Basil Tomatoes

One of my favorite recipes is for Basil Tomatoes. It’s a very simple stewing process I use as a base for anything that calls for tomatoes. I either can or freeze it for later use in spaghetti, chili, salsa and numerous other recipes.
Easy Basil Tomatoes|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
Basil Tomatoes
It’s that time of year again, the tomato harvest is here! They are ripening daily, and I find that I have to plan time to keep up with them or they will be wasted.
Wash and quarter tomatoes, place in heavy stock pot. I use about 5 lbs. of tomatoes per batch that I make. Add salt and pepper, or a dash of lemon juice if you wish.
Basil Tomatoes in process
I also add a handful of fresh chopped basil. Using a potato masher, gently crush the tomatoes as they cook over medium heat.
Basil Tomatoes finished
Continue to mash and cook for 2 hours. I do not bother to peel or seed my tomatoes, there are those that will be bothered by their presence. I find that the longer they cook, the less noticeable they are. You can process the entire works in a blender or strain through a food mill after it has cooked if you prefer.
That’s it! Super easy!  When the sauce has cooked down you can can it and process in a boiling water canner for 35-45 minutes depending on the size of the jar, or freeze in quart sized containers for later use.
You will be amazed how wonderful it makes your house smell!
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Easy Basil Tomatoes|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Deviled Eggs

It’s picnic time. We have no less than 2 picnics this week for various organizations. What’s your favorite picnic food? Are you a Potato Salad lover? Or perhaps you love Chocolate Cream Pie?
Someone mentioned to me how they love Deviled Eggs at picnics. Especially if they are a bit spicy. Hummm, I have never had a spicey Deviled Egg before.
Sounds like a challenge!
Here’s what you will need:
1 dozen hard boiled eggs
2 green onions
1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp Dijion Mustard
3 Dashes of Tabasco sauce
Dash of Paprika
Nasturtium blossoms and leaves
Peel and clean the eggs. Remove yolks, add them to a blender or food processor with the mayo, mustard, chopped onions. Process until smooth. Add the tabasco and paprika, blend again.
Fill egg whites with a teaspoon until rounded. Gently remove flower blossoms and leaves, rinse with water and pat dry. Roll a blossom inside a leaf, snip with sharp scissors into strips. Add to tops of eggs. Use additional blossoms and leaves for garnish.
The flowers are completely edible and have a wonderful spicy flavor. They make any food beautiful, and are especially popular at parties. Be sure to get them from an organic source. I grow my own from seed so I know they are not sprayed with commercial pesticides. The variety above is a Victorian Heirloom called Empress of India.  Nasturtiums grow easily from seed and do well in containers or garden boarders.
You can order the seeds from Burpee Seeds among other places on the web. 
By the way, if you didn’t catch this weeks group of blogs on the tour, now is your chance to catch up!

Here’s the schedule:

Monday, Aug. 5:

Tuesday, Aug. 6:
Wednesday, Aug. 7:

Thursday, Aug. 8:

Friday, Aug. 9:

This is a great opportunity to see some beautiful projects, browse new blogs and make some new blog friends. It’s almost like being a part of the Haven Conference.  Plus, it’s FREE!  
On Monday, August 12, we’ll post a round-up of all the great projects for you to see on one page.

Radish Sandwiches

Our radish crop is really great this year! We have had a steady supply of rain and that makes all the difference in the world. We have been eating them every day they are so delicious!

I am notorious for doing anything to get my kids to eat their vegetables, and most of the time they are really good about it. However, a little pizzaz never hurts. Thus I created the Radish Sandwich!
They are very popular at our house, and extremely simple to prepare.
Here’s what you will need:
A bunch of fresh radishes
One loaf thinly sliced rye or pumpernickel bread
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 tablespoons or more of fresh herbs such as dill, chives, and parsley
Sea Salt and pepper to taste
Here’s what to do:
Mix the cream cheese and sour cream in a food processor until smooth.
Add the herbs and onion, pulse until creamy.
Spread the mixture on the bread, topping with thinly sliced radishes. Garnish with pieces of dill an chives. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
They are so yummy, you kids will be begging for more! 
Enjoy the weekend!
Don’t forget to register for this week’s Fallacy Detective Give Away!
Designer Mom

Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch

I bet you are wondering what happened to me this week. I have spent nearly my entire week outside, in the garden. Everything is blooming and we have had the most wonderful weather.
I picked the first of our rhubarb crop yesterday. We love rhubarb, there are so many delicious things you can make with it. Here’s my simple recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch:
One pound of fresh strawberries, sliced
6 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 cup Pearl Tapioca
1/2 cup butter
1/2 honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup raw old fashioned oatmeal
Slice strawberries and chop rhubarb.
Add them to the bottom of a 9 x 13″ pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup tapioca. Drizzle with the honey.

Combine remaining ingredients with a fork. Cubing the butter makes it go faster. Work the dough until they are well combined and the butter is the size of peas.
Spread the topping over the rhubarb mixture. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes until golden brown and the rhubarb is softened.
Don’t forget the whip topping!

How to Make Play Dough

Who doesn’t love play dough? When your kids are little it’s some of the best entertainment ever. My problem always was that there was just not enough play dough in those little cans to go around. Then the kids would somehow manage to leave it uncovered, and it was hard as a rock the next day. It was literally like throwing money away. That is until I found a DIY play dough recipe where I could make it in bulk. I also found that it keeps far longer than the store bought variety, is fun to make, and the kids love adding their own colors. Eureka!

We now use play dough only occasionally for a school project, but it is still one of my favorite things to do. Our son’s volcano shown above is slowly hardening and will be ready for the addition of the lava for his science experiment very soon. Here’s what you need for the basic play dough:

2 cups flour
1 cup salt (any kind will do, I am using up old salt from my baking cabinet)
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons salad oil
A few drops food color of your choice
Combine all ingredients, heat over medium heat stirring constantly until a soft, lumpy ball forms. It happens very quickly! Remove from heat, knead until dough is smooth. Dough can be stored in an air tight container, or frozen, thawed, and refrozen several times. 
Whip up a batch to give away at a birthday party with the recipe, or keep some in the freezer for impromptu play dates, or school projects. Kids are guaranteed to love it!
Linking up today to:
Designer Mom