Comfort and Flavor at Terrace Restaurant in Greenville

Founder and CEO, Stewart Penick has brought his flavorful, comfortable dining experience to Greenville.  With two successful locations in North Carolina, Terrace offers traditional southern cuisine prepared in a more modern upscale style.


Signature Style of Southern Comfort Food

Stewart Penick, with persuasion from his nephew Jacob, opened their first Terrace location in 2009. With success in Charlotte and Ballantyne, North Carolina, Penick wanted to bring his passion for good food, in a comfortable atmosphere to Greenville.  “This has been a year and half process,” said Stewart Penick.  Remodeling a former auto repair shop, in the West End historic district may have been a tall task, but the dining room and bar area

Terrace bar areaTerrace dining room











are cozy, using warm earth tone colors. The high industrial ceiling along with the historic brick accent wall, above booth dining, exemplify the vintage design Greenville intended for this part of town.

Commitment to GreenvilleTerrace Restaurant Greenville

General Manager, Doug Stevens explained, “Terrace appreciates the Greenville area.”  Buying local ingredients, collaborating with Upstate favorite Dark Corner Distillery and featuring local artist paintings in the dining room exemplify their commitment to the area.

Featuring 20 craft beer breweries operating in the Carolinas.  All these breweries use local ingredients and share Terrace’s commitment to working with regional businesses.

Most of the vegan offerings include products from Asheville, North Carolina.


Savory, Flavorful Food

Along with signature dishes as shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles (being red velvet waffles) and fried green tomatoes, patrons will enjoy a variety of savory, filling dishes.

Breakfast includes traditional steak and eggs; biscuits and an incredible Lemon Poppy Seed French Toast.  Unusual but delicious, the lemon poppy seed bread is delectable with a mellow sweetness.

Penick discovered most who seek out brunch, still desire breakfast type fare, even after lunchtime.  Serving breakfast/brunch until 3 PM, visitors can enjoy other full-flavored offerings such as; pancakes, omelets and benedicts.

Terrace red velvet waffles chicken lemon poppy seed french toast

I plan to visit the Greenville Saturday Market, then enjoy brunch at Terrace.


Among many delights on the dinner menu (4 PM – 9 PM); Smothered Chicken, a grilled chicken breast, sauteed mushrooms, grape tomatoes and grilled onions.  Or you can enjoy the succulent, perfectly cooked Marsala Filet Medallions, which are seasoned and seared, served with mushrooms and Marsala sauce.  Both entrees include cheesy mashed potatoes which are creamy and soft.

smothered chicken filet medallions

Penick prides himself on his finely tuned menu full of flavor and a variety of butter sauces, along with his wife, Cindy’s dessert menu, with new sweet treats offered every few months.

Mini shocolate torte Terrace

Cindy’s Mini Chocolate Torte is a smooth semi-sweet chocolate mousse topped with chocolate ganache over chocolate cookie crumbs.

The Dining Experience

I am one of those who strategically plan a dining experience. Terrace illustrates my necessary criteria for a great restaurant.

                    Well-prepared, flavorful food

                    Exceptional Service

                    Enjoyable Experience

Terrace in Greenville illustrates all these criteria to a superlative level.

The wait staff was very attentive, prompt and courteous.

The restrooms, which in my opinion can tell the true story of a restaurant’s virtue.  The female bathroom was clean, beautiful and modern.

Not exceedingly large, the bathroom had warm decor and conveniently located.

From the Bar

Collaborating with Dark Corner Distillery has allowed Terrace to offer signature cocktails, available no where else.

  • Berry Shine Smash – moonshine with a berry puree
  • Blueberry Crumb Cake – Dark Corner Butterscotch Whiskey w/ blueberries and graham crackers
  • Southern Belle – strawberry, pineapple, Whiskey Girl Peach and Campari

For American Whiskey lovers, like me, Terrace has 37 bourbons and 15 single malt scotch varieties.

scotch bourbons Terrace Restaurant

And something very unusual for the Upstate, Terrace’s libations include four types of Japanese Whisky  including, Nikka; which won “Best of the Best” for their aged malt at the 2001 Whisky Magazines awards.  Japanese Whisky was rarely exported prior to 2001. Now, Terrace is one of the very few places serving this innovative spirit.

