Bread and Butter Pickles

A couple of firsts this week:

1.Using the sanitize mode on my dishwasher. I’m so glad we have that on our dishwasher. It’s so handy to have when you like to can a lot of food that grows in your garden.

2. Canning pickles. It’s not so hard. It’s pretty dang easy actually. Boil sugar, vinegar, and spices together until all the sugar has dissolve. Seal, boil the jar of pickles in the hot tub for 10 minutes.

I don’t know why I ever found the task daunting before. I’m always kind of leary about trying my own canned foods but if you hear a pop or a suction noise then they’re ok to eat.

Recipe Diaries is going to be announcing some news in the next coming weeks here, so stay tuned. It’s very exciting!


Recipe from Preserving the Harvest


[gmc_recipe 5171]

Apple Pie Filling

Today was a busy day. I spent most of the morning up until about 1:30 in the kitchen. I peeled apples from our tree. We have a lot of them this year. Actually, I was kind of bummed because, a friend and I had gone to an orchard and picked a few and they weren’t as good as the ones on our tree. That orchard gets flooded a lot every year, since it’s near the river. The apples were so tiny, and all the good ones that were left, were at the very top of the tree. We didn’t bring an apple picker.

After, all the apples were peeled that I needed, I made a pie filling for them. Ended up with 10 quart size jars full of them. The stuff is so good, you could  eat the apple pie filling out of the jars. I even had two store bought pie crusts, so I made an apple pie a long with the pie filling. It was delicious. We still have plenty of apples on our tree, and I really want to can some applesauce and maybe make some apple butter.  All the rest of the apples my grandma and mom will deal with. Or, whoever else wants some too. They’re really good this year. My friend Ashley, gave me this recipe from a book she used.


4 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grount nutmeg
3 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 drops yellow food coloring (we didnt ‘ add this)
5 1/2 – 6 pounds tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

In large saucepan blend first 4 ingredients and 1 tsp salt. Stir in 10 cups water; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add lemon juice and food coloring. Pack apples into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Fill with hot syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. (Use spatula to help distrube syrup.) Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath (pints) 15 minutes; (quarts) 20 minutes. Makes 6 quarts.

Before serving: Prepare pastry for a 2-crust 8-or9 inch pie. Line pie plate with pastry; add 1 quart apple pie filling. Adjust top crust, cutting slits for escape of steam; seal. Bake at 400 for 50 minutes.

Anna’s Orange Marmalade

I successfully made my own jam for the first time today. Naval  oranges were on sale and I’ve been wanting to make and can my own jam for awhile now. There were some learning experiences to go a long with making this recipe. Some, I’m not very proud of.

1. It takes almost an hour to get the jam to it’s proper temperature. The recipe called for 30 minutes but mine took twice as long.

2. Even though I started processing the jars a little bit to early, the temperature was around 210 degrees when I started to sterilize the jars.  Maybe next time, start sterilizing the jars at 215 degrees??? I think I ended up boiling those jars for almost 45 minutes. They’re pretty darn safe to eat it from by then. Better safe than sorry.

3. Once you fill the jam into jars, there’s still a little bit of the jam mixture at the bottom of the pan. I couldn’t get it all scooped out on time and a little amount of jam left at the bottom of the pan ended up burning. Ooops.  I put some water in the pan quickly so that it would come out. It’s working, cause the water is helping to loosen up the burnt sugar at the bottom.

4. Always, put a pan that hot on a hot plate. I was so frantically running around the kitchen trying to find something to put it on but I couldn’t find anything. If you don’t, something bad will happen to your counter top. Usually, I have dishes in that spot, so it’s not very noticeable, but still sucks.

5. This recipe calls for 8 cups of sugar. Yes, 8. Even by just reading that, you know it’s going to be a good recipe.

Ingredients from Ina Garten

4 large seedless oranges
2 lemons
8 cups sugar


Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices. (If you have a mandoline, this will be quite fast.) Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit and their juices into a stainless-steel pot. Add 8 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.

The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you want to be doubly sure it’s ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it’s cool but not cold. If it’s firm — neither runny nor too hard — it’s done. It will be a golden orange color. (If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it and if it’s too hard, add more water.)

Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipe the rims thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel, and seal with the lids. Store in the pantry for up to a year.

Raspberry freezer jam

I admit, I was slightly confused when I heard the words freezer and jam. What’s that supposed be like compared to regular jam? Freezer jam isn’t as thick as regular jam. I’ve seen recipes where you just combine the ingredients together and whisk until fruit mixture is thick. No cooking required. That’s how easy it is.

This recipe required cooking but not for long. You bring the sugar and fruit mixture up to a boil and add in the pectin. Continue to cook for another minute and you’re done. They have small storage containers for freezer jam, but I got some larger ones at home. You can also use jars and freezer bags. Just make sure there’s 1/2 in space between the lid and jam or else, it might expand and crack. That would suck trying to clean up all that mess in the freezer. It’s good on top of English muffins and ice cream. A nice way to preserve fresh fruit, and it sure beats making regular jam. I can never get that stuff to get thick.

Ingredients from martha stewart

5 cups of crushed plms, peaches, or necatarines (any fruit will work)
1/2 cup of lemon juice
2 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 package of no sugar added pectin

Bring fruit to a boil and add in lemon juice.
In a bowl whisk together granulated sugar and 1/2 cup powdered sugar, no sugar pectin. Add to fruit, stirring until sugar mixture disolves and fruit returns to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.

Transfer to jars or bags, leaving a 1/2 in space on top. seal and let sit at room temperature until jam is set, 2 to 3 hours.

2 tablespoons (using peaches) 40 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams protein, 10 g carbs, 0 grams of fiber

How to can tomatoes

Today was a learning day. I was kind of pissed after I started reading further passed the recipe on this canning site. Which is a really good canning site by the way. If using olive oil in your sauce that would become a greater risk for botulism. I’m sure all those major sauce companies like hunts have their own sanitation method for doing this, because I looked at the back of the can and they had used some sort of oil. I didn’t want to risk, Ben and  I dying from botulism, so I ended up freezing the sauce in bags. That works right? Anyways this is how you do it.

1. Wash the tomatoes and get rid of the dirt. Now’s the time when you want to start the boiling water for the jars. Hot food goes into hot jars. That’s a good lesson I learned when canning.

2. Make a tiny x on the bottom of the tomato with a knife. You place these in boiling water for about 1 minute and the skin comes off super easy!

4. Move the tomatoes to an ice bath so that the skin is easier to peel.

5. Since the tomatoes are cold, we want to heat them up again. I cooked mine for about 10 minutes at a roiling boil.

6. Once the tomatoes are done cooking, Use a funnel so that nothing spills, and add the tomatoes to the jar. Add salt or some lemon juice to help preserve the tomatoes. While the tomatoes are cooking, you can also start a small pan of water to boil the lids. Use one of those magnetic grips that came with your canning kit, to get it out when it’s time to close the jars.

If you decide to do something else with the tomatoes, go back to step five and make the recipe you want.  Just make it and place that in the jars instead of the tomatoes.

6. Put the jars of tomatoes/salsa with lids on in a big pot. Remember, hot food goes in hot jars.  Boil for about 35 minutes depending on the jar. If the jar is larger boil for 45 minutes. I purchased a canning pot at Menard’s for only $40.00.

7. Let the jars cool over night. If you hear popping sounds, that means it’s worked, and the lids are being sealed.

Here is the marinara sauce recipe I used from It’s a good canning site and has some great tips.


20 pounds of tomatoes
2 cups chopped fresh onions (then sauté or microwave them until they are soft)
3 Tablespoons of oregano
3  clove of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons diced, fresh OR dried basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped celery (optional, may be too strong for some folk’s tastes)     2 Tablespoons chopped red sweet peppers
2 teaspoon salt (optional – I don’t put any in!)
1/4 cup lemon juice (helps to acidify it, not necessary if you have a pressure canner)
1/4 cup red wine (optional)

Zenith Salsa

This is quite possibly the best salsa ever. My brother and I would request a jar of it, every time from my Aunt.  At my bridal shower, my aunt finally  gave me the recipe and I was so happy. I made a batch of it today, and it tasted like I remembered it, way back when I was a kid.

Most of  the time when I make salsa, I was trying to just throw together my version of it and not really going by a recipe. Half of the time, I would not be happy with the results. Maybe it was because, I didn’t use enough salt or not enough spices? Who knows?! Now, I don’t need to try coming up with my own salsa recipe anymore. This is the only one I need. I did get a lot of other recipes at my bridal shower, that I will be trying and they will be making an appearance on my blog soon. :)

I halved this recipe because I only had enough tomatoes from my garden, which was about 4 pounds. If you’re wondering 2-3 pounds of tomatoes is about 1 quart. I used my food scale to figure out how much I needed. Still waiting for all the rest of my tomatoes to turn red.

P.S. I don’t know why it’s called Zenith Salsa.

Ingredients from my Aunt Carol

4 quarts of tomatoes

2 green bell peppers

5 jalapeno peppers

3 1/2 cups of chopped yellow onion

2 tablespoons of cumin

3-4 tablespoons of garlic powder

1/4 cup of canning salt (I used kosher)


Peel the skin off the tomatoes after they’ve boiled in water for a minute. The skin will come off very easily. Chop all the ingredients and mix them in a large pot. Cook on low for 1-2 hours. It will thicken, the longer it cooks.

Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

I haven’t done much canning yet this year. I think canning is a stupid name for it anyway. Why do they call it canning when you’re putting all your produce in jars? Shouldn’t it be called jarring? My tomatoes are still turning color and I get some every now and then that are ripe enough to pick. I don’t really want to can just a little bit of tomatoes at time ya know?

I’m kind of still confused about the whole process of canning. What if you want to make some pickles and put them in jars? Most recipes for pickles, just require mixing your sugar vinegar and cucumbers in a bowl and storing them in a container. Do you even have to boil the jars in water then if you want to store the cucumbers in the jar? Hmph?!

We had some cucumbers in our garden and the neighbor lady across from us was nice enough to give us some of her cucumbers. Ben likes to call pickles ruined cucumbers. I like to call them delicious! I found this recipe on the tasty kitchen blog and now I can’t wait to have some burgers. These are just good to snack on too.

Ingredients from Tasty Kitchen

7 cubes Sliced, Unpeeled Cucumbers
1 cup Sliced Onion
1 cup Slice Green Peppers
1 cup Cider Vinegar
2 cups Sugar
1 Tablespoon Celery Seed
1 Tablespoon Salt


Mix everything together cold and store in covered container in refrigerator. It’s best to allow it to sit for about 5 days so the flavors can mingle. These keep for months

Weight Watcher’s Homemade pizza sauce

pizza sauce 003

I’d like to blog about a few good food finds first, that I’ve found for making homemade pizza. Pizza sauce is made from tomato paste and Hunt’s has their own version of No Salt added tomato paste, great for those of you who need to watch their sodium intake. I’m kind of a messy cook, and that’s why there’s some tomato paste on the side of the can. My friend was telling me how she’d like to learn how to make tomato paste from tomatoes, and that would be a great idea, I think. Anybody know how????

pizza sauce 008

Another food find is Boboli pizza crust. I saw it mentioned on the blog Emily Bites and she uses the Whole Wheat kind. I went looking for that and couldn’t find it (of course) and opted for the Original Italian version instead. What a great pizza crust and I liked how thick it was.

pizza sauce 006

To make pizza sauce is pretty easy. Just heat up all the ingredients in a sauce pan and stir. Can’t get any easier than that, the leftovers can be stored in an air tight container, for the next time you make pizza. I made a taco pizza with my sauce.


Calories 81 | Fat 0.14 | Carbs 16.9 | Fiber 4.6g | Protein 2.7

Servings: 3 I used about 1/4 cup of the pizza to 1/2

Points Plus: 2

Ingredients: from Cooking for Seven

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

1-2 tablespoons red cooking wine (optional but very good)

1/4 cup water


Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Whisk together until well combined. Place over low heat and cook until heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

pizza sauce 009