5 Ways to Sink Your Teeth Into Apple Season

apples at market lisa amstutz

Is it possible to have too many apples? It’s been a bumper year for apples on our Ohio homestead. We’ve made enough applesauce for ourselves and our extended family, shared some apples, and they still keep coming. Fortunately, there are lots of other great ways to preserve this versatile fruit and enjoy eating it all winter. Here are a few delicious solutions to try. Continue reading

Applesauce Day

apples in bowl lisa amstutz

Late summer means it’s time for one of my favorite traditions: Applesauce Day. For years, the kids and I have spent a day or two each summer making a year’s worth of applesauce with my mother. It’s a family tradition that grows sweeter every year.

This year, the day was extra-special because for the first time, we did not have to buy any apples. Our young trees produced a bumper crop of chemical-free, mostly worm-free apples. We did a batch of Transparent apples and a second batch of Summer Rambos. Continue reading

Canning/Freezing Prep Checklist

These classic clear glass jars have preserved literally tons of fruits and vegetables over the past 125 years. A true symbol of America's past, they still work great for today's home canning.

These classic clear glass jars have preserved literally tons of fruits and vegetables over the past 125 years. A true symbol of America’s past, they still work great for today’s home canning.

Summer is almost here, and our garden is ahead of schedule. We’re getting ready to put strawberries and jam in the freezer and harvest season will be here before we know it. Since I always seem to find myself hunting for missing supplies or running to the store for freezer containers while a pile of produce wilts on the counter, I came up with the following checklist to better prepare for canning and freezing this year. Hopefully you will find it useful as well! Continue reading

Easy Bread And Butter Pickles Simply Delicious

Saving the Seasons is available now at Lehmans.com or Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio.

Saving the Seasons is available now at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Canning holds a lot of sentimental value for me—the popping lids and steaming kettles of food evoke warm memories of my mother’s and grandmothers’ cozy kitchens and home-canned goodies. That alone makes it worthwhile, but canning has other benefits as well. Buying large quantities of fruits and vegetables in season saves money on our yearly grocery bill. I like knowing where my food comes from and what’s in it.

Pickles are one of my must-can items every year. Home-canned pickles delicious and easy to make, they are considerably cheaper than store-bought pickles and free of the corn syrup, preservatives and artificial colors often found in commercial brands. Continue reading

Home Brewing – Kombucha Style

Split your SCOBY and kombacha in half, and store in two half-gallon jars from Lehmans.com.

Split your SCOBY and kombucha in half, and store in two half-gallon jars from Lehmans.com.

Last summer, some visiting friends arrived toting a mysterious bundle. It turned out to contain a jar of kombucha, a fermented tea beverage. The fizzy, slightly vinegary flavor was surprising at first, but quickly grew on us. By the time our friends left, we had a jar of our own brewing on the counter.

Kombucha originated in China over 2000 years ago but has only recently become trendy in the U.S. It is said to detoxify the body, help with digestion and energy and provide probiotics, although the scientific evidence is sketchy. Excessive consumption is not recommended because of high acidity and the potential of detoxifying too quickly. It is also not recommended during pregnancy. Continue reading

Remembering Grandma’s Kitchen

Learn about Ohio's Amish and Mennonite community! In stock now at Lehman's in Kidron, or Lehmans.com.

Learn about Ohio’s Amish and Mennonite community! In stock now at Lehman’s in Kidron, or Lehmans.com.

My grandmother would have been bewildered if someone had suggested she was a homesteader, radical homemaker, or foodie. She certainly didn’t know she was living the Lehman’s lifestyle. This Mennonite farmer’s wife was just living the way she always had. Yet her life centered around food in a way that is utterly alien to most modern cooks.

Grandma’s way of life was evident the moment you set foot in her home. A boxy, olive-green food dehydrator perched just inside the entryway, source of the much-anticipated pear leather that arrived at our doorstep each Christmas in neat, plastic-wrapped bundles.

Next to that was the marble slab where Grandma ladled out steaming sugar syrup that hardened into cinnamon-flavored hardtack candy. Continue reading

The Frugalista’s Homemade Maple-Flavored Syrup

Step-by-step guide and kit will help you tap maples like a pro. Click the picture to find out more.

Step-by-step guide and kit will help you tap maples like a pro. Click the picture to find out more.

We absolutely LOVE maple syrup. But the real stuff can be pricey, and most artificial maple syrup is full of preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and other yucky ingredients. Until we learn how to tap our maple trees and boil down our own syrup (yes, it is on our list of things to do here on our homestead!), this is the recipe I make to satisfy our craving for maple-icious pancakes. Continue reading

Baked Oatmeal? Breakfast Cake? You Decide.

Choose a Recycled Steel Square Cake Pan for easy baking. Non-stick silicone interior. Available at Lehmans.com or Lehman's in Kidron, OH.

Choose a Recycled Steel Square Cake Pan for easy baking. Non-stick silicone interior. Available at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, OH.

During my years as a camp cook, this tasty, cake-like variation on oatmeal won rave reviews from guest groups. Even diehard oatmeal-haters have been known to change their minds after trying it!

Baked oatmeal is a handy breakfast to serve to overnight guests because it can be assembled the evening before and refrigerated. Bake it the next morning, and serve warm, topped with yogurt or milk and fresh berries for a hearty, delicious start to your day. Continue reading

Pop In A Loaf of Poppy Seed Bread

Individual mini loaf pans make up fun little quick breads and meat loaves. Available at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

The holiday season is upon us, and with it come potlucks, family gatherings, office parties and more. This bread makes a nice addition to any of these occasions, or you can wrap it in plastic wrap and tie a pretty ribbon on top to make a cheery little holiday or hostess gift. Make them even cuter by baking them in mini loaf pans! (Choose individual ones [at right] or a mini loaf pan set from Lehman’s.)

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
1 ½ cups milk
¾ cups vegetable oil1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ teaspoons butter flavoring

Combine ingredients. Mix at medium speed two minutes. Spoon into two 8 x 4 x 3 loaf pans. Bake at 350° F or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and drizzle with orange glaze (below).

Zip Whisk

Whisk Like a Pro – Just Push and Mix Fast and easy to use, ingenious Zip Whisk rotates as you push down on handle.

Orange or Lemon Glaze:

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange or lemon juice
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon butter flavoring

Combine ingredients and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over bread. Let set for a few minutes to harden before serving.

Lasagna Is Perfect for Holiday Potluck Parties

Keep your family recipes safe! Click on the photo and check out My Mother’s Recipe Box, available at Lehman’s in Kidron or Lehmans.com.

I have a theory that the more stained and beat-up the recipe card or cookbook page, the better the recipe must be. This is certainly the case with the card I wrote my mother’s lasagna recipe on. This lasagna has been a family favorite for years and is one of my go-to recipes whenever we have company or need to take a meal to someone. Continue reading