Spiced Almond Nog

Because my body does not like to process dairy well, I’ve been missing eggnog so much at the holidays that I have cheated and had some the last couple of years. I never feel good after, so I take Imodium. I know. I know. Why would I consume something that does not treat my body well? It was always one of my favorite parts of the holidays. That and the canned, jellied cranberry sauce.

This year I noticed that Blue Diamond Almond Breeze has an almond nog. Yay!

Does it taste exactly like eggnog? Don’t know. I use it to make rum drinks with, and it works great for this purpose.

The price is high at $3.28 per quart, but I can get three drinks out of it if I use wine glasses rather than tall glasses.

While working my shifts at The Inn, I am sometimes gifted different types of alcohol from certain guests. Twice in a two month period, one guest gave me a of Bacardi Rum, and another gave me whiskey. For this recipe, I’ve been using the rum.

The amount of rum used will depend on your tastes. I do not use a lot. Just enough for a little added flavor. I don’t measure out any of the ingredients for this recipe. I use organic spices because the taste is superior.

Spiced Almond Nog

Ingredients

rum

nog

cinnamon

nutmeg

  1. Pour just a little rum into a the wine glass.
  2. fill the rest of the way with nog and stir.
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon and eggnog over the top.

Happy Holidays!

~ Shannon

Sausage & Apple Stuffed Squash

I used leftovers from my Sausage & Apples One-Pan Meal to make stuffed squash today, and it was delicious. I often make extras at one meal to use for other meals over the next couple of days. It makes meal prep a little easier.

I’ve done a few different stuffed squashes, and I just love them. I think my favorite was a chili stuffed squash. I’ll try to remember to post it here sometime. But this one was simply delicious. I love the paring of sausage and apples.

There is a long bake time for these, but it’s well worth it, and it gives me time to start a blog post or do something else.

This recipe actually gives me two meals. I’ll usually eat one for lunch and the other for dinner.

Ingredients

Serves 2

leftovers from yesterday’s Sausage & Apple One-Pan Meal

acorn squash

oil

sea salt

pepper

seasonings of choice

  1. Wash the squash and pat dry.
  2. Take the stem off, and cut in half from top to bottom.
  3. Take out the seeds and the stringy stuff, reserving the seeds for roasting.
  4. Drizzle oil over cut sides of squash and smear it to cover. Not too much oil, but just enough to cover.
  5. Grind salt and pepper over top.
  6. Place cut side down on baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 to 60 minutes, until tender enough to scoop out.
  7. Carefully place each squash on your work and scoop out the inside, leaving enough to create a sturdy bowl.
  8. Put the scooped out squash into a medium size bowl, and put the “bowls” back on the baking dish cut side up.
  9. Add 1/2 of the Apple & Squash One-Pan Meal leftovers to the bowl, covering the rest and putting it back into the refrigerator for another meal.
  10. Grind some salt and pepper over the contents of the bowl, and add any seasonings you like.
  11. Scoop into the squash “bowls”. If there are any leftovers, add them to the leftovers already in the refrigerator.
  12. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so, until heated through.
  13. Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before placing on a plate or in a bowl to eat.

Tips

  • Use fresh, organic garden produce when available for the best taste.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve this with fresh, raw vegetables and fruit water for added nutrients.
  • If you have access to an oven or a microwave at work, wrap the second stuffed squash and bring it with you.

 

Kids in the Kitchen: Make a Pumpkin Cookbook

I’ve already posted about having children make apple and zucchini cookbooks. This another great family or homeschool project. You would first need to do some research about the elements you would like  added to the cookbook.

Some suggestions are:

  • table of contents
  • this for that information
  • measurement information
  • information on the different types of pumpkin
  • information on making homemade pumpkin puree, by baking or boiling
  • information on freezing pumpkin, or the finished recipes
  • how to store roasted pumpkin seeds

They might also want to add a photograph of finished recipes, or one of them making each recipe.  A nice two-page spread should include the recipe and picture on one page, and a journaled story about making or eating the dish on the next page.

It would be fun if they made their book in the shape of a pumpkin. My daughters did this, and bound the covers and pages together with yarn. The covers were made of construction paper.

