This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Bakery Lane Soup Bowl. Between my mother and I, I think we have made just about every recipe in the book and all are wonderful. Even by changing the recipe slightly the end result was delicious.

homemade soup, prudent living

Soup Ingredients

Portuguese Vegetable Soup

½ pound turkey kielbasa
1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 ½ cups diced potato
4 small finger potatoes, cooked and sliced
5 cups chicken stock
1 small can diced tomatoes
1 small can drained, canned kidney beans
¼ pound chopped kale
½ cup  green beans, cooked

Cover kielbasa with water in a skillet. Bring to a boil and cook until water evaporates. Remove sausage and cool. Slice into thick slices.

Add oil, onions, and garlic to skillet and sauté until onion is tender but not browned. Add to soup pot along with potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are quite tender.

Strain potatoes from the stock and mash.  Return to stock with tomatoes, beans and sausage. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Then add kale and beans. Simmer another 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

soup, homemade, recipes

Portuguese Vegetable Soup

Makes about 10 cups.

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After reading the ingredients for Miracle Whip, last week’s pantry game, perhaps you’re ready to make your own mayonnaise. I decided to use the recipe from the book Nourishing Traditions to make my own mayonnaise. The recipe is a little different from the usual recipe for mayonnaise as it has whey in it. Although it is an optional ingredient I did have some on hand from making cheese and decided to add it in. Apparently the addition of whey will help your mayonnaise last longer, adds enzymes and increases nutrient content. The recipe did warn that homemade mayonnaise may be slightly more liquid than store-bought versions.

mayonnaise, homemade, prudent living

Making mayonnaise

Homemade Mayonnaise

1 whole egg, at room temperature
2 egg yolk, at room temperature
1 tsp Dijon-type mustard
1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp whey (Optional)
¾-1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Generous pinch of sea salt

In your food processor, place the egg, egg yolk, mustard, salt and lemon juice and optional whey.

homemade mayonnaise

Mayonaise ingredients

Process until well blended, about 30 seconds.

mayonnaise, homemade, prudent pantry

Mayonnaise before adding the oil.

Drop by drop add the olive oil with the motor running. Taste and check seasoning. You may want to add more salt and lemon juice.

mayonnaise, uses for eggs

Homemade Mayonnaise.

If you have added whey, let the mayonnaise sit at room temperature, well covered, for 2 hours before refrigerating. With whey added, mayonnaise will keep several months and will become firmer with time. Without whey, mayonnaise will keep for only several days.

Makes about 1 ½ cups.

I tried a variation of the recipe using white wine vinegar instead of lemon juice and did not add any mustard. Due our farm fresh eggs the color is very yellow!

Mayonnaise, homemade

Mayonaise made with white wine vinegar.

Mayonnaise can be flavored in many ways, Add herbs, dried spices, flavored vines,or dry mustard to the yolks at the start.

Homemade mayonnaise can be kept, tightly covered in the refrigerator for a day or two. When serving homemade mayonnaise and all foods containing it, keep track of the time it spends outside the refrigerator. Because raw egg contains microorganisms that start multiplying above 40F degrees,  the maximum time mayonnaise should be out of the refrigerator is two hours and when the air temperature is 85F degrees or above only one hour. When salmonella from raw eggs is a concern, you can make a Saboyon-Style mayonnaise where the yolks are cooked.

Homemade mayonnaise can be considered more of an elegant French sauce, not a store-bought sandwich spread. It has a very rich but enjoyable taste.

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Before my garden is fully planted I take a soil test. I try to do this every couple of years. It gives me an idea as to what nutrients my garden is lacking and also will tell me how to correct any deficiencies.  Since I live in Vermont I can have a soil test done through the University of Vermont.

They will provide sample test kits, which include a mailer, sample bag, and information form. These are available from UVM, from UVM Extension offices and from some local garden centers. You can also download a form and mail the sample in your own clean plastic bag.

soil tests, vegetable gardening, home front

UVM Soil Testing Form

They only need about one cup of soil for a garden test.

The directions are very simple. First they need some information such as your name, address, the size of your garden and whether or not it is a home garden or a commercial production. They also want to know what crops you are growing, whether it is mixed vegetables or a specific crop. The basic test costs $14.00.

The reliability of a soil test is only as good as the sample you submit. The ½ cup of soil you are sending in must be a good representative of your garden. You want to take your sample before any lime, fertilizer or manure is added. Use only clean equipment to collect your sample.

The best way to do this is to take a number of samples from your garden and thoroughly mix them in a clean pail. Take about ten samples as a minimum for a garden up to 10,000 square feet in size.

Collect your sample by pushing the blade of a garden shovel into the soil to the desired depth. Cut out a triangular wedge of soil and set it aside. Now slide your blade into the soil again taking a thin slice from the side of the hole. Save this “core” as your sample.

soil testing, vegetable garden

Taking soil samples

Make sure all the cores are thoroughly mixed together.

soil testing, gardening

Mix the soil samples together.

Fill a plastic bag with about 1 cup of your mixed sample and place in a mailing envelope.

soil sample, testing

Place sample in a plastic bag.

soil, testing, gardening

Cup of soil to be tested.










Once they receive your sample they will mail back a detailed report.

soil testing, UVM

Soil sample ready to mail.

