Easy Method Spicy Tomato Juice to Enjoy Now and Later (Using a Juice Extractor)

This morning I had an 8:30 AM appointment with our "EGG MAN" Harry B.  Harry asked yesterday if I could use more tomatoes to can and of course I was happy he did!  Never did I dream he would have near a 100 pounds waiting for me!  WELL, HE DID!

SO.........I have just finished hauling 18 bags filled to the brim of fresh, picked yesterday, red ripe and juicy, Indiana home grown tomatoes out of the Durango and into the house!

(And I was going to start my sewing today.)

Harry also shared with me his neighbors tried and true quicker and easier way of making tomato juice and canning it for winter.  This is great as I have never had a great love for the food mill.  Plus, I do own a nice juice extractor I had never thought of using in this way.

Use this method adjusting for any quantity of tomatoes on hand and to your taste.  If you do not like the spicy version just omit the peppers.  1 teaspoon of salt is pretty standard per quart of juice and I like fresh lemon juice but bottled will so, use 2 Tablespoons per quart.

Easier Home Canned Tomato Juice:

Scald glass canning jars and caps and lids.  Keep the lids and caps in simmering water until ready to use.  Sterilize glass canning jars.

Assemble juice extractor, large stock pots or soup kettles. hot pads, spoons, ladles, measuring spoon, and funnel, clean towels, and paper towels.

Wash the tomatoes.  Quarter the larger ones to fit into the intake chute of your juice extractor.  Have a large plastic liner in a basket handy to empty the pulp in to discard.

Place the tomatoes through the extractor measuring the juice and emptying it into the stock pot.  Season with salt, lemon juice, hot peppers, and anything else your family likes.  Harry uses 3-4 hot peppers per quart.  Whew!

Bring the juice to a boil and simmer at a minimum 10 minutes as you skim the top for foam.

I try to time this so the canning jars are just coming out of my dishwasher from the sanitize cycle, the caps and lids are simmering away, and the juice is simmering.   Now when all is ready fill the hot jars and cap, being sure you wipe the jar edges clean and leave 1/2" head space.  Harry said he processes 5 minutes but his neighbor does not process at all.  Most recipes advise processing between 10 and 45 minutes in a water bath with 1" of water above the lid tops.  Start the timer AFTER the water has come to a full rolling boil.

When the processing is complete cool the jars sitting on clean tea towels for 24 hours.  Store for up to a year in a cool dark place.

NOTE:  This is from my first test batch and I used  my large soup kettle and about 12-15 pounds of tomatoes which yielded 5 quarts of juice.  I added  1 1/2 jalapeno peppers to this batch along with the salt and lemon juice.  It was mildly spicy, you tasted the peppers but it did not burn.  Just an FYI in case you were wondering.  Now off to do more, 16 more sacks of tomatoes await me.

FOLLOW UP COMMENT:  The tomato juice made with my extractor tended to have less body, pulp as does have traditionally made tomato juice.  The first batch had more than the second batch.  I think the difference came on my patience level and the skimming process.  The first batch I simmered longer and I think there was less "foam" to skim than the second batch.  Then I remembered my friend Joyce making it this way and having a similar outcome.  It still tasted like tomato juice it is the the consistency and color that differs.  After 2 additional batches of juice I switched to straight canning the tomatoes netting about 50 quarts of tomato product.


Sewing Again, Selection is the Start!

I see a big bag of kitchen goodies in a cheery red bag!
Friday I went through every piece of fabric in the 6 large tubs of woven fabrics I have kept and separated them by color.  This will make projects much easier then randomly rummaging for fabric regardless of the project.  I need to get busy sewing and quilting now even though there is still a bit of cleaning to do.

I plan to start a special gift for my best friends recently married daughter. (I have known her since her birth!) The newlyweds reside in North Carolina and enjoy day trips to the city, beach, and she likes to fool around in the kitchen a bit too.  So I am planing a bright happy tote bag stocked with kitchen treasures. 

