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October 2013



An Apple Craft and An Apple Snack

Written by , Posted in Blogging, DIY, Foodie


It’s Foodie Friday! Today’s post is from our very own contributor, Tinsley over @ Her blog is “designed to bring short recipes and good food to your table.” What a great mission!

There’s still time to get out to your local orchards and enjoy Apple Picking Season. Let’s plan to do something fun with all those apples and make a craft and a snack.  These Sticky Caramel Apples and Apple Stamps are easy to make and they’re a big hit with the kids!

How have you enjoyed this Apple Season?

Sticky Caramel Apples:

Caramel Apples


  • 9 assorted apples, room temperature
  • 9 popsicle sticks
  • 8 oz. package individually wrapped soft chewy caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 ounces white chocolate

Click here for directions ….

Apple Stamps:


  • canvas bag
  • newspaper – to go inside bag
  • 2-3 apples, halved (or any fruit)
  • fabric paint
  • 2-3 triangular sponge brushes
  • 1 paint brush
  • envelope cardstock

Apple Supplies-300x179Apple-1Apple-2Apple-4

Click here for directions ….

Enjoy – <3 Always Tinsley






September 2013



Apples, Apples, Apples via

Written by , Posted in Blogging, Foodie

Apple Empanadas

Today’s post is from our foodie contributor, Tinsley over @ Her blog is “designed to bring short recipes and good food to your table.” What a great mission!

Fall is here and the leaves are starting to fall. Do you know what that means? It’s time to go APPLE PICKING! U-pick farms are awesome family activity to remind us where our food comes from. If you’ve never been before, be sure to check them out early fall. It’s a wonderful way to spend with family and /or friends.

Now what are you waiting for? Get outside, breathe the fresh air and enjoy apples!

Always – Tinsley

Pick-Your-Own Farms – Find an apple orchard near you

Apple Variety Directory – Learn about the many varieties of apples


Awesome Apple Pie

Apple pie. Is there anything better in life?


Apple and Goat Cheese Crostinis

Get a little fancy and impress your guests with this fantastic recipe.

Apple Empanadas

Apple Empanadas

This recipe takes the flavors of autumn and bakes it into a decadent empanada. Oh, and maybe make a double, or even triple batch. These yummy treats will go fast!

Stuff and Bake Granny Smith Apples

Stuff and Bake Granny Smith Apples

We took all the flavors of a classic Thanksgiving dessert and stuffed them inside of a delicious tart, Granny Smith apple

Apple Chicken Sausage Salad

Apple Chicken Sausage

Here’s how we take fresh autumn apples and chicken sausage from into a rock star meal.


Apple Cinnamon Chicken

“Winner Winner, Apple Chicken Dinner”



September 2013



Virginia Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting via @ LAHtheBlog

Written by , Posted in Blogging, Foodie

Virginia Apple Cake

It’s Foodie Friday! Today’s post comes from Kate over @ Like American Honey! Kate is a Florida girl turned Virginian.  She’s a lover of all things monogrammed (who isn’t), and believer that good manners never go out of style.

I love fall in Virginia.  The leaves change, the air gets a bit crisper, and the skies seem to get bluer.  Virginia fall also means one huge  thing: fresh apples!  We have made it a tradition to go apple picking  every fall at Virginia orchards.  It is such a great feeling to pack up  the car, grab our dogs, and know that our apples couldn’t be any more  fresh.

I always return from the orchard with way too many apples for two people and have come up with many creative ways to use my apples.  Last year, I discovered this amazingly easy apple cake in a Southern Living apple  feature, and this year I am pairing it with a to-die-for browned butter  frosting.  If you haven’t made browned butter frosting before, it has a  nice nutty flavor that pairs very well with cakes that feature cinnamon  or fruit.  The recipe calls for Granny Smith apples, but I find any  apple that is a bit tart and firm will work.  I luckily snagged some  local Gala apples that I happily used.

Virginia Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

Virginia Apple Cake

The Cake:

  • 1 ½ cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼ inch thick wedges (about 4 large, or 5 medium apples)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once the oven is ready, place 1 cup of your pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven. Bake the pecans for 5-7 minutes, until they are fragrant. Set aside to let the pecans cool a bit.

