Real Food
Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.

Lemon Blueberry Scones


Lemon Blueberry Scones

I woke up craving these this morning. It reminded me I should share the recipe. I made these a few months ago. I like scones, but find many recipes and store bought are so dry and taste like baking powder. I played around with ways to add a little moisture to the texture. A small amount of yogurt, honey instead of sugar, and far less baking powder than most scone recipes results in a moist, cakey mouth feel.

These are sweet, tart, moist and delicious. They are best served warm, right out of the oven, but can be warmed in the microwave for a few seconds if using at a later time.

Lemon Blueberry Scones

Yield: 8 scones


2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tbsp cold butter
1 egg
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
6 oz fresh blueberries
Zest of 2 lemons


1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tsp honey 



1. Preheat oven to 375º

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Combine dry ingredients in bowl.

4. Cut in cold butter with pastry cutter until crumbles are berry sized.

5. Whisk egg, yogurt and honey together.

Combine liquid and dry ingredients

6. Pour wet mixture into flour. Mix just until combined and rough dough is formed.

Combine liquid and dry ingredients

7. Gently stir in lemon zest and blueberries.

8. Turn dough out on piece of lightly floured parchment paper.

Pat dough to 1' thick

9. Gently pat dough out to about 1” thick.

10. With a glass dipped in flour or biscuit cutter cut into 8 pieces. Dough can be formed and pressed together using all the edge pieces.

Place on parchment lined baking sheet

11. Place scones on parchment lined baking sheet.

12. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and centers are done

13. While scones bake make icing

Make icing

14. Combine powdered sugar, honey, lemon juice and yogurt in a small bowl with a fork until smooth. If icing is too thick add a bit more lemon juice.

15. Cool scones several minutes on a wire rack

16. Place parchment lined baking sheet underneath rack

Drizzle icing over scones

17. Drizzle icing over scones. Garnish with more lemon zest

Best served warm. Yum!

Photos and recipe by Stephanie Bishop

Stephanie Bishop is an award-winning floral designer, cook, wedding and events planner, gardener and author in Central Wisconsin. Follow her aBetter Path Wisconsin, where she connects like-minded individuals about environmental, social and civil interests, and promotes green, healthy, sustainable living. View thousands of her food, floral and animal images on her Facebook page at Stephanie Bee and browse floral design ideas at Bishop Wedding & Floral Art. Read all of Stephanie’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Easy Peanut Butter Goat-Milk Fudge


Making fudge is only as hard as you make it. This simple recipe is pretty much screw up free. Your arm will get a little tired during the stirring phase. So, I suggest having a team mate to tag in and out with. If you must do it yourself you can do that too, I have with no problems.



  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups goat milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup real butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips


  • 9-inch square pan
  • wisk or rubber spatula
  • sauce pan
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • thermometer



  1. Add milk to the sauce pan and beat in the sugar.
  2. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring constantly to prevent scalding, and cook until the mixture becomes dark and thick (30-45 minutes).
  3. Check the center of the mixture with the thermometer until it reads 245 degrees F (118 degrees C).
  4. Stir in peanut butter, butter, and the vanilla as soon as it reaches temperature. Continue to stir till everything is all mixed and melted together.
  5. The color will become uniformed and the mixture will become smooth and shiny; pour mixture into a greased 9-inch pan or line with wax paper.
  6. Top with the walnuts, chocolate chips, peanuts, or your choice of toppings.
  7. Allow the fudge to cool to room temperature then cut to size.


Now you have wonderful delicious goat milk fudge! Other optional toppings include: Mini marshmallows, butterscotch chips, mint chip, or even M&Ms. 

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Website, and Twitter.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Zucchini and Summer Squash Overload Recipe Rescue: Fritters with Ranch Dressing

Inn Serendipity Zucchini Summer Squash Fritters

As September rolls in, are you still finding zucchinis or summer squash buried in your garden, overgrown and the size of pumpkins? At Inn Serendipity Farm and Bed & Breakfast, this harvest abundance inspires our zucchini fritters, our favorite late summer recipe that uses nine hearty cups of shredded summer squash or zucchini. Our B&B guests love them.

