DIY Homemade Spaghetti Sauce #Recipe

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

You guys know that I’ve been growing a rather extensive garden this year and guess what? It’s time for harvesting!! I’ve already made several batches of bread & butter pickles, frozen apple pies, made applesauce, canned homemade salsa, and I’ve got quite the list to go! I also made an amazingly simple batch of bruschetta and I still want to try ketchup so we’ll see how that goes! But I wanted to share with you how I made spaghetti sauce because it was so simple! I know, spaghetti sauce is so cheap to buy at the store but making it homemade is incredibly more flavorful and you can can it for later too! At the very bottom is a printable recipe for you! (I also love checking the Cook More recipe site for new ideas!)

fresh garden tomatoes

A lot of my recipes are done with tweaking a little bit here and there to my personal desire but this is the recipe I pretended to follow. You’ll need about 15 pounds of fresh tomatoes to blanch. Now if you’ve never blanched tomatoes it’s EASY peasy. Just dump some tomatoes into boiling water for about 1-2 minutes, and then immediately remove them and dump them into a pot of ice cold water. If you look closely at the photo below in step 3 you’ll see that the skin has actually split off of the tomatoes – perfect!

How to Blanch Tomatoes

When you’re done just peel the skin right off!

Blanching Tomatoes

Cut your tomatoes into smaller pieces discarding the core/stem. Don’t worry about the seeds – I just leave them in there. You can remove them if you want but plan on adding an extra hour in if you want to get all of your seeds out! It’s pretty time consuming and if you leave them in they’ll end up dissolving right into your sauce anyway.

Next you’ll want to take two large onions and pop them into your food processor. If you don’t have a food processor you can cut up the onions as small as you can get them. Cut them in the food processor and then dump them into your tomato pile. Then cut up 2-3 green bell peppers and add them to the mix.  Mince & add 1/2 head of garlic (or 1 tsp. of the pre-minced garlic). Add 2 cans of tomato paste to help thicken it up.

Simmer it on your stove top for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally as not to burn the bottom! Add 1 Tbsp. oregano, 2 tsp. thyme, 2 tsps. rosemary, 1 Tbsp. lemon basil, and 1 Tbsp. Worcester sauce. Sprinkle in a bit of salt and pepper. Simmer 10-30 minutes depending on how thin/thick you want your sauce!

DIY Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I canned my spaghetti sauce so I set up my mason jars with the canning funnel directly next to the pot and scooped it right in! I used the water bath to can them for 40 minutes to seal properly. This made about 4 quarts of spaghetti sauce for me!

So that’s it! A lot of just letting everything sit in the pot until it cooks. It’s amazing how the tomatoes will literally just dissolve right down into the sauce!

DIY Homemade Spaghetti Sauce #Recipe
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 qts.
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Ingredients
  • 15 lbs. Tomatoes
  • 2 Lrg. Onions
  • 2-3 Green Bell Peppers
  • ½ head Garlic
  • 2 Cans Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbsp. Oregano
  • 2 tsp. Thyme
  • 2 tsp. Rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Basil
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcester Sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Instructions
  1. Blanch 15 lbs. tomatoes then cut into pieces.
  2. Discard core/stem.
  3. Puree 2 large onions in food processor then add to tomatoes.
  4. Chop 2-3 bell peppers into small pieces and add to tomatoes.
  5. Mince ½ head garlic and add to tomatoes.
  6. Add 2 cans tomato paste.
  7. Simmer 30 minutes.
  8. Add all spices and Worcester Sauce.
  9. Simmer 10-30 minutes depending on thickness.
  10. Can or store as desired.

Super Simple Apple Pie #Recipe – Freeze or Cook!

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We moved to the Midwest last year which means LOTS better soil for growing and more opportunities to pick your own fruit! We have friends with a plethora of apple trees and were selling a bushel of apples for just $10! (that’s over 40 pounds of apples!) So what do you think we did? Bought a bushel and started canning and cooking! And to be honest I’m almost out of apples so I will be heading back for more! Below are the directions with photos but don’t worry – I’ve added a printable recipe at the bottom for you!

apple recipe

This recipe will make 1 pie. (I tripled my recipe to make 3 pies.) I usually make them all at once and then freeze them all. You’ll need LOTS of apples though! About 10 pounds of apples in fact if you want to triple the recipe. Follow the directions below to make just one pie.

The first step is to decide whether or not you want to buy a pre-made crust. Here is the recipe I use to make my own pie crust (also available on printable recipe at the bottom of the page):

Mix 2 cups of all purpose flour and 1 tsp. salt in a bowl. Cut in 2/3 cup of shortening or lard. Sprinkle 6 Tbsp. of water in and toss with a fork. Roll dough into a ball. Divide in half. Roll each dough ball out onto plastic wrap using a rolling pin. Place in fridge for 45 minutes. Then lay one layer into bottom of pie pan. The other layer of dough will be placed on top of apples at the end. Don’t forget to cut slits in the top of the dough when you’re finished with the pie!

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To make the actual pie filling you’ll need to core, peel, and slice your apples. I absolutely recommend this apple corer/slicer/peeler as it’s usually around $15 and really comes in handy in the kitchen!

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And of course you’ll need a big helper!!! You can see that he just shoves the bottom of the apple onto the metal prongs, and then he twists the handle. It’s as easy as that! It does all of the coring and peeling for you and leaves your apples nicely sliced in one large piece.

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From here I just run a quick knife right through the apple in half (or quarters depending on my mood) and then I place it in a bowl produce protector mix while I work on the rest of the apples. What’s that? It’s a mix of 1 cup of water and 1 tsp. of Ball Produce Protector which I absolutely LOVE! It keeps the apples from turning that yucky brown color.

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Here you can see one apple de-cored and skinned.

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Here’s my pot of apples in the Produce Protector mix. You can spot the brown ones in the pot that I left out for a few minutes compared to all of the other apples sitting in the solution. There is a huge difference! Especially if you are making these pies as gifts!


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 Here you can see my nice little set up with the apple skins in one dish and the apple slices in another.

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When you’re done grab handfuls of the apples out of the produce protector solution, shake them off a bit so they aren’t so wet, then dump them into your apple pie pans! When you’ve piled the apples above the top of the pan cut your butter up into small slices and place on top of the apples.

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Don’t forget to lay your pie crust dough over the top! I pinch the sides of my pie crust together and then cut small slits in the top for venting! Now you can either freeze it for later or cook it for about 20 minutes at 400*F or until the top crust is lightly golden. I recommend brushing some butter and/or egg whites onto the top of the crust too!

I also wanted to mention that if you know how to can you can also can your apples in the produce protector mix for later and just dump them into a pie crust during the year as you need them! It saves a lot of freezer space!

Super Simple Apple Pie #Recipe – Freeze or Cook!
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • Pie Crust:
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ⅔ c. Shortening or Lard
  • 6 Tbsp. water
  • Apple Filling:
  • 8 c. apples – peeled, cored, cut
  • ½ c. sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • optional: ½ tsp. nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Pie Crust:
  2. Mix 2 c. flour and 1 tsp. salt in a bowl.
  3. Cut in ⅔ c. shortening or lard.
  4. Sprinkle dough with 6 Tbsp. water
  5. Toss dough with a fork.
  6. Roll dough into a ball.
  7. Divide dough in half.
  8. Roll flat with rolling pin onto plastic wrap.
  9. Place in the fridge for 45 minutes.
  10. Apple Filling:
  11. Mix ½ c. sugar, ½ tsp. cinnamon, ⅛ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. nutmeg in bowl.
  12. Stir in apples.
  13. Lay pre-rolled dough into bottom of pie pan.
  14. Add apples into pie pan.
  15. Cut butter into pieces and add on top of apples.
  16. Lay extra dough on top of apples and pinch the edges together.
  17. Cut small slits in top for venting.
  18. Freeze or cook for 40 minutes at 400*F.
  19. Read more at http://www.survivingateacherssalary.com/2013/07/super-simple-apple-pie-recipe-freeze-or-cook.html#kIEz7V180t3rsIRp.99
Serves: 8
Simple Apple Pie Recipe
Ingredients

Tropical Fruit Juice #Recipe #MillionSteps #Juicing

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Here’s another super easy recipe we made using our Cuisinart Juice Extractor from Best Buy. As you can see above it makes about a half pitcher full (we were making drinks for 4 of us). Because I was making roughly four cups I decided to just keep juicing in the small container and then dump it into the pitcher and mix it. For this tropical fruit juice we used:

