Hello dear friends! Hope this post finds you all content and cozy! It's starting to get pretty out there.
Soups and stews are synonymous with cooler weather. There's nothing as cozy as a nice bowl of soup. As many of you that read this blog and particularly the comments may have surmised, I hate to cook. That is why I love soup; make one big pot and you're good for three days. Plus it's thrifty and depending upon what you make it with, low in calories and healthy. As my pastor told me years ago when we were going through a rough financial patch, "you can always add more water to the soup". What else can you make that can feed a dozen people on less than a pound of meat and fill them up?
Some of the thriftiest cuts of meat can be used to flavor your soup; soup bones, ham hocks, bacon ends and pieces, chicken legs and thighs (29 cents a pound this week) and of course, leftovers. When Ran and I were first married, we had a grocery budget of $17.50 a week. One of our thriftiest meals was a simple soup made with the smoky sausage links that you find near the hot dogs at the grocery store. One small package was used for two batches of soup and we always kept out two to have with eggs. I think they cost under one dollar back then. You really don't need a lot of meat to flavor your soup. A little goes a long way. Many times I make the soup completely meatless and just use those smoked peppers and salts to give them a nice smoky flavor. As a matter of fact, I just made a meatless soup this week with vegetables from our root cellar and pantry. One of my "secret" ingredients to make flavorful vegetable soup is Margaret Holmes seasoned lima beans which makes a quick soup. Just saute up some onions, celery and garlic, add some potatoes,corn and carrots and maybe a can of tomatoes and a can of these beans and of course water. That's it. I don't even add any more salt and pepper.
I always have celery, onions, garlic and potatoes in my pantry. They are staples for practically everything I make. And they are the usually the cheapest things in the produce aisle. Here's a list of items for a good soup pantry:
cans of tomatoes (fire-roasted are especially nice)
those jars of instant bouillon (preferably low sodium) in various flavors. Tomato bouillon gives a richness to both chicken and beef soups. They just add flavor to a flat tasting soup.
Cans of broth
Smoked salt and pepper
HOW TO MAKE BONE BROTH
Bone broth has become quite trendy. Of course, homemade broth is always better than store bought and it certainly is easy enough to do. To make bone broth you simply roast meat bones in the oven for several hours. Once the bones have roasted and gotten good and brown and caramelized, scrape the bones into a large pot. Add some hot water to the roasting pan and deglaze it. Put this water into the pot with the bones, along with a carrot, onion and a stalk of celery. And more water, of course. Also add a tablespoon of vinegar as this leaches the calcium out of the bones. Add any herbs or seasonings you may like. Bring to a boil then simmer until a nice rich broth develops. Strain and cull any meat from the bones and add to the broth.
DON'T BUY IT, MAKE IT
Noodles really make a filling soup. Homemade ones cost a fraction of the cheapest ones you can find in the stores and they are easy to make. Here's how:
In a bowl beat together:
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. milk
Stir into egg mixture:
1 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
to form a dough. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to desired thickness.
Cut into strips and hang on a dowel suspended between to cans or jars until they are dry or use fresh.
We planted garlic this week.
Garlic is one of those self-propitiating crops. Once you have planted it, you simply save a few bulbs for the following year, separate them into cloves and plant them in the fall. We always lay down a liberal amount of wood ashes in our rows before planting. Garlic and onions love wood ashes.
We also harvested our bird house gourds and tied them to the beams in our basement to dry.
I finished a pair of Apothecary Cuffs , a free pattern that can be found here using some yarn from my stash. I knitted them on smaller needles than the pattern called for because I thought the were too big to be practical.
We continue to offer Peace Fleece worsted weight wool yarn in a variety
of colors. Peace Fleece, located in Maine, is not your typical yarn
company. In 1985, a local sheep farmer had a mission to foster peace
between the Soviet Union and the American people. The family began
spinning yarn with a combination of the two countries’ wool to cultivate
cultural understanding, fair trade, and provide a truly beautiful and
unique yarn. The owner continues to search for farmers who are willing
to set aside historic enmities in exchange for new opportunities.
Kind of neat, huh? I have a lot of Russian readers, as a matter of fact, on any given day, I'll have more Russian readers than Americans. I just want you all to know that in spite of what our leaders our saying, I have no dispute with you wonderful people and I am sure you feel likewise. Seems that our leaders are leading us down a path and we are at a lost for what to do. Now more than ever, I hope everyone is praying for peace. Amen!
THRIFTY THINGS WE DID THIS WEEK
Planted garlic from our own bulbs.
Made a kimono from a too-large thrifted skirt I had. (have to wait until I can get to the big city to find the trim for it)
Made a big pot of soup and ate from it for three days. Cost was under a dollar for the entire pot.
Harvested the birdhouse gourds.
Began knitting some Christmas gifts.
Ran made some cutting boards for gifts from some left over maple he had from the countertop project.
Watched The Good Fairy on YouTube for free. One of my favorite movies. I love Margaret Sullavan.
Listened to some old time radio programs on YouTube.
Heated the house with wood. No furnace usage yet!
Made homemade noodles and dried them for the soup pantry.
So that's it for another week at the old Zempel boarding house! I hope you all have a beautiful week. I leave you with peace. And hugs!