So, yesterday I made it and stocked it in my mind!  Next I went to the RED WOVEN crate of fabric and after touching every single piece of fabric, selected a red and white pillow ticking for the outside of the bag.  Then I choose a deep deep dark red with cream fine cotton print for the liner. My next challenge was to find the correct weight flat batting to place between the layers.  Happily it was in the first trunk I looked into!  In my mind I saw a big antique button as the closure held in place with red ribbon and red strapping for handles.  Easily these items were found and I am happy. 

After finishing the loads of laundry I had going I pitched the fabrics into the washer as is my habit ALWAYS to wash and dry all of my fabrics before I start cutting!  I am ready to start.


Deep Dark Chewy Cocoa Brownies

I wish you could smell these!
At home growing up we used both cocoa and chocolate for baking but faced with having no chocolate we always had cocoa and soon learned it could be substituted and in my opinion was better tasting! So I always go for the cocoa recipes! As you may know I am dieting "pre" knee surgery and I have a "free day" when I can eat whatever I want!  I start mine at supper Sat. night and run it through Supper Sun. night.  So, I am really looking forward to these! And yes, I have lost 10 pounds and am quite happy! (See Slow Carb Diet)

This recipe is all over the Internet.  Every place I looked it was there so I have no idea of it's origins.  I used the one found on only because it was the first one I clicked onto.

Ingredients for Fudgy Brownies:

10 T. butter
1 1/4 C. sugar
3/4 C. + 2 T. unsweetened cocoa
1/4 t. kosher salt
1 t. vanilla
2 large cold eggs
1/2 C. all-purpose flour
2/3 C. chopped nuts, optional

Place the oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.  Line the bottom and sides of an eight inch square pan with foil or parchment paper. leaving overhangs.       

Form a double boiler by placing a small amount of water in a pan and bring to a simmer.  Set a heat proof bowl above the simmering water,  Be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.  Combine butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in the bowl and stir occasionally as the butter melts.

After the butter is melted and the mixture is stirred together remove it from the heal and cool for 5 minutes.  It should be warm not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon.  Next add the eggs one at a time stirring vigorously after each.  When the batter is thick and shiny add the flour stirring until incorporated.  Now beat for 40 or 50 strokes.  Stir in the nuts.

16 lovely squares of deliciousness!
Spread into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out ALMOST clean.  Cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing.  Yield 16 squares.

Mom's Hot Chicken Salad for Friday Night Supper!

Awhile back I mentioned I would share my Mother's recipe for Hot Chicken Salad.  Today that sounded good with the fresh Corn on the Cob in the refrigerator and the Beef Steak Tomatoes in my kitchen window.  We have a menu and Friday night supper is planned.

Ingredients for Mom's Hot Chicken Salad:

4 C. cooked diced chicken (Today I used breasts but I use whatever is on hand.)
2 C. chopped celery
4 chopped hard cooked eggs
3/4 C. Miracle Whip
3/4 C. undiluted cream of mushroom soup
2 T. lemon juice
1 t. minced onion
1 t. salt

Ingredients for Topping:

1 1/2 C. crushed potato chips
1 C. grated Swiss cheese
2/3 C. slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Butter a flat baking dish, I use a 10"x,10" square corning ware dish as old as I am, and set it aside.  Mix together the Chicken Salad ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight. 

Before baking mix together the topping ingredients.

Spread the chicken salad in the buttered dish then spread evenly with the topping.  Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees F.  Serve "hot".


Cauliflower, Bacon & Cheese Soup and Down 3 more Pounds

Not sure if this qualifies as a "light" supper.....actually NOT!  But when compared with a 3 course meal, or turning on the oven on a humid 90+ degree day in southern most makes perfect sense to me!  Plus, even eating luxury cheesy soup I managed to drop 3 more pounds for a total of 10 pounds on a diet I can live with!  That is a total of 10 pounds now.  Good enough!  I will keep on with it.

Brian loves soup for supper for a change and tonight is the perfect time to use up that head of cauliflower in the bottom of the refrigerator.  Usually I make a recipe from the Lazarus Restaurant Cookbook but I am making this one up as I go for a change.  I have lots of bacon on hand and a pot of fresh chives on the patio so there are multiple inspirations!

Ingredients for Cauliflower Bacon & Cheese Soup:

8-9 slices of bacon
1/2 onion chopped fine
1 carrot diced
1 stalk celery diced
1 head fresh cauliflower chopped
2-3 T. sliced chives + more for garnish
2 quarts chicken stock
1/3 C. flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
8 oz. shredded cheese (I like part cheddar and part Velveeta)

Cut the bacon into small bits and fry in the bottom of a heavy bottomed kettle until crisp then using a slotted spoon remove the bacon leaving the rendered fat.  Add the diced onion, carrot, and celery to the fat and stir fry 2-3 minutes.  Add the cauliflower and reduce the heat to very low, cover and cook stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.  Add a tablespoon or two of butter if needed to keep moistened and from sticking if needed.  Add the flour and cook a few minutes over medium heat making a rue.

Add the stock, the milk, salt and pepper, and chives.  Stir and increase the heat to medium-high heat.
Stir constantly until the soup thickens.  Reduce the heat to the lowest heat until you are ready to serve.  Just before you are ready to ladle up the soup stir in the cheese until it melts and is smooth add the bacon pieces and stir together.  Do not bring the heat back to a boil.  Only heat to serving temperature after adding the cheese  and bacon

Garnish with fresh chives if desired and enjoy!  Yield 8-10 servings.


Quilting Inspiration and More Helpful Hints

This is a square quilted by Grandma Powell.
This morning I spent time becoming quite inspired!  I was fortunate to be able to see first hand the beautiful quilts and super organized quilting and sewing room of my best friend's Mother!  I was so inspired by her color combinations.  They were all so sunny and happy yet unlike many I have seen!  She also used blocks of quilting fabric remnants sewn together for the backings to make almost what looks to be reversible quilts!  Awesome ideas.  She showed me how she makes her quilts in three sections and then how she joins them together.  It was a lovely and fun morning that I so appreciated!
Thank you Diane and Mrs. B.!

I have also invited a neighborhood friend who quilts using a quilting frame next week to see if we can get one of my frames put together.  Perhaps she will share some of her ways and I will be even more inspired! Excited to have you Cindy F.!

I also have come across some really, in my opinion helpful Household Hints.  I am only sharing the ones I really like and will use.  If you would like to read more I have not included they are found at

Here are my favorite NEW HELPFUL HINTS:

Keep brown sugar soft by storing with a couple of marshmallows. (I like this idea way better than stale bread!)

Create a thrifty watering can by punching holes in the top of a used plastic milk jug. (Thrifty idea.)

Cover paint trays with aluminium foil for faster clean up.(I have done this and it is well worth the effort.)

Use a large muffin pan to bake stuffed peppers in the oven--it will keep them upright. (I will try this very soon!)

To keep potatoes from budding place an apple in the bag. (I am doing this today.)

Add a half teaspoon of baking soda to the water when boiling eggs to make the shells incredibly easy to peel off.  (Love this one.)

Use cooking spray in votive candle holders to pevent the wax from sticking to the sides.

WD40 can be used to remove crayon marks from any surface. (I must remember to tell son Chris about this one.)

When hanging a picture frame, put a dab of toothpaste on the frame where you want the nails to be.  Then press against the wall to leave marks which can late be wiped after being guides for the nails! (GREAT IDEA.)

Sprinkle salt in the spaces between patio slabs and at the bottom of walls to get rid of weeds.  Be careful NOT to get the salt near what you want to keep as it will kill your flowers too. (Love this one.)


Paula Deen's Make a Fresh Peach Pie and 2 Peach Fillings to Freeze.

