Let’s Bake an Apple Pie

Written by Diana of Spain in Iowa.

The temperatures are dropping and school has officially started.  This is my first time as a parent with a child at school and I have to admit, the first couple of weeks I was heartbroken.  I missed my little guy during the days and what made it worse, he was having a rough time being away as well.

Now that he’s adjusted and quite happy to be in kindergarten, I’ve been on the upswing. I have found myself with more time on my hands and, in this season, there is nothing more relaxing than baking an apple pie.

All photos by Diana Bauman

With my 3 year old at home, we’ve been able to turn up the music, dance and bake. There’s so much freedom and peace in listening to good music and playing in the kitchen.

What’s even more rewarding is that the older boys are happy to see what you’ve created after a long day of school and work. I’m starting to enjoy these school days and the season in which I have found myself.

So, with fresh local apples at every farmers’ market (or your neighbor’s tree) let’s have some fun. Let’s bake an apple pie!

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Eat Well, Spend Less: Five Ways With Lentils (Curried Lentil Soup)

This month for our Eat Well, Spend Less series we’re talking about emergency preparedness. We were hit fairly hard by Hurricane Irene recently and lost power for 18 hours; others fared much worse.

We were scrambling a little for things like flashlight batteries and warm blankets, but all in all, we didn’t suffer much during the outage. Still, it was a fair warning that we could -and should- be better prepared next time. While the Texas fires may not be warming our doorsteps, we never know what we might need to be prepared for. Certainly a few snow days are in my future, although I’ve got a few months before I have to worry about that!

We’ve talked about the benefit of a well-stocked pantry, but how much more valuable does it become during a crisis or natural disaster predicament? Suddenly those cans of lentils, tuna and beans are looking particularly fine, wouldn’t you say so?

Lentils are one of my favorite staples to have around – for main meals or sides – and today I’m going to show you why.

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Weekend Giveaway: Tattler Reusable Canning Lids

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Karma! And a big thank you to all who entered.

Today’s weekend giveaway is from Simple Bites sponsor Tattler Canning Lids, who make reusable, BPA-free plastic canning lids.

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 can reuse year after year AND they’re a recyclable product.

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 learned recently that the standard flat metal canning 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.

I use a combination of Tattler lids and regular lids for my canning projects (such as yesterday’s garlic-lemon pickles!). 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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Q&A: What Does Your Pregnancy Diet Look Like?

On Monday I’ll be 16 weeks pregnant and am heading for a routine check-up with my amazing OBGYN. You know, I feel a little guilty that I haven’t shared much about my pregnancy on this space. Cravings, nausea, diet, food aversions – I haven’t covered any of those juicy topics since announcing the happy news.

There are a few reasons for my lack of baby talk.

First of all, I was obsessed with my diet in my first pregnancy (aren’t we all?) and may very well have gone overboard with sharing information. So yes, while the excitement of  life inside of me is every bit as wonderful as the first time around, I have cooled off a little on the nutritional facts and calorie counts.

Secondly, it was an extremely uneventful first trimester. No nausea to speak of (I know some of you are going to hate me for that), no serious food cravings, save for one late-night rice pudding hankering that had me up until well after midnight, stirring a pot well of milky rice with vanilla beans. Oh. So-worth-it.

Thirdly – and you knew this was coming – I’ve been so darn busy. Really. And not just with two kids, two blogs, a new non-profit, an upcoming speaking gig, a home, garden, and family to take care of. No, the projects keeping me up late I can’t even talk about yet.

So with a busy schedule and a routine pregnancy, there hasn’t been much time or need to talk prenatal food and diet. Until now.

Here’s the thing: I haven’t gained any weight. Like, nary an ounce.

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Honey-Sweetened Apricot Lavender Butter

Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.

As a canner, I feel obligated not to play favorites when it comes to fruit. How can you possibly prefer strawberries to cherries, or like peaches more than cantaloupe? Every variety of fruit has its individual charms and each deserves its moment in the seasonal spotlight.

However, there is one I’m always most excited to see each year.


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