Garden Garbage Condisauce

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why not use up whatever is left in your end-of-season vegetable garden to whip up your very own zesty condisauce? 

Condisauce: When a condiment can also be used as a sauce or a sauce used as a condiment it is refered to as condisauce. Condisauce: When you make or purchase a condiment and you find it can be used in larger amounts and be cooked in a dish with meat, poultry and fish OR when you make or purchase a sauce and realise it works equally well cold as a condiment for burgers and sandwiches.  Another way of saying source: Condiment. Sauce. Dressing. Marinade. Cooking.

when it's a both a condiment and a sauce

It’s fall but there are still some days that feel like summer.  Which is why, when you look at your pitiful end of the season vegetable garden, you’re still a tad hopeful that those green tomatoes will turn red, that you have plenty of time to bring the basil plant indoors and that you will  find the desire (soon) to pickle those hot peppers that decided to grow in all at the same time.

sad end of season fall vegetable garden

Except I know from experience that those tomatoes will in fact, stay green, that the basil will die and turn black at the very first sign of frost and that the hot peppers will end up rotting in the crisper when you’re kids catch on that you’ve been trying to sneak them into e-v-e-r-y meal.

Here is one solution for your leftover garden garbage;

leftover garden vegies like green tomatoes tomato for condisauce

Garden Garbage Condisauce:

  1. Gather up the cracked, nasty or bruised red tomatoes, the green unripened ones, a fist-full of herbs and some hot peppers.
  2. Give them a quick wash, take off the stems and throw them in a huge pot on the stove.
  3. Pour enough water to almost cover the vegetables.  Feel free to throw in a little salt, an onion or two, some garlic, even a couple of old carrots that you accidentally just discovered were growing into your oregano.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce temperature to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until all veggies are soft.
  5. Using your immersion blender, blend together until the consistency is smooth and pureed (looks like baby food).
  6. Pour some into condiment bottles to squeeze on your burgers and sandwiches then store the rest in air tight containers in the fridge or freezer to be used in cooking. (Example: last week I threw skinned and d-boned chicken thighs into the crock pot with 4 cups of this sauce.  I let it cook all day and added in a little heavy cream about 20 minutes before serving over rice = YUM!).

condisauce

Use as dressing on hamburgers, a marinade for grilled pork chops or the base of a great sauce!

If you already cleaned up, composted or threw away you garden’s garbage don’t feel bad -just pin, bookmark, print or save this post for next year ;-)

By the way, in case you’re wondering, condisauce is almost, sort of, a real word.  I made a submission today to Urban Dictionary.com (can you believe no one had done that yet?) and to my surprise a couple of hours later I got an email back, no joke:

“Thanks for your definition of condisauce!
Editors reviewed your entry and have decided to publish it on urbandictionary.com.  It should appear on this page in the next few days:  http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=condisauce 
Urban Dictionary”

Created a blog, check.  Invented a word, check. Next, the Pulitzer Prize …LOL!  ;-)

-Julie

why not ‘beast it’ for dinner tonight?

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DIY CAMP FIRE GRATE

Forget the outdoor gas grill… make dinner on your camp fire!

I am not a huge fan of camping, but I do love campfire food.  Why is it a plain old hot dog tastes so much better on a camp fire compared to the fancy gas BBQ grill at home?  This very thought inspired my husband with a great idea:

Last summer we purchased a new outdoor gas grill but for whatever reason he decided to keep the top and bottom metal cooking grates from our old grill before throwing it out.  After we built our DIY Fire Pit (more on that here), he got the idea of attaching both of the old grates together using re-bar and heavy duty metal wire to make one long cooking grate that can sit right over top of our fire pit whenever we feel like pretending we are camping having a cookout.

To make your own DIY CAMP FIRE GRATE you will need:

  1. Two cooking grates from an old BBQ/gas grill or purchase new ones wherever they sell replacement grill parts.
  2. Two 43″inch long pieces of re-bar (double check length according to your fire pit)
  3. Heavy duty metal wire
  4. Metal wire cutters, pliers and work gloves.

Using the metal wire, tie the two grates together lengthwise.  Sit and center them on top the re-bar and attach them with more wire at each corner and along the edges by wrapping the wire around several times.   Use the wire cutters to cut the wire and the pliers to help twist the wire together tightly and securely.  You’re done!

DIY grate grill for cooking on fire pit

cooking grilling on the campfire

The other night we tried it out by cooking Italian sausages, hot dogs and green beans (picked fresh from our garden) right on the campfire! 

It. Was. Awesome.

We now refer to this way of cooking and eating as ‘beasting it‘:  Cooking on a real wood fire.  Eating mostly with your hands.  Your clothes and hair smelling of smoke and charred meat. Your lap getting dirty because the plate keeps sliding off -oh and don’t forget to pick the ash out of your drink!

 fire pit Cookout

JacobMcStud

The kids loved it and the food was so tasty that everyone had second and third helpings! It was a great family evening which ended with roasting marshmallows and some tackle softball (the tackle part was introduced once I started throwing marshmallows at the hubs and kids! LOL).  And best of all, when we were done, we all got to clean off inside the house with hot showers and sleep in dry, cozy, bug free beds!

