Sweet Potato Maple Soup

I love this soup.  It's one of my favorites.  I went into a bit of trauma tonight trying to find the recipe and it took about an hour but I finally put my hands on it!  Yeah for me!  So, I'm posting the recipe for your benefit, because it's awesome, and for my benefit because I don't want to spend another hour looking for it!  So... here we go....

Sweet Potato Maple Soup

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup rinsed sliced leeks with tops
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cinnamon stick
pinch ground cloves
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger OR 1 tsp. ground ginger
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups peeled sweet potato chunks
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
plain yogurt OR sour cream for garnish

In a large pot melt butter and heat oil over med.-high heat.  Add onion, celery, leeks, garlic, cinnamon, cloves and ginger and saute for 5 min. until veggies are tender.

Add stock, sweet potatos and salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 min or until potatoes are soft.

Remove cinnamon stick.  Blend soup with a stick blender OR in batches in blender or food processor, until smooth.  Return to pot and add maple syrup and nutmeg. heat until warmed through.

Ladle into bowls and garnish each with yogurt. I usually drizzle a bit more syrup over each bowl! Makes 6 servings.


My husband found me a new compost bucket!  I'm pretty excited about not having to use the bucket with a pie plate stuck on the top.  Don't get me wrong, it worked, just not well.  So after a month of looking....

my circa 1960's ice bucket/ compost bucket...

The Vegetarian Pulls Beef

Yes, I am a vegetarian.  That doesn't mean I don't live with a bunch of carnivores.  I thought I would share my popular pulled BBQ beef recipe.  My family loves this and I like how versatile it is.  The first night I serve it on homemade buns, later I can make a shepherds pie with it, add it to pasta sauce, serve it over rice... etc. etc. You see what I mean.

Steph's Pulled BBQ Beef

1 cup sliced onions
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. prepared mustard
4 cloves of garlic, minced (or 1 tsp. powdered)
1/2 tsp salt
3 lb roast

Whisk together the first 9 ingredients.  Place the roast in your slow cooker (I trim off excess fat first).  Pour the sauce over the roast, roll to coat all sides.
Cook on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 4-5 hours.
Transfer roast to a large plate/platter.  Cover to keep warm.  Skim any fat off the top of the sauce.  Place sauce in large frying pan. Bring liquid to a boil on med-high heat. Boil gently for 15 min. 
Shred the beef with two forks, add to the sauce.  Stir and serve.

I usually dump the whole thing back in the slow cooker to stay warm until I'm ready to serve.
This recipe is pretty forgiving, I have substituted ketchup for the tomato paste, apple juice for the broth, maple syrup for the brown sugar,

Are you a Junkie Too?

From Organizing Junkie's Pinterest Page!
I just recently discovered "I'm an Organizing Junkie!"  I love stalking this site!  I have a bit of a clutter problem at the moment and I'm trying to tackle it one room at a time.  I just recently repainted and reorganized my room, I will post some pics.  If you read the post from yesterday about my apple crates, stay tuned, I will post pictures when I figure out how I'm going to incorporate them into my organizational plan!

Here is the organizing junkie's Pinterest page!  I love pictures and I love being organized... this site is  Nirvana!

Harvest Time = Sleep Deprivation

Apples and Lavvu 003
I’m super excited about the apples, but I’m even more excited about the 6 wood crates I picked up at the same time!  Only $2 each and they are in great shape!

Half the apples are going to apple butter, the other half to apple sauce.  And I have a lot of work to do.

Are you doing any canning?  I found some cute free labels online...



Lavender Brewing

Fresh leaves in oil.

I had a nice crop of lavender this year but I got very few flowers.  I didn't want it to go to waste so I'm trying to make my own lavender oil.  It's brewing for the next week... I will let you know how it turns out.

Here is where I got my instructions:

After 2 days out in the sun.

Crying over chopped onions

No Frills had their onions on sale recently.  The 10 lb bags were $1.49.  I bought 2 bags.  What can I say, I'm a sucker for a good sale and I like to buy things while they are in season.

The problem then presented itself... what I'm I going to do with all these blessed things!

I chopped them.  All of them.  Then I backed them in bags and froze them all.  This was not my first choice but I don't have a pressure cooker so I couldn't can them.

In case you are the proud owner of a pressure cooker, and you have onions abounding in your garden/market here is the recipe I really WANTED to do...


Caramelized onions are my favorite!!  Maybe I will ask for a pressure cooker for Christmas.

I think my husband is happy that's all over.... I guess the fumes were getting to everybody!


I have been meaning to make ketchup for quite some time.  I ran out the other day and since necessity is the mother of invention, I was gave it a shot.

I got my recipe here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Ketchup-Catsup-Recipe/

I didn't have any allspice but other than that I followed the recipe (my agave nectar wasn't blue, it was Light Madhava).  I really liked it and more importantly I put it in an old ketchup bottle, threw it in the fridge, and the kids didn't notice a difference.  Bonus.

I like the fact there is no corn syrup in it, I can pronounce all the ingredients, and I can control how much sugar/salt it contains!

