Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This Week's Featured Artisan!

Featured Artsian - Share the Love, Blogger's Unite

This weeks Featured Artisan is Tracy Cornell - The Handmade Soap Company (formerly Braggin' Rights Bath) Indulge yourself in luxury with these wonderful bath and body products!

You can find the Handmade Soap Company on:

See her Full Feature on the On Fire for Handmade Site! Grab the Code for your Blog HERE

Monday, August 13, 2012

I Love Halloween!

I know, it is a bit early, but I found these wonderful little ornaments earlier today on a great blog called Bone Head Studios by Flora Thompson! Flora makes fabulous Art Dolls and I am not sure which I liked better; finding her blog or the music that plays on her blog! I don't normally have my laptop sound turned on and I am not sure why it was today, but I am so glad I did!

Flora is having a great giveaway on August 31 for the 2 spun cotton Bone Heads ornaments above. That is two chances for one of her works of art! And the first person that is drawn gets to choose which one of these ghouls comes to live with them!

Don't forget to ENTER before August 31 and good luck!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Salsa Fresh From the Garden

The garden is really paying off this year. We had such high temps for so long last year, we had no pole lima beans and our tomatoes didn't produce enough to make salsa so we are really enjoying this years crops. It is that time of the year when every day after work there is something else to process! The corn is coming on and this years tomato crop has been outstanding. Soon, it will be peppers and pepper jelly, but for this week it is salsa time!

Yesterday I had a large bucket of Mr. Stripey, Black Krim, Beef Master and Cherokee Purple tomatoes to deal with so I made salsa! I start by removing the cores and seeds from all the tomatoes. For my basic recipe, I use multiple of a combination of 3 lbs. tomatoes, 1/2 lb. chopped onion, 3 to 4 jalapenos chopped and a cup of chopped cilantro with one cup of white vinegar and 1/2 cup sugar.

Lovely fresh ingredients. The thing I like most is that all of this was picked just hours before I cut it up! It doesn't get any fresher than that! And look at all the color from the Heirloom varieties; and color means flavor!

The jalepenos are nice and hot this year. I usually remove the seeds from all by a few. I like hot salsa, but not the kind that leaves your mouth burning for hours. I like to feel the heat, but after you are done eating, you can still taste other foods!

This is pot one of one and a half. You bring the vinegar and sugar to boil and everything goes in except the cilantro. You stir that in at the end after you have simmered the mix for 5 minutes. Cilantro is optional, but we love it. Unfortunately, Cilantro is a cold weather crop for us hear in Central Virginia, so I had to buy the cilantro for the salsa.

Look at all that fabulous color! It is hard to believe that all those hours of work only made this much salsa! When I asked my husband if I should make more he said well, let's see, that is 14 weeks worth, so we only have a three month supply! Ha!

Jars wiped, lids on and ready for the water bath
First bath done and the second is loaded in the pot. I use a 10 minute process, in other words, bring the pot of water to boil, put in the jars, cover, then bring back to boil and boil for 10 minutes, then remove.

Then it is time to sit back and listen for the sweet sound of popping lids. That means you have successfully canned your veggies.  The other sound is the crunching of chips coming from my husband's Lazy Boy! He gets the leftovers to sample. After all, he is the one that provides the labor that gives us all this yummy freshness. He is an Arborist/Horticuluralist and we have been growing "Organic" since before it was even recognized as a style of growing. Yes, we are showing our age!

I ended up with 15 lbs. of tomatoes (5 batches) and in the end I had 10 pints and 2 quarts of salsa. And it looks like I will be spending tomorrow night making salsa because my favorite gardener brought me in another bucket and a half of tomatoes after work tonight!
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