Every year around this time, I think that canning season is over.
And I’m always wrong.
There are still so many things you can can! Apples, pears, fruit butters, pumpkin butter, soups, curds….it’s never ending. I’ve never done apple butter or pumpkin butter or a curd of any kind, but they are ALL on my list for this year!
So we’re starting the season off right with some Ginger Pear Preserves.
This is probably one of the easiest canning recipes I’ve ever made – and so delicious! I love ginger in anything – I don’t think you can ever go wrong using ginger.
And even though I’m not a huge fan of fresh pears by themselves, I love pear spreads and butters, especially when it’s cooked with crystallized ginger, sugar, and lemon.
If you haven’t canned anything before, this is the perfect recipe to start with. And if you don’t want this many jars of ginger pear preserves – although, why wouldn’t you?! – cut it in half! Easy. If you have enough pears to do the entire recipe, I would.
Canned items make for great holiday gifts, and it’s always nice to have extras on your shelf, for emergencies, too.
This recipe was originally printed in the Imperial Sugar 125th anniversary cookbook. Check out the recipe here! I tested the recipe and updated some pictures for Dixie Crystals. Some recipes, like this one, are worth holding on to.
Alright, I asked on Facebook, and you guys wanted the dried herbs first – so… your wish is my command!
For the first time EVER, my basil is growing like crazy. Normally, I don’t do well growing herbs. Except rosemary – that stuff is indestructible! For some reason, I’ve just never been good at getting herbs to grow well or keeping up with them if they were. I think this also happens because once our bigger garden is producing, I kind of forget about anything that isn’t in that same space. So it’s completely my fault. But I made an effort this year, and it paid off.
I was also totally pruning basil wrong all these years! No wonder it died off so early. Now I know how to pick basil (the right way), I have a healthy plant that’s still producing – which is why I’ve started to dry some for the winter!
My first batch of dried herbs was half basil and half oregano (another herb that is going nuts right now – I have so. much. oregano). Also: why in the world doesn’t normal dried oregano smell anything like fresh oregano? Fresh oregano is so different than your typical dried oregano – it’s so sweet smelling! I really hope this homemade dried stuff keeps some of that flavor.
To dry these, I took the easiest / laziest option. I didn’t want to leave these in a super low oven for days, and I don’t have an actual dehydrator. So, paper towels + patience won out!
This may be the easiest thing you’ll ever do! The only step is to pick your herbs.
Then you wait. For days. I actually left these sitting for almost 2 weeks (I forgot about them on the porch!). And they’re still perfect.
Eggs. I love eggs! I’ll put eggs on just about anything – toast, grits, pancakes (the BEST), rice, pasta.
They’re one of the easiest things to cook, but can also be one of the hardest. Scrambled eggs, poached eggs, souffles….every egg dish is completely different than any other. This is usually fun, but kind of frustrating sometimes! It’s not like cooking pasta, where you know the method is the same each time.
I’m still working on perfecting scrambled eggs, but we’ve finally got our favorite + easiest + best way of cooking perfect sunny side up eggs.
First, you want a medium pan over low heat. LOW heat. This is important, because you’re never going to flip these eggs (hence, the sunny side). You want the heat low enough that they can sit and cook until the eggs are done without them burning or browning too much.
While the pan is heating, drizzle in your choice of oil until the entire bottom of the pan is coated, generously. We usually use olive oil, but grapeseed or any other neutral oil would be great. Depending on your size pan, it’ll probably between 2-4 Tbsp of oil, possibly more. Don’t be shy! You need the oil to help with the cooking process – you won’t be eating all of it with the eggs.
This time of year always seems to be when I fall back into reading books, back to back, with no breaks in between. When the weather is changing, and the days are shorter, and our garden is done, I finally have time to sit and read at night again.
Here’s what I’ve been reading lately!
The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro. I found this a few months ago, and the description sounded like an episode of White Collar, so I knew I would love it. Lots of twists in this one! It definitely didn’t turn out how I originally thought. I also loved all the imagery and references to the art pieces and techniques.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I know. I’m WAY behind everyone on this. I’ve heard about it all over the place, have seen the movie previews, and decided that I needed to go ahead and get it. I know I want to see the movie, and I do not want to see the movie before I’ve read the book.
I equally loved it AND hated it! Well, maybe not hated it. But I was completely sucked into the story, even though I was mad at just about everyone in the book, the entire time. That’s never happened before. Usually, you can find one character to stand behind, cheer for, but here? Nope. None of that. Or not for me, anyway. And the ending was definitely not what I was expecting, but I loved it! Totally made me mad, but still. Fantastic writing, too. I can’t wait to read some of her other books.
Slammed by Colleen Hoover. Okay -this isn’t even that new (she’s had at least 5 books since this one, I think?), but I read this (and the other two in the series) for the second time about a month ago, and I loved them just as much as the first time. I’ve never had much experience with slam poetry, but these books make me want to see it in person someday. Plus, the author is a big fan of our favorite band and quotes the songs for each chapter — bonus!
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Again, not new by any means, but probably one of my favorite books in the past few years. I’ve read this at least 4 times now? And I started reading it again on the way back from vacation. I also have her new book, but haven’t started it yet.
So – what are you reading? What should I add to my list? What have you loved lately?
Teacakes – do you know what they are?
I had no idea what to expect when I first tested this recipe, but I didn’t think they’d be these tender little butter-cookies, perfect for having with a cup of tea or coffee.
I’ve found a bunch of different definitions of teacakes, from yeast-raised sweet rolls served toasted to actual loaf cakes to more biscuit-like baked goods.
Whatever you want to call these – teacakes, butter cookies, biscuits – just make sure you eat them warm and spread on a little chocolate sauce for some extra indulgence.
You can find the recipe for these Grandma’s Teacakes over on the Dixie Crystals website, one of their vintage recipes that I tested and updated.
We’ve got a few things to celebrate today.
1. It’s vacation time – finally!! We’ve been waiting all summer for this week, and after today, I’m pretty much going to be unplugged. There’s no wifi, no computers. Just beach time with the family, lots of eating, and lots of napping.
2. Fall is coming! I’m not completely ready for cold weather and this horrible winter everyone is talking about, but I am ready for some cooler weather, changing leaves, and sweaters.
3. It’s FOOTBALL SEASON. I’ve been watching as much college football as humanly possible, and that’s the one thing I’ll miss this week on vacation….is that weird? I love it. I can’t help it!
To help celebrate both fall AND football season, we’re talking about this spicy bbq chicken pizza today.
Okay, so a few years ago, I was convinced that I had the perfect pizza dough recipe. And it’s good – really good. And you don’t really have to let it rise, which makes it nice for weeknights. But….there’s a new dough in the rotation, and I really think this is the best pizza dough ever.