Thursday, December 10, 2020
Did you know that monkeys were the first creatures to discover that the cacao plant was edible and quite tasty? Over 1500 years ago, monkeys began to consume the pulp of the plant and spit out the beans. Humans soon began to follow the monkey's example and the rest is history.The Mayans are first credited with cultivating the cacao bean to brew xocoatl, an unsweetened version of modern-day hot chocolate. Much later in the 17th century, Spanish doctor Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma published the first recipe as an elixir, adding different spices to treat a number of ailments. Even President George Washington washed down his breakfast of cornmeal hoe cakes with a cup of hot chocolate.
To celebrate national Cocoa Day, send a gift with our new Virginia Diner Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix. a hot chocolate for the serious chocolate lover. Just mix with hot water or milk, stir and enjoy. For a holiday twist on a traditional cup of cocoa, try adding a candy cane!
Thursday, November 12, 2020
1 stick butter (softened)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk (or substitute 12 ounces non-dairy milk)
Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt in a bowl. Beat eggs in separate bowl then add to sugar mix. Stir in pumpkin, vanilla extract and milk. Pour filling into your Ginger Spice Pie Crust. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 40-50 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 2 hours, then refrigerate or serve.
Sunday, October 4, 2020
Some more about the importance of bees,,,, as pollinators, rusty patched bumble bees contribute to our food security and the healthy functioning of our ecosystems. Bumble bees are keystone species in most ecosystems, necessary not only for native wildflower reproduction, but also for creating seeds and fruits that feed wildlife as diverse as songbirds and grizzly bears.
Bumble bees are among the most important pollinators of crops such as blueberries, cranberries, and clover and almost the only insect pollinators of tomatoes. Bumble bees are more effective pollinators than honey bees for some crops because of their ability to “buzz pollinate.” a pollination technique where it grabs onto a plant and then vibrates its body at a high frequency to shake loose tightly packed pollen that might otherwise be difficult to access. Not all bees buzz pollinate — honeybees, for example, don’t. But buzz pollination is essential for the reproduction of a range of plants, including crops like blueberries, apples and tomatoes.
But some 25 years ago, the rusty patched bumble bee began to disappear. Eventually the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that the species was “so imperiled that every remaining population is important for its continued existence.” It became the first bee to be included on the agency’s endangered species list in 2017.
In Virginia, where the species once ranged widely, the bee in recent years has only been observed in four counties: Bath, Highland, Augusta and Rockingham, with the most sightings in the former two locations.
There is little consensus among scientists about what’s causing the rusty patched bumble bee’s disappearance, but much is being done to conserve them.
Several U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service programs work to assess, protect, and restore pollinators and their habitats. Also, the Service works with partners to recover endangered and threatened pollinators and pollinator-dependent plants. Concern about pollinator declines prompted formation of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, a collaboration of people dedicated to pollinator conservation and education.
Trusts, conservancies, restoration groups and partnerships are supporting pollinator initiatives and incorporating native plants that support bees and other pollinators into their current activities.
Researchers are studying and monitoring the impacts of GMO crops and certain pesticides on pollinators. Efforts by citizen scientists and researchers to determine the status of declining bee species are underway throughout the U.S.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
|Monastery Creamed Honey|
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. National Honey Month, initiated by the National Honey Board, marks an important time for honey producers and beekeepers across the nation. In the United States, honey collection season typically concludes in September as bees begin to secure their hives and prepare for winter.
In the spirit of celebration, try some fun flavors of Monastery Creamed Honey and here are a few fun facts you may not have known about bees, beekeeping, and honey!
A single worker honeybee produces approximately 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. That means around 22,700 bees are needed to fill a single jar of honey!
In 2012, archaeologists discovered “the world’s oldest honey”! It was found in ceramic jars in Georgia, the country – not the state, and is estimated by scientists to be about 5,500 years old!
Saturday, August 1, 2020
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup peach preserves
1/2 cup sour cream
3 large eggs
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup butter softened
1-16 ounce package confectioner sugar
½ cup peach preserves
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray with flour. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt.
Monday, July 6, 2020
|Monastery Creamed Honey|
The bees are much safer with a beekeeper than in the wild. The murder hornets have the ability to wipe out hives. A more serious problem is the Varroa mite, a parasite that fees on adult bees and larvae, making them vulnerable to certain viral diseases. Then there are pesticides that can be carried back to the hive. People and honeybees need each other. They pollinate our food crops, and beekeepers safeguard their colonies.
Monday, June 8, 2020
|Blue Crab Bay Sting Ray® Bloody Mary Mixder|
When it first appeared, Sting Ray® was featured on Food Network TV's Food Finds. In the New York Times, in a blind taste test of eight Bloody Mary Mixers, Sting Ray® won top honors! It was also the winner of Outstanding Beverage, 1998 at the International Fancy Food Show!
Here are two of our favorite recipes using Sting Ray®:
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can tomatoes (16 oz), chopped and drained
3-4 tbs. Sting Ray Bloody Mary Mixer
1 lb. scallops
1 TB. butter
¼ cup dry white wine
1 TB. lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sauté onion, green pepper and garlic
in olive oil until soft. Add tomatoes and Sting Ray Bloody Mary Mixer.
Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, sauté scallops
for 2-3 minutes in butter. Add wine and lemon juice and simmer 5 minutes.
Combine all ingredients in lightly greased baking dish.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and bake 5-10 minutes until lightly browned.
For variation: sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese or grated Parmesan.
BLOODY MARY SHRIMP AND PASTA
1 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb. fettuccine or other pasta
1-1/2 cups Sting Ray Bloody Mary Mixer
2 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley
Cook pasta according to directions, drain and keep warm. Sauté shrimp with garlic in olive oil until the flesh is opaque, usually 3-5 minutes. Add to pasta and toss with Sting Ray Bloody Mary Mixer. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and grated Parmesan. Serve with a fresh garden salad and bread. Have a little extra Sting Ray Mixer in a small creamer available for guests who enjoy extra zing!
Saturday, May 2, 2020
|Graves Mountain Strawberry Preserves|
Saturday, April 4, 2020
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped walnuts optional
4 ounces cream cheese softened
1/4 cup butter softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped walnuts optional
Thursday, March 5, 2020
Normally the Maple Festival is the only time visitors get to come by the sugar camps to see how the syrup is made. This year, though, the HIghland County Chamber of Comomerce is starting the Maple Syrup Trail, with ten sugar camps open all year for visitors to see how the trees do throughout the year and enjoy the scenery of Highland in other seasons. “Each one is unique. We go from modern to really traditional," said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chris Swecker. "There’s again farmers that have been doing this for generations to some first-generation producers. And there’ll actually be two sugar camps that aren’t normally open during the festival that you’ll be able to visit as well.” The trail comes with a passport, where visitors can get stamps from each camp and go into the chamber for prizes.
|Bloody Mary Brunch|
Saturday, February 1, 2020
1 cup miniature pretzel twists
1 cup salted roasted peanuts
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Crackers, for serving
1. Place pretzels and peanuts in a ziplock plastic bag. Seal bag, leaving a 1-inch opening at one corner. Lay bag flat on a work surface, and lightly crush pretzels and peanuts with a skillet, meat mallet, or the flat side of a measuring cup. Set aside.
2. Combine cream cheese, mozzarella, dill, mustard, salt, and pepper in a bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir or beat on low speed until combined. Shape mixture into a ball, and chill 15 minutes.
3. Place pretzel mixture in a shallow dish. Roll cheese ball in pretzel mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Serve with crackers.
Monday, January 6, 2020
|Virginia Handcooked Peanuts|
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped Virginia Handcooked peanuts
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Next in a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Now add the sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, and vanilla. Continue to beat until thoroughly blended. Now stir in the peanuts. Place the pie shell on a cookie sheet, pour in the filling, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden. Cool in the refrigerator and serve!