Last updated by at .

6 Steps to Going Green When Remodeling Your Kitchen

Going green in your kitchen is just one of the many steps that you can take to make your home more eco-friendly and most cost-effective. When you're energy-efficient, you're money-efficient, too.

Photo courtesy of Glass Tile Oasis

I loved the kitchen tile backsplash in the house we moved from in Michigan. It was one of my favorite DIY projects I had done, and I have been dreaming of installing a beautiful backsplash in our home here in South Carolina. One of my main goals with my new backsplash is to use eco-friendly materials to help keep toxins out of my household and the environment. The same goal will apply when I eventually change my countertops and flooring. Glass Tile Oasis gave me some great tips on choosing the best eco-friendly kitchen remodel materials.

When you’re remodeling your kitchen, you want it to be as “green” as possible. Not only is it better for the environment, it’s often better for your pocket book as you make energy-efficient choices that will last throughout the life of your kitchen. To ensure that you’re making the best possible choices, follow these steps to creating a green kitchen that you’ll love.

1. Choose kitchen cabinets that have been produced with sustainability in mind. Many manufacturers now make cabinets that are made from wood that is chosen from sustainable forests. Take the time to look into the practices of the manufacturer you’re choosing. Don’t just look at the wood; consider their supply chain practices and how close their facilities are to their wood’s source, their stores, and to you.

2. Look into recycled backsplash tile. Your backsplash tile is one of the most prominent accents in your kitchen. Choose tile that makes a statement about the things that are important to you: go with recycled materials. Backsplash tile is available online for every taste and budget.

3. Look into eco-friendly flooring. You already have a long list of criteria that your kitchen floor has to pass. It needs to be easy to clean, compatible with your current decorating scheme, and hardy enough to last for a long time. Recycled glass tiles and natural linoleum are quickly becoming popular choices in many kitchens and bathrooms. They aren’t just eco-friendly; they’re also better for your home and family, because they’re made without the use of harsh chemicals that can impact your health.

4. Select your appliances carefully. When you go appliance shopping, you’ll find that every appliance has an Energy Star rating that will tell you how efficiently it uses energy. Take a look at the Energy Star rating for your preferred appliance to determine how expensive it will be to operate over time. The more you use your appliances, the more those savings add up–both for you and for the environment.

5. Go for green countertops. There are plenty of options available to allow you to choose a gorgeous countertop that is also eco-friendly. Look into “green” materials: recycled glass, bamboo, and even recycled paper are all becoming popular countertop solutions for eco-friendly kitchens. As an added bonus, you’ll get a unique, gorgeous countertop that suits your tastes and displays your green lifestyle for all of your guests to see.

6. Look for energy-efficient lighting alternatives. These days, you can easily find lighting alternatives that are just as bright at half the energy cost. Advances in technology have made it possible for you to choose green lighting without sacrificing your ability to see clearly in your kitchen.

Going green in your kitchen is just one of the many steps that you can take to make your home more eco-friendly and most cost-effective. When you’re energy-efficient, you’re money-efficient, too. That means that going green doesn’t just save the earth. It saves you money at the same time. By following these tips, you can create a green kitchen that you’ll love.

Book Review: 37th Edition of the Ball Blue Book

The Ball Blue Book is a staple in the kitchen for anyone who cans; newbies and experienced home canners alike.

Wow, it is hard to believe that the last new blog post I published on Daily Pea was last Halloween. Time sure does fly by when you have two little ones, a household, work, a garden and a yard to take care of! Life has been busy but I have missed blogging. I have had many things resting in the back of my brain that I can’t wait to write about. Here is my first post to get things rolling again.

I was happy when I was asked to review the 37th edition Ball Blue Book, since we are harvesting lots of organic goodies from the garden as we speak! The first edition of this book was called The Correct Method of Preserving Fruit and was published in 1909. The first edition called the Ball Blue Book was published in 1915. Over the years it has evolved into a beautiful, full-color, must-have canning guide and recipe book. The 2015 edition is 200 pages long and includes more than 500 recipes (75 brand new ones!)

