Food, Recipes

Salsa for Canning Recipe

salsa

This is absolutely my favorite recipe and it’s taken a decade to perfect. Enjoy!

Heirloom Salsa

10 c chopped tomatoes

5 c bell peppers

5 c onions

2 1/2 c peppers. (Be sure to remove the seeds if you want to keep your salsa mild!)

1 1/4 c lime juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

3 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 can of tomato paste (optional)

This is so easy and so ridiculously time consuming… but worth every minute spent until you’re placing the jars in your pantry! Throw all your ingredients in a stock pot and let simmer on low until the flavors are combined and your salsa has thickened to your liking. Fill sterilized canning jars, adjust lids and process in a hot water bath canner. 20 minutes for pints, 30 minutes for salsa

tomatoes

I can’t recommend highly enough to mix and match your flavors. I made a batch of Brandywine tomato & habanero pepper salsa this week that is amazing, and my Aunt Ruby’s German Green tomato & jalapeno mild salsa is equally as delicious. You can tailor this recipe to fit your heat preference and favorite flavors. Be sure to remember that salsa continues to get hotter after canned if you leave the seeds in the peppers!

Happy dipping!

Baking, Recipes

Snowy Spring Cupcakes

It’s no secret I loathe winter… and imagine my horror this morning, this lovely first day of SPRING, when I looked out the window and saw 4 new inches of snow.

You’ve got to be kidding me. Oy.

So I’m celebrating anyway, by making a new recipe in keeping with my healthier diet. They’re not exactly healthy… but they substitute most of the oil for apple sauce, so it’s a start.

Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes with Apple Cider Cream Cheese Frosting

1 box Duncan Hines Spice cake… yeah welcome to me working full time. If you want recipes from scratch you’ll have to wait until I take a few days off.

1 1/4 c. applesauce

1/3 cup oil

3 large eggs

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

Combine and beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Yum. Let cool on the counter while you whip up the yummiest frosting ever.

Apple Cider Cream Cheese Frosting

1 block cream cheese

1/2 cup butter

1 package Apple cider mix

1 tsp vanilla

4 tbsp heavy cream

3 cups confectioners sugar

Whip for 10 minutes or until light and fluffy, throw it all in a piping bag with an extra large star tip and let it chill in the fridge until your cupcakes have cooled.

You really don’t have to posses a single decorating skill when you have a giant star tip. Cram it in the cupcake and squeeze the bag until the frosting starts to come out around the tip, then work your magic and cover the top. If you mess it up, it’s frosting, eat it and nobody will know. Otherwise break out a butter knife and smoosh it around-

Voila~ cupcakes 🙂

Crafting, Food, Friends, knitting, Love, Recipes

Date with destiny…

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, that I’m  that I’m only beginning to let myself enjoy this crazy in love feeling.

I’m an expert optimist. The glass is always half full, and though I’ve seen it empty a few times in the last year… all of a sudden… it runneth over. 😉

The baking began yesterday… and continued on pretty late into the night.

Oh how Jenni bakes when she’s from the tip of her nose to the tip of her toes, beaming happy.

Marshmallows…sugar cookies: purely because I wanted to cut out hearts… lol… go ahead- gag… carrot cake cookies and granola and on and on and on…

All tied up in pretty red waxed ribbon, complete with my favorite vanilla bean caramels.

Joy makes me bake, sew… etc. My Mormon roots come screaming out and I turn into my favorite version of myself. The happy domestic goddess.

Complete with a dress, heels & apron.

One of my oldest friends stopped by and surveyed the fruits of my inspiration.

M- Holy shit… you’re not fucking around, are you? You’re really serious about this guy. Caramels even… dammmnnnn Betty…I haven’t had those in years.

J- Hungry?

M- Lemon tarts? Lemon BARS? Ooooh coconut….

My kitchen is a veritable smorgasbord for the munchies crew… because I don’t eat any of it.

Weird, huh? I don’t touch it except making frosting and checking the sugar level.

I have a bowl of basil, romaine, grape tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with balsamic vinegar and sea salt, sitting in front of me.

I have a bakery-full of delicious baked things in my kitchen.

He brings out the girl in me that I love best. Jenni Crocker-Stewart.

I have a dozen things I’m knitting, and enough treats coming out of the kitchen that I’ll naturally appear to be succeeding at my diet because the rest of my friends and family will all put on weight due to my falling in love. It seems pretty win-win, if you ask me.

Nothing lets me smile and create at the same time, like being in the kitchen. ♥

He inspires me so delightfully, that I naturally occupy myself with the other things that make me happy, in his absence. I’m painting the kitchen…. and perhaps a bedroom. I’m sure all my friends will be wearing new hats by the time I leave, and I guarantee they will have ALL put on weight.

So here… because I can’t spoil all of you with cookies and caramels… I’ll share my recipe. Make them- they’re delicious…and use Meyer lemons if you can find them. ♥

Lemon Bars

Ingredients:

For Base

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter

For top

  • 4 large beaten eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon or lime juice
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime rind

Directions:

  1. For the base mix the butter into the flour and sugar.
  2. Mix with hands until it clings together.
  3. Press into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. For the filling, beat together eggs, sugar and lemon juice.
  6. Sift together flour and baking powder.
  7. Stir into egg mixture.
  8. Pour over baked, cooled crust.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes.
  10. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  11. Cut into bars.

