Monthly Archives: October 2013

Home-Cooked Tomato Paste

tomato paste

I don’t know about you, but I never seem to have tomato paste when I need it.  However, I have come to the conclusion that if you can buy it in the grocery store, you can make it in your kitchen, so here several weeks ago when I needed some tomato paste and didn’t have any, I decided to give making some a try.  I mean, seriously, the ingredient list on the cans isn’t that long.  It’s basically concentrated, condensed tomato.  Not hard, but it does take some time.  I didn’t give mine quite enough time, but I needed it and didn’t have any longer to wait.

All you need is a can of crushed, diced, or stewed tomatoes.  You can give using fresh tomatoes a try, but you will need to peel them. To do that easily, bring some water to a boil in a pan large enough for the number of tomatoes you’re needing to peel.  Once the water is at a good, rolling boil, drop in the tomatoes for about 30 seconds to one minute.  Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and place them in cold water.  The skin should be loose.  Just use a knife to peel off the skin.  !Caution!  The juices of the tomato WILL be hot.  Also, if you peel them over a bowl, you can save the juice through freezing or canning for stews and soups.  Use the skins in a compost pile or to feed your chickens or whatever.

Alright, now that you have your tomatoes (one way or the other), put them in a blender, and blend them until they are smooth.  You shouldn’t have to add water to puree them, since tomatoes have a lot of juice in them and canned ones are floating in liquid.  If you wish to strain them, do it now.  You could probably use a cheese cloth or possibly just a basic wire strainer.  Pour the tomato puree into a skillet or sauce pan.  Cook it on low to medium heat, stir it often after it reaches a slow boil.  Just let it cook down until you get a nice paste, stirring often the closer it gets being done.  Use it like you would any other paste.


P.S.  You can add some dried herbs and seasonings to the puree before cooking it down if you want.


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Chocolate Revel Bars

chocolate revel bars 1

Do you like chocolate?  Do you like granola?  Then, you will like this tasty treat.  It’s an incredibly unhealthy, chocolate-ly granola bar.  I made it recently for a pot luck at church, and it was lapped up.  Thankfully, it’s a big recipe, and I had a whole pan still waiting for me at home.  😀  I hope you enjoy it!



  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans*
  • 2 tsp. vanilla


  1. Set aside 2 tablespoons of butter.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat remaining butter for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add brown sugar and baking soda.  Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl.
  4. Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla until combined.
  5. Beat in as much flour as you can, and mix in the rest with a spoon.
  6. Stir in oats.
  7. For the filling, in a medium saucepan, combine reserved butter, chocolate chips, and sweetened condensed milk.  Cook over low heat until chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.
  8. Stir in nuts* and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
  9. Press 2/3 of the oat mixture (about 3 1/3 cups) onto the bottom of an ungreased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan.  (I don’t have one, so I actually used two 9-inch cake pans and one 8-inch cake pan.)
  10. Spread filling evenly over the oat mixture.
  11. Dot remaining oat mixture on top.
  12. Bake at 350-degrees for about 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned (chocolate filling will still look moist).
  13. Cool on wire rack.  Cut into bars.

Makes about 60 bars.  (I told you it was a big recipe.)

*I forgot to add the nuts, so they’re optional.

chocolate revel bars 2

>> From Better Homes and Gardens Our Best Recipes Cook Book

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