Blueberry and Lemon

Mar. 7th 2013


If you are hungry and haven’t had a good meal in a few hours…

You don’t want to read this blog!

You have been warned!

Tonight I made a new recipe. It’s not anything out of this world or dramatic in appearance.

They just came out so good that I had to share them! 

They are….


Blueberry and Lemon Pancakes!


1 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour

1/4 Salt

1 tablespoon heaping Baking Powder

1/3 cups Sugar

1 1/2 cups Milk

1 Lemon (juice and zest)

1 large Egg

1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla

2 tablespoons melted Butter

1 pint of Blueberries


Heat your griddle or skillet to medium.

In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients (not blueberries). In a separate bowl, mix your wet ingredients (not blueberries). After mixing, add your wet ingredients to you dry ingredients. Mix until smooth, but may have a few limps in it. You want it thick as a normal pancake batter. If it looks too thin, add a little more flour. If it looks to thick, add a little milk. Once you have the batter right, add blueberries and gently stir them. Don’t over mix or you will break open your blueberries.


Grease you griddle or skillet with butter or cooking spray. Using a ladle, pour onto you cooking surface. Remember to leave enough space for them to spread out.


You will know when to flip them when you see small bubbles forming around the edges. You can peak too to see if they are golden brown. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side.

Serve warm with Butter and Maple Syrup.

Next time I make these, I am going to use a Blueberry and Strawberry Compote instead of syrup. But you can see from the pictures… butter and syrup worked nicely too!



To see more photos of foods we have made

Visit our Facebook Fan Page and see our Album called Food!

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Don’t forget to get your Cookie Contest Recipes Submitted!

Click on James Madison below for instructions on how to enter!

Cookie Contest Image

Deadline is March 31st!

No Entry Required!


Please consider making a donation to help us restore our three outbuildings and turn one into a museum!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Food and Recipes | 67 Comments »

Tea Anyone?

Feb. 23rd 2013


Today, I had the chance to go back to Bacon’s Castle in Smithfield, Virginia to attend a wonderful Afternoon Tea with the Regency Society of Virginia. The Regency Society of Virginia is an organization for those who are fascinated by the British Regency and the corresponding American periods. They are a family-friendly, volunteer-run group whose goal is to continually grow in our knowledge of the years 1790-1820. Whether you are a Janeite, an English Country or Regency dancer, a re-enactor, a costume historian or lover of period dramas, The Regency Society of Virginia is a great place to be!



I received an invitation from my good friend and fellow blogger Dianna. Dianna has been with us almost from the beginning and has followed and supported us through this journey. She invited me early on to come to Smithfield, just about 45 minutes from our current home is Chesapeake to see her beloved Bacon’s Castle. This 1665 home located just outside of Smithfield is the only brick Jacobean home left in America. You can read more about his beautiful home by going to our “Year of the Virginia Historical Homes” Categories and finding it there.


We started our event with a wonderful history lesson in tea. Did you know that Afternoon Tea Events we have today is largely based on the Victorian Era? The Afternoon Tea came about after the time of dinner was expended to a later time. Most households would have a breakfast and then dinner. When dinner stated getting later and later, the ladies found that they would need something more than tea to get them to dinner. So Afternoon Teas were born.

In the early days of America, tea was a valuable import. It was so valuable that it would be locked up and the mistress of the house would be the only one holding the key! I guess that shows how serious the Colonist were when the threw the tea in to the Boston Harbor!


We dined on a wonderful plate of bits that were both beautiful and delicious. For our first course we were treated to two small tea sandwiches of egg salad and cucumber tea sandwiches, a bowl of asparagus soup (served cold), a small salad, lavender scones with strawberry preserves and fruit.

