Frugal Friday – Pumpkin Puree

fall-2010

Fall 2010

We may not celebrate Halloween, but I do love pumpkins. I like to decorate the house for fall with them and then use them to make puree. I think fresh pumpkin tastes much better than canned…and it isn’t hard to make. I think once you try making and using fresh puree, it’ll be hard to go back to canned.

First you need a sugar pumpkin…or two. They are the smaller, darker orange pumpkins. You can use the bigger carving pumpkins, but they are more stringy instead of meaty. I’ve used carving pumpkins to make pumpkin bread and it tasted just fine but if you want to make a pie it is better to use a sugar pumpkin. A 4 pound pumpkin will give you about 1 1/2 cups of puree.

2014-10-08pumpkinsaWash your pumpkin, cut the top off and cut your pumpkin in half, then clean the guts and seeds out. Save the seeds as they make a yummy snack too! I choose to bake the pumpkin instead of boiling it. I think it retains more flavor and nutritional value. They contain Vitamin A, B and potassium. Pumpkins are also a source of protein, dietary fiber and Vitamin E. So bake it cut side down in a 375F oven with about a cup of water for about 1 1/2 hours or until soft. Cool, then scoop the pumpkin from the skin and mash it by hand or use a food processor.

Because pumpkins are 90 percent water, the puree will be watery. You will want to drain it in cheese cloth overnight before you use/store it. It can be stored in the fridge for about 3 days or frozen for up to six months (but I used some that was in longer and it was fine).

Now that you have your puree, you can use it to make all sorts of pumpkin yummies.  Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe to share?  Feel free to post it or the link to your recipe in the comment section.  Here are a few of mine:

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Seeds

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

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Recipes: Macaroni Salad

macaroni3aOne of my favorite summertime meals.  Great and frugal for picnics and carry ins too. Here are a few macaroni salad recipes from my stash.  These are easily adaptable to your own tastes and what you may have on hand like chicken or carrots.  They are also easily adaptable to dairy-free.   My opinion is it always tastes better the next day, so I like to make it a day ahead if I have the time.  What is your favorite macaroni salad recipe?

 

Macaroni Salad 1

2 cups macaroni
2 small cucumbers, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 3/4 cups creamy salad dressing
1/4 cup milk

DIRECTIONS

Cook macaroni pasta in a large pot with boiling salted water until al dente. Rinse with cool water and drain. In a large bowl add the chopped cucumber, tomatoes, green bell pepper, and onion. Blend the milk and creamy salad dressing together in a small bowl until smooth and to your liking of thickness. Add cooled pasta and salad dressing mixture to large bowl of chopped vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve.

 

Macaroni Salad 2

1 lb. box elbow macaroni – prepared as directed
4 hard-boiled eggs – peeled, coarsely chopped
3 ribs celery – sliced
1 med. onion – chopped
1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives – halved
1/2 cup mayonnaise OR creamy salad dressing – low-fat okay
2 Tbls. milk – low-fat okay
2 Tbls. distilled white vinegar
1 Tbls. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt

Fold together all ingredients in large bowl. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight before serving.

 

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad

2 cups macaroni
2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Rinse under cold water, and drain.

Mix tuna, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic powder, mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and mustard together in a large bowl. Add pasta, and mix well.

Coffee Recipes

coffeecupsun

Enjoying my morning hot coffee with the sun streaming in the window.

I have to say first off, I’m not a fan of iced coffee. Blech. I don’t mind coffee flavor in some things (like my favorite hard to find Coffee Crisp candy bars) but in my mind when coffee is cold, you either heat it up or get a fresh, hot cup. I thought I was just old school.

 

I was going through some cookbooks looking for a certain recipe and as I was flipping through one of my older cookbooks (1977) I came across a few coffee recipes including one for iced coffee. Wow. It was a thing back then too! I thought I’d share the recipes so I could save you from spending your hard earned cash on expensive cold coffee shop coffee.  I’m sure the recipes would work just as well with your favorite dairy free milks too.  Enjoy!

Iced Coffee: For each glass of iced coffee desired, brew coffee using two level tablespoons coffee and ¾ measuring cup (6 fl. oz.) cold water. Use more or less to suit your taste. Pour hot coffee over ice cubes in tall glasses. Serve immediately with cream and sugar.

Coffee Ice Cubes: Pour about 3 cups of brewed coffee into ice cube trays. Freeze until firm, at least 5 hours. If used with cold coffee, makes enough cubes for eight 12-ounce glasses; with hot coffee, enough for five 12-ounce glasses.

Coffee Frosted: Combine two cups of chilled brewed coffee with 1 pint of vanilla, coffee or chocolate flavored ice cream in a bowl and beat until blended and thick. Serve immediately over Coffee Ice Cubes in tall glasses. Makes 3 2/3 cups or 3-4 servings.

So, do you enjoy cold or iced coffee?  How do you like your coffee best?  You can let me know in the comments below or with a link to your blog post.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

The Complete Tightwad Gazette

tightwadOur financial situation has changed quite a bit over the last several years.  We’ve had to tighten our belts, loosen them a bit, tighten them again, and just when we thought things were getting better we had to tighten more.

