About Me

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Wife, Mother, Mimi, lover of all things creative... sewing, embroidery, painting, collage... God and family are the most important things in my life.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mr. Airplane Guy

My daughter said her kids have been fascinated with an airplane that has been buzzing their house recently.  We often have crop dusters in our area.  

If you can't read it it says, "To:  Mr Airplane Guy, Jesus loves you, From: The _______s"
She said she was one proud Mama when she walked outside and saw the picture above. 

I just love this!  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Canning Roasted Tomato Sauce

The tomatoes here finished up early due to an abundance of rain.  However, before the rain took over the crop, making them split before they ripened, I canned some roasted tomato sauce.

I was inspired by the post I found here.

I added a mixture of herbs from my little herb garden, mostly basil, chives, and oregano to their basic ingredients.  I also made sure that I had enough vinegar added to provide the acid needed to can tomatoes.  
This picture was taken this spring.  My herbs  have grown like crazy since then and  I'm  looking for ways to use all I have!

This method was so much easier than the one I have used before, and I love the flavor of the roasted tomatoes.  The house smelled wonderful while this was in the oven!
If you haven't ever tried making homemade tomato sauce this is a great method.  Give it a try.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Canning Roasted Yellow Tomato Salsa

Before the monsoon came through our area (only a slight exaggeration) We were very blessed with tomatoes. While they were coming in steadily and bountifully, I canned some roasted salsa using mostly yellow tomatoes. I found the recipe on the blog Doris and Jilly Cook

This is the recipe as written on their site:

Roasted Tomato Salsa (for canning)

About 8 pounds of tomatoes (18 medium)
3 small onions or 1 large onion, hacked into large pieces
1 cup cilantro, thick stems removed
Several dried peppers: I used 3 dried bird peppers and 1 dried ancho pepper
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup lime juice
1) Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange them in a roasting pan. Broil for 3–5 minutes, until the skins are charred. If your broiler is unpredictable, you can also roast them for about 30 minutes at 450°F.
2) Meanwhile, soak your dried peppers in boiling water to cover. When they’re pliable, cut them open and remove the seeds. If you want a hotter salsa, leave them in.
3) Also meanwhile, bring a water bath to boil for canning. Sterilize your jars and warm the lids (this made 6 half pints and 1 pint for me, but you might want to have some other pint jars ready in case yours makes more….or just eat the extra).
4) When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, throw them in a food processor with the onions, the garlic, the cilantro, and the peppers. You may have to work in batches. Transfer the chopped vegetable mixture to a stockpot with the lime juice and 1 T salt (more or less to taste). Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
5) Transfer the hot salsa to the hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Run a spatula around the edge to remove air bubbles and add more salsa if necessary. Wipe the rims and adjust the lids.  As seems to be the case for most salsas, processing time recommendations vary somewhat, but based on the National Center for Home Food Preservation‘s guidelines for other salsas, you should be fine with 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. After all, this is basically a recipe for roasted tomatoes, garnished with onions, drowned in lime juice.

I used fresh jalapeños instead of the dried peppers, and some fresh basil at the end.  Other than that, I pretty much followed the recipe. I think I also added a little vinegar to make sure I had enough acid.  I love the more robust flavor of the roasted tomatoes!
The yellow tomatoes are very tasty, but I think the red ones make a prettier salsa.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Still Jamming

The day we picked blueberries we went on a wild goose chase looking for a certain blackberry farm.  Somehow the GPS did not jive with us, and we ended up going in the wrong direction.  By the time we figured out where we were actually going and finally arrived the farm was closing.

The next day my sweet daughter surprised me with a bowl of berries.  It wasn't quite enough for the jam recipe so I added enough blue berries to finish out the 4 cups needed.  The result was what I call Black and Blue Jelly.  Yummo!

I used a recipe from Kraft.  Apparently, judging by the name, they got it from Certo.

If you don't have quite enough berries try mixing it up.

CERTO® Blackberry Jam

what you need

cups  prepared fruit (buy about 2 qt. fully ripe blackberries)

cups  sugar, measured into separate bowl

tsp.  butter or margarine

pouch  CERTO Fruit Pectin

make it

BRING boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.
CRUSH blackberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. (Press half of the pulp through a sieve to remove some of the seeds, if desired.) Measure exactly 4 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot.  (side note: I love the texture of the seeds so I leave them in.)

ADD sugar; stir. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

LADLE immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)
LADLE immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Jamming Good Time

So summer is in full swing and I am enjoying putting food up.  I love making jams and jellies, canning foods, and all that stuff.  It makes me feel domestic, nostalgic, and productive all at the same time.

The smell of jelly cooking on the stove takes me back to my childhood.  One of my favorite summer activities was picking wild dewberries.  We lived on a dirt road and my brothers and I would wander down it barefooted with pails in hand.  The trick was to actually make it back home with something in our buckets, hopefully enough for Mom to make a berry pie.  We usually came home with out hands and mouths stained a pretty purple color and a few berries in our pails.

When Momma really wanted to accomplish something like jelly making she would go berry picking with us, and would coax us to put more in our pails than our mouths.  I just loved those days.  I've tried to recreate them with my grandchildren, until a couple of years ago we had too many snake encounters.  Our little dog came between Sweet Cheeks and a coiled water moccasin.  I haven't wanted to brave it with them since then.  Maybe I'll try again next year, we'll see.

We did do a little blueberry picking at a local u-pick farm.  When the berries and sugar started boiling and that sweet jelly aroma wafted through the kitchen, it took my right back to the house where I grew up and those sweet memories.

Here's the blueberry jam recipe I used.  I found it here.

Blueberry Jam


  • 6 cups blueberries, washed and picked over
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 pouch (3 ounces) liquid fruit pectin


Prepare the canner and jars. Add water to a canner with rack; add cleaned jars and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to keep jars hot. The water should be high enough to be at least 1 inch above filled jars. I usually fill it about halfway and I keep a kettle or saucepan of water boiling on another burner to add to the canner as needed. Heat water in a small saucepan; put the lids in the saucepan and bring almost to the boil; lower heat to very low to keep the lids hot.Scald jars in boiling water and keep warm.
Pour about 3/4 of the berries into a large pot and mash. Stir in the remaining berries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stirring constantly, bring to a rolling boil which cannot be stirred down. Immediately add the pouch of fruit pectin. Stirring constantly, bring back to the boil and continue boiling for 1 minute. Skim off excess foam, if necessary, and ladle the hot berry mixture into prepared jars.
With a clean dampened cloth, wipe the rims of the jars. Place the flat lids on the jars then close caps with screw-on rings firmly. Arrange the filled jars in the canner and add more water, as needed, to be at least 1 inch above the jars. Bring to a full boil. Cover and continue boiling for 10 minutes. Remove the preserves to a rack to cool completely.
Check for seals (the middle of the caps should have made a popping sound while cooling and will stay down.
Makes about 4 1/2 to 5 half-pints.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tomato Love

One of my very favorite things about summer is REAL tomatoes.  I don't like those tasteless things that masqurade as tomatoes in the off season.  Nope, give me a real homegrown, preferably heirloom tomato with lots of acid, you know the kind that makes your mouth breakout.  Now that's a tomato! I love them just about any way, straight up out of the garden with a little salt and pepper, made into a fresh salsa, tomato pie, canned alone, or in salsa, or spaghetti sauce, but my favorite way is a plain old tomato sandwich on white bread with mayo, salt and pepper.  That's just hard to beat...that is until recently.

I had some gorgeous tomatoes and wouldn't you know, it no white bread.  We really don't eat white bread much anymore.  That tomato was just calling my name.  I looked through the cabinets and found a french roll and thought, "that'll do".  I opened the fridge to get the mayo and saw some fresh mozzarella, so I figured why not.  This wasn't going to be my typical sandwich anyway, why not change it all up.  I happened to have just brought in some basil and oregano from the herb garden, so I chopped them up and layered bread, tomato, herbs, salt, pepper, granulated garlic and mozzarella and popped it into the toaster oven, with no mayo at all.

 Umm, when those herbs started getting warm the aroma filled my kitchen and spilled over into the other rooms.  I had to fight myself so I wouldn't eat it while it was so hot it would have pulled the roof of my mouth off.  Anyway, I have eaten one of these for lunch for the last several days and a few times for supper as well.  I haven't gotten tired of them yet.  I hope your summer is full of fresh, ripe, yummy, REAL tomatoes.  If so, you have got to give this sandwich a try.