I purchased two Squash Neck pumpkins last fall from Bulk and Natural Foods. I canned most of it since my freezer was quite full from good deals, chicken and blueberries. This was my first time canning squash but I will definitely do it again.

As you can see these squash are quite large, in the first picture that is a quarter sitting next to the squash! The bottom of the squash was full of seeds but the rest of the squash was solid giving a good value for the money. I paid $12 something for both of them and ended up with about 30 cups total some canned and some cooked then frozen. See how to bake the squash here.

On this weeks menu plan I included a Butternut Squash recipe that I got from the P90X nutrition guide. I decided to try out the canned squash for this recipe. It literally took me about 10 minutes from start to finish with a delicious warm soup ready to eat.

1 Tablespoon shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
3 cups butternut squash
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth, low sodium
Combine the shallot and garlic in a nonstick saucepan and cook over low heat until translucent, adding a little water if necessary to prevent scorching.

For this step I opened my quart jar of canned squash strained the water (keep the squash juice). Then pureed with my handi-dandi hand blender. OR Add the squash and chicken broth and simmer until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes. Transfer to blender or processor to puree.

Combine the shallot and garlic, broth, (milk if desired) and squash together and cook until heated through.  Serve.

OPTIONAL: I added the canned evaporated milk to the recipe as I thought my kids would like it better with a little more of a sweet taste.


Are you looking for some fun, festive food for Halloween?  Our wonderful Mother sent me the pictures and instructions for making Jello worms for Halloween.  The pictures look pretty realistic.  I am sure that kids would love this!

Mom wrote:
I thought these were so Halloween.  They did take a little bit of time, though.  I can’t wait to make them when I come stay with Kaehl, Braedon and Tayte. This idea is on Pineterest, but theirs looked more like gummy worms. I just used what I had, and I got quite a realistic worm look.  What do you think?   I had a hard time eating the first one!
1 small package green jello
1 small package red jello
1 cup of water
1/2 cup canned milk


Dissolve green & red jello in 1 cup water (total).  Once jello is completely dissolved, mix in 1/2 cup canned milk.
Pack a cup full of straws (pull the flex-neck part straight & put it at the bottom), then pour the jello into the straws.  Place the cup in the fridge and let it set.  (Sorry the picture is blurry!)
The un-molding is a little tricky.  I ran each straw under hot water for about 4 seconds, then pushed the ‘worms’ out ontoa wax paper lined cookie sheet.  They came out pretty easy that way.  Be careful not to leave them under the water too long.  They go runny quick!
Once they are all out of the straws, they need to go back into the fridge for an hour or so to set up so they don’t stick together when you put them in a bowl.
I made orange jello and put the worms on top of it.  It would take a lot of work to make a whole bowl of worms for everyone.  We served it with mummy hot dogs, deviled egg eye balls, and Natasha’s pumpkin soup.
Thanks mom for sharing!


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Pepper Jelly

by LeaDawn on October 13, 2011

Have you ever heard of Pepper Jelly?   I had not until my sister told me she was making some last week.  I asked her to take pictures so that I could share with all of you.


2 cups of finely chopped peppers
(You can add more if want, depending on how chunky you want your jelly.  I used two red bell peppers and 10 jalapenos.  I only used half of the seeds from the jalapenos.  The more seeds, the hotter your jelly)
1 1/2 cup vinegar (any kind)
1/2 tsp salt
6 cups sugar
liquid pectin (The recipe called for 1 pouch of liquid pectin, I used two to make it thicker.)


Prepare pint jars and lids (about 5).

Chop peppers up really fine. In a pan, mix chopped peppers with vinegar, salt, and sugar.  Bring mixture to a boil for about 10 minutes. (Watch carefully and stir to make sure it doesn’t boil over).

Next stir in pectin, and bring to a boil again.  Once jelly comes to a boil, carefully fill the jars.  Leave about 1/2″ on the top empty.  Wipe around top to make sure the jars are clean.  Then place lids on and screw the rings on tight.

If you have a steam caner or a water bath, process for 10 minutes (This is for sea level. You add a minute for every thousand feet you are above sea level.  Rexburg is almost 5,000 feet above sea level so I processed mine for 15 minutes).

I do not have a processor so I used a large pan. Bring a big pot of water to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, carefully place the bottles in the boiling water.  (The bottles just have to be covered completely by the water for them to process correctly).  I do not have the canning can grabbers, so I used our salad tongs.  let them boil for 10 minutes. (add one minute for every thousand feet you are above sea level).

Once they have processed, remove the jars and let them cool.  You should hear popping noises as they cool.  Once they have cooled, check the jars to make sure they sealed correctly.  The lids should be intended in the middle.  If the lid pops back up when you push down on it, it has not sealed.

We enjoy eating our pepper jelly with crackers and cream cheese.  Enjoy!

Thanks Shaleece for the recipe!

