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Sugar Cookie Brownies

I usually only make sugar cookies around Christmas, but once in a while my daughter will get the craving and ask me for them before the season. So, I decided to switch it up a bit and try making a sugar cookie brownie. Here is the results.

Sugar Cookie browniesSugar Cookie Brownies

1/2 C butter, 1 (12oz) bag of white chocolate chip, 1 1/4 C flour, 3/4 C sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt, and 3 eggs

Frosting – 3 C powdered sugar, 6 TB butter, softened, 1 tsp.vanilla, 1/2 tsp. almond extract and milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8×10 or smaller pan (thicker brownies), and then sprinkle with flour.

Melt butter and white chocolate chips over low heat, stirring frequently. The mixture will seem lumpy but that is okay as long as all your chips are melted. When cooled slightly, stir in flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs until well blended. Spread evenly in your pan of choice. Bake for 30 minutes and cool completely!

For the frosting, mix all the ingredients together until smooth. Add a little milk at a time to get to the consistency that you like. If you like more of a glaze rather than frosting, add more milk. It will be less sweet this way.

Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookie Dough Bites

I found these chocolate chip brownie cookie dough bites on Pinterest and they caught my eye. They are super easy to make but a bit putzy. You either need to have the time or work on them in stages throughout your day(s). Needless to say, they are quite tasty and look impressive. Mine turned out a bit large but no one complained.

cookie dough bites 2 (1)Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookie Dough Bites -Depending how big you make them, I got 12 and had left over cookie dough which is in my freezer for when I feel naughty or decide to bake it.

3/4 C butter, softened, 3/4 C brown sugar, 1/4 sugar, 2 TB  milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 C flour, dash of salt, 2 C mini chocolate chips, 1 package of fudge brownie mix- has to be fudge! (baked and cooled) and 1 package of melting chocolate.

First,  make the cookie dough. Beat the butter and sugars together until creamy. Add milk and vanilla. Beat to combine. Beat in flour and salt. Stir in 1 C of mini chocolate chips.

On a foil lined baking sheet, drop rounded balls of cookie dough on the pan. ( This is where I made a mistake) Don’t  make too big. They will look small, but trust me, go smaller like tsp. size. Freeze the cookie dough balls for at least an one hour.

Bake brownies as directed. Once cooled cut into squares. You don’t have to be exact. One the cookie dough is frozen, pull out of freezer. Take a brownie square and wrap it around the cookie dough until surrounded. As you can see, it ball gets bigger. Once they are all covered, return to freezer for at least 30 more minutes. Longer is better though.

Prepare melting chocolate in a double boiler. I used Ghiradelli dark chocolate squares. Dip brownie bites into chocolate  and sprinkle with remaining mini chocolate chips. Store in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

Fun with our EAA guests

This picture was a memorable evening out with some of our EAA guests. Yes, it should have been posted a month ago, but we have been pretty busy around here. Thank you so very much for that by the way! We love it!

We usually have the same guests every year, for the exception of one room that sometimes rotates out with new guests. That being said, we have become great friends with these guests, that unfortunately, we only see once a year. They are usually so busy working that they have little time to play, but this year, some of them made the exception. We introduced them to the best cheese curds in town and yummy burgers.

Don’t ask me what is going on with Scott. He always has to be the unique one in the photo.

petes 2014

 

Southwestern Quiche -Vegetarian

This Southwestern quiche is an oldie but goody. I am not sure if you noticed, but it has been a couple weeks since I have posted a recipe and even longer since posting what is going on in Oshkosh. We have been crazy busy, so thank you for that, but it has left me a bit behind in my blogging duties. I just have not had the time to try new recipes or come up with anything, so please forgive me. I think you will like this recipe though.  It has a little zip and great garden goodness.

 Southwestern Quiche – Severs 6-8 southwestern quiche

6 eggs, 1 tsp. salt and pepper, 1 1/2 C shredded hash browns (thawed), 1/2 C diced red pepper, 1/2 C sweet corn or canned or frozen, 2 green onions thinly sliced, 2 TB chopped cilantro, 1/4 C pepperjack cheese, shredded, 1/2 C shredded cheddar, and 1/2 C milk.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a pie pan. Whisk 1 egg with a dash of salt and pepper. Stir in thawed, shredded hashbrowns. Put potato mixture in the greased pie pan. Press down to form a crust. Bake 15 minutes.

After baking sprinkle crust with diced red pepper, corn, green onion and cilantro. Top with cheeses.

