Saturday, July 30, 2011

"The Immortal Life of Cleopatra-Queen of Kings"

I finished this last night and loved the book.

Paula Deen does a "The Help" Version on Her Show!

10:00 AM central time, that's now, y'all!  If you've not read the book by Ms. Kathrine Stockett, I suggest you do.  The movie comes out in August and if you like reading books before movies, you have little time left (unless you're like me and devour books in a matter of two days).

I love me some Paula and I love this book so it's a happy morning for me despite the fact that I'm getting a summer cold, and baby flung her head back this morning, busting my upper lip. ; (

Friday, July 29, 2011

Paranoia Sets In

LeapFrog My Puppy Pal - Violet -  LeapFrog - Toys"R"Us
Image courtesy




  Maybe it's because I've been reading too much...had too much time on my hands, but for whatever reason paranoia has set in.  See that innocent looking toy above?  We bought that, my husband and I, for our baby's first Christmas.  It was suggested by my cousin and his wife who also have a baby that loves the "boy version" of this dog very much.  The thing, like most toys, operates on batteries.  Unlike most toys, you can plug it into your computer much like an Ipod and sinc your baby's personal settings to it.  Upon accessing the company website, you "login" and commence to "programming" the toy to say your child's name, play their favorite tunes, say their favorite color, food, etc.  It incorporates this info. into funny little raps and other songs.

It's got me thinking.  Somewhere out there someone knows these things about my child.  By linking our email address to the toy, does it know where it resides?  Is there some sort of tracking device on the chip?  I mean, it can learn your name.  What else can it do?!

I know.  I know.  Watching too much TV and spy movies has done this to me.  Despite that knowledge, I've removed the batteries and our online account.

And for the record.  I don't own any apps nor do I have internet on my cellphone.  Again, I know.  I think I'm on the computer too damn much as it is so don't need to take it with me everywhere I go, but I think we're barreling full speed ahead with something that is still greatly unknown.  I don't know any friends that have antivirus for their phones, but they all use them just as they would their home computers.  I don't think it's a good idea to access bank accounts, etc. from such devices.  Just call me paranoid.

AND P.S. If you stare at that dog long enough, does it give you the creeps?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sweet & Tangy Pulled Pork Sandwiches

The other day, a friend of mine mentioned making Pulled Pork sandwiches and I thought I should give it a try.  There are many versions of pulled pork.  Here's an easy, tasty, recipe from Taste of Home.



Ingredients

  • 1 boneless pork shoulder butt roast (3 to 4 pounds) (I used pork tenderloins) seasoned with salt
  • 1 jar (18 ounces) apricot preserves (I used a 10 oz. jar)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I used half of a large sweet onion)
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce (I used one tbsp reg. soy & 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • (I also added a tsp. of red pepper flakes and 3 whole garlic cloves which baked in their skins only to be slipped out and mashed in with the pulled pork at the end)
  • Hamburger buns, split, optional

Directions

  • Cut pork roast in half; place in a 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker. Combine
  • the preserves, onion, soy sauce and mustard; pour over roast. Cover
  • and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat is tender.
  • Remove meat; cool slightly. Skim fat from cooking juices (I didn't do this) . Shred pork
  • with two forks and return to slow cooker; heat through. Serve on
  • buns, if desired. Yield: 12 servings.

  • Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home.

To modify this recipe, I used pork tenderloins and cooked them in a casserole dish set in a 325 degree Fahrenheit oven for 4 hours.  At three and a half hours into the cooking, I pulled the pork out of the oven and pulled it apart with a fork.  By this time it was already tender enough to do so.  I put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes so that all of the juices incorporated with the pulled meat.  Delicious!
Nutrition Facts: 1/2 cup (calculated without buns) equals 296 calories, 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 67 mg cholesterol, 248 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 20 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Dump Cake

The other day, I made a Cupa Cupa Cake which is the easiest cake recipe I've ever followed.  It got me thinking about dump cakes and I recalled one my Mom makes.  I googled this just to be sure of the steps even though you can count the ingredients on one hand.  I found out that this cake goes by several names.  Call it what you want, I'm calling it good.

