Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Water!!

Water. Not the most exciting topic, but important.

When we first moved to the very high (6300 ft) and very dry Colorado Springs, I couldn't believe how thirsty I was. All the time.

You do get used to it, but it felt like I was drinking gallons a day at first.

Then it tapered off to 1-2 water bottles a day.


I love my Camelback to pieces.

Fast forward to April 2010, when it was strongly recommended I start drinking a LOT more water every day (that's 3-5 of my Camelbaks!)

Unproven fact - but, if I start drinking water earlier, I crave more water and am thirstier all day. Is there such a thing as a water metabolism? I don't know.

I started to get tired of water.

No flavor can be good. But my taste buds crave more from time to time.

I've tried adding lemon slices. Orange slices (but could never repeat the flavor that Veda Salon achieves).

I tried those sugary propel packets from time to time... but I prefer more natural flavors.

In your quest to stay hydrated, what do you do to make your water more interesting? How do you flavor it?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Date Night -- Fondue, Roasted Almonds, UFC

I've been a busy little blogger this week. You can now check me out on Facebook and Twitter, subscribe via email, and of course, Follow (the yellow brick road?) me. Granted, you've been able to do this for a while. But, now you can do ALL of the above using the options to the right of the screen. It's a big accomplishment for me. Don't knock it.

 
Hubby and I have been planning a date night, but we're trying to reign in our spending habits (champagne tastes, soda pop budget). So we made an uber-gourmet meal at home tonight, and instead of going out to watch UFC, we're renting it on pay-per-view at home. Ultimately, not a lot of cost-savings there, but, we come out ahead because we've got everything else we need here, food, drinks, front row seats and NO background noise to detract from the fights. Unless you count the howling of Jack the cat.

 

 

 
He seriously howls. I've never heard anything like it from a cat. He was a rescue from a family whose other kitties literally tried to feast on poor Jack. So he lived in a kennel and howled for attention -- and wound up with a set of overdeveloped lungs. Poor little guy. Now, poor big guy. My 12 pound cat. And he's mad in the photo above. I did, after all, disturb his one of his two daily 11-hour naps. I shouldn't complain, he's a good little guy and he's been a good friend to me over the last seven years.

 
Back to date night. 

 
The Plan:
  • Fantastic appetizer -- roasted almonds with a little kick
  • Main course -- bring the Melting Pot (a favorite restaurant) directly to our home with homemade Cheddar Cheese Fondue (now technically, cheese fondue shouldn't be a main course, but it's so filling that it will be)
  • Beverages to suit
The Entertainment: UFC 118 -- Edgar vs Penn

 
The Company:
  • Klark
  • Me
  • Lucy the Wonderdog
  • Jack the Howler
  • Nala the Sweetie
To make the almonds is really very very simple. Yet so good. You need:
Almonds (duh)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Butter
Cayenne pepper
A stove top

 
so easy, I know you can do it. It was one of my first "discovered" recipes -- it came from a bargain cookbook from Borders. Though it's been so long that I can't remember exact measurements. Here's what I used today and it worked... smashingly. Crunchingly? Deliciously? Yes. Deliciously

 
The results were delicious.

 

 
Mix 2 tbsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp cayenne in a bowl and set aside. The sea salt should be coarse but not in giant chunks.

 
2 tbsp butter and 4 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and heat till rippling. Add 1 1/2 cup almonds and toast until a lovely golden brown. Careful and don't walk away, because it's a fine line between perfect and crispy. And we don't want crispy

 

 
Mix almonds in with the salt/cayenne mixture till evenly coated then set aside to cool.

 
Now, EAT. If you don't eat them all, you can store them for several days.

 
If they last that long. I'm betting they don't.

 

 
Next up. 

 
What we've all been waiting for -- FONDUE! Yum. Yum. Yum.
Tonight, I tried a new recipe from BestFondue.com. With a name like that, how can it not be amazing? Really. I want to know. Still, being me, I had to modify it. 

 
Cheese fondue, in my opinion, is far better with a few diced scallions or green onions. A handful or so.

 
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 medium tomatoes, washed, peeled, seeded and sliced (peeled? no way!)
3 cups American cheddar cheese, grated (American? how about Irish! we used a great Irish white cheddar with a few chunks of Velveeta for color and creaminess)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 oz ranch seasoning mix
1/2 cup dry white wine (wine with low residual sugar -- Sauvignon Blanc works well)
1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp horseradish to taste (next time we'll use more, but you can use any hot sauce)
 
The recipe calls to pre-cook everything over low heat on a stove. 

