Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Homemade pizza sauce from homegrown tomatoes. It's superb!

This sauce is deliciously spicy and thick, making a great backdrop to a balanced pizza or pizza-baked spaghetti. It is easy to make for canning, as you get 2 full pints plus some extra to use right away! If you are using plum or paste tomatoes, you can use 5 cups otherwise, use 6 cups or about 2 pounds worth.

Don’t omit the “secret” ingredient of fennel seeds. You can substitute anise or caraway as they all taste similar. This will give the sauce that distinct flavor and say to your tongue, “I am not just spaghetti sauce with extra herbs.”

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 to 6 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
3 tbsp parmesan cheese
4 tsp dried italian herbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp ground pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp fennel, anise or caraway seeds

In a large sauce pan, saute the onion, celery and garlic in the oil until soft and transparent.

Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and stir until smooth.

tomatoes, tomato paste and onions/celery in the pot.

Measure out the seasonings,

The seasonings

then stir them into the other ingredients and bring to a simmer.

pot with tomatoes, tomato paste, onions/celery and seasonings

Simmer for 45-60 minutes. Puree with a stick blender (or in batches in a blender). Spoon into pint jars or put back on the stove for added cooking time. Rule of thumb is to simmer it until no liquid pools when you make an indentation on the surface of the sauce. When canning, add ¼ tsp citric acid per pint to ensure adequate acidity.

Finished pizza sauce. 2 full pints plus a generous cup to use tonight.

Can in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes.  Yield: about 2 1/2 pints (5 cups)


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Unlike other recipes that call for coating in flour or breadcrumbs and deep fat frying, this recipe is a great lower fat alternative and can be made on the grill as well.

The prep is a lot simpler as well, so you don’t have to make poppers for hours on end. And you can make as many or as few as you want, leaving no extra ingredients (such as prepared filling or batter, etc). Just freeze left over bacon for later use, and refrigerate any unused cream cheese.

jalapeno peppers
bacon (I prefer turkey bacon): one slice for every 2 whole peppers
cream cheese (can use low fat neufachel), chilled

Cut bacon slices into quarters so as to wrap 4 pepper halves with one total slice of bacon. First cut in half, then slit lengthwise. Set aside.

Prepare your peppers by slitting them from stem to tip (lengthwise). My purple jalapenos will turn green after cooking. Leave the stems on, if possible. De-seed and de-rib using a grapefruit spoon, or a small tongs.

Salt the open pepper halves sparingly. Fill the pepper halves with straight cream cheese using a spoon.

Then wrap with a quarter-piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick.

Fry in a frying pan or grill on low heat. Start with the cream cheese side, then flip to the jalapeno side. The cheese will not come out as it is chilled when you start and you flip them before they can start melting. Flip them when the bacon is starting to crisp on that side. Alternatively, you can broil these. Put in a broiling pan and cook on high heat until the bacon is crisp, about 10-15 minutes.

Remove from heat when bacon is crisp on both sides. Let cool slightly and remove the toothpicks. Remind your guests to avoid eating the stem.

For a hotter popper, leave some ribbing and/or seeds behind. Otherwise, these should taste deliciously mild. You can also use extra thick onion dip or flavored cream cheese spreads instead of plain cream cheese for a different flavor profile. Have fun experimenting but keep it simple or you’ll never make them again 😉

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What? Who? Huh? Daylilies are edible?

Daylily petals add a great punch of color to an ordinary salad.

Yes they are. And some varieties are tastier than others. Mine are pretty standard golden or lemon yellow non-rebloomers. The petals when eaten have a mild buttery taste. Adding them to salads adds visual interest and a shock factor for surprising guests; or a mild sense of pride in eating something out of your garden even if you don’t have a garden.

My daylilies are along the side of our house. They bloom later in the season due to only partial sun.

Just make sure you are snatching daylily petals, not asiatic lily petals. Wiki it if you don’t know the difference.


  • salad greens of choice, such as romaine lettuce, spinach, or a blend of your favorites
  • a smattering of daylily petals, chopped
  • your choice of salad dressing (my favorite for this salad is Ranch)
  • add ins such as diced chicken nuggets (to make it a meal), carrots, tomatoes, etc.

Gather your daylily petals on the same day you’ll be eating them. Better yet, minutes before you eat the salad. Daylily petals bruise easily, so don’t crush them or hold them too tightly. And don’t eat them if any pesticides or herbicides have been sprayed on or around the plants. Pick petals off the freshest looking blooms, leaving the pollen stamens behind.

