Giveaway: September Farm Sampler

As of Nov 14, 2017, this giveaway is closed.

Confession: I do love a good cheese, a good family, and a good story. All three come together in the business I’m promoting today: September Farm Cheese.

If you live near Lancaster County, you already know about September Farm. Their beautiful store is the place to stop for amazing fresh cheese, sandwiches, ice cream, and more. But did you know you can buy September Farm products from their webstore and have them shipped to your doorstep?

The Rotelle family has been involved in food production for four generations. In 2007, Dave and Roberta established September Farm Cheese, using milk from their own excellent dairy to produce the finest quality cheese.

Since then, September Farm has become ever more widely known for their delicious creations:

Handcrafted Monterey Jack

  • in many delightful flavors
  • including the award-winning Chives & Dill

Handcrafted Cheddar

Authentic Dutch Gouda

And much more, including Swiss, Havarti, Parmesan, and Mozzarella. Their own dairy still produces all the milk used in manufacturing the cheese. They age and ripen their cheese in their temperature and humidity regulated cheese cave.

I’ve been privileged to be a frequent taster of September Farm products – one of the Rotelle children lives in my community, and we always try to schedule our church potlucks for right after she’s visited home and returned bearing gifts. Okay, that was a joke. But still, I’ve loved every one of the cheeses I’ve tried: they’re creamy, nuanced, and perfectly textured.

I’ve also visited September Farm’s lovely store in Honey Brook, PA, sampling good things and making purchases. I love visiting on location, but it’s not always possible – so I’m really excited about their growing online presence!

They’ve recently expanded their online offerings, adding many products that were previously available in-store only, including fresh cheese curds, meats, relishes and dips, and beautiful gift baskets with customizable options, perfect for tasteful (or did I mean tasty?) holiday presents. Purchases can be made from their webstore at any time.

Today, September Farm and I are offering you a chance to win one of their Small Samplers free of charge! A Small Sampler includes

  • Three 8-ounce bars of handcrafted cheese (your choice of eleven flavors!)
  • One 8-ounce Lebanon Bologna
  • A September Farm cheese wire

Here are the flavors one fortunate winner will get to pick from.

Mild Cheddar
Medium Cheddar
Sharp Cheddar
Robertson’s Extra Sharp Cheddar
Smoked Cheddar
Jumpin’ Jack Jalapeño
Honey Jack
Pepperoni Augusto Jack
Chives & Dill Jack
Garlic & Basil Jack
Joy’s Tomato Basil Jack

If you’d like to be entered in a drawing to win a Small Sampler, I’m asking you to share this post on social media, or forward by email to a few friends. Then leave a comment below. Keep in mind that September Farms staff will read your comments, so if you have favorite flavors, or new cheeses you’d like to see them develop, be sure to let them know – and don’t forget to say thank you! {wink}

Cheese, anyone?

Don’t be shy if you are new to Confessions. This is the perfect chance to say hi and leave your first comment. I’d love to meet you!

I was given a Small Sampler by September Farm Cheese in exchange for hosting this giveaway, and it was scrumptious. All facts have been checked to the best of my ability with knowledgeable sources, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Giveaway will remain open for one week, closing at midnight on November 14, 2017. Open only to persons with a US mailing address. Winner will be chosen by

This giveaway is closed.

Our favorite pizza

Confession: We always have pizza on Saturday nights, unless we are away from home. It’s a tradition I grew up with in my family, and now my children count on it.

The soft and delicious crust is a recipe passed down to me by my mom.

Pizza Dough

1 scant Tbsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup warm water

— Stir together and let rest 5 minutes.

1 Tbsp. oil
½ tsp. salt
Garlic salt to taste
Oregano to taste
2 ½ cups hi-gluten flour

— Add, and knead with dough hook attachment in mixer until dough is soft and elastic, no longer clinging to sides of bowl. Let rise till double, 30-45 minutes. Pat into pizza pan.

