Monday, December 20, 2010

Garden Pumpkin Soup

The hub & I had some pumpkin soup recently that was so very yum! When I asked what was in it, I was was told of the Moosewood Restaurant in New York. I got to googling when I got home, found several knock-off recipes, and knew I had to try it for myself. So, without further adieu, I present to you...Garden Pumpkin Soup!

 Garden Pumpkin Soup
2 lbs. pumpkin (I used 2 cans of pureed pumpkin)
2 bay leaves 
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1 chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1 cup canned diced tomatoes (drained of excess juices)
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup dry white wine
5 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions: Place all ingredients besides the cream in a large saucepan. Simmer on medium heat until heated through & well mixed. Remove bay leaves and turn heat to low. Gradually stir in cream and heat through, but do not allow to boil. I'd soften the onion next time by sauteing it a bit before adding it to the soup, but that's the only thing I'd change. :)

Pair it with some day-old bread for dipping and you've got yourself a nice, hearty meal for a cold winter's night!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Yarn Wreath

After I decided that I for sure liked my fall yarn wreath, I went ahead and made a Christmas one, too. You're probably wondering what happened to the Christmas wreath that I made last year. Unfortunately, the wreath didn't survive our summer move. But, that's okay because I'm happy with this replacement. :)

Once again, I used this flower as an accent.

The lighting in our apartment is not in any way conducive to taking photos.
In real life, this is much more of a "Christmas red" than "lipstick red"
and I like it. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pumpkin Ravioli

As soon as I found this recipe for pumpkin ravioli, I knew I had to try it and I'm sooo glad that I did! Not only was it beyond easy to make, but it also made for a perfect cold winter's night kind of meal. You may or may not be able to tell from the photo, but the wonton wrappers turned into more of a dumpling texture. But, I am not complaining! I think it made it even better. Mmmmm!
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
24 wonton wrappers
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Directions: Combine pumpkin, Parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Spoon mixture into the center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten edges of dough with water and bring two opposite sides together to form a triangle, pinching edges to seal. Place ravioli into a large saucepan of boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt and cook for 7 minutes. Drain in colander. Place broth and butter in pan & bring to a boil. Add ravioli, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with parsley.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Cookies

I had a holiday baking extravaganza today. I ended up being in the kitchen for something like 6 hours. Exhausting, but totally worth it. I lost count of the cookies, but I made three different kinds and ended up with more than enough for 3 regular-sized tins, 2 small tins, 2 big tins, and 1 ginormous tin.Oh, and I had plenty leftover for the hub, too. I hope the recipients like them. Anyway, these are the varieties that I whipped up this year. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Butterscotch
Courtesy of my mom-in-law
1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
4 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
12 oz. package of chocolate chips
12 oz. packages of butterscotch chips
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla thoroughly. Stir in remaining ingredients (For a softer, rounder cookie, add 1/2 cup flour). Drop dough by rounded teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until light brown. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet.

Annnnd.... I forgot to take a photo of these, but they were my favorite (& super easy!). I took the advice of some commenters & reduced the amount of flour to 2 cups, but that's the only thing that I changed. YUM!

Sooo...what are your favorite holiday baked goodies, friends?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cinnamon Almond Rice Pudding

The hub & I volunteer at the food pantry at our church on a bi-weekly basis & reeeally love it. A few months ago, I was asked to head up a kind of life skills table there (that we've since dubbed the "Cook's Corner") to demonstrate good ways to use the items that were being distributed. So I, along with a good friend, whip up a new dish every other week using at least one thing that is being passed out that day for people to sample and take home recipe cards to try it for themselves. We've had an over abundance of rice recently & I was asked to come up with something to use it in for the next pantry. Someone suggested rice pudding & I realized that I had never had homemade rice pudding! Crazy. Just crazy. So, I thought I'd try some out tonight. This is a quick & easy kind of version, but it sounded too good to pass up! Plus, I already had everything on hand. I'll probably do a recipe that uses staples like regular milk & sugar for the pantry just to be sure that most people will be able to try it for themselves with what they already have in their cabinets. But, this version was really good. And perfect for a cold winter's night!

