Northern Tropics Greenhouse

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There is just a ton of recipes on here, do be sure to scroll down through all of them!

Fresh Fruit Cobbler (use peaches, rhubarb, cherries,or berries for this recipe) 


3/4 cup milk

1 cup self rising flour

2-4 cups fresh fruit, peeled or pitted as needed, depending on the type of fruit

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided into three 1/2 cup portions

a little dash of cinnamon, approx 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon

1 stick of margarine

1/4 teaspoon salt

Peel and pit your fruit if needed. Pit cherries, peel and pit peaches, clean and chop rhubarb, or clean berries.

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place stick of margarine in the 9x13" glass baking dish to melt while the oven is preheating. While the margarine is melting, stir together the fruit of your choice and 1/2 cup of sugar. Also stir together the flour, salt, cinnamon, 1/2 cup sugar, and milk in a bowl and stir with a spoon until smooth. By the time you've done that, your margarine should be melted, so pull the pan out of the oven and set it on a heat resistant surface. Dump the batter you just made on top of the margarine, then stir until the margarine is incorporated into the batter.

Pour the fruit/sugar on top of the batter evenly. Sprinkle this with 1/4-1/2 cup additional sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees until nicely browned, approximately 30-45 minutes depending on how much fruit you used.

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping or heavy cream. Refrigerate leftovers!

NOTE: to make this with rhubarb, you will need to add additional sugar because of the tartness of the rhubarb. Try adding 1 cup of sugar and one teaspoon of vanilla along with the fruit instead of 1/2 cup.

With peaches, you may not need as much sugar. With sour red cherries, you might need up to 3/4 cup sugar added with the fruit. Most berries are fine with 1/2 cup sugar.


Jerk Chicken using fresh hot peppers from the Farmers Market

Jamaican Jerk chicken recipe--- just use scotch bonnet peppers instead of habaneros, because they are more authentic to the region. This is so great on the grill! You can also use chicken breasts or pork chops, or even a pork roast. You can cook this in the crockpot too.Be sure and buy scotch bonnet peppers or habaneros at the Northern Tropics booth at the farmers market or at our stand at the greenhouse (in season)!

1 medium-large onion, quartered

1 t dried thyme leaves

1 t salt

3 t sugar

1 t ground allspice

1/2 t ground nutmeg

1/2 t ground cinnamon

2-4 hot peppers, preferably habanero or scotch bonnet

1/4 t ground black pepper

3 T soy sauce

1 T cooking oil

1 T cider or white vinegar

Blend together all ingredients in blender until pureed. This makes an excellent marinade for pork, beef, or chicken. Store leftover marinade in the refrigerator for up to one month or can be frozen. Marinade meats for up to three days in the marinade in the refrigerator, then grill, bake in the oven, or cook in the crockpot. Delicious! Yield 1 cup..... 


Our Favorite Tomato Salsa

Ripe fresh  tomatoes, chopped, 4 cups (approx 5 med-large)

1 large or 2 small green bell peppers, 3/4 cup chopped

1 or 2 small hot chiles, to taste

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon dried or 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro

1/8 teaspoon dried crushed oregano or 1/4  teaspoon fresh

1 teaspoon salt

optional a dash of cumin

optional 1 small can of tomato paste 

Dice all ingredients into approx 1/2-1/4 inch pieces. Drain excess juice from tomatoes, then combine all ingredients. Refrigerate overnight to blend flavors, if you can wait that long!

This recipe can be made in quantity, brought to a boil, and pressure canned (pints) for 10 minutes at 10 lbs pressure. I like to add the one small can of tomato paste per 4 cups of tomatoes to make my salsa thicker like store salsa. I get the tomato paste at aldi, it's cheapest there.  Also, try putting all the veggie ingredients on the grill and browning them and then making the salsa for a different wonderful grilled and smoky taste!


Amish Sauerkraut (from the Amish cook column in the newspaper)

1 clean quart jar (Ball of course!)

Fresh Shredded cabbage

1 teaspoon salt(either canning salt or the free running kind with NO Iodine)

 1 Tablespoon white vinegar

clean fresh water.

Put the salt and vinegar in the bottom of the jar.

 Add the cabbage loosely to the jar, fill to one inch from top but don't pack it in tightly.

Fill the jar to within 1 inch of the top with the clean cold water, screw a new, but not sterilized lid on top of the jar and shake vigorously until the salt dissolves.

 Stand upright in a cool dark place (basement, pantry, closet) for two months. Then it's ready to eat. (NOTE:For safety's sake: If you're serving this to anyone with a comprised immune system, small children or the elderly, boil this first covered for 10 minutes before serving.It's never done anything to us, eating it raw out of the jar--but you can't be too safe!)

Butternut Squash with Orange sauce

3 tablespoons butter, divided

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

3 tablespoons brandy, optional

2 butternut squash, halved and seeded


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Coat pan evenly with melted butter.

In a microwave safe dish, mix the remaining butter, brown sugar, frozen orange juice concentrate, and brandy , heat for 1 minute, until hot and bubbly, stir to mix.

Place squash halves cut side down in the baking dish, and bake 30 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife. Turn squash over, and drizzle with the sauce. Continue baking 15 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

How to use Persimmons

Persimmons are very versatile and can be dried on a food dehydrator for a taste like a date, or put the washed persimmons in a colander and mash them with a spoon to make puree to make the following recipes. Persimmon puree can be measured and frozen for later use. One pint of persimmons will usually make about a cup with the seeds removed. (if it's a little short, applesauce or baby food prunes can be added to make up the difference)

Moist Persimmon Cookies


1 cup persimmon puree

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening. Beat in the egg and persimmon pulp. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, stir into the persimmon mixture. Finally, stir in the chopped nuts and raisins. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 36 cookies.

Persimmon Bars


1 cup persimmon pulp

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg, beaten

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup raisins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan.

In a small bowl, stir together persimmon pulp and baking soda; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, white sugar, vegetable oil and raisins.

In a large bowl, stir together flour cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Stir persimmon mixture and egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Fold in walnuts. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine confectioners' sugar and

lemon juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove bars from oven and spread with glaze.




Pan Sauteed Swiss Chard

1 bunch Swiss chard, well washed

4 slices bacon. cut into pieces 1" long, optional

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 small red onion, diced

1/2 cup dry white wine, 1/4 cup cider mixed with 1/4 cup water, chicken or vegetable broth, or water

2 Tablespoons parmesian cheese, optional

salt and pepper to taste

Separate leaves from stems of Swiss chard. Cut leaves into ribbons about 1" wide. Cut stems into pieces about 1" long. Heat a skillet on medium heat. Fry the bacon in the skillet until browned, if using, then add the garlic, oil or butter, and Swiss chard stems. Add your liquid (wine, water, broth or cider) at this point. Cook covered 4-12 minutes to steam-tenderize and mostly cook stems. When stems feel tender with a fork, it's time for the next step. It will take a varying amount of time depending on how large the stems are, so check them with a fork.

Open skillet and add lemon juice,  and Swiss chard leaves. Stir to incorporate. When leaves begin to wilt, cover pan again and cook covered about 4 minutes. Stir to coat all the leaves and stems well with the sauce. Season to taste with the salt and pepper, and parmesian cheese if using. Serves 2.

