Monday Bites ~ Thanksgiving Soup

I know, I know…… everyone is sick and tired of turkey…….. but you see, I invented this yummy soup and if you make a turkey for the upcoming December holidays, you'll have something fun to do with the leftovers! This soup was truly invented to use up the last little bits of everything….. excluding the cranberry sauce…. because….. well…. some things just don't belong in soup! And if you love stuffing and dumplings as much as my crew…. keep reading………

     

kale
 

Thanksgiving Dinner Soup

(Turkey Soup with Stuffing Dumplings)

Bones of one Turkey

3 quarts of water

splash of vinegar


**simmer the above for a whole day…. overnight in the crockpot is best.


Drain the bones and pull any meat off if you wish. Now is the fun part. Throw your leftovers into the pot!!

1-2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes

1-2 cups of leftover squash puree


**Stir this up well. Add in some green veggies. (I think onions & carrots would also be good, but seriously who feels like chopping a bunch of vegetables after Thanksgiving dinner is over!??!!)

1 bunch of chopped Kale (or 1 pound of green beans)


thanksgiving soup  

      

Add spices of your choice…. some good ones would be garlic powder, rubbed sage, paprika, salt, pepper, a pinch of ginger…… Bring the soup to a gentle simmer while you prepare the dumplings…..


Stuffing Dumplings ::

4 eggs

2-3 cups of leftover stuffing (I picked the cranberries out of ours!)

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup wheat flour

3/4 cup white flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder


making dumplings
 


** Mix the eggs, stuffing & milk together. In a separate bowl mix up the flours, salt & baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and stir until well combined… the batter should be stiff enough to hold its shape. You can add a little more flour if needed. Drop the dumplings 3-4 at a time into the simmering soup. Stir the soup. You can add 2-3 more dumplings every 5 minutes or so. This prevents them from sticking together. After all the dumplings have been added let the soup simmer for 10 minutes to ensure that the dumplings are cooked all the way through.

Yummy accompanied by a fresh salad. This soup is not pretty, but it is delicious! The entire pot disappeared at my place!


taste tester 

 

     

Giving Thanks

There are cranberry pumpkin muffins in the oven and fresh bread on my table. Two beautiful pies and roasted squash and sweet potatoes and more….. the house is full of warm beautiful smells. 

Miss 6 making bread

  

cranberries
  

bread
   

   my littlest helper
        

 Thanksgiving Morning
   

My heart is full of thanks for all those so dear to me…… family, friends near and far and all of you who stop by to share this little space with me. The sweet little ones in my house that spent the entire day yesterday helping their mama and the man of the house who never grumbled as he washed dish after dish after dish. When I look at all their beautiful faces and the abundance of good things to eat in my house I feel so very, very blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Much Love and Many Blessings to you all.

    

In the Garden this morning…..

the garden

        

The garden is slowly but surely coming along. We ate our first salad yesterday at lunch! What a joy to eat something you have grown from a tiny little seed. It's strange and wonderful to be spending so much time outside near the end of November tending a garden.

I've had to help the pumpkins and squash a bit since there are less pollinating bugs outside this time of year. I've been using a q-tip to do this. It seems to have worked since my first blossoms were shriveling up and now I have fruit on the newer ones! I had no idea there were male and female blossoms….. gardening is so new to me!

sweet peas 

sweet peas

          

zucchini blossoms 

zucchini blossom

          

leaf lettuce

 leaf lettuce

        

My husband screened in our covered patio and now we have a nice bug free place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine in the evening…. it has been SO very nice to have this extra space. And I've got quite the collection of plants starting outside….. peas, sweet potatoes, herbs and 3 fruit trees. A satsuma orange tree, a lemon tree and a fig tree. These will be planted in the yard soon… but I am excited that two of them have some fruit…. it's too late in the season for this, so the large lemons will ripen, but the figs and tiny lemons most likely will not. The lemon tree bloomed after we brought it home and lemon blossom is one of the best smells ever. It was unbelievable, the entire backyard smelled clean and wonderful!

patio 

new covered patio and our little homestead beginnings

     

ripening lemon 

a lemon just starting to turn yellow

    

lemon blossom 

lemon blossoms

   

tiny lemons 

after the blossoms fall off, these tiny lemons begin to form

     

little figs 

little figs

     

And the fairy's have also been busy gardening, because on my way out to our garden I saw this wee little one next to a fairy house.

fairy garden
          

Monday Bites ~ Pumpkin Bread Pudding

While driving to New Orleans to go shopping at a Whole Foods and pick up my husband from the airport….. busy, busy night I tell ya…… Miss 11 and I talked the entire time about food. food. food. That girl loves food as much as her mama….. right down to foo-foo olives and stinky cheese. 

