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Rock USA 2017- Ultimate Rock Experience

Rock USA 2017 is bigger and better than ever. This ultimate rock experience is a three day camping music festival held annually in Oshkosh, just a few miles from Brayton Bed and Breakfast.  With only 43 days left to get your tickets for the July 13-15th show at Ford Festival park. Rock USA is considered one of the nations largest annual events that is strictly rock and metal music. Featuring a mega mainstage and four side stages filled with non stop live performances. Alongside is a vendor marketplace that features over 100 local and regional vendors selling commemorative merchandise and locally made goods and food.

Headliners included this year are Ozzy Osbourne, Avenged Sevenfold, Slayer, Korn, Volbeat, Stone Sour and Mega Death.

For more information, visit Rockusa.com 

 

 

Strawberry Chimichanga

It is strawberry season, so here you go. Something different than cupcakes, french toast and shortcake. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this. Strawberries and cream cheese fried in a tortilla rather than bread. Yes, you can eat this for breakfast. http://omgchocolatedesserts.com/ This website that I pulled this off offered this up as a dessert, but served warm with some bacon or sausage seemed much better to me.

Strawberry Chimichanga – Serves 1

1 8″ flour tortilla, 2 oz cream cheese at room temp., 3/4 TB sour cream, 1/2 TB sugar, 1/2 tsp, vanilla, 1/2 C strawberries, sliced, cinnamon sugar for coating and canola oil for frying.

Beat cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Fold in 1/4 or less strawberries. Spread mixture evenly on tortilla, filling the lower third. Fold the two side of the tortilla towards the center and then the other two side to the center. Secure with one or two toothpicks.

Combine your cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl and set off to the side.

Heat your oil in a deep sauce pan around 360 degrees. Transfer the strawberry chimichanga into the fryer and turn after about 30 seconds to brown evenly. Remove toothpicks. Transfer to a paper towel and then roll in cinnamon sugar immediately. If you find the cinnamon sugar doesn’t stick really well, brush a little butter on the chimichanga and try rolling it in the sugar again. (This happens if the chimichanga cools too quickly). Add extra strawberries on the plate.

 

 

LiFest 2017- Party with a Purpose

LiFest 2017 is an annual Christian music festival. When they say party with a purpose, they mean it.  Featuring more than 100 music, comedy and entertainment events on six stages all through the day and evening. Music, entertainment, games, fireworks, worship services, seminars and workshops make this one of the largest of its kind in the United states. With an average of 20,000 attendees daily, from July 6-9th at Sunnyview Expo Center in Oshkosh, this is a must take in event. 

Just some of the featured bands this year are Skillet, Michael W. Smith and Newsboys along with so many others that you will not want to miss. More information on ticket pricing, parking and the lineup are listed here.

Country USA 2017 – The Oshkosh Country Music Festival!

Country USA 2017  Oshkosh, WIThe Oshkosh Country USA 2017 Country Music Festival is five days of non-stop entertainment, featuring some of country music’s biggest stars! June 20th through the 24th, 2017 at the Ford Festival Park in Oshkosh, WI.

It’s almost time to heat up your summer with the annual, Oshkosh Country USA country music festival! 2017 marks the 22nd anniversary of Country USA. As usual, the festival lineups looks like a who’s who of the hottest current and upcoming country music stars. Headliners this year include Blake Shelton, Chris Young, Gary Allan, Florida Georgia Line, and Rascal Flatts!

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Céad Míle Fáilte! It’s the 9th Annual Oshkosh Irish Fest!

Oshkosh Irish Fest 2017Oshkosh Irish Fest 2017 is just around the corner, scheduled for June 10th at Leach Amphitheater. Come help celebrate all things Irish with music, food, and much more at a beautiful park on the water. Céad Míle Fáilte – a hundred thousand welcomes!

9 years in and Oshkosh Irish Fest has become an anticipated local tradition. And why not? Who wouldn’t look forward to a day filled with world class musicians, delicious Irish food, and an Irish marketplace?

2017 also sees the addition of a beer sampling area to the festival. Great Irish beers along with a few regional craft beers will help you to get further into that Irish Fest spirit.

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Red Chair Travels to Oshkosh

Last month I posted a blog about the famous Red Chair making its debut in Oshkosh. We had so much fun last week, I just wish I had more time. This little red chair has made it way around the country and then made a pit stop in Oshkosh.

The first stop for Red was at our inn. The garden was the perfect respite for greeting guests and motorists passing by.

Oshkosh has so much to offer so we took Red around town. First stop was along our river walk. Stopping to take in the sights along the bike path and watching the boats go by. It was such a beautiful May day that the UWO college students wanted stop and say hello to Red while we were on campus.

EAA is a must see for everyone, so Red was not any exception. We were lucky enough to catch a ride while at the museum. Some planes were just too big for Red to jump in. We thought it was best to stay put next to some of the other historic planes in the museum.

It was just too nice of a day to stay inside. We heard the tulips were in bloom at the Paine Art Museum and Gardens. Red and I decided take a walk in the tulips and then relax on the back lawn of the mansion.

Oshkosh is so well known for bringing in events to our beautiful city that we had to say hello to our friendly Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

As our day was wrapping up, we had to say good by and only hope that Red can come back to Oshkosh very soon.

To find out more about Red Chair Travels, where it has been and where it is going next, click here.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Pancakes

What you say? Chocolate for breakfast! Yep, we mixed up a batch of chocolate cream cheese pancakes to see what we would get and it looks like these will be on the menu from now on. We figured since you can never have too much chocolate, we made ourselves some buttery chocolate maple syrup as well. I am thinking that Mom might like these on her special day coming up May 14th. Happy Mothers Day to my Mom, Grandma, sister and all you Moms out there. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Pancakes – Serves 3 (generously)

1 cup flour, 1/2 C whole wheat flour, 1/2 C cocoa powder, 3 TB sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. of baking soda, dash of salt, 4 TB melted butter, 2 tsp. vanilla, 2 C skim milk, 2 TB cream cheese (broken in chunks) and 1/3 C dark chocolate chips ( or more if you like 🙂

Chocolate syrup – 1/2 C dark chocolate chips, 2 TB butter and 1/4 C maple syrup.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt together in a mixing bowl. Pour in the melted butter, vanilla and milk and whisk until combined. Fold in chocolate chips and cream cheese.

Heat a frying pan over low to medium heat and coat with a non stick spray. Pour whatever size pancake you like into the pan and cook until easy to flip. Cook until done approx. 2 min. on each side.

While pancakes are cooking, make your syrup. Add all your syrup ingredients to small sauce pan and heat over low to medium heat melted and smooth.

When ready to serve pancakes, top each pancake with a slice of butter and dust with powdered sugar. Drizzle a little syrup over the pancakes or serve on the side.

We served our pancakes with sausage and grapes on the side. This lucky couple enjoyed breakfast delivered to their room. One had the chocolate cream cheese pancakes and the other decided on the breakfast burrito. Perfect choice to share when one wants sweet and one wants savory.

 

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

I found this delicious twice baked potato casserole recipe the other day on the Mom on Timeout website. Like most recipes that I find, I go by the instructions loosely and then I tweak the recipe to more of my liking or with what I have on hand. I have included the recipe below on what I did, but I think you will find that whatever you do, this is sure to turn on for your next breakfast or even side dish for dinner.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole – Serves 6

6 medium potatoes, scrubbed and dried, 2 TB olive oil, 1 TB sea salt, 1 TB pepper, 2 TB chives, divided, 3/4 lb bacon cooked and crumbled, 1 1/2 C shredded cheese, 1/2 C miracle whip, 1/2 C sour cream, and 1 small yellow onion chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes until tender. Let cool for about 15 minutes.

Cut potatoes into bite size pieces and place in a bowl. Its okay if they fall apart slightly. Stir in miracle whip, sour cream, onions, 1 TB chives, 3/4 of the bacon, and 1 C cheese. Spoon into a 9×9 baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and bacon but set aside about 2TB bacon and 1 TB of chives or a garnish.  Cover with foil and let site over night and bake in the morning or turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with an extra dollop of sour cream sprinkled with chives and bacon.

We served our casserole with a side of strawberry bread, grapes and peppered twisted bacon which is a house favorite.

 

2017 Festival of Spring at The Paine Art Center and Gardens

2017 Festival of Spring at The Paine Art Center!This year’s Oshkosh Festival of Spring at The Paine Art Center and Gardens is just around the corner! This much anticipated, free, outdoor event features hundreds of vendors, food, and live music. More famously, it’s also the site of The Paine’s annual Spring Plant Sale! Saturday, May 20th, 8am to 4pm.

What better way to celebrate spring than at an outdoor fair of gardening goods at The Paine Art Center and Gardens? The Paine’s annual Spring Plant Sale offers both traditional and unusual plant varieties and is well-known for having the region’s best selection of perennials.

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The Red Chair is making its debut in Oshkosh

Thanks to the partnership with the Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Association, the Red Chair is making its way to Oshkosh and the Brayton Bed and Breakfast May 2- 6th. Look for Scott and I shooting images of the Red Chair at several Oshkosh locations as well at the inn. We are overjoyed that the red chair will be making its way to our neighborhood. We are really looking forward to taking it to some of our favorite restaurants along with some great sites in Oshkosh.

What is so special about this red chair?

It all started in winter 2012 with a single image. Woods Hole Inn innkeeper Beth Colt posted a picture on Facebook of her simple red Red chair travels to Oshkoshchair perched on the ice behind her house. The picture was shared on the Facebook page of a nature photographer from California who was then was inspired by the image to visit.

Throughout 2012 and 2013, the Red Chair developed a personality of its own by being photographed by innkeepers from one end of New England to the other.  Starting in Cape Cod, the Red Chair journeyed throughout the six New England states on a 9-month tour.

“This chair is the little engine that could,” said Colt.  “I could never have imagined that it would travel so far, to every corner of America, all on the kindness and hospitality of innkeepers”.

It’s all part of a multi-year B&B awareness program that focuses on a traveling red porch chair to highlight the comfort, hospitality and friendliness of bed and breakfasts. Since its start in New England in 2012, B&Bs and inns have taken inspiring photos of the Red Chair from beaches to bandstands. For a compilation of the red chair blogs, visit http://www.redchairtravels.com/blog.html.

 

 

 

Birders and Nature Fans Won’t Want To Miss Oshkosh Bird Fest 2017!

2017 Oshkosh Bird FestCome celebrate spring and the spring migration at the annual Oshkosh Bird Fest! Saturday, May 6th, 2017, 2pm to 6pm in Menominee Park.

The Oshkosh Bird Fest precedes International Migratory Bird Day (May 13th and 14th in 2017) with a full schedule of avian activities. You’ll meet live birds of prey, see a bird banding demonstration, learn how to “birdscape” your yard, and much more!

A number of experts will be on hand to answer your questions on a wide range of bird-related subjects. The real stars of the show, however, will be the birds. Both those visiting the festival with handlers as well as those in the wild. You will definitely want to bring along your binoculars to fully enjoy this event!

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Sausage Scramble Flatbread

Our Sausage Scramble Flatbread was not chosen to be a finalist for the first time in five years for bedandbreakfast.com annual breakfast entrée. Typically I wait until the last minute to enter a recipe, just because I don’t know what I want to do.  This year though, I was feeling pretty confident that I entered early and had made this easy to whip up recipe, several times before. Though we are disappointed, this will not stop us from serving it or coming up with new recipes. I have included the recipe below, but have also added some notes since I like to make my personal one a little healthier. In the end, both versions are winners to me.

Sausage Scramble Flatbread – serves 1

1 9″ flatbread ( my favorite is The Original MYBREAD gluten free flatbread pita) Its dairy, nut and soy free
3 TB butter (divided) (I use olive oil)
3 eggs scrambled
3 TB whipping cream ( I use dairy free milk)
Salt, pepper, rosemary and parsley, to taste
5 grape  tomatoes (halved)
1/4 C red onions (diced)
1/4 lb. Italian Sausage (crumbled large)
1/4 C Monterey Jack cheese
1 TB cream cheese

In a large skillet on medium heat, add 1TB butter. Add whipping cream to your eggs along with salt, pepper, and rosemary and whip until incorporated. Scramble on medium heat until lightly under done. Set aside.

In the same skillet, on medium heat add 1 TB butter and saute tomatoes and onions lightly.  Set aside and fry your sausage.

In the same skillet, without cleaning it, add more butter to the skillet. (This gives the flatbread more flavor). Add your flatbread and lightly brown on one side, and then flip and do the same with the other side.

Place your flatbread on a cookie sheet. Add scrambled eggs. Top with tomatoes, onions, sausage. Break up cream cheese into small chunks and place them around tomatoes and sausage. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Broil for a couple of minutes, keeping an eye on it so it does not burn. Sprinkle with parsley and serve alone or with salsa and/guacamole.

*Though it would be easier to blend the sausage, eggs, tomatoes, onions, cheese and cream cheese together. The presentation on the flatbread is much prettier this way and the flavors are more prevalent when they separated. However, when making this for yourself, feel free to get creative.

 

 

WineFeast 2017 – A Great Evening For A Great Cause!

WineFeast and Cellar Select 2017- April 29th in Oshkosh, WIOshkosh’s annual WineFeast is your opportunity to sample fine International wines and tasty local cuisine with 100% of the proceeds donated to the Oshkosh Boys & Girls Club.

WineFeast is the Oshkosh social event of the year – and why not? Not only does it combine excellent drink with fabulous fine food, it’s also a chance to get together with friends and community. That all the proceeds from this beloved annual event go towards the Oshkosh Boys & Girls Club is just the cherry on top!

This beloved annual event has two distinct parts: WineFeast and Cellar Select.

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The Oshkosh Marathon And More Make For An Athletic April!

The 2017 Oshkosh Marathon And More Make For An Athletic April!The arrival of spring means it is time to dust off those winter doldrums and head out into the sunshine! The Oshkosh Marathon and many other athletic events make April a very active month here in Oshkosh.

While there’s always something to do in Oshkosh, no matter the season, the warmth of spring definitely loosens up those joints and gets the blood flowing. People are tired of being boxed up in their homes and there is an explosion of activity.

So much so that there isn’t enough space to list everything happening in April. Instead, we’ve focused on four of the bigger athletic events of the month. They include the Oshkosh Marathon, the NPC Fox Cities Showdown bodybuilding competition, the Special Olympics Indoor Sports Basketball Tournament, and the Run Away To the Bay relay race.

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Breakfast baked acorn squash with coconut yogurt

Acorn squash for breakfast? Absolutely! One of my favorite blogs that I follow is Ambitious Kitchen. Monique is my food inspiration guru. Though I fly the vegan flag, I do eat eggs, honey and occasionally fish when the menu is limited. I get overjoyed when I can find or come up with a great vegan recipe, especially for breakfast. This baked acorn squash recipe is the perfect vegan comfort food whether its for breakfast or dinner. Monique made hers with honey and Greek yogurt but I substituted mine for coconut yogurt and real maple syrup.

Baked acorn squashBaked acorn squash with coconut yogurt, maple syrup and pecans – Serves 2

1 medium acorn squash, 1 tsp. coconut oil, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 tsp. brown sugar, 1 C coconut yogurt, divided, 2 tsp. maple syrup, 2 TB chopped pecans.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Place halves face up on baking sheet. Mix together coconut oil, cinnamon and 1 TB brown sugar together and rub on each half of the flesh of the acorn squash.

Bake for 1 hour or until squash is fork tender. Once done, allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 C of yogurt into each half and drizzle each with  maple syrup and pecans. I added a raspberry for a pop of color.

The 5th Annual Oshkosh St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Tent Party

2017 St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Tent PartyUnfortunately, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Tent Party has been canceled for this year.
There’s still plenty to do in Oshkosh, however!

Get ready for the wearing of the green! The 5th annual Oshkosh St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Tent Party, held in downtown Oshkosh, is almost here. Saturday, March 18th, 2017, beginning at 1pm.

Oshkosh knows how to throw a party – the kind that welcomes everyone – and St. Patty’s Day is no exception! Oshkosh’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Tent Party is held each year in downtown Oshkosh. 2017 marks the 5th year of this popular event. The parade and party are bound to be bigger and better than ever!

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins at 2pm. It starts off from Ceape Avenue,  travels North up Main Street, and ends at Irving Avenue. This is one parade you don’t want to miss. Bagpipers, floats, vintage vehicles, horses, bands, and more will all be on tap. After the parade, you’ll want to be sure to head to the St. Patrick’s Day Tent Party!

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Hops & Props 2017 at the EAA AirVenture Museum

Hops & Props 2017It’s time for the 13th annual Hops & Props at Oshkosh’s EAA AirVenture Museum! Hops & Props is an annual beer-tasting event with food, live music, and over 85 breweries in attendance! March 4th, 2017.

Craft beer, microbrews, independent ales – whatever you want to call them – have exploded in popularity and quantity in the last decade. Consequently, beer-tastings have had an unprecedented opportunity to become beloved and sought after events.

That’s certainly the case with the annual Hops & Props celebration in Oshkosh, WI. Held at the EAA AirVenture Museum, Hops & Props has only grown in size with each successive year. This year’s event features over 90 different breweries, including some specialty brews from Europe!

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Attend the 2017 EAA Skiplane Fly-In in Oshkosh, WI!

2017 EAA Skiplane Fly-In in Oshkosh, WIThe EAA Skiplane Fly-In, one of the Oshkosh region’s most colorful winter events, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. February 18, 2017 at the EAA AirVenture Museum’s Pioneer Airport in Oshkosh.

Whether you’re a fan of airplanes or just enjoy a festive atmosphere,  you’ll get a real charge out of the EAA Skiplane Fly-In! Held every year in mid-February since 1992, the EAA Skiplane Fly-In is a fascinating spectacle of tens fo skiplanes landing and taking off, along with warm food, and a plethora of fun activities for all ages.

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Take The Plunge – The 2017 Oshkosh Polar Plunge!

The 2017 Oshkosh Polar PlungeCome on out for the 2017 Oshkosh Polar Plunge and jump into Miller’s Bay help raise money for Special Olympics Wisconsin, February 17th and 18th, 2017!

If throwing yourself into freezing cold water is something you look forward to, this is the event for you! If on the other hand, the whole affair sounds more than a little nuts consider that, in this instance, it’s being done for a very good cause. Last year’s Oshkosh Polar Plunge raised more than $455,000 for Special Olympics Wisconsin!

The annual Oshkosh Polar Plunge attracts many brave souls every year. 2016’s Polar Plunge drew more than 1,500 people and even more are expected for this year’s event!

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Avocado Baked Eggs

So its January and you want to start eating healthier for the new year? I was never a big avocado fan, but I try to limit my cheese consumption when I can, so avocado became a staple for me. They replaced my cheese on salads, in tacos and is now my new condiment with crackers rather than cheese spread. Below are just a few little tid bits about avocados that you may already know.

  1. Avocados are a superfood with an array of essential nutrients. What most people don’t know is that they lower cholesterol. This food contains monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that is healthy and necessary. A cup of avocado provides you with approximately 30% of this type of healthy fat per day.
  2. Avocados have an anti-inflammatory agent called polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols. These help to reduce inflammation in your body. Since arthritis is an inflammatory disease, reducing inflammation helps to decrease the stiffness and pain associated with the condition. Keeping inflammation levels low may also help to prevent someone from developing arthritis in the future. It is also rich in vitamin E and C that are also antioxidants which help fight against chronic inflammation.
  3. Avocados are rich in fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids. This fiber helps you to experience hunger pangs less often since your body digests it slowly. With the healthy fatty acids, your body does not store them as fat, but as a type of slow-burning energy. This means that you are not going to feel hungry as often, allowing you to cut calories and lose more weight.
  4. Everyone knows that fiber helps you to stay full which means it helps you to lose weight. Avocados are full of fiber which helps to prevent spikes in blood sugar because your body does not quickly metabolize it.

These Avocado Baked Eggs are fast and easy, so it won’t take you long in the morning to throw your favorite ingredients together. I have tried many different groupings. Depending what you have laying around, and what you like, anything is good. I have listed a bunch of ingredients here that I have used and have worked well. Use them all and load it up or just try a couple at a time. Serve with fruit, yogurt or whole grain bread.

avocado-baked-eggsAvocado Baked Eggs – Serves 1

1 avocado, halved lengthwise, 2 eggs, any seasonings that you like. My favorites are ( sea salt, cracked pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, oregano, basil, chives, dill, rosemary, chili powder and/or garlic powder), green onions, salmon, ham, turkey, and crumbed bacon (not a healthy choice but yummy).

Cut avocados in half lengthwise and remove pit. You may need to slightly hollow out the avocado hole in order to make room for eggs and other ingredients.

Put avocados on a lined baking sheet. If you using ham, turkey or salmon, lay in the hole first, followed by the egg. Sprinkle other ingredients over the egg/avocado.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 10-15 min depending how you like your eggs cooked. Remove from the oven and enjoy.

Where in the world are Nicole and Scott?

 Travel and play along

USA MAP

Where in the world are Nicole and Scott? That will be the question for several weeks this winter. This is a work and personal excursion rolled into one. Departing on January 1st and returning in February, we will be traveling this great country. A very gracious and dear friend will be watching over the inn while we are on the road. No worries though, you can still check availability and make reservations online.  I will also be available when and where reception is available.

To make this fun for all, I will be posting a picture of one or both of us at our planned and spontaneous destinations. Where do you come to play in this adventure? The person that can correctly guess the most locations we are at, based upon the pictures that we take, will win a gift certificate good for 50% off their stay at Brayton Bed and Breakfast this Spring. One guess per person per location please. The winner will be announced when we return.

This is the first year that Scott and I have decided to take a break from the snowy Wisconsin winter and see the country. We look forward to this road trip and can’t wait to see where the car takes us. I also look forward to seeing who follows us and the guesses that roll in. Good Luck and have fun!

Turtle Cookies for Christmas

I make a big batch of Christmas Cookies every year, always sugar and molasses since these are a favorite around here, but a few experiments too. These turtle cookies probably won’t be new to anyone since there are so many different variations out there. I have tried several and this seems to be the one I like the best because its easy (even making the caramel) and because it really does taste like a turtle. I do recommend though not to overbake these. It may look like they are not quite done, but they will finish baking once you take them out.

turtle-cookies-2Turtle Cookies– Makes about 30

Cookie Ingredients: 1 C flour, 1/3 C cocoa powder, 1/4tsp. salt, 1 stick of butter(room temp), 2/3 C sugar, 1 egg  yolk and 2 egg whites, plus one egg white, 2 TB milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 C chopped pecans.
Caramel Filling:

1 stick of butter, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 4oz. light corn syrup, 4 oz. brown sugar.

Combine flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg YOLK, milk and vanilla. Once blended, reduce speed and add dry ingredients. Mix until blended, then form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

After an hour, whisk the egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in a separate bowl. (Your chopped pecans will not be fine enough, so put them through a food processor and pulse a few times to break them down more). Roll the cold dough into 1 inch balls, dip each ball into the egg whites and then roll in the pecans. Place on a cookie sheet. With your thumb, make a well in the center of the dough and then bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

For the caramel, place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan, on medium heat. Stir CONSTANTLY, as you bring the caramel to a simmer. The caramel with start to change color to a darker brown. Once thickened, about 15 minutes, spoon caramel mixture into the thumb print of the cookie. Let sit about 15 minutes before moving to a rack to cool. You will probably have extra caramel left over, but that’s okay. Use it for ice cream, or caramel apple crisp.

Chocolate Creme Pie

Want to make something decadent this holiday season for the family? Boy, do I have a recipe for you. I found this recipe in Saveur Magazine. I am not going to lie, it is not fast or easy, but anyone can do it, with a little patience. Definitely let this sit up for a couple hours after you make it. It only gets better with time. Also, give yourself a good twenty four hours if you can, but this pie is better if left to sit in the fridge overnight before adding your whipped topping to finish it off.

Chocolate Crème Pie – Makes one  9″ pie chocolate-creme-pie-too

Crust – Oreo Cookie Pie crust ( or make your own as I did below with 24 Oreo cookie and a 1/4 C melted butter), 2/3 C heavy cream and 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips.

Filling – 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips, 1 1/2 C whipping cream and 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Topping- 1 C whipping cream, 1/2 C powdered sugar and milk chocolate shavings (optional)

Use an Oreo cookie crust or make your own by pulsing 24 Oreo cookies (filling included) in a food processor to get them really fine. Pour cookie crumbs into a bowl with the melted butter and stir until they are moist. Spray a 9″ pie pan and dump cookie crumbs in pan. With your fingers move the crust around and gently pat it in the pan until it goes around and up the sides. Chill for 30 minutes.

After the crust has chilled, in a saucepan, bring 2/3 C cream to a simmer. Place 6oz. of bittersweet chocolate chips in the simmering pan and then gently whisk until smooth. Pour filling over the bottom of the Oreo crust and freeze for 20 minutes.

While the crust is freezing, put a metal or glass bowl in the freezer and starting working on the filling. Use a double boiler and heat 6oz. of bittersweet chocolate chips with 1/2 C whipping cream until the chocolate is melted, stirring often. Let this mixture cool until room temp. Grab your chilled bowl from the freezer and whip 1 C of whipping cream, 1/2 tsp. of vanilla and your cooled chocolate mixture until soft peaks form. Spread this chocolate mouse over the truffle filling in the pie crust. Refrigerate at least four hours, but best if left overnight.

Just before serving, whip 1 C of whipping cream and 1/2 C powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the chocolate mouse. Garnish with milk chocolate shavings, sever and enjoy!

 

 

 

Banana Pecan Crunch Muffins

I have always been known for the best banana bread around. The secret ingredient, I think is the applesauce. Years ago, I had asked the question on Facebook if people liked nuts or no nuts in their bread. Though it was pretty split down the middle, a lot people said, chocolate chips were the way to go. I had never heard of such a thing, but tried it out and fell in love. So,  every once in awhile I add chocolate chips to my banana bread recipe which I have included.

The other day a few of my guests had to leave early. I like to pack muffins rather than bread for them to take as a to go item. They seem to travel better. If you don’t know this, bread recipes and muffin recipes should go hand in hand, however they don’t. So, I was on the hunt for a superb banana nut muffin recipe.  I just want to let you know that I struck gold when I found this  Banana Pecan Crunch Muffin recipe on the Spend with Pennies website. This muffin belongs in a bakery that should be marked at about $5.00. It is so worth it as the pecan streusel topping leaves a lasting impression after each bite. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Banana Pecan Crunch Muffins – Serves 12 jumbo

banana-pecan-muffins

Muffins – 1 1/2 C flour, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt, 3 ripe bananas, mashed, 2/3 C sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 stick of butter (melted).

Crunch Topping – 1/3 C brown sugar, 2 TB flour, 2 TB butter, 2 TB oatmeal, and 1/3 C pecans.

Preheat heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin pan with liners. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together mashed bananas, sugar, egg, vanilla and butter. Add in flour mixture and stir until just combined.  (do not overmix as this will make the butter tough).  Divide batter evenly over 12 muffin cups.

In a small bowl combine flour, brown sugar, and butter until mixed. stir in oats and pecans. Divide topping over muffins.  Bake 20 minutes or until done.

Tis the Season in Oshkosh

Tis the season this year in Oshkosh! Last month I posted about so many great happenings in November. Many of those events are also going on this December. If you don’t get a chance to visit now, plan your month ahead. In review, Nutcracker in the Castle is happening at the Paine Art Museum, Deck the Halls at the Oshkosh Pubic Museum and Celebration of Lights at the Menomonee Park is all happening in December as well.

grand logo blackIf you are looking for a special treat to celebrate the holidays, look no further than the Grand Opera House. They have a plethora of shows for you to choose from this December. We also have a great package which includes dinner and a show so you can make an evening out of it. Book early for the best seats possible.

Friday, December 2nd is the Holiday Cabaret Night with Marissa Mulder and Bill Zeffero at 7:30 PM.

Saturday, December 3rd, the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra presents Symphony for the Season at 7:30 PM

Sunday, December 4th, add a little comedy to your day with the WhiskeyBelles at 3:30 PM.

December 8-10, always a favorite, the Oshkosh Community Players puts on A Christmas Story at 7:30 PM

Sunday, December 11, the Oshkosh Community Band puts on Christmas Carol Sing a long at 6:30 PM

December 16-18, Hysterical Productions puts on A Christmas Carol, Scrooge and Marley

Tuesday, December 20th. The Church Basement Ladies: Away in a Basement at 2:00 and 7:30 PM

Thursday, December 22, The Second City puts on Holidazed Confused Revue at 7:30 PM

Friday December 23, New City Church puts on Community Christmas Celebration at 7:00 PM

 

 

 

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