Strawberry vinaigrette, and Ball giveaway

It is no secret to any of you that I adore kitchen classics; cast iron pans and Mason jars are at the top of the list. When Ball contacted me to see if I wanted to do a giveaway with them for the inaugural International Can-It-Forward Day I was ALL OVER THAT. This is stuff I use in my kitchen every single day, and have for years before I even started a blog.

The info on Can-It-Forward day:

On Saturday August 16, Jarden Home Brands will host the first annual International Can-It-Forward Day with special guest renowned chef and Bravo’s Top Chef judge, Hugh Acheson!  A day to celebrate home canning, International Can-It-Forward Day allows food enthusiasts to connect via a variety of online and in-person activities. New and experienced canners can participate in a live webcast on, taking place on ground in Brooklyn Borough Hall Farmers Market, filled with canning demos where viewer questions will be answered in real-time by Chef Acheson and other experts while they learn the most popular (and delicious) home canning recipes. Twenty five farmers markets across the country will also be hosting Can-It-Forward Day celebrations!

In addition to the canning demos, there will also be segments on crafting, herb gardening and the brand’s new drinkware line! We will also be attempting a Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Mason Jar Mosaic!

Here is the ridiculously awesome prize pack for the giveaway:

You can see my documented love for Mason jars here, and here’s another favorite food-in-a-jar, a recipe that’s sort of an amalgam of a few recipes I found online:

Strawberry vinaigrette


  • 10 strawberries, hulled
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil


  1. Process the strawberries in a food processor until they’re pureed, then add lemon juice, sugar, and salt; process again until completely blended
  2. With the processor still running, add in the vinegar then oil in a steady stream until completely combined and thickened

I’m required at this point to tell you that Ball provided me with all these goodies to review at no charge, but for heaven’s sake y’all already know I love the stuff. Opinions are mine, and I’m not paid to say how much I adore them. I just do.

Giveaway closed! Thanks, y’all, and CONGRATS LEAH!

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 7.01.55 AM

Want some???

Let’s make this easy: just leave a comment below telling me which item in the prize pack you’re most excited about, and what you’d use it for (or for what you would use it, in case my Aunt Jane is reading).

Want an extra entry? Pin this post and come back and leave an additional comment telling me you did.

I’ll use to pick a winner after midnight on August 15, central time.

And go!

Peach pie

This is Magee’s peach pie recipe and I just love it. She scribbled it on a post-it note for me years ago and I go back to it every year. As you can see in the picture, I have a hard time waiting for the pie to actually cool before I eat it, so mine gets messy. Maybe you’ll have more patience than I do. 😉

Informal poll! How do you like your peach pie? Plain? With ice cream? With whipped cream? My Grandpa used to top his apple pie with half a slice of American cheese; I was never sure how I felt about that.  What’s your vote for peach pie?

Peach pie


  • 2 pie crusts of your choice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 cups peaches, sliced (this can be approximate)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp butter


  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. Place one pie crust in your pie pan and brush with some of the egg (so the crust doesn’t get soggy)
  3. Gently mix together the peaches, sugar, corn starch, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg, then pour into pie pan
  4. Cut up the butter and dot it over the top of the pie, then top with the other pie crust. Be sure to cut slits or use a pie bird so the steam can escape, and brush the top crust with the rest of the egg
  5. Put the pie pan on a foil-covered cookie sheet for easy cleanup of any spillover, then bake for 10 minutes 450, then add a pie shield or cover the crust edges with foil
  6. Reduce temp to 350F and bake another 30 minutes or so, until juice is bubbling through crust vents


Wheaties granola

I should tell you how carefully I planned this recipe.

I should tell you how I planned for substituting Wheaties for half the oats in an effort to enhance the texture, flavor, and nutrition of the recipe.

I should also tell you that the truth is I ran out of oats.


Regardless of how I arrived at this version, I do make it this way on purpose now and I eat it with my lazy yogurt every single morning. And even the Kiddo loves it. That’s kind of a miracle, folks. It’s based on the recipe from Creative Kitchen because she didn’t use seeds in her recipe; she’s speaking my language.

Wheaties granola


  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (the real stuff, not “pancake syrup”)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups Wheaties cereal
  • 1 cup Craisins or raisins (optional, obviously)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Melt butter and honey or maple syrup in a saucepan, then stir in remaining ingredients, making sure everything is well coated with the butter mixture
  3. Spread on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until the oats are golden brown
  4. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 20 minutes, then scrape in long strokes with a spatula to aid clumping. Store in a jar or zip top bag in the fridge

Cherry chocolate cookies

Are these not the happiest little cookies you’ve seen in a long time?

The Kiddo and I were having lunch with our friend Sarah, and we wanted to send her back to college with some goodies. I hadn’t tried this recipe before, but it looked like something Kiddo could easily help with, so we gave it a shot. Huge success! The original recipe called for chocolate icing over the cherries, but they were so colorful and pretty I didn’t have the heart to cover them up.

Cherry chocolate cookies


  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 (10-ounce) jar maraschino cherries


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Cream together butter and sugar on low speed until light and fluffy; add egg and vanilla and mix well till completely incorporated
  3. Stir together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; add mixture to butter and sugar mixture and stir until combined
  4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Make a dent in the middle of each cookie with your thumb
  5. Drain the cherries, remove any stems and cut cherries in half; put one half cherry in the middle of each cookie
  6. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes; cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

I used my very smallest cookie scoop to shape these and got 40 cookies. Sarah reports these, with coffee, are the breakfast of champions. 🙂

Apple cake muffins

Apples. Oats. Chocolate chips. How can this possibly go wrong?


My friend Vanessa came over while I was in the middle of winging these today, and they turned out to be the perfect dessert after our lunch of chicken and dumplings.  They’re based on Rick Bayless’ recipe for Grandma’s Moist Apple Cake from Rick and Lanie’s Excellent Kitchen Adventures. I tweaked and added and subtracted and adjusted and came up with these. And I’m not sorry.

You can add a chocolate glaze or a dusting of powdered sugar over the top of this, but I think they’re pretty great just as is. Let me know what you think!