In the Spotlight: Homestead Favorites

Today, I’d like to introduce you to “Homestead Favorites”, a ranch with a long history, going back almost 150 years and 6 generations!

In 1849, John Carsten Grupe, embarked on a sailing vessel which brought him on the long voyage around Cape Horn to California. The young man had been attracted to the coast by gold prospects, later turned his attention to freighting to the mine fields from Stockton to Mokelume Hill. After a few years, he began a very successful agricultural career in the Linden area. This pioneering family established a diverse and very successful farm raising fruits, vegetables, grains, and cattle.

“Homestead Favorites” is in the Spotlight today for their cherry orchard and yummy cherry jellies!

Since 1960, when it was planted by Karl Potter Grupe, this orchard has continued to produce the finest cherries in the Linden area. Many of the original trees still bear pounds of fruit through the May to June harvest. The Bing cherries are shipped around the world as first class fresh market cherries.

Courtesy of Homestead Favorites, here are a few recipes:

Cherry Almond Focaccia Recipe (Awarded 1st place at Linden Cherry Festival)
– 1 can refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
– 1/2 c. cherry jelly
– 1/4 c. sliced almonds
– 1/2 c. granola, grape nuts or any crunchy cereal

1. Heat oven to 375° F;
2. Cut each roll into 4 pieces, arrange 1/2″ apart in greased pan. Gently press pieces together to form a crust.
3. Spoon cherry jelly over crust and top with almonds & granola.
4. Bake for 18-20 minutes & drizzle with icing.

Chutney Chicken Summer Salad
– 1/2cup mayonnaise
– 1/2 cup cherry chutney
– 1 tsp. curry(?)
– 2t. lemon zest
– 1/4 cup lemon juice
– 1/2 t. salt
– 4 cup diced cooked chicken in cubes

1. Mix dressing, add chicken, add 1 chopped apple or pear, 3/4 almonds or pecans & 1/2 c. raisins or cranberries.
2. Set on a bed of lettuce

The Grupe homestead is one of the last surviving family ranches in the Linden area and they even received an honorary award from the California Chamber of Commerce!

Their cherry jellies can be found at a few wineries in Northern California. If you’d like to buy some of their cherry jelly, please visit them at and contact them through their contact page.

Power of Fruit® Launches Frozen Fruit Bars Into Wegmans Chain

Great news, everyone! Wegmans shoppers can cool off with Power of Fruit bars this summer. On June 25 top sellers Power of Fruit’s BananaBerry and Original flavors were launched in the Nature’s Market Place section of each of their 77 stores.

“Wegmans is known for its fresh produce and that is where Power of Fruit fits in. POF bars are just fresh fruit – chopped up and frozen,” said Marcia Blackwell, Marketing Director at Power of Fruit. Carrying Power of Fruit bars is just another example of Wegmans commitment to healthy eating.”

This Wegmans announcement follows the inclusion of Power of Fruit Bars in 96 Winn-Dixie stores and an additional 158 natural food stores nationwide. Total distribution is over 2000 grocery and natural foods retailers.

About the Power of Fruit®: Power of Fruit® Bars are made purely from fresh fruit, frozen. Unlike other frozen bars that claim to be natural, they have no 6-syllable ingredients or laboratory additives that would disqualify anyone from a spelling bee. All five flavors of POF Bars are a blend of whole fruit with just a little all-natural fruit juice concentrate and water. That’s it. Coming in at less than 35 calories per bar, the treats are also equivalent to ½ a daily fruit serving.

The Power of Fruit® was founded in 2008 by four hungry guys looking for a flavorful and healthful dessert to share with their kids and hopefully a few million of their closest friends. Power of Fruit bars are distributed nationwide. For Further information please visit

About Wegmans: Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is a 77-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland. Its first New England store will open in Northborough, Massachusetts in October 2011. The family-owned company, founded in 1916, is recognized as an industry leader and innovator. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for fourteen consecutive years. In 2011, Wegmans ranked #3 on the list.

Butter Lane Cupcakes

I am delighted to introduce you to Butter Lane Cupcakes! I know we mentioned them in one of our previous articles about The Most Popular Bakeries in New York City but, this time, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Maria Baugh, one of the co-owners of Butter Lane Cupcakes.

How did it all start? Whose idea was it?
Two friends (Pam Nelson and Linda Lea) and I had been talking for some time about starting a business together, but we were all so busy in our jobs that there was no way we could realistically do it. Only when Pam left her job at Citibank did that really give us the opportunity to start something. And we had the audacity to think we could make a better cupcake.

Butter Lane Cupcakes
Photo courtesy of Butter Lane Cupcakes.
The name “Butter Lane” sounds so delicious. How did you come up with it?
The shop is named for a road on the east end of Long Island called Butter Lane.

What can you tell us about the people behind “Butter Lane” cupcakes?
Pam Nelson worked on Wall Street for years at Citibank. She’s now running Butter Lane. Linda Lea is a TV producer. She was the executive producer of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and is currently the executive producer of Chopped on Food Network. I’ve been in magazines for many years. I was an executive editor at In Style, executive managing editor at Glamour and am currently the managing editor of Food Network Magazine.

Please tell us more about the delicious cupcakes you make.
We have three different cupcake flavors—chocolate, vanilla and banana. And we have about 30 different icing flavors, some of which rotate seasonally. You can choose your cupcake and icing flavor and we happily ice to order.

What’s your latest creation?
Cake pops!

Butter Lane Cake Pops

What makes your cupcakes different?
We spent more than 400 hours in the test kitchen the summer of 2008 working on our recipes. We were determined to come up with recipes that needed less sugar. We use plenty of sugar and the cupcakes are sweet, but they don’t make your teeth hurt. We also feel very strongly that high quality ingredients are the answer. We use real vanilla beans, Callebaut chocolate and fresh fruit and we do not use food coloring. These things cost a lot more, but we’re a little bit snobby about ingredients so to us it’s totally worth it.

How would you describe “Butter Lane” cupcakes in three words?
Quality ingredients rule.

Photo courtesy of Butter Lane Cupcakes

What are you up to these days? Any plans for the future?
We just opened our second location. It’s in Park Slope (240 Seventh Ave between 4th and 5th Streets)—we opened a little less than two weeks ago. We’re very excited! We have online ordering for delivery in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, but now we’re focusing on shipping. Soon people will be able to order online to get cupcakes and cake pops shipped anywhere in the continental US.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?
We teach cupcake baking classes in our classroom next door to the East Village shop. We’re also starting to teach at Park Slope. You can get all the info here:

We’re now selling Blue Bell ice cream (a Texas favorite that’s hard to find in NYC) in both the East Village and Park Slope locations.

Where can we find you?

Butter Lane
123 East 7th Street
Between First Avenue and Avenue A
New York, NY 10009

Butter Lane Park Slope
240 Seventh Avenue
Between 4th and 5th Streets
Phone number tk

YouTube Channel:

Organic Desserts from Amy’s Kitchen

Have you ever tried organic desserts? They are so fresh and tasty! Amy’s Kitchen (which we mentioned in a previous post about gluten free desserts), is a popular company that has amazing organic choices!


  • There’s an apple pie with juicy organic apples and juice concentrate. It is lightly sweetened, baked in a tender butter crust made with organic whole wheat, rice, and tapioca flour. It is sweetened with honey. They do list allergens and this product contains wheat and milk.
  • Next you have a chocolate cake, which is moist, light and, simply, irresistible. Some ingredients include organic wheat flour and cocoa powder. It is sweetened with organic evaporated cane juice. Allergens in this product are wheat.
  • I know we have covered this one before, but it is just so good I had to mention it again: Amy’s gluten free, dairy free chocolate cake. The final result is light, tender, moist, and so delicious that everyone will enjoy it even if they aren’t gluten intolerant. This product has soy milk and a variety of flours such as whole grain brown rice flour, organic unsweetened cocoa powder, tapioca starch, garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour, and fava bean flour.
  • The lemon poppy seed cake has a refreshing delicate lemony flavor obtained by lemon oil and juice. It is enhanced by a sprinkling of poppy seeds throughout that add texture and a unique taste all on their own. This cake does contain milk and wheat.
  • Amy’s Orange Cake is moist, light and delicious with the sweet taste of orange accomplished with juice and oil. It is baked with organic wheat flour and evaporated cane juice.


So, are you ready to have a slice all to yourself? Check out! You can also join their Facebook page.

Photos courtesy of Amy’s Kitchen. Thank you!

Twinings, Shaping Tea Traditions

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Twinings.

About Twinings

Since 1706, creating the perfect balance of flavor, taste, and aroma has been this company’s pride! During all these years, Twinings has introduced new tea trends and has helped millions of tea lovers find their favorite blend! It has brought families together and witnessed new family traditions.

Blends & Flavors

Twinings teas come in a variety of choices. Here are 10 of the most popular ones in no order whatsoever:

Twinings Tea. Photo courtesy of vanceming

  1. Earl Grey
  2. Green & Camomile
  3. Green Tea
  4. Ultra Spice Chai
  5. English Breakfast
  6. Lemon Twist
  7. Mixed Berry
  8. Peppermint Organic
  9. Irish Breakfast
  10. French Vanilla Black Chai

Some flavors are available in decaf as well. Twinings teas come loose, in tea bags and K-cups (for Keurig Brewers). For a complete list of their blends, flavors and other products, please visit their website or the Twinings store on Amazon.

