Giveaway: Glass Dharma Straws

glass dharma boxes

I first started building my collection of jars a decade ago. At that point, I wasn’t using them for canning (that was still yet to come). I simply didn’t like storing dry goods, leftovers, and lunches in plastic and found that wide mouth jars were the best and most affordable way to switch to glass. During my time as an office worker, you’d often find me heading to work a daily trio of jars containing coffee, breakfast, and lunch (and padded with a cloth napkin or two).

bent glass dharma straw

I am always looking for ways to consume less and reuse more. I’ve conditioned myself to always carry reusable bags. I’m militant about using travel mugs (or a mason jar fitted with a Cuppow) when out for coffee. I am religious about returning egg cartons to farmers and metal hangers to the laundry that does Scott’s work shirts. And about four years ago, I bought a small stash of glass straws from Glass Dharma to replace the package of plastic Ikea ones that I had been using.

glass dharma end labels

I have loved these straws and they’re still going strong. They are easy to use, simple to clean with a skinny brush and are impossible to break. Awhile back, I dropped one behind the washing machine and when we finally pulled the machine out enough that I could reach back and retrieve it, the straw was in perfect shape, save a coating of dust and laundry lint.

glass dharma straw tip

The best thing about Glass Dharma is that they’re not just trying to sell a product. They see their work as a sustainability mission and to that end, they distribute a ton of free straws each April in honor of Earth Day. They hope that one day, they’ll have provided glass straws to at least 2% of the American public (that works out to about 6 million straws).

What this means is that today, you have two chances to get some free glass straws. First, click here to read more about Glass Dharma’s Earth Day promotion. Then go sign up for their newsletter to get yourself in the loop for said promotion.

Finally, come back here and leave a comment for chance to win one of three $25 gift codes for use on the Glass Dharma website.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me a story about a straw. Do you love them? Are you someone who drinks hot beverages through straws?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, April 4, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, April 5, 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: Glass Dharma sent me a few straws to add to my collection for photography purposes. They are also providing the three gift codes at no cost to me. They have not paid me for this post beyond those sample straws and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

Links: Turnips, Matzo Toffee, and Winners

yellow tomato sauce

I spent the last five days at my version of summer camp (the IACP conference). I saw so many of my favorite fellow food writers, got to meet several people I’ve long admired from afar, and and spent a happy few minutes playing peek-a-boo with my editor’s sweet baby girl. I also drank far too much (not hard for a lightweight like me), slept very little, and didn’t so much as glance at my in-progress book manuscript.

This week is all about getting back on track with work, doing some serious recipe testing, and making 10 pounds of brisket for my family’s Seder on Friday night. Now, links!

These two aren’t directly related to food, but are good reads nonetheless.

  • Julie ruminates on blogs, making a living, and finding a way to make a site pay without compromising one’s standards.
  • As someone who turned her side hustle into a career, I related to so much of this piece.

Mustache Coffee Club bag

Time for winners! #82/Jennifer will be receiving the Moustache Coffee and #51/Kristin will be getting the pushpins from Lulu The Pickle Queen. More soon!

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Cookbooks: Dessert for Two

cover of Dessert for Two

There is just so much to like about Christina Lane’s new book, Dessert for Two. It’s got page after page of gorgeous photography. The book is hefty and feels good in your hands. And all the recipes it contains for cookies, cakes, tarts, bars are scaled to serve just two or three.

Dessert for Two contents

Released last month and bearing the same name as her very clever blog, Dessert for Two is arranged by kind of treat. There are cookies (never more than a dozen), bars (including, but not limited to several varieties of brownies), cakes (including a petite wedding cake), Southern delights (Christina is from Texas), and candy (because why not!).

, brownies for two

I’ve used her recipe for brownies several times since the book landed on my doorstep and I’m always delighted both by their flavor and the fact that there’s not a whole pan of them hanging around my kitchen. You bake them in a loaf tin and the yield is just two generous brownies (though I often cut them into thirds so that they stretch a little further).

blueberry mason jar lid pies

And then, there’s the novel way that Christina uses mason jar lids. She flips the flat lid upside and turns it into a tiny removable bottom pan. You’ll see her do this for both tarts and pies and the result is both practical and adorable.

chocolate caramel mason jar lid tarts

If you have a small household and you like homemade desserts, this would be a very good book to add to your collection!

