October Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, EcoJarz, and More!

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I can’t quite believe it, but October 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 our friends at Cuppow. They are the creator 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.

Lancaster, PA-based and family-owned Fillmore Container are next! They sell all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear. They just added a line of swing top bottles to their inventory, which are the perfect thing for kombucha, hot sauce, and infused simple syrups!

After some time away, our friends over at EcoJarz are as a sponsor. They make an array of products designed to fit on top of mason jars, and they just 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.

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!

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. For a limited time, new members can subscribe and get their first month for just $5 (normally, it’s $10/month). Click here for more information.

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!

Orchard Road makes mason jars, lids, and rings for home canners. Their jars are sold in packs of six and come in sturdy boxes that can be used for storage. Orchard Road’s physical distribution is limited, but their online store is open for business, so you can now order them straight from the source.

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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IMUSA, Goya, and Chicken, Bean, and Kale Stew

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Years ago, when Scott and I were first married, we’d often go down to visit his mom in suburban Virginia for Thanksgiving. Near to her apartment was an international supermarket that I found impossibly tempting and so often on the night before the holiday, we’d find ourselves taking a recreational wander up and down the aisles.

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I’d typically pick up a flat of fruit and an assortment of inexpensive spices as we zigzagged the the store. When we arrived at the section with Goya-branded beans, tomatoes, and other canned goods, my mother-in-law Joan would stop and say enthusiastically in her thick New York accent, “Goya makes a good product!”

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She made that comment frequently enough that it has become something Scott and I say every time we encounter Goya goods. Thing is, she was right. They do make a good product. Which is why, when I got an email asking if I would participate in a promotion with IMUSA and Goya Foods in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I said yes without a second thought.

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They sent me a bunch of IMUSA gear and a box bursting with Goya products. After a day spent admiring all the goodies, I used the bulk of the ingredients to cook up dinner (this was before I left for this most recent trip). It ended up being an easy, highly satisfying, and tasty dinner that I will recreate someday in the future.

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In addition to sending me an assortment of gear, the folks from IMUSA and Goya want to share some of the Hispanic Heritage Month goodness with one of my readers. One lucky person will get an IMUSA Tortilla Warmer and a Goya Cookbook. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what you’ve been cooking recently.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, October 8, 2016. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, October 9, 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: I received a box of ingredients and tools to use in the creation of this post. I did not receive any additional compensation. All opinions expressed are my own. 

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Sponsored Post: Oval Stainless Steel Food Container from the MightyFix

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I have always loved a good lunch box. When I was very young, I had a snazzy metal Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox with a matching thermos. In middle school, I graduated to a reusable nylon lunch bag with our school name and mascot printed on the side. During my office job years, I had one of those neoprene lunch totes that claimed to keep food cool for hours.

Working from home these days, I don’t often find myself in need of a container for my lunch, but that doesn’t stop me from loving them and pining for a new model on occasion.

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Enter the Oval Stainless Steel Food Container with Clamp Lid that the folks from MightyNest sent me as part of their MightyFix. They simply understand just how much joy a new lunch container can bring (particularly in September, when we all crave back to school items no matter how long we’ve been out of school).

The container is durable and endlessly reusable. I used it to hold my travel snacks on a recent plane trip and it weathered time in my backpack like a champ. The clamp lid- is non-toxic and non-leaching, it’s dishwasher safe, and it’s resistant to stains and corrosion.

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 MightyNest is offering Food In Jars readers a special $5/month rate for the first month of their subscription. That means that if you sign up for MightyFix today, you’ll pay just $5 for the first month and you’ll receive a stainless steel food storage container as your first fix. The fix will arrive at your door within a week or so!

To sign up: head this way. Offer expires October 14, 2016! (MightyFix is currently available to US customers with free shipping. Canadian and Australian MightyFixes ship for a small fee. Full shipping details here.)

MightyFix Button

(And if that link isn’t working for you, you can also use the code FIJCONTAINERFIX at check out.)

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Mary’s Maine Bars & Bake a Difference with OXO For Cookies for Kids’ Cancer

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I met Shianne on the first day of 6th grade. She had impressively high bangs (as was the fashion in 1991), had a delicately pretty face, and walked with a limp. Her family had moved to the area over the summer and though all of us were new to middle school, she was new to everything.

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We became friends in those first weeks of school and I learned that she loved the New Kids on the Block (also all the rage in 1991) and had a younger sister the same age as mine. Once Shianne started to trust me, she shared the reason for her limp. When she was a baby, she had developed bone cancer. In order to save her life, they’d amputated her leg.

