Two make-ahead mason jar salads {for winter}

It’s back to school and work this week, with a portable lunch line-up for us all: salads in jars.

Last spring I sliced radishes and shelled peas for a weeks worth of jarred salads. Today’s winter edition is decidedly less pretty, but boy, do these salads pack a punch of flavour and protein.

Make-ahead mason jar salads are good strategy for healthy lunches whether enjoyed at school, work, or at home. The salad dressing can be added right in the jar and when the ingredients are packed correctly, everything stays very crisp and fresh. All you need is a quick shake, a fork and you can crunch away to your hearts’ content.

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Cranberry Pear Conserve with Ginger recipe and a canning swap

I can think of fewer places I would rather be on a chilly November afternoon than sipping tea and chatting with girls who have gathered together to swap jam, jellies and preserves.

That was how I spent part of my Sunday past, enjoying the warm hospitality of my good friend Melanie, while the boys stayed home to rake leaves. Clara came too, sitting primly on the sofa in her party dress and nibbling crackers so neatly that my heart swelled with emotion at the thought of all the tea parties we have ahead of us.

It was delightful to be a guest for once, and the practical aspect of the swap made it a not-to-be-missed event on my calendar. Read on for a few photos from the swap and a recipe for Cranberry Pear Conserve with Ginger, my contribution to the table.

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Back to School Breakfast {Recipe: Pancake Mix}

Photos and article by Kristen Doyle

I am one of those moms who likes to hold on to summer as long as possible. I love it when my kids are home and dread sending them out of the nest each fall for another year of school. Don’t get me wrong… I appreciate their education, but I also love the slower pace, more relaxed days that come with school being out.

With four kids, school mornings are hectic. Getting everyone up and dressed, hair and teeth brushed, backpacks packed, and everyone well fed takes some planning on my part. We set clothes out the night before, have backpacks ready and sitting by the door before bedtime and hope that advance planning will help with a smooth school morning. It works sometimes, but not always. There’s always one who is resistant to getting a move on in the morning and pokes around, causing stress on the rest of us. [Read more…]

Blueberry-Plum Butter (in the slow-cooker)

Each visit to the market in August finds me with 4-5 pints of blueberries in my basket. I always have high ambitions for jam or pie, muffins or cake, and yet invariably, we always gobble them up in enormous handfuls (and the occasional smoothie) before I can work them into a recipe.

Last week, I had a busy day, but was determined to preserve some of their blueberry goodness in jars before the short season was over. With three kids at home and two separate meetings to attend, my day felt too busy for jam or pie. Fortunately I had a recipe for slow-cooker blueberry butter bookmarked in Marisa’s Food in Jars cookbook, and knew it would be something I could accomplish while highly distracted.

Puree fruit. Simmer in the slow-cooker for the day. Process it in jars in the evening. That’s exactly what I did.The next morning when I cracked open a jar and dipped a spoon inside, I just knew I needed to share the recipe.

This fruit butter receives high scores for simplicity, and is full on delicious; it’s hard to imagine a nicer way to start the morning.

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How to Make Your Own Fruit-Bottom Yogurt

We’re so pleased to have Cheri Neufeld of Kitchen Simplicity back as a regular contributor. Welcome, Cheri!

Growing up, Fruit-Bottom Yogurt was always my favorite. I got so excited when I would see one packed in my lunch box. Somehow they always seemed more flavorful then regular yogurt and I loved how the little chunks of fruit would add a burst of flavor in my mouth.

I’m still a big fan of yogurt but I have a hard time eating ones that taste fake or processed. Anything that has the “flavor” and no fruit gives me a bit of the heebie-jeebies.

Eating yogurt is a daily occurrence for my son so I try and make sure that the yogurt I purchase has real fruit in it. One way to ensure that is to make your own.

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