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Monday, June 13, 2011


If you have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say Kool Whip on the side, you might be a redneck.
~Jeff Foxworthy~

The lettuce in the garden  is loving the cool weather.  It's one of the easiest vegetables to grow, as it isn't very particular to what soil it grows in.  Heck!  It will even reseed itself if you aren't the tidiest of gardeners.So for the next couple of weeks we will be eating salads until we start to turn green.  But there are so many wonderful ways to prepare them, it's a nice dilemma to have.

And it's thrifty too.  This lettuce is the lovely Merveille de Quatre  Saisons  (fancy schmancy isn't it?) or simply put, Marvel of the Four Seasons.  Purchased for the hefty price tag of  three packets for a dollar at the Dollar General store.  How much does a head of plain old iceburg lettuce cost now days? 

I once overheard my son telling  one of his friends that I made the best salads in the world.  It pretty simple really.  Just use the freshest of ingredients, like lettuce picked fresh just minutes before serving,  Use one of the much-maligned salad spinners to make sure that the greens aren't soggy.  Tear the leaves into bite sized pieces.  Can't stand those big pieces that you get in restaurants can you? Make sure you don't use the stems.  Finely mince , dice or slice all other vegetables you are going to use.  And don't use too much dressing.  It should just enhance the flavors not drown them out.

Several people have asked me how I  "got" our boys to eat salads and vegetables.  Simply put, they didn't have a choice.  They were expected to eat what was put in front of them or go without.  We never prepared special meals for picky eaters.  Hate to sound like an old fogey but, children are treated like royalty now days.  Just go to a garage sale and see tables upon tables of children's clothing and toys is proof enough.  And having suffered through many conversations interrupted by little children that asking rude questions, while their parents stood by smiling, thinking it was the cutest thing, makes me long for the Victorian age when children were "seen and not heard". Anyway to get back on track ...  Children are so influenced by their parents when they are young, so if you don't eat healthy for your own sake, consider doing it to set a good example for your children. If you don't tell them it's yukky they won't know it.  Here's a recipe that even "picky" adults like:

Taco Salad

Prepare simply chili or use some leftover (in a pinch you can buy some of Wendy's)  But here's a recipe that makes up quick:

Brown together:
1 lb hamburger (or vegetarian crumbles or leave it all together and just use an extra can of kidney beans as I do)
1 large onion.
To that add :
1 can kidney beans
1 can tomatoes (I add a pinch of sugar if using store bought)
1 package of taco seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Now back to the salad:
 Layer some lettuce, crushed taco chips, some of the chili and shredded cheddar cheese in a large bowl.  You can gild the lily if you like (and who doesn't)  and top with a dollop of sour cream, chives and salsa.  That's it! If you're a vegan you can substitute the cheese with a soy cheese, but to be honest, I find them a pretty poor substitute,  so I just use  the real thing sparingly and a low-fat variety. Cabot's is good.

We also make up  our own Taco seasoning  in large batches.  The dollar stores and Wal-Mart  carry an inexpensive brand of spices called Spice Time that sells for a dollar or less. It cost a lot less to make up your own if you make a lot of Mexican foods. And I do!  Here's the recipe:

Taco Seasoning:

1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. sugar
1/2  tsp. salt

Combine and store in a dry place. We multiply this recipe by ten or twenty times and keep it in a quart-sized mason jar on the pantry shelf.


  1. I loved today's post. Much valuable information. Especially the tip about the kool whip bowls. I just didn't know :) Actually I'm really appreciating the recipe for taco seasoning. I just throw those herbs and spices in all willy nilly. It turns out great but for some (lazy) reason I hadn't thought to premix and have ready.

    So you inspired me today... taco seasoning and get rid of the kool whip bowls. Or just decide to proudly wear the name redneck... nah!

    Blessings, Debbie

  2. Debbie, some call it redneck, other call it thrifty. We use them for freezer containers. And they make nice portable dog bowls. Of course Martha Stewart would say you're a redneck if you used Kool Whip! I remember her going to Barbra Streisand's house and being served jello with it and she asked what it was. When Barbra told her it was Kool Whip, she replied "How quaint!" Now you can't tell me that a girl from New Jersey doesn't know what Kool Whip is! She's such a phoney!

  3. Delicious! We give the bolted lettuce to the hens. They ADORE us when we do! Good stuff! I love your garden hod!

  4. We've only had two days of truly warm weather here Matty, so the lettuce just keeps on producing. One variety that I grow is Morges de Braun that promises not to bolt in hot weather. That trug looks better in the picture than it does in reality. Afraid I've left it out in the rain a few times too many. I love things like green Wellies garden trugs and bee skeps. Makes me feel very Farmer MacGregor-ish!

  5. Ohhh... I like Taco Salad. A colleague at work used to bring that to our potluck lunches years ago...

    Enjoyed your kool posting!

  6. I wonder if my grandmama ever truly bought a bowl for freezer or

    Lettuce is an early crop here. We're down to the 80's We all love salads, too.

  7. How can anyone throw away a Cool Whip container - or any plastic container. I have more than I can use but still can't toss them. My family is so attached to these thrifty storage bowls that even when someone takes left-overs home in them, they return the container! Are we Minnesota Rednecks?? (-:

    ps I LOVE Taco Salad - it's the only way to eat a Taco!

  8. Hi Brenda, Shara, and Sandy! Those must be some high falutin' rednecks. Our bowls would have the store brand on them! Shara send me some of your heat, I'm worried about my garden.

  9. Dear Jane,

    My mom has a large tote filled with plastic bowls! I miss borrowing them from her (she's in Idaho and we're here Missouri), but we are building up our own collection here. My mother-in-law saves little glass jars for me to put my herbal concoctions in, and I go out of my way to buy things whose containers have re-use potential!



    p.s. Taco salad, yum!

  10. HI Marqueta! You do that too? I thought I was the only one. If something comes in a pretty shaped jar and is just a few pennies more, I'll always opt for the pretty jar. There's a national brand of pesto that comes in the nicest Atlas pint-sized canning jars that I purchase, I think sometimes more for the nice canning jar than the pesto!

  11. Hi Jane! Love your post today, so true, spoken with the words of a very wise mother. Your salad greens look heavenly. Unfortunately, I can't eat green vegetables because of a medicine I take called coumadin. I just crave salad. Last week a friend asked me to fry up some okra the way my mama used to make it, and I made a giant bowl. For some reason I was having so much fun frying it up and talking with her about happy memories that it didn't even dawn on me that okra was a green veg! I gleefully ate two big helpings and majorly messed up my blood count! Sigh. But "Alls well the ends well." :) I just wanted to let you know Jane that we are going through a bit of a rough patch right now. Someone in my family is struggling through a difficult illness, and it is taking a good deal of my concentration and energy right now. Things are looking up though and I think in a couple of weeks she will be up and well. But until then I am going to be reposting some "repeat" stories on my blog and will not be able to write as much I would like to. So if you don't hear from me for a little bit, just know I am still here and checking in with your blog as often as I can. You are a wonderful writer and I enjoy your posts so much. I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead! Love Delisa :)

  12. Great post- that recipe sounds very yummy!! I am still trying to get lettuce to grow in my garden with out being eaten first- the aphids and other pests are really rampant, I have such a hard time w/ leaf crops- Love the quote about salad bowls being Cool Whip tubs- for so long I would recycle my tubs and then go out and by gladware- then one day it dawned on me how un-frugal and even silly that was- remembering when I was a kid and leftovers were always in marjarine tubs and the like- so I have started making use of mine-boy they come in handy for everything!! That quote had me LOL. Love your blog!! `April