Linkfest: Apples

It’s time for our annual apple orchard visit. As you may remember, we had to find a new orchard this year, as Sponsel’s closed last year. We’d gone there for 8 years in a row (a few posts: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005). LIZ took the responsibility of finding a new orchard, and hopefully by Sunday evening, I’ll be up to my elbows in apples. I bookmark recipes all year long in anticipation of this (though I surprisingly could only find one previous apple linkfest post – I could swear there should be more, but I can’t find them).

Anyway, here we go in no particular order (and with pictures when possible)…. I’ll have you know there are over 4,000 recipes that come up when you search Tastespotting for “apples” (though admittedly a few are pineapple recipes), but I’ve tried to only include recipes here that I would make and that sound interesting/unique (which is code for “please no more apple crisp recipes,” though I apparently can’t help myself).

Apple Crisps

Apple Cranberry Crisp – Use Real Butter [no pic]. OK, in all honesty, I probably won’t make this, but I’m sure someone else will be glad I shared the recipe.

Cinnamon Overload Apple Crisp - Elle's New England Kitchen.

Classic Apple Crisp - King Arthur Flour.

Caramel Apple Crisp - Eating Well... Living Thin.

Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp - Barefoot Contessa (Foot Network).

Perfect Apple Crisp - The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Other Desserts

5 Apple Recipes - Foodie Crush. There are actually 5 recipes at this link, but I picked the two I liked, Baked Apple Cuplettes and Apple Almond Snail Pastries. Personal-sized baked apple items are best, since I am the only one in my house who will be eating them.

Apple Streudel - Beyond Kimchee.

Cheese Apple Streudel - Peppercorns in my Pocket. Maybe if I halved the cream cheese? It looks to be too much to me, but what do I know?

Apple Hand Pies - Food Loves Writing. This is really what I need to do. Especially if I froze them before baking.

Apple and Bleu Cheese Turnovers - Snail's View (scroll partway down). Made with puff pastry, these would be super quick. And delicious, of course.


Pork, Apple, and Cider Pie - Spicy Ice Cream. I believe I'd have to convert this to a personal-sized pot pie, but that's OK. It'd probably make up a few, and then we could freeze those (I'd have to make up some chicken or beef pot pies too, for Prince Charming, but I think that could be arranged - I'm sure I have a recipe or 3 bookmarked).

Bacon-Apple-Jalapeno Pop 'Ems - Erin Cooks. I am really not sure about this idea, but since Jalapeno Poppers are already on my list of foods to make, it couldn't hurt to throw some diced apple into a few and see how they turn out.

Apple Bacon Cheddar Grilled Cheese - Karma Cucina. OK, I totally couldn't decide between this one and the next one. They both sound yummy.

Smoked Gouda, Apple, and Bacon Melt - The Cilantropist. If you needed help deciding between the two, this recipe calls for the genius idea of toasting the bread in the leftover bacon grease. You know, I have apples and bacon and cheese at home, and have to fend for myself for dinner... perhaps I should acquire some bread at the farmer's market today.

Of course, going to the orchard and coming home with apples means I need to do something with the squash I have already laying about my house, and the zucchini and peppers that I’ve been meaning to preserve too. Looks like I’ve got plans tonight!

Linkfest – Preserving the Harvest

Well, I’m still waiting to see if there’s any negative feedback from the last linkfest post with pictures, but I’m going to go ahead and do it again and hope for the best.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve got farmer’s market produce stored in my freezer, but that’s not the only thing to do with veggies that can’t be eaten immediately, especially since so many veggies don’t freeze well.

I’m going to preface this list by saying that I have never canned anything in my life, nor have I made any of these recipes yet, so you should really figure out how to do that safely. Google will help.


Making Pickles 101 - Simple Bites. Includes a recipe for Extra-Garlic Dill Pickles, which sounds like the right amount of garlic to me.

Easy Peasy Pickles - Coconut & Lime. Author says it's a great first canning project.

Homemade Claussen Knock-Off Pickles - Foodie with Family. I'm not a pickle connoisseur (I leave that to Prince Charming, who could write a dissertation on pickles), but this recipe makes up crunchy with dill and garlic, which seems just right to me.

Crunchy Dill Pickles - Spicie Foodie. Again, emphasis on the crunch.

