Interesting Find – Farmer’s Daughter Jams and Preserves and Whole Wheat Biscuit Recipe

I am always on the search for interesting food items to incorporate into my cooking and my blog.  When I saw Farmer’s Daughter Jams and Preserves this past weekend, I just have to buy a few jars.  The cute jars and catchy batch names such as Blackberry Julep Jam and Strawberry Honeysuckle Preserves were calling my name.  I spend of bit of time researching the company and found they are headquartered in Hillsborough, NC.  After checking their website ( I found the following information that tells their story:

Farmer’s Daughter is a farm-driven artisan food business celebrating the flavors of the South and the soils of the North Carolina Piedmont while gaining inspiration from authentic food cultures worldwide.  It was founded in 2007 by April McGreger, who learned the art of preserving at the elbows of her mother and grandmother amidst a rural farming community in Mississippi.  Farmer’s Daughter seeks to promote the value of sustainable, small-scale agriculture as well as traditional, handmade methods of preserving.

I am always impressed with those that continue the traditions set by their mothers and grandmothers.  We tried both of the above varieties, they are wonderful and especially delicious on my whole wheat biscuits- YUM!

These biscuits are incredibly easy to prepare and the results are always great.  I rolled my dough approximately 3/4 inch thick, if you want event taller biscuits, you can roll the dough up to 1 inch thick.  You will have fewer biscuits, but very impressive when over the top in height!



Whole Wheat Biscuits

Servings 12


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened and diced
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    In a large mixing bowl. combine the flours, baking powder, sugar, salt and cream of tartar.  Add butter and using a pastry blender, cut butter into mixture until the butter is the size of small peas.  Make a well in the center, add egg and milk and combine with a fork until all of the dry ingredients are moist.  Turn dough onto a well floured surface and knead until all is smooth and all dry ingredients are incorporated.  Roll dough to 3/4 inch thick, cut with three inch cutter.  Place biscuits on parchment lined baking sheet, 1/4 inch apart.  Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown.   





Baked then Grilled Ribs/Interesting Find – Hudson Sauce

Who doesn’t love a great rack of fall-off the bones BBQ’d ribs in the summer time? We certainly do!  I found years ago that by baking the ribs first and then grilling them, you get fall of the bone tenderness without the 3 hours of tending to the grill.  I usually rub the ribs with a dry rub or concoct a BBQ sauce to baste the ribs.  This time, I used a terrific new find – Hudson Sauce.  Their spicy marinade is unbelievably delicious and made this rib preparation even easier.  I marinated the ribs in their Spicy Marinade.  Then followed the method I have always used for ribs.  Bake the ribs in the oven first, them finish on the grill.  I even brushed the ribs with some of the marinade during the last few minutes of cooking.  Finger lickin’ good with a bit of heat and oh so easy!

 hudson sauce 2

                                                                          Marinated Ribs                                   Ribs just taken off the grill

marinated ribs cooked ribs


Baked then Grilled Ribs
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  1. Baby back or spareribs
  2. BBQ sauce or dry rub
  1. Remove ribs from package, place in large ziplock bag or place in glass baking dish. Marinate in sauce or dry rub of your choice. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove ribs from marinade and place on foil lined baking sheet. Cover ribs with additional foil and seal edges. Bake 2 hours at 325 degrees. Prepare grill - medium low heat. Place ribs on grill and cook an additional hour or until ribs are tender. Serve with additional sauce.
A Passion for Entertaining

Unbelievably Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This recipe is so easy it is almost embarrassing to post.  Two ingredients and fantastic results.  Now that is one great recipe!   I usually use whatever BBQ sauce I happen to have in my pantry.  However, this time, I used a wonderful Virginia product that I received.  I used Shaffer’s Bold and Sassy Sauce. I always prefer to use locally made products in my recipes.  Their sauce is a vinegar/red wine based sauce with molasses, coriander, cumin and other spices.  It was a delicious addition to this easy recipe. 

slow cooker pulled pork

 Big Julie’s Bold & Sassy (16 fl oz) - $6.99



Unbelievably Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
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  1. 2 pork tenderloins or one beef brisket
  2. BBQ sauce
  1. Almost too easy to post - in your slow cooker, pour in 3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce. Add your meat of choice. Drizzle with an additional 3/4 cup sauce. Cover and cook on low for 7 1/2 hours. Shred meat, return to sauce to keep warm. Serve.
A Passion for Entertaining


Candied Oranges

Sometimes I think my kitchen is more of a chemistry lab than a kitchen.  I love candied oranges, however, they are definitely pricey when you see them and not readily available.  So, I thought I would try my hand at making candied oranges.  They are the perfect accompaniment to a cheese tray, great to chop and mix in muffins or quick breads, an interesting addition or garnish for cocktails, delicious served with whipped cream mixed with brandy, serve sliced with an after dinner cordial and my latest concoction – chop two candied oranges and mix into one-half gallon of vanilla ice cream and top with chocolate sauce.  Below I have highlighted another fantastic Virginia food find I came across Willie Byrd Chocolate Sauce , I heated and topped my candied orange ice cream with this and all I can say is…  unbelievably delicious!

