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December 2015

Oven Roasting Tomatoes

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Because I could not find a long enough stretch of free time to can my tomatoes this year, I tried something new.  A friend of mine at work mentioned that she oven roasted her tomatoes and put them in the freezer until she needed them.  Ah ha!

For me, this was a brilliant solution!  It takes just a little bit of prep time, 1 1/2 hours in the oven and then right to the freezer.

I do apologize for these photos.  I did this at night and therefore lost my daylight.  I am saving up for a new camera, which someday might just happen.  (Just maybe.  A girl can dream, right?) 

 

How To Oven-Roast Tomatoes

1.    Pre-heat oven to 250.

2.    Rinse tomatoes in hot water to make sure than any critters are removed from the skins.

3.    Remove the core and quarter the rest of the tomato.

4.    Line baking pan with foil.  (I used jelly roll sheets.)

5.    Drizzle olive oil on the foil and spread, just enough to over the foil with a thin layer.

6.    Line the tomatoes up on the sheet.

7.    Add fresh herbs to the tomatoes, if desired.  We added chopped basil.

8.    Drizzle olive oil on top of the tomatoes as desired.

9.    Put sheets in oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the tomatoes are soft.

10.    Remove from oven and let cool.

11.    Pour tomatoes and oil into jars or containers and freeze, allowing some head space for the tomatoes to expand in freezer.

 

When ready to use, remove from freezer and thaw.  Use as is or puree in food processor to make sauce, etc.

I haven't used any of mine yet, but will post an update when I do and let you know how they turned out.  I hope the result is a good one, because preserving tomatoes this way is a great time saver.  Had I known about this a couple of weeks before, I could have been spared this tomato waste!

Happy Monday, Friends!


The School Year is Underway - Ways We Work Fun Into Our Week

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1.  We find one night that is free to spend outside, preferably one that has good weather! This week, we grilled hamburgers and ate dinner on the patio.  Sometimes we take a walk or a bike ride around the neighborhood.

2.  We don't over schedule the weekend.  While it is fun to have plans and see friends, I try to keep this manageable. We tend to do better when we have a good stretch of time at home with nowhere to be.  We really like to sleep in on Saturdays if at all possible!

3.  Between dinner and homework, we try to have conversations about meaningful stuff.  Last week, we prayed for a friend in New Hampshire who has been in and out of the hospital after a major back surgery.  She is 15 years old.  Last night, we discussed the presidential debates. Tonight, we celebrated my daughter's sweet 5th grade friend who took her final round of chemo today!!!  In the busyness of the everyday, I think it is important to look outside of ourselves at what is going on in the world and with those we care about.

4.  The kid's enjoy activities, so long as their homework gets done.  Currently we have one in piano, one in gymnastics and one in soccer.  That is plenty for now says this mama.

5.  We pack Nutella sandwiches on Fridays.....enough said.  :)

 

Happy Weekend to You All!


cold, gray, perfect day

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We woke up to cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 50's, which is the perfect weather for a soccer game, which happened at 9:00 this morning.  My boy rocked the soccer field while we shivered and cheered and drank coffee on the sidelines.

And here is the amazing part.  The soccer game was the only thing we had on our schedule for today!

Most of our week runs crazy busy and scheduled to the hilt in half-hour increments.  While this isn't exactly how I envisioned life to be, it's how we roll right now and we are used to it.

But...today.  Today was the lovely opposite and we fully embraced the nothingness.  It was cold and gray which was just perfect for having an excuse to fiddle around inside without feeling the least bit guilty for not doing yard work or getting fresh air.  

Oh sweet, melancholy day!   Thanks to you I made lots of comfort food that had way too much cheese and butter.  Thanks to you I read two chapters of my book while stretched out on the couch smack dab in the middle of the day.  Thanks to you I wore slippers and no make-up.  I opened up the windows so I could feel the chill blowing in just to give me an excuse to get out the quilts.

Yes indeed, we were cozy and content on this cool, gray Saturday.

 

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Wishing you all happy weekend, whatever they may bring!


Making Pesto - A How To

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How To Make Homemade Pesto

(Ingredients)

3 cups packed basil leaves

2-3 gloves fresh or bottled garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cups pine nuts

3/4 cups shredded parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1.  Plant a basil plant....and remember to water it. :)  Also, as it flowers from the top of the plant, pinch it off!  This helps the plant keep growing.  (Leaving the flowers on signals to the plant that it is at the end of its lifespan.)

2.  Harvest your leaves.

3.  Rinse and pat dry the leaves just before you plan to make the pesto.  

4.  Remove the stems!  (This is the most tedious part of the process, and it doesn't have to be perfect.  Just try to get the bulk of the stem.)

5.  Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until it becomes a smooth paste.

6.  Put in clean, small gift mason jars and freeze until use.

Thaw a jar when ready to use and add as a sauce to cooked pasta, chicken, or bread or pizza.  It can be warmed or served room temperature.  For some other great uses of pesto, click here!    

Pesto has endless possibilities and is a quick and flavorful way to create a healthy and homemade meal!  If I know ahead of time that our evening is packed full, I remove a jar of pesto before leaving for work in the morning and let it thaw throughout the day.  Later that evening, between practices and lessons, I boil some pasta and toss it with some pesto, and voila - dinner is done. The pine nuts and parmesan cheese add plenty of protein.  For some added vegetables, throw together a simple salad to serve along with it.

(It helps to keep the kiddos busy during your basil harvesting and pesto making....see below. :)

 

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