Favorite Kosher Dills - Never Enough Thyme. I learned something new, reading this recipe, about cucumbers and why you should cut off the tip before preserving.

Freezer Cucumbers - Sidewalk Shoes. These are *not* traditional pickles, but I think I would still like them, even if I'd be eating them alone.


Pickled Bell Peppers - Canning Jars Etc. I'm not sure about this idea, but they shouldn't taste too different from cucumber pickles, right?

Pickled {Hot} Banana Peppers - A Full Measure of Happiness. This is my goal: little rings of banana peppers. Love!

Pickled Banana Peppers - What's Cooking in the Orange Kitchen. Another option for pickled banana peppers, with different spices.

Canned Hot Pepper Recipe (Peperoncini Sott’Olio) – Usually isn’t my go-to for… anything, but I was looking for a recipe for peppers packed in oil, and this is what I found. Apparently, it’s not straight-up oil, but a blend. Who knew?

Up next in the linkfest cue? Apple recipes and crock pot recipes!

Squashy Linkfest

It has been a looong time since I’ve had a linkfest post. It’s not that I’ve stopped bookmarking recipes and cool stuff, just that I haven’t had the time and energy to do it up right. But, since I’ve got a bazillion recipes bookmarked and squash is on my mind, I think it’s time.

As I said, I’ve had squash on the brain; between the farmer’s market and talking to on the phone last night (about ‘s garden harvest), I had to search for a bunch of recipes. Originally, I was hoping that I could cube the squash and freeze it, but the internet gave me mixed advice about that. See, my favorite way to eat squash is roasted, but apparently because squash are in large part water, freezing them makes them mushy, so it doesn’t seem they’d be ideal for freezing at that point (unless you were just going to throw them into risotto or a soup or something, but what’s the point?). Most of the internet advocated making a puree and freezing that. The only think I could think of to do with squash puree was soup, though, and I wasn’t sure I’d like squash soup. Tastespotting showed me the error of my ways, however. After wading through over 1300 squash recipes, I’ve narrowed it down to those included below. So, while it seems like a lot of recipes, it could be so much worse.

I tried to avoid the very common stuff (like roasting or glazing with maple syrup) and the super weird (squash pizza, for instance), and recipes that involved going to specialty grocery stores. I’m going to do this linkfest up differently, including pictures wherever possible – I like the visual better than the straight-up list. Let me know what you think!

The pictures all link directly to the recipe, and are all from the respective websites – but I didn’t hotlink so that’s something.

Sidenote: If you are the owner of any of the following and want me to take the pics down and just link to your recipe instead, just let me know and I will gladly do so.

Stuffed Squash

Wild Rice-Stuffed Squash - Martha Stewart. Fall makes me want wild rice, but you can't just cook it up straight like white rice. Well, maybe you can. I can't. This looks like a nice combo of flavors.

Stuffed Moroccan Acorn Squash - Leek Soup. There are some out-of-the-ordinary ingredients here, but as the author explains, this is a basic recipe that allows for lots of substitutions.

Savory Stuffed Squash - Phoo-d. You had me at "pine nuts."

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Squash – Use Real Butter. Looks and sounds delicious!


Roasted Acorn Squash Soup - A Sweet Pea Chef. Might I be brave enough to try this? Maybe I can convince myself it's like baked potato soup, or broccoli cheddar.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Orange Cauliflower Soup - Snippets of Thyme. Roast the cauliflower instead of just pan frying it - your taste buds will thank you for it. I haven't tried this recipe, but I'm telling you, roasted cauliflower is awesome.


Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli – Make Me Hungry. Includes some good instructions on making your own pasta.

Squash Ravioli with Sage Browned Butter - Zen Can Cook. More great step-by-step instructions! (And who can resist a browned butter sauce? I can't.)

Acorn Squash Ravioli - A Chow Life. Again, great instructions and photos! Totally makes homemade pasta seem easy.


Pumpkin Gnocci - Seattle Times. Uses a pie pumpkin and includes a recipe for a sage butter sauce.


Butternut Squash - Hungry Cravings. She tried out 4 recipes to get it right! That's dedication.

Light and Airy Butternut Squash Gnocci - Bay Area Bites. Some good instructions (with pictures) on how to make gnocci and get the texture right.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi – Guilty Kitchen. Couldn’t include a picture here, but the step-by-step instructions are confidence-boosting if you’ve never made gnocci (I haven’t, and I’m sure the pictures will help a lot).


OK, I couldn’t figure out which of these was the best, so I had to include all of them. Use your own discretion, depending on your tastes and preferences.

Butternut Squash Lasagna - Pinch of Yum.

Butternut Squash Lasagna - Veggie 101.

Butternut Squash Lasagna - My Kitchen Addiction.

Other Pastas

Baked Squash Pasta - A Little Bit of Everything. Like mac & cheese, or tuna casserole, but different.

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells - Proud Italian Cook. Not exactly a recipe, but enough instructions for you to make it yourself.

Butternut Squash Orzo - The Little Red House. Bacon, cheese, orzo - wow, just wow.

Butternut Squash Risotto - Bay Area Bites. Simple side dish (well, as simple as risotto can be).

Butternut Squash and Bacon Risotto – Guilty Kitchen. OK, this one calls for some specialty grocery items, or at least requires you to search your grocery store to find stuff you don’t normally buy. But it looks worth it.

Miscellaneous Dishes

Butternut Squash Bake - Mango & Tomato. I'm swayed by any recipe that could give me an excuse to buy small serveware.

Individual "Lighter" Chicken Pot Pies - Proud Italian Cook. We like pot pie in our house, but usually resort to buying the frozen stuff, so we can each have our own. I don't think I'm going to find this variety in the freezer section, though. Seems easy enough.

Baked Goods

{Vegan} Acorn Squash Muffins - Whisk and a Prayer. Hadn't thought of using squash in baked goods until now. What a good idea!

Whole Wheat Winter Squash Pancakes – Piccante Dolce. Squash for breakfast!

Butternut Squash Loaf - HungerStruck. All sorts of goodness here.

For the Brave / Experienced Cook

Butternut Squash Brulee - Buttered Up. Think creme brulee, but with squash! Get out that blow torch!

Butternut Squash Souffle - Pig Pig's Corner.

Seeds and Other Snacks

What to do with {Squash} Seeds - Martha Stewart. Idea #1 - Pumpkin Seed Brittle!

6 Recipes for Pumpkin Seeds - The Drinkwater Kitchen. I love the idea that she couldn't help but come up with 6 ideas, instead of the 2 she intended! This really has something for everyone.

Cinnamon Sugar and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds - Our Italian Kitchen. Love the idea of cinnamon sugar seeds!

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds - Artsy-Foodie. A nice blend of spices.

Baked Butternut Squash Chips - SpicySaltySweet. I can make these at home? Without deep frying? Awesome!

Butternut Squash Hummus - Mango & Tomato. The recipe isn't the main focus of this post, but it is included. Sounds like a good thing to try, if you like hummus.

Linkfest: Lunch sides

Following up on last week’s sandwich post (I meant to post this Thursday), I’ve got some links for things that make for good lunch sides (or parts of sandwiches, perhaps). Enjoy!

Breads / Bread-like Items




Lastly… not a recipe, but something any pickle-lover will appreciate (seriously, just click through for the fun of it): Crochet Pickles by Nicole Gastonguay | Craftzine.

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For me, DQS9 is now officially over. I received a note today saying the quilt I’d mailed out had been received, and I received mine in the mail on Tuesday. So, lots of pictures ahead!

Let’s start with the one I sent out. I’ve been waiting anxiously for it to arrive at its destination so that I could do a full reveal.


Front (with a peek at the back)


Back - this fabric was the first one I picked out, and it's how I determined all the other ones actually went well together, despite the oddity of orange + purple. I think it turned out really well.


My first wonky star ever. Really not that hard. The only thing is... I totally miscalculated, twice. The first time, I cut only half the number of pieces I'd need to assemble it. So I corrected, or rather overcorrected, by cutting twice as many. So, there's a cheery sun on the back too.


I love this one! I was able to get the most "artsy" with this one, even though that was really hard for me. Prince Charming had to help me figure out how to do those shading lines on the canoe, because I am really not an artist (in the drawing/painting sense).


Sneaky little brownie with his bucket of... who knows what. Sand? Water? Wonder where he's going....


