fall soups: what we’ve been eating

Happy October! Autumn turns our little farm into a golden-hued, hazy dream. As September’s light fades, the colors go from bronze to orange, and we’re all enchanted. Baskets of freshly picked apples and pumpkins brought in from the garden sit in my kitchen, for which I am grateful. We definitely know that fall has knocked on our door when we see the soups and pies make their way to our table. These soups are our favorites around here, and I think they’ll soon be your favorites too!

Vegetarian Lentil Stew

Since I grew up in Spain and lentils are a staple, I introduced them to our family pretty early on. They ask for this lentil stew so often! I usually make it with a ham bone, but meatless is great too. It does well in the freezer, and we eat it with muffins or just baguette slices with pats of butter. This is on the menu for Monday : )


Zuppa Toscana

This is Nathan’s favorite soup of all time. Eva and Isabel have been making it the last couple of times because it always tastes good no matter what : ) Really, we’ve been skipping the onion and sometimes the cream, and it’s still so succulent.


Butternut Squash Soup

photo credit: wholefoodsmarket.com

This soup is very mild and super delicious! I prefer this recipe over other butternut soup ones, because it doesn’t have the added cream. Cream is yummy, but sometimes I want something lighter. We serve it with biscuits or paninis so everyone stays full. Our whole family eats it even though the children wouldn’t say they enjoy eating butternut roasted or cooked in other ways. I’ve also frozen it with good success. A great soup to cook once and eat twice!


White Bean and Smoked Sausage Stew

This soup is as easy as a meal can get. You can’t beat SEVEN ingredients and a pot that does all the work for you in no-time! I love to serve this white bean and smoked sausage stew hot in generous portions with fresh crusty bread. It makes wonderful leftovers and freezes very well.


Potato Soup

two bowls of potato soup on a wood cutting board with a blue and white towel to the left
photo credit: farmhouseonboone.com

We all love this soup! This recipe is vegetarian if you skip the bacon as a topping. Our family likes the color, texture, and taste of gold potatoes, which is what we use in the recipe. I often make it on a Saturday afternoon to have ready when we come back from church on Sunday. I serve it with biscuits and call it a day. Since it’s his favorite, Alexander has made this potato soup for us the last few times. It’s really satisfying and flavorful. I have never frozen potato soup, but let me know if you have.

Do you enjoy soups as much as we do? I love preparing them in the morning and either just letting them slow cook in the dutch oven, turn the Instant Pot on and forget about it (it will stay on warm mode for the rest of the day), or even making the soup a couple days in advance (because we all know they taste better t hens to day). Now that the older children are starting to help in the kitchen, soups are a great place for them to begin. Bonus: they’re a one pot meal!

Enjoy a hearty and healthy bowl of goodness!

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


three treats with all the feel of fall

Happy First Day of Autumn! A strong warm wind blew all day yesterday warning us that the piles of leaves will soon be rustling under our feet. The sounds of summer fade to a crinkly whisper and rich green turns to dusty gold. Acorns keep the squirrels busy and we know the world is changing.

harvest apple dip

Applesauce, fresh apple slices, apple butter, baked apples, apple pie, or just a whole apple in your pocket can only mean one thing. September is for apples, and we love this three ingredient apple dip. I always double the recipe, cover the bowl we served it in, and store it in the fridge for next time. We have this at lunch, for a snack, and as a fruit side with supper. It’s only three ingredients: cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.

https://letsdishrecipes.com/2017/09/three-ingredient-apple-dip.html

apple bread

Apple bread is at the top of our family’s favorite quick breads. It’s sweet and soft and we often serve it alongside dinner. You’re going to love this recipe full of chunky apples! We use 1 cup of sugar instead of 2 cups.

https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/apple-bread/

maple milk

The maple milk is turning into our family’s year around favorite special drink. We used to only have it cold during the summertime, but warm is the best alternative to hot chocolate in case sometimes you want something else :).