1 whole pineapple
1 mango
1 apple
2 oranges
2 carrots

Combining the above drink provides the following nutrients:

Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B6, B-complex, C, E, K, biotin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin

Minerals:  choline, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, silicon, sodium, sulfur, calcium, flourine, zinc, selenium

Quick Fruit Juice Recipe Using a Juice Extractor #MillionSteps

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Did you get a juice extractor for Christmas? Or maybe just as a New Years Resolution to eat healthier? Last summer my husband and I started juicing but then we moved out of state and just never unpacked our juicer. We recently received the Cuisinart Juice Extractor from Best Buy so decided to start juicing again! Not only is it extremely healthy for us but it’s extra healthy for our kids too! I will be sharing my recipes with you as I create them since I know many people are interested in juicing! Vegetable juices are extremely healthy but finding the right mix of veggies can be tough. For today we just did a simple fruit juice. Today for 1 glass of juice at lunch I put in my juicer:

2 Gala apples
2 kiwifruit
2 carrots

These 3 fruits provided the following vitamins & minerals:

Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, K, biotin, folic acid, pantothenic acid
Minerals: potassium, calcium, phosphorus, carotene, choline, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phsophorous, silicon, sodium, sulfur 

Pre-Made Dry Ingredients Pancake Recipe

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Want to save some money by making pancakes from scratch but don’t have time? Have a family member with food allergies? We like to pre-mix our dry pancake batter so that it’s easier to grab during the week for breakfast and then throw it into the freezer for storage! Plus we make triple batches so that we have some to freeze!

 Before adding your ingredients write the rest of the recipe on the bag as you see above so you will know what else to add to each bag when you pull it out for breakfast. Write: Mix 3 eggs, 3 cups milk and 6 Tbsp. oil, then mix it with the dry ingredients bag.

Then I pour ALL of my dry ingredients directly into a quart sized bag.  I have added into each bag:

3 cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt

That’s it! Throw it in the freezer until you need a triple batch of pancakes!! When you’re ready for breakfast mix the 3 items listed on the front of your bag, dump your dry bag ingredients into the bowl, then make your pancakes! It’s that easy!

Family Fun at the Iowa State Fair #RedCupShowdown

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As you know we are OFFICIALLY Iowans! (is that how you say it?!) And when I heard the Iowa State Fair was coming this week I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend! Not to mention that we wanted one more fun fling before school starts next week! The kids have been such troopers traveling around the country with us this summer on our road trip and then for our move they definitely deserved a fun reward. Aside from all of the awesome nostalgic carnival rides and food I was also looking forward to checking out Seattle’s Best #RedCupShowdown with Food Network celebrity Jeff Mauro (host of Sandwich King).

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At the Seattle’s Best booth there was a LOT going on! How awesome is this huge red coffee cup? They even had fun carnival props to use for the photo opp! PLUS they emailed me the photo in an “I Got Mugged at the Iowa State Fair” virtual frame! Want to hear some HILARIOUS!? SH! Don’t tell – but my son grabbed his cotton candy prop to take his photo, and he thought it was REAL and took a bite….he quickly realized that it did NOT taste like cotton candy!

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From where we entered the Iowa State Fair I was easily able to spot the Seattle’s Best bus from across the fairgrounds so we decided to stop there first before the kids went on all of the rides! Besides – we heard there was some sort of chocolate moose that I thought would be cool to see.

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Everyone at the Seattle’s Best bus was SUPER friendly! Maybe it was all that delicious coffee that was being passed around? They had several different flavors including state fair – inspired flavors like Elephant Ear latte (my fav!) and Cotton Candy Mocha. Look how INCREDIBLY tasty their drinks looked – PLUS they were FREE!

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And if that doesn’t look amazing this one sure does!

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OH it’s making me want to go back just for these delicious treats!

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And if handing out FREE coffee wasn’t enough there was another super friendly person handing out FREE bags of coffee to take home! They had this bus VERY well planned out! In addition to the cool photo opp spot, the FREE coffee and FREE coffee bags there was also a prize wheel section where I won……..

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a $5 Subway gift card and MORE coffee! :) How fun! Guess what we ate for dinner on the way home that night?

