Category Archives: Condiments and Seasonings

Enchilada Sauce.

I originally posted this recipe back in 2011 here. Today I reinvented it as our go to enchilada sauce. Buying the sauce at the store seems such a waste given all of the added ingredients, preservatives, fillers, etc. Even the organic sauce we had changed to over a year ago contains canola oil. This sauce freezes well so large batches can be made at one time.

Enchilada Sauce.


5 dried ancho peppers (be sure to get air dried that do not have added oils or to dry them at home)

1 quart of homemade chicken stock (I have also used smoked chicken stock here)

24 oz crushed or diced tomatoes (be sure to purchase pure tomatoes, generally these will be Italian as most American tomatoes have citric acid — generally corn — added. Also you may sub fresh, roast and food mill into the mixture to add a deeper flavor)

1 tablespoon double concentrate tomato paste (be sure to purchase pure tomato paste with no additives, or use homemade)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon  ground cumin

1 tablespoon heaping Mexican oregano (whole, dried, then crushed)

6 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1  heaping teaspoon Real Salt (I used fine)

dash (1/2 of 1/8 of a teaspoon) of baking soda (to remove a little of the bitter from the peppers)


The first thing you need to do is rehydrate the chiles. Start your chicken broth boiling in a medium pot. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stem, seeds and ribs. Anything you leave behind will impart heat into your sauce, so keep that in mind (use gloves if you are not used to handling hot peppers). Heat a dry sauté pan or skillet over medium heat and place chiles in for 5-10 seconds on each side. Use a flipper to push them down if they will not behave. Do not brown or burn the chiles, just heat them to get their oils active.

Place the warmed chiles in the boiling broth. Allow to boil for about 30 seconds and remove from heat. Be careful not breathe in the pepper too much, it will make you cough! Allow to sit for 20 minutes so the peppers can steep.

Add remaining ingredients to pot and stir to combine. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour with an off center lid on it. Remember, tomato makes a big mess if it boils without being covered.

Remove pot from heat and, using an immersion blender, blend the pepper mixture smooth. Taste mixture and adjust salt if needed. Place pot (with off center lid) back on heat and simmer for an additional hour.

Cool and freeze into containers, store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or enjoy immediately.


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Filed under Condiments and Seasonings, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Mexican Inspired, Sauce and Gravy

Curry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

I love roasted pumpkin seeds and so does the hubs. We grow carving pumpkins because the hubs likes to carve them, but also because we just really like the seeds. They are blank slate that I can do anything with and then roast into a tasty snack. If you are purchasing pumpkins and want to roast the seeds, take care to purchase organic pumpkins to ensure the safety of your seeds.

This year we made a batch of curry pumpkin seeds. Curry is an amazing source of health benefits. I make my mix here at home. It contains organic turmeric (4 T), organic cumin (8 T), organic coriander (7 T), and organic ginger (2 T) ~ stored in a pint jar. Turmeric contains natural anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains curcumin, a compound thought to protect the liver. Cumin may also contain anti-inflamatory properties as well as immune regulating capabilities. Coriander could potentially protect the nervous system from damage through anti-inflamatory processes. And last, but not least, ginger. Ginger, long known for its healthful benefits to the digestive tract, ginger also contains anti-inflamatory properties. All said, these four spices combined are a powerhouse for protecting the body against many things. Just remember, they do work better alongside fat, hence the nice fatty coconut milk generally used in curries! Here we will sub oil.

One last note about the health benefits of this snack, it is important to remember that the pumpkins seeds themselves are packed with nutrition. Pumpkin seeds are a fantastic source of zinc. Zinc regulates the immune system and assists with our ability to taste food properly. They also serve as a good source for antioxidants and magnesium.

Curry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. Makes 16 0z of roasted seeds.


2 C fresh organic pumpkin seeds

2 t curry powder (see recipe above)

1 T organic olive oil or coconut oil

1/2 t salt (I used canning salt because it is fine and will stick well)


Preheat oven to 325.

Rinse seeds and dry them with with a clean dish towel. This will remove any remaining pumpkin pulp. Place the seeds in a medium glass mixing bowl and mix in oil and curry, making sure to combine thoroughly.

Place seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Cook for 8 minutes. Stir and sprinkle with a 1/4 t of salt. Cook for 8 minutes and repeat. Cook for 8 minutes and stir. Cook 8 more minutes and remove from oven. If the seeds are not as dry or toasted as you would like, cook them longer, stirring and assessing every 5 minutes. Cool completely before storing in an air tight container.



Filed under Condiments and Seasonings, Dairy Free, DIY, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Indian Inspired, Paleo, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian

Mexican Sour Gherkin Salsa.

We love new things in the garden. You might recall last year we grew mini Sweet Pea Red Currant Tomatoes that were so lovely in my Quinoa Caprese Salad. This year we went for mini cucumbers! They are just as stinking cute as the tomatoes were. This dish could even be made with both the mini tomatoes and the mini cucumbers and be the cutest tea party addition ever. In any case, I have been mixing it with some of our garden tomatoes to make a quick salsa/dip that goes well with corn chips, nachos, tacos, Potato Enchinados, just about everything.

Mexican Sour Gherkin Salsa. Serves two as a condiment with dinner.


8-10 Mexican Sour Gherkins, sliced

1 large garden tomato, diced (I used a purple cherokee)

1 small jalapeño, seeded and deveined, unless you like heat, and diced small

1/4 red onion, diced small

1 T cilantro, finely chopped

1 T cider vinegar, I used Bragg

1 t olive oil

pinch of kosher or sea salt

pinch of fresh cracked black pepper

Combine cider vinegar through pepper in a small bowl, whisking until oil is incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to use.




Filed under Appetizer, Condiments and Seasonings, Dairy Free, Dip, From the Garden, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Guest Recipe: Homemade Nutella.

Growing up, my very dear friend Katy and I spent many an afternoon baking with our Easy Bake Oven or creating and cooking concoctions in the microwave (which you can a little about here…sorry about the boxed brownies, they are no more in my house, scratch only now!). Later in life as I was getting really interested in cooking and other gardening and homesteading practices, Katy was out experiencing the world, earning multiple degrees (I got but one) and conducting any number of shenanigans.

But it seems this has all changed. You see, Katy got married this past summer. And since this event (and even a bit leading up to it) I have received many more food oriented text messages and blog comments from my dear friend. It seems she is getting the itch, and she has told me her hubs surely doesn’t have it, though he does like to eat her good food! So you see, it came as no surprise when I received a text the other day, simply stating “Made homemade nutella!” I told her I would love to put it on the blog and to send me the recipe…so she says, “a lotta nuts some cocoa and smidge of sugar.” Bahahaha! She cracks me up, so I ask where she got the recipe and as it turns out, she made it up! Totally awesome. So I got some more details and wanted to share the recipe with you all on her behalf today.

Homemade Nutella. Recipe written by Katy, photos provided via iPhone by Katy.


1-2 C of hazelnuts

2 t pure cocoa powder (more for flavor if needed)



Crack hazelnuts open if needed. Process in a food processor until they are consistency of peanut butter. Add cocoa and blend. Taste and add sugar to sweeten to your liking.



Filed under Condiments and Seasonings, Dairy Free, Dessert, Dip, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

BBQ Salad Dressing.

We just love salad in our house. We have weeks where we will eat salad three or four nights. Every single one of them is different, though they usually include greens, meat or egg, lots of veggies and homemade croutons. They all also contain a homemade dressing. I am not in the habit of writing the dressing mix down or getting it on the blog because it changes every time I make it, but this last one was something special. Special enough to share for your noshing pleasure too!

BBQ Salad Dressing. This makes enough for a large salad for two people.


1-2 T of your favorite BBQ sauce

1 t apple cider vinegar

1 t olive oil

a pinch of kosher salt

a pinch of fresh cracked black pepper

1/2 t honey or agave

water if it is too thick (I used about 1 t)

***the amounts of each of these may vary based on the BBQ sauce you choose. If the sauce is really vinegary, you will want to adjust the vinegar addition down. The same can be said for the honey and pepper. Add in small amounts and taste often!


Combine with a fork until oil is completely mixed in.



Filed under Condiments and Seasonings, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Salad, Sauce and Gravy

Homemade Blackening Rub.

This is a great quick rub for all of your blackening needs. We use it on chicken that we are going to grill or smoke a lot. But be aware you don’t really get the blackened look when smoking, just when grilling.

Homemade Blackening Rub.


2 T kosher salt

2 T brown sugar

2 T paprika

1 t granulated garlic

1 t granulated onion

1 t cumin

1 t dried oregano

1 t fresh cracked black pepper


Mix to combine and store in an air tight container.



Filed under Condiments and Seasonings, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Homemade Relish.

We made a couple of jars of refrigerator pickle rounds with some late season cucumbers. They are not traditional dill, but I did not write down the recipe, so unfortunately I cannot share it and I cannot replicate it. They are fairly sweet and I know for sure they contain white vinegar, water, sugar, canning salt, celery seed, dil seed, chili d’Arbol, and cloves of garlic. Most of our refrigerator pickles turned out too sour this year so we were pleasantly surprised after opening these that they were quite delicious. They were the perfect flavor for some relish. You can make this with any pickles you have around, store bought or otherwise.

Homemade Relish. Makes 1/2 cup of relish.


1/4 C cucumber pickles

3 cloves of pickled garlic

1 T onion (pickled if you have it)

1/2 t dried or fresh dill


Mince ingredients. Store in an airtight container for three to five days. If you want this to last longer use all pickled ingredients and dried dill. Then you will likely get about two weeks out of it, if not longer.


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Filed under Condiments and Seasonings, Dairy Free, From the Garden, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Outside of the Box, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Weeknight Green Chicken Taco Meat.

The key to making this dish quickly is to have precooked chicken on hand. I like to cook a whole chicken on Sunday and make stock out of the bones, skin and what-nots. This means that when the chicken is done poaching, smoking or roasting I break it down completely and end up with a container of breast, leg, and thigh meat. To make these quick tacos I used a precooked chicken breast and this green tomatillo salsa.

Weeknight Green Chicken Taco Meat.


1 T olive oil

1 small red onion, sliced

1 small green pepper, sliced

1 breast of chicken, cooked and cubed

1 t cumin

1/2 t paprika (smoked if you have it)

2-3 oz green tomatillo salsa

Preheat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 3-5 minutes or until they are starting soften. Add peppers, chicken, cumin and paprika and cook for 5 minutes. Add salsa and heat through. Serve in tortillas with rice, beans and all of your favorite fixins’.


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Filed under Chicken, Condiments and Seasonings, Dairy Free, Fast & Easy, From the Garden, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Mexican Inspired

A Garden Sleeper: The Tomatillo and some Salsa.

For two years I have tried to grow tomatillos and for two years I have failed (or so I thought). They take up a lot of space in the garden and never seem to ripen on time. So this season, the end of year two, I am cleaning out garden beds to make way for cover crops and winter veggies and I rip out the first of two tomatillo plants.

Annoyed I am thinking about how I am not going to plant tomatillos next year. All I want is a little green salsa, that is all. And I toss the gigantic plant to the side and look down into the bed and see two fully formed, ripe and ready to use tomatillos. What?!? So I start investigating the plant and there are more, MORE! I was so excited I ran inside and woke up the hubs, who was trying to sleep past 8 (which is tough to do when you live with me), I shove handfuls of fully ripe, ready-to-use tomatillos in his face, exclaimed LOOK! and ran out to check the other plant straight away. In all, I ended up with a mere 16 ounces, but that is 16 ounces I did not know even existed! That is 16 ounces that I used to make this lovely salsa.

Easy Tomatillo Salsa.


1 lb tomatillos

1 small onion, rough chopped

3 T cilantro

juice of 1/2 lime

1 jalapeño

1/4 t sugar

1/4 t kosher salt

Peel and wash the tomatillos. Seed the jalapeño if you want to control the heat of the final product and rough chop it. Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the mixture is the texture you are looking for. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or as a topping for any Mexican style dinner.


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Filed under Appetizer, Condiments and Seasonings, Dairy Free, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Garden, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Midwest Inspired, Sauce and Gravy, Snacks

Caprese Quinoa Salad.

Labor Day brings out the best of BBQ fare. Going into the holiday weekend we had absolutely no BBQ plans. By the start of the weekend, we had two separate BBQ events to prepare for. Bring a side. the typical party request, but honestly, I run out of new side ideas. Given the intense amount of mini cherry tomatoes I have this year I knew I had to make something with them. A tart? A sauce? Nope, caprese, but of course. I was inspired by the tiny size of the tomatoes to purchase those little tiny mozzarella balls. They are exactly the same size as the tomatoes.

But I ran into a mental snag. I could not figure out how I was going to get the tomatoes to soak up the dressing since they would not be cut…so I started searching through some of the other blogs I read for inspiration. It did not take long to find it. I stumbled upon this basil vinaigrette at Steamy Kitchen. The dressing in an of itself did not solve my issues, so I thought a little more. And it hit me, I love making quinoa salad. Why not combine this all together? Lo and behold it worked. The final result was lovely and chock full of basil flavor.

Caprese Quinoa Salad.


3 C cooked quinoa (cooking instructions below)

1/3 C basil vinaigrette (recipe below)

1 C mini cherry tomatoes (or other, chopped)

1 C mini fresh mozzarella balls (or other, chopped)

2 T fresh basil

Cook one cup of dry quinoa in a medium pan with two and half cups of water. Boil for 15 minutes, cover, remove from heat and allow to sit while you prepare the dressing.

For the vinaigrette:

1 small piece of elephant garlic, chopped (can sub shallot or garlic)

1 C loosely packed basil leaves

2 T water

2 T white wine vinegar

1 t kosher or sea salt

1 t fresh cracked black pepper

6 T  olive oil

Place garlic and basil in a blender. Top with water, vinegar, salt and pepper. Puree, adding oil as you mix. Allow mixture to settle.

Move quinoa into a medium mixing bowl. Add dressing and mix very well to combine. Place bowl in the refrigerator and allow quinoa to cool completely.

When quinoa and dressing is cool, mix in tomatoes and mozzarella. Chiffonade remaining basil and mix that in too. Garnish with a sprig of basil and serve. Can make this up to one day in advance.



Filed under Appetizer, Cheese, Condiments and Seasonings, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Garden, Gluten Free, Grains/Rice, Holiday, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian