Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is open! #FreshThyme

The new Fresh Thyme Farmers Market opened up this week in Oakley - in the former Circuit City between Target & PetSmart off the I-71 Ridge exit. 

 What a transformation! I didn't even recognize the place! It's got a very warm, inviting feeling. They have fresh items outside as well as a few picnic tables if you want to dig right into your goodies!

 As soon as you walk in the door - it's flowers - flowers - FLOWERS! So many beautiful flowers - they take the best pics! So beautiful. The white ones are near to my heart as I had them in my wedding!

 After that is a fresh section that really takes the cake - fresh bread, made-to-order sandwiches, baked goods, a huge Boars Head deli and so much more. They have a great craft beer selection, a juicing area in the back and - my personal favorite - vats of sauces (bottom right). They had olive oil, honey and even Balsamic Vinegar!! I love this idea! The prices weren't bad either - $1.49 for that little bread! Nice!

I love the unique selection as well - Hartzler's Milk (from Wooster, OH), Tofurkey, tamales, wild boar and one of my favorite beers! They have a fairly small frozen section but I did find some unique brands that you CANNOT find anywhere else. 

 They even had a tractor outside so I had to get a quick pick with my Gwynnie Bee dress!

 All in all - I liked it! I'm not that concerned with organic but I have to admit the produce looked fantastic and I think the prices were comparable to Kroger! I'll definitely be back - and you should check it out too!

Wednesday's are a great day to shop there - you get the savings from ads from both weeks - they call it Double Ad Day! Here's a link to the Oakley ad for this week: Aug 27-Sept 3. Large watermelons are $1.57 each - um - you might have to meet me there!!!

Fresh Thyme on Facebook

Restaurant Review: Mad Tree Brewing & Bones' Burgers

My hubby and I like to visit the local breweries - one we hadn't been to was Mad Tree in Pleasant Ridge! They're the ones with the fun colorful cans you see in the store! 

They have a brewery & tap room off I-71 in Pleasant Ridge. It's got a small patio and a large open area inside. Unlike the downtown tap rooms - there is AMPLE parking!!!!

Inside there are tvs, tables and a lot of space. Most of these tap rooms don't spend money on ambiance. You're there to hang with friends and drink some beers. Ambiance Schmambiance!

They have about a dozen beers on tap - some of their own and some from other brewers. You can also get growlers filled too.

Tap rooms cannot serve food (legal hooha) so they often times will have a food truck nearby - in this case Bones' Burgers was hanging out in the parking lot.

They're big on grass-fed beef - which coincidentally I found out from my Certified Angus Beef Friends isn't always great for TASTE. My Angus friends said that all beef is grass-fed - until "the end" and then a lot of places switch to corn (grain fed) because the corn feed adds the flavor!!! So if you're eating grass-fed beef and missing flavor - that might be why. 

That said - grass-fed beef was in the cards for me that day (it's all they have). I tried the Alpine Burger ($8.50) which was topped with grilled onions & mushrooms with melted swiss cheese. The staff at Bones' was really friendly and joked with me. Unfortunately I didn't love the burger - the meat didn't have much flavor - it was an ample size though - and I thought $8.50 for a burger was pricey (no fries).

Why Should You Go? If you haven't been to Mad Tree - you should grab some friends & go. As far as Bones' - it was fine - but not my first choice for a food truck.

Bones' Burgers on Urbanspoon

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Recipe: Easy Peasy Garlic Twisties!

I came across this great recipe for Garlic Parmesan Knots and had to make it - I knew Larry would love it and I'm always looking for easy side dishes - especially something to jazz up ordinary biscuits!

First I melted butter in the microwave and mixed in freshly minced garlic, dried oregano & parsley.

Then I cut ordinary biscuits in half and rolled them into little ropes about 5 inches long. After they're all ropes - then you tie them into a knot. The biscuits have enough oil in them that they don't stick to you. Tie them into knots as best you can - mine aren't beautiful - but they're good enough for my belly!

Here are my finished knots - I got a little better as I went along. :-) 

 Then you butter the knots with half of the mixture. By this point - I was drooling all over - so were the dogs.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and then you're done! Take them out and brush with the other half of the butter mixture. Larry walked in the door and immediately was looking around the kitchen for them!

These garlic rolls are so delicious and easy - so jazz up those biscuits and enjoy!

Easy Peasy Garlic Twisties!


1/4 cup salted butter, melted
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 16 oz tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits


  • Preheat oven to 400. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray.
  • Whisk together melted butter, Parmesan, minced garlic, oregano and parsley then set aside.
  • Cut each biscuit in half. Roll each piece into a rope - about 5 inches long - then tie into a knot. 
  • Place the knots on the cookie sheet and brush each with half of the butter mixture. 
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. 
  • After you take them out, brush with the rest of the butter mixture. 
Adapted from Damn Delicious

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Restaurant Review: The Celestial, Mt Adams

I recently won an Open Table Gift Certificate through my work and decided to use it for my birthday! Turns out Open Table Gift Certs are NOT able to be used anywhere that Open Table works with - they have a few restaurants that actually accept them. The Celestial was on the list and sounded perfect for a special birthday dinner! 

The Celestial is a fancy steakhouse atop Mt Adams and is known for having the best view in the city - and I have to say - it's right up there. 

We started with the Crab & Shrimp Cocktail appetizer ($10) - normally this is tossed in a lemon aioli - but since aioli = mayo - we asked for it on the side. It was fine. The seafood was fine but there's not much to it.

Larry is a fan of New York Strip and got the 14 oz ($34) that came with a side of mashed sweet potatoes. He enjoyed the steak but wasn't blown away by it (see Jack Binions for that). 

I got a special that night with a ribeye, mashed potatoes, shrimp and asparagus ($55). I agreed with Larry - the steak was good - but not amazing. The sides were less than amazing. The mashed potatoes were a bit glue-y and I didn't even finish them.

 I didn't stuff myself on dinner (since I didn't love it) so I could save room for their Classic Creme Brulee ($8.50). It was good - creme brulee doesn't seem to be hard to muck up - and I love it.

Why Should You Go? All in all - I didn't love it. The view is AMAZING but the food isn't - at least for the price. If this was a $50 dinner - that would be one thing - but our bill was $128 (without tip). It is pretty inside but you can see it's a bit dated and in need of some remodeling. 

Celestial on Urbanspoon

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Recipe: How to Freeze Sweet Corn #sp

Recently I was invited to visit a local corn grower by Monsanto - so off I went to rural Indiana for a fun day full of corn!!!

Here's a hint of my day - I got to pick sweet corn and it was just so beautiful out in the field!!! I mean - for a girl from Iowa - it doesn't get much better. We learned that when picking sweet corn - having the silk just starting to brown is perfect. Always good to get tips!

We were visiting a fellow bloggers farm - Leah from Along with sweet corn - she and her husband have feed corn as well as a bunch of animals. Now me being from a farming town - I'm comfortable with animals - but some of our blogger friends...

Not so much! This is Nicole from Brown Sugar Mama - she was about to pet the chicken on the left. :-)

 Leah & her husband were wonderful hosts and their farm is beautiful! They also had a great spread for lunch with fresh sweet corn, steak and paella. Man - we were stuffed!!!!

We also visited a grain elevator - being from a farming community - I was familiar but had never had a tour. The trucks actually drive in with the grain and it falls through the grates - who knew!?!

I also asked the Leah and the folks from Monsanto about the elephant in the room. I knew there was quite a bit of negative publicity about Monsanto. They all said the same thing - a few people have loud voices. Leah said her experience with them has been great and they really care about their customers. She said if you really want to know - talk to people that work with them day in and day out.

