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Tomatoes from the Garden

Week 03

This week was all about tomatoes. They are ripening in the garden fairly regularly now. I can find at least a few to pick daily–sometimes a lot more than a few. Because I don’t have a ton all at once, I’ve been processing them in small batches.

I canned 5 half-pint jars of salsa. The pot I used for the water bath canner is actually an old-school (as I’m sure you can tell by the awesome brown paisley pattern) broccoli steamer that my Granny gave me. I love that thing. It’s a tall narrow pot which is unusual and therefore has many uses in my opinion. It’s great for boiling artichokes too.

I’ve also roasted quite a few of them in the oven. To prep the tomatoes, I cut them up and remove all the seeds into a fine-mesh strainer over a small mixing bowl. I then place them on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. I put the tomatoes close together and throw in a few cloves of unpeeled garlic (though I do remove the extra papery stuff). Next, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea-salt, coarse pepper, and dried basil.

For cherry tomatoes and small plum tomatoes, I cut them in half and squeeze out the guts. Then place them skin down on the pan. Roast at 300 degrees for 30 minutes and check them. Check every 15 minutes thereafter until done. It took about an hour.

For regular tomatoes, I either cut them in thick slices or in wedges. I roasted them at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and then checked every 15 minutes after that.

I used a spoon to stir the tomato guts in the strainer to get out all the juice. When the tomatoes were done, I added them back to the juice before blending.

Some of the oven roasted ones I’ve frozen whole, others I’ve pureed in the blender to make into a rich sauce and then frozen the sauce in cubes. And, of course, I’ve eaten quite a few fresh ones too as well as made them into fresh salsa for dinner.

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Patriotic Jello Shots

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
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Red & Blue Jello:

2 cup boiling water

2/3 cup booze (I used vodka)

2 boxes red jello

2 boxes blue jello

Dissolve red jello in 1 cup boiling water. Then add booze. Pour into 9×9 pan and refrigerate until firm. Repeat for blue jello. Cut into 1/2″ cubes.

 

Whip Cream Mixture:

2 cups water

4 packets of unflavored gelatin

1/8 cup vanilla (clear)

1 8oz container of cool whip

1 cup cold booze

ice

Place water in small saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to soften for 2 minutes. Heat on low, stirring until dissolved. Add vanilla. Fill measuring cup with 8 oz booze and enough ice to bring the water level to 16 oz. Combine cold water and gelatin mixture and stir until thickened. Whisk in cool whip until combined. Refrigerate until cold but not set. Create mini-parfaits with cool whip mixture and colored jello cubes.

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7th Day of Christmas

On the seventh day of Christmas, I made more cookies: Thick and Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies.

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6th Day of Christmas

On the sixth day of Christmas, I made dog treats for all of Toby and Rodney’s “friends”. The red treats were made with beets and the green ones with spinach. The tan ones are peanut butter based.

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5th Day of Christmas

On the fifth day of Christmas, I made ginger molasses cookies. I played around with cookie sizes and baking styles. The cookies on the left I rolled into medium balls and then flattened by hand and dipped in sugar (and baked for 11 minutes). The cookies on the right I rolled into small balls and flattened with a glass (baked 10 minutes). The ones in the middle are my favorite. They look so perfect. I rolled small balls and just flattened them slightly, then sprinkled them with sugar (baked for 9 minutes).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup of Butter Flavored Shortening
1 Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1/4 Cup of Molasses
2 1/4 Cups of Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
1/8 tsp Salt
1 tsp of Cinnamon
1 tsp of Ginger
1/2 tsp of Cloves
Sugar for Dipping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together shortening, butter and brown sugar. Add molasses, egg, flour, baking soda, salt, and spices and mix well.

Add about 1/4 cup of white sugar to a small bowl. Take a heaping teaspoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Roll your ball in the sugar, set it on your cookie sheet and press down on it with with a fork. Repeat for the rest of the dough.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until cookies are just set. Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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Raspberry Clouds

For the base, I used a can of crescent rolls and a cookie cutter. Baked at 375 until golden brown (approximately 7-10 minutes). The “cloud” is a coconut cream dip: 8 ounces cream cheese blended with a 15-oz container of cream of coconut (NOT coconut milk). Beat with mixer until smooth. Then fold in an 8-oz tub of whipped topping. It makes a ton, so you might want to make half a recipe. This recipe is for a fruit dip, but since I made way too much, I’m trying to find other things to do with it, because it is delicious. The raspberries are coming in, but you can’t really dip a raspberry.

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Strawberry Season

After picking some 30 pounds of strawberries, I had more than I knew what to do with…. Which meant it was time to hit up Pinterest for ideas. I ended up making Strawberry Bread, Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler, Quick Strawberry Jam, and Strawberry Butter. (Yes, I like Martha Stewart.) I think my absolute favorite strawberry-related recipe was the Coconut Cream Fruit Dip, which I call Cloud Dip, because I’m pretty sure that this is what a cloud would taste like in heaven. It’s light and fluffy, not too sweet, and perfect for fruit, especially fresh picked strawberries.

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Coconut Cream Fruit Dip (aka Cloud Dip)

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 (15oz) can Cream of Coconut (Not coconut milk! Find this in the aisle with the margarita mix & other mixers.)
  • 1/2 (8oz) tub Cool Whip
  1. Whip the cream cheese with the cream of coconut in a stand mixer until all lumps are gone.
  2. Remove paddle, & fold in cool whip.
  3. Serve with fruit or graham crackers.

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