Thursday, August 30, 2012

Salsa Salsa Salsa!!!

I promised I'd be back soon with the salsa "recipe" we used while we canned about 15 quarts of salsa and I'm here.  Now please note that I used the word "recipe" in quotes for a reason, I think the more appropriate terminology would be this is the "Salsa Go-By".   I cannot say for sure on the exact measurements because every batch was a bit different and everybody likes their salsa different.  You have to make yours the way you like so let's just get started okay??!!

First things first, here is the printable for the recipe   Oh and you'll need about 40 lbs of tomatoes, give or take.  :0)  I think we're overachievers in this house, don't you??

Some of the items you'll need pictured above but you'll need all of this for each batch:
About 15 medium tomatoes, peeled & cored
6 green onions, sliced
2 jalapeƱo peppers, diced
1 serrano pepper, diced (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp- 2 Tbsp lime juice
4-6 sloshes Tabasco sauce
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp salt
1/2 large onion, diced
1-2 Tbsp fajita seasoning
Two 8 oz cans Ro*Tel tomato sauce
10 oz can Ro*Tel tomatoes

This is some amazing stuff I've never seen or used before and it's awesomesauce!
Like literally.....Awesome Sauce!

I just included this so you would know this is where we jumped ship from the original recipe and started tweaking it a bit.

Let's get started on those tomatoes.

Just use that apple corer to core them.

Find someone who loves salsa and you dearly to start peeling the tomatoes.
Note: you can do the blanch method but we just peeled.

and peeled.

While someone else is peeling you can toss the green onions, jalapeƱos, Serrano, garlic, lime juice, Tabasco, cilantro, salt, onion, fajita seasoning into the food processor and grind it up really good

Dump it into the big pot on the stove and add in the vinegar, Ro*Tel sauce and tomatoes and start warming up the mixture slowly.

Now you can start chopping up those tomatoes and add those to the pot.
We like thin salsa so we processed them pretty fine.

Here the salsa is all mixed up and ready to cook.

It's cooking away on the stove: you need to bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  You can skim the foam if you need to but we didn't have any foam on the salsa, just the regular tomatoes.

After it cooks you are going to ladle it into HOT jars (we used quart jars) leaving a 1/2" headspace.
Put your warm lids and rings on the jars fingertip tight.

Don't touch the lids. This is the sanitary portion of the process.

I used tongs but there are also little canning magnetic gadgets that you can use.

Pop those in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes.
Then remove to rest on a clean towel on the counter for 24 hours.
Check seals after 24 hours.   
Label the jars with the date and if the salsa is mild, medium or hot.

Repeat the process until you are all done, ingredient wise or tired wise.
By the way, the tired will come long before you run out of ingredients. Oh and your kitchen will be hot and messy!! Just deal with it and remember you grandmother probably didn't even have air conditioning in the house when she was canning her summer stock!!! 

Disclaimer: please don't bother to email me or comment that this is quite possibly the worst excuse for a canning tutorial you've ever seen.  It's not a canning tutorial, I am not nor will I ever profess to be an awesome canner!!  I can only strive to be half as good as my grandmother and mama, my husbands grandmother and mother and other many more talented women and men out there.  I simply wished to share with you the basic recipe for our salsa.  PLEASE research proper canning methods and techniques.   It's not difficult but there are important guidelines to follow for proper storage of food.

But most of all I want to tell you, find a canning buddy, turn on some music, have fun and preserve the bounty of produce that we are fortunate enough to have in this country.   Buy your produce from your local farmers, farmers market, co-op, neighbor or grow your own or heck...even the grocery or warehouse store.   You know what your family is eating and believe me, there is nothing like fresh canned tomatoes in January!!!   
We did about 8 quarts of fresh tomatoes and this is the Ball recipe we used for those.

This Saturday we are picking up 24 lbs. of peaches from the co-op.   It's going to be peaches and peach jelly this weekend!!!     Did your grandparents say they were canning or "putting up".  I always heard "We put up 20 quarts of green beans this week".  You know life and language was so much less complicated back then.  What is your favorite thing to can or eat?

Mine is plum jelly.  My mom and the neighbors would gather the little red plums from the trees in our backyard and make Red Plum Jelly.  I cannot begin to explain to you how the mere sight or taste of that takes me back to being a little girl on Bichon Lane.   ahhhh....memories!!!

Peace, Love & "Put Up" Yummies!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tousled Tuesdays

Well Peeps, we lived through Monday!!   Yep I was an unmotivated slob but I did finally manage to get it in gear yesterday and get the laundry finished and the house cleaned.  Oh and I showered too.   Big day I tell ya big day!!!

Anywho I've been toying with ideas to make me do my posts more regularly and I've decided to do one day a week (Tuesday) with a mish mosh of things that I feel are worthy of sharing but don't need a full blog post.  You know mostly photos and strange activity of the week.  I figure I'll get the chance to bore you to death with my rather non-exciting life details and some food pictures of course!  Sure seems like you guys are getting the short end of this stick on this one but bear with me and let me know how you feel about the whole disaster!!

