Sunday, December 17, 2017

Soup Pot

Bread Making

Dear Kitchen Saints,

Jill wanted me to write about how I make bread. I thought I had written about it enough that you all would be tired of me writing about it. But I guess for the newcomers I could write it.

My friends get a kick out of how I make bread. One time Aunt Toot was here visiting and drinking Pepsi and I took the can and threw some in my bread, proving you can make bread out of anything.

Well, basically you need 2 cups of liquid for 2 loaves of bread. This liquid could be milk, water, or juice. You could use a strained meat broth or potato water or any water you have cooked veggies in or whatever. When I would can tomatoes, I would sometimes make a tomato bread with the leftover juice from canning. So put your 2 cups of liquid in a big bowl. Then add a fat like oil or melted shortening. You can add up to a cup or a Tbs, either one. Then add some salt, up to a tsp. Then add a sweetener. This could be pancake syrup or jelly or honey or sugar, brown or white. Add some eggs with this if it flips your trigger. You don’t have to add eggs but if ya wanna, go ahead knock yourself out. Add up to 4 or 5 if the hen is layin’ more eggs then you can figure out what to do with. Then add enough flour and stir it all up until it looks like pancake mix or a cake mix. Stir it good.

Now get out a little bowl and put warm water in it, a little hotter than spit, about a half cup, and put in 4 Tbs of yeast or 2 packages of yeast for 2 loaves of bread. Now don’t get in a big hurry with the yeast. If the yeast isn’t good, then your bread won’t be good. So test your yeast as it is in the water. Add about a Tbs of sugar and see if the yeast bubbles. This should take about 10 minutes for the yeast to bubble. If it don’t bubble, then toss it and go buy some more yeast or try putting hotter water in. Yeast has to be kept snug and warm and secure. Put a cloth over it, too. Well, really, you should do the yeast first and then let it set a bit of time as you mix all the other stuff. But it don’t matter! So after the yeast bubbles, then put it in your bread mixture that looks like pancake mix.

OK, now start stirring up your bread and put in a cup of flour at a time. Now this could be white or whole wheat. You will get a lighter loaf if you use mostly white flour. But for health sake, throw in a cup of whole wheat and also you could add a cup of oatmeal and a cup of cornmeal. Or just do straight white. But like you end up using about 6 cups of flour for 2 loaves of bread. So a good combo would be 4 cups of white and then like 2 cups whole wheat or oatmeal or cornmeal. I have put my oatmeal in the blender and made oat flour. Well, go to kneading and mixing the bread, adding a cup of flour at a time.

Add herbs and spices if ya wanna. See, I made bread with what I had. We had 6 children and little money. So many times for breakfast, I made a big batch of pancakes to feed my hungry children and maybe fried potatoes. If I had a few cups of pancake mix left, I would start bread from it that morning after breakfast. I would heat up the pancake mix and put yeast in it and have that to be my yeast starter. I made many different kinds of pancakes like sweet potato pancakes and Chrissy’s favorite garlic pancakes. I cooked by inspiration and used up what was handy in the fridge. If I had a scraping of jelly, jam or peanut butter in a few jars in the fridge that weren’t being used up, I would put it in my bread. Or like the bottom of the bottle of syrup or even ketchup — no mustard. This way, you can use up leftovers and design your own bread.

You can get pretty free spirited with your bread but some measurements must stand unquestioned… well, at least in my book. Such as the yeast. You use about a pkg for each loaf. The old recipes say to just use one pkg of yeast for 2 loaves but I have always used 1 Tbs of yeast or one pkg for one loaf. I buy my yeast in the big bag, 2 pounds for about 5 bucks. I keep it in the fridge or even in the freezer.

It’s nice to make a big pot of soup on a cold day to warm up the kitchen for the bread. The hot soup keeps the yeast bread happy and friendly. After kneading your bread, set it someplace on the cabinet close to the hot soup to keep it warm. Put a pretty dish towel over the top. The yeast in the bread needs the warmth and covering. Don’t get the covered bread dough too close to the soup as the heat would kill the yeast. Cold won’t kill yeast but heat will.

And it takes a happy Mother to make good bread. If it don’t turn out, you didn’t love it enough. Yeast is alive and does respond to your personality. If I am upset and make bread, it will NOT be good. So be happy when you make the family bread. And ya know if ya have good bread on the table, then just about any dinner will be good.

