Home-canned Salsa

We love Mexican food and this week, we’ve already been immersed in the stuff! I made Taco Soup and cornbread for supper Monday, canned salsa yesterday, and today (besides canning stewed tomatoes) I’ve been working on a triple batch of beef enchiladas…time consuming but oh so worth it! Wanted to share my salsa recipe with you…I’d someday like to find one with lime juice as the acid base…but we’re perfectly thrilled with this one so why bother, right?

Mary’s Mild Salsa–makes 10 pints

  • 22 tomatoes (I put in more if they’re on the small side)
  • 4 bell peppers, chopped fine
  • 3 onions, chopped fine
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 3/4 cup jalapeno peppers, chopped fine (confession, I use 4 small jalapenos–we like it really mild! so add peppers to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 cup (12 oz) tomato paste (this thickens your salsa nicely!)
  • Cilantro to taste (fresh is best!)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced

After getting skin off tomatoes (dip in boiling water 20 seconds, then into cold–skin falls off), you could put 2/3 of them in blender and blend, and then chop the rest of them, depending on how chunky you like your finished product.  We like it chunky so I usually just chop the whole batch and skip the blender. After chopping/blending, put all ingredients into pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes. Water bathe pints for 10 minutes, quarts, 20.

In years past I have omitted the tomato paste from my salsa and the result is a really runny salsa. Yes, it feels kind of like a cheat to add a can of tomato paste to home-canned salsa, but it really doesn’t take away from the taste, and results in a great consistency w/o hours and hours of stirring and boiling away your salsa to the right thickness. I’ve even done batches with 50% paste tomatoes, and still need to thicken it up. We like the Contadina brand tomato paste, it contains no high fructose corn syrup.

I’ll have to post the Taco Soup recipe sometime…it has taco seasoning mix, ranch dressing mix, corn, ranch-style beans…great, now I’m wishing I’d doubled that recipe!

Time-budgeting

My husband and I are once again re-vamping our budget. Maybe I’m a slow learner, but it’s just starting to occur to me that the same principles that apply to budgeting our money can apply to many areas in our life.

I’m a Christian, a wife, a home school mom and a writer. I’m also a daughter, sister, aunt and a friend to many people. Budgeting my time is important.

When budgeting, most Christians tithe first and then they allot a certain amount of money in various categories. If there’s not enough money in the car maintenance category to pay the repairs, then they borrow the remainder from the entertainment category.

When the “writing bug” bit me back in December I did most of my writing at night or very early in the morning. Coffee kept my eyes propped open, and I exchanged meaningful relationships (with dh and children) for my new obsession. Getting the story inside me on the screen.

I struggled along trying to be all and do all, but the joy was gone. I poured all my creativity into my writing, and bankrupted everything else. Shortchanging God spills over to shortchanging everything.

In June, writing took a backseat to our busy summer. Ever since, I’ve been reluctant to take it up again. My heart is in homeschooling my children and I’m scared to death that even one little peek at my manuscript will suck me under.

So here’s where budgeting comes in. Time-budgeting.

  1. God first. When I start my day with prayer and devotions the patience and love that fills me never stretches thin…
  2. Getting at least 6 hours of sleep at night and taking care of my health. One way I’m being proactive about this is the supplement I recently bought at WalMart: Juice for Life–Power Fruit Formula. It’s full of whole food concentrates and Antioxidants, an energy booster much better for me than coffee. Yesterday, after little sleep (toddler had a fussy night) and a very busy day, I realized I made it through the whole day with NO coffee!!! And no grumps!) I’m also drinking quite a bit more water.
  3. Plan my day ahead so the important things don’t get shuffled under the carpet. Like kids.

Luke 14:28-29, “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him.”

By budgeting my time and assets, and making priorities of the most important jobs God’s given me, how can I go wrong?

If writing is God’s will for me, I’ll be able to budget it in. For now, I think He’s telling me to lay low and pray about it.

James 4:14, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.” Then summing up in verse 17, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

My question for you, is how are you making time for writing while keeping your other priorities straight?