Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Bed and Breakfast Is These Farmers Cash Crop

Monday Morning Blog

We just opened the first of nine proposed suites this past July 4th weekend. We've had other guests since then so we're off to a tremendous start. I think we've hit on something.

What we offer is peace and quiet to sooth jagged nerves plus lots of home baking to fill empty tummies. Nothing fancy - just baking like you got at grandma's house. No internet connection. No TV. No cable.

So far, our guests have come desperate for just those very basic things.

We love to entertain and have weekend guests so opening a bed and breakfast is a good fit for us. It would be a family friendly place where guests could unwind and reconnect.

Setting up the bed and breakfast wasn't hard but it took much longer than we anticipated.

Our guests came from overly crowded northern Virginia. They wanted a close to home get-away of peace and quiet. They needed a break from their hectic lives and were excited about staying in our renovated barn.

Breakfast at Cheesecake Farms Bed, Barn and Breakfast is simple, old fashioned farm fresh fare served picnic style in each suite. Guests can breakfast at their leisure without the pressure of having to get up and get going.

We call it a Virginia style, continental breakfast feast. The menu changes according to the availability with the emphasis always on home made, home grown and locally produced foods.

For the mid afternoon or late night munchies, guests find plenty of snacks waiting in their own refrigerator and private pantry.

Our first guests were thrilled and so were we. We're off to a great start!

For more information visit:

Can't get to Cheesecake Farms?
Try our very special (and oh so easy) signature dessert at home.

Cheesecake Farms Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pie
Best eaten the day it's made but leftovers won't go to waste.

Makes one (9 inch) pie
Skill level: very easy

1 pint heavy (whipping) cream
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese (softened - see Karla's tip below)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup natural, creamy peanut butter (see Karla's tip below)
1 (9 inch) graham cracker crust

Optional garnish - additional whipped cream, salted peanuts

Beat cream until soft peaks form. In another bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and salt together until smooth. Beat in peanut butter. Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture.

Gently mound into pie shell. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 4 hours before serving - longer is OK. (After 4 hours, lightly cover pie with lid or plastic wrap if not serving right away.) Top with optional garnish, if desired, just before serving.

Karla's tips:
For best results, use cream cheese that gets firm in the refrigerator. We like Organic Valley brand organic cream cheese. It's readily available in grocery stores everywhere.

We used fresh ground, creamy organic peanut butter which had no added sugar but any natural, jar style, unsweetened peanut butter will work. Be sure to stir it well before using.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Easy Planting Trick For Healthier (and almost Big Free) Summer Squash

Monday Morning Blog

Usually my squash plants succumb to squash bugs early in the season but this year, there's hardly a bug in sight.

Here's a new planting method that we tried with great success.

Sink an empty flower pot into the center of each hill and plant the squash seeds around it. Water the traditional way but once the plants reach a few inches high, start watering by filling the empty pot with an inch or two of water. The idea is that the water goes deep into the soil instead of on the leaves to produce deep roots. Deep roots produce strong, healthy plants able to ward off bugs and disease plus stand up to the summer's heat and dryness.

I used recycled plastic pots that were 6 inches deep and buried them up to their rim in the soil. The garden looked funny at the beginning but now the empty pots are hidden by the lush green leaves.

So far so good. Not a bug in sight!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gotta Getta Goat

Monday Morning Blog

Local Networking Group Offers Support For Goat Enthusiasts

I received an email from Regina Yurkonis inviting me to lunch with her goat networking group.

So off I went to Warrenton to meet with Yurkonis (Doin' 2 Udders Farm - Rixeyville), Kate Wolf (Happy Goat Lucky Farm - Nokesville), Mary Kay Seely (Red Brook Farm - Warrenton) and the newest member of the group, Lisa Phelps (Pasture Prime Farm - Culpeper).

Lunch was at Red Brook Farm, the home of the Seely clan. We sat around the large, family style island in the center of the well appointed kitchen and chatted - everyone talking at the same time. The room was alive with energy.

"Here taste this," said someone as she positioned a crock of cheese in front of me. "No, taste this," said another. "Here, this is the one to try first," said someone else. We were knee deep in cheeses, crackers and chips as a prelude to the coming lunch. The cheeses, of course, were home made, farm fresh goat cheese, each from their proponent's own farm. Chive and garlic, bacon and shallot, sun dried tomato - they were all yum!

"So why do you keep goats?" I asked the group. '

Kate Wolf was first to shoot out her answer. "They are cheaper than therapy!" Her response drew hearty laughter from the crowd.

"I think the milk is healthier," said Regina Yurkonis. "The fat globules are smaller so it's easier to digest and it's creamier, too."

"None of us raise goats for the money," added Seely who also drew a big laugh. "Every body should get a goat."


Udder-ly Delicious Goat Milk Recipes

Peach Cobbler
Mary Kay Seely and her family make batches of their popular cobbler to give as Christmas gifts. Last year they made 35 cobblers - those lucky recipients!

Makes 1 (9 X 13) pan

2 sticks butter
1 large can peaches (sliced or halves) - drained
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups goat milk

Melt the butter in the pan. Pour in peaches. Do not mix.

In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients together and pour over top of peaches. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown - about 35 minutes. Scoop from pan into serving bowls and serve hot.

Rosemary and Lemon Chevre Stuffed Pork Loin
Wow your next dinner party with this easy (but extravagant looking) roast from Regina Yurkonis.

Chevre (goat cheese)
Chopped garlic
Dried rosemary
Lemon zest
1 pork tenderloin

Make stuffing by mixing everything (but pork) together to taste. Set aside.

Slit pork lengthwise through center and open up flat. Pound meat to an even thickness. Spread stuffing over pork and roll up jelly roll style. Tie meat closed. Place onto roasting pan, seam side down. Roast at 350 - 375 degrees till done.

Goat Cheese Spreads
Kate Wolf is famous for her fancy cheese spreads and suggests that you serve them with lots of fresh veggies. "I like to use what I have in my garden," she said. "I grow a lot of shallots which makes a very nice combination with bacon."

Start with chevre (goat cheese). Choose one of the following three blend ins and add to taste: cracked pepper or bacon and chopped shallot or fresh garden herbs and chopped garlic