Freshly Baked Fun at Great Harvest Bread Company in Chapel Hill NC

We know. We hear you. “Where are the new recipes?!”, you say.

We’ve been holding out on you and for that we’re sorry.  But we promise that will be changing very soon. A sincere thanks for your patience as we get ourselves sorted out this month.

You see, it’s been pretty hectic at our house. Harrison is finishing up school and getting ready for graduation in a few weeks (hooray!). And we’re getting ready to move to Stowe, Vermont for the summer where we’ll be helping out on a nearby organic produce and flower farm (double hooray). And we’re also making plans for another new adventure that takes us back south in the fall (details to come!).

We’re also apparently trying to create a new world record for number of round-trip visits to North Carolina in the span of 30 days (one more to go!). We’re on the road again and again and again…

On this latest visit my brother and I met up in NC and headed to Chapel Hill to check in on our dad and step-mom who just opened the doors to their new bakery and café!

It’s amazing what your parents will get into after their kids fly the coop.

In late March they purchased the existing Great Harvest Bread shop in Chapel Hill from its former owners who were ready to transition on. They closed up shop for a few weeks, remodeled the store, put their own touches on the space and now they are off and running with my dad at the helm as the new managing baker (aka the sponge and dough man). And let me tell you friends. The man can bake!


And bake he does, starting bright and early Mondays through Saturdays at 4:30am. He mills his own flour on-site and bakes up fresh breads, warm cookies and scrumptious fruit-filled scones and muffins daily.

We arrived on blueberry scone day. Lucky us. YUUUM!


Right by his side is our step-mom Cathy who is all smiles and has the counter covered serving up free samples (including granola!), rich coffee and some fine-looking fresh bread sandwiches.


Family or not, you better believe we took advantage of all of those freshly baked samples. Our personal favorite? Their cinnamon swirl bread which my brother sliced up thick to whip up some ooey gooey delicious Mother’s Day French Toast. Oh and the warm rosemary garlic bread with a smear of melted butter – hello savory flavor.


If you live in the Chapel Hill area or find yourself traveling through, we would love it if you stopped in and said hello (walk in all VIP-like and ask for Cathy and Jeff). It’s a big new adventure for them and we know how much they will appreciate your support. Please tell them we sent you and don’t forget to let us know what you taste-tested!

Great Harvest Bread Company
229 South Elliott Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Hours: Monday –  Saturday, 7:00am – 6:00pm

Until we celebrate new beginnings again,

A+H

Holy Holidays… {Family Traditions}

This year we decided not to get a Christmas Tree to save a little cash.  I sulked a teeny bit that I didn’t feel as festive without one but Harrison wisely reminded me that once we landed in the Carolinas that holiday spirit would come flooding right back in.  And flood it did! After the brisk 16-hour pilgrimage down south, we opened the door to my mom’s on Christmas Eve and there it came… like a Mack truck.  And for the next day and a half it was full-on, non-stop holiday cheer. Here’s the run-down…
 
Upon arrival at Hotel Tyson (aka my mom and stepdad’s), we were greeted with hugs and a VIP turn down service.
 

Chocolates on our pillows. How kind!

 
After a nice dinner out with Harrison’s dad filled with big laughs and big steaks, we woke the following morning to the smell of coffee and mmm…. sausage balls.
 

Mom asked that I take a "fancy food shot" of her famous sausage balls. And here's an attempt to do so..

 
After putting away a couple (handfuls) we headed in for PRESENTS and to take in mom’s annual showroom-esque Christmas display.

The latest ornament addition from my brother's girlfriend Brie. Yep, we say she's a keeper.

 

My crafty Nana made a majority of the ornaments on my mom's tree. Oh yes, Martha junior up in here. She's got skills.

 

And speaking of Nana, no Christmas would be complete without a gift from QVC.

 

And then there is my mom who wraps so beautifully...you ALMOST don't want to open the sparkly presents.

 
And check … it…. out…. You ask Santa for a mixer and she, er I mean, he delivers.

Looky what we got!