After visiting the Seattle’s Best coffee bus we took the kids over to the other side of the fair (it was HUGE) for a few hours of rides. We bought the kids the unlimited wrist bands since it was the best deal and let them ride till their hearts content. There was SO much to see at the fair! Petting zoos,  places for the kids to plant seeds and take them home, microscopes, bee keepers, baby livestock area, show arenas, gardening contests, recipe contests, SO many things we didn’t even make it to. I would love for you to check out the photo album I made of our day at the fair because I couldn’t possibly squeeze all 79 pictures into this post! We had an AWESOME day!

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To finish out our day we headed over to the #RedCupShowdown hosted by Jeff Mauro – Food Network celebrity and host of Sandwich King!  This was actually REALLY cool – I’m SO glad that I went! Three contestants at a time were up at the front table (you can see more of the photos from the showdown in my photo album!) and they had 5 minutes to come up with their own coffee creation. It was actually very interesting as each contestant had a very special story behind the flavor they were creating. One lady was creating a Red Velvet Sunrise coffee because she saw a red sunrise after her husband had a stroke and thought it was beautiful. One lady lived in Syria for a while so she added special spices to remind her of being over there. One busy mom (shown below who also won 3rd place) missed the pre-kid days where you had time to sit down and have a big breakfast so she made a blueberry pancake & bacon coffee.

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The lady who won made a coffee called “How to Win a Guy in One Sip” which I’m pretty sure had chunks of bacon in it! She won $500 AND a trip for 2 to New York! Wow!! And OH….OH you KNOW I had to post a picture of the chocolate moose!!!

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Check out the SIZE of that thing! It smelled SO heavenly! I seriously wanted to run up to it and just take a huge bite! :)

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Another really cool thing at the Iowa State Fair was an entire area set up with pregnant animals – if you were lucky enough (or unlucky haha) you could actually watch the animals giving birth. We were able to pet the goats that were just an hour old, see tons of piglets, ducks, chicks, and other livestock!

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And there was even a pumpkin growing contest! Check out this PRIZE winner which was 933 pounds!! WOW!

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And it wouldn’t be a day at the fair without going on the ferris wheel would it?

You can see more photos from other state fairs that Seattle’s Best has toured at on their Facebook page!

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias Social Fabric Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and Seattle’s Best Coffee. #Cbias #SocialFabric All opinions are my own.

A Little Bit of Iowa & We’re Headed to the Iowa State Fair #RedCupShowdown

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Isn’t this beautiful? Yesterday we went down to explore our new favorite nature spot in Iowa – Lake Red Rock. The past few days we’ve spent the time to explore new places, thrift stores, bakeries, and all sorts of neat things in our area! I know once school starts at the end of this week we will be so busy that exploring will certainly be at a minimum!! On Wednesday, the day before school starts for the teachers, we are headed off to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines which is about an hour away. My kids can hardly wait!! This will be our first big fun event since we moved up here last week! I can’t wait to see what Iowa has to offer!

While we’re there we are going to check out The Red Cup Showdown hosted by Jeff Mauro and Seattle’s Best Coffee! I’ve been checking out the previous fair photos on the Seattle’s Best Coffee Facebook page and it looks like a blast! Although my kids are not allowed to drink coffee (nor do they like it!) they might perk up at new carnival flavors like “Elephant Ear Lattes” and “Cotton Candy Mocha”! Mmm – they certainly sound interesting – I can’t wait to try them! Not to mention meeting Jeff Mauro will be a lot of fun!! I know I sure could use some coffee with all of this unpacking that I’ve been up to the last week!

Another one of my favorite parts of the fair believe it or not is the animals! I love the agricultural lessons my kids learn and the hands on opportunities to touch cows, pigs, chickens, bunnies, and more! Here’s a picture of the 2 ponies in the yard behind us – my kids will spend hours just sitting out there feeding the ponies anything they can get their hands on!

Aren’t they cute? I know some of our new friends here in Iowa will be going to the fair the same day we are – are any of my Iowa readers going to the State Fair this week?

 Keep up with Seattle’s Best and the Red Cup Showdown on Twitter!

