Homesteading In The Pacific Northwest

Monday, October 18, 2010


I thought it was time to show you what I did with the lovely sugar pie pumpkins
I bought at the produce stand....

First I cut the pumpkins in half and scooped out the seeds...

I placed them on a baking sheet, covered them with foil and baked at 350 degrees for one hour. After they cooled I scooped the pumpkin away from the skin.

Here are our ingredients....

Place the following dry ingredients in a large bowl:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

 In another bowl place and mix well with a fork:
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup softened butter
2 large eggs

Add the moist ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring just until moist.  Spoon batter into a loaf pan that has been coated with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack and allow to cool (if you can wait that long...I can't :)

And what about all the rest of the pumpkin you cooked?......

It freezes well...and you have more for making more bread...


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Leek, Potato and Sausage Soup...

Let's take a look at our ingredients...

There's 2 more of the Aidell's Chicken and Apple Sausages and the rest of the chanterelle from the pizza I made 2 nights before, the last of some spinach from Olympia Local Foods (a little past its prime now), two leeks from the $1.00 a bag shelf at the produce stand, potatoes from my garden, the chicken broth I made in the last post, some ground cumin and a little bit of cream.  So, by using bits and pieces of things left in the fridge and freezer I'm making a quick, light meal for two with very little cost (add another sausage, another cup and a half of broth and another potato in the soup and serve with a half of a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich and you would have a full meal for four).  But it isn't serendipity that those bits and pieces are I made the original meals I deliberately set aside small portions, knowing that I wanted to make this soup...I call this using "planned overs" instead of "leftovers".

So...on to the soup.  Chop and rinse the white part of two leeks.  Saute the leeks in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until it is soft and translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add 1/4 tsp ground cumin and cook for one minute more.  Add 2 cups of chicken broth, 2 potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice) and the sausages (cut into 1/4 inch slices).  Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender.  Add the mushrooms (chopped), a couple hands full of spinach and one tablespoon heavy cream.  Heat for a minute or two and serve with a crusty roll.

You can make this soup without the chanterelle mushrooms and it is very good...but with the mushrooms it is great!



Friday, October 8, 2010

Earthly Joys and Natural Wonders....

I am still finding myself drawn to fiber art...and combining it in with my jewelry to make a statement...



Earthly Joys and Natural Wonders....

I am still finding myself drawn to fiber art...and combining it in with my jewelry to make a statement...



The Rest of the Chanterelles...But First...Some Chicken Broth...

I used the rest of the chanterelle mushrooms in a wonderful Leek, Potato and Sausage Soup.  One of the things that makes the soup so good is the homemade chicken broth I I'll show you how to make it first. The soup goes together very quickly; you can make the broth and the soup easily in an afternoon.

First, the get good broth you need to start with a GOOD CHICKEN!

Organic, free range, local...on sale...$1.29 a pound! 

I wash the chicken, remove and dispose of the gizzards, and place the chicken in a stock  pot.  I keep a bag in the freezer and whenever I have onion ends and peels, ends of carrots or celery, mushroom or parsley stems; into the bag they go.  When I make broth I grab a few handfuls out of the bag and put them in the stockpot.  Cover the chicken and vegetables with water; about four quarts.  Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat and then reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour.

After an hour, remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool.  Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin and return the bones to the pot.  Refrigerate the meat in a storage container...we'll be using it soon :) Simmer the broth for another hour, allow to cool and then strain through a colander, removing the bones and vegetables.  Ladle the broth into storage containers, reserving some for the soup, and
freeze the remaining broth.

I freeze some of the broth in ice cube trays, pop the frozen cubes out and keep them in a storage bag in the freezer for when I need a small amount of broth.

Coming up next...the soup...



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eat Local...Buy Local....

There has been a lot of talk in the news and on the internet lately about eating local and the high cost of eating well.  I thought I would share my local answer to both problems....

The S and S produce stand is about four miles down the road from our home.  Note that the sign says that they take EBT Cards (food stamps). 

A beautiful display of pumpkins at the entrance to the produce stand.

This is Steve, owner of the stand in front of his fruit displays.  He buys as much of his produce locally, organic if possible, and direct from the growers to save money; a savings he passes on to his customers.  This year the stand opened on April 2 and will stay open, as Steve puts it "Until I have to wear long johns four days in a row."

These are a local wild mushroom available only after the first rains in the fall.  There are considered a gourmet delicacy and sell for $12.99 a pound in the stores.  Steve buys his direct from the forager and prices them so we can all enjoy a few.

Mostly local salad greens.

Many varieties of new crop, Washington State apples.

"Day Old" produce available for $1.00 a bag.  All still perfectly wholesome, just not as
pretty as the fresh stuff.

This was my haul for the day...I'm going to do some canning.  All for $29.75!!

In Michael Pollan's book, "Food Rules", Rule #19 says:

"It it came from a plant, eat it;
if it was made in a plant, don't"

I can't say it any better than that!