Thursday, November 14, 2019

Peanut Pecan Pie

It's only fitting that pecans are joined by another product of the South, peanuts, in this holiday pie recipe. Peanut butter gives an additional peanutty boost to the sweet filling.

unbaked piecrust for a 9-inch pie
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Fit pastry into pie plate. Decoratively flute edge. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk corn syrup, peanut butter and eggs until smooth. Whisk in granulated sugar and vanilla, then stir in pecans and peanuts. Pour into crust.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes or until browned and center is set. Let cool completely at room temperature on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar before slicing an serving.

Servings Per Recipe: 16

We recommend extra large style blistered Virginia Peanuts.
We recommend The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg All Natural Peanut Butter
All Natural Peanut Butter

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Graves Mountain 2019 Apple Harvest Festival - Celebrating 49 Years

Graves Mountain 2019 Apple Harvest Festival - Celebrating 49 Years
Oct. 5-6, Oct.12-13, and Oct. 19-20

One of the longest-running apple festivals in Virginia is the Graves' Mountain Apple Harvest Festival, now in its 49th year. The area is surrounded by rolling mountains, and during the fall, the hills are blanketed in gorgeous fall colors. You can pick your own apples at the festival or purchase them pre-picked.  Graves' orchard features: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Empire, Stayman, Rome, Mutsu, York, Winesap, Granny Smith, Fuji. In addition to fresh apples, you can get every kind of apple dish imaginable at the festival, such as apple butter made right in front of you. Take an educational tour of the farm property, get through the hay maze, jump on a hay ride, or climb the festival’s famous “hay mountain” with the kids.

Graves Mountain Apple Butter
Graves Mountain Lodge established its cannery in 1980. They use family recipes to make their old-fashioned preserves unmatched for their quality and goodness. They cook their preserves in open kettles. The batches are kept small and each product is made as needed. They use the finest quality fruit, pure cane sugar and all natural seasonings in creating a product they feel is as good as "Grandma used to make." Graves Mountain Apple Butter is incredibly smooth and perfectly spiced. 

Friday, September 6, 2019

September is National Honey Month

National Honey Month is a celebratory and promotional event held annually during the month of September in the United States. Its purpose is to promote American beekeeping, the beekeeping industry, and honey as a natural and beneficial sweetener.
September is significant for honey producers as it is the month that marks the end of the honey collection season for many beekeepers in the United States. The awareness month was initiated by The National Honey Board, a U.S. Department of Agriculture founded and overseen organization in 1989. The story of honey is older than history itself. An 8,000-year-old cave painting in Spain depicts honey harvesting, and we know it's been used for food, medicine and more by cultures all over the world since.

Honey starts as flower nectar collected by bees, which gets broken down into simple sugars stored inside the honeycomb. The design of the honeycomb and constant fanning of the bees' wings causes evaporation, creating sweet liquid honey. Honey's color and flavor varies based on the nectar collected by the bees. For example, honey made from orange blossom nectar might be light in color, whereas honey from avocado or wildflowers might have a dark amber color.
On average, a hive will produce about 65 pounds of surplus honey each year. Beekeepers harvest it by collecting the honeycomb frames and scraping off the wax cap that bees make to seal off honey in each cell. Once the caps are removed, the frames are placed in an extractor, a centrifuge that spins the frames, forcing honey out of the comb.

After the honey is extracted, it’s strained to remove any remaining wax and other particles. Some beekeepers and bottlers might heat the honey to make this process easier, but that doesn't alter the liquid's natural composition. After straining, it's time to bottle, label and bring it to you. 
Honey Benefits:

1     Honey is a health aid

Dating back to ancient times, honey has been used throughout the world for its medicinal purposes. The next time you have a cough, try reaching for a jar of honey since the World Health Organization reports that honey is able to coat and soothe throat irritation. Honey is even known to help heal canker sores and relieve dry skin.
Research has shown that honey contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. Flavonoids and phenolic acids, which act as antioxidants, are found in honey.

Honey is a natural source of carbohydrates, providing 17 grams per tablespoon, which makes it ideal for your working muscles. Since carbohydrates are the primary fuel the body uses, honey can help maintain muscle glycogen, also known as stored carbohydrates, which gives athletes the boost they need when they need it most.

 I    Its a natural sweetener

Honey is excellent for curing almost any sweet tooth. Unlike some highly processed sugars and sugar-like substances out there, honey is chemical free and found directly in nature.

           Honey might help you sleep better

In short, honey causes insulin levels to rise, and when this happens, serotonin gets released throughout the bloodstream. Serotonin gets converted into melatonin, and melatonin has been known to aid in getting you off to dreamland.
The honey sold at The Virginia Marketplace is Monastery Creamed Honey, from the monks of Holy Cross Abbey, Berryville, Virginia. Holy Cross Abbey is a monastery of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance (Trappists) sheltered by the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It is a natural product made of the finest all natural honey, slowly mixed until it has light creamy texture, the consistency of butter. These refreshing spreads are great on toast, crackers, bagels, muffins, scones and other baked goods. Also try it in hot beverages such as tea or cider. It comes in Natural, Cinnamon, Lemon, Brandy, Almond, Blueberry, Orange and Raspberry flavors. Hard to decide on just one favorite!
Monastery Creamed Honey

