Gift Guide 2016: For the Coffee Lovers

Driftaway Coffee for the Coffee Lover Gift Guide

Today’s gift guide features things that coffee lovers of all stripes would like to receive. These are things that I either use in my own kitchen on a regular basis or am actually planning on giving to a family member this year. Oh, and if you need suggestions for travel mugs and drinking jars, check out last year’s guide on that topic!

1. Driftaway Coffee Subscription – A Driftaway subscription is just the thing to give to someone who is starting to explore the wider world of coffee. Every subscription starts with four 2-ounce packets of freshly roasted, single origin coffees, so that your gift recipient can hone in one their favorite flavors and origins. As they drink through their sampler packs, they use the Driftaway app to input tasting notes and rate the coffees the beans they tried. The folks at Driftaway use those notes and rating to determine what coffee they send next. It’s a delicious and interactive way to get your morning brew!

Coffee dripper and pour over kettle for the Coffee Lover Gift Guide

2. The Little Dripper from Constellation Supply Co. – This lovely ceramic coffee dripper is just the thing for someone who is looking to start a pour over routine, or who is currently using a beat-up plastic dripper and needs an upgrade. It’s sturdy, beautifully made, and comes in three different colors. If that one is out of stock, a classic white Bee House dripper is a nice option as well.

3. Hario Pouring Kettle – These spouted kettles were pricy and hip when they first hit the US market several years ago. Now that the hype has died down, their price has come down and they’ve become more accessible for the average coffee brewer. If you’ve got the patience for the slow pour over technique, it’s great for controlling water flow for the perfect cup.

Handmade mug and milk warmer for the coffee lover gift guide

4. A Beautiful, Handmade Mug – As any coffee drinker knows, while a beautiful mug isn’t required, it sure does improve the experience of your first (or fourth!) cup. Over the years, I’ve amassed a wide collection of lovely, handmade ones that bring me great pleasure. The one pictured here is made by Melissa Bridgman of Bridgman Pottery and is a favorite. If you’re feeling really flush, Melissa offers a three-month subscription wherein the recipient gets a new cup or mug every month.

5. Dansk Milk Warmer – Pots for warming milk come in many different shapes and sizes. The one I use is a vintage Dansk version that I got at an antique mall in Portland last year. The handle was coming off so it was dirt cheap (my dad fixed it for me before I left town). If you can’t hold out for vintage, you’re in luck. This is one of the pieces that Dansk has reissued and you can get it in turquoise, navy, red, or yellow.

Disclosure: The folks from Driftaway sent me some beans to feature in this post. Everything else are items that I use, love, and bought. 

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Gift Guide 2016: Things for the Canner Who Has Everything

gift-guide-canners-everything-1

This week, I’m running a handful of short gift guides featuring some things you might like to give or get this holiday season. I’m kicking off the series with a couple things that you could give to your favorite canner who already has every other canning tool and gadget imaginable.

You might look at this guide and think it’s really short. And it is. You see, I’ve recommended a lot of gear over the years and you just don’t need me to suggest the same things over again (I’ve linked to those prior gift guides below, if you do need more ideas). But these are two things that a canner who has everything he or she needs might just enjoy having.

  1. Wusthof Epicure 2-Piece Prep Set – This lovely knife set is a gorgeous and useful upgrade for anyone who spends lots of time in the kitchen. I’ve had these knives in my tool kit since the spring and I reach for them all the time. The wooden handles are comfortable to hold and just get more gorgeous over time.
  2. GIR Ladle – I’ve used a lot of ladles in my life and this is the best one I’ve encountered. The bowl is made of flexible silicone. That means that you can scrap every last drop of jam out of the pot. It also holds a full cup, which is just enough to fill a half pint jar.

For more gift giving inspiration, check out some of my gift guides for years past. You’ll find favorite tools, good gear for cooking and canning, and my favorite mason jar drink lids.

