Hidden Valley Orchards

The sunshine was working it today! It has been a whole week of clouds, thunderstorms, and dreary days, but we finally woke up to total sunshine this morning. I immediately decided that CJ and I needed to get out of the house for an adventure that didn’t involve a grocery store.

So we headed out to Hidden Valley Orchards, which has been one of our favorite places to visit since we moved to Ohio. HVO has changed a lot since the beginning, but it’s still an amazing family adventure.

During the summer, they host holiday events, Fruit festivals, petting zoos for kids, and u-pick events. Everything from grapes to apples! They also sell small home decor, fresh fruits & vegetables, baked goods, and canned items. They also just opened a bar and huge patio area this year!

So today CJ and I headed out to pick some blueberries! We got a pint sized buckets for five bucks and ventured out to the fields in search of something yummy.

I love to do stuff like this with her. We went strawberry picking last year at HVO and apple picking in the Fall at another orchard in Yellow Springs. Much like last year and my tomatoes though, she picks the ripe berries AND the tiny little green ones too.

After we filled up our pint-sized bowl of blueberries, we headed inside for lunch. Hidden Valley Orchards has a huge and delicious menu! Burgers, sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, and so many delicious baked goods.

I got CJ a burger with a side of fresh fruit and I got a bacon grilled cheese with green beans. We also got a buckeye brownie, which is less of a brownie and more of a small sized cake.

It was a gorgeous day and totally something we needed after such a gloomy week. We’ve been having a hard time getting back into a routine since we got back too, so even though it’s quite opposite of routine, the spontaneity of today was just what we needed.

And now we’ve got some delicious and as fresh as they get blueberries for the weekend. I’m thinking blueberry pancakes? Muffins? Cake? Or all of the above!

HVO is located at 5474 OH-48 in Lebanon, Ohio 45036

Click here for their Facebook for more info

Plant Mom

It is finally time to start growing!

I missed out the the initial seeding season because I actually spent the whole month of May in Florida visiting family (most posts on that coming soon). Now that I’m back though, I haven’t wasted any time.

Instead of starting with seeds though, I decided to support a local farm called Friendly Knoll Farm that sets up shop at the Wednesday Fairborn Farmer’s Market. I’ve been buying from them for two summers and I am never disappointed. Aside from seedlings, they also sell plantable flowers and in true farmers market fashion, they also have an assortment of veggies for purchase- Peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, etc.

The two guys who run the booth at the Fairborn Market are always super friendly and full of useful information on the products you are buying. They are always willing to chat about plants, which is why I think I trust them the most. Their tips are always helpful.

Back to the blog post!

So the first Wednesday that I came back to town, I dropped by the market and picked up an assortment of tomatoes, peppers, and for the first time I’m going to try growing my own cucumbers!

I made sure to pick up a wide variety of tomatoes – Black Cherry, Chocolate Cherry, San Marzano, Yellow Brandywine, Marglobe, and Golden Jubilee. I’m excited to see what all grows.

The cucumbers are a new adventure for me. I also have sweet peppers – ivory & jupiter. Oh, and my raspberries are growing from last year! It’s bound to be a busy season.

Stay tuned for updates!

Taco Stuffed Bell Peppers

I know what you came here for and if you are anything like me then scrolling through a ton of texts & photos for a recipe is super disappointing – especially if the page keeps reloading. So I’ll make this easy!

TA-DA

Look at that! I made a recipe template. Oh, and there is the recipe. Keep scrolling for photos and all that text that I initially saved you from!

For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you are more than aware that my food photography needs some SERIOUS work. For those of you that are new here…. well I’m sorry ?

We recently purchased a learning tower for the kitchen so CJ can help me cook. It safely puts her right up to the counter height. She helped me dice the onion and tomatoes for this recipe and insisted on trying raw onion. Her 23 month old taste buds were less than impressed.

She is also pretty obsessed with my DSLR. It’s got quite the mileage on it being a Canon Rebel t3i, so I do let her play with it from time to time. I’m not too worried because it is getting much older and I’m honestly day dreaming about a new camera. My husband is probably thinking “keep dreaming” as he reads this, I’m sure.

There is a shot of her cute little hand helping me to arrange a semi post worthy shot.

The learning tower is a lot of fun for both of us though. Her willingness to try food while we are up there prepping together has really improved. I can’t get her to eat a tomato in her high chair, but at the counter she’ll gladly eat extra pieces of the tomatoes as we dice them. She also gets a close up view of the clean up process. She has taken to wiping the counters down while I rinse the dishes.

I’m really hoping to engrain cooking into her. I didn’t learn how to cook as a kid and had to dive in after marriage. I’m hoping CJ will have those kitchen skills or just the general knowledge of where her food comes from & what she’s putting into her body. My dream is that she won’t grow up to live on ramen & takeout…. so I’m starting her young!

If you have made it this far and didn’t skip out post-recipe, I am truly appreciative of your dedication! I hope you enjoy the recipe! They were very delicious and we can’t wait to eat the leftovers.