Weekend Links: Food Blogging Community and a Pie for Mikey

On Friday I baked a peanut butter pie with two eager assistants: Noah and Mateo. Yesterday, we took it to my Aunt Jenny’s country home and shared it together. As our forks cut through the cool creaminess of the pie, I shared why I had brought over a pie for dessert.

So, what is the story behind a peanut butter pie? For me, it started last month at Big Summer Potluck, when I met Jennifer Perillo, of In Jennie’s Kitchen. Actually, Jennie and I have been friends online for quite some time. We have similar philosophies when it comes to feeding our families and connect on many levels.

Whether she knows it or not, Jennie impacted me in a big way at BSP. At the opening dinner, we sat down on a sofa together with our plates, crossed our legs and started chatting like old friends. She spoke so positively into my life, about my work, blogging….motherhood, that I was blessed beyond measure. As I have tremendous respect for Jennie, it was pivotal encouragement for me to hear at this point in my blogging career. [Read more…]

Weekend Giveaway: Tattler Canning Lids

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Laura!! A big thank you to all who participated. Stay tuned for my BIG birthday giveaway on Friday!

Today’s weekend giveaway is from Simple Bites sponsor Tattler Canning Lids, who make reusable, BPA-free plastic canning lids. A perfect way to wrap our canning series!

Suitable for all types of home canning, Tattler lids are guaranteed to last a lifetime when using USDA approved canning practices.

Many people do not know that the flat metal lids that come in a box of jars are good for one batch of preserves and then should be discarded. We’re supposed to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, right?  Sure, standard lids are recyclable, but with Tattler lids, I use less, can reuse year after year AND they’re a recyclable product.

I learned last summer that the flat metal lids contain Bisphenol-A. It was disheartening to think that in my efforts to remove BPA from my families food, my home canning projects were still tainted.  Not anymore.

Plus, Tattler reusable canning lids can be used with all the same methods of food preservation that you would use a traditional lid such as a pressure canner, water bath, and pickling.

I use a combination of Tattler lids and regular lids for my canning projects (such as yesterday’s Apricots in Honey Syrup!). I make a lot of jam to swap with others or give as gifts and am not parting with my reusable canning lids, so the preserves with Tattler lids are for my own use and the others are to give away.

You can get connected with Tattler via their Facebook page and Twitter account, and be sure to enter the giveaway below.

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Summer Canning Series (Recipe: Apricots in Honey Syrup)

Apricots in honey syrup were not on my list of ‘must-have’ canned items for this season, yet I couldn’t seem to shake the idea. The soft stone fruit and equally golden honey just seemed like they would marry perfectly in a jar.

I took advantage of Danny being home on holidays and cooked up a batch one afternoon last week. Am I glad I did. We’ve already cracked open a jar, spooned up the delicate preserves into bowls and enjoyed them with whipped cream. Listening to my cravings was a good idea!

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Summer Canning Series: Cherry Pie Filling Recipe

Written by Megan of Stetted.

Now that we’ve covered a few of the basics of canning, I wanted to move on to one of my favorite things to can in the summertime: pie filling.

I adore pie, but my family doesn’t need pie weekly. All too frequently my pie cravings hit in the dead of winter, when it’s hard to get good, fresh ingredients for pie. Those cans of filling from the grocery store just don’t cut it for me, so I’ve taken to making my own pie fillings from fresh peaches and apples when they come in season.

This year I decided to expand my pie filling stash to include cherries, thanks to a stock-up sale our local store had recently. Pie filling is quite easy to put up and requires only a few ingredients.

As in jam, the fruit is cooked slightly before packing into jars. Blanching the fruit helps soften it and allows you to pack more into the jar. The trick is to get as much fruit as possible into the jar – too much liquid and not enough fruit will result in a soggy pie when you pop the seal months down the road. Cherries pack into jars fairly easily, but you can use a wooden spoon handle to press the fruit down and remove any trapped air bubbles.

Like many other canning recipes, this calls for lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice is recommended rather than fresh juice; pH levels are very important in canning and bottled juice has more consistent pH. [Read more…]

Canning 101: Pickled Green Beans

Written by Shaina of Food for My Family.

This summer has been one of rushing around, struggling to fit things in and generally moving faster than I’d like. Suddenly and without warning, it was time to start plucking food off my garden vines and begin packing them into jars.

My plan yet to be formed, there was one thing I knew I would be crossing off the bucket list: pickled green beans.

Last year late in the winter, my brother-in-law showed up at a snow-covered gathering with a jar of such green beans. They were set out on a buffet-style table and offered up to the group. I found myself returning to the jar no less than three times.

The snap of the green bean and the smell of summer all perfectly preserved and eaten in the dead of winter when we were bundling up from head to toe had captivated me. [Read more…]