In a large bowl, stir together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour with the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Last, stir in your apples and toasted pecans. The batter will be thick.

Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch pan. Spread the batter evenly into the pan.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.

The Browned Butter Frosting:

Brown Butter Frosting

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 16 ounce package of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cook your butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 8-10 minutes until the butter turns golden brown. Be sure not to cook too far and burn. The butter will have a bit of a nutty aroma.

Quickly remove your cooked butter from the pan and let cool in a bowl. Cover the butter and chill it in your refrigerator for about 1 hour, until it starts to firm up.

Beat the butter in a standing mixer or with an electric mixer on a medium speed until fluffy. Combine the vanilla with the milk. Split your sugar into 3 equal parts and the milk mixture into 2 parts. Alternate adding the thirds of sugar with the two halves of milk, finishing with your sugar. Make sure to beat until well blended and scrape down the sides of your bowl (if using a standing mixer) between additions.

Once the cake is cooled and the frosting is finished, top your cake generously with your frosting and sprinkle with the remaining half-cup of toasted pecans.

Happy fall everyone!


Come connect with me!

Twitter: @LAHtheBlog

Pinterest: LAHtheBlog



September 2013



Kitchen on Cary Restaurant Review- Via Liz @ I Heart Vegetables

Written by , Posted in Blogging, Foodie, VAis4Bloggers


Hey all! It’s Liz, the blog-obsessed girl behind Virginia Bloggers! I thought it would be fun to do a guest post of my own, on a new restaurant that opened in Richmond!

A few months ago, I was offered a chance to attend the soft opening of Kitchen on Cary. Full disclosure: I was offered this dinner free of charge, but was not obligated to post about it, and all opinions are my own. Since I love trying new places, I excitedly accepting the invite!

Walking in, the atmosphere was clean and inviting. After being seated, we were greeted by one of the chefs, who explained the concept behind the restaurant. Kitchen on Cary will be a sort of training ground for students at the culinary school, giving them the chance to test out their skills in the real word, and allowing patrons to enjoy their handiwork. Sounds like a win-win, right? The menu was slightly limited, since this was just a soft opening, but there were plenty of vegetarian options for me to choose from. I’ll apologize in advance for the pictures, since restaurant lighting isn’t very forgiving.


We chose our courses, and settled in.

Course #1- Tempura Vegetables/Chipotle Marinated Grilled Shrimp

Course 1

Fresh vegetables, coated and fried. I don’t normally like my veggies fried, but these were pretty good. I especially liked the dipping sauce, which was spicy. Alex chose the shrimp dish, which looked good, but I didn’t try it. He liked his as well.

Course #2- Greens & Fresh Mozzarella/Beets & Feta

Course 2

Alex was brave and chose the beet salad, but I stuck with greens & fresh mozzarella which was served with a light dressing that hit the spot. It was salty (I love salty) but didn’t weigh me down like some salad dressings do.

Course #3- Mushroom Risotto/Grilled Rockfish

Course 3

Now I’m normally not the biggest mushroom fan, but this risotto was delicious. It was creamy and savory, and the mushrooms added a nice texture. I saved some of the mushrooms for Alex, but I did enjoy the strips of portabello on top. The flavor was excellent and it was nice to eat something that would be easy to prepare at home. Alex had the rockfish, served on a mango salsa, which he didn’t expect to go so well with the fish, but he said tasted great. I didn’t quite finish my risotto which was good, because we had cake on the way!



Alex and I split a slice of carrot cake (vegetables… right?) which was so crumbly it was a bit difficult to eat, but the taste was great and I loved the frosting. I don’t normally love frosting, so that surprised me! We couldn’t quite finish it, but it was excellent. Kitchen on Cary is officially open, and I’d highly recommend you check this place out if you’re in Richmond.   For more Richmond Restaurant Reviews, check out my RVA Restaurants Page here.

-Liz @ I Heart Vegetables



August 2013



Guest Post: To #foodgram or Not to #foodgram?

