Guest post

We planted a bunch of pie pumpkins in our back field this year.  I love knowing that my pumpkins were grown without chemicals. We love pumpkins in bars, muffins, and pies.  I’m sure we’ll come up with some more creative uses. Here’s the process that we used to make our pumpkins into puree.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

PumpkinsCut the pumpkins in half

Cut pumpkinsScoop out stringy pulp and seeds.  Remove the stem.

Scoop out insidePlace face down in a shallow pan.

Place in shallow panCover with foil.

Bake in oven for about 1.5 hours or until tender.

Allow pumpkins to cool.  Scoop pumpkin flesh and puree or mash it.

I used a food processor.  You could also use a blender or a mash it with a potato masher.  It really depends on what you have available and what consistency you like.

Pumpkin pieMake a yummy pumpkin pie.

I use the recipe on the Libby’s Pumpkin Puree can and substitute 15 oz. of our pumpkin puree.  I also make my pie crust from scratch from a recipe that Matt taught me when we were 1st dating.  Nothing beats homemade:)

With the puree that I didn’t use, I measured it into amounts that I use in recipes and froze it.

What do you make with pumpkin puree?

 Update*** I decided to re-post this… originally posted over 3 years ago.  But I have had a few emails asking me how to cook pumpkins so I thought it was worth sharing again!

Thanks to Give me Neither For this great post.

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Football Food on a Budget: Tomato and Bacon Quesadillas

The beginning of fall means one thing: football season is officially back in full swing.  With football games come football tailgates and parties, which come with the best part of all: football food.  From pizza to spicy hot wings and hot dogs on the grill to home-cooked chili recipes, football foods are known for being easy to eat, hearty and definitely crave-worthy.

The only problem with football food is that if you’re feeding a crowd, ordering dozens of pizzas and hot wings can get expensive, which is why keeping a collection of easy tailgate recipes on hand is the most budget-friendly approach to football-watching.  There’s no need to spend lots of money on food to get the complete football experience; instead, use what you already have in your cupboard to make your own tasty appetizers.

Try this easy recipe for tomato and bacon quesadillas; they can be made in just 20 minutes so you won’t miss a minute of the game and they are perfect for feeding a crowd.  These quesadillas are cheesy, crispy, full of bacon and tomato goodness, and best of all, they are made to be grabbed and dipped.  It’s easy to double or triple the recipe, too, depending on how many people you’ll be feeding.  Try them out next Sunday—you’ll never feel the need to spend an arm and a leg on tailgating snacks again!

 Tomato and Bacon Quesadillas

Prep Time: 20 min – Total Time: 20 min – Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded Mexican-style cheese blend (2 cups = 8 oz)
  • 8 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 14.5 oz can Hunt’s® Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 8 slices fully cooked bacon, heated and chopped
  • 1/2 cup loosely-packed fresh basil leaves, optional
  • PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • Sour Cream and salsa, optional

Directions

Place the following on one half of each tortilla: 1/4 cup cheese, 2 tablespoons tomatoes, 1 tablespoon bacon and 1 tablespoon basil, if desired.  Fold each tortilla in half to form a half circle.

Coat a large skillet with cooking spray.  Cook each quesadilla over medium-low heat until cheese is melted and tortilla is lightly browned, about 1 ½ minutes on each side.

Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.   Pile them on a serving dish alongside bowls of sour cream and salsa for dipping; you’ll be guaranteed to have a house full of extremely happy football fans.

Guest Post ~ Author Bio: Meredith K. writes on behalf of Hunt’s®.  For other easy football appetizers, as well as easy chili recipes and slow-cooker recipes that are perfect for fall, visit www.Hunts.com.

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One of our readers Amber H. sent us this guest post on canning meat. She shows you how each step goes and can help you save money by getting your meat on sale, buying in bulk, and canning it to use later. Doing this can help your stockpile, save on the electric freezer bill because you wont need to put this in the freezer!

