Interesting Find – Farmers First Coffee Company

I cannot tell you how many requests I receive regarding my Interesting Finds and Interesting Events on my blog.  As many of you know, I am an ad free blog and all of my finds are those that I think personally deserve consideration and not driven by advertising dollars.  I recently received an e-mail from Farmers  First co-founder, Matt Hohler, regarding  Farmers First Coffee (formerly Levanta coffee).  After I read about their mission, I definitely decided to feature them as an Interesting Find.   Matt sent me a 12 oz. package of  ground medium roast coffee (they roast their coffee beans in North Carolina) that comes with a photo of the coffee grower with a brief bio on the back.  I have been drinking Farmers First Coffee and their coffee is delicious – a perfect gift for any coffee lover on your list from a company committed to their coffee growers. 

Here is the premise behind their company –

We’re dedicated to doing things differently. We’re committed to putting farmers first when sourcing our coffee. We pay a 50% bonus on top of the market price farmers receive, which is as much as four times higher than “fair” trade.

By waking up each morning with a cup of Farmers First Coffee, you’re giving hard-working coffee farmers from Honduras and Peru the opportunity to lift themselves up economically.

Our findings, along with a combined total of 10+ years living and working in Latin America, led us to one simple conclusion. What do coffee farmers need most to create a more prosperous future for them and their families? A better income for their hard work.

 

Breakfast Duo – Holiday Hash Brown Egg Casserole and Apple Breakfast Sausages

These two recipes are a terrific combination for brunch.  I started the egg casserole with a layer of hash brown potatoes, topped with Pepper Jack and Swiss cheese, ham and eggs.  I prebaked the hash browns, topped them with cheese, ham and eggs and baked until it was a golden puff.  While the casserole was baking, I browned breakfast sausages, added sliced apples, a touch of brown sugar, salt and pepper.  I think I have a perfect breakfast duo for any brunch.

 

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Holiday Hash Brown Egg Casserole

Servings 3

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen loose-pack hash brown potatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced fully cooked ham
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup half and half

Instructions

  1. Thaw potatoes, press between two sheets of paper towels to remove excess moisture.  Grease a small casserole dish.  Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of the casserole dish.   Bake potatoes uncovered in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.   Remove casserole from oven and cool for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees . .Layer Pepper Jack cheese, ham,  and Swiss cheese over the potatoes.  Mix together the eggs and half and half.  Pour over potato cheese mixture in casserole.  Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until center appears set.  Cool 5 minutes before serving.

    This recipe can easily be doubled.

 

 

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Apple Breakfast Sausage

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh pork sausage links
  • 4 medium cooking apples, cut into wedges
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large 12-inch skillet, cook sausage over medium heat, approximately 10 minutes or until no longer pink.  Drain and discard pan juices.  Cut sausage links in half.  Return links to the skillet.  Add apple wedges.  Then sprinkle with the brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 - 15 minutes or until apples are just tender.  Stir once or twice while cooking.  

Mom’s Date Nut Bars

Mom’s Date Nut Bars are just the perfect holiday treat.  Perfect for a cookie tray or cookie exchange.  Easy to make, quick to bake and always delicious!  My kind of recipe during this busy season.  Enjoy.

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Mom's Date Nut Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8oz package dates, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 heaping cup self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until well blended.  Add the dates, pecans, flour, oil and vanilla extract.  Mix by hand until blended.  Pour into an ungreased 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly golden.  When cool. sift powdered sugar over the top.  Cut into bars.

Tiger Tears

If you are a fan of Thai food I am sure you have tasted a version of this recipe.  Basically it is sliced marinated steak served with a spicy chili dipping sauce.  One of our favorite local Thai restaurants serves this appetizer and every time we visit we order Tiger Tears.  I wanted to recreate Tiger Tears at home and experimented until I got the flavor combination that I thought was just right.  I sliced the sirloin prior to marinating and then quickly broiled the steak.  Delicious served with a side of romaine and carrots.

 

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Tiger Tears

Ingredients

  • Marinade
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablepoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Dipping Sauce
  • 5 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried red chili flakes
  • 3/4 poound sirloin steak, thinly sliced
  • lettuce leaves
  • carrot shavings

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients, pour over steak slices, refrigerate. 2 - 4 hours.  Combine all of the dipping sauce ingredients, set aside.

    When ready to serve, heat broiler, lay steak slices on a foil lined baking sheet.  Broil 1 minute per side.   Remove and serve with dipping sauce, lettuce and carrots.

Curried Rice with Chutney Vegetable Topping

Whenever I want the side dish to be the show of the meal, this is my go-to recipe.  I have a tendency to always serve this along side a roasted pork tenderloin.  The flavor combination will have your mouth dancing!  

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Curried Rice with Chutney Vegetable Topping

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 cup raw white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/3 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chutney
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimiento
  • 2 tablespoons chopped almonds
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons butter, the curry powder and the rice.  Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the chicken broth and heat to boiling.  Sir, cover, and cook over low heat until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  While the rice is cooking, combine the raisins, scallions, green pepper, celery, and remaining tablespoon of butter in a saucepan;  cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables are just tender,stir frequently.  Add the chutney, pimiento, almonds, vinegar, brown sugar, and salt, to taste.  Stir until well blended, cook over low heat an additional 2 minutes .  Place the rice on a serving platter, top with the vegetable mixture, serve.

