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Tomato Caprese Baked Eggs

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

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

 

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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?

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

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

 

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

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

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. 

Cheesy Pumpkin Fondue

This is one of my favorite recipes that I make every October. I have been anxiously waiting to share it with you. I thought that being Halloween this would be the perfect time for any Halloween treats this evening or this weekend when you are hosting a party. Sometimes these tiny little pumpkins known as “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins” are very hard to come across. I was fortunate to be to pick up 4 this year at our Oshkosh Saturday Farmers Market so I could make this recipe each weekend for our guests. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Pumpkin Queso Fondue 

1- 2-3# sugar pumpkin, 8 oz. chorizo, diced, 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped without seeds, 4oz. chopped green chilies, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 3 TB flour, 1 1/2 C chicken broth, 2 C shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 C monterey jack cheese, tortilla chips and parsley or cilantro for garnish.

Cheesey Pumpkin Fondue

Preheat oven to  degrees. Slice off the top 1.5″ of the pumpkin and toss. Scoop out the seeds and pulp and set pumpkin aside.

Heat the chorizo in a medium saucepan over med.-high heat about 5 minutes. Add the jalapeño, green chilies, cumin and black pepper and cook, stirring until the japapeno softens about a couple of minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring until it is slight light brown about 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir in cheeses. Cook, stirring occasionally until the all the cheese melts and is creamy, about 3 more minutes.

Place the pumpkin in an 8×8 baking dish with a 1/2 inch of water in dish. Pour cheese mixture into pumpkin. cover loosely with foil and bake until the pumpkin is tender but not soft for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the cheese is golden and bubbly about 15-20 more minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes and sprinkle with parsley or cilantro and serve with tortilla chips. YUMMMMMM!

 

 

Its starting to feel a lot like the holidays

 

It is starting to feel a lot like the holidays. Starting Tuesday, November 12-January 12, the Oshkosh Public Museum, introduces “Deck the Halls”, which is a new holiday experience.

This new event will include special activities, events and exhibits for everyone to participate in. On the second floor, a Christmas Village will be exhibited which will feature Oshkosh store front façades based on photographs from the museums archives, which will showcase a variety of toys. The community will get to vote on which toys will be on exhibit.

The Oshkosh Public Museum was owned by the Sawyer family from 1872-1908. Activities and decorations throughout the mansion will reflect the time period when the Sawyer’s lived on this property. There will be interactive displays, and demonstrations that would be appropriate to the original functions of the rooms during the weekends.  There will also be a light pole decorating contest among local service groups who will compete and judged by the community by making cash donations to the group of their choice.

  • The Parlor will feature parlor games and an 1890s gift-covered Christmas tree
  • The Dining Room revolves around food and table settings and a 1900s cotton-covered Christmas tree
  • The Den will amuse with holiday stories and an 1880s table-top Christmas tree
  • The Library provides entertainment in the form of music and crafts and a 1910s electrified tree

Other holiday amenities include Candy Cane Cafe, a relaxing place to sit down and enjoy some refreshments, and the ever-popular Museum Scavenger Hunt with an impish twist as visitors are challenged to find the Museum elves hidden among the holiday decorations.

 

Just two days later on November 14th is the annual community holiday parade. It will start at  6:30pm  in downtown Oshkosh. Five entries are awarded each year for their creativity and best use of the “Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child” theme. The awards include the Grand Marshall’s Award, Chancellor’s Award, Mayor’s Award, Children’s Award and the Chamber of Commerce Award.

Salted Caramel Apple Cupcakes

This is another Pinterest recipe.  I thought it would be perfect to post just before Halloween for anyone having any parties for kids or adults for that matter. The only thing I did differently, was that I made the caramel sauce, but I also used caramel topping that I had. The Caramel sauce is really, really good, but mine was a little thin, so I drizzled both on the cupcake.

Caramel apple cupcakesSalted Caramel Apple Cupcakes – Serves 24 

2 1/4 C flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp.nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. salt, 6 TB butter at room temp, 1 1/4 C sugar, 1/2 C applesauce at room temp., 2 eggs, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 C finely grated apples peeled, Caramel apple frosting, and. 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and set aside. In another large bowl blend butter, sugar and applesauce until well blended and fluffy. Add one egg at a time until combined. Blend in lemon juice and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients and combine. Fold in grated apples. Divide batter among muffin cups filling about 3/4 full and bake about 20 minutes. Allow to cool before frosting with caramel apple frosting.

Caramel Sauce

1 C sugar, 1/4 water, 1/4 butter and 2/3 C heavy cream

With this sauce, make sure you have all your ingredients nearby as you will had to add them immediately when called for.

In a heavy 3qt. saucepan, heat sugar and water over med. high heat whisking constantly to dissolve sugar. Once it  begins to boil, stop whisking and allow  mixture to boil until it is amber in color, carefully swirling pan occasional so it doesn’t burn. Once it is a dark color, remove from heat and carefully pour in cream and immediately whisk to combine. (it will bubble so be careful not to burn yourself), Whisk until smooth and keep in a glass jar for use in frosting and other things later on.

Caramel Apple Frosting - 

1 C butter, room temp, 4 C powdered sugar, 3/4 C Caramel sauce, and 1 tsp. vanilla

Whip butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and blend on low until combined. Add caramel sauce and vanilla and whip until light and fluffy.

 

Oshkosh is the place to be November 1-3

I wouldn’t think about leaving Oshkosh anytime between November 1-3. Better yet, it’s a great time to visit Oshkosh. As the air is starting to chill, it is time to move the festivities inside.

Why not stop down at Beckets on the river on Friday, November 1, grab a seat, enjoy their Friday night fish fry with a wonderful glass of wine and relax to the sounds of Janet Planet. If you are not familiar with her music, she is a jazz genius with upbeat lyrics and a fun soul.  Beckets is the ideal place to watch Janet Planet since it is a modern open atmosphere with an intimate feel.

Saturday morning awake to the first Winters Market of season from 9:00-12:30, at its brand new location at Washington Hall. There will be 40 vendors that are offering everything from french vegetables that are grown in personal greenhouses or hydroponic farms. Canned foods, locally raised meats, cheese, honey, bakery, crafts and live music will get your day on its way. Washington Hall is located at 405 Washington Ave, formally the Eagles Club. If you have never been or its been a long time since you have been in this historic building, now would be the perfect time to check it out.

 

Later on in the day, check out the 2nd annual Casks and Caskets which is a homebrew tasting event for the food pantries of Oshkosh starting at 5:00. With such success from last year, which was the first of its kind in Wisconsin, The Society of Oshkosh brewers brought back this event for another round of live music, homebrew demonstrations, a silent auction, best beer and Halloween costume contest, door prizes and sampling of homebrewed beer and wine. Proceeds from this event with go directly to the Oshkosh Hunger Task Force.

Tickets are $30 in advance and do include everything above, plus you will receive a  commemorative tasting glass and program. A VIP Dinner, prepared and served with homebrew by Chef Foster Deadman of the Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and Convention Center will be available for $65 and include the tasting event as well as a special VIP tasting glass. Downtown locations where you can purchase your tickets are at Oblios and the Best Westen Premier Waterfront Hotel and Convention Center.  For more information, you can visit www.caskandcaskets.org 

 

 

 

Mini Crustless Pumpkin Pies

This time of year really gets me craving all those wonderful fall desserts like apple pie, apple crisp, caramel bars, and yes, pumpkin pie. Dairy Queen, of course always seems to get me with their pumpkin blizzards. Since they came out with the mini’s they are the perfect little treat. I am a big fan of snack size anything. It gives me my little piece of heaven without all the guilt. That’s where these little gems come in. Your own little pumpkin pie, without the crust that you can just pick up and eat. No mess and all goodness. Thanks Pinterest for another great recipe!

Mini Crustless Pumpkin Pies

1 15oz. can pumpkin pie filling, 1/2 C sugar, 1/4 C brown sugar, 2 LG. eggs, 1 tps. vanilla, 3/4 C evaporated milk, 2/3 C flour, 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. baking soda.

pumpkin pie mini crustless

 

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cupcake tin. DON’T USE PAPER CUPCAKE LINERS OR YOU WILL HAVE A HECK OF TIME TRYING TO GET THESE OUT! They pop out really easy as long as you spray.

Mix pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and milk. Add flour, pumpkin, spice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to mixture. Fill each muffin cup almost 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and put in fridge to cool completely. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with more pumpkin pie spice. Make 18

Spirits of the Grand

theatre, grand

Photo courtesy of Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau

Did you know that the Grand is listed as one of the most haunted places in America? But is the Grand really haunted? I guess you will have to come and find out for yourself. The beautiful and historic Grand Opera house has been beautifully restored and has been home to many outstanding local and national productions, but this time of year it has many different types of characters to witness. 

There will be actor-guides who will portray themselves from characters of the 1880′s that will tour you through the Grand, that will lead you through the auditorium, stage, dressing rooms and even a few tight spaces under the theater itself.  You will learn about the history of the Grand, which is the oldest operating theater in the State of Wisconsin. You may even meet a few “personalities” yourself who have been seen throughout the years from their ghostly images and sounds. The Grand may look different this time of year with the flickering lamps and black sheathing to set the stage.  Even a faint mist onstage will add to the spine tingling atmosphere.

SPIRITS OF THE GRAND is open for public tours at selected times, October 18-19 & 24-26, 2013 from 7:30-10:00 PM. The SPIRITS tour is also available on a limited basis for private events, company Halloween parties, and “candlelight” guided tours. For private tours and parties, contact The Grand’s administrative office at 920-424-2350

 

Chocolate Pumpkin Tiramisu

I have said this before, but I LOVE tiramisu. I also love pumpkin though this time of year. Why not combine the two. A friend and chef from California gave me a tiramisu recipe that I make in cups. I really enjoy this version since it is so much easier to eat and looks just as pretty when served.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN TIRAMISUChocolate Pumpkin Tiramisu – Serves 6

1 bar of dark chocolate (3.5oz), 1 C hot coffee, 5 TB bourbon, 1 1/2 C mascarpone, 1 C powdered sugar, 2/3 C heavy cream, 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1 C canned pumpkin and 1 package ladyfingers.

Coarsely chop half the chocolate and add to a small bowl. Add coffee and whisk until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in 2 TB bourbon.

In a large bowl, combine the mascarpone, powdered sugar, cream, vanilla, cinnamon and remaining 3 TB bourbon. Beat until fluffy. Add pumpkin and mix until combined.

Take 1/3 of the ladyfingers and dip, one at a time, into the coffee mixture. Don’t leave in too long since they will get soggy. Arrange them in a single layer in the bottom of an 8 oz. glass. I had to break my cookies to get them to fit. Divide one third of hte pumpkin mixture among the glasses, spooning it on top of hte cookies and spreading to cover. Grate more chocolate over the pumpkin.

Repeat the layers 1 or 2 more times, depending how much room you have left in your glasses. The last layer should be the pumpkin mixture.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, sliver more chocolate shavings over pumpkin and enjoy cold.

Spooktacular Chili Cook-Off

This is the second year for the downtown Oshkosh Chili Cook-off and it promises to be better than the last. I was pretty impressed with last years event, but they did run short of chili very early on.  I think it may have been underestimated how much we love our chili and are so willing to try different types. I will suggest getting here right at 12:00 which is when sampling begins. Last year there was anything from cranberry chili to chocolate chili. I can’t wait to find out what there is this year.  This event was sponsored last year in hopes of continuing to support the Day By Day Warming Shelter  in Downtown Oshkosh. Please make a difference in the community event by giving back. 
Not only will you get to experience unique chili samples from over 30 amateur chefs, but local  beers will also be on tap, along with a DJ and children’s activities. This will also be the last outdoor Farmers Market for the year. The Farmers Market will go from 8:00-12:30 and sampling will begin at 12:00.  So come on down Opera House Square on Saturday, October 26th in hopes to grow our downtown community. Sampling begins at 12:00.

There is still room to register if you think you have what it takes to win or just have fun. Register here.

Amateur judges will be awarding in categories of “Best Traditional Chili”, Specialty Chili”, and a “5 Alarm Chili”.

 

 

Crockpot applesauce

I just realized I posted this recipe last year, but without any pictures. So instead of just adding a picture to last years post, I decided to post it again since it is not only easy, but really good!

My apple and pear trees are bursting with apples this year. They are too firm to eat, but perfect for baking. I have made two batches of apple crisp, caramel apple cupcakes and two batches of applesauce already. I have a long list of other recipes I would love to make and share with you, but whenever I can share a canning recipe that is so darn easy and something you can enjoy all winter long, I want to get it out as soon as the season hits, even if it is more than once. Come back and visit the next few weeks for more great apple, pumpkin and possibly pear recipes. We will see how much time I can grab before the season is over.

Apple Tree- 1 of 5 in our yard

 

Crockpot Applesauce

Peel, core and slice apples. Fill our crock pot full of apples. Add 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, I TB cinnamon and I TB lemon juice. Stir a and turn your crock pot on low for 5-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Stir when through. I like a chunky apple sauce so I go ahead and jar them up (after I have washed my jars and lids). If you like a smooth applesauce, you can cook a little longer and stir until it’s the consistency you like or puree your applesauce in a food processor. Enjoy right away or can for later.

 

I added as many apples as I could fit into my crock pot. Add the water, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Gave it good stir, put the lid on and set it on low for for about 6 hours.

 

I like my applesauce a little chunky, so after 6 hours I stirred it and immediately poured it into my hot glass jars and within 5 minutes they were sealed. I got about 6 – 12oz. jars and 2 – 6 oz jars of applesauce out of 1 batch.

applesauce

 

Connecting Wisconsin

It has been a long time coming, but Oshkosh is connecting Wisconsin one trail at a time.

Be the first to walk, run or bike across Lake butte Des Morts on Saturday, October 12th. from 11:00-2:30 as the Tribal Heritage Crossing of the Wiouwash State Recreation Trail crosses Lake Butte Des Morts along the Highway 41 Causeway.

This event will be held at the North end of the causeway near the driveway of Ecklund Motor Sports at 2794 Marine Dr. There will be street parking with people helping you on where to go.

At 11:00 AM there will be a formal dedication and ceremony with our own Governor Scott Walker being present. From 11:30-2:30 there will be an open house for a fun run/walk and dog walk. You can register the day of for a 5K non competitive run/walk with or without your pooch. You will receive “first across” commemorative pin, and be able to visit displays along the crossing, which includes one of each of the Wisconsin Indian Tribes.  Experts will also be on hand to talk about fishing opportunities on the trail as well.

Everything Cookies

This recipe inspired me by one of our guests. Tom visits us every October, however this October, he has to attend a wedding on the same date he usually stays with us. I guess where I am going with this, is that I got thinking about him the other day and craving these cookies that he usually brings with him. Since I won’t be seeing him this year, I thought I would try to recreate these yummy cookies. I don’t think I did too bad, but they don’t compare with Toms. I am thinking if I made them a little larger and didn’t bake them as long, I might be pretty darn close. I am going to keep working on it, but I wanted to share with you anyway since I have eaten about a dozen of them.

 

 

Everything Cookies-001

Everything Cookies – 42 cookies with a 4 oz. scoop

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 C brown sugar, 1/2 granulated sugar, 2 sticks of butter, softened, 2 C flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 3 C old fashioned oatmeal, 2 eggs, 3 TB heavy cream, 1.5 TB vanilla, 1 C craisens, 1 C dark chocolate chunks, and 1 C pecan or walnuts

Cream both sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Set aside.

Combine flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and oatmeal. Set aside

Mix eggs, cream and vanilla together. Add gradually to butter and mixture. Add dry mixture and mix until it just comes together. Fold in craisens, chocolate chunks and nuts.

Scoop cookie dough out onto cookie sheet and bake 10-15 minutes.

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