 
No way. 

 
I'm not a huge fan of doing dishes, and never have been. But, I'm less a fan now than ever, since we don't have a dishwasher. No, I bought an electric fondue pot for a reason. Easy to clean, easy to use and a one pot meal. If, however, you don't have an electric fondue pot, or a fondue pot at all, or you're not adventurous you like doing lots of dishes and LOVE your brand new dishwasher, you may want to follow the recipe exactly. 

 
Not my cup of tea. Or my cup of cheese. I will say, it's best to have all of the ingredients prepared ahead of time. I learned the hard way on my first homemade fondue. And fondue isn't about stress. It's about leisure.

 
And calories.

 
Seeding and dicing tomatoes is hard work. I'd never seeded tomatoes before. Peppers, yes. Tomatoes, no. Okay, I'm being dramatic, it's not hard at all, but it is tedious and time-consuming. 

 
Wash them and peel them (yeah right! There is NO way I'm peeling tomatoes). Wash them.

 

 
Then cut off the tops and hollow them out. And if you're like me and don't consider using a spoon until you're writing about it, you cut the bottoms off as well.

 
Then slice into tiny slices (julienne) and dice.

 

 
Grate the cheddar. I love this Irish white cheddar that I've discovered at Costco. Mix the cheddar with cornstarch and set aside

 
Final prep work is to dice up a single green onion for color and for a smidge of flavor. That's a technical term, "smidge."

First, on a low heat setting, melt the butter. Add the tomatoes and brown for a few minutes.

Now, mix the ranch seasoning mix with the tomatoes. Well. Mix it well. 

Next add the cheese -- slowly. One handful at a time and let it melt.

We decided that it wasn't melting as smoothly as the American cheddar cheese the recipe called for. So we added a few chunks of Velveeta, and added some lovely yellow color.

 
Drink the wine


Add the white wine.

Finally, add pepper and horseradish to taste.


Eat! (stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't burn at the bottom)

 
Dippers:


chunks of a nice Italian bread. One day I'll bake my own breads. That day has not yet arrived.

raw carrots and steamed cauliflower and broccoli

next time we'll use green apples, we just forgot 'em this time.

Now on to UFC. It's just starting now...

Whew! GO PENN, GO COUTURE!!!

NOW, I can drink the wine!

Hopefully, Klark's forgiven me for spending some of date night writing! :)

Have a great weekend, kids. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

cilantro mashed potatoes ... made by hubby!!!

As I left for work this morning, my husband came home from his job, done for the day. He told me not to worry about dinner because he had a surprise.

I hate surprises. Normally. So I just had one question -- "dinner in or dinner out?"

The what of it wasn't important, just in vs out, and if we were going to have guests.
"Dinner in," he answered. "You'll like it."

After work, I walked in the door and the house smelled amazing. I almost walked right by the cleaned dinner table and fresh flowers to set my purse down. Okay. I did walk right by them. But they registered. After I set everything down, I gave hubby a big smooch and thanked him.

He marched me over to the sofa and instructed that I sit down and relax.

Now.

I love him. SO much.

He set the table and everything and I walked over to sit down to a beautifully plated meal.



So beautiful, I had to stop and take a picture.

He even used cilantro. Amazing.

For dinner?
Chicken marinated in a honey lemon sauce, seasoned with lemon pepper and Mrs. Dash, and then grilled, served with mashed potatoes.

I can't give the exact recipe for the taters, but they involved the normal butter and milk, and the oh so awesome ingredients of:
- garlic
- cilantro
- green onions
- parmesan cheese

And the icing on the cake? No, not cake. I'm not huge on sweets. Salt's my Achilles' heel.
Served with homemade beer. Really really good homemade beer.

I married an awesome guy. I'm keeping him.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

cilantro pesto pasta

I love cilantro. Quite frankly, I adore cilantro. If you've been reading for a while, you may remember that when I made chicken tikka masala, I was in love with the smell of diced cilantro on my fingers while I was cooking. This summer I can't seem to stop buying cilantro, whether we're at the Farmers Market, at the grocery store, and I'm sure if there was a roadside cilantro stand, I'd probably stop and buy it there too.






