Wednesday, December 14, 2016

{Foodie Post No.7} Salsa Verde

It took something like 24 batches in my two cup food processor, if you have a bigger one, I recommend using it because I got lazy and my salsa ended up quite a bit chunkier than true Salsa Verde should be.

It was an extremely full pot!

Salsa Verde

  • 24 cups green tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 4 colored bell peppers, chopped
  • 6+ jalapenos, chopped 
  • 6 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 heads of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper *optional
Simmer salsa on low/med heat for 30 minutes. Stir well.
Adjust salsa to taste.
Once the salsa is done, ladle into prepared jars. 
Wipe rims and place lids and rings on. 
Process for 20 minutes in water bath. Remove from water and allow to cool completely before removing rings.
Yield: 8 quarts

We have used this salsa on chips and enchiladas so far, I feel like it is slightly bland and a little too acidic but the ingredient base is good, I just needed to do more adjusting than I did for my taste preferences but I had run out of onions, garlic, and cilantro; and wanted to have some cumin left! :P

{Foodie Post No.6} Green Tomato Spiced Chutney

This recipe originally started with these ingredients:

By the time I was finished, I had added a jalapeno and black pepper

Zested the lemon peel and grated the ginger



finished product

Green Tomato Spiced Chutney

  • 4 lbs green tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate over night or up to 24 hours.
Transfer to a large pot and heat on the stove. Bring to a simmer and hold for about half an hour, enough time for the flavors to meld and the tomatoes to soften slightly.
Remove the cinnamon stick.
Fill clean sterilized canning jars. Clean rims, place lids on and screw down bands. Process in a water bath for 20 minutes. Remove from the bath and allow to cool and seal before removing bands. 

Many people don't trust a water bath to properly preserve tomato based foods, you can opt to freeze this instead, I read some about using a pressure canner but there seems to be evidence that you would reduce your chutney to mush if you tried that route. My family has always trusted the water bath method and have yet to find it be problematic. 

I wasn't very careful in accurately weighing or measuring the tomatoes, or anything else to be honest, I just did it by taste; hence the addition of black pepper and jalapeños.

This made 5 pints (configured as 4 pints and 2 half pints if you noticed in the picture).

Next up will be Salsa Verde!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Green Tomatoes

This will be a series, short and flavorful, about how I used up 72 green tomatoes.
I chose to make some Jam, which I turned into Chutney as I realized pectin would be a necessity I didn't have in tomato jam making, Salsa Verde, and Sweet & Spicy Pickle Wedges.

 You may remember my mention in my  Cranberry Jalapeno Jam post I mentioned that my tomato plant had gone unwatered one too many times and was just about dead. Well, God had other plans for that plant apparently, as I continued to be negligent on the watering front He made up for it by sending loads of rain. That nearly dead, dried out twig of a plant turned into this by the end of summer:
the pot this plant is in is actually
a few steps down the staircase now hidden by the plant
some of the tendrils reaching the bottom of the steps
the 72 green tomatoes awaiting their destiny

This is one of the very few tomatoes to have fully ripened and reached its fullest potential: sliced for hamburgers and leftovers salted for pure tomato devouring 
And as you can see in the last picture it was painful to chop up such beautiful meaty potential but as Jerusha kept trying to eat them saying "appy appy" (mistaking them for apples, in case you are unused to deciphering toddler lingo) I wasted no time trying to let them ripen, plus it has been my experience in tomatoes that they don't reach perfection anyways if picked green and ripened afterwards; they end up a grainy let down.
the one last tomato that was nearly
ready for picking when the frost arrived

This was a Beefsteak tomato plant and you can be sure I will grow another (or maybe more than one!) next year as they are amazingly meaty, flavorful and large but not cracking and rotten large.

Recipe's will be posted following this!

Family Pictures & Thanksgiving Condensed

Before things turned miserably cold (which I'll admit, we did have a nice extended warm fall so I have no reason to whine) my sister Shelby did a photo shoot for us. So, it's old news, but I wanted to share a few of the pictures. 

Since then, Thanksgiving has come and gone. It was a lovely few days of family and feasting, as it always is. It is the highlight of my year; working side by side with mom and siblings fixing countless cookies, candies, pies, and dishes. (Note: I lie. We keep count, very close and accurately;)) For me Thanksgiving isn't simply comprised of one o'clock dinner on the third Thursday in November, no, Thanksgiving, for me, starts when we begin fixing the foods and continues on past Thursday into Friday and often longer, as my family gathers again and again to eat left overs, play games, and watch movies; holding onto the celebration as long as we can.
This year there was some especially exciting news announced on Thanksgiving and that was the new sibling my mom is expecting. She's since had some complications in the pregnancy and although this baby may reach heaven before we've met, it is still a blessing worth noting and giving thanks for.
*EDIT* I edit to acknowledge the fact that this sibling has gone on to heaven before us. We miss it and look forward to meeting it someday in paradise <3

