Tag Archives: Keepsake Farm

Steakhouse Dinner Date at Home

Recently, one of our favorite farms, Keepsake Farm & Dairy, received a fresh batch of beef from their butcher. We love purchasing our beef and dairy from the Place’s because we know that they have done everything they can to raise the cows properly (plus, it’s delicious!). In their new location on High St. in Nazareth, the cow’s can freely come and go between a large sheltered enclosure and a wide pasture. You can see the cheese making room from the store, and the milking parlor is just down the hall from where you can pick up a creamy gallon of raw milk or a wedge of bleu cheese. It’s always so nice to stop in at the farm store and catch up on the latest developments from John or have a cheerful conversation with his mom. The last time we were in, Keepsake was having a freezer clearing sale, so we stocked up on some cuts we normally don’t get.

Inspired by a delicious meal we had last fall in Maine while visiting my parents, we cooked up a fancy date night dinner of beef tenderloin and mushrooms in a simple red wine sauce. It’s a classic flavor combination that always tastes luxurious. We paired the meal with roasted lemon & bleu cheese potatoes and zesty spinach. This steakhouse-at-home meal is perfect for the kind of night where you bring out the candle sticks and put on an old black and white movie.

Steakhouse Dinner




Bleu Cheese & Lemon Roasted Potatoes Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 4 medium red potatoes
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. rosemary
Shallots & Garlic

Shallots & Garlic

Beef Tenderloin & Mushrooms Ingredients:
We were lucky enough to acquire some ramps, or wild leeks, yesterday. We didn’t have them when I made this dish, but they’d be a great replacement for the shallots and garlic!

  • 2 shallots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 8 white or cremini mushrooms
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 lb beef tenderloin
  • 1/2 c. red wine
  • splash milk

Smokey Spicy Spinach Ingredients:

  • 4-6 c. fresh spinach leaves
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. hot paprika

Bleu Cheese & Lemon Roasted Potatoes Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Chop potatoes, skin on, into 1.5″ cubes and place in large bowl.
  3. Add olive oil, lemon juice and herbs. Toss so potatoes are evenly coated.
  4. Spread potatoes evenly in rectangular baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle with bleu cheese.
  6. Roast potatoes for 45 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Beef Tenderloin & Mushrooms Directions:

  1. Chop shallots and garlic.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large skillet (I do not use a non-stick one for this, so I can scrape up the browned bits from the bottom when I deglaze the pan with wine.). Add shallots and garlic and sauté 2 minutes.

    Shallots & Garlic Sautéeing

    Shallots & Garlic Sautéeing

  3. Meanwhile, slice mushrooms, and add to skillet with herbs. Sauté an additional 2 minutes or until herbs are fragrant.

    Mushrooms Added

    Mushrooms & Herbs Added

  4. Slice beef crosswise into 1/4″ thick pieces. Season with salt and pepper and add to skillet.
  5. Cook beef with mushrooms, shallots & garlic, stirring frequently, until evenly browned.
  6. Add red wine to the pan, using a spatula to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom. Reduce heat and simmer until beef is cooked to your liking, just a couple of minutes.
  7. Add a splash of milk to the pan and stir until well incorporated into the wine and warmed through.

    Beef Added

    The milk adds just a touch of creaminess to bring it all together.

Smokey Spicy Spinach Directions:

  1. Wash and dry spinach leaves, using a salad spinner, if you have one.
  2. Place spinach leaves with a few tablespoons of water in large skillet over medium heat. Cover and let cook until spinach leaves are wilted, tossing occasionally.
  3. Squeeze lemon juice over spinach, then sprinkle with paprika.
Steakhouse Dinner at Home

No need to spend $40 or more on a factory farmed steakhouse dinner in a restaurant, when you can create your own with ethically & sustainably raised food for way less money at home!

