Echo Hill <3

If you’ve read any of my older posts you know I’m obsessed with a Mennonite owned Dry Goods store in a small town called Fleetwood, PA. Echo Hill may just be one of my favorite places on Earth. When Stephen’s mom suggested he take me there my first time in Kutztown, I was crazy excited. Their pantry was filled with bags of dried apple rings, plump raisins, pumpkin seeds, almonds, trail mix, etc. I thought of all the health food stores I’d been in, as well as the “Amish” Market at home and was excited to buy me some nuts.

When we pulled up I was a little surprised. What a small building standing all by itself. And pretty small on the inside too. Not quite what I was expecting. There are only about 5 aisles. BUT THEN as I explored, I discovered they had just about everything my little heart could ever want. Every single nook is filled with beautiful and wondrous items. And they offer most of their products in organic varieties. They have an aisle of flours & grains, an aisle of pastas, rice & legumes, an aisle of dried fruits & nuts (which includes trail mixes), and an aisle of spices & sauces/milks/juices/oils. They also have an aisle of candy & snack foods that I only wander into for Stephen’s gummy candies. Then along the front wall they have a plethora of honey, jams, sweeteners, & varieties of baking morsels. Along the back wall they have homemade granola, healthful cereals, natural toiletries (ie Toms Deodorant), and vitamin & mineral supplements. They also have a deli counter & a refrigerator/freezer section with various gluten-free products, vegan substitutes, and more traditional meats & cheeses. Above the freezer section they have a whole shelf of Ball Jars & the like. There is also the free-standing rack between the freezers and the standing area to form a line that has many health bars, breads, random stuff. On the other side of the standing room they have a huge assortment of teas, both loose & bagged from a variety of brands.

You’ve got the simple AP flour, bread flour, and whole wheat flour (which all come in organic), and then you have some sprouted spelt flour, brown rice flour, garbanzo flour, soy flour, white bean flour, lentil flour, seriously I don’t even remember all the varieties because I’ve never purchased the ones I’ve never seen in a recipe. And I look at recipes everyday, often most of the day. They also have everything a little vegan girl (or boy) might have seen in a couple of recipes once and never thought they’d buy. They have agar agar flakes & powder, ener-g egg replacer, a variety of different coconut oils, date sugar, stevia, every other sweetener known to man. They have every nut you could ever want, salted, unsalted, roasted, raw, whole, or as a meal (ie almond meal). They have a grain that I’ve never heard of called Freekeh. They have black barley, and regular barley, the best prices on vanilla beans, every dried fruit, every legume, every spice. And they find stuff if they don’t have it and you want it! I told them I was looking for Agar Agar powder last summer when they only had the flakes, the gentleman made a note of it & the next time I was in the store they had the powder!

They also have the zillion things I haven’t mentioned because the list could go on & on & on & on like the song that never ends, it just goes on and on, my friend.

My most recent purchases were:

  • Organic, Unsweetened, Unsulfured Shredded Coconut
  • Organic Garbanzo/Chickpea/Gram Flour
  • Organic Soy Flour
  • EnerG Egg Replacer
  • Agar Agar Powder
  • Organic Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • Dried Goji Berries!
  • Numi Jasmine Green Tea
  • Organic English Walnuts
  • Dried Currants (I prefer them to raisins)

I bought the coconut specifically for Pre‘s Coconut Macaroons I just made.

I bought the walnuts because I plan to make some Jam Thumbprint Cookies, inspired by the Feasting Freds.

I bought the soy flour for some muffin recipes, the gram flour for some Indian recipes, the currants for some scones, the EnerG because it’s in so many vegan baked goods, the goji berries because I’ve never had them, and the jasmine green tea because I love it :)

I don’t know what I’m going to use the Agar Agar for… Any suggestions, friends?

I’ll be posting some of these recipes soon!

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Echo Hill Goodies

Over the weekend I was in Bethlehem, PA for my grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration. Her official celebration was a bash Saturday night, cocktails starting at 6, at the Bethlehem Hotel. We had drinks, dinner, and cake (of course!).

3 of us took the morning on Saturday to sneak away & venture to Echo Hill before the party!!! So exciting!!! We each managed to buy a cardboard box (unfortunately, we forgot our reusable bags) FULL of goodies. Now, I did have a list going into this wonderful experience of happiness & joy, but I abandoned it slightly upon arrival. Some things I wanted that I did not purchase include: amaranth, dark chocolate chips (I couldn’t find any!), barley, assorted flours, cardamom, chili powder, cajun seasoning (I still have a ton), and everything else in the store : )

The List:

  • Raw Cashews
  • Raw Almonds
  • Split Peas
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Steel Cut Oats
  • Bread Flour
  • Dried Dates
  • Vanilla Beans
  • Black Cocoa Powder
  • Butterscotch Bits (for cookies)
  • Dark Brown Sugar
  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Spice Drops (for Stephen)
  • Mexican Hats (for Stephen)

I think the only reason the list stops there is because I know I’ll be back very soon to purchase all the other things my heart desires! I’m almost certain I’ll be picking up most of the items I had listed but overlooked.

I cannot stress enough what an amazing variety of products Echo Hill carries or the affordable prices. On top of those attributes, the people are wonderful, absolutely wonderful. They know exactly where an item is located if they have it, they’ll tell you about a product if you’ve never heard of it & one gentleman offered to open a package of goji berries once for Stephen & I to try. And the parking lot speaks for it. For a pretty small “country store,” the parking lot (and the inside!) was full. I should become the Echo Hill spokesperson, although I’m sure they don’t need one.

