Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Lauren: Squashpuppies: A Yellow Squash Recipe June 23, 2014

Filed under: Food & Cooking,Gardens & Compost,Real Food,Vegetarian Dinner,Veggies — lkcook20 @ 6:23 pm

I have to admit that I don’t love yellow squash. It’s okay, but it doesn’t come close to how I feel about asparagus or beets.

But I love this yellow squashpuppies recipe, probably because it isn’t super healthy and you can’t really taste the yellow squash. Ha ha. Oh well. It’s super delicious!


4 cups of oil (I used olive oil)

3-4 yellow squash, sliced (You’ll end up using 2 c. the squash puree)

2 eggs beaten

1 1/4 c. all purpose flour or 1 3/4 c. cup freshly-milled flour

1/3 c. cornmeal

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 1/3 tbsp. oil

2 tsp minced onion

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 c. cheese



1. Heat oil to 375 degrees in a small pot. (It takes a little longer to cook all of the squashpuppies in a small pot, but you can use less oil.)

2. Place squash in saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer ten minutes, or until tender. Drain and puree. Let cool.

3. In a small bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, oil, onion, garlic powder, and cheese. In a medium bowl, mix 2 c. of squash puree with the eggs. Add the dry mixture into the wet.

4. Drop by rounded spoonfuls into the hot oil. (It’s okay if the batter is a little on the runny side.) Cook until they are brown and crisp on one side. It should only take a couple minutes, then flip. Once they are brown and crisp on both sides, remove, and drain on paper towels.





Lauren: Delicious Freezable Breakfast Burritos June 13, 2014

Filed under: Breakfast,Food & Cooking — lkcook20 @ 7:03 pm
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I’m in love with these breakfast burritos. There’s something about the combo of cream cheese, eggs, potatoes, and bacon. Yum. And they make the perfect breakfast on those crazy mornings when you have to get everyone out the door in 30 minutes or when you wake up to realize you have no milk. . .


1 lb bacon

6-8 potatoes, diced into small pieces

10 eggs

1/2 c. milk

salt and pepper

10-12 tortillas (I use whole wheat)

8 oz cream cheese



1. Cook the bacon in a skillet. Then let it drain on paper towels.

2. Add the diced potatoes to the skillet. You can cook them in the bacon grease for extra flavor. Cook about 5 minutes on the first side or until they turn brown and crispy. Season them with salt and pepper (and garlic powder if you want) while they are cooking. Wait until they brown on the first side and then flip them. Cook for another five minutes or until brown. photo 1

3. While the potatoes are cooking, crack the eggs into a bowl, add milk, and whisk until thoroughly combined. You can cook them in a different skillet or wait for the potatoes to be done and cook them in there. (Save on dishes!) Scramble those babies (not literally babies since the eggs are unfertilized, but we won’t getting into that chicken reproduction discussion right now. . . )

photo 2

4. Time to assemble some burritos. First, smother cream cheese onto the burrito. Then add about 1/4 c. eggs, 1/4 c. potatoes, some crumbled bacon and roll it up.

photo 3

5. Eat!

6. Throw the leftovers in a ziploc bag and reheat when you need something yummy in a jiffy.  Hmm. Jiffy-what a funny word.






Lauren: Homemade Kettle Corn May 13, 2014




There’s one thing I can’t resist at the fair: kettle corn. You can have your caramel apple and your fried oreos, just give me the largest bag of kettle corn there is.

The reason I’m bringing up kettle corn is because I got ambushed by some the other day. I wasn’t at a fair, so it was quite unexpected. My four-year-old was running a race and there it was, calling to me with its sweet, sweet smell. I walked over “just to see” and then I remembered. It’s Eat-In May! Shootfire! as my friend Margaret would say. It would be eating out. So I didn’t buy any. Aren’t you proud? But I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I just kept thinking that I had to have some. . . so I gave in and made my own. I’m happy to report that it’s delicious and totally satisfied my craving!


1/4 c. oil (I used coconut)

1/2 c. popcorn kernels (try to find non-GMO)

1/3 c. sugar

salt to taste


1. Add 1/4 c.  oil to a medium-sized sauce pot.

2. Add 3 kernels. Once they pop, you’ll know the oil is hot enough to add the rest. DSCN2240

3. Add 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels. And then add 1/3 cup sugar.



4. Cover the pot with a lid. Don’t put it all the way down. Leave room for some steam to escape so the popcorn doesn’t become tough. And shake what your mama gave you. I mean, shake the pot so the popcorn on the bottom doesn’t burn. Continue until the popping slows down.

kettle corn

5. Transfer the popcorn onto a piece of parchment paper. Let it rest for a couple minutes so sugar will harden a bit and give the popcorn that delicious crunch.



