Sunday, June 29, 2014

Canning The Harvest, Part I

Before the major portion of canning and harvesting is under way, I wanted to put together a collection of canned goods that I have done (most of them I do every year).

When I started composing this post I realized just how many canned goods I had done over the years that I have had this blog... five, six years... I lost count. I decided to break it up into two parts because jams and jellies are plentiful.  I was really on a kick with them for a few years.

If you have never canned before-  don't be afraid.  Do your research.  On a few of my posts I describe the different types of canning and high acid foods and low acid foods with links to other sources.  You can find info on my site here and here. There are a plethora (love to have an excuse to say that word) of sites on the Internet with all kinds of information.  Follow the directions and you will be fine.  One of my favorite sites to go to is Ball Canning.  I have a couple of their books and they could not be more helpful.  


Apple Butter

Strapple Sauce


Hot Dilly Beans


Marachino Cherries


Bread and Butter Pickles

Dill Pickles

Dill Relish


Melanzan Salad


Whole Plums


Bruschetta in a Jar

Canned Ketchup

Stewed Tomatoes
Green Tomatoes

Fire Roasted Salsa


Spiced Green Tomato Jam I and II

Tomato Sauce

Tomato Soup


Green Tomato Chutney



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars

Swirly Twirly Delicious Crunch Bars.  Don't they look all cream and coffee like?  They have nothing to do with coffee.  They have everything to do with peanut butter, chocolate and rice crispy-ish cereal.

My kids went crazy over these even my daughter who is not necessarily a fan of peanut butter.  I will tell you they are pretty rich.  To be true I would like them just as well without the topping.  Just the crunch part.  Next time I make them I will just drizzle a little chocolate over top or stir it into the mix. (This may be one of those times when I am being like my Mom- scraping frosting off of cake- yes, she is one of those).
Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars
Super crispy.

3 cups crispy rice cereal
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
1 1/2 cups peanut butter chips

Lay parchment or foil in a 8 x 8 square pan. Set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl or on the stove combine corn syrup, sugar and peanut butter.  Heat for one minute, stir.  Heat one minute more.  Combine this mixture with the vanilla and then the rice cereal. Press into prepared pan, smoothing the top.  Chill for at least an hour.

Melt chocolate chips with shortening, stirring frequently.  Once melted spread over top of rice cereal mixture.  Next, melt peanut butter chips, stirring frequently as well.  Once melted place blops, a very technical term, of peanut butter in various places on melted chocolate.  Take a toothpick or a skewer and swirl the peanut butter blops into the chocolate.  Chill.  Best if you chill overnight.  Its really difficult to wait that long.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cinnamon Scones

I just recently had a garage sale here at the house.  I have had garage sales in the past.  They are exhausting.  I had some company so that helped quite a bit.  If it wasn't for her I don't think I would have opened the sale on day 2.  My head hit the pillow after it was all over the first day and I was out like a light. Switch to off.  Boom. Out cold.

I got rid of a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff!  But so much more to get rid of.  Donation.

Will I do it again?  eh.  Probably not.

I love going to garage sales.  Apparently, I have liked it a little too much as indicated by the pile of stuff I had to sell.  So, from now on, only what I need.
Cinnamon Scones

2 cups flour, unbleached
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup thick buttermilk or heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar, blended fine in a blender
1 tablespoon half and half

cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use a scone pan.  If you don't have a scone pan, some parchment on a cookie sheet will work very nicely.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse meal.

In a separate bowl, mix egg yolk, sugar and buttermilk. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

If you are using parchment: form dough into a ball and roll on a floured surface. Roll or pat out to half an inch in thickness and eight inches in diameter. Cut into eight equally-sized pieces. Move shapes onto parchment.

If you are using a scone pan: (yes, I have one and I love it):  Spoon mixture equally into the triangular compartments.

Place parchment on baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
In a blender place sugar and grind for a few moments.  Add in the milk.  Drizzle over scones while they are fresh out of the oven.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Banana Matcha Milkshake

Note how the straw stands on its own.
This is delish.  My kids were a bit skeptical about that green stuff I was throwing in there.  Goodness gracious, not the dreaded green stuff!  But then I told them it is like their beloved Green Tea Mints from Trader Joes and then all was right with the world again.

The smoothies, milkshakes, whatever you want to call them, were gone in like 30 seconds flat.  Okay, honestly... five minutes max.  Mine was the one finished in 30 seconds, ahem.