Garlic Scapes or Green Garlic Thai Stir Fry

1 large handful garlic scapes, chopped, or green garlic (you can use 3-4 cloves minced garlic instead)

4-5 green onions, chopped roughly

3/4 c soy sauce (low sodium is good)

1/4 cup sugar

1 to 1 1/2 cups of fresh carrots, matchstick sliced

2 cups fresh snap peas or snow peas, stringed

1 large red bell pepper, fresh (or frozen)

2-3 sweet banana peppers. (fresh or frozen)

1 large big jim or other mildly hot pepper, can substitute one jalapeno or thai hot (fresh or frozen)or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 medium or 2 small red tomatoes, chopped roughly

2 boneless chicken breasts, approx 1 lb, sliced into strips about 1/4 inch thick by 2 inches long

1/2 c fresh basil leaves-very roughly chopped

1 -2 T cooking oil

4 T cornstarch

1 1/2 cups water

Cut chicken into thin strips. Saute in non-stick pan over med-high heat with the oil, red pepper powder and garlic scapes. Cook and stir until chicken is white all the way through. Add the matchstick carrots and stir fry 5 minutes more. Add the red bell pepper, and other peppers, the onions, the snow or snap peas and stir fry 2 minutes, then cover and steam for 2 minutes or so. While steaming, stir together the soy sauce, water, cornstarch and sugar until combined well. Add that mixture together with the tomatoes and basil and cook and stir until thickened. Serve over hot white rice. Serves 4.

Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

1 pint fresh tomatillos

2 small hot chiles, optional

2 sprigs cilantro or 1/2 t crushed dried cilantro

1/2 garlic clove

salt to taste

Remove papery husks from tomatillos. Place in a small saucepan, and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, boil one minute and then drain. Place chiles, tomatillos, cilantro and garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend until finely ground. Place in a bowl and refrigerate overnight to blend flavors. Before serving, add salt to taste. Makes about 2 cups.

Green Salsa Chicken Enchiladas

2x recipe above  for Salsa Verde Tomatillo salsa(4c)
cooked chicken breast (I like to cook about 3-4 in the crockpot and use for this recipe)
1 large onion. minced
2-3 cups shredded cheddar, mozzarella, or other cheese that melts good
tortillas, about 10-12 of them. Corn are best but flour is ok too.

put about 1/2 cup of salsa verde in the 9x13 baking dish. Spread to cover bottom of dish. Add a layer of tortillas, torn to fit.
Take the chicken, shred it with two forks and add enough salsa verde to moisten the meat well. Add 1 large chopped mild onion, minced fine. And about a cup of shredded cheddar or mexican blend cheese. Layer 1/2 of this mixture on top of the tortillas. Top with another layer of tortillas torn to fit, then another chicken layer, then another tortilla layer.
Pour all the remaining sauce on top, top this with cheese and bake at 375 for about 30-40 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned all over.
Let sit and rest about 10 minutes so you don't kill yourself eating it. Serves 6.

Nan's Cucumber Dip

A friend of mine gave me this recipe. It's really good! It's a good way to use those cucumbers that are getting too big also, since you take the seeds out and peel it anyway. It's really more like a cheeseball in consistancy.

1 8 ounce block cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon fresh dill weed, or 1/4 t dried
1/4 teaspoon salt
good dash of garlic powder
1/2-3/4 cup shredded mozzarella or swiss cheese
1-2 cups* peeled shredded de-seeded cucumber, ( Be sure you take out the seeds, it makes the dip runny if you leave them in) Be lazy and use a food processor to shred it up!
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix all the ingredients together. It's better if you let it sit together a couple of hours in the refrigerator, but I never have that kind of willpower.
Serve with ritz type crackers, it's awesome!

*The original recipe calls for only one cup of the shredded cucumber but I found it tastes just as good and makes more with less calories if you add up to 2 cups cucumber. When you use more cucumber, use more shredded cheese, too.

Sun Pickles

This sounds weird, but it makes really good pickles that keep in the basement for a year!

1 quart cucumbers sliced and loosely put into a mason jar
1/8 cup salt (regular table salt works fine)
1 teaspoon dill seed
1 small clove of garlic sliced or chunked
1 small hot pepper
1/2 cup white or cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1/16th teaspoon alum (optional, but makes them crispier)
1 clean new canning flat lid and any old ring to seal it with

Put the dill, salt, garlic, hot pepper, alum and vinegar in a clean, non-sterilized canning jar. Wash and slice the cucumbers as desired into slices, crinkle cuts, spears, sandwich stackers, or just slice the ends off each one and leave whole if they're small. Place them loosely in the jar, don't pack down tightly if using slices.

Fill the jar with 1 1/2 cups of clean clear water. Use water that tastes good, not rusty or unsoftened water. If you don't have a softener and have bad water, use bottled water. If 1 1/2 cups doesn't quite fill the jar, then make up a batch of water/vinegar solution at the ratio of 3 parts water to one part vinegar to fill the jar up to 1/2 " from the rim. This ratio is important to keep the pickles from spoiling and make them safe to eat.
Put the lid on top of the jar and seal it down tight. Shake the jar until the salt dissolves. Look at the calendar and write the date one week from the date you're making these pickles on top of the jar. Take the jar outside and sit in full sun until that date, shaking the jar once a day.
Take them inside and they're ready to eat. Or put them in the basement for up to a year. They don't require refrigeration, but if it makes you feel better refrigerate them. If you don't have a basement or cool dry place to store them, you can water bath them for 30 minutes as my sister does, but it does take away a little of the crispness, so when she's water bath canning them, she increases the alum to three times the normal amount. 
Don't know why this works, but they are great pickles! This recipe makes a spicy kosher dill, but if you leave out the garlic and hot pepper, they're still good.

And you can make them only one jar at a time if you don't have many cukes, instead of having to wait until you have 10 quarts, etc.
To make Kosher dill relish, select oversized cucumbers, peel and seed them. Chop them into 1/4 inch chunks using a knife or food processor. Mix up your solution of 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup vinegar and place in a quart jar. Add your spices and salt from above to the jar and then fill the jar to within 1/2 inch of the top with the diced cucumbers. Apply lid, shake well to remove air spaces. Place in sun as above for one week. store in basement or water bath as above.

A good way freshen your air and entertain your kids--using a pie pumpkin

You know how it's weeks until Halloween, but the pumpkins are for sale everywhere. Your kids are begging and begging for a pumpkin to carve, but you know it's too early, they just wouldn't last. Well, here's the answer:

Buy a pie pumpkin (about $1), let the kids carve it together. Then sprinkle the inside of the pumpkin generously with PUMPKIN PIE SPICE, and insert a tealight. Light the candle inside of the pumpkin and enjoy it in the living room or kitchen--as it fills your house with a wonderful fragrance. Then after the tealight burns out, store the pumpkin in the refrigerator. Bring it out tomorrow night, sprinkle it with pumpkin pie spice again, and enjoy the fragrance again.

As long as you store it overnight in the refrigerator, you can usually light these up to 7 nights in a row! That's a lot of air freshening from just a little pumpkin! And as a bonus, you can enjoy your pumpkin indoors where you are spending your time instead of it being outside on the front porch while you're inside...

Quick and Easy Candied Butternut Squash

butternut squash, halved and seeded

1/4 cup butter, divided

1/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided

Place both halves of the squash cut side up on a microwave-safe plate or dish. Put 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar into the cavity of each half.

Cook for 8 to 10 minutes in the microwave on full power. Rotate the squash a couple of times to ensure even cooking.

Stuffed Cabbage Head ("Zelna Hlava Plnena" in Chechoslovakian)

1 head cabbage

1 medium-large onion chopped

4 cloves garlic minced or 1/2 t garlic powder

1 lb ground beef, turkey, or chicken

1 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

1 tablespoon minced parsley

2 cans tomato soup

2 t worchestershire sauce

1 1/2 cooked or instant rice

Remove the stump from the cabbage and discard. Cut the core out of the cabbage in a triangular cone shaped cut.

Scoop out and save the inside of the cabbage, leaving about a 1" shell. Reserve one large leaf from the outside of the head, set aside.

Chop the cabbage you saved from scooping out the inside.

Mix uncooked meat, rice, 1/2 cup of the soup (still concentrated), garlic, onion, worchestershire, pepper and 1/4 t of the salt. Mix together like a meatloaf.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 t salt inside the hollowed-out cabbage head. Pack the meat mixture inside the head of cabbage, doming it up if necessary. Smear a little bit of the condensed soup on top. Top with the large reserved leaf, sealing the meat mixture inside.

Place the stuffed cabbage head inside a large roasting pan with lid, or inside crockpot. Surround the head with the remaining cabbage. Pour the remaining soup over all, and sprinkle with the parsley.

Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour and 1/2, or in crockpot on low for 8-10 hours. Cut into wedges to serve.

Delicious with crusty rolls!




Baked Whole Cauliflower

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup margarine, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch dried oregano


  1. Clean cauliflower, and trim off leaves and any brown spots. Place the whole head of cauliflower into a steamer basket, place the basket in a large pot, and add one inch of water. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or until tender.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a medium bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, melted margarine. Season with garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and oregano, and mix well. Place the head of cauliflower into a baking dish, and coat with the breadcrumb mixture.
  3. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

How to cook a pumpkin to make pumpkin puree the easy way!

Wash the pumpkin of your choice well on the outside.

Cut pumpkin in half, scoop out seeds, save them for baked pumpkin seeds

take the pumpkin, cut it into four or five large pieces that will fit into the crockpot. Cook on low while you do other things until the pumpkin is tender when you stick a fork into it.(You can also turn your pumpkin cut side down on a cookie sheet that's lightly greased and bake it in a 350 degree oven until you stick a fork in it and it's tender, or microwave the pieces, covered until softened, about 15 minutes.)

Carefully remove pieces from crock pot with a slotted spoon or pancake turner and let them cool. Scoop the cooked pumpkin from the skin using an ice cream scoop or spoon and puree it in a blender. You'll have lots of pumpkin puree to use for your favorite recipes. This can be measured out for your recipes and frozen.


If you are doing several at a time, you can also prep your pumpkin as above, put them face down on a cookie sheet and bake them until they're tender at 350 degrees for about an hour until they're tender.


Baked Pumpkin Seeds

Easy old fashioned fall snack!

Fresh pumpkin seeds
Optional: Seasoned salt, garlic salt, chili powder, etc, whatever you like


Wash pumpkin seeds from Jack-O-Lantern. Spread on a buttered cookie sheet. Drizzle with a little cooking oil, olive oil or melted butter or margarine, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt or seasonings.Toast at 350 oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden, stirring often.

Pumpkin bars with cream cheese icing

2 cups all purpose flour

2 t baking powder

2t cinnamon

1 t baking soda

4 eggs (or 8 egg whites)

1 16 ounce can of pumpkin or 2 cups home prepared pureed pumpkin

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup of oil (or 1 cup applesauce or 1 cup more pumpkin)

Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl with a wire whisk. Add the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Bake in a ungreased cookie sheet (grease sheet if using low fat ingredients). Bake for 15-25 minutes depending on the size of the cookie sheet used.

Cool cake and then either dust lightly with powdered sugar, or use the cream cheese icing recipe below:


2 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature

1 t vanilla

3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup margarine or butter (can use lowfat)

Mix together the cream cheese, margarine and vanilla. slowly add the powdered sugar until it reaches desired consistancy, spread on cooled cake.

Store any remaining bars in the refrigerator.


Pumpkin Butter

This is really good! It tastes like pumpkin pie, but you can put it on biscuits or toast..YUM!!

  • 1 (29 ounce) can canned pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Combine pumpkin, apple juice, spices, and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently.
  2. Spoon hot pumpkin mixture into hot jars, filling to within 1/4 inch from top. Remove air bubbles; wipe jar rims. Cover at once with metal lids, and screw on bands.
  3. Store in refrigerator or freeze.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

These sound weird, but they're really really good! You can also make these with walnuts instead of chocolate chips, but they're really good with the chocolate chips.

  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, sugar, salt and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat together pumpkin, eggs and water. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture; beat until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
  4. For a large church-sale sized batch, use 4c of pumpkin, and a 12 oz bag of chocolate chips. Makes about 42 that way!

Pumpkin pie cake

1 box of yellow or butter pecan cake mix

2 sticks margarine, melted

1 29 ounce can of pumpkin, or 4 cups of pureed home cooked pumpkin

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 can evaporated milk

3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350.

In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, spices, sugar, eggs, and evaporated milk. Stir with a wire whisk to mix thoroughly.

Pour mixture into a 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle the dry cake mix on top evenly. Melt the margarine and drizzle it on top, moistening the cake mix. Bake in a preheated oven for 60 minutes.NOTE: your pumpkin pie cake will look liquidy when it's removed from the oven but it will set up as it cools. Don't overbake it!

Basil Thai Eggplant Stir Fry

1/2 cup peanuts

1 small zucchini

1-2 carrots, sliced thin

3/4 cup chopped celery

1 large onion, chopped

1/4-1/2 cup snipped fresh Thai basil

2 cups fresh green beans

2 green peppers, roughly chopped

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 T sugar

1 t hot pepper sauce, or 2-3 hot peppers

1 peeled, chopped eggplant, or 3-4 "baby eggplants" sliced

vegetable oil for cooking

salt to taste

1/2 t minced garlic

Saute carrots, celery,and onion in a couple tablespoons of the oil. Add all other ingredients except basil and peanuts. Stir fry until crisp-tender. Remove from heat and add peanuts and basil and stir just to wilt basil. Serve over white rice.

Variation: you can add chicken or shrimp or beef to this stir fry. If adding, saute the meat first in the pan, then remove it. Add it to the dish at the end with the basil and peanuts.

Serves 6-8

Blueberry Streusel Topped Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
    2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture. It will look like too much topping but use it all anyway.
    3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
    4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

    New Potatoes Romanoff

    4 cups small new potatoes, cleaned

    6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded

    1 cup sour cream (works with lowfat)

    1 red onion, finely chopped

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon black pepper

    1 teaspoon paprika

    2 cloves garlic,minced

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and cook in a casserole dish with a lid or covered with foil for about one hour, until potatoes are tender. Serves 4-6.

    Great with roasted chicken, and you can cook it all in the oven at the same time. I believe this dish could also easily be microwaved--but I haven't tried it yet.

    Pork roast wrapped in banana leaves--a la crockpot

     1 2 or 3 pound pork roast, I used sirloin roast
    1 large onion sliced
    1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground
    1/2 teaspoon oregano
    1 minced clove garlic
    1 sliced tomato
    2 small sweet banana peppers and 1/4 t ground red pepper
    or 2 of your favorite hot peppers (or more for hotter) sliced into rings or strips
    juice of one lime
    salt and pepper to taste
    4 med or two large banana leaves, I used ice cream banana this time because I had them

    Lay out the leaves in the sun for a couple of hours to wilt slightly, they wrap up easier that way. Or dip them in hot water.

    If you use medium leaves, Lay two leaves overlapping slightly on the table and lay the roast on the leaves. If you're using large ones, just use one leaf. Season the roast well with the salt and pepper. Layer the onion, then the tomato, garlic, peppers and sprinkle the oregano and cumin on top. Squeeze the lime on top over all.
    Wrap the banana leaves over the roast to make a packet then lay out the other two leaves and wrap it the other way to make it securely sealed. Put it in the crockpot and cook it for 6-8 hours on low or 4 on high. Remove from crock pot and rest it for 15 minutes, then slice or shred meat. Serves 4-6.
    Serve with tortillas, salsa, avacado or guacamole, sour cream and your fave hot sauce. I'm sure this would be even better grilled but I was too lazy.

    Brats in a hot tub with onions and peppers

    1 pkg bratwurst or italian sausage 5 sausages usually

    1-2 onions, sliced

    1-2 green bell peppers cut into strips

    1 beer of your choice

    1 foil lasagna-type pan for the grill

    Add brat to the pan. Pour the beer into the pan too. Place on the grill and cook until beer mostly evaporates. When there's about 1/4-1/2 inch of beer left, add the veggies and cook until beer is gone and veggies are tender. Serve with buns. Makes 5.

    Heirloom tomato salad

    Several different colored heirloom tomatoes at least 3 different ones!

    italian dressing

    fresh cracked black pepper

    basil or oregano or thyme, fresh snipped

    Slice the tomatoes on a plate, alternating slices of different colors. Sprinkle liberally with the italian dressing, then grind on a liberal amount of black pepper. Finish the dish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs! (shown-- beautiful Aunt Ruby's German Green tomato slices)

    Just wonderful!

    Chunky Garden Marinara Sauce

    1 cup chopped onion

    1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

    1/4 cup chopped diced carrot

    1/4 cup chopped diced celery

    2 cloves of garlic, minced

    2 Tablespoons of olive oil or cooking oil

    2 cups chopped tomatoes (6-8 medium ones, or 3 large)

    1/2 of a 6 ounce can of tomato paste (1/3 cup)

    2 teaspoons fresh basil, snipped (or 3/4 teaspoon dried basil)

    2 teaspoons fresh oregano, snipped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)

    1 teaspoon fresh thyme, snipped (or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed dried thyme)

    1 teaspoon sugar

    OPTIONS: add 1/2 diced peeled eggplant, 1/4 cup mushrooms sliced, 1/4 cup olive slices-black or green, 1/4 cup diced zucchini.

    In a large skillet, cook onion, sweet pepper, carrot, celery, and garlic in hot oil until tender.( If adding optional veggies, add them now too.)Stir in fresh tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Bring to boiling, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Add the tomato paste. If necessary to make desired thickness, either add more tomato paste, or simmer uncovered an additional 15 minutes or so. Serve over pasta. Serves 2.

    If you wish to can your sauce, when it's the consistancy you like, put it into clean canning jars, and seal with sterilized lids. Process in a pressure canner (quarts) 20 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure. Five times the original recipe = approximately seven quarts of sauce.

    Italian Crispy grilled green beans

    1 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed and washed

    1/8 cup italian dressing

    a sprinkle of salt to taste

    Take the trimmed green beans and put them in either a bag or a bowl with a lid. Pour over the Italian dressing, and shake until well coated. Place the coated green beans in the center of a piece of aluminum foil and shake liberally with the salt. Fold the foil to make a packet around the green beans and then place on the grill while you're cooking other things. Grill 10-15 minutes, turning often, until crisp-tender. Serves 2-3 as a side dish.

    Campbell's like tomato soup for home canning

    click the link below for the recipe, I posted it on

    Cabbage, Potato, and Smoked Sausage Skillet meal

    click the link below for the recipe, I posted it on

    Delicious crockpot pepper steak

    click the link below for the recipe, I posted it on



    Cheesy Fancy Cauliflower Bake 

    click the link below for the recipe, I posted it on

    Scalloped Potatoes, Cabbage, and smoked sausage

    click the link below for the recipe, I posted it on

    Easy Pickled Peppers

    Use habaneros, Jalapenos, pepperoncini, hot banana peppers, sweet banana peppers, serranos, whatever you wish for this easy recipe. Enjoy summers' goodness during the winter on your nachos, salads, etc. I like to mix hot banana peppers and sweet green italian peppers for a nice color contrast and milder flavor.



    1. Wash jalapenos,slice if desired. If using whole, just wash them well, and cut a little slit in the side of the peppers for the vinegar to go inside, or cut the very point off.  Put prepared peppers loosely (don't press down) in canning jars, leaving 2 inches of headspace. Check your jars for nicks along the top edge of the neck, if they have any chips, those jars will not seal. Any like that will have to be stored in the refrigerator. 
    2. mix white vinegar and water, 50% vinegar and 50% water together. If you're filling a quart jar of peppers, use 1/2 a quart of each. mix together and then fill to 1/2 inch below top of jar. at this time you're ready to can your peppers, so put your canning lids in a pan of boiling hot water.
    3. add 1 tbls salt per quart jar 
    4. leave lid off and put in microwave on high for 5 minutes.
    5. using potholders, remove from microwave, wipe off top of jar so it's perfectly clean, and quickly apply hot new screw on lid and band.
    6. they will seal and its fast and easy peppers are crisp. Wait three weeks before tasting. If any jars do not seal, store them in the refrigerator and use them first-after waiting three weeks for flavor to develop.


    The best deep fried Cauliflower

    One box of the cheapo Jiffy brand corn muffin mix

    One large egg

    1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

    one head of fresh cauliflower cut into small florets, washed and drained on a towel

    about 1/3 cup water

    1/4 cup white all purpose flour

    Heat oil for deep frying to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients for the batter mix (which is everything except the cauliflower) in a bowl and stir until smooth with a fork. If it's too thick add a little more water. You're shooting for a consistency here quite a bit thicker than a pancake batter, but thinner than if you're making cornbread.

    Add the cauliflower to the bowl and stir to coat well. Using your fingers, remove pieces a few at a time and deep fry until golden brown. Drain well on paper towels and salt to taste. Serves four people.

    This batter is also good on okra, zucchini slices, mushrooms, or other goodies you like deep fried.

    Fresh rhubarb-strawberry-blueberry-apple crisp


    1 1/4 cup flour

    1 cup rolled oats

    3/4 cup brown sugar

    1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

    1/2 cup melted butter



    1 cup cold water

    2 tbsp. cornstarch

    3/4 cup sugar

    1 1/2 tsp. grated orange peel



    1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

    1 cup each of sliced strawberries and apples (peeled)

    1 cup blueberries

    Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and spices. Add the butter. Sprinkle 1/2 of this mixture into a greased 9" pan.

    In the meantime mix sauce ingredients. Cook 5 minutes over med-low heat until thickened. Stir continuously. Toss the fruits and pour over base crust mixture in pan. Pour sauce over top. Sprinkle with the rest of the base mixture.

    Bake 350F for 60 minutes. Serve warm with or without ice cream.


    Zucchini Brownies

    A very nice lady gave me this recipe, I adapted it just a little bit, to make it easier and faster to make. Rich and moist brownies, you'll never even know there's zucchini in them! Very easy and good. This is a great way to sneak zucchini in on your unsuspecting kids or hubby!

    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

    1/4 cup cocoa powder

    1/4 teaspoon baking soda 

    1/8 teaspoon salt

    1 stick margarine or butter melted (1/2 cup)

    1 large egg

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    1 cup grated zucchini

    7/8 cup white sugar

    1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or morsels

    1/4 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)

    In a medium sized mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients, stir well. Add zucchini and all the wet ingredients all at once. Stir just until moistened. Bake in a 8x8 or 9x9 lightly greased pan for 25-30 minutes. Cut into bars. Makes 9-16 depending on how you cut them.


    Easy Home made tabasco type sauce--no canning required!

    1 quart or even 1 pint jar full of your favorite hot peppers: tabasco, habanero, jalapeno, serrano, scotch bonnet, bhut jalokia, etc.

    white vinegar

    salt 1 teaspoon per quart or 1/2 teaspoon per pint, optional

    Wash peppers well and pull off stems. Loosely pack peppers in the quart or pint sized canning jar. Add salt, 1 teaspoon in a quart jar, or 1/2 teaspoon in a pint jar.

    Close jar with a clean new canning ring and lid. Set jar aside in a warm place (I use the top of the refrigerator) for 3 months. After 3 months, remove lid and pour contents into the blender. Process on high speed until liquefied. Strain through a strainer to remove skins and seeds. You will now have your own sauce to use as desired. Bottle and keep in refrigerator or freezer.

