Zucchini Relish

I know is has been a LONG while since I have posted a recipe.

It has been a LONG few months for me.

Most of my extra time has been full of family and work. With out going into a lot of boring details….cause HEY who wants boring? But, in case you are worried, everything seems to be going pretty smooth right now. I just finished teaching summer school, my Mom the Princess, is doing much better and I am ready to spend more time in my garden, messing with my backyard chickens and of course and always in the kitchen cooking and messing it up. (cleaning is for grandchildren to do right?) Ha!

Since it is gardening season now, and if you are like a lot of my friends that grow zucchini, sometimes you get an abundance of zucchini. You grow so much that you are giving it away to everyone and then your friends start avoiding you when they seen you coming toward them with zucchini. So, I thought I would help you out and post a few zucchini recipes.  I will start with  my favorite zucchini relish recipe that my kids and grand kids will eat first, before they even think about opening a can of store bought relish. It is a sweet relish. You can use it in any recipe that calls for sweet relish. Like, chicken salad and tater sauce and it is great on brats and hot dogs.

Besides being tasty and delicious…it looks great in the jars. ; ) I mean…we want pretty fill jars too…right?

Here goes:

Above is a picture of the relish I made with a mixture of orange and red sweet peppers. I love the colors!

Here is what you need. Zucchini (0f course) apple cider vinegar (I put the white vinegar in the picture by mistake oops), sugar, sweet peppers, sweet onion, mustard seed and celery seed.

First you chop up your zucchini. I do not peel mine. I like the texture of the peelings being left on in the relish.

Chop up the sweet pepper. In this picture I used green peppers. Make sure you remove all the white pith and seeds out of the chopped peppers.

Chop up the onion. Try not to cry. I seem to always cry chopping onions.

In a large bowl put in the zucchini, onions and peppers.

Cover with cold water.

Add salt and stir. Let the mixture sit for 2 hours.

Drain off the salted water, rinse, and drain again.

Here is a picture of the correct cider vinegar…oops.

In a large sauce pan or stock pot, pour in the vinegar.

Add in the sugar.

Add in the mustard seeds.

Lastly, add in the celery seeds.

Bring to a boil.

Add in the zucchini mixture.

Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Fill jars and water bath can for 10 minutes.

It really is easy and I have doubled this recipe when I have made it and it turned out fine. (I would not double a jam or jelly recipe though.)

Anywho, I hope you give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Enjoy!

Becky

Here is the  recipe:

Zucchini Relish

Adapted from Ball Blue Book

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped zucchini (I do not peel mine)

1 cup chopped sweet onion (I used vidalia onions)

1 cup chopped sweet peppers (In one batched I used green in another I used a mixture of orange and red)

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 teaspoons celery seeds

Directions:

Chop the zucchini, onions and peppers. Put the veggies in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Sprinkle the salt over the mixture and stir. Let it sit for 2 hours. Drain off the salted water, rinse and drain again.

In a large saucepan, add in the vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seeds. Now, add in the zucchini mixture. Bring to a simmering boil for 10 minutes.

Hot pack the relish in pint jars, leaving a 1/4 inch head space. Remove air pockets by poking a skewer or a Popsicle stick in the relish. Wipe off the jar rims and put on the lid and ring.

Water bath can for 10 minutes in boiling water.

Follow water bath canning instructions found on the Ball Canning web site if you need further instruction

Remove the relish from the water and let the jars cool over night. Making sure the lids are sealed.

 

 

Velvet Chicken Soup

Last night the Oldest Daughter who does not cook, bought a rotisserie chicken.

She made mashed potatoes (from instant, but good).

She thawed freezer corn and heated it up in the microwave.

She sliced some chicken.

Dinner was ready!

Woot Woot! I came home from tutoring at school and dinner was there waiting for me.

So tonight, I took the left over chicken from the rotisserie chicken and made her some soup.

She loves soup about as much as I do.

About as much as her Auntie Trina does.

But not as much as me.

Anywho. I remember having bought these cookbooks from The Blue Owl restaurant when I went there for my birthday three years ago. I have not made anything from this adorable cookbooks until tonight.

I took a chance and made their Velvet Chicken Soup recipe.

It was good, yummy, yum yum…..

