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Battle on Bago

February 17, 2014 by braytonbb

Battle on Bago (Winnebago) is here again this Friday February 21 and Saturday February 22nd. It is the largest ice fishing tournament around with over $160,000 in cash and prizes to be given away.

For those that don’t know, Lake Winnebago is 10×30 miles, 88 miles of shoreline and an average of 15 to 21 feet deep.

How safe is it to be out on the ice with the tent, thousands of people, cars and music? Great question? This year is one of the best with the brutal cold temps we have had. Clear, solid ice around 2″-3″ thick only is sufficient to hold one person walking. This year though the ice is about 30+ in thickness and the has been great fishing conditions. Sturgeon Spearing which is usually a two week season, was called short last week due to the large number of sturgeon speared last week. First time in years.

Pack

The tournament begins at 6:00 AM Friday morning, with a fish fry from 5-10 PM and the band, Road Trip playing from 7:30-11:00 PM.

Now as exciting as all this is, for me it just won’t compare to last year when we had a few of the Packer alumni staying with us for the tournament. This picture was from last year, but it was probably one of my most memorable times to date.

 

Oreo Cheesecake Bites

February 13, 2014 by braytonbb

February is chocolate month, so as promised another chocolate recipe. Oreo Cheesecake Bites are so simple to throw together when you need something quick. They are also a great single serve item so its easy not to give yourself too much. At least if you can restrain yourself from not having more than one.

oreo cheesecake for twoThis recipe is only for two, but you can double, triple or make as much as you want.

2 oz. cream cheese, softened, 1 TB sugar, 1 square semi sweet baking chocolate, melted, 1/2 C cool whip and 2 Oreo cookies(mint is really tasty too).

Beat cream cheese, sugar and melted chocolate in a medium bowl with a whisk until blended and smooth.

Add whipping topping and mix well.

Place one cookie in the bottom of a paper muffin cup. Scoop or pipe cream cheese mixture over the cookie.

Serve right away or refrigerate for later.

What to do for Valentines Day weekend?

February 10, 2014 by braytonbb

So you want to do something special for Valentines Day but have limited funds? Well lucky for you, Oshkosh has some great events going on that won’t cost you much but will score you some big points all close to the inn.

Big Heart of Art - 1000 Visual Mashups

Friday evening (Valentines Day), Chef Mike at Beckets restaurant on the Fox River, will be serving up some wonderful entrees exclusively for Valentines Day. Janet Planet, a jazz vocalist, will also be playing by the roaring fire. Sounds wonderfully romantic to me. Beautiful atmosphere on the river, great food and free live music!

Saturday from 9:00-12:30 the indoor Saturday Farmers Market at Washington Hall will be hosting Tin Sandwich. Enjoy great music while checking out beautiful crafts, canned goods, pottery, soaps, and so much more.

Saturday evening Dockside Tavern, just across the river from Beckets, will be hosting Piano Bar with Michael Massey at 6:00 PM. Free champagne with every entree purchase and two 4 one martinis all night long.

You have to eat sometime, so why not choose one or both of these great restaurants on the Fox River, just blocks from the inn, hear some amazing music for free and check out the indoor farmers market if you have never been. I hear it is supposed to warm up here the next few days, so by this weekend it will be the perfect romantic weekend.

 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

February 6, 2014 by braytonbb

February is chocolate month, right? Well, it should be. I think it is my obligation to test out as many chocolate recipes as I can and present you with the very best. Now, personally, I have shown you some of best in some previous posts of mine like the Fudgy Cherry Cake brownies, Black and White brownies, Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins and Crock Pot Hot Chocolate. Just some of my favorites, but its always fun to try something new. So this week and I will try every week in February to come up with a new chocolate recipe.

This week is the chocolate, chocolate chip cookie. No, I did not add chocolate twice. It really is chocolaty. Now, I like chocolate just like the next person, probably even more but these are really over the top. It kind of tastes like a brownie or a truffle but has a meringue top which gives it a nice sheen and a little crunch with being moist on the inside.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies -30 Large cookies

16oz. dark chocolate (70%) is best but use whatever you can get your hands on. -chopped. Chocolate Chocolate chip Cookies
1/4 C butter, room temp.
1 1/4 C sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8oz. dark chocolate chips (Ghirardelli is perfect) but if you can only find Nestle, thats okay too. Better chocolate, better cookie.

