Thursday, January 16, 2014

Fresh Homemade Salsa

I don't think I know one single person who doesn't love Chips and Salsa.  There are some really good store bought Salsas out there ... I have one particular favorite that I love when my hands are not up to dicing and chopping BUT my most favorite of all is my own Fresh Homemade Salsa.  This is MY recipe …one that I’ve been making for years and one that I came up with TOTALLY on my own so if it looks similar to or the same as any other recipe out there … total coincidence. 

The basic recipe is mild but let me tell you ... every time I've made it it is all eaten up ... every last drop!  Even my Latino DIL loves it!!!  Sometimes I add a couple spoonfuls of canned black beans (drained and rinsed) and sometimes I even divide it, keeping half of it mild and making the other half medium-hot.  It’s awesome just as it is without the chilling/marinating in the fridge BUT the marinating of the flavors makes it even more incredible!!!  Now normally I make it without measuring a single thing so when I guesstimated the measures to write up and share my recipe, I decided to try it as I've guessed the measurements in my recipe just to make sure it still came out just right and YEP sure enough I guessed perfectly!!!  Hope ya’ll love it as much as we do!!! 

Fresh Homemade Salsa
(Makes About 2 Cups)

2 cans Diced Tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1/2 small Onion, finely chopped
1/4 Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped
10-12 stalks Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tblsp Lime Juice
Splash Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Dried Celery Flakes
1 Tblsp Sugar
1 tsp Ground Cumin
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and gently stir it all together until well mixed.  Let marinate in fridge for a couple hours before serving to let flavors mingle.

For a hotter salsa add finely chopped fresh JalapeƱo Pepper or some ground Cayenne Pepper, to taste.

Love this kitchen tool!  Not sure what it is called ... its a scraper/chopper.
Its pretty sharp and could definitely cut you if you are not careful ...
but not as sharp as a good kitchen knife.  Perfect for chopping the
diced tomatoes into even smaller bits.

And its perfect for chopping the
Cilantro very finely!!!
Storage Idea: I put my Salsa in a Mason jar and refrigerate for up to a week or so.  Because it has a touch of vinegar in it … it will keep that long!

Here's another cool kitchen gadget ... a wide
mouth funnel which is usually used for canning.
Perfect for placing, in this case, Salsa into a Mason Jar!

And there you have it ... finished product!
Ready to marinate in the fridge, pour and eat or store.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Baked Maple and Pecan Brie

I found this recipe on Pinterest (imagine that LOL) and it originates from  Now I AM NOT a Martha Stewart fan, in fact, I have admittedly tried several of her recipes prior to this one and they did not pass my taste test at all BUT this one is a definite winner!!!  Thank you Martha!  And ya'll ... I didn't change a thing!!!  I made it for our Family Christmas Eve gathering and it was a hit ... someone even requested it again for our New Year's Eve gathering though I didn't make it a second time ... I just wasn't up to fighting the crowds in the grocery store ... AGAIN.  But let me tell ya ... this recipe is a definite do again and again and again!!!  Love it!!!

Baked Maple and Pecan Brie

1 small Wheel of Brie
1/2 cup Pecan Halves
3 Tblsps Light Brown Sugar
3 Tblsps Pure Maple Syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place Brie on a rimmed baking pan. Bake until softened - about 15-20 minutes.  Let cool for about 20 minutes.

While Brie is cooling, place Pecans on a baking sheet and toast for about 7-10 minutes.  Sprinkle Pecans over Baked Brie.

In a small saucepan, combine Sugar and Maple Syrup and cook until Sugar dissolves and mixture becomes foamy, 1-2 minutes.

Drizzle warm Sauce over Brie and serve with Crackers or slices of a Baguette.

Feta Veggie Dip

I was looking for an alternative to the same old Ranch Dip recipe for fresh veggies and came across this (though I changed it a tiny bit) on Pinterest.  Delicious!  If you love Feta Cheese, as I do, then you will absolutely love this alternative Fresh Veggie Dip ... better than Ranch, to me!

Feta Veggie Dip

6 oz Feta Cheese
4 oz Cream Cheese, softened
4 Tblsps Milk or Half-n-Half
1 clove Garlic (minced)
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
1/4 tsp Dried Parsley
1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Combine all ingredients and blend together using a food processor, until smooth.  Serve chilled with fresh veggies.

Adapted from