 
So what do we do.  Use the fancy new attachment from Harrison’s pops to show the family how to grind their own meat using that new mixer of course.  Harrison pulled my mom right up to the plate and told her to hold the catching bowl.  She was a little skeptical but excited.

oooh....ahhh....

 
 

The grr-animals try to hypnotize us into handing it over.

 
 
Meanwhile, outside sat my brother’s jam-packed car.  Big news in the land of little brothers as he announced the other week that he and his lady-love were moving to Vail, Colorado!  Just in time for snowboard season no less…

Just taking the essentials he said. Mom thought it was hilarious "essentials" included a box of flexy straws.

 
 Back inside, we all asked him way too many questions about his big move.  To distract us, he dramatically opened a card… and I, the amateur photojournalist, was there to capture it all.
 

All the emotion of moving really got to him... he almost faked a tear.

 

And then shortly after, he passed out... ah, traditions.

 
 
After all that excitement we hopped back into the Subaru and headed over to house numero dos, Harrison’s mom’s, for more holiday action.
 

Beau-ti-ful stockings hung by the chimney with care...

 

Is this a pretty table or what? Vermonters please note: Sweet Tea all around.

 

Look a mini-Harrison...with tights!

 
 

Plus, a menorah!

 
Here we light the menorah and then say the Christmas blessing.  It’s the ultimate in festive fun.
 

Santa's Reindeer loves her Hanukkah Bear.

 
 
 After dinner, I was handpicked by the coolest 10-year-old I know to help him with the annual sorting of gifts.  His take charge attitude was impressive and he made sure no gift was left untouched.

He takes his job VERY seriously. He really goes for it.

 
Unfortunately my sorting skills were a bit well, messy, so I got kicked to the sidelines.  Better luck next year.
 

Turtle making sure we get his good side.

 
 
Up next, my dad and step mom’s to wrap up the holiday as house numero tres.
 

Dad likes to keep his decor simple and straight to the point.

 
 

This sums up my dad and step-mom: Beach and Ski

 

Dinners at my dad's always include perfectly seasoned meat, fresh bread, a big salad and 200 dressing options.

 
 

My dad and stepmom have plans to open a bakery next year. So of course they were gifted the proper head wear.

 

A sampling of their bread...

 
Ahhh…the holidays.  Definitely the most wonderful time of the year.
 
And up next: New Year’s!  Off to Asheville we go…hooray! Enjoy the last day of 2011 ya’ll.
 
Until we eat drink and be merry again,
 
A+H
 

Meats, Cheeses and Other Souvenirs {Sunday Brunch}

Last Sunday Harrison traded his chef coat for a fancy tie and headed to Cambridge, Mass for a sponsored wine pairing at T.W. Food and an inspiring lecture by Ferran Adria at Harvard.  NECI offered a handful of tickets to students for the event and he was lucky enough to snag one.

To say that I was envious of this ticket and trip is a serious understatement.

While in town he stopped by Formaggio Kitchen and sent me this taunting pic…

Mmm... meats, cheeses, heaven.

He’s a wise one though.  He knew he better not return home to sleepy MontP empty handed, so home he came with some fine souvenirs and an energized tone in his voice.

The remnants.

Today we’re pulling together a few of those Formaggio leftovers including Coomersdale by Bonnieview Farm (aged sheep’s milk), Queso Azul de Valdeon (Spanish blue cheese) and house-made chorizo and we’re pairing them with fresh Elmore Mountain Bread and arugula for some melt in your mouth breakfast sandwiches.

This bread here is Harrison's own olive ciabatta topped with Formaggio Kithen's thinly sliced chorizo.

You might call these eggs "over-easy", "sunny side up", "fried". I call them "dunken" as in you dunk your toast in 'em.

We used Elmore Mountain's Country French bread for this sandwich. They are based in Elmore, Vermont (of course!).

From their website: Each loaf is handmade and attended to from start to finish, a 16-hour process.

And this is just our warm up.   Off we go to Bohemian Bakery for a sweet second course.

