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Raspberry Muffins

February 26, 2015 by braytonbb

These raspberries muffins may make you think of summer but I think that is what we all need right now to take our minds off this of this dreadful cold weather. I have used both kinds of topping on the muffins so I wanted to give you both recipes depending on your preference.  I also love these new parchment paper muffin liners. They are so simplistic and they don’t leave any crumbs on the paper.  These were great paired with our spicy sausage casserole this past weekend. Hope you enjoy.

Raspberry MuffinsRaspberry Muffins- 10 jumbo muffins

1 1/4 C sugar, 1 stick of butter, 2 eggs, 1 C sour cream, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 C flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 C fresh raspberries.

Sugar Topping- 2 TB sugar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (blend)

Streusel Topping – 1/2 C butter, softened, 1/2 C sugar, 1/2 Brown sugar, 2/3 C flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. of nutmeg.  Blend butter until smooth. Gradually stir in other ingredients until crumby.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients and mix until blended. Gently fold in raspberries. Place batter in muffin liners or spray a jumbo muffin pan. Sprinkle on topping mixture or streusel mixture onto each one. Bake 25-30 minutes.

*Note- You should have left over topping(which over one you decide to make). I keep my left over sugar topping in the pantry for use at another time and my left over streusel topping in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Happy Birthday

February 23, 2015 by braytonbb

Happy Birthday to me! Yes, my birthday was yesterday and I still don’t mind celebrating the day or weekend like I Nicole birthday at Carmellasdid this year. I will get to that reason in a moment.  Thursday, we attended a business function in town at Manila who offered up some wonderful sushi and Filipino cuisine. Friday night Scott and I celebrated with another couple we enjoy spending some time with at Brooklyn Grill who has the best happy hour around. Saturday night we decided to stay in, prepare dinner together and enjoy a glass a wine watching a movie.

We have a tradition that on our birthdays we get to choose one place to dine. Typically it is one of our favorites and sometimes it is someplace new that we have never tried. I typically don’t like to go out to breakfast, since what I make is usually better than I can get anywhere else, but this year, brunch appealed to me and I had heard so many great things about a place called Sap in Appleton, so the three of us decided to go.  Once we arrived it was an hour wait so we decided not to stay, however the food that was coming out looked amazing so I look forward to going back. Carmellas is almost right next door so we decided to walk down there for lunch. They filled up quickly, but the service was fast and friendly,  and the food was amazing. Though the tiramisu was untraditional, it was probably one of the best I have ever had. Spending a few hours with my family and having the day off couldn’t have been a  better birthday other than the opportunity to be able to share it with my entire family.

I was asked when I turned 30 if it bothered me. No, it didn’t. Then when I turned 40, I got asked the same question. Nope, that didn’t bother me either. I am pretty sure unless something dramatically changes, 50 won’t won’t be any different. As I was enjoying myself this weekend, it really hit me. Maybe the the reason birthdays don’t bother me is that because I had such a great childhood. If it were not for my parents, obviously I wouldn’t be here. So I guess celebrating my birthday is celebrating my parents and so thank you to Deb and Gary who are currently enjoying themselves on a beach in the Caribbean. I will see you in a few weeks. Also, thanks to all the great birthday wishes I received via texts, emails, Facebook and a few calls.

 

Bagels and Lox Benedict

February 19, 2015 by braytonbb

This Bagels and Lox Benedict recipes serves one generously when served with hasbrowns or tater tots which I prefer and a side of fruit such as grapes. The key to this recipe I think is using an everything bagel with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, cracked pepper, onion and garlic. It adds a lot of flavor to this great breakfast dish. If you have never poached eggs before, it does take some practice, so try a couple times, you will get it. It took me a little bit of practice too.

Bagel and Lox BenedictBagels and Lox Benedict- serves 1

1 Everything Bagel, sliced in half, 2 oz. of smoked salmon, 4 thin slices of red onion, 2 poached eggs

Lemon Caper Sauce – 1/2 C vegetable broth, 3/4 TB cornstarch, 1/4 C sour cream, 3/4 TB lemon juice, 1 TB drained capers, fresh dill and salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk vegetable broth and cornstarch until smooth. Stir over medium heat until boiling for 2 1/2 minutes. Whisk in sour cream, lemon juice and capers. Stir often until steaming until 2 1/2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep on low until ready to serve.