And finally, because it’s Monday and the folks at Wusthof are kind and generous, I have one of the knife sets you see above to give away. Let’s do it the old fashioned way this week.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me share something you’re looking forward to giving this holiday season.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, December 10, 2016. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, December 11, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Wusthof provided the knife set you see pictured above, and is providing the giveaway unit, both at no cost to me. GIR also provided the ladle as a review unit. However, my opinion remains entirely my own. I both am sent and buy a lot of kitchen gear every year, and these are stand-outs! 

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Links: Cranberries, Marmalade Pie, and a Winner

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It has been ages since I’ve managed to do one of these link round-up posts. I used to write them quite religiously, but then missed several. Once the habit was broken, it felt nearly impossible to find my way back to them on a regular basis. But I’m here again and have weeks of saved up links from my fellow bloggers and writers. May I find my way back to the practice of sharing more often.

art-of-aperitivo-box

Giant thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the Art of Aperitivo giveaway last week! The winner is displayed in the widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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December Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, EcoJarz, iLids, MightyNest, Mrs. Wages, Hobby Hill Farm, & Mason Jar Lifestyle

fillmore gear at farm show

I can’t quite believe it, but December is here and that means that it’s time to thank the people and businesses that help keep this site afloat. Tell them you appreciate their support of my work with a purchase or a social follow!

In the top spot are our friends at Cuppow. They are the creators of the original mason jar travel mug topper and the BNTO, a small plastic cup that transforms a canning jar into a snack or lunch box. Parents and kids love their EIO set, with its grippy silicone sleeve and a lid that makes for easy sipping. And make sure to check out their Cup Club, to see if using a mason jar and cuppow can earn you free coffee at a shop near you!

Lancaster, PA-based and family-owned Fillmore Container are next! They sell all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear. As always, their blog is an amazing resource for all things jar-related. If you’re in need of inspiration for jar-based giving, look no further than their helpful gift guides! Oh, and if you’re a parent looking for a new baby bottle or sippy cup option, check out their line of Mason Bottles!

ecojarz-kit-with-guide

Our friends over at EcoJarz are back again this month. They make an array of products designed to fit on top of mason jars, and they just released a kit for fermenters to their stock. It contains a wide-mouth stainless steel ring, a wide-mouth stainless steel lid with a silicone gasket and grommet, an airlock, and a fermenting guide. This month, use the code FOODINJARS2016 to get 20% your order.

iLids is a Seattle-based small business that makes both storage and drink lids in both regular and wide mouth sizes for mason jars. Their storage lids are water tight and the drink lids can accommodate a straw. Best of all, their lids come in a whole bunch of different colors, so there’s something for everyone! Check back next week, when I’ll be giving away some of their fabulous gear.

MightyNest is an amazing resource for non-toxic, natural, and organic products for homes and families. I’m a big fan of the MightyFix, their monthly product subscription program. Right now, you can give the gift of a year’s subscription to the MightyFix for just $99 (it regularly costs $10 a month, so that’s a great deal).

your Mighty Fix

Our friends at Mrs. Wages are on the roster again this month. They make pectin, vinegar, and more canning mixes than I can count. Their website is an incredible preserving resource and I can’t say enough good things about their salsa mix. If you need a little help getting your produce into jars, remember to seek out their products!

Hobby Hill Farm is back with us as well. Based in Powhatan, Virginia, they sell locally made jams and preserves, homemade pretzels, candies, and cheese making kits (including the mozzarella kit I demoed here). Sharon teaches a ton of preserving, cheese making, baking, and pasta making classes, so if you’re in her neck of the woods, make sure to check out her class schedule!

Mason Jar Lifestyle is a one-stop shopping site for all the jar lovers out there. They sell all manner of mason jar accessories and adaptors. If you’re in the market for lids, straws, and cozies to transform your mason jars into travel mugs, make sure to check them out!

