How to Make a Well-Balanced Smoothie


Let me go ahead and preface this post by saying that I am not a licensed dietitian or nutritionist. I am a mere mortal, who has learned a lot about making well-balanced smoothies through the wisdom of dietitians, reputable podcasts, and reading over the past few months.  As a result, I’ve been able to experiment with a lot of different ingredients and discover the combinations needed to create a smoothie with nutritional staying power. Smoothies and protein shakes have become pretty popular in the last few years and, unfortunately, just because something sounds healthy, doesn’t always make it so. A lot of these drinks are essentially sugary milkshakes in disguise and they lack the nutrients necessary to keep us properly fueled. This may lead to a shameful run-in with cinnamon rolls, hypothetically speaking- maybe.


When building my morning smoothie, I try to incorporate three main components: carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat.

The carbohydrates are complex and come from the fruits and vegetables.  The need to add in extra sugar is eliminated if you use extra ripe fruit. I also always add in a generous handful of spinach (and sometimes kale) as a way to kick start my vegetable intake for the day. Don’t worry- when you blend it all together, you can’t taste the spinach. As for the kale, you have to blend that extra well or you will be tasting “spinach with hair” as Jim Gaffigan so lovingly describes this green. I’m sorry, I love vegetables, but it’s true.

I’ve included a list of the fruits and vegetables I have personally used and loved. You may notice I didn’t include raspberries on the list because I have found they tend to make the smoothies too tangy and gritty for my liking.  Also, I typically use frozen fruit to make the smoothies thicker and more scrumptious.


Fruits- About 1 cup

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Peaches
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Bananas

Leafy Greens: 2 generous (and well-washed) handfuls

  • Spinach
  • Kale

For the protein portion, I prefer using a good quality whey protein powder. It turns out we don’t get nearly as much protein as we should and this is the component that helps keep our hunger at bay. I have also used cottage cheese and plain Greek yogurt when I don’t have the former option available.


  • High quality whey protein powder (>15 grams of protein per scoop/serving)
  • Greek yogurt (1/2-3/4 cup)
  • Cottage cheese (1/2-3/4 cup)

Adding healthy fat is necessary to help stabilize blood sugar and increase our good (HDL) cholesterol. Contrary to my previous belief, nut butters count as a healthy fat and not a protein. Incorporating a healthy fat also makes the smoothie extra delightful.

Healthy Fat:

  • Natural peanut butter: 1 tablespoon
  • Natural almond butter: 1 tablespoon
  • Coconut oil  (unrefined, cold-pressed is best): 1 tablespoon
  • Canned coconut milk: 1/4 cup
  • Avocado: 1/4 cup

To provide the right consistency for drinking, I always add a liquid base to my smoothies. Using milk will add a little extra protein; but I often mix and match depending on my mood. Here are my favorites:

Liquid Base: 1/2-1 cup total depending on your preference

  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • Unsweetened coconut milk
  • Milk
  • Water
  • Cold-brew coffee

To top off my scrumptious breakfast, I usually add in a little extra jazziness to brighten my day.  I’ve listed my favorites below:

Extras: Usually between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon

  • Ground flaxseed
  • Chia seeds
  • Espresso powder
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Fresh lemon or lime juice
  • Orange zest
  • Canned pumpkin (it is that time of year)
  • Cinnamon or any other spices you fancy :)


Some of my favorite combinations are:

  • Banana- spinach-peanut butter-coffee-almond milk-cocoa powder-chia seeds (inspired by one of my favorite local restaurants Zest)
  • Blueberries-banana-spinach-coconut cream-coconut milk-ground flaxseed-fresh lemon juice
  • Mango-pineapple-coconut cream-coconut milk-fresh lime juice
  • Strawberries-banana-spinach-avocado-almond milk

The possibilities are endless and delicious depending on your personal preference. Again, I am only sharing what I have learned and not intending this information to be dietetic law. Wishing you all a happy and healthy day!

