Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings

Today I had the opportunity to make another dish using Betty Crocker's Gluten Free Bisquick.

This time, Chicken and Dumplings.  This dish was alway a favorite dish in our house during our gluten eating days.  Since then, my attempt to make gluten free dumplings were not up to par.  They were always very dense and the resulting broth never was thickened like it used to be.  This recipe fixed all those problems.  The dumplings were nice and light.  The broth was nicely flavored and thickened.  The spring board for this recipe is Betty Crocker's Gluten Free Biquick posted version.  In my usual fashion, I changed it up a bit.  I'm making the broth from scratch using a whole fryer chicken (you can find usually on a good sale on these). I am utilizing a crock pot for the broth in the morning before I head out.  I think even a working mother could make this before she runs out in the morning.  If you forget, don't sweat it.  Just use canned broth and add some Bouillon.

Just look how light and fluffy they look.
My children can't get enough of these light and fluffy dumplings



Chicken and Stew:
3 pound whole Fryer Chicken
2 quarts of water (8 cups)
6 Herb-ox Bouillon cubes
1/4 teaspoon Pepper

Dumplings:
1 1/2 cups Bisquick GF Mix
2/3 cup Milk
1/4 cup Oil
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon Parsley (optional)

  • Add chicken, bouillon, water and pepper in crock pot first thing in the morning or the night before.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.  
    • Note: This part can be done first thing in the morning while you are pouring your morning coffee.  Just set it and forget it.  
    • If you are making the broth in the morning, it is a good idea to use a measuring cup designed to remove the grease before moving to the next step.
  • After chicken is poached, remove chicken from bones and skin.  Give it a large dice.
    • If you cooked your chicken the night before, place both in the fridge so your fat solidifies for easy removal.  
  • Add broth to a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  • In a small bowl, stir dumpling ingredients with fork until blended.  Set aside for a second.
  • Add diced chicken into simmering broth.
  • Gently drop dough by teaspoons (or tablespoons depending how you like it) full into simmering chicken mixture.

  • Cook uncovered over low heat for 10 minutes.  Cover and cook 15 minutes longer.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

I have several reasons for wanting to make this cake.  First of all I have not had good coffee cake for so long.  Second, Betty Crocker Gluten Free Bisquick can now be found on Walmart shelves. And the part I love the most?   I love the convenience of that.  And third, I need a travel breakfast for my vacation to Disney World this week.



Today I set out to make a coffee cake as a test cake to see if this is what we want to bring with us for traveling.

The first thing I noticed was the recipe on the box of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Bisquick. The next thing I did was look at my favorite recipe blogger, Home Joys.  And finally, I did a search for Gluten Free Coffee Cake.  I do not know why but the King Arthur Flour web page came up.  This recipe is a mixture of the three.  What I typically do is use columns and record in each column what each various recipe calls for.  Then I decide how I'm going to go about making mine.  This is what I came up with.  It was just exactly the way I think coffee cake should be.  And remember, my memories of wheat flour are vivid still.  This recipe is wonderfully moist and tender with a flavorful cinnamon middle layer and streusel top.  I'm getting better with making the streusel top in gluten free baking.  I have learned that the crumbles need to be bigger then they were in wheat baking.  Otherwise they dissolve into the cake.  Please enjoy this recipe as I did.



Cake
1/2 cup Butter (Softened)
1/2 cup White Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
3 Eggs
2 cups Flour (1 bisquick, 1/2 Surghum, 1/2 Millet)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 cup Vanilla Yogurt (Sour Cream can be subbed)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Cinnamon
1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder

Topping
1 cup Brown Sugar
2/3 Bisquick
2 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1/2 cup Butter
1/4 cup nuts (finely chopped)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease two 9" round cake pans (I like to make an extra one for the freezer but a larger 9 x 13 pan will work nicely too.

2) Start by making the cake batter.  Gluten Free batter likes to be whipped for longer to give your cake more lift. Add to your mixer bowl the butter, sugar and cream.  Add eggs and mix until incorporated.  Add flour, cinnamon, yogurt and vanilla until combined and smooth.  Leave whipping and work on the topping.

3) Make topping by adding sugar, flour and cinnamon into the bowl.  Stir to incorporate.Add the butter and cut in with a fork until the mix is crumbly and butter is the size of or smaller than the size of a pea.  Set aside.

4) To make the filling, add cinnamon, sugar and cocoa powder together.  Mix well and set aside.

5) Pour 1/4th of the batter in each of the two 9" round cake pans (or half into the 9 x 13).  Spread batter all the way to the edges

6) Sprinkle filling in each pan to cover batter.

7) Top with remaining batter and carefully spread to cover filling without mixing.

8) With a butter knife or spatula, swirl the filling into the batter as though you were making a marble cake.  Do not combine throughly.  Just slightly swirl the filling though the batter.


9) Sprinkle topping over the batter.

10) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Print

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Philadelphia Style Ice Cream

I received these recipes from a friend of mine who borrowed my ice cream machine.  We have owned this ice cream machine for about 6 or 7 years now and it was only ever used on special occasions.  Seeing how much she enjoyed using the machine made me feel bad for misusing the poor lonely machine.  Making the French custard style ice creams were such a hassle.  They were good, but not for every day. When my friend used the machine, the recipes needed had to be egg-less because of allergies.     I have since come to learn that this style of ice cream (egg-less) is called Philadelphia.  Philadelphia is my home town so that makes this set of recipes a keeper!

A little tid-bit from Wikipedia:
In the United States, ice cream made with just cream, sugar, and a flavouring (usually fruit) is referred to as "Philadelphia style"[38] ice cream. Ice creams made with eggs, usually in the form of frozen custards, are sometimes called "French" ice creams or traditional ice cream.[39]

So with that, I had to try it.  The result was an extremely rich and creamy ice cream to be compared with expensive store bought quality ice cream.  And you know what?  Not making the egg custard makes this process so super easy to make.  You just add and start.  On a diet?  No problem, just use milk.  Dairy allergies, just use soy.  Your options are endless.

If you have a ice cream maker than these versatile recipes are for you.  Just add your ingredients and you are good to go.





Chocolate

2 cups Heavy Cream
1 cup Milk
2/3 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder



Strawberry

1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Strawberry Extract
16 to 19 ounces frozen Strawberries (thawed)
    or pureed fresh
  • Mix pureed fresh berries with 2 Tbls of sugar and let stand for a half an hour.  
  • Alternatively, take frozen berries out of freezer to thaw.  Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir.
  • Mix the remaining sugar with the whole milk over low heat until sugar has just dissolved. Stirring occasionally.  Add cream and take off heat.  
  • Add the berry mixture to the cream mixture and place it all into your ice cream maker.
  • Process and eat!

Notes:
  • I only have a 1 quart ice cream maker.  Using a one quart measuring cup will ensure that you are not adding too much to your machine.
  • Adding strawberries too large will cause the ice cream not to freeze up very well.
  • I like to make sure my sugar is melted, but its not necessary.  
  • Adding the sugar to fruit to melt the sugar will work.  
  • Using Jam will work instead of sugar.

I will be posting this to The Gluten Free Home Maker's Gluten Free Wednesdays as well as Ann Kroeker's Food on Fridays.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti Con Burro e Pomodori

This is a simple fresh tomato sauce that was inspired from the tons of fresh tomatoes we have been harvesting.  There are very few ingredients but do not let that fool you.  The flavor is simply wonderful.  

1 pound of Pasta (of our choice)
1/2 cup Butter (no diet food here, I have used Olive Oil too as well as 1/2 butter and 1/2 oil)
4 Cloves Garlic (minced) - or more.  Depends on how you feel!
28 ounces or so of tomatoes (I was using fresh so I just added enough to be 1/2 inch up my 12" skillet)
Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese

  • Put pasta water on to boil.  Salt it generously.
  • When water boils add in package of pasta.  Careful not to overcook.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in saute pan over medium heat.  
  • When butter starts to melt and foam, add minced garlic.  
  • Cook until you can swell the aroma of the garlic though-out your kitchen.
  • Add fresh, chopped and de-skinned tomatoes.  Or you can add them whole and smash them as they cook.
  • Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Toss with Hot Pasta and pass the freshly grated cheese.  
Notes:

The sauce is thin.  When I first served this to my husband he handed it back and asked for me to add more.  Its very flavorful even thin, I assure you.

Even your children will eat this.

To de-skin a tomato just submerge in boiling water for 1 minute.  Immediately plunge into cold water and remove skin with a knife.