Without further ado, I present to you the Tropical Cake, Hawaiian Cake, Cherry/Pineapple Dump Cake, Cherry Dump Cake.  Um, you get the idea.

What you'll need:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 (20 oz.) can cherry pie filling
1 (16 oz.) can crushed pineapple with juice
1 stick of butter, melted
Flaked Coconut for sprinkling on the topping
Pecans for sprinkling on the topping

How to make it:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan and pour contents of pineapple can into dish.  Spread out evenly.  Pour cherry pie filling and smooth out over pineapple and top with package of yellow cake mix.  Lastly, top cake mix with pecans and flake coconut.  I went light on this, but I guess you could sprinkle on as much as you like.

Bake for one hour.









Friday, July 22, 2011

Today's the Day

Today marks the (sorta) one year anniversary of me blogging and the announcement of my giveaway recipient.  It's been a fun past year and I've enjoyed sharing, reading your comments, and reading your posts.  You're support has helped me to stay aboard the blogger train and I hope that we have many more miles to go.

To get to the fun part, here I am cutting up little squares w/followers' names on them,


and here's a video of mon petit fille selecting a name...


The winner is Olga of Olga's Home & Garden Blog.  (Olga, I will contact you about shipping details.)

It's amazing how time passes.  Lately, I've been looking back over past posts.  Seeing where this past year has gone is interesting.  Here are my top five favorite posts, in no particular order, from this past year:
  1. Caught in action
  2. Recipe for Sleep
  3. A cat's mishap
  4. Misadventures of a tween in the kitchen
  5. Our termites are foreign
I hope you enjoy strolling through memory lane.  Have an awesome weekend!

The Kitchen Witch

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Corny

Ah, corn.  I love corn and today I'm feeling quite corny so let me tell you about what I made today.  
I present, Mexican Corn Dip.

not the best picture, sorry ; )


Mexican Corn Dip
1 can of Fiesta Corn
1 can of Shoepeg Corn
1 (8 oz.) block of Colby Jack, finely shredded (a bag of shredded cheese will do, too)
1 Jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
Black Pepper & Cajun Seasoning to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for a few hours before serving so that the flavors develop...or just scoop it up as soon as you make it, like me, because you can't wait. ; )  Serve with corn tortilla chips.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Trying Things Out on Tuesday-Cupa Cupa Cake

I was supposed to be studying.  Instead I was reading blog posts.  One in particular tickled my fancy, a recipe for Cuppa Cuppa Cake.  It was just too easy to resist so here it is...
Of course, the stress from studying demanded that little something extra to cool my mood so Cake `a la mode it was.  A special shout out to Ree Drummond @ The Pioneer Woman who inspired me to bake this sinfully sweet dish.

This recipe only took seconds to put together, only calls for 3 ingredients, and was mentioned by Truvy in Steal Magnolias (I love that movie).  What more do you need in a recipe?  I think I might cut back on the sugar, a little, the next time I make it because it is awfully sweet.
Bebe trying to find a comfortable place to nap, yesterday.

On a separate note, Bebe is doing much better today.  Her fever finally broke (and hopefully won't come creeping back up) after reaching 104 degrees last night.  Yikes.  I hate when babies are sick; I just feel so helpless.  Well, she's back to her smiling self this morning.

Have a wonderful day,

The Kitchen Witch

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Random Thoughts and Breakfast

Today is the last day of my summer class, but I'm not able to attend because Bebe started running a fever last night.  I've got three chapters to read during my ample time home, but all I can think about is random things.  For instance, I decided two make a fried egg for breakfast ...

and in doing so thought of this-




Welp, my brain is definitely fried, but I'm positive it's due to course overload rather than drugs aforementioned in above PSA.

I've also got my mind on this book that I couldn't resist buying last night.  It's calling out to be read.
image credit
, but I've got to resist since tomorrow is my final exam and it demands my attention.  I think the best course of action is to turn off the computer and TV.  Yep.  That's it.  I'm pulling the plug on all things electric.  Well, maybe not on the lights and AC.  After all, this is South Texas.

Happy Tuesday,

The Kitchen Witch : )

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Veering Off Blogger Road

Typically, I would post a recipe, but I've noticed that in doing so, lately, the voice in my head is unappeased
Unappeased
I haven't been sharing me.  Too, I haven't been cooking a lot with summer school consuming much of my time so the cooking has been scarce...groceries, too, for that matter.  Why, at this very moment I should be off at the store, but I don't want to do it.  I don't wanna.  I don't wanna.  This is what the temperamental voice in my head says.

I've been reading through past blog posts this morning and I like the things that I had to say...lately, not so much.  I wonder, "What happened to that voice?"  Lately, it has been wham-bam posts so I apologize.  I will try not to "recipe drop" (you know, share a recipe with little to no commentary) much in the future.

That being said, let's play a game of getting to know your blogger.  Here are a few things you may not know about me:

I'm going to school to be a teacher.  I curse like a sailor, but I'm getting a grip on it.  My Dad is President of the local Bandidos' motorcycle support chapter, Rebeldes.  Most people who see me would never associate the two of us.

That's him on the right.
 I have two daughters.  I love to cook; it connects me with my Grandma who passed away when I was thirteen and it's the one thing I think I'm good at.  I love to write, but I'm a closet writer.  I live in a 70's ranch style home; it's alright, but I want to renovate a truly old home.  I love Louisiana, maybe that's my roots calling me back.  I think my granddaddy looks like Willie Nelson minus the long hair.  My mom and I are a lot alike.  I'm anal about keeping order in my home.  My sister and I don't get along.  I'm an angry driver.  I don't go to church often, but I pray all of the time.  Learning to play guitar, traveling the world, and learning to sew are on my bucket list.  I'm obsessed with True Blood.  Also, I think I'm an old soul

There it is.  Well, there's some of it. 

Tell me about yourself, followers.  I'd like to know even if it's just one little thing.

p.s. The art image shown at the beginning of this post was done by the same lady who created Kewpie dolls.  Interesting.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blueberry Pie

Blueberries were on sale the other day
First attempt at a lattice top...not perfect ; )


Blueberry Pie
4 cups fresh blueberries
7 Tbsp. corn starch
3 Tbsp. water or grape juice
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
2- 9 in. pie crusts, could be premade as I used or from scratch

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Rinse berries under cool water, removing any bits of stem or mushy berries from the bunch.  Roll out one (9 in.) pie crust  and place in a deep dish pie pan.  Place berries onto the bottom crust.  In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and allspice.  Add water and lemon juice and stir until well combined and pour over blue berries.  After rolling out your top crust, place over berries and seal, trimming off the excess edges.  Bake for an hour.
*Recipe courtesy of pickyourown.org

You may prefer to do a lattice top, as I did in my picture; however, that was my first try and I saw in the picture that I didn't place the strips of dough as I should have ; )  The website suggests a graham crust which sounds nice or a crumb topping...maybe next time.


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Sweet Tooth Friday and Sweet Tooth Friday



 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Caldo de Pollo

Caldo de Pollo is a homey chicken and vegetable soup.  It's not fancy, but it's good...big chunks of vegetables and chicken, sometimes with rice, and sometimes not.  Mmm, good.

Caldo de Pollo
2-3 chicken breasts, bone and skin attached
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
3-4 carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks
1 white onion, rough chopped
3 medium zucchinis 
2-3 stalks of celery, rough chopped
1 small head of cabbage, quartered
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
Black Pepper to taste


Boil chicken in 8 cups of salted water and chop vegetables while chicken is cooking.  If you've ever had Caldo before, you know the vegetables are cut in large chunks putting a whole new meaning to rough chop.

After removing the chicken and setting aside to cool so that I could remove the skin and bones, I skimmed the broth to remove some of the fat and to have better clarity of the broth.  After doing so, I added two bouillon cubes, the vegetables, and two handfuls of rice.  My hands are small, so this wasn't a lot of rice...less than a cup.

Once chicken has cooled, remove skins and bones.  Cut the breasts into chunks and place back into soup.

Add your seasonings lastly.  I added black pepper to taste...not a lot of pepper because Bebe was going to be eating this for supper.  Cook in a covered pot for around 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Adjust seasonings to your taste and serve.  Some people like to add diced avocado or cilantro to this just before serving.  Let your taste buds do the talking.

Boy, did Bebe love her Caldo,


...and so did George!
How cute is that?! : )


Monday, July 11, 2011

Oh, Portabella, How I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

Did I just work classic poetry into my blog?  Yes.  Yes, I did.  Hmm.  Pairing up foods with poems sounds like a future blog post in the making. Wink. Wink.

The other day a friend emailed me asking what she should do with her Portabella mushroom.  I quickly responded with lots of ways.  One of my personal favorites is to bake it, but grilled and sauteed are equally nice ways.  Here's a recipe for baked Portabellas.  I had this for lunch today, but scarfed it down before I could snap a pic so I borrowed one : )

Photo Credit

Baked Portabellas
1 to 2 Portabella mushrooms, wiped clean and stems cut short
Extra Virgin Olive Oil or unsalted butter, about a tablespoon
Kosher Salt, to taste
Balsamic Vinegar, to taste
Thin slices of a hard cheese such as Parmesan or Manchego

Place cleaned Portabellas, face up (as shown in the above image), in a casserole dish.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drizzle with olive oil or dot with butter.  I like to get the oil on the top and bottom of the mushroom so rub the caps with my hands.  

Sprinkle with salt, maybe somewhere between a pinch and half a teaspoon, and drizzle with Balsamic vinegar.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven.  The mushroom will turn dark in color.  Top with grated or shaved cheese towards the last few minutes of baking.

Serve hot.  

I love Portabellas because they are so yummy and versatile.  You can grill them after prepping the same way that I did in my recipe, instead of baking.  You can also stuff them when baking.  I have a recipe for Crab Stuffed Mushrooms that could be excellent inside these.  Slice a grilled Portabella and serve them in a taco with all the accouterments you want or place this baked version between a whole wheat hamburger bun and top it with feta, grilled red bell pepper slices, and spinach leaves for a nice veggie burger.  I could go on; the varieties are endless.  What a great way to enjoy a meat-free meal?!

Have a great week,

The Kitchen Witch

p.s.  Sharing for

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Banana Bread

For Bebe, bananas have got to be in constant supply around our house.  Usually, they never go bad (never last long enough), but we spent some days at the lake this past holiday weekend and ended up with three overly ripe ones.

Three mushy bananas = one great banana bread.  I always use the recipe found in my "River Road Recipes II" cookbook.  If you've not seen this book, it's a great one to have.  You can order it through the Jr. League of Baton Rouge.  This cookbook lands in my top five favorite cookbooks category.  

Drum roll, please...


Banana Nut Bread

1/2 cup margarine (I use a stick of unsalted butter)
1 1/2 cups sugar (granulated)
2 eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 cups cake flour, measured after sifting (I measured, then sifted and it was just fine)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup milk (I used buttermilk)
3 small or 2 large bananas, mashed to a pulp
1 cup chopped pecans (I didn't have any so I went without)

Cream margarine and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat until fluffy.  Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk, bananas, and nuts.  Beat well after each addition.  Bake in waxed paper lined (I just buttered the pan and didn't fiddle w/the waxed paper) 6-1/2 x 10-1/2 inch pan (this is a standard loaf pan) in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes or until brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean (this baked in my oven for an hour and a half, but all ovens are different so just keep an eye on it).  This bread keeps well in plastic wrap and also freezes well.