So, after an hour of talking about food on the drive…… and two hours of talking about food in the grocery store…. I thought "I should share more of what we eat around here with all of you!"…… the good…. the not so good….. and the wonderful! So today I introduce the first "Monday Bites". Bites meaning food, of course, though I do love that little play on words……

Today's recipe is::

Pumpkin Bread Pudding 

     

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

(a recipe by the Gypsy Mama)

*1 stale baguette cut into cubes (about 1/2 – 1 inch) (about 8 cups)

1/4 cup butter 

1 cup of pumpkin puree

1/2 tsp salt

**1 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger & cardamom

**1/2 tsp each of nutmeg & cloves

***1/3 – 1/2 cup sweetener of your choice (we used organic evaporated cane juice)

4 eggs

2 cups of whole milk


Cube the bread and put into a large deep dish pie pan. Melt the butter.    (*I browned the butter a bit by turning the heat up until it looks like it separates and turns golden ~ yum!) Pour the melted butter over the bread cubes. In a bowl mix together the pumpkin, salt, spices & sugar until well combined. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each. Add the milk and mix well again. Pour this mixture over the bread crumbs. Now comes the tricky part, but well worth it. Put a plate or cutting board over the bread pudding to gently press it down. You can set something heavy on the dish to help this pressing…. leave it like this for 30 minutes so the bread soaks up the egg mixture…. if you want to skip this part, the bread might not be "eggy" all the way through. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake until set, about 30-35 minutes. If you like a slightly crunchy top, turn the oven up to 375 for the last 10 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream as a yummy dessert. 

  

A la Mode

  

* if you don't have a stale/dry loaf of bread, cube it and put it in the oven on about 250 for 10-20 minutes to dry it out.

** spices – I like my bread pudding spicy, feel free to halve the spices if you like a more mellow flavor.

*** we try to eat desserts without a lot of sugar…. and I wanted this to be guilt free as breakfast the next morning, so I only used 1/3 cup of sugar. If you like a sweeter dessert, up the sugar to a half cup.

  

breakfast
    

Enjoy 🙂

  

**disclaimer** I owe all of this grand brain storming and moment of clarity to the clever little shopping carts disguised as "cars" for little people at the grocery store. It kept my busy Mr Three occupied for 2 HOURS while we shopped for a month's worth of food. Amazing I tell you!

    

Random Holiday Musings…..

This has been the question bouncing around in my head the past few weeks……

"What is the true meaning?"

We all have a different reason to celebrate. And although each of our reasons will be a little different, I think all of us could agree it comes down to one thing. 

Family 

Our family in celebrating our religious traditions.

Our family in those we were born to, and those born to us.

Our family in those we choose as partners.

Our family in our friends and neighbors.

    

"Family:: denotes a group of people or animals affiliated by a consanguinity, affinity or co-residence. Although the concept of consanguinity originally referred to relations by "blood," anthropologists have argued that one must understand the idea of "blood" metaphorically, and that many societies understand 'family' through other concepts rather than through genetic distance."                ~from wikipedia

    

Don't you just love that definition? It basically reaffirms for me, my own belief of having the family we are born to and also the family we choose in our neighbors and friends on our journey through life.

This year I took the time to really, really look at our celebrations. To see if they truly reflect our beliefs. I've carefully chosen a few new traditions to add to what we all ready do…. in hopes to further encourage my family to think deeply about what this season means for us. We celebrate Advent and Solstice in our house and I want both of these celebrations to be rich experiences for my children in their own unique ways. I want our days in December to focus on gratitude…. spirituality…. handmade food & gifts……. simplicity….. family.

I hope for each of you, that before things whirl up into a holiday frenzy, you can take a moment and think about what it all really means to you.

Today, for my kids, I am proposing this ::

"In addition to gifts for our friends and family, what can we give (or do) as gifts for our neighbors in need and our Earth?"

I'll let you know their responses!

Grammy’s Hat

This hat has been frogged 4 times…..

4 attempts were made to create a lace leaf patterned hat…… ugh! 

So I finally decided to do my own thing and inspired by the awesome spiral design of Mr Three's hurricane hat….. I made this for my mom. Feverishly finished just in time for her to take it home with her….. I call it "Solstice"…..

  

Grammy's Solstice Hat

  

Solstice Hat

    

I love it! It's got a feminine kick without being too girlie…. the colors are fabulous! It's made from Fleece Artist's Sea Wool in Autumn. Oh my that yarn is gorgeous! And best of all, Grammy loves it too! Which is good because she's on her way home to a whole lot of snow!!

     

in the swamp

We took my parents & the littlest kiddos out to a trail & bird sanctuary to see the swamp forest. While we didn't see many birds….. perhaps due to singing little ones?? We did have a lovely walk in the sun and when returning to the car we had the surprise of some forest friends……

walk with Papa 

with Papa

    

on Daddy's shoulders

                     on daddy's shoulders…..

     

masked babes 

     

mama & babes

     

IMG_0854 

     

Raccoons!! We must have watched this mama with her four little babes for at least 20 minutes…. even Mr Three was quiet and entranced by these little creatures. They were quite curious and tolerated our closeness. It was a perfect ending to our walk in the woods……

     

boots in waiting

waiting boots

My girls are four years apart. As much of a saver that I am…. I just can't hold on to four years worth of clothes to pass on to Miss Seven. I save a few favorites, but the rest gets passed along to friends……

Upon going through our fall clothes, Miss Eleven was bummed that her favorite boots no longer fit. I put them in the give away pile and they were promptly removed by Miss Seven.

"Please, please can you save these for me??" she pleaded…

The boots are at least 6 sizes too big.

"I think we'd be holding on to them until you were at least 10 if we saved them." I say to her.

"I'll try to grow real fast!" she tells me, quite seriously.

Oh, be still my heart, there will be no growing up faster around here! I put the boots in the top of her closet and hugged my sweet Miss Seven. I tell her she is already growing up fast enough for this mama and that those boots will be waiting for her …….. so long as she promises not to try and grow up any faster…..

Though I know those boots will fit her far too soon.

  

WIP Wednesday ~ November 11

Here's the progress on the sweater……. I'm done with the lower body and one sleeve. I really like the striping in the sleeve, they'll have a different look to them than the body, which should be cute….. the sleeve seems too small?? But they are half an inch bigger then the pattern suggested, so I am trusting the pattern and keeping on……..

sweater progress

I'm taking a break from the sweater today so I can knit up a hat for mom….. trying a lace pattern ~ oh boy! I hope to get it all done for her this weekend.

Mom's Hat

Sorry for the black & white photo…… but I don't want mom to see the colors!

  

Vintage Goods

Miss Eleven spied the aprons….. I saw the suitcases….. and we both started running….. it must have looked ridiculous! But we didn’t care.

When we got to the little booth it was meticulously organized and labeled and full of more vintage goodness then I have ever seen in one place. And there were linens!! Lots and lots of linens…… and pyrex…. and teapots… and buttons and more!!

vintage art 

 

vintage aprons

 

gnome & pig

I do realize that I probably didn’t need a pig-riding-gnome figurine…… I must have picked that little guy up and sat him back down 3 times before I finally caved. And now he sits in my kitchen window and smiles at me while I wash the dishes…. perfect!

The woman who ran the booth, Miss Pat, was absolutely sweet and just tickled with Miss Eleven being such a young “antiquer” (I know that’s not a word.) She told us about a Flea Market open 6 days a week and located just 2 miles away! It’s a warehouse with many vendors sharing it….. it’s huge! And full of so many wonderful things. My dear sweet husband dropped Miss Eleven and I off to look, while he braved Lowe’s with the youngest two. I love that man. 

The prices at the Flea Market were reasonable, which really surprised me….. the coffee grinder was probably my favorite find. It was a bit expensive….. $28 but it’s cast iron and in fabulous shape…. and our electric one is almost dead….. (can you hear me trying to justify myself here??)

Miss Pat also has her own little Vintage Store located about 45 minutes from us, open two weekends a month. She gave us a coupon for 15% off all linens!! Miss Eleven and I plan to visit her often… just the two of us…. a perfect mother daughter outing 🙂

 

Car

  The car ride home, after our trip to Lowe’s and buying 4 antique chairs at the Flea Market!

 

Chairs

We got two each of these chairs to replace our broken ones!

 

Old Coffee Grinder

the coffee grinder…. I just love it! 

 

Vintage Loot

my loot 🙂 

a measuring cup, juicer, ice cream scooper, apron, doilies, tablecloth & gnome

   

Mousse

   

All this inspired me to make chocolate mousse for dessert using my favorite old custard cups given to me by my Aunt. 

Just looking at the chocolate mousse in that cup and the pile of “old stuff” to use around my house makes me know that somewhere a Grandma is smiling down at us 🙂