The idea for this smoothie came from this site called, Kleinworth and Company.  I changed it up a bit because it way too thick- thick, as in I would never get it smooth because of my blender.

Banana Matcha Milkshake

2 1/2 cups of 2% milk
3 frozen bananas
2 teaspoons Matcha
3/4 cup chopped pineapple

Slice 3 bananas and freeze them at least 30 minutes.

Blend all ingredients together.  If you are like me and have a 25 dollar blender, you will have to keep sticking the handle of a wooden spoon down in there and mix it around from time to time (of course, with the motor stopped).  This is one thick shake. Don't be annoyed by this, it is totally worth it. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cheese Arepas

No time for styling, just snapped a pic to show you arepas. You can make these fairly quickly. I need to work on shaping them better.  This is the second time I made them.  I plan on making some this summer to go with some fresh veggies- tomatoes specifically.  Hmmmm tomatoes.

Cheese Arepas

2 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups arepa flour
4 ounces queso blanco or feta
4 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano

Mix all together and let sit for five minutes.  Knead together and form into patties to fry.

Heat a skillet. Add a little oil on top and fry the arepa until it is lightly golden.  Flip and brown.  Serve with beans, pork, beef or chicken.

Check out this lovely lady on you Tube showing how to make arepas- I need to try her recipe! There are a ton of videos on arepas.

I just learned about Hello Arepa here in Rochester.  Apparently, they are at the Pittsford Farmers Market on Thursday nights and different places for lunch.  You can check out their Facebook page here.  I must go check these out.
Photo: The weather's perfect and the window's up! 1000 University until 2. #eatarepas #allthecoolkidsdo #truestory
source: Hello Arepa @ their FB page

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

I am so loving all of these strawberries that Driscoll has bestowed upon me.  Thank you so much!  I made some strawberry ice cream over the weekend as well.  I love this ice cream because it is lighter and the taste of the strawberries shines through like nobody's business.

Aren't they just super beautiful?  I think so.

Buttermilk Strawberry Ice Cream

2 cups strawberries, washed and stemmed
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor, process strawberries just barely- liquid-y but chopped into smallish chunks. Pour into a bowl and stir in buttermilk, sugar and vanilla. Chill overnight or at the very least a couple hours.

Following the manufacturers directions, process through ice cream maker.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Iced Fudgey Brownies

I am always looking for simple ingredients to make simple desserts that taste really fantastic.  I dont know how many brownie recipes are on my blog, four maybe five.  The one called Best Brownies I really love but it only makes an 8 x 8 pan.  Ooops, sorry I just realized I have not posted that yet because they disappear before I get a chance to photograph them. Sometimes you want something bigger.  This is the big size brownies.  Perfect for taking somewhere.  That is exactly what I did with these I took them to my quilters meeting with fresh strawberries punctuating them on the tray.

If you are a cakey brownie lover these are not the brownies for you.  If you like fudgey, well, these are the ones!

Lunchroom Lady Iced Fudgey Brownies
1 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cup flour
2 cup sugar
4 eggs
4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F.  Beat the butter and sugar until lemony. Add in eggs one at a time, beating until completely blended.  Add in vanilla and salt and finally flour and cocoa powder.

Pour into a greased 9×13 pan.  Bake 20-25 mins.

Frost and serve.  Frosting recipe below.
1/2 cup softened butter
2 tablespoons half and half but milk is fine
1/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered or confectioners sugar
dash salt
Beat all of the ingredients together until light and creamy. Frost as desired.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pourable Scallion Pancakes

I have made scallion pancakes before, you can see them here.  They are a bit time consuming.  Believe me they are well worth it though.  But if you are in a hurry and want a lazy person supper- do these amazing scallion pancakes.
I happened to score a very large bunch of scallions last week at the Farmers Market.  They needed to be used up within a day or two.  I made these two nights in a row.  Everyone was loving them so they totally were okay with that.

Make the dipping sauce- this totally makes it.  Without it they are kinda plain.

Easy Peasy Scallion Pancakes
Serve with the amazing dipping sauce, recipe below.
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped scallion
oil for frying

Whisk the eggs, water, sesame oil, salt and flour together just until combined.  Stir in scallions. Ladle about 1/3 of a cup of the batter onto a nicely oiled warm skillet.  Wait until the edges appear down before flipping- you want them golden.  Cook a few minutes more and serve.

dipping sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic chili paste.

