Simply Mrs. Edwards

{just the life of a new wife}


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Butternut Squash Soup

Want to know a secret? Although I may have you fooled, I am really not that outgoing in my food choices. I’m also really quite timid when it comes to branching out and trying new-to-me cooking techniques. Surprise, surprise! A great example of me not straying from my comfort zone would be the butternut and acorn squashes that have been sitting on my counter for at least a month (more like 6 weeks). Every time I go into the kitchen, they taunt me. They sit there and remind me how little I know about cooking and how silly I am for not knowing how to use them. Well, I stepped out of the comfy zone last night, did a little research, and showed that butternut squash who’s boss! I read through about 1,200 recipes and finally decided I would just wing it and make it up as I went. Well, sometimes it pays to be adventurous. This was definitely one of those times- this soup is to die for! I not only conquered my fear of winter squash, but figured out how to roast it and made up a delicious batch of soup to boot! Let me tell you, this recipe is EASY. Hope you like it!

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 medium/large butternut squash, roasted (instructions below)
  • 2 medium yams or sweet potatoes, baked until tender and peeled.
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 1/2 c. (or 2 cans) sodium free chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1 package cream cheese (you can use light if you’d like).
  • Olive oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Cayenne Pepper (to taste)

To Roast Butternut Squash:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Because the skin is so tough, it’s helpful to soften the squash before you try to cut it in half to roast it. Pierce the skin of squash a few times with a sharp knife and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Place the whole squash in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until you can cut it in half lengthwise (it will still be pretty firm, but much easier than trying to do it without this step).
  3. Once you have the squash cut in half lengthwise (from stem to bottom), open it up and scoop out seeds and stringy stuff.
  4. Return to the foil lined pan. With the inside facing up, drizzle with olive oil and add your minced garlic, salt, and fresh ground pepper.
  5. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until your knife goes all the way through the squash easily.
  6. Remove outer skin before using your squash in your recipe. I found it helpful to flip it over and use a large spoon to peel off the skin. It should easily come off. Cube your squash and it’s ready to use!

To Make Soup: 

  1. Using a large soup pot or pan (I used my dutch oven- similar one found here), melt butter and cook your onion until it is tender.
  2. Add chicken stock, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Simmer until everything is heated thoroughly, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add cream cheese. Stir to combine.
  4. Using a blender (we love our Ninja Blender!) or an immersion blender, mix until smooth. You’ll probably need to do it in a few smaller batches.
  5. Return to pan and heat through. Do not let it boil.
  6. Garnish with plain yogurt, sour cream, creme fraiche, pepper, extra cayenne, green onions, bacon, the options are endless!
  7. ENJOY!

This makes a pretty big batch, so you’ll most likely end up with leftovers. Hard to believe, but this soup is even better the next day! I heated some of the leftovers up in a pan for lunch, added a bit of milk to thin it out and devoured it. YUM.

The Squash Conqueror,
Mrs. Edwards


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Homegrown Apple Pie

We spent this past weekend at my parents home in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Their house is built in the middle of a 100+ year old fruit orchard. The original orchard was a huge area of land, but with parcels of land being sold and roads and homes being built, the majority of the fruit trees have either been cut down or engulfed by the surrounding forest. My parents own about 3 acres of the land and have made a point to keep the heritage of the orchard going. They have reclaimed and trimmed back old, abandoned trees and have seen amazing crops in recent years! This weekend we spent some time in that orchard picking apples. Homegrown, organic, delicious, apples. Here are a few photos of our apple picking afternoon…

One of biggest things I admire about my Mom is that she is incredibly talented in the kitchen and genuinely enjoys passing her knowledge on to me. I think it brings her a special kind of joy to see her daughter learning and loving the art of homemaking. This weekend she taught me how to make apple pie. It may sound crazy, but I had never made an apple pie before! A true homemaking crime, I’m sure! We used fresh golden delicious apples from the orchard and a tried and true recipe from my Mom’s arsenal to make the most delicious pie. It was a very simple process and is a recipe that I will be making again, very soon! 

Homegrown Apple Pie

Apple Filling  (my Mom’s recipe)

  • 7-8 medium/large golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3/4 – 1 c. water
  • 1 c. sugar (brown or white)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cinnamon sticks + 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Pie Crust (adapted from Martha Stewart Living, Nov. 2012 issue)

  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c. ice water

Combine apples, water, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium pot. Simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Drain excess liquid and set aside.

Place butter pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until hard (15-20 mins). Once butter is hard, combine flour, salt, sugar, and butter in a food processor.