candied oranges

candied orange ice cream  


Candied Oranges
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  1. 1 1/3 cup sugar
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 6 seedless oranges, score rind
  6. Juice of 1/2 lemon
  1. In a heavy sauce pan that will hold 6 oranges snugly, combine water, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Add oranges, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 2 hours. Turn oranges every 1/2 hour. After 2 hours, remove the lid and bring the syrup with the oranges in it to a boil. Boil until the syrup is thick, this will take about 10 minutes. Turn oranges frequently so they do not brown. When syrup has thickened, remove the pan from the heat and let the oranges cool in the syrup. Turn the oranges so the syrup coats the oranges as they cool. Refrigerate the oranges when completely cool. Candied oranges will keep for at least 2 weeks refrigerated.
A Passion for Entertaining

Interesting Find – Fresh Batch Jams/Pineapple Dipping Sauce Recipe

After just returning from Hawaii and then visiting the Virginia Food and Beverage Expo, I am sure you will know why I was so thrilled to find Aloha Jam.  How great that the name of a jam would bring immediate memories of Hawaii and even better, the delicious taste of pineapples.  Fresh Batch Jams was gracious in giving me a jar of their jam after I explained I love to create recipes using interesting food finds.  Well friends, this time I think I have hit a home run with my pineapple dipping sauce. Quick, easy and oh so delicious.  I started with Aloha Jam (Fresh Batch Jam’s pineapple jam named Aloha Jam) and added a few ingredients to make this marvelous dip/sauce.  I served this sauce with grilled pork tenderloin and it was sensational.  I think it would also be fantastic with egg rolls, chicken strips, spooned over warm brie, served on a cheese board or slathered on a ham sandwich.  I call this a great food find!


Pineapples growing at the Dole Plantation on Oahu

Pineapple Dipping Sauce

Pineapple Dipping Sauce
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  1. 1/4 cup pineapple jam
  2. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  3. 1/4 cup sour cream
  4. Pinch of salt
  1. Mix all together, refrigerate until serving.
A Passion for Entertaining

Interesting Finds – Virginia Food Finds

I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 Virginia Food and Beverage Expo in Richmond, VA.  Along with my friend Pat, we tasted our way through rows and rows of delicious food and tasty beverages. All of the foods are from Virginia.  How could I not be inspired?  From bee keepers and their delicious honey, fresh oysters farmed off the Virginia coast, family recipes from jam to shortbread, seasonings created by a chef and butcher, delicious cake combinations featured in jars, salsas and hot sauces (some of the best I have tasted), vinegar varieties made from Virginia wines, to visiting my favorites such as Spartan Olive Oil, The Essential Table, Rappahannock Oysters, and Catoctin Creek Distillery.  I must say it was a fantastic day in my food world.  Below are a few photos from the day.  My fun now begins, I came home with samples of some of my favorites from the show and can’t wait to create and feature recipes using foods from these creative food manufacturers.  More highlights to follow – with new recipes and food stories in the coming weeks.

va oysters

Enjoying a fresh VA oyster with Mike Hutt, Virginia Seafood

cake love 

Here I am with Warren Brown of CakeLove, famous for his cupcakes, now creating delicious jarred cakes. 

 salsa earl

Best Smokey Bacon Salsa ever, with Ernie Dettbarn, of Ernies Epic Food

Hudson Sauce

A great time tasting Hudson Sauce with Jhaleel Hudson.  Can’t wait to cook with his sauce.






A Food Lover’s Life List

I just love to spend time in book stores wandering the aisles, checking out interesting reads, magazines, and I always check out the cookbook section.  Well, I found one book that I just couldn’t pass by, 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die.   This book is written by Mimi Sheraton—award-winning cookbook author, grande dame of food journalism, and former restaurant critic for The New York Times. This book is part cookbook, travel guide, and food excursions. It is divided by regional cuisine around the world – ever wonder what to eat and where to find regional specialities around the world?  This book has the answer.  If you are planning a trip, I would definitely add this book to your list of reads before traveling. From MoonPies to Southern Fried Chicken in the U.S to Bang Mi in Vietnam, Insalata di Frutti de Mare in Italy, you can find so many intriguing and interesting dishes.  She has even added recipes to try.  This is one book that transports you through food around the world.  I found this a great read and one that I will frequently reference. I call that a great find!

food to eat

Interesting Find – Red Truck Bakery, Marshall, VA

My first post regarding award winning Red Truck Bakery was last year when I visited their Warrenton, VA bakery during December. Today, I visited their new and expanded bakery in Marshall, VA. In my opinion this is a must stop when visiting Virginia’s Hunt Country. My first impression was what a great vibe this place has with farm tables, stools, and the most magnificent display of baked goods you could find anywhere. Being the fall season, it is just brimming with pumpkins, fall décor, pumpkin pies ready to buy and even a butternut squash quiche. All in a historic building painted red on Main Street. How more iconic can you get! This is one place you will not want to miss. If stopping for coffee and a breakfast treat, lunch or any time of day treat, this is food stop that is well worth the visit. You will not regret stopping here in Marshall, VA. I am already planning when I want to return over the holidays. Marshall is only a ten mile drive from Middleburg,VA a perfect combination for a perfect fall day. Check out their website.  Enjoy!

red truck 10-15

red truck 2

red truck 3red truck 4red truck 5

Interesting Find – Millie’s Diner, Richmond, VA

When traveling, I always seek new and interesting places in towns where we travel.  I just love the convenience of searching on my phone for those just perfect places to try.  While traveling this past weekend to Richmond, VA, I began my search for that perfect breakfast restaurant in Richmond for Sunday morning.  After a quick search, I immediately knew the restaurant to try – Millie’s Diner.  I was fascinated with the reviews I read and we headed to search for my next Interesting Find.  With the help of our GPS, we quickly found Millie’s.  As we approached, I knew we had found Millie’s when I saw a line out the door and customers gathered near the entrance on a brisk morning.   Our experience started the minute we entered the building.  Using only yellow sticky notes to track customers, we were immediately greeted by owner Paul Keevil and surprised when he asked what we were drinking and we immediately were sent to the end of the bar for a hot cup of coffee while waiting for our table.  To our delight, we were seated at the bar which was the epicenter of the all of the action.  In a small front kitchen, this restaurant produces amazing food with great service.  Every dish they prepared looked outstanding and I was sitting at the end of the counter just where the plates were placed ready to go to the tables.  I wanted to take my fork and try each one! Their savory brunch dishes are well worth the wait and definitely a place to visit if you are ever in the Richmond area. Check out their dinner menu, it too looks like a must try.  It is on my list the next time I am in the Richmond area.


p and c at millies cooks at millies

millies food

Interesting Find – Rappahannock Oyster Company, Topping, VA

I am always looking for new food ventures and tracking food trends.  Since everywhere you turn, oysters are playing a starring role, I wanted to check out the oyster world.  I have to admit my knowledge was very limited.  All of that changed after my visit to Rappahannock Oyster Company in Topping, VA.  After driving through abundant farm land with brief glimpses of the water we finally approached our destination.  You can’t blink when you get near your next turn on to Lockies Road or you will cruise right past your turn, make a note since that is exactly what I did.  What appears to be a neighborhood street dead-ends into the most beautiful point on the Chesapeake Bay.  With almost a 360 degree view, you have to pinch yourself and wish you had this view to look at each and every day. After taking in the amazing surroundings, I met Anthony Marchetti, Rappannock Chief Operating Officer, who gave me the most incredible look into the world of oyster farming.  I had a very hands on tour from the early stages of an oyster larvae to the dynamics involved in farming oysters and eventually landing on the table of oyster lovers. 

After the incredible tour, we were certainly ready to start tasting oysters.  On site, they have their Merrior Tasting Room, the oyster equivalent of a Napa wine tasting room.  This structure has evolved over the years from a one room office to the most beautiful venue on the water to enjoy spectacular views and fantastic food.  During our tour, we met Pete Woods their resident chef.  After meeting him, he asked what we were interested in having.  I said, anything you would like us to try.  What a taste treat we had.  Our food adventure started with a selection of their oysters.  Rappahannock River Oysters (sweet), Older Salt Oysters (briny), and Stingrays (mild).  I love oysters, but these were hands down the best oysters I have ever had.  I am sure having oysters that have been out of the water less than 24 hours is one reason these were so sensational.  The oysters were followed by two of Pete’s signature dishes, Crab Cake on grilled bread topped with Créole remoulade and “Stuffin Muffin”, oyster stuffing, Edwards’ bacon and peppercorn cream sauce.  The ‘Stuffin Muffin” is his creation from his childhood memories of this mothers after Thanksgiving meals where she would take her leftover oyster stuffing and top it with cream gravy. I can see why it is so popular – just amazing.  We just couldn’t leave until we finished with their S’mores donut.  A thin slice of cake donut topped with ganache and marshmallow.  We washed all of this down with Procesco (on tap) and Tangerine Wheat beer. 

I cannot think of a better way than to spend an afternoon.  If you are anywhere on the East Coast and the 95 corridor, this is one side trip that is definitely worth the trip.  I am already planning my second visit!.

oysters with anthony

On the oyster dock with Anthony Marchetti, Rappahannock Oyster Company, COO

floating bins oysters

Stages of oysters floating in the Chesapeake

eli and patrick oysters

Some of the farm crew, Eli Nichols, Nursery Manager and Patrick Oliver, Chief Farm Officer

untitled (10)

The final product – delicious!