So long, summer: a recap
Makings of a Book, Work

So Long, Summer: A Recap

As I sit down to write for the first time in weeks, the political noise on social media is taking a backseat to more important matters. An entire summer of pictures are downloaded and sorted, the first round of edits are back in my project manager’s hands, and my book cover is finalized. The house is clean, the baby is sleeping, and I’ve even squeezed in some long-overdue garden chores. (This picture, by the way, is an overgrown beet that had been sitting in soil for over a year!) In spite of emotions running rampant and the world reeling from the election this past week, my overarching feeling today is, “It’s good to be back.”

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Sriracha stem pickles on Freshly Preserved Ideas
Fermenting & Pickling, Recipes

Sriracha Stem Pickles on Freshly Preserved Ideas

Those of you who’ve cooked from The CSA Cookbook know that I love to use the odds and ends of vegetables in my recipes — in part because I try to waste as little as possible in the kitchen, and because these “scraps” are vegetables in their own right, full of flavor and texture.

Chard stems are one such scrap that’s sometimes discarded or composted when recipes only call for the tender leaves. The stems, however, have a mild flavor that plays well with other ingredients and a pleasant crispness similar to celery ribs. If you find yourself with a good handful of stems, don’t toss them — pickle them!

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Chipotle tomato jam on Freshly Preserved Ideas
Canning, Freezing & More Preserving, Recipes

Chipotle Tomato Jam on Freshly Preserved Ideas

Hello, friends. We are deep in the dog days of summer, and despite the heat wave that I hear is also happening all over the country, this is one of my favorite times of year. The ocean is warm, the backyard barbecue/pool party game is strong, and the summer vegetable garden is at its peak.

This is when the tomatoes are at their juiciest, sweetest, and richest, and a late summer harvest means there’s sometimes more than I can eat in a week. For those times, there’s tomato jam.

I’ve always been more of a savory person and this chipotle tomato jam is exactly what I love in a backyard barbecue-worthy condiment: deep, smoky flavor with just a touch of sweetness and brightness. Like other jams, you can smear it on your morning toast but where this preserve really shines is on a burger, baked potato, panini, pulled pork, chicken wings, even french fries. Anywhere you’d normally use ketchup, use this jam. Anywhere you want a hit of tangy spice, try a spoonful. It will have you thinking about jam in new and refreshing ways. Get the recipe here!

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Fiesta Peppers for International Can-It-Forward Day
Fermenting & Pickling, Recipes

Fiesta Peppers for International Can-It-Forward Day

Hello friends! Happy Can-It-Forward Day! In partnership with Ball Canning, I’ll be celebrating and sharing the simple joys of home preserving with fellow canners, gardeners, and food lovers today — live, on-air, at 3 pm ET!

Tune in to Facebook Live on the Ball Canning page, where you can watch me demo a refrigerator pickle recipe inspired by the Mexican taquerías in my neighborhood.

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Gemma at one day old

Four Months, Four Thoughts

Above: Gemma at one day old.

I feel like I just wrote this post, yet here I am with a post about my four-month-old. Four months old! Officially out of the “fourth trimester,” out of newborn stage, and onto greater things like grabbing, rolling, and bouncing.

When other parents say it goes by in the blink of an eye, they aren’t kidding. I recently put away the last of her newborn clothes and could not believe how tiny she used to be. I’ve made my husband promise that we won’t utter the words “I can’t wait until…” because I want to enjoy every moment at every stage we have with her.

Motherhood has been many things that I expected, and many things that I did not. As I’m watching my little one grow like a weed (a weed I don’t mind having, that is!), here are four thoughts I want to share about my journey thus far.

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Vintage Ball jars
Random Thoughts

Five Things Friday

The five little things that made my week…

1. Vintage Ball jars that I scored in Orderville, Utah, in a random antiques store a couple weeks ago. I adore the blue color and am so happy Ball brought it back with this year’s Collection Elite Color Series. As one of their ambassadors, I’ve been working with this great brand all summer to promote the simple pleasures of whole food and home canning. They recently released a survey about gardeners and how they plant, preserve, and prepare their harvests. Among the interesting tidbits: Did you know that 33 percent of gardeners are millenials? And that almost a quarter of gardeners are city dwellers? The survey also found that tomatoes top the list when it comes to garden excess, followed by peppers and cucumbers. Click here to learn more from their fascinating infographic.

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Watch me on Facebook Live on International Can-It-Forward Day!
Canning, Freezing & More Preserving, Recipes

Watch Me on Facebook Live on International Can-It-Forward Day!

As an official ambassador for Ball Canning, I’ve been developing a series of preserving recipes for the brand this summer. (Did you miss them? Click over to my first two recipes, Quick Pickled Roasted Beets and Balsamic Strawberry Jam.)

And, I have another one coming to you next week in conjunction with a very special event. On Friday, July 22, 2016, Ball will be hosting its sixth annual International Can-It-Forward Day, a celebration to share — or pay forward — the joys of canning and bring together canners, gardeners, and food enthusiasts alike.

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