6. Enjoy! Try not to eat it all in one sitting. I dare you.





Sarah: Guac with Flair (3 Versions) May 3, 2014

Filed under: Eat-In May,Food & Cooking — suburbanpioneers @ 3:40 am
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Make any night suddenly gourmet!

Are y’all hungry yet?


I love avocados.  I could eat avocados by themselves with just a little salt and pepper.  But I really, really, really love guacamole.  I’m not talking about the green glop that they serve at Qdoba or Chipotle that’s mostly sour cream and flavoring.  I mean guacamole that retains its avocado-ness.

But sometimes I like to mix things up (I’m like that–I get bored easily), especially if I make it two or three weeks in a row.  So below are my regular guac recipes plus a fun variation that is inspired by the “Exotic Guac” at our local Oaxacan Mexican food place (yes, of previous Suburban Pioneering fame–read about it here).

I wouldn’t call the following “recipes” exactly.  As Captain Barbosa says in Pirates of the Caribbean, “They’re more like guidelines.”  You can make this in less than 8 minutes.  Start by mashing the avocado with the half and half, then mix in the spices until you like the base flavor.  Finally, add the chopped items, tasting as you go (oh, yes, tasting as you go is VERY important).


Guac with Flare

  • 2 avocados
  • splash of half & half or milk (not enough to hide the avocado taste, just enough to help you mash–you could sub soy milk or almond milk for dairy-free)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • green or purple onion chopped small (not too many–experiment to find the right onion : avocado ratio)
  • mango or strawberry (yes, really) to taste
  • goat cheese (to taste)

Sounds weird, I know.  But it is actually really, really good and a great way to get in some extra healthy fruits (particularly when the tomatoes I usually use in guacamole aren’t in season).  Even better?  Little Bear LOVES it, and avocados are full of good fats that she needs for brain development.  Also, because this recipe doesn’t have a load of sour cream drowning the avocado, there’s fewer unnecessary calories and less saturated fat, which is the problem with most fast-food-type guac.

And in case anyone’s wondering about my regular guac recipe, here’s the list for the regular version:

The Genuine Guac Article

  • 2 avocados
  • splash of half & half or milk
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • green or regular onion chopped small
  • jalapeño, chopped small
  • cilantro, chopped
  • tomato chopped
  • squeeze of lime

And, yes, there’s a very, very fast version for weeknights when Keith and I are really tired:

Speedy Guac

  • 2 avocados
  • splash of half & half or milk
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • hot pepper flakes or spoonful of salsa

This post brought to you by: Eat-In May–let’s think of fast, no stress ways to eat healthier and at home!

Leave that restaurant table empty!  You've got a date with some fruits and veggies.

Leave that restaurant table empty! You’ve got a date with some fruits and veggies.


Lauren: A Taste of Summer: Strawberry Peanut Butter Smoothie January 30, 2014

Filed under: Drinks,Food & Cooking — lkcook20 @ 9:26 pm
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Me and peanut butter are like this:      (you can’t see them, but my fingers are entwined). We had a brief breakup after I returned from studying abroad since we saw a little too much of each other in England when I was poor (that exchange rate hurts) and ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches. But that separation didn’t last long and now I’m older and wiser; I know that absence makes the heart grow fonder. But it’s not easy to exercise restraint, especially when it comes to these Strawberry Peanut Butter Smoothies.

In my opinion, the best tasting smoothies have peanut butter in them. They also have the added benefit of keeping you fuller for longer. Win win.



2 cups milk (organic, if possible)

3 Tbsp peanut butter

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 frozen banana

1 cup spinach

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 Tbsp honey

1 cup ice cubes


Combine all ingredients (except ice cubes) in a blender and blend until smooth. Then add ice cubes and blend again. Pour into four glasses (or two big glasses) and enjoy!



