Category Archives: Food

Yummy, Late Night Cookie Delivery….

Moms, did you know there is a cookie company in Boone that will deliver warm cookies and milk right to your front door?  Yes they will deliver in Boone!  They offer yummy gluten free options and fair trade coffee!  Maybe you want some yummy cookies for your next birthday party, they cater(-:
Just thought everyone needed to know(-:  Visit www.appcookieco.com to place a delicious order.

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Strawberry Pickin’ Time

strawberries It is Strawberry Pickin’ Time in the High Country.  There are numerous yummy places to start pickin.  We have taken our kids since they were 6 months old.  There is not anything any better than picking your own strawberries and taste testing along the way.

A friend shared one yummy place to try out this May, Howard’s Strawberries, 250 Crater Road, Harmony, NC!  Looks like they open their Strawberry Season next week!  Be sure to give them a call and I will post some pictures of our family trip soon!  Their number is 704.539.4099!

I am hopeful in the end, my strawberries will look like this(-:  strawberries2

Let us know if you have a “local” favorite.

Apples & Pumpkins

Apples & Pumpkins

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I finally decided, at the age of thirty-two, that fall is my favorite season.  I realized it when I got excited about the couple of “crispy air” days we had this past July.  Most people told me not to mention fall at that point, probably because our summer was short with all of the rain we had.  But when your hometown is Boone, as it is mine, you just get used to ALL types of weather and I just take it as it comes.

Now that fall is in full swing, it’s time to think about the best fall produce:  apples and pumpkins!   This year my parents’ pumpkins didn’t do so well with the wet summer so I bought my $6 pumpkin (it yielded about 15 cups of puree) from a vendor at the Watauga County Farmer’s Market.  I started getting my apples from Tevepaugh Orchards in Moravian Falls (near Wilkesboro), where they are only $18.00 a busheI, which I think is an affordable price for great apples. I have several friends that are major pumpkin fans so I always enjoy making treats for them, as well as homemade apple butter and applesauce.  I thought I would share a couple of those recipes with you today.

Pumpkin Cookies – recipe passed onto me from a great friend, April Butcher

2 c. all purpose flour

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. pumpkin

1 c. butter

1 egg

Mix together until “smooothish”.  Drop on cookie sheet and bake 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Frosting

Combine in a small saucepan:

3 Tbsp. butter

4 Tbsp. milk

½ c. brown sugar

Boil for 2 minutes and remove from heat.  Add 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 c. powdered sugar.  (If it’s kind of soupy, you can put it in the refrigerator for a little bit.)

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Pumpkin Bread – by Kathy Chiulli from Sharing Our Best Cookbook (North Ridge Alliance Church, Raleigh, NC – (1994)

2 scant c. sugar

1 c. oil

2 c. pumpkin

1 c. water

4 eggs

1 tsp. soda

3 1/3 c. flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. ginger

½ tsp. allspice

½ tsp. cloves

½ tsp. nutmeg

¾ c. chopped nuts (optional)

Combine all except nuts.  (Fold in nuts.)  {Pour into THREE medium 8X4 loaf pans sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for ONE hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Homemade Apple ButterThis is the easiest recipe for apple butter.  If you know me, I love all things crock pot.  My family loves this recipe and I like to share a few for gifts come Christmas time.

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My Grandmother used to make THE BEST fried apple pies, too.  My mom and aunt do a wonderful job with these nowadays but I haven’t quite mustered up the courage to attempt them yet.  I’ll have to save this one for later.

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Do you have any fall recipes that you have deemed “the best”?  I would love to hear from you!

Favorite Freezer Recipes

Before our baby girl was born, I decided to embark on a freezer meal adventure.  Although we live amongst a generous community that provided three week’s worth of meals for us, I wanted to be prepared since she was due between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  A couple months before baby’s birth, I participated in a freezer food exchange with four other gals.  This was a great experiment for me to find recipes that we liked and see how this system worked for us.

