Clean Shower Spay

Prevents soap scum, mineral, and hair & body product build-up in the shower

You’ll feel smart and thrifty using your homemade Clean Shower Spray made with just two ingredients.  Begin with a clean, well-scrubbed bathtub or shower enclosure, including glass doors, then save your elbow grease for something else!  Daily spraying after showering prevents build-up of soap scum, hair and body product residue, and minerals from hard water from adhering to the tub and shower.  Light scrubbing once a week is all your tub and shower will need from now on.  


Fabric Softener

 Scented or unscented ~ it’s your preference


Yet another miraculous use for plain vinegar! Of course you can keep a jug of plain distilled vinegar in the laundry room and use it straight from the bottle for an unscented softening rinse, but if you want to add a little creativity and pleasant scent to your clean laundry, use essential oil.  Lavender is always nice, of course, but perhaps you would prefer to make your own custom-scented fabric softener.  The baking soda keeps the essential oil suspended in the formula; just remember to shake well before using to redistribute the scent.  I like to re-use an old fabric softener jug – no need to rinse it out – it serves as a visual cue.


‘Tis Pumpkin Season…

How Many Ways Can You Cook a Squash?
French heirloom Musquee de Provence pumpkins.  I’ve been growing and saving seeds of this variety since 2003.

It would be enough if winter squash were merely beautiful; they are also incredibly versatile and delicious in the kitchen.  Take a look at this week’s bounty of Pumpkin & Winter squash recipes…  Fettuccine with Pumpkin & Sage, Curried Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Pie Fruit Leather, Pumpkin Patch Muffins, Spaghetti Squash with Choice of Flavors,  Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin Yeast Bread, Pumpkin Seed Butter.  Just as flavorful soups begin with flavorful stock, many of these recipes begin with Roasted Pumpkin & Winter Squash Puree, a versatile staple that stores conveniently in your freezer.  Master the skill of transforming a hard-shelled winter squash into a meal.  You will feel wise and thrifty, and rightly so.   (See How to Get Into a Pumpkin.)


Squash puree on left has been strained; puree on right has not.

pumpkin & winter squash tutorial

How to ‘get into’ a pumpkin…

Opening a winter squash– without hurting yourself!

 Pumpkins and winter squash come with a fantastically tough rind; they are often oddly shaped and difficult to grasp securely.  Please exercise care in opening them. 

1.  To ‘get into’ your pumpkin, first wash it thoroughly under running water and then open it in one of the following ways:

freezing pumpkin & winter squash

Roasted Pumpkin or Winter Squash Puree

Turning winter squash into recipe-ready puree

Each variety of winter squash has its own unique flavor, texture, and color.  Some are rich and meaty, some sweet, and some, like jack-o-lantern or field pumpkins, are positively bland – yech.  If you are growing squash be sure to check the seed description for clues as to flavor.  If you buy at market, look for edible squash rather than decorative.  They are usually displayed separately.  

dinner pumpkin & winter squash

Fettuccine with Pumpkin & Sage Butter

 Elegantly simple prep brings pasta and pumpkin together

People are invariably surprised by how delicious this dish is.  I first tasted it at the home of my friend Claire, who was hosting a dinner for a large group of Master Food Preservers gathered to plan the next year’s classes at OSU Extension, or I thought I did!  I made mental notes as Claire prepared the dish and later went home and wrote down what I remembered.  In talking with her recently it turns out my memory was not very accurate, but the dish sure is delicious! Such is the nature of recipes; they change with each cook.  

Cubes of sweet pumpkin (any type of pumpkin or winter squash is suitable) are sauteed in a bit of butter until tender.  Fresh sage leaves are cut in ribbons and sizzled in more butter, and the two are tossed into a pound of al dente spinach fettucchine.  Divine!

dehydrator pumpkin & winter squash snacks

Pumpkin Pie Fruit Leather

Secret ingredient assures tender texture and smooth rolling.  See how it’s made with step-by-step photos.

This is an indulgent and yet healthful goody.  You’ll love having a stash of Pumpkin Pie Fruit Leather for portable snacks.  I played around with ideas for this recipe for about 3 pumpkin seasons and while it can be made without pectin I find the texture of the finished product more toothsome and less prone to cracking when I do use it.  Feel free to alter the spices to suit your taste.

bread breakfast pumpkin & winter squash

Pumpkin Patch Muffins

Pumpkin pie flavor in a tender, cake-like muffin

To simplify your morning, whisk the dry ingredients together, including spices, the night before.  You may omit the nuts and cranberries, if you prefer, for an outcome of 12 muffins.


pumpkin & winter squash snacks

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Or Acorn,  Butternut,  Spaghetti squash seeds…


In fact most winter squash are filled with edible seeds.  Some squash in the moschata or maxima family however have extremely tough fibrous seeds that are best not ingested, but the smooth seeds from your Halloween jack-o-lantern are not only edible, but delicious!  So cook up that squash for Roasted Squash Puree or make Spaghetti Squash with Choice of Flavors, and then toast the seeds for a kid-friendly snack.

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Haugh (pronounced ‘Hawk’) sent each of her students home with a slip of paper with these directions.  Even at 6 years old I was eager to try new recipes, and luckily I had a sympathetic and understanding mother who was willing to go along with the idea. Thanks for everything Mom!  You are the best!

pumpkin & winter squash

Spaghetti Squash with Choice of Flavors

Will make you crave spaghetti squash!

For many years spaghetti squash was touted as an alternative for spaghetti noodles and recipes for it involved various tomato-y sauces.  You may prefer it prepared this way, with a dressing of butter and/or olive oil and herbs.  You’ll appreciate the flavor and texture of the vegetable and perhaps even find yourself craving it like I do!