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Soybean Harvest

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Dad finished harvesting the soybeans here on the home farm. There are a couple fields in the area that need combined, and then the soybean harvest will be over. One interesting thing this year about the harvest, is that we haven’t gotten a frost yet! Because of this, the bean stalks are still green (they haven’t died down completely). The stalks become lodged in the reel and plug it up. Although this doesn’t damage the combine, it does make combining difficult.

 

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Frosted Cranberries

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Making (and eating!) cranberry sauce is one of the BEST parts of the holidays. At least, that’s what we think! We always make our cranberry sauce with frozen cranberries, and it gives us some lovely photos. Look at the frost on those bright red berries! It’s so festive!

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We added the cranberries to a large pot of boiling water and sugar, cooked it until it was thickened, and set it outside to chill.

Here is our recipe:

Cranberry Sauce

4 cups fresh and frozen cranberries
2 cups water
2 cups sugar

Wash cranberries. (We always wash our cranberries before we freeze them.) Stir together water and sugar in a saucepan. Heat to boiling; boil uncovered 5 minutes. Stir in cranberries. Heat to boiling; boil rapidly 5-10 minutes. Cool; cover and refrigerate at least eight hours.

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

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Day Six: Best Pumpkin Cupcakes (with Dreamy Cinnamon Frosting)

This is Day Six in a 8 part series featuring yummy pumpkin recipes. Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.DSCN1974

We never let an autumn slip past without one of us girls making pumpkin cupcakes. This is a recipe that Kerstin found several years ago. She made them once, and they were immediately voted into our recipe book. The cupcake itself has the perfect amount of sweetness, and a rich balanced spice from the pumpkin pie spice. The frosting is a dream! With cream cheese to make it (you guessed it) creamy, and butter to make it smooth and light (not in the healthy sense of the word, just the fluffy sense), it simply melts in your mouth. Some powdered sugar for sweetness, a big splash of vanilla extract, and a large dose of cinnamon all take it over the top.

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Make them for Thanksgiving! Or make them for the weekend! Make them for your dad’s birthday! Or shucks, just make them for Thursday.

I promise you won’t regret it. Ever.

Here we go:

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Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

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This is gorgeous!

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Add the eggs one at a time, and beat the mixture well after each addition.

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You can see how creamy the butter mixture is! Add the pumpkin.

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And beat it in.

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Combine the dry ingredients in another bowl.

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Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk alternately. I usually do three additions of each, but it doesn’t matter too much. Just be sure to beat in each addition thoroughly.

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Here the batter is perfect!

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Prepare the cupcake pans. I love using miniature cupcake liners! These pumpkin ones are so cute, and they are perfect for pumpkin cupcakes!!

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Fill the cupcake liners three-fourths full with batter. I like to fill a Ziplock bag with batter, cut off one corner, and squeeze the batter into each cup. It keeps the cupcakes even and the pan clean.

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For miniature cupcakes, bake at 350 degrees F. for about 15-18 minutes, or until they test done with a toothpick. Bake standard-sized cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, or until they test done.

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I also filled some standard-sized cupcake liners. They’re really cute, too!

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For the frosting, beat softened cream cheese and softened butter until it’s smooth and fluffy.

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Add the powdered sugar in two additions, beating the mixture well between additions.

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Yum! You can almost feel how silky smooth it is.

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Add a bunch of cinnamon. This really makes the frosting special!

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Pour in about a teaspoon of vanilla extract. It’s rare that I measure this stuff!

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Mix it together and you are ready to smother some cupcakes!

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Hmm, this is a challenge. 😉

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Pipe it on, spoon it on, or slather it on with a knife.

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes:
3/4 cup butter, softened
2   1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
2   1/3 cups flour
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup buttermilk
Cinnamon Frosting:
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered (confectioners’) sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin. Combine dry ingredients; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes for standard-sized cupcakes or 15-18 minutes for miniature cupcakes, or until cupcakes test done with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

For frosting, in a large bowl beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon; beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: about 2 dozen standard-size or 6 dozen miniature.

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

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Day Four: Classy Pumpkin Muffins

This is Day Four of a 8 part series featuring pumpkins! Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.IMG_0984

The weather has turned cold and crisp here, so we are beginning to think about Thanksgiving and all the wonderful things that come with it! We love the festive feeling of preparing pies and stuffing in the week leading up to it. We love hunting season, and the excitement when one of the hunters gets a deer. And we love the food. Oh, yes… we love it! It’s wonderful to start out a cold, dark fall morning with a fresh-baked muffin, and these pumpkin muffins are a favorite! Even Dad, who doesn’t enjoy most pumpkin baked goods, likes these muffins.

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Several years ago we found a pumpkin muffin recipe that made the most moist, tender, and delicious muffins. The only fault we could find with this recipe was that it called for a lot of oil and the topping was not very calorie-conscious. We try to keep our cooking and baking healthy, so we decided to lighten up this recipe! The first thing we did was reduce the oil to half the amount, and substitute unsweetened applesauce for the amount we left out. Then we made the topping much more simple, by just combining brown sugar and oats. Why add butter when it’s not necessary? Here’s a closer look at the recipe!

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Lightly beat four eggs in a large bowl.

 

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Add the sugar and pumpkin…

 

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… the applesauce and oil…

 

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… and the water, and mix it together well.

 

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Lookin’ good!

 

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In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

 

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Add them to the pumpkin mixture.

 

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Whisk it until just combined.

 

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Scrape the sides of the bowl. Prepare a jumbo sized muffin pan by greasing it or placing paper muffin liners in it.

 

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Spoon the batter into the cups until three fourths full.

 

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About like that. This amount of batter easily fills one dozen jumbo muffin cups.

 

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Stir together the topping ingredients. Simply oats and brown sugar! You can add a dash of cinnamon if you like.

 

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Sprinkle the topping evenly over the muffin batter. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes.

 

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I turned the pan in the oven about halfway through the baking time to make sure that they baked evenly. These are perfect! They are delicious served piping hot from the oven, room temperature, or refrigerated. They re-heat nicely for breakfast the next morning, too.

 

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The full recipe:

Classy Pumpkin Muffins

4 eggs, beaten
3 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup oil (we use canola oil)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups all-purpouse flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Topping:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

In a large bowl, whisk the first six ingredients. In another bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture; mix well.

Fill greased or paper-lined jumbo muffin cups three-fourths full. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes or until muffins test done with a toothpick. Do not over bake. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 1 dozen jumbo-sized muffins.

 For variation, you can add about 1   1/2 cups of chopped pecans to the muffin batter before baking. We leave them out because we don’t feel like they are necessary.

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle