Sponsored Post: Oval Stainless Steel Food Container from the MightyFix

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I have always loved a good lunch box. When I was very young, I had a snazzy metal Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox with a matching thermos. In middle school, I graduated to a reusable nylon lunch bag with our school name and mascot printed on the side. During my office job years, I had one of those neoprene lunch totes that claimed to keep food cool for hours.

Working from home these days, I don’t often find myself in need of a container for my lunch, but that doesn’t stop me from loving them and pining for a new model on occasion.

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Enter the Oval Stainless Steel Food Container with Clamp Lid that the folks from MightyNest sent me as part of their MightyFix. They simply understand just how much joy a new lunch container can bring (particularly in September, when we all crave back to school items no matter how long we’ve been out of school).

The container is durable and endlessly reusable. I used it to hold my travel snacks on a recent plane trip and it weathered time in my backpack like a champ. The clamp lid- is non-toxic and non-leaching, it’s dishwasher safe, and it’s resistant to stains and corrosion.

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 MightyNest is offering Food In Jars readers a special $5/month rate for the first month of their subscription. That means that if you sign up for MightyFix today, you’ll pay just $5 for the first month and you’ll receive a stainless steel food storage container as your first fix. The fix will arrive at your door within a week or so!

To sign up: head this way. Offer expires September 30, 2016! (MightyFix is currently available to US customers with free shipping. Canadian and Australian MightyFixes ship for a small fee. Full shipping details here.)

MightyFix Button

(And if that link isn’t working for you, you can also use the code FIJCONTAINERFIX at check out.)

 Oh, and one more thing. MightyNest is currently sponsoring a giveaway over at Eating Rules as part of October Unprocessed. The prizes include my favorite popcorn maker, and copies of Preserving by the Pint. Go get yourself entered!
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Mary’s Maine Bars & Bake a Difference with OXO For Cookies for Kids’ Cancer

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I met Shianne on the first day of 6th grade. She had impressively high bangs (as was the fashion in 1991), had a delicately pretty face, and walked with a limp. Her family had moved to the area over the summer and though all of us were new to middle school, she was new to everything.

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We became friends in those first weeks of school and I learned that she loved the New Kids on the Block (also all the rage in 1991) and had a younger sister the same age as mine. Once Shianne started to trust me, she shared the reason for her limp. When she was a baby, she had developed bone cancer. In order to save her life, they’d amputated her leg.

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As an 11 year old, the hardest thing that I’d dealt with in life had been a little teasing from other kids. It was incredibly tough for me to fully grasp all that Shianne had lived through. Still, the thing she most wanted was to be normal and have a life like other kids. And so that’s what we did.

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We put on make-up for the school dances together, and gossiped about the boys on whom we crushed. We were cabin-mates at outdoor school and worked on the school paper together. At slumber parties, when our group of friends were all snuggled in our sleeping bags on the floor, there would be Shianne’s prosthetic leg on the floor next to her. It was an entirely normal middle school existence, until sometime near the start of 7th grade, when Shianne’s cancer came back.

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She started missing large stretches of school for treatment and recovery, but came whenever she felt strong enough. She lost her hair and came to school bald, but with make-up meticulously in place.

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Unlike her earlier bout with cancer, this second round did not end in remission. Shianne was treated endlessly, but the cancer was stronger. She died in the fall of 1994, just as she should have been starting high school with the rest of us.

I often find myself thinking about her. I wish I’d gotten to know her for longer and I wonder what her life would have been like had she lived.

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Recently, the folks at OXO put out the call, looking for bloggers to participate in an campaign for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer to help raise both awareness and fund for childhood cancer research. They were also offering to donate $100 for every blog post written. Having been witness to Shianne’s experience, I volunteered to participate.

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They offered up a few different recipes from Dorie Greenspan’s upcoming book, Dorie’s Cookies, along with the gear necessary to make the cookies. I opted to make Mary’s Maine Bars, which are a tender, molasses-rich bar cookie.

To ease the baking process, folks at OXO sent over a pair of their relatively new Good Grips Glass Baking Dishes with Lid (2 quart and 3 quart), as well as a clever Brownie Spatula and their Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer.

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The baking dishes are made from BPA-free borosilicate glass, which allows them to withstand significant temperature changes. The handles are easy to grab and the lids make it possible to prep, stash in the fridge or freezer, and then go into the oven (obviously, you remove the lids before baking).

The OXO On Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer is the best hand mixer I’ve ever used (though, to be fair, the one I was using previously was from 1999). It has a simple-to-use digital control that allows you to change speed smoothly and the illuminated headlight means you can always see what’s happening in the bowl.

The recipe for Mary’s Maine Bars is after the jump. They’re perfect for sharing with friends, and are a good way to temper bittersweet memories.

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Zucchini Butter with Fresh Herbs

Long-cooked zucchini butter is the perfect way to reduce large amounts of zucchini into a flavorful spread.