After the tour - we got to make our own smores with artisan marshmallows from 240sweet. These were AMAZING!!! She had a smores bar set up with a wide variety of marshmallows and crushed toppings (cocoa, graham crackers, toasted coconut, etc). We heated the marshmallow on a burner and rolled it in toppings. This is a fantastic idea - and how can you go wrong with flavors like Bourbon Brown Sugar and Salty Caramel Swirl!!! You have GOT to check these guys out!

At the end of our day - we got to take home as much sweet corn as we wanted! So I took home two dozen ears - Larry was skeptical - but I was confident. Leah had told me she had a fantastic and EASY way to freeze sweet corn and I was all ears! (get it - EARS!)

So here you go - the EASY way to freeze sweet corn (there's still time left - go to your local farmers market and get some and get started!)

Most people think you have to blanch the corn (cook it before you freeze) but Leah swears by this method - so I tried it for myself!

Step 1: Shuck a dozen ears of corn (pull off the husks and all the silk) and then cut the corn off the cob
Step 2: Put the corn in freezer bags
Step 3: On the stove, heat 3 cups water, 6 teaspoons sugar & 3 teaspoons salt. Once the salt & sugar are dissolved, remove from heat.
Step 4: Pour the brine into the bag - pour enough in to cover the corn (not so it's floating though)

And you're done! The ratio I provided makes enough for one dozen ears of corn - I had to double it (plus a little) for the two dozen that I had. I'm going to have fresh sweet corn all winter long! Woohoo!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Monsanto but all opinions are my own.

Giveaway + Store Opening: Fresh Thyme Market in Oakley #FreshThyme

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Fresh Thyme Farmers Market. All opinions are 100% my own. 

There's a new market coming to town and people are really excited about it! Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is opening in the former Circuit City in Oakley off I-71! It's funny because the day the press release came out - I saw people posting on Facebook about it - peeps are psyched. 
Fresh Thyme is having their Grand Opening Celebration on Wednesday August 27th. Be sure to get there EARLY! The first 250 shoppers that day will get a limited edition reusable bag filled with over $50 of healthy groceries!

You can also sign up online at to get sneak peeks of their weekly sale flyer right in your email! I can't wait to check out their fresh seafood department - I know Larry is going to be all about their Hops & Grapes! :-)

Hope to see you there on the 27th - they'll have prizes, samples, giveaways and live entertainment - sounds like fun to me! And since you're going to go - you might as well enter to win a $25 gift card!

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Restaurant Review + Giveaway: Izzy's & their Lite Menu #IzzysCincy

One of my favorite restaurants in Cincinnati is Izzy's - I love a great reuben and theirs are awesome! But - did you know they have a lite menu? I know! Who knew? 

Izzy's has 5 different full size sandwich options in the 400 calorie range then you can pair them up with a light side like pasta salad, applesauce or veggies and you've got a healthy, filling and delicious lunch! 

I chose the Izzy's Combo which has pastrami and corned beef on rye with melted swiss. ($8.29) Another great thing about Izzy's are those pickles!! With 9 locations around the Tri-State - there's probably a spot near you and that means - you could be eating those pickles right now! 

I love their sandwiches - the bread is super soft and the pastrami/corned beef are never fatty and are always delicious and juicy. Plus the swiss cheese is really thick - yum! 

 My friend Amy went for her own version of lite by getting a half sandwich and the not-so-lite potato pancake. They may not be lite - but they are delicious! I can honestly say - they are one of my favorite Cincinnati foods! For any 'Nati Newbies - you gotta try one! Potatoes, onion, egg (and probably other stuff) in these funky fried pancake shapes - so good - no ketchup needed!

Another item on the lite menu is the turkey wrap - it's got turkey, bruschetta, lettuce, spicy mustard and melted provolone ($7.79) and only 401 calories! Looks good right?

The other items are Izzy's Corned Beef & Swiss, Mex, Joe Walter Combo and the Izzy's Combo that I got. :-) Lots of great options!

Now - you can enter to win a $25 gift card to Izzy's and try whichever Lite Menu item you want - and take some friends!

