Roasted Veggie Sauce

Harvest time is upon us and that means lots and lots of veggies!  Tomatoes of every size, shape and color have taken over the garden!

Each year, I consider new approaches to preserving our harvest.  This year has become the year of roasting!  As much as I enjoy canning, it is a time-consuming and HOT job!  My family loves pasta, so the goal was to create sauces using roasted veggies.  Rather than canning the sauce, I decided to use the freezer method.

I have to say, I am extremely artistic when cooking.  I rarely use a recipe, which drives my family nuts!  They have come to the realization that, often times, their meal is a one of a kind adventure, never to be tasted again!  I take this approach to making sauce, for freezing, as well.   (Note: If you choose the canning method,  following a recipe is a MUST!)

I start my sauce adventure by pre-heating the oven to 400 degrees.  I line my cookie sheets with non-stick foil.  Trust me, this saves a lot of messy clean up when finished.  I then begin cutting up the veggies and fresh herbs, from the garden, filling the cookie sheet completely.

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This creation is made up of Roma tomatoes, red onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, tossed with extra virgin olive oil. (photo before roasting)

Roast the mixture for 45 minutes.

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This creation consisted of red and orange cherry tomatoes, white onions, rosemary, thyme, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper, tossed with extra virgin olive oil.   (photo after roasting)

Allow the mixture to cool for about 15 minutes.  Then transfer the roasted veggies to a food processor and pulse until thick and smooth.

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No two batches look or taste exactly alike!  Enjoy this roasted sauce fresh or freeze for future use. I prefer to freeze sauce in glass canning jars.  If you choose this method for freezing, make sure you use wide mouth canning jars only and leave a minimum of 1/4 inch head room.

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I hope you enjoy some creativity in the kitchen! Remember, eating well is a form of self-respect…

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

Rodaimg_3229

Pumpkin Everything!

The time is near…pumpkin everything!  Labor Day Weekend not only kicks off back-to- school, but the celebration of Autumn!  I love Fall…  It is such a magical time of year!  The humidity disappears, leaving a calm and crisp feeling in the air.   Autumn is my time.  I feel most alive when the leaves are turning warm hues and the smell of pumpkin spice fills the air…

This year, my family appears to be beckoning for Fall a few weeks early!  To top it off, I believe Wifey is the ring leader!  Wifey lives for Halloween! Each year we haunt the farm for the kids and their friends.

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I enjoyed being a bit “Wicked” last year…
This year’s theme is Dracula! We spend weeks preparing scenes, creating the scavenger hunt, and decorating!  Wifey enjoys adding a few new “toys”, as she calls them, to the collection each year.  Let me tell you, these are not toys!  They move, glow and talk…CREEPY!  We love creepy and scary, but no worries, we keep the blood, guts and gore to a minimum.

While Wifey is playing with her toys, I live for pumpkin everything!  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup…the list is endless.

 

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Baking pumpkins after harvest…
My daughter El loves pumpkin ANYTHING!  She has been begging for pumpkin and white chocolate cookies.  I keep reminding her that it is not September 1st.  Tonight, she was determined to make those yummy autumn treats!  I not only appreciated these yummy treats, but the little blog topic that was born out of her kitchen adventure!!

 

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Pumpkin Spice Cookies

  • 2 1/4 C flour
  • 2 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt (optional)
  • 1 C (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 15 ounces of pure pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 C white chocolate chips (milk or dark chocolate works well, too!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees/line baking sheets with parchment paper

Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.  Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy.  Beat in pumpkin, eggs and vanilla extract.  Slowly add the flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips. Drop rounded tablespoons onto the baking sheets.img_2343

Bake for 15-20 minutes until edges are lightly brown.  Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes.  Remove and place on a wire rack.  Makes 5 -6 dozen cookies.

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Eat and Enjoy!

