Tuesday, November 9, 2010


With harvesting complete, now is the time to find and review recipes to use all the squash, pumpkins, and other fall vegetables that we have in cold storage. One of our favorite recipes is for pumpkin whoopie pies. These delectable desserts are a great substitute for a larger pie or cheesecake. My kids love them and adults seems to enjoy them also. Use the following recipe for a holiday treat for all your visiting guests.
"Pumpkin Whoopie Pies"

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups solid packed pumpkin puree (either fresh or canned)
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix vegetable oil and brown sugar until combined. Add eggs and mix until well blended. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla. After wet ingredients are mixed well add the remanding dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking power and soda and all the spices)
Drop dough onto greased cookie sheets by spoonfuls. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Once cookies are cool fill with cream cheese filling.
Cream Cheese Filling
2 packages of cream cheese
4 oz (1 stick) of butter
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Mix with mixer until smooth. If filling seems a little loose add more powdered sugar. Scoop filling and spread over 1 pumpkin cookie. Add another cookie to complete whoopie pie and repeat until all whoopie pies are complete. Refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Crisp cool mornings, geese flying south and the beautiful changing landscape of colorful trees reminds us that Autumn has arrived. This time of year can be just as busy as summer. Yes the summer markets are finished but this also means removing the dead plants out of the garden and composting them, picking the last of the vegetables and fruit like pears, apples, tomatoes and of course gathering the pumpkins and gourds.

For us it also means a time to be retrospective about the busy summer. What plants did well, what vegetables do we need to plant more of next year, and preparing for our winter markets and holiday baking.

This year our garden was abundant with tomatoes. Last year we had bad luck and lost all our tomato plants therefore we planted almost twice as many plants in hopes that some would survive. We canned many jars of tomatoes, dried them and made ketchup. Hours of processing tomatoes pay off in the winter when you open up a jar or use the dried tomatoes in special dishes and all the work of summer is worth it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Harvesting Pears

Labor Day finds us laboring or should I say harvesting many of our vegetables in the garden and from our fruit trees. Today we had an abundance of tomatoes which needed to be picked. We process many of our tomatoes by canning them so we can have them throughout the fall, winter and spring. After we have stored enough, we then use many of the tomatoes to dry in our dehydrator. Our dried tomatoes are such a wonderful treat in the middle of winter added to pasta sauces, pizza, or with mozzarella and olive oil. We will have recipes with dried tomatoes to come later in the fall or winter.

After the tomato picking was completed the children ran to the pear trees. These trees are so abundant with pears that they nearly touch the ground. So up the ladder the children went picking pears until all their containers were full and of course patience at picking had ended. Now we are digging up recipes to use these pears in. A winner is our following recipe for Bruschetta with Pear,Chevre, and Honey. All the ingredients mix so nicely together that I am sure this will be a crowd pleaser in your family too.

Bruschetta with Pear, Chevre, and Honey
1 baguette
2 to 3 pears
chevre cheese or a personal favorite
honey to drizzle

Heat oven on broil. Slice baguette or other crusty bread into rounds. Place on a cookie tray lined with aluminum foil and grease or spray with cooking spray. Place a piece of cheese on each piece of bread, on the cheese place 2 or 3 pieces of sliced and cored pear, then drizzle honey on top. Place tray in oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fudgy Zucchini Muffins

When I think of summer, I think of the lake-the sounds of laughter, splashing, motor boats. I think of gardens full of vegetables with different colors, shapes and sizes. I think of county fairs and festivals, ice cream dripping down the hands of little children and the smell of food cooking on grills. The other image that comes to my mind is driving down the road and seeing signs for free zucchini because gardens are bursting with this vegetable. Every year around this time there is an abundance of fresh vegetables you can find at local markets or in your own garden. Our garden like many is now yielding many zucchini. It seems as though we can not get enough of this vegetable. We use it to make a sweet hot dog relish, to roast with other vegetables on the grill, to make ratatouille and of course it is utterly delicious in muffins, brownies, and cakes. One of our family's favorite recipes is for Fudgy Zucchini Muffins. Try our recipe, I don't think you will be disappointed.
Fudgy Zucchini Muffin Recipe
1/3 cups of vegetable oil
2 1/2 ounces of baking chocolate
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 cups shredded raw zucchini
1/3 cup sour cream
chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a microwavable bowl place vegetable oil and baking chocolate and melt in the microwave. After chocolate is melted beat in sugar and eggs. Mix until blended. Add salt, baking soda, zucchini, and sour cream to the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Slowly add flour into the chocolate mixture and stir until blended. Add chocolate chips and fill greased muffin tins
with muffin mixture. Place in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gardening,Green Beans, and Children

In the Lake Champlain region one can tell summer is here. The summer people have returned, the tourist are sampling the Islands, and the beaches are over flowing!! With the heat and humidity gardens are bursting with many vegetables such as zucchini, cucumbers, spinach, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, basil and green beans. With all these vegetables being harvested our refrigerator is full with garden produce. Green beans are overtaking every inch of free space inside our frig.

