Fresh Salsa…and a new Grand Baby!

So here we are in August again! We have been having a very hot, very dry summer. We had at least 6 weeks of daily temperatures above 90 degrees!  The hubby has been needing to water not only his garden but also his bees! I have learned much about bee keeping since he has started this particular hobby. One thing I have learned is that bees need a water source just like dogs, cats, and other animals do. If there is no water available for the bees, they will go searching for a water source. And since a neighborhood pool was built behind our property several years ago, we certainly do not want our bees to make their way over there when they get thirsty!

Last Friday my daughter, the other Mrs. G of this blog, gave birth to her first baby…our first grandson!  I was blessed to be able to make it to the hospital several hours after he arrived. He is a sweet little bundle of joy!! I miss him like crazy! Mommy, Daddy, and Sammy, III are doing well and adjusting to each other! I am so so proud of Barbi and her man! It is really quite amazing to see your firstborn holding her own firstborn!! Barbi is a great mom, and my son-in-law is a great dad!! I loved watching him be a hands-on new daddy!

Now to that fresh salsa recipe! Even though we’ve had to water the garden quite a bit this summer, we’ve been blessed with fresh veggies! When I made this recipe yesterday, I used our own tomatoes, green onions, garlic, and hot peppers! My hubby loves this salsa fresh, but it is also good cooked. If I make extra, I usually just simmer it for several minutes and let it cool. Once cooled, I put it into freezer bags and freeze it to have the fresh summery taste during the winter months!

  • 10 medium tomatoes
  • 1 lg. bunch cilantro (I use half)
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 medium/large red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper (yellow, red, or orange bells work, too)
  • 8-10 hot chili peppers (or whatever variety of hot pepper you enjoy)
  • 1 lemon
  • pickling salt to taste–about 2 tbsp.

Process all vegetables coarsely in food processor. Mix together in large mixing bowl.  Squeeze the juice of the lemon over mixture and add the salt.  Stir together.   Makes about 2 quarts.   Keep refrigerated and use within a week or so.

Low Country Boil

If you love shell fish, you will love this recipe for a low country boil.  I was first introduced to the term about 2 years ago when Barbi moved to Savannah.  Having lived in the upstate for over 40 years, I was not familiar with a low country boil.  You need to have an understanding of the geography of SC to know about such things.  You see, our state is divided into 3 regions:  the upstate (my home), the midlands, and the low country, or the beach.   I love the upstate.  I need the beautiful trees and green grass and lovely flowers and the change of seasons.  The low country is a great place to visit, but I personally, wouldn’t want to live there!  The beach is fine for a few days, but after that, I am ready to leave.   Not so for the rest of my family.  I think that they all could live there year-round.

Anyway, back to the boil….my hubby recently saw a cooking show on TV with a Low Country Boil as the featured dish.  Since he loves seafood, he wanted to give it a try. My boys also enjoy shrimp and were eager to try it.  As you can probably guess, I am not a fan of seafood.  Growing up, I was the odd kid in my family who always ordered chicken when we went out to a seafood restaurant.  I can tolerate some fish, but not shell fish. Don’t know why…just never had a taste for them.

I told the hubby that I would be glad to purchase what he needed to make the boil, but he would have to do the cooking.  He was quite happy to!   The procedure is really quite simple.  Just throw everything into one large pot of boiling water and let it cook until it is done. Yep, that’s about it.

The amounts given here are rather general. Hubby didn’t measure anything, and this makes enough to feed a small army. Cut back if you don’t want a gallon of leftovers!!

3-4 quarts of water

3 lbs. jumbo shrimp, uncooked and in shell

2 lbs. large clams

1 shrimp/clam spice bag

6-8 ears of corn cut into 2-3 inch pieces

3-4 lbs new red potatoes, unpeeled

1 red onion, cut into 8-10 pieces

1 yellow onion, cut into 8-10 pieces

6-7 chili peppers, cut up

3-4 jalapeno peppers, cut up

salt to taste, about 3 tbsp.

2 lemons cut into fourths

1/2 to 1 lb. sausage links, cut into bite-sized pieces

2-3 sticks butter

1 tsp. hot sauce

Bring water to a boil in a large cooking pot. (My man used the pot I normally use for a boiling water bath when I do canning.)  Add everything except the shrimp, clams,  corn, butter, and hot sauce and return water to boiling.  Cook until potatoes are tender.  Add the shrimp, clams, and corn and cook just about 7-8 minutes longer.

Serve up in large soup bowls.

In a separate sauce pan, melt the butter and stir in the hot sauce.  Use butter sauce for dipping the shrimp and clams.