The Ball Blue Book is a staple in the kitchen for anyone who cans; newbies and experienced home canners alike.

The Ball Blue Book is a staple in the kitchen for anyone who cans; newbies and experienced home canners alike. It’s a reference book in which you can quickly find scientific facts, tips, easy-to-follow instructions and recipe inspiration. From freezing to the boiling-water method to the pressure canner method, this valuable resource has you covered.

The Ball Blue Book is a staple in the kitchen for anyone who cans; newbies and experienced home canners alike.

The recipes in the Ball Blue Book are organized by style (whole fruit, jams, jellies, pickles, etc.) If you are ever wondering about new ways to use your preserved garden harvest, open these pages for inspiration! There are delicious meal recipes as well. I recently harvested lots of basil from my garden and used the pesto recipe from page 152.

The recipes in the Ball Blue Book are organized by style (whole fruit, jams, jellies, pickles, etc.) If you are ever wondering about new ways to use your preserved garden harvest, open these pages for inspiration!

Between my mother and I, we own a few editions of the Ball Blue Book. It’s especially meaningful for me because my grandmother canned for years and used the Ball Blue Book in her kitchen. Last summer I posted her recipe for Old Fashioned Bread & Butter Pickles.

If you don’t yet have the 37th edition of the Ball Blue Book, I would highly recommend picking it up ASAP! In my opinion, it is a canning essential.

If you don’t yet have the 37th edition Ball Blue Book, I would highly recommend picking it up ASAP! In my opinion, it is a canning essential.

Disclosure: Jarden Home Brands (parent company of Ball Canning) sent me a copy of the Ball Blue Book to review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

Capture Beautiful Memories with the OneDay App #OneDayKids

The OneDay App helps you create moments to record with your family, then turns them into a movie with music, in a matter of seconds. It makes sharing with loved ones easy, too!

If you’re a parent with an iPhone, you’re probably like me and have thousands of photos and video clips of your kids on your camera roll. Although I love the ease of taking and saving photos and videos with my phone, I’ve always thought that it would be great to make a complete professional quality movie with the click of a button. The OneDay App can do this! It helps you create moments to record with your family, then turns them into a movie with music, in a matter of seconds. It makes sharing with loved ones easy, too!

See more about how this fabulous app works in my post at Scratch Mommy. Check out the movie I made with my girls, and also enter to win a $250 Target gift card!

DIY Halloween Trick-or-Treat Bag Sewing Project

These are the cutest little trick-or-treat bags and they have so many other uses! You could make a few of them with different fabrics to use throughout the year.

What are your favorite things about fall? Letting go of summer has always been tough for me but I find comfort in the beautiful fall colors, food, gardening, and walks that we take outdoors. I love DIY projects with my little girls this time of year, like our Halloween Trick-or-Treat Bag Sewing Project. These are the cutest little trick-or-treat bags and they have so many other uses! You could make a few of them with different fabrics to use throughout the year.

This is a simple project that’s great for any level of expertise on the sewing machine, even with little ones by your side. I had to smile because my toddler pressing the pedal on the sewing machine reminded me of my siblings and I trying my mom’s patience while she was trying to sew. I hope you’ll enjoy making memories with your little ones and that you’ll love using your tote bags through out the years! Head on over to Scratch Mommy to see my full tutorial on how to make them.

How We’re Dealing with Allergies

I'm not saying that these things cure, prevent or treat allergies, but they can help support the body's natural functions to ease discomfort.

Ever since we moved from Michigan a little over a year ago, my allergies have been different. Spring and fall used to be the times that my symptoms flared up and I could expect that every year. The first year living in South Carolina has been tough because the seasonal stuffy nose, itchy throat, and watery eyes challenge me for the better part of every month. It’s the worst right now while ragweed is in full bloom. Actually it drives me almost insane. I guess what did I expect since the ragweed in our backyard is taller than I am?