Tell me, is camping without actually camping, your kind camping too? ;-)

Julie

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Cheating Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

cheatingchocolateraspberrymoussecake

I call it cheating because although I am not an expert chocolate mousse cake maker, I am pretty certain this is not the way top pastry chefs make theirs.  Still, it tastes awesome and is super easy to make.

chocolate bowl& electric mixer beaters

FIRST. whip up your favorite chocolate brownies, making sure to line or properly butter and flour your pan (brownie recipe to follow if you don’t have one).  Once out of the oven let them cool then remove the entire brownie onto a cutting board.  Cut in half, so that you end up with 2 large rectangular brownies.

brownies cut in half

SECOND. Empty contents of 2 boxes of instant chocolate mousse into a large bowl.  Whatever amount of milk the box asks for substitute with whipping cream instead (I even add 1/2 cup more, so it’s extra creamy).  Beat using an electric mixture until set and fluffy (like whipped cream), about 2 minutes.

instant chocolate mousse

whipping cream

THIRD.  With a spatula or icing spreader, spread a thick amount of mousse on one layer of brownie.  Scatter some raspberries (about 1 cup).  Put second brownie layer on top and spread remaining mousse all over.  Add more raspberries on top if you wish.  Keep lightly chilled until ready to serve, slice as you would a loaf.

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

chocolate mousse cake slice

YUM!

One Bowl Brownies
(cut the recipe in half to make a 9×9 pan)
4 oz. of  unsweetened baking chocolate
3/4 cup  butter or margarine
2 cups  sugar
3 eggs
1tsp.  vanilla
1 cup  flour
Pour into lined or greased 13×9 pan.  Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes.

-Julie

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moist chocolate chip cookie

SECRET to chewy cookies

marshmallow chocolate cake mix cookies

marshmallow chocolate cake mix cookies

make sugar syrup for your summer drinks -in an instant!

“no cooking required!”

makeyourownsugarsyrupforcoldsummerdrinks2

I love ice coffee and my kids enjoy fresh squeezed homemade lemonade, especially on hot summer afternoons.  What I loathe is how the sugar doesn’t fully dissolve because the coffee, lemonade or insert- drink-of-choice-here is cold and so the sugar just swims around at the bottom of my glass!

granulatedwhitesugar

Recently, out of frustration I did a little experiment and came up with a quick, easy and best of all no cooking, solution! I call it Sugar Syrup, but really it’s more like sugar water because it doesn’t have the consistency of syrup at all.

Now I can make perfectly sweetened cold drinks, like the pros do!  And the best part -no more avoiding that pool of undissolved sugar lurking at the bottom!!

ice coffee red flip flops

JULIE’s SUGAR SYRUP:
In a large measuring cup pour in about 3/4 cups of granulated white sugar.  In your kettle bring some water to a boil, then pour about 1 1/2 cups of water over top.  Mix with a spoon or fork for a few seconds until it dissolves.  Pour the Sugar Syrup into a vinegar or oil dispensing type of bottle and store in the fridge. Done!
 

*you can also try adding a dash of vanilla or cinnamon!

*Keep in mind that one teaspoon of Sugar Syrup is way sweeter than one teaspoon of regular granulated sugar!

kettlesugarmeasuringcup

I’m not certain for how long the sugar syrup keeps.  But I guess, to be on the safe side dispose of it after about 3 weeks.  I only make small batches of it at a time anyways… after-all it’s so easy and cheap to make: I usually whip it up at the same time as making myself a cup of tea!

 

sugar syrup

Try sugar syrup in hot beverages too for easy sweetening with little to, no stirring!

ICE COFFEE TIP: Whatever coffee is leftover in that mornings coffee pot pour it into a pitcher, and store in the fridge.  This is way, cold coffee will be available and ready for when the craving strikes and your ice coffee won’t get watered down by melted ice!  Add coffee to the pitcher every morning, but be sure to dump whatever is left after 5 days or so, wash out the pitcher, and then start over.

sugarsyrupforsummerdrinks

Enjoy!

-Julie

The secret to awesome, moist, chewy, chocolate chip cookies!

“two words: UNDER BAKE”

secret to awesome moist chewy cookies

I’m not gonna drag this out.  You clicked on this post to find out the secret.  So here it is: UNDER BAKE.  Yup that’s it.  No bizarre ingredients that you have to get shipped to you from another country.  No long thesis about what kind of flour to use depending on the altitude, air pressure or humidity levels. Nope.  Very simply, just don’t bake your cookies according to the recipe instructions (except my recipes of course!).  It’s true.  I have baked up hundreds (possibly thousands) of cookies, tried various recipes and have had 4 different ovens over the years. If the recipe calls for 10 to 12 minutes, try 7 or 8 minutes instead.

Sure, they’ll look pale, soft and well… under cooked, but that’s OK.  Place them on a cooling rack and wait -cuz you see, the cookies actually keep cooking once they’re out.  After 10 minutes the little buggers will firm up and be ready to eat.  And the cool thing is, hours later your cookies will STILL be awesome, soft, moist and chewy instead of the hockey pucks you’re used to!

chocolate chip cookies

Below, I have included a chocolate chip cookie recipe for you.  Oh and here’s another tip: if you can, try to purchase great quality chocolate.  My fave are the milk chocolate Ghirardelli baking chips!

most chocolate chip cookie

JLH Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

1 bag or approximately 11 ounces of milk chocolate baking chips.
1 cup salted butter
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugars together, add in the eggs, vanilla and cinnamon and blend together.  Next add in baking soda and flour and mix together then incorporate the chocolate chips.

Drop soup spoon size dollops onto a non stick cookie sheet and bake in the centre rack of your oven for 7 to 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and place cookies on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Remove cookies from cookie sheet with a spatula and repeat with remaining batter.

Happy International Chocolate Chip Day!

Julie

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