Other People’s Products: Christina’s Cookies

Christina's Cookies

Other People’s Preserves Products is my opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the very delicious jams, pickles, preserves, and in this case, cookies, being made by hardworking artisan producers. Consider this my stamp of delicious approval.

In a departure from my regularly focus on pickles, preserves, and other condiments, this weekend, I wanted to feature Christina’s Cookies from vegan chef Christina Pirello. They come in flavors like chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, and peanut butter. If you find conventional cookies to be a little too sweet, you will love these.

Christina's cookie assortment

In addition to tasting delicious, they’re also made with organic whole grain flours, no refined sugars, and high quality oils and fats. What’s more, they’re entirely vegan, which I know is something a number of you are looking for.

Christina's chocolate chocolate cookies

I realize I’m a little too late sharing these cookies for Valentine’s Day, but if you need to send a sweet treat to a friend who is trying to skip refined sugars, make sure to keep these cookies on your list. Get all the details on pricing and shipping here.

Disclosure: These cookies were sent to me as a free sample, for potential review. After a couple bites, I determined that they were good enough to share. However, all opinions expresses are honest and uncompromising. No additional compensation was provided.

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The Best, Cheapest Cloth Napkins

mug on napkin

When I was a kid, we used paper napkins for everyday meals. I don’t think anyone really thought about it too much beyond the fact that they made for easy clean-up, but I grew up thinking that cloth napkins were reserved solely for holiday meals and restaurant dining.

As I got older, I started being a little bit more concerned about the number of disposable products I was using and switching to cloth napkins seemed like any easy place to start. The only issue was that true, readymade cloth napkins were kind of expensive, particularly if you were building a supply from scratch on the very low salary from your first job like I was (and at that point, I did not have the sewing awareness necessary to make my own).

basket of napkins

For a long time, I made due with a short stack of cloth napkins culled from clearance bins and thrift stores. But then, I discovered something that totally rocked my cloth napkin world. I found myself at a dollar store in need of inexpensive cleaning cloths. They didn’t have exactly what I wanted, but I picked up a package of their red shop rags, thinking I might be able to make due with them.

They didn’t work for my original project, but once I’d washed folded them, I realized that they looked for all the world like a pile of cloth napkins. I tucked them into a basket, put them on our dining room table and we haven’t looked back (we’re on our second set. It took more than four years of daily use to wear out the first batch).

I am now convinced that for everyday use, there is nothing better than a pile of shop rag napkins. They are cheap (typically no more than $10 for a package of 25), made of cotton, and are nearly indestructible. Both my sister and Alana use them in their households and have told me how great they are for family dinners (in Raina’s house, they’re also used for wiping tiny noses and mopping up spills).

plate with napkin

There are just a couple tricks you should know before you turn to shop rags for your own napkin needs. First is that they need a good wash before you start using them. Skip the fabric softener, as it makes them less absorbent and add a little white vinegar to the cycle. I also find that it’s best that you wash them with similar colors the first time out, because they do tend to run a little the first time.

After you’ve used them for a while, they may eventually start to smell of rancid grease (this happens with most cloth napkins). If this occurs, heap them in your biggest stock pot (or canning pot!), fill it up with water and add a small amount of dish soap (not laundry soap). Boil them for 15-20 minutes, drain them, and wash and dry as normal. They’ll be good as new.

I realize this post might seem out of the ordinary for a blog that deals mostly with canning and preserving, but the way I see it, inexpensive cloth napkins are a natural extension of the ethos that would lead someone to start canning in the first place. And it’s such a good tip, I had to share.

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Giveaway: Worker B Product Kit

Worker B gift set

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Worker B Rescue Putty and how pleased I was to have discovered a product that helped heal my cracking hands. I heard back from a lot of you on the topic of winter skin remedies and several folks reached out to say that they had tried the Rescue Putty and were just as in love with it as I was.

Worker B cream

While they didn’t know about my Rescue Putty love before I write that post, the internet is really nothing but a small town, and so soon enough, the nice folks at Worker B saw my post and got in touch. They were happy to hear that I was so pleased with their products and were curious how I had discovered their balms, salves, and creams.

Worker B expiration date

I told them that my sister gave me a tube of Worker B lip balm a part of a birthday present three or four years ago. I used and loved that lip balm for nearly two years, until I was scraping the last bits out with my fingernail. In the meantime, I picked up a couple different sized balms when they went on sale at West Elm. I’ve been a fan ever since, because while I’m not obsessive about only using totally natural cosmetics, I really appreciate effective products that are made simple, real ingredients.

Worker B balm

They liked my enthusiasm for their products as well as the very kind responses from you guys and suggested that we team up on some kind of promotion. And that brings us to today, with a giveaway for a pack of lovely Worker B products. The winner will get a box that includes jars of Rescue Putty, the Worker B cream, a chunky treatment stick, and their gentle face wash.

Worker B bee

One of the reasons that we decided to run this giveaway today is that Worker B just relaunched their website, so the shopping experience is better than ever (if you visited them when I first posted, you’ll notice a big change. The new site is really pretty).

Additionally, their various social media accounts and their newsletter are now easy to find and follow (up at the top of the site). They make a point of sharing their deals and sales via Twitter and Facebook, so make sure to follow ‘em if you want to stay in the know. For instances, just earlier today, they let their followers know that my beloved Rescue Putty is 20% all month long. Can’t beat that!

Worker B face wash

Here’s how to enter for a chance to win this box of goodies.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a tale that has something to do with bees. Does your neighbor have a hive? Did you make beeswax candles as a kid? Do you drink your tea with honey?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, February 14, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog by Sunday, February 15, 2015.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry!).
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.

Disclosure: While I bought my original jar of Rescue Putty on my own, for this post, the kind folks at Worker B did send me the products you see pictured here. No other compensation was exchanged.  

Links: Marmalade, Black Radish Relish, and Jar Love

Oh! My local Barnes & Noble has Food in Jars facing out! It's so fun to find it like that!

I feel like I’m something of a broken record these days. It’s all cookbook work, all the time (this one is about preserving with natural sweeteners, like honey, agave, and fruit juice concentrates). I’ve been making some good progress, even in the face of the flu, which feels good. While I wrestle with lists, measurements, and recipe testing, some links!

No winners to announce tonight, because there was no giveaway last week. However, stay tuned, as I’ll have a fresh giveaway for you tomorrow!

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Other People’s Preserves: M. Greenwood Jams Lemon Sage Mustard from Garibaldi Goods

Greenwood Jams Lemon Sage Mustard

Other People’s Preserve is my opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the very delicious jams, pickles, and preserves being made by dedicated professional canners. If you see one of these products out in the wild, consider picking up a jar!

This week’s featured preserve is the Lemon Sage Mustard from M. Greenwood Jams. I discovered this brightly flavored, seriously savory mustard thanks to the kind folks at Garibaldi Goods. They are an online shop based Southern California that features the small batch, artisanal products and preserves that are made in California.

Greenwood Jams Lemon Sage Mustard top

M. Greenwood Jams is a mother and daughter preserving team based in Los Angeles. They make small batches of seasonal preserves, using locally sourced produce (and there’s no place better than California for freshness and variety. I get jealous every time I’m out there).

Greenwood Jams Lemon Sage Mustard side

What I find so nice about this mustard is that it has none of the bitterness that you often get from really grainy mustards. The seeds are tender and flavorful, and the lemon and sage compliment the natural mustard flavor. It’s one that I’d put out with a cheeseboard or eat with leftover roast chicken.

Disclosure: The folks at Garibaldi Goods sent me this jar of mustard for sampling and photography purposes. However, I meant every word of what I said about it.

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Preserves in Action: Eggs Over Sauerkraut

Fried eggs over carrot/cabbage kraut and a little hot sauce. Breakfast for lunch!

It has been a really quiet week for me (this flu was no joke). My cooking has been limited to soup, eggs, and a single batch of bread. The worst of it has been that my sense of taste was dampened by the congestion and continues to somewhat muted. So even if I had the energy for ambitious cooking or preserving, it would have been lost on me.

Because things are tasting flat, I’ve been reaching for highly flavored things like sauerkraut and pickles, trying to replace nuance with pungency. Yesterday’s simple lunch was particularly satisfying.

I pulled a jar of young sauerkraut out of the fridge and forked out a generous layer onto a place. I cracked two eggs into a hot, buttered skillet and cooked until the whites were set but the yolks were still runny (my father calls this “over easy, hold the wiggle”). Once the eggs were done, I slide them out onto the sauerkraut, and then topped the whole thing with several drops of Alana’s excellent hot sauce.

The eggs warmed the cold kraut slightly and the hot sauce added extra zip. Together, that plate of food offered both high flavor and healing nutrition. Here’s hoping both my energy levels and my sense of taste will be back to normal by next week!

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