Although I don’t consider myself a very picky eater, I do not like peppers and onions.  Guess what is a part of many recipes?  Peppers and onions.  I’ve hardly ever declined a meal in someone’s home because of these ingredients and I decided to be brave and give other gal’s freezer recipes a chance, too.  I’m glad I did because I found some great recipes and just altered them a bit the next time I made them for us.  I also did some of my own research and tried some other recipes, as well.  Yum!  My favorite ones are below:

  • Crock Pot Potato Soup – This is the absolute best potato soup I have ever eaten.  Warning:  it’s not the healthiest recipe I’ve ever made but a yummy one, in the least.  You can make it ahead and freeze it for later or make it and put it in the crock pot.  Did you know you can also freeze the cream cheese that goes in during the last hour of cooking (that it before adding, of course)?
  • Teriyaki Chicken – My favorite homemade recipe!  This one takes more work on the front end but I experimented and froze the recipe instead of baking it.  We ate it a couple months later and it was delicious!  Serve it with fried rice (and you can even freeze rice!).
  • Spinach Manicotti – My friend, Sarah Holden shared this recipe with me.  I make a double batch and freeze it.
    15oz ricotta                                                               1/4tsp garlic
    10oz frozen chopped spinach thawed                1 1/2 cup mozzarella
    1/2 cup onion                                                           1/2 cup parmesan
    1 egg                                                                          1 jar spaghetti sauce
    2tsp parsley                                                              1/2tsp pepper
    1/2 cup water                                                            1 pack shellsMix together spinach, ricotta, onion, egg, seasonings, 1 cup mozzarella, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.  Puree mix with hand held blender until smooth.  Pipe mix into uncooked shells using zip lock bag.  Place shells in dish.  Cover with sauce and water.  Sprinkle remaining cheese.  Bake for one hour at 350.  (You can also include two chicken breasts with this recipe.  Cook chicken and shred with mix and follow directions as listed.)

 

  • Quiche – My friend, Amy Todd-Paine brought this meal to us after we had our baby.  It was so delicious that I had to have the recipe!  I have never frozen this but I do believe you can freeze quiche, based on this recipe. Her recipe is loosely based off of the Quiche Lorraine recipe in the Joy of Cooking cookbook.
  • Preheat to 375.
  • Cook 4 slices of bacon
  • In a large bowl, mix three eggs, lightly beaten, with 1.5 cups heavy cream (or half and half)
  • Add a fistful of chopped spinach (about half a freezer box – thawed from freezer and squeezed dry),
  • Tear up and add bacon.
  • Throw in some feta cheese.
  • Mix it all together.
  • Sprinkle a little black pepper and a tiny dash of ground nutmeg.
  • Pour it all in the pie crust (or not – you can make it without crust)
  • Bake for around 30 minutes, until the egg is set and the top is beginning to get a nice golden glow.

 

  • Ranch Baked Quesadillas – This recipe comes courtesy of my friend, Meghann, which is what she made for our freezer meal swap.  You can make a double batch and pull them out one or two at a time for a tasty lunch.  Freeze once quesadillas are put together and thaw before baking.
  • Chicken Pot Pie – My pals Amber and Kristen passed this one onto me.  I’ve also used leftover turkey to make this delicious recipe.  (I usually buy 1-2 turkeys right before Thanksgiving when they are on sale and cook them later on for sandwiches or recipes such as this one.)  This is also an easy one to make more than one at a time.
    • 2 Frozen pie crusts
    • Cream of mushroom soup
    • Cream of chicken soup
    • Small can of mixed vegetables
    • 2 regular size chicken breasts
  • Let pie crusts sit out while chicken is boiling.  Boil chicken and shred with fork.  Mix together cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, chicken and mixed vegetables.  Pour into pie crust and place second pie crust on top.  Make hole in the top middle of pie crust with fork or several holds with knife.  Place in zip lock bag and freeze.  When ready to eat, thaw and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Word of caution:  let it thaw for several days before you cook it or it will take several hours to cook.
  • Meatballs – This is such an easy recipe and you can freeze them, too.  Great to serve with spaghetti.  You can also make meatloaf with this same recipe, but I’m not a fan of that so I’ll stick with meatballs.

Do you have some favorite freezer recipes?  Please share – I would love to try them out (I’ll leave off the onions and peppers, of course!).

 

Saving Money and Mom’s Sanity

I am very passionate about saving money but even more so when it comes to helping others save a few dollars.  We try to cut costs so that I can stay home to care for our daughter but there are many reasons to save money these days, including the rising cost of food and goods.  Here are some of my top tips for saving in today’s economy, most of which I have learned from Jenny Martin at Southern Savers, a reputable savings blog for the Southeastern part of the United States:

  • Budgeting – Two years ago we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at our church.  Although I was hesitant to take it at first, I am so thankful that we did because we learned a wealth of knowledge and even more practical ways to work on our finances.  We learned how to improve our budget and more importantly, our budget meetings.  If you haven’t taken this class, I urge you to find the class nearest you and check it out.
  • Doing Without – We choose to go without a few things in our home and lifestyle.  Some of these things include cable TV, new cars (and car payments – our cars are from the 90’s), eating out every weekend, etc.
  • Rebates – I used to be an avid couponer and then I moved away from my favorite store for a period of time.  Although I still coupon occasionally, I prefer grocery rebates.  (Perhaps I’ll return to couponing in the near future.)  You can find rebates on Ebay or sometimes at your local grocery store.  I’ll share more in depth about rebates and coupons in future posts.
  • Diapers – Before we had our baby, I thought I would cloth diaper exclusively, with the exception of travel.  The reality for me is that I use cloth diapers when I’m at home.  There were other things that were more valuable to me when it came to spending time and money so I decided to use both types of diapers for my sanity’s sake.  I save money on disposable diapers by using Southern Savers’ diaper guide.  Right now we’re in size 2 and I never pay more than 16 cents per diaper, according to this guide.  I do this by pairing coupons with the drug store sales and shopping local grocery stores when they have size 2 diapers on sale for $6.99.  I also participate in the Pampers Gifts to Grow Program and use my points to buy $5 off codes for Diapers.com, which allows me to stay within the recommended price range, as well.
  • Cloth in the Kitchen – Instead of using paper towels for everything, we use cloth napkins for meals and old rags for cleaning.  I still use a paper towel every now and then but I only buy them a few times per year.  A few months ago I realized I needed a sturdy cloth napkin in a dark color and I found a great deal on Amazon, which has made laundry a bit easier when I serve something that stains easily.
  • Thrifting – I love a good bargain for a high quality item!  I have been known to take a trip to the Lake Norman/Huntersville/Mooresville area solely to shop thrift stores, as well as take a trip around the High Country for a day of thrifting.  My favorite stores are the Goodwill stores in Wilkesboro and Boone and when we lived in Avery County I enjoyed the Blair Fraley Thrift Store at Crossnore School.  More to come in the future about thrifting!
  • Restaurant Discounts – When we do choose to eat out (we have a small budget of $75 per month), I like to use coupons and check out Restaurant.com for any local deals. Realdealsnow.com is also a great source for saving some money on local, High Country restaurants.
  • Saving on Movies – We hardly ever go to the movies and when we do, I usually use a deal that I purchased from Groupon or another similar site.  Southern Savers will usually post these deals on her blog, which makes it easy to find the deals without spending too much time it.

Although we have a few things we already do well when it comes to saving money, I have a few goals for my future.  I would love to:

  • Make my own laundry detergent
  • Make my own cleaning supplies
  • Make my own baby food

I would love to hear from you!  How do you save money in your home while saving your sanity in the process?

Mom-friendly Businesses – Part 2

I recently highlighted some Mom-friendly businesses that are part of our local high country community.  Here are some other locations where I’ve had recent positive experiences.

Looking for great service for your vehicle?  Call Judd Huffman at Alray Tire & Auto, located on the Highway 105 Extension in Boone.  My car has needed maintenance a few times, and each time my husband was out of town.  The guys at Alray accommodated me by arranging towing or allowing me to drop off and pick up the car when someone was available to help me.  We really trust and appreciate them and their service.

Our local Earth Fare is also a favorite of mine.  There are just those Sundays that I don’t feel like preparing lunch after a tiresome week.  Earth Fare’s Burgers for Bucks is a great way to eat better on a budget.  Three dollar burgers is my kind of deal!  Family Dinner Night is another great way to get out of the house with the kids.  Head to Earth Fare on Thursdays from 4-8pm to get a free kids meal with an adult meal purchase of $5 or more.  Check out all the Earth Fare has to offer to our local mom community.

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Finally, the biggest task that I still avoid is grocery shopping.  And thanks to Harris Teeter of Boone, all I have to do is place my order online, drive up to the special parking spot, push a button, give my name and they bring the groceries out to me.  I can pay with a credit or debit card at my car window and they even load the groceries for me!  The cost is $4.95 per order or $16.95 for unlimited shopping for thirty days.  I’ve taken advantage of this more times than I can count and the folks that work there are so friendly and helpful.  They’ll call you when your order is ready, let you know if they had to substitute any items and ask if you have anything you want to add to your order.  You can check out all the details here.  We even manage to work this into our grocery budget and let go of some other extra things right now so that I can go without some stress as I learn how to be a mom.

I am certain there are many other businesses that moms find helpful but I wanted to highlight a few great experiences that I’ve had lately.  What about you?  Have you had a wonderful experience with a local business that you would like to share with our High Country Mom community?  I would love to hear from you!

 

Mom-friendly Businesses – Part 1

Before I became a mom, I really did believe everyone who told me that a baby would change my life.  What I didn’t understand was how much our baby would change my life, decisions and everyday routine.  After our baby (now four months old) was born, I no longer felt I could go to the grocery store, restaurants or other local businesses without a large amount of work and stress.  Since my husband travels frequently for work, I had to figure out how to make everyday life happen on my own.  Throughout my journey as a new mom, I have been so appreciative of several local businesses that have made a difference in my daily outings.

Have you ever driven through the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru and been pleasantly surprised by the hospitable service you receive?  How about driving through with a crying infant in the backseat because she doesn’t like the fact that the car has stopped?  The folks at Chick Fil A are always courteous and even encouraging in such a stressful moment.  They have gone out of their way to show what I feel is an abundance of kindness and a pleasant smile.  So it comes as no surprise that Chick Fil A of Boone has introduced a new service, Mom’s Valet.  This video, made by another Chick Fil A restaurant, offers a fun introduction to this service to moms.

 Mom’s Valet:  How It Works

  • Place the order and pay at the drive-thru.  Mention you want to use the Mom’s Valet service
  • Park your car and unload kiddos.
  • When you enter the restaurant, they will have your order ready at a table, including high chairs, place mats and condiments, if requested.

Don’t forget that you can check out a range of exciting Chick-Fil-A events here.

Before I had a baby, I loved to serve others through baking and cooking.  Don’t get me wrong; I still love to do these things but my time and energy stores have decreased.  I wanted to share a snack at a recent MOPS meeting but could not figure out how to make something in time.  So an hour before the meeting, I called up Josiah and Meredith, owners at Local Lion and placed an order for a dozen donuts.  All I had to do was go through the drive-thru, give my name and pay.  The donuts were ready to go and they e-mailed the receipt to me!  This totally made my day, not to mention how much we enjoyed those donuts at MOPS!

Need to grab a pizza for that next sporting event or kids’ sleepover?  Papa John’s makes it easy for moms.  We recently had some last minute out of town guests come for dinner and I didn’t have to stress because of Papa John’s new online ordering system.  Simply place your order, choose delivery or carryout and pay online.  If you’re like me and you live outside of pizza delivery zones, you can pick it up when you’re out and about later or I ask my husband to pick it up after work.  He likes it because the pizza is ready and already paid for so it’s a quick errand for him.  Right now Papa John’s Rewards Program is featuring a great deal through April 8 that you can learn about here.  There are frequent coupon codes and discounts, as well.

Next time we’ll take a look at some other local businesses that make life a little bit easier for moms.

Get Your Veggies Pizza Sauce

Most people would consider me a health nut.  I consider me a foodie.  Foodie, health nut or mom we all want healthy kids don’t we? Don’t we really want our kids to eat their veggies and like it so that they can be healthy and feel good about themselves?

I am on a mission to make the healthiest and tastiest food possible so that my kids get all the nutrition that they need and that the standard American diet doesn’t afford.

My children could probably eat pizza at almost every meal.  Not only can they eat pizza, but they can pack it down.  My children aren’t huge kids and are only 4 and 2 and they can both eat half a pizza respectively.  You think I’m kidding, I’m not.

Not long ago I was clicking around over at Weelicious and found this fabulous pizza sauce recipe that I happily adapted to the liking of my children and myself.   This pizza sauce is something tasty and helps cheese pizza loving kids get a little bit more of a nutritional punch than the typical pizza sauce.

Get your pinning fingers ready folks, this one is a keeper!

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Veggie Packed Pizza Sauce

Ingredients

1 T Coconut Oil (this is my favorite cooking oil, but any oil will do)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 carrot
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 14 ounce cans of fire roasted organic tomatoes (if you can find them in the jar that is even better)

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan and add red pepper, carrots, celery, onion and garlic.  Saute until tender..

2. Add both cans of tomatoes.

3. Puree with a stick blender or throw everything into your big blender and blend well.

4. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until desired consistency. Sauce will thicken as you simmer.

Enjoy!

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