Taste of Fall: Oktoberfest Traditions & Apple Cider Tips

With most of us busy preparing for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole season of autumn activities to enjoy. From exploring the local orchard with the family to enjoying your local Oktoberfest, now is the time to delight in the cool, crisp weather and rediscover the unique taste of fall.


Oktoberfest Traditions and Useful Tips for Newcomers
Oktoberfest has become very popular in the United States. Festivals large and small have been celebrating the German tradition for many years. Most of these festivals have taken on lives of their own. You don’t have to fly all the way to Munich to experience an authentic Oktoberfest. Learn about the original event, traditions and get the tips you need to walk the grounds like an expert with these Oktoberfest facts, figures and advice.


Apple Picking: A Beginner’s Guide to Homemade Cider
There’s a huge difference between the apple cider you get from the store and the handcrafted version you can make in your own home. Despite what many people believe, it’s not that difficult to make a high-quality apple cider that tastes even better than any store brand. All you need to learn are the simple techniques to begin a fun tradition during the harvest season, some basic recipes you can tweak with your own touches.


A Brief History of Oktoberfest
Fall is packed with festivals and celebrations all around the world. While Halloween is the holiday kids look forward to, Oktoberfest is one for the adults. Beer comes to mind when we think of Oktoberfest, but it’s about much more than just large steins full of suds. If you’re attending your local Oktoberfest this year and want to learn a little more about its rich history, check out this brief summary of how it started and spread worldwide.

Wine Accessories: A Toast to Glasses, Totes and Gift Ideas

Whether you are transporting a delicious bottle of your host’s favorite wine to a dinner party, looking for the perfect gift for a housewarming or just in need of some wine accessories, LTD has you covered with some stylish tabletop ideas, elegant storage for gift-givers on the go and must-haves for casual wine enthusiasts.

Stylish Wine-Tasting Transport

The Luxury Insulated Wine Clutch is the perfect way to conceal and carry a bottle of wine to a wine-tasting or dinner party. Fully lined with thermal insulation, it has the appearance of a fashionable handbag. It also includes a stainless steel corkscrew in the outside zippered pocket. Holds a standard 750ml bottle of wine.

The Cozy Winter Wine Parka adds a pop of color and style to your table setting, and it’s the perfect gift for a fellow wine enthusiast. Designed to resemble a fashionable winter coat, it’s a fun way to wrap a wine bottle. The polyester design features a faux fur trim and has a zip closure to keep the wine covered and protected.

Wonderfully Unique Wine Glasses

This fun Mary Phillips Wine Glass is perfect for a girl’s night in, casual wine-tasting or a night cap. Each has a signature quote in a bright color palette on the side that any wine enthusiast will enjoy. The perfect gift for an avid wine drinker or a good friend who enjoys the occasional glass, it features a generous 12-oz. design.

The Set of 4 Retro Aluminum Wine Glasses allow you to keep the drinks flowing at your next gathering. An outdoor entertaining must-have or a fun twist for a wine tasting, each glass features a durable construction. The large, 21-ounce aluminum glasses are naturally cool, and they can even be pre-chilled in the freezer.

Tabletop Accessories

Defend your table surfaces from stains in a stylish way with the 5-Pc. Mosaic Monogram Coaster Set. Each coaster is designed with a unique-mosaic glass letter, set against a botanical vignette. The cork base keeps each coaster in place. Stack the durable, cold cast ceramic coasters in the compact holder when not in use.

Celebrate the winter season and the Christmas festivities with the Holiday Wine Bottle & Glass Holder. Its delightfully cheerful face sits atop a spiral body and fits perfectly around a standard bottle of wine. The two arms on the sides hold your wine glasses. When not in use, the arms are removable for simple storage.