Have them use only your family’s favorite holiday/harvest pumpkin recipes, so they will have to try them all out first. This can be a lot of fun. Make sure they know how to prepare relevant recipes for the freezer.

Here are some pumpkin recipe ideas:

  • bread
  • muffins
  • pumpkin  cake with cream cheese frosting
  • soups, and soups served in hollowed out pumpkins
  • vegetable medley
  • pumpkin bars
  • pie
  • cookies
  • roasted pumpkin seeds
  • pancakes

Let us know what your children include in their cookbooks!

Shannon

Kids in the Kitchen: Make a Zucchini Cookbook

Like the apple cookbook project, this is another great family or homeschool project that will teach children many skills. You would first need to research what elements you want to add to your cookbook.

Some suggestions are:

  • table of contents
  • this for that information
  • measurement information
  • information on zucchini
  • information on freezing zucchini, or the finished recipes
  • how to clean and shred the zucchini

If they grew the zucchini then they can also add gardening information, and summer and autumn harvest information.

They may also want to add a photograph of finished recipes, or of them making each recipe.  A nice two-page spread might showcase the recipe and picture on one page, and a journaled story about making or eating the dish on the next page.

You’ll want to have them use only favorite holiday/harvest zucchini recipes, so have them try them all out first. This can be a lot of fun. You will also want to make sure that they know how to prepare relevant recipes for the freezer.

When my daughters made theirs, they used construction paper and bound everything together with yarn.

Here are some zucchini recipe ideas:

  • bread
  • muffins
  • zucchini mashed potatoes
  • harvest salad
  • zucchini in stir-fry
  • chocolate zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting
  • soups
  • vegetable medley

Let us know what your children include in their cookbooks!

Shannon

Quick Tip: Freezing Zucchini

Buying zucchini when it’s on sale or cheap at farmers’ markets or stands, or growing your own and harvesting them at the end of summer and into autumn, can save a lot of money on your grocery bill. If you stock up when it’s cheap (or free), then you’ll save money throughout the year. This is a frugal way to add to your freezer stock.

This is how I freeze zucchini. I only use it shredded, and in things like breads, muffins and cakes, so I do this quickly and easily.

Rinse the zucchini well and cut off the ends. Do not peal it. Grate the zucchini, then put it into quart size freezer bags/containers in one cup measures. This makes it easier to take out only what I need.

Shannon

Kids in the Kitchen: Make an Apple Cookbook

This is a frugal family or homeschool project that will teach math, reading, life skills, and more.

What is added to each child’s cookbook depends on their age and skills, but this will be a fun project for them to work on as they learn to help with food preparation during the harvest months.

Some examples of book parts include:

  • table of contents
  • this for that information
  • measurement information
  • information on the different types of apples
  • classification of baking apples
  • information on freezing apples, or the finished recipes
  • why you should never eat apple seeds (hint: poison)
  • a page telling about each family member’s favorite type of apple

They add a photograph of finished recipes, or of themselves making each recipe.  A nice two-page spread would showcase the recipe and picture on one page, and a journaled story about making or eating the dish on the next page.

When my daughters made their apple books, they created them in shapes of apples – the pages and the cover, using construction paper and binding them with yarn.

Have them use only the family’s favorite holiday/harvest apple recipes, so they’ll have to try them all out first. This can be a lot of fun. Make sure that you know how to, and they include the directions for, preparing relevant recipes for the freezer.

Here are some apple recipe ideas:

  • bread
  • muffins
  • apple cake with cream cheese frosting
  • apple bars
  • pie
  • cookies
  • crisp
  • applesauce, apple-pear sauce, apple-peach sauce
  • salads
  • pancakes

Let us know what your children decide to put in their apple cookbooks!

Shannon

Pumpkin and Marigold Centerpiece

This centerpiece is not difficult to make using a mid-size pumpkin, or even one a bit larger. It can be placed on the dinner table. A second can be made to be used as a mantle decoration.

Materials

1 pumpkin

sharp knife

flower-pot to fit inside the pumpkin

large spoon

organic potting soil

fresh Marigold plants, assorted colors if desired

  1. Cut the top off the pumpkin and discard. Scoop the insides of the pumpkin out, reserving the seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds.