    I've found you can also make sauce using vodka or rum in place of the vinegar and it will hold the hot flavor better, up to two years. 

    Yummy spanish rice

    1 cup diced tomato

    1/4 cup diced onion

    1/4 cup frozen peas, optional, but good.

    1 small carrot, cut into small diced pieces

    1 clove garlic, minced

    1 1/2 cups water

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    2 tablespoons bacon grease(best) or veggie oil

    fry rice in oil in skillet until a light golden brown color, stir constantly. Add the garlic and onion and saute until tender. add the tomato, carrot, water and peas, and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 25-30 minutes until rice is tender, don't lift lid. You can alternatively cook to the point of putting all the ingredients in and then pour this into a rice cooker and finish cooking it. That's what I usually do.

    You can use 1 cup of salsa instead of the tomato and onion and that works fine too.


    Tabasco type sauce (super easy)

    1 nice clean jar with a tight fitting lid

    hot peppers of your choice

    white vinegar

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Wash peppers well and remove stems. pack them loosely into the clean jar, sprinkle the salt over the top. Add white vinegar to fill the jar. Now comes the hard part. Screw the lid on the jar and set it aside for 3 months. After three months, take the jar, and dump the contents into the blender. Blend it until liquefied, then pour and stir the liquid through a strainer to remove skins and seeds.Store in refrigerator. Keeps at least a year.

    makes a little less than 1 quart

    Use your imagination to create combos. We've used white bullet habanero with jalapeno, chocolate habanero, fatalii-scotch bonnet-naga jolokia, white bullet with bhut jolokia, and full mix of just everything in the garden. All were great. You can also play around with this and do small batches of one variety if you want to get all gourmet. Very fun!

    Hot-style Chili Sauce

     This makes the best chili cheese fries! try it also on hot dogs.

    6 lbs ripe tomatoes

    1 cup cider vinegar

    1 cup onion (1 large), minced, (or you can put it in blender and pulverize it along with some juice from the tomatoes)

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/3 cup chili powder

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon dry mustard

    1/3 of a habanero pepper, minced,(or put into blender with onion)

    1 Tablespoon corn starch

    ¼ cup cold water

    Wash and cut tomatoes into quarters. Place tomatoes, pepper, and onions in a large non-reactive saucepan and simmer covered until soft. Process mixture through a colander to remove skins and seeds. Place this tomato puree into a large non-reactive saucepan. Add cider vinegar, sugar, chili powder, salt, dry mustard, and simmer to reduce for about 2 hours until it’s as thick as catsup. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, especially as the mixture thickens up.

    If you want to speed up the reduction process, pour mixture into two non-reactive skillets and simmer so that the juice isn’t as deep. It will reduce faster that way. If you have tons of time, put this into a crockpot on high and crack the lid open a little so it will evaporate, this will take about 2 days, and be a darker brown color.

    When mixture is as thick as catsup, mix together the water and cornstarch and pour it into the mixture while stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. This will make your chili sauce very thick and smoother textured like catsup.

    Pour into clean, hot ½ pint jars, seal with hot canning lids. Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes after water comes back to a boil. Makes approx 7 half pints. You can alternatively pour this into clean catsup bottles and store in refrigerator, or put into freezer containers after cooling and freeze.

    If you want this not to be spicy, leave out the hot pepper, or use another milder kind, like a jalapeno or a hot banana. Great on chili dogs and chili cheese fries!

    Lazy Housewife Pickles

    7 cups cucumbers sliced

    1 teaspoon salt

    2 cups white sugar

    1 cup sliced onion

    1 cup chopped bell pepper

    1 cup cider or white vinegar

    1 teaspoon celery seed

    Mix cucumbers and salt in a bowl and let stand one hour. Do not drain! Add pepper and onion to cucumbers.

    Heat vinegar in microwave until hot, then add sugar and stir until it dissolves. Add celery seed. Pour dressing over cucumber mixture and stir until well coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight then serve. Store in refrigerator three days, stirring once a day, then they can be frozen for up to one year. Just put them in freezer containers, leaving one inch headspace and including the juice with the pickles. Thaw in the refrigerator to serve

    This will also keep in refrigerator at least one month!

    spaghetti squash, how to cook it, how to use it

    How To Cook Spaghetti Squash
    • Bake It -- Pierce the whole shell several times with a large fork or skewer and place in baking dish. Cook squash in preheated 375?F oven approximately 1 hour or until flesh is tender.

    • Boil It -- Heat a pot of water large enough to hold the whole squash. When the water is boiling, drop in the squash and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on its size. When a fork goes easily into the flesh, the squash is done.

    • Microwave It -- Cut squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds. Place squash cut sides up in a microwave dish with 1/4 cup water. Cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on size of squash. Add more cooking time if necessary. Let stand covered, for 5 minutes. With fork "comb" out the strands.

    • Slow Cooker or Crock-Pot - Choose a smaller spaghetti squash (unless you have an extra large slow cooker) so that it will fit. Add 2 cups of water to slow cooker. Pierce the whole shell several times with a large fork or skewer, add to Crock Pot, cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours.

    Once the squash is cooked, let it cool for 10 to 20 minutes so it will be easier to handle, before cutting in half (if it wasn't already) and removing the seeds. Pull a fork lengthwise through the flesh to separate it into long strands. (See photos.) You can do these steps ahead of time, then prepare spaghetti squash recipes whenever the mood strikes.

    You can use this in substitution of spaghetti in your favorite recipes. Store your uncooked squash at room temperature, (60-65) for a month or two. You can also freeze your cooked spaghetti squash by packing it into freezer bags or containers. Thaw, heat in microwave, and use as fresh cooked. Info from

    Spaghetti squash easy supper

    cook spaghetti squash as above, while it's cooking, grill a couple of chicken breasts with salt and pepper sprinkled on them and maybe a little italian seasoning or italian spices of your choice. saute a green bell pepper and onion in a skillet until softened, then add a jar of prepared alfredo sauce. heat until sauce is warmed, then stir in shredded spaghetti squash. Serve this on a plate with the chicken breast on top, with a side salad or steamed green beans. Yummy! and pretty too... 

    Thai Sweet Chili sance

    3 large garlic cloves, peeled

    2 red jalapeno or serrano peppers, seeded

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/4 cup white vinegar or white wine vinegar

    3/4 cup water

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 Tablespoon cornstarch (heaping)

    2 Tablespoons water 

    in a blender, mix the seeded peppers, garlic, sugar, water and vinegar and process until all is minced finely. Pour into saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat stirring often. After mixture boils, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes until the bits of pepper and garlic are cooked. 

    In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water to make a "slurry". Add this to the sauce, while stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Cook and stir for one minute until thickened and clear.Store in refrigerator. Makes around 1 cup. 

    Home Made Spaghetti Sauce, speedy or slow cooked

    This sauce can take a long time to cook, or you can make a speedy version by using commercially canned tomato paste to thicken it up in a hurry! It makes a sweet sauce similar to ragu or prego. You need a large stainless steel stockpot or a couple of large 5 quart crockpots in cooking this sauce.

    Note: at any time during this cooking, if you get in a hurry and turn the heat up too high, your tomato puree may scorch and stick to the bottom of the pan. If this happens, just pour it into another pan or large mixing bowls, and don't scrape the bottom of the scorched pan. Wash the scorched pan and removed any scorched part, and put the tomato puree back in there. Continue cooking and it will be just fine.

    1/2 bushel tomatoes

    2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

    3/8 cup sugar

    1 teaspoon dried thyme

    1 teaspoon dried oregano

    1 teaspoon dried basil

    2 teaspoons salt

    1 teaspoon black pepper

    5 cloves garlic, peeled (about 2 1/2 teaspoons of the already minced kind would work)

    2 large onions

    2 Tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1/2 cup water

    for the speedy version only, 3-5 small cans of tomato paste as desired

    Cut tomatoes, cutting off any bad spots, and removing cores and hard parts. Reserve 6-8 of the nicest ones for dicing to add to the sauce at the end if you like a "chunky style" sauce. Process tomatoes until smooth and liquified in a blender on high speed. Place the resulting puree in a large stockpot.

