Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bee Vintage Blocks for November {Wonky Log Cabin}

This was actually a really hard block for me.  It seems I don't think in "wonky" very well. 
But, I got them finished and off to Nikki before Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa Cookies

The first Saturday of December my friend Sarah hosted her annual cookie exchange. I love these, as I really am not a huge fan of making cookies. So the idea of making one kind and then coming home with 8-10 kinds really works for me. Sarah has everyone bring a dozen cookies for each person invited--already packaged up. We all go around and grab our selections, taking them home in a laundry basket or similar. And then she hosts a brunch for us all. It is so much fun.

This year I made one of my kids favs--the Santa Cookie.

We found this idea a number of years ago in the book Cookies! A Cookie Lover's Collection, pg. 204, and have tweaked it just a bit for more of our liking.

(photo courtesy of recipe book)

All you need is a basic round sugar cookie. I used our Mom's basic sugar cookie recipe below. But you could also just buy them--even easier. Try this recipe if you need a scrumptious thick sugar cookie.

  • Add some white frosting.
  • Red sugar sprinkles for the hat.
  • Mini chocolate chips for eyes.
  • 1/2 of a Mini marshmallow for the pom-pom on the hat.
  • Cinnamon red hot for the nose, or a little dab of red frosting.
  • Coconut (if you like it) for the beard. You could also use white sugar sprinkles.
There you have it.

Mom's Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe

Cream together:
1 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/3 c. milk

4 c. flour (I usually add 2, mix, then add the other 2 c.)
Bake at 350ยบ for 8 minutes. (I find I need to bake mine 10-12 minutes on my stoneware)

NOTE: Double this recipe made 8 dozen cookies using a 2 - 3/4" diameter biscuit cutter.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In the {St.} Nick of Time

Finished my 6yr olds Busy Town Quilt just in time to wrap it up for Christmas. 
(And I'm thinking this will be my last finish of the year...)

I have to admit that I massively over thought this quilt. 
The fabric was purchased a long time ago but I couldn't decide on a design.  I went back and forth on a few ideas before realizing that it was just a quilt for a six year old, not the quilt he's going to take to college!  Thus a simple patchwork would suffice.
For the back I lucked out and found 1.5 yds of the Merryville (I think that's what its called...) print. 
I love it because my son can use it as a play mat for his matchbox cars.  
One present, two uses =  Awesome!

The quilting is simple straight-lines on either side of the squares.  It's pretty much the exact same as this quilt from last year.  I love it nonetheless.  Sometimes simple is better.

While I was making this quilt my son kept coming into my sewing room.  He saw the top in progress and kept asking me "When are you going to make me that quilt with the town for my cars on the back?"  My sweet little oblivious child never did figure out that I was working on his quilt the whole time.  I can't wait to see him curled up in it on Christmas morning.

Squares cut 4.5"
Finished quilt measures 48" by 52"
Main fabrics are from Michael Miller's Tot Town line.  I used 5 prints from that line.  I could only find the dig it print still for sale.
Everything else is stuff I had in my stash.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pinwheel Sampler Quilt

...from the quilt along at ps i quilt.  I think I started it way back in March.

 The sashing is Kona Ash.  I've used it before and love how it calms the craziness.  The prints were all pulled from my stash. 

The back is Alexander Henry's Starling in Natural with a border of the most perfectly matched clearance floral courtesy of Renae.

For the bindng I chose Amy Butler's full moon polka dot.  And in a stroke of luck the dots are actually all lined up even and straight on the binding. Couldn't have planned it better. 

Here is my favorite block.  I love both the color and the design.   It would make a beautiful quilt all on it's own.

This was the first quilt I have actually paid a "professional" to quilt for me.  I am definitely happy with the result, but I do think this type of quilting changes the finished look of a quilt.  For this quilt it works beautifully.

