4/28/17

How to Make Homemade Salsa - Canned

Re-posting again because I love this spicy and delicious homemade salsa recipe!  And with Cinco De Mayo right around the corner I know there are some readers who will find this helpful!




Re-posting for 2017 -

Here is my original recipe post for this recipe - posted a couple times on An American Housewife already.  This particular one in 2012.


Homemade canned salsa - fresh from the garden
Canning your salsa, you will need two things for sure;  a large enough pot to boil the jars in water that covers their lids and, canning jars with lids and bands.   I don't have an official 'canner' - I have a soup pot.  But it works great for me and since I'm not canning low acidic foods like green beans or meat, I don't have to use a pressure canner.  Water baths work just fine.  An item I would suggest you get to save yourself burnt fingers;  a jar lifter.  This is something I didn't use the first couple years, I just tried to hold on to the jars with a towel as my 'hot pad' holder.  Once I invested in a cheap jar lifter I was amazed at how easy things became!  
Homemade Salsa

10 Cups of peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
5 c chopped onions
3 sweet banana peppers, diced
4 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 t minced garlic
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 1/4 c vinegar
2 T chili powder
2 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 T sugar

To peel/skin your tomatoes easily just put them in boiling water. Skins will split in 10 seconds - 2 minutes. Remove as soon as the skin splits and lay on a clean towel to cool until you can handle them comfortably - or you can dip them into a bowl of ice water if you wish. Some tomatoes won't split but they are still ready;  if it has been in the water for approximately 1-2 minutes, lift it out and feel it. If it looks tight and ready to burst, yet it feels like a water balloon, then remove it to cool. It's ready.  The second your fingers or a knife touch the skin it will probably split on contact.  Tomatoes can be seeded and the juice canned separately or you can use the whole tomato in your salsa and skip that process.  Up to you.

Mix all the ingredients for your salsa and simmer 1-3 hours.

While simmering, be sure to either run your jars and lids and seals through an extra hot dishwasher cycle or boil them in another pot of water so they are hot and sterilized when you are ready to use them.  Ladle salsa into the jars with about 1/2 inch head space at the top.   Wipe the edges completely clean with a clean cloth and place the lid on it and then the ring.  You don't have to tighten them hard - just a quick twist to hold the seal/lid on during the process.  Now, originally this old time recipe did not call for a water bath.  The heat from the salsa and the jar will seal the lid.  However, I like to boil them in a water bath as an extra precaution for 25 for pints.

Remove from the water, set on a towel on the counter and let them cool at room temperature.  You will hear popping noises.  That is the lids sealing.  When completely cooled, store in your pantry or cupboard.

Tomatoes from the garden, ready to be made into salsa

Immersing in boiling water to easily remove the skins

The skins will split within about 30 seconds and they literally slip right off.

Chop your tomatoes.  No need to be concise. They will cook down. Just chop quickly and toss in.

Ingredients ready to simmer
A water bath of 25 minutes as extra protection


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Easy and Delicious! #CincoDeMayo Recipe for Black Bean and Corn Salsa


Reposting because - hello?  Cinco De Mayo is right around the corner!  Need a quick & easy dish to serve along with a margarita for a get-together?  This is it.


Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Almost all ingredients are optional based on your preferences.  Use as much or as little as you like and mix it up!


1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c diced tomatoes
1 can yellow corn
1 can white corn
4-5 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 avocado, petite diced
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1-2 t minced fresh garlic
1 small can diced green chili
1 small jalapeno pepper, diced fine
1 bunch cilantro - chopped
Juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
1 t cumin powder
Salt to taste (start with a teaspoon and taste test)

Mix together in a bowl. Serve right away or chill 2 hours before serving. Serve as a side dish, with tortilla chips or with flour tortillas.





