Thursday, January 30, 2014

Soup of the Week # 3 - Turkey Vegetable Soup

Winter is soup season in our house.

Each weekend I try to make a large pot of soup.  This week's soup was made from the left-over turkey we had at Christmas.  I froze the carcass for making the stock and added whatever vegetables I had in my fridge.  Each time I make this soup it tastes a little different, depending on the vegetables that are added.  I don't use a recipe - just add what we have on hand.  

First placed left-over turkey carcass into put, covered with water and simmered for a couple of hours, until meat practically fell off the bones.   Allowed the broth to cool and skim off any fat and removed all the bones.

Next added chopped up carrots, parnips, celery, leeks, cabbage, onion, garlic.  You can add whatever vegetables you have on hand. 
Added a can of diced tomatoes  

Next added spices - marjoram, thyme, rosemary, sage and a bit of salt.

Simmered gently on the stove until vegetables were cooked.

Yum !   Lunches are now made for the week

Monday, January 27, 2014

Knitting More Socks...

Another "snow" day here and the school buses have been cancelled.  I was out shoveling the driveway in the dark this morning.   The snow banks are taller than my car, which makes it hard to back out of the driveway.  

I haven't been able to hike much this winter.   The trails have taken a beating since the ice storm and most of the Bruce Trail and Conservation Areas in my neck of the woods have been closed until maintenance crews can clear the trails.  I really miss being outdoors.

Thoughts of spring are in my mind as I look through seed catalogues, deciding what I want to plant in the garden this year.  We lost alot of branches in our big tree in the back yard during the ice storm, so will have more sun on the garden than we have had previous years.   

Our little granddaughter turned one year old this month.  I knitted mother and daughter matching pairs of socks.  I may make this a yearly tradition, unless the little one doesn't think it cool to wear the same things as her mother :)


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Soup of the Week #2 - Vegetarian Minestrone

basic vegetable broth
This week's soup is vegetarian gluten-free minestrone. 

I started the soup with a basic vegetable stock, added two cups of broth saved from making baked onions and the broth saved from a can of chick peas. 

I cooked up a large pot of beans using some in the soup and the rest have been divided into 1 cup portions for the freezer.

The recipe came from one of my favourite cookbooks "Nourishing Meals - Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes for the Whole Family" by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre.

The recipe is called Lentil Minestrone, however I made a few changes with what I had on hand.
Instead of lentils I added beans I had cooked up.  Instead of noodles, I added a cup of blend of sprouted rice/quinoa.  Also added a couple cups of chopped cabbage. 

big batch of cooked beans

Vegetarian Minestrone soup - yum !

One of my 2014 challenge this year was also get even more organized.

I started with the pantry - done !
Today also cleaned out my baking/spice cupboard and organized all my spices - now done !

So far, the lo/no spend challenge is going well and am keeping up with the 52 Week Money Challenge.

Added to the list is the 25 thing challenge.  Each week I try to get rid of 25 things that we no longer have use for..... done !

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Taking Stock - 2014

It's that time of year again when I "Take Stock".  

Last January I posted about taking stock of our finances.   This is an exercise I do a couple times a year.  Each January though I do a more lengthy check as this is the month when I have more time and the busyness of the holiday season is over.

This year I also took Gail Vaz-Oxlade's free on-line course called "My Money, My Choices".  This is an excellent course !  Be prepared to do your homework !  Some of the challenges are easy and others are not.  I had already done alot of the challenges in this course so was able to speed ahead.    I'm already on Level 12 !   Nice affirmation to know that I am on the right track.

I continue to track our utility consumption - ie natural gas / electricity and water.  As consumption changes track reasons why and make changes where needed.  I track all our bills and watch for any fluctuations and take stock to find ways to reduce or eliminate.

This year I have added a couple more money saving challenges and have linked up with a couple of other bloggers to stay motivated in my challenges.  

1.  52 Week Money Challenge -  Cindy over at Just North of Wiarton.
2.  Lo-No Spend months -  1/2 Dozen Daily

January is also my month to get organized.  First challenge it so clean out the pantry and freezers and use up what I have to help with my Lo-No spend and 52 Week Money Challenges.  This will reduce our grocery bill and use up what is in our freezer so that it can get cleaned out.  As we get down to the bottom of the freezer meals will get very creative !

I spent a good portion of New Year's Day outside cutting branches that had fallen due to the ice storm we had before Christmas and hauling to the front yard.   Brr... it was cold out : -21C !     The temperature here has dropped even further and with the wind chill dropped to -35C last night.  We still have more clean up in our back yard to do.  Today the Town came and took what we had away and will be mulching/chipping the wood for future use.

All this came from our yard

Friday, January 3, 2014

Soup of the Week #1 - Making Stock

With food costs rising all the time I am always looking for ways to cut costs.  So much food in our country is wasted and thrown out. 

In our house, nothing goes to waste, including discarded vegetable choppings and peels.

During the cooler months I like making a large pot of soup every week, enough for lunches during the week and some to freeze as well.

I start my soups with homemade stock.

Depending on the soup I am making I will use homemade vegetable, chicken, turkey or ham bone stock.

Vegetable Stock
All those discarded vegetable choppings, carrot ends, tough stems from collard greens, kale; radish greens / turnip greens, onion peels.... go into the compost bin .. NO .. not yet.  They all get washed and put into a freezer bags for later use to make stock.  Nothing goes to waste.

Once I have a bag full of frozen vegetable discards it is emptied into a large soup pot or crock pot.  The vegetables are then left to simmer for a couple of hours.  The broth is then cooled and strained.  The broth is saved as a base for soup and the cooked vegetables then go to the compost bin. 

Chicken / Turkey Stock 
I also save chicken and turkey bones after they have been roasted.   I leave some meat on the bones and place the bones into a large soup pot and fill with water and simmer for a few hours.   Broth is then cooled and bones removed.   I also save the the drippings from the roast pan for the stock.  Once the drippings have cooled in the fridge the fat will separate and can be easily discarded.   Broth can be frozen in smaller containers for later use or used right away for soup.

Ham Bone Stock 
Whenever I cook a ham with the bone, it is also used for making stock.   Stock from a ham makes wonderful pea or bean soups.  I leave some meat on the bone and place into large soup pot, fill with water and simmer for a couple of hours.  Broth is then cooled and bone removed.  Drippings from a roast ham is also saved for the broth and once cooled in the fridge the fat will separate and be easily discarded.  Broth can be frozen in smaller containers for later use or used right away for soup.

Stay tuned for recipes using these stocks in soups.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Slouchy Hat

In keeping with tradition of making as many homemade gifts as I can, I knitted this slouchy hat for my niece this Christmas.  This one was made with one skein of Cascade 220 yarn - called "The Heathers".

The photos don't show the rich chocolate brown of this yarn.    The free pattern was found at another fellow blogger blog at Life In Cleveland.

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