Wine Storage Tips to Keep Your Favorites Fresh

Humans have been enjoying and perfecting wine for thousands of years. Techniques have improved. The technology has advanced. Nearly every facet of the wine experience is better at this moment than it was the moment before. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Still, Americans drink more wine than any other nation in the world, and when it comes to basic wine guidelines such as wine storage, most of us are making a few of the same mistakes time and time again. Even though the wine we pick up at the store has been perfected, we have to do our part to make sure we’ll enjoy it. Improve on your experience with these wine storage tips.


Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
What’s the deal with wine cellars? Well, the whole point is to keep wine isolated, covered in darkness and completely still. Will such a thing as the occasional vibration inside a fridge or the sunlight glaring through the backseat window on your drive home ruin that precious purchase from the supermarket? Nope. It won’t. And if you’re not a regular wine drinker you probably won’t notice. But if you’re saving the nice bottle of wine in your home for a special occasion or just want to make sure you’re not causing any damage, it’s important to know that wine is sensitive to light, particularly direct sunlight and UV rays, even the fluorescent lights in the kitchen. Many bottles are designed to block these culprits, but they won’t stop it all, especially over long periods of time. Most light fixtures in your home won’t do much damage, but as a general rule, try to put the wine you want to preserve in a dark place where it won’t be disturbed  to get the most out of each bottle.


The Perfect Bottle Position
Ever wonder why wine bottles are typically seen being stored on their sides with the cork facing out, or why some wine racks are designed to hold bottles upside down? It turns out wine isn’t just susceptible to light or movement–it can also be spoiled by being stored in an incorrect position. Even though you picked it off the shelf at the store from an upright position, that’s not how you should store it at home. The reason bottles are set on their sides is because the liquid in the bottle needs to stay right up against the cork to seal it properly and prevent oxygen from sneaking inside. This is also a key thing to keep in mind when shopping for your wine at the store. Most stores will stock their wine upright, and sometimes it’s hard to tell how long the bottle has been standing there. This method is okay for a short period of time, but isn’t ideal for long-term storage.

Tips on Temperature & Timing
Blanketed in darkness like a vampire–check. Tipped on its side to keep oxygen out–check. Anything else that might ruin your wine? Of course there is. Temperature, humidity and timing are the final things on our list. First, the temperature where you store your wine needs to be consistent. For aging purposes, it’s ideal for wine to be stored between 55°F and 75°F, but most experts advise not to store wine above 75°F. And for the casual wine enthusiast, it’s more important to keep wine refrigerated at a steady temp than fuss too much about the exact degree. If you can control the humidity in your storage area, try to keep it above 60% to prevent corks from drying out. And as far as aging your wine, make sure you’re storing wine that will be able to improve over time. Many wines produced commercially in the US actually will not improve with age, so if you’re going to make the effort with your storage techniques, research your specific wine for details.


After You’ve Opened It
So far we’ve gone over how to store the wine you’ve picked up from the store and plan to put away for that special occasion or how to preserve the wine you received as a gift. But the storage rules change for wine that you’ve already opened, and let’s face it, for most of us, we’re not picking up wine just to tuck it away in the basement. We want to pop the cork and enjoy it that night or during the upcoming weekend. But once the party is over, there might still be some wine swooshing around the bottle. If you don’t want to toss it out then you need to know how to store it and how long you can store it. Generally for white wine you can just push the cork in tight and pop the bottle on its side in the fridge. This will keep the wine away from a lot of light while maintaining the temperature. However, once you open a bottle, there’s almost no place to put it that will preserve it for more than three to five days. This goes for red wine as well, but unlike a white wine, red wine doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Just tighten the cork and arrange it on its side in a dark setting.

LTD Commodities has all kinds of accessories for the wine enthusiast, including wine totes to make sure a favorite vintage is protected during transport, glasses for wine tasting parties or cork holders for decoration.

Fall Entertaining: Wine, Etiquette and Thanksgiving Ideas

When it comes to fall entertaining, the season is known best for Thanksgiving. There are many different fall entertaining opportunities leading up to Thanksgiving. From wine tastings, to dinner table etiquette for kids and a few healthy Thanksgiving ideas to help you start brainstorming for your menu, LTD has suggestions to get your party moving in the right direction, prevent holiday problems and make your turkey day special.