With all the designer prints in it this quilt is probably my most expensive quilt to date.  With that being said, I still didn't spend a ton. I got some of the fabrics on sale, used scraps from Leslie, and had lots of fun, small usable pieces in my stash.   I am guessing here but I'm going to say that I spend $60-$65 total (including the price of quilting).  I don't spend nearly that much on most of my quilts but it's fun to splurge every once in a while.

Finished Dimensions: 56" by 70"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Two of My Favorite Handmade Baby Gifts

a baby quilt
and matching burp cloths

for one of my favorite people
who is having baby #5 this month.

Here are instructions and a template to make your own burp cloths.  Super easy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Strangest Christmas Present Ever {Guest}

Or we could call this post "A Mother's love knows no bounds."

My friend Natalie has 4 boys who she must truly love because when her 11 yr. old decided that he wanted a Giant Squid pillow for Christmas she got to work and made him one.  This all started after he did a report for school on the Giant Squid--scientific name, Architeuthis.

Her inspiration came from this post, an equally "crazy in a good way" woman who must love her boyfriend as much as Natalie loves her #1 son.  And apparently these 2 are not the only ones who are squid-maniacs (see the post's commentary).

I think this is awesome and she did such a great job.  My only concern is that my 9 yr. old will see this and then decide that he needs one too, for his birthday in April.  Hide the squid!!!

So what's the strangest Christmas present you've ever made for someone or given to someone?

I'm dying to find out what crazy sewing/crafting you've done for your loved ones.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Boy, oh boy...Christmas is fast approaching and I am trying my darnedest to get everything done in time.  I'm not usually this productive, but I would really like to start the new year out with as few unfinished projects as possible.  Anyone else trying to hustle their way through lots of projects?

WIP list:
Busy Town Quilt: quilted, working on the binding...
No new progress on anything else

The Aloha Quilt and Pinwheel Sampler.

A Fair and Square Quilt for Margaret's Hope Chest using up the extras from the Busy Town quilt above.  This one has to be done and mailed by Jan. 5th! Go read about their Wrapped in Hope Program and consider helping out with their 2011 list.  It'll make you feel good!  Promise.

This Week's Progress:
Finished: 2
Started: 1
Current Projects: 5

Monday, December 13, 2010

We interrupt this Christmas season to bring you....

....costumes for the musical "Annie".

My#2 daughter was in her middle school musical here this past weekend and the next. She is playing one of Daddy Warbuck's servants. Although she wanted a different part, she is just happy she didn't end up being a hobo. And as this is her first year of middle school and musicals, she has time to earn better parts down the road.

Anyway, I was asked to make aprons for the servant girls--all 14 of them!! I didn't use a specific pattern, which luckily did work out for me. I just winged it with the pieces, etc. as I went along, using my daughter as the model. I'm just so glad I had come across some "freebie" white fabric that was enough for most of the aprons. I think I ended up only buying 3 more yards once it was all said and done. Much cheaper than past musicals and renting costumes, or making all from scratch. I also made a quick elastic waist, straight black skirt for my daughter with fabric from "the stash". (It is times like these that I think I should never throw any chunks of fabric away because you just never know....)

My M. is on the far left--with a couple of her friends backstage.

So here are all my servant cuties during one of their scenes.
I only had 4 aprons done by the dress rehearsal day and so the rest of the girls were DYING to finally get their aprons. Too funny! They did a great job. You are the best looking servant girls around...if I do say so myself.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Aloha Quilt

During the summer my 8yr old wanted to learn how to sew. I thought the best way for her to practice lots of straight stitching would be to sew a bunch of quilt squares together. I had a stack of Hawaiian fabrics left over from our family reunion that I decided to cut up for her.

She worked really hard, got frustrated a lot, but in the end made this super fun first quilt.

Of course, her sewing wasn't exactly straight, there were parts that weren't laying flat when the top was done, but amazingly enough you can't even tell once it got quilted.

(I'm sure my family will recognize most of the fabrics we used!)

