Whimsy Travel: Berry Hill Resort: South Boston, VA

We were able to make the trek to Berry Hill for my birthday. The mister ended up surprising me and it was funny once I figured out where we were headed. I grew up about half an hour from South Boston and if you would have told me ten years ago I would be going for a weekend away there, I probably would have laughed in your face and...the joke would have been on me. 

I drive through South Boston and Halifax on the way to visit my parents at least once every six weeks. I have loved seeing the changes over the past few years and the best part is that the town hasn't lost it's small town character. I can't even rmember the amount of times I spent there growing up. There are quite a few delicious and I mean really excellent high quality restaurants and the resort itself gave us no real reason to even leave if we didn't want to. 

Driving up the tree lined road and seeing the house just put my mind in relaxation mode and taking time to test out the rocking chairs on the grande porch was one of my favorite moments of the weekend. 

They have the main restaurant which we devoured our brunch, still drooling over my banana brulee french toast!  They also have a more casual tavern. Admittedly, I prefered the tavern. It just screams 'history' and the wings were so divine! They had really good drink specials going on as well. 

Our room was really spacious and had a great balcony with a nice view where we enjoyed chocolate covered strawberries and champagne. Then, my husband treated me to a spa service that was severely needed and what a treat it was! I loved the atmosphere and they offered an abundance of services on short notice! Afterwards we took a dip in the heated pool and spent some time in the sauna. 

If you are looking for a weekend away, I definitely recommend the Berry Hill Resort. It's about an hour from Lynchburg and an hour or so from Raleigh/Durham.


Warm Goat Cheese & Salsa Dip

I have a super easy but very tasty appetizer for you all today as part of the Fiesta blog hop!  More and more lately I have found myself on the hunt for simple recipes. I have tendencies to go all out for gatherings to serve really creative and festive dishes for my friends. I still love doing those things, I have just come to a happy medium. I was becoming so flustered and spending a lot of money and only recently have I leaned more towards simple dishes but ones that still packed a powerful punch in the taste department. I think today's appetizer fulfills those standards. 

I am really pumped to be a part of today's blog hop that is all about Mexican food. Yum, my mouth is already watering imagining what the other bloggers have prepared for us as well! When we did the Italian hop last month, I added quite a few new dishes to our repertoire! The idea for my dish today came from one of my favorite local restaurants, Tazza Kitchen. My go to appetizer there is the  warm goat cheese and marinara dip they serve. It is a hit with everyone and I think this version is pretty delish in its own right!

I just used a plain goat cheese this time, but a flavored one would probably work just as well. Our local grocer had an onion and garlic version, YUM! I used a homemade taco seasoning but you could easily use store bought or any spices that you like. I used a homemade salsa verde and some shredded Mexican blend cheeses. 

The best part about this is that from start to finish takes less than 20 minutes with only about 5 minutes of prep time!


4 oz goat cheese log
2 tbsp taco seasoning
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup shredded cheese

preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

Pour taco seasonings onto a plate, roll goat cheese in seasonings until completely covered. Place log in a small baking dish and, using your fingers, press down to flatten goat cheese. Pour the salsa over the goat cheese and top with the shredded cheese. 

Bake about 10-15 minutes or until shredded cheese has begun to melt. 

Serve with tortilla chips. And probably a margarita or even a Paloma.

You can mix this up to suit your taste in quite a few ways. Maybe mix the goat cheese and some queso. I think I would like it with a more spicy and robust red salsa next time. and I want to try it with shredded queso vs the Mexican blend. You really can't go wrong!


Hippity Hoppity Easter

This past weekend was a fabulous time home with my family. We got to take in one of my nephew's baseball games to start our weekend off right and then on Saturday we caravanned (sp?) it up to Scottsville for some delicious lunch, walking around downtown and then hitting up a quaint bakery before ending our day at a local winery. It was so nice just to be together. 

I may only live two hours from home, but I still miss the doing the everyday business of life with them.  So any time I get to spend a fun filled day, much less weekend,  I am over the moon. 

Sunday we went to church and listened to a great service, Easter is most assuredly my favorite holiday. It is the cornerstone of my faith, after all. Not the bunnies and the eggs, even though they are an added bonus. 

That niht we had hunt with my niece and nephews, followed by a delicious meal with my favorite people. it is these simple pleasures of life I used to take for granted but with my husband and I living away from each of our families, I appreciate them so much more now. 

My parents yard was in full showing off mode and I snapped a few pictures of it in its glory. I do love Virginia, it will always be my home!

The one added shot is of our dessert in Scottsville, it was a deep fried french toast ice cream sandwich, I have now officially lived;)


Sweet N Spicy Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potatoes

I do love a recipe challenge, almost as much as I love bacon. Ergo, today's recipe is one of my favorites. I am participating in a bi monthly recipe challenge and this months ingredient is potatoes. I love me some potatoes and I will have 40 some recipes to look through and make these next few weeks. 

When I was deciding what to create,  I went round and round with a few ideas and then remembered I had this recipe post in my drafts from a long time ago. I looked it over and ,after gasping in horror, once I spied my photos, I decided this was definitely the recipe I wanted to go with and it was also the perfect time to practice my food photography on one of my first recipes. Slowly, I am getting better at capturing good shots. 

I am still learning as I go with my cameras and interestingly enough, I preferred the ones I took with my phone (galaxy 6) and so I went with those for this post. I hope they do justice to this simple appetizer because I promise, it is simple, yet delicious! This is also a recipe that you can play around with the spices to perfect it to your taste. 

2 medium/large sweet potatoes
1 package bacon
1 1/2 tbsp bourbon
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder

preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut the potatoes somewhat thin, in rounds. Cut each slice of bacon in 3rds. ( if your slices are little thicker, you can cut your bacon in half) wrap the bacon around the slices and place on the baking sheet.  

In a small bowl, combine the bourbon, brown sugar, and chili powder. ( if you want it more sweet or more spicy, adjust the spice amounts to your taste. also, if you do not want to use bourbon, use melted butter) Once combined, using a basting brush, brush the mixture onto the bacon. 

Place the potatoes in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and flip potatoes over and repeat the basting process. 

Cook for 15-20 minutes or until done. 

These are great for a dinner party or get together. I also sometimes use prosciutto basted in olive oil and sprinkled with garlic salt and pepper. This is a dish that you really cannot go wrong with and can make completely to your taste. 

Now, try not to spend so much time salivating on all of these other posts that you get nothing done today. I can see that happening to me!


Fried Dough Stuffed With Pancetta

I am excited to be partaking in an all Italian recipe round up today. My last name is Baldassari, after all;) I have been waiting to share this simple, yet delicious recipe with you all and once I saw this gathering of dishes, I knew it was the perfect time.  I have had fried dough numerous times (zeppole, if we are sticking with the Italian theme) but the first moment I was able to enjoy the savory version was actually on our trip to Italy last year. This fried dough dredged in sea salt and stuffed with pancetta will be your new staple for quick party apps, I promise you!

  I was fed this delectable treat on our first day in Tuscany. We were at our family's inn celebrating Antonio's birthday. The food we were served that first day will always hold a place in my mind for being one of the best meals I have ever partaken in. To call it a meal almost seems to lessen what it was for it was surely an experience. The inn is located in northern Tuscany in the small village of Gragnola. As we were all seated around the tables, the wine and conversation flowing, placed in front of me was a basket of fried dough. 

Little did I know what the next few bites would have in store for me. 

As I stole a roll away from the basket, it was still piping hot. Upon first bite I was firmly taken to what could only be described as foddie nirvana. Such a simple idea, fried dough with the surprise of crunchy sea salt. My taste buds determined it anything but tasting simple. Then, as I watched, everyone around me began to rip their bite sized pufffs of goodness open and stuffed them with the never ending supply of pancetta and proscuitto. The meats were room temperature and it was almost as if the heat from the rolls melted the fat in the meat and it led to one the greatest taste explosions I've ever had the pleasure to experience. 

You can make this a few different ways and I do not promise that mine is the most authentic, but I do promise it is delicious nonetheless. 

I cheated on my dough and just purchased a premade pizza dough, the kind you get in the chilled section of the grocer aisle. I then used my kitchen shears to cut the dough into very small cubes, keeping in mind that once it fries, it bubbles up to twice its size! I got a pound of pancetta and cut each piece in two. I used simple canola oil. 

2 cups oil
1 pizza dough
1 lb pancetta/prosciutto
sea salt

Get the oil ready, I drop a piece of flour in to see if it bubbles and then I know it is ready. Have a plate lined with paper towels ready to go, along with a large slotted spoon. Drop 5-6 cubes of dough in the oil at a time. Once the dough begins to brown, quickly turn them. They can go from done to burn in a quick second, be sure to watch them closely!

Once they are done and still hot, I roll them in a plate full of sea salt. Open them and place the pancetta in immediately and serve. These are much better being devoured while they are still hot. Also, I recommend letting the pancetta get to room temperature before starting the oil. 

Now be sure and check out the other fabulous dishes these great cooks have whipped up for you! You should also find some great tablescape and printable ideas.