Poached eggs – Recommended method, if you do not want to buy a poacher. In a sauce pan big enough for two eggs that do not touch, simmer about 2″ of water(not boil, but heavy simmer). Add a small splash of white distilled vinegar to the water. Crack one egg into a soufle cup or small bowl. Do the same with the second egg in a second bowl.  Gently swirl the water as it is simmering to make a whirlpool. This helps the egg stay together(trust me). SLOWLY add 1 egg to the whirlpool water. With a slotted spoon, keep egg off the bottom of the saucepan by sliding slotted spoon underneath egg every few seconds. Do this for about 3 1/2 minutes more or less depending on you like your eggs. When done take your slotted spoon and gently lift egg out of water onto a strong paper towel that won’t stick to the egg, to absorb any water.

Cut bagels in half horizontally and toast. Put bagel halves on a plate and top each with onion and then smoked salmon. Add poached eggs on each  half of the bagel. Spoon sauce over eggs and garnish with dill.

Hops and Props

February 16, 2015 by braytonbb

hopsprops limelite

Photo thanks to Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau

 

Hops and Props is an annual event that has been going on at EAA  to support museum activities. This years event takes place Saturday, March 7th from 7:00-10:00 PM at the EAA Air Museum.

This is an evening sampling more than 250 beverages from around the world with fine food being offered. Micro-breweries and distributors are on hand to teach you about the brewing process, history and techniques to become a beverage taster. You will be able to meet master brewers and learn to distinguish different characteristics of ales, lagers, and mixed style of beers from wheat, fruit, stouts, porter and meads. You may even find a new favorite.

To round out this evening, great music from several live bands, coffee, and sweets along with hot and cold hors d’oeuvres will be served. Of course you must be 21 years old to attend and admission price does include museum entrance, a commemorative beer glass and a professional prepared tasting guide. 

 

 

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

February 12, 2015 by braytonbb

These Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies are not going to be a new recipe to many of you, but they are still a goody. You can pick up a bag of butterscotch chips and probably find some variation of the recipe on just about any name brand bag. I like to add a little extra butter and of a course a few extra chips if you have a couple bags sitting around. Not only are these cookies great for kids or adults, but they freeze well too. That means if you find that your family doesn’t eat the whole batch, throw some in a Ziplock bag for future nibbling.

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

 

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies – about 36 cookies depending on size. I like using a 4 oz. cookie scoop

1 1/2 sticks of butter at room temp. , 1/2 C sugar, 1 C brown sugar(light or dark), 2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 1/4 C flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. salt, 3 C quick oatmeal, uncooked and a bag of butterscotch chips, plus more if you like.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees on convention if you have or 375 bake.

Beat butter, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat again.

Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt to butter mixture and blend well.  Stir in oatmeal and butterscotch chips; mix well. Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake 9 minutes and slightly brown. Let cool, if you can.

 

Jim Belushi at the Grand

February 9, 2015 by braytonbb

When I first heard that Jim Belushi was coming to the Grand, I couldn’t believe it. I am a big fan of his and his comedy.  If you have ever wanted to see Jim and the Board of Comedy, which consists of Megan Grano, Larry Joe Campbell, Brad Morris and Joshua Funk, this is the time.  Jim Belushi has more than thirty years of experience as an alumnus of Saturday Night Live and Chicago’s famed Second City and has been on the hilarious comedy “According to Jim” for 8 seasons. They are bringing an improvised comedy sketch to the Grand stage. The performance is Sunday, March 1, 7:30 PM at the Historic Grand Opera House in Downtown Oshkosh. This show is friendly with a PG rating as they pretty much “make stuff up” along the way and invite audience  members to particpate. Buy your tickets now before they are sold out.

 

Black Forest Mini Cheesecakes

February 5, 2015 by braytonbb

February in my opinion, is the perfect time to make these Black Forest Mini Cheesecakes. February is National Cherry Month and with Valentines Day around the corner, these sweet little desserts for perfect to show someone how much you love them. I borrowed this recipe off of the Cooking Classy website and will be making often. These miniature versions are hard to resist since you only get a few bites, which doesn’t seem like quite enough. This recipe is super easy, but you do have to have plenty of time for them to set up, so don’t expect to throw this together quickly.

Black Forest Mini Cheesecakes – Serves 18 Black Forest Mini cheesecakes

Crust- Crushed Oreos and 1 1/2 TB butter melted. I bought Crush Oreos off of the shelf and figured 1 heaping TB per regular muffin cup.

