Are you eating your vegetables? Homemade vegetable stock

In summer our garden supplies us with plenty of healthy vegetables but in winter there are no fresh tomatoes or peppers straight from the garden. So I try to get every nutrient possible out of our vegetables. I like to make my own vegetable stock whenever I’m prepping vegetables for the week. I throw the stems of kale,  greens from broccoli or cauliflower in a pot along with whatever other vegetable I have, like carrots, onions even sweet potatoes. Any vegetable at all. It’s all good.

vegetables

This pot of stock is made from kale stems and cauliflower leaves, the core of the cauliflower, some tomatoes that were a little past their prime, onions, parsley from my garden that I had frozen and a bunch of carrot peels and ends. Yes, I use the peels to make my stock.

vegetables for stock

This stock was yummy. It had a strong vegetable taste which I love.vegetable stock homemade

After it cooks, I mash it a little with a potato masher then strain it and put it in jars or freezer bags. I freeze it and use it when I’m making homemade soups. It adds so much flavor and must be packed with vitamins and minerals that your body needs.

homemade vegetable stock

The trick to freezing in jars is to allow enough head room for expansion when it freezes. Wide mouth jars work best.

Every time I make vegetable stock it tastes different.  I used the last of my vegetable stock in homemade lentil soup and it was really tasty! The next time you’re cooking up a mess of vegetables try making your own stock for soups, it’s good to the last drop and you can sneak more vegetables in your family’s diet.

 

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx))

Roasting a blue pumpkin, they’re not just for decorating.

Blue pumpkins are so popular these days but have you ever wondered what they look like inside or if you could eat them? The answers are about to be revealed! You can indeed eat them and they are as bright orange as any orange pumpkin I’ve seen.

I think these bluish pumpkins I bought are called Jarrahdale pumpkins. I’m not positive though. Anyway, there’s a predicted shortage of canned pumpkin this year and I noticed that a can costs $1.65 at the local grocery store. That was a regular sized can, about 2 cups. If you like to bake pumpkin recipes, that can add up.
Since I bought 5 of these pretty blue pumpkins for fall decorating,  I decided to use them for baking.
roasting a blue pumpkin
They’re bright orange!  inside of blue pumpkin

Be extra careful when cutting them apart because they are hard to get through! I mean these babies are tough. After cutting my pumpkin into quarters, I scooped out the seeds and placed the quarters on a baking sheet shin side up. I didn’t use any salt or oil.

pumpkin after roasting

They roasted at 350 until they were soft and then after they cooled, I pulled off the skin.  mashed pumpkin
I got a good 4 cups from a pumpkin that weighed about 5 pounds. I used 2 cups for a recipe and froze the rest for later and I still have 4 more blue pumpkins to use up! I never tried cooking with a white pumpkin or a Cinderellla pumpkin, have you?

Let the baking holiday begin!

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

Crockpot applesauce and apple butter

The pretty apples I saw at the orchard inspired me to try making crockpot applesauce. It was my first time making it in the crockpot. I looked online for recipes and hints and saw that some people don’t peel the apples, so that was what I tried. I washed, and cored the apples, added lots of cinnamon and cooked them in the crockpot until they were the consistency I liked, not too smooth, I like chunky applesauce. If you want to add sugar, go ahead and add that now too. I used honey, just a little. One of the perks of making your own is that you can add as much sweetener as you like.     crockpot apples 2

After mashing the apples with a potato masher I had to pick out the skins. The bits with skins still clinging to them I pressed  through a sieve to finish the process.  I decided to try making more applesauce with cored and peeled apples.  So much easier, at least I thought so. It takes more time to peel the apples but it’s worth it, I know that’s not what everyone thinks but it’s what works for me.   applesauce for freezer

I ended up with some beautiful, chunky applesauce. The cinnamon tasted so yummy. I like lots of cinnamon!  applesauce

You can add cloves, allspice or nutmeg or whatever you like to make your applesauce extra good.  needed for crockpot applesauce

I used the potato masher to smash the apples and  pressed them through a sieve to get out the last bit of skin. Next I made apple butter and used my new toy, a hand held blender.

apple butter in crockpot
I made apple butter the same way, loaded the crockpot with peeled and cored apples, lots of cinnamon and a little brown sugar. I left it cook on high for about 6 hours, then mashed the apples and turned it on low overnight. It depends on your crockpot, if you want to cook them overnight, you don’t want to burn your apples. In the morning this is what was left. A beautiful caramel colored apple butter.   apple butter jars

But, this is what I got, 3 measly jars from a crockpot filled to the brim with apples. It is so good though! Maybe the best I’ve ever had, but wow…. only three jars! I’m treating it like gold and have it stashed away in our safe. The combination is top secret! I’m not sharing!

I love apple butter on toast or bagels. It’s great with cottage cheese too. Do you have any hints to share on making crockpot apple butter or sauce?

 

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

Whole wheat apple bread

This year the fall season has been so beautiful. The weather has been sunny most days with the feel of fall in the air. On one of those lovely days we made a trip to a local orchard to get some apples and other fall produce and came home with a whole lot of apples! As long as I can remember apples were one of my favorite fruits. So you know what I’ve been doing, baking of course! That means apple bread, dumplings, pie, well just about anything with apples and cinnamon. I even made applesauce and apple butter. The combination of apples and cinnamon is just about my favorite food and I love how it makes the house smell.

Here’s my recipe for whole wheat apple bread.

[gmc_recipe 2886]

 

apple bread

If you don’t like whole wheat flour you can use regular flour instead. I like the taste of whole wheat flour and use it in many recipes, just use half whole wheat flour and half regular flour.

apple bread 2

I have a few more apple recipes to share and will post them soon. How are you using apples? Got any favorite apple recipes to share? There are lots of recipes on my Pinterest board, A is for Apples.

Get out there and enjoy the season, winter will be here before you know it!

 

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

Instagram!

 

Roasted red beets

Roasting is my new favorite way to cook vegetables.  Fall is the perfect season to give roasted beets a try. After roasting, I take off the skins and store them in the refrigerator. They’re great for tossing in salads, pickling or just sprinkling with salt and enjoying.

Red beets have always been one of my favorite vegetables. I tried growing them in our garden before and never had any luck but this year I harvested my first crop of beets. It wasn’t a bumper crop but I did get a couple dozen.  raw red beets

They aren’t the prettiest vegetable but I was pleased with my first crop.

To get them ready for roasting, I cleaned them and cut off the leafy greens. Some of the greens I tossed in a salad. Leave some stem attached to help hold the beet while taking off the skin.  roasting red beets

Roast them in the oven at 375 to 425 until they are easily pierced. You can drizzle olive oil over them if you like. To contain any juices, wrap the beets in foil. Wrapping in foil kelps to keep them from drying out too. I didn’t do that and it wasn’t too messy. Nothing like red beet juice all over. I ruined my kitchen curtains a long time ago with red beet stains!

roasted red beets
You will get pink fingers though. After roasting and cooling the skins come off easily. They will keep for about a week in the refrigerator.  red beets in salad

Beets are slightly sweeter after roasting and make a tasty combo with a mild goat cheese or feta, a little salt and balsamic vinegar.

red beets

Lots of people say they don’t like beets but I bet they’ve never tried roasted beets with coarse salt, feta and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Now that’s good eating!

Most recipes for roasting beets recommend wrapping them in foil but I didn’t and they turned out fine. I’ll try that next time, It probably would cut down on oven time.

What’s your favorite way to eat beets? Please don’t say you don’t like them!   They are full of good for you fiber, vitamins and minerals! I love beets!

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))