This has resulted in LOTS of salsa and guacamole and other dishes/sauces that use cilantro. Unfortunately, it starts going bad by the bunch in my fridge, and I am so sad when I have to toss it. As another bunch started to fade away into the abyss, and with two more waiting in the wings in the fridge to take it's place as "next cilantro to use," tonight I opted to get creative and try something new and good. What are two of my main loves...food loves that is? Pasta, and ... drumroll please... cilantro.


I did a little searching online for cilantro pesto recipes and found a ton -- which came as a total surprise to me. After a little combining and recombining -- a little of this and a little of that -- and ended up making something that most closely resembled regular pesto. Instead of pine nuts, which I had none of, I opted for walnuts for, well, a nutty flavor and texture. Also considered almonds, but walnuts seemed to go better with pesto. Don't ask why. Call it intuition?


Cilantro Pesto
1 bunch of cilantro
5 heaping teaspoons of pre-diced cloves garlic to taste (I bought garlic-in-a-jar, but this would likely equate to about 8 tsp garlic fresh)
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
3/4 cup walnuts
1 TBSP vinegar (I used white, but would use apple cider or white wine next time)
3/4 cup olive oil


1 box of pasta, cooked until slightly al dente


Garnish
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan
crushed walnuts
salt to taste
sliced tomatoes
balsamic vinegar




Load all non-pasta, non-garnish ingredients in a blender and blend.



And blend.


And blend some more. My poor blender was really working hard to earn its keep. Taking pity on the little blender that could, I turned the blender off.


And shook the contents.

And turned the blender upside down.

And stirred the contents with a knife.

Then it all blended nicely.

Mid blend -- cook the pasta. Or post-blend. Or pre-blend. Really, whatever works best for you.

I adore the pinwheel pasta, both for white cheddar mac and for this new recipe. Mostly because all of the pasta gets coated with sauce without having sauce collect and pool awkwardly in the middle of the pasta like it does in shells or penne. Sometime I'll go into how much I love pasta and love to eat it raw, and how I used to smuggle dry pasta into my room as a little girl, by using the convenient gaping hole in my blankie. A blankie that is still with us today. Whoops. Just went there. Now you know. I could contentedly eat pasta every day of the week.

Now to get the pesto out. That took some work. I'd have taken photos, but both hands were a little busy holding the blender container (I'm sure there's a word for it, but it's not coming to mind... pitcher?), and a spatula and pouring/scraping over a pan of cooked pasta. Then the mixture remnants got stuck under the blade. Waste not, want not. I got a fork and dug out... and ended up with cilantro pesto all over my forearms. Worth a photo I'm sure, but I'm not risking my iphone or my camera.

Though it can be hard to get the tail end of anything out. I love my blender. I especially love when lots of potentially messy ingredients can be combined into a single sealed container, whipped together on hi speed, and mashed into wonderfulness. And oh! so easy to clean. Spray down with the sink sprayer, rinse, spray down, rinse, fill half way with soapy water and blend until all "specks" are gone. Wipe down with sponge and dry!

Toss the pesto with the pasta, and dish up.



Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Sprinkle with grated parmesan.
Top with crushed walnuts.
Garnish the plate with the tomatoes -- I personally like surrounding the plated pasta with tomatos; but I also like making pinwheels.
Salt to taste.

Enjoy!!

And if you have any great cilantro recipes for me to try, I'm game. I still have two bunches in the fridge, and, will in all likelihood, buy more this weekend. I can't stop myself!
Cilantro
Click here to learn more about cilantro.

Inspired by this? Looking for more inspiration? Check out Southern in My Heart, she showcases some great ideas!

I'm also linking to
 
really fun, creative ideas.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Balsamic Glazed Chicken & Mustard Tomato dressing

Last night we both came home exhausted... we can blame it on anything you like

a case of the Mondays
back to back meetings
overcast skies
increasingly later sunrises

or some combination of the above.

Anyway, this week, we neglected to plan out our meals, and though we had all the ingredients for sesame chicken with green beans, we were all set to make Annie's box mac and cheese because of its pure and simple ease. Then we decided to throw together another simple and easy meal...

Balsamic Glazed Chicken, Wheat Pasta, and Tomatos with Mustard Dressing


whole wheat pasta drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil
grilled chicken glazed with balsamic vinegar (I didn't get a picture before it was chopped)


served with a side of fresh tomatoes from the Farmers Market, and my grandmother's sweet mustard dressing

The result: a quick, easy, and relatively healthy meal.



