Homemade Potato Soup - Similar to Machine Shed Potato Soup

Originally posted in 2009 - reposting for 2017

Originally I posted this collected recipe in the Fall of 2009.  I don't recall where it even came from but because of the name, I'm assuming it might be a copy from a restaurant with the same name (the Machine Shed).  I've never been there and never had their soup so I have no idea!

For the cold Fall and Winter nights coming just around the corner, this might be a yummy once in a while comfort soup to enjoy.

Machine Shed Potato Soup

2-1/2 lbs. baby red potatoes, quartered
3 stalks celery, diced
1 qt. water
1 qt. milk
1 t. black pepper
3/4 c flour
1/4 c chopped parsley
1/2 lbs bacon, diced (raw)
1 jumbo yellow onion, diced
1/4 c chicken base
1 t salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 c whipping cream

Boil potatoes for 10 minutes; drain and set aside.

In a large, heavy pot sauté bacon, onion and celery over medium high heat until celery is tender. Drain the bacon grease. Add milk, water, chicken base, salt and pepper. Heat over medium high heat until hot, but not boiling. In a large heavy saucepan melt margarine and add flour; mix well and allow to bubble; stirring for 1 minute. While stirring the soup, stir in the flour mixture slowly; continue stirring until thick and creamy. Stir in parsley, potatoes and cream. Garnish with some shredded colby cheese, bacon bits, chopped green onion. 

Print Friendly and PDF


It's National Pancake Day! Recipes for Pumpkin Pancakes and Pumpkin Griddlecakes

I don't pay attention to all the "national whatever" days so I had no idea National Pancake Day was September 26th and I just happened to have posted a recipe for Acorn Flour Pancakes this week!  Yay me!  But admittedly not too many people are going to be making acorn pancakes!  You have to gather acorns and crack them and soak them and rinse them and grind them... whew.  I might do that for 'fun' once or twice to learn the skill in case of an emergency situation where I would need to know how to do so, but generally speaking?  Nah.

Instead, I'm offering two recipes I've already posted on An American Housewife previously - one was back in 2009!  The first is pumpkin griddle cakes (griddle cakes are made with cornmeal)  and one for pumpkin pancakes, made with common flour.

Pumpkin Griddle Cakes

1/2 c corn meal
1 c boiling water
1/4 c pumpkin pulp (real pumpkin, not pie filling)
Not quite 1 cup of scalded and cooled milk
1 c flour
2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 t sugar
1 t allspice
1 egg, beaten

Combine corn meal and water and let stand 5 minutes. Add pumpkin and cooled milk and stir until smooth. Sift rest of dry ingredients together and add to first mixture. Beat egg and stir in. Mix all well. Drop batter by large tablespoonfuls onto a well greased hot griddle. Flip when tiny bubbles erupt all over. When golden and crisp serve with maple syrup.

 Pumpkin Pancakes

1 1/4 c flour
2 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t salt
1/8 t nutmeg
tiny pinch of ground cloves

Mix 1 egg
6 T pumpkin puree
2 T melted butter
1 c milk

Fold the wet into the dry. Heat a buttered skillet over medium heat. Use about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook 2-3 minutes on one side until the air bubbles are numerous and popping. Flip. Cook another 2-3 minutes. Serve with butter and syrup.



Print Friendly and PDF


The Best Beef Stew Recipe! Beef and Vegetable Stew - Easy in a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot

Even though I think of a hearty beef and vegetable stew as a 'winter' food, for some reason I really, really wanted to make this yesterday.  It worked out perfectly though as it's about 100 degrees out this week and I was able to put this in the slow cooker and forget about it while it cooked away on the countertop and didn't heat up my kitchen.  I also used my solar oven to bake a loaf of bread so our dinner last night was not only delicious and filling but it cooked without my help or using the stove or oven!

This recipe is SO TASTY.  I apologized to my family a bit when I served it... I said, "I know stew is an old Grandma style recipe but...."  and I need not have bothered.  It was met not only with great enthusiasm, but the dish was scraped clean!