Melt 16oz. chocolate and butter in top of double boiler over simmering water, (not boiling) stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat.  Beat sugar and eggs in a bowl with a electric mixer until thick and smooth.  Add melted chocolate and vanilla slowly to eggs.  Mix well.
Add flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl, then stir into chocolate mixture.
Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.  Refrigerate batter about 20 minutes. Any more than that, they get too firm.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Very important. Even if you spray your pan, they will stick because of the minimal amount of flour. Trust  me!  Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets.  Bake in pre-heated oven 350 until tops crack, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely.

Valentines Day/ Month Special

February 5, 2014 by braytonbb

I know we are already 5 days into February and I am a bit behind the ball when it comes to Valentines Day and doing something romantic, fun, and special but here is the thing. Most  bed and Breakfasts’, including ourselves, offer those romantic touches everyday. We make reservations for you at that special restaurant, we can pick up that bottle of wine that is your favorite, we offer fresh flowers in the room for that special occasion, we are fortunate to have Hughes and Oaks Chocolates so close by that we put those in our packages often as well, plus we advertise that if you want to do something really over the top, just ask. We will go out of our way to make

Valentines Day

your special day unforgettable. Therefore, trying to come up with “something out of the box” for this romantic holiday puts us both at an advantage and disadvantage since we already do these things all the time.

Speaking of “out of the box” I decided to do just that. I picked up these cute little heart shaped boxes, painted them up, and stuffed them with chocolate and a gift inside. Just like our ornament promotion and Easter egg promotion, we thought since our guests loved this idea so  much, why not do it for Valentines Day or better yet, every weekend in February.

When you check in, you will see a basket of heart shaped boxes. Pick the one that calls your name and see what your gift is inside. We have added a Brayton B&B coffee mug, Wisconsin bed and Breakfast cookbook, Hughes Chocolates, 10-50% off  one night stays and one FREE night stay! Just stay with us any weekend this February and see what cool gift you will walk away with.

7 Re-Discovered Tiffiany Windows

January 27, 2014 by braytonbb

I am honored to present the The Oshkosh Public Museum this week. Beginning February 8 through May 11, the museum will showcase the full set of Tiffany’s stained-glass window series “Angels Representing Seven Churches,”.

Created by Tiffany Studios at the beginning of the 20th century, the windows once adorned a church sanctuary in Ohio but spent decades packed in crates, nearly forgotten, after the church was demolished. In 2001, the angels were found – miraculously, all seven survived intact.

This exhibit educates us about the historical and artistic significance of the works, and archives their evolution and journey. The real beauty though is when the windows are backlit and light streams through the stained-glass which reveals their real beauty.

The significance of this exhibit is that it is here in the historic 1908 residence of Edgar and Mary Jewell Sawyer. Their interior decorations and furnishings of the home were executed by Tiffany Studios, including the bronze grilles, light fixtures and tapestry wall coverings. One of the most recognizable and beautiful Tiffany features is the iridescent landscape themed stained glass window on the landing of the grand staircase.

The In Company With Angels exhibit includes not only the dramatic Tiffany windows, but is accompanied by Living With Tiffany, an exhibit showcasing a collection of lamps, desk sets and other decorative objects created by Tiffany Studios for the home and everyday living.

I am so excited to be able to tour this exhibit and proud that Oshkosh has brought this to our community

 

Can you guess what this is?

January 23, 2014 by braytonbb

Can you guess what this gadget is? This week, no recipe, but a gadget that helps me in the kitchen. I will give you a few hints.

grapefruit cutter

1. It is used a lot at breakfast at our inn.

2. You can buy one of these yourself very inexpensively.

3. This tool makes eating this breakfast item much easier

4. This tool makes preparing this breakfast item much easier.

5. People that did not know this tool existed always ask me how I am able to prepare this one item so perfectly. Then they find out how and are amazed at this little gadget. I think Williams and Sonoma should send me a thank you card for the sale of this item.

To find the answer, you will have to go back to this previous post in our Blog.  If you don’t get it by looking at the picture, email  me. It will be fun to see how many will know.

EAA Skiplane Fly-In

January 20, 2014 by braytonbb

EAA Airventure is months away as I am now thinking of warmer weather. If you are getting that itch though to catch a glimpse of a few planes, or should I say skiplanes, the annual EAA Skiplane Fly-In is approaching. Traditionally it has been in January, but the date has been moved to  Saturday, February 8, at EAA’s Pioneer Airport in Oshkosh, to increase the likelihood of sufficient snow to host flying activities.

This incredible winter event, which has welcomed more than 30 skiplanes in the past, celebrates  skiplane flying as well as the anniversary of the first-ever meeting of the Experimental Aircraft Association which was on January 26, 1953.

