Tag Archives: garlic

{Spicy} Homemade Salsa


The definition of spicy equates to flavored with or fragrant with spice. Isn’t there just a ton of spice in life everyday? Throughout our lives we can have pretty bland, boring days sometimes, but other times the day can be packed full of colorful, lively, exciting events that make the day seem “spicy” in a way. 

Lately I have begun to notice how I react to those hot, pungent moments in life and how it affects my mood. I see others around me and the amount of strength and courage that they put forth as they encounter immense struggles. I find that understanding the struggles of others has helped me to grasp the sheer power of how your mindset affects your attitude and ability to push forward in life. 

Life can really toss your some crazy curveballs, but having a positive outlook during those times of struggle can totally change the whole ballgame. 

This salsa recipe mimics that mentality. You can add just as much heat as you want, the more heat you add, the spicier it gets. It’s all about how much you put forth. If you put forth a positive attitude, you will get more out of life. If you don’t put in the time, effort, or power, your life may just be a little more bland. And if you walk around with a negative attitude and your head hung low, your life with carry that same persona. 

This recipe is the perfect combination of all your favorite garden produce and it can be savored all year long with the right canning process. So stay positive, add some spice to your life, and make the salsa….you won’t be disappointed. 


Homemade Salsa

12 c. tomatoes, diced, not peeled
2 c. onions, diced
1 c. green pepper
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded or unseeded
1 6 oz. tomato paste

1/3 c. vinegar
1/2. t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 t. black pepper
2 T. salt
1/2 t. basil leaves
1/2 t. chili powder
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. garlic powder


Put tomatoes in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook at a slow boil for 1 hour. Add seasonings and simmer at a low boil for 1/2 hour. Add onions and peppers and simmer for 15 minutes, add tomato paste and simmer for 15 minutes more. Process for 15 minutes in hot water bath. 











Growing up I was considered a “picky eater.” I pretty much survived on grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pizza. It wasn’t until my 20’s that I started trying new foods and boy I was really missing out. I tried watermelon, corn, strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, cucumbers, tomatoes, mashed potatoes, broccoli, pretty much every vegetable possible and I loved them all! But my one true love that I have encountered in my taste testing has been pickles. My relatives at family gatherings would devour pickles and I never understood what all the fuss was about. Once I tasted the crunchy sweet and sour taste of the dill pickle, I understood all at once. What was I thinking, it makes me so sad that I missed out on this glorious creation for the first 20 years of my life. 

The definition of venturesome is willing to take risks or embark on difficult or unusual courses of action. This has definitely been true for me as I have learned to try new foods, it has been a risky endevour. In embarking on this unusual journey of food I have learned so much and been able to experience so much more about the tastes of the world. Being venturesome doesn’t just play into tasting food, it can apply to any new conquest you embark on when trying something new. If it’s trying a banana (I still don’t like these) or trying a new sport or craft, putting your whole heart into something new can be exciting and exhilarating. Jumping into new activities can invoke a change that can shift the boring, same old mentality that lingers for many. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. 

So take a risk, try that food, bake that really difficult recipe, try that exercise class, or get into whatever inspires you. I always ask my students, “what’s the worst that can happen?” We can try it, if it doesn’t work, we will change things up. You will never know until you try and if you never try you will never know. 

Like I mentioned before, these pickles are the BOMB.  They are so crunchy and best made with small garden cucumbers. If your cucumbers are jumbo, you can cut them into spears and slices to get the same crunch effect. We can these pickles so we can enjoy them all year long. FDR said it best, “Above all, try something.” Try these pickles, you won’t regret it!


Dill Pickles

3 quarts cold water
1 quart vinegar
3/4 c. canning salt
1 head dill per jar
1/4 t. alum per jar
1 clove garlic per jar
1 T. pickling spice

Pack cucumbers in quart size jars with dill, alum, garlic, and picking spice. Boil cold water, vinegar, and canning salt. Ladle hot liquid over cucumbers, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust two piece lids. Process quarts for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. 












Mother nature can create so much beauty in the world and with an instant she can destroy some of that beauty. This past weekend mother nature took a toll on the small town where we live. A strong hail storm rolled through our town, matched with high winds that devastated my sweet little garden that I have worked so hard on this past summer. Thankfully, no one was hurt during the storm. Many houses lost siding and windows, cars were totaled and debris was cast every which way. Here are a few photos of what the aftermath looked like. 


These are a few snaps of my garden pre-hail. Wasn’t it beautiful? After the hail my dreams of fresh salsa, stuffed peppers, jalapeƱo poppers, tomato soup, potato dumplings, crisp salads and fresh herbs were all gone in an instant. 

Garden Garden2 Garden3

But, the best part of this whole experience was watching our town come together to rebuild and seeing the regrowth start to bloom. One of my favorite quotes is, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” When times are difficult, this quote helps me to remember that even though life throws us curve balls every once and a while, we have to adapt and move forward.

I had so many people offer their garden produce, so I hope to still bring you some delicious, fresh garden recipes soon. So in the spirit of regrowth, I went to my mom’s garden to make my favorite bruschetta recipe! This recipe is reminiscent of my favorite bruschetta from a deli in New York and it is best with fresh ingredients.


Best Bruschetta Ever


6 roma tomatoes
1/2 c. red onion
3 cloves of garlic
7 basil leaves
1 t. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
1 baguette
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
parmesan reggiano cheese


Slice your baguette into 1/4 inch slices and brush with olive oil. Broil until browned. Once you remove the bread slices, rub each slice with a clove of garlic. Next chop your bruschetta ingredients. Cut up the onion, garlic, and basil into small pieces. Slice the tomatoes in half and scoop the seeds out. Cut the tomatoes into larger chunks. Mix the tomatoes, onions, garlic, basic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and scoop onto baguette slices. Garnish with parmesan and serve. 

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