Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Little Break...

I just wanted to let you all know that I'll be out of town visiting my parents for a week or so.  They don't have internet at home...so I won't be posting until I return.  Look for another post a week from Thursday.

Also...if anyone has any more pumpkin recipes, send them on in!  After pumpkin recipes, we'll take off with the pizza recipes and methods.  I'd love your input!  Send any recipes or tips to me at crazycreativemag@gmail.com.

Thanks and enjoy the end of your October!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Making your own pumpkin puree...

Have you ever tried to make your own pumpkin puree?  I have to admit, it's rather a new idea to me, but it's very easy.   I was going to write it all out for you, but found another great blog that did it all for me with pictures! She also uses this method for roasting and pureeing butternut squash as a substitute, as I mentioned in a previous post.  If you're interested, here's the link:

DIY Pumpkin Puree

Just a note for us novices...the big Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins DO NOT work well here!  Look for the small, cute pie pumpkins that are about the size of a cantaloupe.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Sub-out...

A good pie pumpkin costs about $1.50-$2.00 around here, which makes it cheaper to just buy pumpkin canned and save yourself all the trouble.  Here is what my Grandma used to do, though...

Instead of roasting pumpkin for her pumpkin pie, she used winter squash from her garden.  The color is slightly less orange...more of a yellow.  Other than that, I would never guess that it wasn't really pumpkin pie...it tastes exactly the same, especially since pumpkin dishes are almost always pretty well spiced up.  Since winter squash runs much cheaper than pie pumpkins, I'm thinking of giving it a whirl.  Have any of you ever tried this before?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Good Morning Pumpkin Pancakes

Here's one that my mother-in-law makes to spoil us when we visit.  I think the last time she made them for us was when we were up for a visit on Christmas...which was a while ago now.  Hmmm....maybe I'll change it up and make them for her when she visits this week!

Good Morning Pumpkin Pancakes


2 cups Bisquick
2 Tbs. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup solid pack pumpkin
1 1/2 cup (12 oz) evaporated milk
2 Tbs. oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

In large bowl, combine Bisquick, sugar, and spices.  Add milk, pumpkin, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Bake on hot, lightly greased griddle.

***These would be extra yummy served with some toasted, chopped walnuts sprinkled over them!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Coffee

Hannah posted a bread recipe yesterday, http://todayathannahshouse.blogspot.com/2011/10/pumpkin-bread.html.  I can't wait to try it.  When I make it, I'm going to make a pumpkin spice coffee to go with it.  It's super easy and makes my mornings smell and taste like fall.  Are you ready?
~ Christine from The Good, The Pure and The Lovely

1. Prepare your coffee pot as usual.
2. Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice and mix with the coffee grains.
3. Brew your coffee.
4. Add milk, sugar and vanilla for a sweet treat.
5. Sit, smell, drink  . . . . Mmmmmm

That's it.  It's that simple.  Enjoy the smell and taste of fall in your morning cup of coffee!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

Okay!  It's time to start off with the pumpkin recipes.  Don't forget, if you want to contribute a pumpkin recipe, email me at crazycreativemag@gmail.com.

Soups were certainly popular, but as you know, it's October which means it's time to start up the baking.  What better way than this quick pumpkin bread?  The friend who gave me this recipe originally likes to pitch in some chocolate chips.  Pumpkin/chocolate isn't necessarily my thing, but lots of people are into it.  If you're one of them, give it a whirl!

Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin (or 1 small can)
5/8 cup vegetable or canola oil

In large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.  In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil.  Stir into dry ingredients until moistened.

Pour into greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Five Bean Soup

This is one of my favorite winter soups.
 ~  Christine from The Good, The Pure, and The Lovely


 Preparation for four batches:
One, 1 pound bag of each of these dried bean varieties: lima, great northern, kidney, pinto and split peas

Pour the five beans into a large bowl.  Mix well.  Divide into four separate containers or zip lock bags.

Ingredients
1 portion of beans
3 beef bouillon cubes
1 tsp. onion powder (or more to taste)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried savory
1 tsp. salt (optional)
1/2 or 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 or 2 bay leaves
2 and 1/2 quarts water
1 can (14 and 1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes (diced Italian work well, too)
Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Wash beans.  Place in a large pot.  Cover with water.  bring to a boil.  Cook for 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour.

Drain and rinse beans.  Add bouillon, spices and water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1 and 1/2 hours or until beans are tender (it's always taken my beans longer), stirring occasionally.  Remove bay leave(s).  Add tomatoes and heat through.  Serve and top with Parmesan cheese (a good cheese really makes this special).

