Red Lentil and Orzo Soup Mix

This recipe is part of my Secret Santa partnership with Newell Brands, makers of Ball® Fresh Preserving Products.

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Split Pea and Barley Soup Mix

This recipe is part of my Secret Santa partnership with Newell Brands, makers of Ball® Fresh Preserving Products.

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How to Make Homemade Maple Cream

Regular Food in Jars contributor Alex Jones is here today to share her family recipe for homemade maple cream. She transforms some real maple syrup into a gorgeous, spreadable cream that is perfect for your morning toast or a holiday cheese board. If this post doesn’t want to make you leap up and head to the kitchen, I don’t know what will! -Marisa

A can of real maple syrup for homemade maple cream

I have a confession to make: I’m a maple snob.

Growing up, my house always had real maple syrup to top pancakes, French toast, and ice cream. I didn’t even know that “pancake syrup” (typically an artificially flavored, corn syrup-based imitation of the real thing) was different from what my family used until I was a teenager, when I unwittingly poured it all over my breakfast at a friend’s house after a sleepover. Imitation just doesn’t compare.

We kept real maple syrup in the house not just because it’s incredibly delicious and we could to afford it, but because my mother’s family in Quebec would have disowned her — or sent a care package — if we hadn’t.

As an American-born cook with Canadian dual citizenship, maple syrup is part of my culinary heritage. My gaggle of aunts up Quebec, whose preserving habits and big gardens I’ve written about before, always give me a can of sirop d’erable pur to take home on my visits — if not a coveted bottle of homemade maple syrup, the really good stuff boiled down over a wood fire in my uncle’s sugar shack.

And just about the only thing more delicious than maple syrup is maple cream, a spreadable, velvety smooth maple reduction with a super-concentrated maple flavor. When I spied a spare can of syrup in my pantry while hunting for another ingredient, I decided to try making this pricey, hard-to-find treat myself.

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December Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, EcoJarz, Mason Jar Lifestyle, CanningCrafts, and Mrs. Wages

Happy December, dear readers! It’s the start of the month, which means it’s time to thank the businesses that help make this site possible. Please do show them that you appreciation their support with your time and attention!  

In the top 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. Their Glass Travel Mug would make an excellent holiday gift for anyone looking to reduce their use of disposables!

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. For some good suggestions for holiday giving, take a peek at some of their past gift guides.

Our friends over at EcoJarz are on board again this month. They make an array of products designed to fit on top of mason jars, including cheese graterscoffee brewers, and stainless steel storage lids. Right now, they’re running an awesome giveaway that includes a vintage stainless steel Vitamix (no joke, this is the same model that my mom has been using since 1970) and two of the EcoJarz smoothie kits. Make sure to enter.

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, sprouting lidsfermentation weights, airlocks, tea light converterscozies,  and more, make sure to check them out. They’ve recently expanded their selection of silicone jar sleeves and make them for nearly every size jar. If you like to drink out of mason jars, make sure to get some!

Next up is CanningCrafts. Shop owner Alison sells an array of ready made and custom mason jar labels for all your various preserves, syrups, and backyard honey. As you plan ahead for holiday gift giving, make sure to check out all of fabulous CanningCrafts Christmas and holiday-themed labels.

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.

And if your company, shop, or family business is interested in reaching the food-loving and engaged Food in Jars audience, you can find more details here. Leave a comment on this post or drop me a note to learn more!

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Celebrating National Mason Jar Day with Jarware

Did you know that according to the National Day Calendar, today is the first official National Mason Jar Day? And what better way to celebrate a holiday devoted to the handy canning jar than with a giveaway with Jarware!

Jarware is a company based right here in Pennsylvania that is devoted to creating an array of lids, wands, toppers, and accessories designed to make using and reusing your mason jars as intuitive and practical as possible. All the products are made from recycled, BPA-free, food-safe and dishwasher safe plastic.