Kielbasa, Cabbage & Pierogi Casserole

After you’ve scooped out the insides for your stuffed mini cabbages, don’t throw those scraps away- save them to turn into this fabulous eastern European-inspired casserole! My father was born in Poland, so it’s in my blood to love pierogies. I love making them, cooking them, eating them … I dream of someday opening a pierogi restaurant called Babushka …

Anyway, I digress. This casserole is a cinch to throw together and is a fulfilling blend of creaminess, buttery-ness and saltiness.

Kielbasa, Cabbage & Pierogi Casserole





  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Finely chop kielbasa and cook in a skillet until browned (if your kielbasa is fully cooked, just warm it in the skillet).
  3. Chop onion and add to kielbasa and drippings in skillet. Cook until just softened.

    Kielbasa & Onions

    Kielbasa & Onions

  4. Place six pierogies in bottom of casserole dish.
  5. Spoon kielbasa and onions, with drippings, evenly over pierogies.
  6. Sprinkle half the cabbage over the meat and onion mixture.
  7. Top cabbage with another 6 pierogies.
  8. Sprinkle remaining cabbage evenly over second layer of pierogies. Dot with butter and season with salt and pepper.

    Cabbage & Butter

    Cabbage & Butter

  9. Add final 6 pierogies on top of cabbage and butter.

    Last 6 pierogies

    Last 6 pierogies

  10. Top casserole with grated swiss cheese.
  11. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cabbage is tender and cheese is bubbly.
Pierogi Casserole

Pierogi Casserole

Pierogi Casserole

A satisfying blend of flavors and textures!

Weekend Hodgepodge

The start of this weekend was pretty low key, beginning with a trek to our CPA for a tax appointment on Friday night. Yeah, what a rad Friday, huh? It was a steady crescendo, however, culminating with an incredibly inspirational trip to Weavers Way Co-Op in Philadelphia on Sunday.

Jumbars Frittata

Saturday began with a delicious Jumbars fritatta, loaded with sausage, caramelized onions, farmers cheese, and roasted red peppers.

New Tripoli Road

After breakfast, I headed out under the dreary sky to New Tripoli with my Girl Scout co-leader to visit a friend/sister scout who took a bad fall and is homebound for weeks.

Keepsake Barn

In the afternoon, Kevin and I visited Keepsake Farm, where we had a long chat with Farmer John and got to see a calf that was born that morning! I was trying to take a picture, but this cow stepped right in front of the view!

Petite Beef Tenderloin & Mushrooms

We picked up a petite tenderloin and cooked it up into this meal of beef & mushrooms in wine sauce with roasted red potatoes with blue cheese & lemon juice and spinach. Recipes to come soon!


The sunset looked especially dramatic through the wind blown clouds Saturday evening.

Finally, on Sunday, a group of us piled into the car to visit Weavers Way, a utopia of cooperation and good food. It was amazing, informative and inspirational!

I’ve detailed every bit of our experience on the Bethlehem Food Co-Op website. There’s a detailed photo tour of both Weavers Way locations so that you can start to get as excited as I am about the possibilities for our town! Part one is here and part two is here.


Co-operators with the produce manager from Weavers Way Chestnut Hill

While you are at it, head over to the Bethlehem Food Co-Op Facebook page and click “like” so you can stay informed about the awesome stuff we have planned!

Feta & Butternut Pasta

Butternut squash. Mmm. This creamy, orange squash is well-documented as one of my favorite bits of produce. I eat it all fall and winter long. Elsewhere on this blog, you can find Butternut Squash Dip, Butternut Mushroom & Ricotta TartButternut Spinach Quiche, Butternut Apple Soup, and Whole Wheat Butternut Ravioli. Look at that diversity! You can do anything with this squash. In an effort to try out even another flavor profile, I tossed up this easy pasta dish with tangy Keepsake Farm feta and sweet butternut.

Feta & Butternut Pasta





  1. Heat 2 T. olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven.
  2. Chop onion and add to oil, cooking until softened.
  3. Chop basil and add to onion. Cook until fragrant.
  4. Add creamy garlic dressing and stir.
  5. Cube roasted butternut squash and toss with onions and basil.
  6. Add pasta to pan and toss. Cook over low heat until pasta is hot.
  7. Drizzle remaining olive oil over pasta and toss with crumbled feta.
Feta & Butternut Pasta

Feta & Butternut Pasta

Weekend Hodgepodge

Ah, a weekend without a single cookie booth sale! Don’t get me wrong, I love everything I do with Girl Scouts, but it felt great to not have any chunk of time this weekend dedicated to standing at a table in the cold. Instead, my weekend revolved around food, graphic design and recreation. A light coating of snow from Friday night into Saturday morning decorated the landscape without making hazards on the road, so I was able to enjoy the winter scenery, too!


Friday night began with a thick burger, topped with raw milk Swiss, mushrooms and BBQ sauce, paired with homemade pasta & a spicy-sweet sauce and served with a tall beer. Good start to a weekend!

Keepsake Bambi

Saturday morning began with a trip to Keepsake farm for some milk. Farmer John's mom was working in the shop and was kind enough to show me the back of the new facility! I got to see the new milking parlor, which accommodates up to six cows at a time- Smaller than the previous parlor, but very nice for the cows! I also got to meet Bambi, here, who was enjoying the shelter of the new barn. In the new barn, the cows are not confined to stalls and can come and go to the pasture as they please.

Keepsake Cheese Room

From the main store at the new Keepsake Farm location, you can peek through a large window into the cheese making room.

Snow Geese

On the way home, as the snow from the morning was just ending, I saw an extra haze of white in the sky. It turns out, a huge flock of snow geese was coming in for a landing! I never saw snow geese this closely before, so I pulled over to have a look as they gathered in the field.

Padula Potatoes

Another quick errand for Saturday morning was a stop for potatoes at Padula's on the way back from the dairy. I love this place. In a small, dark cellar, mounds of red, white, yellow, and purple potatoes are watched over by an elderly couple who has been working the fields for quite some time. You absolutely cannot beat the prices for these tasty tubers- just a couple dollars for 10 lbs of potatoes!


Tober Water

Kevin and I sat down to enjoy some quiche and tomato soup from Jumbars for lunch, and Tober decided to join us and pretend he was human enough to use a pint glass.

Blueberry Ginger Snap Ice Cream

After an afternoon spent meeting with other foodies and designers, working diligently on designing the logo for the Bethlehem Food Co-Op, I hurried home to put our fresh milk to use in our first ever batch of homemade ice cream! We used our Kitchenaid to concoct this blueberry-ginger snap ice cream. Look for the recipe soon!

Pierogi Casserole

For dinner, I whipped up this PA Dutch/eastern European inspired casserole of kielbasa, red cabbage, pierogies and Swiss cheese. Really simple, inexpensive and tasty! This recipe will be posted soon too.

Tober Scrabble

Kevin and I settled into a Saturday night of board games, playing chess, Boggle, and Scrabble ... until Tober decided our game was over.


Hello Burrito Soup & Wrap

Sunday was freezing cold, so I was exeptionally happy to not have a booth sale! We had Jumbars breakfast, then I spent the rest of the morning preparing awards to distribute at an upcoming Brownie Girl Scout ceremony. At noon, I headed off to Hello Burrito with a friend & colleague to go over what I'd be teaching when I sub for Intro to Design this week. This black bean & salsa soup with a brown rice & black bean wrap was great for fighting the chill outside.

Vagina Monologues

After lunch, I picked up Kevin, and we headed off to Moravian College for a V-Day performance of the Vagina Monologues. I was happily surprised to see the number of men in attendance! The cast did a great job reading the monologues.

Potato Soup

Finally, we capped off the weekend with some Anthony Bourdain, Franklin Hill wine and a pot of hearty potato soup with carrots & rosemary. It was the perfect meal for the cold night.

Weekend Hodgepodge: Everclear Edition

I am still waiting for my hearing to come back in my left ear and my voice to regain strength after this weekend’s awesome Everclear concert, but fortunately my fingers still work, so I can tell you about it! The weekend got off to a pretty low-key start, which is actually just what I needed after a particularly long (actually, all-day) meeting at work on Friday. After a happy hour drink with some colleagues at Roosevelt’s 21st, my Friday evening was filled with my crocheted blanket, homemade turkey noodle soup Kevin made for me, watching Fievel Goes West and reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, then heading to bed at some ungodly early hour. Yeah, yeah, not incredibly exciting, but some Friday’s you just need to kick back, you know?

Keepsake Farm

Saturday saw me wake up early to get some errands accomplished and catch up on some work so I could party hard with no guilt later on. First stop was the new Keepsake Farm store for some much needed milk and cheese. The new farm looks much bigger—I'll be anxious to take a look around in warmer weather! They are still missing their fluffy cat, who got homesick and snuck out a screen in the middle of the night. Hope they find him soon!

Farm Market Goods

I also checked out the return of the SteelStacks market and was pleasantly surprised to find longer lines at the indoor producer-only market than I did at Walmart! Since the Westgate market kind of flopped for us due to a large presence of resellers, we had been holding out (and getting sparse in the kitchen) until this market reopened! I am sooo excited for all of this fresh, local goodness!

SteelStacks dinner

After knocking out some design work and preparing pierogi filling, we headed over to SteelStacks to grab something to eat before the Everclear concert Kevin got me tickets to for my birthday. We were suprised to see that the lobby area becomes a candlelit, table cloth -enhanced dining area on Friday and Saturday nights. The menu was still the same Aramark offerings, but paired with the nicer ambiance and waitstaff, it made for a nice meal! I had a southwest veggie soup in a bread boule.

Since we didn’t plan on a sit-down meal, we got upstairs to the Musikfest Café a bit later than I had hoped to. I was a little nervous that we wouldn’t get a good spot in the general admission crowd—A problem I frequently run into as a short person in large crowds. Somehow, though, despite the fact that we got upstairs just as the doors were opening, we managed to get a spot literally against the stage. No joke, I used the stage as a table for my drink. Needless to say, we remained glued to our places for the hour-and-a-half before the show started (it began a half-hour late).


Finally, the show started with Sinclarity opening. They rocked the house pretty well, and their style warmed everyone up for Everclear. The only bummer was that they announced before their last song that all of their money from the tour had been stolen at the venue. Granted, they weren't very smart having all that cash in a backpack they proceeded to forget in a public bathroom at the concert venue, but it was disheartening to know there was a thief among us at the show.

Everclear Set List

We were so close to the stage that we had a clear view of the setlist the Everclear roadie taped to the floor for the bassist. I thought about grabbing it at the end of the show, but my hesitation in order to think about it allowed someone else to grab it first.


We couldn't have asked for a better view of the band!

Art Alexakis Everclear

Art Alexakis went acoustic for a couple of songs, including a cover of "Brown Eyed Girl," which he dedicated to his daughter (they played this instead of "Strawberry" on the setlist). It was funny to hear him talk about paying tuition for his daughter in one breath, then about revolting against authority in another. 🙂

Sean Winchester, Josh Crawley, and Freddy Herrera harmonize

Sean Winchester, Josh Crawley, and Freddy Herrera harmonize as Art Alexakis strums guitar.

Dave French Everclear

Rhythm guitarist Dave French jammed on a great solo at one point.

Freddy Herrera Everclear

We were literally inches from Freddy Herrera, bassist. He was great, letting several of us (including Kevin & I!) strum his bass at one point, making eye contact, and smiling or making a face for the camera if he saw you taking a picture.

Art Alexakis Freddy Herrera Everclear

Art Alexakis also made his way over to the mic right in front of us a couple of times.

Autographed Everclear Album

Amazingly enough, after the show, the band came down to actually hang out with the fans that stuck around! We somehow ended up second in line to meet Art Alexakis, then mingled at the bar with the rest of the band for over an hour! I had the foresight to bring my cherished "Sparkle and Fade" album for autographs, although I forgot a Sharpie and had to rely on others for writing implements.

Freddy Herrera Colleen Marsh Everclear

Freddy Herrara, bassist, and me!

Sean Winchester Colleen Marsh Everclear

Sean Winchester, percussion, and me!

Josh Crawley Colleen Marsh Everclear

Josh Crawley, keyboard, who performed despite a bout of food poisoning, and me!


Dave French Colleen Marsh Everclear

Dave French, rhythm guitar, and me!

Colleen Marsh Art Alexakis Everclear

Art Alexakis, lead vocals & guitar, with me!

As if this night wasn’t amazing enough, a completely random stranger stopped me after the show to tell me how much she liked my blog. I had never seen this woman in my life! Unfortunately, I was too starstruck, deaf and exhausted to say anything particularly intelligent or appreciative to her, but it really did make my night!

Jumbars Omelette

Sunday morning got off to an appropriately slow start. The ringing in our ears had slightly subsided by the time we picked up our food from Jumbars. This omelette with sausage, spinach, caramelized onions and provolone, with multigrain toast, was perfect for sopping up the last of the Captain & ginger ale in my stomach.

Chocolate Mochi

After finishing a couple of other design projects, I walked up to my friend Cathy's house to meet up with some co-op folks and prepare for this Thursday's big meeting. Of course, good food abounded, including tasty hummus and this chocolate mochi—A sticky Japanese rice flour treat that I can best describe as a mix between chocolate pudding and jello, but stickier and vegan. It was delicious!


Finally, we finished the weekend out with a big batch of pierogies for dinner (and freezing for later).

Also, after a quick trip to Moravian’s south campus, we ended up running around in the cold trying to catch a big orange cat that was running loose in the cold. Unfortunately, he got spooked away just as Kevin was getting him to come over. Hope he found some shelter from this bitter cold!

Here’s to a weekend that sure beat the last one!


Nude in the Candlelight

Last weekend, my kitchen was full of nudes in the candlelight.

Whoa! What?! Lack of electricity can make one a little loopy, but I think I would have noticed a bunch of naked people in my apartment. Instead, I am referring to gnudi, a delightful Italian pasta/dumpling I discovered for the first time right around the moment our power went out. Gnudi does mean nude in Italian, referring to the fact that these are similar to naked ravioli filling. Simple to create (even in the dark), flavorful and fluffy, these pillows of cheesy dough may have surpassed gnocchi on my palate. I stumbled across a recipe for gnudi when I was searching for something different to do with some very fresh ricotta I picked up from Keepsake Farm.

By 6:30pm on Saturday, many of my friends had already lost power and had it returned, so I thought that we were safe from the risk of power outage. My husband had been out since 7am working in the cold, shoveling and chainsawing downed limbs at the historic sites in town. He’s a huge fan of Italian food and I was sure he’d be hungry for something warm when he got home, so I decided to try out this rustic dish.

I pulled the ingredients from the fridge, took a picture, and began mixing up the pasta dough, listening to some Primus on my iPod. Then, over the notes of Les Claypool, I heard a loud crack/thud, followed by several flashes of my lights. Then, darkness. Crap. Eggs, meat and cheese out of the fridge, dough half made and no power. Looking out the window, it was obvious most of the city was in the dark, and I could see strange green and purple flashes across town as transformers blew, so I figured it wasn’t coming back any time soon.

Fortunately, though, we have a gas cooktop, and I was equipped with my headlamp (I am really starting to recognize the value of that gadget!), so I lit a yummy-scented candle, got out the box of matches for the stove, and carried on making gnudi for dinner. I served my gnudi with meatballs and fresh tomato sauce to make for a heartier meal for my hard-working man, but the dumplings would also be great with a light olive oil sauce.

Gnudi & Meatballs

Note: These pictures are awful. Sorry. Ingredients spotlit by head lamp don’t look all that appetizing!

Meatballs and Sauce Ingredients:

Meatballs & Sauce Ingredients

Meatballs & Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef (Valley View Farms)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. white wine (this was leftover from a work event, red would work, too)
  • 1 onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 2 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1 egg (Valley View Farms)
  • 2 c. cherry tomatoes (my garden)
  • handful fresh oregano (my garden)

Gnudi Ingredients:

Gnudi Ingredients

Gnudi Ingredients

  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese (Keepsake Farm)
  • 1/2 c. flour, plus some for dusting
  • 1 bunch greens (I used turnip greens from Apple Ridge Farm, but beet greens, spinach or chard would also work.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c. aged cheese (I used Keepsake Ferale from Keepsake Farm, but you could also use gouda or parmesan)


  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. Combine ground beef with egg and form into 1 inch balls.
  3. Chop onion and garlic and sautée in olive oil in large skillet for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add meatballs and cook until outsides are browned, tossing occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile, halve tomatoes.
  6. When meatballs are browned, add wine and stir, scraping off any browned bits from surface of pan.
  7. Add tomatoes and bring to simmering. Reduce heat to low and cover for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Meatballs & Sauce

    Meatballs & Sauce

  8. While sauce simmers, chop greans and cook, stirring frequently, in another skillet until just wilted.
  9. Fluff ricotta with fork in large bowl.
  10. Add flour, 2 eggs, and greens. Mix well.
  11. Grate or finely crumble the cheese into the ricotta mixture. Mix well.
  12. Roll the mixture into 1″ balls, setting them on a floured surface. Turn the balls on the surface to coat the outsides lightly in flour. Slightly flatten each one.

    Uncooked Gnudi

    The light coating of flour provides a bit of body for the outside of the dumplings.

  13. Drop the dumplings into boiling water. Cook for two minutes longer than it takes for them to rise to the surface of the pan.
  14. Gently remove and strain gnudi, then toss with a bit of olive oil and serve hot with tomato sauce.

Sure to bring warmth to any cold, dark night!

Sausage Pasties: It’s What’s For Dinner!

Just over a week ago, we visited Keepsake Farms in Northampton as part of the Penn State Extension Northampton County Open Gate Farm Tour (could that title get any longer?). In addition to picking up some delicious pumpkin ice cream and excellent cheese, we decided to try some bockwurst. I wasn’t in the mood for a plain sausage, though—I had a craving for a flaky, savory pasty. Pasties have Cornish roots, and the small meat pies were often given to miners as a pocket-size yet hearty lunch to take to work. I am a big fan of Mr. Pastie, a frozen version of the treat that is made in Pen Argyl, PA. I haven’t had one in quite a while because we haven’t been to a supermarket in a long time. When I was just looking to see if there was a website for the company to link to from this post, and I found a Google listing for a Mr. Pastie TAKEOUT location in Pen Argyl. I do believe a jaunt to that little town about 30 minutes from here is in order! In the meantime, I used the bockwurst to make my own version of a pasty. From what I understand, Cornish people and Michigan residents take their pasties very seriously, so disclaimer: This is not a traditional pasty! It’s really good though!

Bockwurst Pasties

Crust Ingredients:

Crust Ingredients

Crust Ingredients

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 1/2 c. ice water
Filling Ingredients

Filling Ingredients—Not pictured, onion.


  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Mix flours and salt in food processor. Add shortening and process until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  3. With the food processor running, slowly add water until mixture forms a ball.
  4. Divide into 2 balls and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, dice potatoes, carrots, onion and bockwurst.
  6. Finely chop garlic and add to filling mixture.
  7. Deseed and finely chop poblanos, then add to filling mixture. Add black pepper and mix.
  8. Roll out dough to 1/8″ thick. Use a bowl or plate 5-6 inches in diameter as a stencil to cut circles from dough, rerolling as necessary.
  9. Spoon filling onto half of each circle, leaving at least 1/4″ around edge.

    Filling Pasties

    Filling Pasties

  10. Fold dough over filling and crimp to seal. Cut slits in top of each pasty to vent.
  11. Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
  12. Serve hot, topped with a pat of butter.

    Finished Pasty

    Finished Pasty. I forgot to add the onions to my filling, so I cooked them in a skillet and sprinkled them on top!


Weekend Hodgepodge

I probably could have used a weekend spent catching up on sleep in my own bed this week, since we just got back from vacation last Sunday night, but instead, I packed up a backpack and left on Friday night for a camping trip. I help to lead four Girl Scout troops, including Daisies (K-1), Brownies (2-3), Juniors (4-5) and Seniors/Ambassadors (9-12) and this happened to be their first camping trip of the year! I love camping and sleeping outside, so I really looked forward to the opportunity.

Friday night, I arrived at Camp Tohikanee for a night with just the oldest girls and my co-leaders—relaxing and laid back! Since we all arrive after dark, the girls decided to sleep in a building the first night. The camp is up for sale, and it was sadly a bit evident that not much effort was being placed into upkeep at this time, but it all worked out just fine. We spent the evening chowing down on chips and brownies and talking about all sorts of things, including photo ethics, since the girls are earning their photography badge.

Leader's Quarters

The somewhat creepy leader's quarters. I've never seen a cot quite like this before ...

Saturday morning, the younger children arrived. We worked on the Bugs badge, learning about bugs and making posters, building bug cages, taking a bug hike and creating bug crafts.

Tohickon Creek

Tohickon Creek, a stop on our bug hike.

Beehive Cupcakes

The 4th & 5th graders helped the younger girls bake cupcakes to decorate with honeycomb cereal like a hive.

Hickory Tussock Moth

One of the bugs we caught on our hike. This is a Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar, not poisonous, but it can cause skin irritation.

Egg Carton Caterpillar

Egg Carton Caterpillar

Saturday night, all the girls slept in tents, and braved through it much better than I could have expected. There was only one complete meltdown, and the high school girls were incredibly helpful!

Sunday, I arrived home just in time to go with Kevin to the Open Gate Farm Day at Keepsake Farm. We got to take a nice tour and sample some delicious products. The first generation farmers raise grass-fed beef and free range chickens, then sell meat and dairy products in an onsite store.



Chickens and Cows

Normally, the chickens and cows are separated by an electric fence, but they had "unplugged" it for visitor's safety today, so the animals comingled. Note the small calves to the right side, laying down.

We picked up some Keepsake Ferale, which is washed with a home brewed beer fermented with a wild “feral” yeast, smoked gouda, farmer’s cheese, bockwurst and pumpkin and vanilla ice creams. I can’t wait to share the recipe I created using the bockwurst, but that will have to wait! I can say, though … Farm-made pumpkin ice cream on homemade gingerbread—MMMM.

Polenta Stuffed Peppers—It’s What’s For Dinner!

My husband has never been much of a bell pepper fan, but we both committed to eating every vegetable we received from our CSA this year. In the weeks where we just got one or two peppers, I snuck them into sauce or sautéed them for fajitas. But one week we received four peppers—2 red and 2 green—and I knew it was time to make stuffed peppers. I mentioned this prospect to my husband who mumbled a lackluster agreement and said, “As long as they don’t have that rice and beef filling everyone uses. I don’t like rice in vegetables.” So, I had a challenge, which I love in the kitchen. I decided to go the Italian route since that is his favorite cuisine, and he cleaned his plate of the result!

Polenta Stuffed Peppers





  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Bring water to boil in medium saucepan. Slowly add cornmeal, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
  3. Stir until thickened and creamy. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Chop onion and garlic, then sauté in olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent.
  5. Chop tomatoes, add to onion and garlic mixture. Sauté 4 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cut tops off peppers, remove ribs and seeds, and chop herbs.
  7. Stir tomato mixture into polenta.
  8. Add herbs to polenta mixture.

    Polenta Filling

    Polenta Filling

  9. Spoon polenta mixture evenly into peppers and place in baking dish.
  10. Top peppers with cheese.
  11. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until peppers are tender and cheese is bubbly. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

    Rich & Creamy

    Rich & Creamy

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