as GOLD as it gets

Life's adventures should be fully accessorized!


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pleasant valley lavender

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I am so excited to share these photos. After church we stopped by Pleasant Valley Lavender Farm and it did not disappoint. I’ve been wanting to go for awhile but missed the season last year. Today they told us the peak was really around July 4th but I truly couldn’t tell because the fields smelled amazing. They were so kind and took us around briefly and told us how different lavender smelled differently and you could rub it between your fingers and tell some were more earthy and others sweet smelling. _MG_2913They give you scissors and a basket and you are set free to roam. The are fields all around their house with a little tent shop set up out front. They even had baked lavender cookies that they let us sample! IMG_2895

The bees and butterflies were everywhere but none of them seemed to care about humans traipsing through they just buzzed around us. IMG_2935IMG_2937IMG_2978IMG_2938IMG_2939IMG_2941IMG_2946IMG_2981IMG_2986IMG_2992

This is the perfect escape in New Jersey to fool yourself into thinking you are in France for an hour or two!

 

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award-winning spicy & tart blueberry pie

award winning blueberry apple pie

I love participating in our local farmer’s market but the judges and competition are tough! This year I couldn’t believe I actually got third place! I pretty much went into it with low expectations but was thrilled!

The pectin in the apple really helps to firm it up so its more substantial and not soupy…if you’ve made blueberry pie before you know what I mean 😉

Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
4Tablespoons water
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1) Combine 1 1/2 blueberries, the sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the water in a medium saucepan. Set over low heat and cook, stirring often until the blueberries have become very juicy and the sugar has dissolved. Mix the cornstarch with the remaining water, then stir in about a third of the blueberry juices. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan, return to the heat and cook stirring constantly until thickened and clear (3 min)
2) Remove from the heat, scrap the filling into a medium bow and stir in the spices. Let cool.
3) Set a rack at the lowest level in the oven and preheat to 375
4) Fold the remaining blueberries and apple into the cooled filling
5) Scrap into the piecrust and spread evenly. Dot with the butter and arrange the top crust. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar
6) Place the pie in the over and decrease the temperature to 350 F. Bake until the crust is baked through and the juices are actively simmering, about 45 min.
7) Cool the pie on the rack and serve warm
Crust
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
8 Tablespoons chilled butter, cut into 12 pieces
1) Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor, pulse several times until combined
2) Add the butter and pulse again until the butter is finely mixed into the dry ingredients.
3) Use a fork to beat the eggs until the yolks are broken and pour into food processor. Pulse again until the dough almost forms a ball.
4) Invert the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead together 3-4 times to make it smooth.
5) Divide the dough into 2 pieces, form them into disks and wrap them each in plastic. Chill for a few hours before rolling.

6) Before rolling the dough, place on a floured surface and gently knead until smooth and malleable.

The recipe came from this book.

 


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freshly picked blueberry pie

You might remember from this post that I was picking blueberries for a blueberry pie contest at our local farmers market. Unfortunately I didn’t win but it was so much fun! While this might not be crowned as the winner of the West Windsor’s Farmers Market…it’s a pretty delicious pie and I’m sure your family will agree! I was specifically searching for a recipe that had lemon in it because I thought it would be such a nice balance to the blueberries, and it definitely is. To see the full recipe from Inspired Taste click here (or see below). fresh blueberry pie Ingredients:
•Your favorite pie crust, for crust and lattice
•2/3 cup to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (adjusted according to sweetness of berries)
•1/4 cup cornstarch
•2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
•1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
•1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
•6 cups fresh blueberries from Terhune Orchards
•1 tablespoon butter, cut into small squares
•1 egg yolk
•1 tablespoon heavy cream
•1 tablespoon coarse sugar

Directions:
1) Roll out half of the pie dough to fit an 8- or 9-inch pie dish. Check for the correct size by inverting the pie dish over the dough. The dough should be about 2 inches larger than the dish.
2) Being careful to not stretch the dough, fit into pie dish and trim dough to within 3/4-inch of the edge of the dish. Refrigerate while you make the pie filling.
3) Stir sugar, cornstarch, lemon peel, allspice, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add blueberries and gently toss to combine. Transfer blueberry filling to prepared pie crust. Refrigerate while you prepare the lattice crust.
4) Once you interlace the lattice crust over the pie filling, place the butter over the open areas of the lattice.
5) Then, make an egg wash by whisking the egg yolk and cream together and brush over the pie dough. Sprinkle sugar over the crust.
6) Place pie in the fridge for 20 minutes minutes before baking for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F on the lower third of your oven. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 35-40 minutes until crust is golden and filling is bubbling. (Baking on the baking sheet will catch any drips from the pie as it cooks.) Cool for 2-3 hours before serving so filling can set. baking blueberry pie baking blueberry pie west windsor farmers market blueberry pie contest west windsor farmers market blueberry pie contest


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Lambertville Food Fair

We had such a fun time at the Lambertville Food Fair yesterday. We were a little nervous as there was a complete downpour on on drive there but it never seemed to hit Lambertville!
lambertville food fairFood trucks are still something I struggle with (think: roach coach) but these trucks and a few others have really changed my way of thinking about food coming from a truck. 

lambertville food fair / oink & moo food truck

Chipotle Chicken Tacos from Oink & Moo food truck. OMG SO AMAZE
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the bent spoon – princeton, nj

sorbet at the bent spoon

One of my favorite things growing up is when we would approach our exit coming from school and on my favorite days my Grandpa would say, “should we stop and get a blizzard?” or “I think we really need some ice cream today”. I would eagerly await and see if he said it or if we would just go home. But the days he said it were the absolute best!  Conversations are best served over ice cream.These days I live from from any Dairy Queen but Princeton offers a good substitute in The Bent Spoon.

bent spoon ice cream selections

The location is right in Palmer Square across the street from the University and its always packed! There’s virtually no seating indooors but its perfect to grab an ice cream (or sorbet) and walk around the square and peruse the shops.

blood orange and lemon curd / the bent spoon

Why is it that ice cream sounds good in freezing temps? We braved the outside bench for a while until it was just too frigid to enjoy.
the bent spoon
They offer up crazy concoctions (cardamon cinnamon), old faithfuls (vanilla salt caramel or mint chocolate) and new spins on things (NJ honey ice cream..) You can check out what flavors they are currently rotating by checking out their Twitter.