Sometimes I shake extra herbs into the dough – sage, thyme, parsley, basil. Or I use half a cup of whole wheat flour and two cups of hi-gluten.

Recently we’ve been stuffing the crust. We cut string cheese in half the long way and wrap the dough around it – or use equivalent size strips from a chunk of bulk cheese.

Then we butter the top of the crust (only the stuffed part) and sprinkle it with garlic salt, to make basically a stuffed breadstick. Now the crust is the best part of the pizza!

We add pizza sauce and our favorite toppings – usually a pound of bulk sausage, browned; mushrooms (on all but two slices); shredded mozzarella; and lots of pepperoni. We bake it at 375° for 30 minutes, and enjoy together.


Do you have food traditions for certain days each week? I’d love to hear them, and give them a try in our family.

Also, just FYI – I let Kelly comment on my last post to give an update on how she’s doing. By now she’s as active as ever, having to be reminded of the doctor’s orders to go easy on her tummy until her follow-up appointment. Thanks for your kind words to her and to me.

Gifts of great beauty

So now that we are talking to each other, what should we talk about?

If I were a smarter blogger, I would have quickly followed up on your willingness to talk with a titillating post on a hot topic, like “Q: What do you think of The Shack?” (A: I don’t think of it at all. What shack?)

I’m not stupid, I’m just stubborn. And occasionally tongue-tied.

So this is a popcorn post – random bits of delight from my days – and then you can share some of yours with me.

First I have a few things to say about food. I found a new favorite cake: chocolate, with maple and buttercream frostings alternating. So yummy.

I’ve been eating my Grandma Grace’s peanut butter toast for breakfast (okay, my peanut butter toast made her way; I’m not stealing poor granny’s brekky). Take a piece of wheat bread and toast it. Spread with peanut butter and long slices of banana. Top with honey and cinnamon. I’m not sure if it’s *that good* because it’s *that good* or because I grew up on it.

This is my favorite lunch: a changing kaleidoscope of color, texture, and flavor. The best edible cure I know for gray days.

I’m spending lots of time with my family. I was watching this basketball game happen and they said “Do you want to play?” and I sort of laughed and panicked because I don’t know the rules. But I said yes, and it was actually fun. No one took pictures of that part, which on the whole is probably a good thing.

Then I found this on my kitchen counter, a teeny bouquet tied up with grass.

Only a six-year-old can be that artistic and precise with weeds, turning them into gifts of great beauty. I love that about her.

She is growing her writing skills too, and has spent much time on this paper just for the fun of it, imitating her big brothers’ assignments. (click to enlarge)

Spring has sprung in Meadville. Last fall I finally remembered to plant the bulbs for which I long in March, crocuses and tulips and daffodils and hyacinths, and I can’t wait to see more of them pop.

I am thinking often of Easter, remembering the wonderful things we did last year to celebrate. This year we are adding handicrafts in the form of glittery eggs from Dollar Tree strung on bare branches. I can’t stop looking at them. I never know how to decorate for this holiday, but if eggs are a symbol of new life, I cannot think of anything more appropriate for Easter than new life hung on a Tree.

Plus it makes the children busy and happy, cutting and twisting all that wire.

We revived last year’s mercy garden, with fresh things from the yard and gardens. On Easter weekend I will put a candle in the tomb.

I think it is so amazing that I found an incredible photo backdrop I didn’t know I had, in the form of my dilapidated basement doors (above). Isn’t that smashing? You might see more of them in future. I always assumed foodie bloggers had cardboard backgrounds they stood behind their masterpieces… I didn’t know they carried the food outside and set it on top of their junk.

But talking of eggs, my son brought me a real trophy from his flock. “Imagine being a hen laying normal eggs and then having to lay this one,” he said.

She is doing well on bedrest.

What popcorn would you like to share from your days? Three pieces at random.

Happy Tuesday!