For the back I had a particular piece of fabric in mind. When we went to go buy it she vetoed it right away. Instead she picked out this turquoise print--Which in my opinion gives it a nice '80's Magnum P.I. feel. (I always loved that show!!) In the end I agree that her choice worked out better than what I had picked.

She is super happy with how it turned out, as am I. The only thing she didn't like was that I wouldn't let her quilt it herself. In fact, she was downright mad at me! I reassured her that when she'd had a few more hours of sewing behind her she'd get her shot at quilting, too.
Anyway, for a girl who's dream it is to get married in Hawaii, I think this quilt will satisfy her love for all things Hawaiian for the time being.

So, what about the other quilt I have for her??? Well, she knows about it, but doesn't know it's done. I asked her "What will happen if you end up with TWO quilts one day?" to which she replied, "I'll feel REALLY loved!"
So...the girl will have 2 quilts.

Details: Finished quilt measures 56" by 68".

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

1. Pinwheel Sampler:  Got it back from the quilter, the binding is on and ready for some hand stitching.  Full reveal next week.

2. Star Wars:  Started working on the blocks (think this quilt), got about 2/3 of the way finished.   It might end up being a bday gift (in April) rather than a Christmas gift.  Oh, well...

3. String Quilt:  Did nothing on it this week but stare at it on my design wall.  I still really, really love it.  Any suggestions as to what I could possibly use for the back??

4. Busy Town:  Basted, but not quilted yet.  (It's slowly making it's way up the quilt ladder!)  Should be ready in time for Christmas.

5. Aloha Quilt:  Done!!! Will be revealed in a few days.  But here is a small peek.

Finished Projects: 1
Current WIP's: 4
New projects: 0 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What a difference sleeves make

This year our oldest daughter started HS and is playing in the orchestra. Although I am thrilled that they are required to dress up formally, we were not especially thrilled with the choice of dress we had to buy. Out of all these pretty modest dresses and options, the previous director picked this one--a sleeveless number?! for orchestra? Really?!

I don't know about any of you but I find sleeveless to be a bit distractive for orchestra. Who wants to see white, possibly flabbly arms, as you're listening to great music? And besides that we live in the upper midwest for crying out loud. We currently have lots of snow on the ground that is here to stay and we've been in the teens/single digit temps already and probably will stay there thru February. Sleeveless, really?! However, the main reason we don't love this dress is for our standards, sleeveless is immodest.

L. and her best friend C. both approached their director about adding sleeves to the dress, or wearing something else with it and thankfully he didn't have any problems with it--just so long as it was black. And interestingly enough another girl in their orchestra had already approached him with the same concern. So at least 3 girls were uncomfortable enough with the dress choice to talk to him about it. YES!

Their first concert is this Thursday and the package of additional fabric from the dress company to make sleeves will not be here in time, but I found a piece at Jo-Ann's that will work close enough until then. We are changing the dress to have sleeves more like this one. Below is our half & half look....before and after.

You can't really tell a difference on the fabric from a distance--so we should be good for this first concert. L. and C. are so much happier and comfortable with their sleeved dresses.

**Thanks Mr. Shogren for being so understanding and not making a fuss about the girls wanting to add sleeves to their dresses. (not so sure the previous director would've been as agreeable) You've been great!

**And a big thanks to Frederica at Tuxedo Wholesalers for being so accomodating and pleasant to work with. We look forward to receiving our extra fabric next week and making the sleeves permanent on these otherwise really pretty dresses.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sock Ambition

I've always wanted to learn to knit socks--not sure why--mostly I think it is just one of those things I know I could do if I just sat down and tried it. So this Christmas I've decided to make each member of my family (all 7 of us), including myself, a pair of hand-knit socks. Nothing like giving yourself a little bit of pressure on a project.

I really, really, really hope I am not too crazy and ambitious in my thinking. During the course of the last 6 months or so I've been using my Jo-Ann's and Michael's coupons to buy sock yarns. The yarn is all balled and bagged ready to go and marked for each person.

