Eat & Drink

Old Fashioned Banana Bread



bananabreadI like simple things and simple cooking. My tattered copy of The Joy Of Cooking is always with me, and I refer to it often for basic recipes that I adapt to make my own, and I highly recommend it for every kitchen, whether antiquated or not. This recipe is a slight variation on the Joy Of cooking  Quick Banana Bread recipe. Enjoy!


Preheat oven to 350°


1  3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg


1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

2/3 cup sugar

The juice of 1/2 lemon + 1 tsp grated lemon rind


2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups ripe banana pulp

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pumpkin seeds

place batter in a 4×8″ greased bread pan. Top with 1/4 cup more nuts or seeds, and bake about 1 hour or until a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean.

Let cool.

Eat & Drink, juice for health

Happy National Spinach Day!


HH Vege JuiceWell, I have to admit I didn’t know it was National Spinach Day until a friend on Instagram clued me in, but really…what day isn’t spinach day?!

(or juice day for that matter)

Blender Breakfast (2 servings)

1 banana

1 cup grapes

2 cup spinach

1/2 cucumber

1 cup cold water

2 tablespoons freshly ground flax seed (i use a coffee grinder)

1/4 teaspoon Vitamin C-1000 powder


Combine ingredients. blend. enjoy.

– Corinna

Eat & Drink

Herb Crostini



Crostini is a great use for home dried herbs, and is my current favorite snack. Crostini, meaning “little toasts” in Italian, it is easy to make, works great as a use for day old bread, and keeps for up to a week in a plastic bag or glass container. They are also amazing served as appetizers, topped with fresh mozzarella, pate, roast peppers, or anything that strikes your fancy.

Fresh Herb Crostini

1 loaf French bread, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Extra virgin olive oil

Dry herbs: Any combination you can think of (this batch is simply Rosemary & Thyme)

Salt & Freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400*F

2. Arrange the bread slices on the baking sheet and generously brush with olive oil.

3. Combine herbs, Salt & Pepper and sprinkle over bread slices.

4. Bake for about 6 minutes, turning the baking sheet around in the oven halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning.

5. Cool Crostini completely before serving.


– Corinna Mantlo

Eat & Drink

Cauliflower, Leek, Potato Soup


happy homesteader leek soup 1

A member of the onion and garlic family, leeks have a uniquely wonderful, almost sweet flavor. They are a rich source of vitamins C & A, and Folate. If new to cooking with leeks, have no fear, it couldn’t be simpler. Choose firm, stalks without withered tops. Remove tough, green tops, slice lengthwise and rinse thoroughly to remove sandy soil they are grown in. That’s it. Enjoy!


1 head Cauliflower, chopped

2 Leeks, chopped (use the white and light green portion)

1 Red Potato, chopped with skin on

1 tablespoons Butter

2 tablespoon Olive Oil

2 cups Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock

4 cups Water

1/4 cup White Wine

Salt & Pepper to taste

fresh or dried Parsley for garnish

happy homesteader leek soup


1. In a large pot, saute leeks in butter until soft, about 2 minutes.

2. Add olive oil, wine, and cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

3. Add stock, water and potato and bring pot to a boil.

4. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes until all vegetables are soft.

5. Let soup cool, then puree in a blender, in 3 batches.

6. Reheat, garnish with parsley and serve.

Eat & Drink

Pumpkin Butter

Butters of all sorts are a winter staple. Pumpkin butter, though not can-able (see the USDA site for details)  it’s a great fall harvest treat that’s quick to make, especially if you have frozen Pumpkin puree waiting in the freezer. See the Pumpkin Harvest post for details on preparing pumpkin for pie, butter and freezing.


Ingredients: Simply blend and serve

2 cups homemade pumpkin puree

1 tbsp freshly ground sunflower seeds (raw, without shells)

2 tbsp raw sugar

1/2 tbsp fresh, grated ginger

1/2 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tbsp nutmeg

pinch of salt


Eat & Drink

Pumpkin Harvest

Just a quick note on pumpkin puree preparation. Whether you’re pulling them out of your garden or picking them up half price after halloween (jack o lantern pumpkins aren’t as flavorful as the sugar & cooking varieties), this is the 20 minute method to not using store bought Can-O-Pumpkin for all your holiday recipes.
1. Slice pumpkin in half. Scoop seeds and stringy pulp into a bowl. Set aside.

