From the Garden to the Table – Summer Squash

Produce From The Garden

From The Garden – Summer Squash!

“From the Garden to the Table – Summer Squash,” is the first blog post in my “From the Garden to the Table” series. I will be writing posts on various fruits, vegetables and wild plants that grow around my Peaceful Forest Homestead. This way I can share with you how to grow various plants, and how to preserve them and  serve them. I will show you how to make them become a part of your homestead food plan.

When I first started out in this lifestyle, I canned sweet jellies, jams and pickles too. Did we really eat all of them? Over time, we did. Only because we do not waste any food at all. I have stopped doing that type of canning long ago. For one thing, we never put jelly or jam on toast, especially now, since we both eat low carbs. If I am going to eat something that is a high carb, I’d much rather buy some ice cream! No way am I going to waste it on jelly or jam. I want to research and hone in my skills on growing, preserving and preparing foods that we love and want to eat again and again. That is what this series on my blog will be about. 

Yellow Squash Sliced

Don’t slice summer sqush to can it!

 Summer squash can provide plenty of winter meals. I use it in casseroles, as well as a side dish covered in butter. Does your summer squash really need to be sliced to be preserved? No, it doesn’t. Cube it instead. Even if you are not canning it, freezing it this way should prevent it from cooking up mushy. If you need some slices for some of your recipes, like squash chips, you can dehydrate those. Can up the rest of it and it will sit on your pantry shelves until you need them.  

Peeling and seeding squash

Peel and Seed it!

The steps to preparing summer squash for canning is:

  • Wash the squash off  real good. Nothing is worse than getting dirt on your newly peeled squash.
  • Cut each end off and then peel it.
  • I usually cut them in fourths, down the center. Standing up on one end, you can easily slice it right down the middle to the other end. Keeping them together that way, while I cut it in four long slices. Like a cucumber. 
  • Now I take each fourth and scoop the seeds out of the center.
  • Put them on the cutting board and cut in cubes. I put all four on the board at once, if they aren’t too big. 
  • They are cubed! Now wasn’t that easy?


Summer Squash Cubed

Summer Squash Cubed

The next step will be how to can summer squash, which will be in my very next post. I have the directions on my old blog, but I am changing that blog and want all my homesteading information on this one. One of the questions people have with canning squash, is that they think it is not safe, due to what the “professional canners” say. They had the recipe in the older canning books, but decided it is not safe to do. You will be using a pressure canner, and you need to use one, as this is a low acid food, and needs to be pressure canned only. Here is what they say about it: 

“Why is canning summer squash or zucchini not recommended?

  • Recommendations for canning summer squashes, including zucchini, that appeared in former editions of So Easy to Preserve or USDA bulletins have been withdrawn due to uncertainty about the determination of processing times. 
  • Squashes are low-acid vegetables and require pressure canning for a known period of time that will destroy the bacteria that cause botulism. 
  • Documentation for the previous processing times cannot be found, and reports that are available do not support the old process.
  • Slices or cubes of cooked summer squash will get quite soft and pack tightly into the jars. 
  • The amount of squash filled into a jar will affect the heating pattern in that jar.
  • It is best to freeze summer squashes or pickle them for canning, but they may also be dried.”
Canned Yellow Squash

Canned Yellow Squash

After reading that you will need to decide what you feel safe doing. As I know, I feel safe doing it and I know my squash is pressure canned properly. I am not new to this and have always followed safe procedures. It is not tightly packed in the jars and I can’t imagine any summer squash becoming tight in the jars. In fact, many times, in the process of making a recipe, I have to use an extra jar, because it didn’t fill the jar completely. My jars of canned summer squash are boiling inside, when I take them out of the canner. I feel that the “canning professionals” are always on the look out for some new rule or regulation. If they had it their way, nobody would be canning their own food to begin with. Though then they might be out of their jobs! Stay tuned for my next post on how to can your summer harvest of summer squash and zucchini.

