One Seasonal Soup You All Should Try: Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Cream and Pepitas

This is one classic twist you'll want to try! Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Cream

Around here, we eat a lot of soup this time of year.  It’s chilly and blustery and soup just comforts you.  Our Sprout enjoys soup too. She gets antsy at dinner time because she has to sit still.  Haha!  I’m sure you all know what I mean, especially if you’ve ever had a high energy, strong willed toddler. Anyways, soup is a quick meal for her and for us. Which is just what we need this time of year.

Soup requires very little skill, which makes it great for busy families like ours.  Basically any soup is comprised of a base (usually broth or cream), meat or protein, vegetables, flavor add ins (think bacon, scallions, etc.), and toppings.  Once you get that down, the options are endless!  It also freezes easily for future meals.  Make a big batch a freeze for up to 6 months!

Since we love soup so much, Dave likes to experiment.  Chicken noodle is a favorite in many households for a reason, but it’s so nice to change it up and experiment with flavors.

This is one classic twist you'll want to try! Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Spiced CreamRecently, Dave was working on soups for the bakery and came up with this deliciously smooth and slightly spicy concoction!  The creaminess of the pumpkin mixed with the nutty flavor from roasting, and the hint of smoked pepper makes this a wonderfully satisfying soup.  It’s not so spicy that the sprouts hate it, but it’s definitely enough that this isn’t the same old boring mix.

This is one classic twist you'll want to try! Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Cream
Pie Pumpkins offer a nice sweet flavor that goes well with the hint of heat in this soup.

We used the “Pie Pumpkins” from Trader Joe’s,  They are easy to prepare for roasting from scratch but you can also use canned pumpkin if you want. Just don’t use pumpkin pie mix.

This is one classic twist you'll want to try! Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Cream
No need to clean the pumpkins perfectly. Just scrape the seeds.

Not sure where to find chipotle?  Look down the “Ethnic/Mexican” food aisle at your local grocery store.  We also have been able to find it at Cost Plus World Market for  a great price. It’s basically a smoked pepper that is ground up into powder.

This is one classic twist you'll want to try! Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Cream
Once roasted, the “meat” of the pumpkin comes right off the skin.

TIPS:

If using canned pumpkin, look for just straight up pumpkin puree.  No additives.

To make this recipe vegetarian and/or dairy free, simply use vegetable stock and an alternative milk.  Both rice milk and coconut milk work well.  Coconut cream can be used instead of the heavy cream topping.

I absolutely love the “pumpkin pie” spice blend from Trader Joe’s.  It worked perfectly for the spiced cream topping and then you only have to measure one spice.

Another easy part of this recipe is that you can use any stock you have on hand.  Chicken, turkey and vegetable stocks all work well.  We used turkey because we had a fresh batch from our Thanksgiving turkey.

Lastly, you can use any blender to blend the soup at the end, but if you’re serious on making soups and sauces, we recommend using this immersion blender.  For other kitchen tool recommendations, check out this post.

Enjoy! Leave us a note in the comments below!  We’d love to hear from you.  Don’t forget to look us up on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.signatures

  • Difficulty: easy
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This twist on classic pumpkin soup will please everyone around the table. No one can resist this creamy and smooth soup with a hint of heat, and topped with toasted pepitas and spiced cream.


Credit: thesproutedcottage.com

Ingredients

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. chipotle
  • 4 c. pumpkin, roasted for 10 minutes, skin removed.
  • 4 c. vegetable or poultry stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 T. fresh thyme, chopped (you can substitute dry, just use slightly more)
  • 1 c. heavy cream, divided
  • 1 tsp. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie spice mix, (or ¼ tsp. ea. Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, & Ginger)
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • chives, & toasted pepitas for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat, in a French oven or other heavy bottomed pot. Add the onions, garlic and chipotle and cook for 3-5 minutes until browned.
  2. Add the pumpkin, stock, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
  3. Remove from the heat. With an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth and velvety.
  4. Stir in ½ cup of the heavy cream.
  5. In a bowl, combine the other ½ cup of heavy cream and pumpkin pie spice. Whip until frothy. Add the maple syrup and whip until soft peaks form.
  6. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with a spoonful of the cream and garnish with chives and toasted pepitas.

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DIY “A” Frame Chalkboard Sign Tutorial

We thought we would change subjects for a bit and do our very first tutorial here on The Sprouted Cottage! Today we are going to be building a portable, “A” frame chalkboard sign.  DIY "A" Frame, Portable Chalkboard Sign Closeup

Many homesteaders and homestead enthusiasts do craft fairs, sell their farm goods, or host farm tours.  Many hardware stores carry basic plastic signs that you can use to point customers to these events, but they don’t have that classic artistic style that many are looking for.  Several weeks ago, Dave came home from the bakery and said that he needed more signage to direct customers into the bakery.  Most people knew where The Carlton Hotel was, but they walked right past the bakery’s doors without knowing what was inside.

DIY "A" Frame, Portable Chalkboard Sign in front of Back Porch Bakery in Atascadero, California.
This DIY chalkboard sign is full of charm and is a great way to attract customers to your event or business.
So, I did some research into signage and what people are drawn to as well as some local laws regarding advertisement and signage for our local area.  I decided to go with an “A” frame sign because it is portable, flexible for changing seasons and menus, as well as lightweight so that even the smallest employee would be able to lift and move the sign.  For our area, as long as it didn’t block sidewalk traffic, we didn’t need a permit from the city to use a chalkboard sign like this.

Back Porch Bakery in Atascadero, California.
Back Porch Bakery is located inside the historic Carlton Hotel in Atascadero, California.
In case you didn’t know, Back Porch Bakery has a very rustic style inside.  Think brick walls, wood beams, and black metal fixtures.  I wanted to keep the sign in line with these design elements to make the advertising work as an extension of the branding.

This project cost about $40 but we were able to use a salvaged dry erase board as well as handles and hinges we had on hand, so expect to spend $50 if you don’t have those items lying around.  NOTE: most thrift stores have dry erase boards or chalk boards.  These are great options to save you money and will only require touch-up instead of making a chalkboard from scratch.

Also, I’ve included links to the actual products I used.  I was not paid for these items and this post is not sponsored in any way.  These are my opinions and the products I purchased.

Materials Needed:

What to do:

  1. If you will be cutting your wood yourself, mark and cut the 3 pickets in half so that they measure 3′ x 8″.  Next cut the pine wood in thirds so that you have two 1″ x 2″ x 2’ planks. You will have one extra plank.Wood pickets for a DIY A Frame, Portable Chalkboard Sign
  2. If you’re planks are very rough, now would be the time to sand them.  Ours weren’t bad so we just sanded the edges.
  3. Lay the wood pickets on a drop cloth and spray all sides with the clear coat, following manufacturer’s directions.  Use two coats.
  4. Spray the two pine wood planks with your accent spray paint, following manufacturer’s directions. Use two coats.  I used the hammered bronze to bring some contrasting color to the back of the sign.
    Wood Planks for a DIY A Frame, Portable Chalkboard Sign
    Pinewood planks are used as braces for the A Frame Chalkboard Sign
  5. While the wood pieces dry, take your chalkboard and spray the accent color (hammered bronze) around the frame.
    DIY A Frame, Portable Chalkboard Sign
    Spray the frame with your accent color.
  6. Once the chalkboard is dry, carefully mask the frame.  Spray three coats of chalkboard paint allowing time to dry in between each coat.
    Mask and paint the DIY A Frame, Portable Chalkboard Sign.
    Carefully mask the frame once it is dry.

