Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Butternut Squash Soup and Bread Dressing Recipes

I found this turkey platter at a barn sale a few years back. I love the colors.
As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this week I thought I would share two recipes that we have enjoyed lately. I think both recipes would be a nice addition to a Thanksgiving meal.
We were blessed with a fine harvest of squash in our garden this year. Butternut squash soup is one of my favorite soups and up until this year I had yet to find a recipe that I really liked. Earlier this fall I found a recipe online that was very close to what I was looking for, but there were a few changes I made to make the recipe exactly what I thought butternut squash soup should taste like.
The recipe for the soup is fairly simple, but truly delicious!

Butternut Squash Soup

Cut one large butternut squash (about three pounds) in half. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil. Then bake in the oven at 425 degrees for about an hour or until tender. Once you have removed the squash from the oven allow it to cool, once cool remove the skin.
Saute one small onion in olive oil, once translucent add two cloves of minced garlic. After a minute add 2-4 cups of chicken broth. The amount of broth will depend upon the size of your squash and how thick you would like your soup to be. I typically add 4 cups. Allow the onions, garlic and broth to simmer until vegetables are tender.

Add squash in chunks to broth mixture. The next step is to puree the soup. For this step I use my blender, but you could you an immersion blender. If using a blender I recommend blending the soup in two batches so as not to over fill your blender.

Once your soup has reached the desired consistency return soup to sauce pan and add two tablespoons of maple syrup and two tablespoons of butter. You can add some salt and pepper to taste as well.
Miranda is my supper time companion every night. She loves to sit in the window beside me and patiently wait for a little treat. Surprisingly enough Miranda even likes butternut squash soup! She is a unique cat.
Adam's favorite Thanksgiving dish is bread dressing. I realize the picture of dressing doesn't look all that appetizing, but I snapped a picture before baking the dressing. I knew that once it was baked I wouldn't have time to take a picture. : )

 Bread Dressing

1/2 cup butter
3 cups chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
14-16 cups bread cubes (I used sourdough and Italian bread that was slightly stale)
2-3 tsp. sage
1 tsp. salt*
1/2 tsp. pepper
3-4 cups broth (enough to moisten the bread)

Saute onions and celery in butter. Add broth, simmer until onions and celery are tender. Toss sage, salt and pepper with bread cubes. Add broth mixture to bread cubes. If necessary you can add additional broth if bread cubes are still too dry. At this point I usually have Adam taste test in case I need any extra salt or sage.
*I would recommend starting with 1/2 tsp. of salt and then adding more if needed. Sometimes the broth can be too salty and this can create a dressing that is too salty.

Bake in a well buttered 9x13" baking pan at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until crispy and golden.

Another recipe I make each Thanksgiving, and pretty much every holiday, is coleslaw. I shared this recipe a couple of years ago and thought I would add a link for those who may have missed that post.
Starting today I am offering 10% off all of the items in my Etsy shop. The sale runs through December 3rd. If you are looking for a Christmas present for a friend or family member please consider taking a look at the items I am offering.
I hope you all enjoy a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving! Is there a special family favorite recipe you plan to prepare this year?

"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." Psalm 100

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Homemade Grape Juice

Over the years we enjoyed purchasing locally made grape juice. If you have never tried freshly made grape juice you are truly missing out. : ) The store bought grape juice cannot even begin to compare with the delicious flavor found in fresh grape juice.

We have friends that make grape juice each year. Canning homemade grape juice has been something that my mom and I have wanted to try for many years now. This year we finally purchased a steam juicer so we could make our own grape juice and we are so glad that we did!

We were inspired when a neighbor invited us to pick grapes at his home. Adam and I picked a bushel and were able to produce nearly 14 quarts of grape juice from that bushel using the steam juicer.

We purchased our juicer from a local Mennonite grocery store. We found the steam juicer very easy to use and I am sure we will be making a variety of juices next year.
Adam describes the steam juicer as a triple boiler. You fill the top pan with grapes, the middle pan catches the juice from the top pan and the bottom pan is filled with water to create the steam. The top pan looks like a colander as it is filled with holes. The middle pan looks much like an angel food cake pan as it has a hole in the center which allows the steam to pass through to the top pan. It is quite a clever design and works great.
 Since we had the steam juicer and found that making the grape juice was fairly easy we decided we needed to find a source for more grapes. After looking on-line I found a few different vineyards that offered u-pick grapes. The prices were a lot less than I had expected. We figured that each quart of homemade grape juice cost less than a dollar to make. Plus homemade grape juice is much thicker than store bought, water can be added to home canned grape juice, stretching it even farther. Visiting the vineyard was a real treat! It was truly a beautiful place.
 I am so excited and grateful to have home canned grape juice in the pantry for the winter ahead.

"Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil." Joel 2:23-24
 P.S. The pictures of the grapes and vineyard were taken by Adam. : )