I especially like to make an ITALIAN BREAD. For the liquid just use tomato soup or a cup of sauce with a cup of water. For this bread I use olive oil and no eggs. I make this bread very plain and use a lot of herbs — no milk or any other ingredients but salt and a bit of sugar, maybe a Tbs. I use mainly white flour for this bread but knead it in cornmeal, about a cup. I use many herbs in this bread. If it’s in the summer, I use my fresh herbs. I use a lot of basil and rosemary in this bread. You would want to blend these herbs up in the blender with maybe your oil or sauce, but you don’t want long pieces of herbs in your bread as you would in your soup. You want just bits of green in your bread. Anyway, I use coarsely ground black pepper in this bread and garlic and sometimes onions, also, ground up with the other herbs. I either put this bread on 2 long cookie sheets or I make round loaves and put them in cast iron skillets to rise and to bake. When the bread is half done and a bit brown, just check it and put butter on the top of the crust and Parmesan cheese and bake abut 15 minutes more.

I guess I would just say, to end this, that you have to take your time when making bread. You can’t hurry it. And when learning to make bread, I ended up throwing a lot of it out in the back yard. But the birds will eat it if it is too hard and they have to eat, too. Or a stray dog or squirrel, whatever. But making good bread will take a large family through a lot of meals.

Bread and Salad

And you know I have told you all that when I homeschooled, I would buy the leftover veggies from the grocery store that they could not sell, for like a buck a box. Sometimes I would get a whole box of lettuce. Or a box of carrots and onions or whatever. So, anyway, our John who was a teen at the time would eat a whole head of lettuce on a dinner plate. And if we had other veggies, he would top it all with these. That and some big slices of crusty bread and some potato soup was a hearty supper.

I had 50 bucks a week to spend on groceries. Jim gave me 100 bucks every 2 weeks. So the first week we would eat pretty good and the second week mainly vegetables, fruit and soups and lots of bread. Often I made homemade popcorn with our soups. If I didn’t get potatoes in the boxes of veggies, I would buy huge bags of them. We went through 20 pounds of potatoes in 2 weeks. I made lots of mashed potatoes with a meat gravy. Sometimes I would get odds and ends of citrus fruits from my boxes behind the store. Fruits like grapefruit, lemons, and limes and oranges. So I would get out my old fashioned glass juicer and juice these fruits and make a good juice. Papa usually did this as he made the best juice you could imagine. You have to add water and sugar. But, oh, is this juice good.

As a mom, it took a lot of wheelin’ and dealin’ to keep my children in good food. The world would have called the boxes I bought for a buck or 2 just garbage. But I would take my produce home and throw out on my garden what wasn’t good, on my compost pile. Then I would peel and carve and save what was good of the produce. My children were all healthy and we never had to go to a doctor for colds, etc. But talk about a working mother — I worked like a dog keeping my family in clothes and food.

I didn’t complain if Papa didn’t have enough money to give me for much food. I knew he was doin’ his best and supporting all of us the best he could. It was my job to keep a home. The Bible says that there is profit in all labor. And I felt I had an important job to do to keep food on the table and the wolves away from the door. I didn’t have much money to work with but I learned as I stayed in obedience to my husband that God certainly does provide as I walk as Keeper at Home.

If Mother will remain content and happy and trusting in the Lord, her family will stay happy and quiet, too. And the heck with what anyone thinks about it. I was so busy when I was raising my 6 children, I didn’t hardly notice what others outside my home were doing. I didn’t watch TV except for Little House on the Prairie and the Waltons and some other family specials. I was almost continually in the kitchen or wheelin’ and dealin’ ways to get food. Mainly prayin’ for food. And I saw miracles of answered prayer. The Lord knew I had 6 children and I had them all by faith. Wouldn’t He make a way for me to raise them? Yes, He did. He was faithful. Oh, yes, he was faithful to me.

I didn’t complain to Papa. I made sure I always spent some of my grocery money on coffee for Jim’s breakfast and after work. I kept a lot from Jim. I didn’t want to worry him. He was working as hard as any man and I didn’t want to discourage him. As Mothers we can’t set a fire of fear into our homes with crying over the obvious. Jim gave me what he had to give and any decent wife should be happy with that and I was. It was my job to make a home with 50 bucks a week and by God’s help and grace, I did.

I remember my Mom bringing over a bunch of paper towels. We ran out of toilet paper and so I took my bread knife and cut the paper towel roll in half and put the rolls on my toilet paper roller. Christian Joy laughed so hard about that, but it kept us in toilet paper for a few more days.

In my last book, I wrote about the Fancy Water I gave my children as a treat. Just ice water in a beautiful old crystal glass pitcher. They thought it was a treat!

Soup’s On!