  2. Allow the pumpkin to dry over night.
  3. Fill the flower-pot 2/3 full with organic potting soil, placing the plants in the pot how you want them, and cover their roots with more soil if necessary.

  4. Place the pot into the pumpkin.
  5. Water lightly when needed.

Tips

  • Grow your own pumpkin and marigolds to save money.
  • To save even more, reuse an old flower-pot or pick one up at a yard sale. Be sure to disinfect the pot and allow to dry completely before using.

Shannon

 

Kitchen Craft: Herb and Fruit Slice Garland

Garlands are a great addition to autumn and winter decor, for the sabbats and holidays of the seasons. These garlands smell so good during the preparation stage, as well as for a while after they are created. Note that these fruits are not edible, but the herbs and cinnamon sticks can be removed later and used when cooking.

This craft takes about four days to complete.

Items Needed (amounts depend on size and number of garlands):

apples

oranges

lemons

limes

wax paper

cinnamon sticks

fresh herbs, or dried

garland

twine

craft wire

scissors

glue gun and sticks

Hammer and nails, or tacks

  1. Slice the fruit, do not peel first.
  2. Place the fruit slices on wax paper to dry for a few days before continuing.
  3. Turn each fruit slice twice a day.
  4. On the fourth day, or when the fruits are dried, prepare to decorate the garland.
  5. Lay the garland out.
  6. Tie two or three cinnamon sticks with twine to make bundles.
  7. Tie bundles of fresh herbs together with the twine. Feel free to mix and match types.
  8. Tie the cinnamon and herb bundles where desired  on the garland using craft wire.
  9. Glue the fruit slices where desired onto the garland, being sure not to get glue on the herbs and cinnamon sticks.
  10. Hang the garland where desired.

Variations:

  • Add small bells.
  • Add bows.
  • Make wreaths to match.
  • Make swags instead.

You could also:

  • Add herb/cinnamon bundles to your holiday tree.
  • Add fruit slice garland to the holiday tree.
  • Use the dried herbs in recipes when you take your decorations down.

Shannon

Pumpkin Fruit Bowl

Fruit bowls are not difficult to make using a mid-size pumpkin, or even one a bit bigger. These bowls, once dried some, will hold the fresh fruit for your Thanksgiving feast.

Materials

1 pumpkin

sharp knife

large spoon

fresh fruit, assorted varieties

wax/parchment paper, or a towel, or even a bowl if you have one that fits

  1. Cut the top off the pumpkin and discard. Scoop the insides of the pumpkin out, reserving the seeds for roasting.

  2. Scrape some of the flesh out to use in cooking, being sure to leave enough so the pumpkin is sturdy enough to hold fresh fruit.
  3. Allow to dry a few hours or over night.

  4. Place a bowl, wax or parchment paper, or even a towel, around the inside of the pumpkin so it covers the flesh.
  5. Put the pumpkin where it will be displayed, and place the fruit inside.

Tips

  • Grow your own pumpkins to save money.
  • When you’re done with the bowl, scrape more of the pumpkin out and place in a pot with boiling water to freshen the air.
  • Roast those pumpkin seeds!

Shannon

Kitchen Craft: Holiday Herb Garland or Swag

The scent of fresh herbs will be evident for a while once these are put together, adding a homey feel to any room in the house. These are easy to make, and will not take too much time. These make great decorations for autumn the autumn and winter sabbats and holidays.

Items Needed:

Grapevine or pine imitation garland or swag.

Twine

Scissors

Craft wire

Fresh herbs

Holiday bows

Nails and hammer or tacks

  1. Tie the fresh herbs together in bundles with twine.
  2. Attach the herb bundles to the garland or swag using craft wire, in whatever arrangement you would like.
  3. Attach a couple of holiday bows with the craft wire.
  4. Hang the garland or swag and enjoy the aroma while the herbs are drying.

Here are some tips:

  • Hang and allow to dry to give as gifts.
  • When giving as gifts, find boxes that these will fit nicely into.
  • The herbs can later be removed from the swag or garland and crumbled into canning jars to use when cooking.

Shannon