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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cheap & Cheerful Suppers for early October

This is Blue Kuri squash. Blue Kuri is a winter squash, with blue-gray rind and orange-gold flesh. It's a sweet winter squash, about 2 lbs each, and round with ribbing. I love the color and think they make beautiful decor pieces. They store well, so can be left in the decor for several weeks. (Check the undersides for mold development from time to time.) I bake them with skin on, cut in half, seeds removed, then scoop out the flesh for serving. The seeds are edible, too! Roast those babies! Yum!

*kale, cabbage, apple, bacon, date salad in a mustard dressing
*baby carrots roasted in saved chicken fat
bean burritos in homemade tortillas
*leftover apple pie

corn pudding with ham gravy (gravy from freezer)
leftover pork and beans (from freezer)
*large salad of garden veggies -- lettuce, beet greens, tomatoes, cucumber
*applesauce (from freezer)

*turkey and garden veggie soup -- with baby carrots, Swiss chard and purple potatoes (turkey in stock from freezer)
bread and butter
*tomato wedges in dressing
*fresh pear, fig and dates
homemade brownies

make your own pizza night -- mini pizzas with black olives, green pepper, fresh onion slices and fresh tomato slices, in addition to marinara and cheese
frozen green beans w/ almonds

oven-roasted chicken leg, smothered in leftover marinara sauce, cheese and leftover pizza toppings
brown rice, cooked with herbs
*kale, cabbage, apple, bacon, date salad (repeat from Thursday, it was that good)

*chicken-vegetable soup
*vegetable-cheese pizza
*rhubarb-blackberry crumble

*Swiss chard sauteed, with bacon
Blue Kuri squash (a winter squash)
*tomato wedges with 1000 Island dressing
bean burgers
frozen cut corn
*leftover rhubarb-blackberry crumble

*indicates part or all of this menu item came from garden or orchard

Yesterday, in the comments, Kris mentioned that her table is reflecting the season, with the various seasonal fruits and vegetables in her menus. I think we've got the same thing goin' on here in my own kitchen, between the winter squash, kale, cabbage, pears and apples.

It seems that summer fruit and veggies take center stage. But much of the autumn produce is so delicious, too. Do you have any favorite fall fruits or vegetables? Where ever you live, what says fall to you? (I'm looking forward to hearing what YHF has to say, given her location!)

Also, check out the other post, today, for an update from Sara on homemade gummy candies. In today's update, she answers some questions from the original post, concerning how well they hold up to heat, as well as freezing temperatures. Like I said, check it out!


  1. I'm famous! You mentioned me in a post! ;) (it takes so little to make me happy).

    My son will be quick to tell you that apple pie has NOT appeared on our table. My desire to make my family happy is warring with my need to take off 5 pounds. Pie and weight loss cancel each other out, at least for me.

    We have been eating apples/applesauce (I made an apple topping for pancakes a couple weeks ago--like fried apples without needing to use butter!), pears, garden carrots, squash ... we haven't harvested beets yet, but that's on the horizon. We only had 1 cabbage do well this year and that's already been consumed. We have some tomatoes yet--it was our worst tomato harvest ever.

    I am using canned tomato products to make soups and I've been doing a little more bread baking (ok, not technically an autumn harvest product, but definitely a sign of cool weather cooking!).

    1. Hi Kris,
      Too funny! We're all just friends, here, so it doesn't even cross my mind, when I talk about any of us! But this is one of the secrets to frugality -- that little things make us so happy!

      Oh yum! That apple topping for pancakes sounds delicious. And would be very satisfying for my apple pie cravings.

      Our tomatoes did okay, but we had the worst pumpkin harvest ever this year, especially considering how much effort I put into fixing up that patch. Disappointing, but there's always next year. Gardeners have to be optimists. I use a lot of canned tomato products, anyway, as they're convenient, and I'm happy with the flavor. Try oven-roasting some canned tomatoes, then turn those into soup. Really spectacular flavor, considering it's just canned tomatoes.

      Have a great day, Kris!

    2. How do you oven roast your canned tomatoes? That would be one of those items where it would be easiest for me to oven roast on one day and use them on another day for cooking. How long can you refrigerate them afterwards?

      I love fried apples, but not the calories that go with it. I found Apples in a Bag recipe online at and adapted it to 4 servings cooked on a stovetop. Basically, I peel and slice 4 apples, add 4 tablespoons of sugar, throw in some cinnamon/cloves/allspice, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, 1/4 cup of water, throw them all in a large skillet and cook them on medium heat with a lid covering them until the last minute or two when I want the mixture to reduce a little. I make sure I use a firm apple so I don't end up with applesauce as an end product--my kids love them, and I love having a healthier pancake topping for them to eat.

    3. Kris--

      Lili posted the oven-roasted canned tomatoes a couple of months ago, and they're DELICIOUS. I use them for salsa.


    4. Kris, here's the post:
      It's super easy to do, and a huge hit with several members of my family. I eat them chilled, as snacks.

      Oh, that apple topping sounds very yummy -- and definitely a healthier pancake topping. Thank you!

  2. Funny, Lili, with all the delightful things you served your family this week, for some reason, my eye keeps going back to the "fresh pear, fig and dates". Yum! :)

    Love all the "make your own" ideas you post, too. I'm sure that the pizzas were a big hit! Looks like some stuff's definitely coming out of that freezer. Go, Lili, go! :) Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      I do admit that we are somewhat spoiled with all of the fresh fruit, here.

