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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Six Ingredient Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

It felt like a tomato soup day today since fall is in the air and I was in a hurry and wanted a quick supper..I have made this soup lots of times and vary it all the time..sometimes I add a little carmelized onion, sometimes some carrots for more heartiness, but it's always good.  Tonight my guys had hotdogs with it, but I have made grilled cheeses or just crackers.  I, myself, just like a good chunk of bread with butter to dip in it!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
-I got the recipe from Taste of Home a while back, but changed it a little to suit my tastes.

2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes (or fresh, peeled, cored and finely chopped tomatoes to equal about 2 quarts). 

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth.  (I used "Better than Broth chicken base-about 2 heaping Tbsps and add 2 cups of water-can add more base later if you think it needs more flavor).

18 fresh basil leaves, rinsed and finely chopped (I also have mixed fresh with a little dried).

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup butter.

In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes and broth to a boil, reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add basil and sugar.  Reduce heat to low; stir in sugar and butter, salt and pepper to taste.  serve when butter is melted. 

*If you like really creamy soup you can blend before adding the cream and butter. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Turkey,Cranberry (or cherry) Pasta Salad

It's definitely Fall here in Minnesota, but I am still craving pasta salads and am trying to squeeze in all the summer dishes I can before the snow flies and I start craving hearty, hot soups again.   I ran across this recipe in my stash and decided to give it a try today since I was running to the grocery store anyway and could get the ingredients.  I think it turned out pretty tasty, so am posting it for others who love their  pasta like me.  Hope you like it too.


1 (12 ounce package bow tie pasta (Farfalle)
1 (6 ounce) pkg dried cranberries or cherries
3 cups leftover turkey, torn up or cubed small (I bought some turkey tenderloins and cooked them)
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup red onion diced small (I used 4 green onions chopped finely)-I think I would leave this out next time-I like onion, but wasn't that crazy about it in this for some reason.
3/4 cup prepared creamy poppyseed dressing (I wanted less fat/calories so used a fat free brand)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

I cheated with the cranberries and walnuts and just used some of the blends they have for salads with the cherries and walnuts already in it.

Prepare pasta according to package directions; rinse with cold water and drain.

In a large bowl combine cooled pasta, cherries, turkey, celery and onion.  Toss with dressing until coated. 

Refrigerate covered several hours or overnight.  Toss with walnuts before serving.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Granddaughter, Samantha Rae, wants to make a quilt for her room

My granddaughter, Sam came into some money via her paternal grandpa (he bought Kyle, my grandson, a gun so gave Sam cash to compensate the deal) and she decided to redo her room into a more "grownup (she's 12) aged room to take her through her teen years.  Her room had been done in pastels with flowers etc with the white furniture look.  She also has decided she does not like flowers anymore in her d├ęcor.  Her and her mom, my daughter, Shellie, scoured through the internet and found a zig-zag/chevron type pattern that suited her fine.  She also decided she wants to make her quilt for the room with my help.  She did make her first quilt this late summer for a 4H project, a patchwork doll quilt that she tied and she did a really precise job on it, so I said ok..let go for it!  Yesterday we went shopping for the fabric, and after at least an hour or more and a few tears here and there..tears/smiles/tears/smiles..(like I said she's 12) we finally settled on the following fabric and we were both very happy..(step 1 and 2 of the process done!  More will follow as her room takes shape (and probably more tears/smiles/tears/smiles...

Sam has been putting in some more time into her quilt..she spent the weekend and got all her rows made and laid out to sew together now..still lots of work ahead, but at least now she can see how the finished quilt will look! 

and finally the rows and border is on..ready to go to the quilter to sandwich the top, batting and backing together! 

The quilt is back from the machine quilters home..I love the stitch design she used..circles like the ones in the brown fabric.  so cute on it!
 Today, 2/1/15, Sam can finally get her binding and label on her quilt.  Below are pictures of the steps she took (for her 4H booklet) to make and put on the binding.  She will have lots of hours coming up to hand sew it down on the backside of the quilt, but she did get the label sewn down on the back so that one step further she is done with! 

First we had to cut the binding fabric in 2-1/2 inch strips (we cut 8 of them)
Then they had to be sewn together in one continuous strip by putting the right sides together and diagonally sewing them..

Then had to trim off the  1/4 inch

Then opened it up so it was a straight piece of fabric again and on to next strip to add on the same way until all were added..

Then Sam had to iron the seams flat and fold it all in half for a doubled binding

Then she had to fold one end in and close it again

and lastly had to find the middle of the quilt bottom, lay the raw edge of the binding strip even with the edge and start sewing it down about 3-4 inches past that point..the corners were a little more complicated, but no picture taken of those..

