One year ago today I was privileged to bag a nice mule deer buck on Turkey Creek near Pagosa Springs, Colorado. After spending several days scouring the hills and woods, my trophy stepped out and now hangs on my office wall. October 24 will always bring fond memories.

Shenandoah County Public Schools has announced breakfast and lunch menus for Oct. 26-30:

Full days of learning and educational growth, whether taking place in the classroom or at home, require filling breakfasts, snacks and family dinners. Help fuel your loved ones and students with tasty recipes that cover everything from morning meals to nighttime treats.

Start the day strong with Pastry Brunch Cups perfect for separating into appropriate servings. Serve up a comforting meal in the evening like Cheesy Baked Mushroom Chicken then cap off the night with Homemade Oatmeal Creme Cookies that can also be enjoyed as a daytime snack.

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Cheesy, comforting chicken

A quick and easy way to get comfort food on your dinner table is this recipe for Cheesy Baked Mushroom Chicken. Add some green beans and mashed cauliflower for a well-rounded meal for your family after a day of learning.

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Cheesy Baked Mushroom Chicken

Nonstick cooking spray

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup flour

4 tablespoons butter

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 cup green onions, sliced

Heat oven to 375 F. Prepare baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Cut each chicken breast in half. Place flour in resealable bag. Place chicken in resealable bag with flour; toss to coat.

In large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add chicken to skillet; brown all sides. Transfer chicken from skillet to 11-by-7-inch baking dish.

In skillet, saute sliced mushrooms in remaining butter until softened. Add chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to boil then cook 5 minutes. Spoon over chicken.

Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheeses and green onions. Bake 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

A sweet school day treat

A long day of learning and activities calls for a well-deserved snack, and cookies are just the solution for many families.

Soft, chewy oatmeal cookies sandwiched together with a fluffy vanilla bean buttercream create the perfect treat with these Homemade Oatmeal Creme Cookies. Because they take just an hour to create using flavor-boosting ingredients like Domino sugars, you're left with plenty of time for helping with homework or simply enjoying moments together with loved ones.

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Homemade Oatmeal Creme Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Michael Johnson on behalf of Domino Sugar

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 10-12

Oatmeal Cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup Domino Dark Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Domino Golden Sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3 cups rolled old-fashioned oats

Vanilla Bean Creme Filling:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 1/2 cups Domino Confectioners' Sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

1 tablespoon heavy cream

To make Oatmeal Cookies: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or in large bowl with electric mixer, cream butter, brown sugar and golden sugar on medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and oats. With mixer on low, slowly add oat mixture to wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Using large cookie scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 1/2 inches between each cookie. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around edges. Allow cookies to sit on pan about 3 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

To make Vanilla Bean Creme Filling: In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or in large bowl with electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Turn speed to low and gradually add confectioners' sugar, mixing until completely incorporated. Add vanilla bean paste and heavy cream; mix until combined.

Turn mixer to medium-high speed and beat 3-5 minutes until buttercream is fluffy. If necessary, add cream 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency.

To fill and assemble, pipe or spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons Vanilla Bean Creme Filling on bottom halves of Oatmeal Cookies; top with remaining halves.

Bite-sized breakfast

Appetizer-sized portions and small bites of all sorts are ideal for breakfast before a day of schooling, and these Pastry Brunch Cups are perfect for a quick morning snack. Try baking a batch and separating into appropriate serving sizes for a simple way to meal prep heading into a new week.

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Pastry Brunch Cups

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

2 sheets puff pastry

18 eggs

2 cups diced ham

chopped fresh green onions

Heat oven 375 F.

In small saucepan, melt butter. Whisk flour with butter. Gradually pour in milk, whisking each time. Bring to simmer, whisking until mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat; stir in Swiss cheese. Set aside.

Use rolling pin to thin out puff pastries. Cut each into nine squares. Line pastry squares in muffin cups, pressing bottoms down firmly and moving pastries up sides for edges to come up just over muffin tins. Fill each cup with 1 teaspoon cheese sauce. Crack one egg into each cup and sprinkle each with diced ham.

Bake 10-15 minutes until eggs set. Sprinkle with chopped green onions.

From filling dinners to favorite desserts, comfort foods can bring smiles to friendly faces. As temperatures drop, lean on recipes that add flavor and bring warming scents to your kitchen.

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Picture in your mind a warm bowl cupped in your hands, defrosting your fingertips after you just walked inside from a chilly afternoon. The bowl is heavy, full of hearty vegetables and spicy peppers that in just a few short moments will overwhelm your palate.

Shenandoah County Public Schools has announced breakfast and lunch menus for Oct. 19-23:

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Shenandoah County Public Schools has announced breakfast and lunch menus for Oct. 12-16:

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Front Royal celebrates recreation and the outdoors Saturday with its first Back to Nature event on Saturday afternoon.

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WINCHESTER — If you’ve been itching to check out the new trail system being built on Amherst Street, mark your calendar for Nov. 25. That’s the scheduled opening date for The Trails at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.


For 30 years, the Bowmans sold trinkets and keepsakes in the Dayton Market. As their family got bigger and the days grew longer, the Bowmans sold the Crafty Hands gift shop and passed the space along to a new family.

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The seemingly constant rush of hectic school days and nights often leaves busy families feeling like there's no time for a homemade meal around the table. However, taking shortcuts that don't skip out on quality can mean more time together enjoying flavorful dishes without spending hours in …

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As area beekeepers get ready to secure their hives for the winter, Frederick County resident Tim Riggleman said education is key to keeping honey bees safe and healthy.