Posted in Homemaking, Recipes

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 for those la-dee-da gatherings or for when you just want to feel better about … things. 🙂
  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. If you want it for tomorrow, lumps are fine.


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. If you want to use these immediately, chunks are fine!

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.

Posted in family, Food, Thanksgiving

Polly’s Apple Pie

Not for the novice cook. 😦 Sorry.

Polly was the mother of one of our dearest friends. She lived a life punctuated with fabulous sugary creations. We have found we need to eliminate lots of purely sugary downloads, but I make exceptions for Thanksgiving or very special company.

This pie is one of the exceptions. The secrets to it are: real butter, too much sugar, and the baking time and temp. The bottom crust will be a bit difficult to manage, but you will NOT care.

I promise.

Every “Pie Day” I wish I’d written this apple pie recipe to share. So here we are, at 3/14/16 (pi, rounded) and it’s no use; I never have.

The trouble is, I don’t have a recipe.

But if you are experienced enough at cooking pies, you can make sense of this recipe, I am sure.

Polly’s Apple Pie!

Set oven for 325 degrees.

2 pie crusts made with egg, butter, and vinegar
One deep-dish pie plate made of glass.
1, 3-pound bag of good cooking apples
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional—I don’t)
1 stick real butter
small amount of additional sugar (optional—I do)

  1. Roll bottom crust and place into large, glass, deep-dish pie plate.
  2. Do NOT peel apples. Wash, core, and slice as thinly as possible (about 20-24 slices per apple, at least.)
  3. Mix apples with sugar and pack as many as possible into bottom crust. You may have to rearrange them to make them all fit. It’s worth it.
  4. Cut butter into fat slices and arrange over apple slices.
  5. Roll top crust and vent many times. Apply to pie and seal carefully.
  6. Spritz top with water and sprinkle with additional sugar, if desired.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for 90 minutes. (Yes, one and a half hours.) Do not place anything under the pie for catching spills. It will spill over, probably, but it’s worth it. It caramelizes. You will not believe this pie and will gain a new respect for an oven with a spill in it. I promise.

Okay, friends, this is the secret to the most amazing apple pie you ever, ever ate:

  1. Real butter.
  2. Too much sugar
  3. Bake in glass plate at 325 for one and a half hours

Even apple-pie-disdainers love this one.

Come back this fall, and I’ll add a better photo. 🙂

Posted in 'Tis the Season, Food, gardening, Homemaking, Recipes

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. 😉

Posted in 'Tis the Season, family, Ice photos, Power outage

FINALLY Got Electricity After Winter Storm Octavia! Cannot Wait to Show You These!

Birdfeeder Covered in Ice by Winter Storm OctaviaThe birds had better wait to eat here…

Lounge Chairs covered in Ice after Winter Storm Octavia. Too cold to sit here!

Rosemary bush obliterated in ice after Winter Storm Octavia

My poor rosemary bush is totally encrusted!

Ice everywhere outdoors after Winter Storm OctaviaView of the deck through branches of a small maple.

All the beauty of an ice storm comes with a price: We lose electricity.

So after we had a nice* game of Scrabble-by-candlelight, we ate a great chili dinner by the same romantic candlelight, chili which I’d cooked on our wood stove.

Cooking chili on wood stove because of Winter Storm Octavia

Then I did dishes by candlelight.

Dishes done by candlelight after Winter Storm Octavia

Am seriously considering doing dishes by candlelight all the time. So romantic… 😉

*I won…

What’s THAT stuff?!

Calamari = squid.

Squid served at a restaurant

The body can be stuffed whole, cut into flat pieces or sliced into rings. The arms, tentacles and ink are edible; the only parts of the squid that are not eaten are its beak and gladius (cartilage). I’ve seen it battered and fried like onion rings. It’s supposed to taste sweet.

I’ve eaten rabbit before, and it is sweet, so squids and rodents taste similar?


You can hardly find a stuffed mushroom in a restaurant, anymore, except those with squid squirted into them. That’s just wrong.

Canterbury Hill
Canterbury Hill

However, there was a time when my brother took us all out to eat al fresco, on a breezy summer’s eve, to a lovely place near his home just outside Jeff City, Missouri. We ordered the stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer and I became so enamored with this dish.

They were creamy and savory and warm and I’d never eaten anything I liked so much that wasn’t sweet.*

I mean, I wanted to eat everyone’s serving.

I mean, I had to remind myself to behave.

However, there on a flagstone patio, noshing over a wrought iron table, I began analyzing.

And I never stopped until last year, when I figured I knew how to make those mushrooms.

And today, I publish my recipe for the first time, ever, over at Dining with Debbie.

Go there.

You’ll be glad.


* And it’s NOT squid!
Posted in Blessings of Habit, Food, Inspiring

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

Do Get Fresh with Me!

fresh beet greens
Fresh Beet Greens

We grow these babies because they are so delicious steamed and buttered.

With a crop like this, we can make only about five meals, since they greatly reduce in volume while cooking.

These are the thinnings from a row planted too thickly, on purpose, to allow for this rare delicacy on our table. The rest will grow into regular beets and the tough tops will go to our chickens.

We’ll all be munching happily!


Posted in Blessings of Habit, Food, Health, Inspiring

Weekly Photo Challenge – Lunchtime!!! Mmm!!!

Swai Filet on Morrow Squash – Lunchtime

What to have for lunch – the eternal question.

Spending my daytime often solo, I have devised the plan I love:

Cook a decent supper, and then reheat for lunch the next day.

Our supper last night was sublime. If I do say so, I cannot help it. I just had to try this combo. I could not stop myself.

The results?

A few swai filets, breaded in egg, almond meal, and course black pepper, sautéed in olive oil, served over a bed of hot morrow squash, al dente, in a sauce of winter onions braised in butter and sour cream, with swai pan glazings and a skif of cayenne stirred in.

We nearly foundered.

But “nearly” only counts in hand grenades and horse shoes.

I got my reward, very carefully warmed over, today, with a cuppajo, or should I say, a very aromatic mug of Arkansas’ own Biff’s coffee, from which I receive no remuneration save the golden drink, itself.

Drool on, Michelle W.; I can’t help it.