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Monday, July 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Week of July 12th

I'm going to give you recipe links this week.  I teased a friend last week that I wanted her to give links but truthfully never do it myself.  I claim lazy, lol.  Truth be told, I love when folks add links.  Its so much easier to actually use the ideas you are presenting.  Don't get me wrong, I need to do this menu plan for me.  I'm a mess without it.  But I'd like to fantasize that somebody is actually getting some help along the way.

Monday:
Sirloin Beef Roast
Mashed Potatoes
Veggie
Fresh Baked Rolls (no recipe yet)

Tuesday:
Grilled Pork Loin
Rice a Roni
Veggie

Wednesday:
Lasagna (Never posted it but I'll give you the meat sauce recipe and everyone knows how to layer it)
Cheese Straws (to be posted)
Salad

*Note, last time I made lasagna using Tinkyada lasagna noodles all of the noodles broke apart into tiny bits.  I'm OCD and the broken noodles bothered me.  I re-did the lasagna  noodles using the save energy instructions on the box and that helped keep the noodles whole.  After cooking I immediately submerged the noodles into cool oiled water to keep until I was ready to use them.  I was looking at the huge pile of broken noodles and thought, "when life gives you broken noodles, make broken noodle lasagna".  And so I did.  The pan was half the size of a normal pan of lasagna and I layered each noodle layer with the broken pieces.



Thursday:
Grilled BBQ Chicken Thighs
Sweet Potato Fries (Just slice, toss in oil and bake)
Cole Slaw (to be posted)

Friday:
Mac and Cheese (Tinkyada Pasta, I'll see what I come up with and post it)
I'll toss in chicken and broccoli maybe.
Growing up my mother used to heat up canned milk and add the shredded cheese to melt.  No thickener.
I'm loving now how many ways I can incorporate tidbits of my childhood into my GF lifestyle.

Saturday:
Lunch: Hamburgers, sliced Tomatoes & Chips

Dinner: Taco Dinner (looking forward to using Alton's spice recipe), Home Made Crock Pot Refried Beans

Sunday:
Lunch: Hotdogs, Strawberries & Chops

Dinner: Baked Chicken Breasts, Ore Ida Tater Tots


I will be posting this to Menu Plan Monday to:


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    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Gluten Free Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

    Growing up I used to eat coffee cakes from a bakery called Entenmann's.  My girlfriends husband used to work there and bring us these wonderful coffee cakes all the time.  Raspberry Cream Cheese was my absolute favorite.  So when I saw this latest recipe from one of my newest favorite blogs I had to try it.  The recipe is not Gluten Free so I had to make adjustments. I used Pamela's Gluten Free Baking and Pancake Mix that has baking powder and baking soda already in there so I left that part out of the recipe.  I also added an additional egg because Gluten Free baking likes it that way.  Otherwise I left the recipe alone.  If you would like to make this recipe with regular flour, you can follow it exact and add the baking powder/sodas.





    2 1/4 cups Flour (I used Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix)
    1 cup White Sugar
    3/4 cup Butter
    (1 teaspoon Baking Powder - Omit for GF)
    (1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda - Omit for GF)
    1/4 teaspoon Salt
    1 cup Vanilla Yogurt (or sour cream)
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon Vanilla
    8 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
    1/4 cup Sugar
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon graded Orange Zest
    1 1/2 cups Raspberries (defrost frozen berries and disgard resulting juice)

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 8 inch spring form pan and line the bottom with greased parchment paper.  Note: 8" is the smallest in your 3 stack of spring form pans.  A larger pan could be used but you will have only a thin layer of cake underneath, which is fine with me too.
    2. With a food processor or blender, combine flour, sugar and cool butter or margarine until well blended and mixture is the size of small peas. 
    3. Measure out a generous 1 cup and reserve for topping.
    4. To remaining mixture in food processor add Salt, Yogurt, Egg, Vanilla and beat only until the batter is smooth.  Note: this is where you would add your Baking Powder and Soda as well.
    5. Spread the batter onto the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared pan.  Slightly is the key here for gluten free baking.  
    6. Combine cream cheese and sugar back into the processor bowl you used to mix the base.  Add egg and orange zest and beat until light and fluffy.  
    7. Spread the cream cheese filling over the cake batter leaving 1/4 inch crust.  Scatter the raspberries over the filling.  
    8. Top with reserved streusel.  I find with gluten free baking, if the streusel is too small, it will disappear into your cake.  Make sure the crumbles are the size of peas.
    9. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the streusel is golden and toothpick inserted in center o cake comes out clean.
    10. Place on rack to cool.  Remove ring and slide cake onto a dessert plate.

