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….spicy tomato-ginger jam 

I forget where I first tasted tomato jam, but I can tell you that I instantly fell in love with it!
I’ve been searching for a recipe for a few years, and the few times I attempted to make it, it did not come out well🙁
I’ve been doing a lot of research ove the last few weeks, giving that I have SO many tomatoes! (You can see just how tall my tomatoes a in my previous post) 

I played around with a recipe yesterday and I have a winner!  I based it on This recipe, but made a few changes.
 I didn’t take too many photos because honestly, I wasn’t too optimistic after my previous failed attempts. 
It’s not a quick recipe.. but it is super easy.  
And the flavors..
Oh.

My.

Goodness!

spicy tomato-ginger jam 

4 pounds tomatoes, cored and peeled ( for details on how to do this see This post)

3 cups sugar 

1/2 cup lemon juice 

1 jalapeño, halved and seeded

3 pieces of crystallized ginger 

2 cloves

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes 

1 tsp cinnamon 

Sea salt

Ground pepper 


Place all ingredients in food processor of high-speed blender and pulse until chopped up to the point just before puréed 


Add mixture to heavy non-reactive pan.  Bring to a boil and the reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. 


It’s starts out pretty soupy, but slowly thickens. It took my batch close to 5 hours! 



As it gets close to the end, it will start getting glossy looking and thick.  You have to stir more often as it gets close to being done.  Essentially, you’ve condensed the sugars and don’t want it to burn. 



You can store it in a jar in the fridge, or you can process it, like I did 

It’s amazeballs on crackers with cream cheese… ( these are my favorite crackers, btw… they are amped right here in Denver, they are super thin, tasty and figure-friendly!) 

It would be incredible on bruschetta with a thin later of ricotta.. and maybe some prosciutto on top.. 

And it’s a good thing that I don’t have bread right now, because this would make a most excellent grilled cheese with white cheddar cheese 😍
Maybe I’ll treat myself later this week…
The jam has what I’d call a ‘sweet heat’. Think jalapeño pepper jelly ( which I made and processed last week) 
It’s elegant enough to have on a special occasion/ holiday.
I’m going to make another batch and process from holiday gifts.  I think it’s that good! 
On another note… I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, but I’d like to introduce you to our newest family member 

Meet my Jersey Girl 🐾😍❤️️

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lentil & white bean stuffed delicata squash 

oh my goodness… I don’t think I could fully express just how much I love fall!  

Everything is just so beautiful.  We started our day at our local farmers’ market yesterday 

Just look at that color! 


I scored a great deal on tomatoes

So that means it’s canning time!

I love the process of canning.. because it is a process. It also brings back nostalgic memories of my amazing Grandparents. Gosh, I miss them😓. 

I spent yesterday prepping the tomatoes, and started canning this am. 
My first jar broke when I put it in my canning pot 😂. I sputtered many not-so nice words. ( who meee?)

I tend to be very careful about following the proper procedures when I’m canning so I was really very upset when this happened. After doing a little research I actually think that I might put a little bit too much liquid in the jar before I sealed it either that or I filled it to tightly so I am currently waiting for my water to boil again so that I can try this again.
In the meantime while I’m waiting for the water to boil I figure this is a great time for me to share a recipe. Wayback in the beginning when this blog was brand-new one of the reasons that I started it was because we had joined CSA and there I had been introduced to a most amazing squash call Delicata.

I actually love all winter squash however the thing I love about Delicata is that the skins are edible making prep work next to nothing. 

This, my friends, is a delicata squash.  It is in season right now. You can find it at your local farmers’ market as well as most grocery stores. 

Lentil & White bean stuffed delicata Squash 

1 delicata squash

1/4 cup dried brown lentils

2 garlic cloves, peeled 

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup low sodium canned white beans, rinsed and drained 

1 tomato, chopped

About 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsbp olive oil

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese




Preheat oven to 325 degeees

Wash the squash, half the squash and remove seeds. ( I’m finding that a grapefruit spoon with serrated edges makes easy work of this) 

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast upside down on a baking sheet in the oven for 20-25 min depending on size. ( mine took about 22 minutes) 

It is done when a knife can be easily inserted into outer skin.


Using tongs, carefully flip squash over 

While squash is cooking, prepare filling.

Cook lentils according to package directions, adding the whole garlic cloves so that they soften.( I’m enjoying sprouted lentils, because they are easily digestible and cook quickly.. if you can’t find them dried brown lentils work just fine)

Once lentils are cooked, remove garlic clove and mash together with the white beans. Add back to pan and stir in tomatoes and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze the juice from the lemon into mixture. 

Divide mixture between both halves and fill 


Sprinkle the cheese on top,drizzle with the olive oil and return to oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese melts

This makes a perfect make-ahead dish, take-away lunch or side dish for dinner! Enjoy!

Click here for another delicata recipe from a few years back
Keeeping Florida and all in the path of hurricane matthew in my thoughts.  Including my son and Daughter-in-law and 2 of my grandpups, and many friends in the area.  Please be safe! 

cauliflower pizza crust…take 1

morning, friends! 

Recently I’ve send a lot of fun recipes using cauliflower. this recipe for cauliflower pizza crust came across my Facebook news feed and I was intrigued.  So I tried it out just for fun. 

( FYI… While I have friends who do have special dietary needs, I do not.  I simply wanted to deconstruct and try something new ) 

In her recipe she says to bake the mixture on parchment paper.  I didn’t have any so I used aluminum foil.  

  

Big.

Mistake. 

Even with though I brushed olive oil on the foil, it still stuck. ( parchment paper is now on my grocery list )  

I tried a second batch on a silpat liner, adding 1/4 cup of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese ( knowing how parm melts and the hardens when cool). It was perfect! 

  

Cauliflower pizza crust ( Original recipe here courtesy of Detoxinista)

2 cups cauliflower, riced ( cooked cauliflower pulsed in a food processor until it looks like grains of rice) 

1egg, beaten 

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

1/4 cup soft goat cheese

Pinch oregano

Sea salt and pepper 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

Once cauliflower is riced, place in fine mesh strainer and using a soft spatula, press as much fluid out as possible. ( that’s the key to the crisp crust ) 

Then take the cauliflower mixture and roll in paper towels until it’s super- dry 

Mix all ingredients together. 

Using your hands, spread the mixture on parchment paper ( don’t skip this part 😁) 

Bake at 400 for 25-45 minutes, depending on thickness of crust. ( I like mine thin, it was done in 25 minutes… She made a thicker crust, so I’m sure that was closer to 45 minutes. 

Remove from over and top with toppings 

  

  

I used a fresh tomato, diced , seasoned with salt and pepper ( salt  draws out extra liquid) for 5 minutes, then squeeze out extra liquid 

 Shredded mozzarella

A few pieces of fresh mozzarella 

Back in the oven under the broiler until cheeses melt 

Top with crumbled procuitto di Parma, shredded basil, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar   

Now, my crust was a little bit to dark around the edges but I’m pretty sure that had to do with the foil.  Does this taste like a traditional pizza crust? No.  Is this tasty? YES!  It’s really really good! And it feels pizza like since you can pick it up and eat it. 

The crust itself is fantastic, you could eat it like a cracker with hummus perhaps?  But adding the pizza topping s made it over the top. 

Ciao bellas!

lightened-up cabbage rolls

happy Saturday, friends! 

When I was a little girl my very favorite meal was galumpkies. ( stuffed cabbage rolls) 

It was my go to meal for each and every birthday and special occasion. 

I remember my mom standing in the kitchen hand rolling each one and thinking how special it was that she was making them for me!

 I decided this week to try my hand at them, but I wanted to lighten-up the recipe.  I played around a little and was very pleased with the end result! 

  

12 cabbage leaves

1 pound ground turkey breast 

1 cup whole grain rice 

1 cup frozen spinach ( no need to defrost) 

1 egg

1 egg white 

1 onion, finely chopped ( divided) 

1/4 cup tomato paste 

Splash of red wine

1/2 cup chicken broth 

1 large can of whole tomatoes 

Sprig of fresh rosemary and thyme 

Start by gently pulling the leaves off of your cabbage.   Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add sea salt and gently add the leaves and let them cook until they soften a bit ( 5-7 min) 

Remove from water, let cool.   When cool enough to handle, slice a small upside down v down by the base and remove center ridge ( make for easier rolling ) 

Meanwhile. Mix turkey breast, cooked rice, spinach ( not drained) tomato paste and 1/2 of the chopped onion together.  Season with salt and pepper. 

  

Divide mixture into 12 portions. 

Working one at a time, add turkey mixture to base of cabbage leaf, and gently roll. 

In a baking dish, add tomatoes, the rest of the onion, the chicken stock and the wine. Stir. 

Remove about 1/2 cup of tomatoes and set aside 

Place cabbage rolls seam side down in the tomato sauce.  Once they are all wedged in the dish, top woth reserved tomatoes, salt, pepper and thyme and  rosemary sprig. 

  

Cover and bake at 350 until the center of the rolls registers 165 (35-40 minutes) 

  

Serve with cooking sauce and enjoy! 

If you happen to be counting weight watchers points, one roll with sauce is 3 points, 2 is 7 points.

 Enjoy! 

our ‘new’ CSA

‘ morning, friends. How many of you here remember when we were part of a CSA?

CSA stands for community shared association.. Or something like that. Basically, you pay your farmer at the beginning of the season, and you and all of the other shareholders ‘ share ‘ the crops each week. It helps the farmer by getting the revenue up front, it’s a great community activity and it’s super- exciting ( like Christmas, really) to see what you receive each week!

Given that both of our grandparents were in the farming business one way or another, we really appreciate supporting them .

Whelpt, Scott and I really enjoyed it and we were walking in our neighborhood a few months ago when we saw a sign for CSA shares available.

Given that the pick – up location is 1/4 mile from our house, it was an easy sell for us.

So we mailed off our check and contract, and this past Wednesday was our first pick up

We received popcorn, beets, scallions, baby greens, baby beets, a few radishes and baby spinach . ( oops… Baby chard as well)

I sautéed the baby spinach in some olive oil, shallots, s&p and finished with a grating of Parmesan cheese. Simply amazing. ( I’m super- lucky that my kids eat things like this )

This is a bit different than our last CSA, because we used to go to the farm, but life is about making changes, so this works for us now.

Not to mention that we live a mile from an amazing twice a week farmers’ market.. annnnnd

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My little veggie garden seems to be quite happy 🙂

(Buuuuut…. My planters, not so much….)

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le sigh……

I stumbled upon the very first vine- ripened local beefsteak tomatoes at the farmers ‘ market yesterday .

There is NOTHING in the world like that first bite of a real. Tomato after a long winter of mealy, flavorless maters…

Of course this called for a pesto. But I didn’t want to drag out my food processor.. So I used my generic magic bullet!

I put

A handful of basil leaves ( picked from my garden ) 😁😁😁😁

About a tablespoon of roasted pine nuts

Freshly grated parm cheese( 1/4 cup, maybe?)

Juice and zest of a lemon

Olive oil ( use enough to make the consistency you want)

Good ol sea salt and fresh ground pepper

( you can add a garlic clove as well, but I liked the clean flavor of the basil, lemon and olive oil)

Blend away

Just layer mozzarella and tomatoes on a few basil leaves, top with pesto and a few shavings of Parmesan cheese

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This was absolutely amazing.

I always say summer isn’t my favorite time of the year.

But this is a strong argument against that.

Keep cooking, friends!
Oxox

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baked spaghetti squash… via true food kitchen

friends. If you are connected with me on my  Facebook page , then you’ve had a sneak peak at what’s cooking in my kitchen

Get yerself a sketti squash, because trust me, you will want to make this!

I mentioned in my massaged kale salad post how I am obsessed with True Food Kitchen

I’ve eaten here many times and have tried many things on the menu. ALL fabulous.

Twice now, I’ve had friends order the spaghetti squash casserole, and both have raved about how good it was.

( truth be told, both friends offered me a bite, of which I accepted  and wow! I just knew I had to make it at home)

I did a little research * puffy heart google* and voila! found the recipe!

click the link for complete recipe

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
Red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of ground allspice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 pound part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheesenow since I’m home with a healing pup, I had to improvise the recipe just a littleI did not have the peppers, but I did find a sad little jalepeno in my crisper drawer, and we like it hot 😉 so I used that in place of the red and yellow peppers. 

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Start by cooking the squash. The recipe says to add entire squash into a big pot of water, bring to a boil for 50 minutes.

 

check on pup 

Now, I usually cook squash in the oven but I was intrigued to try this method. So I did.

My only comment would be that cooking it in the oven it was easier to separate the seeds from the flesh, but over, I would cook the squash either way.

while the squash is cooking ( whichever way your little heart desired) Chop up your veggies

Add a small amount of olive oil to a pan ( I’m a die hard believer in cast iron.. I’ll explain why if ya wants to know 😉  )

 

add the onions and carrots to hot oil, season with a bit of salt and cook for 5 min

 

check on pup 

next, I  added the the pepper and celery with a dash of red pepper flakes

 

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allow to saute for about 10 minutes, until veggies were soft. Taste for salt, if it needs a little more, go ahead and knock your self out 😉

* I kept adding little bits of water throughout so that the veggies didn’t dry out and stick while softening.. maybe 2 tablespoons at a time each time I stirred it ? )

 

check on pup 

The recipe called to squeeze the garlic in, but I rid myself of my garlic press years ago, as it only had that one purpose, and its easy enough to smash garlic with the side of a chef’s knife. garlic smash

If you have a press, by all means use it

add the crushed tomatoes m sprinkle of allspice (the secret ingredient, we discovered) , the garlic.

now you may have noticed the dish of roasted tomatoes.  I had some maters that were to ripe to eat raw, so I roasted them like I did when I made my

Creamy Roasted Tomato and Garlic soup

I  added these sweet babies  in addition to the crushed tomatoes

I also added a sprig of rosemary.

I hate to follow directions 😉

 

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and btw~ this smelled heavenly 

Next I used a pair of tongs to remove squash from boiling water ( CAREFULLY) and place on a cutting board until cool enough to cut

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scoop out seeds ( if you cooked it in the oven, you’ve already done this. great job, you overachiever, you  😉 ) spaghetti squash filling

 

add to tomato mixture and stir

 

check on pup 

Now full disclosure… since I was cooking this for just Scott and myself, I spooned out half of the tomato mixture and reserved for another recipe ( veggie chili, perhaps? ) and only used half of the spaghetti squash itself.   Had I known I could have halved the recipe, but being my first time making it, I wasn’t thinking.

IMG_3846I mean just look at this! Incredible.

 

next, layer 1/2  the squash mixture in baking dishes , add 1/2 the cheese, the rest of the squash mixture, and top with remaining cheese

baked spaghetti squash

guess which one was mine 😉

 

As far as the cheese goes, I used shredded because I had it and on Sunday when I played around with

SMOKED TOFU, I smoked a few mozzarella balls as well ( just curious how it would come out) so I cut those up and topped  our dishes with a bit of that crazy cheese flavor.

I baked it in a 350 over for about 20 minutes, topped with shredded basil and a tiny drizzle of olive oil

Baked Spaghetti Squash

do I have your attention yet?

 

baked Spaghetti squash

yeeeeeaaah…  this was pretty awesome.  and healthy? CRAZY healthy!

If you would like to make this vegan, substitute Daiya cheese. simple!

My friend, Cindy stopped by yesterday to visit with me and brought me lunch. From where? True food of course!

I had the edamame dumplings and they were incredible. Together we disected the taste and came up with what we think would be a good recipe.

 

I have my next challenge!true food edamame dumplings

 

 

Thank you, Cindy, for lunch and the company 😉

My next immediate project is making Frozen Pup treats or Home made Peanut butter biscuits  With all of the treats I’ve been given Fen, I’m starting to run low and need to last until the weekend when Scott is home

 

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My sweet girl ❤

Congrats, friends.. you’ve almost made it through humpday!

 

oxox

 

friday smiles

friday smiles

 

click for link

stuffed- caprese-tomatoes

remember when I made  THESE….

well, I had myself one big tomato yesterday the other day that was just this side of being eaten fresh. But it was still edible and had the fixins for caprese salad.

 

and let’s face it, friends, caprese is only as good as the tomatoes.

 

Since I don’e like to throw anything out, I came up with another idea, based on the original recipe from way back when.

 

Stfuffed-Caprese- Tomato

 

start by hollowing out said tomato ( this one tomato was enough to split as a side between 3 of us)  and placing on aluminum foil

 

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Then rough chop the flesh of the tomato and place in small saucepan with about 1/4 cup heavy cream, 2 garlic cloves, chopped, salt, pepper and a rosemary sprigIMG_0491

bring to a boil, then to a simmer until sauce turns pink & reduces

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add about 1/4 cup of bread crumbs ( I used Panko.. it’s what I had) and stir.  Taste filling and adjust salt & pepper. Remove rosemary.

 

 

Cut up some fresh mozzarella into bite size piecesIMG_0494

start by adding 2-3 pieces of the cheese tot he inside of the tomato , then a layer of filling

IMG_0496repeat alternating until tomato is full.  Wrap tomato up tightly like a Hershey’s kiss.

 

Place on grill ( or in oven ) for about 15 minutes.  Remove & let cool. Top with shreds of basil ( I forgot to add it before I took the pic)

Cut into quarters and enjoy!

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you can thank me later 🙂

ahhh!! Fall!!!

FINALLY!!  It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve woken to a breezy morning where snuggling under my favorite quilt

with my cup of coffee was even possible….

but his morning was THAT morning!  AHH!!

I started by having this oatmeal

It was overnight oats

1 scoop of chocolate amazing grass ( sounds naughty, dontcha think?)

1 teaspoon almond butter

1/2 ripe banana mashed a bit

1 teaspoon coconut butter

a few slivered almonds on top

When I described this to my sister, Jodie , she said, “OMG!, you had a sundae for breakfast!!”

Yes. Yes, indeed I did!

and it was Oh-so-Good!

Farmer Dave & Sasha from Plato\’s Harvest Organic Farm were looking for some help to harvest an early crop of winter squash, so Scott & I headed out to the farm on this early perfect Sunday morning.

The farm has 2 fields; One that we go to each week to receive our share of our CSA.. and a larger field about a mile down the street. Where the squash were 🙂


After a brief tour of the field.. we set out to pick & polish

BUTTERNUT SQUASH!!

( Amanda, did I just hear you squeal all the way from Florida?)
We  loaded the squash into crates, load them into Dave’s truck & trailer

we had a picnic lunch under the trees. ( we had heirloom tomato sandwiches with a basil-garlic mayonnaise , I didn’t think to take pictures because I was still in the afterglow of my ‘Sundae’ (pun completely intended )breakfast.. but I smashed a garlic clove & mixed it with some light mayonnaise *Hellman’s* and shredded basil , salt & pepper) on our bread from our bread share.. buttermilk honey.

I also mixed some frozen raspberries with some Non-fat greek yogurt (Chobani) & a few slivered almonds on top. Stir it all together & as the berries defrost, they keep the yogurt cold & then whole thing mixes together.. great for packing ahead 🙂

and some unsweetened iced tea

Really, a perfect ‘fall’ day 😉

On another note, hopefully you have found me here from my previous bloodspot address. I’m really liking wordpress!!  There is not anywhere (that I can find) to click a ‘follow’ button, but if you enter your email, wordpress will automatically send you an email whenever I have a new post… Plus, this may be handy in the upcoming weeks.. I foresee a giveaway 😉

I’m off. It’s fondue night at Casa Hagg…. Ryan’s last non-school night for awhile and like his mama.. he loves fondue!!!

Have a happy & SAFE Labor Day!!

xoxo~ shel

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