Kindness is essential in our daily lives.
I will share weekly a new post with a message of how powerful kindness really can be.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Super Summer SALSA Recipe Rated A+

Many, many times I have surfed the net looking to find 'that perfect' recipe. Many, many times after following 'that perfect' recipe it turns out to be not-so-perfect. I would even go so far as describing it as a disappointing flop.  Regardless, I never give up on my search efforts. And, yes, on several occasions I have managed to find that recipe which provides me with A+ results. Bottom line - any recipe I share has been tried and true; I want to spare those who love to cook as much as I do the heartache of a 'flop.'

Described by myself as A+, the original salsa recipe I found on-line had to be tweaked a tiny bit to my liking to achieve this rating. For those with any cooking ability tweaking a recipe is no big deal; per your liking simply switch up the spices or add more of the ingredients you favor such as onions, garlic, etc. or lessen the ingredients you dislike. No, it really doesn't take a rocket scientist to make it happen; just a few fearless taste buds.

First, I'd like to preface by saying that the process of making salsa is not for the faint of heart. The prep for this wonderful food product requires a lot of effort as described through the steps in the recipe I am providing. Rewards of the efforts are plenty: healthier (no preservatives); amazing cost savings if ingredients are home grown; personal satisfaction; pantry enhancement; self-sufficiency; convenience; etc.

If the garden produces another great yield of tomatoes, peppers and onions, I will definitely double (or triple) this recipe. If necessary, I can also visit the local farmer's market for fresh ingredients.

So here goes,



8 cups tomatoes - peeled, seeds removed, chopped and drained
3 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped green peppers
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. black pepper
1/8 cup canning salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

  • Mix all ingredients together in a large sauce pan.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Pour into prepared jars.
  • Process in hot water bath for 15 minutes.
This recipe provided me with 8 pint jars of salsa. You can get more or less by increasing or decreasing the ingredients listed.

Information on preparing jars and other canning questions can be found at Ball Fresh Preserving and Canning Questions

Chocolate Banana Bundt Cake Recipe

Waking up to six slightly brown bananas today - almost past expiration - inspired me to do something with them other than put them in the compost pot. I ate one with breakfast as usual and decided a dessert needs to be created. Regular cakes need to be frosted; Bundt cakes can do with a little drizzle or just a shake of confectionery sugar. No brainer - a Bundt cake will be in the making. This recipe is really a quick and simple recipe for such a decadent desert....and the ingredients most often are stocked in the pantry. On another note, following this recipe I'll suggest some useful ways to use your banana peels and your egg shells.


1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp instant coffee (optional)
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup banana (very ripe & mashed - about 3)
1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven: 350 F degrees

Grease/spray Bundt pan and lightly dust with a little cocoa powder.

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.

Cream butter, add sugar and eggs and mix well.

Add bananas and mix briefly.

Mix in dry ingredients until incorporated (don't over mix.)

Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 50-60 minutes until it tests done;

cake will just start to pull away from the edges.

Cool slightly then remove from pan.

Dust with confectionery sugar to your liking.


......... and then .........
from my counter to yours

you can crush and store your egg shells

to spread around the base of your tomato plants

during warm weather gardening to help prevent disease

..... and .....

you can put your banana peels in your compost.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Gardening by Inspiration

This lingering bitter cold (20ish degrees by day; zero by night) March 2015 winter weather is beginning to make me wonder what kind of summer conditions we can expect following such a chilly Spring. Cold, short, dry, wet or whatever. Bring it on.
Looking back on some photos of my 2014 successful gardening endeavors is inspiring me to inspire you!


After many years in the making (lots of TLC) my flower beds are now complete with no muss/no fuss perennials requiring little maintenance; rake in and around some fresh bedding and clean out some over growth and you're good-to-go. Now it's time to pull up a chair, relax and take in their awesome beauty.

Hostas and stella d'oro daylillies circling the wishing well

Nice side view

A flower bed with a little bit of everything!

A small hodge podge to beautify his garage!