One soup I used to make the kids they called “Chicken of the Sea Soup.” I made it like a chicken soup but without the chicken. I used drained tuna fish. But the children for the longest time thought the tuna was chicken. Well, they loved it, anyway, but named it “Chicken of the Sea Soup.” It was not really a homemade soup. I would take a few cans of cream of chicken soup and add veggies and milk or water. I could get a lot of mileage out of a can of soup. You could also add a can of chicken noodle soup to this. But I would put in my herbs and pepper, and the soup looked good and the kids thought that was chicken in there and thought we were rich.

Often I would buy a big turkey after the holidays for 59 cents a pound and I would always pass it off as chicken. Dan always loved chicken! But he barely got any. One meal I fixed went like this. You make the tuna patties mixing drained tuna with eggs and crackers. You fry the patties in a hot oiled skillet. When brown put them in a baking dish. Then over the top you put diluted cream of chicken soup and bake it in the oven. I would use one can of tuna for the whole family so that meant a lot of crackers. I called this “Chicken Sasserole.” Dan loved it as he thought it had chicken in it but, with so many crackers, no one could tell. But the cream of chicken soup over the top was enough to give it all the smell of chicken and so that was enough for Dan.

Another meal I made smelled just like a beef roast. I put a frozen pound of hamburger in the middle of my roaster and added potatoes, onions and carrots. It smelled like a roast and I sliced the meat like it was one. The kids didn’t care until they got wiser and older. Then they noticed I was just slicing a pound of hamburger and calling it a roast. I hid it under a brown gravy mix and called it a day. Of course, the Swiss steak was hamburger hidden beneath tomato soup and onions. And Salisbury Steak was hamburger patties under mushroom soup with onions. Jim and I would sit at the table and say how tender the steak was and how good of a piece of meat it must have been. Well, it was very tender!

Well, I am laughing too much to write so I must go for now. I am sending this to Christian Joy and I hope she will tell some more of the things we used to have for supper.


Bread and Soup

Last evening Christine, John’s wife, and Romeo, my grandson age 3, came to visit for the evening. John and Jim were at work. I had fixed a big batch of homemade tomato soup. I have a lot left and today I will make tomato bread.

I had a bunch of frozen tomatoes in the freezer. I cooked them down in a pan, then put them through my blender. Then I cooked them in my big silver spaghetti pan along with a can of tomato sauce and a can of tomato soup and water. Then I just put in some slices of onion and green pepper, salt and black pepper, garlic and about a tablespoon of sugar. When it was cooked and still pretty hot, but not boiling, I added a pint of half and half cream. Don’t pour the milk or cream in the boiling soup as the cream would curdle. Just put the cream in when the soup is hot, just before you serve it. If you have to heat it back up, don’t boil it — just bring almost to simmer. You could just add evaporated milk, if ya don’t have cream or half and half. I forgot to add a bit of butter but that would have been good.

So we had the soup, the spice bread I had made a few days ago, and fresh fruit. Pretty soon, Wild Man came in after work and he ate and laughed with us. I had gotten some whipped cream on sale last week. The kind you squirt? Well, Jim showed Romeo how to squirt it in his mouth but Romeo didn’t want to, as he thought it was oatmeal. We don’t know why he thought that. Anyway, I had out the whipped cream for our coffee. Christine and I like to put cream and sugar in our coffee. Jim drinks his black.

So, anyway, I had made a lot of the tomato soup. So I jarred it up after the kids left. Today with the soup I will make tomato bread. This tomato bread would make a good pizza dough or calzone dough, or you could roll it out and put cheese and lunch meat in it, let it rise and bake it. I may make this today. I am not sure what I will come up with. But with all that cream in the soup and the tomatoes and spices, it will make a nice festive bread. Also with the tomato soup in the coming days, I can make gravy with it. This would make a wonderful rich gravy. I probably have about 2 quarts of soup left.

Jim has to work today over the lunchtime. I bet he will be busy with the Super Bowl playing today. Anyway, I will make some soup in the crock pot and some kind of tomato bread. I may make an apple salad. I dunno. What’s everyone else makin’?

Makin’ Soup

Happy New Year. John, his wife Christine, and Romeo came over last night for supper. We had a ball! Well, anywhere this family is, you can’t help but laugh and have a dandy time. They had to go to Missouri for Christmas so they brought our Christmas presents over last night. They gave me a lovely sweater and Jim a billfold and bedroom slippers. We had given them a crockpot. That’s what they wanted. Also, we got Tiff one, and Tiff and David got us one. Susie, Dan’s wife, cooks in hers every day. We all love our crockpots. I had one but it was wearing out.