The Jarware accessories break down into three categories. The first is the Bevware category, where you’ll find drink toppers, tea infusers, cocktail shakers, and fruit infusers. There’s also a Tea Time set that groups together everything you need to make and serve tea right out of your mason jars.

Next up are the Kitchenware accessories. These include snack cups, oil cruets, clip-on coffee spoons, honey dippers, citrus juicers, salt and pepper shakers, and spice lids.

Last up is the Storeware category. This is where you’ll find things like soap pumps, piggy banks, firefly kits, flower frogs, herb savers, tea light holders, and all sorts of novelty jelly and jam lids.

I think the thing I like best about the Jarware products is that they combine function and whimsy. They all serve a useful purposed, but do it with plenty of style and bright color. The piggy bank is also just cute.

Now, for the giveaway. One lucky winner will everything that Jarware makes (which, save the oil cruet and the snack cups, is everything pictured above). Your mason jars will be tricked out for years to come! Just use the widget below to enter for a chance to win.

And, for a second chance to win, make sure to head over to my Instagram account. I’m giving away a second prize pack there as well this week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The folks at Jarware have compensated me for my time and efforts. However, I only accept sponsored posts from businesses that jive with the mission of Food in Jars and Jarware is most decidedly in line with that mission. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and entirely my own.

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Blue Apron During a Busy Work Season

Today’s post is sponsored by Blue Apron.

In a little less than three months, I will be turning in the manuscript for my 4th(!) cookbook. This book focuses on cooking, baking, and otherwise transforming homemade preserves. Over the last month or so, I’ve been deep in the recipe development phase. This means that I might spend a full day in the kitchen and end up with nothing that can be eaten for dinner

Occasionally, I pre-cook strategically for those days when the recipe development schedule leans sweet and have some leftovers ready to go. Other nights, a bag of salad and a grocery store chicken is the answer. And during one recent busy week, Blue Apron swept in and saved the day by delivering three meals directly to my doorstep, so that I could easily cook dinner without having to plan, shop, or waste a drop of food.

You might think I’d be tired of being in the kitchen after a day of recipe testing, but as long as I don’t have to make any additional decisions or hit the grocery store, I don’t mind it a bit. Blue Apron does all the choosing and thinking for me, which transforms the process of making dinner into something pleasurable. Each week, they offer up eight new recipes that are designed to satisfy eaters of all stripes (including vegetarians!).

We can just add this to the list of ways that Blue Apron meal kits have saved my bacon. They’ve also helped me be a good houseguest,  avoid take-out while preparing for a conferencebumped me out of my weeknight dinner rut, and made it possible for me to hand off dinner prep to my husband.

This time around, our 2-person box (there’s also a family plan) included ingredients for Seared Steaks and Mashed Potatoes (cheesy mashed potatoes!), Soy-Marinated Chicken Tenders (yellow sweet potatoes! delicious!), and Spiced Chicken and Garlic Rice (I loved how the roasted squash was tossed with the rice before plating).

As always, I was impressed by the food I found in the box. The quality of the ingredients was top notch, the portion sizes are perfect for two people, and the chef-designed recipes were approachable, educational, and delicious.

One of the concerns that people often have about Blue Apron is the amount of packaging involved. I continue to be impressed with how the amount of packing materials seems to reduce with every order I receive (and most of it is recyclable). If you can’t recycle the materials in your area, you can also opt to return the packing materials through the mail for reuse and recycling.

This blog post is the last one in my formal blogging partnership with Blue Apron, but I plan on continuing on as a Blue Apron customer. I don’t plan on ordering every week, but will opt in during my busy times because it allows me to skip the grocery store and still eat high quality, home cooked food. They add dishes to the rotation on a regular basis, so there’s always something new to try.

If you’re intrigued by my experience with Blue Apron, they’ve got an offer for you, too! The first 50 readers to use this link to sign up for the service will get $30 off their first Blue Apron order.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. They sent me a 2-Person box, containing three meals for two people. They’ve also compensated me for my time and attention. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely mine.

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