Tag Archives: Putting Food By


Recently, my husband came home with a brand-new, beautiful, four waffle-iron and all the yuck of my day slipped away. And by yuck, I mean a very poor mama attitude that made poor kiddo attitudes worse. I made a full batch of pumpkin pancakes and poured them over the hot griddle knowing that once the butter and syrup sunk into those fluffy grids, the gloom that had settled over my home would be gone. There is nothing like warm, solid, comforting food to soothe emotions.

And on that note, there is nothing like comfort food to start your day out. Make a full batch and freeze the leftovers to pull out on a day when you need a quick breakfast. Spread cream cheese on them and fold or roll them up for a snack.

Pumpkin Spice Batter

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
Whisk the ingredients together into a loose batter and either pour them over a hot waffle iron or in spoonfuls onto a hot griddle. The pancakes or waffles keep for 3-4 days in the fridge or a month in the freezer. Top generously with butter and syrup.

October Freezer Cooking

This past week was one that I was so grateful for a stocked freezer.  Supper prep for the most part involved walking into the kitchen and asking Liam what he wanted to eat. This past week, I needed the ease of a frozen meal, freshly washed lettuce for salads and fruit for the kids. I’m having to make some adjustments with Liam’s routine again and make sure he’s getting a quiet period during the day so he can rest. That boy… just like his mama. Too much busyness and he is a disaster. Thankfully, I’m learning through his needs that I can say “no” to people and activities if it’s just too much. A lesson I really, really needed!

Anyway.  I grocery shopped on Thursday of last week. It took hours because I did Sam’s Club, Kroger, Target, bulk food store, Wayne’s and our butcher shop. But again, I will only have to go to the grocery in the next month for fresh fruit and vegetables and milk. Totally worth it. I did a whole food menu for the month of suppers and made sure to account for leftovers to be eaten on the weekends and for lunches. I also calculated in for a few meals that will not be eaten at home due to birthdays, the tri and Boo at the Zoo. Friday morning, I got up with my list of meals and did the crock-pot prep meals. I started working at 930 and did not put the last dish in the dishwasher until about 830 that night. BUT, I took time out of working to play with the kids, assist in the potty, color, serve meals, read stories, change diapers, answer questions and hand out snacks. If I hadn’t done those things, I think I could have been done in about 5 hours.

  • Taco Soup (2 batches)
  • Tuscan Mac and Cheese (2 batches)
  • Meatloaf (2 batches, meatloaf made and shaped then frozen)
  • Greek Casserole (4 batches… this was a mistake, should have only been 2, but they are in the freezer for a quick meal when needed)
  • Pizza (2 batches of dough made and then frozen.)
  • Chicken Tikka (ingredients in a bag that will easily dump into the crockpot whenever I’m ready)
  • Chicken Parmesan Meatballs (not prepped and recipe to be shared… eventually)
  • Meatballs (2 batches, one for stroganoff and one for bbq meatballs with orzo)
  • Cheeseburger Mac (meat and seasonings cooked, and in a bag with the cheese and pasta… will take 10 minutes to finish)
  • Dippin Tacos
  • Sloppy Janes with ground turkey (not sure how great this will be… I was tired by the time I got to this recipe, so this could wind up being a pb&j sort of night.)
  • Pot Roast with mashed potatoes (Meat will go in the crockpot and the mashed potatoes are made and ready to bake.)
  • Spicy Apple Glazed meatballs (new recipe that I can’t wait to share!!)
  • Beef Pot Pie (this will be made with the leftover pot roast meat so it’s not even prepped)
  • Confetti Chicken Pasta (new recipe, not freezer friendly)
  • Chicken Alfredo and Rice Casserole (new recipe and I’m not certain how freezer friendly it will be… we’ll see)
  • Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup
  • Panini
  • Falafel (not prepped, but the garbanzos are cooked and waiting in the freezer)
  • Sloppy Lentils (also not prepped, but the lentils are cooked and in the freezer)
  • Bread (4 loaves made and 3 frozen)
To be entirely fair, the beans and lentils were already cooked and in the freezer (which is how I picked those meals) and I baked the bread Wednesday. I also decided to bake the meatballs instead of frying them and I may never go back.  I made 2 pounds of meatballs and then just baked an entire pan full while I continued to work. In the next few months, I won’t do as many freezer meals because of the holidays, but I do plan a turkey for next month and look forward to some fun casseroles or quesadillas with the leftovers!
So my freezer is stocked and I’m free to spend my afternoons playing in the still pleasant weather or baking. Although… now that I’m not training for something, I probably shouldn’t bake so much. I hopped on the WiiFit this morning and it yelled at me for snacking. I wonder who told that nosy thing?!

It does cut the mustard

I’ve waited a few months since making this recipe to post about it.  I’ve been trying mustard for a few years now, but never knew that you may want to let it be for about 8 weeks before you start to slather it on sandwiches because it is wicked hot fresh out of the pan. But now… it is perfect.  Now I feel safe using it as my standby ingredient in recipes and am really pleased with the taste.

