A Taste of Summer Throughout the Winter: Canning Salsa with Recipe

salsa finished

Of Course I Can, and you can too! This is only my second summer of canning and with each recipe I learn how to be more efficient and comfortable with preserving our farm bounty. There are many helpful tutorials online and I use the Ball Blue Book – Guide to Preserving as my go-to kitchen reference for all things canning. The most important step to remember is following the sanitary and processing guidelines. Safety first!

It has been a busy summer and I have learned so much from my apprenticeship at Riverbend Roots Farm. The team I work with are more like family then coworkers and I hate the idea of leaving them.  My bosses Kris and Stacy are amazing farmers who share a passion for bringing naturally grown farm fresh produce to customers, as well as, sharing their knowledge with aspiring farmers-in-training. I am so lucky I have had this opportunity to learn from the best.

I’ve been applying what I learn to our farm and have had a successful harvest this season. I’m eager to move forward on a larger scale next year as I follow my farmDREAM. I love the fresh goodies provided during the farm season, but what about when the weather turns cold? Well, canning and preserving will give me a taste of summer harvest throughout the winter.

This year I decided it was long overdue to can salsa. This recipe is my first attempt and I’ve been receiving positive feedback thus far. I use what’s available at the farm and have noted the measurements that appeal to us, but if you prefer more or less of something make the adjustments and you will have great salsa every time! The best thing about any recipe is that you can make it your own.

Homemade Salsa Recipe

  • 10 Cups tomatoes; peeled, cored, chopped, which takes about 8 lbs of fresh tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/3 Cup seeded, chopped jalapeno peppers (about 5 small jalapenos)
  • 5 Cups chopped onions (1 large red and 4 small yellow)
  • 4 cloves garlic or 2 tsp minced garlic*
  • 1 Cup lime juice*
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro (about 1-2 Cups)*
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

*½ tsp minced garlic = 1 clove of fresh garlic

*Acidity is needed for canning. You can also use lemon juice or cider vinegar but I find lime juice has the best taste for salsa.

*based on your taste you can add 1-2 Cups of fresh cilantro. I use 2 cups when cooking my recipe because we love cilantro! In addition I chop ½ cup fresh cilantro and mix into salsa before serving.

tomato bath

1.  Place whole tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds and then immediately remove and place them into an ice water bath. Remove from the water and easily peel skins.

2.  Dice tomatoes and remove seeds.  After measuring 10 Cups of tomatoes I pour into a strainer to remove excess water.

3.  Remove seeds and veins from jalapeno peppers. If you like your salsa hot you can leave some of the seeds and veins intact. Chop peppers, onions, garlic and cilantro.

4.  Add all ingredients into a large stock pot. Add seasoning; lime juice, ground cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Bring all ingredients to a simmer and allow to cook for 18 minutes.
cooking salsa in stockpotSanitize glass jars, rims, and lids in hot water bath for use. Once your salsa has been cooked pour the hot batch into sanitized jars and twist lids tightly.

Process jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes. Once jars have cooled check center of lid and make sure the safety seal does not pop. If there are any jars that did not properly seal you can place in the fridge and use right away. You can also freeze the salsa.

I use what’s available at the farm and have noted the measurements that appeal to us, but if you prefer more or less of something make the adjustments and you will have great salsa every time!

Jalapeño Margarita Recipe

Jalapeno Margarita

Turn up the heat on your Cinco De Mayo and add a kick to your margarita recipe.  The jalapeño margarita is my new housewife cocktail of the summer.  The perfect blend of lime and sweetness married with a hint of heat on the palette.

Jalapeño Margarita

  • 3 – 6 slices jalapeño
  • 2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 oz orange liquor (I prefer Grand Marnier® or Cointreau®)
  • 2 oz agave nectar
  • 4 oz (I prefer Hornitos® – 100% agave tequila, Don Julio, or Tres Generaciones®)

Muddle the jalapeño slices, then pour lime juice, orange liquor, agave nectar, and tequila into cocktail shaker.  Top with crushed ice and shake vigorously.  Salt the rim of a margarita glass and serve cocktail with a garnish of fresh lime wedge or jalapeño slice.

*Agave nectar is a great sweetener for cocktails because it mixes with cold beverages, unlike honey.
*You can substitute fresh lime juice with Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice found at your local grocery store.