Top the pasta and chicken with a pinch of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Though it's a lot of balsamic vinegar, it caramelizes on the outside of the chicken, giving a totally different flavor, and balsamic vinegar has some incredible health benefits. Additionally, it's a huge improvement over boxed mac and cheese...

not to mention the tomatoes and my grandmother's sweet mustard dressing are to die for. I could eat that every day as a snack or a meal. The dressing doesn't have much in it (mustard, vinegar, sugar, paprika and oil), and I would have never thought that those ingredients could combine into something so delicious, but they do, as long as you keep the dressing to a minimum and the tomatoes to a maximum.

Though this was made on a Monday, I've entered it in the weekly Foodie Friday potluck at Designs by Gollum

Click here to learn about Foodie Friday

Monday, August 23, 2010

the Irish red

This weekend, we bottled beer! What a process!! Bottles had to be sanitized and rinsed before they can be filled with our yummy 6% Irish Red. I had no idea bottling beer would be so extensive!!


Fortunately Klark had previously peeled the labels, so we could start right in with the sanitizing.



He also bought this neat little bottle washer doo-hickey that attaches to the host spigot and works by pressing the bottles down. It's awesome for rinsing the sudsy sanitizer from inside the bottles.



After all 50-odd bottles were sanitized, rinsed, and placed in the sanitized cooler for safe-keeping, it was time to do the next round of magic on the beer.  

and yes... those are soda bottles, they can be used for beer! who knew?




The first week Klark brewed and then placed in the first carboy with yeast for fermentation; then we transferred to the second carboy for secondary fermentation. Saturday, he added some sort of sugar mixture which will turn into carbonation in the bottles and then transferred everything into a bucket.




Finally ready for bottling. I chose to sit and manage the auto-siphon while Klark directed the beer flow into the bottles. 

Finally, after all of the bottles were filled, the time came for capping.

Capping took a few tries... note the frustration and determination on Klark's brow in the upper left hand corner of the image...



... and the way the bottle is suspended in mid-air by the capper.

But no beer was spilled! I didn't take any pictures of the finished, and capped bottles, as the process was significantly longer than the 15 minutes I anticipated. 

Go Figure.

At least we know now... that next time we may want to consider filling soda kegs and placing in the brand new kegerator.

Klark has been telling everyone how awesome I am because I bought him a kegerator.

I'm glad he's so easy to please.

In a week or two, we will be able to try the fully carbonated beer --- come on little sugars, do your work!!!!

It would have been wonderful to relax after all that hard work with a nice beer, but instead we took a cue from Lucy the WonderDog...



... and just relaxed.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

.: meal planning

Though I just posted meal planning as a page on the site, I wanted to include it as a unique entry so that anyone can read. It will be available in both locations for your reading pleasure.

One of the most frequently asked questions is how people on a budget can get creative with food.

The answer? Plan your meals. How?
Read on for some meal planning tips

Though some plan their meals successfully weeks or even a month in advance, I find it best to plan mine a week out. Usually Friday evening or sometime Saturday, my husband and I sit down and talk about what our plans are for the coming week, and what we want to do for meals. Then we make a list of what we need more of and categorize our list according to where we want to buy the items — farmer's market, Costco, grocery store. Though some people are easily bored by their repertoire, it's easy to put a twist on even the most common items. Search ekatskitchen or other Internet sources for great ideas or ways to spruce up the most common meals. Another way is to have nights like Taco Tuesday, where you have tacos every Tuesday, but change up the variety (standard beef tacos one week, blackened ahi the next) and play with the flavors. The possibilities are endless.

Spices
The largest financial outlay takes place for specialty items and spices. If you're just getting started, look for meals that make use of ingredients you have, so that you only need to purchase one or two specialty items at a time. Especially with spices, once you have them, you tend not to need to purchase them often. If, however, you find that you go through a lot of a particular spice, it's wise to find a place that sells them in bulk. Costco sells a lot of the more common spices in larger quantities, but you can also go to a place like Savory, who conveniently has an online store as well as their Colorado-based shops, to purchase just about any quantity of a spice.

