I started this blog so my daughters could find all of our family favourite recipes in one place. It has actually grown into more than just the family favourites but also other recipes we've tried out in our kitchen. I don't like to fill up the post with alot of chatter. Sometimes there's a little story to tell, but usually I like to get right to the point. So this is for them, but hope you find some recipes that you like as well. I'll be sharing a lot of recipes, and along the way you'll find some crafty things and maybe some helpful hints too!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hot Pickled Peppers

This is what you'll need:

A bushel or more of sweet peppers, all colours

Different assorted hot peppers, 3-5 pint boxes (jalapeños, habañeros, chili, etc)

1-2 strings of garlic, depends on how garlicky you like it

One bag of pickling salt

Large container of white vinegar

Large container canola oil (olive oil gets solid in the fridge)

Pair of latex gloves (so people will talk to you after cutting the garlic, and you'll be able to touch things without a burning sensation after cutting the hot peppers)

Large tupperware container kept specifically for this job, or several large mixing bowls that you won't need for a few weeks.

Pickling jars, lids, rings

To start:
Clean and chop sweet peppers
Chop hot peppers in small pieces. Leave some whole, it looks good in the jar
Roughly chop the garlic

Place one layer of mixed cut peppers and garlic on the bottom of container. Cover with pickling salt, then place another layer of mixed peppers and garlic, another layer of salt continue until you have used all your peppers and cover last layer with salt.

Cover and let sit for 1 week


Rinse off all the salt from the peppers and garlic.
Place everything back into the container, then cover completely with white vinegar

Cover and let sit for another week

Now you are ready for the last step

Drain the mixture, removing all the vinegar, no need to rinse.
You need to have all the jars sterilized.
Place the peppers in the jars, push the peppers down to get most of the air out.
Pour the canola oil slowly into the jars, put a knife down the side to release air bubbles.
Seal with lids.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cooked Tomato Salsa

Cooked Tomato Salsa

3 lbs. chopped & peeled round tomatoes

1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced sweet green pepper
2 tbsp. minced jalapeño, banana or chili pepper
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
1  1/2 tsp. pickling salt
1/2 tsp. each ground cumin and dried oregano

In a Dutch oven or large heavy saucepan, combine all ingredients.  If you can chop the hot peppers with your hand in a ziplok bag you won't be stuck with hot pepper oil on your hands for hours afterwards.  (I had a pair of latex gloves specifically for this job, but couldn't find them).  This is a neat trick....after chopping garlic, rub your hands on stainless steel, like the faucet, and then wash with soap and water.  This really works to get rid of the smell on your hands, don't know why, but it does.  To peel tomatoes, simply put them in boiling water for 1 minute, then right into cold water.  The skin will peel right off (mostly)

Don't forget to compost.

Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered for 15-20 minutes or to desired thickness, stirring frequently.

May be stored in covered jars in fridge for up to 1 week. These pictures show 7 recipes worth of salsa so I had to preserve it.

After sterilizing jars and lids, ladle salsa into hot canning jars, filling to 1/2 inch below rim.  Wipe rims and place metal canning lids on jars.  Apply bands to fingertip tight.  Place jars in canner (large, deep pot) of boiling water, covered by one inch.  Cover canner, return to boil.  Process 20 minutes. Remove and let cool 24 hours.  Check seals.  If some have not popped down, keep these in fridge or redo process with new lids.

Yield: about 4 cups

Get out the tortilla chips !

You might also like:

Garden Fresh Tomato Soup in a Slow Cooker


Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers


Roasted Tomato, Garlic & Basil Sauce

Basil has one of the best smells in the world.  Add that to garlic and Oh Man does the kitchen ever smell good!  This is an easy tomato sauce recipe that is so flavourful.

Start by coring the tomatoes and cutting them in half lengthwise.  Cut the onions and red peppers into chunks. Arrange in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet along with whole, peeled garlic.  Drizzle lightly with oil.

Roast uncovered at 400F for 45-60 minutes or until vegetables are soft and lightly browned like this:

Toss in the fresh basil, scrape any brown bits and juice from the pan and whirl in the food processor along with salt and pepper to taste. At this point you could add a little tomato paste if you like your sauce clingy.

Process as little or as much as you like.  Depends on if you like your sauce chunky or smooth.

Pour into ziploks and freeze.  You're done!