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience of living an off-the-grid life, as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click, or products I recommend, may or may not compensate me, for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


Cooking Bacon Fast and Easy

Bacon and Eggs

Low carb breakfast

I LOVE bacon! I used to be afraid to tell anyone that because it had such a bad reputation. It seems as if, like eggs, it has redeemed itself. Now bacon is the “in” food to eat! Probably because there are so many recent new diets, that are low carbs and high fat. We know that the fat satisfies you, so you are not hungry. The “good” fats are good for you too. Bacon is one of those fats. If I eat eggs with no meat, I am hungry all day. If I eat bacon and eggs, I am good till supper time. 

Raw Bacon

Cooking bacon makes such a mess!

I cook mainly with cast iron skillets. Especially breakfast. Frying bacon is SO messy and splatters all over the stove and surrounding area. The bacon never comes out flat and big. Curls up. I like mine straight, flat and big. I hate restaurants that microwave it. I can tell the difference……..little puny slices that are barely cooked. I just had breakfast at a diner yesterday and that is what it was like. I knew it was zapped in the microwave (which is the worst thing you can use to cook if you want to eat nutritional food anyway, but that is a whole different blog post). Ugh! 

Bacon In Oven

Bacon In Oven

I found online in a few different blogs, and on Pinterest too, a different method to cook bacon. I have been cooking it like this since 2010, when I first found this recipe. We love it this way. Much quicker and it comes out perfectly! I stopped frying it in the cast iron skillet and use a cookie sheet instead. Wrap aluminum foil over top of the cookie sheet, and put the raw bacon neatly across it. Try not to let them touch or they will stick together. If that happens, you can separate them easily after they have cooled a bit. 

Half Done Bacon in oven

Half way done!

Put the pan of bacon in the cold oven. My oven tends to run hot, so I set the oven at 350 degrees. Once I hear the bacon sizzling, I turn it down to 325. This bacon was really good, the thick kind. If you are using the thin kind, watch it closely. I usually buy the thick kind, but thin will work too. It just cooks faster. Be careful turning it over as it splatters and may burn you. I know, I have been splatter, and it is not fun. 


All done!

I let the bacon cook about 20 minutes or so. Then I turn the slices over. Watch it extra close now, since once they are turned over they will cook super fast! Don’t overcook or burn it because you are not paying attention (easy to do! I know.). What is nice about this method is that if someone likes their bacon extra crisp, you can just leave their pieces in a bit longer than the rest.  

Bacon and Eggs

Bacon and eggs is a good low carb breakfast!

Since I am particular about my bacon, it is best when I cook it myself. Nice straight pieces every time! I only cook my bacon this way now.

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole

Homemade Salad Dressings are Simple

Lettuce and Tomatoes

Lettuce and Tomatoes

Homemade salad dressings are simple to make. I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite recipes. This is one recipe I found in the Better Than a Box eBook. This book is written by Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship, where she writes a blog and eBooks. This book is more than a cookbook. What I liked about it, is that she helps you find the way to do “Reverse Engineering” on your favorite recipes. You will learn how to make them healthier and how to adapt them to whatever type of diet your family eats. In my case, I eat no sugar or grains, basically low carbs for me. I learned how easy it is to change the recipes of foods you used to buy in the store, and make them healthier. I have to add that they taste so much better too. Why would you ever go back to those processed foods once you change the way you make them? If your family members don’t want to eat them, don’t tell them. Just do it and see if they complain. As long as I don’t use onions in the foods I make, my husband never complains……..he likes to eat!

Homemade Italian Salad Dressing

1 Tbsp. prepared Dijon mustard
2+ Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. onion flakes or powder
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix everything together in a glass jar or bottle. I use an old Good Seasons glass jar from long ago. Take it out of the refrigerator about a half hour before you serve it. You can use whatever seasonings you like. No sugar needed! Can’t be much easier than that!

Salad Dressings on store shelf

Many varieties to choose!

In the stores you will find such a huge variety of salad dressings, sometimes it is hard to choose. If you study them though, some are just a variety of your basic ranch, Italian, Caesar, French or Russian. Ranch is my favorite, since I can just throw other ingredients in it for a change. Like adding some homemade Salsa or cheese and bacon to it. How many jars of salad dressings are open in your refrigerator? Until I started making my own, it was too many for us to use. Then you forget about what is in there, and by the time you see it, it doesn’t look very good. Making your own Homemade Condiments fresh, almost every time, will give your salads a whole new twist. They will taste fresh and good with no bad preservatives or other chemicals added. You can sweeten it or not. 

Homemade Italian Dressing

Homemade Italian Dressing

This is my favorite low carb Caesar dressing from Everyday Low Carb Cooking by Alex Haas. His cookbook is indispensable to me. It is full of many low carb condiments and staples, especially various chicken wing sauces and coleslaw.

Simple Caesar Dressing

1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. olive oil
6 Tbsp. lemon juice
6 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce (sometimes I use anchovies mashed up)
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
3 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. sugar equivalent sweetener
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp. Red Cayenne sauce (add to your taste)

In a glass jar or bowl, dissolve the sugar sweetener in the liquid ingredients first. Then mix in the dry ones. In another bowl mix the mayonnaise and olive oil together. Then stir them into the other bowl and mix thoroughly. I mix it up in a glass canning jar for easy storage. This recipe is 6.5 net carbs for 4 Tbsp.

This is an easy place to start if you are planning on eliminating highly processed foods. Read your labels to see what is in a jar of salad dressing or other condiments. I will be sharing more of these recipes with you here.

This post was written with some affiliate links in it. To view my policy read my Disclosure policy on this blog. I may receive a commission if you click a link and buy a product, but it will never raise the price of the item for you. I appreciate it if you do use my links from this blog. 

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole

Home Brewing Wine On Your Homestead Is A Valuable Skill

Berries For Home Brewing Wines

Berries For Home Brewing Wines

Of all the various homesteading skills I have learned the one that I have never tried is home brewing wine. It is a skill that I would like to learn, especially since our homestead is surrounded by wild berries of all types. I try to pick them all, but we don’t always use them up fast enough. Canning berries is not a wise way to use them. You can use the juice, but other than dehydrating them, eating the fresh or baking with fresh berries is best. So I was wondering what to do with all the excess, instead of wasting them. About that time, I found this eBook, Making Wild Wine: Saskatoon Raspberry by Annie Coombe. I bought it and found the directions are not as hard as I previously thought. Even though this book is the instructions for home brewing wine using wild Saskatoon berries, I will improvise and use whatever berries I have. Most likely, blackberries and raspberries.  

Home Brewing Wines

Home Brewing Wines

Then I met a man who has a store, Doc’s Home Brew Supplies, selling everything I would need to do this.  Now I know this is something I can do! Home brewing wine is not only good for drinking, but it can be used as a medicinal beverage and as an ingredient in a recipe. It is also a great gift idea for your friends, family or business associates. At Christmas time, bottles of wine wrapped in paper with a bow is a welcome sight when joining others for holiday parties. Home brewing wines are actually a valuable skill, so you can stock up for bartering purposes with other homesteaders. A good stock of wines in a variety of flavors, that you have spent time home brewing could be an option to trading for the foods and supplies you don’t grow or raise. Just think of the possibilities! 

Blackberries for Berries For Home Brewing Wines

Blackberries For Home Brewing Wines

This post was not a paid for post by the author of the eBook, Making Wild Wine: Saskatoon Raspberry or the owner of  Doc’s Home Brew Supplies. Though I am an Amazon Associate and will receive a small commission when you purchase the book, it will not raise your cost in any way.

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Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
Middle Photograph Copyright © 2013 Annie Coombe


Part Two Of Kitchens I Like

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Kitchens That I Like From Houzz

Beef Stew Is Our Favorite Wintertime Meal!

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Using A Wood Stove For Cooking and Heating Water!

This post was originally posted on my Blogger blog on December 4, 2012

One nice thing about the cooler temperatures is the fact that I can simmer foods on the wood stoves all day. The cook stove is used all year long, but right now the wood heating stove is a big addition to our food preparation. It is a good use of energy, heating the house, heating water and cooking our food. What could be better than that? Saves money by not using the propane stove unless we have to.

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Choosing Good Quality Produce!

One nice thing about the cooler temperatures is the fact that I can simmer foods on the wood stoves all day. The cook stove is used all year long, but right now the wood heating stove is a big addition to our food preparation. It is a good use of energy, heating the house, heating water and cooking our food. What could be better than that? Saves money by not using the propane stove unless we have to.

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Stew Beef from MaineSource Food and Party Warehouse

I like to put a lot of beef in our stew. Usually a pound is what most recipes call for. I double that. The day I made this batch, I think I used about three pounds. Stew can be made from just about any meat you choose, or even no meat, for all the vegetarians reading this. Another reason I make so much is that right now I have three hungry men here and I like to have leftovers. This is my basic recipe, though I eliminate the onions  because my husband does not care for onions……..matter of fact, he HATES them. So I go without even though I love onions myself. What I do for that man!

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Dredge the beef cubes in flour.

 Homemade Beef Stew

  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt/ optional
  • 1 1/2 lbs. stew meat
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, optional
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 3 c. vegetable juice cocktail
  • 2 cups seasoned beef broth/boullion no msg)
  • 10 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed or chunks
  • 1 1/2 c. sliced celery and leaves
  • 1 1/2 c. sliced carrots, 2″ pieces
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Browning the beef cubes on the wood cook stove.

Mix the flour and salt (if you are adding it, I don’t.). Add the meat cubes a few at a time and mix to coat. In a heavy skillet, brown the meat, a half at a time, in the oil on medium high. Put all the meat in a Dutch oven or large pot.Then add the onion, garlic, thyme, vegetable juice, broth, Tabasco sauce and 1 cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 1/4 hours, or until the meat is tender. Stir in the potatoes, carrots and celery. Cover and simmer 30 minutes more. Thicken with flour or cornstarch like you do for gravy. It does not have to be thickened.  It is more like soup if you don’t thicken it. Serves 6.

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Browning the meat.

After the meat has browned, I add the water or juice. Sometimes I do not add the tomato juice but use beef broth and water. Another thing is that I don’t really cook by a recipe much anymore. So this recipe is more basic. You can add what you want to it, or substitute other ingredients. It is all up to you and I know I say that about every recipe I post here. But that is how I cook.

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Potatoes & Carrots Added.

The nice thing about cooking on the wood heating stove is that once the food is simmering, it is all done until you are ready to eat. I like to let it simmer overnight. Most stew recipes tell you to add the potatoes and carrots when it is almost done. I don’t do that. I make sure everything is in the stew so it simmers overnight together. The potatoes and carrots still come out firm and not mushy. I like them to hold their shape and not fall apart in the liquid.

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Celery leaves floating as it simmers.

I sometimes add home canned corn or green beans. Sometimes, both. There are a variety of vegetables that can be used, and it is a good use of root vegetables. For winter time eating, nothing tops a homemade stew in my book. It is also one of my favorite ways to serve venison. If you make a really big batch, it is perfect for canning. Having jars of homemade beef stew in the pantry is the BEST way to get through winter! Yum yum!

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Simmered all day and night!

I am writing this post because MaineSource Food and Party Warehouse requested my help in showing their customers how to shop in bulk to save money and time. They do not discuss with me, what I will be writing about or alter my opinions in any way! My loyalty to my readers will always come first.  See my FTC Blogging Disclosure on this blog.

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Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole


The Pantry Cookbook by katlupe

The Pantry Cookbook

The Pantry Cookbook by katlupe

It is no secret that trying to feed a family in these trying times is difficult. Growing your garden with as much food as possible is one way to fend off the rising costs. That was my plan this year. Instead drought conditions are prevalent. My son remarked how his friends in who live in the ghetto mix all weird concoctions together to make meals for their families at the end of the month. So I had the idea for “The Ghetto Cookbook!” I changed it to “The Pantry Cookbook” due to the fact that I don’t live in the ghetto and thought someone would have an issue with that. So I created this book for anyone who is trying to make it to the next check or their food stamps.