Terrace in downtown Greenville provides good, quality food, reasonably priced.  With an upscale-casual atmosphere, I plan to visit again for breakfast, lunch, dinner and I will visit after 9 PM on Friday or Saturday for their late night snacks and cocktails.

Please comment below if you visited and tell me your thoughts.

Terrace Greenville













Chicken Enchiladas For Two

Enchiladas are an easy weeknight meal, which can be very healthy if you use good ingredients.

Simple and easy to prepare, I made these chicken enchiladas with my favorite go to, pre-cooked, pre-chopped chicken.

Great invention for couples, or even one person.

Of course, you can prepare raw chicken, however, I think it tends to get a bit dried out for this application.

These were delicious and only baked for 20 minutes.  Prep time was about 15 minutes…dinner under an hour!

Make Your Own Enchilada Red Sauce

Ingredient List:

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups chicken stock

chicken enchiladasPlace a small saucepan over medium heat, begin to heat oil

Once oil is heated, add flour and whisk together for about 1 minute, till thoroughly combined.

Stir in all remaining seasonings.

Gradually add the chicken stock, while whisking constantly.  Continue till all lumps are removed.

Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Sauce will slightly thicken.

While sauce is simmering…

Prep your Enchilada ingredients…

  • 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 of a sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 8 oz. bag of southwestern flavored precooked chicken.  I chop my up into smaller pieces.baked rigatoni, chicken and zucchini
  • 4 oz. can of diced green chiles
  • 1/2 can of re-fried beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 6 burrito sized flour tortillas
  • 2 cups of cheese, shredded

Don’t buy the pre-blended cheese. They contain CELLULOSE!

Click here to read my article on processed foods

I buy the block cheese and shred it myself.  I used Colby Jack and cheddar.

block cheese chicken enchiladas

Preparing Chicken Enchiladas For Two

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Place re-fried beans in a microwavable bowl, and heat on high for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, stir. Heat again for 1 minute.  Remove from microwave.

In a 10″ nonstick skillet, add the 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil and turn to medium-high heat.

Once heated, add chopped onion and saute, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, for about 5-6 minutes.

Add green chilies, salt and pepper.  Saute for about 2 minutes more.

Add precooked chicken and heat till warm through, approximately 3 minutes.

Remove from heat. Sit aside.

Assemble your enchiladas.

Place a tortilla on a flat surface.

Spread about a tablespoon of the enchilada sauce down the middle of the tortilla.

Spread about a tablespoon of the re-fried beans on the surface of the tortilla, concentrating mainly down the middle.

Sprinkle some of the chicken/onion mixture on top of the beans.  I just used my hands.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the cheese on top of the chicken mixture.

Moving from one side of the tortilla, roll it up into a tube and place in an ovenproof, deep container.

Lay the tortillas in a row, next to each other.

Spread the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the shells.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Place in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until cheese appears bubbly.

Serve with chopped iceberg lettuce and chopped tomatoes.

Chicken Enchiladas






Food Knowledge · Food Security

7 Day Eliminate Processed Foods Challenge

I started this food blog because

                I LOVE food.

                I love cooking food,

               eating food and

               shopping for food.

I think my lust for this necessity of life, has led me down a path of occasional laziness.

Yes, even foodies can be lazy sometimes.

couch potato joanns food bites

Partially to blame for my laziness is the evil, PROCESSED FOOD INDUSTRY.

eliminate processed foods

The Food & Drug Administration has determined processed foods as being:

    a. Anything that has been modified from its raw form

    b. Any substance has been added to the food, such as sodium-containing additives, which makes the product less healthy.


Shocking Facts about Processed Foods

More than 75% of the sodium Americans consume comes from processed foods, not the salt shaker.

          Research has shown, the increased consumption of processed foods by Americans over the last 50 years, directly relates to increased rates of heart disease and diabetes.


According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we should consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day.

All those sugary and salty processed foods stimulate dopamine in your brain.

Your body reacts the same way, as if you were consuming an opiate drug.

F0od companies know this … and purposely engineer their products to have this effect; so you will keep buying more.



OMG, Is That in my food?

Cellulose, which is actually ground-up wood pulp, is often used as an anti-caking agent in bagged cheeses.

Sodium bisulfite, a toilet bowl cleaning chemical, is also used in potato chips.

Hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are chemically engineered products, which the FDA has deemed UNSAFE.