In the unlikely event that snow and weather conditions do not permit aircraft arrivals at Pioneer Airport on February 8, other activities will continue as planned, including complimentary chili and cake served beginning at 10:30 a.m.

The Skiplane Fly-In runs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and is free of charge to the general public. Signs will direct visitors to the skiplane area upon arrival to the museum. Shuttle services will also operate from Basler Flight Service and Orion Flight Services for those landing at Wittman Regional Airport. Regular admission rates apply for guests visiting the museum itself.

 

Chocolate Fudge Brownies

January 16, 2014 by braytonbb

My friend, who is a chef in Napa Valley, is incredible when it comes to his homemade pasta dishes and tiramisu recipes. I was shocked when he called me the other day and asked for for a traditional brownie recipe. The first thing I told him is that I am sure that whatever he came up with would be amazing. I am sure he knows that as well, but he insisted I share with him whatever I had since my sister raved about them. I have not made traditional brownies in some time. If you have followed my blog you will know that I have posted all sorts of brownies such as Blondies, Lemon Brownies Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Peanut Brownies,  Fudgey Chocolate Cherry Cake Brownies, and  Black & White Brownies  but never traditional brownies. Traditional brownies, though scrumptious as they are, are a lot like scrambled eggs. When I have guest that asks if I can do just scrambled eggs, I say of course, but we always do so much more than just scrambled eggs for breakfast. If that is what a guest wants, then that is what we will do, so I present to you the traditional brownie. I like to think of these as a refrigerator brownies. Even though it is hard not to dig into them as soon as you pull them from the oven, they are so much better once they are chilled. Dense and fudgey. Try them for yourself. Let me know what you think.

Brownies, chocolate fudgeChocolate Fudge Brownies - 1/4 C flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 C butter, 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, 1/2 C  light brown sugar, 1/3 C sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 large egg yolk, 1 tsp. of espresso powder and 1/2 C dark chocolate chips.

Frosting- 1 C dark chocolate chips, 4 TB butter, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, pinch of salt, 1/2 powdered sugar and 1-2 TB milk.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a double boiler, add a couple of inches of water. To the top pan add butter, unsweetened chocolate. Melt chocolate and butter. Once melted remove top pot from bottom and whisk in brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk in egg, yolk and vanilla. Add flour mixture and fold in chocolate chips. Pour in 8×8 pan. Bake 30 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

For frosting, melt chocolate chips and butter. Stir in vanilla and salt. Stir in powdered sugar and then add milk a little at a time until smooth, creamy and shiny. Spread on brownies and refrigerate. Serve when firm.

 

The Weather Channel visits Oshkosh

January 14, 2014 by braytonbb

 

Fishing thru ice  (LOC)

 

Well we couldn’t have timed that any better. Yesterday , we announced that we were awarded one of the top 10 Bed and Breakfast’s in Wisconsin for winter travelers. Today, the The Weather Channel made a visit to Oshkosh and reported on Lake Winnebago regarding the temps and ice fishing conditions. We couldn’t prouder and wanted to share their news story with you all in case you missed it.

http://bcove.me/v3bw2cmq

Top 10 B&B’s for winter travelers

January 13, 2014 by braytonbb

The Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Association has named the top 10 Bed and breakfasts for winter travelers again this year and Brayton Bed and Breakfast made the list again. We would like to say thank you and congratulations to all the the other B&B’s that made the list as well. If you can make it to Oshkosh this year, come and stay with us and see why Lake Winnebago is home to some of the best ice fishing and sturgeon spearing around and then warm up back at the inn with some homemade hot chocolate. If Oshkosh is not in your travel plans this winter, the top four B&B’s offer anything from dog sledding to candlelight breakfasts’.
1. Pinehurst Inn, Bayfield: A leader in the green travel movement, the inn is all about the white stuff this time of year. They offer a dog sledding package in partnership with Wolfsong Adventures and you’ll want to ask the owners about a hike out to the ice caves on the Apostle Island National Lakeshore too. Added tip – make time to enjoy the on-site sauna.

2. McCormick House, Hayward: The city is home to America’s largest cross-country ski marathon, the American Birkebeiner, and has some of the finest trails in the country. The sophisticated McCormick House, a restored Victorian with a contemporary twist, has a full a la carte breakfast menu to help you get your energy levels up in the morning and wine to help you warm up in the evening.

