Apron Strings http://www.apronstringsblog.com Cooking: it's in our D & A Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:45:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 One Pot Poached Salmon with Fennel and Citrus http://www.apronstringsblog.com/one-pot-poached-salmon-recipe-with-fennel-and-citrus/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=one-pot-poached-salmon-recipe-with-fennel-and-citrus http://www.apronstringsblog.com/one-pot-poached-salmon-recipe-with-fennel-and-citrus/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:45:59 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7052
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Poached salmon with a soft buttery texture and citrus and fennel.
One Pot Salmon with Citrus and Fennel

One Pot Salmon with Citrus and Fennel

Poaching is an under-utilized technique, IMHO. Poached fish is especially lovely because of the delicate flesh of the fish. Nothing is worse than dry, overcooked fish.

I recently fell in love with Coconut Milk Poached Fish, and decided to try another poached fish – my favorite: salmon.

Salmon is delicious infused with citrus flavors, and lemon alone is good, but the addition here of oranges and grapefruit make this salmon dish so flavorful.

When fall begins, I find myself longing for slow cooked food. This is a simple dish – and I just served it with crusty French bread for a complete meal.

One Pot Salmon

One Pot Salmon – Before


1 orange
1 ruby red grapefruit
1 lemon
1/2 of a fennel bulb, and a few reserved fennel fronds
4 salmon pieces, six ounces each with skin on
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large Dutch oven, lay citrus slices and fennel pieces on bottom and then add enough hot water to cover by about 3 inches. Cover and bring to a boil.

Generously season salmon pieces with salt and pepper. Turn off heat from Dutch oven. Nestle salmon pieces skin-side down into the citrus and fennel making sure salmon is covered with water. Let salmon sit for 5 to 8 minutes, checking frequently, and removing when salmon is opaque throughout.

ALTERNATIVE OVEN METHOD: Heat Dutch oven with citrus and fennel and water in oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 250 degrees. Nestle salmon pieces into the Dutch oven, making sure salmon is covered with water.  Cover Dutch oven and place in oven. Cook for 30 – 40 minutes. Remove cover and cook an additional 30 minutes or so, until salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

Arrange on a platter with scattered fennel fronds for garnish.

Other fab poached salmon dishes:

Poached Salmon, Not Without Salt
Poached Salmon in Tomato Garlic Broth, In Sock Monkey Slippers
Saffron Poached Salmon, Everyday Maven
Beer Poached Salmon, Recipe Girl
15 Minute Poached Salmon, Nourishing Meals

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20 Minute Chorizo Corn Chowder http://www.apronstringsblog.com/20-minute-chorizo-corn-chowder/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=20-minute-chorizo-corn-chowder http://www.apronstringsblog.com/20-minute-chorizo-corn-chowder/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:53:47 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7939
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Flavorful corn chowder with a kick of heat.
Chorizo Corn Chowder

Corn chowder just got a whole lot more flavorful.

I love corn chowder.  There are just so many ways to go with corn – and this time I decided to pair corn with a little heat and spice. My favorite grocery store where I live (Harmon’s) has a wonderful meat department, and I love their chorizo. It is spicy but not to hot, rich but not too fatty.  I have also made my own chorizo, and it would work well in this chowder. But for the sake of time I used the store bought sausage here.

I love the crunch of the corn in this – cooked just a little so that the kernels retain their pop.

This chowder takes 20 minutes, tops – yet the broth has so much flavor and depth because of the chorizo. And the touch of sweetness from the coconut milk makes a perfect balance.

You will fall in love with this spicy soup – and be sure to have some crusty bread handy for sopping up the broth. Either that or lick your bowl like I did!

 — posted by Donna


2 poblano peppers
4 ounces Mexican chorizo
1 tablespoon flour
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups corn kernels
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup paper thin slices of red onion – for garnish
1 ounces crumbled queso fresco – for garnish

Cut poblanos in half lengthwise and remove stem, seeds and pulp. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes, turning over halfway through, until skins are very dark. Remove and rub skins off with a paper towel. Dice.