You get my drift….it was good.

So before I put the recipe away and forget to load my pictures to the computer, I thought I would go ahead and post this simple and delicious soup recipe.

And my sweet friend Lori S. asked for the recipe.

I love it when people ask me for a recipe.

So  here you go Lori S.!

Here is what you need to make this soup.

You will need some cooked chicken, (I used left over rotisserie chicken) whipping cream (I used half and half) milk, chicken broth, butter, flour, chicken soup base, salt and pepper.

First thing you do is melt the butter in a large saucepan.

Add in the flour to the melted butter.

Stir it with a whisk and cook for a couple of minutes to remove the raw flour taste.

Add in the whipping cream and the milk

Whisk and cook until smooth. Don’t panic the lumps cook out…just keep whisking.

Add in 2 cup of chicken broth and whisk in until smooth. Then add in the rest of the broth and bring to a simmer.

Now, taste your broth and add small amounts of soup base until you get the flavor you want. Be careful the soup base is salty!

I added about a half a teaspoon of Trader Joe’s 21 seasonings that I love to use. So, if  you want to add a little extra seasoning to yours it is fine. A little garlic, basil…

Lastly, add in your diced cooked chicken.

Stir and heat to a simmer until the chicken is heated through.

Now, you are ready to serve!

So here is the recipe!

Velvet Chicken Soup

I did make a few minor changes : )

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup flour

6 cups chicken stock

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy cream (you can use half and half or evaporated milk)

2 to 3 cups diced cooked chicken (I used 3 cups)

2 teaspoons chicken soup base OR 2 tablespoons instant chicken broth

Directions:

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add in the flour and whisk to remove any lumps. Cook till flour bubbles and to remove any raw flour taste. Stir in the milk and the whipping cream. Keep whisking to make a smooth paste. Stir in 2 cup of chicken both and whisk till smooth.

Add in 2 cups of the chicken broth and whisk until smooth. Now add in the rest of the chicken stock and whisk together.

Now, taste it and if you feel like it needs more depth add in 1 to 2 teaspoons of chicken soup base. Be careful with the soup base as it is very salty. Add a little at a time and taste after each time till you get the way you want it to taste.

I added in some of this…cause I love this stuff. This is optional.

Add in the diced chicken

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Becky

In a Pickle!

Have you ever made something, but then could not eat it for a couple of months?

That was me!

Or, have you ever found yourself so busy with family and work that you had to put off working on something you love doing for a few months, until things slow down?

That was me!!

It seemed, there for a few months, my life and free time was, “in a pickle!”

I guess that is my way of explaining why I have not posted in 6 long months!

I missed all my readers!

I missed posting my recipes and talking about my back yard girls as I affectionately call my chickens.

I missed everything there was to do about staying connected with everyone through this webpage.

So, I think my life is slowly, slowing down, and I can finally get back on track with posting and chit-chatting with everyone now.

You might have wondered what I have been up to the last few months, and I will explain in the coming recipe post, as I try to get caught up.

Even though, I might not have posted a recipe, my kitchen has been busy and so has my camera!

I have a ton of things to share!!!

One thing I will share now to try to explain my absence is that my Mom “The Princess” first had a breast cancer scare and then had a heart attack along with pneumonia right before the holidays. My super strong mom is a fighter though and is slowly getting her strength back and is now able to get out of the house some and going back to church.

Prayers were answered!

So anywho, I thought what was more fitting to get back to posting and get my webpage out of being “in a pickle,” was to post about me canning sweet pickles.

So here goes!!

Sweet Cucumber Pickles!

When I first made my pickles and water bath canned them, my pickles floated. I thought maybe I had acquired magic powers to get pickles to float, only to find out that after a couple of weeks they settled down and went to the bottom. I was later to learn that the air trapped inside the cucumbers had to slowly release for the pickles to stay where they were suppose too.

By the time the pickles were ready to eat, they decided to quit showing off and sit still.

These little pickles are perfect to snack on and are the perfect size to put on little slider hamburgers.

Here is what you need to make these delicious little sweet pickles.

Pickling cucumbers, (not regular salad cucumbers that are bigger and longer) sugar, pickling salt, ice, vinegar (5%), celery seed, whole allspice and  mustard seed.