SourcesNutritional Weight and Wellness, Nutrition Diva





Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins


Do you hear that? It’s the sound of full-fledged pumpkin hysteria and I am right there on the frontline of it all. We have officially arrived at that time of year and I love to welcome this autumn staple with open arms when fall begins. Perhaps it’s the result of being married to a wonderfully practical man, but I am a firm believer in celebrating each season at the right time. I don’t purchase pumpkin spice lattes in August and we don’t put our Christmas decorations up until after we’ve enjoyed Thanksgiving. It’s all part of my super self-actualized ideology of living life in the present. By the way, I just finished Mindy Kaling’s new book, Why Not Me?  and she uses the term “self-actualized” rather frequently and I fancy it so much that it is now my go-to description for what I hope my thirties (gulp) will be.  How self-actualized of me. So hipster.


I guess you could say I’m self-actualized in my ability to fully embrace the fact that I have an incredible propensity to embarrass myself on very regular occasions. In my younger years, I was less than fond of that part of myself; but I now accept it. The people closest to me seem to like my tales and I am glad I can provide comic relief for those I love the most. Just last week, I was evaluating a patient in her home and I wanted to look at the safety of the bathroom set-up, so I asked, with my hand already turning the door knob, “do you mind if I take a peek at your shower?” I said this more as a formality and I pushed my shoulder against the door and barged right in before the sweet, elderly lady could tell me her daughter was using the restroom. I got a high-def, panoromic view of a poor, unsuspecting women just trying to go to the bathroom in peace. The worst part was this was just the beginning of the eval, so we were able to spend lots more quality time together after I profusely apologized and slammed the door shut. Oy.


When I am not storming in on people using the restroom, I like to fill my house with aromas of fall. These pumpkin muffins do just that. They are made with a full can of pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. I made these for breakfast for Smith and he loves them. I like them because they aren’t too cloyingly sweet and the whole wheat flour adds a good heartiness with each bite. The muffins are equally great for busy weekday mornings or for lazy fall weekends paired with a piping-hot cup of joe.

Happy Saturday, all.



Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 eggs
  • Cinnamon sugar (1 teaspoon cinnamon 3 tablespoons sugar), for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, butter, maple syrup, milk, and eggs until well-combined. Carefully add dry ingredients to the wet and mix gently until just mixed through.
  2. Use a large ice cream scoop to fill batter into cupcake liners. Sprinkle the top of the muffins with cinnamon sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until top of muffins spring back when you gently push down with your finger. Transfer to cooling racks to cool for about 5 minutes, remove muffins from the tin and allow to cool completely. Enjoy! These muffins also freeze well.

Source: Adapted from A Pinch of Yum








Savory Butternut Squash Bisque


That distinct Ohio Autumn crispness has floated into the morning air the past two days and it has sparked in me a fierce urge to cook and bake. The summer humidity always dampens my desire to be in my kitchen, but my oven and stove were working overtime this past Sunday afternoon.  Our house temperature rose to a stifling 76 degrees, but whatever. It was fun, albeit steamy.

One of my weekend projects was this soup.  I had scooped up a hefty butternut squash at the grocery store without any recipe in mind last week. This, unfortunately, tends to result in me throwing out a rotting squash because no plans come to fruition and I always vow to waste less “next time.” But then the vision of a silky and earthy butternut squash soup danced in my head and I was researching recipes in no time.


I have a personal preference for savory spices with starchier vegetables like sweet potatoes or butternut squash. They are already sweet to begin with and I think adding spices like cinnamon and nutmeg makes these types of dishes seem more like a dessert. As a result, I added thyme to this bisque instead. The addition of flavorful leeks and sherry really make this soup extra lovely. Sherry is one of the best ways to take a creamy soup up about 50 notches. It adds a whole new dimension and richness. I highly recommend using it if you can; plus- it lasts forever! I think the sherry I have was originally my great grandmother’s and my mom gave it to me when my parents were moving.