Chocolate Valentine’s Day Treats for My Sweets ♥

Whether your cooking for yourself, that significant other, or sharing with a friend, it’s always nice to make something special to say I LOVE YOU!  This is a very simple and delicious chocolate dessert that I’ve made a bit more classy and I hope you enjoy.  Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone who follows our blog and our farmDREAM!

Chocolate Brownieheart shaped treats fresh from the oven

  • 5 Eggs
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 3/4 Cup flour
  • 3/4 Cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 Cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 pint fresh raspberries
  • Bakers white chocolate for dipping

Simple Chocolate Gnash

  • 2 Cups Cool Whip
  • 1/2 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whipped Cream

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla or amaretto

heart shaped panMix all brownie ingredients together and pour into a well greased multiple heart shaped pan or you can use an 8×8 baking dish.  Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.  Allow to cool on a baking rack while you prepare your chocolate gnash and homemade whipped cream.

Before I prepare the whipped cream and gnash I warm Bakers white chocolate in the microwave and dip raspberries to top my dessert.  You can use any of your favorite fresh berries.

chocolate valentines treats 14Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave and fold into the Cool Whip.  Warm the cool whip in the microwave for an additional 20 seconds.  Mix together until well blended and smooth.  Drizzle over your cake brownie.

In your mixer beat the heavy whipping cream until it becomes fluffy and stiff.  Slowly add sugar and vanilla.  I have homemade amaretto so I like to add this to my whipped cream sometimes.

Top with the chocolate dipped berries and enjoy!

LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW – Ok we’re good now, you can stop, no really!

Growing up I heard tales of the Snow storm of 82′ and every once in a while when we sifted through old photo’s we’d stumble across pictures of snow trapped cars and dad standing in front of a mountain of snow with shovel in hand. This was no “I walked to school, uphill, both ways tall tale”; It was actually a one-in-70 year event.

Where I grew up they received a record 20 inches of snow and in the St. Louis area they recorded 13 inches. With the recent “Snowmageddon” it brought back stories from anyone who experienced the storm of the century, which I happened to miss. So this time around it is with excitement that I run to the window and pull back the blinds to see if it’s a snow day!

10 INDOOR ACTIVITIES TO GET YOU THROUGH BEING SNOWED IN

  1. TRY A NEW RECIPE – I always enjoy taking a culinary tour, but this time I ventured to a recipe I would typically overlook because of its’ familiarity. The perfect snowed in recipe is a classic beef stew and this one did not disappoint. I always add my own twist and I encourage people to modify any recipe to their liking. Try Beef Stew with Parmesan Dumplings from Simply Delicious.  I added two extra carrots and celery stalks and added salt and pepper to taste.
  2. BECOME A MIXOLOGIST – pink housewife cocktailsYou’re going to need a cocktail to enjoy that amazing new recipe you just tried and let’s face it you’re not going anywhere in this snow. If you are looking to try a new recipe, or create a non-alcoholic beverage, you can easily find the perfect recipe by following my Housewife Cocktails board on Pinterest!
  3. PAMPER YOURSELF – Run a bath, light some candles, and leave your worries behind. If you don’t a have a bathtub, rejuvenate your skin with an at home facial. Try this one from Blue Skies, Sunshine, and Coffee
  4. CLICHÉ – Grab a blanket and some warm cocoa and curl up fireside to a book. There’s nothing like turning the pages of a good book and escaping the weather through a story.
  5. pine cone bird feederTHIS WEATHER IS FOR THE BIRDS – Actually our feathered friends could use a snack and with three simple items (pine cone, peanut butter, bird seed) you can create a treat. Simply spread some peanut butter on a pine cone and roll in bird seed. Hang this homemade ornament from a natural perch like a tree and watch the birds flock. Now you can bring bird watching to your own back yard and enjoy from the comfort of your home.
  6. TACKLE THE HONEY-DO LIST – Everyone has a DIY project whether it’s hanging some shelves, a fresh coat of paint, or some pre-spring cleaning. I’d rather be inside in this weather and enjoy the great outdoors when the mercury rises.
  7. GET ORGANIZED –  Organize that closet or clean out your kitchen pantry. When are you going to have this kind of time on your hands again? If you have kiddo’s at home let them help and make a game of it. Have some fun, crank some tunes, and you’re organized by the end of the day.
  8. WRITE A NOTE – valentine card imageIt’s almost Valentine’s Day and just because I’m an adult doesn’t mean I don’t love making and sending cards. Send a hand written note or card to someone and you will make their day. Instead of opening bills they can open a friendly message in the mail.
  9. MOVIE NIGHT – Make it romantic or family friendly. You don’t have to be at the theatre to try some gourmet popcorn. Try this recipe for Cinnamon Roll Caramel Popcorn from 4 Sons ‘R’ Us. Let the kids have fun in the kitchen first by creating their own batch or if it’s romance you are looking for curl up next to your honey.
  10. I JUST CALLED, TO SAY, I LOVE YOU – Remember that time before texting when people talked on the phone? Call your Grams to say hi or catch up with a relative that lives a far. Brighten someone’s day and keep in touch.