The first thing you need to do is cut the blossom end off the cucumber, (it can cause soft pickles) and then slice the cucumbers into slices. Mine are about 1/4 inch.

My sliced cucumbers filled up this big bowl.

Next, sprinkle the pickling salt over the cucumbers.

The next thing you do is cover the cucumbers with ice and put in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. If the ice melts, add more ice. Now you can get all your jars, lids and rings out and set up for water bath canning….or you can take a nap, like me..LOL

Time to make the brine. Measure out the vinegar and pour it into a large sauce pan.

Add the sugar to the vinegar.

Add the celery seed to the vinegar and sugar mixture.

Next, add in the mustard seeds.

Now, add in the whole allspice. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Be sure and sterilize your jars before you fill them with cucumbers. I do a dip in boiling water with my jars before I fill them up.

Take you pickles out to the fridge. See how much they have shrunk….LOL…

Drain the pickles and remove any ice that is left.

Fill each jar with pickles to 1/2 inch from the top. Try to pack tightly as the pickles will shrink as they are processed.

Fill the jars with the hot brine leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove the air bubbles. You can do this with a wooden skewer but running it down the inside side of the jars.

Wipe the rim of each jar with a wet paper towel to remove any syrup/brine and put on the lids and rims.

Water bath can or process the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes for pints or 15 minutes for quarts.

Now, here is one of my favorite parts….waiting to hear the pop of the lids after you take the jars out of the boiling water.

The hardest part of this recipe is waiting a few weeks (4 to 5) to allow the pickles to develop the ideal flavor.

As with any food that is canned, be sure to use a certified canning recipe and follow all the steps. Please refer to the Ball book of canning or  your local extension office  for complete instructions on water bath canning.

Here is the recipe.

This recipe is from Ohio Extension Office. They have a great video you can watch to assist you making these pickles. Here is the link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo5Yx6ADsTg

Ingredients!

8 pounds 3 to 4 inch pickling cucumbers

1/3 cup canning or pickling salt

4 1/2 cups sugar

3 1/2 cups vinegar (5%)

2 teaspoons celery seed

1 tablespoon whole allspice

2 tablespoons mustard seed

Directions:

Cut 1/4 inch off the blossom end of the cucumber and discard. This blossom end can lead to soft pickles. Cut cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/3 cup canning salt. Cover with ice and put into the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. This will help draw the moisture from the cucumbers.

Combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed, allspice and mustard seed into a large saucepan. Heat to boiling.

Drain the liquid from the cucumbers.

Pack the cucumbers into the jars and fill the jars leaving 1/2 inch head space at the top.

Fill the jars with the hot canning liquid. Filling the jars to  1/2 inch from the top.

Remove any air bubbles. (you can use a wooden skewer to do this but running it down the inside side of the jars)

Adjust the lids and rings.

Water bath process for 10 minutes for pints or 15 minutes for quarts.

After procession and cooling, store the jars for 4 to 5 weeks to allow pickles to develop the best flavor.

As with any canning, be sure to use approved recipes and follow all the proper canning steps to prevent spoilage.

Enjoy!

Becky

 

Whew….I am back!

This is my baby girl Tricia, and she got married last weekend.

It has been pretty busy around my house getting ready for her wedding and trying to can up some tomatoes I bought from the Amish.

Yes, the wedding was more important than my tomatoes but I got to keep my life real and canning tomatoes kept me too busy to think about my baby becoming a wife.

It all the excitement and trying to finish up decorating, I was able to take a few pictures I thought you might enjoy seeing. These were her bridesmaids bouquets made with fresh flowers.

This is how we decorated the tables. Tricia glass etched all the mason jars for gifts to give to her guest.

The cake was so yummy. It was tiered with strawberry, red velvet and vanilla flavors.

The is what the bottom of the cake looked like.

She has an outdoor wedding. Seating up the chairs took many helping hands.

My super dooper friend Roberta helped decorate all the vases. This vase is actually a antique pickle jar that belongs to my mom.

Here is a picture of my daughters bouquet. Tricia had a piece of jewelry from her other grandma put in the bouquet to remember her grandma by since she has gone on to heaven.

We had a candy bar too. Oldest daughter who does not cook provided this. It was a big hit!