In praise of the soybean

My dad grew edamame before it was cool. We called it by another name back then.

In the garden he claimed from a Minnesota meadow, he planted rows of soybeans, poor man’s food he remembered from his boyhood. When the plants died in the late summer, he uprooted them by the dozen and laid them in our yard. Rows and rows of tables stacked high with brittle stalks. How many were there? We pulled the sharp, hairy pods from the plants and my mom boiled them until the beans inside were bright and ready, jewels of goodness we pinched from the pods until our thumbs were sore. The mosquitoes chewed holes in our legs, and we stood on one foot so we could scratch with the other.


When I was an adult, I went to a posh restaurant and was surprised to find edamame on the menu; the waiter grinned when I pronounced it correctly (“Very nice. Usually nobody knows what that is”), but I was raised on it in the wilds of Minnesota and when it arrived on my plate I found they hadn’t even bothered to pinch it out of the pods, but oh it was good, packed and popping with goodness, and since then I have found it at my supermarket shelled or not; an easy choice for this girl who remembers how


The mosquitoes chewed holes in our legs, and we stood on one foot so we could scratch with the other. We pulled the sharp, hairy pods from the plants and my mom boiled them until the beans inside were bright and ready, jewels of goodness we pinched from the pods until our thumbs were sore. How many were there? Rows and rows of tables stacked high with brittle stalks. When the plants died in the late summer, he uprooted them by the dozen and laid them in our yard. In the garden he claimed from a Minnesota meadow, he planted rows of soybeans, poor man’s food he remembered from his boyhood.


We called it by another name back then. My dad grew edamame before it was cool.


First world problems

For ten minutes she looked through her closet, dithering. She was not a ditherer by nature, so this was a matter of unusual difficulty. What to wear?


She could wear the pretty paisley dress, but she’d worn it to the last social event, and probably to the one before that. She could wear the blue, though she could not remember what had led her to choose such an obnoxious shade. The purple was showing snags, the black she had worn for seven or eight seasons, the red was too wintery, the denim was a little tight since the baby, the white and navy had no nursing zipper…

and of course the only good one was in the wash.

10 minutes
+ 12 or 15 pretty dresses
0 options

There are women the world over who wear anything they got now, minus the dithering. {blush} When she saw the math she was ashamed of herself, and she reached out her hand and grabbed a dress.

When the groceries would not fit in her refrigerator, she decided to take inventory of the jars and bottles that crammed her shelves.


She had tried to keep them in their proper sphere (the shelves of the refrigerator door), but after too little attention—and some delectable taste-test gifts from business associates—they were engulfing ALL the spheres.

Here is what her inventory looked like.

Jams Dressings Toppings Sauces Other
Black currant


Hot pepper (x2)


Strawb Jalapeno

Rasp Jalapeno

Cr Romaine





Bacon ranch


Roasted garlic &       parmesan

Poppy seed

Caramel (x2)


Spray whip


Iced coffee



Sw Baby Ray’s






Sweet chili (x2)



Kalamata olives

Green olives


Water (x2)

Lime juice

Lemon juice

Cherry soda

Baby dills

Applesauce (x2)


Oy vey, she said when she was done.

That’s forty-two items.

So she sat down to blog about it, a judicious first step, and then she crossed out the ones to discard (there were only two and a half. she has issues with throwing away food unless it smells like a distillery, as in the case of the second jar of applesauce—her son took one whiff and swore off alcoholic beverages forever)… and she put a little star beside the ones to use up as soon as possible, and she underlined the ones that would remain as permanent staples. She was pleased to see they should all fit nicely into the shelves of the refrigerator door.


Now her list looked SO much better that she turned from it without a twinge of guilt and went back to reading George Orwell, because when her children are sleeping and it’s 10:30 at night, that’s how she rolls.

Her fridge has not changed, but all in good time.

This story is strictly factual,
New dresses are in progress,
And anyone in the market for jam can stop by.