Cheddar Broccoli Soup

I was in the mood to make soup, but honestly that isn’t unusual for this time of year.  I had been wanting Panera broccoli cheddar soup since a friend mentioned it in her meal plan on Z Life What’s Cooking Facebook page.

But it wasn’t until I walked down to the garden that I realized it was my fate To Make Soup!

Ok, I honestly was just going to the garden to get some leftover greens for the chickens, and then I saw this.


Well hello there Mr. Broccoli, lets put you in a pot!  (Yes, I actually still had broccoli in my garden in January, I know crazy right!)

This is perfect for my “new” weekly recipe, following along with The Frugal Girl’s plan to try a new recipe each week.  I’ve never made cheddar broccoli soup so I googled recipes and found several that I could tweak as my own for the ingredients I had on hand.

This is what I did…

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 Tbsp of olive oil (or bacon grease 😉 )
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced


Saute veggies in butter and oil until soft then add:

  • 1 cup of flour to make a roux

Cook roux for 5 – 10 minutes then whisk in:

  • 4 cups of (warmed) milk
  • 3 quarts of chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • S&P to taste ( 1 tsp. of each)


Cook and stir mixture about 5 minutes and then add:

  • 8 cups of small (even a little bit chopped) broccoli florets


Cook and stir about 10 – 15 minutes until broccoli is softened, then add:


  • 8 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Stir until cheese is melted.


This makes a big pot of soup.  My 8 quart stock pot is almost full, shy of about 2 quarts.

But, I’m thinking this soup will freeze nicely and if I’m cooking I’m always making more than one meal.

The recipe could easily be cut in half if needed.

This soup is beyond delicious!  So Good!

Now I wont have to buy Panera soup when the craving hits, I’ll just go to the freezer.


The last time I bought Panera was around $10 for a small cup of soup and a small salad.  This pot of soup (6 quarts) would cost about $23 (in my area of grocery costs).

That comes to about $1 per serving for a Panera size serving of this soup.   Have you ever got a bowl of soup at Panera (or anywhere besides home) for a $1 or less?

But, if you have broccoli in the garden or freezer and homemade chicken stock on the shelf or freezer, then the (immediate) cost of this soup would be minimal at best.

To go with it I made a fresh loaf of Katy’s, the author of The Non Consumer Advocate’s homemade bread AKA The Tightwad Gazette’s homemade bread recipe.

Just YUM!!!   No, really that’s all I could say, YUM!

Since I’ve never made this soup before, I’m counting this as my new recipe for the week, following along with The Frugal Girl’s plan to try a new recipe every week in 2017.

Go ahead, make some soup and bread…  You’ll love it!

Till next time,




Hog Harvest 2016 – Part 1

Following is a post I wrote about four weeks ago…  Since writing this post activity on our little homestead for my part has come to almost a complete stop.  Soon I will share with you why that is.  Until then I hope you enjoy the read.


We harvested one of our hogs and by far this hog was the best harvest and quality meat we’ve gotten from any of our hogs.  Don’t get me wrong, they have all been good, but this one is just exceptional.

This year we called on our local processor to help with the harvest and he skinned and quartered the hog for us.  That saved us so much time, and I’m glad to support a local small business.  Also, with me having a little more experience I’ve gotten better at my butchering skills, seasoning skills and packaging skills.  I enjoyed the entire process.

I am so please with our bounty from this hog.

Bacon…  Oh the bacon….  My favorite part of the hog!  We got about 35 lbs of bacon.  Here you can see the pork belly prior to me adding the cure mixture.



Here is the bacon with the brown sugar, salt and fresh black pepper cure.  It will cure like this in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days with me flipping it over and applying another coat of cure to it after the 4th or 5th day.

Then the cured pork belly will go into the smoker for 4 – 6 hours over smoked hickory chips.  I truly think someone should package a perfume that smells like bacon smoking in the smoker.  It’s the best!



We got 2 beautiful tenderloin, which is actually the back strap, because it goes down the length of the spine at the top.  After trimming we ended up with 4 pork loin roast weighing 3 – 4 lbs each.


Also trimmed from the tenderloin was 8 thick boneless pork chops.


And to the left of this picture you will see what is called the fish, which is actually the tenderloin.  It is the most tender part of the hog (and the deer for that matter).

All of the tenderloin, chops and fish were brined overnight then dried and vacuum seal packaged for the freezer.

The racks of ribs were trimmed and vacuum seal packed straight to the freezer.

This is a lot of work, but it is one of the most rewarding things we do on our homestead.  Our hogs live a happy life on the homestead and the harvest of our hogs or any animal on our homestead is a peaceful and respected process.  Knowing where our food comes from is a priority for us, one that we enjoy working hard for.

Up next will be hams, hocks, sausage and boston butts.  We’ll be starting the smoking process too.

Till next time,




Let’s Put It In A Pot

I was just sharing with a friend who has a couple of mean roosters how my Grandma more than once put a (mean) chicken in a pot.

I was very young but I remember being chased and pecked at by a mean chicken and before I knew it she had that bird in her arms and a pot was on the stove.


It’s what’s cooking for dinner tonight and I love that I have such fond memories of my Grandma.

Till next time,





Weekend Homestead Happenings

Do you remember in this Fridays Frugal Five I told you about some free Panera bagels I got leftover from a work meeting.

Well, bagels freeze just lovely and take a look at what we enjoyed for one of our breakfasts this weekend.

I love the fact that I saved those bagels, and the egg is from our chickens, and the tomato is from our garden.

Really, how cool is that!

bagel 1

Now, who would turn their nose up at leftover free bagels if it looked this good?  Obviously not me.

I was inspired a couple weeks ago with a gallon of gifted grapes to make some grape jelly.

Well, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that we have had grapes growing on our little homestead for years now, but I’ve never thought to turn them into jelly, I just always thought they were too sour.

But thanks to the Z Man for picking and cleaning me a gallon of them, and thanks to the inspiration of grape jelly last week, I canned another 17 jars of grape jelly and it turned out great.

grapes     jelly 6     jelly 5

You can read more about how I made my jelly here.

We didn’t grow corn this year, but I found some lovely corn at the farm stand just down the road.

I’ve never put up corn, but thought I’d give it a try this weekend.

corn 15   corn 17   corn 10

corn 8    corn 13    corn 6

Yes, that’s a cucumber in the middle of the corn in the top left picture.

The nice lady at the farm stand gave it to me for free, I didn’t have the heart to tell her I have about 2 dozen at home waiting on me to do something with.

The best way I found to cut corn off the cob is to use a bundt pan and a sharp knife.  The kernels fall right into the pan with very little mess.

It was by no means a difficult process.  It did take a bit of time because corn in a pint size jar needs to be pressure canned for 55 minutes.

I bought 8 dozen ears and that netted us 54 pints of canned corn, all sealed and just beautiful.

So, as usual we had a busy weekend on our little homestead, but we will be glad for it come this February and we have all this wonderful food to enjoy.

How was your weekend?  Did you put anything into jars this weekend?

Till next time,