    Peel onions and roughly chunk those up into quarters or eighths. Peel garlic. Add half of the chunked onions and garlic to a blender. Add a couple cups of the tomato puree and blend until liquefied.This is much easier than cutting them up! Repeat until all the onion and garlic is processed. Add this to your stockpot along with the tomato puree.

    Next add all the spices and sugar to your puree, but don't add the cornstarch. Cook over medium-low heat until this mixure is cooked through and comes to a boil. At this point, if you're making the speedy version, then add tomato paste and whisk with a wire whisk to mix it until the sauce is as thick as you'd like it. If you're making the slow version, reduce heat at this point and continue cooking until sauce is as thick as you would like it to be. Stir two or three times per hour at least. You want the temperature to be just like a simmer, barely boiling. It takes a long time, usually overnight, plus a few hours the next day. If yours isn't thick enough and it's time to go to bed, just set your stove burner as low as it will go, stir it well and put the lid loosely crooked so steam can escape overnight. On our electric stove it works just fine. If it makes you nervous cooking it overnight, then put it in a large crockpot on high with the lid slightly askew. You can continue cooking it that way. When your sauce is as thick as you'd like it, add the 6-8 tomatoes that you reserved at the beginning, peeled and diced, and cook about another 1/2 hour.

    When your sauce is thick enough, add the cornstarch and water. This is not to thicken the sauce, but instead to make the sauce coat the noodles better when you use it. It makes the sauce stick to the noodles instead of separating into tomato bits and watery part. Stir until you can't see the cornstarch mixture any more..

    Now you may can or freeze your sauce! You should have around 7 quarts in total, if your tomatoes have a high yield and were not too watery. Heirlooms will be around 5 quarts usually and take longer to cook down because of higher water content, unless they're romas.. But they sure taste good!

    Process your quarts or pints of tomato sauce in a water bath canner for 30 minutes, or pressure canner at 5 lbs pressure for 15 minutes. You can also cool and freeze your sauce.

    Home made V8 juice

    1/2 bushel tomatoes, approx 24 lbs

    2 cups chopped celery

    2 cups chopped carrots

    1 cup chopped onions

    1 cup chopped bell peppers

    cut any bad spots off tomatoes, quarter. Add other veggies in pot with tomatoes and cook until tender over med heat. Blend with blender or immersion blender until liquified, strain.

    Add 1 tsp celery salt to the resulting strained juice. stir to dissolve.

    Reheat strained juice to a boil and process in quart or pint sized jars.When processing quart sized jars, add one teaspoon salt and one teaspoon sugar to each jar. When doing pints, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon sugar to each jar.

     Use pressure canner to process 15 minutes at 10 lbs pressure or water bath for  40 minutes quarts and 30 minutes pints.

    Thai sweet chili sauce

    1 T. garlic, minced
    3 medium dried chilis or 3 fresh chilis (adapt for the type of heat you desire)
    3/4 cup water
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup vinegar (5% acidity - either white or cider will work) 
                      (Cider will give it still sweeter taste)
    1/4 t. kosher salt

    2 T. Clear jel (NOT Sure-Jel) You can use 4 T cornstarch, but then you can't can it..
    4 T. water

    In the blender, small food processor, or magic bullet mix the peppers with the 3/4 cup of water till blended. You can leave the seed in if you want the spicier flavor. 

    Add the chili mixture, garlic, sugar and vinegar to a saucepan. Heat to a simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. 
    Combine Clear Jel and 4 tbsp water in a small bowl and mix well. Bring chili mixture to a boil and whisk in the Clear Jel continuing to stir for one minute. 


    The sauce will thicken quite quickly. Remove from heat. 

    Fill jars with mixture to 1/2" headspace. Remove air bubbles with rubber spatula and refill to proper headspace if needed. Using a wet papertowel wipe the rims of the jars. Add hot lids and rings. Place in water bath canner and process once the water comes back to a full boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the canner and leave on the dishtowel overnight with disturbing to cool. 

    Pineapple Reaper Jelly

    1 Carolina Reaper Pepper

    15 aji limon peppers

    2 Jamaican Yellow Scotch Bonnet Peppers

    1 small yellow bell pepper

    1 large sweet banana pepper in the yellow-orange stage (for color)

    5 cups fresh pineapple, cubed (about 1 average) 

    1 cup distilled white vinegar

    5 cups sugar

    2 boxes powdered fruit pectin (sure-jell)

    Clean the seeds from the peppers, using plastic gloves. In the blender combine all hot peppers with about 1/2 of the pineapple chunks. Puree until smooth. (no one wants a large chunk of these peppers in their mouth).Pour into a 5 quart dutch oven type pan. Take the remaining pineapple chunks and process them until slightly chunky in the blender. Pour this into the dutch oven pan too.

    Dice up the bell and sweet peppers very finely with a knife. I like 1/8" pieces approximately. You should have 3/4 cup after dicing them up. Add to the hot pepper/pineapple mixture. Add the vinegar, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil stirring occasionally 5 minutes to cook diced peppers.

    Add fruit pectin, stir until mixed. Then add sugar, and turn burner onto high heat setting. Stir constantly but slowly until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. That means when you stir it, it doesn't stop boiling at any place in the pan. Boil for exactly one minute at this point and then remove this from heat. Place in 4 ounce canning jars, seal with hot lids and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. This makes 15 of the 4 oz size jars.

    Note: You can use any kind of hot peppers that you like, the original recipe called for 10-15 habaneros. You can use canned pineapple, just drain it well first.  It will probably take 2 cans of pineapple chunks to make 5 cups, I imagine. The total amount of bell peppers should be 3/4 cup after dicing. 

    Dark Chocolate Rhubarb Browines

    1 cup white sugar

    1/2 cup vegetable oil

    2 large eggs

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    1/2 cup all purpose flour

    1/3 cup cocoa powder

    1/2 teaspoon baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 cup rhubarb, diced small ( I chop mine with food processor)

    1/2 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips

    1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, optional

    preheat oven to 375 degrees. grease an 8x8 baking pan. Whisk together dry ingredients (not chips or nuts) in a small bowl. stir wet ingredients, except rhubarb,  into dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. stir in rhubarb and chips and nuts if using. spread into baking dish and bake approximately 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. don't over bake so they don't dry out. cut into 9 squares and enjoy after cooling!

    Cabbage Stroganoff


    1 lb. ground beef
    1/2 head cabbage, quartered & sliced thin
    1 c. water
    1 can cream of mushroom soup
    1 c. chopped onion
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    1/2-1 c. sour cream
    1-2 beef bouillon cubes 
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
    1 cup frozen peas 


    In large skillet, add beef, onions, salt, pepper, and garlic; cook until meat is brown. Add cabbage, bouillon cubes and 1 cup water. Cover and simmer over medium heat until cabbage is wilted. Add mushroom soup. Add frozen peas, simmer for 5 minutes.Stir in sour cream. 

    Mint Tea

    1 large handful of mint, washed  (peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm, or other mints are fine)

    2 quarts water

    sweetener of your choice

    Wash mint. Bring water to boil in pan. Add mint to pan and stir to wet. Remove from heat, cover with lid. Let water and mint come to room temperature, 2 hours or so. Strain out mint and add sweetener of your choice. Serve heated or cold for a refreshing summer drink. 