Soon, I promise, I will post how I used the 72 green tomatoes I picked from my plant after we had our first hard frost.
Until then, I hope you all stay warm and enjoy each day you're given.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Taking Time

One of my very favorite things these days:
Walking at a toddlers pace.
I hold the tips of Jerushas fingers, guiding her as we go. Step by step. Slowly. With many near topples.
My heart races as I think of making it across the parking lot without inconveniencing someone trying to drive through it. Races as I think of getting to the car to leave, to run the next errand, to move, move, move. But then I can physically feel my heart pace, blood pressure, and racing mindset slow. I breath deeply and recall the time.  The time is walking with my toddler and it is one of my most favorite times in the world. I may have more children and get to walk this slow pace year after year but I will never have Jerusha be eighteen months, and sixteen days old, holding my hand, and walking through Hobby Lobby again.
The thought continues as we go her pace up and down the stairs to do laundry. Again while I wash dished waiting for her to slowly rinse. It carries on throughout my days, and although sometimes I simply must hurry as things need done, I'm now on the look out for times I can stop, step back, and join Jerusha's beautiful pace.
So today I'm going to walk at the pace of a toddler and take time to slow down and notice the little things. ❤️
Jerusha testing out a chair at the beginning of out Hobby Lobby excursion. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

{Foodie Post No. 5} Pumpkin Spice Scones

Today I had a hankering for scones.
Probably because we're having some nasty rainy, miserable cold weather and making scones meant running the oven (HEAT) and I'd of course have to have a nice hot cup of coffee or tea with them.
I headed to the kitchen and turned the oven on to 350 then poked around my fridge to see what sort of scones to make.
I found this yogurt that I'd gotten for 49 cents and turned out to be kind of nasty.
Normally I would use heavy whipping cream in scones but I know my mother-in-law uses yogurt and her's always turn out yummy. (NOTE: this yogurt does not have the fruit mixed in, I just used the unsweetened Greek yogurt part in the recipe to come;))
I also had a mostly used up can of pumpkin in the fridge so that settled it; Pumpkin Spice Scones.
I grabbed several spices from the cubbard. 
Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, black pepper, chili powder, and vanilla. I know a couple of those seem odd but trust me, they work. Branch out and be more adventurous with your spices. There are some amazing combinations out there to discover!
I used I used about 2 cups of flour, 2 Tbsp of sugar, a sprinkling of all the spices (heavier on the cinnamon), and about 1/2 of Baking Powder but between you and me, I actually didn't bother measuring. 
Next was the 1/4ish cup of yogurt from the yogurt cup (minus a few bites I saved for my daughter who was begging for it) and the 2 or 3 Tbsp of Pumpkin Purée. I also splashed some milk in which ended up being too much so I had to add a little more flour..

 Mini chocolate chips. I would've preferred white chocolate I think but miniature semi sweet is what I had.
 Turned it out on some flour and tried to carefully shape it.. It was still a little sticky for "carefully shaping".
 Once I got it in the general shape of a circle I floured and knife and cut it into baby wedges. (Re flouring the knife between cuts).
Next it was onto the pan and into the oven; but not before a dollop of butter and generous sprinkling of sugar. Generally I'd use whipping cream on the tops but again, I don't have any.

I set the timer for 8 minutes and quickly washed up my dishes
 Obviously I had more dishes to do than just the ones created by operation scones ;)

 The timer went off and I added 4 minutes because they were still looking pretty doughy.
While waiting I whipped up some glaze. Powdered sugar, cinnamon, a little chili powder for color, and maple extract.
 Then I accidentally added too much milk so had to add twice as much powdered sugar; turned out perfect.
 Waiting on the scones to cool a bit...
 Plated and trying to get a nice picture..
"Mommy, you're done." She wasn't quite so eloquent but I knew that's what she meant ;)
We then tried about a million selfie attempts but Jerusha was extremely uncooperative. 

Eventually we gave up and dug in. This is the look of a mommy giving up on selfies. 

The scones were yummy but pretty cakey. 

Pumpkin Spice Scones
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
2 Tbsp Sugar
Generous dash of Cinnamon
Dash of Nutmeg
Dash of Ginger
Dash of Black Pepper
Dash of Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Vanilla Exteact 

Sift together. 

3 Tbsp Pumpkin Purée
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
Splash of Milk
2 Tbsp chocolate, or white chocolate chips or pieces 

Gently mix and pat into disc.cut into desired amount of wedges. 
Transfer to pan. 
Dot with butter or brush with cream. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 12 minutes. 

3/4 cup Powdered Sugar
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
Sprinkle of Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Maple Extract
A little bit of Milk
Wisk into a glaze and drizzle over scones 

Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee, or tea!