So anywho, that is why I have been absent from posting for a few weeks, and I hope you understand!

But, I am back now and I have recipes already to go and get posted.

Stay tuned!

Becky

Here is a couple of prior post you may enjoy!

Fried Eggplant 

ooops I cannot find the picture. I will keep looking!

 

Deviled Eggs

 

 

 

Varmint in the Backyard!

For the last couple of week, some varmint has been getting into the shed in the backyard where I keep the chicken food and breaking in and eating it!

The doors would be pulled shut each night and in the morning one of the doors would be pulled forward making it go off the hinges.

After much deliberation and denial that I might have a real live raccoon (that could potentially break into the coop after the chickens) I decided it was time to get a trap and try to capture it.

Company reading the directions and trying to get the trap set up.

Oldest grand girl decides to take over.

She loaded the trap with strawberry marshmallows.

Then she put a trail of marshmallows to  the inside of the trap.

After we caught the raccoon we took it miles away to a conservation/wildlife area.

We are going to put the trap out a few more times to see if it has any friends.

But, for now the chickens are safe in their coop at night and I even wire the door at two places for extra security.

Bye for now….

From the Mother Hen

 

Happy Belated 4th of July

fourth of july

How was everyone’s Fourth?

I hope you able to relax with family and friends and eat some great food.

My sisters and I took Mom the Princess and Dad to spend the day at my Aunt Lily’s country home. She bought it a few months ago and has been renovating it with her daughter Lisa.

We had such a fun day!

aunt lily country home

Here is my Aunt Lily.

She sure knows how to put on a party!

We had a ton of food, and cousins and a dog there.

We had some BBQ.

We had desserts! The two big pies in the middle were made by my Aunt Corene. She is famous for her pies, and of course they were eaten first.

We had a home made slip and slide with bubbles. This is my great nephew Boston enjoying the water!

Aunt Lily has chickens and a rooster!

Pet cows. Ha! There were suppose to be freezer meat but now they are pets with names.

And of course every old country farm house has a cemetery next to it. Funny thing is, it is a family tradition. My Grandma and Grandpa Wright had a cemetery next to their house. It was where all of us cousins would go play in when we were visiting.

It was a wonderful day in the country with many aunts, uncles and cousins.

You just can’t buy those kind of memories!

Becky

Oh..,I made a few pies myself….though not as tasty as my Aunt Corenes.

I made two strawberry rhubarb pies and a gooseberry.

I will get the recipes posted soon : )

Becky

 

Corn From My Freezer

I have been hording my frozen corn all winter.

Kinda funny, right?

I mean, the reason why we freeze or can food in the summer is so we can eat it all winter.

I think that is right, right?

So, why am I hording it?

Maybe, I have a problem with sharing.

Maybe, I was saving it to eat on a snow day from school….which we did not get any…well, maybe we got one. (but I did not feel like sharing that day).

But, I think the real reason I have turned into a corn hoarder is…

drumroll…….

Cause it taste so good!

And ya know, cooks in the kitchen want that taste to last the whole year.

Two more months till fresh sweet corn from the Amish.

I better count my supply to make sure it last until then.

Making Cheesy Corn Chowder, find the recipe HERE.

Grand girls and great nephew playing in the corn bind when we went to the corn maze last year.

Sweet Freezer Corn recipe HERE.

I am giving the recipe I used, but I tried a new one last summer and I will get that one posted soon so you can compare the two and see which one  you like better.

I guess I better get out of here and go teach summer school!

Becky

 

 

 

Grilled Fruit Couscous Salad

I have been buying small little boxes of couscous at Aldi’s every few times that I go there to shop.

The funny thing is, is that I had never used any of it.

I think I must like buying it because of the cool name. Couscous Couscous…..

Or maybe it is the interesting shape of the tiny little pastas that have me intrigued.

Maybe, I just like buying groceries. Ha!

Needless to say, I was glad I had some in my pantry when I came across this recipe for Grilled Fruit Couscous Salad!

I love about anything grilled on a grill. I used my indoor grill to grill the fruit, and I am kinda glad I did because I did not have to worry about the fruit falling through the grates on my outdoor gas grill.  I cut my fruit in fourths and grilled it, but if  you were to do it outside you just grill the fruit that was cut in half. This would prevent the fruit from slipping. So really, indoor or outdoor, it does not matter which one. Just be careful no to let the fruit stick on the grill.