    Renee's home made enchilada sauce

    12 cups tomato puree:  to make tomato puree, remove any bad spots from tomatoes and cores, quarter tomatoes, cook over med heat in a non-reactive pan (stainless steel or non-chipped non stick) until softened, Pour in blender, cover lid with a kitchen towel so you don't get burned, and blend until smooth. Strain or use colander to remove seeds and skins. cook down on medium heat until mixture is reduced by 1/4. In other words if the pan was full of juice, when it's 3/4 full after cooking, then it's ready...

    bottled lemon juice

    6 teaspoons chili powder

    2 teaspoons ground cumin

    2 teaspoons mexican oregano, or regular oregano if you can't find the mexican kind

    2 teaspoons garlic powder

    1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

    1 1/2 teaspoons salt

    2 teaspoons dried cilantro

    mix spices together in a small bowl.

    add 2 1/2 tsp of spice blend  and 1/4 tsp salt (optional)  and 1 tbsp lemon juice to each pint jar.Use double if you're doing quart jars.

    Prepare boiling water bath canner, heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use,

    add tomato puree to a pot and bring to a simmer.

    ladle hot tomato puree into jars with spice blend, leaving 1/2 inch headspace, wipe edges and apply hot lid to jar.

    process filled jpint jars in boiling water canner for 20 minutes, quarts for 30 minutes. Or pressure can at 5 lbs pressure for the same amount of time. makes 6 pints or 3 quarts.


    Basic Fermented Hot Sauce

    Makes about 2 1/2 cups


      • 1 pound stemmed fresh chiles (such as jalapeño, serrano, scotch bonnet, or habanero, ghost, reaper; use one variety or mix and match)
      • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
      • 1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar


      1. Pulse chiles and kosher salt in a food processor until a coarse purée forms. Transfer to a 1-quart glass jar, loosely screw on lid, and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours to ferment slightly.
      2. Stir in vinegar and loosely screw on lid. Let chile mixture stand at room temperature for at least 1 day and up to 7 days. (Taste it daily; the longer it sits, the deeper the flavor becomes.)
      3. Purée mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Place a fine-mesh sieve inside a funnel. Strain mixture through sieve into a clean glass bottle. (Hot sauce will become thinner and may separate after you strain it; shake vigorously before each use.) DO AHEAD: Can be made up to 4 months ahead. Keep refrigerated.

    Carolina Reaper Dark Chocolate Rum Truffles  makes 36

    Carolina Reaper/Rum sauce (recipe follows)

    12 ounce bag semi sweet chocolate chips, minus 1/4 cup (reserve for another use)

    2T butter

    1T rum, not spiced

    1t milk

    sprinkles and or cocoa for coating

    melt chocolate in microwave by heating 30 seconds, then stirring. Do this until melted and smooth. Add butter and stir. Add rum and milk and stir until smooth. Add reaper/rum sauce 10 drops at a time until desired heat level. I added 100 drops to get a fairly hot chocolate. place this in the refrigerator and stir occasionally, until it's pretty stiff. Using a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon, dip out portions and roll into balls, wearing plastic gloves (because of the heat). roll balls in desired toppings and you're ready to eat!

    Rum/Reaper sauce, grow your carolina reapers until red, pick. Wash. Wearing plastic gloves, carefully seed the peppers. Place the peppers into a small jar that they will fill loosely. Pack the seeded and washed peppers into the jar loosely and fill jar with rum. I like dark rum for this. let sit for at least 2 months, and then dump jar contents in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain through a coarse strainer and put back in the jar. Will keep at room temperature unrefrigerated.

    Home Made Playdoh for Kids, cheap and fun...

    When you are sitting around home with nothing to do, ask an adult and make some fun playdoh!

    This stuff keeps for weeks in a closed container or zipper bag, and uses regular household ingredients.

    1 1/2 cups flour (all purpose flour)

    1 Tablespoon Cream of Tartar

    1 1/2 Tablespoons cooking oil

    2/3 cup salt

    1 1/2 cups food coloring of your choice (or can use a packet of Koolaid in your fave color)

    Mix all dry ingredients together in a non-stick saucepan. Add the wet ingredients and stir well. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture gets very thick and kind of translucent (see-through or clearish). Remove from heat and cool until room temperature, and it's ready to use.

    fun for kids and air freshening with a pie pumpkin!

    Items needed:

    Pie pumpkin ($1)

    Cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice


    utensils to carve pumpkin with

    One kid that wants to carve a pumpkin 

    Purchase a pie pumpkin at the Farmers' Market--at the Northern Tropics booth of course!

    Wash the outside of the pumpkin to remove soil. Have an adult cut the top of the pumpkin, just like you were carving your halloween pumpkin, only smaller.Scoop out all the insides. Save the seeds for toasted pumpkin seeds (the recipe is on our recipes from the market page). IMPORTANT: Make a couple of holes in the "lid" of the pumpkin to help the heat and scent escape. Otherwise the "lid" could get hot and dry out, resulting in a fire. You can easily "drill" holes in the lid using the point of a sharp knife, or a pumpkin drill. (Yes, they make those! they are available in the pumpkin carving kits)

     Draw your choice of faces on the pumpkin with a sharpened pencil, then ask an adult to cut the face out for you.

    Sprinkle the inside of the pumpkin with pumpkin pie spice of cinnamon, liberally sprinkle the entire inside of the pumpkin. Ask an adult to help you light a tea light candle (the small ones in the metal cups) and insert it into the pumpkin. Set your pumpkin on a heat resistant glass plate and put it on a safe surface such as a table inside your house.

    The heat from the candle and the combination of pumpkin and spices will make your house smell yummy and you'll get to spend some time with your pumpkin inside too. After the candle burns out in a few hours, place the pumpkin in the refrigerator to save it for another day. You can usally light these little pumpkins for  4-5 days, adding a little more spice each day to the inside before discarding it in the compost pile or trash.

    When the smell makes you hungry for a pumpkin dessert, don't forget to see my "Recipes from the farmers market" page--there's a great EASY recipe for Pumpkin Pie cake that you'll love!

    Slow cooker pork stew with tomatillos

    1.5 -2 lbs pork stew meat chunks (boneless)

    1-1.5 lbs tomatillos, husked and diced

    1 large onion, diced

    3 cloves garlic 

    7 ounce jar of green chilis, or 4-5 green chilies, diced such as anaheim

    3-4 teaspoons dried cilantro, or 1/2 cup fresh cilantro

    1 teaspoon dried oregano, or 1 T fresh oregano

    salt and pepper to taste

    Season pork stew meat with salt and pepper. Brown pork meat well on all sides in a skillet, transfer to crock pot ( 5 quart) . Add everything else and cook on low for 7 hours, or on high for 4 hours or so until tender. Serve with tortillas, rice or tortilla chips. serves 4

    A simple hot sauce

     1 pound of peppers

     2 cups vinegar

    1 tablespoon canning salt..

     Bring to boil and simmer 30 minutes... Then zap in a blender, strain, and put in bottles or jars... The ph is usually between 3 and 4, so it will last almost forever and will not spoil...

    How to freeze tomatillos

    This is so simple! Remove the husk from the tomatillos, wash. Place the tomatillos on a cookie sheet to freeze, then put in a ziploc bag or vacuum seal. Alternatively, if you're going to use them chopped, like for the recipe above, chop them and then freeze. easy peasy!

    Easy Mint Tea, Easy Mint water

    Easy Mint tea

    Wash mint well, three times. Place mint and ½ gallon of water in a pan. Bring to boiling, cover and remove from heat. Cool to room temperature, covered and strain.

    Store in refrigerator or freeze for later use.

