawn. Funny, because Anastasia started and I stopped her part way through the side yard and told her I'd finish. She didn't want to give up playing with the new lawn tractor, so I distracted her and took the keys out of the ignition. Lol! I told her to go garden while I mowed. Hehehehe.

So she gardened. She put out landscaping fabric around our Lilac Bushes and along the side by the Rose Bush and planted Dahlia Bulbs and Yellow Petunias. Right now it doesn't look like much but a few flowers sticking out of the blackness and mounds of mulch, but when it is done, it's going to look nice. Baby steps. It will get there.

Have a great weekend.

Lola's Victory Garden

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lola's Victory Garden Is Now Google PR2!

Yippee! Last month Lola's Victory Garden was Google Page Ranked 2! The previous month it was Google Page Rank of Zero.

Page Rank


If you'd like to check your Google Page Rank, click Google Page Rank Checker.

Lola's Victory Garden

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Weekend Garden

Things are getting busy around here. Anastasia has been planting her Moss Roses and Marigolds.
And our Peony (Not Hydrangea) bush is in bloom, despite the fact that we periodically run it over with the lawn tractor. It keeps coming back. Our neighbor, Mr. Friendly has the exact same bush and he has it contained in wire netting to support it so it isn't so spread out. Sounds like a new project for us.
This weekend is garden prep. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. Lot's of hoeing to do and adding organic hummus to the soil.

Lola's Victory Garden

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Garden

Big gardening weekend this weekend. Anastasia and I went to a local garden shop, actually I think a new local business. Anastasia finally found her Moss Roses and also purchased some Marigolds and something called a Spaghetti Plant.

I'll be putting photos up later this weekend.

I'm still of the opinion that the vegetable seedlings we planted ourselves should wait until next weekend due to the chance of frost this weekend. We'll see what happens.

Lola's Victory Garden

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rain Barrels - Do You Have One? What Do You Recommend?

We are shopping around for a rain barrel and are wondering if you have one and what you recommend. Anastasia and I discussed converting a trash can but decided we didn't want to deal with the possibility of not properly installing the spigot and what not.

So, do you have a rain barrel? What size, model? How much did it cost? Did your unit come with everything needed to connect it to your rain gutters, or did you need to purchase a separate kit? Would you recommend the one you purchased.

We are considering purchasing one from our local government, if they are still available, because we haven't seen a better price elsewhere, but would like to know what your experience has been with your purchase(s).


Lola's Victory Garden

Monday, May 18, 2009

Can We Get A Break On The Rain?

Our property was very soggy from the rains we've had the past few days, but I did manage to get 1 shot of one of our 2 Catawba Grape plants. This particular corner of our side yard is like a swamp. I bought several bags of topsoil for Anastasia to build up the low lying area, but it still needs more soil.

Anastasia has great ambitions for me when these 2 plants start bearing fruit. She wants me to make jam and she wants to learn how to make wine, which probably means that I will learn how to make wine, but that's ok with me. I've already made several varieties of jam and I'm jonesing to try out my Steam Juicer that I got for Christmas. Chances are next year will be the year that we actually get some fruit.

Lola's Victory Garden

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Weekend Garden


Nothing much going on with our garden. Anastasia was trying to convince me to plant our tomatoes this weekend, but I don't think they are ready yet. More importantly, I think it's too soon, considering our goofy Illinois weather.

I'll post up a photo of our seedlings tomorrow, if I can get enough light to get a shot.

No photo of our grape bushes yet because it's the ground is too soggy from the rain. Hopefully the weather will dry up soon.

Lola's Victory Garden

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lola's Victory Garden Contest Winners Announced!

Lola’s Victory Garden Contest ran from April 24th thru May 8th. Unfortunately, out of fairness, any entries before or after those dates have been disqualified.

First of all, thank you to everyone who entered. Everyone had really great garden tips. It was a difficult task, but without further ado, here are the winners:

First Place: John @ Munchkin Lands Garden
John and his munchins have won:
From: Guilty Pleasures Donation: 3,000 EC.
From: In This Life Of Ours Donation: 1308 EC.
From: Everything Has A Reason Donation: 1308 EC.
From: Symphony Of Love Donation: 125x125 ad space for 1 month.
From: Gewgaw Writings Donation:. A one month ad in her PR 4 blog.
From: In My Kitchen Donation: 125x125 ad for a month PR3.
Second Place: Auntie E @ Auntie E's Yard And Garden
Auntie E has won:
From: Things About Computer Donation: 2000 EC.
From: One At A Time - A Busy Mom's Life Donation: 1000 EC credits.
From: A Changing Life Donation: 750 EC. (Donation was transferred to Lola's Victory Garden and will be coming from Lola's Victory Garden.)
From: Life According to Me Donation: 2,000 EC and 125x125 ad for 2 weeks on PR3.
From: My Vegetables Garden Donation: 125x125 ad for a month PR2.
There was a tie for Third Place

Third Place: Thorne's World
Thorn's World has won:
From: A Malaysian Abroad Donation: 1000 EC.
From: Everything PLUS the Kitchen Sink Donation: 1000 EC credits.
From: Just Keep Trying Donation: 1,000 EC.
From: Subjective Soup Donation: 500 EC credits.

Third Place: Gengen @ Wonderful Things In Life
Gengen has won:
From: Answers Without, Answers Within Donation: 1000 EC.
From: Babette's Definitely MAYBE! Donation: 1000 EC credits.
From: Thoughts And Obsessions Donation: 1,000 EC.
From: Communication Exchange Donation: 500 EC credits.
Fourth Place: Julie @ Julie Chats
Julie has won:
From: A Mom's Box Of Crayons Donation: $15 dollars in Avon products.
From: Girls Are Made Of Sugar And Spice Donation: 125x125 ad for a month PR1.

There was a tie for Honorable Mention

Honorable Mention: The Writing Nag
Writing Nag has won:
From: All Blog Contest Donation: 500 EC.
From: Learn To Earn Money On The Net Donation: 500 EC.

Honorable Mention: Smart Mommy
Smart Mommy has won:
From: Dad To Two Donation: 500 EC.
From: Lola's Diner Donation: 500 EC.
Congratulations to everyone!

Contest Sponsors are required to contact you within 2 days of the announcement of the winners.

Individual Contest Sponsors are solely responsible for delivery of the prizes.

Lola's Victory Garden

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Friday afternoon I scheduled to have our garden tilled by a local entrepreneur. I found his name from my local version of You can also check for someone willing to bring rototilling equipment to your home and till your garden for a fair price. It certainly beats backbreaking work with a pitchfork and hoe. Our tiller guy brought a tractor with tiller attachment and a small tiller unit. Because of the size of our garden he was able to get it all done with the tractor unit. It cost us $50 bucks because he had to till through sod. He said next year it will be 1/2 price because there won't be sod to till through.
Anastasia has been giving our son a work out worthy of a professional trainer. She had him lay out the cinder blocks at least twice, then Thursday had to have him move them in preparation for Friday. Poor guy! Then Friday, when the tilling is done, he'll have to move them yet again. Who needs a gym when you have a personal trainer like Anastasia?

Anastasia laid out the timbers and used spray paint to paint lines in the grass to denote the garden space. Since she used white paint, I had to embellish the photo with red paint so you can see the size.
This is what the garden plot looks like after the tilling. We're going to be covering up with black landscaping fabric because our seedlings are not yet ready for transplant. We also want to add some organic soil amendments. That, and with the goofy Illinois weather, we want to wait until our seedlings are nice and hearty and the weather is right.
And here is one of our first Lilac Bushes to bloom. I have always loved the smell of Lilacs, they remind me of my Mother. She had several huge Lilac Bushes in our backyard. We planted 4 in front of our deck and I can't wait to sit out there with a beverage and enjoy the smells.
I made a trip to Lowe's (after Anastasia went to work) to pick up some topsoil to level out the area where we will be planting our grape bushes. I also bought organic humus to mix in to the garden plot and cypress mulch for the bushes. I spent a whole $19.07. Had I brought Anastasia with, forgettaboutit.

It's supposed to be a nice weekend, here in the Chicagoland area anyway, so get out there and get dirty in the garden!

If you don't have a garden, get out on the links. Or if you're like me, you'll try to fit in both!

Lola's Victory Garden

Lola's Victory Garden Contest Ends Friday!

Why haven't you joined us? Friday is the last day to enter Lola's Victory Garden Contest. As I post this we have 25 Prizes and 6 entrants. You do the math! At this point you are virtually guaranteed to win something!
So come on! What are you waiting for? It's easy peasy!
Why not get your entry in now?

Lola's Victory Garden

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Something Red and Shiny!

Friday I bugged out early to go check out laptops. Uncle Sam being very, very nice to me and sent my refund quite early. I did my research online and my intent was to go to Best Buy and check a few out in person, but I got sidetracked on the way. Several John Deere delivery trucks were mocking me on my route. (You remember my previous post,Lola's Diner - This And That.)

I drove past 3 as I took Route 30 to Route 45, so it couldn't have been the same truck. THREE! Was this a sign from above? They mocked me with their brand new lawn tractors in the back of each truck. The green, the yellow, shining in the sun, I couldn't help myself. I ended up detouring to Menards and Home Depot. I checked out the models. I even called our friendly lawn mower repair place to find out what brands he didn't service, because goodness knows once you find a repair place that you trust and is reasonably priced, you want to stick with them. He told me that he can't service John Deere because only dealers have the parts. On the way home I did a drive-by at Lowe's. They're so nice, they have every model parked right in front of their building with nice big price tags. You don't even need to get out of the car for this kind of window shopping!

I got home and Anastasia asked what I bought. Ahh, errr, nothing. (She had no idea about the John Deere delivery trucks mocking me or my detour to every home center known to man.) What do you mean nothing, I thought you were getting your laptop? Not yet. She went to work and I went online to research lawn tractors. When she came home I announced we were going shopping Saturday. We picked one out at Lowe's and got a free dump cart with our purchase. I also had to get Anastasia something purdy. She's been jonesing for Keurig Coffee Maker. (As if we don't have enough coffee makers already, but hey, a coffee habit is a lot less expensive than other habits, right?)