A Few Tips

  • For a milder  flavor, shorten the brewing time and for a stronger flavor, increase the brewing time.
  • You have the option of course, to add sugar and milk, but with these teas there are other choices. If you add lemon or orange juice to a cup of chamomile tea the flavor will be enhanced. Apple, cherry, grape, or even pomegranate juice compliments most of Twinings teas. Lastly, the alternative to regular milk can be rice, almond, or even soy. These three “mock milks” go perfectly with the English breakfast.
  • Keep your Twinings teas in an airtight container; this way they stay fresh for up to 3 years!

What Else Should I Know About Twinings?

  • Twinings teas are gluten free and are certified Kosher.
  • When served on its own, Twinings teas contain no fat and have no calories (unless you add milk, honey, sugar, etc).

Where to find Twinings

You can find Twinings teas all over the world! In the U.S. you’ll most likely find them at Whole Foods Market, Safeway, Costco, Stop & Shop, Barnes & Nobles cafe, and practically any vegan cafe or grocery store. If you cannot find Twinings at your local store, you can always visit their online store or the Twinings store on Amazon.

You can also find Twinings on Facebook!

Now, most individuals enjoy a good cup of Joe, Java, espresso,  cappuccino latte, etc…but never forget a simple cup of soothing tea. These teas are absolutely heavenly to wake up to and simultaneously, are extremely relaxing before bedtime. Try Twinings for yourself!

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Sip-t Tea Company

I was browsing the net the other day and I found this tea company called Sip-t. So I decided to feature them! Here is what I found out!

Sip-t Tea Co. is owned by a mother/daughter team who hand craft artisan teas out of the finest available organic and fair trade ingredients forming delectable, unique teas with a focus on quality, the environment, and their community.

Sip-T began from one recipe and now the pair boasts 15 unique and amazing teas that they hand produce in beautiful Bellingham, WA. Each tea begins with hand sourcing the ingredients, assuring each has only the finest in organic and fair trade components, and then is hand blended with an exacting recipe in a batch that never exceeds two pounds so as to bring every tea fresh to the hands of their loyal fans.

Cheyenne Black

Sip-T is a Toward Zero Waste company, that is constantly seeking ways to reduce their impact and maximize their contribution to the community they love.

Sip-T Tea Company Announces New 99% Waste-Free Packaging!

Just one small staple – that’s the only thing in Sip-T Tea Company’s new packaging that can’t be composted. Cheyenne Black, co-owner with her daughter Kamea, noted that although the company’s original packaging was 100% recycled content, they are always striving to do better.

“Our new packaging is tree-free – it consists of hemp paper, a plant-based compostable cellophane, and a reusable cotton tea infuser, grown and sewn in the USA,” Black said. “Everything except the staple is biodegradable, compostable, and tree-free – and our customers get a reusable tea infuser, too!”

Sip-T is among the Sustainable Connections business members participating in the Toward Zero Waste Campaign. ” I think we’ve created something usable, and something that will provide real value to our customers,” Black added. “Reusability is where it’s at — you can’t get less waste than to reuse it and keep it out of the waste stream altogether. “When we first went into business, I had no idea how much of my time would be dedicated to packaging. It’s our image, it’s the feel in the hands of our customers at stake, and it’s the inherent usability of our product,” she explained. “It’s definitely more time-consuming to package this way, because there are many more steps involved, but we believe that tree-free and compostability are incredibly important. As with our original packaging, every unit is packaged by hand, so it’s a bit all-consuming for us on packaging days, but we are incredibly happy with this new stride forward!”

Kamea Black

The Bellingham-based, family-run company, founded in January 2009, handcrafts a range of Passionately Delicious Artisan Tea™ in micro batches of two pounds or less. “This means that our teas are always fresh and never stored for long periods of time,” she explained. “The leaves aren’t crushed or broken in the blending process, so the full flavor remains intact.”

Sip-T uses only certified organic and fair trade tea leaves, and additional ingredients are also certified organic, such as the mango, ginger, and lime in the Tiki Nui Mango Lime Island Tea. Sip-T is a green company, both in product and purchasing choices.

Where to find them:
Sip-T chai teas, black teas, caffeine-free teas, green teas, oolong tea, white teas, and rooibos “red teas” are sold at the Bellingham Farmers Market (both the Saturday market at Depot Market Square and the Wednesday market at the Fairhaven Village Green), and online at For Wholesale pricing call: (360) 220-8100

Street Sweets & Food Network Magazine are announcing The Scharffen Berger ‘Chocolate Adventure Contest’

Street Sweets and Food Network Magazine are partnering to promote The Sharffen Berger ‘Chocolate Adventure Contest’.

If you like cupcakes and love to bake, you can win a top prize of $10,000 (total cash prizes of $20,000) and chance to fly to New York City to bake and share your cupcake from a beloved Sweet Truck.  The winning recipe would also be published in an upcoming edition of Food Network Magazine.