Sodium Nitrite is prevalent in most processed meats to delay oxidation. During the process of cooking these meats, sodium nitrite can combine with other compounds forming a carcinogenic N-nitroso compound. Two large cancer research studies concluded when ingested, these compounds are associated with cancer,

processed food chips

Now, I am as guilty as anybody else, I love potato chips, snacks and fast food, but I have got to make a change.

My goals:

  • to sleep better
  • to lose some weight
  • to feel better

My 7-Day Eliminate Processed Food Challenge

Starting today, I am going to try my damnest to eliminate all processed foods, for 7 days.  Then, I will evaluate how I did.

Lisa Leake-100 Days of Real Food Fast & Fabulous-joanns food bitesLisa Leake’s amazing book 100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous: The Easy and Delicious Way to Cut Out Processed Food

will guide me through this challenge.  Click link to purchase your own copy.

But I am a realist…I know I have to take baby steps.  I will fail if I take a full elimination dive.



Read my review of Lisa Leak’s fantastic book

My Challenge Rules

1. No refined grains, only 100% whole grain

2.  No refined sugar

3.  Ingredient list must be real foods, no chemicals, no words I cannot pronounce

4.  No deep-fried foods

5.  Beverages limited to water, milk, all natural juices, my ONE cup of coffee daily.

6.  Heavy on fruits and vegetables


Six simple rules to this 7-Day Eliminate Processed Food Challenge.

Do you want to join me?  Comment below:

100 Days of Real Food















Kitchen Essentials

5 Essential Kitchen Shears

Good quality kitchen shears are essential in any chefs sharp object arsenal.

I have 7 different pairs of shears in my kitchen – all different.  Each pair of scissors has a specialty, but can be used in various culinary situations; however, I have narrowed my list to FIVE ESSENTIAL kitchen shears.

Top 5 Essential Kitchen Shears

Herb Shears

Herb shearsHerb shears








These scissors are great if you like to use fresh herbs, as I do.  With one cut, a small bundle of chives are cut into small, garnish size tidbits.

Great for cutting directly over a salad or pasta, instead of having to pick up debris off a cutting board.

Use the cover to clean the five slits of blades.

Do not place in the dishwasher.

Available at – just click the link below
Master Culinary Multipurpose 5-blade Herb Scissors w/ “Longfinger” Cleaning Brush | Time-Saving Kitchen Shears Chop Herbs Fast |


Fiskars Pull-Apart Shears

Fiskars Pull Apart scissors

Fiskars, one of the best brands in cutting utensils, makes a pull-apart version that is great for cutting those items which could contain bacteria.

Any raw meats can be cut by these serrated blades.

Pull them apart to thoroughly clean in hot, soapy water.

Very durable and comfortable, these are my favorite scissors to use in the kitchen.

Available at Amazon:
Fiskars 7in Take-Apart Shears




J.A. Henckel Scissors

J.A. Henckels Scissors

Now, you may question spending $20 on a pair of scissors, but wait, these are German made, J.A. Henckels.

With ever-lasting sharp blades, these scissors are an investment and should NOT be used in the garden, despite what my father-in-law used to do.

The slip-resistant handles make them ideal for cutting out the backbone of a chicken.

Great for cutting parchment paper, butchers twine and pie dough.

The screw in the center of the scissors allow you to adjust them for proper closing action.

These are a workhorse in the kitchen.

Buy at Amazon:
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin L Kitchen Shears

Dura-Sharp Generic Scissors

Dura Sharp Scissors


These are utility sewing scissors for thin, finer objects such as paper or thread.

Made out of titanium coated stainless steel blades, these will need to be sharpened periodically.

I’ve had mine over 10 years.

Great for opening chip bags, pasta boxes or flour bags; I try to restrict use of these to paper items.






Locking Micro Pruners

Locking Micro Pruners

These are my garden pruners for herbs, tomatoes, squash, peppers, everything I cut from the garden for cooking.

I do not use these on cleaned food.  That means I don’t necessarily have to sterilize these after every use.

Extremely sharp.  I love the locking mechanism to keep the blades shut after use.

The “micro-tip” makes it easy to make precise cuts on watermelon stems.  Allows you to get right up next to and cut a tomato at the flower.

Easily harvest bell peppers by cutting at their stem.