I did not have fresh carrots on hand - only about 1/4 cup leftover of the carrots I had dehydrated last month so that is why my photos don't show large, brightly colored carrot disks in them.  I also used my dehydrated sliced mushrooms and added them at the beginning of the cook time and we don't use corn very often in our home so I left that out.  Substitute as you need to or want to.

Beef and Vegetable Stew

3 c cubed, peeled potatoes
4 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, cubed
2 lb. steak or other beef, cubed or cut to about 1" pieces
2 T oil
3 T flour
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 c boiling water
1/4 c white vinegar
1/4 c ketchup
1 T prepared horseradish
1 T prepared mustard
1 T sugar
1 c peas
1 c corn
1 c fresh sliced mushrooms

Place the potatoes, carrots and onions in a slow cooker.  In a large skillet, brown the beef in oil.  Lay on the vegetables in the slow cooker.  Sprinkle with flour.  In a bowl, dissolve the bouillon cubes in the water and stir in the vinegar, ketchup, horseradish, mustard and sugar.  Pour over meat in the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on high about 5 hours.  Add the peas and corn and mushrooms.  Cook an additional 45 minutes.  Makes about 5-6 servings.

Print Friendly and PDF


Acorn Flour Pancakes - Happy First Day of Fall

Source:  The Farmer's Almanac

Acorns are extremely nutritious and readily available to most, making them a healthy and convenient addition to many recipes.

Here’s how to prepare and cook acorns!

Where and When to Find Acorns

Acorns come from oak trees and can be found across North America. They are typically “harvested” between September and November, when they fall from the trees and become easily accessible to deer, squirrels, and resourceful humans. When gathering acorns, look for ones that still have their caps, as those without are more susceptible to infestation by worms and other critters.

How to Prepare Acorns

  • Start by giving your acorns a quick rinse in cool water. Place them in a pot or bowl and fill it with water, then remove and dispose of any floating acorns, as they have likely gone bad.
  • Place the acorns in a colander and run them under the tap for a minute or two to dislodge any loose dirt or hitchhiking bugs. 
  • Set the colander aside to let the acorns air-dry, or simply dry them by hand with a dish towel. 
  • Remove the shells and caps from your acorns with a nutcracker (or a hammer, if necessary). Acorns can be tough nuts to crack!
Warning: All acorns contain bitter and irritating organic substances called tannins, which must be leached out before the nuts can be eaten. Tannins can cause nausea and constipation when consumed, but don’t worry—with a little patience and preparation, tannins are easily removed.

How to Remove Tannins from Acorns

  • Start two pots of water boiling. Drop the raw, shell-less acorns into one pot and boil until the water is the color of strong tea.
  • Strain the nuts through a colander and drop the strained nuts into the second pot of boiling water. Discard the dark water from the first pot, then refill it and bring the water to a boil again.
  • Repeat the process without interruption (do not let the acorns cool) until the water boils clear. This may take an hour or more, depending on the variety of acorn.
  • Alternatively, you can soak the raw acorns in cold water to leach the tannins out. Change the water when it turns a darker color. This process may take several days, depending on how long it takes for all the tannins to leach out of the acorn meat.

How to Grind Acorns for Cooking

  • Spread tannin-free acorns to dry on cookie sheets in a warm place. When partially dry, coarse grind a few acorns at a time in a blender.
  • Spread the ground acorns to dry on cookie sheets, then grind again in a blender.
  • Repeat until you are left with a flour- or cornmeal-like substance.

Acorn Pancakes Recipe

Once you have prepared your acorns, try them in this recipe adapted from Sharon Hendricks. Source: Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension

1 egg
1 tsp. salad oil
1 tsp. honey or sugar
½ cup leached and ground acorns
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup whole wheat or white flour
2 tsp. double action baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup milk
Break egg into bowl and add all ingredients, beating to create a batter. If batter is too thick, thin with additional milk. Pour batter onto hot, greased griddle and cook slowly until brown. Flip to brown opposite side. Serve with butter and syrup or jam—and enjoy!

Print Friendly and PDF

Bakery Style Sugar Cookies

If you've been following me either by blog or Twitter you might already realize I've not been home for almost two weeks now.  I'm staying with a family member out of state and helping out for a bit.

