Much later: Canned pumpkin bread loosens easily and slices breezily. Mmm!

Don’t can in the fall?

Some of the best canning I know of happens in the fall.

I love canning quick breads to use for fancy fun, such as those delicate get-togethers where our mothers used to wear white gloves and hats, where the napkins are real and the butter is whipped and the goodies are all made from scratch.

And the tea is hot, not iced, and there is no coffee.

I love to make pumpkin bread and can it for later use. It keeps for months on the shelf, in a jar, in a pantry, without preservatives. And it tastes great, even six months later.

What I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about this bread is:

  1. The bread is round, and therefore somehow nicer.
  2. The bread is over-the-top moist.
  3. The bread is super easy to slice thin and straight if you pull it out of the jar slightly and use the rim of the jar as a cutting guide.
  4. The bread makes an amazing and welcome gift.

The trick? Just follow these instructions and have fun.

You will need:

  • A good recipe for pumpkin bread. (Mine follows.)
  • All the ingredients for the recipe.
  • Six or seven straight-sided, wide-mouth, one-pint canning jars.
  • Lids and screw bands for the jars.
  • A pan of hot water for the lids.
  • Fork or lid lifter.
  • Canning funnel.
  • Sharp, non-serrated knife.
  • A sturdy, flat pan with a rim, such as a pizza pan or jelly roll pan.
  • One damp cloth.
  • One totally dry, thick towel.
  • Plenty of pot-holders or oven mitts.
  • An oven.

You will NOT need:

  • Nuts
  • Raisins
  • Any other such lumpy things in the recipe, no matter how much you may love them in your bread, if you want it to keep a long time.


1, Collect your stuff. Set oven for 350 degrees.

Jars like these.

Jars like these.

2. Make the batter. (Recipe follows instructions.)

Batter is ready.

Batter is ready.

3. Load the jars about half full, or a bit more.

Use funnel for neatness. Neatness counts.

Use funnel for neatness. Neatness counts.

4. Place loaded jars on sturdy pan and very carefully set in oven for about 15 minutes or until done. Use toothpick test for doneness.

Ready to bake.

Ready to bake.

5. While bread bakes, prepare lids: Boil water and place lids in it, then remove from heat. Do not boil water with lids in the water. Have screw bands, mitts, and both towels ready.

Ready to can the bread.

Ready to can the bread.

6. Remove one jar from oven individually, and set on dry towel. Quickly trim bread that has risen beyond top of jar with sharp knife. Quickly wipe rim free of crumbs and grease with damp towel and add lid and screw band.

Risen too tall. Trim.

Risen too tall. Trim.

Hide trimmings in your tummy!

Hide trimmings in your tummy!

7. Repeat with each jar, individually. Jars should seal almost immediately.



Sift together into large bowl:

3 1/3 cups plain flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups sugar

Quickly add, and stir in only until dry ingredients are moistened:

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup melted butter
2/3 cup water

Proceed with instructions above to can pumpkin bread.

IMPORTANT!: Do not add nuts or raisins or any other chunks, if you want this bread to keep a long time. Chunks will not become hot enough to be sterile, in this situation.

We are going to love fall this year!

Much later: It loosens easily and slices breezily. Mmm!

Much later: It loosens easily and slices breezily. Mmm!

(This post listed on “My Hot Kitchen” . Lots there to drool over…)



Katharine is a retired home educating mom who writes about all things “woman”, from a Godly viewpoint, here on this site, and at The Conquering Mom.  Her writing appeared in several magazines for 15 years, and she is currently working on several books. She loves to write, speak, teach, cook, garden, spoil her hennies, and watch old movies with popcorn.

Wonderful Smoked Turkey Habit. You will develop an addiction?

Our Thanksgiving Habit

One thing we do every year, almost as a habit, is smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving. A huge turkey.

I’ve posted about it before, but this year we will make two of them, and I got photos for ya! So here goes:

1. Thaw, trim, and rinse turkey.

Rinsed 23 lb. Turkey

Rinsed 23 lb. Turkey

2. Pour charcoal into fuel portion of smoker.

Enough charcoal for 12 hours.

Enough charcoal for 12 hours.