I serve this with this cornbread.

~ Adapted from Taste of Home

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On to the Pumpkin Recipes!

Well, the soup run has been very popular and I can't wait to try some of these recipes!  I hope you all have enjoyed the recipes.  We'll have one more soup recipe on Friday, then starting Monday, we'll move on to the pumpkin category.

October is the perfect time to get moving on the fall baking!  I'm very excited to share a few recipes with you.

If you have any pumpkin recipes you'd like to share, email them to me at crazycreativemag@gmail.com.  I'd be happy to post your name, link (if applicable), and recipe.  Share away!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

(Another) Black Bean Soup

Hannah shared a fantastic vegetarian black bean soup in her post, http://todayathannahshouse.blogspot.com/2011/05/black-bean-soup.html.  I happen to love black beans, and the more ways I have to cook them, the happier I am.  I have another black bean soup that I love to cook.  You cook it with a leftover ham bone.  Then, the whole soup tastes like ham!  When I was making this soup yesterday, I realized that it follows Hannah's method for making any homemade soup (http://todayathannahshouse.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-to-make-homemade-soup-from-scratch.html).  Have a great time with this meal!

~Christine from The Good, The Pure, And The Lovely

You will need:

1 bag dried black beans
1 ham bone (a little meat hanging on is nice)
2-3 tbs. cooking oil
4-8 peeled carrots (depending on your love of carrots), roughly chopped
4 cleaned celery ribs, roughly chopped
1/2 to 1 whole onion, chopped
Water to cover
3 or 4 Chicken bouillon or the equivalent Chicken soup/stock base
2-3 bay leaves
1 to 2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 to 1 teaspoons garlic powder
salt to taste
1/2 - 1 tsp pepper
1 to 2 cups diced ham (optional)

Start the night before by cleaning and soaking the black beans overnight.  (I just soaked them in my slow cooker, since I planned on cooking the soup in it.)  The next morning, rinse the black beans and cover with clean water.  Place the ham bone in the center of the beans.  Saute the carrots, celery and onion, and then add it to the pot.  Cover it all with water mixed with a few chicken bouillon or chicken soup/stock base.  Throw in the bay leaves, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  (I didn't use much salt, because my soup base has a lot of sodium in it).  Turn on the slow cooker (or the pot on the stove) on low and cook for 8 to 10 hours or until the beans are soft. 

When the beans are soft, remove the ham bone and some of the beans beans.  Remove the ham from the bone and return it to the mixture.  Puree the leftover mixture in a blender, or if you are a really lucky girl, use an immersion blender.  Taste your soup.  Add more cumin, garlic, salt and pepper to suit your tastes.  (Add a little at a time - you can always add more, but you can't remove it.  Take it from me - I've had more than one dish turn out "too salty" from getting in a hurry with my salt!)  Add your black beans back in, and some extra diced ham, if desired.  Keep the soup warm until dinner in the slow cooker or on the stove.  Even my kids love this soup.  I serve it with homemade cornbread, biscuits, or french bread.  Enjoy!    

Monday, October 10, 2011

Turkey Dumpling Stew

One of my favorite soup dishes is made from leftover turkey.  We had it last night and I enjoyed every bite.
~ Christine from The Good, The Pure, And The Lovely

8 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 - inch chunks
4 celery ribs, cut into 1/2 - inch chunks
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 1/2 cups beef broth (I made mine from beef soup base)
4 and 2/3 cups water, divided
2 tsp salt, or more to taste
1/4 tsp pepper, or more to taste
3 cups cubed turkey (mine was more shredded than cubed)
2 to 4 cups frozen cut green beans (depending on how much you like green beans)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I was quite liberal with this)

DUMPLINGS:
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 egg

In large pot, saute carrots, celery and onion for 10 minutes.  Add beef broth, 4 cups water, salt and pepper.  Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add turkey and beans; cook for 5 minutes.  Combine flour, Worcestershire sauce and remaining water until smooth, stir into turkey mixture.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. 

For dumplings, combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Combine milk and egg; stir into flour mixture just until moistened.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto simmering stew.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes; uncover and simmer 10 minutes longer.

~ Adapted from Taste of Home

Friday, October 7, 2011

Vegetarian Vegetable Soup with Barley

Here's a homemade recipe I made just last week...it was fantastic!  Just a head's up, my kids and I love our soups to be pretty strong on the tomato, so if you're not so into that, reduce some of the crushed tomatoes and replace it with extra broth.  If you're not vegetarian, feel free to use beef broth in place of the vegetable broth.   This yields a fairly good amount of soup, so feel free to freeze any leftovers, or have more tomorrow...soup only gets better as the days go by.