I am a beach girl at heart and prefer warm weather, but I have recently become fond of this new-found precipitation. I encourage others to take advantage of this rarity and breathe. Enjoy the moment and do all of those things around the house you want to do but never have the time to.

Chocolate Dr. Pepper Cake Recipe

photo 4Friends are coming over and I have to make something Dee-lish for dessert. With short notice and ingredients in hand I decided to make a semi-homemade version of the classic Dr. Pepper cake. This popular recipe has many different versions to suit your taste and comes from “♪ deep in the heart of Texas ♪”  just like its’ namesake Dr. Pepper. It is super moist and Dee-lish, and  I have included not one, but two frosting recipe’s to choose from!

Cake

  • 1 box German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 small box vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (12 oz) can Dr. Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°.  Combine cake mix and remainder of ingredients; mix well until blended.

Meanwhile grease two 8 inch cake rounds. Pour batter into each pan evenly disbursed and bake cake for 45 – 50 minutes.  Cakes will bake up, but flatten out a bit as they cool. They are very dense, and will be super moist, due to the Dr. Pepper soda.  After cakes have completely cooled they will be ready to frost!

photo 3

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8  ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 Cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 Cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla
  • 2 1/2 Cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk (you can reserve 1 Tablespoon of Dr. Pepper from cake batter and use in place of milk)

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting

  • 3/4 Cup butter flavored Crisco
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 Cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 Cup Dr. Pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

chocolate cakeDr. Pepper cake

Baked Pumpkin French Toast

pumpkin french toast bake 01An easy overnight French toast bake with the seasonal flavor of pumpkin.  Oh so easy, and oh so Dee-lish!

Ingredients
1 large loaf French Bread (about 16 slices) or two mini loaves

CREAM CHEESE FILLING

  • 1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash salt

PUMPKIN MIXTURE

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Cup half and half
  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 Cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 T butter
  1. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Slice bread into ½ inch slices stacking two pieces on top of each other and place in dish.
  2. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add ½ Cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and salt.  Optional – add 1/2 Cup of pumpkin puree, beat to combine.
  3. Lay out 8 pieces of bread. Divide cream cheese mixture over bread. Spread on slice of bread and top with another slice of bread to create cream cheese stuffed French toast.
  4. Make the pumpkin mixture by beating the eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together. Pour over stuffed French toast.
  5. Top each piece of French toast with half a slice of butter.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night, or for several hours.
  7. In the morning bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Serve with warm maple syrup and a dollop of whipped cream!  I also add pecans fresh from our farm!

S’mores Bars Recipe

Smore's Bars

Bonfire season always has room for more S’mores, but what if you don’t have the outdoors?

With busy schedules and urban lifestyles not everyone has the luxury of roasting marshmallows fireside to create S’mores. This is a childhood treat that my mom made for us girls and everyone can enjoy. Oh so simple and Oh so Dee-lish.

S’mores Bars
•1 large box of Golden Grahams cereal
•1 package (12 oz) milk chocolate chips
•3 1/2 Cups small marshmallows
•2/3 Cup light Caro syrup
•2 Tbsp butter
•1 tsp vanilla

Butter 9 x 12 baking dish, add 1 box of Golden Grahams cereal, and set aside. Heat syrup, chocolate chips, and butter over stove until melted. Add vanilla and remove from heat. Fold in marshmallows and pour over cereal. Mix until cereal is thoroughly coated with melted chocolate and marshmallow. Press firmly into dish with spatula, cool, and cut into squares.