You might also be interested in these related serving dishes available through Amazon;

Bamboozle Eclipse Server Two-Piece Bamboo Serving Dish
Dishes for Snacks and Appetizers - Set #3 - Hand Painted in Spain (Luna Design)
Dishes for Snacks and Appetizers - Set #3 - Hand Painted in Spain (Sol Design)



    





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4/27/17

#DynaTrap Product Review: Killing mosquitoes without chemicals - the DynaTrap DT2000XLP

I was already researching this style insect trap/killer when I was offered a chance to receive the DynaTrap DT2000XLP to try in exchange for my honest opinions and thoughts - perfect timing! 




If there is a walking no-see-um and mosquito magnet, it's me.  Even with no perfumes, scents or flowery shampoo, they find me within 30 seconds of stepping outside and they begin their feast.

Being sick of spraying myself head to toe every time I want to spend 3 minutes outside, I had just told my husband a couple weeks ago I wanted to seriously start looking at the bug killers that are supposed to treat a whole acre and 'use propane or something'.  I had never wanted to look into these previously because I did not want the hassle of propane tanks, the cost of buying it or the added chore of checking and changing it!  But... I was getting desperate.

We have 5 acres of woods behind our house and they can host a lot of pesky biting insects.

  
Within days of mentioning this to my husband I got an offer to try the DynaTrap DT2000XLP.  I don't think you can quite understand my excitement!  I could not WAIT.  This was perfect timing.  And even better?  NO PROPANE!


Before I ever agree to try a product, I do some research,
and one of the main reasons I was so excited about 
the DynaTrap is that it does not use propane
or harmful chemicals.




This Dynatrap Insect Trap attracts and kills mosquitoes and other flying insects across 1 Acre. This insect trap is engineered for 3-way protection against mosquitoes and other flying insects. First, a UV fluorescent bulb generates a warm light, attracting insects. Then a second lure, an exclusive Ti02 titanium dioxide-coated surface, produces CO2 that's irresistible to mosquitoes. Third, a powerful yet whisper-quiet vacuum fan sucks insects into the retaining cage where they dehydrate and die. A damper closes when the trap is turned off to prevent insects from escaping.

How it works; simply explained in graphics.








When you purchase the product you simply take the pieces out of the box and stack them together. The bottom twists on and off easily.  (You remove the bottom to clean out the dead or dying insects.)  It is electric so you have to have access to an outlet, and it is preferable to be in the shade, around trees or bushes and even better if you can put it right by any standing water.

Our heavily treed and shaded area was behind our home but too far away to run an electrical cord so I chose the shady corner of our home where we have not only shade, but some shrubs and plants.  You need a way to hang it - I simply went to Lowe's and purchased a tall shepherds took for about $10.  You hang it up, plug it in... and that's all there is to it!

It mostly killed the pesky and tree-damaging gypsy moths the first 1-2 days (that I could tell) as mosquitoes and no-see-ums are really so tiny.  Mosquitoes dry up to pretty much 'nothing' so it's not easy to tell at first if it's working on them.  By the third day of it running I noticed I was out on the deck and around our patio trimming rose bushes and I wasn't getting bit by anything. 

Per their instructions you must let it run 24/7 for at least 1 full week to initially treat the area.  After the 5th day I was pretty thrilled with the results.  I noticed I was out on the deck, our patio or the front step for up to 30-40 minutes without being attacked by no-see-ums.  Normally I have about 30 seconds to 3 minutes before I'm back in the house so a half hour is unheard of.  By the end of our trial week I was ready to give this product a thumbs up.

PROS
  • Cuts down on insects around your target home area - especially gypsy moths and mosquitoes
  • Quiet - whisper quiet!
  • No propane or harmful chemicals needed
  • Only have to clean it out when the basket starts to get full (depending on how heavy your area is with insects)
  • Quick and easy to put together and hang
  • Can be out in the rain, sun, etc. just hang it and forget it.

CONS
  • Needs to have an electrical outlet/cords
  • The insects die by dehydration so you might have to spray the ones still alive if you are cleaning out the basket (so they don't fly away again) because it takes a few days for them to die
  • Doesn't seem to attract carpenter bees, wasps or other pesky, aggressive fliers - and I wish it would.







