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Chocolate Cheesecake

I am not sure why I have never had much luck with cheesecake, but this chocolate cheesecake turns out great every time. I have always made cheesecake in a water bath but this one doesn’t call for it. If you are not a chocolate fan, this recipe may not be for you. Covered with a chocolate ganache topping is just fine with me, but it is very rich and decadent so be prepared to be overwhelmed with goodness! Also, cheesecake is always best the next day so plan on two days for this goody.

Chocolate Cheesecake with Ganache Topping – Serves 12 generously chocolate cheesecake

Crust- 9 oz. of finely crushed Oreo cookies and 6 TB of melted butter

Filling – 10 oz.  Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet chocolate chips(I have used Nestle semi sweet which is fine, but better chocolate always makes a better product!), 4- 8oz. packages cream cheese at room temp, 1 1/4 C sugar, 1/4 C Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa (same goes here for brand), and 4 Large room temp eggs.

Topping – 3/4 whipping cream, 5 oz. Ghiradelli chocolate chips and 1 TB sugar

Spray a 10″ springform pan with high sides. Mix your finely crushed Oreo cookies with melted butter and press into the bottom of your springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.

While your crust is cooling, melt 10oz. of chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth. You should stir every 30 seconds to prevent from burning. While chocolate is cooling, blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder until smooth. Make sure there are not any lumps! Pour in chocolate. Add eggs one at a time until blended but do not overblend! Pour cheesecake filling over crust, smooth top and bake for 1 hour until sides are hour and center still looks a bit soft. Do not attempt to open oven door to check on cheesecake! Once done, turn oven off, open oven door and let cheesecake cook until at room temp. Once cool, run knife around the outside of cheesecake between pan to loosen. Cover tightly and chill in fridge overnight.

A few over before serving, make topping. Stir cream, 5 oz. chocolate and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until smooth. Pour over center of cheesecake but leaving edges bare. Chill until topping is set. When ready to serve, remove sides of springform pan.

Hints: If cheesecake cracks in the middle, no worries it will be covered up by the ganache.

To prevent cracking, use room temp. products, do not over beat eggs, and do not open oven door. Cheesecake needs to be cooled gradually. Opening oven door or cooling to quickly are sure ways to crack cake. Of course it will still taste great, but if you are going to go through the work, be patient!

 

WineFeast

WineFeast I would have to say is probably one of Oshkosh’s greatest social events of the year. Each year over 750 attend this event to sample fine wine, sip cold brews and try appetizers from area restaurants. The best part of this event is that 100% of the proceeds raised go to directly benefit almost 4,000 youth at the Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh.  Guests can either attend WineFeast at 7:00 PM on Saturday, April 25th or you can purchase reservations that take place before the general admission. Come at 4:00 Pm for Cellar Select which provides a enhanced wine and dinner tasting.

WineFeast tickets cost $75/person, Cellar Select Reservations (which includes a ticket to WineFeast) cost $125/person.

Recipe Contest

So, as many of you know, we entered the Bedandbreakfast.com breakfast recipe contest for the second year in a row. Both years we made it to the top 16 out of the hundreds of people that entered. Once it gets down to the top 16, you are then paired up with another recipe and Facebook fans vote on whose recipe they would like to see go on to the next round (very similar to the March Madness Brackets).  Both years, this is as far as we have made it. Last year was the best “sweet” original breakfast recipe. This year, we had to use “regional” ingredients. I

chocolate covered cherry cheesecake bread puddingLast year, our chocolate covered cherry cheesecake bread pudding looked amazing in pictures.

 

 

breakfast grilled cheeseThis year, our breakfast grilled cheese didn’t have as nice of a picture, but I thought the recipe is one that I will not quit making. It is not real friendly to make for a full house just because its a little putzy, but for a few people its perfect. I had many requests to make this when people come back to visit, so do not be afraid to ask me to make it ahead of time. I just have to make sure I have all the specialty ingredients on hand. I don’t think you will be disappointed. It’s actually one of my favorites.

With that being said, no new recipes this week but I have included the links to both last years entry and this years.

 

WPS Farm Show

The WPS (Wisconsin Public Service) Farm Show starts tomorrow at 9:00 Am and goes through March 26th at the EAA AirVenture Grounds. As an attendee, your admission is FREE!  With over 400 vendors will be at the show to answer any questions you may or help with any purchases you may be considering. You will be able to see the latest farm equipment, machinery, tools and services. There will be onsite agricultural consultants from WPS to answer any energy management questions you have and show you the latest energy efficient equipment and techniques. A three silent auction will also be held to help benefit the FFA organization. along with the a kiddie tractor pull on Wednesday.

Donuts

What else is there to say? Who does not like a warm glazed donut? I have not bought a donut from a grocery story or bakery for years. I love them but know how bad they are for me so I do have some self control in the donut department, expect when it comes to making my own. I mean, they are just sitting there, staring at me. I have to cave. Now, I don’t proclaim these to be any better, or any worse for that matter than a store bought donut, in fact you may argue that these really are not donuts, but just knocks off. That’s okay, I think once you try these you won’t complain. I did pull this idea off the internet because it just seemed too good to be true, but its not. Don’t like glaze, add some cinnamon sugar. That is what I did with the holes. Yum!

