Sunday, August 31, 2014

Homemade Tomato Soup

   My youngest son loves tomato soup.  He would eat it every day if we would let him.  I hate him eating the store-bought variety because of all the extra ingredients and sodium that they put into it.  I prefer to make my family homemade tomato soup.
 
 

3 ½ c. chopped tomatoes

2 c. chicken broth

1 c. milk

2 T. flour

1 T. butter

1 T. chopped onion

1 T. basil

1 ½ tsp. sugar

1 tsp. garlic

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

 

    In a large pot, melt the butter and then fry up the onion and garlic. Sauté until done.  Now stir in the rest of the ingredients.

     Stir well and let simmer about 15 minutes.  Remove from the stove and puree.  It is now ready to eat.


To me, tomato soup is good comfort food, another good comfort food is my Homemade Chicken and Dumplings.  What else do you consider "comfort food"?


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Friday, August 29, 2014

Canning Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

     

    We have an abundance of tomatoes from our garden each year.  We eat a lot of them and use the rest in a variety of ways by canning the tomatoes; making tomato sauce; tomato soup; making and canning salsa; and by making spaghetti sauce.




Countrified Hicks Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce
 
8 c. tomato sauce
8 c. diced tomatoes
2 small cans tomato paste
4 T. olive oil
2 T. sugar
4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. basil 
 

                   
      Pour all ingredients into a crockpot and stir well.  Cook over low heat for 8 hours.  I like cooking it in the crockpot because it does not heat up your kitchen and allows the flavors to really "meld" together.  
 
 

    When the sauce is done, pour the hot sauce into hot prepared jars. Add into EACH jar 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 Tablespoons of vinegar into each jar.   Fill up to 1/4" headspace and wipe the rims clean with a rag dipped into vinegar.   Put the lids on and place into a water bath canner.  Water should completely cover the lids.  

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The water should be about an inch over the top of the jars.  
 
     When the water begins to boil, start timing then.  Let boil for 40 minutes. 
 
Makes 3 quarts.

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Other blogs I linked this recipe to include:
Home to 4 Kiddos 
The Modest Mom 
Love from the Kitchen

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Countrified French Vanilla Coffee Drink

    Let me start off with and say that I don't drink flavored coffee AT ALL.  I just don't like the taste of it.  I want just plain, strong coffee BUT my hubby loves them.  We do not buy them because they cost WAY too much and are an indulgence we just can't afford. 
 
     I remember my daughter buying a frappuccino or something like that a few years back that she bought in a bottle from a convenience store.  I tried it and naturally I didn't like it but my hubby sure did.  The taste is stuck in my head and I decided to play around with flavors and came up with this drink.  I don't know what it would be considered but several people have tasted my concoction and LOVE it.  They say it is equally superb hot or ice cold.

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Countrified French Vanilla Coffee Drink

   (I know I need to come up with a better name for it but for now, this works.)  :-)

10 cups of STRONG hot coffee
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 cup french vanilla creamer
1/4 c. sugar




     Put the two kinds of sugar into a pitcher.  Pour the hot coffee in on top of the sugars and stir until the sugars dissolve; then pour in the creamer.  Stir and enjoy.  This tastes just as good hot as it does cold.  Even my teenage son liked it.


This coffee goes great with my Cinnamon Roll Cake or some Homemade Doughnuts!

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Other blogs I have linked up this recipe with include:
Home to 4 Kiddos 
The Modest Mom 
The Chicken Chick

Friday, August 22, 2014

Make Your Own Sun Dried Tomatoes

   Okay, I confess.  They really aren't "sun-dried" tomatoes but they taste JUST like them.  I use my dehydrator instead and they turn out super yummy.  AND they cost a lot less than buying them at the supermarket.  Wow, they are expensive to buy (about $7 a pound).


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     All you have to do is use fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes (or buy some tomatoes) and then using a sharp knife cut the tomato into tomato slices.  At this point you can put the pieces on the dehydrator and leave them plain or sprinkle them with salt, pepper, basil and any other spice you desire. 


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OR

    You can cut the ends of of the tomatoes and slice the tomato into wedges.  Scoop out the seeds and lay the wedges on the dehydrator tray and season as you desire and dehydrate them this way.   Both ways work equally well it is just a matter of preference of how you like your sun dried tomatoes to be shaped.

