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1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
⅓ cup oil
¾ cup full fat yogurt
½ cup buttermilk
1½ cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Lemon Buttercream:

½ cup butter, softened
1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cupcakes powdered sugar
Extra blueberries for garnishing


Preheat oven to 350 F (176 C) and line pans with cupcakes liners.

For the Cupcakes

Place the cake mix into a medium bowl and set aside. In another bowl combine the eggs, oil, yogurt and buttermilk. Using a hand mixer beat until fully incorporated. Add the cake mix and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Gently fold in the blueberries by hand. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely at room temperature.   

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in lemon juice. Add the icing sugar a little at a time and beat until you reach the desired consistency. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with fresh berries.


1/2 cup Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
1 cup blueberries
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

To make the blueberry simple syrup, combine sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in blueberries and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until blueberries have broken down, about 3-4 minutes.

Strain blueberry mixture through a cheesecloth or fine sieve; let cool. In a large pitcher, whisk together blueberry simple syrup, lemon juice and 5 cups water. Place in the refrigerator until chilled.
Serve over ice and blueberries, if desired.




For Dough

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    ¾ cup whole wheat flour
    2 tsp sugar
    ½ tsp salt
    3 tbsp cold butter
    2 egg yolks

For Filling

    2 cups fresh blueberries
    1 tbsp sugar
    1 tbsp flour
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup crumbled goat cheese

For topping

    1 egg for egg wash
    Turbinado sugar (optional)

In a food processor combine the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and process for another 5 seconds. Add egg yolks and ¾ cup of cold water and process until dough is soft, a couple minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Cover in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes in fridge before using. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl pour vanilla extract over blueberries and toss. Add flour and sugar over blueberries and toss. Roll out the empanada dough so that it's about ⅛ of an inch in thickness, might be easier if you cut the dough in half first then work with each half separately. Cut the dough into 4 inch rounds, you can use a bowl or a big mug to cut into rounds. Alternately you could cut dough in 16 pieces and roll out each piece into a 4 inch round.
Spoon about 1 tbsp of goat cheese onto each round, then a couple tbsp of prepared blueberries, onto the center of each round, then fold dough in half enclosing the filling. Press the edges together to seal, then crimp either with your fingers or a fork. Transfer empanadas to prepared baking sheet.

There should be enough empanada dough for 16 empanadas. Brush each empanada with egg wash and using a fork poke holes into each empanada. Sprinkle top of empanadas with a bit of Turbinado sugar.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until empanadas or golden brown.

Canied PecansIngredients

    1 cup white sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 egg white
    1 tablespoon water
    1 pound pecan halves
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F
Mix sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl. 

Whisk egg white and water together in a separate bowl until frothy. Toss pecans in the egg white mixture. Mix sugar mixture into pecan mixture until pecans are evenly coated. Spread coated pecans onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.

Bake in the preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, until pecans are evenly browned, 1 hour.

Pimento CheeseIngredients

1 oz. block of cream cheese softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise (Duke's)
1 (7-oz.) jar diced pimiento
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
pinch of ground red pepper
1 (8-oz.) block extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 (8-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Whip together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl with mixer until smooth; stir in cheese. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.


Southerners love using pecans in their favorite recipes - although we don't always agree on the how to pronounce "Pea-can".  Enjoy these recipes no matter how you say it!

Preparing a Thanksgiving Feast - Southern Style

Thanksgiving DinnerWe love to share our local Southern recipes with our readers, and for one of the largest and most celebrated dinners of the year, we have created a "Thanksgiving Feast" section.  Around JoCo, the menu planning and begging for your favorite dish starts in early November, and that's how the menu gets longer and longer.  Each year family members say, keep it simple, we don't need all this food, but alas, no one wants to give up their favorite from the list.  Below are the necessities for a traditional menu from which many more items may be added.  Get out your sweatpants and start shopping by Monday, and preparing casseroles and desserts by Wednesday, so the actual day is much easier on the cooks with the turkey, gravy, rolls and ice tea to make. 

For some of our favorite local food products, try Atkinson's Mill Corn Meal for your dressing or House Autry Buttermilk Biscuit Mix and Johnston County Ham for easy Ham Biscuits for breakfast, and consider picking up a Spiral Slice Ham for your table from Stevens Sausage or Johnston County Hams.  If you aren't the world's best baker, try ordering from Sherry's Signature Cheesecakes, Clayton Bakery or Nancy Jo's Homemade all in Clayton.  Click Here area bakeries!  Many area restaurants will prepare your turkey and ham for you as well...making your day easier!

For your fresh produce, area farmer's markets have collards, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and more like old fashion candies!  Check here for more links!

Happy Thanksgiving from the JoCo Visitors Bureau!

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Check out what other travelers say about Johnston County, North Carolina on TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor
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