How to Host a Wine Tasting Party at Home
Wine-tasting can be tailored for any season, but it’s absolutely perfect for late summer and early autumn. As with any party, there are plenty of things to check off your list before you begin sending out the invites. From choosing your wine to pairing it with food, find out how to host your party with this home wine-tasting guide.


Tips to Prevent Kids from Playing with Toys at the Dinner Table
Holiday gatherings and larger family dinners make it harder for hosts to keep track of what’s going on at the kids’ table. Preventing kids from playing with toys at the table or developing good etiquette starts with their habits, but it can be helped with a couple tricks. Learn how to deal with toys with this table etiquette guide.


Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes
What if I told you that you could create an eating experience that is lighter on calories but still delivers on the flavors we all desire for Thanksgiving? Some of us cringe at the idea of changing our traditional menus, but when it comes to our health, it’s worth it. Here are some healthy holiday cooking tips that will totally satisfy.

Tips on Grilling Salmon and Swordfish

Fish is packed with lean protein, nutrients and all those coveted, brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, but a recent study by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) discovered that up to 90 percent of Americans aren’t eating nearly enough seafood to meet the recommended two servings per week. It’s not that we don’t enjoy the taste of fish or shrimp, and dishes like crab cakes are almost always included in favorite food debates. Cooking fish only seems difficult. Get fired up about grilling salmon, swordfish and snapper with these tips.


Things to Look For in the Store
For ultimate freshness, it’s important to cook fish the same day you bring it home from the store. Don’t mess around with anything but the prepared cuts of salmon steaks or swordfish fillets if you’re new to buying, and if possible, aim to get some cuts with skin on. You might be expecting fish to have a strong fishy smell, but a quality cut will not emit a strong scent or foul odor. It will also pass the eye test in terms of cleanliness. Try to make sure each piece you buy is firm, not flimsy, and be on the lookout for unusual discoloration or spots.

Problematic Pin Bones
It’s easier to ask the fishmonger or supermarket to remove things like pin bones from your fillets, but you can also do it at home. You’ll be able to see and feel the bones in the fillet, but getting them out with your hands can be tricky. Needle nose pliers and larger tweezers work great for removing pin bones. Always clean tools before putting them to use in the kitchen. Simply feel around the fish to locate the bones, knead into the flesh to reveal a pin bone head, grab it gently with the pliers to avoid snapping it into pieces and pull carefully.


Seasoning, Salty or Spicy
While some prefer the fresh taste of fish without seasoning, many of us would agree that a little seasoning is better than none. You don’t want spices overpowering the flavor of fish, so when applying, be sure to keep it light and even. A combination of salt and pepper mixed with lemon juice or melted butter are a few common favorites among expert grillers, and many have been known to enjoy fish with the flavor of dill, garlic, chives or even pineapple juice. Remember that the flavor of fish is delicate, so take it easy when you’re prepping.

On the Grill
Grill masters know the importance of preheating the grill. For fish, if you’re placing it directly on the grates, make sure you clean thoroughly and oil generously while preheating. Oil once more before throwing your fish on. If you’ve left the skin on your fillets, you can put them on the grill skin-first for a crispy flavor. Many make the mistake when placing fish directly on grill grates to try and flip before the fish is ready. This often leads to mangling the fish with your spatula. When the fillet is more than halfway done, the fish will almost detach from the grates naturally. You only need to flip once. It’s a short cooking time. Total: 5-10 minutes.

LTD Essentials: Summer Snack Showcase

The summer season has always been home to some of the best snack foods. Whether we’re trying to beat the heat at the pool, watching a ball game or attending a Memorial Day barbecue, great food seems pretty easy to find. But just like any other season, a few of the best treats are only made available for a short span of months. Check out our summer snack showcase to make sure you get your fill before the season ends.


