Can It Forward 2015

100th Annivesary Purple Ball Jars

 

Spring has sprung and the summer heat is here. Us gardeners/homesteaders wait all year for this: harvest season! My zucchinis are diligently producing a few new squash a day, the tomatoes are taking their time but we’ve enjoyed several delicious heirlooms so far, the peppers are popping and fruit picking is in full swing. It’s time to get canning, and time to stock up on our favorite canning supplies!

Please join in the fun and enter to win a free case of Ball jars! Today is Can It Forward Day and we have a live stream embedded into this post so that you can watch master canners doing their thing, you can even ask questions! Continue through the post to find out how you can win a free case of canning jars.

Pocket doesn't love canning as much as i doThe new Ball Blue Book has great updates!

New for 2015 is a fresh version of the Ball Blue Book. More than ever before, the Blue Book is your number one source for all the information you need to get canning. Whether you’re an old pro or a beginner, this book has something for you. New in this edition are more ways to personalize your recipes safely and deliciously. The photos this year are gorgeous, too!

Sippy cup/ straw lids from Ball Canning

Ball has so many sweet products available this year, as well. Decorative lids, sippy straws and more. I just love mine and feel inspired to host a pretty picnic!

Ready to get your case of jars? Here’s how to enter: Leave a comment at the end of this post with your favorite use for mason jars. Do you use them strictly for canning or do you use them in place of drinking glasses, craft storage or something even more creative? Winner will be chosen from the comments below and announced on Facebook on Monday.  Make sure you “like”  Pocket Pause on Facebook or Instagram if you don’t already,  so that you’ll be sure and find out if you’ve won! Be sure and share this post with your friends on social media and spread the canning fever!

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Filed under Giveaway, Preserved Food

Custom Wedding Cake Toppers That Match Your Pet

custom Corgi cake toppers for a special wedding day! Handcrafted by Fiber Friendscustom Corgi cake toppers for a special wedding day! Handcrafted by Fiber Friends

As an artist specializing in pet portraits, i get to be a included in many big occasions with my clients: the loss of a pet, birthdays and holidays,  the celebration of adding a new pet to the family and the even bigger celebration/anticipation of adding a new human baby to the pack. I am truly honored to be a part of your lives and i was so happy to create this special set of cake toppers for a client’s wedding!

custom Corgi cake toppers for a special wedding day! Handcrafted by Fiber Friendscustom Corgi cake toppers for a special wedding day! Handcrafted by Fiber Friendscustom Corgi cake toppers for a special wedding day! Handcrafted by Fiber Friends

Elisa and her new husband are sure to treasure these little Nubbins for many anniversaries to come. Custom felted to look like their corgis, Merlin and Sully with their wedding date on the bottom, these Nubbins will look so cute on their cake and will be just as happy to hang out on their favorite shelf for many happy years of married bliss to come! (No throwing them during those occasional marital spats, folks!)

Custom wedding cake toppers

You can order your own cake toppers, find lots more custom Fiber Friends in my online portfolio and can contact me to request the Friends of your dreams, whatever the occasion at www.FiberFriendsOnline.com

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Filed under Felting, Fiber Fridays, Fiber Friends, Fibers

Summer Sun Tea Sipping Fun

Sippy cup/ straw lids from Ball Canning

It’s Summer, which means time for iced sun tea and fresh strawberries!

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Sun tea is so fun to make and utilizes that glorious sunshine we in Oregon dream about all winter long. The ingredients are limited only to your imagination! Making sun tea is a great way to create a delicious, healthy softdrink that you have complete control over: no sugar or chemicals required! Here’s my basic ‘recipe’ for making sun tea:

  1. Grab a half gallon mason jar OR a sun tea jar with a spigot at the bottom
  2. Toss in 3-5 tea bags. I prefer caffeinated Tetley British Blend, but you could choose any of your favorite teas. Loose teas would also work: just tie them up in a bit of cheese cloth!
  3. Optional herbs make for a truly refreshing tea: chocolate mint, peppermint, stevia, lemonbalm, borage  Experiment to find your favorite combo!
  4. Dress it up! I served my suntea in a pint sized mason jar with a few drops of liquid stevia, some ice cubes and frozen strawberries with one of Ball’s new sip and straw lids and design series red band I can see a whole picnic using these adorable and affordable jars as functional decor.

Sippy cup/ straw lids from Ball CanningSippy cup/ straw lids from Ball CanningSo refreshing on a hot day!

PS, don’t miss Can It Forward Day this weekend! International Can-It-Forward Day will be broadcast live online at FreshPreserving.com from 11AM – 4PM EST from the new state-of-the-art Jarden Home Brands headquarters in Fishers, Indiana. The webcast will have an integrated chat function where viewers can submit their home canning questions to be answered in real time. New this year, there will also be an exciting celebrity mason jar auction unveiled during the webcast! I’ll have the webcast posted in a fresh blog post on Saturday morning along with a giveaway for my special readers! Don’t miss out :)

Do you like iced tea in the summer? What are your favorite tea/herb/fruit blends when serving iced sun tea?

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Fummus! Fava Bean Hummus

Fava beans: delicious and nutritious… or perhaps you think of them solely as a cover crop for fixing nitrogen in your garden? You may also be one of the unlucky ones who has to shop in a grocery store vs a farmer’s market or your own backyard and aren’t familiar with favas at all, other than finding them dried or perhaps canned. Favas like cool weather and are a really awesome cover crop. They are a gorgeous and large plant with beautiful, early flowers great for the pollinators. They’re easy to grow, so add a few to your garden next spring (like February). They fill the soil with nitrogen ready for the next plant, create a ton of biomass that can be decomposed back into the garden, compost heap or fed to livestock, plus they give us beans!

"Fummus" - Fava bean hummus

My first experience eating favas, however was NOT a good one. i tried to taste one raw, like a snap pea. NOPE! Favas have a thin husk around each bean, inside the outer wrapper. It is bitter and nasty! Because of this you’ll see many recipes calling for that little ‘shell’ to be blanched off. Pain.In.The.Rear. Don’t do that: you really don’t have to. Sauteeing those beans in some hot oil (bacon grease!) crisps that shell up and tastes delicious! As long as you cook them, that shell will de-bitter. It might still be a bit chewy, but i think you can handle that. For the purpose of THIS recipe, i blended the whole thing enough that those shells just disappeared.

I harvested all my last fava beans this weekend and put the greens in the compost or used them as mulch around the tomatoes. Since i have an abundance,  I’ve been adding favas to lots of stir fries and pasta dishes lately and wanted to try something a little different. Enter “fummus” a recipe suggested to me by a local farmer friend as an alternative spread using what we have growing in our own gardens.

Fummus

  • 2 cups fresh favas (just the beans, discard the pods)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Several cloves garlic plus handful garlic scapes if you have them
  • Salt
  • Dash lemon juice
  • Olive oil/ optional sesame oil / optional tahini if you like that sort of thing

Chop the onion and sautee in a liberal amount of olive oil plus pinch of salt. Add some sesame oil if you want that sesame flavor. Cook until good and soft and browning. You may wish to add some liquid to the pan as you go. Put in food processor.

Chop the garlic and scapes and sautee in some more olive oil with the fava beans. Stir enough that the garlic doesn’t burn. Cook until favas brown and are soft. Taste one to test doneness. I added liquid a few times and covered the pan with the lid to steam some as well as saute. Put in food processor.

Add a splash of lemon juice to the food processor and begin blending. Add additional liquid or oil (and tahini if using)  if it seems too thick. Process for kind of a while until the Fummus is quite smooth.

Serve with pita or tortilla chips or as a sandwich spread! Delicious and packed with protein.

 

Do you cook with favas? What’s your favorite preparation?

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Filed under Cooking, Easy, Vegetarian