Lauren: Homemade Slow Cooker Applesauce November 8, 2013

I’m all about low-maintenance these days. You’ll usually find my hair in a ponytail and probably with some dry shampoo in it. I just haven’t mastered the art of showering with kids yet. In case you were wondering, here’s why:

1. If I shower in the morning, I’ll wake them up (not worth it).

2. I don’t want to waste any of the precious two hours of nap time I get in the afternoon (not worth it).

3. If I let the kids roam free while I’m getting clean, I spend the whole time stressed out and listening for the sound of crying or, just as dangerous, too much laughter (not worth it).

4. I don’t like showering at night because then my pillow gets wet and I have funky-looking hair in the morning.You might ask why I don’t just blow-dry it. Well, Sarah’s mom’s theory about drying dishes is: why spend time doing something that will happen eventually (not worth it).

And you thought this post was about apples. . . Well, it is, I promise, I just had to rant about showering first.

I feel the same way about dry shampoo as I do about the low maintenance of Homemade Crock Pot Applesauce. (How’s that for a segue?) All you have to do is throw some apples in the slow cooker, come back in a few hours, blend it up and tada! Applesauce. Easy Peasy.

We normally go apple-picking, but we’re kind of traveled-out right now so we skipped the 1.5 hour drive and picked our apples from the farmer’s market. To be honest, I kind of liked it better. We were able to buy a wide variety without having to walk down 4 sides of a mountain and still had the rest of our morning to do whatever we wanted! Shower, perhaps? Nah. . . probably not.

What to do:

1. Cut up 10-12 apples. Use an apple slicer if you have one. You don’t need to peel the apple. Yep, that’s right. I mean, you can if you want to, if you are an overachiever or something. . . or you have an extra 20 minutes to spare.

2. Throw the apple wedges in the Crock Pot.

3. Add 1/2 cup apple cider or water. Apple cider will give the applesauce a little more of a spicy, sweet flavor. You could also add a tsp. of cinnamon. Some people add sugar, but I don’t think it’s necessary. If you get the sweeter apples, the applesauce will be tasty enough on its own. See this previous post for apple varieties.

4. Turn the Crock Pot on low and let it simmer for 5-6 hours, until the apples get mushy.

5. Go about your day.

6. Use an immersion blender to blend it all up. (My immersion blender was seriously the best $4 I ever spent at Goodwill.) The flecks of peel are so tiny, you won’t even notice them. Or you could run it through a blender or food mill.


6. Pour the applesauce in mason jars and stick them in the fridge.

If you want to can the applesauce you’ll need:

Water bath canner (or, if you’re like me, a big stockpot and round cake pan rack)

Jars and Lids

(Makes 5-6 half-pints)

1. Sterilize the jars and lids

2. Pour applesauce into jars. Leave 1/2 inch head space. If you’re messy like me, wipe the rims with a clean towel or rag.

3. Screw on the lids.

4. Place jars in boiling water. Once the water returns to a boil, reduce heat (so it’s still boiling but won’t overflow), cover with a lid, and process it for 15 minutes.

5. Voila’! Applesauce. Store in your pantry and bust it out in the dead of winter when you want a taste of pure fall.



Lauren: The Best Sauteed Fresh Corn Recipe: the taste of grilled corn on the cob in a fraction of the time July 23, 2013

Filed under: Food & Cooking,Veggies — lkcook20 @ 11:30 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I don’t know about you, but I have not mastered the art of grilling corn. We’ve tried leaving the husks on, taking them off, wrapping them in foil and found that it is just so hard to predict the precise moment they are done. And sometimes they end up burned which is such a waste because I love the taste of grilled corn on the cob.

And then I discovered the awesomeness of sauteed fresh corn. How did it take me so long?

It was like the scene from Sleepless in Seattle when Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks finally meet on the top of the Empire State Building: perfect and a long time coming. They stare into each other’s eyes and just know. Cue happy, emotional music.

Sauteed fresh corn is that good.

Our story: I needed something to do with all the fresh corn we get from our CSA (community supported agriculture) program. Side note: I highly recommend CSA’s. When we pick up our box of local fresh produce, it seriously feels like Christmas every week. Some weeks our present is a bushel of corn. That’s 45 ears! We give some away, freeze some, and one day I decided to slice the kernels off and saute them. The idea just came to me. Then it was love at first bite and the rest is, as they say, history.