Last night, I had fixed vegetable soup in my new crockpot and we had Pasta Salad. Also, I had made tomato bread and we had a lot of homemade Christmas candy and cookies. Jim had to work yesterday so I made some things, but he was home for the evening.

I had like 2 half cans of mixed nuts that I knew we weren’t going to eat. So I took some chocolate chips and some chocolate almond bark I had leftover and put it in the microwave. Ya gotta work with it and add milk and stir it up until it is smooth. It takes a while. So I got this all melted and then added a half a bag of the miniature marshmallows and the nuts. Then I spread all of this on a buttered cookie sheet. It’s really good. So I gave about half of this to the kids to take home.

I had about four cups of the soup leftover so I sent that home with Christine. She said she had a bunch of fresh vegetables and wanted to go home and make soup using my leftover soup. I had just made hamburger vegetable soup. And for the base, I used tomato soup diluted with about 5 cans of water or whatever would cover the vegetables and 1 brown gravy mix. My kids love it all like this. And I get the dried soup greens in a bottle, made by McCormick. Get it in the spice aisles. But, anyway, Christine will use my leftover soup as a soup starter. She and John both love vegetables. Romeo eats some, too, but not like his parents will. Christine would just sit down and eat a can of kidney beans as a snack. She loves all kinds of beans. So I know that today she will get out her new crockpot and make soup in it.

In the old days, when the children were little, I would get a soup bone from the store and make vegetable soup. Can you still buy a beef soup bone at the store? I haven’t even looked for one lately. But, anyway, I would cook the soup bone for hours with onions and herbs. Then, after all the meat was tender and falling off the bone, I would add the vegetables to make soup. You could do this with chicken pieces, too. For a soup stock, just add the meat and herbs and then water to the top of the pan. Then just cook all of this for about 3 hours or all day. And, when it is all done, then just put a pan in your sink and strain the soup of all the bones and fat, etc. And then you have a nice soup stock. You could then can it or freeze it to make soups with.

To make the soup stock to begin with, when you add the bone, you could add celery, onion, garlic and carrots for flavor. But then, when you strain it out, strain out the carrots and celery, etc., as these veggies would be cooked to death. I would just add these veggies to my outside compost pile for the garden. Your soup stock should look somewhat clear and strained. Like the chicken stock you buy at the store.

I have used the homemade chicken stock to put on fried potatoes when they needed a bit of moisture to get soft, but still crisp on the outside. You can also make mashed potatoes with chicken stock instead of the milk. Soup stock is nice to have on hand and easy to make.

I try to save my celery leaves for soup.

For the Pasta Salad, I just make the pasta and add fresh veggies. Whatever I have. Then I add the vinegar and oil dressing. But you could add any dressing. I had made mine with the vinegar and oil Italian dressing. But when I went to eat it, I put Ranch dressing on it. I think John did, too.

Simple Soups

Sometimes I just made a quick soup for the kids. One I used to make went like this. I would cut up leftover cooked chicken. Then I would put it in a pan with about 4 cups of water. Then I would add a can of cream of chicken soup and a can of chicken noodle soup. And also a can of the mixed vegetables from the store. I just brought this to a boil and it was done. You could add pepper and whatever herbs ya like. Also, for a nice tomato soup, I would cook up peeled tomatoes and onions and cook them until soft. At the end, add a couple cans of tomato soup. We almost never had just a can of store bought soup for a meal. I always made a can of soup go for about 8 servings.

I know some of this don’t sound very healthy. But we do have to cook for our husbands and children. And if they wont eat what you fix, then you defeat your purpose.

Also, I would take, like, apples and all kinds of fruit the children weren’t eating, and I would cut it all up and put it in a pot. Then just cook it all with some sugar for stewed fruit. Then I would serve this in little sauce dishes with a meal. Like maybe apples and cranberries with cut up oranges. One salad I used to make, if the bananas were going to be wasted, goes like this. Just take a can of peaches from the store and mix it with about 4 bananas. Fruit cocktail is usually cheap and I would buy this each week for the children. I would put the miniature marshmallows in it with the bananas. Sometimes I would add coconut or whatever. The children would eat this in a bowl for breakfast along with pancakes or fried potatoes.

All of my children and Jim love fruits and vegetables. We never had a lot of meat at our house. But usually each meal had some meat, mostly for flavor. I would make a whole meal for 8 people with a half pound of hamburger. So I would use a gravy mix to make it look good and brown. Tomato soup and brown gravy mix makes one think they have had some meat. Well, a housewife had to do what a housewife had to do, to keep everyone happy and fed.

My kids still laugh about my Chicken of the Sea soup. I would use tuna and tell the kids it was chicken and made it with chicken soup and vegetables. They never knew the difference when they were young. I don’t know how they eventually figured it out. Well, they didn’t care, anyway, as they liked tuna, too.

I used to make tuna patties from drained tuna and crackers and eggs. It’s like meatloaf. Anyway, I would use just one can of tuna for about 7 patties. I would fry them up good. Then I would put these in a 9 by 13 pan. Then, over the top, put a couple cans of cream of chicken soup diluted to be creamy like a gravy. Then just bake it in the oven until it bubbles. My family loved this meal. Then have potatoes and vegetables with the meal. Make up some baking powder biscuits or some kind of bread and you have a nice meal.

My children were always healthy and never needed a doctor. We ate more hillbilly, I guess. Not really back to the land. I went back to the land as much as I could in town. But I did what I had to do to keep my home happy. No, all the soup wasn’t probably a good idea but it was all I had. Either ya gotta have meat or a meat flavor if your husband likes meat. Jim would have to have a piece of meat once in a while. But he didn’t want it all the time. He is very healthy, too.

Now days, we can have what food we want. But Jim prefers the old time comfort foods. He asked me this morning if I would make some chicken soup for today. He has to work but will be home for supper.

I love my new crockpot and the girls love theirs. We got Susie a nice mixer on a stand with dough hooks for Christmas, as she has a crockpot already. Boy she loved that. She loves to cook. The crockpots around here are only about 15 bucks. And we found this nice mixer on the stand for Susie for only 15 bucks. We got all the appliances at WalMart.

Makin’ Soup and Bread

Yesterday, I was cleanin’ out the fridge and makin’ soup and bread. I made a lovely multicolored chili. I usually just make it with beans and tomatoes and hamburger. But this time, I added a can of drained corn and some cut up cubed pumpkin. Then I had a couple big slices of green pepper in it. Jim doesn’t eat green peppers, so I just slice them big and lay them on top. He likes the taste but doesn’t want to eat one … same with onion.

But, anyway, my soup looked like the fall leaves. It was so pretty! The pumpkin will take on the flavor of the chili … it wont keep its own flavor. So, anyway, my soup was red with tomatoes, yellow from the corn, green with peppers, orange with pumpkin. And it had a pretty reddish brown of chili beans in the background. I added a package of taco seasoning, too.

Also, I wanted to make bread and muffins. So I took some of the pumpkin I had cut up and I put it in the blender with milk and one egg, and some left over candied sweet potatoes from the fridge I was cleaning out. Also, about a half cup of Crisco. I whirled this up and put it in a bowl. Then, I saw some leftover apple crisp in the fridge — about a cup? Well, I added this to my mix. Then some more brown sugar and cinnamon. (I just taste it as I go.) Then I added as much self rising flour as I thought I needed to make a bread or muffin mix. I stirred it all up good. Then I put some in a loaf pan and made a batch and a half of muffins, too. They were called “Sweet Potato Pumpkin Apple Crisp Muffins.” Papa loved them. Well, I loved ’em too.

Today, I have to get some stew meat or buy a roast and cut it up, whatever is the cheapest. Next week, I will make stew and put some pumpkin in this, too. The pumpkin makes the soups and stews look so pretty, and it also has a way of thickening things.

Pumpkin Craft

I have had a craft idea I dreamed up and I want to try here soon. Ya know, right now the pumpkins in our area are dirt cheap. Jim got me two the other day for a buck apiece. So I just want to have fun with them and let my imagination run wild. I love the smell of pumpkin and I haven’t been able to buy any reasonably priced pumpkin scented candles, so this is what I may do today or at least I will, for sure, tomorrow.

Just slice the side off the pumpkin so that it looks like a boat. Clean it out of the seeds and stuff. Then I want to dig a few holes in the rind with a knife and put the little candles in it. Like maybe three holes and just put the little scented candles in it. I have some left over from other holidays. But, anyway, red candles or green would be fall-like colors.

Then around the candles, I want to put some cinnamon sticks and whole cloves and maybe some bay leaves, and a few pinecones and branches of rose hips. Then, when you light your candles, you would smell a spicey pumpkin smell.

This fall array would last you a few days. It would be nice to make this on a day you will be home all day. And then make a bean soup with ham hock for the family to come home to. Maybe make some homemade bread to go with it or pumpkin spice muffins.