3. Canyon Road Inn, Turtle Lake: Six fireplaces, one in each suite, are perfect for defrosting after a day of snowmobiling or ice fishing out the back door. Guests can snowshoe the 14-acre grounds for a good cardio workout.

4. Apple Tree Lane B&B, Waupaca: There’s ice fishing on the chain of 22 spring-fed lakes in the area and cross country skiing around the 7.5 acres that surround the inn. The owners of this circa 1880 farmhouse serve a gourmet breakfast each morning set with candlelight.

5. Brayton B&B, Oshkosh: This is a warm landing spot for those who like ice fishing on Lake Winnebago (sturgeon speaking, anyone?) and Lake Butte De Morts. This Cream City brick Italianate home is doily-free and the innkeepers offer a breakfast-to-go for early risers.

6. Tie: Justin Trails B&B Resort and Grapevine Log Cabins, Sparta: There are seven miles of cross country ski trails groomed for skating and striding on the grounds of Justin Trails B&B, to say
nothing of the four miles of snowshoe trails (30 pairs of snowshoes stored at the B&B, rental is just $5, plus free guided hikes), and skijoring with your dog. At Grapevine Log Cabins, there’s a cute stove in each of the three cabin-style guest houses and homemade quilts on the beds, a nice welcome in for snowmobilers and cross country skiers.

7. Pine Grove Park, Reedsburg: A stay here puts you in perfect proximity to cross country skiing at Mirror Lake State Park (with candlelight skis too) and Devil’s Lake State Park, plus downhill skiing at Christmas Mountain, Cascade Mountain and Devil’s Head Resort. The innkeepers also provide snowshoes for stomping around the trail system on the grounds of the B&B.

8. Inn at Wawanissee Point, Baraboo: This new villa-style estate on 42 acres has snowshoes for guests to get around the three miles of trails on the grounds. The innkeepers even recommend snow walking by moonlight when the snow sparkles like diamonds. The view to the Lake Wisconsin Valley from both the Great Room and the breakfast area is stellar. Downhill skiing at Devil’s Head Resort is just two miles away.

9. Honeybee Inn, Horicon: After a day of cross country skiing on the trails of Horicon Marsh, you’ll have plenty of choices for warming up at Honeybee Inn in Horicon. The inn has eight fireplaces – two electric, one gas, and five wood burning. The innkeeper is a State Fair Blue Ribbon winner and her made-from-scratch bakery is legendary.

10. Token Creek Eco Inn, Madison: The innkeepers here have been known to snow shoe to the chicken coop when the snow gets deep. They offer free snowshoe rental to guests so they can explore the grounds of the inn and the 150-acre headwater springs to the Madison Chain of Lakes. They also endorse the lit cross country ski trails at night at Token Creek County Park.

About the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association
The WBBA is the one of the largest associations of its kind in the United States and the only quality-certified B&B organization in Wisconsin. Its 140 member inns range from historic mansions to waterfront cottages to contemporary urban retreats. Full descriptions of the inns may be found at www.WisconsinBandB.com.

Tomato Caprese Baked Eggs

January 9, 2014 by braytonbb

Starting the new year usually means the start a new diet which might mean giving up gluten, dairy or in this case carbs. These tomato caprese baked eggs are especially good since they give you plenty of protein to start your carb free diet out right in the morning.

tomato caprese baked eggs

Tomato Caprese Baked Eggs – Serves 1

1 egg, a handful of grape tomatoes, halved, 1 oz. of marinated fresh mozzarella, 3 fresh basil leaves, 1/2 tsp. of cream, and salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 6oz. ramekin with non stick spray. Add a few pieces of halved tomatoes, cheese and basil cut in half. Crack one egg into each ramekin and season with salt and pepper. Add cream to keep the egg from drying out. Add a few more tomatoes, cheese and basil on top of egg. Bake for 5 minutes and then turn on broiler to low and bake for another 5 minutes. Watch carefully so your basil does not burn. Serve with peppered bacon (recipe to follow at a later time) and fruit or muffin if you have already given up on the carb free diet.

Two Special Weddings

January 7, 2014 by braytonbb

Who doesn’t like a wedding? I would like to introduce you to two special couples that were just married at the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014.