Chop the daylily petals and add them to the salad. How many you add is up to you.

Chopping up some yellow daylily petals.

Add in the other ingredients, toss in dressing and eat. Enjoy!

This delicious salad is a Daylily Chicken Nugget "Caesar".

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Being pregnant has really changed the way I cook and eat. Mainly, everything I put into my mouth has to have protein in it as I am required to get at least 60 or more grams per day (which is a lot!)

Now that our strawberries are finally coming in, I am able to make a homegrown organic strawberry smoothie packed with twenty-two grams protein! Woot! And no added sugar (just sweetened from the yogurt).

1 cup ice, crushed
6 oz any flavor yogurt (strawberry!) (5 grams protein)
6 oz milk (5 grams protein)
1/2 -1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp plain whey protein powder (12 grams protein)
1 tsp potassium powder (optional–potassium boost is great since pregnancy really drains your minerals)
1 -2 tsp soluble fiber powder (optional–fiber boost is great to stay regular, of course. This should add about 4 grams fiber)

Smoothies are so popular, if you haven’t yet tried making them at home, you really should. First crush the ice in your blender or food processor.

Then add in the strawberries and blend smooth.

Then add in the yogurt, milk, and extra powders.

Blend smooth. Pour into a huge glass with a wide straw.

Makes about 3 cups, but is still considered ONE serving, so don’t dare share it 😉

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This is a probably unnecessary but something we overly scrutinous gardener-types love. A cheap and easy formula that makes us feel like we are more caring than those other gardeners who just use plain water–oh the horror–on newly transplanted plants.

Whether it actually does anything is up for debate, but if it makes you feel proactive, like me, then go for it.

1-2 gallons warm water
2 tea bags (regular black)
1 12 oz can of beer (cheap kind is fine)
1 tsp dish soap

Put warm water in a bucket and add the tea bags. Let steep overnight. Then the next day, remove the tea bags and add the other ingredients. One could probably substitute regular coffee grounds for this but I haven’t tried it.

Pour over newly transplanted plants, as much as one would water according to their type. For example, a tree would get as much as a half gallon, but a tiny tomato plant would get only a cup full.

The tea contains caffeine which may or may not perk up drowsy plants, and the beer contains slight carbonation, which makes CO2 immediately available to the roots, like a breath of fresh air. It also contains slight sugars which could turbo charge root growth. And dish soap breaks water’s surface tension making the ingredients easier for roots to absorb. Yummy.

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For those who caught on, this picture of me inspecting our bare root tree order also shows me with a foamy bucket and some sticks (trees) sticking out. This is the magic formula for soaking your bare root plants prior to planting out.

Why should you soak your bare root plants prior to planting? Well, The roots are dormant and have been out of the ground for an undefined amount of time. Soaking helps them get soft and tender again, and tells the plant to get ready to wake up and start growing! It also washes off any chemicals or water retention pellets they may have been packed with. It also helps kill any mold that may have accidentally started to grow on the roots (I found mold on my strawberry and asparagus roots back in the day–not pretty). All in all, soaking is a healthy habit to start if you are ordering bare root plants.

Soak for anywhere from 2 to 24 hours prior to planting.

1-2 gallons warm water
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp dish soap
1 tsp bleach

Combine ingredients in a bucket, being careful not to splash any bleach back onto your clothes. Be sure to use warm water, not hot. Add your bare root plants, being careful not to overcrowd. I don’t recommend immersion of the whole plant, just the root portion, so adjust the water level accordingly.

Soak for 2 to 24 hours prior to planting, then plant as usual. The same or next day, water your new plants with some Transplant Water.

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This recipe is to spray on your plants and acts as a spicy slug deterrent, not a pesticide. Makes 2 cups

1 bulb garlic
½ a medium onion, preferably not a sweet onion
1-2 whole habanero peppers
2 cups water
1 tsp dish soap

In a blender or food processor, add in garlic, onion, and pepper with water and puree. Let steep for 1 hour or longer. Then strain into a clean container and stir in the dish soap. Pour into a spray bottle.

Spray onto affected plants, making sure to get the undersides of the leaves as well. Let dry. Repeat after a rain or as needed. Store any unused (and clearly labeled) mixture in the fridge.

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