Semi- Home made Donuts – Serves 8(if you only have 1) donuts

1 can of Grands biscuits ( I used the honey and butter flavor), oil for frying, cinnamon sugar or a powdered sugar glaze. Recipe below.

Separate biscuits so you have 8 biscuits laying in front of you. Cut out a circle in the middle of each biscuit, so it looks like a donut. I used the top of my maple syrup bottle. Separate your holes from the donuts. The holes may look small, but trust me, they will get bigger once you fry them up.

Heat your oil in a deep frying pan, one that has a lid.  I used about 2 C of oil until it came up about half way in the pan. Here is the tricky part, heating your oil. I have an electric stove so for me 2-3 was my setting, or low for most. If you oil is to hot, your donuts won’t get done in the middle and if its too cool, they won’t get crispy on the outside and moist inside so you may have to try one out first. Make sure your oil is hot before adding your biscuits. Add one to two biscuits at a time. They will grow and you don’t want them to touch. Put on your lid and watch them get brown on the bottom side. For me, it took about 45 seconds on each side. Once you see it starts getting brown in the middle, carefully flip biscuit over and brown the other side. Once done, cool on a wire rack with wax paper underneath for a minute before glazing or sugaring. Eat right away! (Like that wasn’t obvious)

Powdered Sugar Glaze – 1 1/2 C powdered sugar, 2 tsp. vanilla, and 4-5 TB of milk. Mix well until smooth. You want this glaze to be a little thinner than usual, so don’t be afraid of the milk.

Oshkosh Marathon

 

Oshkosh Half Marathon, courtesy of the Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau

 

For the past ten years, Oshkosh has hosted a half marathon and 5K but this year with the completion of Hwy 41, a full marathon (26.2 miles) has been scheduled for April 19th along with a two person half marathon relay. This is a certified marathon qualifier for Boston.

People have been asking for this, and so Oshkosh delivers once again. All races will start in downtown Oshkosh beginning at 7:00 AM and will continue through the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus before joining the WIOUWASH Trail. It is a flat, scenic route that should appeal to a lot of runners. I am not a runner, and try to avoid it whenever possible, so no, I will  not be participating, however many of our past guests tell us that it is a great course and they enjoy coming to Oshkosh each and every year.

Brownie Cookies

I posted a recipe for some brownie cookies about three years ago. Though I do try to come up with new recipes  and try out other peoples recipes to share with you, I also like to tweak the recipes I know that are good but could be better. This is one of them. I think these have really got a true brownie texture to them. I added some white chocolate chips too since I had them laying around, but if you want, leave them out or add even more chocolate, which never hurts.

Brownie Cookies– revamped from a previous recipe brownie cookies 2

8 oz, semisweet baking chocolate, 1 1/3 C flour, 3/4 C brown sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 eggs, 1/4 tsp. baking powder, 1/3 c pecans, 6 TB butter, 8 oz. of chocolate chips, and 4 oz of white chocolate chips.

Melt 8 oz of semi sweet chocolate and butter in the microwave. Every 30 seconds stop the microwave and stir and the chocolate and butter are melted and combined. It should take about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Beat together eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Once combined, stir in chocolate mixture, followed by the flour. Fold in the nut and then both chocolate chips and white chips.

Chill dough for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, scoop 1 TB of dough balls onto a cookie sheet. Chill cookie sheet for at least one hour.  Trust me, the cookies will stay their shape much better, otherwise you will have flat, hard cookies.

Bake at 350 after chilling for 15 minutes. Let cool and enjoy, if you can wait.

St. Patricks Day Party

Oshkosh brings it when it comes to St. Patricks Day. Starting on Friday, March 14th is the ShamROCK  the court fundraiser for Cerebral Palsy at The Bar. Rest up, because then its time for the Shamrock Shuffle at 10:00 AM at UW Oshkosh. Barley & Hops will then be hosting an Irish Cider School at 2:00 PM, followed by the St. Patricks Day Tent Party and Night parade on Saturday evening. 

This is family affair that starts at 4:00 PM. Oshkosh’s very own Irish bands Dornan and Sheamus Fitzpatrick and the McNally Boys will perform in the gigantic, heated tent at 547 Main St. Dancers from Richard’s School of Dance, Kinsella Academy of Irish Dance, bagpipers will keep you entertained all afternoon and into the night.  There is a fun contest for the “reddest hair and most freckles contest for the kids. There will be Irish cusine, Guinness beverages and displays on St. Patrick and Ireland’s history, with several fundraising activities as well, such as raffles, and a silent auction.  The well anticipated parade with start at 6:30 PM from Ceape Ave. and head North on Main St. to Iriving.

 

Raspberry Muffins

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

 

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)

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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)

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

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?

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!

 

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