Unmatched Movie Snack
There will be plenty of blockbuster movies this summer, but if you want to kick back with a film in your own home, check out this Microwave Popcorn Maker. Pop and serve the scrumptious snack in the silicone box and enjoy healthier popcorn without excessive oil. Pour ¼ cup of kernels into the popper, secure the lid and microwave for 3-4 minutes. Great for flavored popcorn as well. Makes approx. 4-6 cups. Dishwasher safe.


Stadium Experience at Home
As long as you’re recreating the cinema experience at home, why not do the same with your favorite ball park snack? The Retro Hot Dog Steamer cooks perfect hot dogs in just 5-7 minutes. Equipped with a hot dog drawer and built-in bun steaming tray, all you need to do is add water to the base and watch it steam up to 8 hot dogs and 4 buns all at once. Instructions and recipe booklet included. On/off switch. ETL-listed.


Packing for Parties
Summertime is party season. Barbecues, picnics and more get us gathering outside with our best kitchen creations. Keep your dishes ready to serve with the Expandable Hot/Cold Food Carrier. The base level has an insulated lining that holds in heat and can also shield cold dishes from the sun. Unzip the top to expand the carrier and create a second compartment for a room temperature dish. Has built-in handles for carrying.


Special Treats for a Special Day
Summer might be filled with holiday gatherings and neighborhood block parties, but just like any other season there are birthdays to celebrate. Add a personal touch to a loved one’s special day with Birthday Baking Fun. The 12-Pc. Silicone Baking Cup Set eliminates the need for paper liners. The brightly-colored cups come in a variety of different sizes to fit your needs. Dishwasher, freezer, microwave and oven safe.


Cherry on Top
Sometimes all the summer events can be a little exhausting, especially if you’re planning to cook for every event on your social calendar. The recipes in this Dump & Bake Desserts Cookbook only require one pan! There’s no need to use extra bowls or an electric mixer. All you have to do is dump in all the ingredients, stir and bake. Make delicious tarts, pies, cookies, bars and cakes for your summer events. Softcover, 64 pages.

Items We Adore: Product Picks for Spring

Next week we welcome spring and we’re working hard to contain our excitement! While we’re gearing up for all the fun activities that come with the season change, we picked out a few items we think you might like. Here are this week’s Items We Adore: Product Picks for Spring.

cardiThe Women’s Set of 2 Cardigan Wraps is a stylish addition to your wardrobe. Layer these comfortable cardigans over any tank top or dress for a flattering outfit. Each sweater features 3/4-length sleeves and an open front with extra long fabric for a draped effect. The front extensions can also be tied for a classic shawl look. Cotton. Machine care. Imported.

seedballzNo digging or tilling required! Just place each Drop & Grow SeedBallz in the soil. Loaded with seeds, each ball grows clusters of flowers. Do not bury deep; keep moist. Store SeedBallz in a dry, cool place. Each set comes with 8 SeedBallz. They are hand-rolled by individuals with developmental disabilities in the USA. Grow flowers easily in the garden or containers with these “truffle-like” clay balls.

butterfly-basketsAdd rustic decoration and storage to your home with Fabric-Lined Storage Baskets. Each wire basket has a removable polyester liner. Set of 2 Butterfly Baskets features beautiful butterfly accents and looks great on a countertop or table. The 3-Tier Storage Basket (11-5/8″ dia. x 32-1/2″H) is perfect for setting out fresh fruits, vegetables and more. Steel. Liners are machine wash.

paisely-lunch-toteThe zippered compartment of a Collapsible Insulated Tote Basket keeps drinks and snacks cool for picnics and sporting events. The handles fold down for easy storage. 18-3/8″W x 11-1/4″D x 16″H with handles up. Polyester, metal and polypropylene. Imported.sumo-bop

More fun than bumper cars or a pillow fight, this Sumo Bumper Bopper has a fun, kid-friendly design. Kids will love to bop, sock and bump in this inflatable bopper. Handles on the side give kids extra stability. Repair patch included. Made of heavy-duty vinyl for rugged durability. Inflated, 31-1/2″ dia. x 16-1/2″. Colors vary, so please let us choose for you. For ages 4 and up.