Cheesecake – 3/4 C semi sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, melted and cooled slightly, 2/3 C sugar, 2 TB cocoa powder, pinch of salt, 12 oz. cream cheese, 2 LG eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 C heavy cream, and 1/4 C sour cream.

Topping – Canned Cherry Pie Filling, 1 1/4 C heavy cream, 2 1/2 TB sugar, and shaved chocolate(decoration)

For the crust, preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a mixing bowl, blend Oreo cookie crumbs and butter. Divide mixture among 18 regular sized paper lined muffin tins. Bake 5 minutes and allow to cool.

For the cheesecake filling, whisk together 2/3 C sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth. Add cream cheese to sugar/cocoa mixture and whip until creamy and smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, blending until combined. Add vanilla. Pour in melted chocolate and mix. Add 1/4 C heavy cream and sour cream and mix again. Divide mixture among cookie lined muffins cups about 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool at room temp for 1 hour, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 2 more hours.

For the topping, Whip 1/4 C heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add 1/2 TB sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.  Spread a thin later over chilled cheesecakes and then pipe a rim around the edge to hold the filling. Spoon a heaping amount of cherry pie filling  in the center of the cheesecake. Sprinkle shaved chocolate over the cheesecake to dress up.  Store covered until ready to enjoy.

Echos of the Past

February 2, 2015 by braytonbb

 

Civil War Days, Naper Settlement, IL

Photo by Mark Kaletka – Flickr

 

 

Echos of the Past historic trade fair is one of the Midwest’s large indoor historical trade fairs. Taking place at Sunnview Expo Center February 28th.  If you are a history buff,  you will love this event that has been going on for over thirty years, featuring supplies for the historical re-enactor, muzzle loading enthusiasts, and just general public curiosity. You will be able to meet merchants and craftsmen stocking historical clothing, books patterns, tinware, pewter, beads, leather, fur forged iron, pottery, firearms, knives and hundreds of other  items.  Civilians and soldiers alike will be representing time periods ranging from the mid 1700’s through the American Civil War, and western frontier.  This interesting and educational experience will disguised as fun for the whole family.  Enjoy demonstrations, music, shopping, fashion shows, and festive atmosphere. On-going seminars daily. Food is available on site.  Admission $5.00 for adults, children 10 and under free with an adult.

Apple Bites (Vegan)

January 29, 2015 by braytonbb

These Apple Bites are another great vegan recipe that I wanted to share with you. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too many vegan recipes at one time, but this is great for breakfast, lunch, a snack and even the kids will love it. Thanks to Rachelshultz.com, she has just given me a broader selection of healthy foods. This one though, is like dessert. Yumm!

Apples

 

Apple Bites – 1 apple serves 2

The serving size can be disputed, but a half of apple with all these goodness on top is about all my belly can take, but feel free to indulge.

1 Granny Smith Apple, 2 TB Peanut Butter, pecans or walnuts, and chocolate chips. Rachel suggested coconut. I opted out, but add whatever toppings you like.

Core Apple. Slice apple into thin rings. Spread peanut butter on one side. Top with nuts and chips. Enjoy!

 

Valentines Day

January 26, 2015 by braytonbb

 

 

happy valentines day - pink gerbera with a heart of chocolate!

I have always thought that Valentines Day should be celebrated the entire month. Actually I think it should be celebrated everyday but lets just focus on February for now. A couple of years ago, we ran a promotion that when you stayed with us in February you were able to choose a gift box when you arrived. Inside the box would be chocolate( of course) but also a gift to show our appreciation. It could be A Brayton B&B mug, cookbook, coasters, or a percentage off a nights stay. We have decided to bring that back this year. So, make that reservation and surprise someone with a romantic weekend at a bed and breakfast. 

If you should decide to come on Valentines Day weekend this year, and you are looking for things to do outside of the inn, may we suggest, go the a show at the Grand Opera House. February 12-14 at 7:30 PM, The Grand is showing The Importance of Being Ernest. This is a “trival comedy for serious people”. 

Saturday, February 14 enjoy a great evening at Beckets, just walking distance from the inn. Janet Planet will be playing FREE, live romantic music starting at 8:00 and  Chef Mike sure will not disappoint with his amazing creations.

Carrot Pineapple Muffins

January 22, 2015 by braytonbb

I came across these carrot pineapple muffins the other day in my recipe box. I have not made these in years, probably because I make carrot cake so often as dessert that I forget about making them as muffins in the morning for breakfast. I am so glad that I found this recipe though since its a great and I look forward to sharing it with you.

Carrot and Pineapple Muffins – Serves 8 (jumbo) carrot pineapple muffins

1 C sugar, 1 1/8 C vegetable oil, 2 large eggs, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1 1/4 C flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. baking soda, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 C raisins, 1/2 C walnuts, 1/2# carrots shredded, and 1/4 C crushed pineapple. ( I have used tidbits too if this is all I have and it is really good as well if you like the plumpness of the pineapple with the raisins).

Frosting – 1 stick of butter (room temp), 6 oz. cream cheese (room temp), 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 bag of powdered sugar. Blend and set aside. If its too thick, add a little milk to get to the consistency you want, but be careful not to get too thin.  If it does, add more powdered sugar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray jumbo muffin tins or line with muffin liners.

Beat sugar, oil, and eggs until light yellow. Add vanilla. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir until well blended. Add raisin and walnuts. Stir. Fold in carrots and pineapple until well blended.

Bake 30 minutes. Add frosting when muffins are cooled.

 

Winslow Homer in America

January 19, 2015 by braytonbb

 

 

The dinner horn

 

 

The Paine Art Museums newest exhibit is Winslow Homer in America which starts February 14th and goes until May 31st. The exhibit features 125 original wood engravings by one of the great American nineteenth century painters and print makers.  He created dozens of images which depicted politics, war and everyday life in America from the late 1850’s to the mid 1870’s. After serving as a field correspondent in the Civil War, his war scenes are among the most powerful and accurate records of the Union troop experiences. When the war ended, Homer turned his attention to post war experiences. 

For  more information about Winslow Homer, click here.

 

Potato Tomato Frittata

January 15, 2015 by braytonbb

I have been making this Potato Tomato Frittata for years. I love it, because its a great gluten free recipe without feeling like you are missing out on anything. The recipe serves six but I have it made it for just one person before in a single serve pie plate or single serve casserole dish which even works better.

potato tomato frittataPotato Tomato Frittata– serves 6

1 TB butter, 2 med baking potatoes peeled and sliced, salt and pepper, 6 large eggs, beaten, 4 oz. shredded cheddar, 2 oz shredded swiss, 1 C sour cream, 2 TB chives, 1 LG Tomato, 2 TB parm cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melt 1 TB butter in a skillet. Add sliced potatoes and sauté until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer potatoes to a 9” greased pie pan. Sprinkle potatoes with ½ cheddar and swiss. Spread sour cream over cheese. Sprinkle chives over sour cream. In a sprayed skillet, scramble eggs leaving fairly liquid. Salt and pepper to taste. Add eggs on top of chives. Add more cheese. Slice tomatos and add on top of eggs. Sprinkle parm on tomatoes.

Bake 40 minutes until puffed and slightly brown.

 

 

EAA Skiplane Fly-In

January 14, 2015 by braytonbb

Piper Cub on ski

When you think of EAA, you may think of the the incredible air show that takes place in Oshkosh the end of July each year. However, another pretty amazing event that EAA hosts is the annual EAA Skiplane Fly-In which is being held this year on Saturday, February 7th at the EAA Airventure Museums Pioneer Airport in Oshkosh.  Though not as large as the event in July, this spectacular winter event has welcomed more than 30 skiplanes in the past which began in 1953.

If you have never been, this would be a great event to take the family to.  The event begins at 10:00 AM and goes until 1:30 PM and is FREE of charge, which also includes complimentary chili and cake served starting at 10:30. If you do plan on visiting the museum, regular admission rates do apply.

 

 

Nutty Bars (vegan)

January 8, 2015 by braytonbb

I am so excited to tell you about these nutty bars. I know its been a few weeks since I posted a recipe. I feel awful, really, but the Holidays took a lot out of me. Now, its back to experimenting and creating.

Some of you know this, but about 3 months ago, my family decided to do a cleanse. My daughter has had severe back pain for the last four years. Her nutritionist mentioned that she might want to try a cleanse. Sometimes there are certain foods we eat that can trigger aches and pains, much like an allergy. We figured since she was going to do this, that we would join her to make it easier for her. It was only 3 days so we started juicing. We mixed our our vegetable and fruit smoothies and made our own nut milks. Some were better than others but after three days, we all felt great! Our daughter decided three days was enough. My husband and I decided to go on with the 7 day cleanse which introduced us to a vegan diet. We then proceeded to go onto the 21 day cleanse. We both lost some weight and felt great.  Thanksgiving was a challenge, but we made it through. Christmas on the other hand, well, we both fell off the wagon but have decided to get back into the groove. This recipe make a great dessert when you need a little bit of indulgence after dinner, but without all the guilt.

One dessert that gets made a lot at the inn is peanut butter bars, so this recipe is a great healthy alternative. I didn’t know a lot about vegan cooking/baking when I started this, so this recipe along with any future recipes I share with you will probably be taken from somewhere else. This recipe is adapted from One Green Planet. I did change up the recipe though and used what ingredients I had in the pantry. I also blended the nuts longer than what they did since I like a little more creamy texture, compared to nutty, but you can do whatever your palette pleases you.

Nutty BarsNutty Bars – Makes and 8×8 pan

1/2 C sunflower seeds, 1/2 C raw cashews, 1/2 C raw almonds, 1.5 C walnuts, 1/2 C all natural peanut butter, 1/2 melted organic coconut oil(melted-not in microwave), 2-3 TB maple syrup, 2 TB honey(if your not 100% vegan) and 2 tsp. organic vanilla extract.

Chocolate Topping- 1/2 C organic raw cacao powder, 6 TB coconut oil(melted), and 1 TB maple syrup

For the bars, use a food processor. Combine all the nuts and the peanut butter and process until the desired consistency. Add melted coconut oil, honey and/or maple syrup and vanilla and blend again.

Put the  mixture into a non greased 8×8 baking dish and put in the freezer for about 30 minutes or until firm.

For the topping, mix melted coconut oil, cacao and maple syrup and stir until creamy. After bars have firmed up in freezer, spread the chocolate quickly over the bars as it will firm up fast. Return the bars back to the freezer for about 30 minutes to let the chocolate harden up and the bars to set up even more. Transfer the bars to the fridge and let stand for 30 minutes before cutting into them.

Store in the fridge or freezer because they will soften up and lose their shape.

 

 

Mint Fudge

December 23, 2014 by braytonbb

I wanted to publish this mint fudge recipe before Christmas in case anybody needed some fast, last minute ideas on what to bring to family or friends gatherings this season. Fudge has never been a big thrill for me. I grew up not far from Wisconsin Dells where I worked and visited often, so I had my share of many different flavors. I enjoy peanut butter probably the most but sometimes can be a bit cumbersome to make. This mint fudge recipe is not only easy but fast and really good. In fact, this time of year  like to have it around for a little bite size piece of dessert after dinner since its kind of refreshing and I still get my chocolate kick. Our first home that we sold, our buyers brought this fudge recipe to our new home (about 14 years ago). I like it so much that she she shared the recipe with me and I have been making ever since every Christmas. I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

Mint Fudge mint fudge

1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 bag of chocolate chips, 1 oz. baking chocolate and 2 tsp. of mint extract.

Melt everything BUT the mint in a saucepan over med. heat stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add mint. Pour into sprayed 8×8 pan. Chill 1 hour or more. It will seem soft but after one day, its perfect! I have never tried other flavored extracts but I have no doubt that they would be delicious. I am just partial to mint.

Covering a duvet by yourself?

December 22, 2014 by braytonbb

casa_suite_008jpgHow to cover a duvet by yourself in under 2 minutes? Not possible you say? I said the same thing. I am sure anyone who has ever tried putting a duvet cover on knows this is a royal pain in the butt. I am also sure that we have asked husbands and children to help pull, climb in, shake and whatever else can be down to get those corners to line up and not be lumpy.  You may have seen this little trick recently on Pinterest or Facebook or both. Whoever came up with this, is a genius! I  noticed where I pulled it from (makinglemonadeblog.com) makes mention that she linked up with others others so obviously this isn’t new, but it is to me.

When I first came across this, I marked it to come back to it and try it out. She made it look really simple. Too simple in fact that I thought for sure I would have some issues. I read the directions which seemed a bit confusing around step four. I then watched the video and got a confused around the same step, but still thought I am going to try this. So, today I did. She uses a full size duvet, but I actually used a king size duvet and cover on my king bed and it went just as smoothly until step four which I had to read twice, but figured it out pretty quickly. I am sharing this with you all since I will never go back to the old way of struggling to put a duvet back on my bed. For those of you who already knew this, you should be ashamed of yourselves for keeping this secret. :)  I am posting this link to my Pinterest page where you can find the details, otherwise, read below.

Step one: Lay the duvet cover Inside out on the bed with the opening of the cover at the bottom of the bed.

Step two: Lay the comforter(duvet) over the duvet cover, smoothing everything out so it lays perfectly over the cover.

Step three: Starting from closed side (top of the bed), roll the duvet and cover together towards the bottom (like a jelly roll). Start with one side, then go to the other until you can grab the  middle and roll towards the bottom.

Step four: Once rolled (you should be at the bottom of the bed), reach inside of the duvet cover at one corner  and grab the entire end of the duvet and pull through. Repeat on the other side and then the middle.

Step five: Unroll, shake it out, smooth it out, thats it!

 

Blue Cheese Stuffed Candied Pecans

December 18, 2014 by braytonbb

I have never been a big Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola fan, but I love the the pairings of sweet and salty together. A few weeks back we hosted a wine tasting gathering for a local business. Working with Gardinas we came up with some great wine and cheese pairings. They provided this wonderful Blue Cheese that wasn’t as sharp as I had sampled in the past. It almost had some sweet undertones to it. So, I tried using it again with this recipe and it really paid off. I will warn you though that these candied pecans with blue cheese are a tad bit addicting.  Its hard to have just one. I am planning on serving these at our next Holiday Party.

Blue Cheese stuffed pecansBlue Cheese Stuffed Candied Pecans

100 large pecan halves(perfectly shaped), 2 TB butter, 1/4 C honey, 1/4 C sugar, pinch of sea salt, 1/4 tsp. cracked pepper, 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/8 tsp. curry powder, 1/2 C sour cream, and 1 C crumbled blue cheese at room temp.

First, prepare the pecans. Make sure your pecan halves are perfect. Keep the broken ones for another time. Spread them in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Watch carefully, so they do not burn. White pecans are baking, melt butter and honey in a saucepan. When pecans are done baking, add to honey mixture, stirring until coated. Cool completely!

Combine sugar, salt, pepper, cayenne and curry powder in a large bowl. With a slotted spoon, remove pecans and place in the sugar mixture, tossing to coat.

Mix the blue cheese and sour cream until creamy. Using pastry bag(much easier), pipe the blue cheese mixture onto the flat side of one pecan. Top with another pecan and smooth out the edges. Serve right away, so you don’t eat them faster than you serve them.

Thanks ztastylife.com for the inspiration.

Coffee Bar

December 15, 2014 by braytonbb

coffee bar2Our new coffee bar is a guest inspiration. Every once in a while a guests will say “Hey, have you ever considered this”, or “you know what you should have”? Sometimes, we have the same ideas, but financially or having the space is sometimes a challenge. Other times though, we think to ourselves, yeh, your right, that would be a good idea. This coffee bar is exactly that.

I am going to call this guest, now friend out. Robin Wagner, thank you! I know its been a few years since you made this suggestion, but it wasn’t an easy fix. We wanted it to be just perfect. You said to us a few years ago that it would be nice to grab coffee in your robe, without having to go into the dining room, when others were having breakfast. You just wanted to grab and go without feeling that you were interrupting something. That is never the case, however, we do want our guests to feel right at home. So, we began thinking, designing and trying to find the the right spot that  made it look like it fit, like it was always there. Our four seasons porch where we keep all of our Oshkosh information, and cozy fireplace was or first choice, but I didn’t want to lose what we offered in that room. We then thought about the alcove by the front door. Perfect spot, but it didn’t seem central enough.

Older homes, don’t come with a lot of closets, so we didn’t want to give up one of the few we had, but we felt that putting in the living room, which is also a common area would be the most beneficial. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough room to stick in a refrigerator, but we did add a sink with filtered water, a space for wine glasses, coffee mugs, water glasses and our new Keurig which is getting a lot of use. We still offer coffee and tea in our dining room, but the Keurig  comes in handy for late night drinks or for those that want just one cup.

We hope you will stop in and check out our new Coffee Bar.

Mashed Potato Pancakes

December 11, 2014 by braytonbb

I have never been one to make a good potato pancake. In fact, its been a work in progress for me. However, when I saw this recipe, I had to get my hands on it and turn it into my own.  It couldn’t be any easier and any more delicious! Now, the key here is to have left over mashed potatoes. No leftovers? That is okay. I made a few of these up ahead of time, put them in the freezer and set them out in the morning to thaw and fried them up an hour later. It worked like a charm. In fact, you couldn’t tell the difference between the fresh and frozen.  I don’t think instant potatoes will work, but  hey, you can give it a shot and let me know. You want them to be thick, yet fluffy.

First off, you need a good mashed potato recipe. I typically only share my breakfast, dessert and appetizer recipes, but since you need mashed potatoes, I don’t think my Grandma will mind if I share this family secret.

Mashed Potatoes – feeds 6 generously

5# potatoes, 1 8 oz block of cream cheese, 1 C sour cream, 2 TB butter, 1 tsp. onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste.

Peel potatoes. Boil. Mash potatoes. Whip Potatoes. Add rest of ingredients and whip well again until thick and creamy.

Put in a casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. ( Keeps up to 2 weeks in refrigerator before baking and freezes well too)

Mashed Potato Pancakes – 12 mini pancakes mashed potato pancakes

3 C mashed potatoes, 2/3 C shredded cheddar cheese,  2 TB chopped onions, 1 egg lightly beaten, 3 TB flour, plus more for dipping,  Tsp. garlic powder, vegetable oil(for frying) and sour cream(garnish)

In a large bowl, stir together the mashed potatoes, cheese, onions, egg and 3 TB flour until combined. Roll each portion into a ball and then flatten it into a 1/2″ thick pancake. I kept mine the size of a lid of a can.

In a shallow dish, add enough flour to coat 12 pancakes. Dredge each mashed potato pancake in flour.

Heat vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. I added enough to coat the bottom of the pan plus some. Fry the pancakes, flipping only once making sure that the get nice and brown on each side. Don’t flip too soon though, otherwise they won’t heat all the way through and they may fall apart. Transfer pancakes to a paper towel lined plate.

Sprinkle with a little Sea salt, a dollop sour cream and chives.

Adapted recipe from justataste.com

 

Asparagus Strata

December 4, 2014 by braytonbb

This asparagus strata was inspired by these pretty singular casseroles that I found the other day. I get asked this question a lot. What is the difference between a strata and a frittata?  Well a a frittata is an open faced omelet that has fillings such as cheese, meat, veggies that is blended into the egg mixture instead of being added to the top. A strata is more of a casserole type item by pouring the egg and milk over the bread, cheese, meat and/or veggies. Stratas  are usually left in the refrigerator over night as well so the bread soaks up all the egg and milk goodness. I made this for one, but if you have a smaller appetite, this could easily work for two people.

Asparagus Strata – Serves 1-2asparagus strata

3 slices prosciutto, 3 asparagus stalks(ends cut), 2 eggs, chives, any leftover artisan bread( 3 thick slices), salt, pepper, butter, Havarti, Swiss or Fontina cheese(shredded), 1/2 tsp. horseradish and half and half.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a small casserole dish. Lay 1-2 slices of bread on the butter of the casserole dish. It is okay that it heaves over the sides.

Whisk together eggs, horseradish and half and half. Stir in half of the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg  mixture over the bread, saving about 1/4 C. Layer the prosciutto over the bread and then lay the asparagus over the prosciutto or wrap the prosciutto around the asparagus (whatever you prefer). Pour the remaining egg mixture over the asparagus and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake immediately or put in the refrigerator overnight.

Bake until just set about 30 minutes. sprinkle with chives and paprika for added color.

Don’t forget those gift certificates

December 1, 2014 by braytonbb

gift cert1

Many of you probably have your Christmas shopping done or maybe you have at least started. I would normally be one of these two, but this year I have been pushing myself to get the turkey on the table, the decorations up and now thinking about what to buy for everyone. May I suggest gift certificates. I know they can be a bit informal but they really are the perfect gift. I know I will be purchasing several this year. Please think small business if you can. Those box stores are nice but you want to talk about impersonal, that about takes the cake.

Speaking of gift certificates, we sell any denomination of gift certificate you would like, including ones that are packaged up in a nice little bundle that includes anything from flowers, to candy to dinner at a local restaurant. We can even take care of mailing them out for you if you wish. Just give us call, or buy online, let us know how you would like us to handle it and we will take care of the rest. No lines to stand in and it already comes wrapped.

