This week marks two years that I have had the gift of being here in the blog world.

In many ways, that first week of September two years ago was the same as this first week.

We ran our annual 5K race.

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We had the first day of school. Sunshine had a few bumps getting going, but she will work through them.

First Day of School 2012

And I am writing about roasting tomatoes.

Harvesting Tomatoes

But for as much that is the same, there is so much that is different.

First, I actually ran into a fellow blogger, Jen from Earth Angels Studios at the race.

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Jen is infinitely kind and a brilliant business woman. I actually have the picture of Jen and her husband from Country Living several years ago on my bulletin board. Last year, I went to an event she was hosting and I nervously introduced myself. We have corresponded a few times since and are actually planning to get together later this fall. Wow. That is certainly different from two years ago where all I did post her picture on my inspiration board.

chopping tomatoes copy

Still the same, I am still trying to figure out my “voice” here on the blog.

But it is much more clear than when I started. Actually, when I started I didn’t even realize that I had a “voice”.

I did not realize how much I would actually enjoy the writing part of things.

I was definitely right when I declared this is where I belonged.

mixing tomatoes

In these two years I have learned how much I appreciate being part of a community of people who are like minded, but yet so beautifully different.

I have learned, been challenged, been frustrated, been entertained and been inspired over and over again.

Roasted Tomatoes 2

So I wanted to thank you for coming here, encouraging me and befriending me.

I truly treasure each of you and I am so thankful. Geez, I am not sure how to say that without it sounding like rhetoric. Please know it is from my heart.

I hope I have provided you some positive things in return.

I hope to continue to grow as a blogger and as a result – a person.

roasted tomatoes

Roasting Tomatoes

This “recipe” is perfect for this time of year when you seemingly have a million tomatoes that are not suited for making sauce because they are too small and you couldn’t possibly eat them all without becoming a tomato yourself.

One thing I don’t think will change is finding recipes here. I don’t bake because unless you are a brilliant baker (which I am not) you have to precisely follow a recipe. I am not very good at the whole recipe following thing. I am more of a “cook with my feelings” kind of gal. So here is my very loose step by step guide of roasting tomatoes.

1. I only roast the smaller tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Those certainly would be too difficult to peel for sauce.

2. Sort and clean. I cut the cherry ones in half, the large ones I quarter.

3. I mash out some of the excess water in a strainer. Not quite as much as I would for a sauce base. (See, very specific.)

4. Mix in a large bowl with fresh herbs, salt, pepper, minced garlic and olive oil.

5. Roast at 200 degrees for at least 6 hours. I always use baking stones, I just really like how they come out in them. This round I took two trays out after about 3 hours for a little more moisture and sweetness. The rest I left in till the were more dried out and just starting to get crispy edges.

6. After cooled, I place them in gallon freezer bags, laid out flat. I stack them on top of each other on a baking sheet and freeze them. It ends up looking like this.

bagged tomatoes

7. Once they are frozen you can take them off the sheet and place them where they best fit in your freezer.

8. Now they can be used for the next few weeks / months. I use them on homemade pizza, over pasta and sautéed with chicken.

P.S. I couldn’t resist sharing this Instagram picture Sunshine created of herself on race day.

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September 07, 2012 — Laura Putnam