National Cookie Day: Outrageous Cookie Recipes

cookies-cookie cupsDecember 4 is National Cookie Day. With all of the cookies we eat at holiday parties and the cookie exchanges we raid at this time of year, it makes sense to honor these handheld confections. But at this time of year, people love to go over-the-top with their cookies. They do, after all, have to compete with the cuteness of gingerbread houses. So we searched high and low for exceptional cookie recipes to pass on to you. So, for National Cookie Day, here are 5 outrageous cookie recipes for you to try.

Cookie Cups These darling little things look like they came from an elf’s kitchen! Though it’s not too hard to make tiny tarts — including cookies in the shape of tiny mugs filled with hot chocolate — there’s something about shrinking everyday items into Tom Thumb size. The baking part isn’t hard, but assembling the The Gunny Sack’s hot chocolate cookie cups might be the kitchen challenge you’re looking for. cookies-pine-cones

Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree You don’t have to call this a cookie if you don’t want to, but it is a sweet snack worthy of your holiday party table. You have to admit, at first glance, they do look like real pine cones dusted with snow! This one comes from the kitchen of Handmade Charlotte. Spoiler alert: her secret ingredient is cereal!cookies-holiday-presentsHandle with Care Have you ever come across a cookie that’s just too cute to eat? I promise you that if you serve these, no one will want to eat them because they’re just that adorable! Family Fresh Meals came up with this one. Even though they’re cute, they’re easy enough for kids to make, and, with tiny presents to fill, you won’t have any trouble recruiting your kids to help you with them!cookies-powder-puff

Surprise! What’s better than a cookie covered in powdered sugar? A cookie covered in powdered sugar and filled with chocolate! Averie Cooks created them as an homage to her mother and grandmother’s Russian tea cakes they made every Christmas. She wanted to make her special memory a little more special and this is what she came up with!cookies-swirl

Candy Factory This cookie doesn’t look like it left any room for flour and butter — it looks like it came straight from the candy factory! Though this magical looking treat is photo-worthy, Salt Tree’s instructions are pretty easy to follow — with a good rolling pin and plastic wrap, you, too can bring this to your next holiday get together!

LTD Commodities has dozens of products to help you make your holiday cookies memorable this year! From baking sheets to spatulas, we have you covered for all your baking ambitions this season.


Holiday Hosting: Tips for Accommodating Guests with Food Allergies

ltd-turkey-dinnerThe holidays are here — that means we have a lot of family time ahead of us with a lot of food to eat. If you don’t have any dietary restrictions, it’s easy to forget that not everyone can eat everything, including what’s on the holiday dinner menu. If you’re hosting this year, here are 7 tips for accommodating guests with food allergies.

Initial Invite As you start filling out the invitations — whether you’re crafting cards or sending an E-vite — include an RSVP column where your recipients can include any diet restrictions. Make it clear that this is for “can’t have” not “don’t want.” If you know in advance that someone attending has a nut allergy, you can plan your meal around anything major.

ltd-turkey-dinnerMap it Out Make a chart with all of the restricted foods and the foods you want to serve. This helps you eliminate dangers as well as give you an idea of how items can be substituted. If you want to serve your sweet potato casserole but someone with a pecan allergy is expected, you can make the sweet potatoes with the marshmallow topping rather than the pecan topping. It also gives you the opportunity to check that everyone has a balanced meal.

Know What You’re Serving The best way to make sure you’re not serving something off-limits to your guests is to make everything from scratch. This way you know exactly what you’re putting into every dish and you have the option of leaving out anything harmful to your guests with sensitive palates. It’s a big undertaking to cook and bake everything from scratch, so for the items you have to buy pre-made, keep the labels for your guests to reference.

Sterilize Equipment Before you start cooking, make sure you wash and sanitize all of your cooking gear and dishes really well. For severe allergies, even trace amounts of the offending food can be dangerous.

