Fall Flavors: Apple Picking and Oktoberfest Menu Ideas

A few weeks into Autumn. The air is crisp, but not too cold. The leaves are changing and starting to fall. But the weather isn’t the only thing that is changing. Our taste in food changes a little bit as well. Fall flavors like apple, pumpkin and cinnamon are what we crave. Fall festivals like Oktoberfest offer mouthwatering menus we look forward to every year. Learn about the flavors of fall with these articles on apples and Oktoberfest.

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American As Apple Pie: The Apple’s Journey to America
For a country that’s second in the world in apple production, a nation with a proud idiom like “American as apple pie,” it’s odd to learn that all these apples weren’t around when colonists first settled on American soil. The apple’s journey to America is a curious one, intertwined with colonial tastes, the founding fathers and even a popular legend or two. Read on to learn more about the apple’s deep roots in our American history.

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What to Put On Your Oktoberfest Menu
With summer barbecues in our past and holiday parties ahead of us, we’re in that wonderful fall transitional period. Oktoberfest is to us what trick-or-treating is for the little ones. But you don’t have to pack your travel pillow and get on a 10-hour flight to take part in the festival. You can have your own fest at home. You know that beer is a must, but you need some snacks to go with it. Here’s what to put on your Oktoberfest menu.

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Apple Picking Guide
It’s that time of year when apples taste the sweetest and farms open to the public for apple picking. It is one of those fall activities for which everyone should set aside a crisp day and leave behind the cheap toys and chores to celebrate the beautiful autumn season. Here’s a quick guide to picking the best apples this fall.

Wine Decor, Hostess Gifts and Tabletop Essentials

You don’t have to be a wine enthusiast to appreciate the fun home decorating possibilities of a wine theme. From repurposing corks and wine bottles to create a design all your guests will envy to personalized gifts to please your generous host or hostess, Lakeside is filled with wine decor products everyone will appreciate.

Tasteful Decor for Wine Enthusiasts
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The Metal Monogram Wine Cork-Holder adds a distinctive look to your dining room or kitchen, especially when you fill it up with the corks left over from your favorite wines. Just start from the bottom and try to fill up the entire letter. Get multiple letters to spell out your name or wine-related words for a truly unique design.

As long as you’re reusing your corks, why not reuse a wine bottle too? Light My Bottle adds a dazzling touch to your tabletop. Simply thread the 42″ light string through the top of any bottle that’s at least 9″ tall, place the pole inside and click the on/off switch on the top to watch the 15 beautiful fairy lights illuminate the interior.

Gifts for Your Host or Hostess
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The Set of 4 Personalized Travertine Stone Coasters makes a great gift for almost any occasion, but it’s the ideal gift for a wine-tasting or dinner party. Each stone coaster protects your table surfaces from water rings. The cork design on the bottom helps prevent scratches. Personalize the coasters with the recipient’s name.

Monogram Wine Gift Set makes it easy to add a thoughtful, personal touch to that wine-tasting, dinner party, housewarming, birthday or wedding. The classy gift set comes with a metal coaster and wine stopper. Each piece has an identical monogram worked into its design, and comes in a stylish box that’s ready for giving.

Don’t Forget the Tabletop
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Add a romantic touch to your decor or set the scene for an elegant party with Set of 2 LED Taper Candles. Each candle has a wax coating and gives off an amber glow that looks beautiful in a floral arrangement or centerpiece. Timer lets you set the candles to automatically turn on at a desired time and off after 6 hours.

Organize the eating necessities on your tabletop with an elegant Buffet Caddy. Each caddy features a lovely scroll design that complements existing decor. The Plate Caddy provides quick, easy access to plates, while the Flatware & Napkin Caddy has 3 separate sections for utensils and an open space for holding napkins.

