Tuesday, September 13, 2011

End of Garden Pepper Relish

So I had about 3 gallons (probably 2 & 1/2 after picking through them) of mixed peppers left on the plants when I pulled them up and I decided to do a pepper relish with them.  I tried out a new recipe for mexican corn relish this year and liked the flavor combinations so I was inspired to change up the pepper relish a bit.  Here's the way it goes...

Mexican Pepper Relish

Makes about 5 pint jars & one ¼ pint jar

2 & 1/2 - 3 gallons green/red - bell, jalapeno, & hot chili peppers (seeded & diced)
1 & 1/2 onions (diced)
3 garlic cloves (minced or pressed)
2 TBSP canning/pickling salt
1 TBSP mustard seeds
1 TBSP cumin seeds
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
(scant) 1 cup of sugar
3 cups white distilled vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice(fresh is best + grated peel, but I had to use bottled)
(((throw in a few TBSPs chopped fresh cilantro if you have it and like it)))

Combine chopped peppers, onions and salt in a large bowl. Let stand two hours. Drain and press out all excess liquids through fine mesh seive.  Combine sugar, vinegar, juice, garlic and seeds/spices in a large saucepot. Bring to boil.
Reduce heat and add pepper & onions, simmering 10 minutes. Pack hot relish into clean jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Let "ripen" for 3-4 weeks for best flavor!  Enjoy! :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

The End of the Season

With Fall being just around the corner it's about time to say our goodbyes to the season. 

Labor Day weekend was thoroughly enjoyed.  My dear cousin planned a big get-together for my mom's side of the family.  There was a big crowd and tons of good food, lots of laughter and great catching-up time.  It was wonderful getting to see everyone after such a long time and a big heart-felt thanks to her for planning and hosting at her lovely house, the rain didn't put a damper on anything, in my opinion.

Next up was a canning party at my lil' sis' house.  What an adventure that was!  Our first try at canning meat and also 4 lbs. of beans.  I'm sure glad we had my bro-in-law there to keep an eye on the 3 and 4 year olds while we were busy in the kitchen.  Although the canned meat didn't work out as well as we expected we still had a good turn out and best of all, it seemed like less work and lots of fun when you're canning with someone you love and enjoy being around!

I am a bit sad, Saturday and last evening my hubby and I did our garden and yard clean-up.  Everything in the gardens was pulled or chopped and burned.  It was getting more than just ragged looking and most everything was finished producing and since we decided to not do a Fall garden it was time for it to go.  I ended up with at least three gallons of mixed hot and sweet peppers so I guess I'll be doing pepper relish either today or tomorrow.

I noticed the past two evenings while we were out burning brush, the moon has just been extremely gorgeous.  I just read this morning that it's called the "Harvest Moon", time for harvesting of the crops before the change of seasons.  I'm very thankful for our harvest and looking forward to the Fall season, my most favorite time of the year! ;)

Have a great week y'all!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Gardening and Preserving Adventures

So, it's been quite a while since the last post.  I've been pretty busy during this gardening and canning season.  What I thought might not be such a great year for our garden, turned out to be one of the most productive ever!   We've had rain at almost perfect timing all summer long so we haven't had to water at all.  It's kind of bitter-sweet seeing it start to wind down.  I haven't had a whole lot of waste and the things I did have to toss won't be wasted, it's going into my new compost bin!! ;)

My lil' buddy was such a big helper with everything from harvest, to prep, to just being satisfied playing on his own while I worked.  He absolutely loved picking berries, beans, cukes, corn, and peppers.  He even made his own "iceberry" jelly as I was doing the blackberry. ;)  I hope he is always as excited and curious about growing and preserving his own foods!

This year I tried so many new recipes and have yet to be disappointed by one!!  It helps when you can get opinions from others who have tried the recipes before.  I'm part of a wonderful canning group, you can get help from 'seasoned' canners almost immediately and it's a great place to share recipes and experiences.  It's also nice to know that I'm not the only one "addicted" to canning!

Here are a few pictures of my canned goods...
 Thai Sweet-HOT chili dipping sauce

some dill pickles
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green beans

Zucchini Relish
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Stewed Tomatoes...funny how when I do pints I don't lose liquid but with quarts I do!
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Tangy Dill Relish (a new fave!)
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Mexican Corn Relish
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diced, red-ripened green bell peppers

Sweet-n-Sour Beans
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pickled hot green chili pepper rings (I actually ate a whole pint myself in 2 days!!)
pickled red hot chili pepper rings
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seedless blackberry jam
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& Candied Jalapenos (like "Cowboy Candy") 

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and I did a few pints of picante sauce for the hubs but haven't got a pic of those to share.

So, that's the most of it for now.  I'm sure there will be more in the near future!  Maybe I'll get more organized and can share the recipes for these on here someday.  Have a great week y'all! :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

(Im)Patiently Waiting!!!!

