Baked Pears with Blue Cheese & Maple Syrup

Baked Pears with Blue Cheese & Maple Syrup (c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023

This recipe is easy to make and pairs well with almost any dish…no pun intended. πŸ™‚πŸ
Tender and juicy pears, baked with blue cheese, mixed nuts, and maple syrup are the perfect appetizer or dessert for these warm summer days. A great combination of sweet, savory, and salty that will leave you satisfied.

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Ingredients

Pears
Blue Cheese & Mixed Nuts
Maple Syrup

You will need three pears, blue cheese, mixed nuts, and maple syrup. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking dish so that the bottom of the pears won’t stick. Wash and cut pears in half.

Use a melon ball scooper and carve out the center of each pear.

Make sure you carve out plenty of room for the blue cheese and mixed nuts. Arrange the pears in the baking dish.

Use about a half cup of blue cheese and place into the space carved out of the pears.

Add a half cup of mixed nuts. I used salted mixed nuts and roughly chopped them. Place the nuts on top of the blue cheese.

Bake the pears for 10 -12 minutes. Remove from the oven and add 3 tablespoons of maple syrup over the freshly baked pears. Add a few more mixed nuts if desired.

Baked Pears With Blue Cheese & Maple Syrup

Debra Roinestad (The Comfy Cabin)
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dessert
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pears
  • Β½ cup blue cheese
  • Β½ cup mixed nuts
  • 3 tablespoon maple syrup

Instructions
 

  • You will need three pears, blue cheese, mixed nuts, and maple syrup. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking dish so that the bottom of the pears won't stick. Wash and cut pears in half.
  • Use a melon ball scooper and carve out the center of each pear.
  • Make sure you carve out plenty of room for the blue cheese and mixed nuts. Arrange the pears in the baking dish.
  • Use about a half cup of blue cheese and place into the space carved out of the pears.
  • Add a half cup of mixed nuts. I used salted mixed nuts and roughly chopped them. Place the nuts on top of the blue cheese.
  • Bake the pears for 10 -12 minutes. Remove from the oven and add 3 tablespoons of maple syrup over the freshly baked pears. Add a few more mixed nuts if desired.

Debra Roinestad

Tips & Tricks for Crystal Mining at Diamond Hill Mine South Carolina

Diamond Hill Mine, (c) Debra Roinestad, The Comfy Cabin, 2023

You will have a rocking-good time visiting Diamond Hill Mine in South Carolina. This mine has over six acres of soil filled with crystal quartz, amethysts, smoky quartz, epidote, and many other minerals!

The best time to go crystal hunting is early morning before the hot Carolina sun turns up the heat. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks with you. Digging for crystals is truly a cardio workout. 

The best place to find rocks and crystals is often to the side of the pit. Many will be digging downward and ignoring the sides and corners. Also, look around for loose rocks sitting on top of the soil. After heavy rainfall, hidden specimens will often be washed clean, revealing amazing crystals! 

Diamond Hill Mine, (c) Kurt Roinestad, The Comfy Cabin, 2023

Here are some other tips for crystal mining:

β€’ Dress in layers and wear an old pair of denim jeans. Jeans prevent any scratches, cuts, and scapes on your skin. You will be in a large pit filled with sharp rocks and debris for many hours. Also, the soil will stain your clothes permanently. 

β€’ Bring suntan lotion. Make sure to apply suntan lotion on your face and arms. It’s so easy to get sunburned looking for crystals. 

β€’ Wear Hiking boots. Bring hiking boots or wear shoes with a good grip when walking around. You will be climbing steep hills and will need that extra support. Also, consider using a walking stick. 

β€’ Bring Rock Hounding Tools. Rock lovers, you will need a basic rock-hounding kit for a successful crystal hunt. You will need work gloves, a pick, a long screwdriver, a shovel, a crowbar, a spray bottle filledΒ with water to spray down your crystals, paper towels, newspapers, boxes, empty zip-lock bags, and an empty bucket to place your rocks. I used this basic rock-hounding tool kit that was helpful for my hunt.

Some of our crystal collection from Diamond Hill Mine, (c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023

Diamond Hill Mine is a great place to bring your family and friends. Also, it’s the perfect place for couples to work together as a team hunting for treasure. This place is truly a gem! 