It’s just two ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk (cold, warm, hot)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (we prefer FirstFruits Farms maple syrup :). Comment or email us if you’d like some!

We sometimes sprinkle cinnamon on top or a little nutmeg (the children’s preferred way).

Do you have simple recipes your family loves? Happy Fall Friends!

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


using herbs for homemade gifts

The herb garden is my favorite!  The immediate reward compared to the little input in maintaining it is what I love. The little plants are inexpensive and several of them come back every spring. You’ll be surprised how particularly prolific herbs are! The delight in stepping out of the farmhouse kitchen and cutting a handful of sage for the chicken roast can’t be easily surpassed. Of course, the herbs’ various scents are pleasurable for even the littlest ones in the family : ).

They enjoy chewing on the leaves of most of the herbs. “Spearmint tastes like chewing gum, but it doesn’t make a mess in your hair.”

Over the summers, we’ve put together little herb favors from our own harvest. Homemade food gifts are always cherished for their thoughtfulness. Maybe consider presenting the herb-infused gifts to friends with a list of serving suggestions.

Lavender sprigs are a delicate bundle to gift.  It will brighten anyone’s day gathered in simple ribbon.  This takes no time nor effort, yet it may cheer the recipient alongside a simple batch of cookies or a pot of soup.

Salt-Herb Blends – Sprinkle a custom seasoning onto vegetables and meats before cooking, or pass it at the table.  Combine 1/4 cup coarse salt with 2 to 4 tablespoons mixed ground spices, chopped fresh herbs, or zest (be sure to refrigerate fresh-herb and zest blends; discard unused portion after 1 week).  Try mix-ins such as caraway seeds and pepper; thyme and lemon zest; toasted black-and-white sesame seeds; and chile powder and oregano.

Herb Infused Honey – Enhance the flavor and aroma of an ordinary jar of honey by putting in two or three sprigs of fresh herbs into the syrup.  Lavender is a wonderful addition!

Herb Infused Olive Oil – Choosing a pretty bottle always makes the gift special.  Wash the herbs and dry them thoroughly.  Extra virgin olive oil will taste best.  Add the herb sprigs, a couple of whole garlics (unpeeled) and even a little chile pepper for a full flavored oil.  Oil is often used for preserving food, so it will not go bad at room temperature.

Herb Infused Vinegar – Select a favorite mild vinegar (white wine or rice) and add 5 herb sprigs to 2 cups of vinegar (a 12-16 oz. bottle will do great).  Oregano, rosemary, tarragon, or thyme, lightly crushed or left whole add a fair amount of flavor to the vinegar.  The vinegar can be stored at room temperature. 

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


Family Currents

Making jam when summer fruit is at its peak is fun and oh-so-delicious! While the boys have been busy working in the barn, the girls and I have made several batches of strawberry freezer jam and plan to make blueberry jam too. With freezer jam, there is no huge pot of boiling water, no precise timing, no sterilizing, and no extra heat in the house! Really, there is no mess. We’ve used honey and also Sucanat as the sweetener, and this pectin works well with both. I always pick it up at Whole Foods, but other health food stores should carry it too.


We thought we were ripe for a farm update! We’ve been eating early girls and grape tomatoes and sharing with our neighbor. We’ve also been enjoying the sweet green peppers and banana peppers. Six cauliflower heads are clean and ready to roast for dinner tonight, and the cabbages look enormous! Kale just keeps coming so we haven’t bought lettuce or spinach all summer. On a sad note, a raccoon feasted on the corn and knocked a few stalks down. Booooo.


Nathan and the boys just put some more hive boxes together, and Nathan placed them on the hives. The kids know that if they give him a hand, they’ll usually get to sample some honey off of his hive tool! We brought in a bowl of some comb and honey which he scraped out of the frames – it’s the best! It seems to be different every time we harvest, this time, so flowery. Mid-summer honey is a pale amber and the comb is delicious to chew on!

with love, Damaris