Becca, a friend from Church, has assured me that they are easy and go quickly. I am banking on that. Be warned, Becca, I might be coming over to your house with any questions and tutoring I might need.

Over Thanksgiving I started pair #1 for the youngest. Patons Kroy Socks--color Cyan Stripes. I think that for him I am just going to do easy tube socks. I'll work on heels, gussets, etc. on the following socks.

I really wanted to NOT use Dpns (double pointed needles) but use 2 long circular needles instead. I think I've found the books and tutorials to help me out finally. Knitting 2 socks at a time will be a bonus. So pair #2, which I hope to start here in the next day or two, will be worked using circulars and NOT Dpns.
Wish me luck that I get them all done in time for Christmas!

Here's an easy free pattern for socks from Patons Kroy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thoughts on Scraps

Today we're talking scraps...

My string quilt is coming along.  I think I've changed the layout no less than 10 times since laying it on the floor.   I keep seeing fabrics that are too close together, but when I move them around they are too close to something else.  It's enough to make me crazy. But, I've decided that I'm over thinking it and need to leave it be. (Duh!)

Currently I have 54 blocks finished, but since I've decided to make it bigger I'm going to need another 26.  That means I am officially only 2/3 of the way finished.  Bummer!  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed but I'm positive that I will love it better in the bigger size.  So, I shall persevere...albeit slowly!

image by im a ginger monkey

Though I've done lots of sewing for my string quilt this past week it isn't the only scrap project I've been thinking about.  A few weeks ago I ran across this quilt along.  I really want to do it, though I have mixed emotions about the whole thing.  One side of me says, "What a great way to use up all those tiny scraps!"  The other side of me says, "Are you crazy?! Those are TINY scraps!"   Right now I'm just in the cutting phase.  I need between 900-1300(!) 2.5 inch squares to make a throw.  I find myself feeling a bit wacky about the large amount of work and all those tiny squares, but there's only one way to eat an elephant, right?  Quite honestly I probably won't join in until next year, but my tiny squares pile has begun none the less. 

(If anyone is interested here are the links for block construction:  Block A and Block B)

Speaking of scraps here is a picture of the batting I used for a quilt that I'm working on.  Yep, I pieced the whole thing with small/skinny leftovers.  I was feeling pretty proud of myself after getting all the right sized pieces to line up.  I love when I can use things that would otherwise be thrown away.

Lastly, a few weeks ago Jodi @ Pleasant Home posted some scrap projects that I loved.  She makes a quilt each year with her scraps from the previous year.  So smart if you ask me.  (I"ll probably steal this idea...) Here is her 2008, 2009 and 2010 quilts. Go check them out!

Is anyone else working on scrap or quilt along projects?  Leave a link so we can see them!

Happy Scrap Sewing!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Recycled Stairstep Quilt

The last time we did a big dejunking at our house my #2 daughter decided that she didn't need this bag anymore. Well, she had barely used it and once you opened up the bag flat it was slightly larger than a fat quarter. So I took it all apart and cut those 4 fabric pieces (about 23" square) into 3" x 6" rectangles and made this cute quilt.

I love it!

I didn't have enough to make it be a zigzag quilt (I didn't want to waste ANYTHING--and I wanted it as big as possible). So instead I stairstepped it.
Quilted just inside each step the width of the presser foot, and backed it with linen. It wrinkled up pretty good after washing (this pic is pre-wash), but I still like it. Finished size: 41" square.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WIP Wednesday

I'm linking up over at Freshly Pieced today.
Here is a run down of my current WIP list.  (It's a doozy!)

1.  My Pinwheel Sampler is off to the quilter as we speak, getting the royal treatment from someone other than me.  Should be awesome when it's done in a few weeks.

