Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I have always wanted to make my own spaghetti sauce, so when I received several tomatoes, I knew it was time to try it.  I did not have a written recipe, just a basic idea of what I needed to do to make the sauce.

I had hoped to make the sauce with only fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, green peppers, onions, garlic, basil, oregano, olive oil, salt & pepper, but I eventually ended up adding a little sugar, garlic powder, onion powder and a can of tomato paste.

First, I chopped two onions and two bell peppers and sauteed them in a pan with eight cloves of  minced garlic.

Next, I boiled tomatoes, four at a time in a pot of water for two minutes each.  I used twenty tomatoes in this recipe.
About two minutes after the tomatoes started boiling, their skins cracked.
After removing the tomatoes from the boiling water, I put them in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.
Next, we peeled the tomatoes.

And then cored them.
And chopped them.

Then, I put them in a pot with a couple of tablespoons of fresh, chopped basil and oregano (probably dried would have had a more potent flavor) salt, and pepper.

Next, I added the sauteed onion, garlic, and bell peppers and I simmered the sauce for several hours aka, most of the day. 
I had hoped that the sauce would reduce and thicken, but I eventually had to add one small can of tomato paste to help this process along.  Near the end of the cooking process, I had to adjust the seasonings, meaning it was time to add more salt and pepper, five more cloves of minced garlic a couple of teaspoons of sugar, some garlic powder and onion powder.  This is also when I added the olive oil.  I didn't measure it, just kept adding and tasting.  Once the flavor was how I wanted it, I blended it in batches to make it the consistency that I wanted.

I ended up with two and a half quarts of sauce. 

One and a half quarts are in the freezer waiting for another day and the last quart I used with our dinner tonight.  I browned one pound of hamburger with half of a chopped onion.  Once that was cooked and drained, I added the spaghetti sauce, one chopped yellow squash, and several sliced black olives.  We had this sauce over spaghetti for dinner.  Delicious!

Monday, June 28, 2010


A friend asked what we are planning to do with all of our lovely produce, so over the next few days, I will answer that question.

First, we turned most of the grapefruit into juice.  Andrew and I prefer grapefruit juice.  The girls love to eat the fruit as much as they like to drink it, so I left a few grapefruit unjuiced for them to enjoy.

When Arin was younger, we had an orange tree and a grapefruit tree.  Arin loved to help juice the oranges, so she was so excited to hear that we were juicing these grapefruit and she was going to help.  This was Ella's first time to help make juice and she was super excited about being such a big helper!

We juiced about 14 grapefruit and made close to a gallon of delicious juice, which is almost gone (about 24oz left) even though we just made it yesterday!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fruits and Vegetables

Around our house, we love fresh produce!  We had hoped to start a garden this year, but with our recent move, we've had to put those plans on hold.  Last week, we were introduced to a bulk produce stand (with great prices) in the town next to our town.  I have not been to check the place out yet, but I am very anxious to go.  Last night, Andy and his brother surprised me by walking in the house with boxes of delicious produce!  I am so excited!  Due to more quantity than variety, it almost feels like I have a garden!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Won!

On occassion I will enter a contest, but I never really think I will win, as the last time I actually remember winning something was when I was twelve and it was a costume contest at church.  However, every once in a while there is a contest that just seems too good to pass up the chance of winning.  A few weeks ago, I entered this contest at Keeper of the Home.  And then, I forgot that I had even entered the contest.  One day, I was checking my email and to my surprise, there was a "You Just Won the Contest" email waiting for me.  I won two cloth diapers, which is very exciting, as we cloth diaper Ella.  We've never used FuzziBunz diapers before.  The inside of these one-size diapers are so soft and they have adjustable elastic at the waistline and the legs.  The snaps were slightly confusing as they are different from the other snap closure diapers that we use, but we managed to figure them out and so far are happy with them.

This week at Keeper of the Home, Stephanie is hosting several giveaways in celebration of her 1000th post.  Check them out, you might win something awesome too!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The girls are loving playing with their cousins.  Ella LOVES babies, so she is having a great time playing with and holding her cousin, Nicholas.  Although he is only six months old, he is as big as she is.  Arin loves playing with Matthew, who is a year younger than her, but also her same size!  It'll be good to have big boy cousins looking out for their little girl cousins some day.

In this last picture, Ella is crying because she had to share the baby with her sister.  She thought she should be the only one to hold him.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Getting Settled

We moved last Sunday and spent Monday traveling back to Georgia to finish up some last minute things around our house (getting it ready to sell).  Tuesday and Wednesday were spent running errands and Thursday and Friday starting to settle in and unpack. We are still shuffling around a maze of boxes, but we have had time to swim in the pool and time to enjoy our family.  Tonight, we had our first dinner guests.  Andy's parents, his brother, Todd, and Todd's wife, Sarah, came to our house to eat with us.  We had salad, kabobs, brown rice, and pudding with fresh berries for dessert.  Dinner was great, but the company was even better.  We are really enjoying being around family again.  The girls are especially enjoying their Uncle Todd, who comes to see them and play with them everyday. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Peacock Farm Field Trip

Last Friday, we took our last field trip with our homeschool group.  The girls really enjoyed this field trip.  When we first arrived, Mrs. Davis (the farm owner), talked to the kids about the peacocks and other animals that were on the farm.  Such a sweet lady to invite us to her farm and she seemed to really enjoy having the kids there.  At last count, they had sixty-five peacocks!

Many of the kids made headdresses from peacock feathers.
There were also many other animals on the farm.  The kids had a great time feeding the donkeys, goats and llamas.  Arin loved holding one of the barn kittens.

They got to pet an emu and hold an emu egg (which had been previously drained and cleaned).  The inside of the emu egg shell was like enamel.  I was surprised that the egg was black, though I am not sure what color I would have expected it to be.

This little play house was made for Mrs. Davis when she was six years old.  About thirty years ago, they transferred it about 200 miles from her old home to the farm that she lives at now.