Just occasionally clean with steel wool, rinse and thoroughly dry.  Residual water will cause these blades to rust.

Click to buy from Amazon:
Backyard Garden Pros 11815 Comfort Grip Micro Tip Pruner Snip



Bonus: Shear & Scissor Sharpener

Sharpener for ShearsI bought my shear sharpener in a combination pack from QVC, which also contained a hand-held knife sharpener.

I like this scissor sharpener because it is easy to control.  I open the scissors and just slide one blade at a time across the carbide edge.

Purchase by clicking here:AccuSharp Shear Sharp Scissor Sharpener


I hope you find my list of FIVE ESSENTIAL KITCHEN SHEARS helpful.

Did I leave your favorite cutting scissors off the list?  If so…leave me a comment telling me which are your favorites.






Competition Summary

Friends and Family at BBQ and Brews

BBQ and Brews CantonHad a great weekend at the 2nd annual Barbecue and Brews Canton Festival.   Promoter and organizer, Gary Lamb knows how to put on an event.  His lives by his mantra, “promote it and they will come.”

Over  15,000  people attended the two-day festival which included music, craft vendors, plenty of food and a Georrgia Barbecue Association’s sanctioned competition.

The weather cleared out on Friday afternoon to a beautiful, although unusually warm May event.


Just Blowing Smoke O'Henry's BBQ

Friends, Family and Barbecue

Doug and I want to truly thank our friends and family for visiting us throughout the event.  Although Smokin J’s Barbeque did not compete in this event, we enjoyed judging the great samples the teams cooked up.

The judging was not easy. Teams competed in pork loin, pork shoulder, pork ribs, brisket and whole hog.  Doug and I judged multiple categories this weekend, even whole hog.

For the whole hog competition, teams must include three distinct types of meat from the hog – the ham, loin and shoulder, in each turn in box.  Plus, they must include enough meat to feed 4 judges to a table.  Each judge must sample a portion of each type of meat. If a team includes sauce, they must sample each type of meat with each sauce.  I counted over 20 bites I tried, just from the whole hog box itself.

That is alot of meat.

Whole Hog is a Different Kind of Monster

Fifteen teams competed in the whole hog category on Saturday.  Not only did each team build a “blind” turn in box (which means the judges did not know which team turned in which box), but also, each team was visited by three individual judges at their cook-site.

Teams had to greet each judge and explain their method of smoking their hog.  Each judge had to see the hog on the smoker and taste different samples from the hog.  Only certified Memphis Style Judges were allow to do the onsite judging.

rub shakers que
Rick Godfrey explains Rub Shakers Que whole hog process to the judge.
jack's old south
Winnest man in BBQ, Myron Mixon explains his method to judge, Greg Hoyt.










Doug cooked up some delicious chicken wings Saturday night, while our friends were worrying about their whole hog cook.

It was such a great weekend of fellowship.

Thanks Terry and Beth McCoy for stopping by.
Doug taking a break from the BIG GREEN EGG to talk to friends.
Thank you to Stewart, Debra, Jeff, Gordon, and Mary for visiting with us.
D.C. Webster and Mary Dowda visited Saturday AND Sunday – just couldn’t get enough BBQ



















“And the winner is…”

I cannot explain how difficult it is to win a Georgia Barbecue Association event.  It truly is an incredible feat.

Reserve Grand Champion – received the highest cumulative score in all three categories (loin, pork, ribs) during the preliminary round.

Grand Champion – received the best overall score of any three categories in the final round.

Champions for the day….

Pork Loin Pork Ribs Whole Hog
1 We Want Que Bubba Grills Hold Your Horses Rub Shakers Que
2 Jack’s Old South Diamond D Cooking Team Lang BBQ Smokers Diamond D Cooking Team
3 Rub Shakers Que Jack’s Old South Southern Hogs Rescue Smokers
4 Southern Hogs Lang BB Smokers Captain Jacks Freedom BBQ Bubba Grills
5 Hootie Que Hold Your Horses BBQ We Want Que Vienna Volunteer Fire Dept.










Pepper and Egg Brunch for Two

Wanting to find new Sunday brunch ideas, I was inspired by a recent episode of America’s Test Kitchen.

They constructed a brunch recipe named for the northeastern region of Spain, the Basque region.

Dividing France and Spain, the Basque region is known for their vast produce choices, including six different varieties of peppers.

