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Pumpkin, Barley, and Sausage Soup

I was supposed to be picking up a few necessary groceries and heading back to my in-laws' house to pack for our trip home, but the Better Homes & Gardens "special interest" magazine caught my eye from an end-cap display and there I was, lost in 100 pumpkin recipes in the middle of September in a rural grocery store a thousand miles from my kitchen. You know how it is.

The second printing of 100 Best Pumpkin Recipes made the long car trip home with us and then sat quietly on my nightstand for a few months while we threw ourselves headlong into school. Flipping through it last night, past crumb cakes and pies, floats, breads, and cookies, I found a few intriguing soup recipes within those impulsively purchased pages. Since a quick Google search informed me that chorizo, which I always have on hand for rice and beans, was a fine substitute for the recommended andouille sausage, we found ourselves slurping pumpkin off our spoons less than an hour later. It could hardly b…
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6 New Favorite Recipes from 2016

We're just a few hours away from rolling into 2017, which means I've previously written a total of four blog entries this year. I had high hopes of doing some more writing this past summer, but as it was an unrelentingly hot one, and I was very very pregnant, most of my mental and emotional energy was spent trying to think of reasons to stand in front of an open freezer instead. It's possible a lot of those reasons had to do with ice cream, but ice cream doesn't make for very interesting blog entries either. So here we are: I've got a 4 1/2 month old sweet and exceedingly cute baby boy, I'm cold, and I'm ready to write a little.

These are the recipes that have particularly delighted us this year.


The Best General Tso's Chicken (pictured above)
This has the best coating of any takeout-style recipe I've tried. I don't keep Vodka around so I use a little more rice wine instead; I use as little oil as possible for the deep fry step and cook the chick…

"Just Right" Brownies From Scratch

I figured brownies would be an acceptable way to break the radio silence here. Between school and incubating the 4th little egg to join our nest (expected to hatch in August :) ), I've been too tired to be terribly creative in the kitchen, and have been depending mostly on our tried and true favorites for dinners. But my husband and older kids are planting the raised beds as I write, the end of our homeschool year is in sight, and I hope to blog a few garden updates, homey things, and recipes before getting swept up in another newborn whirlwind. 

Yesterday was my current youngest's 3rd birthday, and she requested brownie sundaes for dessert.  I've tried a number of different homemade brownie recipes in the past, including the much talked about one from Baked, but in truth have usually preferred brownies from a box.  Whaaa...?  I think the homemade versions, while very good, always feel just a little too complicated to me with their additions of coffee or espresso, mu…

Sunday Morning

Oh when the saints go marching in
On any given Sunday morn
Some are cheery and exalting
Some are battle bruised and worn

There is no common thread between them
Save the one that grace has wound
All orphans with a family
Once all lost, all now found

When He called they answered
Brought their burdens to the cross
Came with joy and sweet relief
And gladly counted cost

Christ has not built his Church
based on merit, wealth, or looks
tax collectors, whores, and sinners
transformed as people of the Book

The world has nothing for them
But Good News is preached within
So how I long to be in that number
When the saints go marching in




White Pizza and Tomato Soup: Comfort Food for 2016

The first dinner I cooked in the new year was also a landmark one, for this, I decided, is how we're doing classic comfort food in 2016.  This soup works brilliantly with garden fresh tomatoes and basil OR with canned pantry staples. The meal meshes together two kid-friendly favorites and utilizes a time-saving dough if you prefer.  People who are mildly offended by pizza without tomato sauce (*cough* husband *cough*) can get their dose of red with a dunk before each bite, but a splash of sherry in the soup and the monochrome pie bring a little elegance to the whole thing. If it's colder than a polar bear's Frigidaire (see 1:12, oh how we love Slugs & Bugs!) where you are too, don't you think this would be a nice way to warm up tonight?

For years we've made and enjoyed the Cream of Tomato Soup recipe from the More With Less cookbook (How have I not blogged this?!  Thankfully, someone else has. ) but have come to prefer the flavor of this one.

Tomato Soup  (ins…

Crafty Christmas

Happy New Year! Popping in briefly to share a bit of my holiday crafting. :) Our older kids got new thinline Bibles this year, and as they don't fit well in Bible covers, I made them some totes to protect them and carry them to church.  I made plenty of mistakes during the process but think I have a system down now.  They are fairly quick to sew, taking me under 2 hours from first cut to final stitch.  Someone more experienced could probably whip them out faster.  I most closely followed this tutorial, though I added a lined, divided pocket with a place for a pen or pencil, and used soft jute trim from Hobby Lobby for the straps.






Remember those Knifty Knitter round looms that were so popular a few years ago?  We picked a set up at a thrift store, and I tried one out during this past week's vacation. Having never knitted or crocheted anything before, I was pleased that one afternoon's work yielded a hat for my son--fun!  My oldest daughter is excited to try making one for he…

The Fruits of Our Labors: Apples & Bucklebu

Goodbye summer, hello fall.  I didn't do a very good job documenting this year's garden, but the apples have really come into their own.  Hubby and kiddos picked all these from one of our two trees!




Over the weekend I finished up my latest sewing project, a Ruckbu/Bucklebu.  It's like a soft structured carrier, but without a waist strap.  I used the Sew Toot Barefoot Bucklebu pattern.  The one I made (toddler size) is too big for my little one right now--her arms should be above the top, so we'll be stashing it away for a while.  It was a fun project and great practice for making a full buckle, which is my next goal.  I found the rainbow tablecloth a number of months ago at a thrift store, so it was a cheap project too (in all but time, these always take me longer than I expect!).