Black Eyed Susans and Day Lilies for camouflage

the front door light which housed a bird nest with eggs!

a farm implement for enhancement

and now a bit of whimsy....our new kitten hiding in the hosta bed

Finally a full shade flower bed!

......AND NOW...


THINK POSITIVE. No matter the weather, take the challenge and plant your vegetable garden; look forward to producing fresh and healthy vegetables for eating throughout the coming summer.

Tomatoes are easy.

These plum tomatoes are the best for canning.

Carrots are fun!


Peppers are so useful!


 Preserving the bounty of a productive garden ensures healthy eating through the winter months.


String beans always produce an abundant crop.

And always tomatoes!

And don't forget the carrots!


Peppers are easy: wash, slice, bag and freeze.

This is where it all begins for me - starting my plants by seed. There's no going back now!!!

Saving seeds year to year is a fun project and saves $$ too!

...from baby

....halfway there
....ready to go into the ground
this is where all the magic begins after the seedlings get planted

let the games begin: 12 baby peppers and 3 tomato plants

At fruition...carrots, beets, onions, swiss chard, string beans

very productive tomatoes, onions and beets

Let's not forget:

the basil

the zucchini

the rhubarb (comes up every year)

the Carnival squash and snap peas (in cinder blocks)

the garden gnome?


the mint

the cucumbers (growing up on old bed springs)


and last but not least....the chives and the blueberry bushes!

bird's eye picture - taken by a bird in flight - sweet!

Did I say last but not least? What was I thinking?

Ta Da!

Now introducing our original garden that slowly is becoming smaller and smaller since the creation of four raised beds two years ago. Future raised bed production hopefully will some day make this larger garden extinct. So far, through my experience planting in raised beds, I find this method to be easier on the back and the weeding and a bit more productive. Another plus: having it closer to the house keeps the deer and other critters away. (I have a hunch that the sound of the barking dogs confined in the yard are keeping them at bay.)

twice as small, very productive but lots of work


side view
(netting covering string beans helps keep critters from eating the tops off)

a row of hilled potatoes

1 1/2 rows tomatoes, 1/2 row onions, 1 row string beans

Blue Lake bush beans hiding under netting

a tomato from a saved seed - a miracle

All of these pictures (with the exception of my 2011 rhubarb patch) are documentation of my 2014 gardening efforts.

These garden photos have inspired me to begin my indoor seed planting, and I hope they have inspired you to strive to plant your own veggie garden in anticipation of achieving great results that will impact your health and budget.
Plant a perennial and enjoy the serenity of watching it grow!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Organic Counter Cleaner Homemade

Sometimes during food prep, whether just making a sandwich or preparing a gourmet meal, it's possible for some of the ingredients to come in touch with the kitchen countertop. Because of this it's important to use a 'safe' counter cleaner, one that doesn't leave a toxic footprint.

By following this simple and inexpensive recipe you can be assured that your countertops are not a toxic transfer station.

Only two ingredients are needed to make this terrific organic counter cleaner:

  1. White vinegar
  2. Orange peels


Designate a jar large enough to hold the peelings of several large oranges. If you don't have a jar large enough or attractive enough to meet your needs, visit your local thrift store where you can find one that quite possibly will surpass your expectations. Old fashion quart or gallon canning jars work nicely.

To begin, each time you or another member of  your household eats an orange, peel the skin from the orange and place the peel(s) into your chosen designated jar and cover completely with white vinegar. Continue doing so until your jar is completely filled with peels submerged in vinegar.

Soak the orange peels for two or more weeks before transferring the orange-infused vinegar into the spray bottle of your choice. To avoid confusion as to contents, it's best to write on the face of the spray bottle the ingredients within. Store any remainder liquid not fitting into your spray bottle into your designated jar for refill at a later date. Waiting the two-week infusion period is the hardest part.

To use you only need to spray and wipe.

Simple, user-friendly, inexpensive, eco-friendly and one step closer to becoming more self-sufficient.

Really? What are you waiting for. If you don't have oranges to pick from your yard, get to your grocery store soon and buy a bag of oranges.

Rid your home of toxicity, remember: