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Giveaway: Milk Kefir Starter Kit from Hobby Hill Farm Fresh

Milk Kefir Kit Front

Friends! After a month-long break, the giveaway is back! This week, I’m featuring the Milk Kefir Grains Starter Kit from the nice folks at Hobby Hill Farm Fresh. The kit contains a small packet of milk kefir grains, a small plastic strainer (kefir grains don’t like metal), and an instruction booklet. Once you activate the grains, they can be recultured repeatedly and can produce up to 1 quart of kefir per day.

milk kefir grains - Food in Jars

When you open up a packet of kefir grains, you’ll find a small number of dried yellow nubbins, packaged in dried milk. To wake them up, you combine them with 1 cup of pasteurized (but not ultra-pasteurized) milk, cover the jar with something breathable, and let them sit for 24 hours.

Milk Kefir - Food in Jars

Give the grains fresh milk every day, until the milk begins to separate into curds and whey. Once that happens, you can start to increase the amount of milk you’re culturing and the kefir is ready for drinking, baking, and flavoring. The best way to keep kefir grains happy is to regularly give them fresh milk for culturing!

Hydrated Milk Kefir Grains - Food in Jars

For more information on making milk kefir and what to do with it, I recommend checking out this post on Phickle.

I have one of these Milk Kefir Grains Starter Kits to giveaway! Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite way to use kefir. When I was a kid, we always had a quart in the fridge for smoothies and quick breakfasts!
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, February 13, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, February 14, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only. Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Hobby Hill Farm Fresh is providing the starter kit for this giveaway at no cost to me. They are a site sponsor and a valued Food in Jars partner. However, all opinions expressed in this post are mine. 

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Rye Crepes and Apple Cardamom Compote + Anolon Advanced Umber Crepe Pan Giveaway

overhead crepe scene

One of my resolutions for 2016 is to make more crepes. They work for any meal of the day, disguise leftovers beautifully, and can be made in advance and reheated just before serving. They’re also a great vehicle for all manner of homemade jams, preserves, and compotes. Truly, they’re a dream for home cooks.

Recently, my friends at Anolon asked me to develop a crepe recipe using their Anolon Advanced Umber 9.5-inch Crepe Pan. After doing a bit of playing around, I made these Rye Crepes with Buttery Apple Compote.

rye crepe ingredients

I’ve been making crepes for more than 20 years now and have learned a few things in the process. I find that using a blender eliminates any pesky lumps in the batter. Don’t fear the crepe, if one crumples or tears when you flip it, just do your best and keep moving forward. And finally, it helps to have a good pan (like this one from Anolon).

This particular crepe batter is one of my favorites, as the rye flour keeps it tender, and the minimal amount of sugar means you can use it to wrap both sweet and savory fillings. I’m sure you’ll find a way to make it work for you!

finished apple compote

Thanks to the kind folks at Anolon, I have one of these Anolon Advanced Umber 9.5-inch Crepe Pans to give away. Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

For more from Anolon and their Holiday Hosting Campaign, make sure to follow them on social media.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Holidays and Giveaway Winners

decorating cookies

Happy holidays, friends! So sorry that I’ve disappeared for the last week. I’ve been in Austin, TX with my family a little over a week now. I meant to get a couple more holiday-centric recipes up to share with you all, but I got lost in the hubbub of small children and the inevitable cold they gave me.

I did want to drop in and announce the winners of the Old Blue Raw Honey and Lagostina Risotto Pot giveaways I hosted before things got crazy.

The Old Blue Raw Honey winners are #14/Lizzie, #72/keapdx, and #159/Lynn.

The Lagostina Risotto Pot winner is #237/Daryl Shawn.

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Giveaway: Old Blue Raw Honey

A giveaway of west coast honey from Old Blue Raw Honey. All the pictures in the post are by Camille Storch.

three small bottles of honey

This week’s giveaway comes to us from Old Blue Raw Honey. Old Blue is a family business, owned and operated by Henry and Camille Storch (you might know Camille from her lovely blog, Wayward Spark. She’s also written a couple of honey-based guest posts for me in the past).

Camille and Henry Storch, and their kids

Henry is a beekeeper and farrier, transporting his bees to different locations up and down the west coast as needs and the seasons demand. In his free time, he collects seed from native plants and interesting garden varieties, and he plays Legos with his kids. He also documents his days with the bees on Instagram.

Camille handles marketing, customer service, and order fulfillment for Old Blue Raw Honey, and is the writer and photographer behind all the Old Blue blog posts. In her free time, she cans seasonal produce (with honey!), and runs the trails around their home in Philomath, Oregon. Her Instagram account is also glorious.

a wide mouth quart jar full of honey

One of the things that makes Old Blue Raw Honey so special is that they offer a wide array of unusual, small-batch varietal honeys from their hives only. They honey is never heated over natural hive temperatures (under 100°F), and is minimally filtered, so it includes pollen, small wax particles, and once in a while, a small bee bit.

close up on bees crawling on a honeycomb

Old Blue Raw Honey is available online, at select shops, and on occasion, directly from Camille and Henry at events in Oregon. If you’re looking for a good gift for someone who loves interesting honey, getting them a sampler set from Old Blue would be a very smart thing to do.

Happily, it’s the sample set that I get to share today. Henry and Camille have generously offered up three of their Blackberry, Clary Sage, Coriander Honey Sampler Boxes for today’s giveaway. The honeys are packaged in 8 ounce, BPA-free plastic squeeze bottles and I promise, it will take everything you’ve got to keep from dispensing the honey straight onto your tongue.

Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me how you like to use honey. Do you spoon it into tea? Drizzle it on cornbread? Dollop a little on a sliver of cheese?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, December 19, 2015. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, December 20, 2015.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only. Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Old Blue Raw Honey is providing the honey for this giveaway at no cost to me. They have not paid for placement (though about a year and a half ago, Camille did give me a little bottle of honey). I’m writing this post because their honey is delicious and I want to share its goodness. 

Links: Mincemeat, Glögg, and a Winner

bowl of citrus from Autumn

Friends, feast your eyes on all that citrus! An unexpected box arrived on my doorstep late last week and it turned out it was filled with exotic, unsprayed citrus from Autumn (her book, Beyond Canning, will be out in February. Make sure to put it on your wish lists. I’ve seen an advance copy and it’s fab). I have a long list of baking, cooking, and making to do this week, and top on it is doing something worthy with this bounty. Now, links!

Mason Tap Kit - Food in Jars

The winner of last week’s Mason Tap Giveaway is #39/Erin. If you haven’t entered yet, make sure to put your name in the hat for my Lagostina Risotto Pot giveaway.

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Winter Squash Risotto with Leeks and Greens + Lagostina Risotto Pot Giveaway

Risotto Set-up - Food in Jars

I have a weakness for beautiful cookware (some woman collect jewelry, I surround myself pots and pans). The first time I saw the Lagostina Risotto Pot at my local Williams-Sonoma, I nearly swooned. Gleaming tri-ply stainless steel! A wooden topped lid (that fits tightly and doubles as a trivet)! And a thick, heat diffusing base to prevent hot spots and burning!

squash for roasting - Food in Jars

To my very great delight, not long after spotting this gorgeous pot for the first time, I got an email asking if I might like one to use for the development of a risotto recipe. I sent a positive response off as quickly as my fingers could type.

pouring rice - Food in Jars

Since this lovely piece of cookware arrived, I’ve been making a lot of risotto. It’s one of my favorite things to make and eat on chilly days. I love the ceremony of near-constant cooking (though to be truthful, I often put the spoon down for a moment or two so that I can do a little clean-up while I cook) and the comfort that comes when you cozy up to a bowlful.

finished risotto - Food in Jars

Whenever I make risotto, my primary goal is to cram as much vegetable content into the pot. Risotto can be a heavy dish, and so making sure that it’s packed with fresh produce (in this case, aromatics, greens, and roasted squash) helps lighten it and make it a more regular dinnertime occurrence.

plated risotto - Food in Jars

When I make this for me (if I’m making if for Scott, I use roasted carrots in place of squash), I peel and chop all the squash and stir it into the rice. However, if I have friends coming by, I like to reserve some of the roasted squash to serve on top. It brings a little visual and textural interest to the plate and makes it feel like something you might be served as the neighborhood Italian place.

risotto pot - Food in Jars

What’s nice about this piece of cookware is that truly, it’s good for so much more than risotto. The wide base and low profile mean that it’s a great shape for any dish you want to simmer and reduce. It does good work with small batches of jam and I love using to make Marcella’s tomato sauce.

The Lagostina Risotto pot can be found at Williams-Sonoma, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and other specialty shops, and retails for $199.95. For more information about Lagostina, check out their social accounts and visit their website.

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Thanks to the kind folks at Lagostina, I have one of their glorious Risotto Pots to give away to you guys. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what kind of risotto you’d make in this pot.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, December 19, 2015. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, December 20, 2015.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only. Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Lagostina sent me this risotto pot to use and write about. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

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