Whisk together remaining eggs, milk, remaining salt and pepper. Pour over vegetables and bake 25 minutes.

 

Bagel and Lox Benedict (vegetarian)

Bagel and Lox Benedict 

Bagel and Lox Benedict

1 Everything bagel, 2 slices of thinly sliced smoked salmon, 2 slices of thin red onion, 2 poached eggs.

Lemon-Caper Sauce

1/2 C vegetable broth, 1 Tb cornstarch, 1/3 C sour cream, 1 TB lemon juice, 1 1/2 TB drained capers, salt and pepper and dill.

Separate bagel into 2 halves and toast lightly. Put 2 bagel halves on a place and top each with onion and salmon slice. Place egg on each half.

For lemon caper sauce- whisk broth and cornstarch until smooth in a sauce pan. On med. heat stir until boiling a few minutes. Whisk in sour cream, lemon juice and capers. Stir frequently for a few minutes until steaming. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over egg and garnish with dill.

Caramel Pecan Coffee Cake

I was thinking about saving this Caramel Pecan Coffee Cake recipe and posting it this Autumn since it is one of those decadent, rich and just plain melt in your mouth types of desserts or a side of deliciousness that I serve for with a breakfast entree. However, I have had so many people ask for the recipe, that I did not want to hold off.

Caramel Pecan Coffee CakeCaramel Pecan Coffee Cake – Serves 10 generously

1 1/2 C butter softened, 2 C brown sugar, 1 C sugar, 5 eggs, 3 C flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 C half and half, 1 8oz bag of toffee chips and 1 C crushed pecans.

Caramel sauce – 14oz condensed milk, 1 C brown sugar, 2 TB butter and 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 11×7 or 13×9 (my preference)  casserole dish.

In a large mixing bowl (preferably a stand alone with paddle), beat butter until creamy. Add sugars and beat until fluffy. Add eggs.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Alternate flour mixture with half and half as it helps to blend better. Once combined, stir in toffee bits and pecans. Pour batter into your pan and bake 60-75 minutes or until done. You may want to cover cake towards the end so it does not burn.

Caramel Sauce directions -

Combine condensed milk and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to boil, whisking constantly so it does not burn. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Stir until combined. Immediately drizzle caramel sauce over cake.

Once cooled, run a knife around the edges and flip upside down onto wax paper. Spoon glaze over the top. The glaze will thicken as it cools.

Appetizer board

happy hour boardI could think of a lot of other creative names to call this besides our appetizer board, but I wanted to a make it easy to find for anyone looking for a variety of appetizers. I like to think of this as our happy hour platter personally. We always do a wine and cheese social on Friday and Saturday evenings from 5:00-6:00. The variety of the wine and cheese always changes depending what is in season, or what I have a taste for. This past weekend we had a large group at the inn and I wasn’t sure how many were going to join us. There were so many great festivities going on in town so either everyone would want to come back and enjoy a break or couldn’t break away, so I made enough for everyone but only a few us were able to enjoy it. That’s okay, more for us.

So on the platter I added some green and red grapes. Made some home made guacamole served with blue organic tortilla chips,  homemade red pepper hummus ( I have listed this recipe before, so just click on the link) served with pita chips and  then I made some little tartlets from a Pillsbury pie crust and added a variety of fillings. Recipes below.

Chunky Guacamole – 1 1/2 C

2 avocados, 1/4 C red onion, handful of cherry tomatoes, pinch of horseradish, tsp. minced garlic, 1/4 bunch of cilantro, splash of lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add all ingredients to a food processor and chop until mixed but large chunks are still appear.

Tartlets – serves 12

1 Pillsbury pie crust. Cut out circles that fit into a mini muffin pan and bake for approx 12 minutes. Pop out and add whatever ingredients you like. Different ideas that I tried are below.

Red grapes, cut in half with feta cheese sprinkled over.

Fresh raspberries with Greek yogurt flavored with cinnamon and honey.

Sliced pears with Gruyere cheese and applesauce

Prosciutto with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.

You can also add the guacamole and hummus into the tartlets as well. Have fun creating your own variations.

 

 

Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa

This is the first year in 14 years that I was not able to get out and go strawberry picking. Although disappointing, the selection at the downtown Oshkosh Saturday Farmers Market has been outstanding. Last weekend I had an abundance of strawberries, so I whipped up some strawberry jalapeno salsa for our wine and cheese extravaganza that we have each weekend. I can’t really tell you how much of anything I added, as I just threw it together, taste tested and added a little more of this and that, so its kind of guess. So, that being said,  you can make as spicy as you want to leave out any ingredients that don’t fit your tastes. As much as I enjoyed this, I think it would be fun to add a little peach, or mango or even pineapple. Mmm, that makes me think that  maybe this weekend, I will bring back my pineapple salsa.

 

Strawberry Salsa – 2 cups Strawberry Jalepeno Salsa

Strawberries (around 25 chopped), 1/4 C red onion diced, a small bunch of cilantro, chopped, 1 jalapeno, without seeds, chopped, TB lime juice, maybe a little more, black pepper, and a TB sugar.

Add all ingredients together and serve right away. The next day, it was pretty mushy, so don’t make too far in advance.

Bacon Ranch Cheddar Quiche

Bacon Ranch Cheddar Quiche, made with love especially for one guest in particular. I going to pick on one of our past guests for a moment. You know who you are if you reading this. You made me laugh though and gave me a great challenge. I look forward to seeing you again next year.

She emails me a few days before arriving and gives me a list of items that she does not like. She also says that she would like a quiche but that it should be mild. Hmmmm. Okay….We have a winner. If you don’t believe, just ask her.

Bacon Ranch Cheddar Quiche -Serves 6-8 bacon ranch cheddar quiche

One 9″ pie crust, 5 oz (approx) of bacon cooked and chopped in pieces, 1 1/2 C cheddar cheese, 5 eggs, 1/2 C milk, 1/2 C heavy cream, 1/2 C Ranch Dressing, 1 tsp. onion powder and salt and pepper to taste.  ( I usually don’t usually keep ranch dressing at the inn, so I made my own and it was  a lot better than any store bought). See recipe below.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lay pie crust in bottom of a greased pie pan. Place crumbled bacon on the bottom of the crust. Top with cheese. Whisk the eggs, milk, cream, ranch dressing, onion powder and salt and pepper together. Pour over bacon and cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes. Let cool before cutting and serving. top with cherry tomatoes if you desire.

Ranch Dressing recipe – Yields approx. 1 C

2/3 C sour cream, 1/2 C mayonnaise, 1 tsp. each of dill, parsley, chives, onion powder, garlic powder and celery salt. If it becomes to think, add a little buttermilk or skim milk. Whisk or shake until blended.

Banana Split

Banana Split for breakfast? Sure why not, when its made like this. Though it would make a great after dinner healthy dessert as well.

Banana Split Fruit Dish – Serves 1 Brekafast banana split unpublished

1 banana, raspberry or strawberry jam, a handful sliced strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and/ grapes, chopped walnuts, chocolate chips and your favorite lowfat vanilla yogurt.

Take one banana and slice it down the middle length wise. Add a dollop of Vanilla Greek Yogurt or your favorite low fat vanilla yogurt in the center. Add some strawberry or raspberry jam over the yogurt. Add strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and/or grapes. Next, sprinkle some chopped walnuts over the top and a few chocolate chips. Tasty and healthy too!

Parmesan and Tomato Baked Eggs (gluten free)

Parmesan and tomato baked eggs is a great recipe since it is so versatile. I have been making this vegetarian breakfast for several years without parmesan, so it makes a great dairy free recipe as well, but I love how the cheese makes the mushrooms and tomato stick together a little more and make it very gooey when the forks hits all savory goodness. If you wanted to spice it up a bit, you could add some spicy sausage or crumbled bacon with the mushrooms or serve with Canadian bacon.

Parmesan and Tomato Baked Eggs (serves 1)parmesan and Mushroom stuffed tomato

1 1/2 TB olive oil, 1/4 diced onion, 4 oz. canned mushrooms, 1 Lg. tomato, 1 egg, 1 TB fresh Parmesan, 1 TB parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in skillet over med. to high heat. Add onion and cook for a couple of minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until warm and soft a few more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in parmesan. Set aside.

Cut up top of tomato and carefully scoop out the insides. Fill tomato with mushroom mixture and pack down gently, leaving a small space. Crack 1 egg on top of filling so it is level with the tomato. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake in an 8×8 dish until the egg white is opaque approx. 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Serve with Canadian bacon, fried potatoes, fruit and or and English Muffin.

 

 

Trail Mix Cookies (gluten free)

I wish I could call these trail mix cookies my idea, but I actually found the recipe on Pinterest and it is a keeper! No flour and no butter makes these little wonders pretty healthy and when using GF oatmeal, these are the perfect gluten free dessert. They are hearty yet moist and you can add whatever you like to them. You do have to give yourself some time to make them though, but they do have to be refrigerated before baking.

