A family tradition that I’m still doing featuring Ball products.

As a lifestyle blogger, something I normally don’t do every day is can some pickles, but when the Ball(R) Brand reached out to me to try out their preserving pot, I could not have been more excited! This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I was growing up, I used to can vegetables with my Grandma all of the time. My grandparents would purchase their vegetables from local farmers and can them themselves to save money at the grocery store. From sauces, jams and pickles, my Grandma did it all!

I loved canning vegetables with my Grandma, but my favorite was canning pickles. So, I decided the first thing I would do when I received my pot from Ball was to can some pickles!

Luckily, I have mini cucumbers in my garden, so I used those for my pickles, but you can use any size cucumber. The preserving pot comes with a “Ball(R) Blue Book” which includes recipes. I followed the “Kosher-Style pickles” recipe to make mine.

Canning the pickles was so easy and fun, it reminded me of when I was a little girl making pickles with my Grandma! I followed the recipe exactly but didn’t add bay leaves since my Grandma didn’t have bay leaves in her recipe, and I wanted them to taste as good as they did when we made them together.

You can find Ball products at Target. I love their smaller 8oz. Ball® Quilted half-pint jars, which I used to can the pickles I made! You can find them at this link: HERE. The Ball® Blue Book recipe is easy to follow and includes all the pro tips like pre-warming your jars before the hot brine is placed in the jars, and how to safely execute the canning process. The recipe calls for using the larger jars, but I love using these smaller more decorative ones. Using different jar sizes can affect the flavor of the pickle, the size shown will give you a true kick in the taste buds!

I was a little apprehensive about making pickles without my Grandma, but they turned out AMAZING! She’s so proud of me! It’s a tradition I look forward to sharing with my future children and grandchildren one day. Also, I ate the whole jar in one sitting, so now tomorrow I’m making more!!

Next on my list is this mixed berry jam recipe!

xx, Tonya Michelle

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How to make a salad taste good! Yep, that’s right!

Let me honest with you guys, I’m not the best with eating salads and you know why? They truly aren’t my favorite thing to eat. So when you need to start eating more greens, what do you do? You figure it out! I played around with different toppings and veggies to add to my salads recently and I think I’m now addicted. No joke, bring on the salads!

Below I’m sharing what I now love to put on mine and some other great ideas that might help you also find your love for salads as well.

My usual dressing for my salads are either a classic Oil & Vinegar, Zoës Kitchens famous dressing or Italian! Today I used Newman’s Own Salad Dressing, Oil & Vinegar! You can find it at your local grocery store or I linked it HERE from Amazon!

I like adding some sort of “crunch” to my salads — I’m a huge tortilla and chip eater so this helps me not feel like I’m just eating plain veggies on a salad! I added three different things to this salad and to my surprise…it tasted BOMB.COM

I used the following:

Fresh Gourmet Cheese Crisps in Asiago.

Fresh Gourmet Won Ton Strips in Garlic Ginger.

Fresh Gourmet Crispy Onions.

Also let’s not forget the bacon bits! Don’t eat meat? That’s fine, skip them!

I added some green peppers and scallions as well. I love buying the pre-chopped up veggies at the store cause they simply save me time, to me that’s a win!

Also, talking about saving time…I recently discovered the pre-washed lettuce and I’m hooked. I’m the type of person that needs stuff done quickly and easy. Being a busy bee…I don’t like wasting time on prepping my meals, unless it’s dinner! Organic Girl has many different types of salads you can purchase and I believe to me, they taste A LOT better than anything else I’ve eaten. No joke!

I’m also the person who loves to eat my salads in the biggest bowl we own, sometimes it can be a little funny looking but I like to MIX up everything really well so each bite has a little bit of everything ya know?

I’m able to make this salad in less than 5 minutes, eat in 10-15 and then get back to work. Personally it’s shown me how I can take something I didn’t like before and turn it into one of my favorite meals of the day now.

I hope you try something new on you salad this week! Do you have something you MUST have on every salad? Mine would be onions…doesn’t help my breathe but they are SO delicious!

ps, Walmart has some really cute plastic Summer bowls. The one above has cactus on it! Came in a set of 3, super fun!!

xx, Tonya Michelle

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