Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Gingerbread Cookie Day and Gingerbread Decorating Day

Dec. 6 is Gingerbread Cookie Day and Dec. 10 is Gingerbread Decorating Day. No confection symbolizes the holidays quite like gingerbread in its many forms, from edible houses to candy-studded gingerbread men to spiced loaves of cake-like bread.

Making homemade gingerbread men is easy and convenient with the Byrd Mill Ginger & Spice Cookie Mix. Simply add a stick of butter and 1 egg to the mix, blend well and spread the dough out thin about 1/4 inch. Use your cookie cutters to cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on baking tray. Cook for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. One mix makes 10 medium-sized gingerbread men. When cooled, decorate.

According to Rhonda Massingham Hart’s Making Gingerbread Houses, the first known recipe for gingerbread came from Greece in 2400 BC. Chinese recipes were developed during the 10th century. Gingerbread made an appearance in Europe when 11th-century crusaders brought the spice back from the Middle East for the rich folks' cooks to experiment with and by the late Middle Ages, Europeans had their own version of gingerbread. The hard cookies sometimes gildes with gold leaf and shaped like animals, kings and queens, were a staple at Medieval fairs in England, France, Holland and Germany. Queen Elizabeth I is credited with the idea of decorating the cookies in this fashion, after she had some made to resemble the dignitaries visiting her court. In Belgium, cookies were cut into folk characters such as St. Nicholas. In the 1600s, gingerbread men were sold in London streets, possibly inspired by the folk legend of the Gingerbread Boy who jumped out of his oven.

Gingerbread Magic
In the tale, a woman desperate for a boy of her own bakes a gingerbread boy and dresses him with currants, cinnamon, colored sugar, and chocolate. But the cookie jumps out of the oven and out the door singing, “Run, run, as fast as you can; Can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man.” He escapes all whom he encounters until his fatal outwitting by a sly fox. The legend found its way to America from England, though in Colonial days the tale was named “Johnny Cake.”  

Gingerbread spread to America by European settlers and was also popular at fairs and festivals. New England recipes for flat cookies cut into patriotic shapes were created for "Muswter Day" or "Election Day." Prior to the Revolution, shapes often depicted a king, but later, the American Eagle. The cookies were handed out to wives and children when militants gathered for officer election or for militias gathered for officer elections or for military training. The first American cookbook, vintage 1796, American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, has recipes for three types of gingerbread including the soft variety baked in loaves. "Shape [dough] to your fancy," Amelia Simmons recommended to housewives. Entrepreneurial peddlers later picked up on the trend and started selling fancifully shaped, handmade cookie cutters that, since, have become desirable collectibles

It's the perfect time to send a Holiday Gift Basket with Byrd Mill Ginger and Spice Cookie Mix so loved ones can make their own gingerbread men and gingerbread houses.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November is Sweet Potato Awareness Month

November is a month known for Thanksgiving. Did you know it is also Sweet Potato Awareness month?
Sweet Potato Casserole
Be aware of these important facts about Sweet Potatoes:
Sweet Potatoes are not yams. Sweet potatoes are often confused with yams. A few distinctions: yams are not grown in the United States so they are rarely found in stores. Yams likely originated in West Africa and sweet potatoes in Central America. While sweet potatoes have smooth, delicate skin, yams tend to have rough, thick skin. Despite their name, n
ot only are they not yams, sweet potatoes are not really potatoes. Potatoes are members of the Solanaceae family, which also includes tomatoes, red peppers, and eggplant, while sweet potatoes belong to the morning-glory family (Convolvulaceae). And unlike the potato—which is a tuber, or thickened stem—the sweet potato is a storage root.”

Sweet Potato Awareness Month is not National Sweet Potato Month,
which is February and should not be confused with any Sweet Potato Day that might be proclaimed.

Sweet potatoes are very good to eat. Sweet potatoes are nutritious. They are a healthy source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, B6, thiamine and C. George Washington was thought to have farmed sweet potatoes on his farm in Virginia in the 1700’s. He was probably aware that sweet potatoes offer 200 percent of the USDA recommended allowance of Vitamin A, no fat and full of antioxidants, nearly 50 percent of the recommended allowance for vitamin C and over 400 percent of the recommended daily allowance of beta-carotene. They help fight heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. 