I also loved the ingredients in the salad dressing…olive oil, lime juice, spices and sweetened with honey. YUM!

Fresh cilantro and parsley too.

AND topped with those roasted and salted pumpkin seeds called pepitas. I love those things! They added that bit of tasty crunch to the salad.

I hope you will give this recipe a try!

Here is what you will need : )

Chicken broth, couscous, olive oil, pepper, salt, honey, lime, nectarines and plums (I forgot to put the plums in the picture), fresh cilantro and parsley and the pepitas. I found these in the health food section of my grocery store. I have also bought them in bulk at my local Amish store. (Also I did not add an green onion to the salad, even though I love onions, because Company does not like onions.)

First t hing I did was quarter my fruit.

I drizzled olive oil on the fruit to keep it from sticking to the grill.

Then I put them on my indoor grill (feel free to use your outdoor grill) and I grilled both sides of them.

This is what they looked like grill. I love grill marks!

Then in a medium sauce pan I poured in my chicken stock and brought it to a boil. The chicken stock seasons the couscous, so be sure and taste your stock and make sure you do not need to season it up a bit.

When the broth is boiling add in the couscous. Take the couscous off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.

Now, lets make the dressing. In a medium bowl pour in the olive oil.

Add in some pepper.

Add in some salt. I used sea salt.

Add in some fresh lime juice.

My favorite part….the honey.

Mix together. This can also be done in a small blender. Give your dressing a quick taste and add more honey or seasonings to suit your taste.

Cut your fresh parsley and cilantro, be sure and take out the stems of the cilantro.

Put the cooked couscous in a large serving bowl.

Add in your grilled fruit.

Top with your fresh herbs and if  you are using a chopped green onion, now is the time to add that in too.

Drizzle with the dress and gently toss.

Top with the roasted pepitas (roasted and salted pumpkin seeds).

I decorated the salad with my squeezed lime and large parsley leaf.

Do you wish you had a fork??

I was glad I had a fork and a large bowl!

Enjoy!

Becky

Here is the recipe:

Adapted from Better Homes and Garden

Ingredients:

2 fresh plums, pitted and halved

2 fresh nectarines, pitted and halved

1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon to coat the fruit before grilling

1 1/2 cup chicken broth or you may use vegetable broth

1 cup couscous

2 scallions or green onions diced small

3 tablespoons lime juice (I used the juice from one lime)

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley

Garnish with salad toppings or I used roasted salted pumpkin seeds called pepitas. I buy them in the bulk health food section.

Directions:

Brush the fruit with olive oil. I cut mine in quarters and then put olive oil on them. I used my indoor grill and grilled both sides of the fruit unit I got nice grill marks. If you are using an outdoor charcoal or gas grill leave the fruit in half then quarter. In a medium saucepan bring the broth to a boil. Add in the couscous and remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Mix the dressing together in a small bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, honey, 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

In a large serving bowl, put in the couscous and then the fruit. Drizzle with the dressing and then cilantro and parsley. Toss together.

Garnish the salad with  your favorite salad topping or with roasted salted pumpkin seeds call pepitas.

Here are some other post you may enjoy! ; )

     

Freezing Fresh Corn                                                                Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

 

Eggciting News! Counting Eggs for May

This is my highest number of eggs for one month since I started this backyard chicken adventure a little over a year ago.

As you know I have raised these girls since they were one day old.

Many poopy butts and days of changing dirty water and I still love having backyard chickens.

When I stick my head in the coop where the girls sleep and lay eggs, it smells like the barns on my grandparents farms. The warm straw and earthy wood smell reminds me of younger days and long ago memories when my grandparents were still here on earth.

It warms my heart!

The only pictures I have of my siblings and I playing with the chickens with their baby chicks and hunting eggs, are the ones from my memory.

They are good memories!

Funny how chickens and eggs can make you happy!

Until  you have to clean the coop! HA!

Becky

Other Post you may enjoy reading:

A Meal Fit for a Chicken

Mark Your Calendar a Chicken Laid an Egg

 

 

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