Sweet Potato, Sausage, and Kale Hash


Do you ever get bored with breakfast? Lately, I’ve been in a breakfast funk. An egg and cheese just isn’t cutting it for me. I woke up with the need to try something different. ACapture little breakfast/brunch place in our town has a delicious sweet potato and beet hash with a sunny side up egg on top that gave me inspiration. Hash’s (hashes?) are so underrated!

I like to freeze kale from my garden in tiny little portions. For meals like this, its easy to pop a bag open and toss right in – a little extra kick of health! I used the Al Fresco “Country Style” chicken sausage, but any type of sausage could be used.

Can you believe my kale looked like this on Christmas Eve?!? (–>)



Sweet Potato Hash

2 small sweet potatoes, diced fine (1/4 inch is best)

1/2 small onion, finely diced

1/4 cup frozen kale, thawed, slightly drained

chicken sausage, finely diced

evoo, s&p, cayenne, garlic powder

2 eggs

  1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add about 1 tbsp of olive oil. When hot, add the sweet potatoes and saute for 5-10 minutes or until browned and starting to soften.
  2. Add the onions and sausage. Season with a little garlic, cayenne, salt and pepper. Saute until the onions are soft.
  3. Add the kale. If needed, add about 1/8 cup of water to finish off the potatoes if they are still hard in the middle.
  4. Crack the eggs over the top and let the white cook (you can cook in a separate pan as well).


Baked Applesauce Donuts with Maple Glaze


We slept with the window open, woke to cool crisp weather, and I swear I could smell fall! That smell quickly faded into a humid 80-degree late summer day, but that didn’t keep me from wanting to bake a fall-like treat.

Each fall I make loads of applesauce that I freeze. Since apple season is around the corner, we have to use up our few remaining quarts. In comes the donuts! About a year ago, my Nana gave me a donut pan that has been sitting in a drawer, losing hope of ever being used. Fear not little pan!! Now that I know the goodness that pan can create, it will be well-loved for years to come!

These donuts are so easy. You need a few staple ingredients from your cabinet, plus a bowl and whisk. In a few minutes, voila! Amazing applesauce donuts with virtually no sugar. Top them with a simple maple glaze and you’ve got a great sweet fall treat!


Applesauce Donuts with Maple Glaze

1 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

Maple Glaze

2 tbsp butter

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a donut pan. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, vanilla, and applesauce. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Fill the pan 3/4 full with the batter and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the donuts sit in the pan for 5 minutes before removing them to cool on a parchment lined cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining batter. There should be enough for 12 donuts.

While the donuts are cooling. Melt the butter in a saucepan with the maple syrup. Once the butter is melted, remove from heat and whisk in the confectioners sugar. Continue to mix until smooth. Dip one side of the donut into the pan and put back onto the cooling-rack to set.IMG_3285

Maple Barbecue Sauce


Woo wee has it been a while or what?!?! I can’t believe the blog still gets plenty of visitors considering I haven’t posted in NINE months. I was thinking about how much I miss using the blog as an excuse to try new recipes and share life’s journeys with my followers. So, I logged back in and I’m happy to be here.

Let me quickly recap the last nine months in a few short words… finished year #2 teaching, started my Master’s program, got engaged, got married, went on a honeymoon (Iceland), went to take classes (Montana)…….

Yep – all of the above did happen!

On another note, I have realized the success to a great barbecue is a great barbecue sauce. What I have also realized is that plenty of the barbecue sauces on store shelves have way too many ingredients, including preservatives and color additives (yuck). And with our unlimited supply of maple syrup, why not toss that into the bunch! The following makes two cups of a tangy, tasty, spicy, and sweet sauce. It can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks in a tightly sealed container (or make and freeze a big batch of pulled pork!).


Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 1/4 cups organic ketchup
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, Grade B
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cold water (add up to 1 tbsp cornstarch if needed)

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except water. Bring to a boil slowly. Add the water. Let simmer for 5 minutes or until thick. If you started with a really thick ketchup, the cornstarch is probably not needed. If needed, mix a bit with some cold water and add to the sauce. Let simmer for another few minutes. Remember that as it cools, it will thicken up.

Cinnamon Apple Bread


We waited until one of the last possible weekends to find apples for picking and of course the orchard was offering a deal! We came home with a 1/2 peck of Empires and Crispins and a half bushel of random mixed apples. The bushel made 12 quarts of apple sauce, which are sitting happy and pretty in our freezer, but eating a 1/2 peck is tough!