Buying in Bulk
Also, buy in bulk. I love Costco. Others prefer Sam's Club. These two membership warehouses are great places to stock up on everyday items. Though they don't consistently have every ingredient you need, or even consistently have the lowest prices, they tend to consistently have reasonable prices on quality goods (less than $3. for 18 eggs, etc.).

If you're looking for dry foods (lentils, pastas, grains, and more), opt for some good bulk storage bins, and then find a store like Whole Foods, where you can purchase these items by weight and un-packaged. I almost always purchase lentils and almonds this way, though sometimes with Safeway's club card coupons, it works out better to buy pasta that way.

Couponing
Another great way to save money is couponing. I am not a person who usually remembers this, or who is good about saving/shopping with coupons. I tend to shop based on what I want, not what I have coupons for, if I even remember to bring them. That said, it's a goal of mine to get more into couponing to save some money — it's just smart. If you, like me, are just getting started, The Deal Detector offers some great ideas, options, and daily updates on money-saving deals. She also has great savings for military families as well as a great video on how to get organized.

Where we shop
We try to go to farmers' markets just about every week in the summer for the freshest produce and the best prices. Sometimes you end up with a lot of one thing (jalapenos maybe?), but most veggies freeze pretty well. We try to keep Costco trips to once a month as we tend to both overspend and overbuy, but it's a great place for staples. If we feel up to it we then shop at the commissary, but often, we don't want to go the 20 minutes to get on post, so we go to a normal grocery store.

Monday, August 16, 2010

salsa, and creative jalapenos!

small changes are being made to ekat's kitchen. For one, you can now access by going directly to ekatskitchen.com; this very simple step took far too long to accomplish. I was worried I'd gotten in over my head. Then, like magic, the switch flipped. If you've bookmarked the blogspot site, never fear, you can still use that link to get to the blog. There's also a new look; as time progresses and I have more time, I may get a more custom look and feel, but, in the meantime, you get orange swirly awesomeness.

So what's new in the kitchen? We didn't make it to Farmer's Market this week, but that's fine because we're still working our way through the jalapenos, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes from last week's excursion. I blended up cilantro, jalapenos, onions and tomatoes... basically all my go-to salsa making goodies... and the result about burned off the roof of my mouth! I continued adding tomatoes and bell peppers, until I had about a quart of salsa. A salsa blessing? Or, a salsa curse? Yet to be determined. We've still got a ton of jalapenos, and my estimate of a dozen - a dozen and a half may have been off, since I reviewed the contents of my jalapeno bag, AND discovered that there were another handful from a previous grocery excursion. Whoops. With all the tomatoes the salsa is looking a smidge like gazpacho or even a creamy tomato soup, but it tastes like yummy salsa.

Last night I made sweet potato fries from 4 sweet potatoes that varied in size from large to gigantic. The best ever turn out, not just in quantity but in taste! Perhaps because I gave up on my quest to make them low sodium. So simple and easy -- peel, slice into long strips, place into ziploc bag with a few tablespoons olive oil, and toss with about a tablespoon and a half of the Melting Pot's Garlic & Wine seasoning. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 and voila! The best sweet potato fries.

Ever.

I'd have shared, but we ate them all. All four potatoes worth.

My stomach regretted it later, but my taste buds were oh! so happy. Even better? We were able to use up about 1/4 cup of the salsa as a dipping sauce. So only slightly less than a quart of salsa to be eaten this week. Progress!

coming tomorrow... fish tacos -- with ahi. And salsa! Yum.


In beer news, after experimenting with vinyl tubing i.d.'s we finally got the right size from Home Depot and got the auto-siphon going to switch the beer to the secondary fermentation carboy. Next week, bottling. I got a taste, and, let me tell you, this is going to be one knock-out Irish Red... cannot wait to try it with carbonation!! I'll have my wine sometime next week, though it won't be ready to bottle for almost two months - I've got a lot more time to get wine bottles emptied and for my friends to get them emptied than Klark has time for the beer bottles. Help us! ;)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Jalapenos! (and beer update)

I still adore the Farmer's Market. We loaded up again last week, but didn't do as much cooking this week; we've both just been exhausted lately... and some sad news from Alaska left us craving comfort food. M&C fit the bill a few nights - once out of the box and last night from scratch. I can't believe how much M&C we've been eating lately!!! So we've been trying lots of add-ins to our favorite white cheddar recipe; current favorites are bacon and diced, seeded jalapenos. Still we only used three jalapenos... and we've got at least a dozen more. We made salsa again, and I'm planning to make pico soon... but I am running low on time, and high on ingredients --- tomatoes, onions, cilantro, bell peppers, jalapenos... and more!