I want to share with you the natural methods that I’ve been using to deal with all the pollen that’s been making me nuts. I’m not saying that these things cure, prevent or treat allergies, but they can help support the body’s natural functions to ease discomfort. My allergy symptoms are not 100% gone by any means, but I’ve noticed a difference in the way my kids and I have been feeling.

Local Raw Honey

I'm not saying that these things cure, prevent or treat allergies, but they can help support the body's natural functions to ease discomfort.

We’ve heard farmers and beekeepers who have lived in our area for years say that eating a teaspoon to a tablespoon of local raw honey can help our bodies fight allergy symptoms caused by pollen. If you’re curious, this article supports this theory. I’ve been more than willing to try it so I take a teaspoon of local raw honey per day. I have also heard that it can take up to a year to feel a difference, but at the very least honey coats and soothes my itchy throat and eases my cough. It’s delicious in tea!

We have hives in our yard and the bees have been all over the ragweed. Hopefully ragweed pollen will transfer to the honey so we can eat it and build an immunity over time.

Neti Pot

I'm not saying that these things cure, prevent or treat allergies, but they can help support the body's natural functions to ease discomfort.

About a year ago I wrote an in-depth post about my neti pot. If you’ve never used a neti pot before, my post will help you get started if you’d like to try it. I promise it’s not scary!

By using a neti pot daily I’m rinsing my nasal passages with a sterile saline solution that aids in flushing out irritants like pollen and dust. It’s also very healing for irritated nasal membranes. The neti pot particularly helps me at bedtime because rinsing the irritants out helps me sleep better (i.e., sneeze less.) I also use it when I have a cold because it helps to break up the nasal congestion and reduce sinus pressure.

I use a ceramic neti pot because it’s very easy to sterilize and it doesn’t contain any of the chemicals that can be present in plastic types.

Essential Oils

I'm not saying that these things cure, prevent or treat allergies, but they can help support the body's natural functions to ease discomfort.

My favorite way to use essential oils is by diffusing them into the air. My entire family, including my two little ones, can receive benefits from the oils this way. The calming scents of our favorite oils help us to relax which is beneficial when we’re all driven crazy by constant sneezing and itching. Lavender, lemon and peppermint together are my favorite oils to diffuse for all of us during allergy season because their properties help our bodies maintain proper nasal function and overall wellness.

I use pure, unadulterated essential oils that were manufactured for therapeutic use. They were produced from plants that were grown without the use pesticides or herbicides. Read more about them here.

In addition to eating right, exercising, reducing stress and getting enough rest whenever possible, these natural remedies have helped us promote wellness during our allergy season. They may not be your miracle solution, but I’ll say that they’re definitely worth a try!

Let the Fall Organizing Begin! #EverydaySharpie

Based on my fall pantry project, I'm excited to give you some great tips to help you get yours in shape. That was the biggest project to tackle on my organizing to-do list, but it motivated me to get a few other areas of the house in order, too!

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sharpie, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #EverydaySharpie http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Whenever a new season approaches, I get this uncontrollable urge to organize something. Sometimes it’s just a little bit, and sometimes it’s like the major nesting instinct I had while I was 8 months pregnant. I can’t ignore it. My pantry is begging to be organized this fall. It has been a mess since we moved into our house a year ago. Do you ever feel like you could save so much time in the kitchen if you just knew where everything was? I don’t even want to imagine how many minutes I’ve spent digging through the pantry. I can, however, imagine how many other ways I can use those extra minutes!

Based on my fall pantry project, I’m excited to give you some great tips to help you get yours in shape. The pantry was the biggest project to tackle on my organizing to-do list, but it motivated me to get a few other areas of the house in order, too!

Sharpie Pens

Sharpie Pens are great for labeling just about EVERYTHING. They come in tons of pretty colors, the ink doesn't bleed through paper, and they're refillable. They're fun AND eco-friendly. Pick up a few new ones and and I bet you'll be excited to tackle your project!

The first thing I did was head over to Walgreens to pick up some new Sharpie Pens for my projects. They’re great for labeling just about everything. They come in tons of pretty colors, the ink doesn’t bleed through paper, and the eco-friendly aspect is that they’re refillable. Pick up a few new ones and and I bet you’ll be excited to tackle your project!

