Wow. It's just been a bear of a week (or two), hasn't it? Hopefully you are safe from all the disasters happening around the country right now. We're still breathing smoke here, sitting a little under 10 miles from the most recent wildfire that's ravaging our beautiful Columbia River Gorge. I actually had to make an evacuation list, which felt so surreal. I've lived in Oregon forests most of my life and never even had to consider that before. My husband came home this morning and showed me video of embers tumbling from the top of Multnomah Falls. It's heartbreaking. But all of the residents, their animals and our emergency personnel are safe and I'm so thankful for that. I think we're all about due for a break from this chaos - who's with me...Read More
My kitchen is currently full of canning jars. It's been a few years, but my team (husband and daughter) and I are making pickled garlic this weekend. A LOT of it. We're also throwing in some regular pickles and pickled green beans. It's only supposed to be about 100 degrees outside, which is perfect canning weather, right? If you don't hear from me next week, send ice...Read More
This past weekend, I had both a 70th birthday party and a bridal shower to attend. Instead of making my life easier and creating gifts from patterns I already had, I spent the week designing a brand-new apron and hand-cutting a stencil to etch a mason jar. But both guests of honor are totally worth it.
I’ll tell you more about the apron another day. The birthday girl was the mom of one of our closest friends. I decided to etch her name on a mason jar, making it a fun, personalized drinking glass. I’d love to show it to you, but unfortunately you can’t see the lettering in any of the photos I took before I wrapped it. The etching did turn out great, but it just needed a little something else to spice it up. This little scrunchie did the trick.
To make one of these, all you need is
- 10 1/2” of 1/2” wide elastic
- 2” by 16” fabric for the band
- 2” by 12” fabric for the flower
- a button
Fold one end of the band fabric under 1/4” and press. Fold right sides together and stitch a 1/4” seam down the side, leaving the ends open.
Turn the tube right side out. Pin a large safety pin across one end of the elastic and pin another to the other end in the same direction as the elastic.
Feed the elastic through the tube.
Overlap the ends of the elastic by 1/2” and stitch through both ends.
Pull the fabric ends together. Push the raw end inside the folded end until they overlap by about 1/4”. Stitch through the fabric and elastic. Even out the gathers.
To make the flower, turn one end of the flower fabric under 1/4” and press. With right sides together, stitch 1/4” from the long edge. Turn right side out. Press with the seam centered on one side.
Bring the two ends together and slide the raw end inside the folded. Stitch.
Hand stitch near one edge using long stitches and doubled thread.
Pull the thread tight to gather into a flower. Knot the thread.
Stitch a button over the center of the flower onto the band. Be sure to catch some of the flower in the stitching so it doesn’t slip off over the button.
I can’t believe how this took a fairly basic glass from okay to cute gift!
I almost hate to say this, because I know there are MANY people out there who disagree, but I like boxed cake mix. It can be used to make lots of things besides cakes and comes in so many delicious flavors. We’ve been making a big effort to eat healthier around here lately, but I believe in moderation rather than deprivation, so sometimes cake makes its way in there. I came across this recipe from Big Red Kitchen this morning, which was the catalyst for everything to follow. It sounds delicious as is, but my mind immediately spun toward one of my husband’s favorites – carrot cake. He finished my living room today (yay - photos to follow after I mop the floor!) so I was happy to be able to show my appreciation through sugar-loaded baking.
The original recipe above only uses two ingredients. I used both of those, but added a few more of my own.
Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes
1 box cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist French Vanilla, because it’s what I had)
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
15 oz canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups shredded carrots
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine the dry ingredients, then add the wet. Mix until combined. Pour into a muffin tin or 12 small canning jars, sprayed with pan spray. The batter is very thick, so you’ll want to spread it out a bit.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes if you’re using jars. It will probably take less with a tin.
I originally planned to sprinkle these with powdered sugar and stop there, but I knew the family would like them better with cream cheese frosting. Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turns out, all I had was a tub of pineapple cream cheese.
Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8-oz tub pineapple cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 – 2 teaspoons almond milk (any liquid will do)
Combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar with a mixer, adding milk as necessary to gain the desired consistency. Frost cupcakes.
I can’t even begin to tell you how good these are. They’re a little sweet, so next time I’d probably use plain cream cheese, but the pineapple flavor with the carrot cake is worth it. It also makes them rich enough that one is enough, which is a good thing when it comes to desserts. I put them in the refrigerator a couple of hours before anyone ate one, and they’re especially good cold.
I’m anxious to try these with some other flavors and fruit. Chocolate and banana anyone?
This is one of those ideas that I’m not sure why it got into my head, but once I had it I had to try it. I’m SOOOO not sorry.
I’m a big fan of cake pops. If you haven’t tried making them yet, they’re ridiculously easy. Making them cute is a whole different story, but tasty is a piece of cake. (See what I did there? Ha, ha, ha! Sorry.) Anyway, I wondered what it would taste like to layer them in a jar instead of making them into balls. Here’s where that went.
Bake a cake mix according to the instructions on the box. If you want to get fancy, go right ahead and make yours from scratch.
Crumble the cake in a mixing bowl and add about 3/4 of a can of frosting. Again, you’re welcome to go the homemade route, but the fact that I had a can handy won out.