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Disclosure: I was provided a gift card in exchange for this post but all opinions are my own. 

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Recipe: Egg-free Blueberry Cornbread & Cast Iron from BrylaneHome

Years ago - I had this awesome Blueberry Cornbread from Fresh Market - I've always remembered it and thought - someday I'm going to get a cast iron pan and make me some! Well - the day finally came! 

In the mean time, I got married to a cute boy with an egg allergy. So I decided to try making an egg-free blueberry cornbread recipe. I can't eat a whole pan of cornbread on my own - so I had to make it something that we could both eat! 

I did some research and decided to try using an old banana in place of the egg - I've done that before in recipes - so it was worth a try. I gathered up all my ingredient and got started!

I recently got this pre-seasoned set of 3 cast iron pans (just $24.99) from BrylaneHome. I used the largest size for this recipe - but am excited to have all three sizes. It's great that these come preseasoned as well - so you can just rinse them out and use them right away. I can also tell you that since I got these - I have used this skillet probably every other day. I am officially a cast iron addict! 

For this recipe - preheat your oven and put the oil in the cast iron pan - then put the pan in the oven while it's preheating - this way your pan gets super hot as does the oil - which is essential in this recipe!

While the oven/pan are preheating - mix together the dry ingredients: cornmeal, flour, salt and baking powder.

Then, in a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients - buttermilk, vegetable oil and the mashed banana.

After the banana is mixed in with the buttermilk/oil as best you can (don't worry if you have a few lumps) - then mix the wet with the dry. This comes together quickly into a bright yellow batter. After that is mixed well - fold in your blueberries.

It's so B-E-A-UTIFUL! That bright yellow batter with the pop of color from the rich dark blueberries!

By this time your pan & oven are preheated. At this point you want to test to be sure your cast iron pan is hot enough. To do that you take a little drop of batter and drop it in the pan. If it sizzles and starts to cook - you're good! If not - back in the oven and get it hotter. I think my oven is off a bit - I had to crank it up to 425 to get it hot enough. Once it's hot enough - pour all the batter into the pan. The oil will pool up a bit on top - but that's okay - just more goodness ;-)

Twenty minutes later - you've got a pan of golden goodness with big plump blueberries! Seriously does it get any better!?!

I dove right in and cut a piece - I couldn't resist! It was perfect! And I love how nothing sticks in a cast iron pan!!! The cornbread was perfect too - it wasn't cake-like and it wasn't crumbly. Yowza - so beautiful too! 

There you have it - egg-free blueberry cornbread. I absolutely loved it. It's not a really sweet cornbread either - if you want a sweeter one - I would add sugar to the dry ingredients. For me - the blueberries provide all the sweet you need. I took it to work all week for breakfast (along with some butter) - it was delicious!  And you could always swap out the blueberries for cheese or jalapenos to make the recipe more chili-worthy. :-) I hope you enjoy it!

Egg-Free Blueberry Cornbread

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 old banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (for pan)
  • 1 container blueberries
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Pour 1/4 cup vegetable oil in cast iron pan (8-9"ish - bigger size) put cast iron skillet in oven & preheat to 400 (i had to go up to 425)
  3. While that's preheating - in one bowl mix together cornmeal, flour, baking powder & salt.
  4. In another bowl whisk together buttermilk & oil - then add mashed banana - you don't have to get rid of all the lumps just do the best you can.
  5. Add the buttermilk mix to the dry ingredients and fold until mixed well. then lightly fold in blueberries.
  6. When the pan/oven are preheated - drop a drop or two of the batter in the oil in the pan - if the batter starts to fry - the pan is hot enough - if not - heat it up more! (that's why i had to go to 425)
  7. Pour batter in the hot pan - the oil will pool up a bit on top - but that's ok - it adds to the goodness (haha)
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes

Possible additions: 
If you want it sweeter - you could add sugar 
If you want some zing - add some lemon zest

Disclosure: Thanks to Brylane Home for the cast iron cookware set. I love it!