Kitchen Hint of the Day!

December 29, 2013 at 10:18 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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While perusing the cereal aisle, you’ll quickly realize that hot cereals are cheaper than cold ones. Though they may not be as popular with your family, try saving money by making hot cereal at least once a week. It’s often more nutritious, so it’s worth it to make the switch

Seafood of the Week – Conch

November 12, 2013 at 9:15 AM | Posted in seafood, Seafood of the Week | 7 Comments
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Apertural view of an adult shell of the queen conch Lobatus gigas

Apertural view of an adult shell of the queen conch Lobatus gigas

Conch (/ˈkɒŋk/ or /ˈkɒntʃ/) is a common name that is applied to a number of different medium to large-sized sea snails or their shells. The term generally applies to large sea snails whose shell has a high spire and a noticeable siphonal canal (in other words, the shell comes to a point at both ends).
True conches are marine gastropod molluscs in the family Strombidae, specifically in the genus Strombus and other closely related genera such as Eustrombus.
Many species also are often called “conch”, but are not in the family Strombidae, including Melongena species (family Melongenidae), and the horse conch Pleuroploca gigantea (family Fasciolariidae). They also include the sacred chank or more correctly shankha shell (Turbinella pyrum) and other Turbinella species in the family Turbinellidae.



A group of large eastern conches or whelks for sale at a California seafood market

A group of large eastern conches or whelks for sale at a California seafood market

Second in popularity only to the escargot for edible snails, the meat of conches is used as food, either eaten raw, as in salads, or cooked, as in fritters, chowders, gumbos, and burgers. All parts of the conch meat are edible. However, some people find only the white meat appetizing.
In The Bahamas, conch is typically served as fritters and salads. Conch is considered to be the country’s main dish.
In East Asian cuisines, this seafood is often cut into thin slices and then steamed or stir-fried.
In the West Indies (and Turks and Caicos Islands in particular), local people eat conch in soups (commonly callaloo) and salads. Restaurants all over the islands serve this particular meat.
In the The Turks and Caicos Islands, the Annual Conch Festival is held in November each year, located at the Three Queen’s Bar/Restautant in Blue Hills. Local restaurateurs compete for the best and original conch dishes, and are judged by international chefs. Free sampling of the dishes follows, and other competitions, events and music happen well into the evening, making this a very popular event for islanders and tourists.
In the island of Grenada, Dominican Republic & Haiti, conch is commonly eaten in curries or in a spicy soup. It is locally referred to as lambi.
In Puerto Rico, conch is served as a ceviche, often called ensalada de carrucho (conch salad), consisting of raw conch marinated in lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, green peppers, and onions.
In Panama, conch is known as cambombia and is often served as a ceviche known as ceviche de cambombia consisting of raw conch marinated in lime juice, chopped onions, finely chopped habanero peppers and often vinegar. It is particularly popular in Panama’s Colón and Bocas del Toro provinces where many of the locals are descendants of West Indian immigrants.


Conch shells can be used as wind instruments. They are prepared by cutting a hole in the spire of the shell near the apex, and then blowing into the shell as if it were a trumpet, as in blowing horn. Sometimes a mouthpiece is used, but some shell trumpets are blown without one.
Many different kinds of molluscs can produce pearls. Pearls from the queen conch, S. gigas, are rare and have been collectors’ items since Victorian times. Conch pearls occur in a range of hues, including white, brown and orange, with many intermediate shades, but pink is the color most associated with the conch pearl, such that these pearls are sometimes referred to simply as “pink pearls”.


A shell of the Florida crown conch Melongena corona inhabited by a hermit crab

A shell of the Florida crown conch Melongena corona inhabited by a hermit crab

Other uses:

* Conch shells are sometimes used as decoration, as decorative planters, and in cameo making.
* In classic Mayan art, conches are shown being used in many ways, including as paint and ink holders for elite scribes, as bugles or trumpets, and as hand weapons (held by combatants by inserting their hands in the aperture).
* Some American Aboriginals used cylindrical conch columella beads as part of breastplates and other personal adornment.
* In some Afro-Caribbean and African-American cemeteries, conch shells are placed on graves.
* In some Caribbean countries such as Jamaica and the Bahamas, cleaned queen conch shells, or polished fragments, are sold, mainly to tourists, as souvenirs or in jewelry. Responding to a 2003 recommendation from CITES, some countries in the Caribbean have banned the export of queen conch shells. CITES has also asked all countries to ban import of these shells from countries that are not complying with CITES recommendations for managing the fishery. Queen conch fisheries have been closed in several countries. Conch shells or fragments taken home by tourists from noncomplying countries may be confiscated on return to the tourist’s home country while clearing customs. In the UK, conch shells are the ninth most-seized import.
* Conch shells are occasionally used as a building material, either in place of bricks, or as bulk for landfill.
* In Grenada, fishermen use the conch shell as a trumpet to announce to the community that fish is available for sale. Conches are used at Carnival times in the popular Jouvert Jump where Diab Diab (Jab Jab) blow conch shells as part of the festivities. Especially in Guadeloupe, it is not uncommon to hear conch shells being blown near ports at dawn and during Carnival times, too. Many bands are making the conch shell a main instrument.
* In the Bahamas, broken or up-turned conch shells are imbedded into the tops of outdoor walls in an effort to maintain home security; the broken or up-turned shells are sharp enough to cut any intruder who attempts to jump or crawl over the wall.
* They can also be used as a token to determine whose turn it is to make the tea. The tea maker symbolically hands over the conch to the person who will be the next to put the kettle on.




Kitchen Hint of the Day!

