Links: Granola Bars, Roasted Cauliflower Leaves & a Winner

Almond butter toast, tea, a strawberry/banana/spinach smoothie, and a cookbook.

I’m now officially in the phase known as book crunch time. I spent most the weekend writing and plan to spend much of the next two weeks on a short tether, moving from stove to computer and back again. Please send all the creative thoughts you can spare in my general direction! Now, links!

electric canner

The winner of last week’s Ball FreshTECH Electric Water Bath Canner Giveaway is #866/Angie W. I so loved reading all your stories of canning gear and how you process the bounty of the summer!


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Cookbooks: Will It Waffle + Giveaway

Wil It Waffle

I first discovered Daniel Shumski and his waffle project in early 2010. He was on a mission to waffle everything that could waffle and as an devoted waffler myself, I took an interest. I watched the blog for awhile, before sending him a quick note, asking if he might be interested in a quick guest post featuring my waffle iron collection and a few of my waffle thoughts. He was and publishing this.

Will It Waffle hash brown

Last fall, Daniel published a book called Will it Waffle that contains more than fifty wonderful things you can waffle beyond a ladle of batter. It makes me long to leap up, pull out one of my two remaining waffle irons (an old vintage model and the Calphalon Belgium version – I gave the other old chrome model to my sister) and start cooking.

Will It Waffle Stuffles

This book features ways to use your waffle iron for every meal of the day. There’s waffled french toast, sausage and hash browns for breakfast, gridded grilled cheese for lunch, waffled chicken parm for dinner, as well as salad toppers, side dishes, and desserts. If you happen to have a partner who objects to your waffle maker collection, this book will help you justify their presence in delicious fashion.

(If you’re in the market for a waffle iron, The Sweethome recently updated their recommendations. They don’t rank my Calphalon model very highly, but it has served me well over the last seven years. That said, it came to me as a review unit back in my Slashfood days, and when it eventually breaks, I’ll probably replace it with a less expensive Belgium maker.)

Will It Waffle Fawaffle

Daniel wants to spread the waffle love and so is offering up two copies of his book for giveaway. We’ll pick one winner in the US and another for Canada, so please do mention in your comment where you live. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a story that involves a waffle.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Monday, April 20, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog soon thereafter.
  3. Giveaway open to United States and Canadian 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: The copy of Will it Waffle that is pictured here is a review copy that Workman Publishing sent to me last fall when the book first came out and Daniel is providing copies for the giveaway. All my opinions remain my own. 

Canning 101: White Vinegar in the Canning Pot Prevents Mineral and Metallic Deposits

white vinegar

I was reading through the comments on the FreshTECH Electric Canner a moment ago and saw several people mentioning their frustration with their current canners because they left spots and rough deposits on the jars. Happily, there is a way to prevent this without investing in a new canner. Pour about 1/2 cup white vinegar into your canning pot when you first set it up.

Whether the residue on the jars is minerals from hard water or particulate matter from your canning rack, adding vinegar to the water will help keep it off the jars and prevent build-up on the inside of your canner. Make it part of your canning routine this summer!

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Giveaway: Ball FreshTECH Electric Water Bath Canner and Multi-Cooker

electric canner

Over the last several years the Ball Canning folks have brought a handful of canning appliances to market. The first was the FreshTECH Jam and Jelly Maker in the summer of 2012. The FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System was the thing during the 2014 canning season. And now, we have the Ball FreshTECH Electric Water Bath Canner and Multi-Cooker.

freshTECH logo

This electric canner is exactly what I know a number of you have been hoping for. It’s a giant pot that has an independent element so that you can move your processing pot off your stove top and over to the counter.

It holds 8 quarts, nine pints, or a dozen regular mouth half pints (that means that if you stack them, you can process 24 quarter pint jars at once). It’s particularly great if your stove is slow to boil water or if you’ve been warned off canning on a glass top cooktop.

heating warning

It has a spout on the left side of the canner, so if your kitchen is arranged in a way where you can set the canner to the right of your stove, you can drain the water directly into the sink. The canner comes with a steaming rack as well as a canning rack, so that you can use it for all your high capacity steaming needs (I could see it being perfect for tamale parties).

It can also be used as a portable cooker, so can work for large amounts of soup, chili, or even something like mulled cider. Nice if you help with community potlucks or church suppers.


I’ve now run a several batches of jars through the canner and I am happy with it. I don’t think it’s going to become my primary boiling water bath because I make a lot of small batches and it doesn’t make sense to heat up this much water for two or three pints.

However, I can see it becoming invaluable during tomato season and I’m willing to carve out some storage space to keep it handy for those heady summer days.

canner filled with jars

This canner does cost $149.99, which is a pretty penny if you already have a canning set-up you like. If you like the idea of moving your canning pot off your stove top but can’t swing that price point, there is a more affordable way to create something similar.

Get yourself an induction capable stock pot (a classic speckled canner with a flat bottom will work) and the induction burner I have (it’s just $60) and you have a canner you can run anywhere (I highly recommend outdoor canning on really hot days).

Ball logo

Thanks to the kind folks at Ball Canning, I have one of these gleaming FreshTECH Electric Canners to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your canning set-up. Are you using your grandmother’s canning pot? Do you use a stock pot with a silicone trivet? Maybe you’re in the market for a new rig. Inquiring minds want to know!
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, April 18, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, April 19, 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: The folks at Ball Canning sent me a FreshTECH Electric Canner for review and photography purposes at no cost to me. They are also providing the giveaway unit. No additional compensation was provided for this post and all opinions expressed are my own. 

May 2015 Canning Classes

class image revised .

May is coming, and with it, the official start to my 2015 teaching season. I’m not going to be teaching and demoing as much this year as I did last because I don’t have a new book out this year, and the amount I did in 2014 was more than a little insane. I am also going to be trying some new things, including a monthly live online class, so that those of you who aren’t geographically near can partake in my classes without either one of us hopping on an airplane.

  • Saturday, May 2 – I’ll be giving a talk and offering books for sale and signature at the Senior Adult Activities of Montgomery County’s annual brunch. Event is $40 per person. More information here. Tickets are available here.
  • Wednesday, May 6 – Spring Preserves with Weaver’s Way. We’ll make rhubarb jam and pickled asparagus in the kitchen at the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House. 7-9 pm. Click here to register.
  • Monday, May 11 – Quick Pickling at the Walnut Street West Free Library location. 5:30-7:30 pm. Contact the library at 215-685-7671 to sign up.
  • Saturday, May 16 – Preserving strawberries with honey and Pomona’s Pectin at the Morris Arboretum. 10 am – 12 noon. $40/45. Register here.
  • Tuesday, May 19 – Live online class through Concert Window! Class starts at 7 pm Eastern time and will finish up around 8:30 pm. Costs $20 and you can sign up here.
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The Optimist Cleaning Kit Winners

contents of The Optimist kit

Normally, I couple these winner announcements with a collection of links from around the internet. However, last week was an unusual one for me. Because I spent a large portion of it in a cabin without internet access, I didn’t manage to build up my regular list of links.

I also spent the bulk of Sunday at the Philly Farm and Food Fest, signing books, demoing, and making sure my fellow authors and presenters had all they needed. I was in bed by 8:30 last night, which was a decided departure from my regular night owl ways.

The winners in last week’s The Optimist Make Your Own Cleaning Products Kit giveaway are #179/Gene Black, #394/Anne E, and #431/GC. Big thanks to everyone who took the time to enter! And if you didn’t win but liked the looks of these kits, make sure to visit The Optimist Co.’s website and check out all the ways you can clean your house safely and effectively!

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