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Sliced pieces of tomatoes and tomato wedges.

   Dehydrate about 5-8 hours, depending upon the thickness of the tomatoes.  They should be feel about like a raisin.  They should be leathery and not sticky.

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Once they are dry, store in a sealed mason jar.

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    We love doing this to have as a snack and to have nice, yummy tomatoes in the winter time.

You can also grind the tomatoes to make tomato powder

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Freezer Biscuits

   I love preparing things ahead of time.  I have MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and diabetes so I do not always feel up to cooking and sometimes I am just not able to cook.  I prepare lots of freezer meals and one other thing we like to freeze are biscuits to have on hand whenever we want/need them.






Freezer Biscuits
 
 4 c. all-purpose flour
1 3/4 c. milk
1 c. butter
1 tsp. salt

                                        


     Mix all the ingredients together.  Roll out on a floured surface and cut out the dough with a biscuit cutter, top of a lid, etc.  Lay out the biscuits on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for one hour.
 

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   After one hour, you can place the biscuits in a large baggie and place them in the freezer until needed.  You freeze them on the cookie sheet to prevent them from sticking together.  

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     When you want to eat them, let them defrost for about 30 minutes on a cookie sheet then bake them for 10 1/2 minutes in a preheated 450 degree oven.  

Makes 24.

      They rise really good and taste great.  The picture below is a biscuit that had been in the freezer about a month.





Some other biscuit recipes you might like include:  my Potato Biscuits and my Chocolate Chip Drop Biscuit!
 
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

The BEST Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

   Okay, I know everyone says "my recipe is the best peanut butter cookie recipe ever" and I am sure they mean it but to me and my family, ours really is the best.  :-)



Peanut Butter Cookies

                1 (16 oz.) jar peanut butter             1 1/4 c. flour
                1 c. brown sugar                             1 c. sugar
                1/2 c. butter                                     2 eggs                
                2 tsp. baking soda                           1 1/2 tsp. vanilla       
               1/2 tsp. baking powder                    1/8 tsp. salt

     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Form mixture into small balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  

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   Now take a fork, dip it in some sugar and make crisscross marks on each ball and gently flatten.  You do not need to flatten them much, they will spread out nicely on their own.

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    Now bake for exactly 9 minutes.  Let cool for 2 minutes then remove to a plate.  These are especially good if you eat them right away. 





    Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies (about 2 1/2-3" in size).

                                         
Check out my recipes for Mexican Wedding Cookies and my Homemade Reeses Candy.  
 
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Blackberry Muffins

  We had a really good blackberry harvest this year.  We got gallons and gallons of yummy blackberries and I have been making all sorts of wonderful things with them, including these Blackberry Muffins.




Blackberry Muffins
 
                                         2 c. flour                                  3/4 tsp. salt
                                        1/2 c. sugar                               2 tsp. baking powder
                                        1/2 tsp. nutmeg                         1 tsp. cinnamon
                                        1 c. applesauce                         2 eggs
                                        4 T. butter                               3/4 c. milk
                                        1/2 c. blackberries

      Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Fill muffin tins with paper liners or grease the pan.   In a bowl, mix together all ingredients (except for the blackberries).  When mixed well, fold in the blackberries.  Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins and fill them about 2/3 of the way full.

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    Bake for 13 minutes.  Makes 18 muffins.  I generally double the recipe and make 36 so there is plenty for snacks and a few breakfasts.  They freeze well too.
 
 

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Monday, August 18, 2014

No Bake Cookie Recipe

   

 No bake cookies are a classic cookie.  The kind of cookie that grandmas make with their grandchildren.  When you ask people to name their top 10 favorite cookies, No bake cookies are generally on the list (along with sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, peanut butter, etc.)  They are just one of the "classics".


No Bake Cookies

       In a small pot, bring to a boil:  2 cups of sugar, 4 Tablespoons of cocoa, 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/2 cup of milk. Let it boil one minute and remove from heat.  In a large bowl, put in 1 Tablespoon of vanilla and 3 1/2 cups of oats.  Pour the hot mixture on top and stir well.  Drop by spoonsfuls onto waxed paper.  Let cool and enjoy. 



     Makes 2 dozen.
 
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The Best Homemade Chocolate Syrup Recipe

I love making this homemade chocolate syrup for my kids and my kids are very grateful to have it.   It truly is the best homemade chocol...