If you are in the mood for soups and you are in the autumn spirit, I highly recommend making this soup. It makes a great side dish and is wonderful topped with crème fraiche and good balsamic vinegar. You could also make it a main dish and jazz it up with a few crumbles of thick bacon. Either way, I don’t think you can go wrong.

Happy Tuesday, everyone.


Looking for more soup recipes? Here are a few of our favorite soup recipes from the archives:

Wedding Crab (or Lobster) Bisque- the beloved soup recipe served at our wedding (sherry is in this recipe, too!)

Sweet Potato Chili– a healthy and hearty soup with no added sugar

Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese– creamy and rich

Corn Chowder– all of the flavor of summer before we say goodbye

Crab and Corn Chowder– shellfish and corn go together like peas and carrots

Sweet and Spicy Chili– a little sweet and a little heat make for a classic soup

Cream of Mushroom– earthy and satisfying

French Onion Soup– let’s be real, the best part is the cheesy bread on top

Chicken Tortilla Soup– for those who want a little extra spice in their lives

P.S. We have three new ladies in our family: Ruth, Idgie, and Sipsey. They are Rhode Island Red laying hens and we love getting fresh eggs every day. Fresh eggs are so much richer and more flavorful than those found in the grocery store and one of our girls is a double-yolk-laying machine.


Savory Butternut Squash Bisque

Yield: About 6 side dish servings


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large leek, white and light green part only, chopped and rinsed well (about 1 cup total)
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 3cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Crème fraiche and balsamic vinegar for topping, optional


  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven. Add in the leaks and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add in the squash, thyme, black pepper, and salt. Stir and cook for an additional 5 minutes, continuing to stir frequently. Add in the sherry and cook for about 2 minutes longer to allow the liquid to reduce.
  3. Pour in the chicken stock, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce hit to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes or until squash is tender.
  4. Using a hand blender or regular blender, blend the soup until desired texture is achieved  (I personally like a few chunks and bits left). Return the soup mixture to the Dutch oven. Add in the milk, cream, and any additional salt or sherry as your personal taste indicates. Stir to combine and reheat to desired temperature.
  5. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with a dollop of crème fraiche and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!


Source: Slightly adapted from Merrill Stubbs at Food52

DIY Crème Fraiche


Aw, yes, crème fraiche (pronounced KKKREM FRESH in the most obnoxious French accent possible.) It’s the snooty, more sophisticated cousin to sour cream. Crème fraiche is thicker, less tangy, slightly nuttier in flavor, and it is delightful in both savory or sweet dishes. It also has a higher butterfat content compared to sour cream, which makes it a great addition to sauces and soups because it won’t curdle at higher temperatures.


Also stacked against sour cream, crème fraiche is more difficult to find in grocery stores (especially in our rural neck of the woods) and it is more expensive. So chic. So European.


The good news is that it’s quite easy to make crème fraiche in the comfort of your own home, where you can call it “cream fraytch” if you are true, red-blooded Ohioan like I am. All you need is a pint of heavy cream, real buttermilk, and a little patience. The stand-in buttermilk mixture of milk and vinegar or lemon juice won’t work in this recipe because the heavy cream needs the active bacteria found in the true buttermilk to get that crème fraiche explosion going.


To make the crème fraiche, combine the pint of cream and 3 tablespoons of the buttermilk in a sterile mason jar. Give it a good stir, secure a coffee filter over the top of the jar using a rubber band, and place the jar in an oven or a draft-free place for about 24 hours. The mixture will thicken. After the 24 hours are up, give the mixture another stir and put the jar in the fridge for another 24 hours. When this time has passed, you will find a magnificent jar of homemade crème fraiche waiting for you and ready to jazz up any and all food you make. My current favorite way to use it is to treat myself to fresh strawberries, a dollop of crème fraiche, and a small drizzle of local honey. It is so lovely.

If you are interested in making this recipe, here is the helpful video I watched before I embarked on this fun experiment. Good luck!

