Roasted Jalapeño Hummus

My garden has given me a bounteous crop of spicy jalapeño peppers. Some I've used green and others I've let fully ripen into beautiful red beauties. I think I prefer my jalapeños fully ripened. They seem to have a better flavor - a little sweeter. Also, I love how pretty they are. I decided they would go well in a spicy hummus.
Hummus is a favorite in my house and I love making it because it so easy, delicious and healthy! This recipe takes a little more time if you count the time it takes to roast the jalapeños, but the time is well worth it, plus I don't think it's fair to count that time in because you can roast a bunch of peppers, keep them in the fridge, and use them in things all week if you'd like. That's what I do. Try adding them to salads, sauces, dips, sandwiches, nachos, tacos... there are many possibilities!

Before we get to the hummus recipe, here's a quick rundown on how to roast jalapeños in the oven. It's very easy and they're so delicious. Roasting them mellows out their spiciness and gives them a delicious flavor.
First, cut the peppers in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. If you want them super spicy, leave the seeds in, but be warned they are very powerful.
Place the peppers cut side down onto a baking sheet. Set oven to broil and place peppers on the top rack in the oven. Cook for approximately 7 minutes, but keep an eye on them. The skin will start to bubble and blacken, which is what you want. Don't over do it though or you'll burn the inner flesh of the pepper. Once the peppers are lightly darkened on the tops and bubbly, but not too burnt then you're done! Some recipes tell you to remove and discard the skins, but don't waste your time with this. When roasting other types of peppers, this might be something you want to do, but the skins of the jalapeños are nice and thin. It's also a little tedious trying to peal them and I have no patience for things like that. I use them with the skins on and no one seems to care. You can store your jalapeños in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container.

Now that you've got some roasted peppers, it's time to grab your food processor and make some really amazing hummus!
Roasted Jalapeño Hummus:

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
2 cloves of garlic
1 TB lemon juice
3 TB olive oil
2-6 slices roasted jalapeños (depending on how spicy you want it)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 drops pure lime essential oil
1 small drop pure cilantro essential oil

In your food processor, blend together everything except the jalapeños. Add and blend the peppers one at a time, tasting in between until you achieve the right amount of flavor and spice to your personal liking. Once everything is blended, you're done. I serve this with a bowl of tortilla chips and a bowl of salsa. It is always devoured. Yum! Delicious! I hope you enjoy it!

Shared at these blogs:
Gluten Free Fridays at Vegetarian Mama
BFF Open House at The Answer is Chocolate 
Sunday Linky at Suburbs Mama
Silver Pennies Sunday at Finding Silver Pennies
Independence Days Challenge at Simply Living Simply
Super Sunday Link Party at Who Needs A Cape?
Creative Home & Garden Hop at Little Homestead On The Hill
Clever Chicks Blog Hop at the Chicken Chick 
Manic Monday at Serendipity & Spice
Craftastic Monday at Sew Can Do
Monday Funday at Lines Across
Mostly Homemade Mondays at Homegrown & Healthy
What'd You Do This Weekend at Tumbleweed Contessa
Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures
The Backyard Farming Connection
Rock N Share at The Shady Porch
Treasure Hunt Thursday at From My Front Porch To Yours 
Lovely Ladies Link Up at Life With The Crust Cut Off 
Feature Friday at Blissful and Domestic 
The HomeAcre Hop at Black Fox Homestead 
From The Farm Blog Hop at Sunny Simple Life
Farmgirl Friday at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House
Down Home Blog Hop at Tilly's Nest


Twig & Acorn Wreath

I love this time of year! The season is changing once again and autumn is almost here! This morning is the first morning that has really had a chill to it! I could see my breath as I went out to do my morning chores. Now I'm wrapped in a cozy blanket enjoying a warm cup of cocoa. I love decorating for autumn because I can utilize so many natural elements that are already on hand. Two things that I happen to have in abundance are branches from a recent landscaping project and acorns. I decided I wanted to create a wreath for my front door with them and I made sure to document it so I could share it with you. I hope you enjoy it!
 First, an important note about using acorns for crafting:
Before you use acorns to decorate in your home, you must get rid of any outdoor pests, which are living in the acorns and which will invade your home and cause a yucky mess. The easiest way to do this is to heat them up. I started with green acorns picked right off the tree. I spread them on a cookie sheet and baked them at 350F for 20 minutes. Check them after 10 minutes and roll them around a bit, so they cook evenly. Let them cool and then you're done!
 How to make a Twig & Acorn Wreath:
1. Begin your wreath by cutting up a lot of nice straight, thin branches. I got mine from a lilac tree that we removed from our yard. Cut them into approximately two sizes one longer and one a little shorter. Don't worry about making the lengths exact; it will look nicer if there is a slight variation.