Monday, I whipped up some sugar cookie dough since I already had the mixer out for something else and decided to make up dough and chill for later this week.  The next day while the 16 month old was napping, the 3-year-old and I made cookies together.

This recipe is perhaps the closest one I've found to a "memory" I have.

When I was ten years old I was allowed to go 'up town' by myself or with friends in our small town.  My friend Bridget and I would put on our tennis shoe skates (blue with the yellow stripes) and skate up town and head to the little bakery on the corner where we could get a sugar cookie for $.10 each.  They were hard to describe taste wise.  Perfectly circle and a bit crisp without being too crisp.  Tender but not at all soft.  The flavor was vanilla yet had a tang. The bakery closed down a couple years later and was long gone by the time I was 18 and on my own and starting on a quest to make my own versions of, well, everything I loved.

I've probably made about, oh, 60 or so different sugar cookie recipes through the past 30 years and this recipe is probably the closest one so far.  Not exact... but close when they rolled out thin, cut to circles and baked til the edges are just golden brown, they are close.

Sugar Cookies

2 c sugar
1/2 c shortening
1/2 c butter
3 eggs
5 T sour cream
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t lemon extract
1/8 t almond extract
4 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and sour cream. Beat in the flavors.  Add the flour, soda and salt.  Bring to a dough, wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 day or overnight.  Roll out with plenty of flour.  Cut to shape. Decorate the tops with sprinkles or sugar if you wish.  If you want to frost them, do not sprinkle with anything, just bake plain.  Bake on ungreased baking pan at 350 until the edges are golden brown.  Remove from pan to cool complete.

I couldn't find any cookie-cutters in my host's kitchen, so I simply grabbed a glass from the cupboard and used that as a cookie cutter.

Oh so beautiful!

 If you are going to frost them later, don't bother topping with anything.  Just bake plain.

If you have an awesome little 3 year old helper like I do, then you will end up topping them with LOTS of cookie decorations!


3 year olds make the BEST cookies!

This is a legit photo I was taking of JUST the cookies when a quick-little toddler hand swooped in to snatch a fresh cookie!  Ha ha.

Print Friendly and PDF


11 Awesome Fall Recipes Featuring Pumpkin!

Originally posted 2015; reposting for 2017

This morning was the very first morning when there was the slightest, tiniest bit of chill in the morning air.  I loved it!  Totally got me in the mood to crack open a kitchen window and bake... but what to bake!?  In the Fall I always start to crave pumpkin based goodies, so while searching my site for ideas, I decided to make a post of it.

If you need pumpkin pie spice and you don't have it in the pantry, you might already have the spices to make it yourself;

Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1/8 t allspice
1/4 t ginger

Eleven Autumn Recipes Featuring Pumpkin

Pumpkin Griddle Cakes

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Dessert (Made with a Dry Cake Mix!) 

Pumpkin Pie made with Apple Butter

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Penuche Frosting 

Low Carb, Sugar Free Pumpkin Bars

3 Layer Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Muffins with Flaxseed





Print Friendly and PDF

17 Pumpkin Recipes from Breads and Cinnamon Rolls to Pasta and More

Re-posting for 2017; originally posted 2014

Autumn is here!  The perfect time to celebrate the awesome pumpkin.  Here are over a dozen recipes from my website that I've posted over the years.  From cakes to cinnamon rolls, pasta to griddle cakes.  There is something here for everyone - as I even have an amazing pumpkin bread that can be served to those doing sugar free or low carb way of eating.    Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Cake with Broiled Coconut Topping
Perfect Pumpkin Bread
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Cupcakes
Mexican Pumpkin Dip
Flaxseed Pumpkin Bread (sugar free and low carb too!)
Pumpkin Butter Pie
Pumpkin Pie with an Oatmeal Crust
Homemade Pasta
Pumpkin Bars
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Griddle Cakes
Pickled Pumpkin
Pumpkin Dessert
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cupcakes
Pumpkin Pie 

Print Friendly and PDF


Orange Breakfast Rolls - Cinnamon Buns don't hold a candle to these amazing rolls

Orange Breakfast Rolls

Dough: You can use a loaf of store bought dough, thaw and roll out to a rectangle approximately 10X15 or make a simple dough like this one;

1 pk. dry yeast (about 2 1/4 t)
3/4 c warm water
1/3 c sugar
1 t salt
1/3 c oil
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 c evaporated milk
4 - 4 1/2 c flour
Real butter, soft
Orange juice concentrate
White sugar
Dried orange peel

Dissolve yeast in the water in a bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and knead either by hand or with the dough hook of your electric mixer.  Use more or less flour so the dough is the right consistency and not too sticky or wet.  Knead about 5 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, cover and let raise until doubled.  Punch down.  Roll out on parchment paper or a floured surface to form a large rectangle.  Aim for about 16-18 inches across and 12-15 wide.

Spread with real butter.
Drizzle with orange juice concentrate.
Spread liberally with white granulated sugar.
Sprinkle with dried orange peel.

Roll up the long way.  Slice into 1 inch slices and place in a heavily greased baking pan or muffin tin.  I used a 'lasagna' pan which is slightly larger than the traditional 13X9" so I made 16 of them (4 across, 4 down).  You could make it into 12 - 16 depending on your pan and how thick you want them.  Place them into the pan.  Cover and let raise in a warm place until double in size (about 3 hours).  Bake at 350 degrees about 15-20 minutes until center rolls are done.  If you want to make them ahead and freeze; let rise about 1 hour and then cover and place in the deep freeze.  When you want to use them, remove from the freezer, let thaw and then let them raise about 1-2 hours past thawing until they double in size.  Bake as directed.

Let them cool a bit and then cover with a simple powdered sugar glaze.
One idea is this;

1 stick butter
4 c powdered sugar
1-2 t dried orange zest
2 T orange juice concentrate

Mix and spread on warm but cooled rolls.

Put into a greased bowl, cover and let rise

After rising and punching down, roll out to a large rectangle and spread with real butter
Sprinkled with dried orange peel

Drizzle with as much or little orange juice concentrate as you wish
Rolled up lengthwise and ready to slice into approximately 16 one inch slices to let raise and bake

Print Friendly and PDF


Seafood Cheese Ball Bites

I've posted a number of different hot cheese ball recipes over the years because it's something our family really loves.  I adapt any recipe to what we have on hand or what 'sounds good' in it that evening.   This recipe is adaptable as well - especially the cheeses and the seafood you choose to use. 

Although it's perfectly wonderful with a can of crab and some baby shrimp in it,  I only had salmon, clams and oysters on hand in the pantry... but I had a frozen seafood mix in the deep freezer!  Perfect.  I used the mixture except I left out the oysters - and picked those out. I adore oysters but you wouldn't want them in this dish as they would overpower the flavor (kind of like why you don't use chicken liver in most dishes - it's a strong, different taste that you have to add only when you want that flavor.)

Seafood Cheese Ball Bites

2 T butter
3 oz cream cheese
1/4 c sour cream
1 T mayonnaise
1 t Old Bay seasoning
1/8 t paprika
1/8 t chili powder
1/4 c cheese, shredded (mozzarella, pepperjack, etc.)
4 t onions, minced
4 t green or red peppers, minced
3 jalapenos, minced and seeded
1 cup seafood of your choice; crab and shrimp being the first choices
2 eggs
1T milk
1 1/2 c Panko or breadcrumbs
oil for frying

Mix the butter, cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise until blended. Add Old Bay seasoning, paprika, and chili powder. Add cheese, onion, peppers, and jalapenos. Add crab and shrimp; mix.  I opted (see photos below) to put these into a mini food processor and pulse them to mince and mix.

Roll into small balls; refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Beat eggs and milk. Dip the balls into egg mixture; dredge in fine bread crumbs. You can refrigerate or freeze them at this step.  Deep fry until golden in hot oil and drain on paper towels.

I used a seafood mixture, thawed in the microwave a bit and then blended in a food processor on pulse

The spice, cream cheese, mayo, red pepper and sour cream mixture

Pulsed the seafood, onions, etc. in a mini food processor

Making small balls out of the mixture

Breaded and ready to fry or freeze for a future meal

Print Friendly and PDF


I do not publish unsolicited articles written by others as guest posts.

Apparently even though it's posted in red, in two different places on this sites homepage alone, it's not clear enough;

I do not publish unsolicited articles written by others as guest posts.

Print Friendly and PDF

Keeping Guacamole From Turning Brown and Storing (Freezing) Guacamole

It's Autumn and time for school to start back up!  Not just for The Littles, but for college students too!  And our college girl has a few requests from Mom when we are packing her up and preparing to make the trip cross-state.  One of the 'please please please' requests is my homemade guacamole.

To give you an idea of how much this girl loves guacamole, I can tell you a little memory that pops into my head at the mention of this yummy green condiment/dip.  Remember back in elementary school when you are chosen to be student of the week and you have fill out a paper or make a poster of things that tell about you?  Some of the questions are "Favorite Color" "Favorite TV Show" and "Favorite Food".    Our daughters favorite food was "guacamole" - which was apparently so odd and different for a little 7 year old to put on their "STAR" poster that it warranted a special 'comment note' from her teacher.  Her brother and her used to have a silly fun argument at dinner time over who was the 'Guacamole Queen' and 'Guacamole King' and who loved it more. 

This summer we had to buy avocados in bulk as she literally had it on her foods for breakfast and lunch every day. 

One of the downfalls of homemade guacamole is it turns brown when you try to store it.  But we don't have any issues with that because last year I started to 'food seal' ours.  I make a big batch of it - doubling or tripling a regular recipe - and then scoop some into food vacuum seal bags and proceed to seal them tight.  When they are sealed they can be refrigerated or they can be frozen.  To use the frozen packages, just take them out and let them thaw completely before using.  We sometimes 'rush' the process by running them under warm water and kneading the package to get them to thaw a bit faster when we need them asap. 

I use a really cheap affordable Weston food sealer that my husband bought for me a few years ago on clearance at Lowes and I like these food sealer bags that I order on Amazon best of all the brands of bags I've tried.  I'm not a fan of the popular Food Saver brand - I haven't found them to be as thick and good quality, nor do they seal as well. 

Our daughter was THRILLED when we arrived at college and I surprised her by pulling out 6 small packages of vacuum sealed homemade guacamole.  Popped into her dorm fridge, she was a happy girl for the next two weeks.

Print Friendly and PDF


Oven Roasted Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Onions

Looking at the length of time between posts lately you would think I haven't been cooking or baking but of course I have.  I've even managed to finagle some photos of dishes I made and sometimes even the step-by-step process which I normally don't remember to.  And then... they've sat in files on my computer gathering cyber dust and never seeing the light of day.

It's been that kind of summer.  Actually, the first week of May is the last 'normal' week I've had before life threw a bunch of curve balls and I've just been keeping my head above water and treading it for now.  It's all I can do.  Tonight is one of those nights when the last thing I feel like doing is updating my recipe site but I need some busywork to keep my brain occupied so I thought I'd open up a few of my food files and see what pictures I had waiting for me to put recipes to.

And here is a 'not really a recipe' type recipe.  And it's good!

Oven Roasted Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Onions

Brussels Sprouts
Olive Oil
Butter (real)
Onions - sliced
smidgen of brown sugar sweetener or brown sugar (just a touch!)
fresh, minced garlic
Salt and Pepper

On a foil lined pan, spread enough olive oil and/or canola oil to cover the bottom.
Place a single layer of fresh, snipped and trimmed Brussels Sprouts.  You can halve them if you wish or you have large sized sprouts.
Sprinkle all over some fresh garlic and slices of onions.  Dot with some real butter.  Sprinkle a tiny bit of brown sugar natural sweetener or brown sugar over all to 'start' the caramelizing process (not *needed* but makes it yummy).  Salt and pepper to taste.

Place in a hot oven 350 ish - bake until they start to look golden.  Turn them and flip them a bit.  Continue cooking until they are turning golden brown and bits of dark brown, with the butter caramelizing and the sprouts are tender. Serve hot.

Of course I took a photo of the pan right before I placed it in the oven and then we ate it up so quickly when it was done I didn't think to get an 'after' photo. 

Print Friendly and PDF