It’s so easy I feel weird calling it a recipe. So here’s the “recipe”:


1-2 ears of corn per person

1 tbsp of butter per 3-4 ears of corn (or more or less to taste)

Kosher salt to taste


1. Remove husks and silks from the corn cob.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet. DSCN17873, Slice off kernels with a knife (remember to cut away from you!) into a bowl or right into the skillet.DSCN1791

4. Saute over medium heat for about 8 minutes. Add salt. Salivate, then enjoy! DSCN1792


5 Reason It’s So Good: 

1. It still maintains its fresh crunch. Canned corn cannot compete.

2. You can taste the butter and salt in every bite.

3. It’s the taste of grilled corn in a fraction of the time!

4. You can eat more of it because you can pile giant heapings on your spoon instead of trying to maneuver around a cob.

5. You can avoid the debate of whether it’s better and more efficient to eat in rows across the ear of corn or to go around in circles. My husband claims his family tested it one time and the circle method was far superior time-wise. I’m not convinced and think maybe he’s been reading too much Cheaper by the Dozen. But anyway, if you saute your corn, you can avoid that argument. That’s right, I’m claiming that sauteed fresh corn is better for your marriage. It doesn’t get any better than that.


Lauren: Quick and Healthy Drop Biscuits (Five Ingredients!) March 18, 2013




2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup salted butter

1/4 cup vinegar

1/2 cup milk


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour and baking soda. Cut in butter. Stir in vinegar and milk until dough is sticky. (Add additional milk if dough is not getting sticky.) Spoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until light golden brown.

2. Enjoy!


Lauren: Homemade Cinnamon Bread March 11, 2013

There’s just something about homemade bread that’s magical. I think the heavenly smell has something to do with it. And if the bread is slightly sweet with cinnamon? Even better.



1 cup milk

3/4 cup water

1/3 cup butter

6 1/2 – 7 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat flour for a “wheatier” taste)

6 tbsp brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 packages active dry yeast

3 eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup honey (or more or less to taste)

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp butter, melted


*This recipe assumes the use of a Stand Mixer.

1. Combine milk, water, and 1/3 cup butter in small saucepan. Heat on low until 120-130 F (butter probably won’t be all the way melted).

2. Place 6 cups flour, 6 tbsp sugar, salt, and yeast in mixing bowl. Attach bowl and dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and mix 15 seconds. Gradually add eggs, liquids from pan, about 1 min. Mix on speed 2 for 1 more minute.

3. Continue on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and cleans side of bowl, about 2 min. Kneed on speed 2 for 2 more minutes.

4. Place in greased bowl, turn to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place (I put a bowl of hot water in my oven with the dough bowl and keep the door shut) until doubled in bulk (about 35 min.).

5. Punch dough down and divide in half. Roll each half to a 9 x 14 rectangle. Brush each half with melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and then drizzle with honey. Roll dough (tightly!) and shape into loaves. Place in two 9 x 5 x 3 in. loaf pans.

6. Cover; let rise in warm place (back in the oven!) until doubled in bulk, about 35 minutes. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes (but check sooner). Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

7. Spread with jam or peanut butter, or turn into French Toast. . . delicious!


*This recipe was adapted from the Kitchen Aid recipe book.


Lauren: Spiced Stuffed Acorn Squash December 9, 2012

DSCN1124I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of plain baked acorn squash, but I love it stuffed with couscous, garbanzo beans, carrots, peppers, raisins, and apples. Underneath all those delicious ingredients, the acorn squash gives just a hint of sweetness in every bite. Yum!

This recipe is very flexible. Feel free to substitute other fruits or veggies, and if you don’t have some of the spices on hand, omit them or use other ones.


1 tbsp butter                                                                              1 tsp cumin

4 acorn squash                                                                           1/2 tsp coriander

2 tbsp olive oil                                                                            1/2 tsp turmeric

2 cloves garlic, minced                                                                1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 carrots, chopped (small)                                                           1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup red pepper, chopped                                                     1/4 tsp ginger

1 can garbanzo beans, drained                                                   1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup raisins                                                                           1 14 ounce can chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 cup peeled, chopped apple                                                  1 cup uncooked whole wheat couscous


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cut squash in half. Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes or until tender. After removing the squash from the oven, spread butter on squash.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, carrot, and pepper. Cook approximately five minutes. Add garbanzo beans, raisins, and apples. Stir in cumin, coriander, turmeric  cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.DSCN1122

4. Pour the broth into the skillet and mix in the couscous. Cover and turn off heat. Let sit for five minutes. Then stuff squash halves with the skillet mixture. Serve and enjoy.


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