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As an 11 year old, the hardest thing that I’d dealt with in life had been a little teasing from other kids. It was incredibly tough for me to fully grasp all that Shianne had lived through. Still, the thing she most wanted was to be normal and have a life like other kids. And so that’s what we did.

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We put on make-up for the school dances together, and gossiped about the boys on whom we crushed. We were cabin-mates at outdoor school and worked on the school paper together. At slumber parties, when our group of friends were all snuggled in our sleeping bags on the floor, there would be Shianne’s prosthetic leg on the floor next to her. It was an entirely normal middle school existence, until sometime near the start of 7th grade, when Shianne’s cancer came back.

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She started missing large stretches of school for treatment and recovery, but came whenever she felt strong enough. She lost her hair and came to school bald, but with make-up meticulously in place.

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Unlike her earlier bout with cancer, this second round did not end in remission. Shianne was treated endlessly, but the cancer was stronger. She died in the fall of 1994, just as she should have been starting high school with the rest of us.

I often find myself thinking about her. I wish I’d gotten to know her for longer and I wonder what her life would have been like had she lived.

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Recently, the folks at OXO put out the call, looking for bloggers to participate in an campaign for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer to help raise both awareness and fund for childhood cancer research. They were also offering to donate $100 for every blog post written. Having been witness to Shianne’s experience, I volunteered to participate.

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They offered up a few different recipes from Dorie Greenspan’s upcoming book, Dorie’s Cookies, along with the gear necessary to make the cookies. I opted to make Mary’s Maine Bars, which are a tender, molasses-rich bar cookie.

To ease the baking process, folks at OXO sent over a pair of their relatively new Good Grips Glass Baking Dishes with Lid (2 quart and 3 quart), as well as a clever Brownie Spatula and their Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer.

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The baking dishes are made from BPA-free borosilicate glass, which allows them to withstand significant temperature changes. The handles are easy to grab and the lids make it possible to prep, stash in the fridge or freezer, and then go into the oven (obviously, you remove the lids before baking).

The OXO On Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer is the best hand mixer I’ve ever used (though, to be fair, the one I was using previously was from 1999). It has a simple-to-use digital control that allows you to change speed smoothly and the illuminated headlight means you can always see what’s happening in the bowl.

The recipe for Mary’s Maine Bars is after the jump. They’re perfect for sharing with friends, and are a good way to temper bittersweet memories.

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Zucchini Butter with Fresh Herbs

Long-cooked zucchini butter is the perfect way to reduce large amounts of zucchini into a flavorful spread.

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Many years ago, I published this recipe for zucchini butter on a food-centric website that I ran as part of my last job. Sadly, they pulled that old site down recently, which left me with broken links and no way to share the goodness of zucchini butter when asked (the recipe is also in Preserving by the Pint, but not everyone has that book at their fingertips).

I learned to cook zucchini like this from my friend Lucy. At the time, she worked as a flower gardener at a historical home in Virginia. On stormy days, the outdoor staff would gather in their little kitchen and cook up produce from the garden.

During one of those cooking sessions, an Italian vegetable gardener taught her to slow cook zucchini with herbs until it melted into a spreadable, succulent paste. I’ve never been more grateful for a second-hand cooking lesson, as this humble little butter is intensely delicious. I like to spread it on toast or toss it with warm pasta.

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Giveaway: Fabric Labels from Emily Press

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I will confess right now that I’m something of a imperfect jar labeler. I am meticulous about getting labels on to my jars the moment they are cool and clean, but those labels often consist of a scrawl across the lid of the jar with a Sharpie. In my more careful moments, I cut lengths of green painters’ tape and scribble the name and date on the preserve.

These labels serve my purpose well enough, but they’re not nearly nice enough for those times when I want to share my preserves with neighbors or tuck a few jars into gift baskets or boxes.

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Recently, the nice folks from Emily Press Labels reached out to see if I might like to try their fabric canning labels on my mason jars. These beautifully printed, sturdy labels are exactly what I need to elevate my packaging game.

These sweet oval labels come in a variety of colors and designs. Each set comes with 36 labels and you can have them made so that they all the same thing, or you can designate two different names and styles.

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I opted to have mine made so that they displayed the names of two my favorite preserves for gift giving. Thought I’m still out on the road right now, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get a few more tomatoes when I get home, so that I can make up some more tomato jam and put these labels to work.

Thanks to the folks at Emily Press, three of my blog readers will get a chance to try out some labels as well. I’m giving away three $30 vouchers, good for anything on the Emily Press website (though I think you all should make sure to check out the fabric canning labels!). Use the widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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