Fawn and Geno Perkins. These two special people have stayed with us several times since we have been open these last 7 years. We enjoy their company each and every time they tell us they are coming for a visit. Last summer Fawn emailed me to tell me that they were getting married. Then she asked me if they could get married in December at the inn when it was all decorated for Christmas. I was not only overjoyed BUT honored that they wanted to not only get married at our inn but have their family and friends stay with us for a weekend as well. We started working on decorations, flowers, food, etc. until finally, Fawn decided since her and Geno have never been out of the country that they would prefer to spend extra on their honeymoon and decided to marry in a small ceremony in Brookfield closer to home. Although disappointed that they would not be marrying at the inn, I totally understood. That Fall, we received and invitation to their wedding which was to take place December 7th at a very small, low key and beautiful pavilion in a park. We were once again honored to be invited and accepted their invitation. We are so happy to share these beautiful pictures.

fawn and geno weddingfawnand geno outside

 

 

 

Rebecca and David. Married January 4, 2014. Not trying to reveal to much about this lovely couple. They wanted their wedding to be kept a secret until later this summer when they will be married again, they wanted me to share their intimate pictures that were taken at the inn this past weekend.  Rebecca and David  were neighbors, not even knowing it until friends had set them up on date. That was all it took for these two people to fall in love. There wedding was small and understated but was perfect for two people just looking to start a life together.

Rebecca David wedding 1-14

rebecca david wedding cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to both of these wonderful couples for allowing us to be a part of your special day.

 

Local Art Auction at the Underground

December 23, 2013 by braytonbb

 

Hey Oshkosh and those of you coming to visit. Check out the Underground. Personally, I have never heard of this until I noticed that there was a local art auction taking place on Saturday, January 18th from 2:00-5:00 PM at 321 Market St. in Oshkosh.

The Underground is located in a basement right next to the sundial on the square downtown, hence underground. They offer events that you might not see anywhere else. The Underground was created to make space for your dreams to become a reality. They feature many local artists, as well as touring bands that offer live art and music, performance art, interactive projects, open mic night, gallery space, spoken word and poetry, creative workshops, individual and group art classes, kids activity days, studio space, community-minded get-togethers, a place to hang out and even supplies to use. It is completely funded by donations and individuals working toward the same goal of creating a community based placed to enjoy the arts.

The art at this auction will go to the highest bidder! You never know, you might be walking away with a high quality, fine art piece for a very reasonable price. Proceeds will be going toward the UnderGround.

Artists featured in the auction are all local, and many have held exhibitions in galleries in the area. Previews of some art will be posted to the event website but there will be many works that will only be seen the day of the auction. If you are not able to attend the event, but you would like to place a bid on a certain item, you should email the undergound directly and inquire.

Christmas Baking

December 19, 2013 by braytonbb

My daughter Chase  and I have been busy baking and decorating Christmas cookies and candy. I probably should have taken a picture of my kitchen filled with flour and the variety of frosting colors. I realized that I am not a very tidy baker but then I again I am usually doing more than one thing at a time and just move from one thing to another like I am sure so many of us do.

I have so much more to  bake yet, but I thought I would share with you some of my favorites and some new items as well. All of these items freeze nicely until ready to share with others or to keep yourself from eating them all at once.

The molasses cookies are my personal favorite along with my husbands and a few friends. The sugar cookies are Chase’s and  my Grandmas favorite. Both are her recipes. I shared with you the molasses cookie recipe with you last year, but I included the link for you to look back at if you wish.

Molasses and Sugar cookiesRolled Sugar Cookies 4 dz. 

1 C butter, room temp., 1 1/2 C sugar, 2 eggs, 3 tsp. vanilla, 3 C flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt.

Cream butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and beat.

Sift together remaining ingredients and mix well. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

Roll out dough. Cut out into shapes and bake 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Ice when cool.

Icing

1/4 C butter, 1# powdered sugar, 1 TB vanilla, milk

 

I always like to try out some new recipes as well each season. I got all of these off of Pinterest but tweaked them a bit. I would probably even change some things the next time too, as noted.

Chocolate and Cherry Shortbread CookiesChocolate cherry shortbread

1 C butter, room temp., 1/2 Powdered sugar, 2 C flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 C maraschino cherries, chopped, 1/2 C white and dark chips, 1/2 TB vanilla and 8 oz. dark chocolate , chopped.

Cream butter and sugar. Mix flour and the salt. Mix dry ingredients into the wet until it starts forming into larger clumps. Mix in the maraschino cherries, white and chocolate  chips and vanilla. Form the dough into the shape of a log (make sure it is compacted and rolled tightly). Chill at least one hour.

When chilled, cut the log into 1/4″ thick slices and place them on a parchment lined baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees until lightly brown on top, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Dip the cookies or drizzle with chocolate and let cool until chocolate sets.

