The Little Things #15

So often, we get caught up in our day to day routines and forget to appreciate the little things in life.  In my Little Things series, I like to honor the details that are making me happy today, and ask you to do the same!

The Little Things that made me happy this weekend:

1. Getting lots of great feedback on the future of Savvy Eats for my blogiversary giveaway (have you entered yet?)

2. Hosting a canning party for my blends (blog friends). More details tomorrow!

3. Making cute labels for all my preserves. Now I know what is in each jar and when they were sealed, and they look cute for holiday gifts!

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4. Making major progress on our DIY furniture projects. I will be posting full how-tos and photos when they are done…which will hopefully be next weekend?

5. Successfully taking a 26 mile bike ride. Something about my energy was messed up yesterday, and my legs felt like bricks the entire time. But I finished and got in a great workout!

6. Visiting our local bookstore to get some plane reading for our upcoming trip to Italy. Dan decided to take me there to cheer me up after our tough bike ride.

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7. Picking out a new blogging notebook. I like to have a notebook with me at all times to note post ideas, to-do lists, and blog improvement ideas. My current one is almost full, and I love how easily the new one stays open!

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8. Drinking my first Pumpkin Chai Tea from Starbucks. SO delicious… dare I say that it is better than a Pumpkin Latte? 😉

9. Looking at my bounty of preserves. 40 jars and counting! (And I still have a lot to do!)

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What little things made your weekend great?

Pears Two Ways

Don’t forget to enter my blogiversary giveaway!

Pears are by far my favorite fall fruit. I like apples as much as the next person, but for me, pears are where it’s at. Well, pears and yellow fall raspberries. But since those aren’t quite in season yet, pears are my current favorite. My preferences can be fickle. 😉

With a lot of apple varieties, you can store them in a cool, dark, dry place and they will last for months. Pears, unfortunately, aren’t quite that hardy, so they must be canned if you want to enjoy them for months beyond their season!

Lucky for me, I found 7 pounds of these gorgeous pears for $7 on Thursday. And just like that, I ended up with 11 jars of pear preserves. Since some friends helped me make the first 6 (more on that on Wednesday!), 5 jars flew out of my kitchen this weekend. So now I need to get my hands on some more pears so I can test out some other recipes and enjoy more of my favorite fruit… in the meantime, here are the two recipes I successfully created this weekend.

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Pear and Ginger Preserves

Adapted from “Canning for a New Generation” by Liana Krissoff

Makes 6 half-pint jars

4 lb pears

4 T finely diced fresh ginger

Zest of 1 lemon

4 T fresh lemon juice

1 ¼ c sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cloves

Peel, core and dice the pears.

Prepare for canning. Wash the jars and flat lids with hot, soapy water. Put the jars in the canning pot and fill the pot with hot water. Heat over medium-high heat to keep the jars hot. Place the lids in a heat-proof bowl.

In a deep stockpot, bring all the ingredients to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pears appear translucent. Remove from heat and stir gently.

Move some of the boiling water from the canning pot into the heat-proof bowl containing the lids. Line the hot jars up on a folded towel, then pour the water out of the heat-proof bowl and off the lids.

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Fill the jars up to ¼” below the rim. Use a clean towel to wipe any preserves off the rims, then top each jar with a lid and a tightened ring. Place the jars back in the canning pot and make sure they are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and process for 5 minutes. Place the jars on a folded towel and allow to sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Check the seals of the lids after 1 hour. If a seal has not formed, refrigerate the jar immediately.

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Notes: These had just the right level of sweetness, with a spicy kick of ginger. Everyone agreed that these would be perfect in a pear crumble!

Maple Pear Preserves

Adapted from “Canning for a New Generation” by Liana Krissoff

Makes 5 half-pint jars

3 lb pears

5 T fresh lemon juice

1 ¼ c maple syrup

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cloves

Follow the same process as for Pear and Ginger Preserves.

Notes: I like these, but they may be a little too sweet for my preferences. However, the flavor will hopefully mellow out a bit during storage, so maybe they will be just right when I open them!

Next time, though, I think I’d cut the syrup down to 3/4 c!