Category Archives: Canning and preserving

Foodies beware: Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are feeding us GMO foods while saying they are against it!

Get Monsanto Out of Whole Foods & Trader Joe’s!

“Whole Foods Market claims to support mandatory GMO labels, but admits selling unlabeled foods made with genetically modified organisms.

Whole Foods & Trader Joe’s both have non-GMO policies for their store-brand products, but the policy doesn’t apply to the rest of the food they sell.”

Join in the Millions Against Monsanto campaign or at least get more informed about your food their the collaboration!

Organic Consumers Association


I’m in love with a garden… Garden Chonicles I

It is SPRING!!!!!!!!!!!

Time to start chronicling the garden!

Garlic, arugula, spinach, bok choy, and my hummingbird feeder in my newest raised bed.

My walking onions and cilantro.

Sweet basil! Mmmm!

Climbing flower bed for my kitchen window.

Main garden, about the size of my car. Half planted!

First sprouts!

Native flowers, following the sun.

New blackberry bush, already doubled in size, my taste of home!

My bird watcher, Parker Jade.

Experiment: Ravioli Dinner Party

Stuffing the Ravioli


Taste testers enjoying a patient game of cards


My assistant and wonderful friend, also stuffing.


Close up!


Mmmm, butternut squash and ricotta!


Homemade Ravioli

Fresh pasta can last about 1-2 weeks if keep in a cool dry place and you can use just about anything extra you may have in your garden for the filling.



ü 2 cups of soft flour

ü 4 eggs at room temperature (this is very important)

ü *if you don’t want to use eggs, 1 cup of natural mineral water can substitute.




Pour flour in a bowl and add the eggs into the middle of the flour. Mix the eggs with a fork until they are completely blended with the flour. Knead the mixture with your hands until it completely consistent.

If the mixture is too dry, add some water and if the mixture is to soft or sticky, add some four (A good mixture should never stick to your fingers).

Remove mixture from the bowl and place it onto a lightly floured table and cut into small pieces.

You can either use a rolling to pin to thin the dough or you can run it through a pasta machine.

Once you have the right thickness, place filling about an inch apart and cover with another layer of dough.

Press the edges around the filling to remove any air pockets and cut apart (make sure the edges are secure, you can use a fork or a ravioli press)




Bring water to a boil, add pasta and gently boil 2-5 minutes (Fresh pasta cooks in just a few minutes, it depends on the thickness)

When finished cooking, gently drain the pasta and serve with your favorite topping or one of these sauces…


In my kitchen, we improvise with cooking gagets like wine bottle rolling pin(after finishing the bottle first, of course!).


Homemade pesto!


Tomato sauce from scratch, of course!


With more wine!


Homemade Pesto


Homemade pesto is a great way to use up various greens from your garden within an extremely versatile recipe. It also stores well through the winter in the freezer.




ü 1 large bunch of basil (and/or arugula, parsley, spinach, ect.)

ü ½ -1 cup olive oil (depending on the consistency desired)

ü ½ cup of walnuts (and/or pine nuts, sunflower seeds, ect.)

ü ¼ cup parmesan cheese (optional)

ü 1-3 garlic cloves (to your taste)

ü Salt and pepper to taste



Blend all ingredients in a processor (or even a blender with more oil added). For a chunkier pesto (or if you lack a blender) you can chop all ingredients finely and mix together with the oil. Use immediately or store in the fridge up to a week or store in the freezer for even later use. For the freezer, ice cube trays work great. Freeze the pesto cubes, then transfer to large ziplock bags for storage. This also makes warming it up later quick and easy.


From the recipe you can tell that there is a lot of wiggle room in making pesto. Use what is available in your garden or local growers’ market at that time. Experiment with the recipe to figure out what you like best with the ingredients. Another thing about the flexibility is that you can select according to budget as well, choosing lower cost ingredients like sunflowers seeds over pine nuts and skipping sometimes costly cheese.


Is it ready yet?!


Pesto making action shot 😉


Butternut squash filling.


Fresh tomatoes for the sauce




Homemade Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes make an excellent crop for canning that can be used easily throughout the winter months until the next spring’s garden in all sorts of forms, for all sorts of recipes, from pasta to stews. Acidity is important for canning safely so fresh lemon must be used.


ü 8-10 medium sized tomatoes

ü 1 tsp lemon peel finely chopped for sauce and fresh lemon juice for canning

ü ½ cup of red wine (optional for sauces not being canned or can be added when using previously canned sauces at a later date)

ü 1 large onion

ü 2 cloves garlic

ü 1tbsp each of dried oregano, basil, and parsley

ü 1tsp dried thyme

ü ½ tsp each nutmeg & garlic salt



First sauté the chopped onions and minced garlic in a large pot until they are soft. Use only a small amount of water if canning for this, very important. Olive oil is fine if not canning.

Add in the tomatoes (I prefer to puree half of mine and dice the other half). Set aside any juices from the tomatoes, which may mean straining the puree, and add the liquids back in a little at a time as everything simmers. Add in the remaining ingredients to simmer as well to desired thickness.


If you want to add other ingredients, such as fresh veggies and herbs from your garden, only do so if using the sauce immediately or using previously canned sauce.



While sauce is simmering, sterilize your canning jars in boiling water or the dishwasher, pour boiling water over all of your jar lids, and heat water in your canner bath.

Pour 1 tbsp lemon juice into each pint jar or 2 tbsp for quart sized jars. Next pour your sauce into your jars, leaving ½ inch room at the top, place lids on and place into canner bath to boil for 35 minutes. Remove jars to cool.

Check your seals after they cool (the top shouldn’t “pop” when you press on it), label your jars with date and store for a scrumptious winter meal!