Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Canning Whole Tomatoes



My canning season is in full swing.  I love this time a year as much as I hate it.  If you have not canned I will say that it is so rewarding.  It is a lot of work but at the end of the day, when you look at all the jars of food you have canned, you feel amazing.  

I love knowing everything that goes into the food that my family eats.  I know that I do not use chemicals or preservatives.   It is also great for food storage and emergencies.  For me, whole tomatoes are essential.  I use them for salsa, spaghetti sauce, tomato soup and many more things.  If you start with one thing I would choose this.  It is simple and versatile.  

What You Will Need:

2 ½ to 3 ½ pounds tomatoes per quart
Bottled lemon juice
Salt
Quart Jars with Lids and Rings
Canning Pot

Instructions:

Select fresh tomatoes.  Wash tomatoes and drain.


Blanch tomatoes for 1 minute.  Remove from water and immediately put into ice water.  Peel off skins; peel any bad areas; cut out core.  Clean your jars very well  and then add 1 TBS lemon juice to each pint jar, 2 TBS to each quart jar. 



  Pack tomatoes into hot jars(I like to put my jars through the dishwasher and take them out hot from there.  If you do not have a dishwasher you can run hot water over your jar to get it hot) It is important to not put hot liquid in a cold jar. It will make the jar crack; press gently on tomatoes until the natural juice fills the spaces between tomatoes, leaving ½ inch head space.  Add ½ tsp salt to each pint jar, 1 tsp to each quart jar.


 Remove air bubbles by sticking a butter knife down the sides of the jar.  Go around the jar until there are no more bubbles coming to the surface. 


In a small sauce pan bring lids to a boil for one minute.  This gets the rubber around the ring soft and promotes the sealing process.  While the lids are coming to a boil, wipe around the top of each jar.  Make sure the are clean and have no juice on them.  **This is a very important step** Failing to do it will make it so your jars do not seal.

    

Put jars down in the water.  Make sure they are completely cover with water.  Bring to a rolling boil and process pints and quarts 1 hour and 35 minutes in a boiling-water canner.




Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce



This time of year I always try to motivate to eat healthier.  I think it is because I am getting into canning season and I love getting all of the fresh veggies out of my garden.  
I am trying really hard to get back into making things from scratch.  I have been reading a lot of books and articles lately about the foods we eat.  They are full of chemicals and preservatives that are so harmful to our bodies.  My family is far from the healthiest eaters but I am trying to do better. Here is one of my latest from scratch attempts.  It turned out really well and I think I will not go back to store bought hot fudge again.

Hot Fudge Sauce

1/2 cup of butter (1 cube)
1 cup of good quality semisweet chocolate chips ( I used Ghiradelli)
1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
In a double boiler over medium melt the butter and chocolate chips, whisking constantly until combined.  Whisk in the evaporated milk and powdered sugar and bring to a boil, stirring often, for 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and add vanilla if desired.  Store in a glass container in the refrigerator.   Keeps for several weeks.
Here’s the step by step:

Add the chocolate chips and butter into your double boiler.


When the butter and chocolate chips are melted and combined, stir in the evaporated milk…


and then whisk in the powdered sugar.


Bring it all to a boil over medium to medium-high heat and cook for 8 minutes, stirring often.  The sauce will start to thicken.  Remove from the heat and add vanilla if desired.


My mason jar and twine is waiting.  


Pour into your mason jars and allow to cool before putting on the lids.


While the chocolate is cooling, cut the fabric with scissors.  I cut a 8 inch circle.


Tie it on with a bit of twine… and you have a delicious treat!  Add a tag and it is a wonderful gift!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Spinach Green Drink that Tastes Good


So, my friend turned me onto these.  I am known to not always be the most healthy eater but I am trying to change my ways! This is a spinach based drink but it is actually really good and you can not taste the spinach.  (Just my kind of drink)

INGREDIENTS
Baby spinach
Bananas
Frozen Fruit Medley
Agave or Sugar
Milk
Water

In a blender put enough spinach to make it about 2/3rd full.  Then add water to the one cup line and then milk to the 2 cup line.  Cut up two bananas into the blender (This is a crucial ingredient.  It is what masks the spinach taste)  Then add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of frozen fruit.  (I like the pineapple, mango, peach mix from Costco)  Once you have done that add a couple TBS of agave and blend.

This is the perfect way to get your fruits and veggies for the day!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Easy and Healthy Taco Salad


INGREDIENTS:
flour tortillas
1 pound lean ground beef
taco season packet
Toppings of your choice:
lettuce
cheese
tomatoes
sour cream
salsa
avocado
etc.

The first step is to make your taco salad shell.  You need to have a glass mixing bowl that can go into the oven.  I use a Pampered Chef bowl but I am sure you can use others!  Heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Then spray your mixing bowl with cooking spray.  Put your tortilla shell into the bowl and shape as pictured below.


It will take about 20 minutes for the tortilla to get golden brown and crispy.  Remove from oven and bowl.  Cool and continue until you have as many bowls as you need for your salad.


While your shells are cooking brown 1 pound of lean ground beef in a a skillet.  Once cooked add 1/2 packet of taco seasoning and 1/4 cup of water.  Voila your meat is done.

Chop any toppings that you may want.  I love tomatoes, lettuce, cheese and avocado.  I usually just use what I have left over in my fridge.  Put your meat in the shell and top with whatever your heart desires.  I like a nice spoonful of sour cream and you are done.

You will not find a more simple taco salad.  Enjoy

Sorry for Ditching You!!

So, I have to apologize for leaving my blog readers high and dry. This last year has been full of adventure and trials. To make a very long story short I have been out of commission for awhile due to several major foot operations. It has been a challenge and I hope that I am now on my way to walking and full recovery! On top of that I have recently started a chocolate business called Bella Rose Chocolates. It has dominated my time and has been a lot of work. Things are really doing well and I feel like I can finally breath!! I will start to post blog posts and get back into sharing some of my favorite recipes, crafts and DIY ideas. I will also be offering some great giveaways. I hope you can forgive me for my absence:)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rafflecopter Giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bella Rose Gourmet Chocolate Giveaway


This giveaway is just in time for Valentines Day and I am so excited to share it with all of you.  This is a candy shop that is on etsy and below is some more information on their shop!

Bella Rose's handmade chocolates are made with the best ingredients. They make their own fondant from dairy fresh cream and real butter. No cheap substitutes there! Their chocolates are always made with a high quality, premium chocolate and they have a wide variety of chocolates to choose from. You will delight in their caramel and nut selections and well as in their smooth and rich cream selections!

Their creams have a generously smooth creamy center that harmonizes delightfully with their smooth and creamy chocolate. From their natural fruit flavored creams (raspberry, cherry, lemon, orange, strawberry) to mint, butter rum and even cheesecake, a stroll through their creams is like a visit to an old Victorian garden! 

Take a look at some of their amazing product below!

Award Winning Peanut Brittle


Rich and Smooth Snow Caps


Nuts 


These make the perfect gift for your sweetie this Valentines!  I hope you have fun with this giveaway.  You can enter using Rafflecopter.  Good luck!






Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mini Chocolate Pies (Great for Valentines Day)



This may look very time consuming but it is super easy.  My husband loves these pies and prefers them to the pies I make from scratch.  These are so fun for parties or a special dinner with your significant other.

Crust:

Blend: 4 cups of flour, 1 1/2 cup shortening, 1 tsp salt with pastry cutter or fork until it forms pea size balls.  In a separate bowl beat 1 egg, add 1 tsp. vinegar and 4-5 TBS water.  Add to flour mixture.  Mix together just until all incorporated.  If you over mix the crust will not be light and fluffy!    Divide into three balls.  Roll out dough until 1/4 inch thick.  With a large round cookie cutter cut circles that will fit into a muffin tin.  Press lightly around the sides to form the crust.  Take a fork and make indents around the outside to form the edge of the crust.  Also prick a few holes in the crust for baking.  Bake at 400 degrees until light golden brown.  Cool on a rack. 

Mouse:
In a medium size bowl combine 2, 3 oz. instant chocolate pudding mixes and 3 cups of cold milk.  Stir until thick and let stand for 3 minutes.  Mix in 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk.  Fold in 1 cup of whipped topping or sweetened whipped heavy cream. (Mix 1 pint of heavy cream with mixer until it forms soft peaks.  Then add 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla).  Pour into the cooled shells.  With a piping bag, pipe on more whipped cream.  Top with a fun chocolate candy and shaved chocolate for some fun garnish!