Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Apple Enchiladas (Unfried Pies)

Looking for something yummy that's quick and easy?

Impress the socks off your gourmet pals with this family friendly - scrumptious dessert that you can whip up in less time than it takes to say "Ole!"

Less fat than a fried pie but so much gorgeous taste you'll be munching these by the plateful. Add a scoop of your favorite ice cream if you're feeling frisky.

A fun dessert or snack that's made from a couple of pantry staples. 

Why not skip your breakfast pop tart for breakfast and try one of these instead!

This is a flour tortilla
Use any brand
Also called "Sandwich Wraps"


Makes 4 enchiladas
Pan size not important but an 8 inch square pan works well


4 burrito size (9 inch) flour tortillas
1 (21 to 24 oz can) apple pie filling
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter (margarine not recommended)
3 tablespoons sugar
Garnish - ground nutmeg (to taste - about 1/8 teaspoon)

Position oven rack so the enchiladas will bake in the center. Preheat to 350 degrees. 

Lightly grease baking pan or coat with cooking spray.

Spoon pie filling onto tortillas dividing evenly. 
(Use the whole can.)

Fold the edges of two sides of a tortilla over the filling.

Roll up the tortilla firmly (with folded edges tucked inside). It will look like an egg roll.  Place seam side down in the prepared baking pan.  

Repeat with remaining tortillas.

In a small pot, melt butter and sugar together.  Stir well. 
Spoon evenly over filled tortillas covering each completely with mixture.  Sprinkle with nutmeg to taste.

Bake in preheated oven until hot and slightly golden - 35 to 40 minutes. 

Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to plates for serving.  (A metal spatula or pancake turner works well.) 

1.  Put pie filling 
slightly off center
for easier rolling.

2.  Fold up the edges

3.  Roll it up

4.  Melt the butter and the sugar

5.  Spoon on butter & sugar 
covering each completely

6.  Sprinkle with nutmeg
& pop in the oven!

Karla's Tips
While margarine is not recommended, vegans can use a butter substitute. 
Oil is not recommended. 

In testing this recipe, we used Comstock "More Fruit" brand apple pie filling.  

Other fruit pie fillings could be used to vary the recipe.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Scrumptious (& Easy) Pumpkin Latte!

Our nights here at Cheesecake Farms have returned to crisp. Fall's coming!!! 

If you're planning on taking in the fall colors, now's the time to book a suite with us....  we have a fall special going on and you'll save a bundle on our "Visit our Local Wineries" package.

Make your fav gingerbread men
just squiggle them with white chocolate
  to turn them into Halloween goodies. 

Our barn is even painted in Fall colors .... pumpkin and white.... which makes me think of one of my fav fall drinks....  Pumpkin Latte!

Soooo easy to make yourself and you'll save a bundle over the coffee shop kind.

Made with real, natural ingredients, it's as nutritious as it is yummy!!!
Here's how:

Karla's Scrumptious Pumpkin Latte
(And it just happens to be LOADED with vitamin A and mega amounts of trace nutrients.... not to mention the sublime aroma therapy!!!  All you need to add is a weepy, chick flick..........yes!)

Makes 1 mug full

1 cup milk (any type - coconut, soy or almond milk, too)
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
Sugar to taste (I used 1 tablespoon raw sugar)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice (to taste)

Optional - 1/4 cup coffee or 1 shot espresso (or to taste)
Optional - jigger of your favorite spirits (bourbon, brandy, Southern Comfort, rum etc.)
Optional - whipped cream garnish

In a small pot, whisk together milk, pumpkin, sugar, & spice (plus coffee if desired).

Heat on medium (uncovered and stirring) until it boils and foams - almost to the point of boiling out of the pot (about 3 minutes).

Pour into mug - foam and all.  Sir in optional spirits and top with whipped cream, if desired.

Karla's Tips
Pot Size
It's boiling that makes the foam but, if you don't watch the pot, it will suddenly and without warning volcano all over the stove.  When the mixture starts to foam, immediately lift the pot straight up off the burner (as much as 8 to 12 inches) following the foaming.  This is called "lifting into the boil".  You are "catching" the milk before it winds up all over your stove.