Wine Wednesday: Interesting Facts About Wine in America

It took some time for wine to become as popular in America as it is in Europe, and even longer for American wine to earn worldwide recognition and respect. While wine isn’t nearly as popular as beer on U.S. soil, it’s widely consumed and continues to blend into mainstream culture. Wine Wednesday is the perfect occasion to uncork your favorite vintage in the middle of the week. Before pouring a glass of sauvignon blanc or while you’re sipping a sweet Riesling, take a look at these fun, interesting facts on the history of wine in America.

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Oldest Winery in the U.S.A.
The oldest operating winery in America is the Brotherhood Winery. Located in Washingtonville, New York, it produced its first wine for commercial consumption in 1839, and is still up and running. In fact, some original facilities are still being used in the wine-making process, and wine enthusiasts can explore the sights to get an idea of what it was like to make wine in America during the 19th century. Visitors to this National Historic Site can try wine tastings, check out the grounds, take special tours and bring home some delicious wines.

Wine During Prohibition
Establishments like the Brotherhood Winery were in danger of going out of business during the Prohibition throughout the 1920’s. However, there was a loophole for wineries to continue to operate, selling their wine to the Catholic Church for sacramental wine purposes. While many wineries and businesses dependent on wine didn’t make it through the dry years, wineries which were lucky enough to stay under contract with the church thrived (likely selling to more customers than the church). In addition, at-home wine making kits were legal during Prohibition, allowing Americans to produce a certain amount of wine per year for personal use.

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When Everything Changed
In May of 1976, the most respected wine connoisseurs in Paris assembled for a blind taste-test between the noble French wines that were regarded as the best in the world and up-and-coming American wines from a few vineyards in California. The challenge wasn’t given much attention by the French media because it was impossible for the unknown Californian wineries to compete with France. Surprisingly, the wines judged as the best for red and white were both Californian, paving the way for wine in America and around the world.

Top Spot for the Time Being
Americans drink a lot of wine. More and more since the wine scene really started to take root and trickle into popular culture. In addition to consuming the most wine, the American wine tourism scene is also booming, attracting millions of tourists annually to hot spots like Napa Valley and Sonoma Country in California. And in case you were wondering what wines Americans love the most, the top spot goes to Chardonnay, with a close following from Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio and Merlot, while Pinot Noir rounds out the top five.


Whether you love capping off a long day with a glass of wine or plan on serving wine at Thanksgiving this year, find all the wine supplies you need at The Lakeside Collection, from glasses to wine bottle holders.

Wine and Dine: Tips on Wine Tasting, Pairing and Stains

The world of wine is huge and constantly growing. Whether you enjoy a glass of your favorite vintage on the weekend or throw together wine-tastings as often as football parties, there’s always room to grow. Check out tips on pairing wine with cheese or grilled foods, and tips on stains in this wine and dine article showcase.

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Holiday Wine & Cheese Guide: Tips on Choosing the Right Vintage
Wine and cheese provide the perfect one-two punch for any and every type of social gathering. Many adults know what kind of wine they prefer, but deciding what kind of cheese to pair with their favorite vintage might be a bigger mystery. Learn about some of the best combinations with our holiday wine and cheese guide.

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Tips on Getting Red Wine and Other Tough Stains Out of Clothes
Few stains are more demoralizing than red wine stains. But with a packed holiday social calendar, spills are inevitable, which means your favorite outfit might be in danger. Red wine stains aren’t the end of the world, and shouldn’t mean the end of the party. Rest easy with tips on getting wine and other stains out of clothes.

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Gourmet Grill: Advice on Pairing Grilled Food with Wine
With summer winding down, there aren’t going to be many more months to get outside and cook on the grill; and traditionally, grilled foods are associated with beer or mixed drinks, not wine. Try out something new on the grill before summer ends and keep the grill going in fall by learning what grilled foods go best with wine.

Quick Tips on Buying and Grilling Shrimp

Shrimp is known as the easiest and least intimidating seafood to cook. But when you’re buying fresh shrimp from the supermarket or local fishmonger instead of the freezer aisle, there are some key things you need to know to make sure you’re getting the very best quality seafood. Even after you get your shrimp home, there are storage and prepping procedures you should consider before finally throwing your shrimp onto the grill. Shrimp can cook pretty quick, so we’re giving you some even quicker facts and useful tips on grilling shrimp.