    DIY A Frame, Portable Chalkboard Sign Tutorial
    Allow the chalkboard paint to try before removing masking tape and paper.
  7. Lay 3 pickets side by side, making sure they match up evenly at the top and bottom.  If your pickets have an angled edge like mine, just make sure all three are at the top of one side. I liked this look because it matched the “Back Porch” brand.
    DIY A Frame, Portable Chalkboard Sign Tutorial
    Have a friend help you prop up the sign while you assemble it.
  8. Take your two pine wood planks and screw them to the 3 pickets using 6 screws across on each plank. The top plank should be 6″ from the top of the pickets and the bottom plank should be 6″ from the bottom of the pickets.
  9. Lay the other three pickets side by side and attach the chalkboard to the center of these pickets.  I used small wood screws that I sprayed with chalk paint and just attached them in the corners and the middle edges.
  10. Have a friend hold one side while you hold the other.  Attach the hinges to the two outer pickets on both sides.
  11. Have your helper spread and hold your sign about two feet apart at the bottom. Attach the chain on the inside about 6″ from the bottom of the sign.  (This will keep your sign from spreading too far and collapsing.)
    DIY A Frame, Portable Chalkboard Sign Tutorial
    Attach chain to prevent sign from sliding apart and collapsing.
  12. Lastly, attach your handles just above the top wood blanks on the backside of the sign.
  13. Draw your advertisement or message!
    DIY A Frame, Portable Chalkboard Sign Tutorial
    Be creative with your lettering. There are lots of inspirational posts online.

Note: I used as much weather proofing and sealing steps as needed for my purpose.  Our sign is under an awning, against a wall.  It is semi protected from the elements and is brought in at closing time. You may need to change these steps to suit your weather and use of the sign.

Did you enjoy this tutorial?  Would you like to see more posts like this?  Let us know by dropping us a comment below.  Don’t forget to tag #thesproutedcottage online so we can see your projects!signatures

Falling for Pickles!

Simple Cottage Dill Pickles
A classic and tasty recipe perfect for the whole family.
Fall is officially here and it’s starting to show. Our maple tree is turning red, the plum tree is turning too. We love autumn, especially here on the coast.  The weather is mild and sunny and most of the tourists are back home in school. The other beautiful part of fall is the abundance of produce that ripens at the end of summer/early fall.  Especially cucumbers, tomatoes, and green beans.  The cooler weather also makes pickling a little less exhausting at the cottage.

Simple Cottage Dill Pickle Recipe from The Sprouted Cottage
Mildly spicy with a tangy taste.
Dave does a whole lot of pickling at his job.  It started when he worked at Luna Red SLO.  They serve pickles with almost every dish and utilize the process to keep food costs low while using up everything they purchase.  It’s a tasty way to use up those veggies that are starting to over ripen.  He’s carried those techniques with him to Back Porch Bakery, serving house made pickles with sandwiches for lunch.

Simple dill pickle recipe.
Pickle, cucumbers, carrots, green beans and more!
Pickles are full of vitamins and minerals and are often consumed to aid digestion as well as other ailments.  Check out this article that goes in depth on the various forms and benefits of pickles from around the world.

Sprout and a pickle
Even the little Sprout enjoys pickles.
We tend to make several jars at a time, storing one in the fridge (all three of us love them! Yes, even the Sprout!) and the rest in our pantry.  I try to make enough to last us until next year.  While I love growing and using our own cucumbers, I also buy them this time of year when they are on sale almost everywhere. We like the “Kirby” and “Persian” varieties the best.

Spicy dill pickles
Spicy dill pickles kick up the flavor a notch and are perfect for those who like a little heat!
The recipe below is for dill pickles.  I also make bread and butter and have experimented with spicy dill.  These are our go to pickles and they have a pretty consistent flavor.  The recipe makes 3 pint size jars and can easily be doubled for a larger batch. (I double or even triple it if I need to.)

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Leave a comment below and tell me how yours turned out!

Happy pickling!

signatures

Simple Cottage Dill Pickles

  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Tangy, mildly spicy, and full of delicious flavor. These simple, cottage dill pickles will be devoured by everyone.



