Pioneer Woman at Heart

One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Friday, September 14, 2012

Italian Tasting ~ Taco Sauce Recipe ~ Family

Grab a cup of coffee or tea.  This blogpost is a bit long.

The morning here today is cool, and so pleasant.  Rain is in the forecast.  I planted this Morning Glory from seed and it is just now blooming.

The fall weather is bringing in blooms of all colors, including this purple.  I cannot tell you 

the name of this flower without looking it up.  It's been moved from two houses and still growing strong.  The hummingbirds, butterflies and bees love these flowers.

The kids wanted another party - Italian.  There is no way I can possibly whip up another successful party, with all that food in one night. 

So, we are spreading it out over a few weeks, and experimenting food the Italian way.  We've already baked Italian ricotta cookies with our goat's milk ricotta cheese, so I am looking for other dessert recipes.

First on the list we tried Italian Nachos.  These are broiled and contain both Italian sausage and pepperoni. The banana peppers were from my garden. 

Yesterday, I froze another 8 pounds of tomatoes, and used 6-7 pounds for another batch of taco sauce.  It's sad to see all those tomatoes shrink down to 4 dinky jars, but boy is the sauce delicious.

While the tomatoes were cooking, I whipped up a quick scrambler breakfast for my son and I - chopped banana and red bell peppers, onion, spinach, eggs, and feta cheese. Yum.

In the evening I weeded a strawberry bed, pulled the collards and planted the garlic.  Then, and yes it was late, pulled the laundry from the line and folded it.   While I took the laundry down, I played fetch with the dogs.  They loved it!

I worked on a crochet project in the late evening.

With rain in the forecast, I have planned a different kind of day.  First I will work on some writing.  Then I must dump out my purse and clean it out.  Do a massive cleaning in the kitchen (the kids still cannot grasp the concept of completing a job completely- ugh.) and then make a shopping list.  I am out of string for the trimmer and various other items. 

I have about a pound of tomatoes leftover from the last picking, and many red and green peppers.  I still have potatoes that need dug up.  The peas and beans have blooms on them.

Hubby is working hard now that fall turn-around has started.  He left for work at 6:30am and got home about 1:00am.  It was so weird last night.  It felt odd, and lonely, not having someone to talk to shortly before bedtime.  I called his cell and left him a message that I missed him.  

He left for work early again today, and will have a long day today and tomorrow.  It will be up to me and the kids to keep the yard work up, start working on cutting more wood, and so forth.  I don't know how he does it, but I know it's to earn money to send our daughter to D.C. on the class trip ($600+), and now my 5th grader brought home a flyer that the 5th graders are taking a spring 3 day trip to some camp (another $135.00+).  And my 15 year-old now wants a dress and shoes, and probably accessories, for homecoming. Oh, and my two in choir need khaki pants for their first concert.

The trips are optional, but hubby does not want our kids, being the only ones sitting in a classroom, while the rest travel.  It's a tough position, for schools to put parents in, financially.  

One daughter has asked to be homeschooled next year, but I have no idea where I'd find the time.  I have already asked my son to tutor her in math when needed.  I asked him if he was for hire - ha ha!  I was serious too.  Math, the way it's taught in school these days, is foreign to me.

Two of the girls struggle in spelling and math, while one struggles with an overload of homework.  Today, I will also be working up spelling papers for the girls.  I have located flash cards on-line for my 5th grader.  She struggles with multiplication in the 9's and 10's. My 8th grader has struggled with spelling since the 3rd grade.  I begged teachers for help, as I helped at home as well, and the teachers never even responded.  That is one reason people homeschool.

Here is the sauce recipe:

Taco Sauce
Yield:  about 4-5 half pints (depending on thickness)

6 lbs. Roma tomatoes, cut into chunks, divided
3 cups chopped and seeded red bell peppers
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped, seeded jalapeno peppers (about 8)
1/4 cup chopped garlic
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. pickling or canning salt
2 cups white vinegar

In a large pot, heat about two-thirds of the tomatoes over med. heat.  Stir often, until wilted.  Add remaining tomatoes, red peppers, onions, jalapenos, garlic, and cumin; return to a boil, stirring often.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours or until vegetables are very soft.

Working in batches, press sauce through a food mill into another large pot or bowl, discarding skins and seeds.  Return to the pot, and stir in sugar, salt and vinegar.

Return pot to medium heat and bring sauce to a boil.  Reduce heat and boil gently stirring often, for about 2 hours, or until sauce is thick.

Meanwhile, prepare canner jars, and lids.

Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles, and adjust headspace if needed.  Wipe rim and place hot lids on jar and add rims until finger-tight.

Place jars in canner and return to boil.  Process for 35 minutes.  Turn off heat and remove canner lid.  Let jars stand in water for 5 minutes.

Transfer jars to towel-lined surface and let stand for 24 hours.  Check lids and refrigerate any jars that are not sealed.

Note:  I have not found the cookbook that I found this recipe in last year.  Once I do, I will post it for credit.  Also, I run my vegetables through my sauce maker for this recipe.  The goats love the leftover skins and seeds.  Otherwise, they go in the compost. 

This sauce is also tasty on any egg dish, can be added to almost anything for heat and taste.  Yum!  The recipe does not state how long it lasts after it's opened, but I would guess about a week (similar to ketchup).  We use an entire 1/2 pint jar in one meal here.  

The best part of this sauce - no pesticides, no herbicides, no cancer causing ingredients,etc.  My goal was to make enough, that I would not have to drive to town all winter long for such items.   Slowly, I'm getting to that goal.


Lisa B said...

Flower is called Obedient plant. I have a lot of it. You can bend stems and they are obedient and stay that way.

Kristina said...

Thank you Lisa!

momto8 said...

your food and recipes look delicious!! enough to make me feel hungry when I am not!!!
that sounds like a crazy amy of $ expected from parents for class are like $10, but they are to museums.

Unknown said...

If you asked teachers for help, and they didn't respond you have lazy teachers. Or a broke, ineffective scholl distirct. I woud also go straight to the Principal. Even with low budgets there's usually some kind of tutoring or support available. That wouldn't happen at my school, but we're in a city and have a real team approach...

Candy C. said...

Busy, busy! The flowers are beautiful and the taco sauce sounds GREAT!! I have some tomatoes in the freezer that I have been stockpiling for a month or so. I think I'll try to can something with them next week. :)