Added in the flower, since he seemed like he needed a bit more. Did you catch that they all have red hair? 🙂




All sorts of excitement going on here! My favorite bit is the umbrella.


This was the square I kept secret from everyone, because I wanted it to be a surprise. I took the logo for DQS9, traced it onto the background fabric, and then tried out tinting with crayons (which we happened to have in the house). Then some embroidery, and voila! I don't think she'll mind me sharing this even though it has her full name on it - I'm guessing there are quite a few Karen Jones in the United Kingdom (that's right, I sent it to England!).


I used a decorative stitch on my machine to do the quilting, something I'd seen some other people do. This was leaves - it looked the best out of all my options.


Goodbye! I sent it off with almost all of my Joel Dewberry "Deer Valley" scraps, since she'd mentioned how she liked them (they were all that I had left over after making pillows for the living room, and now that I've decided to change the color scheme in there, it seemed silly to hoard all that fabric that I'd probably never use).

Here’s the beauty that arrived for me on Tuesday! Unlike the quilt I sent out, which had a long ways to go, this one only had to go a tiny distance – my partner, Rebecca (craftalittle) lives in the metro area (well, kind of). [Editor’s note: I thought it would look nice to photograph these in the sunbeam that streamed into the living room yesterday after work, but it totally didn’t end up like I wanted to. Well, lesson learned.]


The quilt, and some fun extras! Hexagon templates and a charm pack!


Do you see this awesomely cute bird? He makes me very happy.


She quilted it with these beautiful flower motifs!


What is that there? Oh my goodness, there's a big "K" on the back! Have I mentioned yet that Rebecca had a baby mid-August? And still managed to make this? While managing a toddler and a newborn? I am in awe.


Here she is, in all her (shady/sunny) glory!

As if that wasn’t enough, we came home to a present from my father-in-law, celebrating our anniversary (which we knew would be “food,” but that’s not much of a hint).


Cute packaging! Wait, what does that say on the box?


Cupcakes! Quick, free them from their plastic prison (and sentence them to a tasty death instead)!


Each one is a different flavor combo!


This is the one Prince Charming chose to eat first. It was chocolate with... sprinkles on top. Or something like that.


Cookies and cream maybe? We haven't eaten it yet.


They're all decorated so cute! See the flower? It's not plastic, like I thought, but actually frosting!

Needless to say, after having a cupcake (mine had fudge frosting, which totally did me in for the rest of the evening) or two, dinner was postponed. went out for a run, and I still wasn’t hungry when he came back. I made up sweet potato fries, and he made up some mac & cheese, of which I ate a few forkfulls. I was very, very full.

We’ve had a great few days, don’t you think? Such happy, happy mail!

Linkfest: Back to School Cookies

I figured it was about time that I’d share some more links with you, and with school starting today (for pre-college students, that is), and the change in weather, well, I thought cookie recipes fit the bill. I narrowed down the list (because I’ve got more bookmarked that I didn’t share) and included only those cookies that would work for a school lunch (that is, wouldn’t get smooshed or melty or gooey). Enjoy!

Sandwich Cookies – who doesn’t love a good sandwich cookie, especially after a nice sandwich? OK, I don’t really care for the sandwich, just give me the cookies. I’ve even got some non-chocolate varieties here. I don’t even think I need to sell you on them – their names do it for me.

Chocolate Chip-like Cookies – classic, and a favorite, but sometimes it needs to get mixed up a bit, you know?

Miscellaneous Cookies – do I need to describe why these cookies might be good? I think not.

Bar Cookies – a must-have list for Minnesotans, and generally helpful for anyone with a big family or who has a cookie monster in his/her family. Or maybe a company potluck coming up.

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Linkfest: Summer Drinks

Some things I’ve bookmarked recently:

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Linkfest: A Bit Healthier

Some things I’ve bookmarked recently:



  • Spicy Grilled Shrimp | The Kitchn – Grilled shrimp (well, all shrimp really) is a great low-calorie protein. I love it on the grill, though I haven’t tried it spicy yet.
  • garlic shrimp pasta | simmer down! – OK, if you switch out the pasta with a whole-grain variety, or just eat less of it, I think you’re good here. No cream sauce to clog your arteries.