Happy Sunday .

Until we play with meat and cheese again,

A + H

What’s For Lunch? {Smack Yo Momma Good Sandwiches}

So I headed out-of-town for a little Carolina adventure (known as work… OK with a splash of beach) this week leaving H-dog alone with the gremlins for close to two weeks.  If you ask him, he’ll tell you I’m leaving him for a month and half. 

Beach in the Carolinas

Sweet home Carolina.

I feel bad leaving for so long but then again, I think he will kind of like his break from running my weekday cafeteria.  His school schedule just so happens to have him home occasionally around lunchtime (thanks to that twenty spot I gave his school administer… kidding).

If he’s in school you might find me marching myself downtown to pick up one of these delights….

Montpelier Vermont Hot Dog Stand

This bad boy can be found near the corner of State and Route 2, near the Capital Building. I'm a hot dog fanatic by the way and love that this particular stand serves their dogs in a natural casing. Smidge healthier??

But when he’s home, watch out.  You need a forklift to roll me back to the computer. 

Here’s a sampling of the goodness I’ll be missing while down south…

Chopped BBQ sandwich

Leftover pork loin in the fridge... tada.... chopped pork sandwich with homemade bbq sauce and brussel sprout coleslaw.

Bacon, Egg and Spinach Sandwich on Fresh Bread

Leftover thick cut bacon and sautéed spinach in the fridge...tada... bacon, egg and Cabot cheddar cheese sandwich with fresh tomato and sautéed spinach

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Sandwich on Fresh Bread

Leftover homemade croissant rolls on the counter and freshly picked blueberries...tada...egg, tomato, sausage and Cabot cheese croissant with peach and blueberry salad.

patio garden tomatoes in Vermont

Our patio garden sprouted her first few tomatoes... hmm... what to make?

Vermont grass fed blue cheese hamburgers

Throw in a little local grass-fed beef and blue cheese and... tada... Vermont grass-fed blue cheese burgers with crisp onions and fresh tomatoes + sweet potato fries

Working from home never tasted so ‘smack yo momma good’ good.

Until we eat again,

A + H

Find A Farmers Market – Be Inspired!

When we stumbled upon the Capital City Farmers Market earlier this month, we were like kids in a candy shop.  Voted one of the Best 12 Farmer’s Markets by The Daily Green, this eclectic gem of a Farmers Market has been bringing local consumers and local producers together for over 30 years. 

Farmers Market Montpelier Vermont

Capital City Farmers Market open Saturdays from 9am - 1pm May through October. Located at 60 State Street, downtown Montpelier.

Music, samples, people watching, samples, incredible local farmers, samples.  Let’s just say we’re big fans and Saturday mornings at the farmers market have become an extra special treat. What do we love? Walking in and brainstorming how to make a meal out of it all.  Chatting with the vendors always inspires something new.  Plus, there’s nothing better than supporting local food producers. The food’s tastier, more nutritious and *gasp*, fresh!  Yes, we’re good food groupies and we just can’t hide it. 

Montpelier Farmers Market Vermont

People watching - a bonus! Find Waldo...

Here are our finds from our first week (brussel sprouts, grass fed tenderloin and Hartwell cheese… plus, locally cured Damn Fine bacon from our corner sto’:  Uncommon Market.)

Capital City Farmers Market Montpelier Vermont

Score!

Special shout out to: Ploughgate Creamery in Albany, Vermont.  Your Hartwell cheese is a dream.   Cheese lovers: think Brie on steriods. Hypothetically speaking of course…

And here’s the meal we made out of it all:

Capital City Farmers Market Montpelier Vermont

Double Score! Grass fed beef tenderloin with a red wine pan reduction, Hartwell and roasted garlic polenta, sauteed brussel sprouts with onion and local Damn Fine bacon. Cheers!

It’s our weekly splurge on the new budget. An extra special dinner date made with love, all for under 40 bucks.  As we like to say “Now that’s what’s up!”   Be inspired, let loose – find a local farmers market near you.

Until we explore again,
A & H