3. Set into bottom of smoker.

Charcoal in place

Charcoal in place

4. Do whatever you do to light charcoal.

Light charcoal

Light charcoal

5.  Once charcoal is very hot and turning white, add grill, to sterilized it.

Burning off the grill

Burning off the grill

6. Once all flame dies down, carefully remove grill and insert empty water pan in place over (not on) charcoals, and replace grill over water pan. Carefully fill with about 1 1/4 gallons of water.

Water pan in place over charcoal and under grill

Water pan in place over charcoal and under grill

7. Place turkey on grill.

Turkey on grill in smoker

Turkey on grill in smoker

8. Close smoker and go to bed.

Good night!

Good night!

9. Do not check progress by opening smoker!

In the morning, you will have a lovely smoked turkey. The meat should be tender and pink like ham. The joints should be loose or separating. The skin should be crackling in places and dark from smoke. Mmm! Look here!

Any questions? Ask in the comments, below, and I’ll be happy to answer quickly!

Have fun!

Edit to add: Our smoker is nearly burned out. 😦 Worst part is that we canNOT find another like it. Smaller ones do not work. Electric too expensive. The company that made our smoker just does not make them anymore. Help! 😉


Hot chili with egg

Second Place Chili Recipe!

Almost winning a chili contest. Yikes!

My son wanted to enter a guys-only, chili-making contest, and asked me to teach him how to make a pot of chili.

So I did. This is my favorite recipe, and I promise I only told him what to do—I did not touch it, the entire process.

Smoky, hot, and red throughout I love it, even for breakfast with an egg on top. Oh MY!

And among a city-wide field of about 15 entrants, he won second place. Yay! (First place tasted like spaghetti, so…)

I thought you’d like the recipe. It’s involved, but we do love it. Here goes:

Second Place Chili

3 strips bacon, cut up
1 whole onion, chopped
2 pounds lean ground beef (93/7)
1/4 cup chili powder
2 quarts canned whole tomatoes
4 cups cooked cannellini beans and broth
3 cups cooked hominy, drained
1 small can tomato paste
1/4 cup catsup (optional)
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)

Fry bacon in large soup pot on medium, until crisp. remove from grease and save. Add onion and ground beef to bacon drippings and fry, stirring, on medium until both are somewhat browned. Add chili powder. Stir well and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Add all vegetables, including tomato paste. Stir well and simmer for one half hour. Add catsup and Worcestershire, if desired. (I used to add this, but we’ve grown to prefer it without, these days.) Stir in pepper at the last minute. Top with the fried bacon and serve with dill pickles spears, cornbread, sliced cheese, and sour cream.

Serves six.

What about it—do you like black pepper in your chili?

Kids in the Kitchen

Children learning in kitchen

All my children are taller than I am. But when they were little, oh, did we have funny times!

One day our five-year-old came up with a great one-liner: “I know how to make brown bread–toast it!” We laughed, but he was serious. He honestly was exploring with his mind, the finer points of food preparation.

Our canning successes and failures have impressed our children. As we ate peas for supper one night long ago, the seven-year-old said, “I’m glad God made seeds because if you plant just a small pack, you get a LOT of peas to eat!” Me too, Dearie.

Our pickled peppers always received rave reviews from all the hot stuff eaters. And the muscadine jam–you’d have to taste it to believe it.

They learned so much.

When the deer got our peaches and crab apples and drought got our pears, their joy at what we had was sobered by what we lost. They couldn’t wait to start again, to do better. But in the meantime, we could open jars and remember.

One thing they loved helping with in the winter was apple leather. It is so easy to spread applesauce on a lubricated pan and set it near the fireplace to dry for a few days. How they loved making funny shapes of it with scissors! It was a favorite snack for them.

Actually, nothing beats the Winter Doldrums like the warmth and aromas of something happening in the kitchen. Whether Big Sis is rescuing some old bananas in yummy banana bread, or everyone is taking turns at the handle of the apple-slicing/coring device for apple crunch, we get miles of smiles from being close family in a simple kitchen full of love.

Kids love to cook. It’s a part of growing up.

They love to break eggs, dump ingredients, stir, set the timer, read recipes, etc. The kitchen, to them is like a big friendly science learning lab where we get to eat the experiment. Happy the child who feels welcome in the kitchen!

