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Winter Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

When I first saw the recipe for this colorful winter salad in the cookbook, Southern My Way–Simple Recipes, Fresh Flavors by Gena Knox, I knew I had to make it.  Mainly, because it looked so healthy, but also, because it contained many of my favorite foods and spices—avocados, citrus fruit, basil, and ginger. Plus, it’s nice to enjoy food fare that’s a little lighter, especially after all of the indulgences around the holidays.  This refreshing salad makes a nice starter to a winter meal. And, if you add shrimp or crab, it becomes a light but satisfying lunch (or dinner).   Winter Grapefruit and Avocado Salad *Use organic ingredients when possible Prep Time 10 minutes Serves 4 Ingredients: Salad 2 pink grapefruits or oranges (or one of each) 2 ripe but firm avocados 1/3 cup torn basil leaves 1 head buttercrunch or bibb lettuce, torn into large pieces Dressing (I have to say, this cookbook has the BEST dressings.) 2 tablespoons minced shallots 1 teaspoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon honey 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil Method: First  Peel and segment the grapefruits/ oranges, reserving 4 tablespoons juice. Next  To prepare dressing, whisk together reserved grapefruit/orange juice, shallots, soy, honey, sesame oil, ginger, and olive oil.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper; set aside. Last  Quarter avocados lengthwise and remove pit and peel.  Cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices and place […]

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Tuesday Tunes: Here Comes Santa Claus…

Farmgirl with Santa–Circa 1975   The calendar just rolled over to December, and I can now officially start listening to Christmas music. Growing up, it wasn’t Christmastime at my house until a certain LP or 33 1/3 rpm vinyl record hit the turntable:  “The Elvis Presley Christmas Album.”  The lovely sounds of Elvis crooning festive tunes, both rock and gospel, was an integral part of my holiday experience, and thank goodness, I was able to find it on CD a number of years ago.  All I can say, is this music completely takes me back–way back. I remember listening to these songs year after year at Christmastime:  while wrapping presents when I was a little child, dancing around the kitchen while making cookies with elementary school friends, decorating the basement for a slumber party as a teenager, having a cup of hot chocolate after marching with the band (Drill/Dance Team) in an evening parade, opening presents on Christmas morning, driving home for winter break while in college, decorating the first Christmas tree in my own home, and now, sitting by a cozy fire with a glass of wine. I absolutely love these songs and memories. And, I have to say, EVERY song on this album is either fun, beautiful, or moving. If you’re not familiar with the “Elvis Presley Christmas Album,” it’s on YouTube.  In my opinion, it’s a true treasure.  I can’t imagine the season without it. Here’s wishing you […]

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Heirloom Recipe: Tomato Soup

When we hear someone speak of a family heirloom, we may envision a pocket watch, silver teapot or even a quilt.  Recipes are also treasured pieces of family history passed down from generation to generation.  This tomato soup recipe originally belonged to my great-grandmother, Delia Crumpaker Rieley and dates back to the 1800s.  I remember watching Grandma Rieley making it during the winter months with juice from tomatoes canned the previous summer.  Last week, with temperatures dropping, I decided to make my family’s heirloom recipe for tomato soup; I made it in my great-grandmother’s kitchen with homemade juice from tomatoes grown on our 106-year-old family farm.  I loved being part of that continuity.  In taking time to carry on simple traditions, not only do we connect with the past, but we perpetuate memories that we hold dear. My great-grandmother most likely made this tomato soup with fresh milk from Green Hill Dairy Farm and the summer’s bounty of tomatoes picked from my great-grandfather’s vegetable garden. It is very simple, only requiring 3 ingredients; however, don’t let its simplicity fool you.  It’s delicious!  Just the thing on a cold evening–it really hits the spot!  Serve casually in a mug or in a bowl garnished with a little basil for color (my addition).  Oh, and don’t forget oyster crackers–the perfect accompaniment.  Enjoy! Heirloom Recipe:  Tomato Soup *Use organic ingredients when possible Serves 4 Ingredients: 1 quart tomato juice (homemade is best) 1 […]

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Tuesday Tunes: Some Things Are Meant to Be

Farmgirl and Lambs Summer 2018   “Where you are is who you are. The further inside you the place moves, the more your identity is intertwined with it. Never casual, the choice of place is the choice of something you crave.” ~Frances Mayes “Any arbitrary turning along the way and I would be elsewhere; I would be different.” ~Frances Mayes       Green Hill Farm Through the Years     “The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.” –Henry Beston   Green Hill Farm Fall 2014   Happy Tuesday!

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Food, Wine, and Fellowship

Photography:  Courtesy of Douglas Frassa   “Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.” –Plautus   “I love everything that is old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines.” –Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield   As a wine enthusiast and someone who’s recently completed the Level 3 Award in Wines with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), I’ve grown to enjoy different kinds and styles of wines as well as learning how and where they’re made.  Not only do I delight in a glass of wine from an exceptional vintage, but what is truly great is when wine is paired perfectly with food; both are better for the pairing.  In my opinion, it’s the same thing when people get together for a meal–the fellowship makes the food more pleasurable, and both are better because of the pairing.  When all of these elements align, a transcendence occurs; and, the act of eating becomes much more–especially, when a talented chef, gracious staff, and good friends are involved. A number of years ago, I experienced dining out as an artful experience in a nearby town.  The restaurant, located in Roanoke, Virginia, was called Horizon Bar and Grill.  Don’t let the location or the unassuming name of the restaurant fool you. The chef and our friend, Scott Lockhart, was the artistic talent and creative energy behind the weekly/ monthly wine dinners and beautiful seasonal menus at his family’s […]

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The Best-Ever Thanksgiving Dressing

This recipe for homemade dressing or stuffing has been passed down through the generations of my family:  Great-grandmother Rieley, Great Aunt Florence, Grandma Rieley, Mom, and me.  My family’s recipe for dressing has been modified minimally over the years and continues to be a favorite part of our Thanksgiving dinner.   It’s even better on the second day due to the flavors melding together.  The dressing re-heats easily, or just eat it cold–right out of the refrigerator (with the door still open).  That’s how I enjoy it best! The Best-Ever Thanksgiving Dressing *Use organic ingredients whenever possible Ingredients: 1 loaf white bread (I use gluten-free) 1 stick salted butter 2 cups finely diced celery 2 cups finely diced yellow onion 3/4 bag of best quality seasoned stuffing mix (Mom uses Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing; I use Rudi’s Gluten-Free Savory Herb Stuffing) 2 cups of broth (vegetable, turkey or chicken) Method: Tear bread into small pieces and leave out overnight on a baking sheet, loosely covered with foil.  Next, broil breadcrumbs for approximately 10-15 minutes, keeping a close check so as not to burn them.  Finely dice celery and onion.  Place stick of butter in skillet and sauté celery and onion at 300 degrees F. for five minutes; don’t overcook celery and onion, leaving a bit crunchy as they will continue to cook when baked.  Add broiled bread crumbs, two cups each of sautéed celery and onion, 3/4 bag […]

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Rosebud’s Lesson

 Butterbean, Sweet Pea, and Truffle stoically watching their fallen friend.   I squatted uncomfortably in the pasture. My left shin gently pressing on Rosebud’s back with the remainder of weight shifted to my right leg. My left hand disappeared into the coarse wool on her chest, above her heart. As I carefully caressed Rosebud’s face, the feathery sensation of her […]

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Friday Farm Favorites: Cheerfulness

“Cheerfulness,” 14 X 18, acrylic on canvas by Tonya R. Hengerer   “Daring enthusiasm And abiding cheerfulness Can accomplish everything on earth Without fail.” ~Sri Chinmoy Farmguy and I love England, especially the Cotswolds, and one of our favorite places to spend an afternoon is Kiftsgate Court Gardens.  It’s located very near Hidcote Manor Garden and is situated above the village of Mickleton in the county of Gloucestershire, in the far north of the county close to the border with both Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The gardens, famed for its roses, are the creation of three generations of women gardeners. Started by Heather Muir in the 1920s, continued by Diany Binny from 1950, and now looked after by Anne Chambers and her husband. Kiftsgate Court is currently the home of the Chambers family. My latest painting, “Cheerfulness,” was inspired by a photograph I took during one of our visits at this lovely garden.   *As always, lots of gratitude to my friend and art teacher, Janet Wimmer for her input and guidance. 🙂 Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!    

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