Zuppa Toscana Soup


Each year when deer season hits we have the deer hunters over.  Typically any of the wives that want to come, come too.  I host the Friday night part of the event.  This year, Hubby didn’t know if he was going to go hunting.  He doesn’t enjoy it as much as he used to.  To be honest, his age is catching up to him.  Walking through the woods with sticks and what not is hard on his knees.  He’s had a bad knee for a long time and walking through that just isn’t what he needs.  I think if he hunts again it will likely be done more in a staked hunting place rather than a clear the woods walking type of hunting.  It’s the pangs of getting older and we are.

Anyway one of the hunter’s wives brought the best soup….it’s so good.  I had to make a batch for myself.

It says, better than Olive Garden in the recipe but I’ve never been to Olive Garden so I can’t tell you if that’s true.  We try as hard as we can to never eat at chain restaurants…

Here’s the recipe… [Read more...]

Ask Jo: Follow up on the Hamburger Post


Every so often I get questions from blog readers that I think other blog readers would like the answer to as well.  When that happens, I answer the questions here on the blog.  Today is one of those days.

All of the question and comments I’m addressing today are relate to a recent hamburger post I wrote.  I showed this picture of our freezer full of meat.  On reader commented that she liked the dividers.    That made me smile and laugh.  Hubby made these dividers a long time ago.  It was his idea.  The pieces interlock.  They were made out of complete scrap but we love them.  It keeps the meat divided and makes it really easy to find what I’m looking for.


In the post I was also lamenting about missing hamburger.  I had listed that one of the things I missed making was hamburger gravy.  A blog reader asked what hamburger gravy was and could I share the recipe.  I’ll be honest.  This comment surprised me.  I thought hamburger gravy was a universal, everyone made it thing….apparently not.

To check myself I asked Hubby if his mom made hamburger gravy because mine sure did and I do too.  He said his mom did too.  That’s not a very good test sample as our moms were pretty similar, both were farm wives, both lived in relatively the same area, and both were in the same age range.  Curiously do others of you make hamburger gravy and/or did you mom’s make hamburger gravy?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

Anyway, I made hamburger gravy the other night for supper and snapped some photos as I did….Here’s how I do it: [Read more...]

When Families Blend Pancake Style


When Hubby and I got married it was a fairly easy transition.  We both came from farm families.  Both of our moms had small jobs that brought extra income into the home but not a lot and their primary roll was to take care of the family and household.

We both came from larger families.  I have 4 siblings…he has 5.  We both came from families where there is a large spread between the oldest and youngest siblings.  We both were the younger children.

Our families had similar work ethic.  Our families both had similar values.

For the most part….we were evenly matched.  We should have made an easy transition and as I said, for the most part, we did.  There was one problem though…PANCAKES!!  Yep, pancakes is where we have BIG differences.

When we were first married I was a nice solicitous wife.  I would ask what he wanted to eat for supper and make it.  (I gave up on that years ago)  Well Hubby said he wanted pancakes.  I said -I was sorry.  We couldn’t have pancakes.  We didn’t have bananas.  Hubby didn’t think anything of it.  I went to town a couple days later.  I bought bananas.  That night I made pancakes.  Hubby smiled at my “cooking”.  They asked for syrup.  I asked what he meant, syrup??  I was so confused.  He said- Ya-Syrup for my pancakes.  I was totally confused.

After talking we realized that each of our families ate pancakes differently.

My family ate pancakes with a banana mixture poured over the top of them…kind of like the picture shown.


My mom grew up during the Depression era.  Her family was very poor.  When bananas at the grocery store were deeply discounted at the grocery store, my mom’s family would buy them.  The best ones they used to make a “sauce”.  My mom made it for us as kids too.  She would take a sauce/dessert cup and slice bananas into it.  They she would sprinkle brown sugar over the top of the bananas.  When we were ready to eat she would pour a little bit of milk over the top.  That was often our dessert.  The worst bananas were used many to make banana bread.  The in between bananas my mom’s family used for pancakes.

The recipe for that goes something like this… [Read more...]

Iced Coffee: My homemade version


About three years ago whenever I was with Kelli and we’d pass a McDonalds we’d stop and get drinks…she’d get a strawberry-banana fruit smoothie and I’d get a chocolate chip frappe.  Well then I started reading the calorie count..UGH.  I compromised and started getting smalls then compromised even more and started getting caramel instead of chocolate chip.

Then one day I decided that I was ready to make the next compromise and try iced coffee.

I am not a coffee drinker.  I have tried to be but it gives me gut rot and I just don’t like it. I never thought I’d go so far as to drink iced coffee either..but alas, here I am.  I am an iced coffee drinker.  My favorite is McDonalds caramel iced coffee but Kwik Star has a mocha iced coffee that I really like too.

I have gotten to be enough of a drinker that I’d really like to make it at home…and so I have.  The key is this flavoring that I bought at Wal-mart.


I’m still working and playing with what I make all the time but I’ve come to something along these lines… [Read more...]