skip to main |
skip to sidebar
Fess up! Nobody leaves until I find my recipe for Pumpkin-Blueberry Bread.
I do this all the time. I grab an old tried and true recipe card from my recipe box and then sit down with several cook books to look something up.
And, almost without fail, leave the recipe card as a marker in one of the books. (Yes, all of the above books are cook books.) Then when I go to find it later in my recipe box . . . well, duh, it's missing.
This is what has apparently happened to my recipe card for Pumpkin-Blueberry Bread that I told Susan over at e-i-e-i-omg! I'd post here. (Either that or some dumb bunny misfiled it in the box. That happens occasionally, too.)
So sadness and woe, I guess I'll just have to do a post on Pumpkin Cranberry Bread instead. Truth be told, I think I like this sweet bread even a teensy bit more than the Pumpkin-Blueberry Bread anyway. There's something about the combination of the smoothness of the pumpkin that contrasts so well with the slightly tart cranberries. Yummy.
PUMPKIN CRANBERRY BREAD
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups (15-ounce can) pumpkin
1/2 cup butter (melted)
2-1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
Combine eggs, sugar, pumpkin and melted butter in medium mixing bowl. Beat just until blended.
Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt. Stir just until moistened. Fold in cranberries.
Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 9" x 5" loaf pans. Sprinkle tops with sugar.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove to cool completely on wire racks.
This bread is so good; heavy and moist. Just the perfect taste treat for this wonderful autumn time of year. If you don't like this, we'll have to put you in therapy.
Well, I think we can say that the squash are no longer getting any sustenance from the squash vines.
Now the only thing to find out with this bountiful harvest of squash is if they are ripened enough for human consumption.
I haven't checked yet. I'm afraid.
We live in an area with a very high deer population. As the deer come out of the heavy woods and cross roads, it's inevitable that sometimes vehicles are unable to avoid hitting them. There are certain times of the year when you literally cannot drive more than a few miles without seeing several deer carcasses along the side of the road.
Our Law Enforcement Center keeps a list of people who call in and ask to be put on the road kill deer list. Why would a person want a road killed deer? Some people use the venison for human consumption so not to have it go to waste and others use the meat to feed their dogs.
When law enforcement gets a call saying a deer and vehicle have collided, they call the first person on the list who is waiting for a deer. Sometimes the call comes at a less than convenient time. It could be in the middle of the night. But if you're on the list, you're expected to be willing to go pick up the deer when you're called. I've gone out during the day myself to retrieve a deer when my husband was working full time.
We've always fed our dogs a combination of raw meat and dry dog food. When we used the last of the meat in the freezer for our dog a couple of weeks ago, hubby called law enforcement and asked to be put on their list.
The call came at noon today that there was a road killed deer on a county gravel road about ten miles from us.
You could hardly have asked for a nicer day for a drive on the back roads. Our fall colors are still gorgeous, although I think we've passed the peak of the season.
Deer are so well camouflaged and blend into their natural surroundings that it took us three passes to find the deer off the road where we were told it would be.
It was a yearling doe so the smaller size made it not too difficult to get into the truck.
Then back home to gut and hang it before cutting it up. Even though it was sad to see an animal such as this meet an untimely end, we both had to admire how beautiful and extremely healthy it obviously was. The deer's coat was glossy, smooth, beautifully colored and so clean. I mean this animal lived outside in the woods all of its life, had never had a bath or shower and yet it was almost pristinely clean.
The doe was most likely last year's fawn from the size of her and looked to be in excellent condition to be going into her second winter season. Hubby said he's never seen a deer with such an all-over coating of fat.
I wish this yearling doe hadn't gotten hit this morning. I wish she was still out doing her thing in the woods. I don't mean to sound hokey, but when we brought this deer home, we gave thanks to her and are grateful to be the recipient of the meat she provided.
Yesterday afternoon I decided it was a great time for harvesting carrots so I took my little self out to the garden bed planted out to carrots and pulled every last one of them.
I planted only one 4' x 8' raised bed of carrots this year. Do you think I might FINALLY be wising up to the fact that two people can't eat unlimited amounts of food? All the carrot tops were starting to turn brown and fall over (which I've never seen before) so I took that as my signal that they really needed to be harvested.
The variety I planted was the old favorite Scarlet Nantes.
I wasn't disappointed with the harvest. The above picture is about one-third of the carrots we got. Total weight: 43 pounds and 4 ounces. Definitely enough to keep us going through the winter with some to share. (Don't the carrots in the picture look like some sort of deformed hot dogs and that I'm gearing up for one really big cookout?)