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Seattle’s Best Coffee #CBias #SocialFabric

Slow Cook Your Turkey in the Crock Pot to Save Time

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MMMMM! Every year at Thanksgiving we buy several smallish turkeys to use throughout the year as the deals are the best on turkeys then. However we have come to realize that we tend not to use them just because I don’t always have the time to watch them in the oven, so I decided to try putting it in my crock pot and slow cook it!

To save time cleaning afterwards I also used crock pot liners which I am in love with!! EASY clean up & less mess!

For this recipe you’ll need:

7 quart crock pot

4 lbs. (or less) turkey

2 cans Wolfgang Puck Roasted Red Pepper with Tomato Soup

fresh basil, cilantro, thyme

Directions:

If you’re making your turkey for lunch you’ll be prepping this in your crock pot the night before. If you are planning on using your turkey for dinner you will need to place it in the crock pot very late at night (midnight or later) or very early the next morning (about 4-5 am). You can also pre-prep your crock pot by putting it in the fridge overnight all completed so that all you need to do is place it in your crock pot in the morning.

After making sure that your thawed turkey is properly gutted and there are no strings in place place it inside your crock pot.

Pour both cans of soup on top of the turkey making sure that you cover the entire top surface of the turkey.

Finally add your fresh herbs on to the top of your turkey making sure that you place some of them into the surrounding soup. I used approximately 4 stems of cilantro, a Tablespoon of thyme and about 15 basil leaves – all pinched off into tiny pieces.

Place your slow cooker on low, replace lid, and let your crock pot do all the work! Don’t bother bringing out your carving knife! Your turkey will be SO moist & delicious just grab a pair of tongs and serve!

TIP – If you don’t have access to fresh herbs you can use dried ones. I have a spice garden growing in the wood pallet we set up in the backyard which is where I picked my herbs. Herbs are for the most part easy to grow and a delicious addition to your meals!

Make Your Own Homemade Tortilla Chips

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If you have the time a great way to save money on a nice splurge is to make your own homemade tortilla chips! My husband loooooves chips to munch on, but we hardly ever buy them because our budget does not allow for that-not to mention that most of them are just plain not healthy! So he decided the other day that he wanted to make his own tortilla chips.

 

A bag of tortilla chips cost about $2-4 depending on what brand you buy. If you make your own for $2.50 you can make over 6 bags or MORE for that price! AND they are a lot healthier & tastier too!

 

He went to the store & bought a bag of corn flour. It was $2.48 for the bag.

 

He just followed the directions on the bag but he mixed the flour with water, and the tiniest bit of salt.

 

For a while we were hand pressing out the dough to make the chips, but soon realized how long that took! So we went on Amazon and bought a tortilla press for $14 to make things go quicker! It’s very simple to use. Just put a very small ball of dough on the press……….

 

And close it up! We put some wax paper on one side of the press so that the dough didn’t stick so much!
Here’s what it looked like after we pressed the dough with the tortilla press.

 

It worked best for us to make a little assembly line. I pressed the tortillas & placed them in a plate like you see below.

 

My hubby threw them in the frying pan (no oil) and let them cook on high for just a minute or so.

 

Then he put all the semi-cooked dough discs on a separate plate.

 

When he got a plate full he would dump them in his deep fryer. We use canola oil or olive oil due to my son’s allergies.
And after about 3 minutes we would check them & pull them out. I was a little concerned at first because look at all that oil-ick!
 But after we patted the chips with a napkin & placed them on a plate- voila- the oil was gone! (well, mostly!) Seriously though, the chips were absolutely delicious.  They were much better than bagged chips for sure! WOW! I wasn’t sure how they would do if we left them out overnight so we experimented. Left overnight on a plate like this with no cover was actually not bad-just the tiniest slight bit of staleness, just barely. We also put some in a ziploc bag overnight and those were absolutely delicious- they tasted like we had just made them!
  
As you can see we just made round chips, they were quicker to make. If you want to make the triangle chips it is very easy- after pressing your dough down you just take a pizza cutter & slice up a triangle!
Making your own tortilla chips does take some time, but it is definetely worth it when you taste it! If you’ve got a family that has some munchy problems and wants a lot of chips- this is a great idea to try out. It’s very simple. We made about double the chips shown in this picture with 1 cup of flour- and our bag of flour has barely been touched! We have a LOT more flour to make chips with….we’ll be making our tortilla chips for my boys birthday party in a few months which will save us a good amount of money on snacks!