To Pie!

Sweet Tea Pie

“Sweet Tea Pie” from Tasting Table

If you’ve been paying attention this month, you’ll know that I’m attempting to not spend any money this month. Living at home and not having to pay for food or rent and working at the same place as your dad really allows for me to to this properly. And so far this month I’ve only spent $20.18. And there is an explanation for that which I won’t go into here.

Aside from going out to eat, which was like my only type of expense last month and for which I was eternally shamed after seeing the final bill for the month, one of the other things I tend to spend a lot on is books. I actually had a month budget for books which I could rarely stick to because once I start buying books it is over. O-V-E-R. I will buy e-books. I will buy paperbacks. I will buy graphic novels (seriously I have a half-bookshelf in my office full of them). And of course I will buy cookbooks and occasionally I will go to the thrift store and just fill up a cart of any kind of book I can get my hands on.

But I gave up buying books for Lent and then I went on my current spending fast for the month of April. This means that I haven’t bought a single book (not even the free ones because that’s like a gateway drug) since mid-February. My mom keeps pointing out that I/We aren’t Catholic but I’ve been sticking to it and so far so good. I did just get an iTunes gift card yesterday and I’m starting to slip a little but so far so good. I’m only PLANNING to buy books. I haven’t done anything I’ll regret yet.

The no-book-buying policy has forced me to turn back to my previous purchases and look at them more carefully. Some I bought on good recommendations and some I thought just looked cool. But I do have a lot of books that I haven’t actually read. This is what happens when I start downloading books (especially the free ones from iBooks or Kindle). I have amassed so many e-books (most of them free) that it’s kind of ridiculous. But now I am going back and checking everything out properly and reading them or whatever it is one does with free e-books that are mostly pictures.

And it turns out there are a few gems in my digital “pile”. For instance, I had forgotten about the two free or cheap (I can’t even remember) Tasting Table cook books I’d gotten on iBooks sometime ago and never even looked at. I was browsing the online store and it says I’d already downloaded that book. I was like “Whoa! Really? I mean that makes sense it looks like something I would get but when did I do that?”

And that’s how I found the recipe for this post. “Sweet Tea Pie”. And what do you know? My mom just replenished our never diminishing tea supply and after the party this past weekend I still have everything I need to make this recipe.

To Pie!


A Green $pring

I may not even need to say it but I spent way too much money last month. Between my friends wedding and all the parties that go along with that, to the birthdays (there are about 5 in my family in March and I’m only counting the ones we celebrated), to the endless stream of house guests and the going out to eat and shopping and oh my gosh there goes an entire paycheck! On top of that, my tithe check finally got cashed and boy was in a heart attack to randomly see $1000 just *POOF!* out of one of my checking accounts. Once I realized it was my tithe check I calmed down but my mom hadn’t told me she had turned it in (finally) and so I wasn’t expected that notification when I got it.

For those of you who weren’t aware: I pay my tithe. It may not be on a regular basis but once a year (if I’ve had any income), I write a check made out to the Middle East Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

“But, Oci,” you might be wondering, “Aren’t you one of those weird free-agent types that disregards and often sarcastically attacks the idea of organized religion?”

Yes. I do. But just because you don’t agree with they governing system doesn’t mean you don’t do your part. God asks for 10%, God gets 10%. That’s how I roll. And, since I was baptized in the Nile in Khartoum, I like sending my tithe to my home church where I feel it can do the most good rather than some of these fancy behemoths with too much money and not “enough” stained glass in their sanctuaries. I used to go to church on a sand dune in the dessert. Who cares about stained glass windows?

But back to my story.

I spent way to much money last month and now I’m really trying to cut down and maybe refocus some energy into my sproutlings. I’ve got a nice little set of garden babies getting their vitamin D in front of my bedroom window. There are several different varieties of tomato, some red peppers, a selection of lettuce, a myriad of herbage, my new lemon tree(!), and several starter pots of Morning Glories. I’ve got some plans to redo the front bit of yard we have and that might involve pulling up some shrubs that have been there since the house was built. I’m gonna miss them but I need space for my herb garden. Including the back yard, we have maybe 150 sq ft to work with and the

Also, I want to buy a house. I have enough to buy a run-down foreclosure in unknown gang-territory in Baltimore and still have several thousand left over to add walls and maybe plumbing but not enough to make it completely habitable so I’d really like to get that in order. I’ve looked closer to DC and it’s like no bang of all your bucks. My mother is really not okay with this plan and tells me to stop browsing slum-houses on the foreclosure apps I downloaded the other day.

Regardless of where I end up or how mugged and raped I get, I know I want to do more gardening. Last summer I had the worst crop of tomatoes ever so I’ve diversified the selection for this year. I found some hybrid-100 seeds in our basement. WARNING: Do no use Hybrid-100. Lousiest tomatoes ever and they came and went like there was nothing to live for. Which, in their case, there wasn’t.

What I’m most excited about is the herbs. I may have mentioned before that I had attempted growing several basil plants indoors over the winter but while I was gone someone who will remain unmentioned decided to try and have the heat on in the house while the rest of us were away and forgot to water the plants for me and they all gave up and are now happily decomposing in our compost heap out back. But I’ve started another round of herbs since then. I’ve got English Thyme, Basil, Lavender (not always considered an herb but it’s my garden so I can call it what I want), Chammomile, and Lemon Verbena. I also have an older Rosemary growing in the back that I want to try and transplant part of in the front if possible. Mint has also spread from our next door neighbor’s garden area and has covered nearly 3/4’s of our back yard and that needs to be reigned in significantly before anything else can be properly planted.

If you’ve checked out my general Pinterest Profile you’ll know that I pin more than just Gastrogasms materials but I also do stuff for a potential slum house or property whenever I manage to get my hands on one as well as gardening stuffs. Here are some of the things I actually plan on trying out in my garden this spring. If I weren’t working this upcoming Sunday I would have tried to do some work on it but we’ll just have to see when things get done.


This photo comes from “Art & Appetite” and I absolutely love the boxes. I like things to be neat and orderly just like this garden. I highly suggest looking at the rest of the photos on this blog.


If I get my lettuce to grow properly I hope to do something like this in one of the beds in front of my house where we successful grew lettuce last year. There are still a few leftover from last summer that I’m not sure what to do with…


Vertical Garden

I live in a townhouse and our space is incredibly limited. So using the back fence of the back of the house (which gets almost continuous sunlight during the day) for vertical gardening would be great. I’m not sure how my little strawberry seeds are doing after this past week but if they make it I’m also thinking of attaching gutters around the top of our back fence and growing strawberries there.