November 6, 2013 at 9:54 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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Here’s a neat trick to save that last bit of wine at the end of the bottle. Freeze it in ice-cube trays, then store the cubes in a freezer bag. Use them in wine coolers and any dish that calls for wine.

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

October 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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When trying to remove stubborn food debris from a knife, don’t use a scrubber, which can ruin the finish. Instead, rub a cork over the knife, then wash it in warm water.

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

October 20, 2013 at 9:11 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | 3 Comments
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To save money, purchase solid chocolate candy (usually in Bunny or Santa form) after major holidays when it’s gone on super sale. Store the chocolate in the freezer, then shave off bits with a vegetable peeler to use on top of desserts.

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

October 5, 2013 at 9:46 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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Want to get more for your money when it comes to tea? Always buy the loose variety, and then use one – third of what’s recommended. Just let the tea steep a little longer, and it will taste exactly the same.

September 29, 2012 30th annual Country Applefest – Lebanon, Ohio

September 26, 2013 at 11:23 AM | Posted in Festivals | Leave a comment
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September 29, 2012 30th annual Country ApplefestLebanon, Ohio
The streets of historic downtown Lebanon will be filled with homemade crafts, great food and entertainment. Enter the apple bake off contest.

Historic downtown Lebanon Apple Fest
Lebanon, Ohio

31st Annual Country Applefest

September 28th, 2013 – 10am to 7 pm

FREE Admission, One day only, Rain or Shine.


Free shuttle

from 10:00am – 7:30pm!
Park at Sweeney Chrysler Dodge Jeep
518 W. Main St (St. Rt. 63) and be shuttled to the festival area.


The streets of downtown Lebanon will be filled with homemade crafts, great food, and entertainment.

We hope to see you there!

September 21-22, 2013 Preble County Pork Festival – Eaton, Ohio

September 17, 2013 at 10:41 AM | Posted in Festivals, Pork | Leave a comment
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September 21-22, 2013 Preble County Pork Festival – Eaton, Ohio
Always 3rd full weekend in September. Entertainment, exhibits, food, parade and more!Preble County Pork Festival - Eaton, Ohio


Pork Festival History

Pork Festival HistoryPreble County is located in rural Southwestern Ohio and has a strong agricultural economic base. In order to foster a better understanding between the farm community and a growing urban community a “Farm-City Day” was held annually in the county for several years. In 1970 several members of the committee responsible for the success of this event met to discuss its continuation or an alternate program.
Pork Festival HistoryThe idea of a Pork Festival was suggested and four people visited the festival held at Tipton, Indiana. Those making the trip to Tipton were Paul L. Gerstner, County Extension Agent, Agriculture; George Cummings, Conservationist with the Preble Soil and Water Conservation District; Tim H. Miller, editor of the Register-Herald, a local weekly and correspondent for other area news media; and Herb Tinstman, Manager of the Federal Land Bank Association of Eaton, who became the first Festival Chairman and Executive Vice President of the Board of Directors……

Sept 1-2, 2013 9th Annual Taste of Hudson – Hudson, Ohio

August 27, 2013 at 8:47 AM | Posted in Festivals | Leave a comment
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Sept 1-2, 2013 9th Annual Taste of Hudson – Hudson, Ohio
This two-day culinary and lifestyle festival is held annually over Labor Day weekend and attracts over 35,000 people to Hudson’s historic downtown. Visitors sample delicious foods from over 20 area restaurants while enjoying live entertainment, fine arts and crafts, children’s activities, and a wine and beer garden.


The 9th Annual Taste of Hudson
Savor the flavors from over 20 of the area’s best restaurants and chefs as they prepare scrumptious selections from their in-restaurant menus. While enjoying these culinary delights you can leisurely stroll the many acres of family activities and non-stop entertainment. With eight stages and over 100 live entertainment performances being planned we are certain you will have a great time in Hudson this Labor Day weekend.


Race to the taste 5k
Date: Monday, September 2, 2013
5k Start: September 2, 2013 at 9:00 AM
Family Run: (Family 1 mile fun run at 8:30 AM)
Registration: begins at 7:30 AM – Registation also available on

August 17-18, 2013 32nd Annual Fairborn Sweet Corn Festival – Fairborn, Ohio

August 15, 2013 at 11:19 AM | Posted in Festivals | Leave a comment
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August 17-18, 2013 32nd Annual Fairborn Sweet Corn Festival – Fairborn, Ohio


The Fairborn Sweet Corn Festival features handmade arts and crafts. This is a family oriented alcohol-free event featuring children’s activities with free entertainment, parking, and activities. Many local and regional artisans offering handmade arts and crafts, and of course, Sweet Corn!


In 1982, the first Sweet Corn Festival was held at the Fairborn Lion Den Park in Rona Hills. The following year, the festival was moved to the grounds of Central Jr. High School. In all subsequent years, the festival has been held at Community Park. The festival continued to grow, from only 40 booths with an attendance of a few thousand people to approximately 180 booths with an attendance of over 45,000 people today.

Many traditions of the festival were started the first year. They began with the ribbon cutting by the King and Queen of the festival, which signals the beginning of the festival, and continued with the corn-eating contest, the AVA Volksmarch, free entertainment, numerous arts and crafts booths, food booths, and the famous steam cooked sweet corn.

The children can look forward to pony rides, train rides, and the Big Bounce. Everyone can enjoy the 1840’s Pioneer Village with candle making, silversmithing, blacksmithing, stockades and black powder gun demonstrations.

Through the hard work, dedication, and determination of many volunteers and workers, the Sweet Corn Festival is one of the major festivals in Southwest Ohio.

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