Although my recipe does not include these exotic peppers, I wanted a recipe which would stimulate our sense of smell, taste and sight.

peppers eggs hashbrowns brunchAmerica’s Test Kitchen developed an Eggs Piperade recipe, which suggests cooking the vegetables separate from the eggs; a method which prevents the eggs from being stringy and wet.

The peppers are able to retain their natural sweetness and evaporate their liquid away.

Although you could use any pepper you like in my recipe, I chose green and red bell peppers for not only their mild flavor, but also their color.


Quantities are for two adult servings

hash browns peppers eggs brunch

  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 green pepper, seeds removed, cut into julienne strips
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeds removed, cut into julienne strips
  • 1/2 Roma tomato, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes (no need to thaw)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper


Prep ingredients for cooking

Julienne red pepper, green pepper and chop tomato, gather on one plate.

On top of the peppers & tomatoes, sprinkle the paprika, red pepper flakes,  thyme, garlic, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper – set aside.

Place 2 cups of frozen hash browns in a bowl – set aside.

To avoid thawing hash browns, this is how I prepared mine.

Cut open frozen hash browns and place all of them in a large, FREEZER safe zip lock bag.

Close zip lock bag.  While lying on a strong surface, use the flat size of a meat tenderizer mallet to break up the potato chunks.

Open zip lock back and put 2 cups in a bowl.

Seal zip lock bag and return to freezer.

In a small bowl, break eggs.  Add Tablespoons of whipping cream, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper.

Using a fork or whisk, mix up eggs till broken.

Place 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a small, 8-inch non-stick skillet and turn to medium heat.

Place 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a separate, small, 8-inch skillet and turn to medium heat.

Place 1 Tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch, non-stick skillet, do not turn on heat yet.

Once small skillets are hot, place hash browns in one skillet.  Using a spatula, make sure hash browns are flat against the skillet.

In other small skillet, add your pepper mixture.

Allow peppers to cook for 4-5 minutes before stirring.  Saute peppers, stirring occasionally, while other food is cooking.

After 10 minutes, hash browns should be brown on bottom and have formed a large cake.

Sprinkle cheddar cheese on uncooked side, then flip to brown second side.

Meanwhile, under 10-inch skillet, turn heat to medium-high.

Once butter is melted, add egg mixture.

Allow eggs to set before stirring.  Gently stir eggs till they reach your desired consistency.

pepper hash brown egg brunchBy the time your eggs are done, the peppers and hash browns should be done as well.

Begin plating.

Divide the hash browns, pepper mixture and eggs into two portions.

Garnish with chives or fresh parsley.

I like my peppers to have a little bit of a crunch to them, instead of being soggy.  By cooking them during the course of cooking everything else, they do not become over-done.

This delicious, filling brunch can be adjusted to accommodate more servings, however, make sure you adjust the size of skillets you use, along with ingredient portions.



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Growing Food

Tomatoes: Grocery Store Verses Growing Your Own

Springtime!  Time to plant those tomatoes…


I am absolutely sick of grocery store tomatoes!  The skins are so tough and waxy!  To me, they really have no flavor at all.

Did you know….

               growers are paid by the pound to propagate and deliver tomatoes to grocery store distributors

Did you know...

               the majority of grocery store tomatoes have a genetic mutation called the GLK protein, which actually promotes uniformity,

               and their bright red color; however, reduces their natural sugars and sweetness

Did you know

               commercial growers pick tomatoes while they are still green, before they ripen, then spray them with ethylene gas  to turn them red


Two-thirds of the commercially grown tomatoes, during the “out-of-season” months (October to May) are grown in California and Florida.


too humid, pests are widespread

causes growers to use more pesticides on the fruit

they are grown in sand. Sand contains no nutrients, therefore growers experiment with unnatural genetically modified organisms

Read more about GMO’s by clicking here.

Genetically Modified Organisms

If you must buy tomatoes during the off season, here a few tips….

  • Buy tomatoes labeled as being grown in “Hot Houses.”   These are not picked until fully ripened.
  • Buy from a big box store, such as Costco or BJ’s.  They have direct relationships with growers, eliminating middle-man and transportation time.
  • Buy canned from San Marzano, Italy.  They grow tomatoes in the ideal climate, when it is off season in the United States.


Growing your own tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoesLate April, early May is the perfect time to start growing your own tomatoes.

Most tomatoes are red, however, there are many colors and size variations.  Some of the best tasting, but odd looking tomatoes are heirloom varieties, which have been preserved because of their superior flavor.

In most regions, tomatoes are set out as seedlings, when the temperature no longer drops below 55º.

During the summer, you can expect blossom drop when days are above 90ºF and nights are above 76ºF.

Rule of thumb is: the shorter the growing season, for your climate, the more you should limit your choices to the early and early-mid season varieties.

Choosing Determinate vs. Indeterminate

Determinate tomato plants grow to approximately 3 feet tall and ripen a big crop all at one time.  These plants usually do not need stakes.

Indeterminate plants keep growing in every direction until stopped by the cold.  They will need staking or caging.  Most labels will note if the plant is determinate or indeterminate.

If you want plants in and out of your garden by a certain time to make room for other plants, choose determinate cultivars.

If you want a few plants to bear over a long season, choose indeterminate.

I even stagger my planting throughout the early summer, so as to have indeterminate tomato plants growing throughout the entire season.

Growing in containers

Container tomatoes with cages


I have great success year after year, growing tomatoes in containers.

Considerations for container growing:

-container must be tall enough, so as to provide plenty of root room

-gardeners with unfavorable soil can control organic matter and fertilizer for the plant

-always provide proper drainage for tomato plants, so as not to drown your plant


Cultivating tomatoes

tomato fertilizerThe soil for tomatoes should be well drained and have an ample supply of nutrients, especially phosphorus.

For soil preparation, use plenty of organic matter and add 3 – 4 pounds of 5-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet.

Place water in it and allow two weeks BEFORE PLANTING TOMATO PLANTS.

Set plants deep, with their lowest level of leaves just above soil level.

Remember, those plants needing cages, will need 3 – 4 feet between plants.

The first fertilizer application takes care of the plant until it sets fruit.

Feed once a month while the fruit develops and stop when the it starts to mature.

Tomatoes and Water

Be consistent, alternating wet and dry spells can bring on stunting and blossom end rot.  water tomatoes

Remember, plants need uniform moisture after setting fruit.

If plants are not setting fruit, stretch watering intervals to bring on tomato production.

This puts the plant under a little stress, so be careful not to overdo it.

When harvest time is near, cut back slightly on irrigation to get fruit that is flavorful, but not watery.

Rule of thumb: stick your finger down approximately 2-inches from soil surface…if it is dry, it is time to water.

Training your plant

Single tomatoTomatoes can be grown on upright stakes and trellises, in wire cages, or ladder-like frames set a foot above ground.

You can harvest more fruit over a longer period by allowing a branch to grow from the base to form a two-stemmed plant, and later removing the rest of the lower branches on both stems.

For early fruit production and later sun protection, remove all branches on the lower 18-inches of the stem, then let the plant bush out with the branches being supported by cages or gently tied to stakes.


Pick fresh tomatoes just before using.

A ripe tomato at peak flavor is fully colored on all sides – except right where the fruit meets the stem, here it will be slightly greenish.

Tomatoes should be soft, but not firm.

Tomato flavor is much fuller at room temperature.  Just place uncut tomatoes on the counter, out of direct sunlight.

Now put those delicious home grown tomatoes to work.

My Homemade Crock Pot Tomato Sauce Recipe


Let me know if you are planting any tomatoes this year and if you have any questions, we will answer them promptly.








Fish and Potatoes for Two People

Honestly, I had never had fish with a potato dish before.  I thought it just was not a logical combination, however, after preparing this dish,  I now realize what I have been missing.  Full of flavor and very easy to prepare, this Lemon-Herb Code with Crispy Garlic Potatoes is delicious and a perfect meal for two on a busy weeknight.

This perfect dinner is also very easy to clean up.  Just line your baking sheet with aluminum foil and you can just toss it when done.

I highly recommend trying this recipe. If you like halibut or haddock better, they would make good substitutes for the cod.  Just make sure the fillets are similar in size so they cook at the same rate.  Try to get fillets about 1-inch in thickness.

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  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 (8 ounce) russet potatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 (6 – 8 ounce) skinless cod fillets, 1 to 1 1/2-inches thick
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 springs of fresh tyme
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced thin



Ideal mandolin. Has a finger guard, dishwasher safe, and has thickness adjustment, as well as multiple julienne options.