For bean soup, I just take an array of beans and rinse them off, cook them until they boil, then let them set for an hour or so. Then I rinse this water off in about an hour, and then I get fresh water and cook the beans in a pot until they are soft, for atleast a few hours. Then I put in a ham hock or some bacon, and some onion and black pepper and salt. And then I usually throw in tomatoes or a tomato sauce. I use black beans and all kinds of the dried beans … the different colors make it pretty. Then I will put in a slice of green pepper (or yellow) and slices of onion. My bean soup always looks festive and colorful. Also, I will add some cubes of pumpkin. Not a lot — Papa would croak — and he said no black beans this time. So the black beans are out for today.

Now, if ya like black beans like I do, you could cook them in a separate little pot on the stove and put them in your own soup when you serve yourself … maybe the children like them, too. But I will add parsley and garlic and I dunno which other spices yet. I will just look through the cupboard and get creative.

We should be home this morning so I think I will got ahead and make my pumpkin craft.

Also, I always save my seeds and put them in a jar of salt water and let them sit a day. Then I drain them good and roast them in the oven with butter and salt and pepper, and a bit of garlic but … shhhh don’t tell Papa. Our family loves roasted pumpkin seeds.

But I love to use up my pumpkins and the more I use, the more Papa will happily buy me.

Potato Soup

It’s early in the morning and I am starting some potato soup. I have the kerosene burner on in the living room and want to have the kitchen stove going, too. So I will peel the potatoes and put them in my pot and let them cook in the oven. I had the butcher crack some ham hocks in the middle, so I have two pieces about the size of a baking potato. I put one in my soup. I put in salt and pepper and an onion slice, to be discarded. I put in some cut up carrots, just a little for color. I like my potato soup to look mellow and sort of yellow. I put in celery seed, as I had no celery.

Also, I get a bottle of McCormicks Soup Greens? I splurge on that. I got mine on sale for a buck, but I imagine it costs more than that, usually. But it lasts a long time. I use it for soups. I sprinkle about a tablespoon over the top. It has dried bits of tomatoes and carrots and other greens. It just makes your soup look festive, ya know? Colorful and appetizing.

Papa and I have to do errands this morning, so my soup will just simmer in the stove for the morning. I put it on about 350

Winter Soups and Breads

I am up early, makin’ coffee and writing. Today Mary is coming for lunch, and maybe Tiffany and Baby Rose. (David is at work.) So I am up thinking of what to have for lunch. I may have chili and fresh vegetable salads.

We went to the grocery store yesterday early, and there were many marked down vegetables like for 29

Chicken Soup and Homemade Bread

Chicken Soup

Here is how I cook chicken soup from scratch, making the homemade broth. I just take a whole chicken, clean it up, and put it in a big pot on the stove with water to cover it. You could use just chicken parts. I cook it until I can take the meat off the bones. Then take the chicken out of the pan, let it cool, and take the chicken apart. Throw all of the fat and bones away, and then cut the meat up into bitesize pieces. Then put the clean meat back into your broth (the water it came out of).

So now ya have the cut up chicken and the broth. To this, I add onions and salt and pepper and parsley. And then I add cut up carrots and celery, and garlic, if ya like it. Often, I will add some cut up tomatoes for color and flavor. Then, after the vegetables are soft, I add (depending on what I have) maybe some chicken noodle soup or some cream of chicken soup. It gives it more flavor. You could add a handful of rice or some noodles and cook it with the vegetables. And that is how I do it.

This recipe makes a lot, but this is always better the second time. You could also can this soup in canning jars if you have a pressure canner. I would leave out the store bought soup at the end. You could add it later for a meal. The old time Mother canned a lot of this soup to have on busy days when she didn’t have time to cook and she needed an instant dinner. I have canned hamburger before … it was fun. I left the fat in it and the fat on top helped to seal it in and I didn’t have any of it spoil. The fat came to the top, ya know what I mean?

Oh, it’s fun to make the old timey comfort foods. I have made a lot of soup in my day. It sure kept my family healthy and well fed. Many times, when I was busy with the children, I wouldn’t have time to watch my soup, so I would just put it in the oven to cook on a low temp. When I homeschooled, after devotions around 9:00 in the morning, I would start my soup and it would be ready for our family meal.

Jim used to work at the airport, and he would go to work around 2 in the afternoon, so I always had our family meal around 11:30 or at noon. Jim would want me to go with him to do errands, if we had any to do, before he went to work. I would have the children do their hour of reading after lunch. But many times, we took all the children with us to do errands and they did reading when they got back. Papa always wanted all of the children with us wherever we went.