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Weekend Giveaway: Push Pins from Lulu The Pickle Queen

pickle push pins 1

Hey canners! I’m breaking out of my self-imposed schedule to throw and extra-special weekend long giveaway into the blog mix.

Lulu The Pickle Queen is an artist who works with polymer clay and makes an array of pickle and vegetable-themed push pins (you can also get them as magnets if you don’t have a spot for pinning things). She has made a special-limited edition Food in Jars set that feature pickles, jams, and even a jar that looks like my logo.

pickle push pins 2

I asked Lulu a couple of questions.

How long have you been making push pins?

I’ve been making push pins for about a year and a half. It started with pickle earrings, because I LOVE pickles, and then I began making more pickle paraphernalia. So I began making pickle push pins.

How did you get started?

I have always been an artist, but didn’t experiment with polymer clay until a couple of years ago. A good friend and I were having an art party and she said I must try polymer clay. The first thing I made was a tiny pickle and was hooked from then on.

Now, I’m trying new techniques and incorporating various mediums. It has been so much fun. Most of the time I have to stop myself from keeping everything I make. As you can imagine, I have a huge jewelry and pushpin collection.

You can find ind Lulu on Etsy and Wanelo.

Now, for the giveaway. I have one set of these push pins to offer up to you guys. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what you’d hang with one of Lulu’s pins/magnets.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Sunday, March 29, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog by Monday, March 30, 2015.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.

Disclosure: Lulu is providing the pins for the giveaway. No other compensation has been provided for this post. 

Preserves in Action: Simple Peach Cake

peaches in a jar

When I was doing my big jar reorg a few weeks ago, I discovered a small cache of gingery canned peaches from the summer of 2012. The seals were good and the color was unchanged, so I knew they would be fine to eat, but figured it would be a good idea to start using them up before peach season rolls around again.

cake dough and peaches

There’s an Ina Garten recipe I’ve made a couple times during the height of summer that involves layering fresh peaches into cake batter and dusting them with cinnamon and sugar. I decided to take a stab at making it with my canned peaches.

first peach layer

Of course, because I cannot resist these things, I also omitted some of the sugar and swapped in whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose in an attempt to make it slightly more virtuous. The end result was a very delicious cake, though if you skip down to the last picture, you’ll see that my perfectly arranged peaches sunk right down to the bottom of the pan.

second peach layer

I think this happened for three reasons. The first is that I used buttermilk in place of the sour cream that the original recipes requests. Sour cream is slightly thicker and so leads to a denser batter (but I had exactly a cup of buttermilk and I so desperately wanted to get that jug out of the fridge).

The second reason is that I omitted the cinnamon and sugar sprinkle between layers in my attempts at virtuosity. Finally, those canned peaches have had the last three years to absorb additional liquid, making them heavier than their fresh counterparts.

finished peach cake

Still, it was entirely edible and the guys Scott had over for a D&D game did not complain about the sunken peaches (and I did not apologize). However, next time I make it, I think I’m just going to arrange all the peaches at the bottom of the pan, pour the batter on top and call it an upside down cake.

If you want to make it as Ina intended, her recipe is here. The recipe with my alterations can be found below.

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Guest Post: Fermenting Hot Sauce in Whiskey Barrels

Barrel-Aged

Hey friends! I have a treat for you today! It’s a guest post about fermenting homemade hot sauce in old whiskey barrels by barrel enthusiast James Dreese. Enjoy! 

Hello, my name is James and I’m a bit of a barrel enthusiast (if there is such a thing). I enjoy aging everything from whiskey, beer, and even hot sauce. I am a father of two, and married. I remember my mother canning when I was younger, little did I know 25 years later I’d be doing the same. I’m a firm believer that everything is better with age, even you.

Aging Hot Sauce

At this point, everyone has heard of aged wine, and most people are aware that you can age beer and bourbon, too. What most people don’t realize is that with the proper infrastructure, you can age hot sauce and the taste is nothing short of mouthwatering.

Now, I realize that this won’t be relevant to everyone. But I know that there are hot sauce enthusiasts out there – those of you who eat it with everything from rice, pizza, popcorn, and steak.

If it sounds like I’m describing you, listen up. We’re going to go over why you’d want to age hot sauce, what to expect, and how to do it step-by-step. It’s easier than you think – read on!

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