Pulse until mixture is coarse with some blueberry-sized clumps. Add ice water and immediately pulse until water is just incorporated.

Squeeze a small amount in your hand to make sure it holds together.

Lay out 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Empty half the dough onto each piece.

Fold edges of wrap together and gather dough into a disk. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.

Remove pie dough from fridge and partially unwrap. Place disc on a piece of parchment, leaving the plastic on one side. Roll dough into a circle about 1/2-inch bigger than your pie pan.

Press one piece of dough into your pan, leaving edges hanging over the edge.

Cut the second piece of dough into 3-inch wide strips.

Add filling into pan and spread evenly.

Weave dough strips into a lattice pattern over filling and press overhang onto the edge of crust. Trim the edge, fold under, and crimp.

Sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake at 375 F for 30-45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Be sure to place your pie on a parchment lined sheet pan to catch any drips!

Let cool and ENJOY

Homegrown Apple Pie

Apple Filling  (my Mom’s recipe)

  • 7-8 medium/large golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3/4 – 1 c. water
  • 1 c. sugar (brown or white)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cinnamon sticks + 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Pie Crust (adapted from Martha Stewart Living, Nov. 2012 issue)

  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c. ice water
  1. Pie Crust: Place butter pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until hard (15-20 mins). Once butter is hard, combine flour, salt, sugar, and butter in a food processor. Pulse until mixture is coarse with some blueberry-sized clumps. Add ice water and immediately pulse until water is just incorporated. Squeeze a small amount in your hand to make sure it holds together. Lay out 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Empty half the dough onto each piece. Fold edges of wrap together and gather dough into a disk. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.
  2. Apple Filling: Combine apples, water, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium pot. Simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Drain excess liquid and set aside.
  3. Remove pie dough from fridge and partially unwrap. Place disc on a piece of parchment, leaving the plastic on one side. Roll dough into a circle about 1/2-inch bigger than your pie pan.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  5. Press one piece of dough into your pan, leaving edges hanging over the edge. Cut the second piece of dough into 3-inch wide strips.
  6. Add filling into pan and spread evenly. Weave dough strips into a lattice pattern over filling and press overhang onto the edge of crust. Trim the edge, fold under, and crimp.
  7. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake pie for 30-45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Be sure to place your pie on a parchment lined sheet pan to catch any drips!
  8. Let cool and ENJOY!

This pie will most definitely be making an appearance again very soon. I may or may not have eaten pie for breakfast this morning. It’s healthy, right?! My Mom happily told me that I am now in charge of pies for Thanksgiving. With great baking, comes great responsibility apparently…

Eating Pie,
Mrs. Edwards


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Criss-Cross Crock-Pot Applesauce

There is no denying it, fall is my most favorite season of them all (see what I did there?). I love the changing leaves. I love fall weddings. I love pumpkin. I love the cinnamony, spicy smells of fall. I love the sweaters and chilly weather. I love gearing up for the holidays. I love everything about it!  What better way to bring some lovely fall smells and tastes to our home than to make some tasty applesauce? I just so happened to have a whole bunch of apples and a new Crock-Pot that I needed to break in. I made this recipe up as I went and lucked out with some delicious applesauce! Ready for the recipe? It’s SO easy!

Crock-Pot Applesauce
(makes about 4 cups)

  • 8-10 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut in chunks
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick + 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup water or apple juice
  1. Place all of your ingredients in your crock-pot. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6.
  2. Once your apples have softened, remove from your crock-pot (careful, they’re HOT!). Stir to blend and mash with a spoon or blend with an immersion blender.
  3. Serve warm or refrigerate in a covered container.
  4. ENOY!

If you’d like to make a larger batch, you could try your hand at canning some for later (some on canning tips here and here).

Hope you enjoy this yummy treat!

Totally applesauced,
Mrs. Edwards


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Crock-pot Chicken Chili & Homemade Corn Bread

Today was one of the first “real” fall days around these parts. It rained overnight throughout the morning and was a wonderfully cloudy and brisk day. It was the perfect day to bundle up and enjoy a day at home. Thankfully, I got to do just that! Today’s weather called for a classic fall dinner- chili and corn bread. My goal with this meal was to not have to go to the grocery store, but to be able to use things that we already had. We typically make chili with ground beef, but Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard only offered chicken today. I went out on a limb and basically made up the chili recipe as I went. I’ve never had a chicken chili, but figured that it would be worth a try. I was a bit nervous at first, but then realized that since I knew we liked all of the ingredients, there was a pretty good chance that the end product would turn out delicious. The cornbread recipe (with a few modifications) comes from my faithful friend, my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. This entire meal was a cinch to put together and the end products were so hearty and delicious!