Often, we had five children with us to go to the grocery store. One cart was for babies and one was for groceries. I would buy a lot of food to make food with. My grocery cart would be so full, people would say, “Are you all going to eat all of that?”

I always said proudly, “Well, we have a large family.” My cart would be mostly full of of potatoes and carrots, apples and oranges. I didn’t buy much juice for the children but fed them a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Our tables were always full of fresh lettuce salads and fruit.

Sometimes I would take a big can of peaches and put it in a big bowl, leaving all the syrup in. Then I would add bananas and apples, cut up. Sometimes I would add the little marshmallows and some coconut, whatever I had, but the bananas were especially good in the peach syrup.

In the spring, like now when my rhubarb is coming up, I made a lot of stewed rhubarb and then the strawberry rhubarb jam. Danny, especially, loved this jam.

And ya know, Mothers, if you make plenty of homemade bread the children always have bread and jam to eat as a snack. The homemade bread is so good for them.

Homemade Bread

Really, the whole wheat bread made with honey is the best bread. But, ya know, my family just liked the texture of the white bread the best. So I just figured that my white bread made from scratch was better than whole wheat store bought any day. A lot of the time, my brother would give me fresh eggs in the spring so I had these to make my bread. And my milk man gave me free goat milk. And to my white bread, I would add maybe a cup of whole wheat flour, then maybe a half a cup of cornmeal and maybe a half cup of oatmeal. Then I would almost always add a cup of mashed potatoes or a cup of fruit, maybe a cup of applesauce, or I would use the syrup off the peaches as part of my liquid instead of the milk called for.

I would make bread out of whatever I had. If I had a tablespoon of jam or jelly on the table and the kids weren’t eating it, I would add it to the bread. Or maybe the peanut butter was about gone and I wanted to get rid of it, I would add it to my bread. If the cookie plate had some crumbs on it, I added it to my bread mixture. I tried not to waste anything. If I had made pancakes in the morning for breakfast and had some of the batter left over, I would heat it up a bit and add my bread yeast to this and make bread, using this as a starter.

Johnny used to eat about 10 pancakes in the morning before school. I am not kidding. I used to make pancake batter from scratch in one of those big plastic salad bowls, and the pancakes would be as big as a plate. Johnny was always really hungry in the mornings. Christian Joy would eat at least 5 big pancakes. The other children would eat about 2. They loved pancakes.

I would make surprise pancakes. They had to guess what was in them. One time, I had some left over chip dip that I thought was really flat. I put some in the pancakes. Actually, the dip was really garlicky … Christian Joy loved them. They were her favorite. But not the rest of us. I probably made bread with that batter. Those pancakes were bad news.

Jill and I would make a package of chocolate chips last forever. Jill would make her chocolate chip cookies without any chocolate chips in them and, just before she put them in the oven, she would put a chocolate chip on the top of each cookie. If the cookie had one chip in them, we called them chocolate chip cookies. We were poor and raising kids. Good Grief!

Mother’s Home

Yesterday for dinner, I fixed a baked chicken. I took the whole chicken and cooked it in a big pan of water for a while. Then I took the chicken out of the pan and browned it in the oven. The big pan of water I cooked it in made a broth. I added cream of chicken soup to this. I made dumplings, just like you make biscuits, and I dropped them into the boiling broth on the stove. As the dumplings floated to the top, I put them in the oven and browned them on top. I mixed carrots and celery with the broth, and cooked them all together. Jim really liked the dumplings, and Mary, too.

Then, last evening, Danny stopped to visit. I gave him some leftover gravy and dumplings and some chicken to take home. Then, I had part of the chicken left and some thin gravy, so I put all of this in a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer. I will use this to make chicken soup. I will take a pan and put the chicken in it, as it is still on the bone. And then I will cook it until I can get all of the meat off of the bones. Then I will take all the bones out and have just the chicken in the pan. I will add my leftover chicken gravy to the soup, and then all the vegetables, and some spices.

I am just thinking, too, as I stand here … I bet some of you younger mothers don’t have the really big pans. I pray that the Lord will send you all the big pans so that you can cook a lot. I have one of those tall silver spaghetti pans with the silver flat lid. I think Aldies had them once on sale. Anyway, yesterday, I put my whole chicken in that pan with water and cooked it on the stove. I am going to be praying for some big roasters and canners for you young moms. I used to use my big waterbath canner to do a lot of my cooking, especially for soups. Like, when John and his wife Christine would come to visit, they loved the homemade soups. And I love to be able to send some home in a few jars with the kids. But we need to think in terms of bigger pans, in faith for bigger families, huh?