Source: Food Wishes

Homestead Living: Classic Basil Pesto


I’m in a magical state of mind as I sit here and write this post this morning. The house is so quiet I can hear the fridge humming and the sun is just beginning to peek its head up on the horizon. My little rumpy is still snoozing soundly. This is such a rare moment that I keep tiptoeing back to the bedroom to check on Smith because, at this point, he is usually sprinting around the living room with one of his toys and some treasure he pilfered from my kitchen (usually an ice cream scoop or can opener these days).

It’s hard to believe summer is almost coming to a close, but the window of daylight is gradually shrinking and the little pups are going back to school. I’m always ready for the changes in seasons, but I know I am going to miss the fresh flavors of summer come January. One of the quintessential summer herbs is deliciously wonderful basil. My front porch pot of this plant did great this year and, in an attempt to preserve the sunshine, I made a big batch of pesto that will (hopefully) make it into our meals this winter.

With this particular recipe, I put the pesto into pint jars. I reserved one in our fridge and placed the others in our freezer. My mom introduced me to this method of freezing items in glass jars and I find it keeps very well. The most important step, in my experience,  is to make sure to leave plenty of extra space between the lid and the food. As we know, liquid expands as it freezes and it can result in a big mess if you fill the jar too full.  I find leaving about an inch works well and, with pesto, I put a thin layer of olive oil on top because Ina Garten said so. And it helps keep it fresh. :)

I hope you are all having a wonderful week.


Classic Basil Pesto


  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Place garlic, walnuts, herbs, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in food processor. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides with a spatula and add in cheese. Process until well-incorporated, about 15 secs. Store in fridge or freeze. Don’t forget to add a thin layer of olive oil or plastic wrap to the top of the pesto to prevent it from browning! Enjoy.

Source: Slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Feeding Our Rump Roast: No Bake Oatmeal Energy Bites

IMG_6685Our little rump roast isn’t so little these days. He is a rambunctious toddler with a serious love for running, not walking, to explore the fascinating world around him. Because of this, it can be a bit challenging to pin him down and make him eat; he’s just too busy chasing the dog or driving his matchbox cars all over the house. I have been trying to find quick and healthy snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated, so I can be ready to refuel my little dude at a moment’s notice. These no bake oatmeal energy bites are one of my new favorites. 


They are super easy to make and they are perfect for summertime because I don’t like using my oven more than I have to this time of year. All you need is a food processor and, voila, a delicious and healthy snack awaits you. With only five ingredients and no added sugar, I feel really good about letting Smith dig into these little nuggets of fun. He loves them and feels so proud because he can play and eat at the same time.   

An added bonus to these babies is that they are equally tasty for adults.


No Bake Oatmeal Energy Bites


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup Medjool dates (usually in the refrigerator section at Trader Joe’s or health food stores)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Remove the pits from the dates. Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the dough comes together and all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. You may need to add a few more dates if the dough is too crumbly.
  2. Remove the dough from the bowl of the food processor and shape into balls. Place in on a plate in a single layer and refrigerate to allow the bites to firm up slightly. Enjoy! I keep them stored for about a week in the fridge.

Source: Barely adapted from A Couple Cooks

Aunt Khaki’s Crispy Sugar Cookies

I’ve written of my beloved Aunt Khaki many times before. Though we have lived on different sides of the country for over two decades,  I feel particularly close to her.

There was a brief stretch of time when she and my cousin, Camille, resided in Ohio and It was so much fun. Khaki always led us on exciting adventures.  She’d take us swimming and camping, we went to the local high school musicals, and she always threw the best birthday parties long before the creators of Pinterest were probably even born. Remember that Nickelodeon show, Double Dare, where contestants had to complete a challenge or get pied in the face? Khaki used that as the premise for Camille’s 6th birthday party and I remember thinking it was the most incredible event I had ever experienced. The point is, I have looked up to my aunt from an early age. She has instilled in my a love of exercise, food, photography, party planning and the confidence to experiment with recipes. It’s always so much fun when we can get together and this past holiday weekend was no different.