They’re amazing. Enjoy… and smile while you make them- it makes all the difference in the world.

Heels don’t hurt, either.

😉

Food, Recipes

Mmmm…. and this is why.

My hands are destroyed a little… it’s going to take some effort to return them to server hands. My nail polish is destroyed, my cuticles are ragged…

BUT!!!!!!!!!

A quarter of the garden is weeded and mulched. I’m exhausted… but it’s finally coming together and I’m finally getting it on auto-pilot. We’ve had a slow & cool summer so things are SO far behind.

BUT!!!!!

The arugula is gorgeous. The strawberries are going strong… and the golden raspberries are coming on. I found a dozen peas and 3 baby potatoes… I thinned the beets & the carrots…

Arugula, Strawberry & golden raspberry salad with roasted baby potatoes & baby beets.

This is why I knock myself out to grow my own veggies… so that when I’m having a crappy day, I can kick my shoes off at the gate, wiggle my toes into the dirt and feel better instantly.

More than that? I’m a food snob. I love things that taste good and I’m determined to grow them myself if I can’t get them locally. My mama ruined us early on.. she always had a huge garden and I knew from a tender age that potatoes didn’t taste as good as when you dug them yourself.

There’s a bit of love that comes through. It’s why I can Raspberry & Strawberry jam… it’s why I pickle beets and carrots & beans…. all this effort and all this work turns into something truly amazing…

and it feeds the people I love for the rest of the year.

I love a good day in the garden. I thrive in a dress & knee pads. I’m happiest with flowers in my hair and baby peas & carrots in my apron pocket.

Mmm. Bliss. Sweet, fantastic domestic bliss…

for 1. lol…

I hate to be a martyr but I fucking hate cooking for 1. I’m ready to start leaving food on the neighbors doorstep, just so I can truly enjoy cooking again.

Sigh…

Humor me… cook with me 🙂

If you’ve never attempted to make your own salad dressing, now is the perfect time to start! Here’s my favorite recipe for a quick easy vinaigrette.

Honey Bacon Dressing

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 pcs. bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Candied walnuts
Combine & shake like hell. Simple & yummmmmmmmmmy.
Throw the arugula in a bowl, dice the strawberries & throw the raspberries in. Add the candied walnuts & crumble bleu cheese & bacon over the top. Toss with the dressing & enjoy 🙂
Children, Food, Love, Recipes

Yummy

What’s a self respecting sun worshiper to do? I’m FREEZING to death. Ok so perhaps that’s a tad bit dramatic, but still… it’s ridiculously cold and I hate it.

Thankfully I have the answer… and it comes in a glorious 9X13 Pyrex pan of coconutty goodness. Behold!

My very own toasted coconut marshmallows… and because I love you all so much, the recipe.

Toasted Coconut Marshmallows

Soften 4 envelopes of gelatin in 3/4 cup cold water in your mixer. Give it a half hour or so before you start with the cooked mixture.

(If you don’t have a mixer, you can’t have marshmallows, sorry.)

In a saucepan, combine:

3/4 cup water

3 cups granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup corn syrup

Bust out your handy dandy candy thermometer (again… not optional) and clip it securely on the side of the pan. I’m not messing around when I say securely- I melted my flip flops to my foot once because I was being careless and the sugary molten lava spilled. Ouch and a half… oh and weeks wearing the same melted shoes because anything else bothered the blisters. Do not be careless making these, you will suffer as a result if you do.

Cook the combined ingredients to 244*. Pay attention. Too low a temp will result with you having a ridiculous amount of marshmallow cream. Too long and they’ll be tough and chewy. Eww. Do not walk away and leave them, although it will feel like forever while you stand there, it happens in seconds when you’re not paying attention.

Pour the lava into your mixing bowl and start slow, then build up (without a lava shower) to the highest speed on your mixer. Let it whip for 8-10 minutes.

Add (slowly)

1 tsp vanilla (and don’t buy the cheap stuff, sheesh!)

1 tsp coconut flavor.

Oil a 9X13 Pyrex pan while you wait for them to blend (you can color them too if you want at this point).

Dump the heavenly sticky goo into your pan and top with toasted coconut. Then wait.

Overnight. 😦

My daughter came home while I was making them yesterday and said

I- I wish I had two mouths right now so the mouth explosion was doubled. I wish everything could taste this good.

She’s not exaggerating, they’re THAT good.

Dust your entire life in powdered sugar and cut them with an oiled pizza wheel, being sure to dust each marshmallow on all sides or else your hard work will result in a giant disastrous marshmallow snake. Bag them up and enjoy.

The smell of coconut wafting through the house is almost as good as smelling it on your skin after a day in the sun with tanning lotion. The taste is enough to transport you back in time to your favorite pina colada. They are divine.

Make some, enjoy… and don’t forget to toast one. If you think you’ve had smores before? You haven’t until you’ve made them with a toasted coconut marshmallow.

Mmmm. Yummy…. and let’s all look on the bright side, Punxsutawney Phil says an early spring is on the way!

God love that strange little animal for not seeing his shadow.