I’ve pulled out The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn to re-read.  It’s a compilation of the bygone newsletter The Tightwad Gazette.  The book is a bit outdated, and while everything she presents in her book may not apply, the book itself can be a good read to find ideas to apply to your situation and put you into the frugal mind set to come up with your own ideas. It’s one of the books I think everyone could benefit from reading.

Amy’s personality made being frugal fun, not drudgery.  Her wisdom and experience really helps you refocus the way you see things.  One of the things I like about this book is all the creative ideas for repurposing.  I have to be careful, I have a tendency to save everything thinking it could be useful one day. lol

The book also has recipes.  Here is a recipe we like from The Complete Tightwad Gazette for Bean-Bacon Chowder (just in time for fall!) I make my own versions of this quite a bit.

Bean-Bacon Chowder

6 slices bacon, cut up
1 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
2 medium potatoes, peeled
1/4 tsp crushed dried thyme
1 22-oz jar of baked beans or substitute homemade
1/4 cup snipped parsley

Cook bacon and onion in a saucepan until bacon is lightly browned and onion is tender. Blend in flour. Add milk; cook and stir until bubbly. Dice potatoes; add with thyme, 1 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes or till the potatoes are done. Stir in beans and heat through. Top with parsley. Serves six.

Genesis 41:35-36 – And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.

Recipe: Pancakes from Scratch

pancakerecipe1aMy grandmother’s cookbook. Even though the copyright is 1946 (the year before my mother was born) I use it often.  The pages are a bit brittle and yellowed, the cover is loose…but it is always the first place I look for recipes.

THIS is my main pancake recipe.  So versatile, I switch it up using fruit, seasonings, make it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  We actually have these more for dinner than breakfast.  By request.  Hubby loves pancakes. I also use almond or coconut milk since I’m not supposed to have dairy and I use honey instead of sugar.  And pancakes pancakes1aare frugal too.

Honestly, homemade pancakes don’t take much longer to make than boxed pancakes and taste so much better in my humble opinion.  And the fresher your ingredients, the better they taste.  And did I mention they are frugal?

Here is the recipe for you:

pancakes2aSWEET MILK GRIDDLE CAKES

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon melted shortening

Mix and sift flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.  Add milk, well-beaten egg, and shortening and mix well.  Drop by tablespoons on a hot griddle, greased well, and brown on both sides.  Serve hot with marmalade or honey.

I’d love to hear about your favorite pancake recipe, and if you try this one, I’d love to hear how you like it.  Until next time…grace and peace!

John 6:47-50 
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.

Recipe: Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkinseedsWe don’t carve up pumpkins faces for Halloween but we do enjoy pumpkin recipes like pumpkin pie in the fall and at holidays. I bought pumpkins that I will be turning into pumpkin puree and put into the freezer.  I’m hoping to get this done today.  One of the great things for me about pumpkins is all the pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are one of the most nutritious and flavorful seeds around, and a fun, frugal snack. Roasted pumpkin seeds are not just great to snack on by themselves, but I also like to toss them into salads and even stir fries too.

Wash seeds and remove remaining pumpkin stuff from them. My grandmother always soaked the seeds over night in salted water. I don’t. lol Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spread seeds on a cookie sheet sprayed lightly with oil, sprinkle with a little salt if desired, and place in the oven for about 30-45 minutes or until dried and lightly browned. Stir several times while they bake. Don’t over bake the seeds.

Another recipe is to coat the seeds in melted butter or oil before baking.

You can season the seeds with any kind of your favorite seasonings. I really just like the lightly salted ones…but hubby likes them spicy hot…so I’ll coat some in his favorite hot sauce before I bake them. Seeds will keep for a couple weeks or so in an air tight container…but ours never last that long.

Recipe: Pumpkin Bread

2014-10-08pumpkinsa

Baking local grown pumpkins to make puree.

I’m not a fan of pumpkin spiced everything.   I do, however, like homemade pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. My Aunt who recently passed away mid September gave everyone pumpkin and banana breads every Christmas.  I looked forward to that every year.  Quite a few years ago when we were going through some hard times and money was tight, I took that idea and started baking Christmas gifts including pumpkin bread. I even shared my homemade honey wheat bread and Amish white bread with my Aunt at our family Christmas. But pumpkin bread is one of my favorites and is a favorite of several in our family. Here is the recipe I use.  It isn’t my Aunt’s recipe, never as good as hers because of all the love she put into it, but this is my favorite recipe to use and it makes delicious bread.  It makes three loaves and I think it tastes even better when you use fresh pumpkin puree.  It isn’t hard and you don’t have to use pie pumpkins.  You can use any good pumpkin.  Just cut it in half, clean out the pumpkin guts, and bake in a 350 F oven until tender.  A knife will go through it easily.  Scoop out the pumpkin, let it drain for a while in a cheese cloth lined colander, then freeze.  I freeze mine in 1 cup portions.  I’d love to hear what you think if you try this recipe, or if you make your own puree.

Ingredients

3 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 cups white sugar
6 eggs
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour three 9″ x 5″ loaf pans.

In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves then stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes to one hour. The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.