Roasted Winter Squash Puree

This month, I’m breaking down my favorite pumpkin pie recipe by its homemade components. Learn more at
When I planned my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon this month, I knew I wanted to share my favorite recipe for pumpkin pie. But I quickly realized I didn’t have enough space to print the full scratch-made version. Instead, I’m breaking down the pie recipe by its homemade components: spice mix, pumpkin puree, pie crust, and the final filling and baking.

There are several advantages to this—beyond staying within my word-count limit. Each component is presented as a standalone recipe, showing you how it can be made in advance and put to other uses. You can also choose how homemade you really want your finished pie to be. You could make your own spice mix but buy canned puree. Or you could mix and roll your own crust but use a store-bought spice blend that’s already in your cupboard.

If you do decide to go entirely homemade, spreading out these recipes over a few weeks will hopefully make the project seem less daunting. You’ll also get to enjoy bonus goodies, like roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin cookies, and pie crust snacks, along the way.
Learn to make Roasted Winter Squash Puree


Fresh Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Broccoli and cheese soup has long been a staple in my kitchen, but my recipe has evolved. Learn more at
Broccoli and cheese soup has long been a staple on my fall and winter menu, but my recipe has evolved over the years. The first version I learned from my mom; besides fresh broccoli and sharp Cheddar cheese, it was simply seasoned with a bit of oregano. Once I began making it in my own kitchen, I jazzed it up (as Mom would say) with extra-sharp Cheddar and a little mustard and lemon juice, and when I began to successfully grow broccoli in my own garden, I created a freezer-based version of the jazzed-up recipe. Once I fell for grilled broccoli, I began grilling instead of steam-blanching it for even more flavor in the soup pot.

My latest rendition of a broccoli and cheese soup, which I share this week in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon, returns to fresh, lightly sautéed vegetables for just a touch of the roasted flavor. This is the way I make the soup with the last of the season’s broccoli, and it’s my preferred recipe for fresh store-bought broccoli. I’ve made one more ingredient addition, potato, for a thicker, chowder-like texture.
Learn to make Fresh Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Kitchen Favorites: Ice Trays

I write about my favorite ice tray for freezing food in 1-ounce portions in my latest piece for The Spruce Eats. Learn more at
I’ve been writing a lot recently about some of my favorite tools for freezer storage: ice trays. As I mentioned last week in my Flathead Beacon column, ice trays that make 1-cup cubes have become my new favorite tools for freezing stocks. Earlier this year, I had the chance to test and review a collection of ice trays that produce cubes in a range of sizes. While most of my testing involved making ice for cocktails, I also used some of the trays to freeze pesto, sauces, and more for quick and easy storage.

One of these trays ended up being my favorite for 1-ounce portions, as I share in my latest piece for The Spruce Eats. The Everyday Ice Tray is part of W&P’s Peak collection, along with the Cup Cubes Freezer Tray that I’ve been using for stocks. I’m not a W&P affiliate and don’t earn a commission on sales; I just really like these trays for freezing food.
Learn about choosing and using ice trays

Homemade Vegetable Stock

When I make stock, it feels cost-free and effortless: I use whatever’s at hand, and it happens in the background of my day. Learn more at
Any chef will point to stock as an easy way to add flavor. I use stocks the most from fall to spring, as the base for soups, to flavor rice or beans, and to round out sauces. Although you can simply use water in many of these dishes for the same effect, swapping in a stock gives a jump-start to a tasty meal.

Although many recipes include a stock in the ingredient list, they don’t mention how easy it is to make, either on the spot or in a large batch to freeze so that you always have a bit on hand. Store-bought stocks and broths may seem easier, but they add to your grocery bill, tend to be loaded with salt and preservatives, and can be thick enough that instead of giving light undertones of flavor they overpower a dish. When I make stock, it feels cost-free and effortless: I use whatever’s at hand, rather than buying ingredients specifically for it, and it happens in the background of my day, simmering on the stove while I prepare a meal or check other tasks off my to-do list.

This week, in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon, I share a stock recipe that uses whole vegetables so that you can learn the technique for making stock. Once you get a sense of the balance, you can swap in other vegetables and scraps so that you don’t spend time or money buying ingredients.
Learn to make Homemade Vegetable Stock