I thought some of you might get a chuckle out of the tale surrounding these water soaked old sweat pants I was wearing while harvesting and prepping the carrots for storage. (I know my husband seemed to think it was pretty funny.) This is a shot of the back of the pants.
Seems that as I finished spraying off the last batch of carrots, I dropped the hose on the ground while turning around and bending over to pick something up. When I dropped the hose, apparently the sprayer head landed in such a way that it released a full jet of water that hit me directly in the . . .um, uh, er . . . right in a very sensitive spot and the water traveled up and down from there.
I let out a loud screech when the water hit, jumped about two feet straight up and came down running. Geesh, that water was cold.
I never did make it into my quilt studio yesterday, but the great freezer sort 'n switch is done! As always happens, I found a few forgotten "surprises" down on the very bottom. (Does this kind of thing happen with an upright freezer, too?) Not much was discarded to be thrown out into the poultry yard though, so maybe I've had a better handle on all the frozen stuff than I thought.
Couldn't help but take a couple of pictures of the Virginia Creeper this morning. The leaves haven't reached the brilliant red stage yet, but are impressive none the less. I need to take the impatiens out of the window boxes and replace them with the miniature fall pumpkins but the flowers have continued to look so good (right up until a couple of days ago) that I couldn't bring myself to rip them out. Now that they're definitely looking dilapidated I can do it.
Don't know if you can see it by the pictures, but the vines traveling to the east on the house seem to have more red coloring in them. Hope they don't get zapped with frost for at least a couple of weeks yet.
No segue here, but I've finally taken a picture of my new desk area.
This was my old desk by the window in the bedroom.
Ta-dah! Here we are with the new desk on the opposite wall of the room. I had to make the switch because the hutch on the desk would have blocked the window in the old location. A big thank you goes to my dear hubby who spent a couple of hours on his belly and back in the crawl space rerouting computer and phone lines so I could have the new room arrangement.
I'm very happy with the new desk as it's certainly a much nicer piece of furniture than my old metal clunker, but I'm still getting used to it. You know how your dresser or desk or kitchen drawers may be a total, awful, terrible mess . . . but you know exactly where everything is? When I switched desks I was amazed (ashamed?) at the amount of JUNK stuffed in the old one and ruthlessly got rid of a lot of it. Now everything in the new desk is organized, orderly, functional . . . and I CAN'T FIND A THING! I regularly have to open three or four drawers before I find what I'm looking for. I guess it's true that change, even though it's for the better, is a little uncomfortable at first.
Okay, the house is clean (relatively), I have a pie in the oven, dinner is planned, and as soon as this post is published, I am heading for my quilt studio. Wa-hoo!
This is our second day of steadily dripping rain. I'm not complaining, because we definitely need it. The rain's not coming down hard enough that you can't slip on rain gear and do what needs to be done outside or spend two hours doing town-type errands such as I did yesterday.
The gray days have caused twilight to seem to come even earlier than it really does these shortening days. Last night, both of us were wound down and ready for bed a few minutes after nine.
Unfortunately, the Sandman was apparently off duty last night and I woke at 1:30 a.m., and I laid there until 2 thinking about things I would have been better off not thinking about in the middle of the night if I'd wanted to fall back asleep. When I gave up on trying to control my whirling mind, I trundled out to the couch to read until 4 a.m. Was I ready to get up and whip my weight in wildcats this morning? Ha! A bright, sunny day might have helped the situation, but I'm still grateful for the raindrops I can hear falling on the skylight on the back porch. (The talented lady carpenter who helped us with a lot of the work on our house after we ripped the structure down to the studs calls skylights "skyleaks." But despite her warnings and protestations, she did a good job of installing one in two different roof areas and fourteen years later, they're still tight.)
Where was I? Oh yes, my lack of ability to function on more than one cylinder today. Although I've vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, scoured sinks and gotten a couple of other little incidental things done, I don't feel like I've had my morning caffeine yet. I have.
I want desperately to take a large mug of liquid libation and lock myself in my quilt studio today but . . .
. . . I've got a freezer (very old and soon to be offered free to anyone who can use it) that is stuffed full (and I do mean FULL) of things that need to be sorted and fit into the "new," more efficient freezer . . .
. . . we bought second-hand from a family moving to the Northwest. Truth to tell, it won't take that long if I just DO it, but for some reason, it's a chore I've managed to put off for several days. (Why do we do such things to ourselves? I know I'll feel so much better when the task is done.)
Gotta, gotta, gotta get going on a batch of fruitcake so I can generously moisten it with alcohol and get it "ripening" for the holidays. Who am I fooling? The first batch always gets devoured before it can barely absorb the booze.
