Bean and Bacon Soup – Hearty Home Cooking at it’s Best!

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Acorns and fall leaves

It’s amazing how fast the warm colors of Autumn are already starting to appear along our country lane. Granted, we did have a wonderful summer, but it always seems like fall comes so soon! It’s ok though, because besides the Christmas season, this is my favorite time of the year! And with the cooler temperatures, always comes the urge to prepare a large pot of hearty soup, a platter of oven warmed bread, and a few candles scented with pumpkin, clove, and orange, to add to the evening’s ambiance as our family gathers around the harvest table.

I thought you might like to share this wonderful Bean & Bacon Soup with your family this week!

Hearty Bean & Bacon Soup


6 slices lean bacon, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
1/8 tsp. crushed hot red pepper
2 cups diced tomatoes
2-1/2 cups canned white beans, drained
6 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup small pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a heavy soup pot, saute the bacon until done. Leave the bacon drippings in the pan to saute the other vegetables. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and red pepper to the pot. Saute until the vegetables are soft, approx. 10 minutes on low heat. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 10 more minutes. Then, stir in the beans and broth. Break up the bacon into smaller pieces, and add to the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, then add the pasta and cook 15 minutes or so until the pasta is done. This soup is great topped off with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.


Easy Apple Pie Rolls

Easy Apple Pie
I just love the smell of apple pie baking in the kitchen! But the one thing I like better than smelling it is eating it!

I like to think of the recipe as a mix between apple pie & biscuits. The cook book calls the dessert “Roly Poly Pudding”, although I might call it something more like “Easy Apple Pie Rolls” (I know – not nearly as exciting as Roly Poly Pudding 🙂

The recipe is basically a biscuit recipe (which might be familiar to you, if you already make biscuits in your kitchen), and a group of other ingredients that would be used in making an apple pie.

Biscuit Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk

1/4 cup softened butter
3 cups cored, peeled, and finely chopped apples
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

First lets make the biscuit part of the recipe.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together, then “cut in” shortening with a pastry blender

To cut in = using pastry blender, large fork, or clean fingers 😉 to combine shortening with dry ingredients. You know you’ve properly “cut in”, when the mixture breaks apart into small bits that resemble a lumpy cake mix before you mix it 😉

Add the milk a little at a time while mixing gently. The batter does not have to be smooth, and is ready to work with as soon as it can be picked up & rolled out.

Then, on a surface dusted with flour, roll the dough out into a large rectangle (approx. 8X12). Spread 1 tablespoon of the softened butter over the dough.

Spread the apples over the dough, leaving about an inch on all sides. Then, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over apples.

Why don’t you go ahead & turn your oven up to 400 right now, that way it will be heated enough to put the rolls in when you’re ready.

Mix the granulated sugar, water, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the butter together in a pot & cook until dissolved. Pour this mixture into a shallow baking dish.

Starting with the longest end, carefully start rolling up the pastry. When you’re done, you should have what looks like a 12 inch long tube – not a VERY fat stumpy 8 inch log 🙂 Slice the roll into 1 inch pieces, and place them in the baking dish with the sugar mixture – apple side up. Spread the remaining butter on top of the rolls, and then bake them for 30-35 minutes.

These would be great served with some heavy whipping cream or a spoon of vanilla ice cream!

Have a Marvelous day!

How Pearl Makes a Perfect Cup of Tea

My perfect cup of tea…

– Place a tea bag in your cup – add hot water.
– Allow to sit for a few minutes – squeeze & remove.
– Add a spoon of splenda, a bit of milk, and a dash of vanilla – stir.

Pictured here is a pair of vintage tea bag holders that I picked up for a dollar at a local shop. I loved the colors! I’ve pictured them in front of a piece of vintage pottery.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning my husband & I woke up early to pray & give God thanks for everything He has done in our lives. As we were sharing all of the things we were thankful for, the sun starting waking up as well. We’ve had quite a long season of rain, so you can imagine the joy of seeing the sun – especially on this joyous occasion of giving thanks.

I decided to put on my coat & shoes and go out to save a few memories with my camera.

This is one of the beautiful views from my office window. I love the way the sun was sparkling like thousands of tiny dancing crystals as it kissed the frosty blanket that the forest woke up with this morning.

As I was walking through the woods with our 2 little dogs, I could hear the church bells playing Thanksgiving hymns such as “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, and “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” down in the little village below. I love to hear the bells, especially on holiday mornings such as this.

It has been our tradition for the last several years to come together as a family at my brother’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving. This year we will bring, sauteed green beans, candied carrots, and apple crisp. It is always such a wonderful day.

I tend to cook a lot like my great grandmother Pearl. I usually go by how something feels & tastes more often than what the recipe says 🙂 My family really enjoys these carrots, so I wanted to share them with you. They are so easy – but so yummy!

Candied Carrots:

– Peel & chop carrots (I like to use baby carrots)
– Cook in a pot with water until tender – but not to soft
– Drain water
– Mix equal amounts of maple syrup & brown sugar enough to coat carrots.
– Add to the pot
– Add 1/2 stick of butter and salt/pepper/garlic to taste
– Heat through

A few thoughts for the day…

No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
~ H. U. Westermayer

Soup up Your Soup – Easy touches that make soup great!

Nothing seems to warm your insides like a bowl of homemade soup. Instead of having soup as usual, why not add a little pizzazz to your next pot? Your family will love you for it!
Homemade chicken soup

Here are just a few ideas to help make your homemade soup a little more special.

* Mix 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 2 eggs, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup milk. Then, right before you turn your stove off, whisk this mixture into the pot (make sure that the soup is still slightly boiling so the mixture will “cook” into the soup broth. I use this technique with our chicken soup.

* Add vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or wine vinegar – adds a great taste! * My kids don’t think they can eat their soup until we add the balsamic vinegar 🙂

* Add small cooked meatballs to any kind of soup. You can use this instead of other costly meat. A little goes a long way!

* Noodle drops – 1 1/3C flour, 1C milk, 1 egg, salt, pepper, mix & drop into boiling soup. They float when done.

Homemade soup…it warms the heart & soul 🙂

Apple Butter Made Easy – Plus a great gift idea!

While growing up, I remember friends of ours planning the annual apple butter making day. It was a huge chore & a very long process! Peel the apples – core the apples – slice the apples – start a huge fire in a pit – cook the apples in a heavy cast iron kettle – stoke the fire – stoke the fire – did I say stoke the fire? This went on for literally hours! Then came the process of canning the apple butter!
Apple butter.

Hopefully I can encourage you to try your hand at this flavorful spread, when you see how easy you can make it in your own kitchen.

Wash apples & cook whole in a large pot with water. When very tender, push through a sieve – now you have apple sauce! No peeling, slicing, or coring needed!

These ingredients make 1 apple butter recipe:

8 cups of apple sauce
4 cups of sugar (2 white – 2 brown)
1/2 cup of vinegar or cider
2 t cinnamon
1 t ground cloves

Put all into a crock pot & cook on high for approx. 7 hours. Make sure the steam can escape when it starts boiling.

You can store in the fridge or freeze for later use. Canning would also be a good option. Fill jelly jars with hot sauce & process in a boiling water bath.

* Here’s a great gift idea – a gift basket with a breakfast theme. Include things like; apple butter, homemade bread, pretty bowl, coffee cup, coffee (make some of those different coffee mixes), tea, and homemade granola cereal. Wrap it up with tea towels and cloth napkins. You could call it – breakfast in bed.