One of the little jobs the children do while I cook and prepare for the farmers' market is to pick green beans. The inevitable question is then asked, "How many beans do I need to pick?" of course I say, "Only the ones you see!" Well they return with approximately 2 handfuls of green beans. Which means that I need to return to the garden and find 5 - 10 pounds of green beans dangling from the plants.

We need to pick the beans every 2 to 3 days which leaves us with a lot of green beans. Our creativity kicks in and we try many different ways to cook them and make them appetizing to our children. Boiling with a pinch of salt, grilling them with salt, baking them with a can of cream of mushroom soup are all different ways we slip them into our every day diet. However our favorite way to cook them is to saute them in toasted sesame oil until tender with an onion. Once both the onion and green beans are cooked, we add 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce. Unbelievably, these green beans are simply delicious to everyone around our dinner table and they disappear very quickly.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


In the Lake Champlain Islands of Vermont, the summer season has begun. With the season comes the local Farmers' Markets which spring up all over the state. You can probably find a market on every day of the week since Vermont in known to have the most markets per capita In the Islands we have markets on Wednesdays afternoons in South Hero and Saturdays mid morning to early afternoon in Grand Isle. Both markets are locate on Route 2.

Our family begins our summer tradition of providing customers with products from our garden and an array of baked goods. We added salad dressings to our list of products made with our own maple syrup and with herbs from the garden. We hope to offer our own maple syrup and honey throughout the season but sometimes it is hard to keep on our table because of its popularity.

Come join us at the market and taste our delicious scones or purchase some of our fresh bread, jams made using our own or locally grown berries, maple syrup, or scrumptious pickles and enjoy them when you return home.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Delicious Rhubarb

Each day I plan ahead and decide what our day will be like and what will we eat. Many times our garden is the springboard to deciding what will be on our evening table or snack. Even though our weather lately has been changing dramatically from one day to the next, our perennials continue to grow without falter and each trip to the garden offers a special treat. As the asparagus continues to grow and provide fresh vegetables to our table now we find our rhubarb is in season.

People seem to have mixed emotions about rhubarb either they love it or they don't. So many recipes combining strawberries or other fruit with rhubarb are all very popular. One of our favorite selling items is our "Strawberry/Rhubarb Jam". It is an unbeatable combination of sweet and sour. However, the strawberries are not ready in the Champlain Valley yet and I rather use our own home grown ingredients or local ones when making food for our family and customers.

At our house, harvesting rhubarb can be tricky. It is a mission that must be completed when the children are not watching. If our children get to the rhubarb before me they will eat it or turned into something for an invention and I will find the remains of rhubarb all over our lawn for the next week. Fortunately, I got the rhubarb first!

This is a delicious use for rhubarb. Try this recipe with your own rhubarb fresh or frozen, or with rhubarb purchased from your local market. You will be pleasantly surprised with a few basic ingredients you can make something so yummy.

Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups sliced rhubarb(fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons of corn starch
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients for the crust until it is crumbly. Place half of the mixture into a 13 x 9 baking dish and pat out.
In a saucepan place all the ingredients to make the filling mixture. Cook on medium temperature until the mixture becomes clear and thickens. Pour mixture over crust. Spread remain crumbled mixture over filling and place in oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Serve warm or cool and with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring and Asparagus

In the Spring, it is fantastic when you can walk to your garden and find all these green little tasty treats. We have been harvesting chives and mint already this season, but when asparagus starts to grow so early, and one can harvest some before the 1st of May it is truly a wonderful gift of nature.
So the children and I harvested some asparagus this past weekend and decided we would use it in a dish we all enjoy.