Zucchini butter on a baguette slice

Many years ago, I published this recipe for zucchini butter on a food-centric website that I ran as part of my last job. Sadly, they pulled that old site down recently, which left me with broken links and no way to share the goodness of zucchini butter when asked (the recipe is also in Preserving by the Pint, but not everyone has that book at their fingertips).

I learned to cook zucchini like this from my friend Lucy. At the time, she worked as a flower gardener at a historical home in Virginia. On stormy days, the outdoor staff would gather in their little kitchen and cook up produce from the garden.

During one of those cooking sessions, an Italian vegetable gardener taught her to slow cook zucchini with herbs until it melted into a spreadable, succulent paste. I’ve never been more grateful for a second-hand cooking lesson, as this humble little butter is intensely delicious. I like to spread it on toast or toss it with warm pasta.

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Giveaway: Fabric Labels from Emily Press

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I will confess right now that I’m something of a imperfect jar labeler. I am meticulous about getting labels on to my jars the moment they are cool and clean, but those labels often consist of a scrawl across the lid of the jar with a Sharpie. In my more careful moments, I cut lengths of green painters and scribble the name and date on the preserve.

These labels serve my purpose well enough, but they’re not nearly nice enough for those times when I want to share my preserves with neighbors or tuck a few jars into gift baskets or boxes.

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Recently, the nice folks from Emily Press Labels reached out to see if I might like to try their fabric canning labels on my mason jars. These beautifully printed, sturdy labels are exactly what I need to elevate my packaging game.

These sweet oval labels come in a variety of colors and designs. Each set comes with 36 labels and you can have them made so that they all the same thing, or you can designate two different names and styles.

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I opted to have mine made so that they displayed the names of two my favorite preserves for gift giving. Thought I’m still out on the road right now, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get a few more tomatoes when I get home, so that I can make up some more tomato jam and put these labels to work.

Thanks to the folks at Emily Press, three of my blog readers will get a chance to try out some labels as well. I’m giving away three $30 vouchers, good for anything on the Emily Press website (though I think you all should make sure to check out the fabric canning labels!). Use the widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Spicy Peach Barbecue Sauce on Freshly Preserved Ideas

This Spicy Peach Barbecue Sauce is the perfect way to put up imperfect, end-of-season peaches (or use some of the ones you stashed in the freezer at the height of the season).

Ingredients for Spicy Peach Barbecue Sauce

Friends, it’s a bittersweet moment. It’s time to share the final recipe I made as part of my summer partnership with Ball Canning. Our goal was to spread the word about the many pleasures of home canning and I do we managed to do it deliciously.

Finished Spicy Peach Barbecue Sauce in the pot

Today’s recipe is for Spicy Peach Barbecue Sauce and you’ll find the recipe over on Freshly Preserving Ideas, Ball Canning’s snazzy Tumblr. Now, I realize that peach season is over in many parts of the world and is rapidly hurtling to a close in other regions. If you can still get peaches, you should make this sauce. If fresh peaches are but a memory, it will also work nicely with frozen peaches. Just make sure start the cooking process with the frozen fruit, rather than letting them defrost first.

Row of jars of Spicy Peach Barbecue Sauce

If you missed them, the other recipes I cooked up for this partnership were Blackberry Lavender Jam, Garlicky Pickled Green BeansHeirloom Tomato Chutney, and Sweet Cherry Compote with Rosemary and Lemon.

Disclosure: I am a paid ambassador for Ball Canning. They compensated me for the development of this recipe! 

 

 

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Nectarine Conserve with Lemon, Raisins and Walnuts

This nectarine conserve features thin slices of whole lemon, plump golden raisins, and toasted walnuts. Add it to your next cheeseboard!

nectarine-conserve

I firmly believe that conserves are poised for a resurgence in popularity. Much like how old fashioned names are all the rage with today’s parents, conserves represent a bygone age of preserving that is ripe for renewal. Truly, their time has come!

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For those of you not in the know, conserves are typically defined as a soft set jam, with the addition of dried fruit, citrus peel, or nuts. They are good alongside various cheeses, they can enhance cold roast chicken, and they’re delicious stirred into bowls of oatmeal or other warm grain cereals.

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This particular nectarine conserve was made with some of the fruit that the nice folks from the Washington State Fruit Commission sent me back in August. I realize that waiting this long to share this recipe puts us at the outer edge of nectarine season, but I did spot some at my local farmers market last weekend, so there are still a few to be had (in a pinch, frozen peaches would also work here).

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Like so many of my recipes, this nectarine conserve uses as little sugar as seems reasonable, and tries to be as no-nonsense as possible. I left it relatively unspiced, but next time around, I might add a little freshly grated ginger, or a teaspoon of cinnamon. You can, of course, spice it to your heart’s content.

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Finally, if stonefruit is well and truly gone in your area, consider making this very same recipe with just-ripe pears. The finished preserve won’t have the same vibrancy of color, but will still be quite tasty.

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