Trail Mix Cookies – 20 medium cookiesTrail mix cookies

1 C creamy peanut butter, 1 C brown sugar, 1 Large egg, 1 TB vanilla, 1 tsp. baking soda, pinch of salt, 1/3 C old fashion rolled oats (gluten free or regular if you don’t care), 1 C of trail mix or I used a 1/3 C of each of the following, semi sweet chocolate chips, semi sweet butterscotch chips, raisins, peanut butter M&M’s and cashews.

Combine peanut butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla and stir until fully sugar is fully  mixed in and creamy. Add baking soda, salt, oats and mix more. Add trail  mix or your favorite add ins. Mix again.

Scoop out your cookie into mounds on a sprayed cookie sheet and refrigerate for two hours before baking. You can refrigerate without putting them on a sheet, but it is easier to shape them when they are warmer.

Bake 10-12 minutes until the edges are set but he center still looks soft. It will finish baking on the sheet as long as you leave them on their to cool.

Oshkosh Waterfest

waterfest Waterfest is back for another season on the Fox River in Oshkosh with a great lineup and additional nights. Not only with great bands be performing on Thursday nights, there are a few Friday and Saturday nights to enjoy as well. Some of your favorites have come back along with some new bands well.

Kick off the summer solstice this Thursday, June 19th with Vic Ferrari, Sam Llanas and the Cool Waters Band. Gates open at 6:00 PM for opening night. 2 for 1 admission before 6:00 and teachers also get in free all night with a school ID.

Thursday, June 26th. Los Lonley Boys, Copper Box, Paul Sanchez & Minimum Rage and Tin Sandwich are in the line up. Gates will open at 5:00 PM. 2 for 1 admission again before 6:00 PM.

There will be a break over the Fourth of July holiday and will start again Thursday, July 17th with the Under the Sun Tour with Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Blues Traveler and Uncle Kracker. There is a reserved special patio access available in advance for $30.00 pp. Gates open at 6:00 PM with general admission being $20.00 for the hot lineup.

Waterfest Weekend includes a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night show July 24-26 with Sister Hazel, Road Trip, Gin Blossoms and Ted Nugent, just to name a few. 2 for 1 admission on Friday and Saturday night and special patio access available in advance for $40.00 for Saturday. General admission prices are also $20.00 for this night as well. Gates open at 5:00 PM.

One more weekend of back to back shows and the last of the concert series begins on Thursday, August 21 and Friday, August 22nd. Hairball, which is a salute to the 80′s is back with 2 for 1 admission before 6:00 PM. America, sly Joe and the Operators, and The Presidents with be performing on Friday.

Veterans are FREE all season at the will call window.

 

Peanut Butter Cookies

Sometimes you forget about the things you make all the time. These peanut butter cookies are the perfect example. I have been making them for years I add a different ingredient that you would not expect, that makes for a nice surprise. You can also use this recipe to make your own inside out peanut butter cup but spraying a muffin tin and forming the cookie dough inside the muffin tin. Bake and pipe chocolate fudge icing in the center. I have not made them that way for awhile, but now that I am thinking about it, I will have to add the picture and try next week. You do have to think ahead a little bit for this recipe, since it should be chilled for a couple hours before baking.

Peanut Butter Cookies – 2 dozen

Peanut Butter Cookies1/2 C sugar, 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 C peanut butter, 1/2 C butter, 1 egg, 1 1/4 C flour, 3/4 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 salted peanut and a half of a bag of butterscotch chips, extra sugar for the topping. (peanut butter chips work well too, but butterscotch chips takes it to a whole different dimension.

Mix sugar(s), peanut butter, butter and egg in a large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nuts and butterscotch chips.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough into the size balls you want on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten in a criss cross pattern with a fork. Sprinkle generously with sugar.

Bake 10 minutes until light brown. Don’t over bake unless you like them crunchy.

 

Oshkosh Irish Fest

The first festival of the summer season begins this weekend, June 12-15th with the 6th annual Oshkosh Iris Fest at the Irish FestLeach Amphitheater on the Fox River.  Winnebago county voted Irish Fest as the Best Family event and best local festival!  With music, food, dancers, presentations, a 5K and a raffle there will be plenty of fun for everyone.

Beginning on Thursday night, enjoy Celtic Rock Night with three bands from 6:00-9:30.

Friday night is VIP and Sponsor night with Richards School of Irish Dance performing at 6:00 PM along with three bands that will perform until 9:30. The cultural tent will also be open.

