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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Habanero Pineapple Salsa Fresco

Oh My Gosh!! This combo of Hot Peppers and Fruit is one of the strangest, but you WILL NOT be disappointed if you like a little bit of sweet heat.

We like things HOT! HOT!HOT! at our house--we grew 23 different pepper plants this year, so yeah--a little spice is normal around here.

This delicious sweet-hot flavor combo will have you coming back for more. This salsa is great with tortilla chips, or with enchiladas, or on top of burritos. If you don't like Habanero hot, Jalapenos work too! Enjoy!

Habanero Pineapple Salsa Fresco
1 cup pineapple, chopped (fresh or canned works)
3 green onions, diced
1 green pepper
4 med. tomatoes, cored and halved
1/2 bunch of cilantro 
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Not only is this salsa delish--it's easy too!

If you have a food processor throw everything in and pulse it to desired consistency--pulse only 3-5 seconds at a time so it doesn't go to liquid. I haven't tried this in a blender, but that would likely work too.

If you don't have a food processor, you can hand dice the ingredients and mix them together in a bowl.This produces a lovely chunky salsa.

If you like a slightly chunky consistency blend half the amount of each ingredient in a food processor or blender, and chop the other half, combining in a bowl.

The best part is that most of the ingredients were super fresh from my garden--which I think makes the flavor even better!

~ Enjoy!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Home and Garden Club Post- Bath Salts

Hello everyone! I am Katie, the Jordan Valley Home and Garden Club Vice Co-Chair. Thanks to all of those who came to our "Gifts from the Garden" class last night at the Conservation Garden Park. We had a great time learning how to incorporate flowers and herbs from our garden into fun gifts like soaps, bath salts, healing slaves and plantable flower paper.

We will have a re-cap of the night's class on the Garden Club Website (find it here) or on our Facebook Page "Jordan Valley Home & Garden Club" (please LIKE us on FB). There are so many great ideas for your home and yard through our club.

Bath salts are an easy, inexpensive gift to give. Best of all, most of the items are easy to find, and may even be in your pantry or hall closets right now!

Easy Bath Salts
1 c. Epsom Salt
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
20-30 drops of your favorite Essential Oil
Dried herbs, optional (Lavender, Lemon Balm, Mint are all great choices)
Coloring, optional (found in the soap crafting area of most craft store).
**Do not use food coloring as it may discolor skin and tub surfaces

Place all ingredients in a large plastic bag and squish to mix. It's really that easy. To promote longevity bath salts can be stored in a cool area, like a cupboard, and in a glass container. The Olive oil will be stable for some time if stored properly.

Here are some other great recipes for more great bath salt ideas.
The Idea Room
Salt Works
Sonnet's Kitchen

For Other Great Gift Ideas from Last Night's Class Please Check Out:
Plantable Paper (click here)
Herbal Salves (click here)

Can't wait to see you next month at the Club Meeting Thursday, Oct. 9 @ 7 p.m.. For Club Schedule please visit US HERE!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday- Vintage Recipes

Here's a link to a few other Vintage Recipes that may save you money, and will give you an appreciation for your parents and grandparents too. I found a great website called the 1940s Experiment with interesting recipes that were used during WWII--many are British and many I have tried.

Bread Stuffing
Vegetable Stew
Poor Knights Fritters


Vintage Inspired Recipes (Spamwiches)

Spam is a meat in a can---not quite like anything you've ever seen, but a wartime staple that fed families during tough times. Here's a Vintage Inspired Recipe from wartime that was popular well into my childhood, brought to you by my baby-boomer mom who did her best to feed us a variety of unique meals.

1 can of Spam, grated
1 c. mayo
2 tbsp. mustard
2 stalks of celery, diced (opt)
3 green onions, diced
1 c. shredded cheese
pepper to taste
1 pkg. hamburger buns, or rolls

Open the can of Spam and grate using an electric grater or dice into small chunks. Place grated Spam in a large bowl and add other ingredients. Once the mixture has been combined, spread onto roll. Broil the rolls in oven until melted.

**Disclaimer: I didn't say all these Vintage Inspired meals were extraordinary. Let's all just appreciate the sacrifices made on the world's behalf for peace and freedom.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back to School 2014- Tips and Tricks to Surviving "Normal"

This is one of the best, and most stressful times of year. We have to get back into our normal routine and make time for homework, lunches, sports and other responsibilities that are put off during summer break.

Here's a few tips and tricks that may work for you, and create a bit of calm among the chaos of going back to school.

Pack lunches the night before (see below)
Pack up backpacks the night before
Pick out clothes and shoes the night before and put them out so you can find it in the morning
Take a shower the night before (or bathe the little kids)
Get up with the alarm--or set it 10 minutes early so you aren't fighting the clock
Set out breakfast dishes/cereals or other non-perishable items the night before

Set a routine. When the kids get home from school they get a snack and I spend about 10 minutes with each of them reviewing how their day went, signing anything, checking over homework and making a plan with them of prioritizing their homework--yes, this even happens with the tiny ones--they need to know to get important homework done first too at some point.

Once they have a plan we set to work on getting homework finished. Sometimes it's easier to break homework up into timed sections (20 minutes works for us). So on nights with limited time due to other activities, they may have 20 minutes to read before dinner, and then they need to do their dinner assignment. On nights with less activities they can choose to do homework in whatever order they want to. It is a battle to get it all done, but charting it out by time periods helps us to get it accomplished.

Lunch Ideas
Check out these ideas on how to make quick, easy lunches
Lunch Ideas 1
Lunch Ideas 2
Lunch Ideas 3

Dinner Ideas
During the week meals have to be quick. I have started using my crock pot on the busiest of nights, many are listed here. Other quick ideas include: My French Dip sandwich; baked ziti;soup & sandwiches; Sheppard's Pie; enchiladas (make one & freeze one by doubling the batch).

It's easiest for me to have a prep day where I get all my meals for one week, including lunches, ready--chop any veggies, bag chips or crackers into smaller portions, cut up meats or shred cheeses, this way the kids and I can easily access the ingredients. If you don't like that hyper-organized idea, another idea is to arrange meals into bags or sections in the pantry so all your ingredients are grouped together. Whatever way works for you, being organized saves time, money and reduces stress.

Don't Forget to have fun. Yep, school is in full swing, but that doesn't mean the fun you had in the summer has to end completely. If the weather is nice visit a park on the weekend, go to an outdoor Farmer's Market or movie, go bowling or mini golfing--Life isn't Over, just back to Normal.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throw Back Thursday- Vintage Inspired Recipes (Sausage and Potatoes)

Here's another Vintage Inspired Recipe that is a throw back to simpler times. Having World Wars caused our personal worlds to open up. Radios across the world spread the news of what was happening during this landmark time. We learned about people and culture; and shared our own victories and losses. Food became something to bond people and neighborhoods together. We celebrated and mourned, and created memories.

Sausage and Potato Casserole

12 med. potatoes, diced (any potato variety will do. I used Russet, so if you are using red or yellow use 15 potatoes)
1 long link of turkey kielbasa sausage, cut into chunks (or polish sausage, or even hot dogs in a pinch)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1-2 green or red peppers, chopped
1/2 c. water
1 Tbsp oil
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 c. honey mustard
3/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. tarragon
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Frank's Red Hot or Tabasco, optional

Cook onion and garlic in oil about 2 minutes. Add sausage, potatoes, peppers, soup and water, and cook for 15 minutes. Prepare sauce by whisking all ingredients together in small bowl. Once the potato mixture has cooked for about 15 -20 minutes (until potatoes are fork tender) add sauce, stir to combine. Cook together for 10-12 minutes and serve.

**This is a wonderful way to use many garden vegetables. The sauce adds a tangy sweet flavor to the dish. Consider tweaking this recipe to what you have on hand--zucchini, crookneck, hot peppers and tomatoes would be great additions to this easy meal.

This meal easily feeds 8 and costs about $6 to make--.75 cents per serving

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Throw Back Thursday- Vintage Inspired WWII Recipes (Tomato Soup)

I have been doing a lot of Family History research for a couple of clients (I recently started a business helping people transcribe and organize their personal/family written info and pics) and in doing so have been really inspired by those who lived through WWI and WWII, especially since many had large families to feed, and rations were put into place which limited basic cooking ingredients like eggs, sugar and butter.

In my quest to save money, find appreciation for past generations, and RocK! something vintage besides a few throw pillows--I am doing a series of Vintage Inspired Recipes. People grew "Victory Gardens" and "Canned for Victory" during the 1940s, so I thought today I'd start out with my quick, easy, food storage friendly, garden friendly Tomato Soup. Enjoy!

Vintage Inspired Tomato Soup
2-10.15 oz cans of condensed tomato soup (or consider pureeing stewed garden tomatoes)
1-12 oz can of evaporated milk
2/3 c. water
1/2 tsp. onion flake
2 tsp. dried basil, or 3 freshly chopped basil leaves
pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in pot on stove top and heat until warm. Serve topped with croutons. You can find my great economical recipe for croutons here!

To round out the meal I serve this with grilled cheese sandwiches, which would not have happened back in the day of rationing, so I no longer take cheese and butter for granted.

This meal feeds 6 easily and costs about $3.30 to make--.55 cents a serving (sandwich and soup).