Well, it has just been raining like crazy here...rain almost every day!  It has REALLY helped our garden grow fast.  Aside from the peppers that we lost recently from being over-fertilized, ( aa-hemm...NOT by ME)  everything seems to be doing really good!  I'm SO looking forward to harvesting and canning that I can barely contain myself! LOL!  The blackberry bushes are loaded down too and just barely beginning to turn red, I saw only two black ones and ate the only one I could reach, it was little, usually they're really big berries!  I'm planning on making blackberry jelly for the first time this year.  Y'all wish me luck!  Although I watched my parents make it year after year, I've never helped with it nor attempted making it on my own.  Maybe I can call Daddy if I get stuck or have problems!  We have been out of sweet refrigerator pickles for a couple of months now and almost out of relish from last summer, so I'm ready whenever the garden is...

This is the difference in our "front" garden within 12 days...you can barely see the corn in the "back" garden...but it has grown ALOT too!

I've seen a bunch of rabbits hanging out in our backyard.  They really are cute but I DON'T like them hanging out in my garden for too long!!!  Also, a deer has been spotted crossing the road by both my hubby and I.. hmmmphh!  I'd love to watch deer from our porch, but only when I dont have any gardens in the backyard!  Then there's the family of squirrels STILL hanging out!  I saw a rabbit and a squirrel making conversation out in the driveway last week...LOL!  Wish I had a picture of it to share with you!

Instead, I have some cute pictures of my favorite little buddy...

...catching fireflies...
...and making faces :P...

Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Moments Make Me Happy

For the men and women who put their lives in danger everyday for our country, for our freedom, some giving their everything..THANK YOU!  And for the families of these brave men and women...THANK YOU!  We are so grateful for all you give!

On this Memorial Day, we did not go to any big celebrations, no picnics, no cookouts, but we did enjoy little happy moments.  A simple trip to Wal-mart and a box of sidewalk chalk was all my four year old boy needed, oh, and some new watercolors! :)

My hubs finished up the front porch railing, all that's left to do is the railing down the steps after the posts set in the concrete.  He's worked really hard on it and has done a nice job.  Our boy enjoys helping build, in fact, he'll spend hours doing his own thing with tools, I love to watch him and see what he creates.  He was so proud of this...

so much that he got very upset when Daddy picked it up and put it all in the garage along with the tools!

Speaking of daddies, I got a nice phone call from mine this afternoon he was calling to see how our holiday was going.  Of course I talked more than he did and I always feel guilty for hogging phone time but it was really great to hear from him.

Some time through the week last week we went to check on the baby birds, guess what!...yep, they'd left the nest.  We still got to see something very interesting...

Isn't it beautiful?!  It's the first time he's seen one in real life and especially up close. 
Then we saw the three squirrels that call one of our front trees home...
Well, I could only catch ONE with the camera!  :)

Have a great week!!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Feels Like Summer!

The weekend was fantastic even though we had some thunderstorms rolling through both Saturday and Sunday the worst of them missed us for the most part and with sun and temps in the 80's, it feels like summer is (hopefully) here to stay!!

We had a couple of my dear friends over Saturday and the hubs fired up the old charcoal grill and cooked us some steaks..yummm...he's the best! For the sides we had sauteed mushrooms and vidalia onions, baked beans (yes, from a can), homemade loaded baked potato salad, garlic breadsticks, and home canned green beans from our previous garden cooked in bacon grease (I know! NOT so healthy). What a great day that turned out to be and I hope our friends enjoyed their visit as much as we all did!

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

This recipe makes a bunch...about a gallon(more or less) of potato salad.

5 lbs. of red potatoes (scrubbed & cut into 3/4-1 inch pieces..don't peel)
1/2-3/4 cup olive oil (or you can use some bacon grease w/olive oil if you cooked it up ahead of time)

two packages of dry ranch dressing mix
1 pckg. bacon cooked and crumbled
16 oz. sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup salad dressing(Miracle Whip)
1/2 cup Bacon Ranch Dressing (I used Hidden Valley Hickory Bacon and onion)
1 bunch of green onions (sliced thin)
2 & 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp celery salt

Mix the dry Ranch seasoning mix and olive oil/bacon grease together....toss the chopped potatoes into the oil/ranch mixture and coat well. Pour potatoes into two 11"x13" pans and bake in oven at 350 degrees F until fork tender. In the meantime cook and crumble bacon, wash and slice green onions. When potatoes are done and COMPLETELY COOLED, mix them with all remaining ingredients(add more bacon ranch dressing if too dry). Best if chilled thoroughly overnight.

Sunday, my hubs decided it was time to work on trimming up some of our shrubs and trees and I cut back the old growth on my Liriope muscari now that I could actually see the clumps between our shrubs, haha! We ended up finding a nest of baby birds in one of the burning bushes and my son is becoming obsessed with them, seriously! to the point he dug them up a worm and said he would chew it up for them and feed them!!?! Of course I didn't let him!!!

Later in the morning, hubs wanted to go shop for MORE tomato plants since the ones we have planted are still dying out, one or two at a time. By the time we got back, another storm was moving in and we barely got the tree branches and bush clippings up and dumped before it hit! It was over in no time but it was too wet to plant our tomatoes in the garden. Instead, me and my boy helped the hubby work on our front porch railing, he got one panel finished then we relaxed and enjoyed the nice cool breeze filled with the lovely scent of honeysuckle for the rest of the evening. :)