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Cooking Dinner with Blue Apron

Today’s post is sponsored by Blue Apron


I live in an apartment in the middle of Center City Philadelphia, surrounded by restaurants of all stripes. And despite the fact I live in the midst of this edible bounty, I cook dinner at home most nights.

My reasons for cooking at home are many. It’s far more affordable that getting takeout every night. It’s often vastly more delicious (at least most of the time). And both Scott and I feel better when we eat food cooked at home.


However, I often find myself tumbling into home cooking ruts. No matter what I make, my food ends up tasting like my food. In the past, I’ve used cookbooks to help me out of these ruts. The only trouble there is that during particularly busy weeks, that can take more planning and careful shopping than I have time for.

Happily, I’ve discovered a new way to shake up my home cooking routine. Enter Blue Apron. Their chef-designed meal kits are the perfect way to breathe fresh inspiration into my kitchen routine.


My first encounter with Blue Apron was back in June, when they sponsored my husband’s podcast. Because he needed to share his experience with the meals, he did the cooking that week. Thanks to the easy-to-follow recipe cards, he was easily able to turn out a series of three seriously delicious dinners.

What’s more, I liked what he cooked so much that I ended up incorporating some of the techniques and flavor combinations into my own culinary skill-set.


More recently, the folks at Blue Apron approached me about a sponsored post. Having had such a positive experience with the food when Scott did it, I said sure. I had the meals sent to my sister’s house in Austin, Texas, to coincide with the week when I would be there visiting.


My thinking was that it would be an easy way to for me to cook for my sister and her family, and I hoped that by choosing the family portions (you can either get three meals that serve two, or two meals that serve four), we’d wind up things that my picky nephews would eat and enjoy.


Most of my hopes came true. Having the box sent to my sister’s house was a huge win when it came to being a good houseguest. The pre-portioned ingredients made life incredibly easy, the quality of the food was fantastic, and the adults in the house all really enjoyed the two meals I cooked. My sister and brother-in-law also appreciated having a break from kitchen duty.


Sadly, as excited as the little boys were when it came to unpacking the well-insulated box of food, they were not at all interested in the Lamb and Beef Feta Burgers when it came time to eat (though the two-year-old did end up absconding with one of the potato buns).

Thankfully, the Crispy Chicken Tenders and Roasted Potatoes were a bigger success with the pre-school set. No matter the response from Emmett and Benny, I still feel like it was a resounding success.


Blue Apron isn’t something I will use all the time. But it’s such a useful tool during busy weeks, when I need a little fresh inspiration in the kitchen, or when I want to be a helpful and considerate houseguest.

I plan on keeping my account open and occasionally dropping in to check out their new recipes. Perhaps I’ll treat myself to another box around the holidays, when baking for gifts takes over my culinary imagination!


If you’re intrigued by my experience with Blue Apron, they’ve got an offer for you, too! The first twenty readers to use this link to sign up for the service will get three meals for free on their first Blue Apron order. Oh, and if you want to take a peek at more of the possible meals you’ll get from Blue Apron, check out their recipe page.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. They sent me a Family Plan box, containing two meals for four people. They’ve also compensated me for my time and attention. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely mine.

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Whole Foods Market Field to Store Program + Tangy Eggplant Tomato Spread

Today, I’m partnering with my area Whole Foods Markets to tell you about their 24 Hours Field to Store program and to share my recipe for Tangy Eggplant Tomato Spread. This is a sponsored post!

Whole Foods Market 24 Hours Field to Store sign

One of the things I love most about living in Philadelphia is the amazing access we have to really great, local produce. I’ve been here for nearly 15 years now and have watched how the city has changed for the better. Between the farmers markets, CSA shares, buying clubs, corner stores, and merchants at Reading Terminal Market, it is easier than ever to get my heads on hyper-fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables that are grown nearby.

Local eggplant at Whole Foods Market

Now, thanks to a partnership between our 11 area Whole Foods Markets and the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, you can add one more option for incredibly fresh, local produce to the list. They have teamed up for a program called 24 Hours Field to Store. Certain products from LFFC are harvested from the field and delivered to all Philadelphia-area stores within 24 hours.

eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic

The featured item in the Field to Store program changes every two weeks. Last week, they were highlighting gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, and starting today and running through August 16, the featured item is eggplant!

prepping tomatoes for peeling

I was at the Callowhill store on Saturday, and picked up a plump, firm, glowingly fresh eggplant and brought it home for a little experimentation. Knowing that eggplant is a low acid vegetable, I had to be careful when developing a recipe using it that would eventually go into a jar.

simmering eggplant and tomatoes in red wine vinegar

After doing a bit of research, I decided to make a highly acidified spread using eggplant, tomato, and garlic. I peeled and chopped the eggplant, and cooked it down with a small amount of olive oil, a pound of peeled and chopped tomatoes, three cloves of minced garlic, and a full 1 1/2 cups of red wine vinegar.

tangy eggplant and tomato spread

The resulting eggplant tomato spread is a luscious, tangy condiment. It is perfect on slices of toasted ciabatta or in place of tomato sauce on a homemade pizza. The yield is relatively small, so I plan on making more before eggplant season is done.

finished jars of tangy eggplant tomato spread

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next in the 24 Hours Field to Store program!

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Online Canning Tools and Tidbits from Ball Canning

Interactive Canning Map June

This summer, I’m partnering the lovely folks at Ball Canning, to help spread the word about their new tools and products. Today, I want to take a moment to zero in on the online tools they’ve released this season, all designed to help inspire you to gather some produce and pull down your canning pot.

First up is their recently launched Tumblr, called Freshly Preserved Ideas. This page is bursting with ideas, recipes, and hypnotic gifs (truly. I’ve watched this one loop at least a dozen times). You’ll find introductions to the team of Fresh Preservers as well as the new recipes for summer preserves that we’ve all been tasked to dream up (the first of my recipes is Blackberry Lavender Jam).

Another fun tool is the Interactive Canning Map (that’s what’s pictured at the top of the page). It shows the various regions of the country and what’s currently in season in those areas. Clicking on the various images of fruits and vegetables will take you to preserving recipes that utilize those ingredients.

And just today, Jarden Home Brands (parent company of Ball Canning) released survey results in which they found that 40% of gardeners plan to preserve half or more of the food they grow this season and 44% freeze it for later use. A whopping 77% of gardeners have canned, frozen or dehydrated foods to preserve them, and 33% of those preserving gardeners are millennials.

Here’s hoping you all find some of those tools useful!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. My partnership with Ball Canning is a paid one. All opinions expressed are my own. 

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Sponsored Post: Durable Mesh Produce Bags from the MightyFix

Five mesh produce bags and MightyFix info cards

Years ago, I went through a stage where I was seriously gung-ho about going green. I bought an indoor composter, replaced my sparkling water habit with a SodaStream, and got a few sets mesh produce bags to replace the plastic ones I always picked up at the grocery store.

Five mesh produce bags fanned out

Trying to make compost in my living room was a disaster and I use my SodaStream imperfectly (like so many others, I have something of a LaCroix addiction). But the mesh produce bag habit stuck. I keep them by my front door and grab a few any time I know a stop at the grocery store or farmers market is in my future.

MightyFix produce bags in use

Our friends at MightyNest want to help you get your reusable produce bag habit started and so are offering a MightyFix deal for all new subscribers. The first month (which normally costs $10) will cost you just $3 instead. That means that if you sign up for MightyFix today, you’ll pay just $3 for the first month and you’ll receive a set of 5 reusable produce bags as your first FIX. As those same bags normally cost $11 + $5.95 in shipping, it’s a pretty darn good deal.

Mesh produce bags hanging with produce

If you’ve missed my earlier posts about the MightyFix, it’s a monthly subscription service that sends full sized non-toxic products for the kitchen and home. It costs $10 a month and ships for free. What’s more, anything you want to add to your monthly order from MightyNest will also ship for free.

MightyFix Button

So, to recap. If you’re new to the FIX and you’re ready to hop on board, use this link to head over to MightyNest (it’s got the discount code already applied). If that link gives you trouble, use the code FIJPRODUCEFIX at check out instead.

You’ll get these mesh produce bags as your first FIX when they sign up for the subscription service. The cost of the FIX is $10 a month and the products are always valued more than $10. Your first month is $3 and you’ll get a set of five mesh produce bags valued at $11 + $5.95 in shipping. You just can’t beat it.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. MightyNest is a regular Food in Jars partner and occasional sponsor. They sent me the produce bags pictured here. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

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All-Clad d5 Stainless-Steel All-In-One Pan + Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce

All Clad d5 - Food in Jars

Back in the Fall, I did a little project with the folks at All-Clad, in which they sent me the NS1 Chef’s Pan from their their new line of NS1 Nonstick Induction cookware and I used it to make a batch of really delicious batch of Kabocha Squash, Coconut, and Wild Rice Stew.

In March, I did it again. That time, they sent me an NS1 Stock Pot and I make a pot of roasted tomato and basil soup to brighten up a cold winter day.