 

Chai Spiced Cookies – 4 dz. xmas cookies 2

1 C butter, softened, 1/2 C powdered sugar, 2 C flour, 1 1/2 tsp. cardamon, 1 1/2 tsp. allspice, 1 tsp. allspice, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. ground cloves, 4 tsp. vanilla, 2 egg yolks.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter and 1/2 C powdered sugar until blended. Stir in remaining cookie ingredients. Shape dough into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool 5  minutes. While cooling, mix coat ingredients.

Coating

1 1/2 C powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. cardamon and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.

Mix coating ingredients. Roll warm cookies in coating mixture. Cool and roll again in  mixture.

 

Peppermint Patties

15 oreos, crushed, 3 TB butter, melted, 2 C powdered sugar, 2 TB butter, softened, 2 tsp. milk, 1 tsp. peppermint extract, 6 oz. dark chocolate, and 2 tsp. shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 pan with foil making sure it extends over all sides.

In a med. bowl combined crushed cookies and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of pan making sure it is pressed tightly. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a food processor combine powdered sugar and softened butter. Cover and process until butter is evenly mixed in. With processor running, add milk and peppermint extract until a soft paste forms. Spread peppermint over crust and freeze for 45 minutes.

Chop chocolate and measure out shortening and add to a a microwavable bowl. Microwave 1 minute until chocolate is  melted. Pour chocolate over peppermint layer, spreading evenly. Lift out uncut bars out of pan and cut into squares. Store in freezer until ready to serve.

 

 

 

 

 

The Busy Trap

December 16, 2013 by braytonbb

A friend of mine posted this this other day on Facebook and it really resonated with me, a lot! The Busy Trap. That is exactly what it is. We are all soooo busy and we feel like we are trapped. In reality, most of of us do it to ourselves. I know I do. I felt like this article was important to share since the author said so many things that rang true with me and so many of my friends. This time of year, I think it is also a great reminder how important it is to slow down, enjoy the season, and give something back to ourselves; time.

As you read this article, we are not all authors or bed and breakfast owners or stay at home Mom’s, or whatever it is that you do that makes you so important, but I think we will all understand that it is okay to say no once in awhile or to heck with it. In fact, soon after I read this, I picked up a book and enjoyed an hour to myself this afternoon. It was really nice.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/opinionator/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/

 

Second City’s Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue

December 9, 2013 by braytonbb

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for something different to do over the  holiday season and this looks like it might be the perfect solution for this holiday season?

Instead of the usual, why not head to the Grand Opera House and celebrate with Second City. Second City has performed at the Grand several times, but this ALL NEW Nutcracking Holiday Revue features a seasonal blend of comedic scenes, songs and  the trademark improvisation with a bit of holiday mischief. For one night only  on Thursday, December 19th, enjoy this  Funny, bright and completely original, show. It will be the  perfect alternative to the  same old holiday shows.  You will witness uneven gift exchanges with your clueless boyfriend to couples therapy with Joseph and Mary,  Second City has your ticket to all that’s ridiculous about this magical  season.

 

We did it again!

December 2, 2013 by braytonbb

Well, we decided to do it again! All the Christmas decorations are up along with our guest Christmas giving tree.It is adorned with beautiful christmas gift tree 2012lights, large bulbs and ribbon and clear ornaments that each have a special surprise inside.  It was such a big hit last year, that we decided to spread the joy again. For all of our guests staying with us again this year, in the month of December, you will be able to pick a clear Christmas ornament off of the tree and open it to find a surprise inside. Like last year, we have several 10-40% off night stays, two 50% off night stays and 1 FREE night stay included in the bulbs. This year we have also added FREE cookbooks, B&B coasters and mugs as well for gifts.

All return guests that have stayed with us in the past will be able to use their discount or receive their gift right away. All guests that are new to Brayton B&B, will be able to use their percentage off in a gift certificate form for the next time they come back. Spread the word, we would love for you to see our tree first hand.

If you are not able to make it this year, we also offer gift certificates for those hard to buy for people on your list.

 

Pumpkin Bars

November 27, 2013 by braytonbb

I debated whether or not to post another pumpkin recipe, especially since this is pretty common. However, its one of my favorites and its also one that I just cannot stop eating just one either. Enjoy this Thanksgiving or anytime.

pumpkin bars2

  Pumpkin Bars

1 2/3 C Sugar, 4 eggs, 1 C vegetable oil, 15oz. can of pumpkin, 2 C flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice and nuts (optional). I choose not to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda and nuts if using. Combine until smooth. Spread in a 13×10 pan.