2. Next, cut a piece of sturdy cardboard into a circle about the size you want your wreath to be. You want this to be tough corrugated type, a cereal box is not going to be strong enough. I traced around two clay pots to help me get an even circular shape.

3. Beginning with the longer twigs, use a hot glue gun to secure them to the cardboard until it is evenly covered. 

4. Use the shorter twigs to fill in on top. Pay attention to any places where the cardboard shows and be sure to cover with a twig or two. It looks pretty fun with the just the twigs, but it's about to get even more fun! Time for the acorns!

5. Hot glue the acorns around the center of the wreath. This helps cover any view of the cardboard that might have been showing in the center and really makes this wreath stand out.

6. Once the glue has cooled and everything is set, use a soft under the finger nail type scrub brush to gently brush the wreath off. Brush in the direction of the twigs all the way around. This will get most of those stringy hot glue webs off.
I love how this turned out! I used a cute fall ribbon to hang it on my door and I think it looks great! I haven't had too many visitors since making this wreath, but those who've stopped by have almost always complimented it! It feels good to create! I especially like creating something awesome out of things that are just lying around. For another great wreath tutorial check out how to make grapevine wreaths HERE.

This post was featured on these great blogs:
The Chicken ChickPhotobucket
Recipes and Ramblins with the Tumbleweed Contessa

Shared at these great blogs:
BFF Open House at The Answer is Chocolate
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Craftastic Monday at Sew Can Do
Monday Funday at Lines Across
Mostly Homemade Mondays at Homegrown and Healthy
What'd You Do This Weekend at Tumbleweed Contessa
Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage
The Backyard Farming Connection
Link Party Tuesday at AtoZebra Celebrations
Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures
Rock N Share at The Shady Porch 
Down Home Blog Hop at Tilly's Nest
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Treasure Hunt Thursday at From My Front Porch To Yours
Lovely Ladies Linky at Life with the Crust Cut Off
The HomeAcre Hop at Black Fox Homestead 
Feature Friday at Blissful and Domestic  
From the Farm at Sunny Simple Life
Farmgirl Friday at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House
Cottage Style Party at Lavender Garden Cottage 
Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage 
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest 
Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage 
Made By You Monday at Skip To My Lou 
Work it Wednesday at The Happy Housie
Strut Your Stuff at Six Sisters' Stuff 


Roasted Tomato Marinara & Cheesy Quinoa Bites

Phew! What a crazy week it's been! So much was going on and then to make it more crazy, my computer , which has been on it's last leg for a while, finally bit the dust. It was time to retire the old model and now I'm back with a sleek new machine ready for sharing more of the things that I've been up to. I hope you all had a wonderful week!

This post is specifically for a sister of mine who posed a question on Facebook the other day, "If you had lots of ripe tomatoes, what would you make?" I was one of several people who answered with ideas and when I mentioned "cheesy quinoa bites", I had a few requests for the recipe. So, here it is! Plus, I threw in one of my favorite ways to use lots of ripe tomatoes as well: roasted tomato marinara, which just happens to go extremely well with the quinoa bites. I love that most of the ingredients to these came right out of my garden! Even the egg is from our ducks! I love having a garden!
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as my family has! We've eaten this twice in the past 4 days!
Roasted Tomato Marinara:
This recipe takes a little time, but is simple and easily adaptable. I'm sorry to say that this is one of those annoying recipes without clear measurements. The fact is, I have never stopped to measure how many tomatoes I use and it varies a lot since I'm using a variety of shapes and sizes right out of my garden. I just chop enough to fill my glass casserole dish. I hope that doesn't throw anyone off. The secret ingredient to this delicious sauce is a tiny bit of 100% pure oregano essential oil. Wow! After making it using the oil, I will never go back! The flavor is superb and it only uses a very small amount of the oil. A little goes a long way, so don't over do it.
Add to a 2 QT glass casserole dish:
1/2 medium onion chopped (more if you really like onions!)
Ripe tomatoes, chopped (Enough to evenly fill the dish)
Drizzle with olive oil
Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper

Stir to evenly distribute the olive oil. Roast, uncovered at 350F for approx. 45 minutes or until everything is bubbly and a few tomato skins are beginning to darken. Drain away the liquid. The more liquid you drain, the thicker your sauce will be. Freeze the left over liquid to use in other recipes later if you'd like. That's what I did! Let tomatoes and onions cool.

In a food processor blend well:
tomato and onion mixture
A handful of fresh basil
1 or 2 drops of  pure oregano essential oil (It's very strong, so start with one!)
Enjoy immediately, or store short term in the fridge, or long term in the freezer. I love freezing a batch in ice cube trays (then transferring to a big freezer bag). It's easier to use that way and very handy if you need just a little bit of sauce. I use this for a multitude of uses including: dipping sauce, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, etc.

Cheesy Quinoa Bites:
This recipe has actual measurements! It is so easy to make and I am regularly mixing it up with different add-ins. With the marinara sauce, I wanted something that would compliment, but not over power. These are perfect! I like to munch them plain as well. They make a tasty snack!

Heaping 1/2 C finely chopped sweet peppers. I used both red and green
1 sprig fresh basil chopped
1 egg
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 C cooked and cooked quinoa

Mix everything together until well incorporated. Arrange spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. You can also put them into mini cupcake pans, but I prefer the cookie sheet method. Bake in the oven at 350F for approximately 20 minutes or until browned on the edges. Serve warm.

Linking up to these great blogs:
Super Sunday at Who Needs a Cape
Manic Monday at Serendipity & Spice
Monday Funday at Lines Across
Mostly Homemade Mondays at Homegrown & Healthy
What'd You Do This Weekend at The Tumbleweed Contessa
The Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage
Rock N Share at the Shady Porch
The Backyard Farming Connection
Tuesdays With a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures
Allergy Free Wednesdays at Tessa The Domestic Diva
Gluten Free Wednesdays at Gluten Free Homemaker
Down Home Blog Hop at Tilly's Nest
Waste Not Want Not Wednesday at Poor And Gluten Free
Home & Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Treasure Hunt Thursday at From my Front Porch to Yours
HomeAcre Hop at Black Fox Homestead
Lovely Ladies Linky at Life With The Crust Cut Off
Farm Girl Friday at The Dandelion House
Gluten Free Fridays at Vegetarian Mama
Feature Friday at Blissful and Domestic
From the Farm Blog Hop at Sunny Simple Life
Simply Natural Saturdays at The Pistachio Project

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First Duck Egg & Garden Highlights

We got our first duck egg from our Cayugas yesterday and I just had to share! Cayugas reportedly lay eggs that are dark at the beginning of the laying season and then get lighter as the season goes on. We've been curious to see what they would look like. They are pretty cool! Kind of a charcoal color. We're pretty excited!
 I also thought I'd share a few lovely pictures from my garden. Fall may be on it's way, but there are still many flowers blooming. Here are a few that caught my eye recently.
First, I thought this Nicotiana looked so pretty against the red brick background. I love these flowers in my garden because they smell so delicious on a late summer evening and I love spending time outside at that time of day. These are right outside my back door, so every time I pass by as I'm doing my evening chores, I can smell them.
On the other side of the house, near the front door, I have several vines of Grandpa Ott's annual morning glory. I love stepping out on my front porch first thing in the morning, to see how many of them are in bloom. They are gorgeous! What a glorious way to start the morning!
And of course, I love the sunflowers that are all around my yard! I love seeing the wildlife that they attract to my yard. I was lucky enough to capture a couple of these visitors in photos: A little goldfinch and a regal monarch butterfly. So awesome! Have a wonderful day and If you haven't already, check out some reasons why I love sunflowers in my post:
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