Thursday
Aug142014

Freezer Canning Peaches: No blanching, no sugar!

So I like to pretend I am from Georgia. I lived there the first six years of my marriage and I LOVED it. Don't get me wrong, I have come to enjoy living in South Alabama again, but a piece of my heart will always be in Georgia. 

However, I will say, while Georgia claims their peaches are America's best. I have to disagree. Chilton County peaches totally kick Georgia peaches' little peach cheeks. (Peach cheeks. That's adorable.) But I will get more into that later. 

Yesterday while hittin' up the farmer's market I saw they had canning peaches for about $.52 a pound. Score! Done. Let's go home. 

However, what am I going to do with a 25-pound box of peaches? 

Freeze them. 

So here is what I did:

 

What you'll need:

25 lbs. of peaches.*

1/4 cup lemon juice

a pairing knife

a potato peeler

Note: I chose to forgo and sweeteners because I think peaches are delicious just the way they are. I also wanted a health option for smoothes and other things. And since a lot of these peaches will probably be used for baking, I don't need to add extra sweeteners. 

freezer safe containers in which to put your lovely peaches. 

*My farmer's market discounts "canning peaches." These peaches are super soft and have dark spots. Some of them can't be used at all, but I only had two that I couldn't use and I fed them to my chickens

Step 1. Wash your peaches. Then cut, pit, peel and slice. I realize that is multiple steps, but come on... 

Some of your peaches will be so soft you can too all of this with your hands. This is messy, but saves a lot of time! Also, don't forget to compost your peels and what not. 

Step 2. Add your lemon juice to your peaches. You will need to do this to prevent discoloration. I realize if you're freezing them it is not the same as if you canned them. So discoloration isn't a big issue, but I would recommend just going ahead and doing this. 

Step 3. Fill your containers. I chose to use mason jars because they are shatter resistant, the lids are BPA free, I can reuse them multiple times, and the peaches look pretty in the jars. 

You can store the peaches in TIGHTLY sealed containers for up to a year. A year!

I got 10 quarts and I am THRILLED! 

Have you ever freezer canned? Tell me about it! 

 

Wednesday
Aug062014

Mushroom Spinach Calzone

I am trying to find new and inventive ways to go meatless or meat less. 

I am still working on getting Jason fully on board with this. But I have several reasons for trying to go meatless once a week. 

There are several reasons I am attempting to do this. 

1. It saves money. 

2. It's healthy. 

3. It's better for the enviroment. 

You can read more about all of that here

My husband, however is a major carnivore. Major. So I have had to get a little sneaky. 

Last week I made mushroom and spinach calzones. I waited until we were finished eating to point out they were meatless. 

"Yeah," Jason said. "But they have mushrooms, so we're good." 

Yes! Success!

Okay. This is what you'll need:

1 carton mushrooms washed and sliced

3 cups spinach

1 onion, diced

1/4 cup chicken stock

1 clove garlic, minced

pizza dough or refirgerated pizza crust

mozzerella cheese 

In a skillet caramelize your onions. You can read a full tutorial on how to do that here

Once that process is complete deglaze your pan with a little chicken stock and add your spinach, garlic and mushroom. Cook until the spinach wilts. Remove your pan from the heat and preheat your oven. 

Roll out your pizza dough on a cookie sheet. I cut mine in to four squares. Then I spooned out my vegetable mixture and added a little cheese. 

Then, because I got EXTREMELY frustrated with the pizza crust, I had Jason fold it over the vegetables for me. When I saw I got extremley frustrated... I had to apologize to Jesus and my family for all the words that came out of my mouth. Yeah, it got ugly. 

 

I brushed the dough with a little bit of egg before popping them in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes. 

They were so delicious. 

What meatless dishes have you tried at your house? 

Wednesday
Jul022014

Fourth of July Desserts sure to please everyone! 

Independence Day is just three days away. And because it's on a Friday that means extra time with family, extra bbq's, extra time in the sun. 

And... extra dessert. Because really... come on... what did you think this was going to be about?

Here are four of the most popular desserts on this blog that I am sure you and your family and friends will love as you watch the fire works light up the July sky. 

1. Deep Dish Fruit Pizza. I will actually be making this to take to my mom's house. But I am going to make it look like an American flag with berries!! I use coconut oil in my recipe, but you could just use a tube of premade dough. 

2. Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes.  These are devine. My sister asks for these by name. They require some effort, but man they are worth it. Plus, fresh strawberries are in season and taste amazing!

3. Lemon blueberry poundcake cupcakes.  Yes, back to back cupcake recipes. The lemon and blueberry flavor mixes so well with the frosting. Try them. 

4. Cookies and Cream Pie. This pie is so simple to make. You can throw it together last minute, people will love it. It's cool and creamy and delicous! 

What desserts are you making this summer? 

 

Wednesday
Jun182014

Fish tacos in a bowl

There are foods that just scream summer: ice cream, lemonade, bbq, fresh pico de gall and tacos. 

I am trying to cut back on the amoun of flour I eat during the week, but I LOVE my fish tacos. So I had to come up with a healthier option. 

Why not put it in a bowl with quinoa? After all, quinoa is loaded with fiber and protein. 

What you'll need:

2-3 tilapia filets or your fish of choice

juice from two limes

black pepper

2 tbsp dried cilantro

Pico de Gallo

2 cups cooked quinoa

1-2 avocados

Preheat your oven to 350. Sprinkle fish with cilantro and squeeze the lime juice on top. Bake for 20 minutes. 

When the fish is done break it up with fork. Place your fish over a bed of quinoa and serve with your pico de gallo and avocados. 

What summer foods have you been cooking? 

Monday
Jun022014

Low Carb Eggplant Lasagna 

If you have read this blog for any amount of time you have already figured out that I LOVE pasta. Love it. Live for it. 

But, it doesn't love me back. Just ask my waist line (or what used to be waist). So I have been cutting back on my carbs. But I miss lasagna. I miss the cheese and tomato goodness. I miss it!!!

So I decided to lasagna loaded with vegetables and sub out my noodles for eggplant. It was a hit! Even Jason liked it. (And he is far more picky than he will ever admit.)

This recipe is a little involved, but pretty easy. 

What you'll need:

1 large egg plant, cut into thin circles

1/2 pound lean ground beef or turkey (or chicken or venison etc.)

1 egg

2 garlic cloves, minced 

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

2 cups spinach

1 container cottage cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese ( I ran out and had to use cheddar!!)

One jar pasta sauce or this recipe for homemade

Step 1. Preheat your oven to 350. Place the thin slices of egg plant on an oiled cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. You need to dry them out a little. 

Step 2. In a skillet over medium heat, warm up some olive oil (coconut oil works fine too). Cook your garlic for a little less than minute to get the rawness out. Then add in your meat and brown. Throw in your bell pepper at this point and cook until tender. 

Step 3. In a food processor combine your sauce and spinach and process until fully incorporated. This will just add some extra nutrition to your sauce. Why not??

Step 4. In a bowl combine your cottage cheese and egg and whisk together. 

Step 5. Now, using a LARGE casserole dish or baking pan, line the bottom of the dish with a layer of egg plant. Then layer your ingredients as you would in a regular lasagna, alternating eggplant, meat, sauce and cottage cheese. Then cover the entire thing with mozzarella. 

Step 6. Cover your pan in foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. 

What are some recipes you've experimented with recently?