All posts by Catherine Daugherty

I love to cook and after a half century under the sun, I am blessed with the freedom to decide each day what I want to read, think, cook and eat! This blog — a few of my favorite things — family and friends recipes and the words of scripture that guide my thoughts and actions. My hope is that through Pray Cook Blog, you will find inspiration today for your daily bread, body and soul.

Pineapple Mango Pico De Gallo shared by Christina Paulsen

GRACE means that God, in forgiving you, gives you the strength to endure the consequences.  GRACE frees us so that we an obey our Lord. It does not mean sin’s consequences are automatically removed. If I sin and in the process of sinning break my arm, when I find forgiveness from sin, I still have to deal with a broken bone.                                                                               Charles Swindoll

Romans 6:17
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart.

I am so excited to receive this SHARE recipe from my niece Christina.  Christina married my nephew, Matthew, and I am so thankful that 22 years ago they tied the knot and she became a Paulsen!  This recipe and the pictures she sent look fantastic.  I am looking forward to trying it myself.  We have a mango just waiting for such a recipe as this!  Christina is this amazing women who has more talents than I can count!   She is an awesome mother of two girls, a model parent (in my ever-to-be-humble opinion) a lovely wife, a talented cook, seamstress, knitter …. well take a look for yourself at – you’ll see what I mean.  Oh yeah, and did I mention she can WRITE HTML COMPUTER code???  Yes, that is right, when I was fussing that my PICTURE THIS page wouldn’t picture anything — Christina said, “Let me take a look.”  At the time I didn’t really know what that meant, but I was hoping for some suggestions.  Instead, what I received was a three page, step-by-step, “how to” directions on writing the HTML code that would make my page look like I wanted it to.  I was absolutely stunned.  In addition, she made a PICTURE THIS page on her own blog, just for me to look at and see if that is what I wanted. Thank you Christina, you are a women after my own heart!  While Christina and I were emailing back and forth getting the HTML code set straight one of the things she said to me was “Now I remember why I learned all of this in the first place …… Creating feeds my soul.”  I so get that.

A Shared Recipe By Christina Paulsen
Pineapple Mango Pico De Gallo

  • 1 cup fresh chopped pineapple
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped peeled mango
  • 2 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt divided

Combine all ingredients and set aside for about 20 minutes.

Serve over chicken tacos. 🙂

For the chicken taco’s, I use a precooked rotisserie chicken* from my local grocery store (or you can cook your own chicken the way you like.)

Shred the chicken and season to taste with Ms. Dash garlic and herb seasoning blend.

Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Mango Pico De Gallo

Serve with warmed corn tortillas and rice.

This is a family favorite!

PINEAPPLES … Did you know?

Pineapple juice is excellent when used as a marinade. In fact, the pineapple’s bromelainenzyme is so powerful in breaking down tissue that those who work with the fresh fruit in the fields and canneries must wear gloves to protect their skin. The juice not only tenderizes tough meats, but also adds a taste of the tropics to recipes.

The same bromelain enzyme in fresh pineapple will cause gelatins to fail to firm up and dairy products to separate. Cooking nullifies the enzyme, so use canned instead of fresh pineapple in your gelatin molds.

Pineapple juice is also an excellent choice as an acidulator to keep fruits and vegetables from oxidizing and turning brown, but use canned rather than fresh so it will not soften the foods soaking in it.

Some chefs advise slicing off the green leafy top and standing the pineapple upside-down on the cut end for half an hour. This lets the sweeter juices on the bottom travel to permeate the rest of the fruit for a sweeter overall end product.

The tough core that is usually discarded or pressed for juice can also be sliced lengthwise and used as stirrers for fruit drinks.

Hollowed out pineapple boats make a lovely edible presentation for cold salads, vegetables, or fruits.

Lemon Sorbet shared by Marla Spencer

“When we talk about perfect trust, we’re talking about what gives us roots, character, the stability to handle the hard times.  Trusting God doesn’t alter our circumstances. Perfect trust in Him changes us.  It doesn’t make life all rosy and beautiful and neat and lovely and financially secure and comfortable.  But, trust that is rooted in an abiding faith in God makes all that real in us – secure, relaxed, and calm against insuperable odds.”  Charles Swindoll

Psalm 57:1  My soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge.