Saturday is a full day of fun with the 5K beginning at 8:00 AM. A lot of music will happening the rest of the day including the very popular band Gaelic Storm performing at 9:00 PM. The cultural tent will be open starting at 12:30 with the sport of hurling. You will learn about Irish culture, music, instruments and some story telling lasting until 7:00 PM.

Sunday is a shorter day from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM with more music, dancing and cultural activities.

Come for four days and get your fill of Irish food, music, and culture.

Strawberry Marscapone Stuffed French Toast

I have been making this strawberry stuffed french toast recipe for as long as we have been open. I always let or guests know that they can go to our website, on our blog, and pull off any recipe they desire. I was surprised to find out, this was not included. Now, I will have to admit that it has been tweaked over the years for a couple of different reasons. I use to cream cheese, which works well, but I have this love for marscapone, since its lighter and I can make my own when I have the time.

I also have used several different types of breads. For the longest time, I got  my cinnamon bread from Richard and Sons in Fond Du Lac, but they stopped making it. Then I had to go on the hunt and got it from Simple Simon Bakery in Appleton. It was similar but just not he same. Pick  n Save, then started making something that I thought might work, but over the years it has really been compromised. Festival Foods have come to my rescue again. I currently use their Cinnamon bread from the baker (unsliced). This way, I can get a nice thick slice and carve out a pocket so everything stays inside nicely. With that being said, my measurements are not exact, but I think you will get idea.

Strawberry Marscapone Stuffed French Toast – Serves 1 

Strawberry Marscapone Stuffed French Toast

Cinnamon bread, milk, 1 egg, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, marscapone(homemade- see tiramisu recipe from past post, minus the coffee or store bought), strawberries (diced), strawberry jam and powdered sugar.

Slice one thick piece of cinnamon bread  so it is easy enough to cut a pocket into it.

Mix egg, roughly 1/2 C milk, a dash of cinnamon, 1 tsp. of vanilla, and a 1/4 C sugar together.

Use approx a half of container of marscapone and blend a few diced strawberries and approx. 1 TB of strawberry jam. I find that it is easiest to fill a pastry bag of the marscapone mixture and pipe the filling inside of the bread. Once completed, dip bread into milk mixture. Fry both sides and crusts of the bread until light brown. Cut in half and sprinkle with powdered sugar. I also like to warm a bit more jam up and drizzle it over the sandwich with a few more strawberry pieces. Serve extra filling if desired.

 

 

Oshkosh Saturday Farmers Market

farmers market

Photo courtesy of Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau

 

 

It is finally here! The Oshkosh Saturday Farmers Market is making its summer comeback this Saturday, June 7th. starting at 8:00 Am-12:30 PM on the 400 and 500 blocks of Main St. and the 100 block of Church Ave. Remember last year, Oshkosh was voted 1 of 101 best farmers market in America. Wow, that is quite an honor!

Not only will you enjoy over 130 vendors every Saturday morning with fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables, eggs, honey, syrups, ciders, cheeses, pasture-raised meats and poultry, fish, jams, preserves, cut flowers, and nursery stock but also a  wide variety of handcrafted items. A new sign ribbon cutting and music will be taking place as well. Of course, don’t forget about about Pie on the Porch. Enjoy a slice of homemade pie with all proceeds benefiting the Oshkosh Historical and Archaeological Society, stewards of the historic Morgan House.

Turtle Cupcakes

Ever crave something chocolate? I do a lot. I had these caramels in my pantry for a while and it was either eat them one by one or turn them into something delicious. I opted for turtle cupcakes. The recipe below is my go to chocolate cupcake recipe, however if you are short on time, box devils food cake works well too.

Turtle CupcakesTurtle Cupcakes – 24 cupcakes 

2 1/4 C sugar, 2 C flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. baking powder, dash of salt, 1 C unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 sticks butter(softened), 1 1/4 Kahlua (or brewed coffee), 3 eggs, 1 C sour cream,  1 TB vanilla, and 8 oz. cream cheese at room temp.

Caramel topping- 20 caramels, 10 TB half and half, handful of chocolate chips and a handful of chopped pecans.

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with liners. In a large bowl add 2 C sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.  Set aside. In another bowl, add softened butter, 2 eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Blend both bowls together and slowly add Kahlua or brewed coffee.  It will be very thick, so using a stand mixer, makes it much easier.

Scoop the batter into your muffin tins, but only fill 1/2 full. Combine cream cheese, 1/4 sugar and 1 egg. Add cream cheese mixture to top of chocolate muffin batter so they are 3/4 full. Bake for approx. 30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely.