I just remembered I've never posted a picture of the finished set-up of my new desk area. I put it off for a long time while waiting to find just the right lamp. On a trip to the big city over a month ago, I found one I really liked, but couldn't/wouldn't make the purchase until I came home and made certain of the measurements. When I decided it would work, arrangements were made with the store to hold it for us (after it was paid for with credit card, of course) until hubby could pick it up on a solo trip to the city a couple of weeks later.
Now it's here, hooked up and I'm lovin' it. Shots of the whole desk to come . . . uh, I'll post them soon if my weak brain can hold onto the thought long enough to do so.
Glory be, it's noon already and I still don't yet feel as if I'm awake. Time to go rustle up a couple of smoothies for lunch. I know, a gray, rainy, damp day like today is more suited
to some hot, homemade soup but we have so many berries (strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries) in the freezer from our bountiful harvest this summer that it doesn't make sense to not keep working on using them. We'll save the soup for this winter when it's REALLY cold outside and a smoothie just won't do the trick.
Well, I'm back after breaking away for lunch and now I think I just heard the freezer that needs attention call my name. (Trivia: Who wrote "I Heard the Owl Call My Name"? No fair googling it!) If (WHEN) I get the freezer job done, I'm heading for my quilt studio.
I'm posting a recipe today but it's NOT related to any of the "fall foods" about which I recently blogged. I know I promised a few of you I'd include those in a blog entry soon, and I will.
It's just that there was an EMERGENCY in our house today. My dear husband suffered a bona fide cookie fit (or perhaps I should say the uncontrollable need for a cookie fix) and the cookies he just had to have were Walnut Clusters.
Definitely not ones I associate specifically with this time of year, but it was the least I could do for the man because he had a couple of yucky jobs (details of which you really don't want to hear) on his agenda for the day.
So as long as I was making these particular cookies, what the heck, I thought I'd document them with pictures and share the recipe. (Trust me. They are good.)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups broken walnuts
In medium bowl, mix the butter and sugar til creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the melted chocolate.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt.
This little red sifter was my mom's.
I can remember her using it when I was very small.
Now add the sifted dry ingredients to first mixture. Fold in the broken walnuts.
Drop by teaspoonsful about 1" apart on greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes . . . no longer!
Cookies right out of the oven.
Cool on racks and store in air-tight container.
The recipe makes a small batch of cookies, about three dozen. I got only 34 cookies from the recipe today.
My hubby asked why I didn't double the recipe, and I told him the cost of four cups of walnuts would be prohibitive! (Why is it that all nuts are so pricey these days?) Actually, the way this batch is disappearing, I really was a dummy not to double the recipe!
This garden update was due on the first of September . . . and here we are a good three weeks later. My excuse? Uh, duh . . . wait, I'll think of something. I know! We had company on the first of the month and they demanded my attention 24/7? End of the season projects have kept me from taking the necessary pictures to include with the post? We've been sloughing off and recreating too much? Pretty lame, huh? I've thought about this post every day for the past three weeks but it just hasn't happened. So looks like the very last of my summer's first -of-the-month documented garden pictures isn't going to be truly accurate, but here goes anyway.
Raised Beds, June 1st
Raised Beds, July 1st
Raised Beds, August 1st
Raised Beds, September 22nd
The beds are looking pretty empty and bare as I get them ready for an application of compost yet this fall. I still have a bed of carrots to harvest, some Swiss chard looking as large and healthy as it has all season, cherry tomatoes that are (for some reason) continuing to ripen (and split) in this cool weather, a bed of slicing cucs and one of lemon cucs that are still producing, the herb bed and my experimental "cage" of potatoes under mulch. I guess I'm not as "done" with the raised beds as I thought!
Field Garden, June 1st
Field Garden, July 1st
Field Garden, August 1st
Field Garden, September 22nd
The strawberry plants that we mowed down have grown back into lush little bushes that make the field garden look more like June than September. We'll cover them with a heavy layer of mulch for the winter after we've had a couple of hard freezes.
Half the row of sunflowers at the far end of the field garden were toppled by strong winds. No great loss as even those still standing won't have developed seeds worth harvesting by the time frost calls a halt to their season.
My Red Kuri squash. Sigh. The vines are pretty much kaputz and the thirty or so fruits probably aren't going to ripen any more now. The last time I checked, they still weren't fit for human consumption.
We haven't dug our four rows of hilled-up potatoes yet but that's on the schedule to be done soon. We're expecting a good crop from them.
