Saturday, June 5, 2010

I Love My Hometown!

I absolutely love this time of year and the little things that make my hometown special really start to shine! The Farmer's Market on the downtown square started last weekend and they seemed to have a fairly packed group. Fresh baked goods, home grown veggies, garden decorations and the list could go on and on. We've only had this for the past couple of years and it just continues to grow! As I mentioned in the last post, we are seeing quite a bit of business really starting to boom in Winchester, as well as other places in Randolph County. Jason's Meat Market, On the Square and Sweet Sensations (open soon) are just a couple of our recent additions. Since my parent's and my brother-in-law own locally owned and operated businesses here in town, it makes me happy to see other "Mom and Pop" establishments. I would love to take the time to do a complete history on the evolution of the downtown square...all of the businesses that have come and gone, families that have been in business for generations, etc. Even in my twenty-some years, the square has almost completely changed, more than once! With the addition of the Winchester Main Street group, we have been able to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of our community and build upon what we do best...mid western hospitality! The updating of some of the downtown buildings (making them business ready) has been a tremendous asset and I think that the investors in these projects should be commended for their hard work and efforts. Some no longer live here and still want to give back to their great! We may be small in number, but we are mighty in spirit. We are very well known for our school sports, coins, racing, pies, chocolate and golfing...what more could you ask for? I love being a small town girl :-) I mean, the Mayor is my facebook friend! So take the time today to see what makes your hometown special. God Bless!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer Tummy...fill it right!

I love summertime and the abundance of freshness that it brings with it! Farmer's Market is in full swing, flowers blooming and the smell of grilled food fills the air of our quaint town. With the addition of Jason's Meat Market in downtown Winchester, grilling season has taken on a whole new is wonderful to be able to pick up ribs, roasts, steak burgers, etc. right here in our own backyard! It is also nice to keep all of the heat outside, not in the house! Grilling out also gives me the opportunity to utilize all of the Stonewall Kitchen products that are being sold at another new downtown business, On the Square. Winchester is having a HUGE revitalization...come visit us! Since spending time in the water sounds like more fun than staying in the kitchen on these hot summer days, here are a couple of my picks for great eats, with less heat!

Orchard Salad with Chicken: So all of the produce at the market was too good to pass up and those two left over chicken breasts needs be used in something...hmmmmmm. 4 cups of town romaine lettuce (or whatever you have), at least a half cup of each fruit (I like blueberry, sliced strawberry and pineapple) and 2 sliced chicken breasts. Want to kick-it up? Add some nuts or toasted sunflower seeds. I serve with a honey mustard dressing and yum-o!

Fiesta Corn Salad: This may sound like a side dish, but there is plenty to satisfy a summer hunger! Cook roughly 2 cups of corn (fresh, frozen, canned) in the desired method. While corn is cooking, chop one red bell pepper into small pieces and saute in a small skillet with 1 Tablespoon of butter. Add to corn when finished. In a medium sauce pan, add 1 8oz block of room temperature cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons butter and 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar and warm throughout. While warming, chop 2 green onions and add to corn mixture. When sauce has warmed, add corn mixture and stir. Place mixture in a serving dish and chill for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, crush BBQ corn chips on top! So delicious :-)

As always, enjoy and be safe!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sweet, treats and blooms!

I should start our by saying "sorry" for my continual lags in is a promise to actually doing this on a more frequent basis. Since I have been on the hunt for a new job these past couple of months, it has given me the opportunity to be more creative in the kitchen and dive into some passions that I did not have much time to do before. In preparation for the upcoming JuneFest that will be happening in downtown Winchester in the next couple of weeks, I have been preparing to make about 8 cheesecakes, some sweet dips and cake balls. Yes, I said cake balls! After seeing a post about these delicious little treats, my curiosity got the best of me and it was time for some research...and I am glad that I took the time to look these up! Simple, delicious bites of heaven! Bake a cake, crumble it up in a bowl, add a can of icing, freeze, dip in chocolate coating...voila cake balls! Here are a few flavor creations I am hoping to attempt:

Monkey Madness (banana as the main flavor)
Cordially Yours (cherries)
Strawberry Patch (you guessed it)
Luau Love (tropical flavors)
Wedded Bliss (oh yes, traditional wedding cake)

Have a flavor you want me to try, let me know! I am fairly game for anything! Of course, the famous Fields' Cheesecake will be making its triumphant return and Cheesecakes for a Cause remains in effect...all profits from our JuneFest booth will be donated to the American Cancer Society for the Relay for Life of Randolph County. Come see us!