    Easy Mint water

    Wash mint as above. Place in ½ gallon pitcher. Muddle (mash) mint with wooden spoon, then fill pitcher with clean drinking water. Refrigerate 24 hours, then strain

    Into serving pitcher or water to add text, images, and other content

    Tangy Gherkin Slices (sweet spiced pickles)

    6 Lbs pickling cucumbers (smaller) cut into slices (crinkle cut is great)

    2 cups pickling lime

    8 quarts of water 

    combine all and soak, refrigerated, 24 hours. Next day, Rinse and scrub cucumber slices carefully but well so no lime remains. Rinse at least 5-6 times. This makes slices brittle and very crunchy. then soak in ice water for 3 hours, or over night.Drain.

    Day 2

    7 cinnamon sticks (whole)

    3 cups white granulated sugar

    1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds

    2 teaspoons whole allspice seeds

    2 teaspoon celery seeds

    6 cups cider vinegar

    combine in a non-reactive stainless steel or enamel pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and stir often  until sugar is dissolved. Boil for one minute. Pour over cucumbers, and then let cool. Place a plate on top, with a weight to weigh down cucumbers beneath the liquid. Cover and let stand at cool room temperature, for at least 12 hours, or up to 24 hours.

    day 3

    1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed 

    in a colander, set over a large pot, working in batches if necessary, drain liquid from cucumbers. Wash plate and bowl that cucumbers were in. Return cucumbers and cinnamon sticks to bowl that you just washed, and set aside.

    Stir brown sugar into liquid. Bring liquid to a boil over medium heat and boil one minute, stirring often.  pour hot liquid over cucumbers, cover as before with plate, and weight down so they're completely covered. let stand in a cool room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.

    Day 4

    1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed

    Prepare canner, jars, and lids.

    in a colander set over a large pot, working in batches if necessary, drain liquid from cucumbers. Set cucumbers and cinnamon sticks aside. Add brown sugar and Bring liquid to a boil over medium heat, and boil, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced by about 1/4. Reduce heat to low to keep liquid hot.

    pack cucumbers and 1 cinnamon stick into each prepared pint jar, leaving  1 inch headspace. pour in hot pickling liquid, leaving 1 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust headspace back to 1 inch from top of jar. Wipe rim of jar and place hot lid disc on jar. Screw band on jar until fingertip tight. 

    Place jars in water bath canner and process for 10 minutes. Check in 12-24 hours and refrigerate any jars that did not seal.

    Makes 7 pints. 





    Classic Rhubarb Crunch

    3 cups fresh Rhubarb. ( approximately 1 lb) cleaned and cut into pieces

    3/4 cups white sugar 

    3 Tablespoons all purpose flour


    1/2 cup packed brown sugar

    1/2 cup raw quick oats

    3/4 cups all purpose flour

    1/2 cup butter, margarine, or shortening

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 8x8 baking dish. Mix together rhubarb, sugar and flour. stir well, then place in greased baking dish. Mix up the topping mixture, by stirring up the dry ingredients, then cutting in the butter with a fork or two knives, until crumbly. sprinkle over the top of the rhubarb mixture. bake 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve warm with cream or ice cream, or cold.



    Canned Okra to fry Aunt Sue's recipe

    1 quart of okra slices

    1/8 cup white vinegar

    1 tablespoon canning salt

    1 quart water

    bring water, salt and vinegar to a boil in non-reactive pan. Add okra, bring back to a boil. Remove from heat and put okra and liquid in canning jar, 1 quart or two pints. fill to 1/2 " from top of jar. immediately put hot lid on jar and turn jar upside down on a towel to seal. Let sit 24 hours, check seal.  this will keep for years. Please note...liquid will turn cloudy. this is normal and is not an indication of a problem. The only way this goes bad is if for some reason it doesn't seal properly-so make sure it's sealed... to use: drain, bread and fry. (if you are afraid of this recipe, you can water bath it 10 minutes, but I don't ) 

    Tangy Gherkin Slices (from Marieta Zapf)

    Tangy Gherkin Slices (note this recipe takes at least 4 days!) and makes 7-8 pints

    Day 1

    6 lbs small whole pickling cucumbers, or about 18 cups cucumber slices (small seeds are ok, discard any that are too big and seedy)

    1 cup pickling lime

    2 gallons water

    Wash small cucumbers thoroughly, if using larger cucumbers, cut into slices. I like to use a wavy pickle cutter. Place in very large non-reactive pot or bowl.

    Mix together pickling lime and water and pour over pickles or slices. Cover and let set 24 hours in a cool place (doesn’t have to be refrigerated). Occasionally, stir carefully to make sure that all pickles are in contact with the lime water. Be very gentle, as slices will become brittle and break easily.

    Day 2

    After 24 hours have passed, drain pickles in sink. The easiest way to do this without breaking the slices is to just pour them in the with the sink, lime water and all, with the strainer closed. Then using your hands, put them into the other side of the sink. Have the drainer closed on the other side before moving pickles there, since you will need to rinse them several times to get the lime off them. Rinse the pickles or slices with cool water until very clean and no trace of lime remains, at least 4 rinses. Then move them to the clean side of the sink or back into the large pot and fill it with cold water. Let the pickles sit in the cold water 3-4 hours, then drain. Now you’re ready to get started!

    If you are using whole small cucumbers, prick them all over with a fork. Stab those little holes all over them so the pickling liquid can absorb, and cut a small 1/8 inch slice off each end. If doing slices, disregard this. Put all the cucumbers back in the large pot where you soaked them in the lime mixture. (of course wash it well, first!)

    In a non reactive pot, combine the following ingredients, and bring it to a boil. Stir often, until sugar is all dissolved. Boil for 1 minute.

    Day 2 ingredients:

    7 sticks cinnamon, each 3 inches long (if they’re not that exact size make sure you have about 21” all together. Cut them so none of them are longer than 3” you’ll see why later

    3 cups granulated white sugar

    1 tablespoon mustard seeds

    2 teaspoons whole allspice

    2 teaspoons celery seeds

    6 cups cider vinegar

     Pour the hot mixture over the cucumbers/or slices in the very large pot. Place a plate on top to submerge the cucumbers in the liquid. Add a weight on there, if necessary to keep them pressed down. I like to use a canning jar full of water with a lid on it for a weight. Cover and let stand at a cool room temperature for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours if needed. If the lid doesn’t fit on your pan, you can cover it with a towel or plastic bag. Doesn’t have to be air tight, just keep dust, etc out.

    Day 3

    1 ½ cups firmly packed brown sugar

    In a colander set over a large non reactive pan, working in batches if needed, drain liquid from cucumbers and reserve it. Rinse plate and pot that cucumbers were in for day 2 steps. Return cucumbers/slices and cinnamon sticks back to the large pot they were in, and set all that aside.

    Stir the brown sugar into the reserved liquid. Bring liquid to a boil over medium heat, stirring often until sugar is dissolved. Boil for 1 minute. Pour over cucumbers, and cover with plate, weight them down as before. Cover and let stand as before at least 12 hours, or up to 24 hours.

    Day 4

    1 ½ cups firmly packed brown sugar

    Prepare canner, jars and lids.

    In a colander over a large pot, working in batches if needed, drain cucumbers and reserve liquid as before. Set cucumbers aside. Add brown sugar to liquid, stirring to dissolve. Bring liquid to a boil over medium heat, and boil for 10 minutes over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and keep liquid hot.

    Pack cucumbers and a 3” piece of cinnamon stick into each hot canning jar, leaving 1 inch headspace. Pour in hot pickling liquid, remove air bubbles, and and wipe rim of jar. Place hot lid disc on jar and tighten down finger tight.

    Place jars in canner and water bath or steam can for 10 minutes.



    Rhubarb orange conserve (jam)

    7 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2" pieces, about 2 lbs

    7 cups sugar

    3 oranges, seedless, ground in food processor, peels and all

    1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional, but very good in the recipe)

    cook over medium heat until thick and candy thermometer reads 220 degrees. Process 10 minutes in a water bath canner. makes 8 1/2 pint size jars

    Dill pickle

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