It’s about time to use up all of those apples. This apple bread creates only one loaf, which uses only one apple. I baked the bread yesterday and only 1/8 of it remains (it’s hunting season, so baked goods do not last!) I also used a good chunk of apples to make apple crisp for the freezer – a very good use for extra apples!

I used maple sugar as the only sweetener, but a half and half mixture of white and brown sugar could be substituted.


Cinnamon Apple Bread

1 stick butter – softened

1 cup maple sugar (or 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp cinnamon

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup a.p. flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup milk

1 large apple, peeled and diced

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs. Beat until mixed. Add flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix until combined. Add milk and mix until smooth. The batter resembles more of a cake batter than bread (a little loose, which gives the bread a spongy texture!).

2. Butter and flour a bread pan. Add half the batter to the pan. Lay the apples on top of the batter. Pour remaining batter over the apples and tap pan until smooth. Bake for 50 minutes.

Turkey Stuffed Eggplant



Cooking for one is tough! Ty has been out of town for what seems like forever (away during the weeks, here on weekends)… he literally proposed, then left. A sign?? Hope not!

The filling will easily fill 2 medium eggplants, which will feed 4, but I packed the extra filling away to use later. It was flavorful and filling yet light and healthy. If you make this, I hope you have someone other than a sleepy dog to share your company with.

Turkey Stuffed Eggplant

2 medium eggplants, sliced lengthwise

1 lb ground turkey

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic

4 roma tomatoes (or a small can) diced

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 tsp each, fresh basil, parsley, and oregano


fresh Parmesan

1. Preheat over to 400°F. Slice eggplants lengthwise and remove seeded sections (pulp). Keep about 1/2 of the pulp and finely dice. Drizzle a little olive oil inside each half of eggplant and sprinkle with s&p. Place cut side down and cook in oven for 10 minutes. Flip each over and cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove.


2. In a large skillet, heat about 1 tbsp evoo and garlic. Add any eggplant pulp. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add onions and pepper. Saute until onions start to soften. Add turkey and herbs until cooked through, then add diced tomatoes and cook until warm.


3. Lower oven temp to 375°F. Scoop turkey mixture into the eggplant halves and top with fresh Parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes.


Grilled chicken quinoa with roasted corn, peppers, and pine nuts


I’m back! Well… hopefully for more than one post a year! Woo wee has it been a year!! Long story short, I completed my first year teaching chemistry, I started a Master’s program, our garden is now over 3000 square feet, and I am now engaged to the maple syrup man 🙂

Putting the busy aside… Not much is being produced in the garden as of yet. We are drowning in sugar snap peas, lettuce, and herbs, but are close to harvesting onions, beans, and tomatoes! I love watching the cabbage fold over and the squash plants blossom – it is just too beautiful! After spending 5+ hours weeding today (we were away for a week and the weeds decided to hold my veggies hostage), a light, yet filling dinner was needed. Enter the filling AND light quinoa! I roasted corn that I froze last year in a 400°F oven with a little evoo and s&p for 15 minutes. I used pre-roasted peppers, grilled chicken thighs, fresh basil, and straight-from-Russia pine nuts. Trust me when I say that a small bowl of this is filling.

Chicken Quinoa and Pine Nuts

3-4 grilled boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)

1 cup quinoa cooked according to package

1 1/2 cups roasted corn (or 2 roasted ears)

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 small onion, finely diced

1 pepper, roasted and chopped

bunch of fresh basil, chopped (approx 10 leaves)

crumbled goat cheese

evoo and S&P

The recipe is as easy at is sounds. Cook the quinoa, chicken, and corn (and peppers if using fresh).


Saute onions over medium heat in about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Once translucent, add pine nuts until slightly browned.


Toss all ingredients together, season with salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and top with crumbled goat cheese.


Skillet Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread


Chili was on the menu tonight and Ty suggested cornbread with it… I didn’t have a trusty cornbread recipe, so I started researching recipes and was shocked that many called for 3 or more eggs and 1.5-2 sticks of butter!! I found a few butter-less recipes and adapted my own from those – also lacking butter. I used stone ground white corn (Christmas gift from my grandparents, as it was made in Rhode Island) some homegrown pickled jalapeno’s from my garden, along with good old Cabot cheddar. Simple, spicy bliss.

Jalapeno-Cheddar Skillet Cornbread

1 1/2 cups corn meal (yellow or white)

1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (plus more for topping)

2-3 canned/fresh jalapeno’s (depending on your love of spice)

1 tbsp vegetable oil


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients with a whisk. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and add in the milk. Ensure it is mixed well.

2. Add the oil to an oven proof skillet (8-10 inch) and heat until just starting to smoke. Rotate pan to spread the oil along the edges (at least 3/4 of an inch up the sides). Remove from heat.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix gently. Fold in the diced jalapeno and cheddar cheese.

4. To the hot skillet, add the cornbread batter. Sprinkle extra cheese on top (and jalapeno rings, if desired). Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.




A Vermont Ice Storm


The weekend before Christmas, part of Vermont was hit with an ice storm. We happened to be in the middle of it. It was 20 degrees and raining, which meant the water immediately froze on everything it touched. Over an inch of ice later, the damage was clearly seen and heard.


Thousands were without power through the holidays.


Many businesses were affected.

IMG_2381Hundreds of thousands of trees snapped, bent, or splintered.


Hopefully all of Ty’s Christmas trees fared well.

IMG_2418Though there is significant damage all around us, it is still quite beautiful.

IMG_2409And it should remind us to be a little more conscientious about how we treat our Earth – or damage like this may happen more often.





Bacon Bourbon Jam


Ty subscribed me to Martha’s ‘Living’ for my birthday last year – a magazine I am only slightly addicted to. He flipped open a random page to see a recipe for ‘Bacon Jam’, slammed the magazine on the table with his finger on the page and declared “YOU are making this for Thanksgiving.” (Emphasis on the YOU).

What turned out to be a surprisingly easy recipe was a hit! Served with some toasted bread and a slice of nicely aged cheddar, not much was left in the jar at the end of the evening.


Bacon Bourbon Jam

1 1/2 pounds thick-cut smoked bacon (I used hickory smoked – yum)

2 cups shallots, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

1/2 cup bourbon

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup cooking sherry

1/3 cup light-brown sugar

1. Slice bacon crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Cook in a deep skillet or large pan over medium heat until browned. Work in batches. Remove fat from pan between each batch. Retain one tablespoon of bacon fat and do not scrape all the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Drain bacon on paper towels.

2. To the pan with 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Add shallots and garlic. Saute until soft and translucent – approximately 5 minutes. To the shallots, add chili powder, mustard, and ginger. Saute for a few additional minutes.

3. Add bourbon and maple syrup to the mixture. Increase heat to high and stir until boiling. Add sherry, brown sugar, and bacon and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let the mixture simmer until well-thickened and reduced – about 10 minutes.


4. When reduced, transfer jam to a food processor and pulse a few times to break up to the bacon into small pieces. Toss in a jar and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks. Serve at room temp with a toasted baguette and aged cheddar cheese.


So much to be thankful for this year…. 

Homemade Pumpkin Puree


Our winter squashes and pumpkins did incredibly well this year. I ended up with 4 nice sized sugar pumpkins (a few cinderella pumpkins), and plenty of squashes.

While rumor has it that canned pumpkin does not have too much of a taste difference than fresh pumpkin, the benefit of not eating out of cans far outweighs the little bit of effort needed to process a pumpkin. In fact, it is so simple, I think that last can of pumpkin in my cupboard may become a donation. Personally, I think the taste is better- it tastes fresh, not canned! Duh.

Three pumpkins yielded over 16 cups of puree. I packaged 7 ‘can sized’ servings for freezing and some extra to make a batch of pumpkin dark chocolate chip cookies. I can’t wait to make pumpkin soup, muffins, bread, etc…. any pumpkin suggestions?

Pumpkin Puree

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Rinse the outside of two to three sugar pumpkins and pat dry. Remove stem, cut in half and scoop out the guts (yes, that is what I call them). Be sure to save the seeds to roast later (I just tried Worcestershire sauce on the seeds – great idea!).


When the pumpkins are cleaned out, cut each half into thirds and lay them flesh side up on a cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes until the flesh is soft. Let cool.


Remove the flesh from the skin and process in a food processor/blender until desired smoothness is achieved. Freeze in baggies or use right away! 1 can of pumpkin is a wee less than 2 cups.