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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Our Newest addition



Meet our newest edition to the family. She was made by my son and his wife and has captured the heart of everyone in the family. 

check it out here
here

Butternut Squash Chili



2 pounds butternut squash peeled and diced into 1/2-inch chunks
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
15 ounce can black beans drained
15 ounce can pinto beans drained
1.5 cups vegetable broth plus 2 tablespoons for sautéing
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 yellow bell pepper diced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo chopped
5 garlic cloves minced
1.5 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
cilantro for garnish





Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth in a 5-quart dutch oven over medium heat.
Add garlic, chipotles, and butternut squash to the pot, cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more vegetable broth if the pot gets dry.
Add the bell pepper, cooking for about 5 minutes.
Add black beans, pinto beans, diced tomatoes (including the liquid in the can), 1.5 cups vegetable broth, quinoa, and all of the spices (paprika, cinnamon, salt, pepper). Mix well. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 10 minutes. Check that the butternut squash is cooked; if not, simmer for longer.
Serve in a bowl and garnish with cilantro. Add toppings as desired — avocado chunks, tortilla chips, and cheese are all good ideas.

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Fall Chore TIme === clean the gutters

It will soon be that time of year where the leaves on the trees begin to change colors. After that it won't be long before they will begin to fall. As the leaves fall it will be time to clean them up. This act includes cleaning the gutters and making sure they are free of leaves and debris. Cleaning gutters in the fall helps to make sure that damage to the house is decreased. Leaves that clog the gutters can lead to roof or foundation damage. When gutters are clogged they can redirect the rain to areas such as the basement or siding. Thus cleaning the gutters during fall clean-up time is a must




It seems one of the best times to clean the gutters is following a bit of rain. The reason is because after the leaves and debris get wet they stick together more. So its up to the one cleaning the gutters to grab a ladder and reach in to clean the gutters. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind


  •  It is important to use a safe and sturdy ladder. Having someone to hold the ladder can help as well. All to many accidents happen because of unsteady ladders or reaching to far. 
  •  wear a pair of heavy work gloves to protect your hands. Inside the gutter there may be sharp edges or even small animals. 


Following a good cleaning you will want to inspect your gutters are clean and properly working. One way to do this is by running a bit of water thru them. If any repair is needed now is the time to do that. 

I know that cleaning the gutters is a chore but it is one that is needed and helpful in the long run. 

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Thursday, September 26, 2019




September is As Sweet As Honey


Honey has been around over 150 million years. Used both as a sweetener and for healing and medicinal treatments honey has even been used as a source to pay others in ancient Egypt. Ancient Romans refer to honey as a food for the Gods and the Old Testament bible refers to the "Land of Milk and Honey" It seems that nearly every part of the world has a great reverence for honey. 



In the beginning the manner of gathering honey was difficult. It had to be stolen from the trees where the bees hid it. Eventually bee hives were created and used greatly. Today most honey comes from bee farms that have many hives.  After gathering the honey comes the job of cooking and storing the sweet source

Honey is not only sweet but also helps dry up moisture making it perfect for cakes, cookies and candies. Using honey rather than sugar is a common practice. There is a draw back of this though , using honey in some candies and frostings will leave the creations too moist, soft and gooey. A few tricks to remember when cooking with honey include:



  • reducing the use of sugar and replacing it with honey for 1/2 the amount called for requires the baker to reduce the liquid by 1/4th. If all sugar is replaced with honey then the liquid called for in the recipe should be cut in 1/2. 
  •  when making honey cakes and quick breads the honey should be combined with the liquid and baked at lowest temp. 
  • Honey can also be used to replace molasses. Honey replaces molasses in equal amounts. When replacing molasses in a recipe baking soda will not be needed. However, baking powder should be increased by 1 tsp for every 1/4 tsp of baking soda omitted.

Check out this delicious recipe for milk and honey bread. 

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Easy Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken



    6 chicken breasts
    2 cups salsa
    1 can yellow corn
    1 can black beans


Add all ingredients to crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. Serve with tortillas or rice.

This recipe is a sparks

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Sea Otters

The animal in the spotlight in the month of September is the otter. The otter is a mammal that enjoys eating both meat and vegetables. Otters are members of the same category as weasels. As a member of the Mustelidae family of animals they are closely related to other familiar animals like skunks, weasels, wolverines and badgers. Perhaps you would be surprised that the Sea Otter is the largest member of the weasel family but the smallest animal in the North American marine animal category. 




Most sea otters call Alaska home. In fact only about 10% of sea otters live anywhere else besides the coastline of Alaska. While many otters call this area of land home there are others that live down along the coastline of California. The United States protects the sea otter under the 1970 Endangered Species Act. Before the protection that is now extended to the animal hunters had nearly extinguished the Sea Otter as its fur was highly tradeable. However, even in the early days the issue was noted by those that cared and the 1911 Fur Seal Treaty was created.

