Eco-Saturday: Canning salsa

Homemade salsa makes a great Christmas gift, and it’s nice to have on hand for unexpected potlucks and such.

OK, so canning salsa isn’t really much different than canning pickles, which I showed you how to do a few weeks ago, but tomato season is winding down, and if your garden has been very successful at all, it’s really worth taking an afternoon to learn how to put up salsa so you can have a little taste of summer when the sleet starts coming down. (Alternately, you can buy tomatoes at your local farmer’s market or make friends with a gardener.)

This post is kind of long and detailed, so I’m putting the rest behind the jump to keep from scaring off the tl;dr crowd.

Continue reading Eco-Saturday: Canning salsa

Vegan Friday: Too lazy to experiment


Y’all, I’m tired. Long week. Lotta crap to keep up with. Long day scheduled for tomorrow. I didn’t try any new vegan recipes this week. I just made a batch of black bean chili tonight for dinner, added some leftover Boca crumbles I had in the freezer to give it extra protein, and diced up some avocado on top when it was done cooking. If you haven’t tried my chili recipe yet, you really should. It’s quick and nutritious and nice to warm you up on a cool evening.

I saw a picture of an ice-cream sandwich somewhere the other day and have been craving them ever since, so instead of a recipe tonight, you’re getting a product endorsement: Tofutti Cuties.

At a little over $4 a box, Tofutti Cuties are rather pricey, but you seriously cannot distinguish them from regular ice-cream sandwiches, and if you’re going full-time vegan, they’re about the best thing you’ll find to take the edge off a craving. At 130 calories a pop, they’re not horribly fattening, either. Just, y’know, don’t eat the entire box at once.

And lest you feel cheated: Assuming I get a hand free tomorrow, I’m planning to post instructions for canning salsa — which is completely vegan — as this week’s Eco-Saturday offering.

I really want to post my adventures in soapmaking, but I’m waiting until it finishes saponifying so I can vouch for the finished product before I go bragging on it. It certainly looked and smelled nice when I unmolded it and cut it into bars, and it was a much easier project than I anticipated.

I’m confident enough in the recipe that I’ll probably start another batch this weekend to hand out at Christmas. Might even do a Christmasy scent if I can rustle up some pine essential oil. We’ll see.


Folk Thursday: Playing for Change with Keith Richards

This was Ron’s suggestion for this week. Y’all know how I feel about Playing for Change. And y’all know how I feel about Playing for Change covering Bob Marley. So obviously the only way to make a video of Playing for Change covering Bob Marley any cooler is to let Keith Richards play with ’em.

Also, I know I’ve been neglecting this blog horribly. I’ve been too busy gardening and harvesting and canning and harvesting and canning and harvesting and buying apples and pressing cider and fermenting cider and hanging out with the niece and nephews and making cupcakes and bottling home-brewed green chile beer and making soap and shopping for exercise equipment and setting up a mini-gym in my house so we can cancel our little-used gym membership that we barely use because the hours are stupid and helping Zaphod with his dissertation and reading and chasing stories and … and … and …

Yeah. Been busy. But I have good intentions and a couple of killer salsa recipes, and I hope to have some good stuff to share with you this weekend.


Soap update

So my boss let me take today off because Labor Day fell on my regular day off, and we’re supposed to get an extra day off when that happens. You might think I’d spend the day relaxing, but you’d be wrong. Instead, I went out and got a kitchen scale and some olive and coconut oil and started a batch of soap. I managed to do it without maiming myself or damaging any kitchen surfaces, so we’ll put that in the win column. It’s in a cooler in the basement now, setting up overnight. I’ll check it tomorrow, and if it’s set up properly, I’ll slice it into bars, wrap it in waxed paper, and ignore it for a month and a half while it saponifies.

Once I finished my soap project and got the kitchen cleaned up, I brought in some tomatoes and pecans from the garden (the neighbor’s tree has thrown a few nuts into the far corner of the garden) and transcribed an interview for Zaphod before heading out to pick up groceries.

I really don’t understand the concept of rest, apparently.

In unrelated news, remind me next week, and I’ll post a different sort of Munchkin Tuesday. The kids redeemed some of their coupons the other day, and we did an awesome science project that needs to go at the top of your to-do list if you have any children in your life. If I still taught, I’d be finding an excuse to do this with my sophomores — possibly as a sensory-language exercise or something. It was that cool. 


Canning season

I will never get tired of hearing the soft plink! of canning-jar lids sealing as they cool.

Put up 14 pints of salsa tonight, made with heirloom tomatoes fresh from the garden and good New Mexico chiles.

Meanwhile, I picked up a jar of lye at the feed store Saturday morning and spent part of my Sunday afternoon researching Castile soap recipes. True Castile soap is nothing but lye, water and olive oil, but I’m reading that it’s slow to trace and unconscionably slow to saponify, and I think we all know I don’t have the patience to fool with that. It’s really taking all the restraint I have to stay out of my cider while the yeast does its work.

I swear, this house is turning into one endless science-fair project. So far this year, I have made my own laundry detergent, yogurt, beer, pickles, salsa and apple cider, and I’ve got a batch of hot sauce started on the counter.

Miss Loretta Karen Moomaw the barn cat disappeared Tuesday and hasn’t been seen since, but I noticed her food bowl was empty this morning, and I’ve found only one bird-damaged tomato this week, so I’m pretty sure she’s still around. That’s fine with me. She’s cute and seemed to enjoy being petted, but if she doesn’t want to be anybody’s full-time pet, that’s her decision. I’ll keep refilling her food and water bowls as long as she’s using them.

I think that’s all the news from the hippie cottage this evening.