 Sam, sewing down the binding and her room is finally finished with her new quilt on her bed! 3/16/15

Ta DA!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cabbage Hotdish

This is another continuation of the chilly baking son, Joe, and I both love this hotdish and crave it, especially when the weather changes like it has lately.  My husband, Dave, not so much, so he will probably be eating a hamburger instead..but that's okay with us!  More to pile on our plates or take to lunch at work!  It actually improves the next day..the flavors mix together more..

If you like cabbage rolls, you will love this's the easy cooks version and the people I have given it to that used to make cabbage rolls now make it this way and think it's actually better!  Give it a try!


1 box Uncle Ben's white and wild rice mix-can definitely use the quick cook one and save yourself some time..cook according to box directions and set aside. 

1 lb of hamburger, browned with onion to your taste, probably equal to 1 small onion and salt and pepper.

2 carrots, cleaned and sliced

1 small head of green cabbage, core removed and outer leaves tossed, cut into bite size chunks.

Toss all into a good sized casserole dish and top with 2 cans of Campbell's tomato soup mixed with one can of water..Toss it all together, cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until slightly brown on the edges of the cabbage and it's all softened.  stir up a little before

Honey Wheat Bread in the bread machine

It's definitely Fall.  It's been really cool the last few days and even the thoughts of a nice fire in the woodstove have crossed my mind.  Instead I have been turning on the oven more and more and piling on more quilts on my bed in an attempt to convince myself that winter isn't coming at all this year.  We've had 2 in a row that have been awful..long, cold and extremely snowy and I am afraid it's going to be another one this year.  If I didn't have to drive 42 miles to work through the Twin Cities I might not mind quite as much but...

Anyway, enough to warm up the house a little I decided to  make my bread machine (partially anyway, you can do it completely in there, but I have a super old machine and only use it to make the dough and then pop it in a bread pan to rise again and then bake-works out much better than the cylinder thick crusted stuff it would make).  It's a really non-dry, tasty wheat bread that makes awesome sandwiches and my whole family likes it a lot. 

Put in your machine in the order listed:
1/2 cup milk-I use whole milk in this for the fat content)
1/2 cup water
warm these in a bowl in the microwave until just warm-not hot

1 egg that you've swished a little with a fork to break it up

3 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine that is room temperature

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

2 cups white flour

1 cup wheat flour

2-1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

run your machine on either the dough setting or completely if you are not going to put it in a bread pan..if you use the pan, form into a loaf, put in a pan sprayed with Pam, spray the top of the loaf with a little Pam and cover with handi-wrap.  set it in a warm area, away from drafts, (if it's cool in the house I turn on the oven to 350 to warm up to bake it and set the bread on top of the stove..rises pretty quickly to about 1 inch above the top of the pan..remove wrap and bake for 40 minutes..then remove from pan, baste the top with some butter and let cool on the wrap covered with a dishtowel until ready to eat.  Makes a big loaf.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bread and Butter Pickles (via Kay Kooiman)

Two of my grandkids LOVE my bread and butter pickles (along with me and my 3 kids) and have been going home with the few jars that I made this winter, so decided that I'd better replenish the supply a little today while I could still get some pickling cucumbers..Anyway, my daughter, Kim, and I jumped in the car this morning at 7:00 and took the drive down to the Minneapolis Farmers Market, (love that place) and bought pickles and onions and a few items (like eggrolls) and misc veggies and headed home.  She making refrigerator pickles, a big tubful, and me the bread and butters.  After 2 hours of scrubbing small pickles with lots of little breaks in between, I finally finished the whole process 13 hours after we had jumped in the car.  I know this winter I will be glad I did it, but tonight..not so much!  I am getting old.


4 Quarts scrubbed (in cold water in small batches) and thinly sliced fairly small cucumbers..don't buy ones with big seeds in them..they get mushy and gross.
1-1/2 cups sliced yellow onions (rings)
2 large cleaned garlic cloves
1/3 cup canning salt
2 trays of ice cubes

4-1/2 cups white sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1-1/2 teaspoons celery seed
2 Tablespoons mustard seed
3 cups vinegar

Wash and scrub pickles with a little hand scrubber..lay on a clean towel to drain.

in a large bowl, slice cucumbers fairly thinly until you have 4 quarts of them.  add the sliced onion and garlic cloves.  add the salt and toss with your hands.  cover with the ice cubes and handi-wrap..set aside (no need to refrigerate) for 3 hours..I made three batches, thus the 3 bowls of them..
Meanwhile: wash 4 quart jars or 8 pint jars in the dishwasher if you have one..otherwise wash well and dip in boiling water to sterilize them..important.  I also put my metal rings in the dishwasher and the new seal lids in a small kettle and heat up to softened the rubber and to sterilize them.

When it gets close to the 3 hours, add the remaining brine ingredients to a large kettle and bring to a boil stirring to incorporate the sugar.  Drain the pickles well in a colander and remove the garlic pieces.  Once drained, add the cucumbers to the boiling brine, stir and bring them up to a low boil once again.  at this point turn them to low and start filling your clean jars, pushing the pickles down to the bottom of the jar to remove any air pockets..leave about 1 inch of head room at the top of the jar, wipe the top of the jar well with a clean cloth, apply your rubber seal and metal ring tightly, wipe off outside of jar well and set jar on a clean towel-DON'T mess with it once you have set it should pop within a few hours if not sooner, but leave them overnight and check for a seal should be dented in.  If it's not refrigerate and eat them, or reheat the contents and start the process all over again.  Make sure none of your jars have cracks etc in the top so it's a smooth area to seal.  Let me know if you have any questions!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pumpkin Bars!

My "adopted" daughter, Annette (Net) emailed me that she wanted this pumpkin bar recipe today, so I am killing two birds with one stone and adding it to my blog for me and whomever wants it to bake in the coming fall holiday months and pot lucks.  There is something about pumpkin bars that signals the turning of the leaves and brisk cool weather and it's a must dessert item this time of year. you go Annette...enjoy!


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup vegetable oil
1 -16 ounce can (2 cups) pumpkin
4 eggs

optional (I don't use in the batter, sometimes sprinkle crushed nuts on the topping (pecans):
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup raisins

FROSTING: This makes a light layer of frosting, so if you like it thick, double it.
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 ounces of softened cream cheese
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  spray a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan (bar pan).

Combine in a large bowl all the bar ingredients, beat at low speed until moistened, then beat for 2 minutes on medium speed until combined well.  pour into prepared pan, spreading so it's even.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (I do the finger touch method..if it springs back it's done) completely.

In a small bowl combine all the frosting ingredients, beat until smooth.  spread over cooled bars.  Store in fridge.  48 bars. 150 calories each.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Making peach pies (and an apple that happened to pop in too!)

Well, being that we were in Colorado, and it's peach season, AND I love Colorado peaches I bought some..

Therefore, once I got home I,  of course, had to make peach pies!  (and one apple, just because) I am posting my peach pie recipe!  First, I make the fruit filling which consists of:

4-1/2 cups fairly thin sliced peaches-you can use ones that are ripe or not quite there, about 8-9 of them..
5 Tablespoons of flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

(same recipe for the apple pie filling, but use 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar)
gently toss together until fruit is evenly coated.  set aside..
Next: Make the pie crust: don't be's easy if you have a good recipe.
In a large bowl (I use a large Tupperware bowl) add
3 cups flour
1-1/4 cups Crisco (or lard)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
Mix together with a pastry blender until like the texture of cornmeal-the is has to be thoroughly incorporated like this..
Next: combine in a small bowl:
1 egg, whisked with a fork,
1 teaspoon white vinegar
5-1/2 Tablespoons water

combine together and pour over the flour mixture you made..I use my pastry blender and move the flour into the wet mixture and then finish off with the "tools God gave me", my hands and finish mixing it together gently and form it into a smooth ball of dough.  cut this into 4 quarters for 4 crusts.  (I doubled my recipe because I was making 3 pies, so you would only have one ball)

The flatten one quarter into a saucer shape and on a well floured board roll it out, making sure the top surface is floured and the rolling pin to avoid sticking also..continue turning it if needed and rolling until it's a little larger than your pie pan, fold in half and slide you pie pan under it a little and flip it over into the pan..add your filling and dot with about 5 little blobs of butter, make a top crust and put it on top, trim the edges and crimp the top and bottom together for a tight seal.  make slits in the top to vent the pie.  at this point you can bake it at 400 degrees for 50 minutes, or you can do like I do and brush the top with a little melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar for a little added surprise to the crust.  After baking cool on a rack several hours until completely cool.  We are having some tonight with ice cream..yum and yum.  you can also double the crust and freeze circles of the pie crust to use later..just throw them in the fridge and roll out the pie crusts when you need them..that's what I did with my two extra ones today.  Then I can  make more pies or pot pies etc with the extras.





Sunday, September 7, 2014

I haven't had much time to post these last few weeks between trips with the grandkids and now a trip with the 5th wheeler to Colorado with my husband, Dave, and "his" dog, Annie.  We went through the Blackhills, then Wyoming and to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado..specifically Colorado Springs, Cripple Creek and Buena Vista, then back up to Custer, Black Hills, South Dakota on our way home..11 days worth of traveling and overwhelming scenery.  I was thinking in the truck how much variety we have for landscaping and culture just in this country of ours..really not much reason to travel outside the United States to get a taste of almost every country in the world, both visually and ethnicity.  The only thing missing would be the wild animals there!  We saw tons of antelopes and deer, buffalo and birds we don't have in Minnesota.  The weather was absolutely perfect, warm days and cool nights, blue sunny skies much of the time.  Except for missing my kids and grandkids, and a lack of steady income, I could live like this until I couldn't any longer. Dave likes to "gold hunt" and so he did some of he is gathering some "stuff" to pan out this winter when the piles of snow provide not much else to do..