Vegetarian Vegetable Soup with Barley


1 Tbs. canola oil
1 small orange pepper, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
3 cups crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
4 cups vegetable broth (or beef broth)
2 cups water
1/8 head cabbage, chopped small
1 cup corn
1/2 cup frozed green beans, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 Tbs. parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup barley
3/4 cup cooked beans, optional

In large stock pot over medium high heat, saute pepper, onion, carrots, and celery in oil until vegetables are soft and cooked through.  Salt and pepper the vegetables lightly to begin developing their flavor.  Add in garlic and saute an additional minute.  When garlic is cooked, add in tomato sauce, broth and water.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Add in cabbage, corn, green beans, bay leaves, and parsley.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer at least 30 minutes.  If you're only simmering 30 minutes, add in barley now, otherwise add in barley 30 minutes before serving.  Remember--barley may not look like much now, but it'll multiply beyond your wildest dreams, so don't overdo it!  Add in the cooked beans five minutes before serving, if using.  Remove barley leaves, taste soup, and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper as necessary.  If it's tasting kind of good, but not quite right, you probably need more salt.  Add in more broth or water if it's too thick...my family likes soup on the stewy side.  Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How to Make Homemade Soup from Scratch...

I have to say, most of my soups are made without a recipe.  In fact, they are usually a concoction of miscellaneous leftovers and a few staples, which makes it one of the cheapest meals I make.  This time of year, I try to whip up some type of soup or other early in the week for the kids and me to eat on for lunches (my hubby is generally not into soups).  If you really want to make your own soup and make it very, very cheap, all you need to know is the basics of soup making and how to alter it to your own taste.

Here are some general steps for soup making:

1. Saute diced onion, carrot, and celery in a little oil in the bottom of a stock pan until tender. (Also peppers and garlic, if using).
2. Add in the liquids.  This is usually some type of combination of broth and water, or tomato sauce if making a tomato-based soup.
3. Add in additional vegetables and meat.
4. Bring soup to a boil.
5. Cover and simmer 1/2 hour or longer.
6. Add in starches, if using toward the end of the simmer time.
7. Add in cream or cheese, if using.
8.Taste and season with appropriate amount of salt and pepper.
9. Garnish and serve.

Now I know this sounds a little complicated, but the method works for almost all homemade soups and stews.  I'll follow up with a homemade soup recipe using this method.  Experiment a little and see what you can do from scratch!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Best Ever Potato Soup

Here is a soup recipe that I snitched from my Mom-in-law's stash.  You know, with as many of her recipes as I post, I should declare her an official contributor.

"Mom, you're an official contributor!"

There, I feel better.  Anyway, here is her recipe for potato soup.  Just a head's up...it's actually not the most frugal of soups, but oh my, is it good.  My next couple of posts will highlight how to make soups on the major cheap, so stay tuned!

Best Ever Potato Soup


6 bacon strips, diced
2 cups cubed, peeled potatoes
1 can (14 1/2 oz) chicken broth
1 small carrot, grated
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbs. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. each celery seed, salt, pepper
3 Tbs. flour
3 cups milk
8 oz cubed Velveeta
2 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

In large pan, cook bacon until crisp; drain.  Add potatoes, broth, carrots, chopped onion, parsley, celery seed, salt, and pepper.  Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes).  Combine flour and milk until smooth; add to soup.  Bring to a boil; boil and stir 2 minutes.  Add cheese; stir until cheese is melted and soup is heated through.  Garnish with green onions, if desired.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me...

As you may have guessed, yesterday was my birthday.  I am now officially ******-***!  Now normally, my birthday would have nothing whatsoever to do with cooking or frugality or soups or anything I'd usually be covering.  I have to tell you what my very smart hubby (via my very smart Mom-in-law) gave me for my birthday...an immersion blender!

Hot dog.  I am beyond excited!  What a perfect time of year to receive such a fantastic gift...just imagine how easy it will be for me to smooth out soups and sauces and gravies.  If I were a very popular blogger, I would take this opportunity to offer a free immersion blender to a lucky reader, but since I am instead a poor, modestly-followed blogger, I'll suffice with just telling you all about it.  You should get one...anything a blender can do, an immersion blender can do with less to wash.  Thanks, Andy!  You made my day!