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I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a great start to the new year!  My Christmas break was really fun, but extremely busy- ironically I spent most of my time baking and cooking, with little of that time to actually blog about it!  As this New Year has rolled in I have started to, of course, re-evaluate my schedule and my priorities.  And I have found that even though I am a stay-at-home mom and wife, and don’t actually report to a job where I clock in and out, I find myself extraordinarily busy most of the time, and stressed out over things that should not be stressful.  So one of my “resolutions” this year (more of a goal, really) is instead of doing more, which is the norm for me, to do less.  I am going to try to do less of the things that I consider distractions and non-essentials, and focus on the things that are really important.  Making more time to focus on my husband and son, to actually read (especially the Bible as I’ve started a one-year plan), and have time to actually be available to others, to serve and to really “suck out all the marrow out of life” as Henry David Thoreau said.  So this blog will not be a daily blog, as you’ve probably already noticed, but it may be a weekly or even bi-monthly blog.  I hope to post some really good recipes and tips along the way and hope you’ll check in from time to time.  God Bless you this 2012! ~ Pamela


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Happy Veterans Day

Good Morning, and a very happy late Veteran’s Day to you!  My husband, son, and I were actually able to eat lunch out at Olive Garden today free of charge in honor of veterans and all active duty card holders!  What an honor!  I think our country is so amazing in the way they pay tribute to their veterans now.  I am so proud to have served our amazing country.  And I could go on, but it’s late… so I shall save my freshly made pumpkin whoopie pies for tomorrow.  Oh you will love them.  I myself don’t think I’ve even tried whoopie pies before now, and it’s probably a good thing too, as those packaged things may have turned me away for good.  But my friend Kristen tweaked the recipe on her blog, so I decided to try this one out!  Stay tuned as well for some more canning memoirs, as my friends April and Whitney and I make some memories in the kitchen!

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Canning Days

Good morning! I have been busy preparing for our church bazaar this week, so I most likely will not be posting much on here until after Saturday. But I thought you might be interested in a few pictures that describe what I’ve been doing.  Thanks for your patience while I’m working on this project!

Dill Pickles with Spices





Pears poached in wine syrup

Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce in the making

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My whole house smells like pumpkin spice muffins right now, there are caramel apples on my counter, and homemade salsa and canellini bean dip in my fridge; it’s going to be a busy weekend and I’m preparing for it!  Today was my son Lucas’s 2nd birthday, and tomorrow we will host a few toddler-friends at the park with their parents, and we are so excited.  So because of all this anticipation, I won’t be blogging until Sunday or Monday.  But I will have a few good recipes to post, so I hope you’ll come back soon!  Until then have a great weekend!

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Just a quick note to say my family and I are spending a few days out in Sanibel Island, Fl.  We are so excited to take a little break and get away and this place is certainly beautiful!  We are definitley enjoying good food here, I’m just not the one cooking it… So far we’ve had great frozen caramel lattes and an amazing key lime pie.  We are looking forward to eating dinner in one of Sanibel’s local eatieries tonight!  After not cooking for a few days, Monday should hopefully have some great new recipes!  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Carrot Ginger Soup

One of the things I look forward to the most during the fall are the soups.  I love that you can throw almost anything into a soup pot and the end results are always great.  Like most things, this soup was created a few years back when the flavor combination of ginger and carrot was introduced to me.  I liked it so much, I decided to make it into a soup for the moms in our family on one mother’s day.  Since then it has become a family favorite.  I usually double soup recipes, so I can make enough for one day, and freeze the rest.  Soups freeze excellently, and are so good to have on hand when you have had a busy day.  Just serve them along side a pressed sandwich, salad, or even alone with a good crusty piece of bread.

