From the Kitchen
It is said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. This is certainly true here at the Homestead. Our kitchen is the gathering place of choice for most of our guests. It is a place where we gather to enjoy good food and great conversation. Around the kitchen table, not only do we eat, but important decisions are made, life's joys celebrated and problems solved. My mission is to provide food that will not only nourish the body but feed the soul as well. Our food is clean, wholesome, and delicious.
This soup has been a Halloween tradition in my family for more than 50 years. As kids, my mom began serving this to us on Halloween – a must before we were allowed to go to the school carnival or trick-or-treating. It was warming and delicious, filled with beans, bacon, celery, tomatoes and hot dogs! (I admit, I am not usually a big fan of the ‘tube steak’ – but this soup – I could eat it daily!) This has become such a hallowed tradition – that we are not allowed to make this soup prior to Halloween. . . .
And now, all of these years later, this delicious tradition – begun by mom – continues all across the country – as this soup is being prepared in the homes of her children and grandchildren. There is something wonderful that happens to the family – as we all realize that parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are all making the same meal – and continuing a tradition that brought us together as a family around the dinner table.
There has not been a year, since my children have left home and started homes of their own that I don’t get a call or text -“Mom – I can’t find my recipe for ‘Witches Brew”. . . and so – I am posting this – for them and for you – for my grandchildren, nieces, nephews – and for mom.
Thank you mom – for being such a great believer in family traditions – and seeing that the things we loved most have been passed along. In a few days, there will be tables from the Mid-West to the Pacific Northwest, Southern California to Texas, Arizona and the Rocky Mountains – filled with steaming bowls of ‘Witches Brew’ and pans filled with hot cornbread. . . . and realizing that those that they love and hold dear – family – are all doing the same thing. There is something so important here. Although we are spread over thousands of miles, it still brings us home to mom’s table. I have no doubt that this tradition will continue for years to come – and that this soup will be served in the homes of her great-grandchildren as well – as they have all become lovers of the ‘brew’.
Come join us at our table!
I first became aware of solar ovens several years ago, while attending a church activity. The entire evening revolved around food storage and alternative methods of cooking during emergencies. One of the sessions I attended was ‘How to Cook Using a Solar Oven’. I have to admit, I was skeptical about the claims being made by the teacher regarding this black box with a clear plastic cover and how it could cook pretty much everything, including pasteurizing contaminated water to make it drinkable.
When the presentation was over, a group discount was being offered for those interested in purchasing an oven, so I decided to buy one – just to have it on-hand in case of an emergency.
When the oven came, I opened it up to make sure everything was in order and then stored it away in my garage with my other emergency items.
Many months passed. I had not even thought about my solar oven – until one day, when I was searching for something in my garage, I came upon that black box – the one that was suppose to cook things. For some unknown reason, I decided to pull it out and try it.
I have to admit that I was shocked at how well it turned out. It looked beautiful and it tasted better than any loaf that I had baked in my electric oven! From that point on, I was hooked with the simplicity and Eco-friendly way of preparing amazingly delicious food. I started using my solar oven regularly. As in most things, it takes time – and a little trial and error to master cooking in a solar oven. I admit – I’m still learning. . . . but loving my oven!
In the coming weeks, I will be sharing tips that I hope will be helpful and recipes that I have found to work well in my solar oven.