Bake 30  minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Icing

8 oz. cream cheese (softened), 1/2 c butter (softened), 2 C powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla.

Combine cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add sugar and mix until combined. Stir in vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled bars.

 

 

Time to be thankful

November 25, 2013 by braytonbb

a thankful heart

I am thankful everyday for my family and the wonderful friends that I have. However, lately I have been thinking a lot about how fast time goes by. Since my daughter Chase has been 4 she has helped us remodel 4 homes. Nine years ago, my husband Scott and I bought what is now Brayton Bed and Breakfast. We spent a year and half working on one room at at time trying to make each room come alive the way we visualized it in our minds. Nine years ago my daughter was 7. This would be her third house that she has helped with. Though she was small she was a great help cleaning radiators and painting. She has met many guests throughout the years. She learned how to crochet, learned a little French, and best of all learned to meet, greet and talk to people confidently

Three weeks ago today, she went for her drivers license and got it. We all were overjoyed.  For those of you with older children I think you will know where I am going with this, but those of you who still have young ones at home you know that it seems like you spend of majority of your time running your children to play dates, birthday parties, sports practice and games, school and more. At times it becomes overwhelming but I reminded myself often as I did when she was little that nothing lasts forever. Sooner or later babies sleep through the night, but one day, they stop grabbing your hand to walk across the street and they stop waving when you drop them off at school and then they get their license. I had been nervous  for that day for a while knowing that I would be worrying about her on the road.  The first day came though when I drank my tea, watched the news and she gave me a hug and kiss as she hopped in her car and drove to school by herself. These last few weeks have been a little more leisurely and a little bit of emptiness too. I am thankful for the mature young girl that we have raised, but it makes me sad too that time has gone by so quickly and I am being relied on just a little bit less. Bittersweet.

Oshkosh Christmas Shopping?

November 18, 2013 by braytonbb

Photo provided by Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau

Photo provided by Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau

 

When it comes to Christmas Shopping, everybody has a different idea of when to start, but it shouldn’t be any question on where to do your shopping. Oshkosh has got you covered from the outlet mall to all the eclectic retail shops located just a block from the inn.

The Outlet Shoppes at Oshkosh has over 40 outlet stores selling brand-name clothes that the kids are looking for and a great price that you are looking for. Gap, Aeropostle, Nike, Old Navy and Under Armour are just to name a few.

We all have that one person who is always so hard to find just the right gift for. Downtown Oshkosh stores have one of a kind gifts that you won’t find anywhere else.  AtomicKatz is one of my personal favorites with the best selection of vintage clothes and furniture from the 20′s to the 80′s. House of Heroes is a great place to go for comic books, roll-playing games and more. Apple Blossom Books is this quaint and whimsical book store where you can find the latest releases. Connected to Apple Blossom Books where not only can you grab a bite to eat but also find anything from the ideal coffee mug, coasters, jewelry, aprons and I could go on and on.

There are so many more shops that I could list, but you will just have to come for a visit to see what Oshkosh has to offer. Whether you already started shopping last year, go on black Friday, wait until the first snow falls like I do or wait until Christmas Eve, either way, there will be plenty of gifts and stores to choose from.

Lemon Pound Cake

November 14, 2013 by braytonbb

I always think of lemon as a summer treat, but I needed a break from making pumpkin and apple recipes. I was cleaning the inn the other day and as usual I had the food network on. I really enjoy Ina Garten so I was half paying attention to what she was doing and doing what I was actually supposed to be doing. This lemon pound cake sounded so refreshing and looked so moist that I thought it would make a good side of bread for breakfast. So, soon after I was done cleaning I headed to the kitchen to try out Ina’s recipe. It was just as good and moist as her looked. She did add a glaze over the top but I was in such a hurry to try it, I forgot. It really doesn’t need it, but I will try to remember the next time.

Lemon PoundLemon Pound Cake – 1 loaf 

1 1/2 C flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 C sour cream ( I used Greek yogurt), 1 1/3 C sugar, divided, 3 eggs, 2 tsp. grated lemon zest or 2 tsp. lemon extract ( 1 used one of each), 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 C vegetable oil, 1/3 C freshly squeezed lemon juice.

 

Glaze - 1 C Powdered sugar and 2 TB lemon juice.