Recipe provided by Mrs. William Barth of New Orleans, LA

As you can see, I added my thoughts on the recipe.  I try to simplify things for myself when I'm cooking.  This bread was so moist and had a nice crumb when it was sliced.  I don't think my adjustments bothered a thing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

If you Ask Me What I Like About Texas Series Continued Revisited

When people in Texas talk about Texas music they often say "Texas Country", but there's so much more than country music on the menu.  Here are some of my faves.  By the way, I tried condensing it to a top five, but there was just no way.

I present to you "The List":

Asleep at the Wheel
Ryan Bingham
Junior Brown
Adam Carroll
David Allen Coe
Rodney Crowell
Steve Earle
Eisley
Alejandro Escovedo
Guy Forsythe
Buddy Holly
Ray Wylie Hubbard
Iris DeMent
Waylon Jennings
George Jones
Janis Joplin
Robert Earl Keen
Alison Krauss
Kris Kristofferson
Lyle Lovett
Salim Nourrallah
Sisters Morales
Steve Miller
Willie Nelson
Gary P. Nunn
Roy Orbison
K.T. Oslin
John Prine
Phil Pritchett
Carrie Rodriguez
Kenny Rogers
Bob Schneider
Slaid Cleaves
Larry Joe Taylor
The Toadies
Billy Joe Shaver
Townes Van Zandt
Jerry Jeff Walker
White Ghost Shivers
ZZ Top

Do you enjoy any of these musicians?  Who are your favorites?  If there are some you've never heard of, look 'em up and check them out.  Finding new music is always fun : )

Let's Talk about the Weather

File:DustStormInSpearmanTexas19350414.jpg
Photo Credit
File:KSM 1066a.JPG
Photo Credit


Things have been so dry across the South that I couldn't help but think of the Dust Bowl when I heard of Arizona's most recent dust storm.  I know that dust storms happen from time to time, but being in the midst of such a drought and seeing such images reinforce my concerns.  The water tanks set for the cattle on my mom's ranch are nearly all dried up and she's scrambling to figure out how she's going to remedy the cows' drinking situation while worrying about a fire cropping up (fires have been especially bad this year) at any time.

It's a serious issue here in Texas as I'm sure it is for some other Southern States.  

The U. S. has seen a crazy year for weather what with droughts, flooding, and tornadoes happening all at the same time.  Let's just hope that we get to breeze through Hurricane season without a hitch aside from some much needed rain.  I few bands of tropical rains couldn't hurt.  I'm just praying that He doesn't over do it ; )

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

If you Ask Me What I Like About Texas...

To quote an old Jerry Jeff song, "I could tell you, but it'd take all night long."  Instead I'll just highlight a few things so...moving right along.

The first of these will be about food (I'll feature various topics over the next few days; a series, if you will)

1.) Onions, Sweet Onions!  I only recently discovered that our state vegetable was the sweet onion.  I love our sweet onions.  Louisiana may have their Creole Onions, but Texas has their 1015's.

Photo Credit
2.) Texas Ruby Reds.  Need I say more?
Photo Credit

3.) Shiner Bock Beer.  If you've never had a Shiner (and you enjoy beer) I think you'd better find one. Quick!  They've come out with Seasonal brews and the Ruby Red that came out this past Spring was delish (a happy marriage of two great Texas flavors-grapefruit and beer!).  Also, I fell in love with the "Holiday Cheer" brew.  I think it was the best I've ever drank...a mix of Peach and Pecan.  Mmm.
Photo Credit
4.) Tex-Mex.  It may not be traditional Mexican, but it sure is traditional Texican.  It's comfort food, great for hang overs, and sometimes you've just gotta have it.
Photo Credit
5.) Pecans.  Many people don't associate Pecans with Texas, but they're a big part of our state.  After all, the Pecan Tree is our State tree.  My Granddaddy has Pecan groves on his land.  With little rain in recent years, the production has not been great, but I love pecans just the same.
Photo Credit