Please go to to learn more about this fun exciting contest.

In mid October, keep a look out for the special Sharffen Berger / Food Network Magazine /Street Sweets truck handing lots of delicious Street Sweets cupcakes, more details to follow soon.

Photo courtesy of Street Sweets

Please also friend Street Sweets on Facebookto be the first to learn about upcoming exciting news and events.

Watch Street Sweets on CNBC’s Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo.

Street Sweets selected by Good Morning America and its viewers as one of the top four food trucks (only sweets/ NYC truck to be selected) in the country.

Most Popular Bakeries in New York City

A lot has been said about New York City’s most popular bakeries. But things change on a yearly basis, so let’s see who’s baking the most delicious desserts in NYC this year! In random order!

If your favorite is not on the list, leave us a comment! We’d love to hear your nominations!


MAGNOLIA BAKERY– is often credited with starting the modern day cupcake craze with their signature pastel colored, buttercream-frosted versions. Magnolia Bakery specializes in old fashioned baked goods including red velvet cake, icebox cake, and banana pudding.

cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery
photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Location: With four bustling store fronts –two of which have opened in the past year– owners Steven and Tyra Abrams have made Magnolia’s in-demand pastries and desserts more accessible to New Yorkers and, with the Rockefeller Center location, tourists as well.
401 Bleecker St. , New York, NY (Downtown)
1240 Avenues of the Americas, New York, NY (Rockefeller Center)
200 Columbus Ave., New York, NY (uptown)
Grand Central 107 East 42nd Street, New York, NY


RUBY ET VIOLETTE – is a New York City bakery and café that specializes in handmade, small batch gourmet chocolate chunk cookies, brownies and cookie dough ice creams.  The company is owned by three sisters; they offer exquisitely detailed gift and bakery boxes filled with their sinful treats which they send across the country as indulgent presents.

Reminiscent of a charming Parisian café, it features an old fashioned tin ceiling, black and white marble floors and custom artwork.  Customers can also enjoy an espresso bar, homemade drinking chocolates, and small batch cookie dough ice creams and sorbets.

Location: Manhattan-ites can indulge a sweet tooth on any given Tuesday through Saturday at Ruby et Violette’s café, located at 457 West 50th Street, in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen.


5th AVENUE CHOCOLATIERE: is a family-owned business that specializes in macaroons (the best!!), matzo for Passover, the most fabulous gourmet truffles  and other baked goodies. They have over 12,000 different molded shapes and sizes and have been around for over 40 years.

Location: You can visit them at 693 Third Avenue and 11 Madison Avenue at 24th Street in New York and a factory which produces everything in Valley Stream Long Island. At the Long Island Location, they do tours where they let everyone learn about the chocolate making process, dip your own strawberries and other goodies.


LITTLE CUPCAKE BAKESHOP: is a highly successful carbon neutral bakery in Brooklyn, NY. They specialize in cupcakes, cakes, pies, puddings, cookies and more. They also exclusively serve Illy coffee and espresso, widely regarded as the finest coffee in Europe.

Their products and carbon neutral mission have received massive acclaim from New York Times, Fox News and many others. Little Cupcake Bakeshop, blends the lively spirit of a bygone generation with the youthfulness of contemporary culture and design.

Location: 9102 Third Avenue in Brooklyn, New York


BABYCAKES NYC : specializes in refined sugar-free, wheat-free, gluten- free, soy-free, egg-free, vegan and kosher sweet treats. Their innovative and delicious desserts made them one of the most talked-about bakeries in New York City; they have been featured in a lot of printed & online magazines and in TV shows. Erin McKenna, who was diagnosed with wheat and dairy allergies in 2004, is the founder of  BabyCakes ; she is also the author of “BabyCakes: The Cookbook”.

Location: 248 Broome Street (Btwn Orchard & Ludlow), NYC, NY. They also have a bakery in Los Angeles.


TWO LITTLE RED HENS, an American Bakery: specializes in gorgeous custom cakes, pies and cupcakes. In a city where cupcakes are available almost everywhere, a trip to Two Little Red Hens is definitely worth it! Their cupcakes and cheesecakes are amongst the best in NYC!

Location: 1652 Second Avenue New York, NY- Upper East Side (86th & 2nd).


Also on our list of most popular Bakeries in NYC and definitely worth visiting:

Madeleine Patisserie – 132 West 23rd Street, New York (6 & 7 Avenues)

Butter Lane Cupcakes – 123 East Seventh Street, New York

Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery– 126 Rivington Street, NYC

Billy’s Bakery – 75 Franklin Street (Between Broadway and Church Street)

Bouchon Bakery – Ten Columbus Circle, Third Floor ( of Time Warner Center), New York