Sweet Potato Biscuits and Genuine Smithfield Ham Slices
With all of this new information in hand, you should be able to impress your friends and families over a Thanksgiving feast. Fortunately, we have available delicious Sweet Potato Biscuits with or without Genuine Smithfield Ham Slices and Sweet Potato Casserole deliciousto raise everyones's potato awareness.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Peanut Pumpkin Bread

 Another great recipe for Fall from The National Peanut Board:
Peanut Pumpkin Bread
Peanut Pumpklin Bread
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 (15-ounce) can puree pumpkin
3 cups granulated sugar
½ cup water
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ginger
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup vegetable oil

All Natural Peanut Butter
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two (9×5 inch) loaf pans or spray with cooking spray. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt in a bowl. Whisk peanut butter, oil, eggs, sugar in a bowl. Mix pumpkin puree with wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients with wet, being careful not to over mix. Pour batter into two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire rack.
ENJOY! Try making it with All Natural Peanut Butter from The Peanut Shop of Willimasburg made from Virginia Peanuts.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Spicy Apple-Glazed Chick 'n' Grits Gorgonzola with Apple Butter

Yes, we know it's still Summer, but we're starting to think about Fall. Fall is apple butter making. time at the Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Festival where you can watch apple butter being cooked in kettles over an open fire. It's delicious as a spread but think about getting some apple butter recipes ready! Get some Graves Mountain Apple Butter to try now.
Spicy Apple-Glazed Chick 'n' Grits Gorgonzola

Here’s an interesting recipe from Cooking Light: Spicy Apple-Glazed Chick 'n' Grits Gorgonzola. Cheesy, creamy grits pair perfectly with savory chicken brushed in an apple butter and spicy brown mustard glaze. Spicy Apple-Glazed Chick 'n' Grits makes for a unique and impressive meal.

·         1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
·         1/8 teaspoon black pepper

    Gorgonzola Cheese Grits – See Recipe

    2 Tablespoons chopped green onion. 

Preheat oven to 350°
Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and flatten to a 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Place the chicken breasts in a baking pan coated with cooking spray.Combine the apple butter, mustard, salt, red pepper, and black pepper, brush over chicken. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch-thick slices.Spoon the Gorgonzola Cheese Grits into each of 4 shallow serving bowls. Top with chicken, and sprinkle with green onions.

Gorgonzola Cheese Grits

2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually add grits, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat; stir in remaining ingredients.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Peanut Apple Crisp a la Mode

Peanut Apple Crisp a la Mode
It’s almost Fall. Time to harvest two of our favorite foods, peanuts and apples. Here is a recipe from the National Peanut Board using peanuts and apples that is a spin on a classic. This apple crisp melts in your mouth and is the perfect treat for any occasion.

Peanut Apple Crisp à la Mode
6 cups sliced, peeled Granny Smith apples (about 6 apples)
½ lemon
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup canola oil
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup & 2 tablespoons peanut flour (or all-purpose flour)
2 cups rolled oats
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup peanuts
Preheat oven to 350. Place apples in a medium bowl and toss with 2 Tbsp. flour. Transfer to 8” x 8” pan and squeeze lemon juice on top. Add ½ cup sugar. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter and oil. Add flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, rest of sugar and mix well. Pour on top of apple mixture and spread evenly. Bake in oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and add peanuts to top of crisp. Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes, or until apples are tender and top is starting to brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Virginia Peanuts and Beer

Lightly Salted Virginia Peanuts
Virginia Peanuts and Beer are Good for you to Re-hydrate

Beer and peanuts, like you need an excuse to eat the two. Now you have a good one. We found this article about it by Abe Hawkins in the Daily Mail published April 22, 2017. Here are the highlights:
Scientists suggest drinking beer and eating peanuts are better than re-hydration for exhausted runners.

Experts say the classic pub combination can be better than water or sport drinks.
Research which was unveiled at the European Beer and Health Symposium in Brussels, Belgium
advises them to drink alcohol after the race.
Virginia Peanuts
During long runs, the human body can potentially lose up to three litres of fluid every hour. Essential salts that the body requires - including potassium and sodium are lost.   Nuts are rich in potassium and weak beer - such as lager - contains vitamins and carbohydrates which will restore energy following the race. 
Professor Ronald Maughan, a sports exercise expert at the University of St. Andrews, told the newspaper that drinking water on its own will not restore mineral levels. So the next time you go on that jog or run or marathon or have a day in the sun, grab some beer (preferably a local one from Virginia) and some Virginia peanuts!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Very Virginia Ultimate Father's Day Sandwich

The Ultimate Father’s Day Sandwich

This Father’s Day ignite Dad’s taste buds with a delicious twist on a traditional grilled cheese or is it a twist on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In any case, this pairing comes together to form a bold, craveable gooey grilled cheese sandwich. Here is a recipe from The Food Channel for a PB&J Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Bacon:

  • 2 slices French loaf or sourdough bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon blackberry preserves
  • 3 strips bacon, cooked crisp
  • 4 slices sharp white Cheddar cheese

  1. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
  2. Spread peanut butter and blackberry preserve on bottom slice of bread.
  3. Top with bacon and cheese slices.
  4. Close with top slice of bread and press closed.
  5. Grill over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden and cheese is melted.