DIY Wooden Shelves

My pantry had wire shelves that were starting to bend and sag in a serious way. They weren't safe anymore. My solution was to take them down and replace them with sturdier wooden shelves that I found at our local home improvement store. I like that they're unfinished hardwood because they give our pantry a natural homestead look.

My pantry had wire shelves that were starting to bend and sag in a serious way. They weren’t safe anymore. My solution was to take them down and replace them with sturdier wooden shelves that I found at our local home improvement store. I like that they’re unfinished hardwood because they give our pantry a natural homestead look.

Our shelves are 16 inches deep and about 1″ thick. I attached 1″x4″ inch boards to the walls to brace the shelves on both sides, and attached a metal bracket underneath each shelf in the middle for extra support.

I saved the stackable wire racks that I was using before, and they’re much more substantial on the wooden shelves. I like how they provide an extra layer of storage and it’s nice to be able to move them around.

Glass Canning Jars

I moved dry food items in the pantry such as rice, beans, cornmeal, shredded coconut, etc. from bags into glass canning jars. Using my Sharpie Pens, I labeled each jar. Surprisingly, this really made the shelves more neat and tidy and freed up a lot more space.

I moved dry food items in the pantry such as rice, beans, cornmeal, shredded coconut, etc. from bags into glass canning jars. Using my Sharpie Pens, I labeled each jar. Surprisingly, this really made the shelves more neat and tidy and freed up a lot more space. The bags created chaos because it was tough to see what was in them and they were making a mess by spilling all over the pantry.

Bushel Baskets and Wooden Crates

Bushel baskets work wonderfully to store veggies such as potatoes and onions in the pantry. Previously, they were rolling around on the wire shelves. That was clearly not working, especially since I was harvesting them from the garden and quickly running out of space.

Bushel baskets work wonderfully to store veggies such as potatoes and onions. Previously, they were rolling around on the wire shelves. That was clearly not working especially since I was harvesting them from the garden and quickly running out of space. What a difference the bushel baskets make. They’re easy to slide out from the shelves to pick out what you need.

Nowadays, you can find unfinished wooden crates at just about any craft store or home improvement store for a really inexpensive price. They come in different sizes and they stack. I designated a couple of smaller sized crates as snack bins, and a few narrow crates as canned goods bins.

Nowadays, you can find unfinished wooden crates at just about any craft store or home improvement store for a really inexpensive price. They come in different sizes and they stack. I designated a couple of smaller sized crates as snack bins, and a few narrow crates as canned goods bins.

Nowadays, you can find unfinished wooden crates at just about any craft store or home improvement store for a really inexpensive price. They come in different sizes and they stack. I designated a couple of smaller sized crates as snack bins, and a few narrow crates as canned goods bins. Like the bushel baskets, they’re easy to slide out to get what you need.

If you’re into canning, you’ll love how these wooden crates stack nicely to store jars. This is a separate closet from the pantry but you can see how the crates make perfect sturdy shelves. My favorite part was labeling, especially with the cute little wooden tags I found at the craft store.

If you're into canning, you'll love how these wooden crates stack nicely to store jars. This is a separate closet from the pantry, but you can see how the crates make perfect sturdy shelves. My favorite part was labeling, especially with the cute little wooden tags I found at the craft store.

If you're into canning, you'll love how these wooden crates stack nicely to store jars. This is a separate closet from the pantry, but you can see how the crates make perfect sturdy shelves. My favorite part was labeling, especially with the cute little wooden tags I found at the craft store.

Before & After

It’s easier to stay organized now that everything has its own place in the pantry. It definitely saves me time in the kitchen.

Check out my before and after. Being more organized definitely saves me time in the kitchen, without a doubt.

Toy Storage

Moving along from the pantry…actually, not too far for us because our living room is part of our kitchen and dining area. Our indoor space is pretty small so we have to be creative about how we store toys. We keep them in canvas bins on bookshelves, which works out great because the girls can easily get them down on their own and dig in. The issue we’ve been running into is organizing the toys INSIDE the bins.