Debra Roinestad

Vintage European style diamonds illustration. Original from the British Library. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.
Address

100 Diamond Hill Road, Abbeville, S.C. 29620

Diamond Hill Mine Website

https://diamondhillmine.com/

Stunning Wildlife In The Woods Of South Carolina

Hey Friends,

Our trail cam has captured footage of many bears, deer, coyotes, raccoons, and ravens this month. The bears have been bold and stopped by a few times at our front door…yikes! Sometimes it gets a little too close for comfort. Black bears can smell food 2 miles away.

Black Bear At The Cabin (c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023

Anyhoo, I decided to do something different with the trail cam videos. I have spliced together 20 short wildlife videos into one entire video for your enjoyment. Hopefully, this will make viewing the trail cam videos easier than clicking back and forth. Enjoy!

Kind Regards,
Debra Roinestad

12 Fun Trail Cam Videos Featuring Bears

Bear Necessities

Photo by John Thomas

According to SCDNR, now that we are having warmer weather in SC, black bears are becoming more active. During this time bears are looking for easy food left around.

So far, there have been five different bear sightings here at the cabin. Plus, many more sightings in the woods behind our home.

Bears at the cabin, S.C. – May 23, 2023 at 12:08 pm
Photos by Debra Roinestad

Here are 12 recent trail cam videos featuring bears.

Enjoy the videos! πŸ™‚


Debra Roinestad

12 Fun Trail Cam Videos Featuring Bears

10 Beautiful Upstate South Carolina Mountains

Nature Photo Gallery

There is magic in the mountains. Every season has an alluring mood with vibrant colors that highlight the beauty of the hills. Here is a list of ten lovely mountains in upstate South Carolina. Plus, a photo gallery of nature and wildlife in the woods.

With Gratitude,

Debra Roinestad

(c) The Comfy Cabin, Kurt & Debra

10 Mountains of Upstate South Carolina

  1. Piney Mountain
  2. The Stool
  3. Table Rock Mountain
  4. Rock Mountain
  5. Hickorynut Mountain
  6. Rocky Mountain
  7. Buzzard Mountain
  8. Reedy Mountain
  9. Battered Rock Mountain
  10. Coldbranch Mountain

Let’s take our hearts for a walk in the woods and listen to the magic whispers of old trees. ~Unknown.

Follow Me @debraroinestad95

Mediterranean Baked Salmon

Mediterranean Baked Salmon. (c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023.

Mediterranean baked salmon is an easy and healthy recipe to make. It is tender, moist, and packed with many delicious flavors. Serve it with white rice, salad, or your favorite side dish. I love serving my salmon with white rice and black beans.

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Mediterranean Baked Salmon with Rice and Black Beans. (c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023.

Preheat the oven to 400Β°F. Place the salmon on a well-oiled baking dish. Add salt, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and dill on the salmon. Chop the cherry tomatoes, onions, sun-dried tomatoes and black olives. Add to the baking dish with the seasoned salmon.

Add the capers and sprinkle more olive oil. Add 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Thicker cuts of salmon may require 30 minutes. Optional: Top salmon with 1 tablespoon of blue cheese and serve immediately. 

Debra Roinestad

Mediterranean Baked Salmon

Debra Roinestad (The Comfy Cabin)
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ΒΌ salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dill (dried or fresh)
  • 1 small onion (sliced thinly)
  • ΒΌ cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • ΒΌ cup sun-dried tomatoes (halved)
  • ΒΌ cup black olives (halved)
  • Β½ cup capers
  • 1 tablespoon blue cheese (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400Β° F
  • Place the salmon on a well-oiled baking dish. Add salt, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and dill on the salmon.
  • Chop the cherry tomatoes, onions, sun-dried tomatoes and black olives. Add to the baking dish with seasoned salmon.
  • Add the capers and sprinkle more olive oil. Add 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.
  • Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Thicker cuts of salmon may require 30 minutes.
  • Optional: Top salmon with 1 tablespoon of blue cheese and serve immediately.
Keyword salmon

Black Bear Visiting The Cabin In South Carolina

Photo by Peter Nuij

Hello Friends,

It’s been super busy here! I have been working on a new recipe, Mediterranean Salmon which I will post soon. In the meantime, I had a black bear visit the cabin in the late morning. According to the South Carolina DNC, black bears are more active in the month of May here in the Carolina woods.

