Thursday, September 11, 2014

Salsa Making Day

We've been chopping and freezing peppers, onions, and tomatoes all summer getting ready for Salsa Day. This allows me to wait until I have the time to put it all together and also keeps any produce from going to waste since the garden produce is never ready all at the same time.

Yesterday, I put them all in my big pot and let them thaw all morning before mixing in all the other ingredients and cooking it in the afternoon. I've tried a few recipes for making salsa and this continues to be my family's favorite. The way it is written gives us a mild salsa. If you would like a hotter salsa, trade out some green peppers for more jalapenos. We use this all year long for dipping chips and spicing up casseroles and tacos.

You can easily cut this reipce in half or thirds - I've just learned I like to get it all done at once and we always go through it by the time next year's salsa day comes around.


3 gallons tomato puree or chopped tomatoes
30 large Anaheim peppers
26 jalapeno peppers
8 green peppers
10 medium onions
1-2 bunches cilantro
¼ cup garlic powder
4 cups white vinegar
½ cup salt
3 Tbsp cumin, optional
2-3 cups Ultra Sperse

Cut out stems and remove the skin from the tomatoes, if you wish. Dip tomatoes in boiling water so the skins will slip off easily. Chop and measure. Use a gallon ice cream bucket to make measureing easy. (I actually just chop my tomatoes in my food processor skins and all. We don't mind the tiny bits of skin all mixed in with the salsa and it really speeds up prep time.) Cook your tomatoes in a large pot while you are chopping everything else. Stir occasionally. Use gloves when working with peppers and avoid getting any oils into your eyes. (I use a food processor to chop my onions and peppers.) You can trade the pepper varieties around to play with the spice level. We use more green peppers and less jalapeno. Mix everything except the Ultra Sperse with the tomatoes. Bring to a boil. (You can let it simmer a while before adding Ultra Sperse to allow it to cook down some.) Gradually add the Ultra Sperse, stirring until as thick as you like. Bring to a boil again. Ladle into warm pint or quart jars and process immediately. Process jars for 20 minutes (sea level.) Adjust for altitude if needed. Makes about 18 quarts.

I chop peppers, onions, and tomatoes as we pick them from the garden and store them in the freezer a little at a time until I have enough. This makes salsa day go much faster and not feel like as much of an ordeal.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Garden Green Beans

We are harvesting the last few weeks of garden produce. We always miss the fresh grown-in-the-backyard flavor during the winter months. I thought I'd share one of our favorite ways to prepare garden green beans.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Blackberry Pie Filling

We are growing blackberries. Our patch is now 4 years old and doing very well. Our berries are huge! I have been picking and freezing every few days until I have enough to do something significant with them. It's tricky to save very many each picking though because we have quite a few berry snitchers who just want to eat one more before they are put away FOREVER.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tomatoes Galore!

We just picked all of these today. It's our first big picking. "What shall we do with all of these?" the children ask.

"I have plans," I asure them.

We will be chopping most of them up in the food processor and freezing for later. They will turn into

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Fat-free Smoothie Popsicles

Pour yougurt smoothie into a popsicle mold and freeze. It is that simple! By making your yogurt out of powdered milk you will save lots of money and it will be fat-free. We have been eating these up all summer long!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bacon-wrapped Chicken Skewers

This is the all-time favorite skewer dinner at our house! I'm not claiming it to be the healthiest recipe out there since it does contain bacon, but oh, it is soooo good. We end up having it a few times each summer and sometimes in the winter. It is often requested for birthdays and other special occasions.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Homemade Apricot Fruit Rolls

We've started the harvest season in our neck of the woods. I've been busy these last few weeks picking cherries to make pie filling, picking raspberries to make freezer jam, and picking apricots to make fruit rolls. My kids love to eat the fresh apricots, but they are not big fans of  apricot jam or bottled apricots. They LOVE the fruit rolls though!