Year: 2012

First Giveaway Winner Announced!

Happy Monday Everyone! My first giveaway has ended and the winner is… Comment #22: Dina! Congrats Dina!  Please send an email to peanutbutterdillpickles {at} so I can get your new goodies to you. Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway.  I definitely plan to do more of these giveaways in the future.  It was a lot of fun reading every one’s comments and favorite holiday traditions. See you on Friday for the second edition of Friday things! Winner chosen by Random Number Generator at

Friday Things, First Edition

A lot of the blogs I love and follow have a fun tradition of posting collections of random things they love/dislike/desire/crave/etc. once a week. I’m really surprised that I’m just getting on this bandwagon now. The way I see it, these are all things I’d call/email my family and friends over or even pin on Pinterest so why not share the love here to?  I wouldn’t necessarily write a separate post for each, but when combined together…you get a good helping of Friday Things! Without further adieu… Wow of the Week: Better Way to Fill/Clean Pastry Bags Where has this been all my life?!?  I saw this tip on Pinterest this week and my jaw is still on the floor.  Do you ever look at yourself and think, “Duh…why didn’t I think of that?!?”  I can finally dust off my pastry bags and tips.  They’d been banished to the far corner of the bottom cabinet never to be used again since they are such a pain to clean.  My life is forever changed.  I wanted to frost/decorate …


New Holiday Tradition: Roasting Chesnuts + My First Giveaway

Happy Holidays everyone!!  I’m just giddy with excitement because this really truly is my most favorite time of the year.  The house is all decorated, I’ve got Christmas tree scented candles and/or air spray in every room in the house, I’m halfway done with holiday baking prep, the Christmas movies are all out, and I’m counting down the days until we get to see our families in Texas, Chicago, and here in Wisconsin.  I even have this candle holder on the ledge by my kitchen sink.  Isn’t it cute?  You know what makes it cuter?  It was a whopping $6 at a shop in Door County, WI.  I know.  You don’t need to say it.  $6 holiday decorations are the best. I have so much to chit chat about today so let’s get right down to it.  I promise there will be a special treat for you at the end of all this. First, my parents are moving back from London to Chicago in a few days and I couldn’t be more excited!  They had …

Easy Peasy Rustic Bread//Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Easy Peasy Rustic Bread

 Growing up my mom had an electric bread-making machine that sat on our counter and it spit out decent bread, yet in the form of a perfect cube. Outside of that machine, I’d never made homemade bread before. Why had I never made homemade bread before?  Well, generally you come across one or all of the following terms in a bread recipe: benching, proofing, punching down, etc. All of those things send me running for the hills.  I’m a much more “feel as I go” cook.  I use recipes as guidelines and breadmaking isn’t exactly the niche to do that in.  Also, I feel like if the water isn’t the EXACT temperature or ingredients aren’t measured perfectly you’ll end up with a brick.  I don’t like bricks and butter. But then the skies opened up and a ray of bread-based light shown down. I stumbled across a glorious image of a crusty, artisanal loaf on Pinterest and the caption heavily emphasized how easy the bread was to make.  That led me to the blog, Simply …


Turkey Candy and Everything to be Thankful For!

Happy Cyber Monday everybody!  How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? I hope filled with as much fun, family, and food as ours was. Speaking of Cyber Monday, I’d much rather prefer Cyber Rewind Day. I could use another two days of vacation, a long weekend, and wonderful food feast just as bad as I could use the Powerball jackpot on Wednesday. Yes, that bad. Our spread (and surroundings) were quite something! Usually our Thanksgivings are spent in the northwoods of Wisconsin but this year we gathered at my aunt and uncle’s house and kept it local. It also allowed us to dabble in Black Friday…and boy was that an experience! Back to Thanksgiving. Doesn’t my aunt make you feel like you’re eating in a Pottery Barn catalog? You felt it too?  See, I knew I wasn’t the only one… We had beautiful weather, which was great for frequent trips out to our smoking turkey on the grill.  Read more about that and get the recipe here. This turkey was affectionately named Cheryl by my cousin.  I think it …


Winter Farmers Markets, Who Knew?!?

Saturday mornings used to be pretty typical. Wake up.  Hit snooze. Wake up again.  Look at these furry mugs and decide to get up.  Yes, this photo was literally what I woke up to one morning.  For reals. Let the dogs out.  Eat breakfast. Think about cleaning and/or laundry.  Make some tea.  Watch a cooking show.  Think about cleaning and laundry again…repeat x10 until you realize it’s noon and you still haven’t showered… No more!  After years of hemming and hawing, I finally checked out the local winter farmer’s market here in Milwaukee.  What’s even more pathetic to admit is that this market is a whopping 2.5 miles from my house…and it took me over 2 years to finally check it out. Until I heard about the market, I naively never knew such a thing existed.  I figured the end of summer signaled the end of farmer’s markets…not the start of another wave of fresh and local goodies!  If you’re local to southeastern Wisconsin and interested in checking it out, click here for their website. …

Brined and Smoked

Brined and smoked.  Enough said. The only way to do a turkey in my book. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted to link back to my all time favorite way to make a Thanksgiving turkey that I posted last year. Cider Brined Smoked Turkey Regardless of how you prepare your bird, I hope everyone has a fun and family filled Thanksgiving! P.S. My apologies for the lack of finesse in the turkey images.  I didn’t know what I was doing back then–with the camera that is…not the bird!


Fall Visit to the Apple Orchard

My hands down favorite place to go in fall is the apple orchard. The hands down best orchard I’ve ever been to is the Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. We’ve been going to this orchard for several years now and one of the major reasons is their caramel apple pie.  It’s out of this world good.  Just ask the Wall Street Journal, Food Network, or Gourmet magazine. My Dad has a love for anything apple and I’m pretty sure has dreams about their pie.  In fact, it’s so good my Mom brought one from Wisconsin all the way back to London this summer for my Dad. Over the years we’ve developed an itinerary that we tend to stick to every year.  Here’s our winning formula for a stellar day at the orchard: Start with hot cider and cider donuts from the Donut Shack. Grab a basket and head to the orchard. Pick apples to your hearts content!  This year, because our summer drought was so bad, apples were placed in bins out in the orchard …

Marinara Sauce//Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Lately life has been slowing down a bit around here. Most summer weekends were spent out and about but recently we’ve been able to sleep in and spend more time around the house. I’m not quite sure what’s come over me but I’ve developed a strong desire to get back to basics and stock my freezer with everyday basics to use throughout the winter. I started with marinara sauce.  I don’t know about you but we go through a lot of it. I froze the sauce in one cup portions so I can serve one or a whole crowd with it–depending on whatever I need to make. Now if I only had the looks and kitchen to match Giada De Laurentiis… PrintHomemade Marinara Sauce About 7 cups Ingredients1/2 c. olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 medium carrots, chopped 2 celery stalks, chopped 2 garlic cloves + 1/2 tsp. salt, crushed into a paste (see below) 1 tsp each: dried rosemary, dried basil, dried parsley 1-32 oz. can crushed tomatoes 1-32 oz. can diced tomatoes, …