Crock-pot Chicken Chili
(makes 4-6 servings)

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of great northern beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 oz.) of tomato paste
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, chili powder and oregano to taste (1 used about 1 tablespoon of each).
  • If you like green chilis, bell peppers, onions, etc. you can add them too!
  1. Place chicken breasts in bottom of crock-pot. Add beans, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and seasonings. Gently stir to combine.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. About an hour before serving pull chicken breasts out and shred. Add back into the crock-pot and cook for another hour or so.
  3. ENJOY!

Homemade Corn Bread

  • 1 c. of flour
  • 3/4 c. cornmeal
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten (or if you’re out of eggs like I was, you can substitute in 4 Tbsp. water + 2 Tbsp. oil + 4 tsp. baking powder)
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  2. Add the 1 Tbsp. butter to a 10-inch cast iron skillet or a 9 x 1 1/2-inch found baking pan. Place in oven about 3 minutes or until butter melts. Remove skillet from oven; swirl butter in skillet to coat bottom and sides of pan.
  3. In a small bowl combine eggs (or egg substitute), milk, and oil. Add mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Pour batter into hot skillet or pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Cut into slices or wedges and serve with your chili
  5. ENJOY!


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I Can-Can!

Tonight I decided to try my hand at canning. This was my first time embarking on this task solo. Other times that I have canned I’ve had my Mom holding my hand. Yep, for all the homemaking that I embark on canning has remained something that I’ve been slightly intimidated about. No more! I have conquered this beast!

Just as I mentioned in this post about making blackberry jam, canning does not have to be done huge batches, as many people assume. It can be done in a stockpot on the stovetop in small batches. Tonight, I tried my hand at canning some fresh pears from my parents orchard. I was pretty conservative in my efforts and only ended up with 3 half-pint jars. Yeah, yeah, yeah…all you canning pro’s are laughing right now. But only worrying about 3 jars was perfect for my first time solo-canning. Next time, maybe I’ll double my batch :)

First I peeled and cut up my pears and placed them in water that had some Fruit-Fresh mixed in (to keep the pears from browning). Lemon juice is also a great option to prevent browning. Once I had all my pears peeled, cored, and sliced, I heated them in a simple syrup. Simple syrup is ridiculously easy. Basically, you mix two parts sugar to one part water. Heat your water to a boil and add sugar. Heat and mix until sugar is dissolved completely. Voila! Simple syrup!

I heated my pears for about 5 minutes while I prepped my jars and lids. It’s important to wash/sanitize and heat your jars and lids before you add your fruit. I was using a large stock pot to process my jars, so first filled my pot with water and heated my empty jars in it. I heated my lids and rings (which I realized afterwards that it’s not necessary to heat the rings, duh) in a small sauce pan. Basically, by heating the lids you’re softening the rubber seal.

Once my jars were ready, I removed them and placed them on the counter to be filled. I ladled the fruit into a glass measuring cup and funneled it into each jar. Once the fruit was packed into each jar I added the simple syrup liquid to about 1/2 inch from the rim. It’s also important to release any air bubbles from your jars. You do this by using a gently inserting a knife or a plastic spacer (like the one from this Ball Utensil Kit) on the side and pushing your contents towards the center of your jar. You’ll see a few bubbles rise to the surface of your liquid.

After I removed all the air bubbles, I wiped the rims off and used my handy-dandy magnetic lid grabber thingy to fish my lids out of the simmering water. Once the lids are in place I gently screwed on the rings and placed the jars one by one into my stock pot of almost-boiling water.

I covered my pot and boiled the jars for about 15 minutes. I carefully removed each jar from the pot and let them dry/cool on a dishcloth. After about 5 minutes of sitting on the counter, I heard the pop-pop-pop of the lids letting me know that the jars sealed successfully!

And that, my friends, is how I canned my first 3 jars of pears! I’m sure my next batch will be done slightly different. I’ve found a few other ideas that may be fun to try (like this and this). Thankfully, there is no shortage of pears at my parents orchard and they’re coming to visit next weekend! My mom is a canning wizard- just tonight she posted on Facebook that in the past 24 hours she has canned blackberry jam, vanilla bean pear jam, and zucchini relish. I said, “Teach me your ways, oh wise one!” Hopefully I’ll get a few pointers from a pro next weekend :)

Have you tried canning anything lately? Did you end up with a huge haul or just 3 measly jars? Any tips that you’d like to pass along? :)

Homemaking some more,
Mrs. Edwards