The Many Wonders of the Mason Jar

Yes, I’m basic. I. LOVE. MASON. JARS. And honey, if you don’t love them too, you’re missing out. Here’s why…

I can't pinpoint exactly when my obsession with Mason Jars began but I don't regret a day of it! To be fair, the term “mason jar” is used loosely in this post as I love glass jars of all kinds.

I bought a few large glass canisters to house my baking ingredients. Slowly I began to incorporate more. Whenever I bought a product that came in a glass jar, I saved the jar to reuse. As I began to find new ways to use them, I started to buy jars. At this point, I've accumulated so many jars that literally EVERYTHING in my house is stored in some kind of glass canister.

When I began exploring the safety--or lack of safety--in plastic dishware, I found that I needed something to use instead of plastic. However, the majority of glass food storage doesn't have a spill-proof seal. To add to that, I wanted a budget friendly option that won’t break the bank in case I accidentally break it. (Which happens quite a bit.)

Here are some of my favorite ways to use mason jars.

Small, Glass Bottles
I use these for my spices. You can buy the spices that come in glass jars or you can buy a uniform set.

Flat, Half Pint Mason Jars
Store items that come in small quantities and aren't pourable. I use these for baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and ground flaxseeds. You could also use them for single servings of oatmeal or fruit.


Pint Mason Jars
These are good for items that are pourable like nuts, beans, seeds, and even drinks. Store things like extra marinara sauce or jam in them. I like to make overnight oats in them.

Regular Mason Jars
I mainly use these to freeze vegetable broth (see my recipe here) and for glassware. I'll use them for water or to take iced coffee to-go.

Top tip: Brew a single serving of tea right in the jar! Place one tea bag in a jar and fill 2/3 with HOT tap water. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Fill to the brim with ice and shake. Voila, iced tea!
(When you heat plastic up, like when you're making tea, the plastic chemicals leach into your drink. If you use a glass jar instead of a plastic pitcher, you forfeit those nasty chemicals!)


Wide Mouth Mason Jars
I think these babies are my favorite. The large ones are just the right size to plant household herbs--make sure to place rocks at the bottom for proper drainage. I like to make artificial flower arrangements inside them. They're great for storing household things like laundry detergent or vinegar. You could also use the smaller ones for cotton balls, q-tips, bobby pins, hair ties, nail polish, sewing supplies, pens, spare change, EVERYTHING!


Large Glass Canisters
I put regularly used, large quantity items in these. Think oats, flour, sugar, pasta, rice, beans, cookies, crackers. The airtight seal keeps items fresher for longer and because it's glass you don't have to worry about BPA or other harmful chemicals contaminating your food.

Perhaps the best thing about glass jars is using them for gifts! Use them for homemade jam or create a Pamper Night in a Jar with nail polish, face masks, and travel sized lotion. Make DIY bath salts or spice rubs in interesting jars. Use one to share your grandma's homemade chocolate sauce with your girlfriends or send some homestyle ranch dip in your child's lunch. The possibilities are endless.

How do you use glass jars around your house? Leave a comment and let me know!

Lots of Love,
Anne

Blueberry Vanilla Muffins

Whenever blueberries are on special, I always pick up a few clamshells. I know I'll find a way to use them. Sometimes I make jam (see my recipe here) or sprinkle berries on my overnight oats (recipe to come) but this time I knew I wanted to bake with the berries.

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I started with a basic muffin recipe and added the vanilla and blueberries until I had the perfect muffins. Just a little sweet, literally popping with blueberries, and perfect for breakfast, these bad boys are a definite make again!

Ingredients
1 egg replacement
1 single serve vanilla almond milk yogurt (5.3 oz)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened, unflavored almond milk
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages, 6 oz each ripe blueberries

Directions
Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl combine the "egg", yogurt, maple syrup, and almond milk. In a smaller bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix. Slowly fold the blueberries into the batter. Using a cupcake scoop, dollop batter into a lined muffin tray filling each cavity about 3/4 full. Bake for about 12 minutes rotating the tray halfway during baking time.


These are best served warm from the oven.

Note: For the egg, I used Bob's Red Mill Egg Substitute. You could probably use a chia or flax egg to the same end.

Leave a comment and let me know what kind of muffin you like best! Thanks for reading!

Lots of Love,
Anne

REAL Mexican Salsa

I am obsessed with Mexican food. Probably about 80% of the restaurants we go to serve Mexican food. At least 80% of the food we eat at home is Mexican food. Seriously. It's the beeeest. (Name that movie)


The best part of going out is the homemade salsa that comes fresh (and free) to your table. In the world of salsa, supermarket jarred salsa is literally like the McDonald's of the hamburger world--not worth the $5 you spend. Once you make this recipe for homemade salsa, you will NEVER buy the pre-made kind again.

Somehow, I fell in love with a guy from New Mexico. By some stroke of luck, his mom makes the best food you'll ever eat. One fateful day she made some homemade salsa for us which--of course--I devoured and just HAD to have her recipe.

Over time I have tweaked things just a tad..mainly because I'm a big baby and can't handle anything spicy. So here is my perfected homemade salsa recipe!

Don't worry about chopping anything, you can add it whole to the blender.

1 lime
1/2 medium peeled onion
2-3 cloves peeled garlic
1 jalapeno, slice off the stem
1/4 cup cilantro, stems included
2 8oz canned tomatoes*
1 teaspoon salt

*I use one can of regular tomatoes and one can of fire roasted.

Drain the tomatoes as thoroughly as possible, setting aside the juice. Dump ONE can of tomatoes, juice the lime, and add everything to a blender. Pulse on high until everything is very finely chopped. Then add the remaining can of tomatoes and blitz VERY BRIEFLY. Add more salt to taste.

Don't over blend the salse or you will end up with a very water product. This is also why you should drain the tomatoes. Tomatoes are FULL of water, so I find by pouring out the juice from canned tomatoes it is much easier to control the water content than if using fresh.

Feel free to use more or less jalapeno. Each pepper's level of capsaicin can vary drastically, so always taste before serving and adjust to preference. The great thing about this recipe is that it can be tweaked to suit your personal tastes, whatever they may be!

Variations: Try adding roasted peppers or corn. This is also good with pineapple and mango for a sweeter salsa. Experiment with different textures too. Do you like chunky or smooth salsa?

This salsa is such a great afternoon snack with corn chips or even vegetables.

I hope you like it!

Lots of Love,
Anne


Succulent Strawberry Lemonade

I realize it's only spring, but summer is just around the corner! We had a bunch of lemons and so I made lemonade. (pun intended)

Whip some up to get you in the mood for those long, sunny days lounging on the patio. 



Ingredients:
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup water plus 4 cups of cold water
1 lb strawberries (I used fresh)

Start by hulling and rough chopping the strawberries. Place them in a medium saucepan with the sugar and one cup of water. Stirring occasionally, let the strawberries simmer on low to medium heat for about 30 minutes (more if using frozen). As you stir, smoosh the strawberries with the back of a spoon or a mallet. Remove from heat once you have a syrup-like consistency. Allow to cool off a bit.  Pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer making sure to push all of the liquid out. Pour the strawberry syrup and lemon juice into a pitcher and mix well. Add the four cups of cold water. Enjoy!

Makes a little over one and a half quarts.


Lots of Love,
Anne