Tag Archives: NC

Sweet Potato Fries

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Say hello to the sweet potatoes from Barbee Farms.  Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables, and I made these babies into some delicious fries.

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

  • sweet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • plain panko bread crumbs
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • salt
1.  Peel and cut your taters.
2.  Pour about 3 Tablespoons (or more if needed) of olive oil in a plastic bag.  Put the taters in the bag and shake to coat.
3.  Put about a cup of bread crumbs on a plate and mix with 1/2 Tablespoon each of oregano and basil.  Then roll a couple of taters around the plate at a time to pick up the mixture, pressing the crumbs in if needed.  These will not have a heavy coating.
4.  Place on a baking sheet that has been coated with a non-stick spray.  Then generously sprinkle with sea salt.  I like to use Trader Joe’s Smoked sea salt.
5.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Enjoy!
P.S.  I would also like to take the time to gush about my $10 apron that I found at Target.
Happy Halloween!
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Breakfast Corn Fritters

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Fall is in the air and I’m loving it.  I’m also loving the fall veggies that I’m getting in my CSA from Barbee Farms.  I thought it would be neat to share with you how I use the veggies that I get in my box this week.  Here is what I have:

  • 3 ears corn
  • 2 bell pepper
  • 1 head bok choy
  • 4 small sweet potatoes
  • 2 turnips
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2 zucchini
Let’s start with the corn shall we?
I don’t usually think of eating corn for breakfast, but cook it up like a pancake and douse it with syrup and I’m good to go!  This recipe comes from the Stonewall Kitchen Breakfast Cookbook.  I have a handy-dandy cookbook holder that I use, given to me as a wedding gift by my Aunt.  (Thanks Aunt Sue!)

Breakfast Corn Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels cut off 2-3 large cobs
  1.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. I had to add a bit more milk to make it smooth.
  3. Beat in the egg.
  4. Gently mix in the corn.
  5. In a large skillet, heat 3 Tablespoons of oil over med-high heat.  Drop 3 Tablespoons of batter into the pan and flatten the mixture.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Top with butter and maple syrup.
These taste just like a pancake with corn in them.  I like to call them corn cakes.  Vee said “I like it, but it’s not something I’d order off the menu.”  Don’t listen to him.  They are delish.  The corn makes them sweet and I love the crunch they give against the soft flour.
Charlie and I spent the rest of the day gazing out the window.

The New Earth Fare on the Block: Part 2

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Have you been to the new Earth Fare in Huntersville, NC yet?  If not, read the first part of my post:  The New Earth Fare on the Block.

In this post, I will introduce you to my favorite sections of Earth Fare.  Let’s get started with cheese and wine!

Cheese and Wine

cheese please!

Earth Fare offers a huge selection of yummy cheeses.  The thing I like about their cheese department,is that they have helpful signs to guide you with your selection.

This sign lets you know what country the cheese comes from and what kind of milk is used.  The kinds of milk in the sign describe the taste and texture to expect.

There are also signs that help you with pairing your cheeses.

The stinky cheeses illustration is my favorite!

You can find similar signs on select wines around the store suggesting what food would be best served with that wine, and what kind of flavor to expect.

Bulk Bin Heaven

I think my absolute favorite thing about Earth Fare are the bulk bins.  There is something very liberating about stuffing your food in the thin plastic baggies, without all the extra cardboard box packaging.

They offer cereals, nuts, flours, grains, beans, dried fruit, and even CANDY in the bulk bins.  Besides the candy, I like to get quinoa and red lentils the most.

Health and Beauty

Yes, Earth Fare even has a health and beauty department where you can find chemical free and organic products such as, makeup, nail polish, aromatherapy, toothpaste, hair care, and soap.

Isn’t this soap display beautiful?  Makes me want to buy some, and it smells so nice walking by.  I guess that is the point though 🙂

Eat-In

If you don’t need to shop for beauty products or food, that’s okay, just go to eat there!  The food is delicious.

They have a cold bar and a display case full of prepared food.  There are  multiple hot soups in ready-to-go containers to choose from.  There is even a bakery full of desserts, cookies, and muffins!

The nice thing about this, is that they actually have an ample amount of seating, so you can stay in the store and eat.

My Goodies

I didn’t need to do a ton of shopping that day, but I did pick up a few random things.  Here’s my loot:

  •  A free Tulsi tea sample.
  • Badger Headache Soother (Peppermint and Lavender balm)
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Chobani Greek Yogurt in my favorite flavor – Black Cherry and a new flavor – Lemon.  The Lemon sounds refreshing doesn’t it?
  • Okra Chips – these are good, but interesting.  They’re dry, but as soon as you start eating them, they have that slim effect again.  Do you know what I’m talking about okra lovers?
  • Alba Shave Cream – contains no artificial colors, parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, or sodium methyl sulfate.
  • Veggie Chips – squash, carrots, sweet potato, green beans.  These are addicting!