All-Clad handle - Food in Jars

I always enjoy these cookware challenges because they give me opportunities to play with a really fabulous pans and push myself outside my regular culinary patterns. So, when they got in touch again back in April and asked if I might want to do it again, this time with their d5 Stainless Steel All-In-One Pan, I said yes.

finished barbecue sauce - Food in Jars

This line of All-Clad is made from five bonded layers of stainless steel and aluminum to best conduct heat and cook evenly. It’s induction-capable, has two loop side handles, sloped sides for efficient reduction, and a shining stainless interior that makes it easy to clean. It comes with a tight-fitting lid and is made in the US.

Currently, the d5 Stainless Steel All-In-One Pan is available at Williams-Sonoma, and the 4 quart pan they sent me sells for $149.95.

barbecue sauce ingredients in pan - Food in Jars

The particular challenge with this piece of cookware was to design a recipe that only used five ingredients, to mimic the five layers of metal that makes up the pan. I decided on building a five ingredient barbecue sauce, using a jar of apple butter as the base.

It’s a tasty, tangy, spicy sauce that is perfect for summer cookouts and slow cooker pulled pork. You could always fancy it up with additional ingredients, but I enjoy the simple approach.

saucing chicken legs - Food in Jars

This is the perfect pan for quick sauces, because the low, wide base allows for quick evaporation and the marriage of flavor. You combine a pint of apple butter with apple cider vinegar, finely chopped onion, honey, and a couple heaping spoonfuls of gochugang in the pan and cook until it is thick and the onion is tender (also, add some salt and pepper to taste).

I like to scrape the finished sauce into a large measuring cup and zap it with an immersion blender to smooth it out, but that’s totally optional.

roasted chicken legs - Food in Jars

As you can see, I also used the pan to roast off some chicken legs that I then painted with my tangy sauce. I’d also use this sauce on top of turkey meatloaf, on grilled burgers, and will happily combine it with some chicken thighs in the slow cooker for pulled chicken sandwiches.

Thanks to the kind folks at All-Clad, I have one of these All-Clad d5 Stainless Steel All-In-One Pans to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what you’d cook in this pan OR how you’d use the barbecue sauce.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, June 4, 2016. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, June 5, 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: All-Clad sent me the pan you see pictured above and they’re provided the giveaway unit, both at no cost to me. No additional compensation was provided.

For more about these fabulous pans, follow All-Clad and Williams-Sonoma on social media!
All-Clad: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
Williams-Sonoma: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

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Sponsored Post: A Lifefactory Deal from MightyNest’s MightyFix

orange Lifefactory bottle - Food in Jars

Fun fact about me. I have a minor water bottle obsession. I’ve been this way since my high school days, when I kept a tall disposable bottle (refilled for ages before being recycled) in my backpack. In college, I carried a brightly colored Nalgene.

Once on my own, I acquired a small collection of aluminum Sigg bottles. These days, I use stainless steel and glass water bottles exclusively, because they don’t impact the taste of the water, and they seem to be the healthiest choices available.

Lifefactory water bottle in bag - Food in Jars

Of all the glass water bottles I’ve used, the ones made by Lifefactory are my favorite, both for their grippy silicone sheaths and for the lids that are so easy to put on and take off (plus, they’re essentially big jars, which pleases me more than it should).

As we head into summer (prime time for starting a water bottle habit), our friends over at MightyNest thought some of you guys would also like to get in on the glass water bottle action. How do you do it? By joining MightyFix!

Lifefactory URL - Food in Jars

If you’ve missed my earlier posts about the MightyFix, it’s a monthly subscription service that sends full sized non-toxic products for the kitchen and home. It costs $10 a month and ships for free. What’s more, anything you want to add to your monthly order from MightyNest will also ship for free.

Without the FIX, this 12 ounce Lifefactory bottle costs $18 + $5.95 in shipping. When you sign up, you’ll get it for just $5. Then, for just $10 a month going forward, you’ll get regular shipments that will allow you make small but rewarding changes to help both you and the planet.

full Lifefactory bottle - Food in Jars

This deal is only open to new FIX subscribers. Unfortunately, if you’ve joined up in the past, you won’t be eligible for the discount (so sorry!). However, if you’re new to the FIX and ready to hop on board, use this link to head over to MightyNest (it’s got the discount code already applied). If that link gives you trouble, use the code FIJBOTTLEFIX at check out instead.

Just to recap. If you’re new to MightyFix, you’ll get this water bottle as your first FIX when they sign up for the subscription service. The cost of the FIX is $10 a month and the products are always valued more than $10. Your first month is $5 and you’ll get a Lifefactory glass water bottle valued at $18 + $5.95 in shipping. It’s a pretty nifty deal!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. MightyNest is a regular Food in Jars partner and occasional sponsor. They sent me the orange water bottle you see pictured here back in December, for photography purposes. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

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