Just stir it all together. Pour into dipping bowls.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Creamy Chipotle Salad

Regarding tomatoes, I think we all agree that summer tomatoes are the bomb.  But when you can not get good summer tomatoes what is the next best thing? Canned tomatoes.  They are processed at their peek in the summer months.

Tomatoes have so many good things for you. "Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. In addition, tomato extracts have been shown to help prevent unwanted clumping together (aggregation) of platelet cells in the blood - a factor that is especially important in lowering risk of heart problems like atherosclerosis." (The Worlds Healthiest Foods)

Tomatoes are high in Vitamin C.

"Alpha-lipoic acid helps the body to convert glucose into energy. Some evidence suggests that alpha-lipoic acid can aid in blood glucose control, improve vasodilation and protect against retinopathy in diabetic patients and may even help preserve brain and nerve tissue." (Medical News Today)

"Tomatoes beautify the skin and may even prevent sunburn: Want gorgeous skin? You’re in luck—lycopene boosts pro-collagen, the molecule that keeps your skin firm and youthful looking.
The same molecule may also help prevent sunburn. A small study showed that women who ate 55 grams of tomato paste each day had a 33 percent increase in skin protection against ultraviolet (UV) exposure. Although more research on a larger group of people is needed, and diet is not a substitute for sunscreen, it’s very possible that tomatoes offer some protection against sunburn. (Yahoo Health)

Click on any of the sources I quoted to learn more about how tomatoes help you. Canned, paste, ketchup, fresh from the garden, however you can get in your tomatoes- do it!


1 Chipotle Lime Chicken Sausage, browned in a skillet

6 black olives
4 radishes, sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
2 1/2 cups mixed greens
Red Pack Petite tomatoes
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle
s and p to taste

While you are browning your sausage, gather your ingredients.  Toss together the salad. Slice up the sausage into bite size pieces. Drizzle a couple tablespoons of the dressing and then squeeze on some lemon juice over top (or a lime).

full disclosure: I was contacted by a representative from Red Pack and asked to feature a recipe using Red Pack.  They sent me some products (shown above).  I gladly agreed because I do like Red Pack tomatoes ;)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Strawberry Italian Cream Cake

I am posting for Driscoll's through The Daily Meal (see banner below) my Strawberry Italian Cream Cake. Hmmm.  Very tasty and refreshing.  A great dish to take to a pot luck or a picnic.

This cake is crazy because you put the ricotta mixture on top and while it is baking it sinks tot he bottom.  I have to do this recipe again with chocolate cake and strawberries!  oooh , maybe a drizzle of chocolate on top.
 That strawberry looks like a sweet little heart, does it not?
 Look at those pretty layers and that pretty pink.
Strawberries just beg to be eaten, don't they?  I know I love them. This time of year I take advantage of them being in season and use them a lot or just eat them plain.

Strawberry Italian Cream Cake

If you like you can use Cool Whip instead of the whipped cream.  

Ricotta layer:
2 pounds ricotta
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Other components:
Strawberry boxed cake mix - mixed as directed and smoothed into a 9 x 13 pan.

1 box French vanilla instant, mixed with 1 cup milk

Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting

2 cups or 8 ounces heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp powdered gelatin dissolved in 3 Tb. cold water

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9 x 13.

Ricotta Layer:  Stir together until combined completely the ricotta, sugar, vanilla and eggs.

Mix the cake as directed.  Smooth out into the prepared 9 x 13 pan. Spoon ricotta mixture over top spreading evenly. Bake at 350F for about 50 minutes to an hour.

Once baked cool and refrigerate.  Do not frost until completely cool.  I had in the refrigerator overnight.

For the top layer:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream with the sugar until soft peaks. Meanwhile, heat the water in the microwave until warm. Sprinkle the gelatin over top. Let cool. Slowly pour the gelatin in one steady stream over the whipped cream and continue to whip until firm.

Mix instant pudding with 1 cup milk, fold into whipped cream.  Spread over top of cake.

Full Disclosure:  Driscoll's sent me some coupons for strawberries in exchange for a recipe using strawberries.  I can tell you honestly that I love Driscoll's and use their strawberries without coupons because I love them.  They are delicious. 

You also can get some coupons to get a taste of some Driscoll strawberries.  Follow this link.