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Summer Ham Salad Recipe

Ham salad is one of those retro Southern dishes that never goes out of style. It makes a satisfying lunch or snack. Instead of having the usual ham salad at your next family gathering or picnic try a new recipe from Southern Living magazine. Start with good-quality Smithfield Smoked Ham, chopped. To make the salad, the chopped ham is mixed with finely chopped scallions, finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, Creole mustard, ground cayenne pepper, and black pepper for a hint of heat, and one unexpected ingredient: cream cheese. Instead of the usual mayonnaise or sour cream dressing, we combine all of the ham salad ingredients with cream cheese for extra richness. Be sure to use full fat cream cheese and make sure that it is at room temperature when you’re ready to make the ham salad so that the cream cheese is soft enough to work with. This ham salad can be made up to five days in advance. Store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 scallions
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp. Creole mustard
¼ tsp. black pepper
8 oz. smoked fully cooked ham, finely chopped

Stir together 4 ounces of cream cheese, 2 scallions, 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1 tablespoon of Creole mustard, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper in a medium bowl. Fold in 8 ounces of ham.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Grilled Cheese Ice Cream Sandwiches For the Fourth

Just in time for the Fourth of July we found this recipe for Grilled Cheese Ice Cream Sandwiches using Apple Butter in Cooking Light: Made with cinnamon swirl bread and apple butter, it riffs on the flavors of America’s most patriotic dessert, right down to the classic bite of cheddar cheese.  Meanwhile, it gives new jazz to the joys of the ice cream sandwich: warm, crunchy bread snuggles up to cold, cream ice cream. Serve it on the Fourth.

8 slices of cinnamon swirl
¼ cup apple butter (Try Graves Mountain Apple Butter)
1 ½ ounces shredded white cheddar cheese (about 1/3 cup)
Cooking spray
½ cup vanilla frozen yogurt or non-fat yogurt
Yield: 4 1/2 sandwiches

1. On each piece of cinnamon swirl bread, spread ½ tablespoon of apple butter on one side. Evenly divide the cheese amongst 4 slices topping with the remaining bread to form 4 sandwiches.
2. In a grill pan over medium-high heat, toast the sandwiches on both sides until the cheese is thoroughly melted. Top two of the warm sandwiches with the frozen yogurt, topping each with the remaining sandwich. Cut each in half and serve.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Plentiful

According to the magazine, Coastal Living, Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs are more plentiful than they’ve been in 7 years.

Blue Crab 
According to an annual study, conducted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the population of the Chesapeake Bay’s famed blue crabs is booming, with nearly 600 million adults and juveniles estimated to be living in the bay’s waters in 2019.

Just a year ago. the number of crabs weighed in at just 371 million. This year, the healthy increase puts the blue crab population at its highest point since 2012, with spawning-age females—a big indicator of future population growth, according to scientists—up 29 percent since last winter.

This is great news for the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, and a key indicator that scientific efforts to help the population recover- including initiatives to control harvesting, mitigate pollution, and restore oyster reefs, where crabs often feed—may be working.
But a healthy population is also a huge bonus for the coastal Virginia and Maryland economies. Many Chesapeake watermen rely on a stable supply of blue crab for their livelihoods. And for restaurants, the delicacy is a summer menu staple. With populations up, experts expect a strong 2019 crabbing season and, with juvenile crabs doubled since last year, the trend to continue through 2020.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

May is National Strawberry Month

Strawberry Pie in a Jar
May is National Strawberry month. Fresh strawberries are the first fruit to ripen each spring and can be used in recipes from breakfast to dessert. Pick your own fresh strawberries to make this recipe for Strawberry Pie in a Jar from These mini pies are cute, easy to make and you can use Virginia Maple Syrup in the recipe.

1 box Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust, softened as directed on box

2 lbs. strawberries, hulled and divided
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
Cinnamon Sugar, for topping

Small cookies made from leftover crust for serving (if desired). Use the extra scraps of dough to cut out fun holiday-shaped mini cookies. Sprinkle the cookies with cinnamon sugar and bake. They're a fun and delicious finishing touch to your pies!

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease four 8-ounce wide-mouth canning jars with cooking spray.

Unroll your pie crusts and lay them on a clean surface. Use a knife to cut out four 6-inch circles. Carefully press the dough into the bottom of the jars and up the sides.

Place a piece of parchment paper in each jar to cover the dough. Add pie weights or dried beans on top of the parchment and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Let cool completely before removing the parchment paper and pie weights.

Meanwhile, add 1 pound of strawberries, the maple syrup, brown sugar and vanilla to a saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer 8-10 minutes.

Use a fork to mash the strawberries. Remove from the heat and allow to cool 5 minutes.

Divide the remaining pound of strawberries among the 4 pie-crust-filled jars. Drizzle the strawberry sauce evenly over the strawberries. Cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours OR serve warm.

If desired, serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a mini pie-crust cookie dusted with cinnamon sugar.

Please be aware that baking in glass jars requires special care. Make sure that the batter or crust in the center of the jar is fully cooked. Never seal the jar while still warm or “can” the baked good for longer-term storage, because that can be unsafe. Always clean and inspect glass baking containers before use. Do not use if you find any chips or cracks, as these can increase the risk of shattering.