Easy Beef And Macaroni Skillet Easy Beef And Macaroni Skillet


Table Of Contents

Main Dishes
Pantry Chili
Chicken & Dumplings
Country Fried Cheap Steak
Chicken Parmesan Pie
Baked Beans with Cranberries
Easy Baked Beef & Beans
Easy Taco Bake
Simple Mexican Casserole
Easy Corn Dog Muffins
Mashed Potato & Beef Casserole
My Home Style Meatloaf
Cheap Beef Casserole
Easy Beef And Macaroni Skillet
Easy Shepherds Pie
Quick & Cheap Pizza Pie
Quick & Cheap Greek Spinach Pie
Easy Baked Macaroni & Cheese
Simple Broccoli & Cheese Casserole
Easy Ham & Noodle Casserole

Tasty Split Pea Soup
Simple Tomato Soup
Special Parmesan Corn Chowder

Casseroles and Vegetables and Pasta
Cheap Spaghetti Casserole
Potato And Hot Dog Casserole
Butternut Squash Dish
No Meat Italian Sauce
Simple Rice and Broccoli Casserole
Unique Corn Casserole
Standard White Sauce
Cabbage Casserole
Creamed Vegetables In White Sauce
Too Easy Scalloped Vegetables
Carrot and Rice Casserole
Baked Creamed Spinach
Emergency Parmesan Potato Casserole
Another Vegetable Casserole
Fried Squash Patties
Easy Corn & Tomato Casserole
Squash Casserole
Zucchini Casserole
Pantry Burritos
Cooked Greens
Sweet Baked Turnips
Green Beans Corn and Tomatoes
Potato Casserole
Standby Boiled Potatoes
Parsley Potatoes
Specialty Creamed Potatoes
Cheesy Potatoes
Broiled Garlic Potatoes
Yankee Home Fries
Sautéed Onion Potatoes
Skillet Potatoes
Favorite French Fries
Quick Country Fries
Easy Baked Fries
Potato Egg Puffs
Puffed Potatoes in the Half Shell
Delish Scalloped Potatoes
Standard Mashed Potatoes
Baked Potato In Pepper Cups
Mother-In-Law’s Latkes
Speedy Taco Salad
Cooking In A Fire
How To Make Brown Sugar
Grits With Cheese Casserole
Cheese Chili Grits
Easy Hot Sausage Puffs
Griddle Bread In A Pinch
Corn Muffins With A Twist
Southern Hush Puppies
No Chicken Gravy & Dumplings

Lulu’s Rice Pudding
Hot Cocoa Pudding Cake
Grandma’s Bread Pudding
Creamed Corn Pudding
Fast Coconut Pie
Caramel Custard Quick Pie
Vinegar Surprise Pie
Brown Sugar Delight Pie
Chocolate Chip Quick Oatmeal Cookies
Ginger Cranberry Cookies
Economy Eggless Chocolate Cake

                                                                                     The Pantry Cookbook

I am selling this eBook on Amazon in their kindle shop. They have been giving me a hard time due to the book’s name. Well, there a lot of books with that name. My book is not about prepping and eating from a pantry that has foods stored for that purpose. Normally my books are written for my readers since they are the one most likely to buy my books. The Amazon readers are having a field day making fun of people who have written books! These people are VERY cruel in their reviews. I can hardly stand to read them, even when they are for another person’s book! Makes me leave a 5 star review just to make up for the bad ones.

Homesteading On The Internet

Dreading the check-out?

Anyway, this is my cookbook and it is not really geared toward homesteaders, but for people who live on a check of some sort or food stamps. Those end of the month times when you are so hungry that you can’t stand it. Or your children keep asking for something to eat. These are recipes I have devised in those days, when I was struggling to raise my son on a barmaid’s salary. They still work! 

It is $2.99 in the Kindle store, and you can’t go wrong with that price. Hope you like it!


Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole