Salsa Time!

One of my favorite vegetables (or fruit some would argue) is the tomato. Now if you had asked me how I liked tomatoes about 20 years ago, I would’ve said they were the grossest thing on earth.  From the time I was a little girl my great-grandmother “Ginnie” and grandmother “DaGa”, as well as my mom took on a mission to make me and my sister like tomatoes.  To them it was almost unAmerican and very unSouthern-like to despise tomatoes as much as we did.  They tried sprinkling a little sugar on them (um gross!!!), hiding them in dishes, and practically bribing us to eat them. My mom always says “you have to try something 13 times before you can say you really don’t like it.”  I’m not sure if that’s what eventually worked for me, but now I love them.  Unfortunately my husband hates them just as much as the 8 year-old me, which makes me sad sometimes about how much he is missing out on my yummy tomato dishes.

The other day at the farmer’s market I saw rows and rows of plump tomatoes and it gave me the urge to make some fresh salsa.  As I strolled through the farmers booths, I remembered helping my grandmothers plant their tomatoes in their backyard gardens.  Sometimes we had so many tomatoes we would run out of widow sills in the kitchen to line them with!!  One of our family’s favorite uses for these garden-fresh tomatoes was homemade salsa.  Here’s a slight adaptation from that salsa recipe that my mom taught me back in the day…

For the Fresh Summer Salsa (try saying that 3 times fast!) recipe you will need the following:

Print Fresh Summer Salsa Recipe

  • 3 medium sized tomatoes
  • fresh cilantro (I got a big bunch at the farmer’s market for only 1$!!)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 1/2 cups of sweet frozen corn (or you can use fresh)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper

What I love about this recipe is that I pretty much change it up based on what’s available and what I’m in the mood for.  If I’m not really in a “spicy kind of mood”  I will leave out the jalapeno pepper, or if I don’t have fresh cilantro I just use dried.

First thing you do is chop the vegetables.  This might intimidate some people who don’t have good chopping skills, but practice makes perfect.  Just make sure you have a nice sharp knife, otherwise you’re going to make your tomatoes squishy…and nobody likes squishy tomatoes.

I usually start with the onion largely because if you start with the tomatoes your cutting board is going to be all juicy and watery…

Just dice it on up!  You don’t want the onion pieces to be too big.

Then I usually go to the garlic.  If you don’t have a fancy garlic press just 1) smash it with the flat side of your knife, 2) peel the papery skin off, and…

Chop it up finely!

Now it’s time to tackle the jalapeno…  I’m not going to lie, I HATE touching jalapenos after I accidentally touched my eye after chopping them… smart move, but someone always has to learn the hard way.

Add in the amount of jalapeno according to your own preference.  Now if I was making this salsa only for my husband or dad who think eating a jalapeno is a walk in the park I would probably put the whole thing in, chopped up, including seeds.  For those of us who like a little kick but don’t want to be sucking down 5 gallons of water after a bite, I added in 1/2 of the jalapeno minus the seeds.  Or if you’re one of those sensitive people who don’t like spice in your life leave it out completely!

Now on to the beautiful farmer’s market tomatoes! I used three medium, but you can also use 2 large.  Dice them however you like, I usually score mine like the above picture and cut horizontally.

After they are all diced up they should look like this.

Put all of the chopped ingredients so far into a bowl…

Drain and rinse the can of black beans.

Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the sweet corn (defrost if using frozen).

Add to the bowl with the other ingredients and stir!

Next, add in the 2 teaspoons of lime juice.

Then salt and pepper to taste…

Chop up some fresh cilantro, approximately 1/2 cup.

Then stir it in with the rest of the salsa.

Print Fresh Summer Salsa Recipe

Ta da! You’ve made some amazingly simple and Fresh Summer Salsa!  I like to enjoy mine with organic blue corn tortilla chips and a corona light!


Here comes the bride…

As many of you may know I got engaged on December 20, 2011

The cute raccoon ornament LJ put my engagement ring on

After the initial shock and excitement, we finally set our big day for October 13, 2012. Once I started telling friends and family our wedding date, many gasped, saying “October of this year?”. Being the second child, with my laid-back attitude, I shrugged off the comments thinking to myself how much time do you REALLY need to plan a wedding??

Once wedding planning got into full swing I realized I may have been a little naive on the difficulty of planning a wedding because:

  1. I come from a family of women who love planning and hosting parties (I began feeling the pressure to plan a great event…)
  2. EVERYTHING in the wedding-world is completely over priced from invitations down to the wedding favors

After spending hours on Pinterest and discussing ideas with my mom and sister I kept hearing over and over “We can make that” or “Lets figure out how to do that ourselves”. It reminded me of when growing up, I would point out jewelry or scarves I liked to my mom. Her typical response on many occasions was, “We can make that…when I was your age I made all of my own clothes”. While she said that I’m sure I was secretly rolling my eyes thinking, why can’t we just buy it!

With that said, I am now thankful for my mom’s creativity as I began thinking of DIY projects for the wedding. Not only does it save money, but it adds a unique, personal touch to show off to your guests. My first DIY wedding project came from an idea I found on Pinterest for table numbers. I thought it would be a cute way to incorporate some of my colors and themes on the tables.

What you’ll need:

  1. 5×7 wooden frames (I got mine from Target for $2)
  2. Acrylic Paint from your local craft store (1 color for the frames, 1 color for the number)
  3. 2 foam paint brushes
  4. 4″ wooden numbers (I found mine at Michael’s & AC Moore)
  5. Scrap-booking or specialty paper (mine came from Paper Source)

First find a flat area with a lot of space to work. Take all of the backs off the frames and remove the glass. Lay the frames over news paper and start painting. I chose white for my frames. The foam brushes worked best for me because I was going for a “shabby chic” look and the foam brushes give a “sponge” texture. I ended up doing two coats of paint. I wanted a moderate amount of brown to show through for the look I was going for, but the amount of coats you use it up to you!

Once you are finished painting the frames, begin painting the wooden numbers. I painted mine gold to coordinate with the wave paper I chose. Do 2-3 coats, or until number are completely painted. While you are waiting for the frames and numbers to dry, trace the outline of the glass from the frame on your paper. Once the frames are finished drying, place the paper in the frame, and place back on the frame (without the glass).

Lastly, heat up the hot glue gun and an apply the wooden numbers to the center of your frames. There you have a super easy and cute DIY wedding project. Enjoy!!

Summertime Petite Blueberry Cream Pies

When I think of Summer I think of fresh fruit, ice cream, swimming to cool off, and yummy pie.  Today I was at the North Carolina State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh and low and behold it’s already getting into blueberry season!  Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits and it made me miss my blueberry bushes my husband and I planted at our house in Virginia before we moved.

Blueberries aren’t just tasty, but they are good for you too!!  One of my favorite ways to eat them is in my grandmother’s (aka “DaGa”) fruit cream pie.  Although her original recipe is for Raspberry Cream Pie, I adapted it for blueberries and made it into a healthier, bite-size version that can satisfy your sweet tooth!  You can let your cooking imagination run wild – it can be made with chopped bananas, peaches, strawberries, or your other favorite fruits.  Here’s the recipe for this tasty delight!

For the Petite Blueberry Cream Pies you will need:

Print the Petite Blueberry Cream Pies Recipe

  • 1 can (1 1/3 cups) Eagle Brand fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups washed fresh blueberries
  • 4 packages of phyllo cups (found in the frozen food section)
  • 1 tub of whipped cream (I used fat-free Cool Whip)
Here’s how you make it:

First, combine the fat-free sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice.

Stir until thickened, might be 10 strokes or so…

Fold the blueberries into the condensed milk and lemon juice mixture…

Then take your phyllo cups out of the box.  I found that it was easiest to leave them in the tray.  Don’t worry about baking!

Spoon the yummy concoction into the phyllo cups. I was only able to get about 3-4 blueberries in because they were HUGE! Don’t fill them up too much because you’ve gotta leave room for the….

Whipped cream!! Just a dollop will do, or you can use the spray kind, whatever your heart desires!

Leave the cute little pies in the tray and freeze for about 2-3 hours.  You can freeze them overnight or for days.

At Last! Transfer the pies to your favorite platter 10-15 minutes before serving.  Then enjoy your friends’ compliments on how much of an amazing cook you are!

Print the Petite Blueberry Cream Pies Recipe

About Us:

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Hello and welcome to Homegrown Hand-Me-Down!  We are two sisters who grew up in a small town in rural Virginia.  Out in the country everybody knows everybody and we were lucky  enough to have basically our entire extended family in a 10-mile radius.  We’ve been graced with a long line of DIY women from our … Continue reading