Being Thankful

November 24, 2014 by braytonbb

Give Thanks... (#7287)

As I start preparing for Thanksgiving this year, since we always host the family, I get a little teary eyed knowing that I have a lot to be thankful for. I know I should tell my family and friends more often than I do, but I always assume they know. Whether they do or not, I know I need to voice it more often.

My daughter is a junior this year in high school. She has always known that she has wanted to to be a large animal vet. Other than wanting to go to UCLA, which we had to break it to her, that financially that was not going to happen, River Falls WI, has been her dream. Small school, small town and hands on learning is what she has dreamed about. Already taking some college prep courses in high school and doing an externship over the summer has made her even more sure. We travel this week up to UW River Falls to tour the school, just to make sure that what she has in mind is what it is all about. We have talked to her about doing her generals close to home to save some money and then transferring but that has never been her idea of the right thing to do. I get it! I was once there too. I just wanted to move away and make my own life and dreams happen. That is until she met Mr. wonderful a few weeks ago and now staying closer to home for those generals doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.  Funny how that happens, huh?

Anyway, I have been asked if I am ready. Ready for her to leave, or ready for her to stay? Well, I have to say because she is my only and we are very close, I would miss her like crazy. However, I know that she is ready. So I guess that makes it just a little bit easier knowing that she may choose to be four hours away. Am I ready if she stays? Yes, if I know she is staying for the right reasons and that its the best thing for her. I saw a quote the other day and it said that we should give our children two things. One is roots and the other is wings. I don’t think it could have been said any better.

With that being said, I am thankful for the support of my family, the love of my husband, the closeness of my friends, the guests that choose to spend time at our inn since there are so many great places to stay and the inspiration that my daughter gives me daily to be a better person and a Mom. I hope that you all find your thanks this week, throughout the holiday season and as you live your lives.

Fig and Blue Cheese Bites

November 20, 2014 by braytonbb

These Fig and Blue Cheese Bites were actually an inspiration from one of our favorite restaurants here in town called Gardinas. Scott and I have changed up our diet as of about 6 weeks ago (story at another time) so we have gone out of our comfort zone and have tried some unique dishes as of recent. The other night we were out and had ordered Gardinas Fig flat bread. We were in love with the first bite and wanted to try to recreate it at home.

Of course Gardinas is a heck of a lot better, but I don’t think we did half bad. We did add some prosciutto ham but I don’t think I would again. It doesn’t really need it. If you are craving a little protein though, this would do the trick. We also used a baking stone, but if you don’t have, I think it would turn out just fine.

Ingredients: Store bough pizza dough, fig spread(found in the deli section), dried figs, Blue Cheese, and prosciutto(optional).

fig bites2

Fig and Blue Cheese Bites 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. I used a round pizza stone. Put it in your oven while the the oven is preheating. Once you get 450 degrees, leave pizza stone in the oven for 30 additional minutes. In the meantime, stretch your dough on a piece of parchment paper to the size you want it. It will raise in the oven, so stretch it out good. Spread on the fig jam. Here you will add prosciutto if you desire. If not, cut figs in half or in quarters and sprinkle them on your pizza. Sprinkle on Blue Cheese.

Slice the parchment paper and dough onto your pizza stone. Turn down oven to 400 degrees and bake for 15 minutes. Watch carefully. Once done, we added a little balsamic glaze to the top of the pizza. Cut and serve. We served ours with Hughes Chocolates and some crackers.

Nutcracker in the Castle

November 17, 2014 by braytonbb

“Land of Sweets” courtesy of the Paine Art Museum

The Nutcracker in the the Castle at the Paine Art Museum starts this Friday, November 21st and goes through Friday, January 5th.  We couldn’t be more excited. The Paine “castle” is decorated elaborately throughout each of its historic rooms with scenes from the Nutcracker fairy tale. If you have never done the candlelight tour, the magic happens before your eyes with the shimmering glow of more than seventy Christmas trees through the home. There is also special actor guided tours with live music and the youth ballet performances which bring this fantasy even more to life. Make sure you make your reservations though soon, since sell out is very likely. After your tour, stopping in the enchanted cafe is a must, where the Sugar Plum Fairy will serve up hot chocolate and home made cupcakes from the Cake Guru.

 

 

 

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