Harvest Homekeeping

mickey fall

Hey everyone, hope you’re having a great end of summer. Its nearly Autumn, really my favorite time of year.  The color!  The weather!  The food!   And the cleaning of my home to get ready for all the winter time where we’re shut up in this house.

 

 

Here are links to all my Harvest Homekeeping and Fast and Furious Fall Cleaning that I have done over the years here at CHK.

Use all of them that you can, leave behind what you can’t use.  If you have questions be sure to ask.

Natural Cleaner Recipes

Clean The Kitchen

Clean The Living Room

Deep Cleaning The Living Room

Cleaning The Master Bedroom

Cleaning The Bathroom

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Chocolate Half Sheet Cake

chocolate cake

This is a delicious, moist cake with homemade chocolate icing that hits the spot for BBQs, parties, family dinners. It’s a recipe for a half-sheet cake which is 12 inches by 18 inches. It will serve 40 or more people. This isn’t modern-instant-make-it-fast food, its old fashioned with a twist so take your time, read through and give it a whirl.

If Snack Cakes are more your thing, check out my recipe. Chocolate Snack Cake

First, Prep.
Pre-heat your oven to 325*F
Grease and flour your pan or use a spray like Baker’s Joy

Get your ingredients together.

A 12×18 inch pan and either Baker’s Joy spray or you can grease and flour it.
2 Dark Chocolate Cake Mixes – I used Duncan Hines Chocolate Fudge Cake
6 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 – 3 oz package of instant fudge pudding mix
2 1/2 cups brewed coffee – you won’t taste the coffee in the final cake, the coffee brings out the chocolate flavor
2 cups sour cream

I found the idea for this tweak on www.cakecentral.com and its by a member there named macsmom. The icing is my own recipe.

Make The Cake
Mix everything together well and pour in your prepared pan. Bake at 325*F for 45 minutes, check the cake for doneness and bake longer if needed. Some ovens will take 50-55 minutes maybe a little more. Mine takes 45. You test for doneness with a very thin sharp knife or a broom straw. Insert the sharp knife in the cake in the middle and to each side. If the knife comes up clean, no cake batter on it, then the cake is done.

Once its done, allow the cake to cool.

You can turn the cake out onto a prepared piece of cardboard or cake board or just leave it in the pan, that’s what I usually do.

Icing Recipe

In a medium sauce pan combine:
2 sticks butter – don’t use margarine or other substitute, it will be too oily.
1 1/3 cups cocoa powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup water
1/4 tsp salt

Stir it as it cooks.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat, stir well.

Add: 2 teaspoons vanilla, stir.

Sift 2 pounds of confectioner’s sugar, using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, slowly add the confectioner’s sugar to the chocolate mixture until well blended. You can add some milk in tiny amounts if you think the icing is too thick. When its done, it should pour.

Pour the icing over the cooled cake, let it all cool before packaging.

The icing will form a nice, light crust as it cools.

 

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Saving Pumpkin Seeds

All throughout the winter I use up the pumpkins and winter squash we’ve either grown or purchased.  Winter squash/Pumpkins need to be stored in a cool, dry place. Even with optimum conditions, your winter squash and pumpkins will start to dry out and get pithy. That’s OK though, most of them will be just fine to eat as long as you don’t allow them to get damp and rotten.

I save seeds so I can grow the same vegetable each year.  Now if you save seeds from a cultivated variety, a cultivar, you probably won’t get the same plant you started with. But if you use heirloom varieties that have not been changed genetically, you’ll get the same plant year after year.

This year I am saving Field Pumpkin seeds which is an heirloom seed and Cinderella Pumpkin seeds which is a cultivated variety. So I don’t expect a pumpkin exactly like the Cinderella pumpkin next year but we’ll see then what we get.