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Blogger Award and Paying it Forward

awards
Recently, I was presented with a lovely award from Judy, at "The Southern Lady Cooks."  She's got great recipes on her page.  I just love it.  I'd like to pass on this award to a few of my blogging friends.  Without further ado and in no particular order, I present the following with this lovely award:


Happy Fourth of July, Everyone!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Anniversary and a Giveaway

I'll have been blogging for almost a year, now, come the end of July and I've had fun documenting this past year.  To celebrate I'd like to host a giveaway for you, my friends!

The giveaway includes a trio of feisty ladies.  I'd like you to meet...
Jane, Donna, and Marilyn!

These are Mary Louise Butter's Brownies and they come in an assortment of flavors that she's named after ladies.  Your gift pack will include:  the Jane, Donna, and Marilyn brownies.  Yum!  Based out of Austin, TX, these brownies are a fun way to send a little bit of Texas flavor to you.

I will draw a name at random and make the announcement on July 22nd to mark the day that I really hopped on the blogging train (you may see that I initially started my blog in 2007, but w/one post per year, I say those don't count for an anniversary).

Thank you to those of you that have faithfully followed.  I hope that I've given you some yummy food for thought ; ) And for those of you who haven't become followers yet...

To enter the giveaway, just follow my blog.  It's that simple.  I will contact the person when I've completed the drawing.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Salsa Bravo

Salsa Bravo
16 or so fresh tomatoes, cored and skins removed, diced
6 fresh Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped fine
2 medium size onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, seeded and diced
2 banana peppers, seeded and diced
2 Ancho Chilies, seeded and re-hydrated, chopped
1 Chili Cascavel, seeded and re-hydrated, chopped
3 Chipotle Chilies in Adobo sauce, chopped
Juice of one lemon
1/3 cup white vinegar
3 heaping Tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
1 small can Tomato Paste

To begin, I set the fresh tomatoes in boiling water for one minute and then plunged them in cold water so that I could easily remove the skins.  Next, dropped the dried chilies in the water to re-hydrate them.  Then I cored and diced the tomatoes.  I wasn't worried about a perfect dice since I planned on using my stick blender towards the end.  I proceeded by dicing the remaining ingredients, dumping it all in a large mixing bowl.  I would suggest wearing disposable gloves while handling the Jalapenos and other Chili peppers.  I added the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and salt at the end and dumped it all into my stock pot to simmer for 45 minutes.  While this was simmering, I prepared my jars and lids. **A website to learn more about Chilies.
Here's an image of the salsa simmering away...
 I got 5 wide mouth pint size jars out of this recipe.  After blending until I reached the desired consistency, I ladled the salsa into the sanitized jars.  After washing the lids, I put them in hot water for a few minutes and set them to dry, then I wiped the rims of the jars to ensure that they were clean and ready for a good seal. Finally I screwed the lids on (not too tight) and plunged them in their water bath.  I heated these for 20 to 25 minutes.
and here's a picture of the first batch of sealed jars.
As a side note about sealing:  I tested the seal by pushing on the lid and it popped back up.  That had never happened to me before so I thought, "uh oh", but after they were cooling for a few minutes more, I began hearing the little popping sound of the lids sucking in and creating their vacuum so don't panic right off if this happens with your lid.  Let them continue to rest on the counter top before checking them again.  If they never sealed, I've read that you should eat it within three days, keeping it refrigerated.

I'm excited to serve this salsa made from home grown tomatoes and bell peppers over the holiday weekend.  I hope y'all enjoy the 4th!  Tell me what you will be serving ; )