  • And of course, I wasn’t leaving without dessert – A slice of the flour-less Chocolate Cake!

As you’ve seen, there are many, many, many, wonderful reasons to visit Earth Fare!

Sign up for their monthly flyer, coupons, and weekly FREEBIES at their website.

You can also follow Earth Fare on Twitter and like them on Facebook, for weekly news and events.

What item(s) are you most excited about getting from Earth Fare!?

The New Earth Fare on the Block

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The new Earth Fare in Huntersville, NC opened just four days ago.  I am so thrilled about this, because the other Earth Fare in Southpark was a 30 minute drive for me.  Now, I can get to the one in Huntersville in half that time!

I had a chance to visit the new store for the first time today.  I think everyone else in Huntersville had the same idea.  It was packed.  Apparently, I’m not the only one in town who is excited about this.

Fresh flowers and produce greeted me upon my arrival.

Earth Fare provides color coded labels so that you can easily determine what is conventional, organic, and local produce. Orange labels indicate organic, while green labels indicate local. Local, as described by Earth Fare means:

Flying high, is a sign that lets you know how many items that are currently organic, conventional, or local.

An important part of Earth Fare’s mission is to provide food without anything artificial.  In addition, they provide meat that doesn’t have added growth hormones or antibiotics.

The items that are labeled house prepared are made fresh daily in the store.  It all looks so good!  I could see myself getting one of these items after a long and tired day at work.  Really, all you would have to do is pop it in the oven, or on the grill and there wouldn’t be a big mess to clean up afterwards.

They also have a great seafood selection, all with labels that indicate whether it’s natural, wild, or other.

I had a sample of the smoked trout and it was so delicious!  I am definitely going to get some when I go back.  There were plenty of samples around the store.

Veggie Chip and Smoked Trout

Earth Fare includes items for those of you on a gluten-free diets, and wee little ones too.

Earth Fare has tons options for gluten-free diets.  You can easily recognize gluten-free products by their wooden shelf.  All other shelves will be the standard metal.

Moms will be happy to know that Earth Fare carries natural and organic products for their kids.

Stay tuned for my favorite sections of the store.  Oh yes, there’s still more.  Get excited!!

I Cried

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I cried over cupcakes.

I know! I don’t know what came over me, standing there in the Sweetie Cakes bakery in Lumberton.

I was in my hometown in North Carolina, and Mom and I were there picking up cupcakes for my bridal shower.  She had already told me what she had ordered (and she was soooo excited):

Red Velvet

Photo by Christie Hill

German Chocolate

Lemon Apricot with Lemonglaze

Photo by Christie Hill

Swiss Chocolate with Peanut Butter Buttercream

And a surprise cupcake – Butter Cake with Buttercream…..made into a sunflower!

Photo by Christie Hill

I cried over the sunflower cupcakes because I didn’t expect them and Mom really surprised me.  I thought it was so sweet because my favorite flower is the sunflower and they will also be the flowers in my wedding.  She got me good.  I was quite embarrassed that I cried though.

Photo by Christie Hill

These cupcakes were insanly good.  I have two favorites:  The Swiss Chocolate with Peanut Butter Buttercream and the Lemon Apricot with Lemonglaze.  The Lemon cupcake was bursting full of tart lemon flavor.  Vee also likes the PB and Lemon cupcakes the best.  Great minds think alike, heh heh.  My Mom’s favorite is the German Chocolate.

The thing about these cupcakes is that the cake part is super moist.  Everyone wanted to know where Mom got them and how much they were.  I’ll be making a pit stop at Sweetie Cakes every time I’m in Lumberton, and you should too!

The shower was lovely.  My soon to be sisters-in-law, Jenny and Christie, put up festive decorations.

Photo by Christie Hill

My other soon to be sister-in-law, Ellen, made an awesome photo collage of Vee and I over the years.

Vee’s Mom made amazing Filipino food as usual!  Pancit, Fried Rice, and Egg Rolls.  Everyone loves the Egg Rolls.

Photo by Christie Hill

Games were involved – we all had these clothes pins to wear.  Anyone who said “good” or “wedding” lost their pin to the person who caught them saying those words.  The one who ends up with the most pins, wins a prize.  Aren’t these pins the cutest!!

Photo by Christie

There was also a game which involved me chewing a piece of Bubble Yum each time I gave a wrong answer to a question about Vee.  Some questions were:

What kind of animal would he want to be?

What is his favorite color?

Who is he named after? etc.,etc.

I think I ended up chewing 8 pieces.  I maybe only got  three answers right (with help).  Who am I marrying??  I apparently don’t know!

And of course, there was fun gifts.

Thanks to everyone who made this shower special!

Luv, Ash

Dinner at Goat Lady Dairy

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Goat Lady Dairy is located right outside Greensboro in Climax, NC,  and they host dinners at the dairy on selected dates.

We were greeted by this happy lady when we arrived.

Radish, boursin and chive tartines were passed around on the porch.

And we enjoyed this view.

It was really relaxing and peaceful to listen to all the birds, frogs, and insects.  Sometimes it’s just nice to be still and listen to nature instead of all the man-made noises that we hear on an everyday basis.  It reminded me of when I was really young and would play outside all the time.  The noise of nature was familiar to me back then, but everything seemed so new at the same time: the ants, frogs, worms, and even dirt was fascinating. When is the last time you played in the dirt or walked barefoot on the grass?

A tour of the farm started at 6:00.  Steve was our tour guide.  He is the brother of the founder of Goat Lady Dairy.  He explained that his sister was a nurse and raised goats as a hobby.  One day she decided to ride around town looking for land and two of her goats accompanied her in the car.  Obviously people noticed the goats and started referring to her as “the goat lady” and that’s how the name of the dairy came to be.  He also went on to explain how the goats are raised and cared for.

Vee and my friend Kim even got to feed baby goats!

Steve also took us around to see the garden, bee hives, and the chickens.  He talked about the importance of sustainability and how they strive to live with that in mind.  Their produce is grown organically and some of their buildings have been structured to use solar energy for power.

Dinner was prepared by Chef Charis Rose and started at 7:00 with a cheese plate.  Steve talked about the different cheese on the plate and the process while we ate.  I honestly can’t remember the details of what Steve talked about because after the first taste of cheese, I was a goner.  My thought process went something like this: ohmygodthischeeseissogoodomnomnomnomcheeseyumyummyyumcheesecheesecheeseMmmmm.

In other words, it.was.AMAZING!  My favorite was the smokey flavored goat cheese at 3:00.  Vee’s favorite was the one at 9:00, which was sweet and my second favorite.

North African Chickpea and Kale soup, which had brown sugar and allspice mixed in.  Again, amazing.  Vee is not a big fan of goat cheese and kale, but I believe this dinner changed his mind!

mixed greens with fresh thyme vinaigrette and farmers cheese

At this point we were all getting full, but had two more courses to go!
local free range chicken and shiitake pot pie

The biscuit was my favorite part, naturally.  I love bread.

I can confidently say that this is the best cupcake that I have ever eaten in my entire life. Mmm hmm seriously.  You know that show on Food Network, “Best Thing I ever Ate?” Sometimes I watch it and think about what is the best thing I ever ate and I can never really think of something that has been good enough to really declare “that is the best thing I ever ate.”  But now I can say that the Pink Peppercorn Cupcake at Goat Lady Dairy is hands down the best cupcake I ever ate.  Yes, you heard right, pink peppercorn.  Pink Peppercorn frosting paired with a rich velvety chocolaty cake.  It was spicy, sweet, and chocolaty all wrapped in one delicious treat.  Heaven, I say.

Last, but not least, they sent us home with goat cheese truffles.  I took a nibble and saved the rest for later.  It was smooth and creamy.  I think the others in my group like the truffle over the cupcake better.

It was such a pleasure to have dinner at Goat Lady Dairy and to experience slow food at its finest.  I highly recommend this experience to anyone in the area.  Their menu changes according to what is available and in season.  Please visit their website for more info!

Owen’s Bagel & Deli

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Yesterday, Vee and I had plans to shop at the Atherton Market on South Blvd.  We decided to eat breakfast at Owen’s Bagel & Deli, since it’s conveniently located right across the street from the market.

The inside wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised to find such a relaxed and eclectic space.  They encourage you to write on the walls by the way.

Their menu is crazy extensive and the bagels are monstrous and super filling.  There were about ten people in front of us and almost all of them ordered Mary’s Grubby Bubby.  After Vee and I heard them call it out multiple times, Vee and I looked at each other like “what is that, it must be popular.”

Well a Mary’s Grubby Bubby is egg, muenster, smoked cheddar, tomato, and avocado on bialy.  As tempting as it sounded, I had my tummy set on the Chia Bagel: veggie cream cheese, swiss, avocado, lettuce, and sprouts on sesame.

It was the bomb.  That soft chewy bagel totally hit the spot.

Vee had the Hangover Helper:  ham, egg, and smoked cheddar on onion (except he had it on a plain bagel).  It was really good too!  We will definitely be back soon.

I also want to point out that Vee sat in a haunted chair.

Happy Bageling y’all!