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  • Though there are more than 300 different species of shrimp around the world, you’ll probably only be able to find a few kinds at your local store. The good news: some of the best shrimp in the world comes off our own shores on the Gulf of Mexico, meaning you can eat fresh in any state.
  • The shelf life is pretty short, so shrimp behind the supermarket glass isn’t your best bet when looking to buy fresh. Some of the best shrimp is sold in frozen blocks. You’ll have to peel and take out the veins. Another great option is individual quick frozen shrimp. It’s easier to thaw and prep.
  • It’s sold by the pound, so if you’ve got less than 30 shrimp per pound, they should be big to jumbo or even colossal size. Tinier shrimp should score you more than 50. Colossal shrimp or larger sizes have a “U” before the number, which stands for “Under.” Ex: U8 is Under 8 shrimp per pound.
  • Black spotting that is sometimes seen on shrimp that aren’t fresh is called melanosis. It doesn’t mean the shrimp isn’t edible, but it’s a good idea to try to avoid the shrimp with spots to make sure you’re getting the freshest flavor. Shrimp should also be firm. Don’t buy shrimp if it’s falling apart.

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  • Defrost before grilling. Do this in the fridge or with a bucket of cold water. Cold, not warm. Warm water might thaw shrimp faster but it will also force it to lose good moisture and density that will mess with the flavor. Looking for extra flavor? Try brining. Boil water with a mix of salt and sugar. Add it to the cold contents already in the fridge for a couple hours before grilling. Remember to rinse it off.
  • Peel or not. It’s your preference. Peeling is better for throwing your shrimp on kabobs, but leaving the shell can help protect delicious shrimp meat from the grill. The exterior of the shrimp is best when it’s a little pink, and you know the inside is done when it’s white. Don’t walk away from the grill. Shrimp usually cooks quickly depending on how hot your grill is running. Cook time: 4-7 minutes.

7 Foods That Sound Bad but Are Good for You

Most of us struggle to eat well. It’s tough to include kale in every meal, but really we don’t have to. What’s even better news than that, is that not all food we think is bad for us is unhealthy. Here are 7 foods that sound bad but are good for you.

Rapeseed oil and flowers isolated over white.No Fear Fried Food Fried food not only tastes good, but it’s good for you, too. Sort of. It depends on what is being fried. Something like battered and fried broccoli isn’t so bad despite that it’s cloaked in fat. But foods that contain carotenoids and fat soluble vitamins like A and K need fat it helps the body absorbs the nutrients. What makes the frying bad is the type of fat. It’s better to stick to oils like canola and safflower that are made up of unsaturated fats and monounsaturated fatty acids which improve blood cholesterol levels and decrease your risk for heart disease. The bad fats like butter and shortening (trans fats) should be avoided. They increase cholesterol significantly.

Good Shape Guac The main ingredient of guacamole is avocado which is full of fat but it’s good fat that not only doesn’t contain cholesterol, but it can also help lower bad cholesterol. Avocados are also a good source of vitamin K, folic acid and vitamin E. In addition to avocados, guacamole also contains onions, jalapenos and tomatoes. Tomatoes are widely considered a super-food; they contain lycopene, vitamins A, C and E. Mix it all together and you have a cancer-fighting, heart-disease-battling dip.

Coffee cupCoffee Cure Coffee doesn’t just wake you up in the morning, it can give your brain a boost. It actually stimulates the release of dopamine and norepinephrine as well as improve your memory and cognitive function. But a cup of Joe can give your whole body a kick start as well. The long term benefits may include lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Fitness Fries Sweet potatoes are associated with carbohydrates which can scare away any dieter, but those orange tubers are packed with nutrients and they don’t contain nearly as much starch as rice or corn. Sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium, fiber and vitamin A (and Beta-carotene). Beta-carotene protects the body’s immune system and can lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. While adding fat through deep-frying isn’t ideal, in moderation the benefits outweigh the consequences. However, baked sweet potato fries are just as tasty as the fried ones.

