Pics coming of our Holiday Open House Weekend preparations…..

November 29, 2010

So….stay tuned…and put this Sat and Sun on your calendars for a trip to town to stop in for a visit and some refreshments and who knows what else…..???  There will be a few door prize drawings…..

Got time this weekend for a cup of Christmas tea?? (Or coffee??)

Christmas Season Kick-Off

November 27, 2010

Detail from the Simply Bed & Bread tree

More detail--the Grammy Doll sleeping beside the tree

The Poinsettia tree

Festival of Trees

November 27, 2010

 The twinkling lights are visible from the parking lot as you go towards the building, but when you go into the main room, they are everywhere!  A train and poinsettia tree are in the center of the main room and the lighted trees line the entire perimeter.  Gingerbread houses are in a smaller, adjacent room, and boy, does it ever smell gooood in there!

Mary Jane, our neighbor, worked with her friend to set up the Hidden Treasure display in the hallway. When I mentioned to the women at the Kent Center Friends’ Table that my neighbor had worked on it for Hidden Treasures, one of them said, “Oh, she’s a treasure herself!”  (Just a little free, extra info there!)

Don’t miss the Festival! 

Our Simply Bed & Bread Tree at the Festival

You still have tomorrow and Sunday, and don’t forget to vote!

Donna’s Aunt Joan’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake!

November 21, 2010

Donna stopped by the other day and as we were talking, she told me that her Aunt Joan made this to-die-for pumpkin chocolate chip cake.  If she hadn’t raved about it so, and used the “to-die-for” phrase, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about trying it, since I’ve never put pumpkin and chocolate together before.

However….(and you’ll now have to try to follow my logic and my train of thought to see how cake and a walk go together.)  I’d been feeling lazy on this Sunday afternoon and needed a jump-start.  Trying this pumpkin chocolate chip cake was my jump-start….(The logic:  thinking of cake makes me motivated to move.  It gets me going.  So it would be a quick segue from couch to cake to calorie-burner-exercise.)  It’s a super-simple recipe, so it was a matter of just mixing it all together, putting the batter into an ungreased bundt pan, then heading out the door.  I knew I’d have an hour while it was baking, so that’s exactly what I did.  I got moving, mixed it, then mega-stepped.

I can hardly wait to try it, but will have to be patient until our Open House Weekend — 2 weekends from this one!

If you need a jump-start, here’s what you do:

2 c flour

2 c sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 c melted butter (Sorry, Donna, I didn’t have oil and I’m prejudiced in the direction towards real butter anyway)

2 c pumpkin

1 c choc chips (I actually used about 1 1/2 cups of the mini’s)

Mix it all together with a spoon, put into the bundt pan, then put it into a 350 degree oven for about an hour….And maybe you won’t have to wait to taste your’s!

Farmhouse Veggie Burger–a real hit!

November 20, 2010

Because I love fixing fresh produce sides to the omelettes that I serve, I see this one as a future menu item.  When our neighbors tried it, they loved it and requested the recipe.  I simply printed it from a link referenced on the Food Network; the address is   I’ll also include the recipe here:

                    The Farm Cafe’s Farmhouse Veggie Burger

2 whole eggplant, peeled and diced

2 scallions, chopped (I used onions)

1 T minced parsley

1 c shredded cheddar (I put in a bit of Pepper Jack for a kick, and that was what grabbed our neighbors)

1 c bread crumbs

3/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp minced garlic

1/4 tsp salt

3 T olive oil

Saute eggplant on low heat till grey and very soft.

Mix together eggplant and remaining ingredients, except oil; let rest in fridge for 1/2 hour.

Form into patties.

In saute pan, heat olive oil till shimmering hot, then fry the eggplant patties till brown on each side.  

I plan to serve these this week with a cheese omelette and roasted, diced rosemary sweet potatoes. 


Apple Walnut Quick Breads

November 17, 2010

As our guests walked in through our front door last Friday at 4, one of them said, “Hmm…., apple?” as he tried to pinpoint the aroma he was catching in the air.  I immediately thought, “Yikes.  Missed the mark.  He’s an apple guy, not a pumpkin one,” since I had made pumpkin scones instead.  But I bravely piped up with, “No…, pumpkin.  You get settled in, then come on down and try them.”  The settling didn’t take long — (I think they were reeeally hungry for the scones I had promised them the night before when the reservation had been made) — so down they sat in front of the scones.  “Ymmm.”  “Yes!”  I thought, “A pumpkin convert!”  2 whole pumpkin scones later (and my scones are not small), I was certain of it.

However, our guest’s question had gotten me thinking…….I really did want to make something with fresh apples.  As enamoured as I have become with those pumpkin scones, it was really past time for an apple-something.  Besides, it had been a while since I had made applesauce and my apples were beginning to pile up.  (I take the left-over ones from the baskets in the rooms after each check-out and put them back in the fridge for when I can “recycle” them.)  So.  Yesterday, as it turned out, was Recycling Day…..yielding small apple walnut bread loaves.  I made them with our Holiday Open House Weekend in mind–they’ll be in the Holiday Hostess Gift Baskets that will be on sale, along with our Gift Certificates–but who knows when one of them might pop up somewhere?  (Like if you were to drop in unexpectedly one day….)

In preparation for my apple-something, I got out my recipe box to hunt for a forgotten recipe.  And voila!  There it was!  I had gotten this recipe years ago (maybe the girls were still small) when we received a Christmas gift containing special extracts and spices.  I had made it then, loved it, then squirreled away the recipe and forgotten it.  But yesterday, when I saw the title and the look of the paper, I remembered.  I knew immediately which recipe it was, and knew that this was the one for me for the day!  I think it is the almond extract that makes the difference.  See what you think!

