Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer's Bounty - Salsa!!! (John's recipe)

I can't take any credit for this recipe - it came from one of the guys at work (John). We refer to it as "John's recipe" and it is the only recipe that I use for salsa - it is killer! I make it in the winter using canned tomatoes and in the summer using fresh tomatoes. I like to use both red and yellow tomatoes because I think it makes a beautiful salsa.

This recipe is at it's best when you use fresh garden veggies. The key to this recipe - what really makes it special - is the added McCormick Salt and Spice Seasoning. Unfortunately - they do not make this anymore - (don't worry, this will have a good ending - keep reading---). After searching in about four states and buying up all that I could find - I still have a nice little stash of about five of these left - and no - I won't share! BUT - after calling and bugging the McCormick people and sending multiple emails to them - they have finally posted their recipe for making the spice mixture. We have tried the recipe and found it to be true to taste. The recipe and link to their website is posted further below.

My recipe is written on the official stationary of nurses - a paper towel. But I have made this so many times - it is committed to memory:
4-6 cups chopped fresh tomatoes -(you can peel them if you want to - but I don't)
1 large green bell pepper
1 medium jalapeno pepper
1 medium sweet onion
1 T salt
2T McCormick Salt and Spice mix
1/4 tsp pepper
2-3 T apple cider vinegar

Process the onion and peppers. Process the tomatoes separately being careful to allow them to remain somewhat chunky. Mix all together and add the spices - I always do this to taste. You may want to add more Salt and Spice depending on the true amount of tomatoes and other veggies that you use. (When I make this in the winter time - and I often do - I use 2 cans whole peeled tomatoes instead of the fresh.)

The salsa is ready to eat as soon as you make it - but refrigeration makes it even better. Don't you think the red and yellow tomatoes make a beautiful salsa? Sometimes I like to also use a yellow pepper for variety.

Here is the recipe for the Salt and Spice Blend:
1/4 cup kosher salt
2T McCormick Seasoned pepper (DO NOT use regular pepper for this!)
1T McCormick garlic salt
1T McCormick onion powder
1 1/2 tsp McCormick celery seeds (crushed)
Mix all together and store in refrigerator.
Click here to go directly to the McCormick site for this recipe.

Everyone at work LOVE'S this Salsa. When I bring it to work in a huge bowl - it lasts about 30 minutes. They say one picture is worth a thousand words---

Just look at those smiles (and that almost empty bowl!)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Just off my needles - a Winter Wrap

I adore mindless knitting and find it amazing the things you can create with just a simple knit stitch. This wrap was just finished - a gift for a friend. Using one of my favorite standby yarns - Lion Brand Homespun and a carrier thread - Yarn Bee Featherwisp - it is just simply knitted - no fancy stitches. Good luck finding the Featherwisp - as Hobby Lobby does not make that any more. Hopefully my stash will last my lifetime (actually it will probably last my lifetime and then some!)

I adorned the edge of the wrap with little crochet flowers and accented them with antique buttons. The vine is just some sort of funky green yarn that is tied on in several places - also from the stash!

It is amazing how creative you can be in the middle of the night while your husband is in bed - the perfect time for creativity if you ask me! I absolutely LOVE this wrap and now - I think I am going to have to make one for me!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Papaw and gb's Big Adventure with Mason (and FDR)

After what seemed likes months ( and actually was) - we finally got to visit and spend some time with our little grand baby - Mason. He was almost a year old at this visit and was doing all kinds of new stuff - like laughing out loud, and crawling all over the place. Seemed like he had a little motor attached to his bottom - he could really scoot across the floor!

We stayed all night at his Mommy and Daddy's new house and that was wonderful because we had the opportunity to visit longer with our baby and to be there for all the fun stuff - like meal time! He only eats big people food now and feeds himself . He has a mouthful of chompers and I learned the hard way - NOT to put food in his mouth! (The teeth prints lasted for several hours on my finger!)

Bath time was lots of fun - he loved playing in his tub with all his toys. Here are some special gb and Mason pictures after he had his bath.

Papaw played with Mason in his new toy room just before bed time. He has so much room to crawl around and lots of space for toys. The windows make his room so bright and cheerful - just a wonderful place for a little boy to play.

The next morning - his Mommy and Daddy let us take Mason all by ourselves for a big adventure! Let me just say that it has been a very long time since either one of us have traveled any where with a toddler. We were worried about him being with us - and his Mommy said - Oh No! - she was more worried about us!
So we loaded up the stroller and the car seat - we had to learn how to work them all. Don't laugh - baby stuff is way more fancy now that oh, say, about 30 years ago! His Mommy loaded up his diaper bag with toys, and lots of food. Don't you know he ate every bit of the food that she packed - plus 2 bottles - plus a meal at a restaurant!

The morning of our Big Adventure - Papaw played with Mason during the morning and then took him for a morning walk around the neighborhood. When they returned and went to the play room - Mason crawled up on one of his play room cushions and fell sound asleep. While he took his morning nap - we took bunches of great pictures!

Look at this wonderful play room - how lucky is this little boy!

So we took off for our big adventure - the first stop being a yarn store that gb loves. Mason seemed to like it also. He was a big hit with all the ladies at the yarn store and he smiled and flirted with all of them!

Our Big Adventure was to Warm Springs, Ga where we visited the FDR Museum and The Little White House. Mason's gb is very interested in all things about FDR and getting to visit the Little White House was a really big deal for her! Mason seemed to like it also - he was played with by all the Park Rangers and he smiled real big for everybody! (The whole time we were thinking - OK - this can't be this easy to take a baby out on a trip!)
We settled in to watch a 20 minute film about FDR in the theater at the museum - thinking - we will see how this goes. Mason sat on his gb's lap and we fed him some sort of cereal things. Things went really well - until almost the end of the movie when Mason yelled out loud at the top of his voice - Da Da Da Da! OK - gb took him out side for a while!

The FDR Museum and the Little White House are a must see for any one who is interested in FDR history. We enjoyed it immensely - the pictures, displays, and artifacts were amazing. For me - it seemed to bring FDR back to life. The history of Warm Springs and the role this place played in the life of FDR is such a part of history. If you are interested in more information about Warm Springs and the FDR historical museums there, click here. Our visit there was amazing.
The most famous portrait of FDR is actually a portrait that was started just before he died. Titled - "The Unfinished Portrait" - this picture and the events surrounding this portrait tell a remarkable story. Mason's gb was very excited to see this picture up close and personal. As you can see - Mason and his Papaw are posing for their own picture in front of this very famous Portrait.

After leaving the Museum, we stopped at a cute little Bar B Q place in Warm Springs. We settled Mason into his own place at the table and he ate like a big boy. We ordered chicken for him and tore it apart and he fed himself - we were amazed. Some ladies at the restaurant- who had also been at the Museum - were bragging on what a good little boy he was. We confessed that this was our first and only experience with our grand baby out on our own. Every one agreed that we were doing really well - so far!
The really big hit at the restaurant was Mason's little food mat. Really - it is the neatest thing ever. Like a little bath mat - sort of - it has suction cups and sticks to the table. It also has a nice big pocket to catch food that he pushes off the mat. After dinner, his gb took the mat to the bathroom and just washed it off. This mat is called a Kiddopotamus Tiny Diner place mat. If you have a toddler in your life - you need one of these. If you need to buy a great baby gift - this is it. They are just the neatest things ever. Trust me on this!

Our last stop of the day was a covered bridge that we passed on the way home. We stopped to take some pictures of this beautiful bridge while Mason was sleeping - or at least he was sleeping until the car stopped! Lets just say that Mason had had a very long day and that his gb sort of pushed him over the edge with this last stop.
All in all - he was the very best boy ever and his Papaw and gb had a wonderful day with our little Mason!