If your family enjoys the autumn tradition of picking apples and bringing home cider and doughnuts, you may find you have a gallon or two of cider left over in the fridge. Check out these five ways to use up the excess, from Today.com:

— Add a cup of apple cider to pancake batter and sprinkle chopped apples into the flapjacks as they cook.

— Simmer pork shoulder in a brown sugar and cider mixture in the slow cooker for the perfect fall meal.

— When cider starts tasting “fizzy,” it’s fermenting — the perfect time to add two or three cups to braise root vegetables. Cover the veggies with cider in a Dutch oven and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

— Add equal parts apple cider vinegar and regular apple cider to make a salad dressing with a touch of sweetness.

— Add club soda and vodka to cider for a simple, refreshing cocktail.


Sprinkle on the spice to make roasted squash a healthy side

On its own, a serving of butternut squash is a good source of fiber, plus it’s rich in vitamin A. Skip the brown sugar and deepen the flavor with some warm spices using this recipe from Pioneer Valley Growers Association in Massachusetts.

Butternut Squash with Ginger

1 large butternut squash

1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, freshly minced

1/4 cup apple juice, unsweetened

Nutmeg, freshly ground

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel and seed the squash. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Put the squash, ginger root and apple juice into a lightly oiled baking dish. Cover and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Sprinkle with nutmeg just before serving.


This fun salad lets kids play with their food

For the kid who loves getting hands-on at mealtime, try this interactive salad that takes the shape of a person, thanks to the Penn State Extension Office.

For the body, use a peach or pear half, with a halved hard-cooked egg for the head.

For the hair, use dry cereal, shredded cheese or grated carrot.

For the mouth, use a small piece of tomato, and for arms and legs, use celery or carrot sticks.

Prunes, raisins or plum halves make good shoes.

Of course, you’ll want to raid your cupboards and fridge — some fun solutions may be waiting within. You can put it together for them, or give your kids the ingredients to let them come up with their own solutions.


The growing popularity of giardiniera

It’s standard to see a pickle served with a sandwich. But as the American palate expands, more people are looking to explore the different toppings and condiments.

One of the most popular is giardiniera.

Originally from Italy, giardiniera has been a long-time favorite in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune says, and it is making headway into restaurants across the country, showing up on sandwiches, in pasta and even on pizza.

Essentially, giardiniera is a mix of vegetables that most often includes bell peppers, celery, carrots, cauliflower and cucumbers. Hotter varieties include hot peppers and are increasingly popular among the more daring, spice-loving crowd.

Like fans of condiments such as mustard or barbecue sauce, true giardiniera aficionados have multiple favorites and tend to be very selective of the kind they use. You could very well be a few bites away from joining that crowd.

— Brandpoint