September 27, 2011

Homemade Salsa. It's so good!

Hubby and I finally got around to making some salsa with our home grown veggies.  We eat a LOT of salsa throughout the year and after a few years of making our own we pretty much can't eat the store bought stuff anymore.  It was the first time that hubby helped me make it and we had a lot of fun even though it was a lot of work. 

Thought I would show you guys how we make it in case you want to make your own or try a new recipe.  But as you read the sort-of recipe below, you can see that I don't really measure.  I just kind of go for it.  It usually turns out delicious though. Enjoy!

A lot of tomatoes!  (We used around a 1/2 bushel (maybe more)
2-3 yellow onions (depending on how well you like them)
4-5 Bell Peppers (We used purple and green)
15 Jalapenos (approximately, I taste as we go until I think its the right level of heat)
1 1/2 cups white or apple cider vinegar (I usually use white)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 small can of tomato paste
1/4-1/2 cup Salt (again, to taste)
2-3 tablespoons of chopped garlic
A few shakes of black pepper

You begin by peeling the tomatoes.  This is the BIGGEST pain in the butt part of making salsa (or anything pretty much regarding canning tomatoes).  Take a large bowl and fill it 1/2 full of water and heat to near boiling.  Get another bowl of water and fill it with cold water.

To peel the tomatoes you just drop 4-5 into the hot water and let them sit until the skin begins to crack and peel back.  Then, drop them into the cold water and let them cool.  The skin will just peel right off the tomato.  Once it is peeled just cut out the core and chop it up into the pot you plan on cooking your salsa in.

Getting them out with a slotted spoon makes the water drain out easier.

Tip:  Let the tomatoes cool.  If you do what I do you will end up getting tired of waiting and burn your hands.  Repeatedly.
Hubby was really good at peeling tomatoes.

He ended up doing a lot of them while I began chopping onions.

Then we chunked them up into the pot.
After we had all the tomatoes and onions in the pot chopped we started on the peppers.  I chopped jalapenos and hubby chopped the bell peppers.  We added all that to the mixture.  I turn the stove on low and get the salsa to slowly cooking.

I love the color of the purple bell peppers. 
But, they change to green as you cook them.  : (
I usually leave the seeds in the jalapenos. 
Or, maybe half of them.  We like our salsa pretty spicy.

Once all the peppers are added to the pot I add the tomato paste, vinegar, lime juice, salt, pepper and garlic (basically the rest of the ingredients ; ) ) Let it get to cooking and then  just taste as you go. I will continue to tweak it.  Usually by adding more vinegar and more hot pepper.  I have occasionally added some hot sauce or some red pepper flakes.  This time I used some Garlic Gold Garlic Nuggets.   I think they made quite a difference. 

After I cook the salsa for a few hours I will put it in jars and pressure can it.  I would give instructions on how to do this.  But, I ended up with a second degree burn so maybe you should just google it.  Just kidding (not about the burn) but if anyone is interested just let me know and I will post those directions. 

We ended up with all these beautiful cans!  And it is DELICIOUS! Wish you could try it.  : )



September 22, 2011

BluApple Winners! X3

It's about to be not 1, not 2, but 3 people's LUCKY DAY!   You will be winning a set of BluApples to help keep your veggies fresh much, much, longer.

Winner # 1 is...ironically, #1!  Sharon!

And winner #2 is.....#6 DebWestbury!

 And, winner # 3 is....#12  Joan!

Please email me your contact information and I will send it over to the good folks at BluApple and have your apples sent to you.  For everyone else, more great giveaways coming up soon!  Check back if you want to try some yummy organic goods. : )

September 20, 2011

Mountain State Fair

The annual NC Mountain State Fair was so much fun!  My parents met us there and we spent a few hours feeling like a kid again.

We first walked through all the stables and looked at the cows, horses, chicken, etc. 

I thought at first that this was Secretariat but then saw that he was actually a county police horse.  

This one was a real sweetie.  And his nose was so soft.  He was geared up and ready to roll in case any trouble broke out at the fair.  We did see some officers riding them around as it got later in the night.

This guy looked mean but was actually a pushover.  I got to rub his big nose. He was so sweet.  Never thought I would say that about a bull.

This big fella has been at the fair every year that I've attended. 
I kind of feel sorry for him.  All he can do is pretty much lay there.  He doesn't have a stall to get in and not really enough room to stand up and move around.  He is enormous!

After animal viewing we decided to go check out some of the crafts.  While my mom and I were looking at these gigantic pumpkins (I'm talking the size of a smartcar) and watermelons my dad and hubby got bored and went back outside to look around.  A few minutes later we went out to find them and I was found hubby playing "those games" you know, the ones where you loose all your money trying to throw a baseball into a basket, or knock over some bottles.  I'm married to the professional at those games.  I have SO many giant stuffed animals, you wouldn't believe.  I carried a dolphin around the rain for hours. 

Yep, Papa Smurf!  I love him.  I grew up in the 80's what can I say but-It was just Smurfy.  He popped a lot of balloons with darts for him. :)

Next, we rode some fun rides and petted some more animals.  The chairlift was awesome, you could see everything and everyone.  As we were riding I looked down and drooled on a few people over the signs of corn dogs, funnel cakes and ribs.  There's nothing like fair food.

I was a little scared on the swings at first but once we got moving it was awesome. I felt like a little kid again

The petting zoo was too cute.  This little guy had it figured out.  I think people should have been giving him quarters instead of food.
He obviously knew the process. 

The lama tried to kiss hubby, or wanted to snuggle.

I kept trying to give the camel a carrot but he must not have liked my perfume.  He kept walking away. 
This was the millisecond he stood next to me.