I'm not sure what possessed me to buy a basket of jalapenos, except that it was $2.50 for the basket, and they're usually about that much each at Safeway... which left me with a big giant hole -- I don't know what to do with that many. A friend sent me to Jalapeno Madness, a site filled with jalapeno tips, recipes, history, and general adulation. Most importantly, ideas for preserving them -- I plan to freeze some, saving them for future experimentation and yummy meals, and then buy more... for more of the same.

Jalapeño Pepper on FoodistaJalapeño Pepper


I'm open to any new idea from anyone on jalapeno recipes -- email me at erin@ekatskitchen.com, I'll be sure to give credit where credit's due! Would love to create a jalapeno chicken sandwich, and will soon start experimenting to perfect.

In other news, I reported on Klark's brewing experiment -- this weekend is step #2 in the process, and then next week we bottle! We also learned after checking out Rocky Mountain Brewery (the home brew store and bar!) that we can make wine with Klark's brewing set. I've ordered Rioja and Amarone kits and will begin as soon as I can. More on that, coming soon!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

the great alaskan beer experiment

Ok, there's not much Alaska in the beer experiment, except that we both strongly identify with AK. And miss it. However, it's a kitschy title and I like it. So there.

Though I feel that this should be Klark's blog, I don't know that he'll actually write about it, so I'm writing for him. For now. Our neighbor here is a great guy and he and Klark get along really well... and they've bonded over... you guessed it, Beer (with a capital B). When we first met, Matt was in several local bands, but his latest hobby is home-brewing. The other night, he was telling us about a great microbrewery and home brew store in east Colorado Springs. I want to go to check out the beers, but Klark is just as interested in the home brewing aspect.

Last night marked the very first of, what I'm sure will be many, home brew experiments. I came home to a house smelling wonderfully of brewing and steeping hops and oats (though I didn't know what exactly brewing hops or oats smelled like before). I was instantly hungry! Boiling away on the stove in a new 4 gallon pot were the makings of an Irish Red (told you it wasn't very "Alaskan"). The guys at the home brew store had set Klark up with a whole kit with everything he needed to make beer (we need to start collecting glass bottles, any of you COS-area peeps that are saving them) including a bottle capper, all the ingredients for a recipe, and a great how-to book.

Now the bottle is sitting in our mudroom, contentedly bubbling away until Klark transfers everything to the other bottle and does his next magic step in a week. I'm not mentioning what that step is, not because I'm trying to keep Klark's trade secrets (not that he has any just yet), but rather because I have no clue what that step might be.

In a month, we'll get to sample the beer of his labor, and I'll happily take a picture and post it! I can't wait!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

homemade smooth salsa

More than a year ago, before in fact, Klark even left for Afghanistan, he bought me a new blender. High rolling, I know, but I get really excited about new appliances -- a fondue pot, a slow cooker, a KitchenAid mixer, and of course a new blender. Blenders make some of my favorite soups smoother, but this one came with an added bonus -- a salsa function.

It took me more than a year and many trips to the farmer's market to make it, but this week I finally - A. made it to the farmer's market and B. ended up with all the good ingredients I need to make a killer salsa. We bought a salsa that looked great from Costco, but were so disappointed in it, so with a giant bag of tortilla chips and all the right ingredients, what better to do with my Monday night. Armed with 2 bunches of cilantro at $.50 each, a giant bag of fresh tomatoes for $5 from the farmer's market and many other ingredients, I set to creating, tasting, and adding ingredients.

This is delicious, easy, healthy, and ... delicious! Just enough kick, and has a good bite -- next time might leave the whole jalapeno unseeded.

5 medium tomatoes
1 jalapeno, halved with one half seeded
1 t garlic
1/4 onion
2 T apple cider vinegar
juice from 1/2 lime
1 yellow pepper
3/4 c chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Roughly chop all ingredients and combine in a blender and serve. Garnish with cilantro if you like. Soooo good - really healthy and almost no salt -- just 45 mg for the entire recipe. Fun to do the chopping, fun to do the blending (just push the button and the blender does all the work!), fun and easy to eat. I can't believe it took me this long to use the blender.

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