My solution for keeping smaller toys together is empty oatmeal containers. They're so incredibly functional. The lids are easy for kids to take off and put back on, and there's just enough space for things like small metal cars, puzzle pieces, little wooden animals, and so on.

My solution for keeping smaller toys together is empty oatmeal containers. They’re so functional. The lids are easy for kids to take off and put back on, and there’s just enough space for things like small metal cars, puzzle pieces, little wooden animals, and so on. I labeled the lids using my Sharpie Pens, drawing pictures to help the girls find what they’re looking for (and they have fun picking up their toys and matching them with the lids!) The containers fit nicely inside the toy bins.

I hope you’ve found a few tips that will help you in your quest to get organized this fall. The satisfaction of having a little extra space and time saved is the best feeling of all after the project is completed!

What are you organizing this fall?

Leading by Green Example #AdelphiFreshAir

I remember researching colleges and universities. It was one of the most exciting and overwhelming times of my life; deciding where I would spend those transformative years that would prepare me for the responsibilities of full-fledged adulthood. I remember the incredible amount of factors to consider beyond the academic standpoint. You’re making a large investment in your education at an institution that leads by example not only for students, but also for community and beyond. I am so glad to see that in this modern day, one of the examples set by many colleges is a strong commitment to sustainability. Now that I have two small children, I am realizing more than ever the dire need to protect the health of our environment for our future generations.

Adelphi University’s Green Initiative

One university that is continually making major efforts to ensure a cleaner, fuel efficient environment is Adelphi University on Long Island. They are applauded for their role in creating and preserving a healthier environment while preparing their students for employment in a green economy.

Natural Pesticides

Over a decade ago, Adelphi began using 100% natural, organic techniques to maintain the grounds of their Garden City campus. I personally can’t stress enough how important this is! Whether it’s a university, home, neighborhood, business, etc., a huge step in removing environmental toxins is to stop using persistent synthetic chemicals. The safe alternative is to use natural, organic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers which actually nurture plants, soil and wildlife habitats. Industrial chemicals have been shown to be harmful to human health, as well as being one of the reasons why species such as honey bees are in danger. Did you know that ladybugs are an effective means to control pests? In June 2014, Adelphi released thousands of ladybugs to naturally control aphids and other insects on campus.

With two small kids who love to play outdoors, I would love to have peace of mind knowing they’re not being exposed to chemicals wherever we go to play. I thank Adelphi for playing a big role in setting a national example for others to strive towards clean and responsible landscaping!

Adelphi University is also a registered Arboretum. Check them out on Pinterest to see the beautiful flora on campus.

Solar Energy

Many times we take the sun for granted. It’s often times one of the everyday parts of our lives that we don’t even notice, unless we’re making a point to protect our bodies from its heat and UV rays. The thing that’s most often taken for granted is that it’s one of the most important sources of renewable energy available to us. Just as plants use it for energy to grow, we can convert it into electricity and heat. The downfall is that the means to use solar energy are expensive so it’s not yet widely incorporated.

It is investments in this new technology that will help it to advance and eventually be more widely accessible. Aside from installing geothermal systems, energy efficient fixtures, and purchasing 100% green power for the campus, Adelphi installed a photovoltaic solar energy system on the roof of their Swirbul Library. The 180 solar panels have no moving parts and require little maintenance. Won’t it be wonderful someday when solar energy systems like this are commonplace in our country? Adelphi is helping to set the example!

Green Products

Over the years I have been taking steps to remove toxic chemicals from my household. I am all about homemade natural cleaning products! I now clean my home with ingredients like vinegar, essential oils and baking soda. We’re no longer breathing in toxic chemicals, absorbing them through our skin, or releasing them into the environment. I know which steps we’re taking at home, but I often think about businesses and schools.

Using eco-friendly products is another part of Adelphi’s green initiative. Back in 2005 they began switching to environmentally friendly cleaning and paper products. They now use Green Seal Certified® products, which are recycled from waste paper, newspapers, and magazines. The products have had contaminants removed and are eco-friendly.

