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Happy New Year!

January 4, 2016

Happy 2016!

There’s room at the inn during the weekdays, if you want a break after the busy holidays. We have some space left in January on the weekends, but it looks like the week days are still quiet. (And maybe just what you need??)

Enjoy your brand new January of this brand new year!

Christmas Season in Chestertown!!

December 2, 2015

Quiet strolling along the historic streets under the bright lights of Christmas….

Christmas cookies waiting on the dining room table….

There’s room in the inn. :)

Ya’at’eeh

October 13, 2015

“Ya’at’eeh,” the traditional Navajo greeting actually means “All is well with me.” One reciprocates, if one is indeed well, so the absence of the phrase indicates a problem, meaning that care is needed on the part of the one asking. (No “how ‘ya doin,’bro'” here!)

In introducing one’s self, one gives a 4 part instructive introduction, including where he is from, who his father’s people are, his mother’s, his vocation, and finally his public name. A private name, known only to the “holy ones,” and revealed only at the time of his passing, is also who he is, as is the “familiar” name that one is called by others, based on his actions as observed by others. The Navajo archeologist, speaker at Washington College’s Hotchkiss Hall, gave us this information during his talk last night. He told us that he is known as “the one white men follow” because of his work as a young man as a tour guide.

Greetings are important, as is one’s heritage and place in the world, who he is, what his being is. Hospitality and a blending of identities is key, and was especially important to me as I wondered how to best identify, then appropriately blend our cultures and personas as I became his B&B host the following day. “Hmm. What to do….?” I wondered. So of course it all came down to cookies.

I googled “Navajo Cookies” and a Native American cornmeal cookie seemed like the best bet. It contained maple syrup (which was hailed as being precious to Native Americans) and also pine nuts. Since Will, the speaker and our guest-to-be, was born in “the place under the pinion trees,” that seemed pretty much perfect. So now the house smells like sweet cornmeal and I’m ready for them for whenever they arrive. :) I’ll greet them with “Ya’at’eeh,” and offer them a blend of cornmeal cookies (which I hope resemble something they know!) and a few chocolate chip cookies of mine. I think it’ll work.

And so another chapter is added to my life’s work of finding out the answer to the question, “What are your favorite cookies???” For when it all boils down, that doesn’t just mean I’m a cook. Cookies are a gateway into all things important. I’m just a facilitator, a spokesman and a person, hopefully, whose arms are open wide – holding cookies and whatever else happens to come along.

Christmas Cookie Get-Away Package!!!

August 2, 2015

Guests just gave me this idea yesterday:  of a B&B stay where an individual, couple/s or small group of friends have a good ‘ole-fashioned time making cookies like Ma used to make!  And the idea comes just in time for holiday planning – for getting the dates on the calendar and making all the arrangements NOW.  Then when holiday happenings are hoppin’, and time is crunched, your plans are done.

Worried that there won’t be enough time to schedule this?  Relax:  the cookies will keep in the freezer.  (Schedule your get-away around Thanksgiving, or just before – or whenever you have a space where it’ll fit.)  Then when you get the notice about the office cookie exchange, or the neighborhood goodie swap, your cookies are waiting for you, completely finished.

Are holidays hard?  Lonely?  It’s fine to come here alone – even a day or two just before December 25.  We’ll fill your time away with some warm fun and Christmas cheer, and you can have a holiday that’s maybe like the “old days.”

Do you think your spouse might think this would be fun – to bake together, making some special memories?  Some other family members?

Maybe you and another couple might like the adventure!  You never know; you might start a new tradition!

How does this sound?….  no mess at home, no shopping for ingredients to do in busy, crowded stores, having a few dozen Christmas cookies in the freezer, ready for guests and giving?

Come any time in November or December, for a night or even two, either through the week or over a weekend:

Weeknight rates / night – $ 149 + 11% tax (1 person) , $ 169 + 11% tax (2 persons, 1 room)  (Both rooms, 3 -4 persons – $ 299 + 11% tax)

Weekend rates / night – $ 179 + 11% tax (1 person), $ 209 + 11% tax (2 persons, 1 room)  (Both rooms, 3 – 4 persons – $ 349 + 11% tax)

My mother used to begin baking around the first of December, and she’d store her cookies in tins and crocks under the bed in “Aunt Bernice’s room” (the spare bedroom reserved for our mother’s sister who’d visit every other weekend from Baltimore).  The collection would grow and I would watch for my opportunity to sneak in and grab a few.  I’d have to be very careful and very, very quiet; I never knew what might happen to me, if I was caught, but I never was.  (Hehe, maybe that was my mother’s Christmas gift to me:  to never “catch” me.  I’ll never know, but I just bet ‘cha.)  My favorites were the Spritz – vanilla or almond, didn’t matter which – and in the cooler temperatures in the closed-up room, they’d be chilly and the texture was oh-so-just-right.  I can “see” myself in that room right now, and it’s been 50 years ago.  I guess you could say that cookies really are a part of who I am.  :)  So….do you have some of these kinds of memories?  Does this sound like fun?  What are your favorites?  What kinds did your mother (or father, or auntie or grandma) used to make?

** We’ll only have a limited number of these packages available during the season, so if you’d like to schedule, call sooner rather than later!

Gluten-free-Dairy-free-Sugar-free Biscuits: Lemon-Black Pepper-Ginger Biscuits

May 30, 2015

When I found out that one of this weekend’s guests could not have dairy, gluten or sugar, I thought, “Yikes.  Wonder if there’s any kind of a biscuit that I can figure out to try?”  So I used my normal baking powder biscuit recipe as a base and substituted and added until I thought it might work.  I had found a flour blend at the health food store downtown called “Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend” that said on the bag that you could simply use it cup for cup.  So that’s what I used.  I was experimenting, so I only used 1 cup – (it is very expensive and I’ve tried other things only to have them fail, so I didn’t want to waste more than a cup this time around).  And by golly, Miss Molly, it WORKED.  I had made 4 regular sized biscuits, along with a very tiny one for me to taste, and they had just come out of the oven as our guests walked back through our front door after their evening activities.  I was pumped about my little culinary adventure because I’d just sampled the small one, finding that it was pretty darned amazing, so I told the mom (the guest with the special dietary needs) about how I’d been playing in the kitchen and what had happened – that I’d made her some biscuits.  She stared at me with wide eyes and said, “Biscuits?  Real biscuits?  Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had a biscuit?”  I asked her if she wanted to try one.  “Could I?” she asked.  So she followed me into the kitchen, stood right by the stove and bit into the warm biscuit.  Her eyes got wide again and she said, “This is delicious.”  I asked her if she wanted another one.  “Could I?” she said again.  “Of course,” I told her.  So she ate the second one, told me about how she’d eaten what she could at the event earlier in the evening, but that she’d been limited.  She then gave me a big ‘ole hug and went upstairs, with her tummy full, ready to drop into the bed.  Gosh, this is an awfully fun job.

The Biscuits

1 cup Pamela’s Artisan  Flour Blend (gluten free, dairy free, sugar free)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Freshly grated ginger root

Bit of nutmeg

Freshly grated lemon zest plus 1 T juice

1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 ripe banana

1/4 cup + 2 T coconut milk

Mix all ingredients together except the milk.  Cut in coconut oil.  Add milk.  Shape into biscuits.  Grind some sea salt onto the tops of the biscuits.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

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