2. In a large pot with a steamer basket, bring a few inches of water to a boil. Fill steamer basket with the pumpkin slices, cover and steam for 20-30 minutes until cooked through.

 3. Meanwhile. under running water and using your fingers, separate seeds from stringy pulp. Save seeds and discard the pulp. See note at end of post for what to do with seeds.

4. When the pumpkin is cooked through, let it cool and cut away skin. Cut pumpkin into chunks.

5. In a blender, puree.

And there you have it, pumpkin puree. The USDA does not recommend canning pumpkin mash or puree. See details HERE. I’ve tried it and had less than successful results. However, it will keep in the fridge for a week or so. Also, you can freeze cooked, blended pumpkin puree to be on hand quickly when needed when pumpkins are not in season.


To freeze, follow the above directions. Once cool. Pack into rigid containers leaving headspace, and freeze. Not a bad option by any means.

As to seeds,

You can either dry them to bake and snack on or dry them to bag and plant next year.

Toasted Pumpkin seeds

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a medium baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt.

3. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted.

Seeds for planting

I love the image above (unknown source). It shows the simple cycle of the seed. For the seeds you collected from your pumpkin. To save seeds for next year, follow these simple steps.

1. Once you have a good amount of seeds rinsed, look over them and choose the biggest seeds. Plan on saving 3 times more pumpkin seeds than the number of plants you will be growing next year. Larger seeds will have a better chance of germinating.

2. Place the rinsed seeds on a dry paper towel. Make sure they are spaced out otherwise the seeds will stick to one another.

3. Place in a cool dry spot for 1 week.

4. Once the seeds are dry, store pumpkin seed for planting in an envelope.


Eat & Drink

The Devil’s Apple Water

During a minute of downtime last week, amid a rush of volunteer organizing and fundraising (NYCVMS for Hurricane Relief)  for the devastated community in the Rockaways (among so many others in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy) I sat down to clear my head and knit. Of course while trying not to think, i thought of yet another warm, winter drink to add to the recipe log. The idea was simple enough, Spiked apple cider, but then I got to thinking about old fashioned cider, and found a great little snippet in a dusty old copy that i couldn’t pass up…and my oh my, did we enjoy it!

Apple Water: This is given as a sustenance when the stomach is too weak to bear broth. It may be made thus, – Pour boiling water on roasted apples; Let them stand three hours, then strain and sweeten lightly: – Or it may be made thus, – Peel and slice tart apples, add some sugar and lemon-peel; then pour some boiling water over the whole, and let it stand covered by the fire, more than an hour.

– The American Frugal Housewife, Published 1833

I love the idea of roasting the apples (peeled and cored) and spices, to bring out the the cider flavor.

The Devil’s Apple Water

6 Apples, cut into chunks

6 cups water (or just enough to cover apples when in the pot)

4 Cinnamon sticks

8 Coriander seeds

8 Black pepper corns

4 teaspoons Honey

1 tablespoon Butter

Orange peel (or shot orange juice)


1. place apples in a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil.

2. Add spices, butter, honey and orange peel. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until apples are very soft. Strain.

3. Combine the Apple Water with Rum and more spices. Serve piping hot.



– Corinna
Eat & Drink

Fall Harvest Soup: Kale, White Bean & Sweet Potato

Ingredients (serves 6)

1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 sweet potatoes, skin on, cut into 1/2″ pieces

1/2 bunch kale, about 4 cups loosely packed

1 cup dry white cannelli beans

8 cups homemade vegetable stock

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2lb hot italian sausage

1/4 tspn red pepper flakes

salt & pepper



1. fill a large pot with cold water. Add dry cannelli beans and let sit over night until tender. drain and rinse.

2. in a large pot over high heat, add olive oil, saute until soft. Add sweet potato, cannelli beans and vegetable stock and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer until sweet potato and beans are tender but still crunchy (about 25 minutes).

3. meanwhile, in a frying pan, cook sausages. slice and set aside

4. Skim the starch (grey foam) off of the soup. add salt, pepper.

5. Turn off heat and stir in kale

6. spoon soup into a bowl and top with a few pieces of sausage.

