DIY Wednesday: Sun-Dried Tomatoes

The other day, I wanted to recreate one of my favorite breakfast dishes from a restaurant back in Sycamore, Eggsclusive Cafe.  It’s an omelette that has fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and avocado slices on top.  So simple but so good.

To the store I went to grab the things I needed that I didn’t already have, one of which was the sun-dried tomatoes.  I didn’t want to get the ones packed in olive oil because they tend to make everything else oily and the ones at my store always have some other flavoring like jalapeno added.  So I picked up one of the packages, despite the $5 price tag, and flipped it over to read the ingredient list.  That’s where I was met with sulfates and sulfites and other preservatives to keep “freshness and color retention”.DIY Wednesday: Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Life Healthfully LivedDIY Wednesday: Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Life Healthfully Lived

No brand at my store had sun dried tomatoes without some kind of chemical or preservative and I didn’t want to spend $5 or more on something that I didn’t want in my body.  I almost resigned myself to the oil packed tomatoes when I thought to myself, “Self, can’t you just make your own sun dried tomatoes?  I mean obviously not in the sun, that would take too long and you don’t have a sunny spot in the apartment, but in the oven? And wouldn’t it be like way less expensive?”

Yes, my self was correct.  I can make sun dried tomatoes in my oven and have fresh, preservative free toppings for my omelettes and whatever else my heart desires.  If you have a food dehydrator you probably already know that you can make your own sun-dried tomatoes and it’s fairly simple.  If you don’t, you can do like me and make them in your oven!

Sun Dried TomatoesDIY Wednesday: Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Life Healthfully Lived

  • One 8 oz. package of grape or cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil, optional
  • salt, optional

* I made mine without oil or salt but you can, it just may take a little longer to dry out.

  1. Preheat your oven to the lowest setting.  If it’s 150-170 lucky you, the rest of us will have to make due with 200.
  2. Wash and dry the tomatoes and then slice in half.  Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.  If you want to add olive oil and salt, toss the tomatoes in a bowl and make sure they’re covered then arrange on your baking sheet.
  3. Place the sheet in the oven to dry out.  Now, if your oven only goes to 200 you’re going to have to keep an eye on things to make sure the tomatoes don’t burn.  I opened my oven every 10 minutes or so to let out some of the heat.
  4. Turn over the tomatoes every so often.  Remember you’re just trying to dry them out, not roast them.  They’re done when they look shriveled like red raisins.  Take them out of the oven and let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

* Make sure the tomatoes are completely cool and dry before you store them because any moisture in the container will make them mushy and spoil sooner.DIY Wednesday: Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Life Healthfully Lived

DIY Wednesday: Ginger Paste

ThisDIY Wednesday: Ginger Paste | Life Healthfully Lived DIY post might be as simple as my homemade tortilla chips.  I’m the type of cook who likes to use things like actual cloves of garlic when I’m making stuff.  I know you can buy a jar of diced garlic at the store and it saves a lot of time and effort because you can just throw in the amount you need and move on.

I have nothing against jars of garlic, I just like peeling and chopping garlic myself.  The one thing I do not like peeling and chopping myself?

Ginger.

Peeling it is a hassle.  If you chop it the wrong way you get these weird hair looking things in it.  It’s just a chore for me.  I really love using fresh ginger though and I’m always tempted to buy those tubes of ginger paste at the store just to avoid the trouble.  The one thing that stops me though is the price.  Those tubes are like $3.00 and sometimes they have things other than just ginger in them.  So I skip the tube and begrudgingly prepare my ginger myself.

Not anymore!  Today I am going to show you how easy it is to make your own ginger paste and start adding it to everything you make.  The best part?  You only need two things and a blender.  Awesome right?!

Ginger Paste

DIY Wednesday: Ginger Paste | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 1 large knob of fresh ginger, about 2 cups roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  1. Peel the ginger.  I use a vegetable peeler to do this because it’s easier than a knife.  Try to get as much of the peel off as you can.  If you can’t reach some places peel it a little after you chop it.
  2. Chop the ginger into bite-size chunks and add to your blender.  Pour in the water.  Blend the ginger and water until it is in paste form and no big chunks remain.
  3. Store the paste in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

That’s it!  It is so simple and now I don’t have to go through the peeling and chopping every time I want to use fresh ginger.  Just once and then I have a whole jar to use!  You can also make a huge batch and freeze some of it so it is always on hand.  Add this paste to marinades, sauces, stir fry, dips, or even add it to hot water for some ginger tea.  So many uses!DIY Wednesday: Ginger Paste | Life Healthfully Lived

Make sure that you are never without fresh ginger and have a jar of ginger paste always on hand.