Smoothie Strength Smoothies get a bad rap for being high-calorie sugar shakes, but if you use yogurt instead of ice cream, they won’t be so bad. They can actually be quite good for you. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which prevents the production of cell-damaging free radicals. They’re also anti-inflammatories. Yogurt promotes intestinal health as it’s full of probiotics and the active cultures help prevent yeast infections. You can add banana for texture and potassium and orange juice as a sweetener and for some vitamin C. Just hit puree and you have a breakfast for cancer to contend with.

Cup Cake decorationPotent Peanut Butter  You got chocolate in my peanut butter! You got peanut butter in my chocolate! Together, they taste like strength. Peanut butter is a protein rich food that helps build and repair muscle. It also has cholesterol-lowering, healthy fats and it’s loaded with anti-oxidants. Wrapped in dark chocolate, this may be the perfect food. Dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure, improve your cognitive function and reduce the risk for stroke. A peanut butter cup made with the right ingredients does a body good.

Robust Rinds Deep fried pig skin. Sounds heart-stopping- deadly, doesn’t it? Well, unlike their potato counterparts, pork rinds contain no carbohydrates. The other good news: the bad fat in the skin is rendered off in the cooking process leaving behind almost pure protein.

National Cookie Day: Unique Cookie Recipes to Wow Your Holiday Guests

December 4 is National Cookie Day. Since we’re knee-deep in holiday celebrations, we thought we’d celebrate National Cookie Day with holiday flair. We scoured the internet for the most outrageous holiday cookie recipes we won’t mind trying. Here are 5 unique cookie recipes to wow your holiday guests.-cookie-turtle-thumbprint

Out of the Shell Chocolate, caramel and nuts — those are the things that make up a turtle chocolate cluster, but Tastes Better from Scratch took turtles a step further and transformed them into a cookie! It’s full of all the richest ingredients that we both love and hate about the holidays! The recipe is not too complicated, but there are enough steps that you might want to enlist little helpers to get the job done.-cookies-christmas-swirl

Willy Wonka Would Be Proud Check out these gems from I Love My Disorganized Life — they look like they came straight from the candy shop only with a little butter and flour mixed in! As beautiful as these Christmas swirl sugar cookies are, they’re not that hard to make. With a rolling pin and some wax paper, you can make these pinwheels, too!  cookies-holly-ginger

Holly Go Gingerly Though we always have gingerbread cookies around the holidays, they’re not the most festive-looking cookies — but Cooking Classy worked her magic to give them that holiday flair to go with the holiday flavor! These cookies are so cute, you can’t not make them for your holiday shindig.

cookies-meringue-treesOh, Christmas Tree! How is this for cute? Tiny trees you can eat! These are meringues This Silly Girl’s Life shaped into Christmas trees. Though they’re not your traditional cookie, they might be a bit easier on the waste line without all the butter and flour – it’s all just egg whites and sugar and a few other ingredients to make it pretty.

holly-cheesecakeMerry Cheesecake Who needs a whole cheesecake when you can shrink one down to a tiny, bite-sized cookie? It takes all of the mess out of slicing and serving one of our favorite treats! With a mini muffin pan and patience, La Receta de la Felicidad made little pie crust cups to hold the cheesecake for simple serving. To make it festive, she painted tiny holly on the tops of the tiny cakes.

gift-appThe Lakeside Collection has a variety of kitchen gadgets to help you make your holiday cookies memorable this year! From baking sheets to spatulas, we have you covered for all your baking ideas this season. But don’t stop at our baking supplies! Check out our Perfect Present gift app to help you select gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list!

5 Fall Casseroles to Try This Week

It’s about time to break out our pots and pans for warm meals on cold nights. We have so many plans to make our fall favorites, but we’re always looking for new recipes to get us through the season. We came up with a list of 5 fall casseroles to try this week.chicken-wild-rice-casserole

Go Wild If you’re looking for warm and delicious with a touch of healthy, you might want to try Chicken Wild Rice Casserole. This one comes from Pinch of Yum. Though a good amount of butter is used to make this casserole flavorful, it’s balanced out with plenty of carrots and chicken to give you nutrients. If you’re craving something green, pair it with a side of steamed broccoli splashed with lemon juice and drizzled with olive oil.

chicken-bacon-ranch-pasta-bakeOne-Dish Meal Here’s an easy, but balanced recipe for a one-dish meal. Inside Bru Crew Life came up with this one after a trip to Subway. She calls it the Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake. It has plenty of tomatoes and spinach to cover your vegetable requirements, chicken and cheese for your protein and a healthy dose of pasta to round out your meal with a grain. Just twenty minutes of prep time and twenty minutes in the oven and you can feed your whole family!twice-baked-potato-casserole

Over-Stuffed Here’s a family favorite made easy by Love Bakes Good Cakes. It’s a twice baked potato without going through the labor of scooping the potato out of its skin and putting it all back in once it’s thoroughly transformed into a tasty mash. Rather, to make it a casserole, you just cut up the potatoes, mix them with sour cream and top it all with bacon and cheese. Though it’s not a one-dish meal, it does make an excellent side for baked chicken, pork chops or steak.lemon-chicken-pasta-bake

Keep It Simple This Lemon Chicken Pasta Bake from Cooking and Beer is delightfully simple. Pasta, cooked chicken, cream of chicken soup and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese is what makes this meal magical. With a few spears of asparagus, you don’t need much else to satisfy your weeknight hunger.jalapeno-popper-casserole

Add a Little Spice If you’re looking for some excitement in your dinner routine, try adding some spice to it with Jalapeno Popper Tater Tot Casserole from Premeditated Leftovers. It mixes fun with easy to make your dinner crazy delicious! It’s like your favorite school lunch fused with your favorite party dip — you just can’t go wrong with this. This makes a good side for a simple chicken dish.

Fall is one of our favorite seasons here at The Lakeside Collection! With the pumpkins and falling leaves, it gets us excited for all the holidays to come! Join us for all the celebrations and let us help you make each one magical with great products at discount prices.

5 Soup Recipes to Welcome Fall

beer-and-cheddar-soupThe weather is quickly turning and soon it’s going to be a bit chilly to enjoy another salad — but that’s OK, there are plenty of warm meals we’re looking forward to making as the temperatures drop. At The Lakeside Collection, one of the things we can’t wait to make is soup! We scoured the Internet for the most delicious ideas to stir in our pots and we think you’ll like them, too. Here are 5 soup recipes to welcome fall.

Beer: It’s What’s for Dinner Beer and cheddar aren’t two things you’d expect to see on a blog called Diethood — but to be clear, “diet” doesn’t mean cutting out fat and carbs, it’s just all the food we eat and enjoy. And there’s a lot to enjoy with this beer and cheddar soup! In addition to cheddar and beer, this one requires carrots, onions, garlic — and because this is made with vegetable stock, it’s a green light for vegetarians to put it on their menu.

cauliflower-soupRed Pepper & Cauliflower Power Here’s something you might not find in your canned soup aisle: roasted red pepper and cauliflower soup. It’s a pretty straightforward recipe from Gal on a Mission — roast your cauliflower and peppers while you dice your onions and mince your garlic, simmer it all together until the flavors have bloomed and steeped. Then, put it all in a blender to make it smooth. It’s perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich on a chilly fall afternoon.tuscan-bean-soup

Under the Tuscan Sun You don’t have to be in Florence or Pisa to enjoy the culinary delights of Tuscany — all you need are a few beans, spices and vegetables to get the flavor of the culture thanks to The Wanderlust Kitchen. This one is a very hardy soup — it could actually be served by itself as a meal. It’s a pretty impressive amalgam of vegetables; most of your daily vegetable requirements can be met with just one bowl! Lucky for you, this makes many bowls so your veggies can be taken care of for the whole week.

tortilla-soupLow-Maintenance Mexican For those who don’t have the time to do a lot of prep work but want the benefits of a delicious homemade soup, I have a Future and a Hope has the solution: Five Ingredient Chicken Tortilla Soup. It’s so easy, it doesn’t feel like cooking! Basically, you dump all five ingredients in a slow cooker and let it go for a few hours. Start this in the morning and by the time you get home from work, you have a steaming bowl of spicy soup to warm up your fall evening!

potato-soupPotato Passion You can’t put together a list of soups without including one for potato soup. This one comes from Happiness is Homemade. It’s a slow cooker recipe, but it’s not quite as easy as the tortilla soup — you do have to do a little bit of sauteing, but letting it go in the slow cooker is what makes it magical. Creamy or chunky, it’s a delicious way to add a little warmth to your autumn.

Fall is just the beginning of our favorite time of year at The Lakeside Collection! We have so many events to coordinate and celebrate and we know you do, too! Let us help you make your holidays entertaining and bright with fun products at practical prices.

5 Easy Recipes for Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day

lak-pizzaThe kids are back at school and we now return to our regular schedules — that means meal planning — breakfast, lunch and dinner — for the whole family rather than letting the kids eat at their leisure with their relaxed summer hours. But this week you don’t have to do all of the work! September 13 is Kids Take Over The Kitchen Day. It’s a day to let your kids get in some culinary practice and give you a break from cooking. In honor of the day, we selected a few recipes easy enough for the kids to make and delicious enough for everyone to eat. Here are 5 easy recipes for Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day.

Piece of Pizzazz Just about every kid loves pizza, but with all of the yeast-rising and dough-tossing it’s not the easiest thing to make.  Crafty Morning  has a solution — Texas Toast Pizza! Basically, you bake the toast just a little bit, slather it with pizza sauce and top it with shredded mozzarella and pepperoni before baking it a little bit more until it’s all melty. It’s so easy, your kids just might want to make dinner every night!lak-potato-soup

Soup’s On! Now that it’s chilly out, you might be leaning toward making soup to warm you up. But rather than opening a can of split pea soup, recruit the kids to whip up something in the slow-cooker. Recipes That Crock has a perfect recipe for potato soup. It has a lot of ingredients to keep the kids busy all afternoon chopping and dicing, but the cooking part is pretty simple: lightly brown the onion and garlic with flour, then throw all of the rest of the ingredients in the slow-cooker and let it go for four hours or so. It’s not quite that simple, but pretty close and you’ll be pleased with the results.lak-enchilada

Cinchiladas To add a little spice to your options, we wanted to include enchiladas that are a cinch to prepare. This recipe might be best for older kids, but it’s still pretty easy if you use Gimme Some Oven’s pre-cooked chicken option. There’s a little bit of chopping and sauteing, but most of your kids’ energy is spent assembling the enchiladas, baking them, serving them, and cleaning up!spinach

Italian-American Of course we had to include our recipe for Cheesy Spinach Roll-ups. It’s an American twist on the Italian favorite, lasagna, only there’s no tomato sauce and instead of meat, we threw in some spinach. What makes this easier than lasagna is you don’t have to layer and layer your ingredients before you bake them — all you have to do is cook your lasagna noodles and spread your cheese and spinach mixture on each noodle, roll it up, top it with sauce and cheese and bake! It’s a one-dish-wonder your kids will want to make again and again.lak-chocolate-ice-cream

Last But Not Least… Since summer isn’t quite over yet and we have to include a dessert, we chose chocolate ice cream to end your meal on a sweet note. But don’t worry — this recipe from Best Recipe Box is neither difficult nor messy! And the best part is that it has only three ingredients! Basically, you have to make a slightly thicker version of whipped cream and freeze it. The kids won’t be able to make enough of it before it gets cold, but by the summer rolls back around, they’ll have an idea for a summer sweet treat to keep them cool when they’re on break.

Every holiday is worth celebrating at The Lakeside Collection! From easy recipes for Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day to Halloween decorations to make your Halloween party haunting, look to Lakeside for great ideas and even better products.