Identify Ingredients If you expect to accommodate a lot of people with allergies, you may want to label each dish. Include the name of the dish and all the ingredients that may cause a problem. Let everyone know that they should read the labels before they serve themselves. Listing every ingredient isn’t necessary, but noting things “contain dairy” or something is “gluten free,” sends the right message. Labels also present an opportunity to be crafty! Make the labels cute to match your decor and brighten the buffet.

ltd-turkey-dinnerShare the Load Most Thanksgivings are at least semi-pot luck, so it’s OK for you to ask guests with serious food allergies to bring something allergy-friendly to dinner. Just make sure they bring a list of the ingredients to add to your labels.

Extra Precautions Make sure you have an epipen in the house. People have a lot to manage around the holidays — even as guests. When parents are wrangling kids to arrive at the holiday dinner on time, they’re bound to forget something. Some items don’t need a backup, but an epipen does. For extreme allergies, make extreme accommodations: eliminate the most dangerous items from your menu.

Planning traditional holiday meals takes a lot of work and preparation! Let LTD Commodities help you make it perfect. From serveware and kitchen gadgets to holiday decor to make your dining room sparkle, LTD has everything you need to make it memorable.

Halloween: Curious Facts About Candy Corn

candy-cornOur first big holiday of the season is here! Halloween brings with it so many traditions — carving pumpkins, dressing up as ghosts and goblins, and — every kid’s favorite part — candy! While most of the candy we enjoy is made up of chocolate, candy corn is the one candy that’s solely associated with Halloween. It’s an interesting way for sugar to take shape with a unique texture you don’t find in other candy. So we did a little research on these little nuggets of sugar to give you these curious facts about candy corn.

Farm Fowl Food Candy corn was first produced in the late 1800s, but it wasn’t always known as “candy corn.” The original name it was marketed with was “Chicken Feed.” On the farm, chicken feed sometimes contains corn kernels, so it wasn’t far off the mark where naming is concerned, but it might not be the most appetizing of titles for the general population. But farmers were into it and the original packaging included a rooster in the logo to help it sell. 

Pastry Particulars Aside from the shape and sugar, what draws people to candy corn is the texture. It’s not quite hard but it’s not quite soft and it has a creamy quality to it. We owe all that to fondant — it’s sugar and water heated together until the mixture is moldable. Fondant is used by pastry chefs to make elaborate cakes that look like sculptures — things you can’t do with regular buttercream frosting.

candy-cornSecret Ingredient Like the name suggests, candy corn is typically made from corn syrup. However, Brach’s Candy is the biggest producer of candy corn and it’s not corn syrup that makes it sweet and chewy, rather, it’s honey.

Meat Eaters Only Vegans steer clear of our favorite corn confection from Brach’s because of the honey which is not a vegan food. But vegans and vegetarians won’t find another candy corn brand to bend to their dietary restrictions because it contains marshmallow. Marshmallow is made with gelatin which is, basically, boiled down animal cartilage. Don’t get too grossed out — it’s in a lot of processed foods we eat every day, but it’s on the list of things vegans and vegetarians consider off-limits.

Bug Luster Most candy corn has a sheen to it — and that sheen allegedly comes from shellac. Shellac is what you think it is, it’s a resin mixed with alcohol to make wood finish and finger polish shimmer. What you might not know is that it’s secreted from a bug found in India and Thailand. It’s actually used in a lot of glazes we eat and things use every day. But if you’re vegan, this is another reason you can’t eat Halloween’s most popular candy.candy-corn

Mixing It Up If you’re a candy corn enthusiast, you’ve had it in just about every shape and color like pumpkins and hay for Halloween or bunnies and chicks for Easter. But it Canada, you might find candy corn in colors and flavors you wouldn’t expect! Imagine candy corn in purple with the flavor of a blackberry cobbler. Yep, that’s how they do candy corn in Canada.

At LTD Commodities, we’re excited about all the treats ahead of us! From bags of candy corn for Halloween to holiday cookies between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, we can’t wait for all the holiday excitement!