Monthly Archives: July 2013

How to Preserve Tomatoes (quick freezer method)

P1040821The end of July is creeping up, and with it has come a bountiful harvest of tomatoes- the jewel of the garden. I planted several varieties this year, but especially a lot of Roma tomatoes- since they are so good for sauces.

So now is the time to begin to preserve those tomatoes.

Let me say, I do like canning things. I am one of those who thinks a counter-top of freshly canned fruits or veggies is absolutely beautiful and so rewarding. Yes, I do love the sound of the “pop” when a jar has sealed!

P1040813However, I have been doing more freezing of my tomatoes in recent years. Mostly because I don’t have a lot of spare time these days. I’m busy keeping up with my 4 young kids, keeping the house, running errands, etc. etc. You know how it is- you’re probably in the same boat as me.

This freezing method takes very little prep, does not heat my kitchen up like canning does, and I can freeze a batch in smaller amounts, as the tomatoes come in, instead of needing a large amount of tomatoes to even make the canning worthwhile.

Of course, as with anything, there are pros and cons. You do need to have freezer space available. And there is always the possibility that you could have a storm and lose power for several days, and if you don’t have a generator, you could lose all your effort and harvest. So, weigh these factors, and decide which method is best for you.

If you were to search “how to freeze tomatoes” online, I’m sure you would find many methods- and probably from people who know a lot more about it than me.  But, this is simply how I do it, and we love to enjoy the resulting yummy sauces in the fall and winter!

PRINTABLE INSTRUCTIONS

There are 5 basic steps.

  1. Prep
  2. Rinse
  3. Boil
  4. Peel
  5. Pack bags or containers
  6. Freeze

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Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding

P1040659Have you ever made-or eaten- homemade pudding? It is SO much better than the packaged mixes you may be accustomed to using. Sure, those mixes might save you a few minutes, but you’re loosing the rich but simple goodness that old-fashioned homemade pudding delivers. (Convenience foods almost always sacrifice taste, and add a lot of fake and undesirable ingredients.)

Maybe you don’t think of yourself as much of a pudding fan at all. I mean, isn’t pudding really just for throwing a cup of it into the kids’ lunchboxes? Isn’t it a bit outdated as far as desserts go? Well, I think you might be surprised by how elegant and pleasing this comforting dessert can be!

The pudding is thick, smooth, and plenty chocolatey! You can serve it as simple as just a dollop of whipped cream on top, or you could use it to create so many other delicious desserts. (that you just might see featured here, soon!) 🙂

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Buttery Yellow Squash and Mushrooms

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This buttery dish of veggies is delicious served alone, or as a topping for baked potato, or served over pasta! Yum!

We eat a lot of squash in the summer! And, if this popular plant is a part of your garden, I bet your family eats a lot of it, too! Squash plants are notorious for giving you a bountiful harvest- often faster than you can eat it. But I do love this veggie, and am always craving it by the time summer rolls around!

So, if you’re wondering what to do with all the yellow squash that you keep gathering from the garden, I can tell you this is a delicious solution.

Squash, mushrooms, and onion are simply sauteed in butter, which becomes like a ‘sauce’ for the veggies. So good! Add to that- it’s also very quick, easy!

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1 Hour Honey-Wheat Yeast Rolls (No-Knead)

P1040638Sometimes, a day just isn’t conducive to making bread- you just might not have the time put into the process of making the dough and allowing 2 rises.

But, you can still have fresh yeast rolls for dinner!

This is a great roll recipe that I love to use because it is so quick- just one hour, plus baking time, to beautiful soft dinner rolls- and delicious, too!

They are just lightly sweet from honey, and use half white and half wheat flour, yet still deliver a light roll- not dense. And to make things even better, there is no kneading the dough!

If you are new to working with yeast, this would be a great recipe to get you started.

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‘Fall-Off-The-Bone-Tender’ Pork Spare Ribs with Homemade BBQ Sauce (Slow Cooker)

P1040583So far my very favorite cut of meat from the hog we raised has been the Spare Ribs! They are lip-smackin’ good!

This recipe is so easy and requires minimal prep. But the result is tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs, coated in a homemade sweet barbecue sauce!

Tim had to work late when I made these for dinner a few nights ago. So, I needed to save enough for him to eat later. I must admit, I was really having to restrain myself from just eating what I was saving for him!  But I was a good wife and didn’t. 🙂 (though, I have to confess, I did take a little!!)

YUM!!

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Cheesy Scrambled Eggs with Sausage and Caramelized Onions

P1040536Looking for something new to make for dinner? You must try these dressed-up scrambled eggs!

This was our dinner last Friday night along with yummy Blueberry Muffins. (I’ve mentioned before how much better I like breakfast for dinner rather than at breakfast!) These scrambled eggs were absolutely delicious…maybe my favorite way I’ve ever eaten scrambled eggs. Tim took a bite and said “Wow!”.  I took a bite and said “Mmmm!” He took another bite and said “Wow!” again! Oh-Yes! That’s what I like to hear.

The ingredients are very basic- added to the eggs are sausage, cheddar cheese, and caramelized onion, green pepper, and garlic.  But, all of these flavors compliment each other so well, they create an absolutely delicious meal.  I think the sweetness from the onions, though, might be the key ingredient that just makes these eggs so good!

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Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

P1040526When I was growing up, my mom always made blueberry muffins on my birthday. I can remember waking up those mornings, and I could smell the sweet smell of blueberries from my bed. What a great start to a morning!

Well, it’s not my birthday, but it is summer and it is blueberry season around here. I have a bunch of blueberries in my refrigerator- little hands (and big hands) can frequently be seen sneaking a handful!

But I have plans for those P1040542blueberries. And this was one of them…my favorite Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins- moist, lightly sweet, and bursting with blueberries!

I’ve tried other similar recipes, but always come back to this one I’ve been making for years now.

It’s a good’un!

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Tips for Making the Perfect “Preacher Cookie”

P1040047Yes, the cookie with the most names. Many know it as the Preacher Cookie, we called them Fudgies  when I was growing up, some people call them No-Bake cookies, and my husband always called them Chocolate Oats– which is the name that has stuck with my family.

These are probably one of his very favorite things to eat ever- and my kids are right behind him. In fact, they “Chocolate-Oat” me to death! How about some variety, people? Nope- these are what they want.

So, seeing as I make these so frequently, I have discovered some tips that make these no-bake treats absolutely perfect.

Now, I know there are many different preferences when it comes to this popular cookie. But, I have found many versions end up sticky, or dry, or do not set properly.

In my world, the perfect Preacher Cookie will be:

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  • soft
  • fudgey
  • moist
  • glossy
  • set up in 10 minutes
  • still taste good the next day

So- here are some tips.

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