Pumpkin Patch, June 1st
Pumpkin Patch, July 1st
Pumpkin Patch, August 1st
Pumpkin Patch, September 22nd
I really kick myself for not having gotten a picture of the buckwheat we planted as our second cover crop in the pumpkin patch. It was impressive . . . over three feet tall and covered with a gazillion white blossoms that the honey bees loved. Alas and alack, before I got a picture, hubby mowed it down and then a few days later tilled it into the soil. The soil in the pumpkin patch has shown such improvement since we've made a concentrated effort to help it by growing two green manure crops on it this summer and then tilling them in. Now it's planted out to winter wheat and we'll see how that crop does.
End of another gardening season and I'm glad I made the effort to document it with these pictures for comparison. It's been fun and informative to look back on the progression of the garden from early summer til now when, for us up here in the Northwoods, it's nearly time to put away the trowel and spading fork and dust off the snow shovel and plow.
Autumn, more than any other time of year, makes me think of and crave good food. Maybe it's because I've had next-to-no time to spend in the kitchen all summer (except for canning and preserving, of course) and my need for some home-cooked meals has surfaced with a vengeance. (Could this contribute to the fact that, just like a hibernating bear, I could easily put on a layer of insulating fat for the winter?)
Cool weather allows me the luxury of concocting all-in-one oven meals which fill the house with tantalizing aromas creating a warm, welcoming, cozy (not to mention mouth-watering) atmosphere when we come in from working on outside fall chores.
Maybe that's why I made a pot roast and vegetable casserole last Sunday. We aren't big meat eaters; I tend to use meat more as a flavoring rather than plopping a ham, or roast, or whole chicken on the table for the two of us. But sometime last Saturday, the vision of a well-browned and seasoned pot roast came into my head so Sunday morning found me prepping one for the oven. When hubby and I sat down to our meal late that day, I'm sure it would have been downright embarrassing to have had recorded our near ecstatic moans, groans and sighs of pleasure when feasting on that luscious piece of grass-fed beef! Although we didn't make much of a dent in the medium-sized roast, the leftovers will go a long way in soups, BBQ on buns, pot pies, etc.
I could go on and on regarding fall foods. The list that appeals to me this time of year is endless.
That first batch of homemade caramel corn. Cannot stop eating it. Somebody please put it under lock and key. And hide the key. Please.
Time to make the first loaves of my mom's fruitcake. Lace it with brandy and tuck it away in a cool, dry cupboard to age.
Apples! Oh my. Can we have too many apples? Apple pie, apple crisp, applesauce, apple cake, baked apples, taffy apples, apple slices on a hike.
And what says harvest time more than pumpkin? Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin-blueberry bread, pumpkin-orange cookies, and pumpkin pie!
Even some vegetables taste better this time of year. Hot buttered beets, baked squash slathered with butter, salt and pepper, Brussels sprouts, sauerkraut, carrots, potatoes and something I don't make often enough . . . corn fritters.
Although we eat a lot of soups year 'round, can you beat potato soup made with potatoes just dug, scrubbed and cooked with their skins on? Vegetable-beef soup (with some of the meat from that leftover pot roast), chili, bean or pea soup made with a ham bone and chunks of leftover ham.
When one of those oven meals is cooking, I love to mix up a pan of gingerbread to bake in the oven at the same time. For dessert top it with a mound of freshly whipped cream . . . sooo yummy.
I could go on with my list (I really could) but there are things I need to get done today rather than gaining virtual poundage by blathering on about my special food cravings that seem to arrive each year with the falling leaves and drop in temperature.
As far as I'm concerned, fall is a good time to be in the kitchen cooking with nature's harvest . . . and eating it!
This past week I got an e-mail from one of my most favorite people in the world. She reads my blog but never comments in the comment section. I do so wish she would though because she writes with a quirky sense of humor that would brighten your day as it always does mine.
Last week she asked me to shape up and start posting more recipes. In part she wrote: "So, I say the more recipes, the better. Now put down that hoe or chainsaw or shovel or beer and get to it. I'm hungry."
Okay, K of the Ps, this one is for you.
This past Friday morning when our canoeing plans were kaboshed by the windy drizzle, I decided to whip up a batch of Jam Dandy Muffins. This recipe is adapted from a 1968 copy of Pillsbury's Bake Off Breads Cook Book and I've probably made it a million times. Okay, so maybe I haven't made it a million times, but I'll bet my daughter has. It's a favorite of hers and I think she's given a plate of these muffins to nearly everyone in the county. At least twice.