Naturally, Khaki brought along an ohio cookie cutter in her suitcase (because who wouldn’t?!)  and she decided to whip up a batch of some of her delicious sugar cookies. The recipe is from Alton Brown and it’s one she has been using for a few years. She usually throws in some extra flavoring extracts and rolls the dough fairly thin (about 1/8-1/4 inch) so that the cookies are extra crispy. They are so scrumptious that it took all of my willpower not to bring a handful home with us when we left because I knew it would get ugly.

If you are looking for a fantastic crispy sugar cookie, this is a recipe for you. Happy Friday, all!


 Aunt Khaki’s Crispy Sugar Cookies


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon praline extract, optional
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
  • Sanding sugar or crystals, optional


1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add egg and milk and beat to combine, scrapping down the sides with a spatula as necessary. Add in the vanilla and praline extract and mix until well-mixed.  Turn the mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture until just combined.. Divide the dough in half, wrap in parchment paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. After the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out cookies using desired cutter. Place cookies on baking sheets, one inch apart, and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Bake for  7 to 9 minutes or until cookies turn lightly brown on the edges.  Remove from oven, allow cookies to cool on sheet for about two minutes, and then transfer to baking rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container for a few days or freeze for a few months.

Source: Slightly adapted from Alton Brown

Oven-Roasted Salmon Salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette


I made this salad a few months ago when my friend Jamie came over for lunch and I have been meaning to share the recipe for several weeks. My father travels to Alaska about once every two months to help provide orthodontic services at a local clinic. One of the clinic coordinators is a big time fisherman and he invited my dad, who is also a seasoned fisherman, along on an excursion. This resulted in a large haul of King and Coho salmon being shipped back to our midwestern homestead and we have been reaping the benefits ever since.

This salad is highly adaptable. On the particular day I made it, I was in the mood to dress it with pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, fresh strawberries, and roasted pecans; but I would recommend jazzing it up with whatever is in season. We still have a surplus of salmon in our freezer right now (and we enjoyed another great salmon recipe over the weekend), so there is some more salmon coming your way!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend.

Happy Monday!


Smith sure loves our buddy, Jamie. 

Honey Dijon Vinaigrette 


  • 1 clove garlic, peeled & minced
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Mix or shake all ingredients together until well-blended.

Oven-Roasted Salmon 


  • 1 to 3 pounds skin-on salmon fillets (8 ounces per person)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a roasting pan or baking sheet with foil.
  2. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel. Transfer to the foil-lined baking sheet. Rub the top of the salmon with oil so that it’s lightly coated. Sprinkle each fillet generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the salmon in the oven and roast for 4-6 minutes per half inch thickness of fillet. The salmon will easily flake with a fork when finished (the USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145°F at the thickest part of the fillet).
  4. Remove from oven and place over bed of greens. Garnish the salad with dried cherries, fresh strawberries, goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with honey dijon vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Source: Dressing: adapted from Food Network; Salmon: The Kitchn 


Crumb Coffee Cake



Mother’s Day is upon us and I wanted to kick off the celebration with a delicious coffee cake recipe. The flavorful cinnamon crumb layer is extra thick and sits atop a fluffy piece of vanilla-buttermilk cake.  It’s a special treat that goes well with breakfast, brunch, or as a dessert. Another bonus is the coffee cake is even better the day after it’s baked, establishing it as a great option for a make-ahead menu item.


My mother actually introduced this recipe to me shortly after I had Smith. She stayed at our house for several days to act as a private chef, housekeeper, and grandmother extraordinaire as we adjusted to our new life as a family of three. We were so grateful for all she did for us in those first few weeks as new parents and I remember experiencing a feeling of homesickness when she left, the kind of homesickness I used to feel when I was eight years old and at a slumber party.

