Thursday, September 26, 2013

Homemade Stewed Tomatoes

Hello everyone, I hope you are all doing well.  Lately we have been so busy with cooking and just trying to keep up with all these tomatoes!  This year was the biggest tomato season we have ever had!  Now truth be told my husband is the gardener in this family, sure I have picked up a few things about it here and there, mostly from doing this year after year with him.  Now If you do not follow me on my facebook page please do there you will find pictures from recipes, my youtube videos and reg. pictures of what I am up to.  I have made gallons of roasted tomatoes from the over 200 pounds of tomatoes this year.  That is right you read correctly 200 POUNDS, of tomatoes.  Here is just a sneak of just the green tomatoes not counting the ones I roasted:

So after roasting about 6 gallons of tomatoes, I thought since there are so many and roasting them was taking me days to complete, just to find more ripe tomatoes the next day why dont I just stew a whole mess of them in a huge stock pot?  So that is what I did. I made a huge batch of stewed tomatoes so I used bigger amounts of things.  However I am going to give you the less industrial sized version of this recipe lol.  


1-2 pounds of fresh tomatoes
1 large onion diced
2 stalks of celery diced
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of fresh basil
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary
1-2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 green bell pepper diced
salt and pepper to taste


In a large stock pot or dutch oven add extra virgin olive oil and add all veggies except the tomatoes.  You want to sweat out the veggies and they cannot sweat when the tomatoes are in there.  Next we are going to add all seasonings,including the bay leaves and mix them around with the veggies.  After the veggies are translucent in color add in your tomatoes, now I cut mine in half  like this here:

Now we are going to let these stew, in order for that to happen you need to knock down the heat from a low medium to a medium low temp.  On my stove its a 3.  Cover the top of the pot and let them stew for about 6 hours or more.  Stir occasionally and as they cook down they are going to release their juices and give off more liquid.  You do not need to add water at all.  Just give it time and let nature take its course.  

I know this is a time consuming recipe however if you can devote just one day for making your own stewed tomatoes it will be well worth it in the end.  Take care everyone and Live, laugh and love.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Grandma's Soft Molasses Cookies

Good Morning one of the many reasons why I love living in New England is the crisp fall days.  Along with the crisp air, fall brings back childhood memories of playing in leaves, picking apples and the smell of baking bread, and freshly made cookies.  I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house and she was a great cook.  She never used recipes, never measured anything and everything she made was delicious.  I would smell these molasses cookies through her kitchen every fall and it was one of the best smells in the world.  However like most children that start out on their own we tend to call on our mothers when we dont know how to make something, my mother was no exception to the rule at all.  My mom recently was cleaning out a junk drawer in her kitchen and she found this piece of paper that had all the ingredients to my grandmother's soft molasses cookies!  She recalled a time many years ago that she wanted to make my grandmother's molasses cookies and called her to ask her what she put it them. My grandmother didnt steer her daughter wrong and after all these years we finally found a recipe of something my grandmother made!  Keep in mind my grandmother passed in 1991, and finding this recipe was like finding a piece of my mother's childhood and mine too.  My mother shared this recipe with me and I am going to share this with you all.  When I made these the other day  for my family it was like my grandmother was in the kitchen with me, like she was so many years ago.  


1 cup of softened butter
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of molasses
1/2 cup of milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of ginger
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
a pinch of salt
4-4 1/2 cups of flour


Before you begin you need to dissolve the baking soda in the milk.  Next sift all your dry ingredients including the spices into a large bowl and put aside.  Next in a stand mixer or just a large mixing bowl and a spoon, mix together the butter and sugar until flyffy.  Next add in the egg and mix that until well incorporated.  Add in the molasses and mix until well combined.  Now slowly add in the flour a half cup at a time and alternate the milk with the dissolved baking soda in it.  If you start with flour you need to end with flour.  Now save out that 1/2 cup of flour because depending on how dry your kitchen is you may need it to get your cookie dough at a desired consistency.  From here you can either roll out the dough and cut it with cookie cutters or you can just spoon it on cookie sheets to bake.  My grandmother always rolled her dough out but I just used spoons.  In a 350 degree oven you bake these for about 10-20 minutes.  When they come out of the oven while they are piping hot sprinkle them with some sugar on the top.  That's it my grandmother's molasses cookies.  Fall can now officially begin! 

Thank you all for stopping by, Live, laugh and love.  Heather

Friday, September 20, 2013

Cake Shake

Hello everyone, I know I have been away for a bit.  We have been so busy with kids, homework, band practices, clubs, tomatoes, ect ect ect.  My oldest child is involved with two clubs at school plus she wanted to join band this year playing the trumpet.  If we thought our lives were loud before, hold on and find your ear plugs.  However the practice is hilarious to me and I know the pay off will be worth it, for right now its very funny to me.  My husband on the other hand not so much but you know what he can talk about that over on his blog.
Speaking of my husband last week was his birthday and days before his birthday he had all his teeth removed and got dentures.  So for a time he couldn't eat much in the way of solid foods.  Now me being the homemaker I am, I do not let a birthday go by in my house without least a birthday cake.  However he couldn't eat it, so I thought he can drink it!  So this recipe was born.  Now before you jump on me here, I know there are tons of different recipes making this very thing but mine is different, I kept it simple using real ingredients you would use in any cake minus the eggs. 


1/2 of a box chocolate cake mix (or whatever flavor you prefer)
2 cups of milk
1/4 cup of chocolate frosting (or whatever flavor you like)
1 frosted glass
1 big tub of sprinkles ( I call them jimmies)
approximately 2 cups of vanilla ice cream or more depending on how thick and how much your making.  I made enough for 5 people


Before you begin choose your glass, or mug you want the shake in and throw it in the freezer.  Grab your blender because this is the only tool you will need minus bowls and spoons and such.  Unless you have a high powered blender you will  have to blend the cake mix and milk first then add in the frosting, blend all that together and add a lot of ice cream.  Add more or less ice cream to your preference.  Now grab your frosty mug from the freezer and with a butter knife you will want to put some frosting around the rim of the glass.  Make sure you get every part of the rim or the sprinkles wont stick.  Now dunk your glass or mug into the sprinkles turning ever so slightly so you get every part of the rim.  Now add in your shake and a straw!  Its really that easy and simple.  You could do the same idea with shot glasses for mini cake shakes too.  Below is a video so you can see how I did it and some goofy commentary as well.  Take care and Live, laugh and love.  



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Grandma's Coffee Cake

Hello everyone, I hope your Labor Day went well.  Now is the time of year to hear all the kids in your neighborhood squealing with delight while they are anxiously waiting upon the arrival of their school bus.  Of course if your neighborhood is anything like mine you will also hear a frustrated parent dragging their child to school by their backpack that is on the child's back to ensure they do indeed go to school.  Ahhhh yes fall is here and aside from the neighborhood festivities that can delight us all, it smells wonderful in many kitchens.  Fall, to me means spending more time cooking making homemade treats for my family, and spending a lot of time with my children, while my husband is scarfing down all the goodies I have made, while watching endless hours of football.  It is also a reminder to me that has stayed in my memory for over 30 years or more.  When I was a little girl I spend a lot of time with my grandmother and when I started school I could count on this one recipe every single year on the first day of school.  I grew excited for the first day of school as any other kid does however even more excited for my grandmother's coffee cake.  I feel that no first day of school is complete than a breakfast of my grandmother's coffee cake so I shall share that recipe with you all today.

Ingredients For the Cake:

2 1/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of sugar 
1 stick and 1/4 of butter softened
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 cup of sour cream
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
pinch of salt

Ingredients for the Topping:

2 sticks of butter softened
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons of cinnamon ( or more)
2 1/2 cups of flour

Instructions for the Cake:

It is optimal to use a stand mixer for this recipe however if you don't have one then a hand held mixer will be fine.  You want to start by adding butter to your mixer and mix just until creamy.  Then add sugar, and vanilla to the butter.  When the sugar and vanilla are well incorporated into the butter add the eggs one at a time.  Make sure the egg is well mixed in before adding the other one.  Next Add in all your dry ingredients into a small mixing bowl.  Stir the dry ingredients with a fork.  Now You want to add your dry ingredients a little bit at a time, I usually use a half cup at a time.  You need to alternate the dry ingredients with the sour cream.  A good rule of thumb here is to start by adding the dry and end with the dry.  Let the half cup of dry ingredients get well incorporated before adding the sour cream and vise versa.  When you have added all the sour cream and dry ingredients put the batter aside, its time to make the topping.

Ingredients for the Topping:

For the topping you will need a medium sized mixing bowl, a fork and clean hands.  To the mixing bowl add in the softened butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and flour.  Mix in all the ingredients with a fork or your hands.  I find using my hands works best.  make sure the topping is crumbled because that is the texture your looking for.

Now grab a cake pan and you want to grease and flour it.  I usually use some butter and a little flour and make sure you get every inch of that pan.  Now put half your batter into the bottom of the pan.  Spread out the batter with a bowl scrapper and sprinkle about half your topping on top.  Next add the rest of the batter on top of the first layer of topping.  Spread the batter around the pan and top it with the rest of the topping.  Bake in a preheated oven to 350 degrees for about 35-45 minutes depending on your oven. 
* Just as a little footnote you can use a 9 inch cake pan and the shape of it is up to you.  

Now you can always have a little taste of home no matter where you are at.  I hope you have a great day and Live, Laugh and Love.