For the love of vegetables …!

pasta-sauceThis weekend, I received a great question from one of my blog readers, Mercy. She asks the following: “I love the pasta seasonings from Mrs. Wages.  I would like to add vegetables to my sauce before I can it. This is the only way I can get my husband to eat vegetables.   How can I do this?  We went to the farmers market this weekend and we bought an abundance of nice tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and bell peppers.”

The short answer is this: You can add your veggies to your sauce, but you can’t can it.

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Shirley’s holiday food gift ideas

iStock_000009883750MediumGifts of food are welcome by most people.  At this time of year you can still do some home food preservation and give it as gifts.

Pickled beets are loved by some family members and even though they are long gone from the garden, canned beets work just as well.  Actually they are easier because the cooking and peeling are already done for you!  Just buy some Mrs. Wages Pickled Beet Mix and you are ready to fill the house with the aroma of cinnamon and cloves.

But your holiday-motivated generosity in the kitchen doesn’t have to stop there!

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Getting creative with canning can be costly.

Creative CookWho doesn’t like being creative in the kitchen?

Whether it’s decorating, adding a little something special to a dish, making your spouse wear that wacky apron from your mother-in-law. Yeah, it’s all good fun until someone gets hurt.

That’s why we don’t go overboard when we’re canning.

A reader sent in a question the other day that asks a pretty straight-forward question about changing canning methods, times and ingredients.

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“Am I doing this right?”

iStock_000015579694LargeCanning isn’t the fastest or easiest thing to do in the kitchen – and it’s important to go through all the steps, follow the rules and not poison the family. So it’s natural to wonder if there are any shortcuts or, like one of our Facebook friends wrote earlier this week, if everything is taking longer than it should.

It’s a valid question.

So here’s her inquiry and my response. It’s worth the time and the effort, believe me. There’s nothing like the fresh flavor of canned goodies in the middle of the winter.

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Homemade Apple Crisp Kit

Cheddar Apple PieThere’s nothing quite like a warm apple crisp served with a scoop of ice cream as a perfect ending to a holiday meal with friends and family. It’s easy to make and tastes great.

It’s also an easy recipe to share – especially if you give the ingredients (including pie filling you’ve made in your own kitchen) as a gift. Here are my easy-to-follow instructions for making homemade apple crisp kit that will help to start a new dessert tradition in any household.

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