2.  This week the only sewing I did involved finishing the remaining blocks for my String Quilt.  (42 Blocks Done) Now I am trying to decide if I want to make it bigger.  I think I do... So, it won't get finished until 2011.

3.  The Sheets and Shirts HST Top is finished, but will most likely NOT get quilted until after the first of the year--too many other things that HAVE to get done before it.

4.  The Star Wars Quilt  for my 11yr old isn't even started, unless you count cutting out as started.  It is supposed to be a gift for Christmas. I still have hope that I can get it done.  We'll see...

5.  My 6yr olds Busy Town Quilt Top is done.  The quilting shouldn't take me very long.  It's tops on my list along with the Star Wars one.  Maybe this week I can make some progress on both.

New projects this week: 0  (That's got to be a first!)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kids' Craft for Thanksgiving

We are making THESE this week while visiting the family down in Nebraska. (weather permitting--I soooooo need to get out of town.)

Can't wait!

Thanks, Nancy, for finding and posting this link.

And for those of you also traveling try this free download from 24 pages of activities to keep the smaller people in your car occupied. It could also be used while prepping on Thanksgiving day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meatball Minestrone Soup

This recipe is based on our mom's minestrone soup. I just tweaked it a bit here today based on what I had and how quickly I could throw it together. Mondays are crazy afternoons/evenings for us with 2 different kids at 2 different schools, during exactly the same time, for orchestra practices. And between the drop-off and pick-up the others get home from school.

Minestrone is basically a name for a variety of thick Italian soups made with veggies, and added pasta or rice. Common ingredients include beans, onions, carrots, stock, and tomatoes. There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. So just use this recipe as a basis and play around with any combination that you or your family like.
Combine together:
  • 1 lb. browned ground hamburger (or diced ham or stew meat chunked, or even vegetarian) (Tonight I used a 24 oz. bag of meatballs.)
  • 1 onion, chopped (1/4 c. rehydrated diced onion)
  • 1 - 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained (2 pints home canned stewed tomatoes)
  • 3 c. water
  • 2 - 8 oz. cans tomato sauce (Oops! forgot to add this. It still tasted delicious, but I think the added liquid would've helped.)
  • 1 Tbs. parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
Simmer all above for 15 minutes. Then add:
  • 1 - 16 oz. can diced carrots, undrained (1 pint home canned carrots)
  • 1 - 16 oz. can green beans, undrained
  • 1 - 16 oz. can kidney beans, undrained (1 pint home canned--any kind bean--I used great northerns tonight)
  • 1 1/2 c. uncooked pasta (I used elbow macaroni)
Simmer for 10-15 minutes more or until pasta is cooked. Serves 12. (This easily fed my family of 7, with seconds for some, and leftovers for tomorrow too.)
NOTE: To Pressure Can this recipe
3x this recipe will yield 15 qts. of soup
I would not add the pasta until opening to heat and serve--otherwise it ends ups being really mushy when you reheat. Yuck!
You could easily use fresh carrots and green beans, along with soaked beans overnight, instead of already canned veggies. Just add a bit more water to your soup. Heat it all up a bit before putting in the jars.
Can at 10 lbs. pressure for 90 minutes (because of the meat and beans). Adjust pressure for your altitude.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Letter E

A matching pillow for this quilt...a year later.
I am still loving that red gingham!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Squash {Part 2}

So in Squash {Part 1} we gave you some info on winter squashes and how to can them, along with a couple recipes for Squash soup. It seems that Tiffany and I are not the only squash obsessed people around based on some of the responses we received.

Here are a few more ways to use your squash once you've got it canned (or cooked and pureed).
Mayan Hot Chocolate
1 sm. Butternut squash or (1 pint bottled squash, drained)
2 ½ C. milk divided
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
½ tsp.Cinnamon
Large pinch of Nutmeg
Large pinch of Cardamon

If using bottled squash, puree squash with ½ C. milk until smooth.
If using fresh, cook squash 'til soft.
In large sauce pan mix remaining 2 C. milk, chocolate & spices.
Stir 'til melted and creamy, add squash.

