Sunday, October 27, 2013

Creamy Chicken Tomato Soup

Sometimes the autumn season brings a little sadness in our neck of the woods.  It is a time when we anticipate coming snow and ice, going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark, and after the holidays it gets harder and harder to face winter with a happy face.  To help put a positive spin on all that, we started "Soup Day" last year at the place where I work.  From October through April we have one day a month that is designated "Soup Day."  Two people volunteer to bring in a crock pot full of soup.  If other people want to bring in something to go with it they can.  The smell permeates the office and the warmth of the delicious soups helps ward off the winter chill.
Olivia and I are always looking for new and yummy soup recipes.  I stumbled upon this one on a web site called "Everyday Paleo." (devoted the to the Paleo diet).  I was looking for a new and different soup recipe for "Soup Day."  This one fit the bill and was popular with my coworkers.  I am giving you the recipe as it was printed, but below that I am telling you what I did that was slightly different.  I hope you like it as much as I did.  
"Creamy” Chicken Tomato Soup
4 frozen skinless boneless chicken breast
Garlic salt to taste
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 clove garlic
1 14 oz. can of coconut milk (full fat)
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes and juice
1 cup of chicken broth (I used homemade chicken broth but you can use store bought)
Sea Salt and pepper to taste
Put all the above ingredients into the crock-pot, cook for 9 hours on low. After 9 hours take two forks and shred the chicken, set the crock-pot on warm till ready to serve (making sure to taste it before serving to make sure there is enough salt and pepper)
Here is what I did that deviated from the web site recipe:  I used three one pint jars of home canned chicken.  I used two tablespoons of fresh basil instead of dried.  I had a very hard time finding coconut milk so I used one can of cream of coconut (which is very very sweet) and I cut the sweetness by using three cups of chicken broth instead of two.  The results were rich and hearty.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tomato Jam

Looking for a delicious way to use those last few tomatoes of the season?  Once you have tried this delicious tomato jam recipe and substituted using it instead of ketchup on everything you eat, you will probably not want to use ketchup again.  This jam has a bright fresh taste with overtones of rich spices and just the tiniest bit of heat to give it a certain zing!  After Olivia made it and gave me some to try, I couldn't resist making a batch myself.  It is super easy and oh so very good.

As the canning and gardening season come to an end, we take to the road to sample our favorite festival foods and enjoy the beautiful fall weather we are currently experiencing.  Below we are sharing a few highlights from one of our recent adventures.

Tomato Jam
Yield: Varies depending on the kind of tomato used, pan width and the finished thickness*
  • 5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 10 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to a simmer. Stirring regularly, simmer** the jam until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours, depending on how high you keep your heat.
  2. When the jam has cooked down sufficiently, remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
  3. When time is up, remove jars from water bath and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
Highlights of Mississinewa 1812
This weekend we attended one of our favorite fall events, the re-enactment of the War of 1812 period.  It is held not too far away and takes place in a wooded area on the Missinewa River.  It is a sight to behold.  There are re-enactors from all over the United States and Canada who attend this wonderful three day long event.  You not only get to see battles played out before you, but you get to see how people, including Indians who sometimes have the scariest of war paint, lived during this historic period.

The whole thing is a feast for the eyes and the food purveyors make sure you don't go away hungry.
This shows one of the "fanciest" kitchen set ups in the 1812 camp.  The "stove" is built on a bed of sod and has handy places to hang your teapot and keep your utensils nearby.
I don't think this beautiful rooster got eaten during the weekend, but he certainly made a striking image with the sunlight shining on his handsome red comb.
This sign advertises just a few of the delectable offerings available to eat.  There were  also sweet potato pies, beignets, pork chops cooked over a fire pit, chicken and noodles, baked potatoes, and more.

The sights, the sounds, the smells, the weather, all made for a wonderful fall experience.  We hope you get an opportunity to enjoy similar events in your area.  The memories will keep you warm throughout the winter.
- Nanette

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Pumpkin pie, apple cider, apple butter, squash, soup, and smoky pork sandwiches have all made it to our tables and palates in recent days.  Fall is here.  Up and down temperatures combined with rainy days, falling leaves, and waning gardens have brought us to the need for comfort food.  The warm rays of the sun have given way to the warmth of our food and the comforts indoors.  Enjoy the best Fall has to offer including these delicious muffins Olivia discovered and made.  Brew a cup of hot tea or pour a nice glass of cider and enjoy these tasty morsels.


Pumpkin, cinnamon and sugar make a delicious combo in these cute mini muffins.
(Recipe originally from Glorious Treats)
Yield: 24 mini muffins


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/3 cup oil (vegetable, olive, etc)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup milk
For the coating-
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350*F.
Spray a mini muffin pan generously with cooking spray.
Pull out two large bowls.
In one bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and spices.
In another bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk. Mix until smooth and well combined.
Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined (do not over mix).
Divide the batter evenly among the 24 muffin cups (using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop).
Bake 10-12 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
While the muffins bake, prepare the final coating.
Melt butter in one bowl and combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.
Remove muffins from oven and cool for 2 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle. Dip each muffin in melted butter, then roll in cinnamon sugar to coat. You will likely not use all of the butter, or cinnamon/sugar but this amount makes them easy to dip.