Fresh Peach Pie, YUM.
This is a "Why didn't I think of that moment!"  Yesterday while visiting my favorite sewing/quilting blog I read a comment made about having tried Paula Deen's frozen peach pie filling recipe, which peeked my interest.  I Googled above topic and found her site which gave her recipe using a peck of fresh peaches and making 1 fresh pie and 3 disks of peach pie filling to freeze.  OH THE NOVELTY OF THIS!  What a great idea and the technique could be applied to many fruit fillings I would think.

I have adapted Paula's recipe to utilize the quantity of fresh peaches I had on hand as well as to my normal recipe ingredients.  But it is certain it was HER IDEA, not mine and a good one at that!  Her recipe held a 5 star rating out of 38 reviews which also tells the tale!  As any home cook will tell you  it is just as easy to mess up the kitchen for 3 or 4 pies as it is for 1 plus freezing the filling in foil and plastic wrapped disks that is ready to bake is just a wonderful idea.

Ingredients for a Fresh Peach Pie and 2 Fillings to Freeze:

10-12 C. peeled and sliced fresh peaches, 20-24 peaches
2 T. butter to top each pie before baking
1 t. salt
juice of 3-4 fresh lemons
5-6 T. instant tapioca
2 C. sugar + 2 T. for sprinkling top crust
2 t. Fruit Fresh (ascorbic acid)
1 t. cinnamon
1 T. vanilla extract
pastry for 2 unbaked pie crusts, one top and one bottom

NOTE:  Peaches vary in size and if they are "free stone" so the recipe may vary and need to be adapted per the amount of sliced peaches netted from peeling, slicing, and removing the pits.

Peeling and preparing the peaches:  Bring a large kettle of water to a rolling boil and prepare a large bowl with ice and cold water.  Drop 7-8 peaches into the boiling water and return to the boiling point. Time for 1-1/2 minutes depending on the size and ripeness of the fruit.  Use a slotted spoon and remove the peaches to the ice water bath.   The peels should easily slip off.  If not return to the boil an additional 30-60 seconds and test again.

Squeeze the juice of 3-4 fresh lemons into the bottom of a large bowl.  Place the prepared peaches into the bowl of juice as you prepare them.  Mix well as you go to retard darkening the fruit.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line 2 nine inch pie plates with wide heavy duty foil then line again with plastic wrap.  I use 2 sheets of plastic wrap placed as a cross across the foil lined plate.

Sprinkle the Fruit Fresh and sugar into the peaches and stir well.   Add the remaining ingredients and mix together until distributed evenly.  Place 3-4 cups of the filling into each of the two foil and plastic lined pie plates.

Roll and place half of the pastry into a 9" pie plate.  Roll the second half of the pastry and cut slits into it for the steam to escape.  Place 3-4 cups of the filling into the prepared pastry lined plate.  Dot with butter and top with the rolled pastry.

Crimp the edges and trim.  Sprinkle with sugar.  I usually place the unbaked pie on a half sheet pan lined with foil to catch any boil over mess!

Bake on the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes.

Meanwhile fold the plastic wrap in over the filling.  Then fold the foil in over the plastic and place the pie plate with the disk of filling into the freezer.

Freeze overnight then remove the pie plate and push the wrapping tighter.  Label and store for another days pie.

Enjoy.  Paula directed that you in using the frozen fillings place a frozen filling directly into the 9" pie plate without a bottom crust and then to top with a single crust and bake 1 hour.  I haven't tried this yet but it seems reasonable.

To find Paula Deen's recipe I Googled Paula Deen's Peach Pie Recipe.


Sew a "Glam" Metallic Knit Infinity or Circle Scarf in Under an Hour, Easy Directions with Pictures

 Silver Grey Metallic Knit Infinity Scarf Made in Under an Hour.
Somehow time slips away from me and I find myself way behind again in my sewing for gift giving!  There are wedding gifts to be made, another baby gift is on the horizon, and there is a family birthday this weekend.  Not to mention Christmas will be here before you know it!

A pretty box, tissue paper, and a silk ribbon are a good start for gift giving.
I really enjoy making the scarves for gifts and giving them along with a gift card or a little cash!  I look for pretty boxes that can be kept and used to package the gift in too. 