Fresh Air Campaign

In their continued focus on bettering the health and wellness of their community, Adelphi has launched a 2-year fresh air campaign.

  1. By fall of 2016, there will only be 3 designated smoking areas on campus.
  2. A reliable, cost-effective rideshare program will encourage carpooling to help reduce carbon emissions.
  3. Electric vehicle charging stations were installed in a parking garage on campus.

Adelphi Leads by Example

These are all efforts that inspire people to better their health and wellness. Again, it’s an example that will lead Adelphi’s surrounding community and the nation! Here are some other green standards Adelphi is adhering to:

  • Decreasing our reliance on fossil fuel
  • Reducing energy use and improving energy efficiency
  • Utilizing alternative forms of energy wherever possible
  • Decreasing the production of emissions that contribute to climate change
  • Conserving energy in information technology and computer usage
  • Recycling
  • Greener construction
  • Replacing Public Safety patrol vehicles with hybrid vehicles
  • Encouraging the use of public transportation by providing free shuttle service to all major hubs for students, faculty and staff

Adelphi shares some tips on what YOU can do at home to save energy. Read them here on their website!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Adelphi University. The opinions and text are all mine.

Glass Bottles in the Garden

I LOVE Pinterest, but Hometalk especially takes care of us DIY-ers who have a special interest in home and garden.

I’ve been slightly obsessed with glass bottles in the garden lately. There are so many ways to upcycle glass bottles and make your garden that much more beautiful! I think I got started on my kick after I longed for the perfect garden markers, and finally made some I love by repurposing mini wine bottles. All this DIY talk brings me to tell you about Hometalk, the social media site dedicated to home and garden projects. You can browse through TONS of projects and clip the ones that spark your interest to your boards. You can share your own projects with the Hometalk community, and even post questions.

I LOVE Pinterest, but Hometalk especially takes care of us DIY-ers who have a special interest in home and garden. Enough said; click here to check out Hometalk, and here to check out my “Glass Bottles in the Garden” board that got me started. I can’t wait to do some of the amazing glass bottle projects that I clipped to my board!

Are you on Hometalk? Follow along with me! I’d love to see your projects!

How to Oven Dry Fresh Herbs

I was a little overwhelmed the other week when I noticed that my little herb bed was overflowing and in need of a major haircut. I'll show you how I oven-dried 3 types of herbs in one day's time!

If your herb garden is giving you the gift of too many fresh herbs at once, drying them is such a wonderful option because you can enjoy them for months as you cook with them. I was a little overwhelmed the other week when I noticed that my little herb bed was overflowing and in need of a major haircut. I’ve been cooking with these tasty fresh herbs like crazy and making pesto like there’s no tomorrow, but I still couldn’t keep up and I didn’t want to let a single stem go to waste! I’ll show you how I dried 3 types of herbs in one day’s time. I used the oven drying method for my basil, oregano and parsley, which I thought worked very well. The herbs are so much more flavorful and fragrant than even the best quality store-bought organic dried herbs!

I was a little overwhelmed the other week when I noticed that my little herb bed was overflowing and in need of a major haircut. I'll show you how I oven-dried 3 types of herbs in one day's time!

I set aside a Sunday with my little girls to dry our herbs. Here’s how it went:

  • We cut our herbs from the garden and brought them inside right away. The best time to cut herbs is in the morning before the plants have been stressed by hot sun.
  • We rinsed them, carefully shook as much water off into the sink as possible, very gently patted them dry with clean towels, then laid them flat on the towels until they were completely dry. Note: it’s important to not bruise the leaves while rinsing and drying, because bruising releases the oils (flavors) of the plant.
  • We removed the leaves from the stems. This is such a perfect job for little hands! My girls loved helping, and their hands are the perfect size for removing tiny leaves.
  • We placed the leaves in single layers on baking sheets. (I use these silicone mats on my baking sheets.)
  • Each tray of herbs went into the oven (middle rack,) heated to 175 degrees F. I put 2 trays in the oven at a time.
  • The key is to vent the oven door (I placed a dish towel in the door to prop it open slightly.) If the herbs truly bake, their essential oils are destroyed and the flavor deteriorates.
  • The parsley and oregano trays were in the oven for 1 hour until they were dried. Basil took a bit longer, at 1 hour and 20 minutes. You’ll want to keep a very close eye on the herbs while they’re drying.
  • You’ll know your herbs are completely dry when you can crumble them between your fingers.

I was a little overwhelmed the other week when I noticed that my little herb bed was overflowing and in need of a major haircut. I'll show you how I oven-dried 3 types of herbs in one day's time!

To store dried herbs, put them in air-tight jars and keep them in a cool, dark place. They’ll last for up to a year, however, I’ve noticed that flavor starts to deteriorate after around 6 months.

Another other herb drying method I would recommend is hanging. Carefully wash and pat dry the stems of herbs, then tie them into small bundles with a maximum of 10 stems per bundle. They need to be hung in a dark, dry and warm area with good air circulation for around 3 weeks.

Are you preserving herbs from your garden this season?

Ball Brand Products Review and Giveaway #CanItForward

In honor of International Can-It-Forward Day, enter to win 2 cases of Ball® Brand Limited Edition Green Heritage Collection Jars, a Fresh Herb Keeper, Dry Herb Jars, Frozen Herb Starters, 5-Blade Herb Scissors, and the Ball® Blue Book Guide to Preserving!

With our garden and farmer’s market overflowing with the delicious tastes of summertime this month, we’re in the midst of a canning frenzy to preserve the bounty before it’s gone! If you’ve ever canned your own harvest or received precious jars of goodness from a loved one, you know that it’s such a gift to enjoy the summertime flavors in the middle of the winter. Spreading some homemade blueberry jam on your pancakes or making chili with diced tomatoes from the garden is comforting when summer seems so far away. Okay, enough daydreaming, time to get to work on canning these organic goodies from the garden!

I was ecstatic when this big box of Ball® Brand products arrived on my doorstep, and I knew it would make preserving our veggies and herbs much more convenient and fun! In honor of International Can-It-Forward Day, I’m happy for the opportunity to review each one of these products, and to give you a chance to win a box of Ball® Brand canning items just like this one.

The New Limited Edition Spring Green Heritage Collection Jars

I absolutely LOVE these gorgeous limited edition green tinted jars that commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Ball brothers’ “Perfection” Jar. They make our preserved pickles, tomatoes and jams look even more beautiful, and won't these goodies make wonderful gifts this Christmas?

Let’s get started with jars. We have tomatoes and cucumbers coming out of our ears, and we’ve been busy making bread and butter pickles, pickle relish, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes like there’s no tomorrow. We also have pounds and pounds of frozen blueberries and peaches to make delectable jams from. I absolutely LOVE these gorgeous limited edition green tinted jars that commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Ball brothers’ “Perfection” Jar. They make our preserved pickles, tomatoes and jams look even more beautiful, and won’t these goodies make wonderful gifts this Christmas? They come in both pint and quart sizes. The giveaway includes a case of each size!

Fresh Herb Keeper

Next is this super convenient way to keep garden-fresh herbs. Sometimes it’s tough for me to run down to the garden every time I want to cut some fresh herbs, because it’s quite a hike and I have two very young children. Or sometimes, the herbs need to be cut before their flavor turns bad, and I’m not ready to use them all at once. This Ball® Fresh Herb keeper helps cut herbs stay fresh for up to 2 weeks! Stems and roots stay fresh in water to retain flavor and texture. I love that I have easy access to my fresh herbs in my kitchen, and I don’t have to worry about them going bad nearly as quickly.

Dry Herb Jars

These Ball® Dry Herb Jars came to my rescue. They stack so nicely for neat storage of dried herbs in drawers and cupboards, and they're great for keeping spice blends and rubs, too.

During the winter when my supply of fresh herbs is much less, I love using my garden herbs that I dried. Sometimes, though, my dried herb stash becomes difficult to use since I have very little storage space in my kitchen. Imagine that; I blog about food and my spice cupboard is a mess! These Ball® Dry Herb Jars came to my rescue. They stack so nicely for neat storage of dried herbs in drawers and cupboards, and they’re great for keeping spice blends and rubs, too. I also love the convenient shaker caps. The holes are bigger than the ones on other shaker caps that I’ve used, which is nice for the coarsely chopped herbs.

Frozen Herb Starters

No matter how many different types of fresh herbs you’re growing, and whether you just have a small amount or a large garden bounty, you’ll love preserving them by freezing them into cubes. You can freeze them in butter, oil or even water or broth, and the uses for them are countless! I’ve used the cubes for sautéed veggies, pesto, soups, dips, marinades and even beverages. I’m happy to have my new Ball® Brand Frozen Herb Starters because I love that they have lids to help prevent freezer burn and they also come with a labeling template, making them more convenient than other trays I’ve used. I have peace of mind that they’re made of non-toxic silicone and they’re BPA-free.

5 Blade Herb Scissors

If you often cook with fresh herbs at home, these Ball® Brand 5 Blade Herb Scissors will be your best friend in the kitchen. They conveniently and evenly cut herbs like parsley, basil and cilantro. No more putting your fingertips in danger with a knife while trying to quickly chop herbs!

If you often cook with fresh herbs at home, these Ball® Brand 5 Blade Herb Scissors will be your best friend in the kitchen. They conveniently and evenly cut herbs like parsley, basil and cilantro. No more putting your fingertips in danger with a knife while trying to quickly chop herbs! The other major bonus of these scissors is that they clean up in a snap. The slotted end cover makes cleaning and storing simple and easy.

Ball Blue Book

The Ball® Blue Book Guide to Preserving is  a 125-page book that will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about getting started with preserving. It includes equipment info, step-by-step instructions and tons of recipes.

Last but not least, the Ball® Blue Book Guide to Preserving. It’s a 125-page book that will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about getting started with preserving. It includes equipment info, step-by-step instructions and tons of recipes. It’s a good book to keep in your kitchen whether you’re new to canning, or a seasoned pro. It’s a book that will be passed down to your grandchildren someday! I use my grandmother’s recipes which she adapted from her Ball® Brand book, and I like having this book for updated info and recipes.

Enter the giveaway in the widget at the very bottom of this post, and you could win all 6 of the Ball® Brand products mentioned above!

In honor of International Can-It-Forward Day, enter to win 2 cases of Ball® Brand Limited Edition Green Heritage Collection Jars, a Fresh Herb Keeper, Dry Herb Jars, Frozen Herb Starters, 5-Blade Herb Scissors, and the Ball® Blue Book Guide to Preserving!

International Can-It-Forward Day

Stay tuned for International Can-It-Forward Day, hosted by Bravo's Top Chef judge, Hugh Acheson! August 16th will be a day to celebrate home canning, where foodies can connect via online and in-person activities.

Before I conclude, I want to mention to stay tuned for International Can-It-Forward Day, hosted by Jarden Home Brands Bravo’s Top Chef judge, Hugh Acheson! August 16th will be a day to celebrate home canning, where foodies will be able to connect via online and in-person activities. The event will take place in New York, at Brooklyn Borough Hall Farmers Market, but there will also be special events taking place in Canada, Australia and South Africa. You’ll be able to view the webcast right here on my blog, so come back on the 16th to take a look! There will be canning demos highlighting the most popular home canning recipes, and Chef Acheson will be answering viewer questions in real-time. There will also be 25 farmers markets across the country hosting Can-It-Forward Day celebrations!

I think it’s so great that home canning has made a huge comeback. It’s a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding, healthy and satisfying. I love that my little girls and I are canning with my mom, like my mom used to do with my grandma. The Ball® Brand has helped families create memories for years, and I thank them for keeping canning traditions alive!

For more inspiration, follow Ball® Canning on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway