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
Quart Jars with Lids and Rings
Canning Pot


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)

Baby spinach
Frozen Fruit Medley
Agave or Sugar

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

flour tortillas
1 pound lean ground beef
taco season packet
Toppings of your choice:
sour cream

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:)