Foodie Byte: Use a bold flavored cheese with good melting abilities, such as sharp white cheddar cheese, to stand up to all the other flavors in this gooey-rich grilled cheese.

Most of the main ingredients can be found on www.Thevirginiamarketplace.com.

Seedless Blackberry Preserves, Natural Peanut Butter and Sliced Bacon.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May is for Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuit mix
Biscuits have been a staple of the Southern United States cuisine for many years and are often made with buttermilk. Before the American Civil War, biscuits emerged as an inexpensive addition to meals. Traditionally served as a side dish with butter, they are also served at breakfast with molasses, light sugarcane syrup, maple syrup, sorghum syrup, honey, jam or jelly or as a breakfast sandwich. This sturdier bread product soon became popular as people realized it absorbed the gravy on their plate better than plain bread. Soon a new family favorite, biscuits and gravy, was created. Alexander P. Ashbourne patented the first biscuit cutter in 1875. Supermarkets offer canned biscuits which are refrigerated until ready to be baked. In 1931, Ballard and Ballard patented these refrigerator biscuits.
National Buttermilk Biscuit Day is observed each year in the United States on May 14. However, National Biscuit Day is May 29 and the day is based off how much chitter-chatter and buzz there was on May 29, 2015 across social media making references to Biscuit Day.  WhatNationalDayIsIt.com’s algorithms examine all of the references to National Days across social media and updates WhatNationalDayIsIt.com hourly. Their crowdsourcing of data method to assess the National Biscuit Day was used as opposed to being connected with any Government sanctioned lists. 
Virginia Country Breakfast

Biscuits are made using baking powder or baking soda as a leavening agent rather than yeast.  A typical buttermilk biscuit recipe contains flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, butter, and buttermilk.  They are often referred to as a “quick bread”, indicating they do not need time to rise before baking. While being made, the dough is beaten and folded to incorporate air, which expands while baking, causing the biscuit to rise.

Ham and Biscuits
There are two days to celebrate biscuits in May, but we don’t need an excuse to enjoy them any day of the year. Our Biscuit section includes make your own biscuit mix , some ready to bake sweet potato and cream cheese biscuits, some biscuits with country ham and some ham and biscuit gifts.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Easter Ham Maple Blackberry Orange Glazed Ham

Maple Blackberry Orange Glazed Ham - Try something different, pump up the flavor of your holiday ham with a delicious glaze offering great maple, blackberry and orange flavor.  Perfect to serve at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or any special dinner!  Make ham your centerpiece this year! Start with a fully cooked spiral cut ham; bake for an hour and brush on glaze twice 15 minutes apart.  The glaze can be made days in advance!  Just reheat when ready to use.

3/4 cup pure maple syrup
·         2 tablespoons seedless blackberry preserves
·         1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
·         1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
·         1 tablespoon orange zest
·         1 (8 to 9-1/2 pound) fully cooked bone-in spiral ham
For the Glaze:
1.      Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2.      In a sauce pan, whisk together maple syrup, preserves, mustard, orange juice, and orange zest; cook over medium low heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until preserves melt, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat, and set aside.
For the Ham:
1.      Place ham, cut side down, on an aluminum foil-lined broiler pan, and cover loosely with foil.
2.      Bake for 1 hour.
3.      Uncover and brush glaze over ham.
4.      Bake an additional 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 140 degrees.
5.      Baste twice 15 minutes apart
6.      Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing,
7.      Garnish with blackberries and orange slices.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