    To ensure a product that is thicker underneath the topping, make sure the batter layer is thick.  In Gluten Free baking cake batter should be thick for better rise.  So using the smaller spring for pan or even a 9" pie plate would be ideal.
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    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    A Disney Vacation an a Budget

    I believe Dave Ramsey would call it, "how to go on vacation without it following you home".  

    As i type this my youngest child is watching the video Disney sends when you ask for the "planning" package.  My youngest is finally 44" tall.  Tall enough to ride on most rides at Disney.  This is what my son reminded me of when we were at the Fair a few months back.  We have been telling him for quite some time now that it just was not worth the trouble going when his little sister could not go on any of the rides.  The rides she could go on he wanted nothing to do with.  Now this is not to say don't bother to go before then.  I know lots of folks who go with younger kids and do very well.  It was just our decision.

    It was time for that long awaited trip indeed.  Our turmoil life had finally settled down.  Now we had to wait for the right "sale".  I have been keeping my eye on the sale cycles for over a year, knowing the time was going to creep up on me.  I've seen free food packages.  Free nights stay.  Tried to get an idea of what times of year seemed to be cheaper.  When they offered the best package deals.  Everyone's opinion of what is the best package is different.  I think Free food suits us best!

    The package I selected was Kids Eat, Sleep and Play FREE.  I should mention that this is a Disney Resort deal.  Kids add little cost to the hotel expense anyway.  All you will pay for them generally is the park tickets. This time, this deal seemed like the best idea for us.  It was offered right in the middle of the hot, HOT summer.  I was a little worried about the heat but decided lets do it.  We will visit the parks as soon as they open, go back to the hotel in the afternoon and nap or swim.  We will then return after 3 and stay till 11 when the parks close.  We secured a room end of May for 5 days and included the dining package (remember kids were free).  The dining package we choose was the quick service package.  Two free quick service meals and two snacks a day.  Meals include Entree, Drink and Dessert.  Snacks are typically anything under $4.  The variety ranges from Dole Fruit Whips, Baked Potatoes, Egg Rolls, Fried Rice, Nice Potions of French Fries.  A snack is a meal in itself for my children.  Total package was $1300.  We paid for it in cash.  

    TIP: We did not add the Park Hopper option.  Its an added expense that I did not feel necessary.  Lets just pick a park and stay with it.  If we choose to park hop on any particular day, we can always add it on that day for $40. But lets not pay for it and not use it.

    So with trip tickets in hand it was time to do some planning.  Not only did it have to be frugal but we have wheat allergies.  