Interesting Event – MetroCooking DC

Looking for a foodie outing over the holidays?  Check out the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in DC, I can’t wait to go!

The 12th annual MetroCooking DC ShowThe ultimate food lover’s weekend returns to the Washington Convention Center December 9-10, 2017.

Whether you’re an aspiring home cook or expert entertainer, the two-day culinary extravaganza provides a one-of-a-kind experience for all food and entertaining enthusiasts.

Enjoy cooking demos and book signings with top Celebrity Chefs. Sample from over 50 local restaurants in the Grand Tasting Pavilion. Wash down your fare with a local brew from the Beer, Wine and Spirits Garden. Learn new techniques and tips in the Taste Talk Workshops. Sharpen your skills in the pop-up cooking school. Meet your favorite James Beard award-winning chef and see them whip up delicious dishes live on the James Beard Stage.

Plus, shop from hundreds of specialty food vendors in the exhibitor marketplace! Chances are, you’ll discover a new favorite hot sauce!

MetroCooking DC 2017. December 9 - 10, 2017

Cream Cheese Layered Pecan Pie

If you typically bake a pecan pie over the holidays, this is a recipe that you will want to try.  The cream cheese layer adds a delightful twist and unexpected surprise.  My husband who is not a fan of pecan pie, thinks this pie is delicious.  That is testimony enough for me!  

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Cream Cheese Layered Pecan Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 9 inch pie shell, unbaked
  • layer #1
  • 1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups pecan halves
  • layer #2
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl. Beat until fluffy.  Spread mixture on bottom of prepared pie shell.  Sprinkle pecans over cream cheese layer.   Beat remaining 3 eggs until well mixed but not foamy.  Do not overbeat.  Add corn syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Mix well, pour over pecans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until nuts and lightly browned.  Top will rise and sink as it cools.  Serve warm or cold.  May be frozen.  Thaw at room temperature.

Spiced Peaches

I am sure you all have a family favorite that your mom, dad. grandmother or other family member made every Thanksgiving Day.  Spiced Peaches is the one side dish what I remember on Thanksgiving.  Surprising, Spiced Peaches my husband also remembers his mom making every Thanksgiving when he was growing up.  Interesting since they lived on opposite coasts and entirely different regions of the country. However, they were the same generation and that might be the clue as to why Spiced Peaches were so popular when we were growing up.  Anyway, I have always made Spiced Peaches on Thanksgiving carrying on my mom’s tradition and now my family requests them each year.  This is the recipe that my mom always used for her Spiced Peaches. So easy to prepare in advance and great to serve along side your Thanksgiving favorites.  I can guarantee you they will be on our dinner table this Thanksgiving!

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Spiced Peaches

Ingredients

  • 2 -29 oz. cans peach halves in syrup
  • 3-6 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Heat to boiling, simmer for five minutes..  Remove of heat.  Let cool in the spiced syrup.  Refrigerate until serving.

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

It’s November and one week before Thanksgiving; time to pull out those pumpkin recipes.  This recipe is one of our favorites.  The best thing about muffins is they are easy to prepare, quick to bake and a great treat on a cool fall day.  These muffins are perfect to serve on Thanksgiving morning while watching the Thanksgiving Day parades.  

 

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Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup assorted chopped dried fruit (you can use one dried fruit or a combination of raisins, dried apricots, dried cranberries, and/or dried apples
  • Streusel Topping
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoon finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, line 12 muffins cups with liners.

    In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  In another medium bowl combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, brown sugar, butter and dried fruit.  Mix well.  Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture and mix just until all of the dry mixture is incorporated. Divide mixture evenly between 12 muffin cups. Combine streusel ingredients - sugar, nuts and cinnamon, sprinkle over muffins.  Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Remove to a wire rack, cool slightly. Serve warm, makes 12 muffins

Interesting Event – Junior League of Northern Virginia’s Enchanted Forest

 

THE ENCHANTED FOREST

New TEF JPG logo

The Junior League of Northern Virginia’s 17th Annual The Enchanted Forest will take place November 18-19, 2017, at the Westin Tysons Corner. The event will feature live entertainment, Kids in the Kitchen holiday activities, visits from Santa, a model train display, kids’ crafts, gifts for purchase, premium events for adults and kids, and a silent auction of more than 80 lavishly decorated themed trees and wreaths.

The Enchanted Forest is your first opportunity to take photos with Santa, get a head start on your holiday shopping, and kick off your holiday season.

Proceeds benefit the JLNV’s community initiatives, including our Kids in the Kitchen programming. By supporting The Enchanted Forest you are helping the JLNV empower families to make healthy eating and active living a priority, and supporting the development of women who will build better communities for years to come.

                                 

If you are looking for a wonderful holiday event for you and your family, check out The Enchanted Forest sponsored by the Junior League of Northern Virginia.  I was an active member of the Junior League for many years and I know that all of their events are ones not to miss, including the Enchanted Forest.