Using the microwave is not recommended for this recipe only because you won't get any foam.  If you don't care about foam then it doesn't matter how you heat it.... just don't let it boil over because it will make a horrible mess.  

You can use any sweetener you like.... honey, sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, agave..... artificial sweeteners are not recommended.  We don't think artificial sweeteners are safe to eat.

Want more pumpkin???

Pumpkin Butter for your breakfast bagel 
Home Made Pumpkin Ice Cream
Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Brulee
Even Fresh Pumpkin Lasagna!

Lots of apple and pear recipes, too!
Perfect for Fall baking (& eating!!)

Order Karla's latest cook book on Amazon.
Kindle, too!

Just click the link:

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Jiffy Black Bean Soup

From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms

You'll use this little recipe a lot.
It's fast and easy!

Hot and hearty, it pairs well with a salad, cheese and some crusty bread for a family dinner that's quicker than take out.  

Chilled and dolloped with a bit of sour cream,  it morphs into elegant fare as the perfect first course for salmon, chicken or anything Mexican.  

Jiffy Black Bean Soup

1 (15 to 16 oz.) can black beans (undrained)
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 small onion (chopped - about 1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 small bay leaf (about 1 inch in length)

Using the blender, puree beans with broth and onion.  Put into a medium pot. Add cumin and bay leaf.  Simmer, partially covered, about 10 minutes to blend flavors.


Hungry for other tasty little recipes?
How about:
  • Pumpkin Bagel Butter
  • Virginia Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pie
  • Rosemary Olive Oil
  • Chocolate Covered Cherry Brownies 
  • And more!

Click the link to order your copy of  "Tummy Yummies"

Easy little recipes that have gotten 4 paws up.

Starring the kitties of Cheesecake Farms!  

Free shipping!

Pumpkin Bagel Butter

From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms

Just in time for fall!

Scrumptious on your breakfast bagel.
Divine on pumpkin bread!

Quick to make.
Easy to eat.
Tastes like a million!

Make ahead for best flavor!!

Pumpkin Bagel Butter
1 stick butter (softened)
1/2 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
1/2 cup fresh pumpkin (roasted, cooled & mashed) or canned (not pie filling)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Whip butter till fluffy.  
Fold in remaining ingredients.  
Refrigerate overnight to blend flavors.


Hungry for other tasty little recipes?
How about:
  • Jiffy Black Bean Soup
  • Virginia Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pie
  • Rosemary Olive Oil
  • Chocolate Covered Cherry Brownies 
  • And more!

Click the link to order your copy of  "Tummy Yummies"

Easy little recipes that have gotten 4 paws up.

Starring the kitties of Cheesecake Farms!  

Free shipping!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Give Yourself the Gift of Good Health

By Karla Jones Seidita, Home Economist

Good health is our most precious gift.

When you are healthy, you feel good.  When you feel good, you're able to follow your bliss.

Why would you have been brought through millions of years of evolution to live a life that's less than full and rich?

With each turn of the her genetic key, Mother Nature provides well being.... but look around.  Sadly, there is a lot of pain, suffering and sickness in the world - even in our country that's blessed with abundance and opportunity.

There are many factors involved with the human experience.   Each person is unique and comes with his or her own users manual even though we all share a common humanity.

Want you health to improve dramatically?  Start paying attention to the messages your body is sending you!

At first, messages are low key and subtle.  Ignore them and they escalate with volcanic proportions.

For example, cracked finger nails may be a sign that you're eating many more refined carbs than your body needs.  Over time, eat too many refined carbs may result in diabetes.

A dry cough might mean you're dehydrated.  Ignore your need for water and you've got joints that wear out long before them time.

And that's only the beginning!

Always get professional medical care when you need it but pay attention to your body.

Give yourself the gift of good health.  Your body will thank you.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Whole Wheat, Crumb Topped, No Roll, Brown Sugar Apple Pie - YUM!

Healthy Fall Baking!! 

From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms

No one will ever guess that this is a "pat in the pan" crust

It's Fall!
Crisp apples.   Smooth cinnamon.  Feisty nutmeg.   These are the flavors of fall!

Add a whole wheat crust made without trans fats then top the whole thing off with wheat germ studded crumbs.  A nutritionally charged dessert that tastes every bit as good as it looks. Guaranteed to please even your most health nerdy, gourmet pal!

Just don't tell anyone how healthy it is...... you don't want to scare them away from a second slice!

Whole Wheat, Crumb Topped, No Roll, Brown Sugar Apple Pie 

Sneak extra fiber and nutrition into desserts with a whole wheat crust.  
Not too sweet but so wonderfully yummy! 

The best part is that you pat the crust into the pan.  No rolling required!

Easy enough for novice bakers but fancy enough for pros.

Makes one (9 inch) deep dish pie

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose (white) flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup white vegetable shortening (like Crisco or Natural Balance - see Karla Tip below)
1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons)
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

Make ice water by putting an ice cube into a half glass of water. Set aside. 

Pulse all ingredients (except ice water) in the food processor until uniform looking - about 30 seconds.

Add 2 tablespoon ice water (no cubes) and pulse until it comes together into a ball - about 45 seconds. If necessary, add an additional tablespoon of water.

Remove dough from processor and pat evenly into pan a bit at a time.

Make the top rim of the pie crust thicker and flute. 

Put crust into the refrigerator or freezer while preparing the filling and crumbs.

7 cups baking apples (peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick - like York, Granny Smith or Winesap - about 9 three inch apples)
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon instant tapioca
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Toss all filling ingredients together and spread into crust. Press mixture down lightly to shift fruit and fill in gaps.  Make crumbs.

1/2 cup all purpose flour
6 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons wheat germ

Pulse everything together until uniform looking. Remove from processor and squeeze together making random sized crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over top of pie.

Position oven rack so pie will bake in lower third. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put pie on a cookie sheet to catch drips.

Bake 50-55 minutes or until apples are tender and juice is bubbling. 
If crust is getting too brown, tent with aluminum foil.

Karla's Tip - Shortening
It's healthier to use shortening made without trans fats.  Readily available in grocery stores everywhere.  Also called "non-hydrogenated shortening". Many brands.  Be sure to read the labels.  You'll find them in the health food aisle as well as the baking aisle.

Natural Balance brand shortening is non-hydrogenated.  It doesn't have any trans fats.  It's vegan and made from expeller pressed (first cold press) oils.  Looks like clear margarine when you unwrap the sticks.  Not cheap. Natural Balance shortening is often found in the refrigerator case near the butter and margarine.

BTW, old fashioned lard is a non-transfat shortening.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Easy Ways to Be Healthier

By Karla Jones Seidita, Home Economist

You already know the basics: eat right, exercise, get enough rest.  Your mother taught you that.

That should be enough but sometimes it isn't.

An apple a day keeps the
doctor away.....
Your mother told you so!
Sometimes no matter what you do, you get sick.

The health information we receive is constantly changing (eat this, don't eat that... do this, don't do that) and ALWAYS seems to contradict itself.

It's hard to know what to do and what to eat to stay healthy.

Simply put, being healthy means having your body, mind and soul in balance.  That's a tall order but that's all it really takes!

By our very nature, we are continually in flux. We are NEVER in perfect balance.

The ebb and flow of our external and internal tides (think ocean) effects our health moment by moment.

When you are in balance, your health is optimal.
When you are out of balance, you get sick.

Can you ever have continually perfect health?
Probably not.

Can you have better health?

Strive for a balance between body, mind and soul by first following your mother's teachings then expanding your knowledge.  

Put into practice things that add value to your life.

Feed your body, mind and soul with the very best and hunger for more.  That's all it takes to be healthy!

Now go have an apple and think good thoughts.
You mother will be happy and you'll feel great!!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Restaurants Should Serve Better Food

The Dine Around Dame

I eat out a lot.

Sometimes, I just don't feel like cooking. 

Other times, I'm on the run. 

Then there's times I'm checking on restaurants so I can make suggestions to my Bed & Breakfast guests.

And let's not forget recreational eating.... like when I get together with my gal pals.  We could get together over a book at the library but..... do we?    

However you serve it, I'm a dine around dame.