Written by , Posted in Blogging, Foodie

Gathering Green 2

Today’s foodie guest post comes from Emily of Gathering Green. She is a veggie loving, fitness seeking, amateur foodie and chef, who spends her days working at an environmental non-profit in DC.

Emily created Gathering Green as a place to focus on not only her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) recipes, and sustainable living tips, but also her quest at leading an all around healthy lifestyle.

To #foodgram or Not to #foodgram?

Whether you make a living out of social media, or view it as a necessary evil, there is no denying that Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have completely changed all of us. As a young professional, whose age safely classifies me as a Generation Y-er, I actually abstained (quite forcefully at times) from joining all of the social media channels available. It wasn’t until this spring that I finally sucked it up and joined Instagram, the lone social media account I had avoided. (Although, Admittedly, I only joined with the lure from a roommate that there is an account solely dedicated to the “PugsofInstagram”. She wasn’t lying.) Perhaps that was the final step in my trying to “stick it to the man” and not advertise everything about my life online, because shortly afterwards I created a blog. A blog that has quickly become 75% dedicated to food.

Which brings me to the question I’m trying to answer: why are we so obsessed with #foodgrams?

If you read nearly any online newspaper or periodical, you have probably come across about a thousand (ok maybe more like 5) articles in the last year or so that pertain to the infamous #foodgram. You may have read this one, or this one, or maybe you’re even a member of this Facebook group. Many of these articles bring up valid points, such as the lack of artistic talent apps such as Instagram require, or the fact that for some people thinking about food 24/7 is a sign of a bigger problem. However, I think there’s more behind this debate that we’re all ignoring.

I could probably go on for hours about this debate, but for the sake of time (and my attention span) I’ll focus on two points.

1.) Sustainable agriculture and environmental awareness:

Full disclosure: I’m biased on this topic since I spend my days working at an environmental non-profit. However, I am extraordinarily passionate about conservation and sustainability and believe it’s worth focusing on.

Gone is the day when nobody knew, nor cared, where his or her food was coming from or when it had been harvested. These days, whether it’s your addiction to the Whole Foods Organic section or your weekly Community Supported Agriculture, we all have started caring just a little bit more about our food. This is good. I realize I am probably in a minority, but picking up fresh blueberries and zucchini at the farmers’ market gets me excited. And seeing a photo of someone doing the same makes that emotion resurface. Combine our growing environmental awareness with the easy access of photographic equipment (iPhones, point and shoot cameras, DSLRs, etc) and quite honestly you have some of the best food photography I’ve ever seen. You also have a generation who is actively trying to improve the food situation in this country.

Gathering Green Veggies

2.) The health focused generation:

A few weeks ago I had a heated debate with my parents and grandmother about the differences between our generations and the socio-political challenges we all faced at various stages in our lives. Without steering this story too far into the political realm, I’ll simply say that my main point had to do with attitude and adversity. I argued that my generation was one of the first who had to deal with not only political, economic and social strife but also environmental and health issues.

Put simply, what other generation has gathered a group of friends together and gone on an exotic destination vacation… to run a half marathon? Or hosted a dinner party with only local produce? All at the ripe old age of 25. More and more we’re seeing young people take proactive stance on healthy living. Obesity and other health related diseases are still very much prevelant, but I argue that the #foodgram revolution is helping, not hurting this battle. If snapping a photo of your zucchini bread with 3 filters, blurred borders, and fifteen hash tags is what it takes to keep this revolution going, then by all means, please continue.

Photography changed the connotation of the word “artist” decades ago. It’s nothing new that those who have never heard the words “aperture” and “shutter speed” are labeling themselves a “photographer”. But that’s not going to change. Just as the dawn of the typewriter and later the computer allowed the writer in all of us to emerge, the rise in popularity of the DSLR (and even the iPhone) is changing the way we capture memories. I gave in trying to “stick it to the man” and not have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram but that doesn’t mean I’m any different as a person. In reality, I like to think that I’m finally embracing who I’ve always been. I just get to document it a lot better than my parents or grandmother ever did.

So I will continue to take photos of my food with pride. And maybe, if they ask nicely, I might even share some of my tasty creations with the #foodgram haters.

Gathering Green 2

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