The key here is that unlike some of our other recipes featured in our Farmstead Chef cookbook (like Zucchini Feta Savory Pancakes), this Zucchini Fritters recipe uses up some of the zucchini or summer squash that might not be the best on the outside or have too many seeds on the inside that have to be cut away and discarded. This potluck-friendly savory dish, also loved by kids, makes an easy supper, especially when paired with our homemade ranch dip sauce. 

An important first step when making these fritters is to sprinkle the shredded summer squash and zucchini with salt and let it sit for at least an hour to pull out some of the water in the zucchini or summer squash, otherwise your fritters will have a less appetizing mushy texture.

Any summer squash or zucchini varietal works well in this recipe. We use any size patty pan, crooked neck and eight-ball summer squash, which by this time of year often hide out under big leaves and elude our picking, growing to pumpkin-sized balls or other shapes. Cut out any seeds and peel the squash if the skin is on the tougher side, often common later in the summer.

We’re Wisconsin farmers, so we love our cheeses, an important ingredient for this recipe. We prefer a flavorful, harder cheese such as the award-winning Grand Cru made in our hometown of Monroe, Wisconsin by Roth Cheese. However, any harder cheeses will work well in this recipe, should you make your own.

The recipe may seem like it makes a lot, but one batch serves as a main supper meal for my family of three. If you have a larger family or some friends over, it’s best to double the recipe. Did I just give you a reason to use eighteen cups of zucchini for a double batch? You hit the harvest jackpot indeed.

Still have a zucchini overload, even after you make these fritters? Keep shredding and pack the summer squash or zucchini into gallon freezer bags in nine-cup portions to enjoy this recipe all winter long. When you’re ready to make the fritters, defrost the zucchini then add the salt, making sure to squeeze as much of the water out as possible before using it in the recipe.

Late Summer Squash Fritters

Yield:  About 4 dozen


  • 9 cups shredded summer squash or zucchini
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1-1/2 cups grated cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. Place shredded summer squash or zucchini in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Massage the salt into the summer squash or zucchini and let sit at least an hour to draw the water out.
  3. Squeeze small handfuls of the summer squash or zucchini to drain the water and place squeezed summer squash or zucchini in a fresh large bowl.
  4. Lightly beat eggs and add to summer squash or zucchini.
  5. Add in bread crumbs, cheese, garlic and pepper and mix thoroughly with clean hands.
  6. Take one tablespoon of summer squash or zucchini mixture and form into a two-inch long log and line these up on greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes or until firm enough to pick up and have a golden brown color.
  8. Flip fitters for the last 10 minutes of baking.
  9. Serve hot with Ranch Dressing dipping sauce (recipe below from Farmstead Chef cookbook).

Ranch Dressing

From Farmstead Chef Cookbook

Yield:  About 1-1/2 cups


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2  tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp vinegar (we use rice vinegar)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper


  1. Hand whisk all ingredients until well blended. 
  2. Cover and refrigerate, ideally overnight, before serving.

Lisa Kivirist, with her husband, John D. Ivanko, a photographer and drone pilot, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef cookbook along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by renewable energy. Kivirist also authored Soil Sisters. As a writer, Kivirist contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, Living with Renewable Energy Systems: Wind and Solar and 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam and millions of ladybugs.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

5-Minute Salsa

5 Minute Salsa

Impress your guests with this quick and easy restaurant style salsa! You won’t believe simple this is to make or how delicious. It’s ready in about 5 minutes! All you will need is a knife and a blender or food processor. It’s bright and fresh with just a little heat. Perfect for dipping. 


1 jalapeno halved and seeded (use half or less if you don’t like a little heat or add more if you do)
7-8 plum type tomatoes washed and halved
¼ cup cilantro
4 garlic cloves (or to taste)
Juice from ½ lime
½ onion coarsely chopped
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp sugar 


1. Wash tomatoes, pepper and herbs.

2. Slice tomatoes in half, coarsely chop onions.

3. Put everything in blender or food processor. Process until smooth.

4. Pour in a bowl. Let salsa rest for several minutes. If tomatoes are juicy, some water may separate out. Spoon out water, stir and transfer to a serving bowl.

5. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

Serve with chips or your favorite Mexican dishes. Muy bueno! Can be stored in a sealed container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.



Tips on Freezing the Harvest

blancher with insert 

Blanching in a pot with a removable insert makes the freezing process faster and more energy-efficient.

It’s that time of year—the garden is bulging with fresh produce and you’re spending lots of time in a steaming kitchen preserving it all. I find freezing preferable to canning for a number of reasons. For one, when it’s time to prepare a meal with my preserved garden goodness, frozen foods tend to be brighter, fresher, and all-around tastier. And relatively speaking, it’s fast and easy. Over the years, I’ve come up with a few tips to make freezing even easier. Use these freezing hacks to help the environment, too.

Time Savers

Use an index card to make a cheat sheet of blanching times for the vegetables you typically freeze, remembering that chilling time needs to be at least as long. Keep your cheat sheet in an easy-to-reach spot in the kitchen so all you have to do is open a drawer or cabinet and pull it out when you’re ready to use it. For extra durability, laminate your card.

When blanching, use a blancher or other deep pot with a lid and steamer or pasta insert. Lifting the veggies out instead of chasing them around with a slotted spoon or tongs is quicker and less messy. You won’t need to remove the pot from the burner so water stays hot for the next batch.

Before placing blanched vegetables in their ice bath, run cold tap water over them for just a few seconds while they’re still in the blanching basket. The quick rinse cools them just enough to keep the chilling water icy cold. (Before blanching, I place a colander in a sink bowl filled with ice water so I’m all ready to go. I use my second sink bowl for the quick rinse.)

Consider freezing prepared dishes for food preparation ease later. It’s super easy to make a double batch when you’re preparing a meal. Eat half and freeze half. Soups, some casseroles, and quick breads are excellent choices for this method. I like to use glass containers that come with their own lids. They’re both freezer and oven safe, so you can reheat in the same dish—no pots to clean. Just be sure to thaw before heating.

Water Saver

Well before you’re ready for a day of freezing, fill used plastic bottles with water and freeze, leaving room for expansion. One-half to one-liter sizes work best. Use these instead of ice cubes to keep your chilling water cold. You’re recycling as well as saving water. Refreeze to use again on your next freezing day. Or put them in your cooler next time you have a picnic.

Quality Savers

Air is the enemy of freezing. There’s no better way to eliminate air than a vacuum sealer. Why did I wait so long to get one?

Ice crystals are frozen foods’ other enemy. For top quality, get rid of as much moisture as possible. Once blanched vegetables chill, lift colander from the ice bath to let food drain. To further enhance quality, pour drained vegetables on a clean, absorbent towel, lay another towel on top and gently press to soak up as much remaining moisture as you can before placing food in freezer containers. For greens, use your hands to squeeze out water.

stacked food saver bags

Vacuum sealed bags can stand side by side or stack in the freezer.

Space Saver

Once I finally discovered vacuum sealing, I was amazed at how much more space my freezer had. Now, I can freeze even more great-tasting vegetables. The trick is to gently press the filled bag as flat as possible while sealing to make packages more compact and stackable.

I’ve found only one challenge to vacuum sealing. The machine pulls moisture to the top of the freezer bag as it seals. That’s all good except that sometimes the liquid prevents a good seal. To solve that problem and eliminate messiness, I fold the top of the bag a couple of times, cinch with binder clips, and place in the freezer long enough for food to harden before sealing—no more than a day. I lay bags as flat as possible for max space saving.

Energy Saver

You don’t have to empty your blanching water and start fresh with every batch of vegetables. I’ve learned to start with the least odiferous food and work my way to the strongest, reusing the same water. This method also reduces utility bills, saves water, and saves time waiting for fresh water to boil. It keeps your kitchen a little cooler, too).

General Tips

Some foods simply don’t need blanching. You may already know there’s no need to blanch most fruit, rhubarb, shredded zucchini, chopped onions, and sliced bell peppers, but did you know you can also freeze whole, unpeeled tomatoes (both regular and cherry)? With a resealable freezer bag, you can pop tomatoes in as they ripen, then remove only as many as you need. It’s an easy solution to that end-of-summer tomato glut. They’ll taste great in sauces, and the skins easily slip off as tomatoes thaw.