You can always can up your leftover soups or freeze them in containers for the freezer. Chili freezes especially well. And, ya know, when the chidlren were young and it was Saturday, and we didn’t have homeschool, then Papa would take us places. Oh, just to goof off and go to the Dollar store, or like now, we would drive around and look at Christmas lights in the evening. But I always tried to get up early on Saturday and get a meal ready to put in the oven. Because, ya know, when you have a lot of children, you can’t afford to eat out, except occasionally. So the children would be hungry around noon, and we would go home to a meal already done. Papa would buy some soda pop and maybe some chips to make it festive and fun, and I would have fixed chili. My children loved chili.

But, anyway, I just always tried to have meals on the stove for the children. When they were all home, I made soup almost every day to keep on the back of the stove, plus regular meals. I had three children in public school and then two babies at home at first, when Papa first got saved. Well, Jimmy, my oldest, had a part time job after school, and they all had different schedules. So I kept the soup on the stove for the kids who wouldn’t be eating a regular meal with us in the evening, and Papa would take some in his lunch. That soup would come in mighty handy. I mean, with that many children, they eat up what you fix. If one child didn’t like what I was fixing for supper, then they ate the soup. It was always a good filler for us, especially with homemade bread. I made a lot of chicken vegetable soups and hamburger vegetable soups.

One of my children’s favorite meals is burritos. I just get the tortillas from Aldies, and the refried beans and salsa, the taco package mix for 39

Making Vegetable Soup

It is 6:30 a.m. and I am frying hamburger to make vegetable soup for lunch at noon. I am frying about three pounds of hamburger and will make the soup in my big turkey roaster that can hold a 25 pound turkey. It covers two burners on top of the stove, so it’s big.

Last week, I was visiting with our David, age 22, on the phone. He said, “Mom, Steve wants to talk to you.” Steve is David’s friend and they share the apartment.

So Steve gets on the phone. “Mrs. Hultquist? Can you make me some soup if I bring over the meat and vegetables? Because you are a, um, stay at home Mom. Or, um … aaaa … what do ya call it? Um, you are a … um, a homemaker? And you know how to make homemade soup?” I am laughing to myself and letting this poor kid stumble around and try to describe who my sons said I was. So I said I would see what I could do. So I asked Jim about it, and he laughed over Steven, as we always do.

Anyway, long story “short,” I asked the boys over for dinner today of vegetable soup. I will make enough for the boys to bring some back home. They want to take it in their lunch for next week.

Then last night, Dan called to tell us that his car is running again. I invited Dan, age 20, for soup, too. Well, he has to work but asked me to save him some for when he comes over Sunday. I will have plenty for whoever wants some.

I am making the broth this morning and then later, after school with Mary, Jim will take me to the store and I will get some vegetables. I have potatoes but need to buy celery, cabbage and carrots. This morning before I go to the store, I will just make the broth. I will drain the hamburger and add water to the soup pot. I will cut up onions and put in the herbs (garlic, black pepper, marjoram from my garden, parsley, basil, etc.) and some beef bullion cubes. I have a few tomatoes left from the garden and green peppers … I will add them. And maybe one or two hot peppers from the garden, too. (I am drying these, as I had so many this year.)

I had made a big pan of breadsticks yesterday, so I will have them on the table, too. Also, we have some banana bread, left from Mary’s baking, for dessert. I suppose we will have iced tea to drink and milk.

But it will be an event. “Anywhere Steven is turns into an event.”

The kids tell Steven, “My Mom knows that you are trying to get one over on her and she acts like she believes you but she doesn’t.” I am going to wear my apron today and do it up good. Steven’s eyes will be big as saucers.

Mary Elisabeth has been a real riot lately. She said really shyly the other day, “Mom, ya know how I always bring Brandon some of your baking? Well, I tell him I made it. That raspberry cobbler you made? I told him I went out and picked the raspberries in the backyard myself and made the cobbler myself.”

I said. “Mary Elisabeth, you quit lyin’ to that poor kid. It isn’t that hard for you to bake.” So she made the bananna bread 2 days ago. She made 3 big loaves and it was delicious. And she said Brandon ate a whole loaf in one sitting. I told her that she shouldn’t lie about her baking and it’s my cooking that he will be marrying her for.

Mary loves to decorate and would rather clean than cook. But she is a really good cook and baker.

Well, anyway, I do try my best to show my children a stay at home wife and mother. Hopefully, my boys will marry homemakers and later mothers whose hearts stay home with my grandbabies.

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