Eat & Drink

Spicy Beet Pasta with Swiss Chard

Beets are highly nutritious. Their unique pigment protects against coronary artery disease and stroke. lower cholesterol levels within the body, and have anti-aging effects. In addition, Swiss chard, like spinach, is the store-house of many phytonutrients that have health promotional and disease prevention properties. – Nutrition & You

Ingredients: serves 4

1 box whole grain Linguini pasta

4 cups Swiss Chard, chopped and loosely packed

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 large beet, quartered

4 ‘on the vine’ (medium) tomatoes, quartered

4 cloves garlic

1 jalapeno, seeds removed

1/2 cup water

salt & pepper


Preparation: 1/2 hour

1. Sauce: In a blender, combine beet, tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, water, salt & pepper. Puree.

2. Pasta: boil water in a large pot, add pasta and cook until tender.

3. Meanwhile: in a medium pot, simmer beet sauce over medium flame to heat,  bring out the flavors and cook off a bit of the water.

4. Strain pasta, place back in large pot, add beet sauce and toss until pasta is coated and bright red.

5. Swiss Chard: In a skillet over high heat, add Olive Oil and Swiss chard. Sautee until just wilted.

6. Plate: Make a nest of beet coated  pasta, top with swiss chard, grate parmesan over, and serve.


– Corinna Mantlo


Wash Day: Savon de Marseille

I do my best to keep everything in my life simple, natural and ecologically responsible. When it comes to wash day, the bulk of my laundry is done by hand in the sink and hung to air dry around the apartment.

I don’t believe in chemical detergents, or the wasteful plastic containers they come in, and even though my clothes get pretty caked with grease and grime from playing grease monkey in my spare time, I manage to get everything down to the grossest shop rag clean naturally and for less money than the store bought bottles by using clean, 100% natural soap, white vinegar and baking soda.

100% natural, Savon de Marseille (soap from the French region of Marseille) is made exclusively with a base of olive oil, copra, and palm oil. It’s PH neutral for extremely sensitive skin types, biodegradable and to be considered authentic ‘savon’, must contain 72% olive oil.  It costs about $7 for a big chunk and can be found at your local health food store or in a pinch, online HERE

Wash Day

Using a potato peeler, shave off a bit of soap (play with the proportions til it’s right for you. you can always add more). Add the shavings to a sink full of warm water and clothing.

Pure, natural soap can have a tendency to be a little ‘scummy’. If you find this to be the case, add a tablespoon of Baking Soda to the wash. This will help pull stains and cut through the soap scum.

White Vinegar (a cap full or two) can also be added or can be substituted for the Baking Soda. It will also cut through the soap scum, as well as getting odors out of clothing. I use one or the other or a combination of the two depending on the wash load contents, based on trial and error.

Set In Stains, Bleach Alternative

Make a thick paste using soap shavings, Baking Soda, White Vinegar and a little water. Spoon it on to the stain and allow to sit for a half hour or so. wash as usual.

The history of Savon de Marseille

In the Middle Ages big blocks of olive oil soap were first crafted in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille with olive oil from local groves, marine ash and sea salted water. The quality of these soaps were immediately famous throughout Europe and in 1688 French law declared that only soaps made according to certain ancient methods could bear the important mark Savon de Marseille. Now the most prized of all soaps in the world, our Savon de Marseille is still crafted by hand, in Marseille, just as it has been for hundreds of years. It takes the Maitre de Savon (soapmaster) two weeks to make Marseille Soap. The purest ingredients are heated for ten days in antique cauldrons. The soapmaster knows just the right moment to pour the mixture into open pits where it slowly hardens. Cut into cubes and stamped, without machines of any kind, the soaps are then set out to dry in the sun and cool winds. Savon de Marseille (“Marseille Soap”) is once again being rediscovered for its extraordinary purity, gentle skin care and ecological value. Savon de Marseille is recommended by dermatologists throughout the world for dry or sensitive skin, eczema and other ailments. In France it has been trusted for generations to cleanse everything from linens to little faces. Marseille Soap is totally biodegradable, requires little packaging and its manufacture is environmentally friendly. Authentic Marseille Soap is stamped with its weight in grams – a practice left over from years ago which allowed households to compare prices and plan their inventories. This gram weight is the weight of the soap “frais,” or fresh, in the factory. The soap will lose weight as it becomes drier and it will weigh less than the “fresh weight” when you receive it. No soap is “greener.” In France they are sold piled high on open-air market tables like produce, wrapped in craft paper. Your Savon de Marseille will be delivered without plastic packaging, carefully wrapped in paper stamped with the famous marks to prove its authenticity. – Savon de Marseille’s website

Happy Wash Day!

– Corinna