Homemade Marinara sauce

I should have taken photos of the tomatoes I got off my two vines.  They went wild and I had tomatoes I didn’t know what to do with. I even gave some away to my lawn maintenance people before I figured out what to do with them.

I was not confident in my (lack of) experience with canning, so that was not an option.  I did find a pretty painless way to save my tomatoes and use them later.  I found a recipe for homemade marinara sauce made in a crock pot.  I had to try it and the results were fantastic.  I have food allergies, so am pretty limited on what I can eat and making my own food means I can make it with ingredients I can tolerate.

I looked on Pinterest and Googled for ideas on what to do with these tomatoes before they spoiled. I found my  highly recommended recipe and went about buying the few ingredients I didn’t have (balsamic vinegar and a few additional spices) and started.

First, removing the tomato peel is so easy, by scoring the tomatoes, putting a few tomatoes at a time in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then plunging them into ice water.  After a minute or so, take the tomato from the water and peel it. So easy.

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Vegetables/TomatoesPeeled.htm

When all the tomatoes are peeled, remove any undesirable bits, quarter them, and scoop all seeds out with a spoon, squish a bit with your hands to crush, and then they are ready for the crock pot.  You can chop them up well before adding, or leave kind of chunky and they will cook down where you can smash them up in the sauce as much as you want when cooked, leaving a smoother or chunkier sauce to your preference. Adding to the crockpot with all the other ingredients and cooking on low for about six hours produces the best sauce ever. Knowing there are no preservatives in it and it’s entirely healthy is another reason to make your own. Here’s my finished product.

marinara crockpot

Homemade marinara sauce ready to eat after six hours of slow cooking

marinara plated

Vegetable spirals pasta topped with homemade marinara sauce and some grated Mozzarella cheese

I am getting ready to make another batch this week. Use it up in a week, or freeze it for up to six months and use as needed.  I sneaked it onto anything I could think of because it tasted that good.  I gave some to my daughter who spiced it up more than I could ever handle, with garlic and jalapeno, and she raved about it.

Here are the tomatoes I’m currently working with; mine are on the right and the locally bought on the left.  Because they are nearing the end of the season, the plants are not producing as large as my first batch.

tomatoes

You can also use canned tomatoes (some information on the best brands to use was provided in various posts).  I will link the recipe I used, but there are so many different ones out there to peruse and see what ingredients they add to theirs. A roasted tomato marinara sauce with garlic and oregano is prepared totally in the oven, in roasting pans for about an hour, which is quicker and sounds very tasty.

Bon Appetit

http://lifecurrents.dw2.net/homemade-crock-pot-marinara-sauce/

http://afoodcentriclife.com/roasted-tomato-marinara-sauce-with-garlic-and-oregano/

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Changing seasons

I always think, when Spring shows up, that I wish never to see Winter again (not that it’s that bad here in Texas, just inconvenient sometimes with ice), but then after the heat of July the air starts to cool just a little, a few rainstorms pop up and I’m ready to feel the cool Fall air.

It has started here, just subtly, but here we are again with a new season to experience.  I have to have my Seasons and I’m not sure I could live anywhere that didn’t have changing seasons.  I do love that here in Texas it is not as drastic as when I lived in Kansas, but it’s enough of a change to enjoy.

DSC_0046

A tight squeeze for six babies to grow up

Learning to fly is hardwork

Learning to fly is hard work

The swallows raised two broods on the laundry room back porch and are still here flying the skies in morning and evening, the hummingbirds zinged around the feeders all summer and cooler weather has brought more to the area before they fly off for the winter, and this week brought some stormy weather and much needed rain.  We were drowned in water this Spring with an overabundance that did fill up all of our lakes that had been decimated by the drought.  I never ever thought I would see those full, and in fact they were overflowing, creating damage in some areas.

I have a few blogs that I enjoy following, and Cote de Texas is one I like to drop in on.  She also has her favorite blogs that I like to look in on and see various prettiness in scenery, architecture, and design.  http://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/

My yard is still a work in progress. I am awaiting my installation of grass and sprinkler system around the house. It was delayed to Sept. because of all the rain in Feb and March when it was supposed to go in, then it got too hot when all the rain stopped in May/June and I wanted to wait for cooler weather.

I also have entry fence and gate to install after the grass and all the activity is done. I would not need a gate, except the neighbor’s horses show up for a free meal in the pasture and just destroy the yard to get to it (big draft horses with huge feet).  It was not an expense I had wanted, but no choice. I am leaning towards the Priefert Ponderosa fencing and I may upgrade to a nice curved top gate and an opener, and also an overhead.  I like the rugged posts and the heavy rails that have color choices.

http://www.acreagefences.com/products/priefert-ponderosa-fence/

So I welcome Fall, once again,  and I can work outside and enjoy nature all around.