It turns out we never stop needing our mothers. I still talk with my mom nearly everyday and seek her advice on several occasions. Now that I am a mother myself, I have an even greater respect for my mom. She is determined, independent, intelligent, and friendly to all she meets. My mother is also fiercely passionate about politics and she can turn a simple conversation about bananas into something involving the government in less than five seconds. But above all that, what I love most about my mother is her fantastic wit and sense of humor. She can always make us laugh until it hurts. Thank you, Mom, for being the best mother to us. Your children and grandchildren love you so much.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Crumb Coffee Cake

Yield: 8-12 servings


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 Tablespoons (1 and 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature1
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature2
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform  with butter. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with 1 Tablespoon of flour and tap out the excess. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir the flour, sugar, and salt together. Add in the pieces of butter and stir on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of the flour mixture.
  3. Mix the baking powder and baking soda into the remaining flour mixture. Add the room temperature buttermilk, egg, and vanilla and mix everything together until the batter is smooth, fluffy, and resembles frosting – about 2 full minutes. Transfer the batter into the prepared springform pan and spread evenly.
  4. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon to the reserved flour mixture. Mix with a fork until well blended. Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter and use your fingers to press them lightly into the batter. Bake the cake until the center is firm, about 55-60 minutes. Place on a baking rack and cool for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan. Allow cake to cool completely before serving.

Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction, who adapted it from Cook’s Illustrated

Local Love: Covered Bridge Creamery


Tucked away on the back roads in Charm, Ohio is a place called Covered Bridge Creamery. It’s owned and operated by the Robert Mast family and is home to our favorite source of local milk. I first discovered the milk when the gallons appeared on the shelves of the grocery store where I shop. It happened to coincide with Smith’s transition from formula to cow’s milk and I was intrigued. I purchased a gallon and we were very happy with the product we received.

Then, a few weeks later, Jayne from Honeyrun Farm left a comment on one of my Facebook pictures and informed me that she and her family make special trips to the Masts’ dairy farm just to stock up on milk. With her enthusiastic endorsement, I excitedly suggested that Robert, Smith, and I go to check it out. I’m so glad we did.


It turns out Covered Bridge Creamery is less than five minutes from our house. It’s also very close to where my childhood Amish babysitter, Tina, lived when we were young. She was the babysitter my sister and I purposely locked out of the house. We made her cry and ended up in big trouble from our parents. Poor thing. Wherever you are, sweet Tina, I hope you are doing well. I’m sorry we were awful to you. 


But back to the creamery. It’s nestled in a quiet and picturesque location. Not surprisingly, there is a covered bridge on the land where the animals traverse. The milk is produced from only 20 cows, all of whom happily graze on the grass of the multi-acre pasture and are fed non-GMO feed as well. The milk is processed using vat pasteurization. According to the UC Berkely Wellness Page from December 2014, “In regular pasteurization—the standard method used by large dairy operations—milk is heated to high temperature for a short time (161°F for 15 seconds). In vat pasteurization, milk is heated in small batches to a lower temperature for a longer time (145°F for 30 minutes) and then rapidly cooled. Flavor is better preserved, and usually the milk is not homogenized, so that a layer of cream coats the top.” This means the milk is perfectly safe to drink and it also means you have to shake up the milk before you drink it or you may end up with chunks of cream in your glass.


On site, the Mast family has a refrigerator with gallons, half-gallons, and pints of their whole milk along with chocolate and strawberry-flavored milks. They operate on the honor system and have an empty coffee can where you can leave cash and take what you wish.  I have been to the farm a handful of times and I usually see Mr. Mast. He is a friendly and hard-working man and is patient with my barrage of questions.


The Covered Bridge Creamery seems to be doing very well, both locally and outside of our region. Their milk appears in the Granville farmers’ market and he informed me they are expanding their processing space as well. It’s pretty neat to be able to see exactly where the milk we consume is coming from. Especially when it’s a place like Covered Bridge Creamery.

If you are in the Holmes County area, do yourself a favor and visit this lovely operation. The address is 4568 T.R. 370 Millersburg, Ohio.


Full Disclosure: This post was not sponsored. It is part of my effort to highlight my favorite local places because I think they should become your favorites, too. :)