Cooked Salsa

A few weeks ago a friend asked me about my cooked salsa recipe.  I told her that she could find it here on the blog. However, she gently told me that my fresh salsa recipe is here, but my cooked recipe is not. I have talked about cooked salsa in a few posts, but never actually shared a recipe for it.  So I looked back through my recipes, and sure enough…it isn’t here.  Sigh….

Here are two recipes for cooked salsa.  I have used both, and my family likes them both.  I almost always freeze my cooked salsa since I don’t like heating up the kitchen with a boiling water bath.


8 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes

2-1/2 c. chopped onions

1-1/2 c. chopped green peppers

1 c. chopped hot peppers (use your choice of variety and amount to suit your taste)

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. cumin (optional)

2 tsp. black pepper

1/8 to 1/4 c. canning salt (to taste)

1/3 c. sugar

1/3 c. vinegar

15-oz can tomato paste

Mix all ingredients together and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Pour into jars and seal with lids. Cook in boiling water bath for about 15 minutes.   If you prefer to freeze your salsa, let it cool to room temperature. Pour into quart-size freezer bags, label, and place bags on cookie sheets to freeze flat.  Makes about 3 quarts



8-10 medium tomatoes

1/2 to 1 bunch cilantro

1 bunch green onions

1 medium red onion

1-3 cloves garlic

1  bell pepper, either red or green

8-10 hot peppers of your choice

juice of 1 lemon

salt to taste

15 oz. can tomato paste

Chop first 7 ingredients in a food processor, putting all in a large cooking pot. Add tomato paste, lemon juice and salt.  Stir together and taste, making necessary adjustments.  Cook, stirring frequently, until all veggies are cooked, about 15 minutes.  Pour into canning jars and process in boiling water bath, or let cool and freeze in freezer bags. Makes about 3 quarts.


If you read my most recent post of earlier this week, you will remember the drama/trauma that my family has been experiencing over the last 10 days.  I think it is safe to say that we are finally over most of it and getting back into a more normal routine.  Barbi had a good doctor appointment on Wednesday. She is now sporting a fiberglass cast, still from hip to toes, but much lighter in weight than the splint was. She got permission to return to work with restrictions. Although she still can’t drive or manage the steps to her apartment, she is able to have more independence than she has previously! She is almost back to normal…a new normal for the next 4-6 weeks.   My A1C made it home on Tuesday night and made it to his base in NC and back again on  Wednesday. He now has a few weeks of leave before he has to report for his first weekend of duty. (He is in the reserves.)

Tonight, my Citadel cadet comes home for the weekend! For the first time in almost 6 months, I will have all my boys together again.  I am very glad that Barbi is able to be back to work, but it would also be nice if she were here too so that all four of my kiddos would be together again. It has been a long time!

Most of my family members like a good guacamole dip to eat with chips.  Normally I would just buy the avocados and a packet or two of the guacamole spices, and then mix it all up.  A few weeks ago, I bought some avocados on sale but forgot the spice packets.  I knew there had to be a recipe someplace to make it from scratch, so after a little searching, I tried this recipe.  I made some substitutions, but the result was wonderful!  Since all the boys are home this weekend, I will probably make it again!

2 large ripe avocados

4 canned, peeled green chili peppers, chopped fine*

1 clove garlic, minced**

2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro (I omitted this)

3 tbsp. lemon or lime juice

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Salt to taste


Peel and seed the avocados. Mash one in a bowl, and finely chop the other, leaving small chunks. Mix the two with the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

*I used some fresh hot peppers from our garden…mincing them in a food processor.

**I have a jar of minced garlic in my fridge, so I used about a tsp. of it instead of fresh garlic.

***I add about 1/2 cup mayonnaise to my mixture.  It not only makes it a smoother mixture, it also stretches it to last a little longer!  My guys love it!

Classic Homestyle Chili

Finally!!  Fall-like temperatures have finally arrived!  It’s been so nice lately to be able to open the windows and let in the cool morning breezes.  Gone are the 90 degree days. . .at least until next year.

My family has favorite dishes that they like when the temperatures fall and the days stay cool.  One of these is homemade chili.  I made it tonight for the first time this season, but it won’t be the last!  Topped with grated cheese and sour cream and served with a tossed salad and cornbread, this hearty dish satisfies  the hungry teenagers in my house!  Why not make a big pot for your family tonight?

1 lg. onion

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 lb. ground beef

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tsp. chili powder

1-1/4 c. beef broth

1 can (14oz) tomatoes

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 can (15oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Finely chop the onion. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan; add onion and garlic. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned and crumbly.  Stir in the tomato paste and chili powder. Cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the broth, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add kidney beans and cook about 5 minutes longer.

Serving suggestions: spoon over rice; top with grated cheese and sour cream; serve with a spoonful of salsa on top.  For an extra bite, add a finely chopped hot pepper to the meat mixture before cooking the 20 minutes.