The Sea Otter can live comfortable in the cold water due to its thick fur. The otter was blessed with the thickest fur of all animals with over 600,000 hair follicles per square inch. While its fur is thick the otter unlike other marine mammals has no layer of blubber. Thus you will often find otters grooming and conditioning their fur to keep it conditions for well insulation.



Warm water sea otters differ from those that live in the cold water in their breeding season. Warm water sea otters breed and pup year round but those that live in the cold water often will keep the breeding season for spring. Whether in the cold or warm water the pup will stay with its mother for 6 months while it learns skills to survive. Life survival skills of the otter include holding its breath and staying submerged for several minutes at a time. While under water they are able to sense prey and search for food.

Sea Otters are important to the eco= system that is important to all of us. 

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Homemade Apple Sauce === recipe



  • 2.5 quarts of chopped apples. I leave the skins on - that's where all the nutrients are, and I hate peeling. Bonus: if the skins are red, they will turn your applesauce a lovely pink colour!
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (or to taste). Dark brown is yummiest, but you can use golden or regular granulated white, or honey, or agave... or none, if you don't like it sweet.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla. :) 
Chop the apples finely - about 1/2", especially if you're leaving the skins on. I suppose you could do this in a food processor, or with a grater. I did it the old-fashioned way with a knife.
Add the apples to a 5qt (medium size) pot and add water to about halfway up the apples. Stir in the cinnamon. Pop that on the stove, cover, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a while until the apples get mushy. Check every 10 minutes or so, give it a stir, and add a little more water if you feel like it. These ones took about 30 minutes.
Smash them with a potato masher, if you like lumpy applesauce. I usually do, but these apples were a little grainy - in that case, use a stick hand blender to puree. Add water if the consistency is too thick.
Add in the vanilla, brown sugar and , stir.

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Green Tomato Hot Dog Relish ---- Use Up Those End of the Crop

Green Tomato Hot Dog Relish




6 cups finely chopped green tomatoes
2 large onions, minced
2 green peppers, seeded, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded chopped
1/4 cup pickling salt
2 cups vinegar
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon whole cloves
4 inches cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon celery seed

In a large bowl combine green tomatoes, onions and pickling salt.
Cover and let stand overnight.
Steriloize 6 1/2 pint jars.
Rinse tomatoes & onions well, drain and rinse out excess moisture.
In a large saucepan combine vinegar, garlic, brown sugar, mustard, sal t& ginger.
Tie cloves, cinnamon stick & celery seed in a square of cheese cloth, add to the pickling liquid.
Bring to a boil, add tomatoes, onions,& peppers simmer for 1 hour stirring frequently.
Ladle relish into hot sterilized jars to within 1/2" of top, release air bubbles by running a spatula around the inside of the jar, cover with heated snap lid, screw on band.
Bring water in a large pot (use the pot & water that you used to sterilize the jars) to a boil, place jars in and water process for 10 minutes.

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Corn Pudding

Simple Corn Pudding

6 Tbs unsalted butter
5 or 6 ears of corn, husked (depending on size)
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c heavy cream or milk
1/4 c flour
1 tsp salt
5 large eggs

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the butter in a baking dish (an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish or iron skillet works well) and slide into the oven so the butter melts while the oven is preheating.
Using a box grater, coarsely grate the kernels off four ears of corn. Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the remaining ears. Combine the corn kernels, sugar, cream or milk, flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Lightly beat the five eggs and add to the mixture.
When the oven has preheated and the butter in the baking dish has melted, carefully tilt the melted butter from the baking dish into the corn mixture and combine with a few swift strokes. Then tilt the buttered corn mixture back into the baking dish.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until a golden crust has formed and the interior has set.

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Stash Away THis Recipe for the Cold Winter

  • 1tbsp oil
  • 1kg pork shoulder, cut into cubes
  • 1kg beef shin, cut into cubes
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2tbsp seasoned flour
  • 500g Chantenay carrots, trimmed
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • ¾tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 500ml red wine
  • 1 Knorr vegetable stock pot
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 4tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 2 x 400g packs of ready made mashed potato
  • 50g mature cheddar, finely grated
  • 2tbsp dried breadcrumbs 
  • Heat the oil in a large heavy-based casserole over a medium heat. Brown the meat in batches and set aside. Cook the onion and celery in the same pan for 5 minutes or until starting to brown. Stir in the flour. Add the carrots and garlic, coriander seeds and paprika and cook for another 2 minutes. Now add the red wine and allow to bubble for 1 minute before returning the meat to the pan along with the stock pot, chopped tomatoes and Worcester sauce. Bring to the boil then reduce to a low simmer. Cook for 3 hours 30 minutes or until very tender. Season well. You can freeze at this stage or store for up to 2-3 days in the fridge.
  • Heat the oven to 180C, gas 4. Fill an ovenproof dish with around three-quarters of the mixture (freeze the leftovers) and top with the mash, covering evenly. Sprinkle over the cheese and breadcrumbs and cook for 30-40 minutes or until bubbling and browned
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