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Friday, December 23, 2011

Next Few Posts

The next few posts on my blog will contain numerous family recipes that have been passed down for generations. These recipes contain wonderful memories of laughter, flour, and too much food coloring. I hope they will fill your home with the same love as they have mine.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bounties of the Virginia Trails

My Momma thought it was slightly amusing and very contradictory that  my first post on my southern blog was about salsa. So this one's for you Momma! And I assure you all that the majority of my posts will consist of all things southern from now on.
In this day and age it can be hard to remember to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of the outdoors. What comes to mind for some at the mention of Virginia might be Capitol Hill, men in suits, and metro rides. However, many a Virginian enjoy the simple pleasures of quite country living. Whether it be the peace of an evening spent on the back porch enjoying a cool glass of iced tea or the rewarding benefits of reaping the harvest in which they sowed (a quaint garden or a large farm). Most Virginians will tell you it is the simple things in life that bring joy to the heart.
I'd like to share one of the most pleasurable activities associated with living in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hiking is a sport I have recently come across in my search of a more 'simple' lifestyle. The day to day encounters with computers, cell phones, and whatchamacallits tend to leave most people feeling dried up. Packing a bag, throwing on some sunscreen, and leaving all the tedious electrical devices at home gives me a tremendous sense of relief- "no grandma I wasn't ignoring your phone calls, I was in the mountains all day".
 Perhaps one of my favorite haunts is White Oak Canyon trail. A daunting eight mile adventure that I have yet to complete; chalk full of water falls and swimming holes that pour right out of the Shenandoah Mountains. The water is clean and cold-a relief from the strain of an upward hike. This trail has a spectacular waterfall that is a natural slide- you will come across plenty of frequent hikers who enjoy the thrill of sliding down the slick rocks into the limpid waters.
The whole of the trail holds treasures to bedazzle the eyes from steep moss covered rocks to old fallen oaks and tiny critters inching along unaffected by the intrusion of humanity. A hike can remind you of just how uncomplicated life was meant to be and to remember to appreciate the little things in life.

More snapshots of my hikes can be found on the pictures page...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tongue Tingling Salsa

As a Southerner I enjoy rich foods such as fried chicken, bread pudding, Brussels sprouts, macaroni and cheese as well as plenty of others. However, as a former Southwestern I need my occasional fix of heat and spice. When the urge to have Mexican food hits I usually whip up a quick batch of salsa to enjoy while I'm cooking. This recipe is one that has been in my family for a while and is great for parties, lazy afternoons, or just a quick snack. Most think of chips and salsa as 'snack food' which isn't typically healthy. Homemade salsa however is packed with vitamins and nutrients. So go ahead! Indulge!
3-4 ripe tomatoes
1-2 jalapenos (depending on spice preference)
1 red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 handful of fresh cilantro
1 handful of fresh parsley (not Italian)
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 small can of tomato sauce (if color is desired)
zest of lemon and lemon juice Directions:
Cut tomatoes and onion into quarters. Remove jalapenos seeds and dice the jalapenos. Remove the flaky garlic skin. Cut off roots and most of cilantro and parsley stems. Add lemon juice, zest, paste and tomato sauce to blender or food processor along with all other ingredients. Pulse ingredients to desired consistency (I prefer medium salsa with a bit of chunk to it). Place in covered contain and keep chilled in fridge. The longer it sits the spicier it gets! Usually best day after and will stay good for up to one week in fridge. Enjoy with chips or on other preferred foods.
Hope you enjoy,
Virginia Belle

The Finished Product