Ingredients

  • 2.5 pounds of pickling cucumbers (try to avoid anything with a thick, waxy skin. Any other kind will do as well as other vegetables like carrots or greenbeans.)
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. kosher salt (Do not use table or iodized salt, it has additives that will change your pickles.)
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tsp. dill seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • ¾ tsp. red chili flakes
  • 3, pint size mason jars with lids and rings

Directions

  1. Wash your jars, lids and rings in hot soapy water and rinse well. Set your oven to the “warm” setting or 180 degrees. Place your rinsed jars in the oven until ready to fill. Place your lids and rings in a small pot of simmering water until ready to use.
  2. Wash and prepare your cucumbers by trimming the ends and then slicing into ¼ inch thick rounds or quartering them lengthwise to create spears. Make sure your spears are no more than 4 inches long so that they can fit into the jars.
  3. In a 2 quart saucepan, add the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Once your pickle brine starts to simmer, carefully pull your jars from the oven and place on a towel. In each jar, add:
  5. • 2 garlic cloves • 1 tsp. dill seed • ½ tsp. black peppercorns • ¼ tsp chili flakes • 2 sprigs of fresh dill
  6. Add your cucumbers to each jar, making sure to pack them tightly without smashing them. Add a sprig of fresh dill on top while leaving a ¼ headspace below the rim.
  7. Slowly pour your boiling brine into each jar, over the cucumbers. Use a funnel if you need to. Make sure the veggies are covered in brine and that you still have a ¼ inch headspace.
  8. Wipe the rims with a damp paper towel. Place a lid on each jar and a ring. Gently tighten the ring.
  9. If you plan on eating them soon, you’re all done! After they cool, store them in your refrigerator and enjoy for up to a month.
  10. If you would like to store them longer, move on to canning. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. (The pot should be big enough to hold all three jars without touching each other and have few inches of clearance at the top.)
  11. Carefully place your pickle jars into the boiling water using a jar lifter or rubber coated tongs and make sure there is at least an inch of water above the jars. Gently boil them for 10 minutes.
  12. Carefully lift each jar out of the boiling water and place back on the towel to cool. Your jars should “pop” within the next half hour to signal that they have safely sealed. Any jars that don’t seal can be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within the next month.

Spicy Stone Fruit Chutney

In true punny form, we are ending this series with a bang!  Today we bring you a delicious and spicy condiment in Day 7 of our Summer Produce Series.  Our Spicy Stone Fruit Chutney is the perfect match for grilled pork chops, goat cheese flatbread, or paired with your favorite meats and cheeses.

img_2173
Spicy Stone Fruit Chutney

It is a spicy dish and the recipe reflects that. We love hot foods and the version we usually make increases the amount of chipotle used.  For you though, we toned it down a bit to the medium level…feel free to increase or decrease based on your preference.  And yes, the Sprout loves this spicy dish as well!  She loves global flavors, including the hot stuff!  This spicy version is just the kick that sweet, stone fruits need!  It adds so much pizzazz to whatever you serve it with!

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Cooking is a great way to teach your kiddo about the world around them!  Our Sprout is always right there with us. (The tub of brown sugar pictured above helps haha!)

We love making chutneys.  It’s a fabulous way to use up fruit that is bruised, split, or over ripe.  As a chef, Dave’s job is to maximize the bakery’s income which often means utilizing every possible way to keep food costs low.  Here at the cottage we try to do the same.

This series really focused on that idea…using produce that is abundant right now in ways that you can enjoy throughout the summer or even around the year by canning, freezing etc.  img_2148

Just a reminder, its totally okay if you don’t grow any of the produce we used!  The homesteading mentality includes buying in season (when food is the most affordable) or pairing up with neighbors and friends who do have the room to grow produce or raise animals.  Homesteading is all about living as locally as possible and knowing where your food comes from.

img_2140We hope you’ve enjoyed the recipes and we hope to bring you more ways to utilize food that is tasty as well as helpful to your budget.

img_2175Thank you so much to everyone who has tagged us or commented on Instagram and pinned our recipes to Pinterest.  It’s been so fun seeing your dishes and knowing you’re working our recipes!  We are both so flattered and can’t thank you all enough for following along.

Enjoy!signatures

  • Difficulty: easy
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You won’t want to eat pork chops without this again! Spicy chipotle kicks the sweet flavors of plums and peaches into high gear with this easy chutney recipe.