Cucumber Tea Sandwich

Cucumber Tea Sandwich

Egg Salad Tea Sandwich

Egg Salad Tea Sandwich

Lavender Scone

Lavender Scone


After this plentiful plate, we were served our second course of sweet delights! Sweet muffins of apple and lemon poppy seed, vanilla shortbread and a coconut meringue cookie. With smartly dressed Society Ladies as our tea companions, there was a good time had by all!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin

Apple Muffin

Apple Muffin

Coconut Meringue

Coconut Meringue




After our Tea, we enjoyed a tour of this historic home. As my tour companion, Dianna gave us a deeper understanding our this home. Her family once owned it! Her mother was born and raised here! How lucky to have such history in ones family.


If you would like to see this beautiful home, it will reopen for the Spring and Summer Season in March. Please visit their website at


If you would like too learn more about the Regency Society or would like to have these wonderful ladies and gentlemen help you make your next tea or picnic event something really special, please visit their Facebook Fan Page at


Get your Regency Dress Ready! Belle Grove Plantation will be hosting a Tea or Picnic Event soon!

To see more pictures of Belle Grove

Please visit our Facebook Fan Page

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Please Like Us and Share Us!

We are very close to 1000 Likes!

Update on the Process

Jan. 2nd 2013


Well it is given and now it is taken away….

We just got word this afternoon that our Christmas Miracle has been reversed. We will not be in the January 8th public meeting for our zoning process as we had hoped. We are now scheduled for February 12th. This means that we not make our goal of the “Soft Opening” on March 16th, James Madison’s Birthday. We are looking now at our opening date to be around May 1st.


It’s time to make lemonade!

BUT…we aren’t going to look at this as a set back, but instead a gift of time to get things ready for the opening. We will plan for the first years end celebration on March 16, 2014 instead.

In the meantime…


Ladies and Gentlemen…. start your OVENS! 

We have kicked off our first annual “Official Cookie of Belle Grove Plantation” Cookie Contest yesterday!

What a “sweet” way to start the New Year!

Grab your favorite cookie recipe and enter to win a $100 Visa Gift Card! The winning cookie will serve as the Official Cookie for one year at Belle Grove Plantation! Remember to use unpublished recipes. Copyrighted recipes will not be accepted. If you have posted a recipe on your blog only, they can be used.

The Theme is:

“A Cookie James Madison Would Like.”

Cookie Contest 2013

Just click on James Madison to find out how to enter!

Facebook Link


Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History | 39 Comments »

Got to love Lemon Butter Sauce!

Jul. 13th 2012

I know this isn’t a breakfast meal, but we had this for dinner and it came out so nice I wanted to share it.

Maybe we will add it to our Sunday brunch menu!

(Okay by popular demand – The Lemon Butter Sauce Recipe – from Carrabba’s Italian Grill Cookbook)

 Lemon Butter Sauce


12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, divided

2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion (I used white)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper

Capers (optional)

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a nonreactive medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes.

Reduce the heat to its very lowest setting. A few pieces at a time whisk in the butter, letting the first addition melt before adding more butter. Be sure that the butter is softening into a emulsified sauce, and not melting. With practice, you will be able to increase the heat a bit to speed the softening. It should take you about 3 minutes to add all the butter and “build” the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. (I add capers at this point) Remove from the heat.

The sauce can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Remember, it will be reheated in each recipe. Be sure to heat the sauce over very low heat when reheating, or it will separate. (That is, it will look like melted butter and not an emulsified sauce.) If this happens, remember it will still taste the same.


For the Chicken Piccata


Boneless, skinless Chicken Breast




Garlic powder

Olive Oil

I don’t have a recipe for this, but here is what I do. I take the Chicken Breast and clean it. Then laying the breast on the cutting board with the good side up, I place my hand on top of the breast and cut the breast in half making two thin breast. Chicken Piccata generally is a chicken cutlet that is a breast pounded thin, but I like doing the way I do because the chicken cutlet is in better shape.

I mix the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a bowl. I flour the chicken breast and fry in Olive Oil until brown. Drain on paper towels and keep in warm oven until ready to use. Plate with Lemon Butter Sauce.

Chicken Piccata with Lemon Butter Sauce and Caper
Garlic Sauted Asparagus and Fresh Mash Potatoes

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 63 Comments »