As I typed this early this morning, I saw the same neighbor who yesterday had to drive his John Deere down the street, again, driving down the street. Why? Where is he going? Is he one of those screwballs that doesn't have a driver's license so he drives the John Deere to the 7 Eleven for more beer? WTH?

So our shiny, new, red, lawn tractor was delivered this morning.
Woo hoo! Doesn't she look hawt? I had told Anastasia that even though she started to mow the front lawn Saturday morning with the old mower, I was going to re-do it Sunday, around 7:30pm. I have to try out the headlights, don't I? But of course I couldn't wait. As soon as it was off the truck I had my son get the gas can and we gassed it up. It was sweet! And it saves so much time because the cutting deck is twice the size of our old mower. I mowed the front and side yards again and Anastasia mowed the back yard. She was able to mow the back lawn in a record breaking 10 minutes! This is going to save us so much time and aggravation. We'll have a lot more time to work on our garden. Anastasia will be so glad that she won't have to deal with the front wheel falling off, then having to re-wire the front axle together.

Lola's Victory Garden

Friday, May 1, 2009

My Weekend Gardening - Composting

As I mentioned in last Friday's Lola's Victory Garden - My Weekend Garden Anastasia is all gung ho about gardening. In addition to the SUV load full of garden goodies, she has also bought some gardening books. The book she currently drags everywhere is a little pocket size gem called "The Veggie Gardener's Answer Book" By Barbara W. Ellis.

Compost - "Decomposed remains of organic matter - such as leaves, kitchen scrapes, and other garden remains. Compost is a valuable soil amendment that will improve soil structure and provide nutrition for plants."

Many townships and villages have Composters available for sale. Many offer the smaller version of the Earth Machine for around $50.

You can make your own Compost Bin for a fraction of that with scrap wood or Wire Mesh Fencing, Fencing Stakes and Cable Ties. Last year we got a large roll of Wire Mesh Fencing for $0.25 at a garage sale. Our Fencing Stakes cost $2.17 each at Lowe's. We already had Cable Ties. Anastasia and our son put ours together in a matter of minutes. Cable Ties secure the Fencing Stakes to the Wire Mesh Fencing. A rubber mallet is used to pound the Fencing Stakes into the ground.

Select a level spot for you Compost Bin. A Compost Bin should be about 3-4 feet in diameter.
What can go in a Compost Bin:
Trimmings & clippings from the garden (including disease free weeds and grass clippings), leaves, kitchen scraps, wood shavings, shredded newspaper, coffee grounds, egg shells.
What cannot go in a Compost Bin:
Dog and cat poo, diseased plant materials, weeds gone to seed, meat, bones, cooking fat.
Happy Composting!

Lola's Victory Garden


To anyone visiting on Wednesday, my 3 blogs, Lola's Victory Garden, Lola's Diner, Fire Crotch Rocket and my fellow blogger meet-up pallies: Patricia @ Subjective Soup, Lin @ Duck And Wheel With String, and Lynne @ A Malaysian Abroad you were all treated to a blogger experiment of sorts. As I mentioned in Fire Crotch Rocket - Chicago Area Blogger Meet-up - A Fly On The Wall, we talked quite a bit about blogging. Keywords came up and we all decided that we would do a blog post on Wednesday with the same subject and then compare results at a later date.

I decided to do a post on all 3 blogs. I had to get pretty creative to write one for Lola's Victory Garden. It wasn't easy. Anyway, we're back to our regularly scheduled programming at Lola's Victory Garden now. No more Tom least not for awhile.

Lola's Victory Garden

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Guest Editorial

Jane Curtain: And now, with this week’s Editorial Reply is Correspondent, Emily Litella.

Emily Litella: Thank you very much Jane.

Jane Curtain: What brilliant topic are you going to comment on tonight Emily?

Emily Litella: What’s all this fuss I keep hearing about smoking jackets and smoking flowers? Now why would you want to wear a jacket that’s on fire or plant a flower that smokes? I mean, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Fire burns.

Why, once my neighbor fell asleep smoking cigarettes and burned a hole in his mattress, started the mattress on fire and the next thing you know the whole house burned down. I say there should be no smoking jackets and no smoking flowers! could wipe out an entire garden with one smoking flower! They should have No Smoking Jackets, just like No Smoking Sections in restaurants. And they should have No Smoking Flowers because flowers are supposed to smell nice, not like smoke.

Jane Curtain: Ms. Litella…

Jane Curtain: Ms. Litella…

Emily Litella: What? What?

Jane Curtain: Ms. Litella the jackets don’t actually smoke. The jackets are worn BY smokers. They aren’t on fire. And that smoking flower wasn’t really smoking.

Jane Curtain: The clouds above the flower looked like smoke, but they were just clouds. The flower isn't on fire.

Emily Litella: Oh, well that’s different…

Be sure to check out today's posts on my other blogs:

Lola's Diner
Fire Crotch Rocket
Lola's Victory Garden