Read more here about black bears in South Carolina.

Plus, the squirrels are not shy to peek into the windows to say, ‘hello.’

Enjoy the videos!

Lots of Love,

Debra Roinestad

Black Bear Visiting The Cabin, (c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023.
Squirrel Visiting The Cabin, (c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023.

5 Fascinating Snakes in The Woods of South Carolina

Art Design by Debra Roinestad. (c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023.

Throughout history snakes  have been a symbol of medicine, love, rebirth, wisdom, good, and evil. Snakes will seek shelter in any place that is hidden. They burrow under rocks, logs, tree stumps, and bushes. Snakes are frightened of humans and are not prone to strike unless they feel threatened. It’s best to keep a good distance, and they will mosey on by. 

Tuberculosis must be conquered like the most evil of reptiles (1918) poster by GΓ©o Dorival. Original public domain image from the Library of Congress.
Less dangerous than careless talk. Don’t discuss troop movements, ship sailings, war equipment.

Here are 5 fascinating snakes that I encountered in the woods of South Carolina.

1) Corn Snake

Corn Snake. Courtesy of WWF, (World Wide Fund for Nature).
Corn Snake. Photo by Debra Roinestad. (c) The Comfy cabin, 2023.

Corn snakes are generally docile and non-venomous. The corn snake has colors of orange and brown with patterns that resemble a β€˜corn on the cob.’ 

It is easy to confuse corn snakes with venomous copperhead snakes. Corn snakes have brighter colors and are of a more slender build than copperheads. Corn snakes are also an excellent choice as a pet snake according to experts.  Read more here.

Video by Debra Roinestad, (c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023.

2) Copperhead

Photo by Grayson Smith. Original in the public domain.

Copperhead under wood pile. Photo by Kurt Roinestad.
(c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023.

Copperheads are the most common venomous snake you will find in South Carolina. They are reddish-brown, long, and wide snakes with a diamond shape pattern on their backs. Copperheads try to avoid humans and often hide under fallen leaves. Most copperhead bites occur when an unsuspecting human steps on the snake. Read more about the copperhead here.

3) King Snake

King Snake. Image in the public domain.

The king snake has a black body with yellow patterns. King snakes dislike copperheads. King snakes do not have venom. They kill their prey by wrapping themselves around the prey and squeezing it to death. 

King Snake eating Copperhead in our backyard. Photo by Kurt Roinestad. (c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023.
King Snake eating Copperhead in our backyard. Video by Kurt Roinestad.
Editing & Design by Debra Roinestad. (c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023.

4) Black Snake

Black snake. Image in the public domain image.

Black snakes are not venomous nor aggressive. If they feel threatened, they may bite as a last resort. The black snake can reach up to 8 feet in length.  Black snakes eat large amounts of rats and mice. They are especially handy to have around when you are growing a vegetable garden.

Black Snake in our backyard. Video by Kurt Roinestad.
Editing & Design by Debra Roinestad. (c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023.

5) Eastern Milk Snake

Eastern Milk Snake. Image in the public domain.

Historically, the eastern milk snake got it’s name from a silly belief that it would drink milk from a cow. The eastern milk snake is not venomous. People confuse the eastern milk snake with the venomous coral snake. Experts have suggested learning the following rhyme in order to differentiate the two snakes: β€œRed on yellow kills a fellow. Red on black, friend of Jack.”

Eastern Milk Snake in our backyard. Video by Kurt Roinestad.
Editing & Design by Debra Roinestad. (c) The Comfy Cabin, 2023.

According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, there are 38 different species of snakes in South Carolina.

You can read more here.

Many people have a natural fear of snakes including, myself. Experts have studied this reaction and have discovered that we usually are not born with the fear of snakes. The fear of snakes is a learned behavior.  

Read more here.

After encountering many snakes here in the woods, my fear of snakes has diminished, and I have developed a great admiration and respect for these magical creatures.

