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.

A Better Tomato Pie

As we’ve been harvesting more tomatoes lately, I was hungering for a good tomato pie.  Last summer I posted a recipe for tomato pie that I got from  a friend of mine.   Last week another friend shared her recipe for tomato pie over on her Face Book page.  It sounded amazing!  I did a little experimenting and ended up with a combination of the two recipes.  It was yummy!!

1 9-inch pie shell, baked

6-7 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly and patted dry (I dehydrated mine for 2 hours.)

salt and pepper to taste

8 slices of bacon, fried crisp, crumbled, and divided

7-8 slices Swiss cheese

4 tbsp chopped, fresh basil

3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 c. mayonnaise

1/2 c. crushed crackers (I used store-brand of Ritz.)

Place half of the dried tomato slices over the crust bottom and up the sides. sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with about 1/3  the bacon bits and about half of the chopped basil.  Layer Swiss cheese over the bacon and basil.  Repeat layers. Combine Parmesan cheese with the mayonnaise, stirring well. Spread over the top. Sprinkle crushed crackers on top of the mayonnaise mixture. Top with remaining bacon.

Bake uncovered at 350* for about 30 minutes.  Serve hot.

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.

Fresh Tomatoes From the Garden!

When I was a girl growing up,  my mom would place not-quite-ripe tomatoes on our kitchen window sill to finish ripening.  I always enjoyed seeing those tomatoes there and watching as they ripened in just a day or two.   As my tomatoes ripen, I put them on my kitchen window sill, too!  There is just nothing like fresh garden produce!  There should be plenty of tomatoes soon for some homemade salsa!

Tomato-Strawberry Preserves

Yes, you did read that title correctly!  I did a double-take when I first read it, too, over at my niece’s blog,

Now, I’ve known Myra’s Memaw for over 30 years, yet somehow I never learned about this recipe until Myra posted it last week.  My curiosity was up, and I knew that I had to try it.  It really is fabulous!!  I cut back on the number of tomatoes and amount of sugar only because I didn’t have oodles of tomatoes left to work with.

3 c. skinned and chopped tomatoes

3 c. sugar

1 small box strawberry gelatin

In a large sauce pan, combine tomatoes and sugar.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Cook for about 15 minutes.  Add the box of gelatin and continue stirring until completely dissolved.  Let cool.  Pour into freezer containers and freeze.  It will be thin, but thickens as it cools.  I poured mine into canning jars.

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.

Making use of the garden goodness

As I mentioned in my last post, the summer went by all too quickly.  I did manage, however, to finally get my kitchen/dining room painted!  After 11 years with the same white walls, this is a definite improvement!  The color is Hazelnut Creme!

While some of our fruit trees and bushes did well this growing season, our garden left a lot to be desired.  Whether it was too wet and then too dry, or too hot for too long, the point is that the results of our labor in the garden were slim!  The hot peppers produced the most.  We had a few tomatoes, but I longed for more for canning and home-made salsa.  Tim had to make an unexpected trip to PA last week and brought me some very nice tomatoes and zucchini grown by Mennonite farmers nearby his parents’ home.  Here are two recipes for making the best use of these two garden veggies.

Zesty Zucchini Skillet

4 c. chopped zucchini

1 c. chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp. vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. dried oregano (I used Italian seasoning)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 c. picante sauce (I used salsa)

1 med. tomato, peeled and chopped

1/2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used cheddar)

In a large skillet, saute the zucchini, onion, and garlic in oil for 2 minutes. Add cumin, oregano, and salt.  Stir in picante sauce; cook and stir for 5-7 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add tomato; cook for 1-2 more minutes or until heated through.  Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheese.

This recipe brought rave reviews from both Russ and Ben, who normally don’t like zucchini!

Fresh Salsa

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

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.   I have also added yellow, red, or orange bell peppers.

Although my kids prefer the cooked salsa I make, this fresh salsa is Tim’s favorite!  Enjoy!