September is the doorway to the season that awakens my soul…

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

Roda

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Lemon Blueberry Bread 

It is blueberry time here in Michigan!  There is nothing that makes me happier than a freezer full of frozen blueberries to use in smoothies and breads throughout the year!

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My favorite blueberry variety to grow is Northland. They are tiny, firm and very sweet, plus the perfect choice for breads and cakes.  Due to their size, they are a bit more challenging to pick, but so worth the extra time!

Last week, I was craving my lemon blueberry bread. This extremely moist and flavorful treat is a must every blueberry season!


Lemon Blueberry Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 C flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 C butter, melted
  • 2 C sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 C milk (I use vanilla almond milk)
  • 2 C fresh blueberries
  • 2 T flour

Lemon Glaze

  • 4 T melted butter
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 4 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 2 loaf pans.
  2. Whisk flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, blend together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Mix well.
  4. While mixing, add the flour mixture and milk.  Rotate the ingredients back and forth until combined: flour, milk, flour, milk.  Do not over mix.
  5. Rise the blueberries. Toss the blueberries with 2 T of flour.  This coating helps to prevent the berries from sinking to the bottom of the bread during baking.
  6.  Add the flour-coated berries to the batter.  Be very gentle.  Fold in by hand.
  7.  Pour batter into loaf pans.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a butter knife, inserted in the loaf, comes out clean.
  8.  Cool bread, in the loaf pan, for 30 minutes.  Remove and place on a cooling rack.

9. Place a baking sheet under the cooling rack to catch the extra glaze drips.  Whisk together the melted butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Pour glaze over the bread.  Allow to set for 5 minutes.  For an extra crunch, sprinkle granulated sugar on top of the glaze!

Now hurry…dig in before the children show up and devour every morsel!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You

Roda

Basil Pesto

Basil (ocimum basilicum) is one of my all time favorite herbs.  A native to India, basil first arrived to Europe in the 16th century.  Today, it is among the most popular and widely grown culinary herbs. Basil is also known for its many health benefits, such as combating colds/flu and serving as an anti-stress agent.  To top it off, basil is also known to boost memory function!  Oh…I forgot to mention, basil’s flavor is outstanding!

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Freshly cut basil and nasturtium flowers

Basil is a foundation plant in our herb garden.  It is an extremely easy annual to grow.  In fact, for those of you wishing you had room for a garden, you don’t need one for basil.  I grow a few basil plants our kitchen windowsill, all winter long…in Michigan! Each time the leaves are pinched off for use, new ones emerge. This plant will last you for months with a little water, sunshine and love! Find a small pot, some seed starting soil and a few basil seeds and you are ready to go!

One of my favorite uses for basil is creating pesto!  Enjoy this traditional pesto recipe:

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Traditional Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 3 C freshly packed basil
  • 1/3 C pine nuts
  • 1/3 C olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 C parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Food process the basil leaves
  • Add the pine nuts, olive oil, garlic and parmesan
  • Process all of the ingredients together
  • The pesto should be smooth and creamy
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Spoon pesto into small, glass containers.
  • Pesto will last for 5-7 days in the refrigerator
  • Note: If you choose to make numerous batches for freezing, add a thin layer of olive oil to the top of each jar before sealing.  This helps retain moisture during the freezing process. Also, make sure you leave 1/4 inch of headroom for expansion.
  • img_1418I enjoy using pesto with angel hair pasta, baked chicken breast and as a grilled pizza sauce.  Enjoy!

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Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

Roda

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Fruit and Curry Chicken Salad

DailyPost Prompt – Snack

When I contemplate summer meals, this recipe has been a favorite for years!  I rarely follow a recipe, so if it actually ends up written down on paper, I know it is here to stay for all of eternity!  The Fruit and Curry Chicken Salad is a light, refreshing meal or snack filled with flavor!  And, as long as your chicken is already cooked, you don’t even have to turn on the oven! Now that is a summer bonus! Continue reading “Fruit and Curry Chicken Salad”