Warm Wishes,

Debra Roinestad

Debra Roinestad
Kurt & Debra

Shelter Logic

Spring Wildlife on Trail Cam

Photo by Pete Nuij

Hey Everyone! 

April is an exciting time to see wildlife in the woods. All the animals are active this month. Black bears are emerging from their dens and showing up around the neighborhood. I spotted a black bear and her cubs a few miles from my home and captured a short video. 

Read more about the black bears here

Plus, the coyotes are roaming around at night, and the raccoons are busy socailizing and searching for food.

As always, enjoy the trail cam videos!

Warm Wishes,

Debra Roinestad

Blue Cheese and Fig Pizza with Prosciutto

One of my favorite pizzas for the warm weather is blue cheese pizza with prosciutto. Blue cheese and fig pizzas are easy to make. You can purchase a premade pizza crust and it will be ready in just a few minutes. It’s crunchy, salty, and sweet. Plus, drizzle a little bit of balsamic vinegar for extra flavor. Serve it with a salad or your favorite side dish.

Enjoy!

Debra Roinestad

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Basic Ingredients

β€’ Pizza Crust Choose your favorite pizza crust. I used a gluten-free premade pizza crust.
β€’ Blue Cheese & Figs The perfect combination of sweet and salty.
β€’ Fig Preserves Fig preserves for spreading onto the pizza crust. 
β€’ Prosciutto Fresh prosciutto for a bit of crunch on your pizza. 

Note: You can also use bacon in place of prosciutto or vegan bacon as another option.  It's all up to you and your taste buds. πŸ™‚ πŸ‘
β€’ Small Yellow Onion Use a small yellow thinly diced onion.  
β€’ Sherry Wine Use sherry wine for deglazing and caramelizing the onions.
β€’ Maple Syrup Use maple syrup for caramelizing the onions.

Instructions

Preheat a medium pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Thinly dice a yellow onion. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes stirring often, until the onions begin to wilt. Season with salt, pepper, and stir. Reduce the heat and add 1 tablespoon of sherry cooking wine. Add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and stir for another 10 minutes. Turn off heat and set onions aside to cool.

Now its time to bake the prosciutto. Turn on the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the entire packet of prosciutto onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a bowl. Allow to cool.

Slice 3/4 cup of figs in half and place into a small bowl. Set aside.

Now it’s time to assemble the pizza. Again, set the oven to 400 degrees F. Use a round pizza tray and add a small amount of oil to the pizza tray. Place the pizza crust onto the pizza tray and spread the fig preserves to your liking. I used 2 tablespoons of fig preserves. Crumble the baked prosciutto into small pieces evenly onto the pizza. Add the cooked onions and sliced figs.

Add the blue cheese as desired. I added about 3/4 cup.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Drizzle a little bit of balsamic vinegar for extra flavor. Serve the blue cheese and fig pizza with a salad or your favorite side dish.

Blue Cheese & Fig Pizza With Prosciutto

Debra Roinestad (The Comfy Cabin)
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 pizza crust
  • ΒΎ cup blue cheese (crumbled)
  • ΒΎ cup figs (slice in half)
  • 2 tablespoons fig preserve
  • 1 pack prosciutto
  • 1 tablespoon sherry cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • salt & pepper
  • optional: balsamic vinegar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat a medium pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Thinly dice a yellow onion. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes stirring often, until the onions begin to wilt. Season with salt, pepper, and stir. Reduce the heat and add 1 tablespoon of sherry cooking wine. Add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and stir for another 10 minutes. Turn off heat and set onions aside to cool.
  • Turn on the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the entire packet of prosciutto onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a bowl. Allow to cool.
  • Slice 3/4 cup of figs in half and place into a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Set the oven to 400 degrees F. Use a round pizza tray and add a small amount of oil to the pizza tray. Place the pizza crust onto the pizza tray and spread the fig preserves to your liking. I used 2 tablespoons of fig preserves. Crumble the baked prosciutto into small pieces evenly onto the pizza. Add the cooked onions and sliced figs.
  • Add the blue cheese as desired. I added about 3/4 cup.
  • Bake for about 10-12 minutes.
    Optional: Drizzle a little bit of balsamic vinegar for extra flavor.
    Serve the blue cheese and fig pizza with a salad or your favorite side dish.
Keyword pizza