Like all good foodies, I used to shun fast food and chain restaurants but they're creeping onto my plate.  Fast food and chains have gotten good.

McDonald's for coffee.  Chick-Fil-A and Country Cooking for salads.  The Olive Garden for Italian and Ruby Tuesday for vegetarian fare so yummy it brings tears to my eyes.  How did this happen?

Well, my guess is that while the independent restaurants were hiking their prices, down sizing their portions, and all serving the same frozen entrees, chain restaurants started to pay attention to how people REALLY eat.

People want good, well prepared food at reasonable prices.  
Is that too much to ask?

It would help, too, if the servers were clean, not scary looking and reasonably prompt with their service. 

My advice to independent restaurants?

1.  Ditch those frozen French fries.  We can get them at the drive thru.  They'll be hotter and cost a lot less money.  Cut up a few real potatoes for fries... it's not hard.

2.  Pare down a huge menu to only what you do it best - even if it's  just a few entrees.  You'll develop a loyal following. 

3.  Don't be bizarre or overly gourmet.  You can be interesting and innovative while still being comforting, satisfying and delicious.  People want good, recognizable food.  Save the bizarre for your cooking show or culinary contests. 

4.  You don't have to be open 24/7 regardless of what your accountant says.  Be open when you can best showcase your skills and menu.  You'll be packed with reservations months in advance.  

5.  Don't skimp on ingredients.  If you use butter, use butter not margarine.  Customers can taste the difference. We may economize at home but we expect restaurants to spoil us!  

4.  Fast food should be a food group because we eat it so much. It's our daily table even when we eat it in the car.  That's not going to change any time soon. Craft your restaurant so it is an occasion like dining our used to be.  Your customers will spend more and tip better.  They might even come more often!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Got Tomatoes? Freeze 'Em

Got lots of tomatoes in the garden?

No time (or not into) canning?

Freeze them!

Every year I get asked this same question....  

Can I freeze tomatoes???

Yes, you can freeze tomatoes!  You really can!!

Frozen tomatoes have a different texture than canned tomatoes. They are pulpier so they work best in cooked dishes.  

But, if you have tons of tomatoes and no time to can, why not????  It takes only seconds to stock your freezer. 

Here's how:

Wash, drain and dry tomatoes well.
Pop into freezer weight bags.  
That's it!

No peeling, coring or cutting.

Tomatoes burst in the freezer and the peel magically falls off. 

Whenever you need tomatoes, just take some out of the bag.

Discard the peel and core. 

Thaw or not.

Chop or not then add the pulp and the juice to your recipe. 

Be sure to use freezer weight bags. 

They are heavier so they will not break in the freezer. 

Work with Your Body Instead of Against It

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Baker's Dozen Ways to Eat Better - Spend Less

Food prices are going thru the roof but you can eat better and spend less.

Here's how:

1. Weigh the cost of home made vs. convenience foods
Convenience costs money. The closer you stay to basic, from scratch ingredients, the better.
From Scratch
Better, cheaper, healthier

2. Shop less and you'll spend less
If you usually food shop once a week and spend $100 each time, shop every 10 days to 2 weeks instead.

You won't spend $200.  More likely, you'll spend $150-175. The reason is that you'll likely buy less impulse and snack foods.  Plus you'll save on gas and the drudgery of grocery shopping.

3. Shop on Tuesdays
Sounds silly but Tuesday is the day grocery stores are the least crowded.  You'll have the whole place to yourself and check out lines will be short.  You'll make better choices, too.

4. Shop upper and lower shelves
There's a saying in the grocery industry...."eye and thigh sells".

Eye level tempts you.
Thigh level tempts your children.
Manufacturers PAY grocery stores to have their products displayed at eye and thigh levels.

5. Buy what's on sale
A given but still be flexible.
Take advantage of price reductions, specials and unadvertised sales. 
Don't buy salmon when chicken is cheaper.

Home made biscuits are easy
and so much cheaper
6. Make high mark up foods from scratch
Grocery stores are loaded with "high profit" foods.
Salad dressings, macaroni and cheese mixes, stuffing, cake mixes, deli salads, cookies and other foods that fill the shelves in abundance.

It doesn't cost much to make these foods and they can be sold at a huge profit... which is fine for businesses.

But, if you're trying to save on your groceries, you can make these foods better, cheaper and healthier.
Get yourself a cook book or take a cooking class if you need a little help.  You might even ask your mother or grandmother for some recipes.

And, while you're at it, make your own bread.  A bread machine makes it easy.  Paying $5 to $7 for a loaf of bread - especially when your family eats 2, 3 or more loaves of bread a week - is a real budget buster!

Home made soup and chili
are great ways to use up
left overs

7. Never waste food
Make soup from limp vegetables.
Freeze left over stew in meal size portions for days when there's no time (or desire) to cook.
Simmer the bones from Sunday's roast chicken in the slow cooker to make stock.
Grate dry bread for crumbs.
Make bread pudding from stale cake, bread and rolls.

8. Don't buy soda
Soda is NEVER a beverage.... it's a treat - a dessert, actually.
Soda is an empty calorie "food" that costs a fortune and can do more harm to the body than good. Serve soda only on special occasions.

9. Concentrate on good health
Buy good quality, fresh foods from local sources whenever possible. They will taste better and feed your body the nutrients it needs. You'll have better health, spend less on medical care and buy fewer over the counter drugs.

Buy Fresh - Buy Local
10. Go easy on processed food and junk
Chips, dips, lunch meats, packaged cookies, hot dogs, smoked sausage, white flour products, packaged cereals, prepared frozen breakfast sandwiches .... I could go on and on.

Processed food and junk may be fun to eat but they're horribly expensive when you consider the zero to low nutrition they provide.  Plus they are full of preservatives, nitrates, sugar, starches and fillers.  The cleaner you eat, the better.

11. Plant a garden
Start small. 
A few herbs and a tomato plant are all it takes to get growing.  Add other plants as you have the time and ability.
You'll be amazed at how much money you can save not to mention the fresh, air, exercise and delicious good taste that you'll be getting for free!

12.  Buy the right size
Bigger is not always cheaper.  
The best selling size is so always check unit prices in addition to package prices.
It may be cheaper to buy 2 small packages of an item than 1 large package.

13.  Buy what you need  
If you wind up throwing away food because you've bought too much, you've wasted your hard earned money.
Even if it's cost more per pound or package, if you only need a little you'll be saving money in the long run.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cold Soup for Hot Days - Chilled Red Pepper Soup

It's too hot to cook.
Maybe too hot to even eat.
But, no, not really. 

Come dinner time and they’ll all be hungry.

It may be too hot to cook but it's never too hot to eat.

How about a chilled soup?
Refined.  Refreshing.  Yummy.

Keep a jar of roasted red peppers on your pantry shelf and some cream or evaporated milk in the fridge, and you can whip this up without breaking a sweat.

A wonderful starter for a grilled steak dinner.
Lovely for lunch.  
Perfect to pack for picnics, polo or the races.

Purists will want to roast their own red peppers which is always OK if you happen to have the grill going but turn on the oven?   In this heat?   No thank you.

You'd pay a small fortune for a tiny cup of this incredible tasting - so easy to make cold soup at any fancy restaurant or trendy bistro.  Once you see how easy (and inexpensive) it is to make, you won't want to waste your money!

All your gourmet pals will be whispering that you must have learned the recipe at a fancy cooking school.    

It's just panache in a flash!

Chilled Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Use a stationary or immersion blender to puree the soup.
The food processor does not get it smooth enough.
Can be made a day in advance.


Makes 4 (half cup) servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking not required


1 (12 oz.) jar roasted red peppers (water or brine 
packed - not vinegar packed – drained but not rinsed)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (room temperature)
3/4 cup light/coffee cream/half & half or 1 (12-14 oz) can evaporated milk (undiluted)

Puree everything together until very smooth.  Chill.

Optional garnish – Sprinkle with some finely minced fresh chives if you happen to have them on hand or in the garden.

Karla's tip: Roasted red peppers are sometimes called "fire roasted" red peppers. Whatever they're called, they're mild bell peppers and have a slight smoky taste.   Do not use hot peppers.