Let's roll:

After 3 3/4 years I FINALLY got curtains in our breakfast area.
Burlap Love!!!  Do you know how hard it is to find tension rods that will cover about 81 inches??
Well if you need them, Amazon saves the day again.

I made a strawberry pie cookie pizza.
It was pretty yummy indeed.

I have so much guacamole in this house, my toast is thanking me every single morning!!!
We also have these amazing new glass storage bowls from ZipLoc and man they keep my guacamole so fresh it's crazy!!!   Seriously this guacamole is about a week old in this picture!!! Sometimes my husband gets on strange kicks about odd things and plastic bowls are his new nemesis.  I have to say so far other than the cost the guacamole and I are loving them.

Back in May we moved our bedding, my beloved and cherished Pottery Barn bedding,  down to the condo (because it matched the room down there and we couldn't find anything else that did) so I've been hunting and thinking and shopping and cussing over new bedding for our room since then.  I'm finally done and I think it was worth the wait.

I THINK this is all the places I accumulated the pieces:
Target, Steinmart, Ikea, Home Goods, and my grandmother.
Inspiration from Pinterest of course.

side note:  I sprayed our old lamps yellow but I don't like the color so as soon as the wind ceases gale force I'm going to respray them with a copper matte metallic.  It seems that I've been banned from using spray paint in the garage. The new burlap shades are also from Tarjay.

Mutant Shrimp!!!
No actually this is before the poor things were doused with way too much Cajun Butter and seasonings then broiled in the oven.  BBQ shrimp anyone??!!!
We also had shrimp & grits. Some days it pays to let the hubster in the kitchen with me.

40 lbs. of tomatoes. ay yah yah

A LARGE mess in my kitchen after basket pick up.
One regular basket, one guacamole pack add on and two cases of tomatoes.
It was the first time I've had to have help picking up the produce.

Only a small fraction of the salsa we canned from those 40 lbs. of tomatoes.
We also canned some regular tomatoes but not nearly as much as salsa.  We like salsa....A LOT!!!!
Fair warning, this Saturday we ordered peaches!

This lovely little download was free yesterday (sadly it's back to regular price today).  I made the white chocolate mocha this morning. I only have one thing to say.....I'm in trouble!! Tomorrow it's gonna be Pumpkin Spice Latte!!!  Thank the stars in heaven the Lemon Pound Cake recipe is not in this book!  

We finally drank enough beer (yeah tough job right??) to finish the Abogg's coffee table.
It was an old crate that the Hubster brought back from NC from his moms house.  I just couldn't toss it because I knew it would make something cool.  Abogg needed a coffee table and thus we've been drinking beer in hopes to finish this before school.   We did it!!!  There's an epoxy finish on the caps just like the restaurant tables.   I'm sure Baylor will be proud we used yellow caps to make the BU but probably not so let's not tell them.  And you friends of the Abogg.....please don't sit on the coffee table. I think we're gonna need to brace that lid, apparently epoxy gets really heavy when you put it three layers deep.   

And the Hubster stood outside in a storm for way too long to get this cool photo.
 Believe me when I say I deleted a lot of not so cool ones before coming across this one.

So peeps that's all I got for you today!
Tomorrow the return of Craft Wednesday returns with me and LauraLoo. Goodness knows what kind of things we will find to get into!!!

What do you think? Tousled Tuesdays worth keeping?

Peace, Love & Tousled Tuesdays!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Easy Dinner Rolls

Happy Happy Hump Day!!!

I have been so crazy busy and I think maybe soon we'll settle back into the normal routines around here and I'll be posting much more regular so bear with me while I try to get back in the groove.

I've made these divinely delicious dinner rolls twice now.  I figured I better share them because hey it's not fair if I'm the only one getting jiggly thighs.

These are the perfect dinner rolls when you are about 30 minutes from dinner time and realize that a) you forgot to buy rolls b) too darn lazy to get in the car to go to the grocery and get rolls c) can't manage to con your husband or kids to run to the grocery d) all of the above.  You should have most of the ingredients in your pantry and if not just add them to your grocery list and pick them up on the next shopping trip and you're all set for when the dinner roll dilemma happens.

 Let's roll with this..get it?  "Roll" with this.  hahahahaha  I crack me up!!!

Water, oil, yeast, sugar, salt, egg and bread flour.
That's all but preheat your oven to 400 please.

Slip the dough hook on your stand mixer.
Combine the water, oil, yeast and sugar.
Stir only to combine and let it rest for 15 minutes.
That means don't touch it and leave it alone.  
Because it will get all bubbly and cool looking and you'll want to.
I tell you this from experience.

Now mix in the salt, egg and bread flour. 
Slowly at first (to avoid dusting the kitchen with flour)
Then on medium speed until the mixture is nice and soft and smooth.
Now is the time to resist the urge to grab a small handful and eat.
What?? I'm the only one who likes raw bread dough???!!!!
Why let cookie dough have all the fun?

Now divide that dough into 12 balls and place in a lightly sprayed 9x13 baking dish.

As for dividing the dough this works for me
Divide the dough in half
Divide each half into half 
Divide each half half into thirds

If you followed that then you're amazing!
No really, it didn't even make much sense to me and I wrote it.
Just follow it one line at a time, it'll work I promise

Now just put those nice dough balls safely some place so they can rest for 10-15 minutes.
Then pop them in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and your house smells heavenly.

Take those beautiful beings out of the oven.

Rush them to the table while they are piping hot.

Do something naughty and slather some butter all over them.

Have them with dinner and then understand that I 
1) don't particularly care for meat loaf but I make it occasionally anyway
2) yes I really do like cream corn on my mashed potatoes
3) I had two rolls, I could have eaten more but I didn't
4) these are VERY good the next morning for breakfast
5) they are also very good warmed up the next night in the oven in foil with butter, garlic salt and parmesan cheese on top with spaghetti

Here's the printable for you so  you can make the rolls and have jiggly thighs with me.

Now I told you that I don't really care for meatloaf but I really like this sauce on top.
Thank you Pioneer Woman for making me more tolerate of meatloaf.
It's just 1 1/2 cups ketchup, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp dry ground mustard and some tabasco.
Stir it up cover the meatloaf with it, then baste on a little more when it's about half way done and then you can ever serve it on the side.  I called it meatloaf gravy.  

So what's up with everyone?   Are you sending those kids back to school and college?
Are you about to be empty nesters?  How do you get past that?  Are you drowning your sorrows in bread dough like me?   

Peace, Love and Yeasty Yummies!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cookies, Cookies, and more Cookies!

This post brought to you by NECTRESSE™Sweetener. All opinions are 100% mine.

Cookies Cookies Cookies!!! We love cookies!!!  And what better way to make cookies than to make 4 kinds with 1 batch??!!  Hellloooooooo, let's make everyone happy!!


I wanted to make some cookies and I've been using this amazing new sweetener in my tea so I thought hey Samma...let's try the sweetener in the cookies!!   I mean I love tea peeps. Like I REALLY REALLY REALLY love tea.  Green, black, red, white, hot or cold I love me some tea. The fact that I drink so much tea means that I can't enjoy one of the greatest beverage choices in the world sweet tea as much as I would like.  So when the opportunity came for me to try NECTRESSE™Sweetener there was no better place to start than my beloved tea.  I'm happy to say I'm enjoying my tea with sweetness again with zero calories!   So it's tea tested and this mother approved so let's try baking with it!!


To get the cookie party started we're going to need:


2 cups + 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 sticks butter, melted & cooled

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar or 12 packets of NECTRESSE™Sweetener

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Variety of mix-ins:




I used chocolate chips, m&m's, reese's pieces and white chocolate/craisin.




First things first, grab that butter and get it in the microwave, melt it and let it be cooling while you get out the other things you need.   While you're at it, just get the oven ready at 325 degrees.




Mix the flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.

I just used  my whisk.  No, you don't have to sift.  Happy now??!!!




In another bowl mix the brown sugar and sugar/sweetener until combined.

You don't really need to do this in a mixer.  I used mine out of habit but it's not really necessary.





Now add in the melted butter, just mix to combine.




See, didn't need that mixer at all.


Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.  Just stir those in as well.




Gradually add flour until a dough forms.




You know like this.  

Now is the time I separated my dough into 4 equal sections.




In the first batch I mixed in craisins and white chocolate chips


To make big fat cookies, roll into balls and then rip the balls in half.

Stack them on top of each other. 



The next batch got chocolate chips.




Get those rolled up and on the baking sheet.

I use my silpat mat every time I bake cookies, no exceptions.




Let those bake for about 12 minutes.

You want the edges slightly brown and the center all soft and puffy.

Don't overbake the cookies!!!!


Remove to wire racks and let cool and get the second batch in the oven.




This is the M&M batch.




There was also a Reese's pieces batch.




When those cookies are cooled enough to hold you can eat!




And dunk in the milk






And then eat and dunk again....






Because you really need to try each batch.




Invite Charlie Brown to the party, I'm sure he loves cookies and milk!

Just store those in an airtight container with a slice of bread and you're good to go.



So my peeps, have you heard of Nectresse? It is a 100% natural sweetener made from monk fruit and from the makers of Splenda.  Never heard of monk fruit?  Me Either!!! I learned that monk fruit is a small green melon that is grown in remote regions of Asia.  It's not new, no no no not at all, it's been growing in Asia for hundreds of years.  




Lisa Ling, who has a family history of diabetes, has made a video explaining more about Nectresse.

Give it a quick view...don't worry I'll be here when it's over.







If you would like to try this fabulous new 100% natural sweetener for yourself, just click on over to get a FREE sample of NECTRESSE™Sweetener. Try it in your coffee, your tea, your baking.  I think you'll enjoy it and when you are ready to buy more, it's sold in supermarkets everywhere.  


Enjoy the day my peeps and let me know if you have tried this new sweetener and what you think about it!




Peace, Love & Sweet Yummies


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