Category: Recipes

Pineapple Cucumber Salsa

The last time we ate at Moe’s they had added a pineapple cucumber salsa to their salsa bar.  Tony tried it and liked it.  Since we are growing cucumbers in our garden he wanted me to try to make this salsa for us at home.

I searched online for some recipes and nothing seemed to be exactly what I wanted so I came up with this one:

1 1/2 cup finely chopped pineapple (or 1 can of crushed pineapple)
1 cup finely chopped peeled cucumber (no seeds!)
1 clove minced garlic
2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
the juice of two small limes – about 1/4 cup
some fresh or dried cilantro to taste
lime zest to taste…probably about 1/2-1 tsp
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Add more sugar, salt, cilantro, lime, etc based on your preference.
Combine all ingredients and let marinate in refrigerator.
Pineapple Cucumber Salsa
Before serving blend up with an immersion blender if you prefer a smoother salsa.
Blended Pineapple Cucumber Salsa
 Now I’m wondering if I can make it and can it like I do my peach salsa!
Do you love pineapple?  Check out this post on How to Make Dried Pineapple!

Homemade French Fries

Inspired by some friends of ours and the Pioneer Woman, I decided to attempt homemade french fries. I love using my new Dutch Oven (ok, new, as in my MIL got it for me for Christmas!) for this purpose. I hand cut the potatoes and looselly followed the Pioneer Woman’s recipe.

They were delish!  The family now requests them!  I even bought 10 pound bags of potatoes at Aldi for $.49 each and we’ve had them several times.  I’ve also now acquired for myself a french fry cutter so I can save some of the chopping time.  Can’t wait to try that out!

Homemade Cookie Cake

My children love cookie cake but the store bought ones aren’t cheap and I prefer to use whole wheat flour when I can so I went on the search for a cookie cake recipe.  Here is what I have come up with using Emeril’s recipe as my starting point.

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole wheat and half all-purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips (whichever you prefer or you could even mix varieties)

Cream the butter and sugar in large bowl.  Add eggs, beating well.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture and then add vanilla.  Fold in your chocolate chips. 

Spread the batter onto your round 14″ pizza pan leaving about an inch border as the cake will spread out as it bakes.  You could also line your pan with parchment paper which would make it easier to remove the cake. 

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.  The time will vary depending on the type of pan you use and your oven.  I recommend checking your cake at 15 minutes and then watching it closely thereafter.  You want the edges to be golden but the center to still be slightly soft. 

After baking you can decorate with icing or powdered sugar. 

Making Blueberry Jam

We went and picked blueberries with one of my dear friends last week.  We picked nine gallons all together, six were for us.  I froze lots of them and made jam, as well. 
To make jam you need to follow the directions on the pectin that you purchase.  I prefer to make low sugar jam so I purchase Ball Low Sugar pectin. 
First you need to prepare your jars.  I wash mine and then place them in boiling water for a few minutes.
Wash your berries and then crush them in layers.  I use a potato masher for this.

From here you need to follow the instructions for your pectin.  I bring my berries to a boil with the pectin mixed in and then add my desired amount of sugar and boil for another 5 minutes. 
I check the jam by putting in a metal spoon to make sure it “gels” on the spoon.  If needed, boil a little longer.  Next I ladle the jam into my jars.
Then I put the jars into a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Love making jam!

National Chocolate Day

Biscuits and Chocolate Gravy for Breakfast

Sorting and Graphing M&Ms for snack!
We also made Single Serving Microwave Brownies…you can see the recipe here.
And I made real brownies for dessert after dinner which we ate with ice cream and chocolate sauce!

Homemade Tomato Sauce

After putting up quite a few tomatoes with peppers with onions, I decided to attempt homemade pizza sauce.  After finding how much we all liked it I decided I wanted to put up marinara/pizza sauce.  Now my garden is about done on tomatoes so I went looking for another source.  I bought 50 pounds of tomatoes from a local farm stand and got started. 

First, I washed my kitchen sink really well and fill it with tomatoes while I brought a big pot of water to boil.  I poured the boiling water over the tomatoes.  This will help to make the skins peel off easily.

 After peeling, I sqeezed each tomatoes to get out a lot of the seeds and juice.This will make the sauce thicker and help it to cook down to the consistency I want much quicker.  I decided to use the crock pot and the a big pot on the stove since I was doing so many.  The crock pot was slower, but it worked!

 The peels went to the compost and to the worm bin!

 I pureed the tomatoes to get the consistency I wanted and then cooked it down.

I added garlic and basil from my garden and cooked until my desired consistency.  After it reached the thickness I wanted, I poured it into jars and used my pressure canner to properly can the sauce, including adding lemon juice as recommended.  I also canned some of the tomato juice that I squeezed from the tomatoes.  (I strained it first through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.)  I’m thinking maybe I’ll use the juice for soups – so wishing I could get my kids to eat more soups!
When it was all said and done I had 9 quarts of tomato sauce!  It looks so lovely and I can’t wait to eat it!  My kids would happily eat spaghetti every week, so this won’t last us through the winter.  However, since I had to purchase the tomatoes it really isn’t cost effective to make the sauce this way…..but if I can grow more tomatoes next year, I know how to put them to good use next year!
My pantry, garage stockpile shelf and freezer are all brimming over, so the jars are stuffed here and there in various places!  These were the ones behing the chips and bread in the pantry!

Homemade Cookie Cake

N loves cookie cake, but storebought cakes aren’t cheap, so I decided to make one for his birthday.  Found a good recipe and with a few modifications I made this cookie cake!

Here is what you will need:
2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups plus 2 TB flour  – (I used about 3/4 cup whole wheat and the rest all purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup or one bag of chocolate chips.
Optional:  1/2 to 1 cup of your choice nuts

Preheat over to 375 degrees.  Cut parchment paper to fit your 14 inch round pizza pan and grease the paper.

Cream butter and sugars in large bowl.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well.  In separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add this to the butter mixture gradually, incorporating well.  Also, add the vanilla extra.  Fold in chocolate chips and nuts (if using).  Spread this mixture on your parchment paper covered pizza pan, leaving a 2 – 3 inch border, as the cookie will expand while baking.  I spread the dough out and used my clean hands to make the edge even and smooth.  I should have snapped a picture but I forgot!  Bake 20-25 minutes until golden but center should still be soft.

Next I made cake decorating icing and colored it with my Wilton food coloring – N choose yellow and blue.  I piped the icing on so it would resemble the store bought cookie cakes!

He was happy with it and it tasted fabulous!