This recipe was unintentionally adapted from The Organic Family Cookbook. I say unintentionally because I wasn’t going to doctor the recipe at all, but I was unable to find brown mustard seeds, so instead of splitting the volume between yellow and brown mustard seeds, it’s all yellow here. The consistency is coarse, but it’s thick so I actually like it better than store bought since it sticks to the crevices of your bread and doesn’t ooze all over the place.

Simple Mustard (by Anni Daulter)

  • 2 Tbsp. dry mustard
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. white vinegar
  • 1 c. whole yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 c. water
  • scant 1/4 c. raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, mix the dry mustard, eggs and vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat after 30 seconds and simmer until the mixture is thick.  (Keep a close eye on the pan as the mixture bubbles up and then pops, spraying out of the pan.) Cover and store in the fridge overnight.
In a glass bowl, combine the mustard seeds and water.  Cover and let sit overnight.
In a food processor, combine the two mixures after they have rested over night.  Puree until smooth, adding the honey, salt and pepper to taste (you may want to add more than I did.) Store in an airtight container in your fridge.
*Notes: This recipe make 4 cups of mustard, which is a LOT. I gave at least half of mine away.  Also the author notes that it will last for 4 weeks, but since I allowed mine to mellow for 8 weeks before using, I don’t agree.  In fact, I think the longer it has sat in my fridge the better it has become, but that’s my opinion only.  Adapt as you need!

A twist on a favorite standby

I love Pinterest.  For me, it’s the best way to get out of a meal rut.  I just like seeing all those photos of people’s creativity.  And then, I try to figure out how to make it work for me!  Pinterest inspired this recipe, of course, but you know… I changed the original… a LOT.

This recipe, I will be completely honest, is not a favorite of my children, but Matt and I love it. This is our new date night meal.  Yep.  We’re parent of two children under 3, meatballs and pineapple = dinner and a movie.  Personally, I am totally ok with it.

This meal is a perfect freezer meal.  I double bag the sauce to protect against leaks, and then bag the veggies and meatballs.  Finally, I typically add in a bag of rice, just so it’s all ready to go.  Freezer to table, this meal takes only as long as it takes to cook your rice!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chopped peppers and onions
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 4 tsp. soy sauce
  • 6 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 cup brown rice
Using the ground beef, egg, whole wheat flour and seasonings, make meatballs.  Fry them in a saute pan until they are browned.  Drain them on a paper towel. (Cool them if you are planning to freeze, before you put them in a Ziploc bag.)  Cook the rice.  Saute the onions and peppers for 5 minutes.  Then, mix together all the sauce ingredients (chicken broth through sesame oil) and pour into the pan with the peppers.  Cook until the sauce is thick.  Add the meatballs and thoroughly coat with the sauce.  Serve the meatballs and sauce over the cooked rice.

Lasting summer

Last night, I had a dream that it snowed.  I was really disappointed when I realized that it was already in the mid-70s at 7am.    Confession: Summer is not my favorite season.  I love the fresh food and the pool opportunities and all, but I really, really hate being hot.  Really a LOT.  I love all the summer fun, I just don’t like being hot.

However, when I pop open a jar of my jam in the dead of winter, I sure am grateful for that heat that helped the fruit grow and ripen!  This recipe was inspired by the Strawberry and Lemon Preserves from Canning for a New Generation.  I adjusted the flavors a bit to give the jam more what I was looking for: a sweet jam than that finishes with just a little bit of a tart zing!

Strawberry Lemonade Jam

  • 3 pounds strawberries; cleaned, hulled, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 lemons; skins washed and sliced thinly
Once all the fruit has been washed and sliced/chopped, place it in a large bowl or lidded container.  Sprinkle the sugar over the top and then stir to combine.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.  This time allows for the berries to thoroughly macerate in the sugar and form a thick syrup.
Transfer the berry mixture to a large, heavy bottomed pan and mash well.  Heat over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until the syrup begins to thicken.  You will need to skim foam from the top of the jam after about 10 minutes of cooking and the jam was thickened to my liking at about 20 minutes of cook time.  Remove the lemons from the jam and do a final taste test to make sure the jam is sweet enough for you.  I wanted this jam to have the tartness of a lemon as a primary flavor, but if you need more sweetness, add up to another half a cup of sugar.
This jam only makes 4 half pints of jam, so clean and sterilize those jars, lids and rings.  Bring a pot of water to boil, making sure that there is enough water so that the top of the filled jars will be covered by an inch of water.  When the water is at a roiling boil, lower the filled and capped jars in using tongs, make sure the water height covers the jars sufficiently (if not, add more hot water to the pot) and return the water to a rolling boil.  Once the water is boiling, set your timer for 10 minutes and make sure the lid sets securely on top of the pot.
When the time is complete, remove the jars from the boiling water with tongs and place on a towel to cool.  The jars will need to remain on that towel for a minimum of 12 hours while they cool and set.  Once the jars are cool to the touch, you can check the lids to make sure they have sealed.  Place any unsealed jars in the refrigerator.  Label and store the jars… ready for a cold snowy day when you are longing for some summer fun!