Heat through.
Serves 4
Pumpkin Smoothie
from Better Homes & Gardens Nov. 2010

In a blender combine:
1/4 c. canned pumpkin
Low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 Banana
A spoonful of peanut butter
Handful of ice cubes
Milk to thin as desired
Top with a little whip cream and cinnamon.

**Update Nov. 11, 2010
Tried the above recipe and it tasted like a peanut butter smoothie---eh, so-so.
Therefore, if you are looking for a pumpkin pie smoothie this won't be it. To adjust it and get that flavor, don't add the peanut butter (but maybe add more pumpkin) and instead add either pumpkin pie spice to taste, or a combo of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger to taste to get that pumpkin pie flavor.

I also went to my local library and found a couple books that had some recipes that I would actually try. I am not a fancy cook. So recipes with things like goat cheese, or other things that I don't even know what they are or where to even look for them, I don't make. It's not that I wouldn't be game to try, because really I'll try anything. It's just that my family is not as daring as I am, AND I don't want to be stuck with ingredients I can't use again.

These books had some good basic recipes that you could make using almost any kind of winter squash. Some I've tried and others are on my list to try. But I feel these are realistic recipes for my family. Both books have summer and winter squash recipes, but I just listed some of the winter squash recipes.

Zucchini, Pumpkins & Squash by Kathleen Desmond Stang

  • Pumpkin Ice Cream Sundaes pg. 59
  • Spaghetti Squash Hashbrowns pg. 22 (My kids love spaghetti squash and normally just eat it cooked with Parmesan cheese over it--like noodles--but I think they would love this recipe)
  • Creamy Winter Squash Soup with Spices pg. 28
  • Golden Pumpkin-Orange Pancakes with Orange Butter pg. 23
  • Two-Way Pumpkin Yeast Dough pg. 18

So I just have to make a comment about making pancakes and adding squash. I experimented on my family recently and added cooked Acorn squash to our waffle recipe (Krusteaz--you know the bag of mix you can pick up at Sam's club). I doubled the waffle recipe and added about 1/2 c. cooked, smashed butternut squash. Not one person noticed or said anything. I couldn't tell, and I knew. You don't necessarily need a recipe for this. Make up pancakes as you always do and add about 1/2 c. of squash puree.

James McNair's Squash Cookbook

  • Golden Yeast Rolls pg. 79--these were delicious!! And once again nobody knew I had added anything.
  • Creamy Winter Squash Soup pg. 63
  • Fried Winter Squash Chips pg. 60
  • Squash Pancakes pg. 81
  • Winter Squash Ice Cream pg. 88
  • Spiced Squash Cake with Caramel Icing pg. 91

I'm seriously thinking that Squash Ice Cream needs to be added to the Thanksgiving menu this year.

I have not yet tried a Squash soup recipe. My kids caught wind of that and declared it "disgusting" already. However, I made a crockpot Cheesy Potato Soup the other night and did about 1/3 of the potatoes as butternut squash. They didn't know otherwise. (insert evil laugh) My food science friend Kevin said that any recipe that calls for mashed potatoes in it can be substituted with smashed squash, i.e. potato rolls.

So go ahead and experiment and enjoy. If we come up with anything else fabulously squash we'll let you know.

Note: This site has good info about picking squash, squash equivalents, and pics of all varieties of squashes along with a list of squash recipes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2010

This is my most recent finish: A quilt for my 8yr old daughter that will be given to her for Christmas.  It is made with Heather Ross' Mendocino Line (and a few other prints thrown in for good measure).

 It's a simple design, with simple quilting, but I love that it really shows off the fabrics. 
We are big-time snugglers when it comes to TV and movies, so this will be super soft and cozy for my daughter to curl up in. 

