Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Imagine my surprise when I went to the cookie jar to get a cookie to find the jar empty. What? We used to have a "law" in this house that no one could eat the last of any treat without asking me first if it were okay. Times have changed.

Wanting a cookie, I just decided to make some. That's when I revisited this recipe for Cherry Cookies in my Amish Cooking cookbook. I love this cookbook because every recipe takes up two pages. The first page has a picture related to the Amish and the recipe. The second page has a full page picture of the finished food.

The only change I made in this recipe was reducing the sugar calories by using truvia baking blend for the sugar. The recipe was one of those I love so much (NOT!) that said to bake at 375 degrees until done. I have given a span of time in case your oven bakes differently from mine.


2-1/4      cups all-purpose flour
1              teaspoon baking powder
1/2          teaspoon soda
1/2          teaspoon salt
3/4         cup shortening
1              cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup truvia baking blend)
2             eggs
2             tablespoons milk
1              teaspoon almond extract
1              teaspoon vanilla
1              cup chopped pecans
1/3          cup chopped maraschino cherries
1              cup chopped dates
2-1/2      cups cornflakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. (I lined mine with parchment paper instead.)

Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.

Combine the shortening and sugar,
then blend in the eggs.
Add to this mixture the milk, almond extract, and vanilla.
Blend in the sifted dry ingredients and mix it well.

Add the pecans, cherries, and dates, and mix it well again. Shape the dough into balls, using 1 level tablespoon per cookie. (Small cookie scoop works perfectly.)
Crush the cornflakes
and roll each ball of dough in them.
Place the balls on cookie sheet
and top each one with 1/4 cherry.
Bake for 12-14 minutes until done.

Cool on pan about a minutes and then finish cooling on a wire rack.

Do not stack them until they are cold.

Monday, May 30, 2016


Smithfield, VA is another new "find" we had on this stay in Williamsburg. We had planned to visit Smithfield when we went to Surry County, but there was just too much to see in one day. We did drive to Smithfield to eat that day because we couldn't find a place in Surry, but then we drove back to Surry to visit the historical places there.

Our waitress at the Main Street Restaurant confirmed Leon's suspicion regarding the relationship between Smithfield Foods and Smithfield. She even told us where to turn on our way back to Surry to drive down to the packing plants for Smithfield Foods.

The pork packing plant 

The packing plant across the street for dog food.

The day we went back to Smithfield, we decided to come over the James River Bridge from Hampton, VA instead of the ferry at Jamestown/Surry.

One of the sites we came upon after entering the Isle of Wight County and turning to go to Smithfield was historic St. Luke's Church c. 1632. It is Virginia's oldest church.

We had such an informative tour (I'm sorry I forgot the name of our docent but she was so knowledgeable) and left knowing so much more than we did beforehand. Here are some of the pictures I took inside....

Examples of Gothic Architecture

Stain glass windows honoring Pocahontas. The window on the left says, " The first Convert of Virginia to the Gospel."

The pulpit faced the left side where the prominent members sat.

Beautiful stain glass windows. 
These windows were so beautiful. Each window is in honor of two different men. The top four are the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and also for early priests in the church. The bottom four are Moses, David, Isaiah, and Zechariah and also General George Washington (The first president of the Republic), General Robert Edward Lee (Soldier, Patriot, Churchman), Captain Joseph Bridger (The builder of this church), and Reverend William Hubard (The last colonial Rector of this church).

Yes, that's an hour glass ministers could use to time sermons.

The nation's oldest intact organ.

Remember how I like to take pictures of signs.....

Then we drove on into Smithfield and were astounded by the beauty of this town that was colonized in 1634.

Here are some of my pictures of Smithfield...

These first ones were taken along historic Main Street that has gone through a renovation ...

The first two pictures show just two of George Lundeen bronze statues. 

My hubby visiting with George Washington

Janice was cozying up to this older couple called the Valentine Couple...

Other sites along Main Street...(some I can't identify for you)

The Smithfield Ice Cream Parlor. Best ice cream ever.

R. S. Thomas House c 1889

Moody House c. 1880

The house in the next two pictures really fascinated me. According to a walking map of Smithfield it is the Todd House. Apparently I didn't take a picture of the plaque you can see on the front corner of the white portion. I have been unsuccessful in trying to find the history of the house. I remember that the brown portion was the original house and then the front white portion was added at a later date c. 1753.
Captain Mallory Todd is the first documented person to cure and export Smithfield hams.

Bricks were often used for sidewalks and roads.

Another one of my signs
The old Isle of Wight Courthouse
I have to admit there was a lot to see in Smithfield that we didn't see because of poor planning on my part. It is definitely a place that deserves a complete day to enjoy it all.

Friday, May 27, 2016


On our trip to Virginia recently, I couldn't pass up buying a cookbook I saw called Virginia Bed & Breakfast Cookbook from the Warmth & Hospitality of 94 Virginia B & B's and Country Inns collected by Melissa Craven. Besides having all of the recipes, they share information and personal notes from the B & B that serves the dish. (I often think I would like having a B & B and then I remember I like to "go" to much. lol)

We got back from being away two and a half weeks on a Sunday night late. Tuesday morning I had to be at Hillcrest Thrift Shop to work my usual first shift at the register downstairs. I looked through the cookbook and decided these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies would be just perfect. (I actually bought the cookbook for this recipe. The combination of ingredients sounded like they would be a hit. And they were.) 

I did make one major change because I wasn't totally happy with how the baked cookie looked. I am sharing that change in the recipe below.

The recipe is one from Harmony Hill, a B & B that "offers country comforts in a contemporary log home, set on 17 acres of rolling farmland in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains". (939 Wilson Hill Road, Arrington, VA 22922). The Innkeeper says, "These delicious cookies free well. For variety, try using half white chocolate chips."


2       cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1        cup all-purpose flour
1/2    teaspoon salt
1        teaspoon baking powder
1        cup chunky peanut butter
1        stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2    cup packed light brown sugar (I used 1/4 cup brown sugar blend)
1/2    cup white sugar (I used 1/4 cup sugar/stevia blend)
3       large eggs, room temperature
1        tablespoon vanilla
2       cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (I had 60% dark cacao chips)
1-1/2 cups shredded coconut (I did use unsweetened coconuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, salt, and baking powder. Set it aside.

In a large bowl, with a mixer at medium speed, beat peanut butter, butter, and sugars.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
Gradually beat in oat mixture.
Stir in chocolate chips and coconut by hand.

Measure dough by heaping tablespoons and spaced about 1 - inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. (I used a cookie scoop that measures a tablespoon of water and rounded the dough in it. I then rolled the dough in my hand to make it smooth and flattened it on the cookie sheet. I also lined the cookie sheet with parchment paper. This way the cookies didn't burn around the edges and on the bottom.)

Bake 15 - 18 minutes. (Using the parchment paper will require most of the 18 minutes.) Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.