      I'm working at the freezer. I think, also, if I organize one of the freezers, now that I've taken some things out, it may seem roomier.

      It's going to be another gorgeous autumn day, here. The sun is just coming up, and it makes me want to be outside, rather than inside, today. I think that means an easy dinner, tonight. When the weather is beautiful, it's hard to think about being inside all day cooking, don't you think?

    2. Actually, I was thinking the same thing. I might try to get a bunch of old frozen chicken thighs boiling, and then sneak in and out while those cook. They wouldn't need much supervision. ;) Sara

    3. For us, I'm thinking beans and rice. that's my go-to, quick to fix , no thinking involved, dinner (if I have beans already cooked). In the PNW, these beautiful days will be few and far between in the coming months, so I do want to make the most of any we have, and get outdoors!

    4. It's another good reason (IMO) to be flexible in daily plans whenever possible! :)

      Back to your freezer, I'm always impressed by how much space I can liberate in mine, just by reorganizing and pulling out all the little packages that have fallen under other things where I can't find them. Even if I don't remove anything, it DOES seem to really free up space.

      Happy beans and rice! :) Sara

  3. We eat the same foods year round, Lili, I know so boring lol....however what makes eating interesting and fun here is the cultural influence of the various ethnic groups that live here. And there are food trucks galore where the young foodies experiment with fusion type cooking of the ethnic dishes. Passing on the roadside recently, we saw VAIFALA signs up and wondered what the heck is that? So googled, and found out it is a Samoan fruit drink. Not sure I'm all that comfortable trying out everything I see at the roadside lol

    As for growing in pots on our lanai, Lili, think I've already mentioned the few year round vegetables. What's amazing is the Kang Kong (ong choy)...this is the same potted plant from a few years ago. It is especially happy during our rainy season, and this hurricane season has been a treat for this plant. It grows about a foot in length every few weeks, my husband cuts it down to an inch above the soil, and it shoots up again, rinse and repeat. We blanch it in salt/oil and sometimes a broth and freeze. So easy and nutritious. Since this plant is a South Asian native, I don't think it would do too well in temperate zones. Next year, we hope to do a little more planting, but my dad has regained a lot of his strength and is back out in the yard. So we'll see if we have the backyard garden to plant what we want. Sorry don't have more to say, plus the islands have well known microclimates that make growing in our arid west side a bit more challenging that the cooler central or valley areas of the island. Especially on the windward side of the island...soooo lucky to have constant partly sun/shower type weather.


    1. Hi YHF,
      I'm very glad for your dad's health improving. And having him able to do something that he loves is well-worth sacrificing the use of the garden, and allowing him to have that space.

      Fusion food trucks are quite popular, here, as well. My son has a daily per diem for lunch, from his company, so he eats at the food trucks nearly every day, many of which are fusion cuisine. Some very creative ideas for meals. He tries out something new nearly every time. He had Ethiopian food for lunch the other day. That always sounds tasty.

      Your Kang Kong has a similar function for you as our kale does for us. It's abundant. And although just an annual, I can replant easily several times per year, and have fresh kale about 8 months of the year. Then in late November, I can harvest what's left and freeze.

    2. I heard of people growing kale in the islands, so that's another vegetable I might start next year. Thanks for the idea.

      Thank you for your well wishes to my dad. Your prayers were a big part to his miracle Lili, I'm sure because you come from a good place. Our neighbor can't get over how he recovered so well in such a short time His doctor who also had a pinched nerve condition said it took him 8 months to recover and was in awe that my dad showed signs of improvement in a couple months.

      Fusion food trucks seem to be the rage. They're not always cheap despite being sold from a truck lol.. so nice for your son to eat out everyday. I guess the company wants their employee performing top guns on a satisfied full stomach, no excuses lol


    3. YHF,
      I'm just so glad for you and your father. We all hope to be healthy as long into our lives as possible. His getting out to the garden probably was an incentive as well as forcing a bit of exercise. That's an inspiration for all of us, in our future years.

    4. a way my dad participated here yesterday lol...he was the one who started freezing his overripe papayas and found that it was just as delicious that way. It took me awhile to recall that he did that and apply it to seeking out discounted over ripe papayas and buy in bulk to freeze.


  4. I've not heard of the Blue Kuri squash before, does it taste similar to other squashes?

    We've been enjoying more sweet poatoes and apples this fall, which makes the house smell good. I love the smells of fall, lol.

    Did you hear about the pumpkin shortage yet? If you plan on buying any I would buy it now and not wait until Thanksgiving as there may not be any left.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Blue Kuri is one of the sweeter winter squashes. It has such great flavor that I only add butter. And it's pretty! Silly reason to buy a squash, but as it was the same price as the other squashes, per pound, why not?!

      Yes, I'd read of possible canned pumpkin shortages this year. Dollar Tree had canned pumpkin for $1/can the other week. I'll check there. As well, our Fred Meyer has it on sale for $1.25/can. I have enough pumpkin, on hand, for Thanksgiving and Christmas (from the garden and 1 can from last year).

      We had so much canned pumpkin last year, bought at our wholesaler, at about 70cents per 16 oz. I think we were spoiled!


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