The deep freeze is here…

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Although we are not using the furnace the numbers still show, and this is the outdoor temperature today. We have hit the deep freeze. 111 schools closed for cold weather, and it is actually a beautiful sunny day! Imagine if it wasn’t! Wind chills at -35 to -40 and the whole Midwest is feeling it hard. I would have baked granola today, but tomorrow we will actually be 10 degrees above zero so I will wait for tomorrow to trek out. Hubby kindly checked and fed the chickens who amazingly are surviving. The coop is well insulated but it is so cold it seems crazy anything could live. The cattle? They just keep eating as though there is nothing particularly different about today than any other day.

We heat the house with wood, but lately I have been heating the kitchen with bubbling soup stocks. One was a beef stock from a sale on local beef soup bones. It turned out so rich and delicious. I can’t imagine how nice it will be when we have oodles of beef soup bones in the freezer from our cattle! Then there was a poultry broth from 2 chickens and 2 turkeys, it also was super rich and delicious. After the broth was made and strained I put it back on the stove with two thighs and two legs from our Christmas bird, with all the meat still on it.

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After simmering a long time I strained it again and sorted through the meat and put it all into the crockpot with 2 jars of my bbq sauce and a jar of my salsa. It was great pulled turkey, and I served it on New Year’s Day on homemade buns, a definite hit!

On New Year’s Eve we have our major EXCEPTION! We have always eaten Seafood on New Year’s Eve and so despite our commitment to eating locally we annually make this exception, along with coffee, sugar, rum, flour, dairy and a few other things that we do buy at the store. After our delicious meal I put every single mussel shell, shrimp shell and lobster shell into a pot and simmered it into a wonderful seafood broth. It made about 10 quarts of broth, and I made one container into a corn chowder right away.

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I served it with slowly cooked bacon that caramelized nicely and sprinkled it on top, and served it with some no knead bread and local butter. Our New Year’s splurge will last us all year!

Our wonderful neighbor shared a very large squash with us in October, I got around to roasting it the other day.

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It is a very tasty squash that I can not remember the name of, it made so much that we have eaten it twice and now I think I will put it in the food processor and curry it up into some squash curry soup for tonight.

The squashes reminded me that I still had one frozen package of pumpkin puree from the a year ago last Fall, and so I decided to make a little Pumpkin Butter. We had it this morning with eggs, bacon and toast. A very fine meal on this cold day.

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Why do I forget how easy fruit butters are and how tasty they are on toast…

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…and now we have a lot of toast! I sliced and froze these, so bread making does not have to occur so often. I love my new loaf pans I received for Christmas!!

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