                                                 Apple Walnut Quick Bread

4 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped

4 large eggs

1 c butter

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 tsp pure almond extract

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

3 c flour (Sorry to all our gluten-free readers, but please try substitutes and let me know how they turn out!)

2 c sugar

1 c broken walnuts

350 degree oven  — lightly greased pans –Beat eggs with electric mixer till fluffy.  Add butter.  Beat till combined.  Add rest of ingredients (sans flour and sugar) and beat till blended.  Add flour and sugar.  Batter will be extremely thick.  I did this part by hand.  Then add apples & walnuts.  Spoon into prepared pans.  Bake for an hour, if a regular loaf pan is used.  This recipe yields 2 of those loaves, or several mini loaves.


“Mili” Millie–A Veterans Day Guest Also

November 14, 2010

my bracelet that Millie made me

Zentangle from Millie

Mili Millie

Came in her Mini*

To have a pleasant stay

For Veterans Day, and so she’d said,

 “May I come on that Wednesday?”

And so I’d said, “YES!  You may be our guest!

Come early and we’ll have some tea!”

So that’s what she did, and we both had that tea **

To honor her, plus others, you see!

* (as in Mini Cooper)

** (OK–we had coffee)

Thanks, Millie, for coming!!  It was our privilege!  (And thank you for my special gifts!!)

Veterans Day Guest

November 13, 2010

John's flag that was flown in Iraq

The flag was flying over his camp in Iraq on August 11, 2007 — on the day that Sgt 1st Class John Arnold will never forget. 

Maybe like I, you’ll remember the footage shown on TV of the soldiers storming their way through gray, locked, block doors, looking for Al Queda higher-ups.  It was death-risky business, bursting through those random units, one after the other, but that’s what the order of the day was for Sgt Arnold’s men.  He knew what it could mean.  He didn’t know for how many of them, but he knew what would probably be coming.  And so he wanted to be by their sides, helping them, going into it with them, neck in neck, each of them up to their snot in ragged risk.  But his was the hardest job of all, to stay put–to watch and wait.  And then to have to deal with the guilt in his gut, if any of his boys were lost.  Well, on that day, on August 11, 2007, when that flag was flying over their camp, 5 men were lost.  

I think it was my Aunt Sara who said that if something didn’t kill you, it helped you:  going through bad stuff can sometimes make you better–more understanding, more compassionate–you get the idea.  You get more of the good stuff inside you because of the bad outside you.  Not always, but sometimes.  It’s happened that way with John Arnold.

As he said of himself, he “liked to talk.”  So he got a lot said in just a little bit of time.  And it was our privilege to listen.  Towards the end of our time together, when Millie and he were about to leave, John disappeared for a couple of minutes.  When he came back inside, he was carrying the folded flag.  And that’s when he told us the story of the 5 guys he lost on that summer day in 2007 in Iraq.  And that was when he gave us that flag that had flown over that camp on that day.   We all cried.  I’m crying again as I type.   Enough said.  Thank you, John.  The privilege was all our’s.  You make our country proud.

Tiny pillows and pillowcases

November 10, 2010

Tiny pillow in its tiny pillow case

This Christmas ornament was not my idea.  I loved the idea as soon as Nancy gave it to me and knew that this was indeed what I would make for the Simply Bed & Bread Christmas tree that will be on display at the Festival of Trees.  In fact, I’ll be making a dozen or so of these very little pillows and pillow cases, so stop by the Festival of Trees right after Thanksgiving Day to check them out. 

 The Festival event is a holiday tradition around here and is sponsored by the Soroptomists each year.  It is being held at a new location this year:  at the Weinberg building at 215 Scheeler Road on the edge of town, Friday, November 26 – Sunday, November 28.

 I can’t remember when this Chestertown tradition started, but it was a highlight for our 2 little girls when they were growing up, (and they’re now ages 32 and 30.)  With lights twinkling everywhere, cookies in full view on the refreshment table and the smell of coffee warming the whole room, it was something to look forward to and a real kick-off for the Christmas season.  (And FYI, there is a small charge for refreshments but admission is free!)

I’m delighted to be able to have a tree there this year and I can hardly wait to get crackin’ on makin’ those ornaments!

Thanks, Nancy, for your inspiration!

The Tree And Bench Story

November 9, 2010

The view from Emily's Room

If you look closely, you’ll also see the bench made from a piece of the sidewalk from across the street…..

“Why?” you say, “would someone want a piece of the sidewalk from across the street?”

“Well,” we’d say, “because David grew up across the street, which is the reason why our girls grew up across the street from their grandma and grandad.

“But why,” you’d say, “is there a piece of their sidewalk on top of 2 cement blocks forming a ‘bench’ in back of your house?”

“Because.  Our girls wrote their names in that particular section of the sidewalk.  And when work was about to be done on the sidewalk by the new owners of the house, our former neighbor, Elizabeth, ran over to our house to ask if we wanted that section of the sidewalk, since she had gotten the workers to rescue it from the trash pile so that it could be saved for us.  So.  That’s why we have a piece of sidewalk from across the street as part of a ‘bench’ in back of our house.  And if you come soon, you can sit on that bench underneath of this glorious tree in back of our house.”

And that’s the end of The Tree and Bench Story.

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Location, Location, Location.

You might notice the WAC Administration Building cupola out of the corner of your eye as you walk onto Simply Bed & Bread's brick path, since our house is just a stone's throw away from the college. Or it might be the ...
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