To keep berries, onions, and peppers from freezing into a solid mass, spread them onto a parchment-lined baking pan just long enough for the pieces to freeze individually—no more than a day. Then place them in resealable freezer bags. You can take out as much as you need and reseal for the next time.

Berries can be frozen unsweetened. But I’ve found that adding sugar to strawberries before freezing enhances both flavor and quality. The same applies to some other fruits, like peaches.

For details on proper freezing techniques, refer to the National Center for Home Food Preservation or Clemson’s College of Agriculture.

Carole Coates is a gardener and food preservationist, family archivist, essayist, poet, photographer, modern homesteader. You can follow her Mother Earth News blog posts here. You can also find Carole at Living On the Diagonal where she shares her take on life, including modern homesteading, food preparation and preservation, and travel as well random thoughts and reflections, personal essays, poetry, and photography.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Roasting Tomatoes for Sauce

Lush Tomatoes Ready for Roasting

After my last blog, one of my editor friends at Mother Earth News asked if I ever roasted my tomatoes. I had to admit that I’d never thought of doing so other than throwing some in with my other roasted veggies that we occasionally eat for dinner. Of course, this prompted a stroll through the Internet.

I found a great many accolades about this method of processing, most alluding to some of my favorite Italian dishes. I decided to play a little. It’s easy to shift into play mode when you’re at the end of your wits and tomato season—having already processed over 350 pounds of the juicy gems.

As usual, I took what I liked from each of the sites calling my name and devised a method that works for me. Above is the photo of one version that I’ve processed (before drizzling the olive oil—a must-do if you don’t want to lose your bounty to being stuck to the paper). This batch included a variety of tomatoes, ripened orange bell peppers, cloves of garlic, and freshly picked basil and oregano leaves.

It’s important to either place like-sized tomatoes or to chop them into similar sizes when grouping them on a cookie sheet. Different sizes will roast for variable amounts of time. After washing and stemming, small cherry or pear tomatoes can be simply sliced in half and cook much more quickly than their larger cousins due to having less moisture-retaining flesh. Larger tomatoes need to be sliced thickly (my preference) or quartered and cored.

Roasted Caramelized Tomatoes

I like to give my parchment paper (lining the cookie sheet) a light brushing with olive oil before placing the tomatoes. While I haven’t had any problem with herb leaves, garlic cloves, or pepper slices overlapping my tomatoes a little, you definitely don’t want your tomatoes piled on each other. They can touch but try to keep the overlapping to a minimum.

Use a cookie sheet or pan with an edge on it because you’re going to liberally drizzle olive oil over the top of the veggies. The tomatoes will also bleed some of their moisture onto the surface as they cook down. Without a high enough edge, that liquid will end up all over the bottom of your oven.

I cook mine in the oven for 3-4 hours at 275 degrees then take out the smaller ones that have already caramelized and turn up the temperature to 325 degrees for the larger tomatoes. Once I deem them finished, I take the trays out of the oven and let them cool (see 2nd photo, above). Then they slip off the parchment and into my blender or food processor to become the lovely saucy paste you see in the last photo (below).

The smell as they are roasting is heavenly and easily softens the blow of heating the house when the summer sun is already doing a more than adequate job of that. I love that the oven is doing the bulk of the work for me rather than slaving over a hot stove while creating my canned goods. The biggest drawback is the loss in quantity. The three trays of lush tomatoes (about 15 pounds) yielded just two partially filled quart bags for freezing. Still… I will keep this method in my repertoire for something different. The rich roasted taste is definitely unlike that of my other methods.

Roasted Tomato Sauce for Freezing

Blythe Pelham is an artist that aims to enable others to find their grounding through energy work. She is in the midst of writing a cookbook and will occasionally share bits in her blogging here. She writes, gardens and cooks in Ohio. Find her online at Humings and Being Blythe, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Mushroom Stuffed Squash

Mushroom Stuffed Squash

As the light changes, the leaves start to turn and the air hints at a touch of autumn, it’s time to harvest the bounty of the garden. Squashes are prolific producers yielding a generous crop that can be stored for use during the winter months and prepared many different ways. In summer they go on the grill, shredded into a recipe or chopped into a salad. I love them stuffed and baked especially on cool autumn days when warmth from the oven is a welcome thing. I stumbled by accident on a type of squash that can fit in either of these categories.