First I fire up my oven to about 350*F so I can bake the pumpkin while I am cleaning the seeds.

pumpkin1

I cut open the pumpkins and scrape out the seeds. A lot of pulp may come with the seeds, that’s OK for now. Be careful cutting open pumpkins, don’t cut toward yourself or your hand.

This Cinderella pumpkin has sort of firm pulp and the seeds are firmly attached to it

 

 


pumpkin3

The pulp of the Field Pumpkin is more slimy and soft. The seeds come off of it more easily then the Cinderella Pumpkin .

 

 

 

 

 

pumpkin4

 

 

 

 

 

I remove all the pulp I can and then I put the remaining seeds and pulp into a bowl of warm water.  Its just a mater of picking up the Field Pumpkin pulp and seeds and giving them a gentle squeeze for the seeds to release from the pulp.  I discard the pulp.

The Cinderella Pumpkin takes a bit firmer hand.

pumpkin5

 

 

 

 

 

After the seeds are pretty clean of pulp I lay them on newspaper or paper towels to dry. You could use a clean cotton towel for this but the seeds dry to the surface and I have found they are hard to get off towels so I use paper.

Seeds should be as dry as possible before storing or they tend to grow mold. Mold will kill your seeds. Don’t dry your seeds for planting in a dehydrator, they usually get too hot and will kill the seeds. Stir them around on the paper every day, a few times a day if possible. They will dry enough to stop sticking to the paper in a day or so.

Store completely dry seeds in labeled glass jars. To absorb any leftover moisture in your seeds you can roll them up in a coffee filter before putting them in the jars.

After the pumpkin flesh is baked, you can scoop it out of the shell and let it cool. It can be used just like this for lots of recipes or you can freeze it in freezer bags, freezer jars or rigid freezer containers. I don’t recommend canning pumpkin or winter squash that is pulp. You can however cut raw pumpkin into 1 – 2 inch chunks and can it in pints at 10 pounds of pressure for 55 minutes.

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All My Turkey Helps In One Place

All my Turkey info in one place. Plus a little more.

 

How To Thaw The Turkey

How To Brine A Turkey

How To Roast A Turkey

Tips For The Perfect Turkey

The Children’s Table – ideas!

Thanksgiving Lists – what to do and when

Dressing and Stuffing Recipes

Thanksgiving In A Hurry

Gravy Recipe   Including my fast Thanksgiving gravy!

Yeast Rolls

 

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Thanksgiving Prep – My Lists

Here are all my daily lists for preparing for Thanksgiving. I’ve gathered them together from all over this site so you can use them if you want to.  The lists start on Friday, November 18th and go through Thanksgiving Day, November 24th this year, 2016.

You can print this page out and use these lists, adding your own notes, to help you prepare.

 

Friday, November 18th
Finish making pie crusts for the freezer
Make cornbread and biscuits for dressing, crumble and freeze in plastic bags
Grocery shop for non-perishables
Clean bathroom and do general straightening in the house

Saturday, November 19th
Take turkeys out to defrost
Grocery shop for perishables
Cleaning and laundry

Monday, November 21st
Check on turkeys as they defrost
Clean dining room, put out plates, utensils, etc.
Set out all casserole dishes, pots and pans, see if I have what I need to cook everything
Make Aunt Eura’s Yeast Rolls and put in freezer
Make Cranberry Relish, refrigerate


Tuesday, November 22nd

Brine the turkeys. I’ll use the Traditional Turkey recipe this year!
Assemble casseroles and refrigerate (sweet potato, green bean, any casserole that does not contain breads, baking soda or baking powder.)
Make a Breakfast Casserole for Thursday, freeze or refrigerate

Wednesday, November 23rd
Take Breakfast casserole out of freezer
Bake pies
Make dressing and refrigerate
Make salads
Roast turkey, carve, refrigerate in chicken broth
Make centerpieces
Do last minute laundry

Thursday, November 24th – Thanksgiving Day
Put Breakfast casserole in to bake
Take pies and yeast rolls out of freezer early
Make stuffing
Make mashed potatoes
Reheat turkey
Bake casseroles
Bake yeast rolls
Make gravy

Dinner is ready!

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A Free Thanksgiving Planner For You!

I am giving away my Free Thanksgiving Planner to everyone who comes here to get it. Its 44 pages long and contains: tgplanner

Brief History of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Games
4-Week Thanksgiving Planner and Devotionals
Article: “The Danger of Unmet Expectations”
Devotional: “Renew My Strength, Lord”
Devotional: “Holy Living”
Sylvia’s Turkey Tips
Instructions for Brining a Turkey
Recipes ~ both Family Favorite Recipes and Whole Food, Allergy-Friendly Recipes
Harvest Crafts and Home Decor Ideas

Its free til the end of November. Next year I’ll have a new Planner with new recipes and info for you.

Here is the link:  Free Thanksgiving Planner

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Mammy’s Pumpkin Pie

Here is another recipe from the cookbook of my Great-grandmother. BTW, her name was Kate Dwyer. My oldest daughter is named after her; Kathryn.

This is her recipe for pumpkin pie. In my family, the regular kind of pumpkin pie (you know, the recipe on the side of the canned pumpkin tin?) is know as “Mud Pie” and is frowned upon when brought to family gatherings. At the least it is looked at with suspicion and disdain.

Anyway, this is our family recipe for pumpkin pie, and really it allows the pumpkin to shine through! I guess I should have posted this in the Autumn, but I was making Tea Cakes and found the recipe for the pie….

Mammy’s Pumpkin Pie

Its BEST to use fresh pumpkin for this pie. You can use home-canned, but you’ll get something less than what this pie is meant to be…..

Ingredients

1 pint HOME-canned pumpkin ( It is BEST to cut up and use a fresh pumpkin but by no means should you use store bought canned pumpkin!!)

OR, you can bake a small pie pumpkin at 350*F til its fork tender. Just place a cut pumpkin cut side down, with the seeds cleaned out of it, on a foil or parchment covered baking sheet. When the pumpkin is tender enough to push a fork through the shell, its done.

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 stick butter

If you baked your pumpkin, scoop out the cooked pulp and put it in a small sauce pan. Turn the heat on low and cook the pumpkin til its dry and then add the sugar.

Cook the home canned pumpkin on low as well til its dry then add sugar and cook until waxy.

Spread in a 9 inch pie crust. Slice butter and drop over the pie. Sprinkle sugar over top and add a dash of ground cinnamon. Cover with strips of crust if desired.

To make the pie look shiny you can paint the crust with milk, then sprinkle with sugar or sanding sugar.  Bake as directed.  To make it really shiny, use an egg wash to paint the crust before baking. 1 egg yolk beaten with about 2 tablespoons of water will work.

Bake in a 350* oven until brown. If desired cover the top of the pie with pecans before adding strips of crust, then proceed with baking.

Bake the pie in a 350*F oven til the crust is nicely browned, about 20 minutes. Cool before serving if you can.

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Homemade Ranch Dressing

ranch

My whole family loves this stuff.  Do your children eat Ranch on everything like mine do?  Then this is something you should think about making.

The Worcestershire sauce makes the dressing look kind of ivory in color, not pure white like bottled dressing but it sure does add to the flavor so don’t leave it out.

As soon as the chives and dill started growing I had to make some of this dressing.  It will keep in the frig about 1 week. Some recipes for Ranch have onion powder in them, I have found that the chives have just enough onion-y flavor.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

1 clove garlic – smashed, then rubbed on the cutting board with 1/4 teaspoon of coarse salt
1 cup real mayonnaise – you can use homemade!
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, minced – don’t use the curly parsley, its just not the same.
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Dash hot sauce
1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk (as needed for desired consistency)

Directions:
Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour before serving or overnight. I store this dressing in a mason jar with a lid.

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