Stir until the cake and frosting are well combined. Set aside.
I feel like I need to include a disclaimer here. This is not health food, people.
Anyway, combine one package of Dream Whip, one small box of instant pudding mix and 1 1/2 cups cold milk.
Mix on high until thick and a bit fluffy. Set this aside as well.
Microwave 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon butter, stirring every 15 seconds, until melted. Add cream, half-and-half or evaporated milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until chocolate is pourable but not runny.
Smoosh about a tablespoon of the cake mixture in the bottom of a jelly jar.
Top that with about the same measure of the pudding.
Drizzle with the chocolate. I found putting it in a frosting bag helped, although I needed a smaller tip.
For the next layer of cake, press it into a round on a piece of waxed paper, then gently press it into the jar.
Repeat layers until the jar is full.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This made 7 jars, but I could have easily stretched it to 8 by filling them a little less. If you wait until the next day to eat them, the cake and pudding have melded together a bit, and there’s not a thing wrong with that.
These are absolutely rich and decadent…and delicious. I made this batch with French vanilla cake, cream cheese frosting and vanilla pudding, but I’d love to try some other flavors. They would also be great made in little shot glasses for a party. As if I needed an excuse to whip these up again.
All the staring at jars last week for my Friday Favorites made me realize I hadn’t shared this recipe with you. I’ve been eating this concoction for breakfast for the past few months and I’m not sick of it yet, so that’s a good sign. And it’s good for me. Gasp.
To be honest, this started as Breakfast in a Plastic Container, but I store them in the freezer and the lids kept breaking when I tried to pry them off. They are prettier this way, and the lids don’t break, but they do freeze my hand. An insulated jar-holder might be in my future.
Breakfast in a Jar
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats (you could use quick-cooking, but I like this texture better)
1 teaspoon ground flax seed
1/2 teaspoon chia seeds (if you aren’t familiar, I found them in the health food section and they look like poppy seeds)
1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips
1/2 tablespoon shredded coconut
1 teaspoon pumpkin seeds (toast on a pan in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes)
Combine in a jar. If you’re not going to eat it right away, store in the freezer. The flax and chia seeds keep better there.
When you’re ready to eat it, add:
2 – 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, to taste (I prefer it a bit creamier)
1/2 – 1 teaspoon honey, also to taste
Stir well and enjoy.
The first time I made this, I used honey Greek yogurt, until I realized it was the full-fat version and the nutrition stats stung a bit. I switched to nonfat plain and added honey. With the chocolate chips and coconut you could leave it out, but I like things a little on the sweet side. I think a little peanut butter would be tasty in here too. Mmm.
I make a dozen or so of these at a time, then I can just pull one out and add the yogurt and honey. I’ve found these keep hunger at bay until lunch, unlike some quick breakfasts I’ve tried in the past.
Join me again on Wednesday for a jar-inspired dessert I made for my family last weekend!
You really can’t set foot on Pinterest without tripping over a canning jar. I’d like to say, based on my constant attempts at being original, that makes me avoid them at all costs. Truth is, I love those little jars. You put something in a Mason jar and it’s suddenly cuter and tastes better. I have two jars of buttons in my sewing room, a jar of pens in my office, a jar of rocks in my living room, not to mention the multitude of jars in the kitchen. I would like to point out one thing though – I had all of those before Pinterest even existed.
I’m trying to find some canning jar glasses. I know, I could just use regular canning jars, but they make them without the threading around the top, which makes them easier to drink from. I know this, because there is one in my cupboard. One. Until I find a whole set and for parties and kidlets, I’d love to make some of these drinking jars with lids from 3191 Miles Apart.
I posted this recipe for Gingerbread Cookie Mix in a Jar on AllRecipes years ago. They actually liked it enough to use it in one of their print recipe books. This isn’t my photo, so many thanks to the contributor who added it. The aroma alone makes this a fun project.
I recently bought some indoor plants. That may not seem like a big deal, but I am a plant serial killer. These have made it for a few weeks now, and they’re still healthy, which is a miracle. If this continues, I might get confident enough to try this Mason Jar Wall Planter from Not Just a Housewife.
I’ve seen a lot of cupcakes baked in jars, but what I like about this one from According to Kelly is that it’s baked in a regular pan and then smooshed into the jar, layered with frosting. I’m picturing that giving it a little denser texture, which sounds scrumptious.
This Sewing Kit in a Jar from Funkytime is just adorable. I would never be able to take anything out of it to use because it would ruin it. And I’m gonna need that red and white twine to lay next to it.
The Decorated Cookie shares an entire meal in jars, which really makes me want to go on a picnic. As soon as it stops raining.
Here’s another thing I love about these jars. How many meals can you decorate and avoid actual dishes? This Chili and Cornbread from Giverslog looks delicious and fancier than any chili I’ve ever made.
This Naturally Flavored Water from The Yummy Life not only sounds tasty, but it just looks pretty. “No, kids, you have to have a raspberry one this time – you’re going to ruin my rainbow.”
Since it’s always fun to end on a sweet note, how about Salted Caramel Sauce from Recipe Girl?
If you’re as hooked on these as I am and you have some time to kill, take a trip over to Pinterest and search canning jar. Do not, unless you’re a fan of that obnoxious Star Wars guy, search just “jar.” You’re welcome.