JAM DANDY MUFFINS
1-2/3 cups white flour (I frequently use spelt or whole wheat)
1/2 cup honey (sugar is okay, but they will be more moist with honey)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 (scant) teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
Jam of your choice
Combine the flour, sugar (if using instead of honey), baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Cut in butter until particles are fine. Add milk, honey (if using instead of sugar), and egg. Mix just until thoroughly blended. (Don't over-mix.)
Spoon into 12 greased muffin cups. Place about 1 teaspoon jam on top of each muffin, pressing into the batter slightly. Sprinkle tops of muffins with sugar.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake as I did on Friday . . . fortunately, they were still edible.
For this batch I used (from bottom row to top) raspberry, apricot and blueberry jam.
With an assortment of jams, everyone gets to pick their favorite.
Yummy good breakfast we had!
So, dear readers, if you get tired of seeing too many recipes here in the coming months, just let me know and I'll give you K's address so you can send her hate mail. She'll love it.
Two of my readers asked me to explain how I got my onions from garden to ready-for-storage. So, KM and Susan, here's how I do it.
I wait to harvest the onions until the tops have all fallen over and turned brown. Then I pick a sunny, breezy day and pull all of the onions brushing off as much dirt as I can with my hands. I lay them out on the soil in a single layer and let them stay there for a little snooze for the rest of the day. In the late afternoon before any dew falls on them, I gather them up to bring inside.
The books say you should lay the onions out in a single layer in a room that is well ventilated, has an even temperature (not too hot, not too cold), and out of the sunlight. (Uh-huh, sure. I'll put them in my specially built Onion Drying Room.) They should stay there two to three weeks.
Since I don't have an Onion Drying Room (imagine that), I put all of the onions in several plastic milk crates.
We have a someday-greenhouse structure on the side of the house which is well ventilated. I put the crates full of onions on the floor in there and then build a crude lean-to around the crates with scrap sheets of plywood leaving cracks on the sides and an open top for the breeze to blow through. The plywood protects the onions from the direct sunlight. I know the temperature there doesn't stay constant, but it's the best I can do.
This year I left them there for close to three weeks. Yesterday I hauled them all out onto the deck where I cut off the ugly remaining dead tops (leaving about 1/2"-1" of "neck" on the onion). Then with my hands I tore off any scraggly roots on the bottom end and rubbed off the outer dirty skins which were just about falling off anyway.
The onions should then still have a golden brown tight skin covering which keeps the onions snug as a bug in a rug until you use them. I usually end up with several onions that I accidentally rub too much skin off of revealing the white, raw onion. These I just keep on my kitchen counter to use first. Or you could dehydrate them or chop up and freeze them.
All the others that are now in good shape for storage go into mesh bags I've saved (and use over and over) for just that purpose. Then back into the milk crates they go and get stored in a corner of our attached garage that stays cool and dry but doesn't freeze. It probably stays around 45-50 degrees most of the time. Whenever I'm out of onions in the kitchen, I go to the garage and grab one of the bags from storage.
My method is not very scientific but it works for me. Maybe this will give some of you an idea of how you might prep and save your onions in storage.
A beautiful fall day it is here today so I took advantage of it and gathered all our drying onions, carried them out to the front deck in the sunshine for final sorting in preparation for storage.
All of the onions were grown in two 4' x 8' raised beds and I haven't bought a single onion since early spring when I started pulling our young onions as scallions. So even though I now know how many pounds I have to store for winter use, I'd be curious to know how many pounds I've already used over the summer months. No way to tell; that would have been a tad labor intensive to keep track of, but I can say that we use A LOT of onions regularly. (I even saute a few onions to add to our scrambled eggs in the morning . . . a little dismaying, perhaps, to guests who haven't been forewarned, but hey, doesn't everybody know how good onions are for you?)
At least one-third (maybe a smidge more) of one bed was planted out to red onions.
Although the reds are on the smallish side, I was tickled to get even this harvest of 8 pounds 4 ounces because I've never had much luck getting them to grow for me before. And I do love red onions. They add so much color to foods and have their own unique flavor. I'm guesstimating I would have had about 4-5 pounds more to harvest and store if I hadn't stolen so many before they reached maturity. Great job, red onions, you done good!
So one entire raised bed and perhaps two-thirds of another were given over to the old mainstays, the yellow onions. As with the red ones, I hit the yellow ones pretty hard during the summer for a lot of cooking. Total weight for them today? 46 pounds 6 ounces. Not too shabby, huh?
All bagged and ready for storage. If these keep as well as the ones did from last year, you'll not hear any complaints from this here gardener. Assuming they do, we should have enough onions to take us all the way through the coming winter and early spring.
Whew! One more garden-type job I can cross of the list.