Blue Gouda & Cracked Black Pepper!


Putting my Blue Gouda to good use. (You know, other than stuffing my face with it.)
Blue Gouda & Cracked Black Pepper Bread!

This bread came to me in a vision–a vision, I tell you!–when I cut into my Blue Gouda cheese. The dough is packed with crumbled Blue Gouda and a sprinkle of coarse ground cracked black pepper. It’s delicious.
Here’s how you can make it at home. And yes, you can use blue cheese from the store if you don’t have a cow!

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How to make Blue Gouda & Cracked Black Pepper Bread:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
3 1/2 cups flour (approximately)
1 cup crumbled blue cheese

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil, and pepper. Let sit five minutes. Stir in the first cup of flour with a heavy spoon. Add the crumbled blue cheese. Add more flour a little at a time as needed, stirring until dough becomes too stiff to continue stirring easily. Add a little more flour and begin kneading. The amount of flour is approximate–your mileage may vary! Continue adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until doubled. (Usually, about an hour.) Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead again before dividing in half. With floured hands, shape dough into two rustic-style loaves and place on a greased pan.
When making rustic-style loaves, I only give them a few minutes to relax as I pre-heat the oven then they go right in. They hold shape better, and rise in the oven. Be sure to use a knife to slash the bread to prevent cracking in the oven.
Bake for 25 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven. Makes two loaves just right for supper size!

And you know what? You can make it yourself, but if you don’t want to? You can buy it from my Etsy shop, where I’m selling breads, soap, fudge, and other things! You can find my Blue Gouda & Cracked Black Pepper bread here. Seriously, farm-fresh bread delivered to your door.

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Maple-Bacon Corn Muffins


I’m particularly excited about cornmeal lately after acquiring a new stash of the freshly stone-ground gold from my cousin Mark. He runs the cornmeal grinding exhibit at the Mountain State Art and Craft fair in Ripley every year, and I was there helping out at the sales table last weekend.
He grinds the corn fresh right there, the old-fashioned way, for people to see. Whole corn goes into a big hopper at the top.
The ground cornmeal shoots out and is shaken on the tray, leaving the bran, or chaff, behind. (This is great for mixing into chicken or pig feed.)
The cornmeal is bagged up immediately for sale.
You can’t get any fresher than that! I could hardly wait to get home to make some cornbread–and come up with some new recipes. This one for Maple-Bacon Corn Muffins comes originally from a friend, who had found the recipe somewhere and changed it up. She passed it on to me, and I made some more changes that sounded as if they would suit me–and the result is insanely delicious. I had to share it.

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Maple-Bacon Corn Muffins:

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon maple extract
10 slices bacon, cooked, chopped

Preheat over to 425-degrees. Line a muffin pan with cups or spray with oil. Stir together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add the eggs, syrup, milk, sour cream, vegetable oil, and maple extract. Mix until combined then stir in the chopped bacon. This is a fairly thin muffin batter. Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes–watch them for browning.
*Makes 15-16 muffins.

The maple flavor is perfect with the cornmeal and bacon, and they are FULL of bacon!
These are, hands down, the best corn muffins I’ve ever tried. Try them and let me know what you think!

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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