Instructions for Making a Metallic Knit Infinity or Circle Scarf:

Beautiful fabrics make beautiful one of a kind scarves.
Metallic Knit lightweight fabric 60" x 14"
matching thread

Press and straighten the fabric.  Fold in half longways with the right sides inside facing each other.   Note:  My fabric wanted to roll a bit and so pressing was most helpful.

Sewing the long seam closed.
Pin the raw long edge together and machine stitch 3/8" from the raw edge.  When sewing lightweight fabrics it is sometimes very helpful to loosen the tension on your sewing machine to prevent puckering.  It is also helpful to use a stitch conducive to knit fabrics so the thread will have a bit of give to it.

I love this part when you turn the scarf!
Turn the scarf right side out.  Next pin the raw edge of each end under 3/8" to form a nice finished edge to the scarf ends.  Pressing may indeed help here too.

With the folds together forming a tube hand stitch to finish.
I like to sew this last part by hand as it really gives the scarf that hand made just for you essence!  So, join the two folded edged together to form the tube and overcast the edges with a small nearly invisible stitch.

This will be so much nicer when worn!
And there you have it a beautiful, original, one of a kind, made with love and care Infinity Scarf to give someone you care for in under an hour!


Easy plant starts from cuttings

An example of a Coleus plant cuttings were taken from.
Maybe six weeks ago I thought I wanted to start some additional Dragon's Ear begonias from cuttings. A new greenhouse opened here in the spring and he was starting them from cuttings.  While I was at it I took cuttings from several Coleus and Basil plants from around the yard and garden.  They normally do not all root successfully so take several.  I love to watch them!

These roots sprang from a simple cutting.
They vary in density but hopefully will thrive.
These three are all Coleus cuttings.
My dining room windows face the east and are shaded from all of our trees but there seems to be enough bright filtered light that I usually meet with a degree of success with cuttings placed there.  I did not use any rooting hormone.  They were just cut from the Mother plant and most of the leaves removed except those at the top of the stem.  I put them in small glasses and canning jars by variety and added plain filtered tap water.  Every week or so I added water as needed.
These are the new cuttings placed in a pot on the porch.  
Only one of the two basil cuttings rooted.  But several I had done earlier are doing well with the tomatoes in the garden,  They are companion plants to the tomato.
Basil cutting on the left and a Coleus is on the right.   
Basil on the left and Coleus planted on the right.
I LOVE the Dragon's Ear Begonia and plan to try to keep a nice pot of them going through the winter in front of the patio door, also an East facing window.  I have kept begonias through the winter in the past but never this variety.

This plant gets it's name from the shape of it;s leaf and has fiery red blooms.
Of the two cuttings both rooted well.
Here they are nestled in a pot together.

Now time will tell if my new little plants take off and thrive.  I will be watching!  Yesterday closed with me playing in the dirt after a big day of "catch up" from my trip.


Grilled Watermelon Caprici Salad, Blueberry Coffee Cake, Making Cookies with the Twins, & Visiting Family has Rounded off my Week Away

Grilled Watermelon Caprici Salad
Wednesday of last week I headed north to Indianapolis as did our muddle son to our oldest son's home.  There were medical tests scheduled at IU Medical center Thursday and cookie baking on Friday.  All went very well and again I thank God for his goodness.

Jack decorates cookies.
Sam decorates cookies too.
Now Jack loves chocolate chip cookies and Same loves frosted cookies so we did two batches and of course there was plenty of help in the frosting of them!    Here are the links for the cookie recipes.


The most interesting new food I tried was a Grilled Watermelon Caprici Salad. It was delicious! Slabs of fresh watermelon were salted, peppered, and drizzled with honey then grilled!  Meanwhile a glaze of 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar was mixed in a small pan and brought to a boil then simmered to a thick syrup consistency.

The grilled watermelon with the tomatoes and cheese.
After the watermelon came from the grill it was topped with cherry tomatoes of red and  yellow and tiny balls of fresh mozzarella cheese.  Next fresh basil strands sliced in thin were added and the balsamic vinegar reduction topped it all!  Wow it was so good!   Unexpectedly so!