If your company or small business is interested in becoming a sponsor, you can find more details here. I offer discounts for multiple month purchases and am always happy to work with your budget. Leave a comment on this post or drop me a note to learn more!

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Kabocha Squash Quick Bread

finished-kabocha-squash-bread

The weekend before Thanksgiving, I went a little crazy buying squash. After two trips to farmers market and a dash through Reading Terminal Market, there were three small butternuts, two acorns, and a kabocha squash on my dining room table.

kabocha-squash

My sister is a master of squash-centric quick breads in my family and the kabocha squash seemed to cry out for that destiny. Rather than cast about the internet for a recipe, I used the bones of Raina’s regular approach to build my version. I made a few tweaks, including changing up the flours and sweetened my bread with coconut sugar (since writing Naturally Sweet, it’s a regular player in my kitchen).

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I also didn’t have quite enough squash to fill out the two cup measure and so topped it off with a few tablespoons of honey sweetened pear vanilla jam. It worked gorgeously and I highly recommend that approach any time you need just a bit more squash or applesauce for a baked good.

avocado-oil

The other change I made was to use avocado oil. I confess, this bottle of CalPure was recently sent to me for review, and while I don’t plan on offering a full-on review here, I will say that it’s a gorgeous oil. Thick, deeply green, and very rich, it went beautifully with the squash and made for an incredibly moist loaf.

greased-mini-loaf-pans

I divided the batter between four small vintage Pyrex loaf pans. I love these for quick breads because they give me one loaf to keep and three to share with friends and neighbors. Particularly this time of year, I like to have something around for spur of the moment gifting.

kabocha-squash-batter

A couple days ago, I mentioned that I’d started a FB group for this site. Lots of you have come over to join up and the conversations and connections that are happening are totally delightful. Please do check it out!

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Upcoming Events, Food Swaps, and the new Food in Jars FB Community

Upcoming classes, pickling demos, food swaps, and news about an online Food in Jars community! A tasty assortment for a gloomy Tuesday afternoon!

beets-and-radishes

I always feel a little bit of a let down in the days after Thanksgiving. There’s so much excitement and anticipation in advance (particularly when you work in the world of food writing) and then it’s over and all you’ve got left is a pot of soup (if you’re lucky).

In order to bring a little pep back into my step, I thought it would be nice to share a few fun things with you all.

Next Thursday, December 8, I’ll be teaching my final class of the year at the Easton Public Market. We’ll make Maple Sweetened Cranberry Apple Jam and everyone will go home with a small jar of the preserves made in class. 6 to 8 pm. $30. Sign up here.

autumn-produce

On Sunday, December 11, I’ll be at the Hazon Food Festival. I’ll be there to moderate the opening panel (10:45 to 11:30 am), sign books in the marketplace (12:45 to 1:15 pm), and teach a pickling workshop (2:30 to 3:15 pm). The event runs from 10 am to 6:30 and the full day registration costs $25 for adults, $15 for students, and $10 for kids (they also have family packages on offer). Click for more information and registration details.

This Sunday, December 4 I’ll be at the 5th anniversary party for the Philly Food Swap group out the Weavers Way Garage in Mt. Airy. It’s both a food swap and potluck and goes from 3-6 pm (we’ll swap first and then dig into the potluck spread). It’s a free event and everyone is welcome, whether you’re a regular food swapper or this is your very first time. Details and sign-up for here.

food-swap-items

Recently, I started a Facebook group for readers of this site. Simply called the Food in Jars Community, I’m hoping that it will become a place where you all can go to have conversations with one another about canning, preserving, and home cooking. Years ago, we had a lot of good give and take on the main Food in Jars FB page, but they’ve changed the functionality of those pages so that they’re no longer useful as a place for discourse.

Currently the group is listed as closed, but I will happily approve any requests for membership. I’ll be keeping a careful eye on the conversations and will jump in on a daily basis to answer questions and join in the discussion. Please consider joining!

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