Gingered Cantaloupe with Sage Honey.

Fresh fruit makes the simplest dessert and is that perfect sweet ending to any meal.

We always look forward to the early summer garden with fresh corn-on-the-cob and tomatoes bursting in bright vivid colors. But there’s really something to be said about the early fall garden. For us here in Central Illinois that’s when our “orange” fruits and vegetables ripen giving us big beautiful pumpkins, the sweetest sweet potatoes, plump carrots, and a personal favorite, juicy sweet fruits like redhaven peaches and cantaloupe. It’s the cantaloupe that is highlighted in this fruit dessert.

Cantaloupe is perfect sliced in wedges and eaten plain, but if you want to elevate the flavors cut the fruit into melon balls and mix them with freshly grated ginger and a drizzle of sage honey. That peppery tang in the fresh ginger just hits the tongue in the most delightful way and changes the cantaloupe giving it a more dynamic flavor. Then the sage honey comes in with a sweet, clover-like flavor and tames the ginger. But what really brings it all together is the floral undertones in all three of the ingredients. The flavors explode in your mouth and then come together in a gentle swaying dance.

Just use a light hand with both the ginger and honey. Fresh ginger can be very potent and can overtake the more mellow cantaloupe. You know the rule: you can always add more, but you cannot take it away.

Strawberry Vanilla Pancakes

A light and fluffy vanilla pancake batter with bits of fresh strawberries folded in.

What is your favorite fruit? I’ve never been much of a fruit person preferring veggies to fruit until the day I was introduced to strawberries. Our babysitter brought some over picked fresh from her family farm. Once she sliced into those plump red delights and I caught a whiff of that fruity, rose-like aroma I was hooked.

Continue reading “Strawberry Vanilla Pancakes”

Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

A bright and cheerful appetizer perfect for your Christmas table. It is filled with cranberries, jalapenos, and fresh herbs spread over a cream cheese base.

Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

Cedar Oak Farms
Prep Time 10 mins
Refrigerator Time 12 hrs
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 2 cups


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 – 2 jalapenos, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened


  • Rinse and thoroughly dry the cranberries. Quarter the cranberries and place in a medium bowl. Stir in the green onions, jalapenos (if you like it hot keep the seeds, I prefer to remove the seeds), and cilantro. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and season with salt; stir gently to combine. Cover bowl tightly and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to marry.
  • When ready to serve, place the cream cheese in a blender or food processor and whip until creamy. Spread into a shallow dish or pie pan. Remove the cranberry mixture from the refrigerator and stir. Drain excess liquid and spoon over the cream cheese. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with grilled, sliced baguette or your favorite crackers.
Keyword Dips & Sauces

Smoked Salmon Endive Salad

Endive is a member of the chicory family which gives the salad a crisp texture and a sweet, nutty flavor with a pleasantly mild bitterness.

Smoked Salmon Endive Salad

Cedar Oak Farms
Course Salad
Cuisine American



  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)


  • 3 heads Belgian endive (cored and thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup arugula lettuce
  • 1 Anjou pear (cored and thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 cup red grapes (thinly sliced)
  • 12 ounces smoked salmon
  • 1/2 cup black walnut pieces
  • Olive oil (for drizzling)
  • Flaky salt (like Cedar Oak Farms Smoked Sea Salt, for garnish)


  • Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Using six salad plates divide and layer as follows: Start with the endive, add a few pieces of arugula, some slices of pear, followed by some grape slices. Top with some of the salmon, dividing evenly among the plates. Drizzle some of the dressing over each salad. Garnish with the walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil, and some of the flaky salt.
Keyword Fish & Seafood, Salad

Raspberry French Toast

Wake the house up with this decadent Raspberry Pecan French Toast! Soaked in an egg and cream mixture, filled with pecans, raspberries, and a hint of cinnamon. It bakes up fluffy and delicious.

Raspberry & Pecan French Toast

Cedar Oak Farms
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices


  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup sugar + 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • teaspoons cinnamon
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups of half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 12 – 14 slices day old bread


  • In a medium bowl mix the raspberries with the 1 cup sugar add the pecans. Mix well and set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk together 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, and eggs. Stir in half-and-half and vanilla.
  • Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Layer the pan with thick slices of day-old bread. Any bread you have on hand and need to use up is good. I am using French bread in this recipe.
  • Pour the egg mixture evenly over bread gently lifting the sides to let the bread soak up all the egg mixture. You want all this pooled egg mixture to soak into the bread and absorb all those wonderful flavors.
  • Turn the bread once or twice and let sit about 20 – 30 minutes until there is no more liquid on the bottom of the pan. You can refrigerator overnight as well.
  • Gently spoon the raspberry and pecan mixture over the top of the bread. I only use the sugar that glazed over the berries and discard the rest.
  • Place in a preheated 375°F oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Serve with your favorite maple syrup or drizzle a powdered sugar glaze over the top.
Keyword Bread