Brown the chorizo in a stockpot. Stir in 1 tablespoon flour and let cook 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add in diced poblanos and corn. Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in coconut milk.

Place in serving bowls and garnish with red onions and queso fresco.

Corn chowders that intrigue me:

Turkey Corn Chowder, Cookin Canuck
Roasted Corn Chowder, Spoon Fork Bacon
Cheesy Corn Chowder, How Sweet it Is
Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Closet Cooking
Smoky Corn Chowder, Perfect Pantry

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Raw Beet and Farro Salad http://www.apronstringsblog.com/raw-beet-and-farro-salad/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=raw-beet-and-farro-salad http://www.apronstringsblog.com/raw-beet-and-farro-salad/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:08:44 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7288
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Yes, they’re raw. Beets in a whole new way.

Raw Beet and Farro Salad

I discovered raw beets about a year ago, and it truly was a revelation.

They are crunchy and delicious, and so pretty on a plate. I paired them here with the ancient grain farro – the flavor of cashews in a grain! This is my first time using the grain that is so popular in Italy, and I loved the results. I bought semi-pearled farro, which just needs to be simmered until soft. If you buy whole grain farro, you will have to give it a soak overnight first. Farro has the texture of wheat berries, but tastes like cashews.

And then, raw beets. I have used them raw before in a Beet and Butternut Slaw, and found out the key: make very thin slices. Paper thin. As thin as you can get. If they are thin, they are crunchy and delicious.

So here I paired them with celery, leaves included, farro, and a lemon vinaigrette.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Raw Beet deliciousness:

Raw Beet Butternut Pecan Slaw, The Perfect Pantry
Raw Beet Pesto, Spinach Tiger
Candy Cane Beet Salad, Family style Food

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Mushroom Umami Burgers http://www.apronstringsblog.com/mushroom-umami-burgers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mushroom-umami-burgers http://www.apronstringsblog.com/mushroom-umami-burgers/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 02:05:42 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=6361
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Umami packed burgers with triple mushroom goodness.
mushroom burger

Mushrooms and beef are a flavor match made in heaven, and this burger is proof of that. The flavors and textures are just delicious and so worth a little extra fuss.

You will need dried mushrooms, which you can find at most health food stores. Pretty much any variety will work. Then, you turn them into a powder in your food processor or spice grinder and mix the powder into the ground beef – and Voila! – mushroomy goodness in a burger.

My Ode to End-of-Summer Days!

Other food bloggers mushroom burgers worth a try:

Mushroom Quinoa Burger, Delicious Everyday
Portobello Mushroom Burgers, Two Peas and Their Pod
Porcini Gruyere Mushroom Burger, Use Real Butter



2 ounces dried mushrooms, any variety
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
5 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper sauce
2 pounds grass fed ground chuck (80 per cent lean ground beef)
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons spicy brown mustard, divided
16 ounces shitake mushroom caps
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups light olive oil, divided
6 large Kaiser roll style buns, cut in half across diameter
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and cut in paper thin slices

Grind the dried mushrooms in batches in a spice grinder or blender until a very fine powder. Add to a large mixing bowl.

Pulse the cremini mushrooms in a food processor until very small bits – about 10 one-second pulses. Add to the mixing bowl.

Add to mixing bowl: 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper sauce. Stir to combine all in bowl.

Add ground chuck to bowl and mix with hands, tossing gently until well combined, and only a few small streaks of mushroom mixture remain.

Form into 6 patties – 1 cup each, and a little thicker than 1 inch.

Place in freezer for 20 minutes.

Preheat a barbecue grill to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, brown sugar and mustard. Set aside.

Using metal skewers or soaked bamboo skewers, thread the shitake mushroom caps onto skewers. Brush with the soy sauce mixture. Grill for a few minutes, until lightly browned on one side and then turn and grill on other side for a few minutes, until mushrooms are cooked through. Set aside.

Place in a blender the garlic, egg, lemon juice and salt in a blender. Pulse to combine for 3 seconds. Turn blender on and slowly stream in 1 1/4 cups of the oil and blend until mixture is thick and fluffy. Set aside. (Note: you will have leftover mayonnaise to store in your refrigerator!)

Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet to medium high heat. Brush the burgers lightly with oil and then place burgers in the skillet. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on first side, until well browned and a nice crust has formed. Turn burgers over and cook another 4 to 5 minutes, to medium doneness at 140 degrees internal temperature. Remove from heat.

Brush cut sides of buns with the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Place cut side down on grill and cook for a minute or two, until lightly toasted.

Cut apple in half, core the apple and then cut into paper-thin slices.

To assemble burgers:

Spread bottom half of bun with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise; spread a single layer of apple slices; burger patty; a single layer of shitake mushrooms; Spread top half of bun with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise and place on top of burger.

Serve immediately.


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Spicy Roasted Cauliflower http://www.apronstringsblog.com/spicy-roasted-cauliflower/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=spicy-roasted-cauliflower http://www.apronstringsblog.com/spicy-roasted-cauliflower/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 16:18:54 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7910
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Roasted cauliflower, Spicy Edition.
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower, Spicy Edition

This recipe was made by a person who doesn’t like cauliflower: me.

I know, cauliflower is good for you. I know, cauliflower has a ton of anti-cancer powers. I know, cauliflower is packed with fiber, and low in carbs, and low in calories. I know all of that. I just have never liked it. Until now.

This roasted cauliflower has won me over. The creamy flesh of the roasted cauliflower paired with the spicy crust is just the perfect combo of flavors and textures. So, so good. And so easy. Just bake, then slather, then bake again. Cinchy!

This recipe was inspired by Fine Cooking Magazine this month – and their Roasted Cauliflower. I tweaked it to add spice and heat.


1 large head of cauliflower
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove leaves and stem from cauliflower, keeping the whole head intact. Wrap with aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and unwrap and let cool on baking sheet.

Mix remaining ingredients together. Slather the cauliflower with this mixture. Return to oven and bake another 30 minutes or so, until cauliflower is softened.

Serve hot.

Other spicy cauliflower by food bloggers:

Southwest Roasted Cauliflower, Cookin Canuck
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower, Kalyn’s Kitchen
Blackened Cauliflower Bites, Healthy Happy Life
Indian Spiced Whole Roasted Cauliflower, Everyday Maven
Roasted Cauliflower Satay, Closet Cooking
Aloo Gobi (Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes) Perfect Pantry

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Strawberry Balsamic No-Churn Ice Cream http://www.apronstringsblog.com/strawberry-balsamic-no-churn-ice-cream/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=strawberry-balsamic-no-churn-ice-cream http://www.apronstringsblog.com/strawberry-balsamic-no-churn-ice-cream/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:30:06 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7863
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No churning necessary for this beloved flavor pairing in ice cream form.

Strawberry Balsamic No-Churn Gelato

Strawberry Balsamic No-Churn Ice Cream-slash-Gelato

Though I’m lucky to have an ice cream churn attachment, I still love to make this Grapefruit Gelato of ours from time to time; it’s especially great to bust out as a houseguest offering a treat to underapplianced hosts. Since the magic has to do with the way the acidity in the grapefruit juice (or lemon or lime) reacts with the fat in the cream, I decided to experiment with another sweet + acidity combination: strawberries and balsamic vinegar. If citrus juices produced the desired effect, then surely vinegar would as well.

Behold! No-Churn Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream (or Gelato, as the texture reminds us a bit of that). I’m dying to try this with coconut milk sometime, too. 


1 pound strawberries, trimmed and halved
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, divided
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt

I combined the inactive time of these steps: I started the strawberries, then as they macerated, I got the cream base going and partly frozen. It all came together  beautifully!