So is there a way a five-year-old can make brown bread? Probably not, but if you are making bread and let him count and dump in the part that makes it brown, wouldn’t he love it? How easy to launch from there into an explanation of differences in flours, complete with a microscope!

If his twelve-year-old sister does the bread making, she’ll beam when Daddy cuts himself a second slice. The seven-year-old could coat the pan with wonderful squishy grease. Teens love to rescue everyone when the hot pan is ready to exit the oven; the challenge of facing actual danger is like a tonic to them.

Are there any recipes a five-year-old can really do himself? Yes, the apple leather is one of them. He could make the butter for Big Sister’s bread: just shake 1 cup room-temperature cream in a quart jar for about 15 minutes and it makes butter. You strain off the remaining liquid for him, and let him pack it into a bowl. Or how about pie dough crackers? Hand him scraps to roll, cut, and sprinkle with milk and sugar or salt. Of course, you bake it for him.

A slightly older child can do more.

Let him slice some ice box cookies and arrange them on the cookie sheet. He can help you form the dough into the short, fat snake before you freeze it.

You might try a batch of coffee-can ice cream. Have him put a layer of ice cubes and salt into a large coffee can. Set a small, sealed coffee can ¾ full of ice cream mixture into the large can. Place ice and salt around the sides and over the top. Seal the large can and let the children roll this on the floor about 15 minutes until the ice cream sets. What fun!

When it comes to much older children, we know our future homemakers belong in the kitchen, but perhaps we’re lost about how and where to begin with them.

The first step is mentally to prepare for a mess.

Face it: you are neat and tidy in the kitchen because you learned the hard way it’s better to clean as you go. Your recipes are common to you and it’s no problem to fix a mess crisis while you cook. For the beginner, to cook IS the crisis and spills are commonplace. You can wipe up for her as she goes—an option that is good only for a while—or ask her to clean up when she’s done. We all must learn to police our own area.

So expect splatters from ceiling to floor. Grin and bear it. When my husband’s mother and I experimented with throwing pizza crust instead of rolling it, we gained a laughable moment that helped bond me to her like little else can. You want to bond with your own young chefs so they can feel loved and feel good about family life.

And don’t be surprised if your young men want to join in. I suspect when Jesus cooked fish for His disciples, it was scrumptious. And He did not learn that in the carpenter shop, either.

For beginning cooks, I like a mix.

Store bought or homemade, a mix is perfect for learning, because there is some fun measuring and beginners can concentrate on technique. Add skills gradually, layer over layer. You will know when you have come to the point where you can show her a recipe and do something else nearby. You can keep an eye on her and she can ask questions without leaving her station.

So, how old is old enough for each task?

Often I measure by height. No one should ever cook on a stove while standing on a box or chair. If you cannot reach the knobs, you are too young.

A lot has to do with motor skills. I have a cute photo of my daughter and one of her brothers when they were young—so young they sat ON the counter with the brownie bowl between them. It was their first try at egg-breaking. The egg was not exactly in the bowl. They were too young.

Invite them in, though. If you have many very little ones, start slowly, perhaps with licking the spoon. Do what you think is best for you, not forgetting the purpose: to have fun with Mom and be prepared for life.

Here are some easy or fun recipes to get you started:

No Knead Bread

2 cups white flour
1 package dry yeast
1 ¼ cup milk
½ cup butter
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour

Mix white flour and yeast. Warm milk, butter, sugar and salt to 120 degrees. Add to flour mixture with egg. Mix on low speed of mixer for 30 seconds, then on high for 3 minutes. Stir in whole wheat flour by spoon. Let rise 1 hour. Stir. Pour into greased bread pan. Let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Makes 1 loaf, 12 slices. Calories: 215 per slice.

Fast Fruit Ice Cream

1 can evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk)
1 quart individually frozen peaches OR 5 peeled, ripe frozen bananas
sugar or honey, to taste

Place into blender, cap, and blend on high until fruit is well blended. Place into ice cold container and freeze for about 3 hours. Or eat as is for a milk shake. Serves four. Calories: about 395, using peaches and 1 cup sugar.

Play Clay

1 cup flour
½ cup salt
1 teaspoon powdered alum
2 teaspoons cooking oil
1 cup water
food color (opt.)

Place all in medium saucepan. Stir and cook on medium for 3 minutes, or until dough leaves sides of pan. It will not be too hot, only very warm. Knead. Store in covered jar, or air tight plastic bag, in refrigerator. Looks, smells, and feels just as they hoped.

Have a great weekend!


How to Make Mashed Potatoes (that are not from a box)

Some things just have to be done right. Really.

Mashed PotatoesWhen something as wonderfully delicious as mashed potatoes gets messed up, it can hurt feelings!

If you try to pick the serving spoon up out of the bowl, and you get the entire bowl of mashed potatoes with it, they’re messed up.


But there is a cure and you have found it, right here! Yay YOU! Read this and have lots of fun!

Mashed Potatoes

  1. Scrub well: one potato for each serving. (People often overeat this wonderful dish and leftovers are superb for many uses.)
  2. If the potatoes are not organically grown, peel them. If you do not enjoy peel in your mashed potatoes, peel them. Save the peelings for the chickens; they love ’em.
  3. Cut the potatoes into half-inch slices or one-inch cubes.
  4. Place cut potatoes into pan large enough for an inch of water over them, and also room to boil.
  5. Bring potatoes and water to a boil and add salt: For only one or two potatoes, add just a half teaspoon salt; for a big boiler full, add a tablespoon or so. Lower heat to simmer. (Just a few bubbles, not splashing around.)
  6. Simmer for about twenty minutes, at least. Test for doneness. Potatoes should be really soft and tender, to be done. If you stick a piece and it sinks down into the rest of the pieces, it’s too hard yet. If the fork goes straight into the piece or even breaks it easily, they’re done.
  7. Pour “done”potatoes and water into a colander over a large bowl. Set the cooking water aside to cool.
  8. Dump hot potato pieces into large mixer bowl and use beaters on low to break them up a lot. Then turn up speed to medium, to make them very mashed and fluffy.
  9. Add butter: If the large mixer bowl is close to full, add a whole stick of butter, at least; if you cooked only two potatoes, use less. Beat the butter in.
  10. Add milk: Do not be shy to add milk. Add it in small doses, but do add it. You do not want the potatoes to be stiff. It should be liked whipped cream or only slightly stiffer. It should not be like dried out playdough. Scrape edges into the middle to make sure all is blended well. Do not be afraid of overbeating–they need this.
  11. Turn off mixer and use spatula to smooth top of potatoes and mound them in the middle.
  12. Wipe edges of bowl clean and serve with a smile.


  • Add garlic powder while beating.
  • Use cream instead of milk.
  • Add herbs of choice, dried and powdered, a pinch or two at a time to not overdo. Parsley is popular. Italian herbs are good. A few light flecks of something mysterious adds a lot, in this case.
  • Use cream cheese instead of butter.
  • Add chives.
  • Stir in bacon crumbles (not fake! real bacon!) with spoon, before mounding.

Leftover Mashed Potatoes

To Reheat: Place a small bit of milk in the bottom of a good pan and add cold mashed potatoes. Stir often and watch carefully while warming over medium heat. Be sure to heat through. Serve.

Potato Patties: Fry some bacon or sausage and set aside. Mix cold, leftover mashed potatoes with egg, about one egg for each cup or two of mashed potatoes. Drop by heaping tablespoon into hot pan drippings and fry until richly brown on one side; turn and fry other side.
Serve with gravy or honey. Mmm!

Potato Soup: Soften chopped onion and celery in small amount of butter, over medium heat, using a small pot. Add mashed potatoes and stir to warm. Add enough milk to make it a thin soup. Continue on medium heat until heated through and about to simmer. Serve with cheese (Swiss is a good one) and crackers.

That Cooled and Saved Potato Broth

Save in refrigerator for no more than a week. Use in recipes such as gravy, soups, and bread making. Just substitute for the liquid called for in the recipe. You will be pleased. Reduce or eliminate the salt called for in the recipe.

Tomatoes. Wow. Not.

No tomatoes

Peppers, yes.

This year, it seems either you HAVE enough tomatoes, thank you…

…or else you don’t.

This year, we don’t. We planted 40 Bradleys and Brandywines and got about ten quarts of tomato juice, total.

She sighs.

However, she DOES have tomato recipes and for those of you who have been blessed, she is willing to share and bless you even more!

Have fun! And use the contact page to let her know if you need more recipes, because, unlike the tomatoes, she does have more recipes. Ha.

So here goes!


1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup Italian dressing

Stir and serve cold. Some like it better the second day.


Into each pint jar, place:

1 whole jalapeno
1 pinch rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp. salt

Fill each jar, then, with blanched and peeled tomatoes.
Apply hot flat and screw band.
Pressure can at 5 lbs. of pressure for 10 minutes.


2 T. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 c. raw sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, pressed (or 4) (or 6 or 10)
1 t. powdered cayenne

Cook, stirring, on medium-high until meat is done and crumbly, mushrooms are dark brown, and onion is soft.

Add and stir:

3 T. dried Italian herb mix

Add and stir thoroughly, mashing tomatoes. Simmer for ½ hour:

1 quart canned tomatoes (or about fifteen medium peeled tomatoes)
1 small can tomato paste

Add and stir:

¼ c. Worcestershire sauce
½ c. catsup
several drops of liquid smoke

Add while stirring thoroughly:

2 T. cornstarch mixed with ½ c. water or tomato juice

Continue simmering until sauce thickens. Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash.



2 ¼ c. tomato juice (OR whiz enough whole tomatoes, skin and all, to make that amount)
¼ c. tomato sauce
2 T. butter

Stir into and mix well:

3 c. white flour
1 pkg. yeast
3 T. sugar
1 t. salt

Add and knead:
3 ½ c. – 4 c. more flour

Let rise twice and bake in 2 regular size, greased loaf pans at 375 for 10 minutes and 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Divine for grilled cheese sandwiches!

Okay, that’s all. Love y’all. You can thank me now. 😉

The Organized Turkey!

Okay, I’ve been working more on being organized because I got a good start when I froze leftover turkey from the holiday, in approximately one-pound packages.

I hope you did not throw yours out or force your family to eat turkey until it was coming out of their ears!

Anyway, I’ve had three pounds of frozen turkey to look at in the freezer and have been dreaming until I just could not STAND it anymore!

So I made turkey minestrone. Sort of. Except I am not sure what that is and I did not have eggs to make noodles with (after making two cakes in a row. Well, really four, if you count mistakes…)

Anyway, the more I thought about turkey minestrone, the better it smelled, in my imagination. Nothing like it to get the cooking juices flowing!

Turkey Minestrone

So, here is the final product, in all its glory, followed by a recipe, of sorts, because I actually just dumped whatever sounded good, and I truly don’t know what minestrone IS! 🙂

I am sure if you think and add what you like in a soup, yours will be just as yum as mine!

Turkey Minestrone

4 Tbsp. bacon grease or olive oil
2 c. sliced mushrooms
1 c. onion, chopped small
1 c. celery, chopped
1 c. carrot, sliced
1/2 c. chopped parsley
Any or all of the following, to taste: rosemary, oregano, sage, lemon grass, basil.
1 jalapeno pepper and brewing bag for easy removal
1 clove garlic, pressed (or more!)
2-3 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
2 gal. filtered water
1-2 lb. of frozen turkey, cut bite-sized
1 can cut green beans
1 can cannellini beans
1 c. raw brown rice

In a large, non-stick pan, fry all raw vegetables and herbs until caramelized, on medium-high heat, stirring often and watching carefully. Take care not to break the pepper. Vegetables should be browned, some, and somewhat soft. Pan drippings should be a golden-rosy brown.

Retrieve the pepper and place inside bag. Set aside.

Pour some of the water into the hot pan to loosen all the drippings and create a rich broth. Pour entire contents of pan into a large stock pot (12 quart or more). Scrape pan well, to get all the goodie.

Add the rest of the ingredients, including bagged pepper, and bring to boil. Simmer, stirring constantly, for at least an hour. Enjoy with cornbread, sour cream, cheddar cheese, etc.

Perfect for a cold day! Mmm!