5-6 large carrots (approx 12 oz) shredded
1 large sweet onion (approx 2 cups) diced
4-5 celery sticks diced
4 tbsp of fresh ginger
2 quarts of chicken stock or broth
2 tsp of kosher salt
1 tsp of fresh ground pepper
2-3 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 cup of half and half or milk
1/4 of toasted pumpkin seeds


Evenly dice all your vegetables.  I shred my carrots with a box grater so they will cook faster, but you can dice these as well if you desire.  Almost all soups start off with a mirepoix, the french term for onions, carrots, and celery; if you want to create a soup, this will always give you a good base of flavor.  In this case since the soup is carrot, my carrot content is going to be more than the other two.

Heat a large pot to medium-high and add the olive oil.  Once hot add the onions and celery first.  Add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper.  The salt will help to sweat the vegetables, or to extract the natural juices from them and soften them up. Once onions and celery are slightly translucent, add your carrots and the 3 tbsp of ginger.  Stir well and allow them to combine well together.  This may take 5-10 minutes depending on your range.  If you have a gas range you are truly blessed and I am a bit envious of you 🙂 

ginger stages*If you aren’t familiar with ginger, it is a root.  You can peel it with a knife, vegetable peeler, or the easiest way- the back of a spoon.  Then just slice and dice as you would any vegetable.  Ginger has great benefits, it can help reduce cholesterol and some believe it is good for motion sickness and morning sickness.

Once the vegetables are nice and soft (even mushy- you can test them by of course tasting a few; this is the best way to insure your recipe is going as planned!) add the 2 quarts of chicken stock, lower the heat to medium and allow the soup to simmer for about 5 minutes.  I always try to keep stock on hand.  Buy several when they are buy-one-get-one and this will leave you ample room to be creative on a whim.  Soups have always been a good way to resourcefully use remains of vegetables and meats by combining them all into one pot.simmering

Add the last tbsp of ginger, along with the remaining tsp of salt (optional).adding the last bit of the ginger Simmer for 3 more minutes to allow the flavors to marry.


Next I use my immersion blender, or Cuisinart smart stick, as pictured to puree my soup.  This was a great investment, for about $30, and saves so much time and clean-up.  But if you don’t have one, you can puree your soup in batches in your blender.  Puree till smooth. 

Once I have the pureed consistency I want- velvety smooth and silky, I add a splash (about 1/2 cup) of either cream or milk and blend it in.  Even a little of a low-fat milk will add creaminess into a soup, without it being a cream-based soup at all.  You can totally choose to skip this step if you prefer.    the pureed soup

Taste for seasoning, then serve.  I top my soup with a little 2% plain greek yogurt and a few toasted pepitas on top.  Enjoy!plated soup with greek yogurt and pepitas

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After exercising this morning, I decided to start the day off with a decent bowl of oatmeal.  Only I wasn’t in the mood for the regular brown sugar, nuts, and raisins–besides, the temperature outside was 67°F-and for Florida that is worth celebrating!  So autumn-inspired, I made a pumpkin spiced oatmeal:

Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal

1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of vanilla almond milk
pinch of salt
stick of cinnamon
2-3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree
dash of nutmeg
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 oz of walnuts

Bring the water, almond milk, (or any milk will do- I just like the earthiness of the almonds and the added bonus of fewer calories) salt, and cinnamon stick to a rolling boil.  Once boiling add the pumpkin and stir with a wooden spoon. 

Remove the cinnamon stick, and add the oats, along with the pepitas and walnuts, stir and reduce to a medium heat.  Cook for approximately 5 minutes until a creamy, and slightly runny consistency is achieved. 

Remove from heat and add maple syrup.  As you stir in the maple syrup off the heat the oatmeal will cool and thicken a little.

The end result should be an almost rich, creamy oatmeal-without the fat!  The pumpkin adds the creaminess, and is an amazing vegetable.  Pumpkin can be used in virtually any kind of dish, both sweet and savory.  It gets an “A” for playing well with others, as my favorite pastry chef Dorie Greenspan says.  And it just adds to the wonderful fall smells and flavors around the house!  The best part is that my almost-2-year-old son gobbled his up.  I hope you do try this at home. 😉

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