Unwrap caramels and add to a double boiler. Add half and half and melt stirring until caramels are melted and smooth. Dip cooled cupcakes into the caramel mixture. Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans on top.

***Note: I left some cupcakes without the cream cheese topper to give people the option.

Airbnb question and answer

braytonBnbCertificateOfExcellence2014 There has been a lot of discussion lately about Airbnb and some in connection with EAA housing. It seems to be a controversial subject and one I hate to be in the middle of. Unfortunately, being an owner of a bed and breakfast,it is a question I have been asked about a lot lately. This is not a local issue though and has little to do with EAA.  Many licensed facilities, and local government agencies around the country are dealing with this subject.  Whether you knew about Airbnb before or it is a new term to you, there are some things that you maybe didn’t know.  I can tell you that it is not about the competition. I would even love to see another licensed Bed and Breakfast in Oshkosh.  EAA housing is a one time annual event, which in my opinion, should not be policed since it is under the 10 day lodging law. It is the homeowner that accepts payment for renting out their sofa, room or even home for a fee throughout the year continuously, that does not hold the permit or license, that is the concern.

Airbnb, for those that are not familiar, is a room or someones home to stay, one to several nights for an amount of money that is determined by the home owner.  A percentage of that fee is then returned to Airbnb.  They may even call themselves a BnB. You may get a bed, but you may also get a sofa or air mattress. Yes, you do know ahead of time since there is a description, pictures and reviews. Sometimes you may even get breakfast. Donuts, cereal, who knows, somebody may make you breakfast even. They have NOT been inspected for cleanliness or safety and they do NOT pay taxes to run as business.

Airbnb clearly states on their site the legal and regulatory issues that one should look into before deciding to be a “host”. This means registering, getting a permit or obtaining a license before being able to accept guests. They go on to say that each local government varies in how they enforce these laws but that they should be reviewed before listing on their site.  Many times, this is like the fine print that few of us may not always read.

You see, bed and breakfasts are just like hotels, restaurants and many other businesses. We have to be licensed, inspected and insured. We also have to pay room, sales and income tax. The majority of the city taxes that are collected, go back into the city for tourism dollars. It has helped make our convention center what it is today and helps bring tourism to Oshkosh, where in turn, money is spent in our restaurants, retail and entertainment sectors.

We have inspections each year to make sure that the fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers are working along with making sure that we do not have insects, rodents or that our coolers and refrigerators are clean and cold enough. Our linens are also checked to make sure we are storing them correctly along with outlets and lighting working correctly. These are just a few of the items that we rigorously go through, not only  yearly, but on a daily basis to make sure that we, as a business, are not only running legally but also comfortably for those that visit us each and every day. Some people may argue with what is wrong with trying to earn an extra buck or two by renting out a spare room. If you take a look at some of the Airbnb listings, you will notice from some of the reviews that some of these “hosts” are doing quite well with there unlicensed and non tax paying businesses. The Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Association(WBBA) is the only quality-certified organization of its kind in the state, which is why we try so hard to let people know the differences between a licensed bed and breakfast and a non-licensed, not tax paying air bnb. There is room for everyone, including Airbnb hosts in Oshkosh that abide by the same rules as other business owners. We have a great city that many want to travel to and stay in. There was a great article on a website today that not only talked about Airbnb, but other such businesses that I thought was an excellent read that made several valid points.

With that being said we just learned that we won the Certificate of Excellence Award from TripAdvisor. This award is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews. Winners are selected from all over the world, with only the top 10 percent receiving this award.  We needed to maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers.  Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months. We are so honored to receive this award and want to say thank you for everyone who has stayed with us this last year and for those that posted reviews. Without guests like yourselves, we would not have been able to achieve this.

Waffle Sandwich (Gluten Free)

This gluten free waffle sandwich recipe is a breakfast dedication for my friend Linda. Linda stays with us every couple of months since she is on the UWO alumni board. Her son just graduated a couple of weeks ago as well, so I have a feeling we may be seeing her a little less.  Needless to say though, Linda’s diet has changed over the years to become more gluten free. She gives me free reign to create whatever I would like to serve her. Since I don’t like to give her the same thing twice, unless she requests it, this was my newest creation for her. I had several ideas of what I would like to put between these waffle slices, so I made her a couple of different versions and let her critique it. These waffles are made from coconut flour. You may have seen in past posts of mine that I like to use coconut products in a lot recipes that I have to think out of the box on for dairy free and gluten free recipes. These waffles taste very similar to a regular waffle, but the texture is more cake like. Before frying in the waffle iron, the consistency is much like a thick corn muffin mix but will fry up perfectly. To get the waffle a little more crispy, you could toast for a few minutes.