Pinto Beans & Goat Cheese

It’s the beginning of November and the weather in Maryland is still very nice! For the last 4 years I’ve been in Central PA during November… where it’s COLD COLD COLD and often snowy or wintry mix-y. I’m not used to this warm weather anymore but I love it. It gets cold enough to wear thick sweaters and warm boots but not so cold its unbearable! Today, its in the high 50s, low 60s. It’s gorgeous outside. There are still green leaves on the trees. Some red and yellow too.

I will be heading up to PA this weekend (brrrrr) for my grandmother’s 90th birthday!!! Go Grandma! We’re throwing her a 90th birthday bash and a bunch of my family will be there. We’re going to party like it’s the 1920s! Technically, Grandma probably partied most in the 30s since she was born in the 20s but whatever. We’ll party like it’s the early 20th century.

She also lives very close to Stephen’s hometown sooo I get to go to Echo Hill. I’m beyond excited! I plan to buy millet, steel cut oats, bread flour, vanilla beans, a variety of nuts, spices, and so much more! I love Echo Hill <3

I was craving something hearty & warm (even though it’s nice, it’s still fall!) and soup wasn’t going to cut it. This recipe could easily be made with black beans too. Mmmm. The chipotle adds an amazing smoky flavor to the beans and the quinoa rounds out the protein. You could add other veg for a little more variety. If I had bell peppers I probably would have added them! Anyway, enjoy! : )

Pinto Beans & Goat Cheese

Pinto Beans & Goat Cheese

  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Can Pinto Beans, unsalted
  • 1 Can Water
  • 1/4 Cup Quinoa
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Chipotle Pepper, ground
  • Splash of Hot Sauce (I used Crystal)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Soft Goat Cheese

Sautee onion in olive oil over medium heat for a couple of minute before adding the garlic. Add the spices to bring out the flavors. Rinse beans before adding to pot. Add water and bring to a boil. Add quinoa and let simmer until quinoa if fully cooked and mixture has thickened considerably. About 15 to 20 minutes. Just can add more water if you’re looking for a soupier consistency. Add hot sauce, salt & pepper to taste. The vinegar in the hot sauce will enhance the other flavors. I think lemon juice would be a nice addition of acidity as well. Once plated, sprinkle goat cheese crumbles over beans or leave off for vegan option.

Bon Apetite!!

I was playing with my camera last night and took a few pictures of my favorite ring. It was my mom’s.

I don’t know where the dried flower came from, I’ve had it on my vanity for quite some time but the handwritten card was from Stephen  : D

Also, took some pictures of the trees & leaves outside a couple of days ago.Last picture! Tuesday mom & I drove to the Eastern Shore to visit my maternal grandmother & grandfather. They live on the water and I snapped a couple of picture of the sunset.

I hope everyone’s enjoying the start of November as much as I am!

Love,

Kelley

My Birthday!

It’s my birthday and there’s a lot to write about! Including Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies, Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Bran Muffins. Then there’s the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Damimmo’s, The Old Stein Inn, and my mother’s Eggs Benedict. There’s also my birthday presents to talk about so I’m excited!

I’ll start with Friday night. Stephen took a bus in from State College and we picked him up in Baltimore. We headed over to the Meyerhoff to see guest conductor, 35 year old, Russian Vasily Petrenko lead the orchestra in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol, Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3. The Rimsky-Korsakov piece was an all around favorite of the night. The conductor was very animated and fun to watch.

After the symphony my brother met us at Damimmo’s for dinner in Little Italy. Just after we were seated Brian Billick, the former coach of the Ravens, was leaving. I ordered the Lobster Tetrazinni which was amazing. Every single thing we ordered was delicious. Stephen ordered the Chilean Sea Bass which was cooked PERFECTLY. For dessert the Creme Caramel was definitely the best. They brought it out with a candle for my birthday!

Saturday morning Stephen & I went to Michael’s to pick up some poster board & tissue paper. He made me a lightbox for my birthday!!!! As well as The Amish Cooks Baking Book. Stephen is from Eastern PA, surrounded by Amish & Mennonite culture. As anyone from the area knows, the Amish make some of the best baked goods ever. Every time I visit I make a very exciting trip to a dry goods store called Echo Hill Country Store. It is, by far, my favorite store ever. It is a Mennonite owned store that repackages dry goods to sell. For a pretty tiny store, it has one of the widest varieties of dried goods at extremely affordable prices. I’m completely smitten. I can’t wait until next weekend when I get my fix at Echo Hill.

After our trip to Michael’s, and after building my new Light Box (Thank you Tater : D ) I made some cookieeees. Some Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies I’ve had my eye on for a while.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Recipe Adapted from Smells Like Home.

COOKIES:

  • 1 Stick Salted Butter, Melted
  • 2/3 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Cup AP Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup Oats

Melt butter and combine with peanut butter, whisking thoroughly. Add sugars and continue whisking. Add egg & vanilla. Stir with spoon to combines. Add AP flour, oats, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir until just combined.

Form dough into tablespoon sized balls using measuring spoon. Place on baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 Degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes. Keep an eye on your cookies after 10 minutes. Let cool before assembling.

FILLING:

  • 4 Tbsp Salted Butter, Room Temperature
  • 3/4 to 1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup 2% Milk, you may use more depending on how thick you like your filling.

Beat butter & peanut butter together. Add 1 cup sugar. Combine. Add milk. Add rest of sugar and beat together. Add more milk as desired.

Spread generous amount of filling on bottom side of one cookie. Sandwich together with another cookie of about the same size.

These cookies were soooo amazing. The filling is smooth and creamy and you’ll probably want more & more. EAT & BE MERRY!