This lemon sorbet recipe is shared by Marla Spencer.  Marla and I were school classmates and good friends.  I spent many lovely hours with her in her parents home.  They remain some of my best childhood memories.  Thank you Marla (and Tim!) for sharing this recipe.

Lemon Sorbet shared by Marla Spencer

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • juice of 6 – 8 lemons
  • zest of 2 -3 lemons

Heat 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water over medium heat until sugar dissolves.

Cool mixture on ice bath, or in refrigerator until cool.

Add juice of 6-8 lemons and zest of 2-3 lemons.

Add to ice cream maker of your choice according to instructions for making ice cream.

(This works out to about 30 minutes in a pre-frozen bowl design maker)

Cool, refreshing and delicious – a perfect summertime treat!

Quick tips for lemons:

  • When shopping, choose smooth-skinned lemons that feel heavy for their size.

  • Store lemons in the refrigerator if you will not be using them immediately.

  • 1 medium lemon equals approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

  • If lemon is cold, microwave it for a few seconds before squeezing to help extract more juice.

  • Before juicing, use your palm to roll the lemon on the countertop a few times.

  • If you will be using both the lemon zest and juice, remove the zest before cutting and juicing the lemon.

  • When zesting a lemon, make sure to remove only the thin bright yellow part of the skin as the white pith underneath is bitter.

  • Lemon juice sprinkled over fresh fruit such as sliced apples, prevents discoloration.

My Own Marinara Sauce

Our Aunt Mattie Lou, often times says  “we do not have, because we do not ask.”  I so agree with her.  The Bible says in   James 4:2

“You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.”

Start today – talk to God!  ASK.


I am still flying high from the great success with my Victorio Food Strainer, which is all I could blog about yesterday!  🙂  I had several choices what to do with the 10 cups of tomato puree that I got from the first batch of tomatoes that I processed.  It isn’t a great amount, so I knew it wouldn’t be worth canning sauce or juice.

However, my brother John, and his wife Jeanne, and their girls, Cathy and Stephanie are coming for a visit next week.  I plan to make Italian Burgers this weekend and I knew that a fresh marinara sauce would be just the thing to add to the filling as well as for dipping!

Italian Burgers

“Marinara” actually means sailor-style sauce.  There are at least two folk theories as to the origin of this sauce: One says cooks aboard Neapolitan ships invented marinara sauce in the mid-16th century after Spaniards introduced the tomato (a New World vegetable) to Europe. This meat-free sauce was easy to make and resisted spoiling due to the high acid content of tomatoes. This made it ideal for lengthy sea voyages hundreds of years before refrigeration methods were invented.   The other theory for this unusual named dish refers to the fast, fresh sauces (which usually contained onions and tomatoes) that the wives of Neapolitan fishermen would prepare from their husbands’ catch of the day.

Regardless of the origin, making my own marinara sauce has spoiled us from ever wanting the sauce that comes from a jar!  My marinara recipe is parts and pieces of recipes that have given me mixed results.  You can adjust the amount of each ingredient up or down based upon how much sauce or puree you start out with.  If you want to make your own Marinara but don’t want to start from a garden tomato you can easily start with tomato sauce from a can — you will still end up with something tastier than canned marinara!

I wish you could taste this sauce.  It is the very best I have ever made and I can’t wait to share it with my family.  Have fun!  I sure did!

My Own Marinara Sauce
by Catherine
10 cups fresh tomato puree
2 Tablespoons parsley (dried)
4 cloves chopped garlic (2 teaspoons minced)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onions
1 cup white wine (whatever you have on hand)

*Heat oil and saute’ garlic and onion until soft and golden (be careful not to burn.)

Stir in all other ingredients.

Simmer, do not boil, until the sauce is your desired consistency.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

*   Most generally I would use a dry white wine, like a Chardonnay, but I have even used Moscato, which is a sweet dessert wine and it was great!

*   I simmered 10 cups of juice/puree about 7 hours and ended up with 1 quart of marinara.  That may seem like a long time but it isn’t much work and the truth is I ended up with a marinara sauce that is so much better than anything you can buy.

*  This recipe is a compilation of several marinara recipes that I have tried.  To me this is the best mix of ingredients for a deliciously rich and hearty sauce.

Selecting vegetables Whether in your supermarket’s produce aisle or at your local farmers’ market, fresh vegetables should look firm, plump, and as if they’re bursting with life.  Avoid those that are dried out, bruised, discolored, or overly soft.

Sue and the Amazing Victorio Food Strainer

My heart is steadfast, o god, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make music.   Psalm 57:7

Jesus Christ stands at the door. He holds out His hands that are scarred. His feet are pierced, and He bears in His body the marks of death.  He says, “I know the pressure you are under. I understand the strain. I know the unfair abuse. But let me offer you some encouragement. Don’t be afraid. Look at life through My eyes!  Stop letting life intimidate you! Stop running scare.  Trust Me!.”                                                                    Charles Swindoll

I am so darned excited tonight that I can hardly settled down to write about my new Victorio Food Strainer!  Thirty-four years ago I met my friend Sue when I moved into the house next door to her.  Sue is a walking book of knowledge and I kid you not.  She was a home economics major in college and she probably has forgotten more than I’ll ever know!  All through the years whenever I needed information, help, a suggestion or was stumped, I called her for the answers.   Last year I shared with her my tales of woe, as I peeled, cored, cooked, strained, mashed and pulverized tomatoes to get some fresh tomato juice to make marinara sauce for our favorite Italian dishes.  At the time, she told me I just HAD to get a Victorio Food Strainer.  She raved about it and said I would just love it!  Well, please forgive me Sue, but I just didn’t even have time to think about changing gears because I was way too busy peeling, coring, cooking, straining, mashing and pulverizing everything I could get my hands on!

Finally, after a not-so-subtle email suggestion this year (a year too late I can tell you that!) I did a little online shopping and my new Victorio arrived just a few days ago.  Our tomatoes are coming in slowly and so today I felt I had enough to actually take this thing out for a spin.  Twenty minutes later I had processed all the tomatoes I had on hand (including two I was saving for lunch but just couldn’t resist!)

I ended up with 10 cups of  this absolutely luscious tomato puree that seemed to come right from tomato heaven!  The whole thing went so fast that I was tempted to head to the local truck farm and BUY some tomatoes so I could keep playing with my new toy!  Thank heavens reason overcame my insanity and I am going to patiently wait for our own tomatoes to ripen — which my husband assures me will be “a plenty!”

The really cool thing about the Victorio is that I can buy additional screens and a grape spiral to expand the many uses!  This food strainer comes with one cone-shaped screen primarily meant for processing tomatoes or apples.

The real time saver is that it automatically separates the juice and pulp from the seeds, skins and stems.  (How does it know?)  The box says that it is perfect for purees – which I can attest to – and also pie filling, juices, jams, creamed soups, baby foods and more!  Whew, I am going to be so busy playing, I mean, working with this new strainer!

All I can say is that if you do any of the above you just might want to add a Victorio to your kitchen!  I wish I had bought it last year — or years ago for that matter.

Once again, thank you Sue!  You are the best friend anyone could ever have!  Please come visit – I will make you some  homemade tomato soup and some Italian Burgers with homemade Marinara Sauce!

Oh, speaking of marinara sauce – tomorrow I will show you the end result starting with 10 cups of this luscious puree and ending up with … well, you will just have to stop back by tomorrow and see for yourself!

Tomato/Apple Screen comes with the food strainer and has a medium screen for making tomato sauce and applesauce.

Berry Screen has a fine screen for removing small seeds in raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, etc. Ideal for making jams, jellies, and pie filling.

Pumpkin Screen has a coarse screen for processing pumpkin, squash, and potatoes.  Great for pies, breads, and side dishes.

Grape Spiral is used to process grapes for jellies and delicious juices.  Its shorter length eliminates jamming of seeds and skins.

Salsa Screen is a very coarse screen for processing salsa and chunkier recipes. Great time saver!