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A delicious soup to help recycle your Thanksgiving turkey

We celebrated Thanksgiving with our local children and grandchildren this past weekend. I cooked the turkey carcass overnight with a few vegetables in the crockpot and ended up with about a quart of very rich broth. I also had about a cup and a half of leftover turkey gravy to use. I had thought about using the broth and gravy to make an old favorite, Cabbage Soup, but decided to try out a new recipe that I had seen recently. I did change it up some, so I will list the recipe as I made it.


Tortellini Spinach Soup

2 Tbsps. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 onion, chopped
1 box frozen chopped spinach (I used 1/2 bag baby spinach, washed and stemmed)
2 cans cream of chicken soup (I used one can and the leftover gravy)
4 cups chicken broth
9 oz. refrigerated tortellini (cook 7-10 mins. and then drain)

Heat olive oil in a soup kettle. Saute onions, celery, carrots, and garlic until they are tender. If using the frozen spinach, add now. Add broth and chicken soup. Bring to a boil and then simmer 5-10 mins. Stir in cooked tortillini and fresh spinach. Heat briefly and then serve.

We really liked this and I plan to add it to my regular soup rotation. You could probably use frozen or dried tortellini or even ravioli in place of the refrigerated kind.

I probably won't post again until after Thanksgiving so I want to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.


A new coffee cake


Recently I saw an interesting recipe on one of my very favorite food blogs, The Iowa Housewife. This blog is written by two sisters who enjoy cooking. Their archives are chock full of lovely pictures, great recipes, and helpful cooking tips. Anyway, the recipe that interested me was for an overnight coffee cake. This appealed to me on a number of levels:

It would be very convenient when we have overnight guests.
It would be very convenient when we need to take something for an early morning breakfast or brunch.
It would be very convenient because I am not at my best early in the morning. My mind tends to function more clearly after about 10 A.M.

I've mentioned before that Rob bakes something for our breakfast nearly every Sunday morning. He tried this coffee cake a few weeks ago and we both agreed that it was very tasty and had a nice texture. It has been added to the file and will be pulled out on future occasions when we need an early morning treat.

Here is a link to the recipe. They have very conveniently given you ingredients for both an 8" pan and a 9" x 13" pan so you can tailor it to the size of your group.

Here is the cake ready to go in the refrigerator overnight:


This recipe made me wonder if other coffee cakes leavened with baking powder and baking soda could be prepared the night before baking. Have any of you heard of this or tried it before?

Some special treats


While perusing the aisles at Aldi last week I noticed they had cans of cherries--both sweet dark ones and sour ones. It had been several years since I have purchased cherries because they are normally out of my price range. The ones at Aldi were much more reasonably priced so I bought a couple of cans and made a cherry pie on Saturday. It was such a treat! Both Rob and I commented that it had been far too long since we had had cherry pie.


One of my readers asked for the recipe I used, so I am adding it here. It's from an old Betty Crocker Cookbook.

9 Inch Cherry Pie

Pastry for a two crust pie
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour (I actually used Clear Jel)
2 cans (1 pound each) pitted red tart cherries, drained
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsps. butter

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pastry. Stir together sugar and flour; mix with cherries and add almond extract. Turn into pastry lined pan. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust. Cut slits into top. Seal and flute. Cover edge with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake pie on lowest oven rack for 35-45 mins. or until crust is brown and filling starts to bubble.

The second special treat of the week was an email from the library telling me that the newest book by Alexander McCall Smith was in. If you have never read any of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels you should head to the library and check them out. The author has a delightful sense of humor and the books are great fun to read. The main character, Precious Ramotswe, is the first female detective in Botswana, Africa. The books do not contain bad language or a lot of violence. The cases that Precious tries to solve are more interpersonal in nature. You can also learn a great deal about the customs and life in Botswana. The book is in high demand at the library since it is new on the market so I can only have it for two weeks but I am trying to read it slowly. Sometimes it's the little things. 🙂


Have you had any small treats or blessings recently?

Grandchildren update

One of the local grandchildren has a bad cold and unfortunately Rob and I seem to have caught it. We were commenting that if toddlers had ebola it would spread like wildfire.

It's been a while since I have posted much about the grandchildren so I thought I would do a little update. Drew, who is seven and in second grade called Rob one night and said a few phrases in French and sang a French song for us. His class was studying different cultures around the world and he wanted to share what he had been learning with us.


Maddie, who is two, had a hard fall at church a few weeks ago and badly sprained her knee. She spent several days lying on the couch with her leg propped on a pillow. She is normally a very active little girl so her parents knew she was really in quite a bit of pain. Thankfully she is back to normal now.


Ryan is three now and he, his dad, and Rob all went camping for one night recently. They had a beautiful weekend for it and all three of the guys enjoyed hiking, cooking over the open fire, and hanging out together.


He also loves music and he was thrilled one morning when Aunt Nora and little Della came by and Nora played the piano for him.


Avery is fifteen months old and is learning to communicate. She will repeat nearly anything you say to her and gets very frustrated if you can't tell what she's trying to say. She will often take me by the hand and lead me to what she wants to play with. She loves animals and enjoys playing with some animal magnets that we have. She also likes to toss all of her books behind the rocking chair and then sit back there and look at them.


Little Della is nine months old and is crawling and trying to pull herself up around the furniture now. She too has found her voice and can be quite vocal at times. Nora made her this cute little costume for Halloween. They had a dress up time at our local Farmer's Market this weekend so she got to try it out.



We are truly blessed by each of these children and are thankful for them and their parents.

Some fall favorites

Each fall we look forward to driving up to the North Carolina mountains to enjoy the changing scenery and to purchase some of our fall favorites. One of our favorite things to buy are the large heads of mountain cabbage. We eat coleslaw all year long and I have quite a few different recipes that we enjoy. Here are links to a few of them:

Ginger Bacon Slaw

Ray's Coleslaw

Mennonite Girls Cole Slaw
My son-in-law who does not care for mayonnaise liked this one. It also keeps very well.

We also enjoy cabbage soup, bierocks, and cabbage rolls. I tried something new when I made cabbage rolls and thought I would share the tip here in case it might be of help to someone else. I removed a few outer leaves from a head of cabbage that we purchased recently and steamed them for a couple of minutes in the microwave, cooled them, and then froze them. I removed them from the freezer a few days ago and used them to make cabbage rolls and they worked just fine. I like to use fairly lean ground beef in the cabbage rolls and I don't always have any on hand so it was good to know that the cabbage leaves freeze well and can be used at a later time. You can also prepare the cabbage rolls and freeze them to cook at a later time.


Here's an idea for one of our more recent fall favorites. Did you know that if you mix peanuts and candy corn and eat them together it tastes like a Payday candy bar? It's really a good combination.


I was also surprised when I went to purchase a bag of candy corn that there are quite a few flavors to choose from now. One of the most unusual that I saw was Carmel Macchiato. Have you tried any unusual flavors of candy corn? Do you have any favorite cabbage recipes?