After all that we loaded up on fair food and headed home. 
When we got back to the car I looked like this:

Of course when we went back by and saw Smurfette I HAD to have her. Hubby let me throw a few darts, I missed 1 and let him take over.  He won again!  He's an expert. It was such a fun night. 

Anyone wanna go see Smurfs in 3D?
I think that will be our next smurfy adventure.

September 14, 2011

Heely's Skate Shoes...not just for kids!

I always get really excited when I get to do a review on a product.  This one was one I was extrememely excited about  (although, with my accident prone behavior I must say, friends and family were not quite as happy as I was when my Heely's arrived).  I immediately tore into the packing to find these:

I know these look a little manly compared to some of the cute pink Heely's, but some are unisex so you can order them in men's or women's sizes. I liked these because I figured I would fall and get them dirty and they looked really sturdy so maybe I wouldn't break an ankle.  Not to mention I just like gray and black.  

They turnedout just like the picture.  I loved them!

They were easy to put together.  They come with a rubber piece in the bottom that is interchangeable with a small tool (that is also included) so they also double as shoes. 
Great way to have fun and save money and have fun.

Just take the tool provided and pop out the rubber piece to install the wheel. 

Just press down evenly and the wheel snaps right in the back. Some of their shoes even come with two wheels.  I thought I would personally like the one wheeler's better.  I'm SO taking these grocery shopping.  I'm going to be in and out of the grocery in no time.

They look pretty good too!  They are made very well.   Very worth the price (although I was provided this pair by Heely's to test their product and take part in a promotional review).

At first, I was afraid my feet were going to fly out from under me but, I quickly realized if you
just put your front toes down you stop immediately.  On our hardwood, sometimes almsot too quickly. 
But, that made them a lot more safe.  I actually put on my old skates trying the Heely's and fell and busted my rear almost immediately. Won't be using those anymore.  Talk about old school.  

Then I read the directions.  You are suppose to keep one foot (your strong leg) in front of the other. 
That worked much better.  They have a great instructional video on their website.

Diesel loved the Heely's.  He thought it was super fun to chase me around the house and bark.  You can even wear them with the wheel in the back and still just walk around in them. 
If I can skate in these shoes, anyone can do it. 

I wore them the rest of the time I was cooking dinner. 
It was easy as pie (no pun intended, we didn't even have pie). 

All in all I give Heely's a rave review.  With a little practice I think I could get pretty good at wearing them.  I would like to try them out somewhere with more space.  I can't wait to get them out and wear them at the local Walmart.  But, if you see me on, don't email me.  ; )

For more info on their great shoes check out the Heely's site or on facebook!  They also have an awesome YouTube channel where you can watch cool commercials and other Heely's videos.

September 5, 2011

Blu Apple

When I first came across the BluApple, I cute.  But, I doubt it works.  I've tried the "green bags" the storage containers all those things that are suppose to help prolong the life of your fruits and veggies but often found the opposite affect. 

Needless to say, when I was given the opportunity to try out the BluApple, I was sceptical to say the least.
I received a package that contained two small BluApples and my first thought was how darn cute they were.  No matter how well they worked, I already liked them.

They are a little smaller than a real apple. 

I decided to totally put them to the test and place them in a glass bowl full of some fresh peaches!  Nothing seems to spoil or mold faster in our house than peaches.   I love them.  I'd like for them to hang around a little longer.  I know..maybe it doesn't seem fair to jerk out the peaches on them first thing but, what the heck.  I want to see if these little blue babies work.

I put the peaches in the glass bowl and set them on our buffet.  Its beside a window with some light that comes in.  I took pictures of the bowl every few days.  As you can tell, there usually ends up with some missing everyday.  

Day 3, sorry, fuzzy peaches, I mean picture.....jk

 After six days they still perfect! 


Eight days after being on the counter.  This was probably the best day as far as taste.  They had ripened a little more and were sweeter than ever.  They were starting to disappear rather quickly.

Ten days post Bluapple there was the lone peach.  It was still in great shape.  Maybe a little soft so I decided I would put him in the fridge with the BluApples to see how they worked in the crisper drawer with other veggies. 

I had just picked a bag of okra and some tomatoes.  I hoped the Bluapple's would keep them as fresh as the peaches.  Okra has a tendency to get mushy in the fridge if not eaten quickly or frozen.

All of the veggies lasted for at least for weeks.  I'm still eating the same tomatoes and have picked more and more since then.   The eggplant began to shrivel up a little but, other than that I must say, they have made a huge overall difference in keeping our veggies fresh.  Since I have SO many veggies coming from the garden now, I wish I had about more Bluapples!  

"The Bluapple is based on technology that has been used in ships, warehouses and trucks for many years to absorb and neutralize ethylene gas buildup.  The Bluapple does not release any gas or chemical, but only absorbs, constantly removing this harmful gas from your produce storage area.  The Bluapple is not a "magic" pill, but a scientific and essential part of keeping produce fresh.   When produce was cheap, no one cared, but as prices have risen, it became apparent that a very beneficial product for the home could make a huge difference"

The folks over at Bluapple are offering a chance for THREE of you wonderful readers to try them out in your home.  All you have to do is like them on facebook!   AND, if you are a follower of me, you can leave two additional comments saying so.  Which gives you a total of THREE entries per person.  Go check out their site and follow me!  One...two...THREE! : )

The winners will be chosen via next Wednesday, September 14th.  Good luck! 

September 2, 2011

Dharma Glass Straws Winner!

I know I am a little late on posting the winner for this giveaway.  So I won't keep you waiting on pins and needles any longer.   The winner of the Dharma Glass Straws is.................

So Whit, please send me your mailing address, contact information, etc and I will pass it along to the great folks over at Dharma.   For those of you who did not win, I have another giveaway coming up this afternoon. Stay tuned for a really cool, cute and useful item.  : )