How to can meat.
Put your jars, lids and rings in the dishwasher and run them through the rinse cycle.  You want them warm when you put them in your canner.
Roast beef:  Trim the fat.  Cut into chunks.
 Put into jars.  1/2 tsp. salt for pints, 1 tsp. salt for quarts.
Rinse the top of the jar before you put the lid and ring on.
Place jars into your canner.  Fill halfway up the jars with warm water.
Put the lid on your canner and seal it.  Turn burner on high. When you see steam start coming out of the top of the lid put 10 minutes on the clock.
 When timer goes off place your 15 lb. weight on the lid.  Wait until the weight starts “rocking.”  (This takes forever.)  When it starts rocking process your roast 75 minutes for pint jars and 90 minutes for quart jars.  When the timer goes off turn your burner off.
 Wait until the pressure gauge goes down on your canning lid.  Do not open your canner until this valve goes down.  Take your jars out with a canning jar grabber.  (Is that what they are called, it sounds funny :)  Enjoy your canned roast in a pinch.
Ground Beef or Ground Turkey is canned and processed the exact same way.  Two differences:  You must brown it before you put it into your jars and fill your jars with water.  1/2 tsp salt for pints, 1 tsp for quarts.  Just dump it on the top of the beef before you put your lid on.
Chicken is canned exactly like the roast.  It goes in raw and you DO NOT fill it with water.  It will cook in it’s own natural juices.  You can use the chicken in SO many things.  Enchiladas, casseroles, quesadillas, etc.
So pretty and you will feel SO accomplished!

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Thanks to Shy Babies for this post on how to start a preschool routine for your child at home.  I loved her ideas and tips, some times I tend to over think things, and preschool is one of those things can be so easy.   You just need to make it consistent and fun!

With back to school season in full swing, it is time to decide what you are going to do if you have a preschool aged child at home. Should you put a strong focus on preschool at home or ignore it all together? Maybe find a middle ground.

No matter the skill level or attention span of your child, consider at least working on one learning activity a day. This can be a fun way to spend the day with your child and advance his or her learning.

If you want to start small, identify one type of activity for each day of the week and plan each week with that in mind. Some activity types include but are not limited to:

-art (i.e. edible finger paint)
-cooking
-letters/reading
-science (i.e. effects of freezing and thawing)
-physical education
-music

By staying consistent with what type of activity you will focus on each day, your child will know what to expect each day. When your child knows what to expect, he or she will be more likely to respond positively toward the activities and the structure that comes with it. Also, this will also make it easier for you as a parent to plan ahead. You will know what you need to plan and a little less overwhelming.

Once you are starting to plan your preschool week, pick one theme for the week.  If your child loves dinosaurs, plan a week of dinosaur related fun.  A sample week could be as follows:

Art Monday -Make a dinosaur out of the tube from a roll of toilet paper and construction paper
Reading Tuesday- Read books about dinosaurs and focus on T lettered dinosaurs
Physical Activity Wednesday- Go for a walk an you and your child walk like dinosaurs the whole time
Science Thursday- Compare pictures of reptiles and dinosaurs to see how they are alike and how they are different
Food Friday- Let your child help you make dirt pudding and bury some dinosaur gummies

Finding these fun weekly themes combined with a set activity for each day of the week, makes preschool homeschooling on a busy schedule easy to plan and fun together time.  If you would like to be a little more active in teaching your child you could combine multiple activities per day or find some of the great free online curriculum sites such as Preschool Palace.

Just remember that the most important thing for young kids is to teach them that learning is fun.  This time should be fun!

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Thanks to A Little Inspiration for passing along this recipe for Wedding Cookies.  If you have not tried these before, then you are missing out.  They are SO Yummy!

Mexican Wedding Cookies are traditionally handed out to guests at weddings and other celebrations.They are also known as pecan butter balls, or snowdrops!

Ingredients:
2 Sticks(1Cup) of Unsalted Butter
*1 Cup of finely crushed Pecans or Almonds
1 1/2 Cup of Powedered Sugar
1 Tsp of Vanilla
1 Tbsp of Ground Cinnamon
2 Cups of Flour (not pictured)

*You can ommit the nuts if you are allergic.

Directions:

1) Cream butter until light and fluffy
2) Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and vanilla to the butter. Blend well
3) Add flour and mix well.

4) Grind almonds or pecans
5) Add to cookie dough and mix well
6) Place dough on a container and wrap with plastic. Regrigarte for about 15 minutes.
7) On a small bowl combine the remaining cup of powdered sugar with ground cinnamon

8) Preheat oven at 350F. Make small balls and place them on a cookie sheet one inch apart. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden at the bottom.
9) Let cookies rest for about 5 minutes on cookie sheet. Then transfer the warm cookies to the cinnamon sugar and cover completely! Let cool.
10) Enjoy!

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Photo Credit 

Did you know that you can  freeze eggs?

Break each egg into an ice cube tray, 1 egg per cube. Mix the yolk & the white together slightly (to prevent texture inconsistencies after thawing). Freeze the eggs and transfer to a ziptop bag and label with the date. Eggs can be stored, frozen for up to a year. Just thaw in the refrigerator over night before use.

This is a great tip for when eggs go SUPER CHEAP around Easter each year!

Thanks Realistic Couponers 

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