Glazed Blueberry Coffee Cake.
Breakfast was a treat with fresh blueberry coffee cake and my two cups of black coffee.  I didn't get the recipe but I did snap pictures with my phone!

I also visited my Mother and enjoyed her delicious Hot Chicken Salad which I will share with you soon and Chocolate Pudding Cake.  Here is the link to the Chocolate Pudding Cake:

My sisters Linda and Sheree are both caring for family members at home and I visited them both too.

It was great to see everyone and I had planned to stop and see my brother Gary and Grandma Powell on the way home but had a dead battery and had to call AAA to get me going.  After that I was afraid to shut the car off for fear I would get stranded half way home!  So I didn't make those planned visits this time.

Actually I made it home fine yesterday and the car ran like a top.  Evidently there was a door ajar or something that ran down the cell as it is a new battery and checked out just fine!


ZUCCHINI RECIPIES I ADORE: Oven Zucchini Fries with Horsradish Dipping Sauce, PLUS Zucchini Spagetti with Quick Spicy Shrimp

Zucchini Fries, Chopped Steak, Tomatoes, ans Horseradish Dipping Sauce.
I love these things and could have them every day!  The recipes and my lazy steps make clean up easy too.  I made them last year but must not have posted them as I didn't find them upon looking.  Shame on me for not sharing sooner!  I am zucchini crazy this year.

I made the Spicy Shrimp with Zucchini spaghetti last week but failed to photograph.  I will add pictures soon as it wad so good I have already purchased the shrimp to make it again.  Brian loved it!

This Asian Mandolin has a Julianne Blade.
Before cooking Zucchini Spaghetti.
I only boil 1 1/2-2 minutes and wonder about trying in the microwave!
Directions for Zucchini Spaghetti:

My first "zucchini discovery" is to use the Julianne blades on my mandolin on zucchini making long spaghetti strands with it.  Just be sure to trim off the ends and remove and blemishes before Julienning.   Then I just plunge the strands into salted rapidly boiling water for 2 minutes and drain.  Top with my Spicy Shrimp and enjoy!  Two medium zucchini will serve 2 adults.

This looks and tastes terrific.
Ingredients for Spicy Shrimp:

1 pound raw peeled and de-veined shrimp
2-3 T. olive oil  (can use part butter)
1 1/2 t. hot sauce
4-6 T. of the vegetable cooking water
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the shrimp until no longer translucent, just a minute or two.  Add the hot sauce and veggie water and stir cooking a minute or two to form a sauce.  Season to taste and spoon over a dist of zucchini spaghetti.   Serves 2 adults deliciously!

Delicious Zucchini Fries made in the oven.
Ingredients For Oven Zucchini Fries:

2-3 zucchini cut into 3" sticks about 1/4" in diameter: place in colander with 1-1 1/2 t, salt, toss and let drain in the sink for 1/2-1 hour before starting the recipe
2 eggs beaten
1 1/2 C. Panko (Oriental Bread Crumbs)
1/3-1/2 C. Parmesan Cheese grated
1/3-1/2 C. flour
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Cover a half sheet pan with parchment paper then spray well with cooking spray and set aside.

Using Parchment Paper and Cooking Spray makes for a fast clean up!
Shake off liquid from the zucchini.  Combine the Panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and flour and whisk to blend.   Dip the zucchini sticks into the egg and then toss with the crumbs.  Place close but not touching in the prepared pan.  When the pan is full spray the breaded zucchini with cooking spray and place into the preheated oven.  Set the timer for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes turn the zucchini and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.  At the end of 40 minutes it should be hot, brown, and delicious!  Serves 2-3.  I serve with horseradish dipping sauce.

Ingredients for Horseradish Dipping Sauce:

1 C. sour cream
2 T. grated horseradish
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce

Stir all of the ingredients together and serve.  Yield 1 cup sauce.