Tag Archives: recipes


How to Make Basic But Delicous Tomato Paste



I was surprised the first time I tried my hand at making tomato sauce on my own how pink it was even though I thought I took enough time to cook down and prepare my tomato sauce. Tomato paste provides your a flavor charge that also allows you to retain the traditional red color you come to know in your tomato sauce.

Ingredients for Your Basic But Delicious Tomato Paste

Don’t be intimidated by tomato sauce. It’s easy to make outside of the preparation of the tomatos. To purchase tomatoes in bulk, I recommend visiting your restaurant supply store, grown them yourselves, or work with your supermarket or farmer’s market to purchase them in bulk. Leaving the tomato skins your tomatoes will make them bitter. I like to save my tomato skins for later use in seasoning and flavoring my stock. You can find my recipe by clicking here.


60 blanched, cored and peeled large tomatoes

3 tablespoons salt

3 tablespoons cracked pepper

10 cloves of garlic

1 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice

3 bay leaves


Make sure you blanch, core and prepare tomatoes. Add them to a large stock pot. Add ingredients to your pot with the exception of the bay leaves. Use your immersion blender to blend. Add your bay leaves and bring your pot to a boil. Let it cook and simmer down for 3-4 hours until it is extremely think. This recipe will make 64 ounces or 9 cups of tomato paste.

I like to use the tomato paste immediately in my tomato sauce or enchilada sauce. However, this can be canned, refrigerated and frozen for later use.


More Tomato and Canning Recipes

This recipe has taken inspiration from the Tomato Paste recipe in the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine. 


How to Make the World’s Most Flavorful Tomato Sauce



My tomato sauce is very multi-purpose. It’s our almost weekly staple for our homemade pizza. You can click here to see my pizza dough recipe. I like to can the tomato sauce in advance as it’s great to use in spaghetti, casseroles and other recipes. I generally spend two weekends canning a year working on making tomato paste, tomato sauce, and enchilada sauce for use for the rest of the year. I’ll include links to the recipes at the end of the post.

This tomato sauce  recipe should make 10 quart size jars. I recommend canning these and sealing them instead of freezing just because they stay fresh longer. Special note, if you are not including the tomato paste in your sauce, make sure to include a 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice in each of your quart jars. This makes sure that your sauce remains flavorful and fresh.




Flavorful Tomato Sauce Recipe


60 peeled, blanched and cored tomatoes

3 celery stalks chopped

1 1/2 cups of carrot juice (This makes your sauce sweet.)

4 medium sized yellow onions chopped

12 garlic cloves

2 cups of red wine (I prefer pinot noir or merlot.)

3 tablespoons oregano

3 tablespoons salt

3 tablespoons cracked pepper

1 1/2 cups of basil

3 cups of tomato paste

3 bay leaves


The tomato sauce will have a bright red color from using the tomato paste. Add all your ingredients with the exception of the bay leaves. Using your immersion blender, blend everything together. Add your bay leaves and bring your sauce to a boil. Stir frequently. Let it reduce on medium high for 2-3 hours until it reaches the right think consistency and red color. Add additional spices and flavors to suite your taste and customizations.

Follow the basic canning rules sanitizing your jars, lids and rings. Add your sauce and then seal them. Make sure they are cooled before storing them in a cool and dry location.


More Tomato and Canning Recipes


Watermelon Mint Cooler with Vanilla Vodka #Recipe




Several weeks ago I traveled to Boston for work. It was my first trip to Beantown, and I took some time to escape from business meetings and spent an afternoon with my friend, Mira Greenland. She was my tour guide of beautiful Boston where we had drinks, food, laughs and walked the amazing Freedom Trail.

We walked, and walked and walked around this amazing city. To beautiful gardens, cemeteries filled with history and even stopped by for a quick picture at the bar that inspired one of my favorite shows of the early 90’s, Cheers.


me at Cheers
Where everybody knows your name…


Creepy yet beautiful.




The city at night captured my heart and I left with a full stomach after some amazing wine and gnocchi.


While the city was absolutely breathtaking, I very much enjoyed down time with my friend. We had cocktails, conversions and most importantly laughs away from the hustle and bustle of our lives as business executives. moms and wives. Quite randomly we ended up at a restaurant/bar for an hour or two before dinner where we enjoyed some wine and several amazing cocktails. One of which was a watermelon mint martini which I decided to re-create.

While I’m a fan of martinis, I wanted this cocktail to be versatile so I went with a cooler instead. It needs to be adult as well as kid friendly.  It goes from kid approved to adult friendly with just a touch of vanilla vodka which is exactly what Mira asked for when she ordered her customized watermelon martini.