Chocolate Quesadillas


We just got home from our annual week of camping with a huge group of GREAT friends.  I just wanted to share this years “HIT” snack with the 11 kids present!  So simple and easy but so yummy.

You will need one flour tortilla per person, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and peanut butter.  Spread peanut butter over the whole tortilla, on half sprinkle chocolate chips and marshmallows (if you have large marshmallows cut them in half).  Fold the top side over and place in a hot frying pan.  I used a cast iron skillet so I didn’t need to grease the pan at all, I just heated them to golden brown on each side.  They don’t take long to do and if your pan is large enough you can do two at a time no problem!

I found this version that includes bananas with also look good…. the problem with bananas while camping is that they make you very attractive to mosquitos.



Easy Bean Burgers

Easy Black Bean Burgers
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. ketchup
1 tbsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup instant oats

Mash the beans up to a paste, add ketchup, mustard and spices.  Stir in oats.
Make 4 patties.

Option 1:
Bake in a 400 degree oven on parchment paper.  7 min. per side.

Option 2:
Fry in a non-stick pan on both sides until browned.

Black Bean Burgers I found on: welcome to my brain . net

welcome to my brain . net: Black Bean Burger Tacos

OK So you have to give these a try!  I was reading Welcome to my Brain and when I saw how easy these were I had to see if they could possibly be good.

So far I'm a little sceptical.

Even my 10 year old son liked them!!
You have to check out the link and give them a try!

For the record I added some fresh garlic and I ate it with some hot red pepper jelly on top. I'm drooling just remembering it. I also had some organic instant oatmeal kicking around that nobody would eat so as a bonus I found a use for that too! Finally, I did NOT use my oven.  Anyone who lives in Ontario knows why... it's called a heat wave and I was not going to rev up the heat box for dinner. I fried mine in a cast-iron pan and they turned out perfect.


I trust everyone got their strawberry picking in.  The berries around here were excellent!  I made strawberry jam and we dehydrated 10 trays this year!

Now I just have to figure out where I'm going to store it all....

Truck 3.0

I got bored again, this is not news to most people.
It's not even close to being done but at least the big artwork is fnished on both sides.


Well, after 1 whole year of having no internet at home we finally bit the virtual bullet and got internet here at home.  I liked not having the distraction but didn't love visiting the library every time I needed to shoot off a quick e-mail.  The moral of the story?  It can be done, it just might drive you crazy.


We have a new composter for our kitchen waste!!  So exciting!  We have two other composting systems, both of which we built ourselves.  The first is for dog waste.... it consists of a buried garbage can with the bottom cut out and a lid.  We fill it up with the obvious items and sometimes add the ashes from our fire pit to keep the smell down and dry it out.  It works.
Our final composter is for yard stuff and consists of some skids we got for free, nailed together into a square box for anything that doesn't fit the other two!

Our new tribe member.

I'm a little late in introducing our newest tribe member!  Meet Big Louis.....

He's a little guy with a lot of attitude!

Cast Off Matey!

Well the blessed cast is finally gone.  Here are a few pics.

Not a happy camper!

This is what it looked like by the end.

That saw is not friendly!

Well I'm so glad the whole thing is over.

Soup you can make on one foot!

This is my current favorite soup.  I like that my kids can make it for me with a bit of instruction and I can do as little as necessary.

Potato Leek Soup

1 Leek
2 Onions
bit o' butter

1 box Vegetable Broth

Salt & Pepper
1/2 tsp Thyme

1 cup buttermilk  (make this using one cup milk with 1 tbsp. white vinegar.)
Instant mashed potatoes or dehydrated potato flakes.

Slice the leeks and onions, saute in a pan with butter till soft.  Pour in your vegetable broth, some salt and pepper, and the thyme. Shove in that buttermilk too. Enter the stick blender if you have one, whhizzz until everything is creamed.  If you don't have one, no worries, you have a chunky soup. 
Now add a few sprinkles of the potatoes.  Keep adding until it's a consistency you like.... if you go overboard add a bit of milk or water. 

Yummo, soup in 15 min.

Now in case you think I'm the only one cheating like this... check this out...

Cast 2.0

Well on Thursday I got my second cast on.  I went with a Iroquois Purple!  I haven't decided how I'm going to decorate it yet, but the ideas are starting to brew, and since I'm going to have it for SEVEN WEEKS I guess I have some time to come up with a plan.

Now did you know you can get "tattoo's" for your cast?  I can't make this stuff up.... check this out.
I think I will stick with something a bit more traditional... sharpies.

Plaster of Anguish

Well I haven't written anything here for such a long time!!  Due to recent events you might be seeing more of me, I will try to make it as entertaining as possible.  The reason for my new found blog time?
Exhibit A:
Plaster of Pain
I know, soooo pretty.  That huge bulge in the plaster on the left would be my ankle.  In keeping with not wearing white after Labour Day (whatever!) ...
Exhibit B:

Cast yarn bombing
Maybe now nobody will notice.
Either way you are probably looking at 6 weeks of my ranting.  My apologies in advance!

No Waste shopping at Bulk Barn

I recently viewed a video on Facebook of a supermarket that creates no waste.  All of the containers are reusable and you simply fill, use, ...