Gluten Free Waffle Recipes – Serves 3 waffle sandwich

3 eggs, 1/2 C milk ( I used skim, however you can use coconut, soy or almond), 1/4 C  honey, 1 C coconut flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 TB vanilla, 4 TB melted butter, 1 tsp. baking soda, and 1/4 C yogurt.

Mix all the ingredients together and scoop into a waffle iron. Bake until done. Toast if you would like crunchier.

Top with fruit or make into a sandwich. Variations are endless, but I tried these two below.

One sandwich I added 2 slices of maple bacon, 1 scrambled egg and spread cinnamon butter on each slice of waffle and sliced in two. I think provided maple syrup to dip the sandwich into.

On the other sandwich I spread coffee flavored mascarpone on two slices of waffles and added sauteed apples in between.

 

Rolled Club Omelet

I saw this rolled omelet on Pinterest the other day and I thought to myself, now why didn’t I think of that? Then my mind started racing and thinking about all the good stuff that I could put in it. This recipe below is what I call the club. It has all my favorite things in it, except for the mushrooms. I can’t stand those little buggers, but I figured they probably belonged. If I were making this for myself, I would take them out of there. If club is not your thing, see below some of the other variations I came up with.

Rolled Club Omelet- Serves – 1-2

rolled omeletSalt and pepper, 1 tsp. olive oil, 2 TB of my perfect guacamole (will feature recipe some other day-soon), 1/2 C fresh baby spinach leaves, 1 slice of turkey breast, ham, shredded cheese, mushrooms and two slices of bacon. 

Beat 2 eggs. Add herbs and salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs. Swirl pan to create a thin omelet, similar to a crepe, 2 – 3 minutes.
Gently slide omelet out onto a cutting board. Spread Guacamole over omelet and cover with spinach leaves and fillings; roll gently and cut to serve.

Other variations that are wonderful-

1. Greek – Black olives, feta, spinach tomato, red onion and cucumber sauce and gyro meat if desired (2 TB Greek yogurt and sour cream, 1/8 tsp of white vinegar, lemon juice, cucumber(peeled and diced), green onion,  minced garlic, oregano, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste).

2. Mexi – Monteray Jack cheese, my perfect Salsa (recipe some other time- soon), black olives and cilantro.

Oshkosh Choices

There is so much to choose from again this weekend in Oshkosh, that there will be something to do for everyone. For me I am going to try to get some flowers in the ground and in pots, so hopefully I will have some great summery photos to share with you in a few weeks.

Lets start with Friday night. Starting at 7:00 PM is the the Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway at Sunnyview Expo Center. Pits open at 4:00 and Grandstands at 5:00. Not into racing, how about Free Movie Fridays the Time Community Cinema. At 8:00, Journey to the Seventh Planet is playing. Just down the street, starting at 10:30 is Stand Up Comedy and Open Mic at the Backlot Comedy House.  You have 5 minutes to show your stuff up on stage. Not comfortable with that, thats okay. Sit back and relax and watch others become famous.

 

 

Want more, well Saturday is jam packed in Oshkosh again. Starting at 8:00 AM and going through Sunday, Sunnyview Expo Center hosts the 4H horse show and Oshkosh Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show. Admission is FREE for both events. Spring graduation at UWO is happening at 9:00 AM and at 2:00PM. One of my favorite events is Festival of Spring at the Paine Art Museum and Gardens starting at 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Over 200 vendors will be selling their original art, fine crafts, plants and garden supplies. There will also be a flea market at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Congress Street. Destination Downtown is also taking place where brunch, a style show and tons of prizes will be given for $25.00 per person. It also includes a silent auction, great sales and discounts at downtown retail shops and finally ending in a happy hour at the Algoma Club. How about ending the day at the Grand Opera House for Steve March Torme’ from 7:30-10:00 for finger snapping jazz and pop tunes.

Whooo! That is a lot to choose from. Have fun. Memorial Day Weekend is already next weekend, so that means the start of Summer when even more will be going on in Oshkosh.