I started with a medium sized watermelon and mint from the Barton Creek Farmer’s Market in Austin, Texas. I cut up the watermelon in cubes added them to a pitcher. From there, I added my mint, coconut water, sugar, limes and then the vanilla vodka for the adult friendly version.Mix well and refrigerate.




The good thing about this cocktail is that it is almost like a sangria because it gets better and more concentrated with time. I made a double batch because I know that my daughter and husband will drink it while we enjoy our Austin, Texas, vacation by the pool and patio. I’m adding the vodka to my drink individually.



Watermelon Mint Cooler Recipe

3 cups of cubed seedless watermelon

3 cups of water

2 limes squeezed

1/2 liter of coconut water

1/2 cups of sugar

1 cup of mint

Optional: 4 oz of vanilla vodka

Mix together in a pitcher. Add as much vanilla vodka as you wish. I like to keep things a little light, but how strong it is can be customized to you. I like to garnish with mint on the top. Enjoy with friends, by the pool or just because.

Forgo the vodka and these could double as popsicles for the kids. I like these kinds of homemade drinks and popsicles because you can control the fruit and sugar levels.





Homemade Chicken, Vegetable & Beef Stock Recipe


Whether it’s chicken, vegetable or beef stock, it’s a staple in my home and pantry. It’s also extremely expensive to purchase especially the low sodium organic variety. I find a lot of joy in making and creating things. This last year I’ve experimented with plum jam and orange marmalade. So it made complete sense that I would give a go at making stock from the items in my pantry.

Having received my new Breville Centrifugal Juicer, I had a lot of leftover carrots, celery and kale pulp that I didn’t want to go to waste. Normally, I toss them in my composter, but after purchasing yet another expensive container of chicken stock for our Christmas dinner, I wanted to try making my own stock and you can too. It is so satisfying, fun and easy.

But before I share the recipe, I recommend storing your extra stock in canning jars or plastic frozen containers. If you use canning jars, you will need to sanitize your canning jars and decide whether or not you are going to seal them or freeze them for future use and storage. For this batch of stock, I made the decision to freeze them. You can read more about the canning and sanitizing process by clicking here.


Homemade Chicken, Vegetable and/or Beef Stock Recipe


4 cups of vegetable and fruit pulp and scraps

Extra vegetables of your choosing

36 cups of water

2-3 bay leaves

assorted seasonings (sage, rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic)

chicken, beef or pork bones (optional)

8 ~ 1 quart canning jars, large stock pot, strainer and ladle


In a large stockpot, add 4 cups of vegetable and fruit pulp and scraps from your juicer or chop and add vegetables of your own. This is a great way to utilize the veggie platter from your holiday party and meal. Add in 10 cups of water and an assortment of spices of your choosing. I used fresh rosemary from my planter garden and dried sage from my summer garden. I also added in salt, pepper, garlic powder and a few bay leaves along with some leftover frozen vegetables I had sitting around in my freezer. For this batch of stock, I added an assortment of peppers including mini bell peppers and jalapenos. You can add whatever favorite or leftover veggies you want. Onions and garlic are great options too. Then I added several pork bones I had from the hog we recently picked up from the butcher. You can add turkey, chicken or beef bones or make vegetarian stock. The choice is up to you.


Stir and set your stock pot to just below a boil. Cover with your lid to ensure your liquid doesn’t reduce too much. Let cook for 2-3 hours until the vegetable pulp is absorbed completely. While you are waiting for your stock to cook and absorb all the flavors, grab all the canning jars and lids you have handy. Because we seem to use stock in so much of our cooking, I recommend the 1 quart containers. In this batch, I set aside 8 one quart sized canning jars.


Using a strainer, ladle in the stock to remove the vegetable pulp and spices and add the broth into the jars. Leave a reasonable amount of empty space at the top of the jars especially if like me you are choosing to freeze your stock like me. This allows your frozen stock to expand without busting or breaking the jars. Allow your stock to sit 3-4 hours to cool before placing in the freezer. Otherwise, your glass cans will break.

Outside of the cost savings from making my own stock, I also have the peace of mind that our stock is not only low sodium but made in the most natural way. Once you open your stock, it can be stored in the refrigerator for use in rice, couscous and other culinary experiments you have cooking.


Broth Recipe Alternative: Soup


The homemade broth can also be made into a vegetable, beef, pork, turkey or chicken soup. Complete recipe as above. Cook your protein, shred and after straining your broth, add in new larger vegetable pieces and the shredded proteins like chicken, beef, turkey or pork. Add in rice too and even alphabet pasta. Cook for another 30-45 minutes before serving, canning or storing.

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