Credit: thesproutedcottage.com

Ingredients

  • 4 cups stone fruit, pitted and diced (peaches, plums and nectarines.)
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 oz. rum
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cinnamon stick or ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground chipotle
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. mint, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until they are tender and translucent.
  2. Add the stone fruit and cook for 2 minutes until the juices begin to release.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and add the rum. Return to the heat and cook down for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar, cinnamon, chipotle and brown sugar. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches your desired thickness, usually 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped mint.
  5. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Summer Red Sangria

We moved to the central coast back in 2012 for a job.  Dave had recently graduated culinary school and the recession hit us pretty hard.  We quickly realized that the jobs back in the mountains would always be seasonal, (at one point in late 2011, Dave worked a grand total of 36 hours in a month…MONTH not week!) and that the competition for each position would be cutthroat.  The recession ended up becoming the best adventure for us.  With only a few weeks notice, we packed up our whole life and moved 4 hours from everyone and everything we knew.

img_2072The job he took was for a new restaurant owned by a local restaurateur.  It was a tapas style restaurant with global and Spanish dishes.  We had never even heard of tapas before and had a hard time pronouncing items on their menu. We quickly learned all about this type of cuisine and what made it unique.  It’s now one of our favorite types of dining because of its unique social aspect.

ta·pas ˈtapəs/ noun plural noun: tapas 
            1.  small, Spanish, savory dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar or on a patio. Often served “family style” with many people sharing each dish.

One of our favorite drinks from that restaurant was the House Sangria.  It paired so well with the warm and slightly spicy flavors of the dishes.  It was light, sweet and refreshing.  The best part was that they changed it based on what time of year you ordered it.  We love the idea that food should change with the seasons.  If you can only grow peaches and plums during certain parts of the year, shouldn’t the recipes and dishes you make reflect that?  That’s what homesteading is all about.  Learning about your food, how to grow it best, how to preserve it and when to purchase it at its peak and height of affordability.

img_2082Our Summer Red Sangria is Day 6 of the Summer Produce Series.  We’ve written this recipe to include the seasonal aspect of produce.  If you’re making it during the summer for a bbq, include stone fruits or berries.  Find yourself mixing up a batch in the fall? Why not experiment with apples and spices.   The point is to get in there and try out new flavors.  We’ve included some suggested blends at the end of the recipe.

img_2069Not a big fan of wine?  Scroll down for our equally delicious non-alcoholic version.

img_2088We hope it creates a great starting point for your own custom blend!

¡Salud!signatures

Summer Red Sangria

  • Servings: 8 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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A Spanish staple on a summer night. Thirst quenching and satisfying.



Ingredients

  • 1 cup of lemonade (Sparkling Strawberry Basil Lemonade works well!)
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup brandy or rum
  • 1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 orange, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 lime, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 cup seasonal fruit sliced or cut into wedges (peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries etc.)
  • 1 750 mL bottle of red wine
  • 2 cups of sparkling water or club soda (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large, glass pitcher, add all of the fruit.
  2. To the fruit, add the lemonade, orange juice, brandy and wine. Stir together until combined.
  3. Chill for 6 hours or overnight. (The flavors develop the longer it chills). Just before serving, add the sparkling water and pour over ice into mason jars. Garnish with a citrus slice.
  4. Note: here are four variations to try:

    • Winter Blend: oranges, grapefruit and cinnamon
    • Spring Blend: Strawberries, limes and sub passion fruit juice for orange juice and white wine instead of red
    • Fall Blend: Asian pear, red grapes, cinnamon and whole cloves.
    • Kitchen Sink Blend: Peaches, Plums, Apples, oranges. Sub pineapple juice for the orange juice. Use white wine instead of red.

Non-Alcoholic Summer Red Sangria

  • Servings: 8 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A lovely twist on a classic Spanish drink. Perfect for any time, adults and kiddos alike!



Ingredients

  • 4 cups cranberry-grape juice
  • 1 cup lemonade (Sparkling Strawberry Basil Lemonade)
  • 1 ½ cups sliced fruit (oranges, lemons, limes, plums, apples, grapes etc.)
  • 2 cups ginger ale or sparkling cider

Directions

  1. In a large pitcher, combine all the sliced fruit with the cran-grape juice and the lemonade.
  2. Refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Before serving, add the ginger ale. Pour over ice, into glasses. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.
  4. Note: I sometimes use frozen grapes instead of the ice if I have them available.

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