    First Things To Do:
    1. First I secured our Character Dining reservations ASAP.  Make sure to have allergy note on file.  Do not delay on this one, spaces start filling up as soon as 90 days before the trip for some of the most popular character meals.  Our choices were Chef Mickeys and Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner.
    2. Contact SpecialDiets@disneyworld.com and inform them of your reservations and ask for list of quick serve dining locations. I've included it below for this season but always check and make sure.
    3. Plan snacks that will be handy to carry in your Backpack.  Be sure to order ahead special allergy items you plan to bring with you.
    4. Each park takes turns allowing extended visiting hours.  One will extend hours for the morning while another that same day will be offering extended hours for the afternoon. Since we are only visiting one park a day, decide if we want to visit early extended hours or late extended hours.  Deciding this will allow us to plan on what park to visit each day.  We decided on late hours so we can sleep late.  It is vacation after all.
    5. Now go to Disneyworld.com and plan your Itinerary. It will prompt you to select what park you are visiting each day.  
    6. While at Disneyworld.com you can find the events for each day by clicking on the parks tab, each individual park and finally calendar to see what the events are happening each day including the parades and fire works.  Put the times in your phone with an hour reminder ASAP! :-)
    7. Note on your Itinerary Allergy Free quick service locations for each park and important parade times.
    8. Research what rides are a "must see" for my kids ages.  What rides NEED fast pass.  Some madly popular rides run out of fast passes early afternoon.  Come up with a plan on what rides you should visit first.
    9. Create a custom map on Disneyworld.com adding the rides you plan on seeing.  You can print your maps immediately or have Disney send you "custom" maps in the mail.  
    A few ways we planned to save while at Disney World:
    • Plan lots of car Activities for the long trip there.  Ipods, DVD players, Books, Coloring Books and Crayons.  Don't forget the sound proof head phones.
    • Pack a breakfast/lunch for the road and Snacks for inside the park via backpack.  Allergy folks should be allowed to bring in special foods.
    • Plan to bring lots of your own Drinks.  Our plan is to bring water and the powdered water flavoring to add.  Once there each bottle can be refilled at the various water fountains.  I understand that Disney World's water has a special taste that you may not like.  This is where the powdered flavoring comes in handy.   If you plan far enough in advance you can get a good deal with coupons on the water flavorings.  In addition to this our package included a all you can drink Mug.  These mugs are good for the duration of your visit and can be used unlimitedly at your resort.  The package allowed one for each person in our party.  
    • Research the trends at the park via blogs and forums.  Lots of these trendy items can be Purchased Ahead and brought with you.  Glow Sticks for example are Dollar Store items.  Don't make the mistake of purchasing them at the park.  They are pretty expensive.  Lots of kids wear the Lanyards full of collectable pins for trading with Cast members.  These pins can be purchased on ebay for a dollar a pin.  At Disney they run $7 to $15 each.  Purchase a lot of pins and trade them for pins you are trying to collect.
    • Be sure to make a Check List of items to pack and pack them carefully.  Forgotten bathing suits for example could be expensive to replace.  Pack your hats, sunglasses, bandannas, stroller if you have one, spritz bottle for a quick cool off while in line, hand held battery operated fans (dollar store item) and a soft collapsable cooler.  Hard shelled coolers will not be allowed in the parks.
    • Use Dave Ramsey's Envelope System and separate your money out for what you plan to spend each day.  Considering our trip has the food included, I'm not planning to break the bank on how much I'll bring to spend. I'll even have a Souvenir envelope and a Car Gas envelope.  I could not hurt to see how much the gas will cost by using a calculator.
    My Gluten Free Snack List:
    1. Tostitos Corn Chips with Snack Sized Cups Fritos Cheese Dip
    2. Baked Doritos
    3. Lays Stacks.  (love that non chip breaking container)
    4. Jack Link's X-Stick (a Gluten Free Slim Jim)
    5. Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds
    6. Ian's individual packs of Chocolate Chip Cookies
    7. Fruit Snacks/Fruit Roll Ups
    8. Individual Sized Fruit Cups (pineapple, mandarin Orange)
    9. Gluten Free Sandwich Petals will allow me to create a quick meal any time, any where.  
    Quick Service Locations that will be able to accommodate special dietary Requests:

    Magic Kingdom:
    1. Columbia Harbor House
    2. Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe
    3. Pecos Bills Tall Tale Inn and Cafe
    Disney Animal Kingdom:
    1. Restaurantorsaurs
    2. Flame Tree BBQ
    Epcot:
    1. Liberty Inn
    2. Sunshine Seasons
    3. Electric Umbrella
    Disney's Hollywood Studios:
    1. Backlot Express
    2. ABC Commissary
    3. Rosie's All American Cafe
    And the most important tidbit of advice.  Don't over plan your vacation.  Remember to relax and enjoy.  At only one park per day we admit that we will probably not see everything in each park.  That is ok.  My hope is that the planning I have done allows us to relax and enjoy the park with allergies and on a budget.  Even if you are not on a budget, having snacks ready for the long lines will be a life saver for young children.  

    Want to see my Itinerary?  Just click the link below.

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      Thursday, July 8, 2010

      Harvest Time

      Tomatoes, Zucchini and Bell Peppers are in abundance. To the right you can see my accumulating jarred tomato meat collection.  Next two it on the left is a bowl full of HOT peppers.  Then a bowl of almost red bell peppers.  Two bowls of tomatoes.  I have about 4 large Egg plants to the left along with a bunch of Zucchini.  This time I'm going to coin and shred the zucchini, vacuum pack and freeze it.

      We have officially gone from one large bowl of tomatoes every few days to two large bowls.


      Looks like I'll have some work to do today!
      But I don't mind.  I love this part of gardening.
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      Wednesday, July 7, 2010

      Greek Salad

      This is the madly popular recipe that I make and take to various events.  It leaves a wonderful pop of flavor in your mouth.

      There are lots of different varieties of greek salad but the ingredients are basically all the same. I think its the way you assemble it that makes it different.  I slice my kalamata olives. I'm finely crumbling my feta cheese. I like my cucumbers de-skinned and quartered.  I like my red onion very thinly sliced into rings then quartered.  I like to use quartered plum tomatoes but have been known to use halved cherry tomatoes too.  This way each scoop ensures you a selection of each flavor.  A good quality extra virgin olive oil is key here.