Each year I experiment with different types and plant favorites. I love acorn squash. I ordered what was supposed to be acorn squash. They thrived and started climbing the bean trellis. When the first fruits appeared I had a mystery in the garden. These were not acorn. They resembled pumpkins. I posted pictures online asking if anyone knew what they were. Many thought they were round zucchini. I cut one open thinking I would shred it up for a recipe. Not zucchini. Firm, hard and crisp, slightly sweet-some kind of squash.

I scanned my seed catalogs to see if I could identify. I think I grew ‘Tatuma’ which is both a summer and winter squash if left on the vine. Picked small it is similar to zucchini. If left to ripen it will change to a golden color.  It’s an heirloom popular in Latin dishes.

In any case, I had some cut squash to use so I made a mushroom stuffed Tatuma and sharing the recipe below.

This recipe is a variation on a basic stuffing recipe my mother, grandmothers and great grandmothers taught me as a child. It wasn’t written down. It is more about eyeballing the texture and tasting than measuring. I always wanted to help by tasting because I love stuffing. I’ve included approximate measurements for those who prefer a more exact recipe. The recipe can be altered to use any kind of herbs, grains, bread, croutons, nuts, meats or spices. I used mushrooms because I had them in my fridge. This makes 2-4 servings. 


2 squash cut in half and seeded
Stale, good bread to make 2-3 cups croutons* (See recipe below or sub store bought)
1 onion chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms (I used baby portabella)
3-4 garlic cloves chopped
1 stalk celery (you can also add carrot for color and texture)
½ cup chopped herbs (I used parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme from the garden)
6 tbsp (or more) butter
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
¼ cup crumbled Parmesan
½ to 1 cup broth or stock (vegetable, chicken, turkey, beef-I used vegetable)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic salt (*optional)


Brush with olive oil

Pre-bake Squash 

1. Preheat oven to 350º

2. Cut squashes in half, seed

3. Place on baking sheet

4. Brush with olive oil

5. Season with salt & pepper or garlic salt and pepper

6. Bake 30 minutes or until flesh is softened. Remove from oven

Prepare croutons

Prepare croutons: 

1. Slice bread into 1 inch squares

2. Place on ungreased baking sheet

3. Toast with squash on another rack until brown and crunchy turning if needed

Chop vegetables


1. Finely chop onion, celery, garlic and mushrooms

2. Sautee over medium heat in 2-3 tablespoons butter until softened and just starting to caramelize

3. Season with salt and pepper to taste

4. Chop herbs

5. In a bowl, combine croutons, vegetables, Parmesan, bread crumbs and herbs

6. Heat ½ C broth and 3 T butter until melted

7. Pour broth & butter over croutons, stir to combine until just moistened *You don’t want to make paste, just to combine and moisten. Mixture should hold together but croutons still recognizable. If too dry, add more broth and butter.

8. Spoon stuffing into squash

9. Top with more melted butter if desired

10. Bake another 30 minutes or until squash if soft, stuffing is heated through and browned on top

For myself I served this as a main dish. Can be served as a side, ½ squash per person. Extra stuffing can be baked in a buttered baking dish along with squashes. For vegan, omit butter & cheese, sub additional vegetable broth and olive oil. Any type of squash can be used with this recipe. Stuffing can also be used to stuff fowl, meat or fish.

Stephanie Bishop is an award-winning floral designer, wedding and events planner, gardener, cook and author in Central Wisconsin. Follow her at Better Path Wisconsinwhere she connects like-minded individuals about environmental, social and civil interests, and promotes green, healthy, sustainable living. View thousands of her food, floral and animal images on her Facebook page at Stephanie Bee and browse floral design ideas at Bishop Wedding & Floral ArtRead all of Stephanie’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

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