March is National Peanut Month

March is National Peanut Month. Peanuts play an important role in The Virginia Marketplace all year long since Virginia is known for its unique extra-large Virginia peanuts and the way they are cooked making them unbelievable crisp and absolutely delicious. Peanuts have an interesting history. The peanut plant is not native to this country. It probably originated in Brazil or Peru. Archaeologists have discovered South American pottery shaped like peanuts. They have also uncovered jars decorated with peanuts that are 3,500 years old.
Incas in Peru used peanuts as sacrificial offerings and even entombed them with their mummies. Brazilian tribes ground them with corn to make a beverage.
European explorers discovered peanuts in Brazil, and they took them back to Europe. In the mid-1500s, Spanish and Portuguese colonists introduced peanuts to Africa, where they were called groundnuts. After their introduction, variations of groundnut stew began appearing throughout West Africa.
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson referred to peanuts in the 1790s. Jefferson contributed to the peanut’s increased popularity when he became the first American president to grow them.
It is assumed the slave diet in 18th-century America included peanut soup and stews styled after groundnut stews in Africa. There are records of slaves making peanut soup during that period.
It is said Confederate soldiers introduced Union counterparts to peanuts and peanut soup, which were a good source of protein. Peanut popularity surged after the Civil War. By the mid-1800s several recipes for peanut soup appeared in newspapers and cookbooks. Peanuts became an important part of the American diet.
Peanuts and peanut butter were an integral part of the rations given to soldiers during World Wars I and II. Soldiers during WWII are credited for popularizing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which provided sustenance during maneuvers.
Contrary to popular opinion, George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter. The earliest reference to peanut butter has been traced to the Incas and Aztecs who ground peanuts into a paste.
At least three inventors are credited with modern peanut butter. Marcellus Gilmor Edson patented peanut paste in 1884.
In 1895, John Harvey Kellogg (creator of Kellogg’s cereal) patented the process of creating peanut butter from raw peanuts. He marketed peanut butter as a nutritious protein substitute for people who could not chew solid food.
In 1903, Ambrose Straub patented a peanut butter-making machine. Peanut butter was introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair a year later.
At about the same time, peanuts were emerging as a significant agricultural crop in Southern states, since the boll weevil was threatening cotton crops.
George Washington Carver encouraged African-American farmers in the South to grow peanuts instead of cotton. He knew certain plants, such as peanuts, put nutrients back into the soil that had been depleted by cotton plants. By growing peanuts, farmers could restore the soil and provide food for their animals and families.
Soon the farmers had more peanuts than they could consume, so Carver started to invent ways to use peanuts. He discovered more than 300 uses for peanuts like peanut milk, peanut soap, shaving cream and glue. His innovations increased the popularity of peanuts.
In 1941, the National Peanut Council published Carver’s collection of peanut soup recipes. It was the largest collection of peanut soup recipes at that time and included directions for making peanut bisque, peanut consomme and peanut puree.
Peanuts and peanut soup became popular in American homes when peanuts and peanut butter became readily available in grocery stores in the early 20th century.

Try some delicious, extra large, crispy Virginia Peanuts!!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Roller Coaster Temperatures are Good News fo Maple Syrup Makers

The Puffenbarger Sugar Orchard is where maple syrup magic happens. Unfortunately for the Puffenbarger's, there hasn't been much magic these past two years. The process of making maple syrup is completely up to Mother Nature. The more ups and downs in temperature, the more sugar water will be produced. However, if it is hot or cold for too long, like last year, it can spell trouble. For the past two years, the Puffenbarger's have had some struggles with the weather, but with the roller coaster of temperatures this year, so far, so good. "The last two years, we haven't made any in February. This year, especially this last week, they've run pretty daggone good," said Ivan Puffenbager, the owner of the sugar orchard. Puffenbarger says a good year is right about 1,000 gallons of syrup, but it obviously varies. However, last year, they were only able to make right around 400 gallons. The internationally known Highland County Maple Festival is just around the corner; it is coming up on March 11-12 and March 18-19. The Puffenbarger's hope they have more stock to sell this year than they did last year. We will be at Puffenbarger's Sugar Orchard during
Spring Delights
the Highland County Maple Festival to pick up jugs of Maple Syrup for our gift baskets. Of course we'll also be looking forward to haveing some of their famous piping hot Maple Doughnuts

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Blue Crab Bay Change of Ownership

Ocean Bounty for the Blue Crab Bay Soup Lover
One of our vendors, Blue Crab Bay, is going through a change of ownership. Thankfully the company is staying right where it is on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Pamela Barefoot, founder and longtime president of Blue Crab Bay Co., has sold the company to Eastern Shore of Maryland native Elizabeth Lankford. “I had always been looking for an opportunity to return home to the Eastern Shore,” Lankford said. I look forward to leading the company and expanding our national reach.” Barefoot will remain on as founder for at least two years.
The new ownership marks the near-end of Barefoot’s involvement with the specialty food company, where she spent nearly 32 years building a successful business from her brainchild.

Barefoot, 66, said she has been thinking of an “exit strategy” in recent years that would allow her to gradually retire and give the next owner the opportunity to continue building the brand from its current location in Melfa, Va.<

Blue Crab Bay products have been very popular on our website since we started The Virginia Marketplace in 2006. We sell one of their signature products, Sting Ray Bloody Mary Mixer made with clam juice as well as their seafood soups and seafood dips. We sell these products separately and they are welcome additions to our gift baskets and boxes. We sell these products separately and they are welcome additions to our gift baskets and boxes. Check out all our Seafood Gift Baskets.