Monday, October 24, 2011

Mrs. Wages Salsa Mix

A friend gave me this package of Mrs. Wages Salsa mix and it has just been sitting in my cupboard. I saw it the other day and thought since I have an overabundance of tomatoes right now it might be a good time to try it out.

I followed the directions exactly on the package - it was super easy to do. I weighed out my tomatoes, skinned them and then cut them up. Then you just have to add the mix, vinegar (I used cider) and cook. If you don't have fresh tomatoes, you can even use canned tomatoes.

There is nothing artificial in the ingredients that I could see - just seems to be dehydrated vegetables and seasonings.

It tastes as good as my own salsa and I didn't have to mess with the seasonings a zillion times and I only had to cut up tomatoes and not onions, peppers and garlic.

This is what the finished salsa looks like.

I will probably continue to make my salsa totally from scratch but if you want to make a batch of "homemade salsa" without using everything from scratch -this will definitely do.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Apple Jam, not Jelly!

I decided that I wanted to make Apple Jam this year instead of Apple Jelly. First of all, for those of you who don't know the difference between the two, jam has bits of fruit in it and jelly is made from strained juice. Some fruits are more popular made into jelly (apple, grape, peach) and others you only think of as jam (strawberry).

So, why jam instead of jelly? Several reasons actually - first of all, the time. It takes a long time for the juice to drip down through the cheese cloth - I usually have to start it the day before I actually want to can it. Second is the waste - it just seems so wasteful to throw all of that apple pulp on the compost heap. I also kind of feel like a jam with bits of fruit in it is probably healthier than jelly and probably (although I haven't researched it) a source of fiber.

Having made the decision to make apple jam instead of jelly, I set out in search of a recipe and couldn't find one I liked. I didn't want one with caramel (kind of negates the health benefit) or one that tastes like apple pie. I also wanted one that uses commercial pectin. I know that apples contain a lot of natural pectin and it really isn't necessary to use pectin but I like to use the smallest amount of sugar I can and still get a good gel and pectin allows me to do that. I also didn't want big chunks of fruit in my jam - I want a smoother consistency that is easy to spread on my toast.

According to my almost 12 year old (how did he get to be this old?) taste tester, I got it right on the first try!

This is how I made it -

First I started out just like I was going to make applesauce. I washed my apples and just cut them into chunks - cores and skins and all. I only cut off the obvious bad spots.

I threw them all in a large stock pot with just enough water on the bottom so they wouldn't burn and cooked them until soft. Then I put them through my food strainer attachment on my kitchen aid.

Using 6 cups of the unsweetened applesauce I had just made and 4 cups of sugar and 1 packet of Sure Jell for Less or No Sugar Pectin, I made jam using the directions in the package.

The pictures above aren't the best, but it turned out just perfect.

Let me know if you have a recipe you like better for Apple Jam or if you try my recipe how it comes out for you.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The best Apple Muffins you will ever try!

I made apple muffins today and they are the absolutely the best gluten free muffins I have ever tasted! If you are not gluten free, make these muffins using normal flour and just eliminate the xanthan gum. You can also use regular milk and use brown sugar in the topping instead of regular sugar and molasses.

If you like this recipe as much as I do and you have an apple tree in your back yard or just got back from the orchard you might want to chop some up and freeze them in just the right amount for this recipe. You don't have to blanch them, just chop them up and put them in freezer containers and you are good to go.

Kathi’s Out of this World GFCF Apple Muffins

1 ½ cups gluten free flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ cup organic raw sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
½ cup vanilla almond milk
¼ cup coconut oil
1 ½ cups finely chopped apples (about 1 large or 2 small)

¼ cup organic raw sugar
1 teaspoon molasses
1 tablespoon gluten free flour
2 tablespoons gfcf margaine (I used Earth Balance sticks)
½ cup gluten free oats (or substitute quinoa or finely chopped nuts)

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

In a small bowl, beat eggs and then add the almond milk and coconut oil and mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until just combined (do not over mix).

Gently fold in apples.

Divide mixture up between 12 muffin tins that have been either greased or lined with paper.

Combine topping ingredients until crumbly and sprinkle over muffins.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Apple Crisp Time!

Kathi’s Apple Crisp

6 cups apples
2/3 cup raw sugar
½ cup flour
½ cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup margarine, melted

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Grease an 8” square pan

Place apple slices in pan

Mix remaining ingredients and sprinkle over apples

Bake 30 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is a light golden brown.

Canning Green Beans in October!

I made one last picking of green beans yesterday - at least I think it will be the last - the high today for October 3rd is supposed to be close to 80, so who knows.........

I canned 6 more pints of green beans and........

6 pints of dilly beans for my little dilly bean lover, Andy. We went to the Cranberry Festival in my hometown last weekend and we sampled some dilly beans and Andy looked at me and said - no where near as good as yours Mom and how come you haven't made any yet this year? So I had to make some for my Dilly Bean lover!