Wednesday, August 28, 2013

So many tomatoes....

For me, a homegrown tomato is one of the best things about the summer.  I may only have 3 plants but the tomatoes are consuming my kitchen so in an effort to use them up I made a pasta sauce.

  A few years ago, Bravo had a show about a Chef and his culinary school. The Chef demonstrated a tomato sauce one episode and I have been loosely following the recipe ever since.  If you would like to take a look at the original recipe you can find it here.

I took any of my tomatoes that were ripe and cut them in chunks.  

I added them to a hot pan and let the tomatoes cook on high for 5 minutes.  Combine salt, pepper, sugar*, and vanilla extract** (I wouldn't have thought of it either) and let cook on low for an hour and half to 2 hours.  Continue to check and stir.  I have burnt more than one batch of sauce in the past attempting to do too many other things. 

The sauce will begin to get very thick and at that time I throw in the garlic, olive oil and basil leaves and let cook for another 10 minutes.  This sauce is great to use for everything from pasta to pizza and little goes a long way.  When using for pasta I have added a ladle full of pasta water to loosen up the sauce.

*Always be sure to taste your tomatoes for ripeness.  Fresh summer tomatoes from the garden might not need as much sugar as grocery store tomatoes in the dead of winter.  You can always add...You cant take away!

**The original recipe calls for a vanilla pod but I don't usually keep vanilla pods in the house and after trying with a little vanilla extract got the taste with out the extra cost.

Thick Tomato Sauce

3 lbs Tomatos, cut in chunks
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1/2 Tsp Sugar
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Pepper to taste
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
5 Garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup Whole Basil leaves

1. Cut tomatoes in chunks
2. Throw in a hot pan and let cook on high for 5 minutes
3. Add Salt, Pepper, Sugar and Vanilla extract and put the heat to low, cover and let simmer for about an hour.  After about an hour I remove the cover.  
4. Add Olive oil, Garlic and Basil leaves when most of the liquid has cooked off and the sauce looks nice and thick.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes.  

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Stop and smell the....

well zinnias in this case.  This morning was one of those mornings most of us mothers have experienced where you just want to rip your hair out.  Between potty training my 2 1/2 year old and my 10 month old getting into everything he isn't supposed to I was just feeling beaten down.  Then during the 10 month olds morning nap I went outside and picked some flowers with my 2 year old and everything was put in perspective.

Sometimes you just need a little reminder that these times are fleeting and in a few years I will wish for these days back.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Last Christmas I decided I would give myself a subscription to Birchbox. For those of you that have never heard of it you are missing out! (My sister says I should be their spokesperson) Birchbox charges a monthly fee of $10 and in return you receive 5 makeup samples...and who doesn't love samples!  I used to love wandering around Sephora or Ulta and trying out the newest lipstick or the latest cream but life is a little different now and my leisurely shopping trips are few and far between.  With Birchbox, once a month I can feel a little indulgent without breaking the bank or leaving the house!

Here is an example of my July Birchbox.

Birchbox Bobby Pins 
100% Pure Nourishing Cream 
Nick Chavez Beverly Hills Color-Saver Paraben-Free Conditioner 
Pur Minerals CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40 
Benefit Moisture Prep Toning Lotion 

Since signing up I have given the gift of Birchbox to my sister and mother and have a few friends that have signed up.  I love comparing our boxes each month and find out what their favorite items are.  If anyone is interested in learning more or signing up here is the link -

Coming soon......I will give a full review of the products I received in my August box.