Ball Jars

Those of you who know Tony, may know how much he likes the Ball jar. It started innocently, when he just wanted to use them as drinking glasses. When he built the farmhouse table, it seemed like a good match, so we switched all of our glasses to Ball jars. Since then, we’ve learned of a few more uses for them, and with each one, we like them more and more. I dare you to read through this list and not become a fan…

Portable drinks. Since each jar comes with a leak proof lid, it’s great for taking drinks on the go… like taking sangria to Symphony on the Prairie.

Packing salads for lunch. Layer the dressing on the bottom, then the toppings, and the lettuce on top. When you flip it onto a plate, it comes out as a nicely dressed salad!

On a blender! This one is amazing. Ball jars fit on blenders, allowing you to blend right into the jar. Who knew!?!? We found the non-wide mouth jar fit on our blender. We started with blending coffee, and found the blender made great grounds for the french press.


It also works well for smoothies.

As you can tell, we’ve been having about as much fun as you can with a Ball jar (at least until canning season). But please, let us know if you have any great additions for the list!


Black Beans & Caramelized Corn

Hold onto your seats everyone. Things have changed a bit here at the Hayden house. Right about the same time we started thinking about our May trip to Uganda, we decided to give up meat until we left for the trip. We have adopted the Sunday exception that coincides with fasting during Lent, but for those of you who know my husband, you realize just how difficult it is to go 6 days of the week without three of his main food groups: chicken, bacon & pepperoni.

We like salads in this house, but becoming vegetarian for 3 months poses a great challenge to find a variety of delicious recipes. One of the big winners so far has been black beans & caramelized corn. We knew it would be delicious, since it’s essentially the B & B from Yats. I also found it was especially quick & easy, and cost less than $5 to make the whole dish!

This puts a great spin on the standard beans & rice that is a staple in Ugandan diet!


Black Beans and Caramelized Corn

2 tablespoons butter
1 can sweet corn
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
A few splashes hot sauce of choice

Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add corn and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly caramelized and sweet-smelling. Add brown sugar and saute for about 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Add black beans and red pepper and saute until warmed through, about 2 more minutes. Add milk, cayenne, salt and pepper, and hot sauce, and let simmer until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately over rice with more hot sauce, and a big hunk of french bread on the side, buttered and sprinkled with cajun seasoning. Enjoy!

Yield: 2-3 servings