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Hey, look we were mentioned!

brayton_family-4Every once in a while, our name appears in an article, not necessarily promoting us specifically, but what may be around us or things to do in the area.  The first article is from Travel Wisconsin and as you can see Oshkosh made the list of things to do, see, and places to eat. The second article is a feature story for the Circus World Museum in  Baraboo. Though Baraboo is roughly a 2 hour drive from Oshkosh, it is an easy enough day trip for those who are looking for something different to experience. I hope you enjoy both articles as much as I did.

 

“Wisconsin’s Event City,” Oshkosh is home to over 1,000 events and festivals, including the famous EAA AirVenture and the Country USA music festival. The city on the western shore of Lake Winnebago also has more than its share of year-round fun. Here are our top picks for an Oshkosh weekend getaway, any time of year.

Where to brunch

Pilora’s Café dishes up the café essentials – friendly service and wholesome food – with a dash of originality. From jazz music in the background to some unusual menu items (like cornbread pancakes with Door County cherries and the Moroccan ham sandwich) Pilora’s makes a point of offering something different. They also brew Alterra coffee, so you can fuel up on a proper cup of joe before heading out for your Oshkosh adventures. 

Where to explore

The EAA’s AirVenture fly-in every August isn’t your only chance to experience Oshkosh’s world-renowned Experimental Aircraft Association. The EAA AirVenture Museum, open year-round, features over 200 historic airplanes, plus movie theaters, galleries, flight simulators, and two “hands-on” interactive galleries for all ages.

Where to shop

You’ll find a lot of unique shops on (and just off) Main Street. A few to get you started:

If big-name stores are more your style, The Outlet Shoppes at Oshkosh, across from the EAA, is home to 55 of the best. We recommend adding a whole day to your Oshkosh itinerary if you want to hit the outlets!

Where to get your culture on

The Grand Opera House, built in 1883, is the oldest operating theater in Wisconsin. It puts on a fun variety of entertainment, from the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra to musicals, rock ’n’ roll shows, and karaoke nights. The Paine Art Center and Gardens is a 1920’s estate with an amazing art collection and display gardens. Their Family Discovery Gallery offers hands-on art experiences for children. Admission: $9 adult/$5 youth. 

Where to go for dinner

Gardina’s Wine Bar & Café has a great menu of American/Mediterranean starters, cheese plates, salads and sandwiches, with nightly entrée specials. But it’s their pizza that steals the show. Bring an appetite and brace yourself for some tough decisions: there’s an impressive selection of wines, craft beers, and – bonus – individual-sized cheesecakes. Jam to live music Friday and Saturday nights. 

Where to stay

The Brayton Bed & Breakfast is just a short walk from Main Street. Warning: if you stay in this beautiful, friendly B&B, you might not want to leave…especially on the weekends, when you can enjoy an afternoon wine and cheese social in the living room, and homemade desserts later in the evening. Rates: $129.00-$299.00 nightly.

Learn more about all the fun Oshkosh has to offer here.

Liven Up Your Vacation: Visit the Circus World Museum

If you have enjoyed luxuriating yourself in your suite at Brayton B&B, drinking fine wine, eating local cheeses, and visiting the occasional museum, take a vacation from your vacation. Plan a day of highly charged entertainment at the Circus World Museum. The Circus World Museum is a two hour drive from Oshkosh; far enough away to be a significant day-trip, but close enough that you can still make it back to your suite for an evening drink. A premiere Wisconsin attraction, the Circus World Museum is a historical site that attracts thousands of visitors a year, and is loved by both children and adults.

History

What sets the Circus World Museum apart from your average circus is its remarkable history. The circus, originally named ‘The Ringling Bros. Circus’, was founded in 1884 by the five Ringling brothers. The Ringling Bros. Circus ran for thirty-five years, and in that time expanded to an empire consisting of the three largest circuses in America. In 1959, after the circus industry had gone into decline and The Ringling Bros. Circus had long been closed, its gates once again opened. This time it was named the Circus World Museum, a museum with a mission to preserve the circus industry, so it could be understood and loved by future generations.

Sights

The Circus World Museum is home to several of the original buildings used by The Ringling Bros. Circus; these buildings are the largest groups of original circus buildings in North America. Located on the north bank of the Baraboo River, they date from 1897 and 1918, and the area they comprise is now a National Historic Landmark. As well as these historic buildings, artefacts from the old circus are displayed in the many exhibits on offer across the site. Here you can see everything from the cage wagons in which lions were kept, to original poster art advertising circus shows.

Performances

Of course it would be unheard of to go to a circus and not see a show. With the spirit of the original Ringling circus, there are a variety of shows on offer to suit a multitude of interests and tastes. Gymnastics, acrobatics, elephant shows, clown shows, and contortionist shows, are just a few of the performances on offer for visitors. Just make sure to look at the performance schedule on arrival so you won’t risk missing your favorite.

Eating and Drinking

If your trip to the Circus World Museum falls during the summer season, then their deluxe onsite restaurant, Cookhouse Grill, is open for business. If not, or if you would prefer to eat away from the circus, why not venture into Baraboo? Baraboo is a bustling city with a diverse range of eateries. Here you can sample the best burgers American cuisine has to offer, as well as some top-notch Mexican and Italian food.

Getting There

Driving is certainly the easiest, and most cost-effective, way of getting to the Circus World Museum, and will give you the chance to experience some of the beautiful scenery of Wisconsin between Oshkosh and Baraboo. It is important, however, that you consider safety before hitting the road. Whether you plan to rent a car or bring your own with you to Oshkosh, you must ensure that you are covered against breakdown in the Wisconsin area. Purchasing breakdown cover is simple, as it can be bought quickly and easily online, and there are many cheap deals to be found. While it is unlikely you will need to use it, breakdown cover is priceless for the piece of mind it will give you during your trip. Once you’ve got your breakdown cover in the bag, and have set a date for your trip to the Circus World Museum, simply jot down the directions below and you are ready to go.

Directions:

1.    Head northwest on Church Ave towards Central St(0.4 mi)

2.    Turn left onto Wisconsin St (0.5 mi)

3.    Continue onto Ohio St(0.9 mi)

4.    Turn right onto W South Park Ave(2.0 mi)

5.    Turn left to merge onto U.S. 41 S toward Milwaukee (2.4 mi)

6.    Take exit 113 for WI-26/County Rd N toward Waupun (0.4 mi)

7.    Turn right onto WI-26 S/WI-26 Trunk S/Co Rd N. Continue to follow WI-26 S/WI-26 Trunk S (21.5 mi)

8.    Take the Wisconsin 26 S/U.S. 151 S ramp to Waupun/Madison (0.4 mi)

9.    Merge onto US-151 S (1.0 mi)

10.  Take exit 147 to merge onto US-151 BUS S/WI-26 S/WI-26 Trunk S/Fond Du Lac St toward Waupun. Continue to follow US-151 BUS S/Fond Du Lac St.(1.6 mi)

11.  Turn right onto EMain St.(1.0 mi)

12.  Turn left onto WI-68 W/Fox Lake Rd. Continue to follow WI-68 W (9.5 mi)

13.  Continue onto State Hwy 33 W/W State St. Continue to follow State Hwy 33 W (44.8 mi)

14.  Turn left onto Washington Ave(0.6 mi)

15.  Turn right onto Water St. Destination will be on the left.

Antipasti Platter

Scott and I had some friends over the other night to watch the premier of the 2013 season of Mad Men. This couple we had over got us into watching the series, so the last couple of years we enjoyed some wine and a few appetizers together while dissecting the first few segments. Whenever we get together with this couple they always do such a great job of entertaining that I feel like I do not do our place justice. After creating this enjoyable platter, I thought it would be great to share it with our inn guests over wine and cheese. The bread I made is the recipe I shared with you a few months back (Crusty Bread). This time I just used pepperjack cheese and thyme to give it a more mild flavor with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I purchased some black and green olives with feta from the Festival Foods deli, along with a fresh mozzarella, sundried tomato and salami panini roll, hand rolled salami, Satori Monte Amori cheese and grapes.  The recipe below is for the tomato ricotta frittata which you could use for breakfast, but I prefer to serve it cold as an appetizer.

ANITIPASTI PLATETomato Ricotta Fritatta

3 TB olive oil, 1 large onion, sliced 1/4″ thick, 1 large tomato, sliced 1/2 inch thick, 8 eggs, 1/2 C shredded parmesan, 1/3 C fresh, coarsely shopped basil, salt, pepper and 6 TB ricotta.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over med. heat. Add onion slices and cook until softened. Transfer to a plate. Add tomatoes to the skillet and cook, turning once until edges are softened. Transfer to the plate with the onions.

In a bowl, stir the eggs, 1/4 C parmesan, basil and salt and pepper.

Spread the onion slices in the bottom of the skillet. Pour the beaten eggs on top and cook over med. heat until the eggs are set around the edges.

Place the tomato slices on the top of the frittata. Dollop the ricotta between the tomatoes. Sprinkle remaining parmesan on top. Bake the frittata until the top is golden and set, about 18 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes and then slide out of pan and let cool. Cut into wedges.

Ice Shoves on Lake Winnebago

I was telling a friend of mine that just moved to Oshkosh a few months ago about the ice shoves that we witnessed on Lake Winnebago and she didn’t have any idea what I was talking about. I showed her some of these pictures that I took and she was amazed. I told her to head to Menominee Park  and take a drive. Over by the Waters it is pretty extravagant!

If you still don’t know what I am referring to, it is worth it to keep reading and take a drive to see the beauty and mess these things can create, especially if you are living on the lake.  This usually happens every year when the temperatures start warming and the east winds pick up and actually move the ice across the lake to the Western (Oshkosh) shores. It usually doesn’t take much  more than 10-20 minutes for the ice to come piling up on the lake, docks and on shore. As the ice breaks up, you can actually hear it moving, breaking and crunching together.  Sometimes it is large chunks the size of a car and sometimes if you get small pieces that collect together. With the ice storm that hit here last week, it left a beautiful display of ice hanging from everything from, trees, houses and down power lines with a mess of branches and  limbs scattered across the city as well.

As you can see from some of these pictures, some backyards have gotten smaller, docks have been taken out, and ice making its way onto the street.

ice shove lake eeeerie ice shove lake ice shove watersice shove pana ice shove trees

 

 

Upside Down Apple Coffee Cake

Last week I posted a recipe for Spinach and Feta Baked Eggs. I served it with this upside down Apple Coffee Cake that I found on Pinterest. It has a great flavor and looks really pretty and impressive when served. You do have to be careful though, because it does have a tendency of falling apart when trying to get it out of the pan, if you are not careful.

UPSIDE DOWN APPLE COFFEE CAKEUpside-Down Apple Coffee Cake Recipe

1-1/2 cups apples, chopped and peeled, 1 can (12.4 ounce) Pillsbury cinnamon rolls with icing, 1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces, 2 tablespoons butter, melted, 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons corn syrup

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.  Spread 1 cup of the apples in pie plate.

Separate dough into 8 rolls.  Cut each roll into quarters; place in large bowl.  Add remaining 1/2 cup apples and pecans.

In small bowl, mix butter, brown sugar and corn syrup until well blended.  Add brown sugar mixture to dough mixture; toss gently to combine.  Spoon mixture over apples in pan.

Bake 28 to 38 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Cool 5 minutes.  Invert onto serving platter.

Remove lid from icing.  Microwave icing on high 10 to 15 seconds or until drizzling consistency.  Drizzle over warm coffee cake.  Serve warm.

WineFeast 2013

I have never been to this event. Every year I say I am going to go and I never do. Unfortunately, so far it looks like that is going to be the same this year too. This is the most talked about event in Oshkosh that is happening on Saturday, April 27 at the downtown convention center. It is only a few short blocks from us, so it would be so convenient. One of these years, I am in.

WineFeast, which is attended by over 750 people, gives guests the opportunity to sample fine wine from around the world, sip tantalizing brews and try tasty cuisine from area restaurants. 100% of proceeds raised will directly benefit almost 4,200 youth at the Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh through membership and outreach. There are two parts of WineFeast. Guests can attend regular WineFeast, which begins at 7 p.m. or guests can purchase reservations to the elegant wine and dish tasting that happens before general WineFeast at 4 p.m. called Cellar Select. Cellar Select provides a richer,  more fine wine and dinner experience and is an opportunity to socialize with familiar faces in a relaxing environment. Doors open at 4 p.m. for a champagne reception and the evening program starts promptly at 5 p.m.

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

For more information visit their website.

Spinach and Feta Baked Eggs

I had to do some quick thinking the other day and luckily it worked out well. I thought I was having 8 gentleman for breakfast on Sunday morning, but late Friday night I was told that only 4 would be dining. I had made a breakfast lasagna earlier in the day just waiting to throw it in the oven in the morning. Since this lasagna recipe serves 8,  I didn’t want to waste half of the lasagna so I wrapped it up and put it in the freezer for a later day. Sunday morning I was scrambling a bit to come up with something fast for 4 guys with the ingredients I had in the kitchen. tomato and spinach baked eggs were born. As I served this new little dish, I warned the guys that they were my experiment for the day and my feelings would not be hurt if they did not care of this dish. To my husbands surprise, the bowls were literally licked clean.

Spinach and Feta Bake EggsTomato and Spinach Baked Eggs  Serves 4

2 TB olive oil, 1 med. yellow onion, 5 oz. fresh baby spinach, 1 can of chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp. cumin, salt, pepper, and horseradish, 1/2 tsp. paprika, 2 tsp. chipotle or hot sauce, 4 large eggs and 1/4 C crumbled feta.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 4- 8oz. ramekins with non stick spray and set aside.

In a med. saucepan, heat oil over med heat. Add onion and saute until soft. Add spinach and saute until wilted. Remove from heat.

In a med. bowl, stir together the tomatoes, cumin, salt, pepper, horseradish, chipotle, and paprika. Add the onion-spinach mixture and stir to combine. Divide among the four ramekins.

Crack an egg into the center of each ramekin and sprinkle with feta. Bake until the whites are set but yolks are still soft, about 12-15 minutes.

I served this with an upside down Apple coffee cake. See next weeks blog for this recipe.

2013 Oshkosh Half Marathon

Its that time of year again when the Oshkosh half marathon and 5K  run/walk  begins. In the 9th season the route will offers scenic diversity from the historic homes to the river. There will even be themed water stations to get you motivated and massage therapists to ease those aching muscles after you cross the finish line!

The race will begin again downtown on Sunday, April 20th at 8:00 AM.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh, Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc. and the Oshkosh Area Humane Society.

Why not, make a weekend of it and plan your weekend with us and get to know the trail. See you soon. Special rates for runners.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Do you know the health benefits of chocolate and peanut butter? Imagine putting them together. Double whammy. Feel good about this next recipe first by reading all the benefits of these two items and then fall in love with this recipe I found on Pinterest. All I can say, Oh my Gosh! Not only could I not keep the Reeses Peanut Butter cups out of my mouth, but once these little devils came out of the oven, I couldn’t stop eating the finished product either.

Health Benefits of Chocolate

1. A 2011 Swedish study found that women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate a week had a 20% lower risk of a stroke than women who treated themselves to fewer than 9 grams of the sweet stuff.

2. Regular chocolate eaters welcome a host of benefits for their hearts, including lower blood pressure,lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and lower risk of heart disease.

3. Because it’s rich in fiber, dark chocolate can actually help keep you full, so you’ll eat less, Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center.  Regular chocolate eaters might do themselves a favor by treating themselves to a bite instead of snacking on “11 other things first” he said.

4. Chocolate May Fight Diabetes

5. A small Italian study from 2005 found that regularly eating chocolate increases insulin sensitivity, thereby reducing risk for diabetes.
Also, chocolate is good for the skin offering some UV protection, quieting coughs, boosts your mood, improves blood flow and vision, which causes to be more alert, awake and even smarter! Who knew?
Health benefits of Peanut Butter
Energy Boost – Each bite packs a bunch of nutrition. It contains both protein and healthy monosaturated fats, which will give you the energy pick-me-up that you are looking for. Additionally, peanut butter has other nutrients including vitamin B3, tryptophan, and manganese.

Cardiovascular Health -The monounsaturated fat in peanut butter has been linked with a decrease in the risk of heart disease. Also, peanuts contain fiber, and a diet high in fiber will reduce bad (LDL)cholesterol levels. Peanut butter also contains vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that has been associated with lower levels of heart disease.

Better Circulation - Peanut butter is a great source of iron, which helps to maintain good circulation.

Blood Sugar Control - The protein and fiber in peanut butter are both beneficial for blood sugar control. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, or you are at risk of diabetes, including peanut butter in your diet may be beneficial because it will stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Anti-Aging - Peanut butter contains resveratrol , an antioxidant that has been linked with lower levels of heart disease and cancer. Some studies suggest that resveratrol may reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Cancer Prevention - The antioxidants and fiber in peanut butter help to reduce the risk of cancer. Antioxidants are effective because they clean up free radical activity within the body and fiber will reduce the risk of colon cancer because it keeps waste moving efficiently through the intestines.

Peanut butter cup cookiesChocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

1 1/2 C, plus 2 TBSP. flour, 6 TBSP, cocoa, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1tsp salt, 6 TBSP butter at room temp., 1/4 C creamy peanut butter, 1/2 C sugar, 1/2 C brown sugar, 1 LG egg, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 TBSP. milk, 2 C coarsely chopped peanut butter cups, divided. Hint- much easier if you have these in the freezer first. Easier to chop up.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a med. bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a larger bowl, combine the butter, peanut butter and both sugars. Beat until light and fluffy. Add in egg, vanilla and milk. Blend until smooth. On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients. Add 1 1/2 C chopped peanut butter cups and fold in gently with a spatula.

Drop large rounds of dough onto the baking sheets. Gently press a few pieces of the reserved peanut butter cups (if you have any left from eating them), on top of each of the dough balls. Bake 12  minutes-14 minutes, rotating the pans half way through. They will look under baked when you take them out, but don’t worry, they will firm up. You DO NOT want to over bake these. Let col on the baking sheet about 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

New space, New items

When we first opened the inn, we decided that we were not going to have a gift shop. I didn’t want to clutter the space we did have with things other than what we used everyday.  Since we have been open though, there are a few items that people ask for all the time such as our cozy bathrobes, amazing sheets and our seasonal soaps. We started selling these items a few years ago since these companies that we buy them from only sell to spas and inns. We figured that it is pretty great that you can purchase these items through us after you have tried them out first hand.  I never did  put them on display,but rather just waited for someone to ask me about them.

It seems like the last year or so though, our guests have been asking for more items that they can purchase to remember there trip here in Oshkosh. So, since you asked for it, we made a few more items available. We’ve taken the sunporch, that had extra seating for when we are full for breakfast and cozied it up a bit.  We left a couple of tables, but we have also  added a couple of comfy chairs that our guests can seat around the fire and read a good book, an area rug and lamp and a couple of bookcases that now hold all our products we use at the inn, that are now available for sale along with information on what to do in Oshkosh when are you visiting.  We partnered with a local company in Neenah who made these fantastic coasters and mugs with our logo on it that are also now available for purchase.

We still have a few Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Cookbooks available and as always our sheets, bathrobes and soaps too.

 

 

 

Frito Frittata

I spotted this recipe as I was tuning into Rachel Ray cleaning one of the guest rooms the other day. Sometimes this is why it takes  me so long to clean. Ha. I get side tracked easily sometimes. I liked the thought because it was one of her 30 minutes meals. Not really breakfast,  not really dinner, so I am classifying it as brunch. It reminded me of when I vacation down in Mexico and what I might eat for breakfast while I am there. You be the judge.

Frito Frittata – Serves 4 healthy portions.

1 TB olive oil, 1/3lb. ham, 3 TB butter, 1 small onion, 1/2 sm. red pepper, seeded and finely chopped, 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced and chopped, 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, salt and pepper to taste, 1 sm, tomato chopped, 2 TB. cilantro, 1 1/2 C Fritos lightly crushed, 10 eggs, lightly beaten, 2 oz. pepperjack cheese, cubed and 2 oz. shredded sharp cheddar.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large , ovenproof skillet, heat olive oil over med. heat. Add the ham and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add butter to the skillet and cook until foamy. Add onion, peppers, garlic and salt and pepper. Cook about 3-4 minutes. Stir in tomato and cilantro. Scatter ham and corn on top.

In a bowl, beat eggs and season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over ham. Scatter the cheese on top. Cook until the eggs are just set-3-5 minutes. Transfer pan to oven and bake until puffed. About 12 minutes or so.

 

When is Spring going to get here?

Are you tired of hearing this or thinking this? I know I am . Boy, this time of year spring fever is really kicking in. More snow is even expected today. Our season starts picking up a little this time of year when people are ready to get out of their homes and start doing something. That might mean traveling, shopping, going to a movie or just getting together with friends.

I have put some things to do in the Oshkosh area in the next couple of weeks that you might not have heard of or thought about. They all sound like fun and are all a little bit different.

 

  Becket’s Jazz Orgy Wine Wednesday – One of our personal favorites!

Every Wednesday Beckets offers $13.00 bottles of wine and free live music. Hang out in the lounge area and soak it all in with the sounds jazz, and the beauty of the surroundings with large glass windows that overlook the river and lighted bridge.

 

 

 

 

      Get Hot, When its Not - Great music, food and friends

Warm up with the sounds of Latin music and delicious authentic cuisine as the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra hosts a night of music, food and fun at The Waters.  The Waters is Oshkosh’s Premier waterfront property to have any type of function. “Get Hot, When It’s Not” highlights the music of Salsa Manzana, food by Lara’s Tortilla Flats, a wine and beer wall, and live auction – all in support of the educational programs of the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra. Cost is $75 per person or $135 per couple on Thursday, March 21st.

 

 

 

  74th Annual Dartball tournament

The 74th Annual Wisconsin State Dartball Tournament is coming to Oshkosh this weekend at Lourdes Academy. March 23-24. More than 1,000 people will be in Oshkosh for this tournament. Dartball is basically a baseball game played with darts. The player throwing the darts is the ”batter”. Darts are thrown 20′ from the board and are thrown underhand.  Each dart thrown is the same as a pitch in baseball. Where the dart lands on the board determines the
outcome of each pitch. The batter continues to throw darts, or bat, until they are safe or out, just like in baseball. The game can be played with as  many as 9 players per side, though less can play as well, each representing a team. The board is placed on a stand, 2′ off the floor, and on a slight angle.  Each section on an official dart board has a
wire surrounding it, so there is never a disagreement about where the dart lands on the board.

 

Oshkosh on Broadway 2013 - Just a few blocks away from us

It’s the most talked-about fundraiser in the Valley! Long before people were “dancing with the stars”, Oshkosh was singing and dancing for The Grand!

You’ve seen them around the community– but you may not have seen them like this! Don’t miss the fun as Oshkosh “celebrities” and friends take to the stage, in an evening of song and dance, to benefit The Grand Opera House educational and free community programs. 8:00 at the Grand Opera House.

 

2013 WPS Farm Show

March 26-28 at the EAA grounds.

Farming has become a high-tech business, and the WPS Farm Show is the ideal place to get a taste of what’s happening in modern agriculture. For three days, farmers from around the Midwest will flock to the EAA Grounds to check out the latest in farm machinery, tools and services.

Each year, the event attracts around 20,000 people. This year’s show will feature more than 400 exhibitors, including everything from Accelerated Genetics to Ziegler Ag Equipment. In the farming world, this show is a big deal.

In addition to visiting exhibitors and checking out farm equipment, attendees can take part in seminars on energy-efficient equipment and techniques.

A sign of the changing face of agriculture can be seen in the fact that this year’s WPS show will be powered by energy from wind and biomass. If you’re interested in farming or if you’re just curious about what a farm show looks like, don’t miss the WPS Farm Show.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I really try to stick with recipes that we make at the inn. That usually limits us to breakfast, fruit cups, desserts and few light nibbles that we serve with wine and cheese.  Last summer, you may remember, that I posted a strawberry soda ice cream recipe. I claimed that it was the “Best” strawberry ice cream I have EVER had. I still believe this by the way. It was strawberry season and though we serve a fruit cut with our breakfast entrees, I thought that this strawberry ice cream could take the place of that, or just as a great dessert afterwards. Being that St. Patricks day is this weekend, I wanted to come up with something other than mint brownies, cookies, and other every day items that one might come to expect from us. So, I went back to my trusted strawberry ice cream recipe and threw together my favorite flavor. Mint Chocolate Chip. The key to a really good, easy, ice cream I believe is sweetened condensed milk. It is really what makes the strawberry recipe so creamy and as it does with the mint. Also, leaving out the eggs is also a sure bet that you don’t have to worry about anyone getting sick. So, all that being said, I am going to claim that this is now the BEST mint chocolate chip ice cream I have ever had as well. I know it’s a lot to live up to, so if you think you have got something better, that is just as easy to throw to together, I am up for the challenge. Until then, I hope you enjoy!

 

MINT ICE CREAM2Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk, 2 cups heavy cream, 1 cup milk (I use skim since that is what I had on hand), large pinch salt, 1 C sugar, 1 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon pure mint extract, 4 drops green food coloring (more or less depending what color you like) and 4 ounces chocolate. (whatever you have on hand. I used milk chocolate this time, but I prefer dark but bittersweet and semi are also wonderful)! Combine all ingredients except for the chocolate in a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Pour into your ice cream maker and process about 30 minutes. It will still be soft. 5 minutes before churning is complete, shave chocolate into the ice cream and continue churning a few more minutes. Pour the ice cream into a freezer container and freeze until hard, usually a few hours.

St. Patricks Day “Night Time” Parade and Tent Party

Event City? Yes we are! Oshkosh holds all the great festivals. You know you love Oshkosh Irish Fest and Oktoberfest, well for the first time ever Oshkosh is launching  a St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Tent Party on Saturday, March 16.

The family-friendly party will start at 4:00 pm in a giant, heated tent located on the 500 block of North Main Street and will feature two live bands, Irish dancers, Irish food, Guinness beverages, and even Cultural displays on topics such as St. Patrick and Ireland’s history. The parade will kick-off at 6:30 pm in downtown Oshkosh and travel up North Main Street. Because it is a night-time parade, floats and other entries are encouraged to use colorful lights in their decorations.

The parade is a gift to the city in celebration of Irish Fest’s 5th Anniversary, and the tent party will serve as a fundraiser to help expand the popular Spring festival. The Rovers, an Irish-themed band from Annapolis, MD will join Oshkosh’s own Sheamus Fitzpatrick and the McNally Boys to entertain inside the tent. You can also expect performances by Richards School of the Dance and bagpipe groups. Several fundraising activities will take place including raffles, a silent auction, and the opportunity to add your name on the Fest’s Welcome or “Fáilte” Door with a tax-deductible donation. On Sunday, March 17 an authentic Irish Breakfast will be prepared by The Roxy Supper Club with a portion of the proceeds donated to the festival.

Strawberry Banana Yogurt Parfait

This time of year, I really miss the fresh berries and the cool tastes of summer. So, I go the freezer and grab a bag of strawberries that I have frozen from the summer. This cool treat is great for breakfast by itself, with a meal, a treat mid day or even dessert after dinner. The candied walnuts give it a nice crunch as well.

Strawberry Banana Yogurt Parfaitstrawberry banana yogurt parfait

Strawberries, banana, yogurt, (candied walnuts) – walnuts, brown sugar and butter – Serves 1

Slice a strawberry and slice a banana and add to the bottom of a parfait glass or anything you want to use. Add a dollop of your favorite plain yogurt. Add another couple of slices of strawberry and bananas. Add your candied walnuts. Add another dollop of yogurt and top with a couple of strawberry slices, banana slice and more candied walnuts. Enjoy!

Candied Walnut nut recipe – I take a handful of walnuts, melt 1 TB of melted butter and then add 1/8 C of brown sugar. Stir. You can store in the refrigerator any left overs and use at another time.

Winding through Oshkosh Trails

Yeh, Summer is finally here! I think we skipped Spring, but we got here either way.

We have put together 3 packages for you this summer. Two oldies but goodies and one new package. Whether you want to hit the trails or check out the lighthouses around Lake Winnebago on your bicycle or motorcycle, take it easy floating down the Fox River or taking in a band at Waterfest, we have got you covered.

Our newest package involves the bicycle or motorcyle.

The uniquely named Wiowash State Trail takes its title from the four counties it passes through: Winnebago, Outgamie, Waupaca and Shawano.

The trail is split into two sections. The northern section runs from Aniwa to Split Rock. The southern section runs for 21 miles from Oshkosh northward to Hortonville and offers opportunities for biking, walking, jogging and birdwatching.

As it traverses the countryside, the southern section of the Wiouwash passes through a number of interesting natural habitats. Segments of the trail run through prairie and wetlands, attracting hundreds of species of birds, including sandhill cranes. The trail also crosses Dagget’s Creek, the Rat River and Black Otter Creek. It’s a scenic and relaxing journey, whether you’re on foot or two wheels.

The nearby Mascoutin Valley State Trail is another quality trail opportunity. The 5.3-mile segment of the trail that runs through Winnebago County connects the communities of Ripon and Berlin. The trail passes along the edges of meadows and farm fields, affording wonderful views of the rural landscape. Wetlands appear at several intervals along the trail, giving trail users a chance to see birds and wildlife.

If your feeling a little more energetic, how about taking a ride around Lake Winnebago and visiting all the lighthouses?  It is roughly 71 miles around Lake Winnebago to see all the lighthouses? It is mostly flat, but there are some short steep climbs around the 50 mile mark. Personally, I think a trip on the motorcycle would be more up my alley. Either way though, we are going to pack you lunch for two for your journey.

Our other two packages you have seen before, but are highly requested each season.

Captain Scotty just purchased a new pontoon this season and he is anxious to get it out on Lake Winnebago. It is a little larger and a little newer. It will seat 11 comfortably and he will make sure to get you in the water and on your way. Special rates just for our guests, but if you want to rent the pontoon without staying with us., that’s okay too, I guess, but we like to give our guests the discounts.

Waterfest is also back this year and we have partnered with Brooklyn again to make you sure you get some food in your tummy before or after he concert.

Check out seasonal specials page for more details. http://braytonbb.net/packages/seasonal-packages-3/

Packer Alumni stay at Brayton Bed and Breakfast

What, you say? Yes it is true! It was also my birthday on the 22nd and I have to say that I could not have dreamed up a better 40th birthday weekend.

Okay, let me start from the beginning because it only gets better as the story goes on. I found out about a 8 weeks ago that some of the Green Bay Packer Alumni were coming to town for Battle on Bago that took place Feb. 22-23. Glenn Curran who is one of the founders of Battle on Bago does an amazing job of putting everything together. There is so much to get done to pull off something of this magnitude.  Proceeds from this event have primarily benefited over 20 Youth Fishing Events and the purchase of fishing poles, tackle boxes, and bait for kids.

We  are so close to the event that took place at Menominee Park and we were able let the guys have the entire inn to themselves. It’s nice to be able to be away from home and still feel like your at home.  I didn’t really have any idea what to expect, but it was beyond my wildest dreams.

Five Packer alumni and alumni coordinators were expected to arrive on Thursday night, but because of the snow storm, Lynn Dickey who played for the Packers as quarterback from 1977-1984 and Paul Coffman as a tight end from 1978-1985 were stranded in Kansas City and would not be able to make it.

Frank Winters was the first to check in. Frank played for the Packers as a center for 9 consecutive seasons. This guy is HUGE but he is also a big teddy bear too. I don’t know if he would appreciate me saying that, but he’s a really nice man. We had the opportunity to chat for a couple of hours before Dave Whitehurst arrived.

Dave Whitehurst was a quarterback for the Packers who played for 7 seasons. Dave was  probably the most humbling man I have ever met. I felt like I knew him for years. He could be anyone’s best friend. His son Charlie now plays for the San Diego Chargers as a quarterback as well.

Jerry’s Bar was the place to be Thursday night if you wanted to say hello to the boys. They got to experience a little bit Oshkosh history.

It looked like I would have to wait for rest of the crew to come in the following night. Friday night was my birthday which my parents drove up 21/2 hours to come and share with me. My husband, daughter, parents and some close friends dined out in Appleton and were back at the inn by 11:00.

At which time Bill Schroeder was waiting in my living room relaxing with Dave.  Bill Schroeder played for Packers for 7 seasons as a wide receiver. He was born in Eau Claire, attended Sheboygan High School and went to college in LaCrosse where he starred in track and field. I didn’t have much of an opportunity to talk to Bill since he was here such a short time, but I hope that I get the chance to meet him again someday. He couldn’t have been nicer in the time I did have with him.

Casey Rabuck who played for the Wisconsin Badgers stayed for a short time, but I never go the chance to meet him. The guys were up early on Saturday morning to do some ice fishing and head down to Battle on Bago where I got to spend most of my afternoon hanging out with some of them.

Later that evening, my husband and I had the pleasure of dining out with Dave. We decided to take him to Ratch and Deb’s for some great pizza and show him the shrine of Packers legends.

By Sunday, I was beat but still grinning from ear to ear. I only hope that we will get this opportunity again someday. If not though, this will be something I remember for many years to come.

Pack

I am in 7th heaven with Dave Whitehurst and Frank Winters

Caramel Rolls

I have seen and tried many different recipes for this version, but I always come back to my Aunt Marilyn’s caramel roll recipe that I can’t wait to share with you. I request that she makes them each time I see her which is usually around Christmas and Easter, but whenever I get the urge I  make them for our guests, especially when we have a full table.

Caramel Rolls – 1 loaf Rhodes Sweet Roll Dough, 4 TB butter (melted), 1/2 C brown sugar(divided), 2 TB light corn syrup, and cinnamon.

Let the dough rise in a 8×8 pan that has been brushed with butter.  Once dough has doubled in size, combine 2 TB butter with 1/4 C brown sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan. Once melted and smooth pour into a 9×9 or 8×11 pan.

Roll out dough on a floured surface to the size of 8×11 approximately. Brush with remaining butter and sprinkle 1/4 C brown sugar and  cinnamon(as  much as you like). Roll up into a log. Cut into 12-16. Lay the cut size down in the pan. Cover and let rise for approx 30-60 min. Bake 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

When done, flip pan over on wax paper and enjoy immediately!

 

Did you hear?

How exciting! Did you hear that Brayton Bed and Breakfast was nominated for Best Wisconsin B&B’s for Ice Fishing?

We are so honored! I mean we know we live in this great city where we are surrounded by beautiful lakes and architecture, but to be nominated! What an privilege! Check out some of the other B&B’s in Wisconsin that were nominated along with us but also for skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.

AND THE NOMINEES FOR THE BEST WISCONSIN B&Bs FOR ICE FISHING, SKIING, SNOWSHOEING AND SNOWMOBILING ARE… 

 

MERRILL, Wis. (February 7, 2013) – For those of hardy stock – and really, who doesn’t that describe in the Midwest – the idea of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or snowmobiling out the front door is the ideal.  Now take that notion and apply it to a winter getaway. While the front door for most hotels and resorts leads to the parking lot, at many Wisconsin B&Bs the front door leads you to the great outdoors. A quick survey of Wisconsin inns produced a slew of ideas for travelers who like to take in the fresh winter air.  So, in the spirit of the film and music awards season, we bring you nominees for “best of” in the following categories:

Best Wisconsin B&Bs for Cross Country Skiing

  • The Justin Trails B&B in Sparta deserves the lifetime achievement award for winter sports of all sorts, but especially for cross country skiing. They have a 10K trail on their property groomed for both striding and skating styles of skiing, and you can literally ski out the back door of the inn.
  • At Apple Tree Lane B&B in Waupaca, enjoy a hearty breakfast, then go for a brisk ski on the property, in that order so advises the owner.  Warm up at the outdoor fire pit with hot chocolate after.
  • Another strong nominee is Eagle Centre House in Eagle, given their proximity to Lapham Peak park in the Kettle Moraine State Forest with nearly 20 miles of trails of which 2.5 miles are lighted for night skiing.
  • Other inns with cross country skiing right on property include www.WisconsinBandB.com.

Apple Fritters

As I was making these, my husband said, “wouldn’t it just be easier and less messy if you bought some at the store”? I replied, yes, but they wouldn’t be nearly as good and I couldn’t say that I made them. Lets just say that he liked them so much that he had one after another and commented how much he liked the size. They fit so nicely into his hand and after just a few bites they were gone.

I hope you like them as much as we did. The picture I show here are some that I glazed and some that I powdered sugar. Now, we prefer the glaze and I think they look prettier too, but you can be the judge.

APPLE FRITTERSApple Fritters- These made about 15. They were the size of a ping pong ball when they went in and end up being the size of my palm when they were done frying.

1 C flour, 1/2 C sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder, dash of salt, 1 1/2 tsp or more if you like of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1TB butter-melted, 1 egg, 1/3 C milk or possibly more, and  1 1/2 C chopped apple.

Oil for frying

1 C powdered sugar and 1 TB milk ( for glaze)

Mix all dry ingredients together. Slowly add the wet ingredients minus the apple. Mix until well combined. Fold in the apple pieces. The batter should be similar to a cake batter consistency.

Heat oil. I have an electric stove, so I turn mine to about 4-any hotter and the middle will not get done. Once the oil is ready take 1 TB of batter and add to the oil. You can add 4-5 TB, but  make sure they do not touch each other. Flip once one side gets a med. brown color and then fry the other side until it’s the same wonderful golden color. (Approximately 40 seconds each side.

Once done, wait a few minutes to cool and then either dip in the glaze, dust with powdered sugar or eat plane.

Battle on Bago

Lake Winnebago137,700-acre fresh water lake in our backyard. Did you know that it is the largest lake in the state and one of the largest inland lakes in the United States? That’s pretty cool!  It shouldn’t surprise you then either why Oshkosh holds so many well known fishing tournaments.

Battle on Bago was created in 2007 by a group of five Oshkosh Southwest Rotarians in order to support area youth and conservation efforts throughout the state of Wisconsin. This money has primarily benefitted over 20 Youth Fishing Events including Kids For Fish, Reelin’ The Youth, Eagle’s Club Kids Fisheree, Pony Creek Fisheree, Otter Street Youth Fisheree, and many more in which we funded the purchase of fishing poles, tackle boxes, and bait. In 2009 we began working with area High Schools to either form or enhance outdoor programs within each school resulting in Wisconsin’s first ever High School State Ice Fishing Championship last year at our event where 14 High Schools participated. Donations of over $5,000 were made to these schools in fishing gear or cash to support future outdoor programs. Aside from supporting youth outdoor activities, Battle on Bago has supported a number of conservation projects throughout the Lake Winnebago system thru Walleyes for Tomorrow, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and a number of conservation clubs that are now actively involved in our event.

Battle on Bago is hosting its 6th annual tournament on Saturday, February 23rd at Menominee Park. There is over $130,000 in prizes, great fun for the kids, food and entertainment all day long.

Red Mimosa

 

Happy Valentines Day!

Whether you love the holiday or can’t stand it, this pretty little concoction should make you feel a little better about the day.  I thought this pretty little drink would be a great Valentines Day recipe. Though simple, it looks stunning and takes the bite out of orange juice just a bit.  Beautiful at the breakfast table, or anytime of day.

Red MimosaValentines Day Red Mimosa’s 

Your favorite champagne ( it doesn’t have to be expensive), orange juice, strawberry, and grenadine. Alternate stir in cranberry juice, or raspberry sherbet (mmm)!

I  poured champagne into a quarter of the champagne glass. I then sliced a strawberry and plopped it in the champagne and watched the bubbles flow. Pretty already! Then I filled almost to the top with orange juice. I left about a half of inch. I then added a little grenadine and  you now have your perfect Valentines Day Red Mimosa! As I  mentioned cranberry juice is good too if you don’t like the sweetness and the raspberry sherbet makes it a little more creamy. All delicious!

Fox Valley Polar Plunge

You know, I have always considered doing this, but then after about 2 seconds I remind myself that winter is not my season and their slogan “Freezin for Reason” doesn’t really resonate well with me.  I am however, all about donating and watching others have an invigorating time. Besides,  getting a t-shirt that says too chicken to plunge  would okay with me.

Saturday, February 16th at Menominee park in Oshkosh is when the big event takes place. Registration begins at 10:00 and plunging starts at 12:00, followed by live music and  Buffalo Wild Wings wing eating competition. Afterwards will be a post plunge party. You know, come to think of it, they have “toss your boss” and “toss your teacher”, but  how about toss your partner? That would be a memorable Valentines Day weekend.  All proceeds go towards  Special Olympics.

Teenager approved, No bake Granola Bars

Yes, you heard right. Teenager approved! My daughter is like many teenagers I am sure. She been taught to eat what is put in front of her, but that doesn’t make her not picky. I was just like her growing up, so I don’t give her a lot of grief about it. If she should  live on everything white, she would. (pasta, bread, cereal,). You can get my drift. Carbohydrates. She enjoys granola bars. They are expensive though and filled with a lot of, well fillers. Gross!  This recipe below, I think you will like. I have tried adding everything from chocolate chips, craisens, nuts, coconut, butterscotch chips and the list goes on and on. Add your favorites. I cut them into bars and put wax paper in between and stored them in a tupperware container.  They lasted a week (before they were gone) in the pantry.

Teenager approved, No bake Granola Bars

1/2 C honey, 2/3 C brown sugar, 1/4 c peanut butter, 1/4 C butter, 4 C quick oats, 2 C rice cereal and 3 tsp. of vanilla.

In a large bowl, stir rice cereal and oatmeal together.

In a medium saucepan, combine honey, butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. Bring to a slow boil over med heat. Turn temp down to low and simmer until all sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and pour in the vanilla and stir.

Pour the hot sugary mixture over the cereal and oatmeal mixture just until everything is moistened. Stir in your toppings. Press into a wax paper lined jelly roll pan.

Press the granola bar mixture as closely and tightly as you can towards one end. If its too thin, the bars will not hold together. Cool until ready to cut.

Heart of Winter Celebration

Last year was the first year of for this winter celebration and this year is expected to be better than the last. This outdoor event is great for the entire family. It takes place, Saturday, February 16th.

Last week I posted our Valentines/February special. This is would be the perfect outing for Saturday. It takes place from 11:00-2:00 in Opera House Square downtown.  Activities include: horse & carriage rides, children’s games such as ice hockey and ice bowling, art & craft fair, and so much more. All proceeds go to the Oshkosh Warming Shelter.

 

Crusty Bread

I will quote another Pinterest pinner. I am addicted to this bread!  I have made three loaves and probably would make more if I had another cast iron pot. The bread takes time to make, but it is so easy. You literally take 5 minutes to make the dough and then walk away for 12-24 hours and then come back to it. That’s it! The best part of about it is that you can add whatever ingredients you want for what you are using it for.

The first day I made just the original and shared with my husband that evening with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, grapes, cheese and red wine. That actually could be my go to, staying in dinner every night, but my daughter might start to complain.

The second day, I added some craisens, walnuts and honey to the loaf. YUM! That was breakfast. I am thinking I may be using this for a french toast or sandwich for another recipe.

Finally the third day I was looking through the fridge to see what I could incorporate into this loaf. I found some cheddar cheese, and fresh thyme and sprinkled a little parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper to to the loaf. Excellent again. I think next time, I may add jalapenos!

I can’t wait to come up with some other great recipes. In the meantime though, if you come up with something, please pass it along. I would love to try your creations as well.

Okay, back to the recipe. So 12-24 hours seems like a long time to proof the bread, but trust me! It is necessary! If I start it at 8:00 in the morning, I have to wait until 8:00 at night to bake it. I am too tired by that time so I have waited until the next morning to bake and it has turned out great every time, but be my guest. Do what is ever easiest for you. No matter what though, wait at least 12 hours.

Crusty Bread – 3 C all purpose flour, 1 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. yeast, 1 1/2 C water and then whatever else if you want to through into it. Also, you will need a cast Iron bowl. I have never tried a regular stew pot, so I am not sure if it would work as well. Its worth a try though if you don’t have cast iron.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and yeast. Add water and  mix until this shaggy looking mixture forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12-24 hours.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 450 degrees. When the oven has reached this temp, place your cast iron pot(empty) with the lid on in the oven and heat for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Cover with plastic while the pot is heating.

Remove pot after 30 min. and add dough to the pot. Cover with a lid and put back into the oven for 30 min. After 30 min., remove the lid and back for additional 15  minutes.

Carefully remove bread from pot when done and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy when cool, if you can wait that long!

2013-01-24 10.10.50bread slice

 

 

 

 

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