  1. The first step is macerating the strawberries. Toss them together in a bowl with 1/4 cup of the balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Cover the bowl and let them soften for a good 4 hours. Strain with a sieve (you can save the reserved juice and vinegar; see below) and puree berries in a blender. Set aside in refrigerator until the time comes.
  2. Whisk the cream and remaining cup sugar together first, then add the remaining balsamic vinegar and salt and whisk some more – you’ll totally feel the chemistry working as it starts to thicken. Pour mixture into a 9 by 9 inch square or rectangular pan and freeze for about 2-3 hours until it is only partially set up (worst case scenario: if it freezes too much, let it thaw a bit on the countertop before you add the strawberries).
  3. Speaking of:  Now we take the pureed strawberries, pour in a swirl into the pan, then use a spoon to zigzag back and forth, to desired swirly-ice-cream aesthetic.
  4. Back it goes in the freezer, for at least 8 hours or overnight. Ideally, take it out 30 minutes before serving or so.

Optional but YUM: Take the strawberry juice  and balsamic leftover from making the puree and reduce it a bit on your stovetop, just until it’s thick and syrupy. Serve on top of ice cream.

– posted by Anne



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Easy French Onion Chicken Recipe http://www.apronstringsblog.com/one-skillet-french-onion-chicken-recipe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=one-skillet-french-onion-chicken-recipe http://www.apronstringsblog.com/one-skillet-french-onion-chicken-recipe/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 16:48:51 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7084
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 An easy dinner with the elegance of French Onion Soup.
French Onion Soup Chicken

Low Carb French Onion Soup Chicken dinner.

So, my family is divided into two camps: those who love French Onion Soup and those who are lame. Can you tell which camp I am in?

I love French Onion Soup. I crave it. I order it every chance I get. And so I decided to put these flavors in an easy weeknight meal.

(NOTE: I love this easy method of making quick caramelized onions – using baking soda as a cooking hack. Check it out to make this chicken dish – and any others that call for caramelized onions –  pronto!)

The soft, rich flavor of the onions with a little melted Gruyere cheese over chicken breasts is so delicious – this is my current go-to dinner obsession!

Happy Fall, Y’all!

– posted by Donna



1 large yellow onion
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 teaspoons salt, divided
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 ounces Gruyere cheese
micro greens for garnish, if desired

Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cut onion in half from pole to pole and slice into 1/4 inch julienne slices, pole to pole. Add onion slices to pan. Sprinkle with baking soda. Stir frequently for about 5 minutes, until onions are well browned all the way through. Add thyme and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and stir and remove from heat.

Wipe out skillet with a paper towel. Pound chicken breasts a little to make them a uniform thickness. Sprinkle with remaining salt. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet and saute chicken breasts for about 5 minutes on each side, until chicken is browned and cooked through. Slice cheese into paper-thin slices and then cover chicken with slices. Turn off heat and cover and let sit until cheese melts. Serve with onions on top (and a little green garnish if you like.)

Other French Onion delights:

French Onion Cheese bread, Foodie Crush
French Onion Chicken Sandwiches, Foxes Love Lemons
French Onion Grilled Cheese, Annie’s Eats
French Onion Soup Macaroni and Cheese, Savory Simple
French Onion Soup Burgers, Bakaholic Mama

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20 Minute Meal: Spicy Asian Green Beans and Shrimp http://www.apronstringsblog.com/20-minute-recipe-spicy-asian-green-beans-and-shrimp/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=20-minute-recipe-spicy-asian-green-beans-and-shrimp http://www.apronstringsblog.com/20-minute-recipe-spicy-asian-green-beans-and-shrimp/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:24:06 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7875
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Green beans and shrimp for the Win!
Spicy and Asian is a good way to go with fresj=h green beans

Simple, easy and a perfect match of flavors and textures.

If you have a bounty of green beans in your garden right now – or you see a table at the Farmer’s Market piled high with green beans, do I ever have a dish for you!

This is a simple but stunning dish – and takes 20 minutes, max. The flavors of this sauce are clean and powerful, sweet and tangy. You could pretty much saute strips of leather in this sauce and they would be yummy!

Green beans are one of the healthiest things you can put in your mouth – so packed with nutrients. Healthy and yummy is a win-win!