I love to whip up mini versions of the kids quilts I make so the recipient can wrap up a favorite doll or stuffed animal in a "matching" quilt.  It's also a great way for me to use up the small odd sized/shaped scraps that accumulate after a project is finished.  I enjoy the challenge!  Here is my daughter's mini next to it's full size version .  It measures 15" by 19".
For me the process of quilting is about  a)creating something beautiful  b)giving a piece of myself to someone I love  c)learning new things and  d)preserving a place/time/event in life.  I enjoy every aspect of the process.

You can read more about this quilt Here.
Check out the rest of the beautiful Quilt Festival entries Here or on Flickr.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ann's Latest T-shirt Quilt

Remember our friend Ann T. who posted for us last year about making t-shirt quilts?

Well, here are pictures of her latest one (and hopefully last one, at least for her own kids). She said she finished up the handsewing en route to Utah this Fall to drop her "baby" off at college. And she says this is her best one yet, ...but don't tell her other kids.

Ready for dorm life...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Squash {Part 1}

Our cousin Tiffany and I have been slightly obsessed recently with all things squash. Winter squashes, unlike summer squashes, can be stored almost indefinitely in a cool, dry spot, like your basement. This is just fine, unless you have a squash like the one in the picture below.
This is Tiffany with one of TWELVE 3-4' long banana squashes that were grown in her parents' garden. Where are you going to store 12 of those babies?!

Cutting one into workable pieces requires a hubby with strong muscles and a machete or chain saw....seriously. And unless you want to eat banana squash for about a week straight for every meal (and that is just 1 banana squash), or feed your entire neighborhood for a couple days, you have to figure out something to do with once you cut into it.

Here are more of the famous banana squash along with the other varieties they grew (and Tiff's cute daughter).

My husband brought home about 10 butternut squash for us, from work, that someone had just left in a bin outside the back door hoping people would take them. I told him to bring as many as he could.

So, if you don't have lots of freezer space to store cooked puree, you could can it. However, you MUST use a pressure canner. I canned half of my squash for now.

Per the Ball Blue Book:
Basically, remove peel and seeds, and then chunk up the squash into 1" pieces. Add to clean jars, plus 1/2 tsp. salt for pints and 1 tsp. salt for quarts. Fill with hot water. Adjust 2 piece lids.

Can pints for 55 minutes at 10 lbs. of pressure.
Quarts for 90 minutes at 10 lbs. of pressure.
(adjust as needed for your altitude)

So then the question is: What do you do with canned winter squash?

Well...for starters just about any winter squash can be interchanged with each other in any recipe that you have. Any recipe that calls for pumpkin (including pumpkin pie) can be substituted with winter squash. We've used butternut squash for pumpkin pies for years. The "pumpkin pie" flavor is all in the spices.

Here's a couple soup recipes to try:
Simplest Butternut Squash Soup from Parade Magazine
Butternut Squash Soup from Woman's Day Magazine

Tiff's Pumpkin/Squash Soup Recipe:

  • 1 Butternut squash- peeled, seeded and cubed (I think you could use acorn, pumpkin or banana squash and be just fine)
  • 1 apple--peeled and cubed (any variety--though a lot of recipes say use a tart one)
  • 1/2 onion (large) quartered ( I used white, you could use yellow or purple)

Put these 3 ingredients in stock pot, cover with chicken or turkey broth bring to a boil and cook until tender.

  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 C. heavy cream (I used plain yogurt cause that's what I had)

Using an immersion blender, regular blender or food processor, blend everything to a smooth texture. Top with parmesan cheese for savory flavor or brown sugar for a sweeter flavor.

Some variations to this:
heavy cream--you may use plain yogurt, sour cream, or coconut milk
additional seasonings--I love curry, so I dumped 1/2 tsp. in mine
If you want a cheesier soup add a few Tbs. of cream cheese, very rich and makes the soup thicker.


Tiffany and I have been experimenting with some other ideas and recipes. We'll post more in a couple days. (see Squash {Part 2})


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