Fish with Potatoes
Using my mandolin made preparing the potatoes EASY. Shingle the potato slices into 2 piles of rows. One rectangle is a portion.


Directions for Fish and Potatoes for Two People

Make sure oven rack is set to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 425º.

Prepare a 13 by 9-inch baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil.

After slicing potatoes, toss them with 1 – 2 tablespoons of your favorite olive oil and the minced garlic.

Season with salt and pepper.  I just used my hands to mix this up.

Shingle potatoes onto the baking sheet.

Roast potatoes until edges are brown and just tender, 30-35 minutes, rotating dish halfway through roasting.

When potatoes are almost done, prepare fish.

Pat fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

Once edges are brown on potatoes, remove from oven and carefully place one fillet, skinned side down on top of each potato pile.

Top fish with butter pieces, thyme sprigs and lemon slices.

Roast fish and potatoes until fish flakes apart when gently prodded with paring knife and registers 140º, about 15-20 minutes.

To serve, slide spatula underneath potatoes and fillets, gently transferring to individual plates.

Fish and potatoesI removed the thyme sprigs and lemon slices to serve.

I sliced the remaining half of the lemon to serve at the table.

Click for my Homemade Whiskey Tarter Sauce recipe.

It pairs great with this meal.















JoAnn’s Whiskey Tarter Sauce

Yields approximately 4 servings.

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.

This can be kept in the refrigeration, in an air-tight container for about a week.


JoAnn's Food Bites Whiskey Tarter Sauce


1/2 cup of your favorite mayonnaise

1 1/2 Tablespoons of sweet pickle relish

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon of finely chopped lemongrass

2 green onions, chopped, whole thing

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 Tablespoon Jack Daniels Whiskey

splash of lemon juice

pinch of salt & pepper

Put in a container with an air-tight lid.

Best if stored in the refrigeration 2 hours prior to serving.







Food Knowledge

5 Ways the Potato Can Be Healthy Food

Making a Potato Healthy

Recent research has determined THE POTATO can be healthy.  At only 110 calories for one medium russet potato, they are high in fiber, calcium and potassium.  If cooked properly, they can help lower blood sugar levels.

The key to lowering blood sugar, while still enjoying the fluffy, creamy potato, is to accompany your ‘tater with “spud buddies.”  Coined by America’s Test Kitchen, “spud buddies”  are blood sugar helpers which prevent rapid glucose absorption.

A List of 5 Spud Buddies

1.Add avocado as a GOOD FAT.  

Avocado potato
Place sliced avocado on top of a baked potato instead of butter or sour cream. Photo courtesy of


2.Include an ACID

Drizzle malt vinegar over cooked red potatoes. Add a bit of your favorite herb to create a great side dish.

potatoes healthy

3.Serve with a good protein, such as beans

potato green bean salad
Cooked red potatoes with green beans, sprinkled with bacon. Photo courtesy of


4.Cook – then cool

After cooking, cool completely before eating them; the starch turns into a  “resistant starch.”  Resistant starch does not allow the small intestine to absorb the sugars from the potato.  Resistant starch stimulates the good bacteria in your gut.  The body treats the spud more like a fiber and promotes colon health.

potato salad
A cold potato salad with celery and hard-boiled eggs is a good example of eating potatoes cold.

5.Add HEALTHY ingredients

In the south, traditionally, mashed potatoes are made with milk or cream and lots of butter.  Consider adding a small amount of GOOD FAT, olive oil to your dish BEFORE adding any liquid, to eliminate excess use of cream.  Also, cook with the skins ON. Once cooked and slightly cooled, the potatoes will be easier to peel.  Once cut to size, thoroughly rinse to get rid of excess starch.

Try revamping my Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes – Recipe is here

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
JoAnn’s Food Bites: Creamy-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes


Healthy Potato Guide


  • Great for baking, making french fries or hash browns.
  • Best harvest time is early spring to late fall
  • Very high in starch
  • Low water content
  • Fluffy inside


  • Great for potato salads, soups or stews
  • Low starch content
  • High moisture content


  • Best “all around” potato
  • Moderate starch level
  • Great for soups, stews but best for mashed potatoes
  • Creamy, buttery texture