Butternut Squash

Marti’s Corner – 86

Marti's Corner at City PreppingHi Everyone,


​**Have you seen the empty shelves ahead of Hurricane Ian?  Right BEFORE the disaster is NOT the time to prepare!!!   Get prepared before so you will be ready.  Here in So. Cal, we should be prepared for evacuation from a fire, or from effects of an earthquake.  You can find ideas and help from dozens of websites.  Here is one from Edison:  Prepared for Emergency | Your Family’s Safety | Safety | Home – SCE

​**​In Riverside County, the office of Emergency Management has a new and spiffy website  Riverside County VOAD | Emergency Management Department | Riverside County​ ​where you can find information about disaster preparedness, any active events happening, and about volunteering through VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters).  In fact, if you scroll down, you’ll see MY NAME!!!  (I’m part of the Board of Directors).  WooHoo!!!!

​All you who live out of state, get on your county website and see if you have anything comparable.​


*  How long will seeds last?  Do they “expire?”​ ​How Long Do Seeds Last and Are They Still Good?

*  Speaking of seeds, I bought a butternut squash the other day to make soup and I saved the seeds.  They are on a paper towel, drying on the counter.  After a few days, I’ll put them in an envelope and try planting them next year.  Every time I make butternut squash soup, people who have never had it are hesitant to try it.  But my family who was here last weekend pronounced it GOOD!  “I’m pleasantly surprised,” my granddaughter said.  Craig’s daughter, who is a vegetarian, wanted the recipe so she could take it to work for lunch.  Look for the recipe below.  The squash was under $2, and the cream cheese was about $1.50, so I fed the whole family for about $3.50.  Okay, I did serve it with toast…. but still.

*  Pretty sure there is a mouse/rat in the garden.  Here is how I’m trying to protect my tomatoes:Netting tomato

​We are still in the 90’s here in the IE (Inland Empire).  Hoping it will cool off soon.


I’m surprised at how often I cook potatoes.  I love to fry them up for breakfast.  I also include them when I make soup, or chicken pot pie.  I like potatoes as a side dish when I’m making a main dish with a sauce (especially a cream sauce!)  

You have so many options for potatoes.  

*  Instant potatoes.  Aren’t these great???  I have some “just add water” potato pearls that I really like.  The disadvantage is that they don’t store for a long time because the oils in the potatoes will go rancid.  You can get instant potatoes that are JUST potatoes.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has them for $48.65 a case.  Each can is about 22 servings, so a case would be about 132 servings or $.37 per serving.  If kept cool (or as cool as possible) they have a 30-year shelf life.

*  Canned potatoes – This is what I like to fry up for breakfast.  I “can” my own potatoes, but you can buy them of course.  They will NOT store for more than 1-2 years, and the cans I had that were 5+ years old were black inside.  It was disgusting!!!!  Lesson learned.  I also like to add these to soups and casseroles.

*  Dehydrated potatoes – You can get dehydrated shredded potatoes in the bulk section at Winco.  AugasonDehydrated Potatoes Farms has both potato shreds and sliced potatoes.  Amazon.com:   Augason Farms Dehydrated Potato Shreds 1 lb 7 oz ​This #10 can is $13.37.  It is 21 servings or about $.64 per serving.  You CAN dehydrate your own potatoes, but it involves some work.  You have to peel, slice or cube, and blanch (boil for 5-10 min) the potatoes before spreading them out to dry.  Just prop up your phone in front of the sink and watch a good movie while you work.  A 10-pound bag of potatoes is about $2.50, so it’s definitely worth it to do your own.  Costco has these really cool little milk cartons of dehydrated potatoes.  You fill them with boiling water, let sit, then dump them in the frying pan.  I took some camping with us and they worked like a charm! I found these on Amazon, but this is exactly what they have at Costco. ​  ​Idaho Spuds Real Potato, Gluten Free, Hashbrowns 4.2oz (24 Pack)

MISC PURCHASE: Drink Mix/Kool-Aid

If you have to drink water from your 55-gallon drums, you may want something to flavor that water!!!  You SHOULD have a filter of some kind because it is difficult to rotate that water every 6-12 months.  With the cost of water, I’m only rotating my water about every 5 years.  I keep the water on the north side of my house (more shade), and I keep tarps over it as well.  Still, I’m not looking forward to having to drink that water.  I have 6-8 cases of bottled water, and we rotate that.  BUT,  I keep 6-8 of those large containers of fruit punch or lemonade.  Pretty sure they will last for years!!!  Is this a necessity?  Well, not really.  But something sweet will taste so good and be comforting in a bad situation.  At Winco, you can get one for about $8, so get 2, and then pick up 1 each time you shop for the next few weeks.


Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash     The hardest part of this whole recipe is peeling the squash.  Ugh, it takes me about 45 min to do this.  I probably just need new, sharper, potato peelers.  Anyway, peel, scrape away the seeds (I saved them for planting), and cut into cubes.  Put in a pot.  Cover with water about 1 inch over the height of the squash.  

You need 1/2 onion diced.  If using fresh onion, then dice and sauté in some butter before adding it to the squash and water.  I always use dehydrated onion, and I don’t sauté, I just put in 2-3 TB.

To the water add:

1/2 tsp dried marjoram 1/4 tsp pepper 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper     We are NOT spicy at this house, so I probably use 1/2 that amount – just a smidge     Boil the squash until tender.  This probably takes 20-30 min. Then get out the blender.  With a slotted spoon, scoop out the squash and put it in the blender.  Add 8 oz. of cream cheese a little at a time.  Use the water from the squash to thin out the soup to the consistency you want.  You can return the soup to the pot if you need to heat it up a little.  Do NOT boil.

** You can use an immersion blender, but I’d drain off most of the water first.  Otherwise, it will be real watery and you want it thick and creamy.

Chicken Barley Chili

1 can Italian diced tomatoes (you can use regular diced tomatoes and add 1 tsp Italian seasoning) 1 jar Salsa, or 16 oz can tomato sauce 2 c. chicken broth 1 c. barley 3 c. water 1 TB chili powder 1 tsp cumin     Combine and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce to low heat.  Simmer for 20 min. 1 1/2 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces and boiled.  If you are using this option, go ahead and boil in the water with the Salsa.  You can use canned chicken.  This is what I would do in an emergency.  Add it AFTER the barley is tender at 20 min. 1 can of black beans drained and rinsed 1 can corn, drained chicken     Add to the soup and simmer for another 5-10 min. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips. Serve with cornbread.

Cook’s note:  If you want a thicker “chili”, don’t add all the water.  Wait and see how thick the chili is after everything is added.  You can always add water to thin it out.

Honey Buttermilk Cornbread

Ingredients: 1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted and cooled slightly) 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup yellow cornmeal (or polenta) 1/4 cup brown sugar (or white sugar) 1 teaspoon baking powder (optional, but it yields a fluffier cornbread) 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup buttermilk (shake before measuring) 1/4 cup honey 2 large eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and position a rack in the middle. Lightly grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet or 9- inch square baking dish with butter and place skillet/dish into the oven to heat up. (Alternatively for cast iron skillets: heat 1/2 cup of unmelted butter in your cast iron over stove top on medium heat until melted, turn heat off then allow the butter to cool slightly before adding to the batter.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder(If using), baking soda and salt.
  3. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, honey and eggs. Mix together well to combine, then add in the slightly cooled melted butter. Mix Again until ‘just’ combined (don’t overmix).
  4. Carefully remove your ‘hot’ pan or dish from the oven with oven mitts, and pour the batter into the hot skillet or dish. Listen to that sizzle! That’s what you want.
  5. Bake until the cornbread begins to brown on top and atoothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 20-23 min).  Allow to cool for 10 min before slicing and serving.

NOTES:  If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own! Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar (or fresh squeezed lemon juice) to1 cup of room temperature milk (full cream,2% or skim can be used). Mix together and let sit for 5 minutes. Done! Prepare your buttermilk as step one of this recipe to ensure it has soured enough before adding to your mixture.


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1 year ago

Matti, do you have these recipes in a pdf? So I can print them?

Diane P
Diane P
1 year ago

I love your short but informative and useful articles, the recipes are terrific. Good to hear what you do in the inland empire with the heat that you deal with. I’m in Southern California and we do get heat but not as much as you. Seeing what you do encourages me to try a little bit more in the gardening aspect. Especially potatoes and tomatoes! I’m in an apartment so there was a struggle with water storage but I am testing putting some of my water storage bottles in those black containers you see with the yellow lids at Home Depot. Also putting a tarp on top and will see if the heat penetrates those containers. I have a small patio but we do get the heat there at times. Thank you For taking the time to put this articles together for us. God Bless you!


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