Friday, April 27, 2012

Making Way For Ducklings

We have a new resident at Stonewall Kitchen in York. She's a bit shy and prefers to keep to herself, but every once in awhile she gets up and takes a swim or a quick walk just to stretch, before all of her eggs were hatched, now she sits and waits. Her name is Molly; Molly the Mallard.



We are delighted that she has found a sunny, peaceful spot on our property to sit and wait for her eggs to hatch.  If our calculations are correct, this could be any day now. Our front pond generally has ducks swinging in for a swim, and a soak in the sun during the warmer months, but this is the first one that has decided to take up residence for a month of nesting. 

It is quite amazing to witness, especially early-on when her hubby duck would come to get her for a swim and then would stand guard - flying right above - until she was safe and sound back to her nest.



Not knowing too much about mama ducks, I decided to do a little bit of research. This is what I learned.

The mama duck lays her eggs over a period of days, usually a few at a time, between 9-15 eggs. Once she has laid all of her eggs she will no longer get up. It takes the eggs 28-days to hatch from the time she has laid her last egg. When they do hatch she will lead them all to a body of water, probably our front pond. 

The father takes no part in caring for the eggs or young and this is probably why we have not seen him since she laid her last egg.  It also appears ducks do not mate for love but out of necessity.

We are fairly certain our duck is a Mallard. The female mallard is a mottled brownish color. She has a dark brown head and a dark brown strip running through the eye. Her bill is orange with bits of brown and her feet are orange.



So now we anxiously await the ducklings arrival; just in time for Mother's Day, maybe? And we will be sure to make way for the ducklings.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Cinco de Mayo Party - Our favorite Mexican inspired recipes

Did you know that Cinco de Mayo is most widely celebrated in the US?  Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican Independence Day which many Americans believe, it is the day that commemorates the Mexican army's victory over France in 1862 during the Battle of Puebla.  It is not considered a national holiday in Mexico and is primarily only celebrated regionally in the state of Puebla (source).   Here in the US, we have conformed it into a celebration of Mexican tradition and culture and it always takes place on the 5th of May.


What better way to celebrate another culture than to indulge in their cuisine?  Here are some of our favorite Mexican-style recipes that you can enjoy at your Cinco de Mayo party.

Mexican Spinach and Cheese Dip















Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl, mix thoroughly
  2. Heat in a microwave for 3-5 minutes (or in a 350 degree F oven for 20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally until hot and cheese is melted.  Serve with warmed tortilla chips
Easy Homemade Guacamole














Directions
  1. Combine the seasoning packet with 3 Tbsp. water and allow to stand for 15 minutes. 
  2. Using a spoon, scoop out the pulp of the avocados and place in a bowl.
  3. Add seasoning to avocado pulp and mash with a fork until blended to desired consistency.  Add chopped fresh cilantro and lime juice to taste if desired
  4. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes before serving.

Roadhouse Beef Fajitas














  • 1 pound beef steak* (see below for vegetarian option)
  • 1 cup Stonewall Kitchen Roadhouse Steak Sauce
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienne
  • 1 green bell pepper, julienne
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, julienne
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 6-8 inch flour tortillas
Directions
  1. Place steak and Stonewall Kitchen Roadhouse Steak Sauce in a shallow pan or plastic zip bag.  Marinate 2-6 hours.  Grill steak, basting occasionally with Roadhouse Steak Sauce until desired doneness. Slice thin.
  2. Toss sliced vegetables with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.  Grill vegetables in a grill basket until tender crisp.
  3. Heat tortillas by grilling each side until warm, but not crisp
  4. Arrange meat and vegetables down the center of the grilled tortilla wrap.
  5. Serve warm
*For a vegetarian option, try replacing the steak with hearty portobello mushrooms - no need to marinate, just brush with the Roadhouse Steak Sauce while grilling!


And of course, margaritas to wash it all down with!





Our Margarita Mixer has great recipes for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic Margaritas so everyone can enjoy!



Looking for more?  We have more!  Here are a few more Mexican themed snacks and meals that can be found on our website;

Friday, April 20, 2012

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Earth Day at Stonewall Kitchen

While the Stonewall Kitchen employees are participating in Earth Day today while cleaning up the sides of the roads, here are a few ways you can help the environment from your own home!

The mantra, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle has become a simple, yet essential part of the way people live their lives today.  It has fostered new industry and new technology but more importantly a new way of thinking.  If you look close enough, you will see reminders throughout your community of the simple changes you can make each day to reduce your footprint and minimize waste.  As we look forward to Earth Day this Sunday, take a moment to look around your home and find new ways to make a difference.

Reduce

Plastic bags are quickly being replaced with stylish alternatives for snacks, sandwiches and storage.  Check out these colorful Recyclable Lunch Bags and Glass Storage Containers on our website as alternatives to single use plastic bags. 
back_to_school_1

Did you know our Fine Home Keeping product line is all natural, plant based and full of essential oils?  Using these products in your home will not only smell great but will reduce the harsh chemicals that make their way into our environment and waterways.  
FHK_Grapefruit Thyme alt

Reuse

Employees and customers alike have come up with creative ways to reuse the glass jars we package our products in.  At an eco-themed baby shower, my colleagues used a variety of empty jam, pesto and sauce jars to create beautiful flower arrangements that doubled as favors.  Others have used them as vessels for advent calendars, lunch containers, candle holders and terrariums.  The ideas are endless and we would love to hear from you on how you have reused our jars. 


Jar_Candles
Using candle kits from your local craft store
you can make homemade candles using old
Stonewall Kitchen Jars

Pasta_Jar
Our salsa and pasta sauce jars are great
for storing small toys and trinkets

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Here, one of our Stonewall employees resued our jar
and ribbon for a flower centerpiece at a baby shower

Recycle

Here at Stonewall Kitchen, our corporate office campus has adopted a zero waste program. This program is aimed to divert 90% of our waste from the landfill to recycling and composting facilities. All food waste from our Café, Cooking School and employee cafeteria are composted into fertilizer which is then sold to area farmers and landscapers. The gardens here at our York flagship location will even benefit from this initiative!
If you are driving along Route One in York today, please share the road and watch out for our employees who have volunteered their time to participate in our organized roadside clean up.  Honk for Earth Day! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Grilled Pizza with Basil Pesto, Vegetables and Goat Cheese

The second the weather reaches 60 degrees here in Maine you can smell the grills going at night!  After a long winter of soups and stews indoors, its always a treat to fire up the grill.  We all love the standard grill fare; hamburgers, chicken, vegetables, etc, but we are also big fans of the grilled pizza!  It is so easy to prepare and develops a unique flavor from the grill.  Follow these step by step directions on a warm spring night!


Grilled_Pizza_Step 1
Organize your toppings.  For this pizza, we chose to use Basil Pesto as our base with sauteed peppers, mushrooms, arugula and goat cheese


Grilled_Pizza_Step 2
Whip up a batch of our Pizza Crust mix according to directions or you can purchase a premade dough at your local grocery store.  Knead into the pizza shape desired. Brush the dough with oil to prevent it from sticking on the grill.


Grilled_Pizza_Step 3
Grill the pizza until the top begins to bubble and the bottom starts turning brown and getting grill marks, about 8-10 minutes depending on the heat of your grill.  Flip the pizza crust over using a pair of tongs to cook the other side.


Grilled_Pizza_Step 4
As the other side is cooking, spread the Basil Pesto, or your "sauce" of choice over the crust


Grilled_Pizza_Step 5
Add toppings


Grilled_Pizza_Step 6


Grilled_Pizza_Step 7
And Cheese


Grilled_Pizza_Step 8
Slide off of the grill onto a cutting board


Grilled_Pizza_Step 9
Let cool and serve!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A chance to win your dream kitchen!

ATK 2012_JPEG

Have you ever found yourself preparing dinner and thought 'if only I had a little more counter space'?  I'm sure you have an image of what your dream kitchen would consist of, and now is your chance to win!

We have teamed up with America's Test Kitchen to give away a $25,000 Kitchen Makeover Sweepstakes!  April 15th is your last day to enter, so sign up for your chance to win!

Click here to enter to win a $25,000 Kitchen Makeover with America's Test Kitchen

Friday, April 6, 2012

Natural Easter Egg Coloring

Now that you've gone out and bought your free range, organic, all natural eggs you certainly don't want to tarnish them with artificial colorings.  Why not use what you already have in your pantry and refrigerator?  We kept seeing articles and hearing a lot of talk about using vegetables and spices to dye Easter eggs, but we're a bit skeptical over the results. Loving the colors that others were able to produce - subtle, matted hues - I decided it would be a fun thing to try out and share with all of you.

I already had some beets, coffee grinds and turmeric in my kitchen so I went with those. I made the base from a recipe I found in Yankee Magazine: Combine 4 cups water, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 tablespoon salt.


To make the Red Coloring I added chopped beets to my base mixture, brought it to a boil and then reduced the heat to a simmer for 30 minutes, until the liquid had a deep red color to it. I strained the beets out and let the liquid cool down.

For the Yellow Coloring I added 5 tablespoons of turmeric spice to the base liquid, mixed it well and let it simmer for a few minutes until the spice was thoroughly dissolved. Then poured it into a bowl to let cool.

Brown Coloring required 4 tablespoons of coffee grinds mixed with the base and brought to a boil, then simmered for 10 minutes or so. Strained into a bowl and let cool.

I did not have any cabbage, but blue can be made by shredding half of a red cabbage, adding it to the base and bringing it to a boil. Let simmer for 20 minutes, strain and cool.



Once I had poured all the liquid into different containers, I let the eggs sit overnight for about 7-8 hours, though 3-4 hours would be plenty if you don't have time to leave them overnight.  Just make sure the liquid completely covers the eggs.


And that was it.  Fairly easy and simple process for nice, naturally colored eggs. Happy Easter!









Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blogger Mustard Recipe Contest

Mustard Recipe Contest

From Easter Brunch to Easter Dinner - a roundup of our recipe collection

Easter Sunday is a great holiday to spend with your family enjoying the early beginnings of Spring and of course great food!  Some people choose to do an impressive Easter Brunch, while others opt for a traditional Easter Dinner.  Depending on what your preference is, here are a few of our favorite recipes for both.

Easter Brunch Ideas


Blueberry French Toast
Blueberry Stuffed French Toast
Frittata
Fresh Frittata
Brunch Eggs
Baked Brunch Eggs
Sticky Buns
Homemade Sticky Buns
BB Coffee Cake
Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake
    Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary's

Easter Dinner Ideas


Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs
Candied Baby Carrots
Candied Baby Carrots
Lamb
Mustard Encrusted Rack of Lamb
Glazed Ham
Traditional Glazed Ham
poundcake
Grilled Pound Cake
angelfoodcake
Angel Food Cake with Blueberry Filling