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I have learned to make yogurt, ricotta and mozzarella but several weeks ago decided to try making a hard cheese. Colby Cheese is a type of cheddar and only has to be aged from 2 to 3 months. Perfect for a first time cheese maker. It was rather a long process with a lot of heating the milk and then letting it set and then heating again. Once the curds were ready they had to be put in a cheese press. Being rather frugal my husband decided to make our cheese press and our cheese mold. He used some scraps of lumber to build the press and used a plastic jar to make the mold. Very creative and the press looked very professional by the time he was finished.

homemade, cheese press

Homemade Cheese Press

The recipe I used was from the book Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll, one of the best books around for home cheese makers. This book is available in our Home Front Store.

First the milk was heated to 86 degrees and the starter was added. The milk was covered and allowed to sit for an hour. Making sure the milk’s temperature was 86 degrees the rennet was added, stirred for several minutes and then allowed to sit for another 30 minutes or until the curd gave a clean break.

cheese making, prudent living, Colby cheese

Curds showing a clean break.

The curds were cut into cubes using a clean, sharp knife.

Colby  Cheese, cheese making,

Cutting the curds

The curds were then heated until the temperature reached 102 degrees, maintaining the temperature the curds were stirred gently for thirty minutes.

cheese making, prudent living, frugal tips

Stirring the curds

At this point the whey was drained off to the level of the curds and additional cold water was added. To have a nice moist cheese the temperature had to be kept below 80 degrees. This temperature was maintained for 15 minutes at which point the curds were poured into a colander and allowed to drain.

curds, cheese

Drained curds

Once drained, the curds were broken into smaller pieces, salt was added and the curds were placed into a cheesecloth-lined mold.

cheese mold, cheese making

Curds placed in the mold

The cheese was first pressed at 20 pounds for 20 minutes.

pressing curds, making cheese

First pressing

Then 30 pounds for 20 minutes,

hard cheese, Colby cheese

Cheese after the first pressing

40 pounds for 1 hour

cheese press, cheese making

Pressing the cheese

and finally 50 pounds for 12 hours. Between each pressing the cheese was removed from the mold, the cheesecloth was peeled away and then re-wrapped. With each pressing you could see that the cheese was getting more compact. After the final press the cheese was removed from the mold, the cheesecloth was peeled away and it was allowed to air dry at room temperature for several days.

hard cheese, cheese making

Almost finished

Once the cheese was dry to the touch it was waxed.

hard cheese, Colby Cheese

Cheese before waxing.

I now have a beautiful round of cheese aging for 2-3 months. From the 2 gallons of milk I got 2 pounds of cheese. Now to be patient for the next few months before I can actually try it.

cheese wax, Colby cheese

Colby Cheese, waxed and ready to age.

Next on my list is to make Parmesan.


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First of all, for all who have been wondering about the mystery item mentioned yesterday in The Pantry Game, we had one correct guess Miracle Whip! Amazing what is in a commercial jar of mayonnaise.

Today’s recipe is another family favorite. If you haven’t tried overnight waffles you’ve been missing an awesome treat! I love this simple recipe; you mix up the majority of the ingredients the night before. In the morning you add the butter and an egg and the mix is ready to be turned into delicious waffles. What better excuse to enjoy maple syrup. I enjoy using this recipe when we have company. It makes for a delicious, easy breakfast in the morning without much effort on your part.

Amazing Overnight Waffles

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
2 cups milk
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1 large egg
Nonstick spray
Butter for the waffle iron (op)
Waffle iron

Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a medium size bowl.

breakfast, recipes, prudent living

Dry ingredients for waffles.

Add the milk and whisk until blended.

wafle batter, breakfast

Whisk until well blended.

waffles, homemade, recipe box











Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.

homemade waffles, breakfast

Cover with plastic wrap.

In the morning the batter will have all sorts of bubbles on the surface.

batter, waffles

Surface of the batter in the morning.

Preheat the waffle iron and melt the butter. Beat the egg in a small separate bowl and beat it into the batter along with the melted butter. The batter will be quite thin.

Lightly spray the hot waffle iron on all surfaces with the nonstick spray and rub on a little butter. Add just enough batter to cover the cooking surface. Cook for two to three minutes, depending on your waffle iron. Do not over bake, as you want it crisp and brown, but not too dark.

waffles, maple syrup

Amazing Overnight Wafles

Serve with your favorite toppings. Recipe can be easily doubled or tripled!

breakfast, amazing waffles

Waffles and syrup!

Serves three to four. These waffles also freeze well. Any leftover waffles I let cool on a baking rack and then wrap and place in the freezer.

freezer cooking, breakfast

These waffles freeze well.

Perfect to pop in the toaster on a busy morning!

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Today I want to mention a fantastic cookbook that can help you to use all those wonderful items you have stored in your pantry. We have the link to this book in our Home Front Store. Just click on the link on the right side of the page and you will find the link. The book is called Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

cookbooks, reference books, prudent pantry

Nourishing Traditions

This book will teach you as much about nutrition as it does about cooking. It is full of recipes and the information given is easy to understand. I highly recommend this book.

 Nourishing Traditions has a section called “Know Your Ingredients” where it will list the ingredients and you have to guess the item. Hence the Pantry Game! I will list the ingredients for you and you can try to guess the item. Enter your guess under the comments and tomorrow I will give you the answer! This is an item that could very well be in your refrigerator! It is also something that you could easily make yourself.

Product: Water, soybean oil, sugar, vinegar, food starch-modified, salt, cellulose gel (microcrystalline cellulose), mustard flour, egg white, artificial color, sodium caseinate, xanthan gum, cellulose gum, spice, paprika, natural flavor, betacarotene (color).


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