Thursday, May 29, 2014

Strawberry Air

It's like a light, airy ice cream minus the cream.  Like a mousse minus the yolks.  It is a simple, fast and deliciously light dessert to cool and refresh you after a long hot day.

1 cup mashed strawberry pulp
1 egg white
1/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted

Mix egg white and strawberry pulp with whipping attachment until expanded and stiff (10-15 minutes).  Add sifted powder sugar and mix a minute more.

Put in serving cups and freeze (or chill) until ready to serve.  Top with strawberry or a dollop of preserves and whipped cream.

I have currently been trying to work my way through the freezers to make room for a (Lord willing!) plentiful garden harvest this year and I came upon several extra jars of strawberry freezer jam that I didn't know I had.  Thus, I substituted 1 cup strawberry freezer jam (thawed) for the pulp and added sugar.

I tripled the recipe to serve 8 guests so if you have more than two dessert partakers~ you'll need to double or triple it.

(A better photo will be added when I make it next.  This was a Quick! snap before serving photo while guests were waiting...which I clearly am not very good at!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Homemade Tomato Soup

Last year, in a desperate attempt to get caught up on preserving chores, I decide to can a bunch of whole tomatoes in addition to my typical salsas and sauces. I didn't know exactly what I would do with them but I figured this winter I'd figure out SOMETHING to do with them. 

Because let's face it- when your kitchen looks like this for the day: don't need to have anything in mind.  You just need to get to work.  And fast.

Well, winter is here and I just so happened to find a great use for them.  Homemade Tomato Soup.

I never thought that I would prefer homemade tomato soup because I grew up on Campbells and my tastebuds have grown used to the sweet, vague taste of tomato that the can of Campbells provides. 

I didn't stray too far from the Plain Jane version (you may add dill or cilantro or other herbs if you like) only because I wanted to try to recreate the storebought version.  I was pleasantly surprised that even a properly brainwashed tongue like mine would appreciate and love the taste of this homemade soup.

This soup is creamy.  It is fresh tasting.  It does not contain high fructose corn syrup.  It uses up those quarts (and quarts) of whole tomatoes.  And it is ready to eat in five minutes flat.


(This soup does have seeds in it- which I thought would bother me but it doesn't at all. There is your forewarning. )

Homemade Tomato Soup
(this recipe makes enough for four bowls of soup.  Double it to feed 6-8 people.)

~ I QT jar of whole canned tomatoes
~1/3 cup tomato paste (or 1/2 of 6 oz. can)
~1 cup water
~1 t. minced onion
~ 3 t. lemon juice
~ 1 T. sugar
~ 1 1/2 c. milk

Combine all ingredients except milk in a saucepan over medium high heat until boiling.  Add milk.  Use an immersion blender to blend the tomatoes and make the soup smooth.  


Homemade Ketchup

For the month of February, I gave myself a challenge: Don't buy any groceries except dairy products for the entire  month.

And then, within just a few days...I had run out of ketchup and I was cursing myself for being so dumb.  WHAT was I thinking?

Then, I realized that trying out homemade ketchup has been on my to-do for a very long time and I just had never gotten around to it.  Now seemed the perfect time since it was either go without for an entire month or get it done.

I got it done. 

And then Matt tasted it.

And now I will probably have to 'get it done' for the rest of my days.

This is a winning recipe...tastes delicious.  Lacks the high fructose corn syrup. Whips up in about five minutes or less.  Uses simple ingredients that you likely already have in your cupboard. 
Makes about 1 1/2 pints.

I give you~

Homemade Ketchup


  • 12 oz can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup honey (you can also just use sugar)
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder


Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat; whisk until smooth.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Homemade Toothpaste

Because you asked:  my recipe for HOMEMADE TOOTHPASTE

There are a ton of recipes out there, with a ton of variations, but this is mine.  I don't actually follow it anymore (because then I would have to find the paper it is written on!) but rather add things until it tastes 'right' and you should do the same.  Taste the sweetness and +/- xylitol or stevia.  Taste the peppermint oil and +/- the concentration.  Start with my base and make it to your liking!

1/2 c baking soda
1 t. salt 
1-3 T. of xylitol or a few drops of liquid stevia (many people don't use this, but I think it tastes a WHOLE lot better!  And homemade shouldn't equal torture in my book.)
15-20 drops of peppermint oil.  (Minty fresh breath is an essential for me.  If my toothpaste ain't minty, it just aint' toothpaste.  I like my toothpaste VERY minty so I hover around the larger number.  When I first began making toothpaste, I didn't know where to find peppermint oil so I tried peppermint extract instead.  I used a LOT more of it and it worked ok.  Then I found true peppermint essential oil and tried that out and it rocked my world.  SO MUCH BETTERDo yourself a favor and just invest in some essential oil.

3-4 T. Vegetable Glycerin (use as much as needed to make a thick paste!)

Stir it up and use it up!

All ingredients can be found at your local healthfood store or grocery.

* I may try to replace the vegetable glycerin with coconut oil in the future... coconut oil is good for you and your teeth and I happen to have a bunch of it (so I won't have to buy more glycerin)...but in the meantime, I love this recipe just the way it is.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

This recipe makes BEAUTIFUL cookies, especially when understated with a simple white frosting.  These cookies are elegant looking and tasting- they aren't gaudy and sweet but more subtle and deep flavored. They are on the drier side and so, are best suited to eat with a nice hot cup of cocoa, coffee or tea.

You'll need:

5 T unsalted butter, softened 
1/3 c.solid vegetable shortening 
1/2 c. (packed) dark brown sugar 
1 egg
1/2 c. molasses 
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
 3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 T ground ginger 
2 t. ground cinnamon 
1 t. ground cloves 
1 T baking soda 
1/2 t. baking powder 
1 t. salt

What you do:

1) Cream brown sugar, shortening and butter.  Add egg, mix well. Add chocolate, mix well.

2) Mix together dry ingredients in a separate bowl if you want.  Or in the "wet" ingredients if you are lazy.  (I won't tell.)  I usually DO use a separate bowl for this sort of thing since I want the spices to be uniform throughout.  You can mix the dry ingredients into the wet in two different steps to keep flour from flying.
3)  Form dough into a ball, over with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so.

4) When thoroughly chilled, roll out dough to baout 1/4 inch- cut with cookie cutters and bake in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes, until the tops look dryish.  

5) Let cookies cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks.  

6) Decorate as you see fit.  I used my buttercream frosting made a bit stiffer with more confectionary sugar (because I don't care much for the flavor of royal icing). 

Farmhouse Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

These cookies are delicious.  
They are sweet, but not too sweet; soft, but still crispy on the outside.   Best of all, this recipe yields about 5 dozen cookies, give or take (depending upon the size of your cookie cutters), which means there will be plenty to snitch and plenty to serve.  

The addition of sour cream lends a delicious depth of flavor- but also makes for a bit of a moister dough so you may need to add a bit more flour to the dough if it becomes to sticky.  But not too much!  Too much flour, too dry a dough is never a good thing when it comes to cut-out cookies.

You'll need:

1 cup shortening
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
4 1/2 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda

What you do:

* Mix first five ingredients until thoroughly creamed.

* Add rest of dry ingredients.  (You could mix them together in a separate bowl and then add them...but I never do.  Why dirty another dish?  Am I right, or am I right?)

* Chill for about an hour.

* Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick, using a sprinkling of flour on the table and rolling pin and cut with your favorite cutters.  OR roll in a log shape, refrigerate for 2 hours and then slice.

* Bake cookies on greased cookie sheets in a 350 degree oven until edges are just the slightest bit golden brown.  Cool for a minute or two on sheets before moving to cooling racks.

* Slather, smear, and bejewel the cookies with goodness.  I use buttercream frosting, but you can do as you like. 

Buttercream Frosting

Until I get a better photo to post, this downright messy picture of buttercream frosting IN ACTION will have to do.  But, the fact is....this is buttercream frosting in all its' glory.  On the fingers and lips of children.  Making the world a colorful place.  A happy place.  A delicious place.

* Beat 1/3 c. butter until fluffy.

* Add 2 c. powdered sugar- but until fluffy.

* Slowly add 1/4 c. milk and 1 1/2 t. vanilla.

* Beat an additional 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar.

(At this point add more milk or sugar to reach desired consistency. if necessary.)

* Color as you see fit.

PS.  To make enough icing for my Farmhouse Cut-Out Cookies, I double this recipe.

PPS.  If you add a bit more confectionary sugar to the icing for stiffness, it makes a lovely substitute for royal icing.  One that actually has flavor!  (In my opinion.)

PPPS.  If the icing is to be piped, I sift the powdered sugar when adding it to the bowl.