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Pumpkin Recipes

by LeaDawn on October 6, 2011

Last weekend we had the opportunity to visit a local pumpkin patch.  A family friend owns the patch, and it is a family tradition to go there to get pumpkins and colorful gourds for decorating.

I picked out several medium size pumpkins (15-20lbs) to bake, puree, and freeze.  I have done this the last 2 falls, and I love having the pumpkin puree in the freezer to use.

For me, this is a much more cost effective way to enjoy pumpkin puree. This time of year I can easily get a 15-20lb pumpkin for $3.  That will make a lot of puree to bake with and freeze for later use.

Read more information on how to bake & freeze pumpkin.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to eat pumpkin:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins or Bread
I love making pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and freezing them for an easy snack.  You can also use this recipe to make pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bisque
Natasha shared a pumpkin bisque recipe.  It sounds delicious!
Pumpkin Pancakes

I love breakfast, and this is a great way to put a fall twist on pancakes.  These pancakes are super soft and delicious.

Dinner in a Pumpkin
This is a great stew for Halloween!



Broccoli Cheddar Soup

by LeaDawn on September 22, 2011

I don’t know about you, but to me fall is the beginning of soup season.  A bowl of warm soup served with a soft homemade roll on a cool evening… perfect.

I am currently on a mission to expand my small collection of favorite soup recipes, so if you have a favorite send it my way!

My little sister shared this recipe with me last fall, and I love it.  She had changed the recipe a little, and I changed it a little more.  Here is my version of the recipe:

6 cups chicken broth
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 medium potato chopped (optional)
2 carrots chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon salt
1 pinch ground pepper
2 cups milk
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
3 cups fresh broccoli florets, cooked
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Note: You can really add or leave out vegetables depending on what sounds good to you.  My sister likes adding red peppers.


In large saucepan, combine broth, cream of mushroom soup, onion, celery, potato, carrots, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until carrots & potatoes are soft.

Add milk and bring soup to a boil.  Once you add the milk, stir often to avoid sticking or burning to the bottom.

In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Gradually add mixture to soup, stirring constantly. Simmer for 5 minutes, and then add broccoli and cheeses

Stir soup until cheese is melted.  Garnish with grated cheese.

Yields 8 servings

I like to serve this with Grandma Brown’s whole wheat rolls.


Favorite Fall Recipes

by LeaDawn on September 15, 2011

Today I decided to highlight a few of my favorite fall recipes from our Recipe Database.  These recipes have 2 main things in common.

First, they use vegetables that you might grow in your garden or can get super cheap at grocery store or farmers markets.

Second, they are very simple.  The fall is our last chance to enjoy the nice weather before the snow hits, and I don’t want to spend the season inside cooking!


Pumpkin Pancakes
I am a huge breakfast fan, and these pancakes add a little variety to our breakfast.  They freeze great too!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread/ Muffins
Yum.  Did you know you can use squash instead of pumpkin in this recipe?  This is perfect for the fall because squash and pumpkin are in season.  Of course, we cook and freeze pumpkin in the fall so that we can enjoy them year round!

Zucchini Bread/ Muffins
I am making more of this today.  I love having the muffins in the freezer for a quick snack.


Zucchini Fajitas

Looking for a quick and delicious way to use your zucchini?  Quick and simple fajitas.

Italian Veggie Pasta Salad
This is another super simple meal that uses some of the fresh produce you can get super cheap this time of year.

Sausage with Pasta & Broccoli Salad
This is another simple pasta salad.

Dinner in a Pumpkin
Ok, so it is not quite Halloween, but aren’t those pumpkins cute?  Holiday food is so fun! (Don’t worry, I will be sharing more Halloween ideas)


Apple Pie
I love apple pie.  I eat it for desert, breakfast, snack… Did I mention that I love it?  My mother had a bunch of early apples a few weeks back, so I made 3 apple pies and froze them. (I don’t know why, but I had never done this before!) So I have 3 delicious pies sitting in freezer bags in my freezer.  I am definitely going to freeze more.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
It has a vegetable in it, so that makes it healthy right?   Growing up, this was my favorite way to eat zucchini - buried in a chocolate cake so that I could not taste it!

What are you cooking this fall?

I am linking to Things I Love Thursdays


Canning Peaches

by LeaDawn on September 13, 2011

Last weekend my mother came and we spent the day canning peaches.  I am so excited to have these for the next year.  We love having peaches with our morning cake.  These will also be great for Conner to snack on.  I grew up on home canned peaches, so I really don’t care for the store bought variety.

We were able to get our peaches for $0.34 a pound at a local orchard.  We bought the small fruit that was sold at a discount.  We re-used jars canning jars and rings from past years, and canned 21 jars for about $18 ($15 for fruit, $3 for lids & a little sugar).

The cost comes out to about $.80 per jar. That is a great price for a quart of delicious peaches!  Plus, I know exactly what is in each jar.  Peaches, 1/4 cup sugar & water.  No preservatives or other ingredients.

What fruits or vegetables are you preserving this fall?