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Linkfest: Chocolate Obsession

What’s that you say? You’re having difficulty getting enough chocolate into your diet? Never fear, I have collected some recipes to help you get through this trying dietary dilemma.

Some basics:

Taking cake to the next level:

Feeling nutty? Hazelnutty?

A bit more sophisticated:

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Linkfest: For your [hungry] inner child

Lately, my inner child wants to eat lots of yummy (bad for you) foods at a time that will most likely ruin my appetite for the upcoming meal. I have to tell her to be quiet (sometimes I shove a rice cake in her mouth, and that seems to hold her off a bit).

But if you feel like indulging your inner child, here are some recipes for you

  • Nesquik Cake | Palachinka – Nesquik reminds me of my childhood, and the 80s. Not that I consumed much Nesquik – not a huge fan actually. This recipe isn’t so much a Nesquik cake as it is a cake dusted with Nesquik, but it sure is pretty!
  • S’mores Cupcakes | Living Eventfully – If you find yourself unable to go camping this summer (perhaps you’ve waited to long and can’t find an open campsite, or your camping supplies have gone MIA, or you insist on sleeping in a real bed – whatever), make some of these up and reminisce in a distinctly sleeping-on-a-mattress, living-with-air-conditioning way.

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Linkfest: Fruity Summery Deserts

Some things I’ve bookmarked recently:

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Linkfest: Brunch

and I are planning to host a brunch for family the day after ‘s wedding. Conveniently, I have several recipes bookmarked in my “brunch” folder. Of course, we’ll be making cinnamon rolls (because I have a fabulous recipe that we both love), and there should probably be fruit salad (it is June). I’m really tempted to make Prize Coffee Cake, but there are some good coffee cake recipes below that I’d like to try. Sometimes it’s good to try something new, even if you know the new can’t possibly be better than the usual.

What do you serve at brunch? (Or, perhaps more appropriately, what would you like to eat at brunch?)



Coffee Cakes

Muffins, Biscuits, and other Breads



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  1. What is absolutely the best cookie you’ve ever had? I’m a huge fan of Super-Sized Ginger Chewies from Big Fat Cookies by Eleanor Klivans (the cookie book I talk about all the time – it has every recipe you will ever need except for chocolate chip cookies*). I have made them as gifts, given the recipe out to others, and just adore it. Yum!
  2. What is a cookie you really don’t care for? Oatmeal Raisin. Anything with raisins, actually. (Yes, I know earlier I said I was eating raisins. Raisins aren’t bad. Baked raisins are bad. There is a difference.)
  3. What are some other cookies you are rather fond of? Girl Scout Samoas, Chips Ahoy Chewy Chocolate Chip, snickerdoodles, and shortbread cookies. I love shortbread. It’s all that butter; can’t go wrong with butter.
  4. Grocery-store cookies are, of course, never as good as anything that comes out of someone’s kitchen, but what’s a packaged cookie that’s still pretty good? As mentioned in #3, Chips Ahoy Chewy Chocolate Chip. Yes, they’re technically not that good, but they stay chewy forever! And chewy is good.
  5. In general, do you think cookies should be chewy and gooey, or should they be crispy and crunchy? Definitely chewy, though perhaps not gooey. Crunchy is also OK (like nuts in the cookie), but I like them to overall be chewy. Crispy I’m not so much a fan of.

*Yes, there are in fact several chocolate chip cookie recipes in this book. I have tried two of them and they massively failed. Like, unuseable, uneatable, never have I had a cookie be so awful failed. So I don’t recommend those. But all the other recipes in it that I’ve tried have been perfect and delicious!

Do you know how long I could talk about cookies? Especially baking cookies? It’s a good thing there were five (and only five) guiding questions. Otherwise, we might still be here tomorrow. 🙂

Linkfest: Gardening and Homegrown Food

Here in Minnesota, it’s not exactly gardening season yet (last frost date, according to Bachman’s, is May 10), but it’s definitely time to start planning. Here are some gardening and fresh food resources for you:

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Linkfest: Grilling

For most people (in this hemisphere), now that it’s warm out, grilling season has begun. Our grill happens to be less than five feet from the kitchen door, so we grilled throughout the winter (just have to make sure to shovel a path after it snows), and our neighbor across the street grills daily, year-round. But I know that’s not the norm, so I’ve saved these for sharing until now. Enjoy!

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