3/4 cup cooked rice
3/4 cup almond milk (I used vanilla)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
sliced almonds
Directions: Combine rice, almond milk, and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Turn heat to medium and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 4 to 5 minutes, until milk is thicker and rice is a bit creamy. To serve, place in a bowl, top with almonds & drizzle with honey.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Baked French Toast

We had baked French toast for dinner last night & it was goood. It was my first time baking it & I'd definitely do it again. I mean, who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?!

The recipe that I used was actually for Boozy Baked French Toast, but I altered it a bit. First, I halved it, since it was just for the hub & I. And instead of the Bailey's, I used a teaspoon of almond extract & a teaspoon of vanilla. (On a related note, almond extract is one of my favorite smells in the entire world.) I used vanilla almond milk & since it's sweet enough by itself, I omitted the extra sugar. I also sandwiched some sliced almonds between the bread slices & threw a handful on top for good measure. Add some (non-sifted, if you're lazy like me) powdered sugar & syrup and you're good to go! The end result was French toast that was more of a bread pudding kind of texture instead of what you would expect from traditional French toast. So, consider yourself warned. It's most definitely worth giving it a try, though. I might even switch things up & try some fresh fruit next time. :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Christmas Tradition

I've mentioned before (here & here) that the hub & I have a tradition of making each other a Christmas ornament every year. This time, we decided on making each other gingerbread houses out of felt. 

Here are the supplies:

And the final products!

I made the top ornament & the bottom one is the hub's handiwork. These ended up taking us a while longer than we thought they would. I actually started over twice. But, I'm happy with them. I added a little bit of stuffing to mine, but the hub's didn't seem to need it. So, there you have it. The 2010 Stout house Christmas ornaments!

Do you have any special handmade holiday traditions, friends?
Any special treats or diy gifts?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Vegetarian Lasanga

My awesome mom-in-law has been hosting family dinners once a week and is kind enough to make vegetarian-friendly dishes for us to enjoy. She made this vegetarian lasagna a while back and it was so very good that I had to get the recipe & try it for myself. I'm not a huge black bean fan, but this is seriously goood. The last time I made it, I went ahead & whipped up a second pan to freeze & cook later. I realize that the photo probably isn't the most appetizing thing that you've ever seen, but you'll just have to trust me on this one...

Black Bean Lasagna
from Reader's Digest
9 lasagna noodles
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. oil
2 16-oz. cans black beans, rinsed & drained
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
1 cup water
2 tbs. minced cilantro
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 egg whites, beaten
1 15-oz. carton of reduced fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (I don't think that I used quite that much)
2 8-oz. cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese blend
Directions: Cook noodles according to package (or use no-boil noodles like I did). Over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in oil until tender.  Add beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, cilantro, and pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened.  In a small bowl, combine egg whites, ricotta, Parmesan, and parsley.  Drain noodles. Spread 1/2 cup bean mixture into a 13x9-inch pan coated with cooking spray.  Layer with three noodles, a third of the ricotta mixture, a third of remaining bean mixture, and 2/3 cup of cheese blend.  Repeat layers twice.  Cover & bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.  Uncover & bake10 to 15 minutes longer, or until bubbly.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Artichoke Dip

We have a tradition (carried over from the hub's family) of making dips & munchie-type foods to eat while we do our Christmas decorating. In the past, a lot of these dishes have had non-vegetarian ingredients. So, we tried something new this year. We had tofu with a variety of dipping sauces. We tried to make gingerbread cookies, but failed miserably. Anyone else have gingerbread dough end up goopy? And we made this artichoke dip, which was horrible for us, but a nice treat. It was especially good on some toasted bread. Enjoy!

1/2 cup mayo (I used lite)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used lite)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup minced red onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium-size mixing bowl, stir together mayo, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, and onion. When these ingredients are combined, mix in artichoke hearts, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Transfer mixture to a shallow baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until light brown on top.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Green Monster

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

The hub made me this.
kale + banana + peanut butter + almond milk = green monster smoothie

It wasn't as smooth as I normally like my smoothies, but the taste was good. Really, all I could taste was the peanut butter and banana. But, I'm going to try to stick with it this week (at least until we travel out of town for Thanksgiving) & see if it really does give me the energy boost that it's supposed to.

Have ya'll ever tried a green monster?

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Early Thanksgiving

We are doing Thanksgiving with the hub's family this year. So, my meat-and-potatoes family made the trip from Illinois to Michigan for an early Thanksgiving this past weekend. They were a little nervous at the thought of having a vegetarian Thanksgiving, but it went off without a hitch! (They even tried tofu while they were here!) And we got to test out a few new recipes that will definitely be making the regular rotation. Enjoy!

The Menu:
lentil loaf, mashed potatoes, cornbake, green bean casserole, cornbread stuffing, veggies, salad, rolls, and banana pudding & pumpkin pie for dessert! Plus, we had a variety of yummy appetizers sitting out before the meal, including spinach dip, a cheese ball, crackers, Chex mix, ya know, the usual appetizery goodness.

For the main dish, we tried out this lentil loaf and it was so yuuuummm. I followed the recipe exactly (besides putting a bit of BBQ on top) & it came out a little dry. Next time, I'll at least double the amount of crushed tomatoes. I had some of it cold the next day & I bet it would make an excellent meatloaf-type sandwich.

And since Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without good old fashioned pumpkin pie...
we had some of that, too!

But, we used this recipe, which incorporated tofu. I used soft tofu for one pie & it was perfect. I used silken tofu for the other & it was good, but the texture was a little bit off. (The above photo was the silken tofu.) Additionally, I used 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice and 1 teaspoon cinnamon for the spices. This was so easy & yummy that we'd be crazy not to make it again. For realz.

I think our first vegetarian Thanksgiving was a success & I'm super excited to try the new recipes again soon. What about you, friends? What dish on the table makes Thanksgiving Thanksgiving for you?

For me, it's the cornbake. :)

Monday, November 1, 2010


The hub & I were once intimidated, but we've acquired a newfound confidence that has us cooking tofu about once a week. So easy, versatile, & yummy! So far, this has been our favorite recipe. We've changed it quite a bit from the original to make it easier & more cost effective.
16-oz. package extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
Olive oil for frying
1/2 cup flour
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, to taste
Directions: Freeze tofu & thaw completely (this step is optional, but it gives the tofu a more 'meaty' texture). Cut tofu into 1/2-inch slices and then again in 1/2-inch wide sticks. Put several paper towels on a plate, place tofu on top in a single layer, top with more paper towels and an additional plate. Place some kind of weight on top to press the water out (a carton or two of almond milk works great!). Mix the the flour & spices (I really just eyeball everything). Toss the tofu pieces with the flour mixture & fry them in a bit of olive oil. Ta-da!

The hub and I have been whipping this up with a bit of rice and having a 'dip sampler' of sorts for the tofu sticks. So far, spicy mustard & teriyaki sauce are the favorites. :)

Friday, October 29, 2010


I stayed up waaay too late last night baking mini-cupcakes. We're having a Halloween party at my work today & since baking 150-ish full-sized cupcakes would be too time-consuming/costly for me, I went with mini-cupcakes. Did you know that the little paper candy cups that are used for truffles/bonbons & the like make for great mini-cupcake wrappers? Well, if you didn't, you do now!

I've found that a box of cake mix makes about 60 to 70-ish mini-cupakes. I think the best way to fill the cups is by putting the batter into a plastic baggie & piping it in. Bake for 15-17 minutes, depending on the mix (check with a toothpick). Let cool & frost. :)

I made red velvet, carrot cake, & lemon mini-cupcakes.
Happy (early) Halloween, friends!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Blog reader & old friend, Laurie K., mentioned a vegan chocolate cupcake recipe a while back & I've been wanting to try it ever since.Unfortunately, when I got it in my head to try it the other night, I didn't have what I needed. So, I had to wing it and ended up with something totally different.

Here's Laurie's recipe, which sounds SO yum!
Mix a box of chocolate cake mix, a can of pumpkin, & 2/3 cup water. Follow the baking temp. on the box & bake for 20-25 minutes. Frost with a glaze made of 4 cups powdered sugar & 1/4 cup orange juice. The glaze is really sweet, so a little dab will do ya! According to Laurie, they taste a little like gingerbread! Sounds amazing, no?

Now, I had to make due & used a box of white cake mix, a can of pumpkin, a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice, & 2/3 cup of water. It made 18 cupcakes, which cooked for about 24 minutes. Then, I un-veganized it. My heart was in the right place, I swear, but I just couldn't say no to the cream cheese frosting that was in my pantry.
I think I literally heard it call my name.
In any case, avoiding the eggs & oil is always a plus in my book! What about you, friends? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for making healthier versions of desserts & such?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks again for offering up this great giveaway, OnceAgainSam!
Please be sure to check out her shop, friends. Her stuff is the cuuutest!

And now on to the winner,
drum roll, please...

Commenter #3, Jaclyn, is a lucky gal, indeed!
She gets her pick of any pair of leather earrings in the shop. Woohoo!
Thanks for playing along, everyone. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Giveaway Fun!

Time for another giveaway, friends.
Etsy seller, OnceAgainSam has generously offered up a giveaway to Homemade by Jen readers! Below are some of my faves, but really, there's lots & lots to love in her shop!

How cute is this ring?!

This would look lovely pinned to a fall jacket.

And I'm really digging these earrings.

The details:
Simply, visit the OnceAgainSam shop, come back to this post & leave a comment telling me your favorite item in the shop & you'll be entered in the giveaway (be sure there's a way for me to contact you) to win any pair of leather earrings in the shop! The giveaway will end at midnight on Sunday, the 24th, with the winner being chosen at random & announced next Monday (the 25th). 

Additionally, OnceAgainSam was super sweet and offered up another treat to HbyJ readers! From now until the end of the giveaway, all purchases are 20% off! That's 20% off of your entire order, not a single item! How awesome is that?! Just leave a "note to seller" & tell her that Jen sent ya & you'll have 20% of your order refunded after purchase.

So tell me, friends, which ones are your favorites? :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Album Art

The hub & I recently worked on a few more vinyl cut-outs for our Etsy & I was too excited not to share it with all of you. :)

Check out this Boston album here.

This Born in the U.S.A. album can be found here.

And finally, this Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album is right here.

If you have a moment, hop on over to the the shop, take a looksie, & let me know what you think. 
Thanks, friends!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Hub, the Chef

The only thing better than the hub cooking dinner is 
the hub arranging said dinner to be aesthetically pleasing.
I've got a keeper. :)

Pictured: Quesadillas with bell peppers, onion, cheese, & corn. Yum!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Fall Yarn Wreath

I realized recently that I don't have a fall wreath & that, my friends, was a problem that needed to be rectified. So, I got to work on a yarn wreath recently & here's how it went...

The supplies (minus a bit of glue).
I decided on a simple yarn wreath, but you'll notice from the following photos that I kind of changed directions halfway through, which is why I didn't end up using the green & orange yarn that's pictured.

Instead of just plain yarn, I decided to add this felt flower that I've been wanting to try for a while now. I didn't follow the directions for the center and it shows, haha. But, overall, I'm happy with it.
(& I kind of want to make one to pin on my winter coat...)

And here's the finished product.
I used the brown to all the way around the foam form & just did little sections of green & gold-ish. If I had to do it again, I think I'd either swap out the green (which is so dark it's kind of hard to distinguish from the brown) for a different shad of green or just replace it with orange altogether. Unfortunately, after I made the flower, I realized that the orange skein that I had didn't match. And since I hate to abandon a craft that I'm excited about halfway through, I decide to make due with some green I had leftover from a project a while back. 
In general, though, not too shabby...

What colors would be in your fall wreath?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pumpkin Butter

One of my co-workers retired today. 
She is a sweet, sweet woman, always lending an ear & flashing a smile.
So, I wanted to make her a little "send-off something" to let her know that she'll be missed. Not really knowing her interests, I decided a food-ish gift was a pretty safe bet. So, I whipped up a batch of pumpkin butter. I mean, who doesn't love pumpkin in the fall?! I even doubled the batch so that I could have a few more gifts to give to friends.
1 3/4 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
1 cup applesauce
3/4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Directions: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer approximately 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to containers & chill in the refrigerator until serving.