      This recipe always gets doubled.


      3 lg. vine ripened tomatoes (1 1/2 lbs) chopped
      1 cucumber cut into 1/4 inch dice
      1 sm red onion, very thinly sliced
      1/2 c. Kalamata Olives
      1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
      1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
      6 oz. Feta Cheese
      1/4 tea salt
      1/8 tea pepper

      In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and lives.  Add oil, oregano, 1/4 tea salt and 1/8 tea pepper; toss to coat.  Sprinkle with Feta to serve

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      Kroger Deals I like for the week ending July 13th


      StarKist Tuna (pouch) – $1/ea


      Kroger Fruit - $1/ea


      Kroger Fruit Snacks - $1/ea


      Kroger Deluxe Ice Cream - $1.88


      Birds Eye Vegetables - $1/ea


      Dole Cole Slaw – $1/ea
      Use $0.75/1 Dole All Natural Creamy Coleslaw Kit Kroger
      Final Price = FREE


      Idaho Potatoes (3 lb bag) – $1/ea


      Del Monte Fruit Naturals – $1/ea
      Use $1/4 Del Monte Fruit Naturals
      Use $1/3 Del Monte Fruit Naturals
      Final Price = $0.75/ea when you buy 4 or $0.67/ea when you buy 3


      Yoplait Yogurt (4-8 pk) – $2/ea
      Use $0.50/1 Yoplait Kids Yogurt Cups

      Use $0.75/2 Yoplait Kids Yogurt Cups
      Final Price = $1/ea 




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      Friday, July 2, 2010

      How to Can Tomatoes or Preserve Tomatoes


      Our tomato plants are even bigger than this picture you see here.  I think of mutant when I see just how large they have grown.  Compost is amazing stuff.  To teach my children about the compost process, I use compost as a lesson on why you must eat your vegetables.  They see us saving our scraps and adding it into the compost bins. And how we feed our plants with the compost the vegetables make.



      I have other tomato plants that do not get the compost so they can see how the nutrients received from the vegetables allow the plants to be much healthier.  Will it make them eat their vegetables willingly.  Probably not.  But you can't say I'm not trying my best.

      This is our first year organic gardening.  But it is not our first year tomato growing.  We grew tomatoes in New Jersey when we lived there. I actually grew up just outside of New Jersey and we always considered "Jersey" tomatoes the best in he world.  I now think the tomatoes we get off the vines out back are the best in the world.


      Can you see this gorgeous Better Boy tomato inside.  So much meat and out of this world flavor. My husband has been bringing in large bowls full of tomatoes about once or twice a week.  Not enough to make sauce though (which needs a huge bushel to boil down into anything).  

      So I decided to remove the skin from the tomatoes I will not use immediately.  Quarter and remove the seed and middle goo.  I do not need a large batch of tomatoes to jar.  One large silver bowl equals a quart of diced tomato meat.  So what I have decided to do is jar what I have when I need to.  Once I have enough tomato meat, I'll make sauce.  




      The process:
      • Start boiling water in a large pot.  Water will be used to blanch tomatoes and add water to the jar.
      • Sterilize Jars in the dishwasher on the sterilize cycle.  
      • Boil lids and in a small pot of water on stovetop for 3 minutes then place on simmer until needed.
      • Wash tomatoes and cut a small X on the bottom of tomato.  place in large container.  
      • Pour hot water over tomatoes and allow to sit for 1 minute.
      • Starting at the X, peel tomatoes.  Quarter them and toss them into sterilized jar (pressing down lightly to fill jar).
      • Fill jar with boiling water or tomato juice.  
      • Place sterilized ring and lid on.  
      • Place jars in a water bath, submerging jars in 2 inches of water and allow to boil for 40 minutes.


      To make a simple Sauce:
      If you should have enough tomatoes to make a sauce them place quartered tomato meat into a blender to liquify.  Add liquid to a large pot and boil down until thick.  You could add your various ingredients at this point and make it flavored sauce.  

      If you have not seen my favorite recipe for Tomato Sauce, see here.  Lately I have been shredding the zucchini and adding it to the tomato sauce.  Hey, I have to do SOMETHING with all that zucchini.  You can't really tell its there but it really adds lots of nutrition.

      Happy canning!

      This entry will be linked to




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