Roasted Tomato, Garlic & Basil Sauce 
Yield: about 4 cups

2 dozen Italian plum tomatoes (3 lbs)

2 onions
1 large red pepper
6-8 cloves garlic
1-2 tbsps. olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup fresh basil
salt & pepper
tomato paste (optional)

Slow Cooker Apple Date Butter

It’s Fall and what a wonderful time it is. The spectacular fall weather has arrived with all its amazing colors and smells – this is hands-down my favorite time of year. It’s also apple season, where I can enjoy apple picking with the kids, cooking and baking with this healthy and delicious fruit. I’ll tell you something about myself you didn’t know – I can’t eat raw apples. I know, isn’t that just terrible. I have a slight allergy to certain raw fruits and vegetables that make my mouth and throat itch out of control. It’s drives me crazy because all I ever want to do is bite into a fresh, crispy apple. However, I can enjoy apples if they are slightly cooked, so don’t feel too bad for me. ;)
Apple butter, a delicious fall treat that my family and I always enjoy. It’s fun to spread on a piece of toast, on pancakes, or use it in baked goods. I made delicious red beans with apples and cinnamon last night for dinner and threw some apple butter in – it was outrageous! Don’t worry, I’ll post this for you next week. I have to make it again today because it was so good and there are no leftovers, so I’ll make sure to write down the recipe.
I’ve always wanted to make apple butter and found out by looking at several recipes online that it is not as healthy as I thought it was. Some recipes called for 2 cups of sugar – yes, 2 CUPS OF SUGAR! Apples are naturally sweet, so why do you even need all this sugar? So, what I did was pull a few recipes online for the basic measurements like how many apples do I need and cooking times. I thought making an Apple Date Butter would be a good idea because I love dates – as you all know – as a healthy alternative to sugar because of its taste and nutritional benefits. I am glad I did this because I’m really happy with the resulting flavors. This Apple Date Butter is naturally sweet with hints of cinnamon, cloves and vanilla.
I borrowed this nifty apple/peeler/corer from my sister-in-law and was so excited to use it. I thought it would save me time and be lots of fun for the kids to use because they love to help.
Have you ever used one of these? It was really cool for like five apples until it stopped working. Either I was doing something seriously wrong, or it’s just been used too many times and is broken – I’m going with broken. Oh well, back to regular peeling, coring and slicing.
After all your apples are sliced, just throw it all into a slow cooker with remaining ingredients and give it a good stir. Now cover and let cook for many hours until it’s a dark brown, gooey deliciousness. We made this on a Sunday and just felt so relaxed hanging out and enjoying the wonderful fall aromas that filled the house.
Where’s the reduced slow cooker picture you may be thinking? This was done way past my bedtime, so I just canned the finished apple date butter and went to bed, forgetting all about another picture. *YAWN*
Some changes I would make to this recipe would be to reduce the amount of dates by half or increase the amount of apples. If you don’t want to add the dates at all, just use 2 cups of unsweetened apple juice – preferably fresh – instead. However, I thought I would end up with at least 4 pints, but only ended up with 2 1/2 pints. I have plenty, but with the amount of time it took to cook, I would have liked some more to give away and freeze. Oh well, I’m still thrilled with the results, it came out fantastic.
Slow Cooker Apple Date Butter
Cook time: 9-11 hours
Yield: 2 ½ pints
5 ½ pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup chopped dates, pitted
1 cup unsweetened apple juice, fresh is best
1 cup water
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
Fill slow cooker with peeled, cored and sliced apples. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
Cover and cook on low setting for 9-11 hours or until the butter is a thick, dark brown, spreadable consistency. Stir occasionally.
If there is too much liquid, remove lid and cook on high until thickened. Keep an eye on it and stir it
occasionally to prevent burning (this all depends on your slow cooker). You can also transfer to a pot and heat on the stove until it reduces if the slow cooker isn’t doing its job.
Transfer to canning jars and store in the refrigerator or freeze.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Cupcakes for Bake Sale

If you have a bake sale in your future, this is a great way to package up your goodies. Drop a cupcake in a plastic cup, wrap with cellophane and tie up with ribbon.
They'll sell like hotcakes, I mean cupcakes  : ) 

Here's a cupcake with the flag of Ecuador that we printed and put on a toothpick. We wrapped them up and they were sold to help raise money for my daughter's school service trip to Ecuador. You could do this with any project or event that you want to promote.  Just print up a flag or image (i.e. pink ribbon for breast cancer, mustache for movember men's cancers) and you could tie up the cellophane with coordinating colours.