My Yummy Local Life

{February 27, 2010}   Shepherd’s Pie My Way

Winter is dragging on!  I am getting excited for spring- we are planting a church garden this year, and the seeds have been ordered and are on their way.   

For the time being- there are MORE potatoes to be had at the farmer’s market.  I also discovered some frozen veggies left from the end of summer when we were re-arranging the freezer for this month’s beef CSA.   Since I am hopeful that food will be on time this season, I have been trying to use some of this frozen veg up.

Most people make shepherd’s pie out of leftovers that have already been cooked, but I am trying to use up frozen stuff (beef, veg) and potatoes; so when it was my turn to make dinner for my ladies small group I thought Shepherd’s Pie would be the perfect thing.

Shepherd’s Pie:

Layer ONE:

1/2 onion, chopped (organic)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup corn, frozen (Lyons Farm)

1/2 c green beans, frozen (N. Raleigh Farmer’s Market & my sad, sad little bean plant)

1/2 c carrots

1 c tomato sauce (canned from the summer)

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

4 dashes aminos (or soy sauce)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) (organic from Italy)

salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in a little bit of EVOO until soft, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in the rest of the vegetables and cook about 2 more minutes. 
  3. Add the tomato sauce. Worcestershire and soy sauces; bring to a boil, then simmer for a couple minutes.
  4. Pour this layer into the bottom of a  square or round casserole dish (8″).

Layer TWO:

1 lb ground beef (from Rare Earth Farms CSA)

salt and pepper


  1. Over high heat, add the beef and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook until browned, breaking into small pieces.
  3. Spread this over the vegetable layer in the casserole dish.

* you can also use leftover beef of any type that is already cooked, just cut into small cubes and layer on top of the vegetables instead*

Layer THREE:

2 medium red creamer potatoes, chopped (from Cane Creek Farms)

1 russet potato, peeled and chopped (Cane Creek Farms)

EVOO and salt (for water)

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp sour cream (Horizon organic)

1/4 cup whipping cream (Organic Valley)

1 egg, lightly beaten (from Rare Earth Farms)

1/2 cup hoop cheese, shredded (from Ashe Co., NC- bought at Earth Fare)


  1. Place chopped potatoes into a pot of water with some EVOO and salt. 
  2. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Drain and return potatoes to the hot pot.
  4. Add the butter and sour cream and mash with a  fork or potato masher.
  5. Using an electric mixer, add the whipping cream in and then add the egg.
  6. Whip potatoes until they are smooth.
  7. Spread the potatoes on top of the beef in the casserole dish.
  8. Maker sure to spread all the way to the edges of the pan.
  9. Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese.
  10. Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes (until the cheese is bubbly).

Shepherd’s Pie is a yummy comfort food that can be made through many seasons! Experiment with different vegetable combinations based on what you have available!


{February 16, 2010}   Sweet Potato Fries

My husband went out to the N. Raleigh Farmer’s Market on Saturday to meet up with Karl and collect or beef CSA box for the month.  Bobby from Cane Creek Farms was also there, and had a lot of meat and potatoes, so he came home with a large assortment of potatoes: sweet, russets and reds.

I made Kaiser Rolls on Saturday/Sunday so that we could have something to eat hamburgers on, and on the side we made sweet potato fries.  This is the easiest and most fabulous way to have sweet potatoes and when I realized that I hadn’t shared this with you yet, I just had to post it!

Sweet Potato Fries


1 large sweet potato (per two people) (from Cane Creek Farms)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Kosher Salt


  1. Cut sweet potato into strips about ½ inch thick. (Peel first if desired, but I usually leave the skin on)
  2. In a large bowl, toss in EVOO to coat.
  3. Spread on a large sheet pan, then sprinkle with salt.
  4. Bake at 475F for 30-60 minutes, until they are crisp to your liking. Flip about half-way through the cooking time.

Chipotle Mayo Dipping Sauce


2 chipotles in adobe sauce

1 cup mayonnaise

lemon juice, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Dice up the chipotles as small as possible.
  2. Mix together mayonnaise and chipotles. (You can also use half mayo and half sour cream.)
  3. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

So our “all-American” homemade meal included: hamburgers (meat from Rare Earth Farms) topped with Pepper Jack Cheese (from Homeland creamery), sliced avocado, and chipotle mayo on homemade Kaiser rolls; sweet potato fries and chipotle mayo for dipping; and a half a can each of “Throwback” Pepsi (made with real sugar).  YUMMY!

{February 8, 2010}   Being my own Girl Scout

It’s girl scout cookie season.  I like girl scout cookies.  I thought of buying some from one of my co-workers kids.  But before placing an order, I went to the local Girl Scouts website and investigated the ingredients which were rather difficult to find in the first place (on the cookies page there is a tiniest of links in the bottom right corner that will open the nutritional facts page).  While I was impressed to find that they do not use trans-fats in their cookies anymore, I was disappointed to see that most of the cookies still contained at least some High Fructose Corn Syrup (as well as sugar) as well as many other ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce.  They also do not offer a single allergen free option. In any case, the decision was made- I DO NOT EAT GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! 😦

But I DO LIKE them, so I set out to make my own thin mints.  And not only was I going to recreate this delicious treat with ingredients I can buy and pronounce.  I was also going to make it gluten-free and send some to my mom and my friend Erin.

I believe the google search “homemade girl scout cookies” produced my starting point for me.  The following is what I came up with, although the next batch I make, I am going to try to make gluten and dairy free so that my little buddy Shephard can taste some girl scout cookie yumminess.

Gluten Free Thin Mint Cookies (adapted from baking bites)

Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup rice flour (Bob’s Red Mill Brand)

1 cup sorghum flour (Bob’s Red Mill Brand)

¼ cup tapioca flour

1/8  tsp xanthan gum

1/4 cup cornstarch

6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (fair trade, Equal Exchange)

1/2 tsp kosher salt (David’s Brand)

1 cup white sugar (raw, bulk from Earth Fare)

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/3 cup milk (Organic Valley)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract (homemade)

3/4 tsp peppermint extract (organic)

Chocolate Fudge Coating Ingredients:

10-oz dark chocolate chips (organic, bulk from Earth Fare)

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

¼ tsp peppermint extract (organic)


  1. Mix together the first 7 dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. In a different (bigger) bowl, cream together the soft butter and sugar.
  3. Add the milk and both extracts to the creamed butter/sugar mixture.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  5. Divide the dough in half, and shape into two logs (about 1.5 inches in diameter).  Wrap these logs in plastic wrap or wax paper. Place in freezer for about 2 hours.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
  7. Remove dough from refrigerator and use a sharp knife to make 1/4 inch slices.
  8. Place close together on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper for easy removal/cleaning).
  9. Bake for 13-15 minutes.
  10. Cool completely before moving on.
  11. In a double broiler (or microwave I suppose if you own one, which I intentionally do not), melt the fudge toppings together.
  12. Dip each cookie into the fudge on both sides. Place on parchment or wax paper to set.
  13. Allow to set for at least 30 minutes (store in the refrigerator to  keep the coating hard).

I would estimate that this recipe made approximately 3-4 boxes worth of thin mints.  I tested them out of my husband, my friend Casey, my friend Erin (maybe her hubby got one too), my mom and my sister Kat. The consensus: YUMMY! Hip hip hooray! I don’t need ay Girl Scouts this year.  I am my own girl scout this year!

et cetera