 

 

 

Lemon Pound2Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a regular size loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Butter the paper as well for easy release. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, 1 C sugar, eggs, lemon zest and/extract and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the large bowl, whisking to combine. I did this in a few steps to make it easier to combine. Fold in the vegetable oil until fully mixed. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes and until center is done. While the cake is baking, combine the remaining lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved.  Set aside. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it. Place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. With a wooden skewer or something you can use to poke holes in the cake, carefully pierce holes through the cake, not going through the bottom.  While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon sugar mixture over the cake getting it to seep through the holes you created. Cool completely.

Glaze is optional. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice, whisking to form a smooth glaze. Pour over cake after it has been cooled.

 

 

Oshkosh Celebration of Lights

November 11, 2013 by braytonbb

 

When I use to travel for my job, before owning a bed and breakfast, I drove through Oconto one evening and witnessed a beautiful display of holiday lights strung through the trees of their city park along with a few lighted displays. I thought not only was it majestic, but what a wonderful idea. Just a few short years later in 2001, Oshkosh had the same idea with the Oshkosh Celebration of Lights. What has grown from a beautiful holiday display is now a grand production that depends on many volunteers and hours of  work creating this work of art. With more than a half of a million lights spread over a mile throughout beautiful Menominee Park, Oshkosh Celebration of Lights supports our local community with an annual food drive. This annual holiday event has donated 80 tons of non-perishable food, which has been turned over to local pantries to feed those in need here, in the Oshkosh area.

Each year more than 10,000 cars,trucks, and busses comes through Menominee Park to see sculptured scenes, lighted displays, a 100 foot tree, reindeer, and Santas workshop. Starting on Monday, November 25 this year and going until December 31st, Celebration of Lights will be open from 5:00-9:00 PM.

Peach Cobbler Coffee Cake

November 7, 2013 by braytonbb

This recipe I pulled off of Pinterest the other day because the title intrigued me. It is kind of a cross between a peach streusel pie and a coffee cake which I served for breakfast. I think you could get away with either one. Serve for dessert and if there are any leftovers, have it with your coffee, tea or juice in the morning. I think I will be serving this coffee cake this year for  the morning of Thanksgiving.

Peach Cobble Coffee Cake

 

Peach Cobbler Coffee Cake – Serves 8

1 C butter, softened, 1 C sugar, 2 eggs, 3 tsp. vanilla, 3 C flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 1/4 C sour cream, and 1 Can peach pie filling.

Topping- 1 C brown sugar, 1 c flour, 1/2 C quick oats, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/2 C cold butter, cubed

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to cream mixture alternately with sour cream. Beat until combined.

Pour half of the batter into a greased pie pan. Spread Pie filling over batter and then add more batter over peaches.

Peach cobbler Coffee Cake sliceFor your topping, combine brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

Bake 350 degrees for 70 minutes. Cool completely.

I served this with Oshkosh’s local Becks fresh bacon and breakfast lasagna ( guest favorite)  that was a posted in a previous recipe. 

Nutcracker in the Castle

November 4, 2013 by braytonbb

Starting out as a one time event, The Nutcracker in the Castle has turned into the event of season each and every year. Guided tours are sold out every year, so make sure you reserve early.  This truly remarkable exhibit is a must see once if not every season. The Nutcracker story unfolds in the Paine “castle” with the historic rooms elaborately decorated as the scenes of the beloved ballet. Special actor-guided tours with live music and youth ballet performances further bring the fantasy to life.

The Paine Art Center and Gardens presents the traditional Nutcracker story within the historic estate’s ornate interiors. Beginning from the opening party scene with one of many giant Christmas trees and the enchanting Sugar Plum Fairy, that brings the magical Land of Sweets to life. This tale unfolds throughout each decorated rooms with mesmerizing array of sights and sounds.

Candlelight Tours are also available and a spellbinding way for people of all ages to view the Nutcracker on display. On special evenings, visitors go through darkened rooms of the mansion illuminated by the glow of the Christmas Trees.

Self guided tours are available from November 16-January 7th. Monday- Saturday from 11:00 AM -4:00 PM.

Candlelight tours are self guided by an electric candle November 21-January 4th. Wednesday and Fridays from 4:30-7:30 PM

$11 Adult, $7 Youth (5–17)
(Members FREE)
No reservation necessary

Guided Tours are Led by an actor and featuring live music and ballet
Nov 17–Jan 6: Sat, 5–8 pm & Sun, 12–3:30 pm
(No guided tours on Dec 1)
Tours begin every 30 min and last 1 hour

$21 Adult ($17 Member)
$17 Youth (17 and under; $14 Member)
For reservations, call the Paine Art Museum at  (920) 235-6903 or let us handle everything for you. 

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