Short rib sauce with fresh pappardelle.

Readers of my blog know that I shop the Collingswood Farmers’ Market.  During the season I need only go to a supermarket for dairy products.  This is a meal made exclusively and totally from products purchased at the market.

This is a meal easy enough for a week night and special enough for company.

Purchase beef short ribs from Hillacres Pride or bison short ribs from Buck Wild Bison.  Purchase red tomato sauce from Villa Barone’s stand (he also has pink sauce…but red is needed here).  Thaw the short ribs and cut them in half.  Dump the red sauce into your slow cooker.  Push the short ribs into the sauce.  Put on the lid and set the machine on low for 8 to 10 hours.  That’s it.  Done.



The rest of the meal is made up of pappardelle noodles (fresh…from Villa Barone), small artisan dinner rolls (fresh…from Villa Barone) with butter (from Hillacres Pride), salad (lettuce from Muth Family Organic Farm and Savoie Organic Farm), tomatoes (from Buzby Farm or Springdale Farm), a ball of fresh mozzarella (from Villa Barone), parmesan cheese (from Villa Barone).

The meat and sauce cook slowly all day.  The noodles cook in minutes as they are fresh. The salad and rolls round out the meal.  This time of year strawberries (Buzby Farms, Muth Family Organic, Fruitwood Farm, Springdale Farm) and ice cream make a marvelous dessert or baked goods from Springdale Farms or Wild Flour Bakery.



Extraordinarily delicious and extremely easy…

John’s favorite banana bread (with mini chocolate chips).

When I have overripe bananas I have lots of them.  Not one or two.  Many.  Husband and I like our bananas a little underripe so when the bunch goes ripe there are plenty to use.    Sadly, most recipes only use one or two bananas.    This recipe uses FOUR BANANAS!  FOUR!

Husband and grandsons love this loaf!

It is also a recipe that is mixed by hand with a wooden spoon or spatula.  No electric mixer needed.


4 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter (cool slightly after melting)
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (210g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mini-chocolate chips (can be made plain without chips if you’d rather….)


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 -inch loaf pan.

Place bananas in a large bowl and mash them (with a fork or potato masher).

Measure the flour and toss the mini chips in the flour.  Coating the chips with the flour keeps them “floating” in the loaf instead of having them all sink to the bottom.

Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla to the bananas stir just to mix

Add the sugar, baking soda, and flour with chocolate chips to the bowl and stir until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Let the loaf cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Then turn the loaf out of the pan and let cool completely before eating.



World Famous Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake.

This is the only chocolate cake recipe you will ever need.  Trust me.

This recipe has a simple list of ingredients and very easy directions.  You will need a bundt pan.



1 package of dark chocolate cake mix (the preferred one is Duncan Hines brand, but it works with others.  Do not buy “Pudding in the Mix”).

1 package of INSTANT chocolate pudding mix (seriously….do not short cut and buy “Pudding in the Mix”).

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup Canola or vegetable oil

4 eggs

8 ounces sour cream (you can use “light” ..but really, what’s the point?)

1 six ounce package chocolate chips (we use WAY MORE…but use your discretion).



Spray the inside of the Bundt pan with cooking spray (not baking spray…the flour in that sticks to the cake).  Spray very well so the cake doesn’t stick to the pan.  (I spray it very well, excessively well and then I turn the pan upside down on some paper towels for the excess oil to drain off).

Place the first six ingredients in a large bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer at low speed to moisten.  When moistened, beat at medium speed until creamy.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Pour into the Bundt pan.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 to 55 minutes.

Test doneness by inserting a toothpick until it comes out clean.  (Be sure the toothpick is testing the cake and not a melted chocolate chip).

Let the cake cool in the Bundt pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes before turning it out.

Let the cake cool completely on a cooking rack before eating.  (Always better the second day!)

Dust the cake with powdered sugar and serve.


Everyone loves this cake!  I guarantee you will too.  Great to take to a pot luck or summer picnic.

Cinnamon Honey Butter and Strawberry Compote

Just like that he is five.  My first grandson.  His mother takes his younger brother to gym class and the big five comes to visit his grandparents.  Every Monday morning.  Part of what we do is school work (he is starting on the adventure of homeschooling that his mother and aunt enjoyed…and school on Monday is at Gramma’s and Pop’s house.  This week we continued talking about farming.  We discussed what crops he would grow if he was a farmer.  He drew a picture.  He went upstairs (to the yellow room) and built a field with crops (bananas, carrots, and apples) from Legos.  He also reads chapter books with Pop.

And then we cooked.

These really are two very very easy recipes.  My five year old grandson made them with very little help.  He measured all the ingredients and even manned the electric hand mixer.

The first recipe we made was a strawberry compote to use on ice cream or a waffle or pancakes.  This takes all of ten minutes to make (if Gramma cleans the strawberries the night before).


Strawberry Compote


1 1/2 to 2 cups of chopped fresh strawberries (which is a pint)

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon of freshly squeezed orange juice



Rinse and dry the strawberries.  Remove the green tops.  Cut each berry into quarters.  If the berries are extra large cut into 6 or 8 pieces.  

Put half of the cut up strawberries in a heavy bottomed pan.  Add the sugar and orange juice.  Turn the heat on low, stir the mixture and bring it to a simmer.  Stir occasionally and cook for five minutes.  The berries would be partially cooked down and the mixture should be slightly syrupy.IMG_9884

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the saved strawberries.

Pour the mixture from the hot pan to a bowl and cool to room temperature before serving.  Refrigerate any leftovers.


We made the strawberry compote first because it needs to cool before eating.


This recipe is even more five-year-old chef ready because there is no heat involved.  Just remember to get the butter out the night before so it is room temperature and soft.  You do NOT want to melt or microwave it.

Cinnamon Honey Butter


1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon



The most important thing to do when making this Cinnamon Butter is to make sure the butter is room temperature.  Don’t try to make this recipe with cold butter right out of the refrigerator.  The butter needs to be soft.

The best way to mix the butter is to use a hand mixer.  You can stir this by hand but the butter has to be super soft.

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and use a hand mixer to combine.




Two simple recipes.  Easy to make.  Very good to eat!IMG_9892

Grandson tasted both on his favorite waffles and gave both a thumbs up!



He asked me to take a picture of his strong muscles which he got from eating his waffles with Cinnamon Honey Butter and Strawberry Compote…so here you are.


The ingredients for these recipes were purchased from the Collingswood Farmers’ Market where my grandson now shops on Saturday mornings.  His favorite things are the Muth Family popcorn and Springdale Farm’s apple cider donuts.


Where to find ingredients at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market

For the Cinnamon Honey Butter….The butter is Hillacres Pride.  (made from milk from their cows grandson will tell you) and the honey is from Fruitwood Farms (and bees….)

For the Strawberry Compote…the strawberries are from Muth Family Organic Farm (but also can be purchased at Buzby Farm, Springdale Farm, Fruitwood Farm… the orange was purchased at Sara’s Produce.




Simple skillet asparagus

Everyone has an opinion about asparagus.  Some won’t eat it.  Some can’t wait for the arrival of spring and opening day of their favorite farmers’ market to enjoy it once again.  Asparagus is the first spring vegetable that makes it to the market freshly harvested.

For those who love asparagus the next big controversy is fat or skinny.  Me…I like skinny. Husband too.  Although he doesn’t mind fat asparagus if it is cooked until too too soft and smothered with butter and salt.

This week, fresh, newly harvested thin asparagus was the purchase.  Lots of farmers at our local Collingswood Farmers’ Market have asparagus….Springdale Farm, Viereck farm, Fruitwood Farm, Buzby Farm.  All delicious!

This is a quick and easy way to make thin asparagus.  The final product is similar in taste to roasted asparagus.  The flavor is as intense…but the preparation is much simpler.



a bunch of asparagus
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste



  1. Rinse asparagus in cold water and trim off the tough ends of the stalks (thin asparagus generally has very little to trim).
  2. Put butter in a heavy skillet with a tight-fitting lid and heat until the butter is foaming.
  3. Lay asparagus in the pan and shake from side to side to gently coat the asparagus with the melted butter.  If you’re not confident about shaking the skillet you can use a spoon or spatula to move the stalks around.
  4. Cover the skillet with the tightly-fitted lid and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.  Then check asparagus and turn as needed to prevent burning.IMG_9822
  5. Continue cooking 5 minutes longer, or until asparagus is tender but still crisp and bright green. IMG_9823
  6. Season to taste and serve hot.IMG_9825

Sirloin Steak Bites

I recently bought a smallish (about 1 1/2 pounds) sirloin steak from my favorite grass fed meat purveyors, Hillacres Pride (at The Collingswood Farmers’ Market).  It is now just husband and I so meals are not that large.  He asked for a steak.  He wanted to grill it.  But the weather simply wasn’t cooperating.

A simple solution was this very easy and delicious recipe for steak bites.

First dry the steak with a paper towel and cut it into 1 inch cubes.



Then mix the marinade.

Recipe for the marinade:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepperIMG_9753

Put the steak and marinade in a plastic zippered bag and place in the refrigerator.  Wait a minimum of 3 hours or a maximum of 24 hours. IMG_9755

When ready to cook, heat a skillet to medium high.  Take the meat out of the marinade (discard the marinade), place in the skillet and fry for about three minutes, stirring constantly.


That’s it!


Delicious, easy, and husband loved it!

Sirloin steak from Hillacres Pride (The Collingswood Farmers’ market.