1/2 lb of asparagus
12-18 slices of deli ham
1/4 lb of Vermont cheddar cheese cut into match stick size
6-8 crepes or tortillas
3 tablespoons Vermont Honey
1 tablespoon "My Kids' Kitchen" Spicy Brown Mustard
Optional- Mozzarella Cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Place in a medium sized bowl cleaned and trimmed asparagus. Add 1/4 cup water and wrap bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in microwave 3 minutes or until tender.
In a small bowl place honey and mustard and mix these 2 ingredients well.
Using either a crepe (Crepes work better in this recipe because they really absorb the flavor of the honey mustard mixture.) or tortilla wrap, brush with the honey mustard mixture and layer 2-3 slices of ham, cooked asparagus, and cheddar cheese. Roll into a bundle and place on greased baking sheet. Continue in same fashion with the rest of the ingredients.
You may brush the rest of the honey mixture on top of the bundles for added flavor. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
we hope you will enjoy this recipe as well as we do.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

2010 Bees

Yesterday, we received an early phone call from our local post office. The post master wanted to let us know that he had just received 15 pounds of bees for us. You may wonder how one ships live, buzzing bees. Three pounds of drones and honey bees are put into a small screened box with a wooden frame that is a little bit bigger than a shoe box. The queen bee is encapsulated into a small box to herself and is placed in with the other bees and they are shipped to destinations throughout the United States. When we receive them we spray them with sugar water which they use for food. When the weather is perfect (no rain or wind) they can then be placed in their new hive.

The evening the bees were delivered the weather was perfect to place them in their new hive. Usually when we go to the hives the person handling the bees wears a bee suit including gloves to protect themselves and a smoker which is used on the bees to calm any aggressive behavior. To set the bees in their new hive, we were armed only with sugar water. The boxes of bees are sprayed well with the sugar water, and the box is opened and we shake the bees from the box. They basically fall onto the frames of the opened hive. Once the box is empty, they are gently brushed into the frames and the cover is replaced on the hive. Within a day they are accustomed to their new hive and work begins.

These new bees that were just placed will be checked within a few days and then about once every month to make sure all is going well. The older hives will be checked about once a month also and if all goes well with the weather, we will be harvesting honey in early to mid-June. Check with us from time to time to find out how the bees are doing and for honey recipes.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Maple Biscuits

We've had an interesting maple season this year. We think the season is nearly completed and the removing of the taps and buckets from the trees, and the cleaning of all equipment must take place sometime this spring. When all the cleaning excitement happens outside, I get to now experiment with the maple syrup inside. Trying new recipes and then tweaking them to meet our satisfaction is quite fun. Some of our most popular maple items are our maple oat bread, maple pumpkin butter and our new product maple vinaigrette that we sell at market and online. Today, for dessert I made one of our favorite recipes that is both easy and delicious.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2 cups flour
1/2 stick of butter
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 cups maple syrup
1/2 cup water.
In medium size bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt. Cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture becomes pea size. Add milk to mixture and stir.
In a medium sized pot,heat maple syrup with water. When this liquid mixture is near boiling, pour into a 9" x 9" pan. Scoop the flour mixture into spoonfuls and drop onto the maple syrup.
Bake in oven until golden. Serve hot or cold with or without ice cream.
Enjoy this delicious taste of Vermont.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sugaring 2010

So the sap has begun to flow from our maple trees in northern Vermont. The weather can differ a few degrees warmer on the Lake Champlain Islands where we live. Surrounded by the lake seem to protect us from severe weather that other parts of Vermont are known for. So lately we have been very fortunate to have the right temperatures, warm days and cold nights, therefore the sap is running well.
Now we are to the point that we need a few days of the sap not to run, just to keep up with the sap that has already been collected and is waiting to be processed.
The children go by tractor from one tree to the next as they help us empty the sap buckets from the trees and empty them into holding containers. From these containers the sap in transferred by tractor to a large holding tank in the sugar shack. The sap is then transferred to the evaporator. Where we try and process as soon as possible to make the best maple syrup.
As the children wander in and out of the sugar shack playing their games, they always manage to get as close to the evaporator as they can. They would argue that the best spring time smell is to inhale the steam right before the sap is turned into maple syrup.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


This year seemed as though so many little life happenings led us away from watching the weather and getting jobs completed before we begin the maple sugaring season. Repairs to equipment, cleaning buckets and the evaporator along with splitting lots and lots of wood all need to be done around the time you begin to tap trees.
The warm weather we have received this last week was a sure indicator that we could wait no longer to begin this special time in Vermont.
The children dressed in warm and water proof clothes all helped as we tapped our trees one by one and hung the buckets. It almost becomes a little assembly line with everyone having their specific job to do; drill the hole in the tree, tap the spout into place, hang the bucket and secure the lid.
After all the maple trees are tapped, we need plenty of patience. Every year after we have tapped the trees, we wait and wait because it seems as though it takes a few days before the sap begins to pour. We all question ourselves -did we tap to early or late? Has the frost in the ground melted enough so that the trees can release the sap? Eventually, with the weather perfect the sap begins to drip into the buckets. It is the most simple but joyful sound we hear- the sap as it slides out of the spout one drop at a time and taps the bottom of the metal buckets.
As we tapped the trees this year,the temperature was around 38 degrees and a few drops of the sweet sap dripped into the buckets. With a cold night with a temperature in the 20's and a warm day in the mid 30's to low 40's we may have the sap running. Then we will collect the sap and boil it for many hours. Then it is the most important job-tasting the sweet warm syrup.
Cross your fingers for a successful year.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cinnamon Turkey Sandwich

After a busy morning, sometimes we need to have make a quick lunch. Depending upon ingredients in the refrigerator on of the children's favorite sandwich in our cinnamon turkey sandwich.
We use our home baked cinnamon bread for this delicious sandwich.
2 slices of cinnamon bread per sandwich
3 slice of your favorite turkey luncheon meat
1 slice of Vermont cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon of apple butter
Layer turkey on cinnamon bread. Add cheese and then spread a tablespoon of apple butter on the cheese. Top sandwich with the other slice and enjoy such a simple but definitely delicious sandwich.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chickens and Children

Last May our family decided to get chickens. We were buying our eggs from a nearby farm and since I bake so much in the summer at a local farmers' market in Vermont, we thought it would be a good idea to have our own chickens, therefore our own fresh eggs daily. After using what I needed for baking, the extra eggs the children could sell at the market or to neighbors.
Summer went by quickly with the excitement of doing chicken chores. As you can guess Vermont can get very cold on winter mornings. Most mornings the children wake up, have breakfast and then are supposed to check on the chickens. We first go through many excuses why they can't get to the chickens; "I need to go to the bathroom."(which can take up to 15-20 minutes) or "It is too cold out, so they probably aren't hungry and of course they can't lay eggs in this temperature." or "Why should I go feed the chickens, we fed them yesterday?" or "I feel really sick, but can I have pancakes and sausage for breakfast."
Once the children finally get outside, chicken chores almost become a game. Any transportation device assists in making being outside pleasurable, like a sled to slide down the pathway, a child's tractor which they push themselves around the yard and then eventually to the chicken coop or the tractor can carry a bucket of water to the coop, and of course bicycles in the summer. Mind you it is only about 100 yards from the house to the chicken coop. Then there is a race to collect the eggs. The eggs don't fair too well on those days. On occasion only a few eggs make it back to the house because of mishaps- "Well I didn't see the step and I fell and cracked seven eggs." "There was too many eggs and I needed to put some in my pockets and when I got back on my bike, I forgot that the eggs were in my pocket."
Anyway, we have the day to day trials and tribulations of having chickens. The best part of it is that we have fresh eggs any time we want.

6 eggs boiled and chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons finely chopped celery
4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of relish
Salt and pepper to taste

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thinking About Spring

January at times can be a challenging month with cold temperatures and freezing wind. This warm weather we have been experiencing allows me to see a glimmer of hope that spring will indeed come. I know spring is still way off, but our thoughts of spring are not. Just last week, we were able to find a few more maple trees to tap this year. We also have our seed catalogs out so we can place our seed orders in early February. After the school work is done, the children don't complain as they run outside on a beautiful day to build snow creatures. Lastly, we were able to check on our bees and feed them. Hopefully most will survive the winter and if you are wondering if bees can still sting in the wintertime- they can.
Yes, winter is still here and I do enjoy watching snow flutter to the ground, but we are reaching that point were I can just begin to imagine that just maybe I will be able to survive another winter in Vermont.

