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Alphabet Soup


When I was a child, I loved when we would have Campbell's Alphabet soup. It was lots of fun. We rarely had it, so it was a treat for us.

My children think it's fun, too. Campbell's version is too pricy for my family, and I'd need several cans to have enough for us. I make my own with the items that I regularly stock in my pantry.

1 can green beans
1 can corn
1 quart tomatoes or 1 28 oz.can tomatoes
1/2 cup alphabet pasta
1 1/2 tbsp beef base
2 tsp dried onions
1 tsp granulated garlic
2-3 carrots, finely diced, or 1/4 cup dried carrots plus 1 cup water
pepper to taste
3-4 cups water


Combine all items in a medium saucepan. If using fresh carrots, do not add pasta until the carrots are soft. If using dried carrots, you can put everything in at once.

Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until carrots and pasta are cooked through. Though the alphabet pasta is small, it takes a surprisingly long time to cook.


Notes: I buy my corn and green beans at case-lot sales at Smith's. Sometimes I can get them for even less buying them on sale with coupons around Thanksgiving.

I get the beef base and dried onions from Sam's Club. Beef Base is a thick beef bullion paste that must be refrigerated after opening. You can also find it at Smart N Final. It is very salty, so do not add salt to your soup!

The alphabet pasta is from Walmart. You'll find it by the Hispanic foods, above the chicken bullion at my Walmart. If you are living from your pantry and don't have this, feel free to substitute any small pasta that you have. You can even break up spaghetti into tiny pieces.

My carrots come from my garden, or from Winco.

Flourish 1


Apple Butter 500


Makes about 5 pints

8 cups unsweetened applesauce
3 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves


In a large pot, stir all ingredients well. Cook over med-low heat, stirring frequently (to prevent sticking and burning), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Pour, hot, into sterilized jars, leaving ¼" head space. Adjust caps. Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in a water-bath canner.



Notes: I start by making applesauce, and I add the sugar and spices to my hot applesauce. I buy my sugar in bulk from Sam's Club. I buy my cinnamon in bulk as well.

Label is a free printable from Martha Stewart. I printed mine on regular paper and glued it on with a glue stick.

Flourish 1




A large number of apples (approx 3 pounds per quart)
sugar (optional)


Add 1-2 inches of water to a large stock pot.

Wash apples. Cut out and discard any bruises or bad spots.

Quarter apples and put them in the pot (seeds, skins, and all). Cover pot and cook on medium-low until the apples are all soft. Stir apples occasionally to make sure they all cook and that none burn or stick to the bottom of the pan (I find they rarely burn in a non-stick pan, but use what you have).




When apples are all done, allow them to cool slightly. Alternately, you can allow them to cool completely and refrigerate them, and finish the process the next day.




Set up the food strainer and put two bowls under it--one for the sauce, and one for the seeds, cores, and peels.

Using a ladle, ladle apples and any juice into the top of the strainer. Turn the handle. Sauce will come out one side, and the seeds, peel, and core will come out the other!

As your bowl gets full, pour it into back into your large pot for cooking. Add sugar to taste (if desired). Cook applesauce over medium-low until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Leave the lid off to let any extra liquid evaporate. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.

To can applesauce, you'll need clean, sterile jars and a water-bath canner. You can can in whatever size works for your family. If you're making applesauce for babies, 4 oz. and half-pint jars are ideal. For my family, applesauce is best served in quart jars.

Bring applesauce to a boil, stirring to prevent sticking. Keep boiling while filling jars. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, and adjust lids. Process pints and quarts 20 minutes in a water-bath canner.




Notes: This applesauce was made from apples from the espaliered trees in my garden, but I have also made applesauce with apples that I bought at the grocery store for .50 a pound (I asked the produce manager for several 40 pound boxes). You can also buy apples in bulk from several suppliers. Choose your favorite kind, or use whatever you have available.

The great thing about using a food strainer is that it's very simple and quick. If you have apples that are bruised or starting to go bad, you can simply cut out the bad spot and throw the good parts in. If you don't have a strainer, you will need to core, peel, and chop the apples before cooking them. After they are done cooking, run the mixture through a blender, or use a potato masher to mash them.

If your applesauce was too watery, it will take longer, and your applesauce will be more brown than yellow. It is still perfectly edible. Alternately, measure and reserve 8 cups of applesauce, and use them to make and can apple butter.

If you have pears instead of apples, you can make pear sauce the same way (and use the pear sauce to make pear butter instead of apple butter).

Flourish 1


Apple Tart 


Serves 8

For the Pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits (make sure it is Unsalted)
1/3 to ½ cup ice water
For the Filling:
3-4 apples (or more if they are small)
½ cup sugar, divided
¼ to 1/3 cup apple cider or apple juice, or to taste
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons ground almonds or pecans
½ cup heavy cream OR sour cream, OR evaporated milk

To make the pastry:


In a bowl, blend the flour, salt, and butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the water and stir the mixture until it forms a dough. Let chill, wrapped in plastic, for 30 minutes.

To make the filling:

Halve, core, and thinly slice apples. (Do not peel them).

In a bowl, combine apples with half the sugar (1/4 cup) and the apple juice.

Let macerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into an 1/8-inch-thick round and fit it into a 10-inch tart pan. Prick the dough with a fork (not all the way through or it will stick to the pan) and top with the sliced apples. Bake for 30 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, remaining sugar, ground nuts, and cream. Pour over the apples and bake 15 minutes longer. Serve warm. (It's good cold, too).


Flourish 5


Apricot Popsicles The Prudent Homemaker


2 cups  (472ml) apricots, washed, pitted, and cut in half (approximately 16-18 apricots)

1/2 cup (118 ml) plain yogurt

2 Tablespoons honey


Blend all ingredients and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight.

Notes: Substitute any fruit in place of the apricots. These are delicious made with peaches instead of apricots.