Stolen Salsa Recipe

15 Jun

Home made Salsa

You would not believe how easy it was to make this salsa. I googled the recipe for Pappasito’s salsa. If you are’nt from Texas this is a local Tex Mex chain that is part of who I am as a Houstonian. I grew up going there on
“payday” with my Dad.  And then worked there in graduate school waiting tables.

They have the best thin crisp tortilla chips and salsa served warm on the planet. Best ceviche I have ever had, and oh my…..they specialize in fajitas served with a buttery wine montaquilla sauce. It will change your life.

MORE tomatos

Can you ever have too many tomatos? NOOOOOOO. But I am getting creative making sure I give away or use them before they go bad. This is a good “growing” year.

So I decided to make restaurant style salsa. For some reason I thought it would be hard to make. Like gourmet or something. I used to work at Pappasito’s in college and believe me, they guarded that recipe like it was a secret weapon. HA. That  was before the internet! Now bloggers like me can share their secrets to people all over the world. Dear Finland, you have to make this recipe now. You have no idea what you are missing. Same for you New Jersey  and Vancouver and Hong Kong!!  Sidney home cooks, break out the Tex Mex!!! Let Tex Mex reign all over the world!!

chop your tomatos coursely, chunky

What I like about this recipe is the pepper combined with the sweetness of the tomatos. This is such a contrast to my own signature salsa which is not cooked and combines a lot of lime and garlic to flavor the tomatos. I could write a book about salsas at different restaurants in Houston alone.

For this recipe take one pablano pepper and one jalopeno pepper and in a pan chop coarsely,and brown them until there are splotches of brown on the skins. Then add your tomatos to the peppers and brown them as well.

Remove the pan and add the chopped onion.

In a food processor add celery salt, oregano, cilantro, sugar, garlic salt and pepper.

smallest food processor in the known universe

I had to cut the recipe in half to accomodate my midget food processor.

Add your tomato, pepper, onion mixture slowly to your hopefully monsterishly large food processor with a little water and blend to a chunky texture, not totally smooth. Is that right? Not a sauce, but a salsa texture.


Return to your pan to serve it up warm with tortilla chips!

And thank yourself in your Jersey Shores accent, or yiddish, British or South Texas accent. Tex mex in a jar. This is home in a jar to me. I love this recipe like I cant even tell you.


  • 8 tomatos(Whole)
  • 1 small yellow onion diced 
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, stem removed and seeded
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 fresh poblano pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt or powder
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Love ya’ll!



12 Jun

This morning I decided to make my morning prettier with a breakfast feast on the back patio. My grandmother used to do this in Oklahoma when I was a kid and it always made breakfast feel like a treat.

Bounty from the garden

This is the first cutting of zinias this summer. I love that they are so bright and they thrive in the Texas Heat.

On the slate this weekend: Some yardwork, garden work – weeding. Grilling out this evening. And working on baby blanket for my coming niece and learning to knit socks. Also going tto tackle the ruffle shirt tutorial from Craftzine.  Pictures to come tonight on these projects.


Gratitude Tuesday

9 Jun

My new purse

 My mom bought me this cute Fossil purse at Macy’s. I love it. It says color and summer. And it’s nice and big.

Gratitude Tuesday one day late:

I am grateful for:

My home

No mortgage

my church

My mom and Dad

my brother and his beautiful wife

My niece  – I can t wait to meet you!

my son’s FOUR grandparents – how lucky are we

My Gigi and all the lessons I am learning

My safe cozy cul de sac

For all of the traveling I have done and all I have yet to do – the Wanderlust

All of the love I have had in my life and all that is to come

The men at my church who help with my son

My new purse

 My garden

All the good that is coming to me

Thank you Universe

Are you at risk?

24 May

these blacked eyed susans came up "volunteer"

Dr Jill Carroll spoke at my church on Sunday and the topic is haunting me. She spoke of the parable in Mark of the master and the talents that he gave to his servants.   The third servant was banished because he dug a hole and was too afraid to share his one talent. The other servants shared their talents in the world and doubled their efforts.

So the question is are you at risk?  She makes the point that we SHOULD be at risk….

It takes risk to go out into the world and share your talents. Whether it is love, an ability to write, sing, do athletics…. Whatever it is. You might not have really “risked” bringing it into the world. Letting spirit flow through you and express through you.

Dr. Carrol made the point that a lot of us, maybe even the majority of us, have been roughed up the last two years. That we’ve maybe pulled in and held back out of survival or protection  – because of money or housing problems, or loss of job or whatever. Where before that, we maybe were out there in the world living more largely.

And she just asks the question, “Are you at risk”, “Am I at risk”?

I am still meditationg on this. It’s pretty deep. I’m not sure I totally understand it.

But I know that I need to take more risks again. Get back out there – the job market and my money have taken a beating the past year and a half. But there is no one who can harm my soul. I need to get back out there for me.

This was only a temporay place of learning. I have learned much. I am grateful.

Giant Fruits

24 May

Because I am obsessed with seeds, an addict really, I bought MORE seeds to grow into plants. Even though I have 23 tomato plants in the raised bed, garden number two only has like one pumpkin vine. What does one pumkin vine need with a whole bed.

So say hello to your new competition. I mean friends. Black and orange pumpkins. AND… the infamous, Does-it really exist or not…. GIANT pumpkin. I am obsessed with growing pumpkins because I CANT GROW PUMPKINS. My only foray into this genre of gardening was last year and it was a complete failure. I had high hopes of impressing my friends and family with said GIANT pumpkin. My unreal fantasy goes something like Charlottes web with country fair and “some pumpkin” written in spidar web or something,… that.

I mean, I want to believe in the GIANT PUMPKIN. I want to believe I can grow fruit bigger than my child, or my dog. And I am crazy and insane. 

This is for my boy, because he’s like “I dont eat tomatoes mom. Or peppers. Or cilantro. Or basil.Or zucchini.” You get the drift.

And in keeping with my apparant innate need to grow GIANT fruit this summer, I transferred the Beefsteak tomatos to bigger containers. 

What am I compensating for with all this giant fruit? What does it all mean?

Moving along, I think the Texas heat would wipe out the seedlings if I put them in the ground this young. Which is different for “you guys” up North. Your always blogging about a freeze and trying to keep your seedlings warm. Not a problem here in Houston. We like it hot and humid.

transplanted beefsteak

I know, they are little. GROW!!! Growing tomato plants from seed is excruciating. I need to start earlier next year.

I am attached to the GIANT beefsteak. They must make it. The brandywine,  phht. They can die if they want. I read that the Brandywine is “leggy”. And that sounds all whimpy and high maintenance.

Ok good bye.

xoxo melissa

Off the wagon

20 May

The first tomato this year


This week did me in as far as working out goals go. In integrity I have to say it, but every day is a brand new baby day. I’ve had some prosperity come my way in the form of a small part time job. And still hoping to hear about the nonprofit I interviewed with last week.

Next week I am going in with guns blazing  and a BUNCH more organized. You wont see me quit.

Off today to bring my Gigi potato soup, check on my elderly neighbor and then baseball tournament with my booger.

Better and better every day. New start no excuses Monday.

love ya,


Green Monster breakfast wrap

15 May

This is an easy Eat Clean recipe for breakfast. I happen to be out of everything but green veggies and ingrediants which inspired the “green”.

First fry up some turkey bacon.

Chop your onion and some pickled jalapenos. If you cant handle the peppers then you suck. Just kidding!

Throw them into the pan where you cooked the turkey bacon – you may need to add some pam or olive oil (I did). Turkey bacon is pretty lean.

Add broccoli. It’s a superfood. Tosca Reno from the Eat Clean book sites that it is stocked with “disease fighting nutrients”. It boosts the immune system. It is also cancer fighting. And did you know broccoli (one serving) contains more vitamin C than a glass of O.J.!? Who knew!

Ok add your eggwhites. I happen to have them in a carton – or you can separate them yourself. I added about a half carton.

Scramble your eggs.

Just before your eggs are ready, add fresh spinach. Scramble just long enough to wilt the spinach. Otherwise it gets mushy and gross.

Get your wrap. I used garden spinach. Heat it up a sec in the microwave.

Assemble and roll.

I forgot to tell you, I boiled a small potato (which is eat clean) and added it to the onion and jalopeno broccoli before I poured the egg whites.

Be fearless and cool like me. Add more jalapeno.

Cut in half.

The monster! I only eat half as a serving and save the other half for a snack later.

The wrap itself was 210 calories so one serving was only 105 with 18 grams of carbs.

Green Monster Breakfast wrap:

Mission wrap garden spinach herb

egg whites

half chopped onion

pickled jalapeno to taste

small potato or half a larger potato

fresh spinach

fresh broccoli

turkey bacon

Cook the turkey bacon to crisp. Then, in the bacon “grease” sautee the onions, jalopeno and broccoli. Add in one small boiled potato chopped.

Then add your eggwhites and scramble. When eggs are almost done, wilt the spinach. This would also be more awesome with a verde salsa (which I was out of boooo!).

Assemble in your wrap and enjoy!




15 May

Garden update:  The basil is really coming in well. I am hoping to make pesto for the first time this year and save it in ice cubes for use in the winter.

I have 23 tomato plants in all….that’s definitely a crop. I’d like to do some canning for the first time as well.

I am really excited about these guys…they got started late so are still in the seedling stage, but if I can get them strong enough to go outdoors they make those huge 1 lb tomatos like you see in the fair. Great great for canning!!! And my ego.  Finny is my inspiration for monster truck rally tomatos.

I see salsa verde in my future.

exes and ohs


The Queen Bees

10 May

These are some treasured photos from my mother’s day last year with my dear Gigia and mom. We had brunch at my house with quiche, champagne and bagels. It was a lovely peaceful day. This year was quite different. My grandmother’s had a stroke and it has been a difficult two months. I am so grateful for all the time I have with my mom and grandmother.

I love this picture of you mom!

Love you Gigi!

You too doodlebug! He lets us get our gossip on.

I’ve never wanted mango iced tea more than right now. I need to make this again. So subtle and refreshing.

Bye for now



Mama Plant

10 May

Earlier this year I had the insane idea to sell my house that I adore. The house was listed all of about six weeks of me feeling sad before I came to my senses. So when I called the realtor and cancelled my contract and joyfully began moving in my pictures and boxes I noticed this plant needed to be repotted.

I gave the babies away to my neighbors to celebrate “We’re not moving day”.

And then we made pizza and I had a glass of my friend Car don Aye and all was right in the world again.

For a children’s tutorial on how to make Pepperoni Pizza check out Cooking with Calvin.