– posted by Donna

Spicy Asian Green Beans and Shrimp

1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup Mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/2 pound Chinese long beans or green beans

In a glass bowl, combine the shrimp, Mirin, soy sauce, green onions and Sriracha sauce. Let sit on counter for 10 minutes.

Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add the vegetable and sesame oils add the beans in a single layer and cook for 2 minutes. Turn beans over and add in garlic and ginger and stir and cook another minute or two, until fragrant.

Add in shrimp with marinade and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until most of liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently.

Serve immediately.

Other bloggers’ green beans:

Garlicky Green Bean Stir Fry, Kalyn’s Kitchen
Stir Fried String Beans, Lemons and Anchovies
Asian Style Green Beans, Cookin Canuck
Spicy Sichuan Green Beans, Kalyn’s Kitchen
Asian Green Bean Salad, Taste and Tell

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Easy Restaurant Style Enchilada Sauce (Gluten free, Vegan) http://www.apronstringsblog.com/easy-enchilada-sauce/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=easy-enchilada-sauce http://www.apronstringsblog.com/easy-enchilada-sauce/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:43:10 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7853
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 Restaurant style enchiladas – on your home menu!
enchilada sauce

Easy enchilada sauce packed with restaurant worthy flavor.

This falls into the “Why Didn’t I Think of This Before?” category. Every year, our garden is overflowing with tomatoes this time of year. And every year I try to think of ways to preserve the bounty.

I have made my own tomato paste, and my own roasted tomato sauce for the freezer. But until now I have never made enchilada sauce for preserving. This is coming from a person who has as one of my go-to easy meals – huevos rancheros – which was one of my first posts on this blog (apologies for the very bad photo!) -So, you see, I use enchilada sauce all the time in my kitchen.

Enchilada sauce is a cinch to make – and I like to make the kind you eat and love in restaurants – thick and flavorful. And in my version, the chiles peppers thicken the sauce and so you don’t use flour. More flavor, no gluten.

You will have to use dried chile peppers for this recipe, which can be found at some grocery stores, but if you can find a Mexican market near you, they are very abundant and much cheaper there. I got a huge bag for just a few dollars.

You won’t regret the effort to make this flavorful sauce with just a small kick of heat – especially in February, when you can remember warm days in the garden in every bite!

– posted by Donna

RESTAURANT STYLE  ENCHILADA SAUCE – for freezing or canning

Makes 24 half pints

12 dried chile peppers – ancho or guajillo
12 pounds tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons salt
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup lemon juice

Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers. Chop and cover with boiling water and let soak for 20 minutes.

Blend or process the tomatoes and onions in a food processor or blender until pureed. Drain the peppers and blend or process the peppers in their water in a food processor or blender until very smooth. Add tomato mixture and pepper mixture to a large stockpot and stir in remaining ingredients.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours, until reduced in half, stirring frequently. NOTE: Occasionally you will need to skim foam off top.

Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to 24 half-pint jars. Pour in the sauce, leaving about 1/2 inch space at the top of the jars, and screw lids on tightly.

If you are freezing, let cool to room temperature and then freeze. If you are canning, process in a hot water bath for one hour.

Check out other foodies’ sauces:

Homemade Enchilada Sauce, Recipe Girl
Spicy Enchilada Sauce, Katie’s Cucina
Red Enchilada Sauce, Mexico in my Kitchen
Enchilada Sauce, A Family Feast
Homemade Enchilada Sauce, Amanda’s Cookin’

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Winner of the Ball Can-It-Forward Giveaway http://www.apronstringsblog.com/winner-of-the-ball-can-it-forward-giveaway/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=winner-of-the-ball-can-it-forward-giveaway http://www.apronstringsblog.com/winner-of-the-ball-can-it-forward-giveaway/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7860  


Honey Lime Jalapeno Jelly


Thanks to all who entered in last week’s giveaway! The lucky winner, chosen via Random.org, is . . .

Drum roll . . .

. . . Margot C! Please email us at ourapronstrings [at] gmail [dot] com with your address and other contact info. Congratulations, and happy canning to all!


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