Spring Theme

February 26, 2011

Pink placemats, pink posey plate, and pink tulips grace our dining room now. The welcome for winter had worn out, and pink has prevailed!

As I have time, (hopefully this coming week), I’ll be working on a new wall hanging for Emily’s Room, one with spring flowers and Easter eggs. I have plans for a summer one, as well as some more new summer place mats.

I found the fabric for the new pink placemats in my Grandma Collection of vintage materials as well as some others found in her house. I had forgotten that it was downstairs, so the discovery was just as exciting as the first time! I can hardly wait to work on these projects! Pictures up when completed!

February Breakfast Variety Challenge!

February 25, 2011

Gluten-free / dairy-free feta quiche to be served on Sunday....

Please go to our facebook page to find the menu items served this month!

Spring Tease

February 19, 2011

With a high of nearly 70 today, it seemed that spring had sprung. But as our neighbor said today, it is only February, after all! And snow is predicted for Tuesday… But we figure we’ll enjoy it while we have it!

The sheets were hung on the line again today–first time in a few weeks; extra people were at Wilmer Park today, sitting on the benches and just generally hanging out, and the feeling in the air was all-around good.

The predicted high for tomorrow is 48. OK. So it was a tease.

Chocolate Mocha Cake

February 16, 2011

YUM.

(aka “Sour Cream Chocolate Cake,” Better Homes and Gardens Chocolate, pp. 13, 19, 1984, Meredith Corporation).

3 squares (3 oz) unsweetened chocolate
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup cold brewed coffee

Melt chocolate. Cool. Grease and lightly flour 2 round layer pans. Stir together flour, baking soda, salt. Beat butter with mixer about 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat till fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well on medium speed. Stir in melted chocolate and sour cream. Add dry ingredients and the coffee alternately to beaten mixture, beating after each addition. Turn into prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes or till done. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pans. Cool thoroughly, then fill and frost.

Whipped Chocolate Filling

In a 1-cup glass measure soften 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin in 1 tablespoon cold water. Place cup in a saucepan containing about 1 inch water; stir over low heat till dissolved. remove saucepan from heat. In a small mixer bowl beat together 1 cup whipping cream, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder till slightly thickened. Add the dissolved gelatin all at once; beat till soft peaks form.

Cut each layer in half, horizontally so that you now have 4 skinny layers. Put filling between layers. Frost with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting:

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Melt chocolate and butter together. Cool. Stir in sour cream and vanilla. Gradually add sugar. Cover and chill to store after frosting cake.

Waffles!

February 16, 2011

On today's breakfast menu...with warm blueberry syrup....

After Grandma’s death, when I was cleaning out her house and I had her waffle iron in my hands, I knew it would have to come across the street to live at our house. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do with it when it came to live with me, but it was enough at that point to know that it had to come.

David and I had gotten a waffle iron for a wedding present (er ah, that would be over 35 years ago now) and I was delighted with the gift — chomping at the bit to try it out. But my waffle-induced thoughts of ecstasy were short-lived, since the darned things stuck mercilessly to the top and bottom of the iron when I tried it out. Having little patience for such things, I threatened to throw it out into the yard, but I gave it away instead. “Good riddance” to that beast. No problem: we would simply eat pancakes at our house. (I didn’t grow up with waffles anyway).

And so we did eat pancakes over on our side of the street — (Em’s favorite when she was little were the “Johnnycake house-shaped pancakes,” lovingly, but not very artiscally-created, following those in a favorite children’s book) …. Until the day when I had Grandma’s culinary torture tool in my hands. Never mind. I would find a place for it in my kitchen and not think about it any more.

But houses get cleaned out; jobs get finished, and then it’s time to get going onto the next thing…..which would be the matter of the waffle-making. You see, this was a tradition thing…..

For years when our girls were growing up across the street from Grandma and Grandad, it was a given that on Mondays they would come to our house for dinner and on Wednesdays we would go over there. Grandma was cutting edge with the whole healthy food thing, but her menus didn’t vary much. And she wasn’t known for her supper entrees. Cookies, yes. Cabbage slaw, yes. Apple pies, yes. And waffles were another definite yes. So I had to face it: the thing just had to be done. We were talking legacy, honor and respect. This was not about me; these waffles were bigger than I was. Nope, no two ways about it: I was going to also become a waffle-maker.

The first time I got out the 50’s or 60’s style, Western Auto iron, (not sure about this, but Grandad managed a local store so that’s where some of their things came from), David and his brother, Steve, gathered in the kitchen to “help.” (I was a little nervous so that actually was a big help to me, to not be alone with my mission that had to succeed. Better to share the responsibility). I plugged it in. I got the Pam. (Grandma didn’t use that, but I didn’t want to take any chances.) I laid everything out. Got my biggest spoon, ready to count the dips for each pour. The time came: it had been long enough for it to be hot enough. (We guessed that it had, anyway; the whole thing was a guess-timation procedure, so we were doing the best we could. Of course, David and Steve were both watching the clock to time it, but when it came down to it, I knew it was going to be a run-by-the-seat-of-the-pants activity. I sprayed the top and bottom, poured the first 5 spoonfuls, lowered the lid, then I watched the clock, too. There was hardly any breathing going on: this was important work. After 3 minutes, I think it was, I lifted the lid. Waffles!!! Woo hoo! They looked lovely! So just like she had done for so many years before, I put the first one on a plate, covered with a towel to keep it warm, then made the rest. The stack grew; the batter was used up, and we ate waffles till we were ready to burst. Success!

Which is how I came to be a waffle maker. And which is why we could have waffles today. They’re not the kind in a restaurant; they’re actually a bit limp and the squares are not raised high (like a Belgian waffle), but they taste wonderful and they’re just like her’s and so there you have it: waffles! A lovely way to start a day.

May 14th–Spring is just around the corner!

February 16, 2011

Barbara was Mrs. Soames in Our Town in high school and I was Emily. She was absolutely memorable in the character and I can still see her on the stage, even though it was 40 years ago. We ended up at the same college also, but Barbara stayed in VA to teach and I married and moved back home. Retired now, Barbara has also moved back home and has found a real love: gardening and hanging out with the ladies in the local garden club. I saw her in this role last spring on May Day, in Fountain Park, under a big spring hat and she was in her glory in the garden club booth, selling flowers and good will. So it was not a surprise when she called a little over a week ago to ask if I would like to be included on the website for the MD House & Garden Tour Kent County in May. “Well, yea-ah,” I said. That was a no-brainer. And so that’s where you can also find us: in the B&B section. We’d love to have both rooms booked to others who might also have a garden hat or two in their closets! Tickets are $ 30 (before the event) and can be purchased online. Tour guests booking 2 nights on that weekend will receive a $ 10 discount / night! Go to http://www.mhgpkent.org for details.

Post-Valentine Tax Shelter!

February 14, 2011

Calm down. It’s not what you think….but…got your attention, right?

It’s time. Especially if you’re a single person. Yep, it’s time to book a get-away night at Simply Bed & Bread. Why? A couple of reasons….

1) As a reward for surviving yet another Valentine’s Day. The weather will be balmy and warm this week, compared to what this winter has been like. So the timing is perfect.

But the title of this blog post is “Tax Shelter.” What is that all about??

2) If you haven’t yet done all of your tax return prep work, you could do it here. A different setting could be a real motivator. Just throw all of your stuff into a big box; get into the car, and start driving. Think: unending snacks & beverages,….a brisk walk now and then as a reward for your diligence to staying on task, lovely weather and a lovely town to explore when it’s time for a meal…Yep, Simply Bed & Bread could be your new tax time tradition as a shelter to which to run with your tax stuff…..or as the title indicates….your new TAX SHELTER.

This week, Tuesday through Thursday nights, we have one room available in the inn. It’s a shared bath, so that drops the price for a dramtically low special rate, this week only: $ 69 + tax / night!!!

A Sweet Start

February 13, 2011

Stam's window downtown

The window in the florist shop downtown

Chocolate covered strawberries

A run together at sunrise on Valentine’s Day….or maybe just a sunrise cup of coffee at the waterfront? Or stay in and have breakfast in bed on Valentine’s Day morning….

Come with your sweetie on Sunday and have a sweet start to your 2011 Valentine’s Day. Sometimes it’s the last minute, simple surprises that are the biggest hits….

If neither of you has the day off, we can serve breakfast at sunrise to get you where you need to be on time. Just let us know what you need and we’ll be delighted to help!

It’s not too late! $ 99 + tax!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Silent Soliloquy

February 2, 2011

Sun and sails!

You have to look closely, but if you look in the distance, you’ll see the sailboats. And yes! I took this picture TODAY….while practically the whole rest of the country is knee-deep in snow….but here we had sunshine, temps in the high 40’s and sailboats on the river! The picture says it all!

Mishap to Masterpiece

February 2, 2011

Voila!

Chocolate: spread; pistachios: sprinkled

Step 1 of The Fix

Point # 1: Just work backwards with the pictures.
Point # 2: OK. “Masterpiece” is too over the top. I just couldn’t think of another alliterative antonym quickly enough.
Point # 3: These are not the heart-shaped, chocolate shortbreads.

I had set out to do the shortbreads. And I did do them — (just didn’t take a picture of them.) But I ran into a snag. I had the butter in the bowl for the shortbreads and was ready to measure and mix in the sugar. But my eyes went to the sugar cookie recipe instead, so I put in too much sugar. Shortbreads only have a 1/4 cup. So…..Plan B. The Fix. I was going to just mix up the sugar cookies, then throw the dough into the freezer for another time, since I wasn’t in the mood to do an entire batch of cut-out sugar cookies. But instead I patted the dough into a 9 x 12 pan, baked it, then added the 2 other steps pictured above. Oh, I almost forgot: besides the sugar mishap, I also grabbed the peppermint extract instead of the almond. So what is pictured above is a bottom crust layer that is mint-flavored. The pistachios were an experiment, but I thought the salty crunch would work well, even though mint and pistachio were not 2 flavors that I would’ve normally put together. Anyway, I think they’re yummy, and that’s the story of how we went from mishap to “masterpiece” this morning….Not exactly a spine-tingling, nail-biting, suspense-packed adventure, but that is what happened in our kitchen today.

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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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