 

Margarita Cheesecake

Margaritas are one of those beverages that many people make, but they tend to always taste different. Nothing beats a good margarita on a hot summer day though, but did you know that they are the most caloric alcoholic beverage there is to consume. Well, that takes a little fun out of it. Most of those calories comes from the simple syrup though. For those that know me, I am always looking for alternatives so agave and me have become good friends when it comes to sweetening your favorite recipes. Sugar free triple sec also tastes just as good without all those sugar calories. Give it try and see what you think the next time to whip up a batch.
Since Cinco De Mayo was on Monday, I wanted to make a dessert over the weekend that celebrated this wonderful holiday, so margarita cheesecake sounded like just the thing to celebrate with.  For this recipe I used regular ingredients without cutting out any of the calories, but I have made it both ways by using light cream cheese, sour cream, sugar free triple sec and agave. It is a little lighter but still excellent! If you can, give yourself a day to prepare so you have time to chill before serving.
Margarita CheesecakePresenting:  Margarita Cheesecake- 10 slices. 
CRUST - 1 1/4 cups Graham Cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted. 
FILLING - 3/ 8-ounce cream cheese blocks at room temp., 1 1/4 cups sour cream, 3/4 C sugar, 3 1/2 TB triple sec, 3 1/2 TB tequila, 3 1/3 TB lime juice, and 3 large eggs.
TOPPING - 3/4 C sour cream, 2 TB lime juice, 2 tsp. grated lime peel (don’t be stingy), and 1 TB sugar.
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 10″ springform pan on the bottom and sides with nonstick spray.  Mix graham cracker crumbs with sugar and butter in medium bowl until blended. Press crumbs over bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan. Refrigerate crust.

Beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in sour cream, then sugar, triple sec, tequila and lime juice. Beat in eggs.
Pour filling into crust. Bake until the outside looks set but the center still  moves slightly, roughly about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and turn off the oven. Immediately start preparing the topping.
 
For the topping, whisk sour cream, lime juice, lime peel and sugar in small bowl to blend. Spread evenly over cheesecake. Return cheesecake to hot oven that has been turn off. Keep off! Let stand in warm oven for about 45 minutes. Cheesecake will look very soft, but it will set up once chilled.) Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours.
Run knife around pan sides. Remove pan sides. Place cake on platter.
 

Happy Mothers Day

Mom's 50th b-day

My Mom- Debbie

First off, I just want to say Happy Mothers Day to my Mom and all the other Moms out there this weekend. As much as I enjoy what I do for a living, I usually miss out on weekend activities with our friends and have to cut short holiday gatherings with family due to having guests at the inn. This Mothers Day day is no exception. My Mom lives on the other side of the state, and though it is only a 2 1/2 hour drive, I will have to find another time to visit. She runs a greenhouse, so I know she will be plenty busy herself.  Since I am a Mom myself though, I am very lucky to be able to spend the day with my daughter. Traditionally, we like to get flowers in the ground on Mothers Day but the last few years we have learned that we usually get one more freeze and we are outside covering up and hoping that we can save our new garden, so we may put it off for one week.

If you are lucky enough to be able to spend the day with your Mom and want to do something special, may we recommend having a girls weekend away at a bed and breakfast :) where a comfy bed and delicious home made breakfast is always included plus home made desserts and a wine and cheese social both Friday and Saturday night.  If that is not possible, brunch is always lovely, as Oshkosh has many brunch choices to choose from this Mothers Day, including the Roxy which is located downtown among many great retail stores. Oshkosh Community Players also presents, Barefoot in the Park at the Grand Opera House May 8-10.

Whatever you decide to do this weekend, tell your Mom that you love her. It will be the best gift you can give her.

Breakfast Quinoa

I have been trying to eat a little healthier, so I have been looking for for new inspirations to help me feel full longer. I have incorporated flax seeds and chia seeds into almost everything I eat since they they are literally flavorless, good for me, I don’t even know they are in things and it has helped me feel full. I do tend to get bored eating the same thing all the time though, so I like to try new things.  When I first tried quinoa, I really liked it.  If you are not familiar with quinoa, it is a grain and it is cooked similar to rice. It does not have a lot of flavor, so as a side dish I like to add some chicken broth, craisens and some vegetables. Since I figured it was so versatile I thought why not add some cinnamon and brown sugar. I may even try some maple syrup as a substitute next time, but this was really good, very satisfying, something different than oatmeal, better for me and really stuck with me all morning, even after a workout.

Breakfast Quinoa – Serves 2 

1 3/4 C skim milk, 1 C quinoa, 3 TB brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 C Greek yogurt or lowfat yogurt, and 1 C fresh fruit

Bring milk to a boil in a saucepan. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered until about three quarters of the milk has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Cook, covered until almost all the milk has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Add yogurt and fruit and enjoy!

 

 

 

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