From what I've read the bulbs should last a season - about 4-5 months. My initial tests of this product are quite positive!  LOVE the no propane/no chemicals - ease of putting together - soft glow lighting - no zapping - no noise and easy clean up. After it had hung for a trial week I was able to see dead mosquitoes - SO excited to see the little disease and bacteria spreading pests in there.  I love the DynaTrap and am quite pleased with how it's working.

Thought:  With Mother's Day and Father's Day right around the corner this is a gift idea that 'keeps giving' long after the holiday is over and is one everyone can benefit from.

Available from many retailers including Sam's Club, Walmart, etc. as well as online through Amazon.  




_________________________________





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4/24/17

Let's make them again! Delicious and Beautiful Homemade Macarons (French Macaroons)



Although we normally don't eat sugar in our daily lives, once in a great while I just have to make these.  I have tried to make them sugar free using natural sweeteners but the texture hasn't come out right in my trials... yet.  However I do save some of the sugar content by making my filling with natural sweeteners instead of sugar and they are still just so perfectly lovely and delicious that no one will know if you don't use white sugar in the filling.

A little crisp, light meringue bite with a bit of filling in the center.  I have no sticking problems using just a basic non-stick parchment paper.   They freeze beautifully - and thaw quickly, not losing any of their taste or texture.


Macarons 

1 c confectioner's sugar
3/4 c almond flour
2 egg whites, room temperature
pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 c superfine granulated sugar
optional: 1-2 drops food color and 1/4 t flavor extract

Mix the confectioner's sugar and almond flour very well either by pulsing in a food processor until combined or using an electric stick blender or electric whisk, etc. It should be mixed very well and quite fine.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add a drop or two of food color if you are using it, a drop or two of flavor extracts if you are using them, and the superfine white sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip if you have one, or if not, leave the round 1/2 inch opening of the bag or the white plastic piece you would normally put a tip on, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Drag the pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks.

Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Option one:  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.

Option two:  If you bake a constant 300 or 325 without adjusting the temperatures, it takes about 17 minutes to bake crisp.  I tested both ways and found both to work for me.

Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macarons.)

Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon filling of your choice - like a simple buttercreme frosting. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.


****NOTES****

  • I use usually use Honeyville Blanched Almond Meal Flour - which is incredibly expensive and has gone up another $10 per 5 lb. bag.  I hate having to purchase it, but for baking flour-free cakes, cookies, pastries and more, it's the best quality I've found.  I use other brands or non-blanched for quick breads and recipes where the white color or the fine texture isn't as important to the finished product.  Sometimes I order direct from their site, other times I order through Amazon with other products I need. This time around (the little light baby blue macarons) were made using Bob's Red Mill brand fine almond flour.  I think they turned out pretty well!
  • I put the eggs and the almond flour out on the counter the night before so both would be room temperature when I made them. 
  • I never use 'fresh' eggs for anything as I've found eggs that are 1-2 weeks old work best in almost all recipes and are the 'secret' to perfect hard boiled eggs every time.
  • My oven is conventional and/or convection.  I use the convection setting for them although I'm not sure if it's necessary. Because I used the convection setting, I didn't have to rotate my baking sheets while baking.
  • I baked one batch following the above directions and a second batch at a constant 300 degrees for 17-18 minutes.  Both turned out equally well.
  • I rarely buy or use white sugar and I did not have superfine sugar on hand so I used my stick blender (like a mini food processor) to grind up regular white sugar a bit.  You can use your mini food processor for that.  Don't over blend or you'll get powdered sugar. 



Sooo beautiful and satiny!












If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon. - American Housewife at Amazon


You might also be interested in;
Non Stick Parchment Paper
Blanched Almond Meal Flour, 5 lbs.
KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand Blender
Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender with Whisk and Chopper Attachments


 
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