Add a ribbon & cute card & you're good to go!
I didn't "can" these, I just used the cute lil jars & kept them refrigerated. Just be sure to make that distinction to the recipient
if you're giving them as a gift. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Zesty Lemon Potatoes

Whenever I have the "If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?" conversation with someone, my answer is consistent and swift. "Potatoes."
Hands down, potatoes are my favorite thing to eat, followed closely by ice cream & chocolate. Super healthy, right? Anyway, as a potato-lover, I'm always on the look-out for new potato recipes. And this one was definitely a winner.
I just used this recipe as a base and eyeballed all the ingredients. I used a pound-ish of red potatoes, quartered, and boiled them for about 20 minutes. Drain & toss with a bit of olive oil, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt & pepper. Yuuuum!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

A huuuge thank you to Jaclyn 1423 for playing giveaway with all of us. :)
And now for the winner...
Drum roll please....

(Blogger is giving me trouble with uploading the image from, so you're going to have to take my word for it...)


CelyFrenchie, who loved the silver filigree & red dangle earrings the best, was the lucky winner!
Please e-mail me at so that I can put you in touch with Jaclyn & you can claim your prize.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Applique Addict

I got on an applique kick a few weekends ago and things got out of hand in a hurry. I had planned to whip up a little something for my niece & nephew, but things kind of escalated from much so that I made a few for a friend's wee one, too!
(Sorry in advance for the photo quality.)

I love this print...

so much that I made a matching t-shirt!

Seriously, how stinkin' cute?!

A little pear onesie for Ms. Sophie. :)

Some sharks for Mr. Matthew.
Something about this one says "CHOMP!"

And some trains, too.

The last lemonade of the summer...

And a fruit bowl.

About my niece & nephew (& my sis-in-law/bro-in-law)...
Have I mentioned that they came to town?
Like, for good?
(Or, at least a good while.)
We are SO excited!!!
I hope you're ready for some photos!

Is he not the cutest?
That hair gets me every time.

What a doll...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Giveaway Time!

Happy news, friends!
The very talented Jaclyn of Jaclyn1423 has so very generously offered up a $10 giveaway to her shop for a lucky Homemade by Jen reader! The winner can spend it however they want, so long as it's in a single transaction. It's good towards any jewelry in the shop (s&h included!), besides Joey's Hot Dog necklaces

Here are some of my faves:
My sisters & I have this BFF rock/paper/scissor necklace set.
So fun!

I really love this Drink Me pendant. :)
double-stranded necklace is just adorable.

To enter, head on over to Jaclyn's shop, come back here & leave a comment on this post telling me what you'd use the winnings on. The giveaway will run through Sunday, September 19th & end at midnight. A winner will be chosen at random & announced on
Monday, September 20th. 

Happy shopping!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hummus Pizza

We tried this hummus pizza the other night and it was deeelish! We did half with and half without cheese. The half without looked a little naked when it came out of the oven, but the hub & I both actually liked it better. Enjoy!

1 10-oz. can refrigerated pizza crust dough
1 cup hummus
Sliced red & green peppers (to taste)
Chopped onion (to taste)
Shredded cheese (optional)
Directions:  Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Roll out pizza crust and place on a baking sheet. Spread a thin layer of hummus over the crust. Arrange sliced peppers and onions over the hummus and top with cheese (optional). Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted in the center. Slice and serve!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Acorn Squash

I made this acorn squash the other night and wanted to share it with you all. I had actually never had acorn squash before, so this was a first in tasting and preparing. 

I didn't exactly follow the recipe. Instead, I took the advice of one of the reviewers and cut the acorn squash in half & seeded it.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Put about a tablespoon of butter in each half and spread it around the top edges and inside.  Lightly sprinkle with nutmeg & then about twice as much cinnamon. Add 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar in each half and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

It was pretty darn good. With the nutmeg (which I eye-balled and may have over-done), I felt kind of like it was a bit much after a while & I couldn't quite finish it. But, overall, it was good and seriously easy!
Annnd it screams, "Fall is here!"

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tea Wreath

The hub & I have been on a bit of a tea kick lately and we haven't really been able to find a good way to store the bulky tea boxes in our cabinets. Either they don't all fit, or some get pushed to the very back of the cabinet and we forget which kinds we have. I saw this idea for a tea wreath a while back and put my own spin on it today. Here's what I came up with. (You'll have to forgive me for the lighting in the photos. Sometimes, I can't help but craft in the evening.) :)

I found this circular frame at the store the other day & decided to pick it up, along with some clothespins. 

I painted the frame & the tops of the clothespins...

and hot glued the clothespins in place.

Add some tea bags annnd...

you've got a great, functional display piece!

What do ya think?
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