Monday, January 18, 2010

From the Garden to the Table Even Throughout the Winter

From the bit of research we have done, we know that our house was built before the 1860's. Therefore, the basement was built over 150 years ago. Our basement was built having a dirt floor and even now the temperature year round stays around 50 degrees. In fact this works to our advantage- in that we have something like an old fashioned root cellar. Placing root vegetables down in the dark and cool place allows there shelf life to continue throughout the winter.
The other day while down in the basement we found our butternut squash that we placed there in this fall. Even though it is winter using the vegetables we grew in the garden from the summer before is great. This allows you to think of all those recipes you want to try and didn't have time or some old recipes that make you think of fall again.
Try this ravioli recipe, it isn't very hard and if you don't have squash from the garden, try it with frozen of evened canned squash.
Butternut Squash Ravioli
Basic Dough
2 cups of bread flour
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup of warm water
Place flour into the bowl of your mixer, make a well into the flour, add egg yolks, salt and olive oil to bowl. Begin to mix the ingredients, add water a tablespoon at a time until dough forms a ball. Do not add enough water to let the dough to get sticky. Mix or knead for 10 minutes. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest for 45 minutes. While dough rests make butternut squash filling.
Butternut Squash Filling
2 tablespoons of chopped onion
2 cups pureed butternut squash (If using fresh squash poke the whole squash with a fork in several places and then place it into a 9 x 13 pan with 1/2 inch of water on the bottom. Put pan in 350 degree oven and roast until squash in tender. Once cooled, remove skin and seeds from squash and place the flesh in food processor to puree.)
1 -2 tablespoons of butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion until tender in butter over medium heat. Add squash to the onion mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Once the mixture in warm, take off stove and let cool.
While squash mixture cools. Begin rolling out dough. Slice dough into 2 pieces. Using a rolling pin roll 1 piece of the dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is very thin. The dough should be about the thickness of a dime or so you can see your hand through the dough when you lift it up. As you roll the dough, turn over 2 or three times so that it doesn't stick to the counter. Once rolled out to chosen thickness, place a teaspoon of squash mixture over dough in lines with about an 1/2 to 3/4 of inch space on all sides. Using a pastry brush, dip in water and brush the dough around the squash mixture so that when you put the top dough over to form the ravioli the dough will stick together better. Press down where the dough meets to seal in the squash mixture. Cut ravioli using a pizza slicer. Let ravioli air dry as you continue rolling out the second piece of dough and continue making the ravioli.
Place the ravoili in boiling water for 2-4 minutes and serve with any sauce you would like.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Weekends and Pizza

It seems as though every weekend, our family desperately needs to have pizza for dinner. Even on busy weekends we are still able to make our own pizza dough. The children love kneading and working the dough. Sometimes the dough may end up as calzones, but mostly it's pizza.
Testing different pizza dough recipes was something we did often. We needed one that was basic, flavorful and easy to work. Finally, we found the recipe that works best for us. If you have only an hour or two, reduce the rise time. No matter how many hands play in this dough it seems as though this is a no fail recipe.
Pizza Dough Recipe
3 1/2 cups of bread flour
1 tablespoon of yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place warm water into the mixing bowl of your standing mixer. Add yeast and let proof for 5 - 10 minutes. After the yeast looks bubbly, add 2 cups of flour and mix either with machine or your hands. Add the olive oil and the remaining flour gradually. Mix until dough forms a ball. Take dough out of bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until dough bounces back when you gently poke it. Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or kitchen towel, and let this rise in a warm area until doubled. Once doubled turn out the dough onto lightly floured surface, pat into a rectangle and cut in half.
Place dough onto a greased pan and work the dough into the needed shape. Place your desirable toppings on the dough and place into a preheated 450 degree oven until the cheese has melted and slightly golden.
Makes 2 pizza doughs

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bruschetta for Dinner

Tonight, like always the question came up, "Mom, what's for dinner?" With baguettes cooling on the stove, the idea of making bruschetta is a simple one.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. We slice a baguette into 1 inch slices and place them on a cookie sheet. (I line the baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up.) Drizzle olive oil onto the slices of bread. Add chopped fresh garlic to each slice and sprinkle each piece with mozzarella cheese. Place thinly sliced tomatoes on each baguette and sprinkle with basil (fresh is best but dried basil works great during the winter.) Add a dusting of fresh parmesan cheese to each piece of bruschetta before baking for 10 minutes. The bruschetta, a green salad and you have a simple but very satisfying meal.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Changing Our Blogging Style

My Kids' Kitchen is happy to announce a change in our blogging methods. We hope to keep our customers updated with activities we are involved in such as sugaring, harvesting honey, etc. We will also be using our products in recipes that we will be sharing. We would love comments to our changes and hope you will follow us in our endeavors.
Look for us on www.tasteofhome.com/PLUS, with an article named "Step into My Kids' Kitchen" We will also be in the Feb/March issue of Taste of Home magazine which our baguette recipe will be featured.