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.
Recently, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What to do:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Tangy, mildly spicy, and full of delicious flavor. These simple, cottage dill pickles will be devoured by everyone.
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.
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!
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.
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.
We 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.
Thank 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.
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.
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.
The 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: tapas1. 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.
Our 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.
Not a big fan of wine? Scroll down for our equally delicious non-alcoholic version.
We hope it creates a great starting point for your own custom blend!
A Spanish staple on a summer night. Thirst quenching and satisfying.
Note: here are four variations to try:
A lovely twist on a classic Spanish drink. Perfect for any time, adults and kiddos alike!