Fall for “Sweet Potato Pancakes”

Fall is officially here in Central PA!  We are enjoying mild temperatures and (mostly) beautiful, crisp sunny days.  Even if you can’t visit us, thought you might like to see our fall decorations in the front of Copper Beech Manor.  We think they are exceptionally spectacular!

Fall is probably my favorite season.  I love the cooler temperatures, obviously the changing colors of leaves to gorgeous reds, yellows and oranges and of course, those seasonal foods that most of us have come to associate with fall.  One of those foods that we have been serving to guests are Sweet Potato Pancakes served with homemade sausage patties (that recipe to follow in a future blog).  The smell of freshly brewed hot coffee, cinnamon in the pancakes and sausage gets even the sleepiest guest down to the breakfast table in record time!

To ensure that the pancakes are extra light and fluffy, I include at least an additonal teaspoon of baking powder. You may choose to use fresh or canned sweet potatoes.  I have tried both and there is a slightly stronger taste of sweet potato using the fresh.  If you are short on time (or energy) you may wish to use the canned (just remember to drain them well before using).

Once again, we look forward to your stay with us at Copper Beech.  See you soon.

Fall baskets 2015 006

Sweet Potato Pancakes

3/4 lb. sweet potatoes

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour

3 1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. nutmeg

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 c. milk

1/4 c. butter, melted

  1. Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepa of boiling water, and cook until tender but firm, about 15 minutes.  Drain and immediately immerse in cold water to loosen skins.  Drain, remove skins, chop and mash (or use food processor to puree).
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.  Mix mashed potatoes, eggs, milk and butter in a separate bowl.  Blend sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture to form a batter.  (Do NOT mix vigorously to avoid pancakes being tough.)
  3. Preheat a lightly greased griddle over medium high heat.  Drop batter onto the griddle and cook until golden brown, turning once when the surface begins to bubble.
  4. Serve with maple syrup.  Enjoy!!!

 

 

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Versatile Vinegar

concert 045Our guests often ask us how we keep the B & B so clean. Reason number one is that we have an amazing young woman who helps us on a part time basis. In addition, we do have a few tips and tricks that are inexpensive and easy that we are more than willing to share.

Apple cider and/or white vinegar is one of those household items that is a staple here. We use vinegar for many things Here is our list of B & B “Grime Fighters”:
1. Put vinegar in a spray bottle and use to clean granite countertops. Your counters will shine like new!
2. Use a combination of 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar to pour down your shower drain. Wait until foaming stops and then flush with water. Not only will it clean any gucky residue but will also freshen and deodorize it.
3. Use that same spray bottle of vinegar to clean stainless steel and chrome. Polish with a soft cloth.
4. Mix equal parts of vinegar and hot water and run through your coffee pot to clean it. Follow this with three more cycles of just water to remove any vinegar residue.
5. Use vinegar to remove stickers from household items. Apply plain white vinegar to sticker and scrape with a plastic card.
6. White vinegar will also remove mildew stains. Once in awhile (particularly in more humid areas—Pennsylvania is one in the summertime), mildew will occur. Apply vinegar full strength for heavy mildew and equal parts with water for lighter mildew stains.
7. Remove kitchen grease with equal parts vinegar and water.
8. If you enjoy sewing like I do, you may appreciate knowing that instead of cleaning scissors with water (which can cause them to rust) try full strength vinegar and a soft cloth.
9. To clean the inside of your microwave, place a mixture of 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 cup water in a glass container inside the microwave. Heat for 5 minutes at the highest setting. This should remove any lingering odors and then use the solution to clean down the walls of the microwave.
10. Need to clean a vase that may have a slimy residue in the bottom? Combine equal parts vinegar and warm soapy water. Let stand for 15 minutes. Rinse and your vase should be clean and sparkly again!
I could keep going but this should be enough to get you started. Happy cleaning!!!

Wonderful Womelets

Womelet 001There are crossover vehicles, stories, games, basketball moves, and even food! I recently came across this recipe for a Womelet (no, its not misspelled) and have served it to guests with rave reviews. It’s actually a crossover between a waffle and an omelet–looks like an omelet but its actually NOT.  (I love the name–although folks may look at you as if you have a speech issue!)
I prepared it with diced potatoes, green onions and extra sharp cheddar cheese, but you could use Monterey Jack, other types of cheese to your liking, peppers, other veggies—the variety is nearly endless.
Because it has a small amount of baking powder in it, the end result is a light fluffy combo of eggy goodness. You may wish to serve it with fresh salsa and garnish with cilantro to give it a southwest flair. Any way you choose, it may likely become a breakfast/brunch fav at your house.
Here is the recipe:
WOMELETS
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
4 large eggs
2 T. olive oil
1 c. chopped cooked potatoes
1/2 c. shredded cheese
2 green onions, chopped
Spray waffle maker with cooking spray and preheat. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs and oil; whisk to combine. Fold in potatoes, cheese, and green onions.
Add batter to waffle maker and cook for five minutes or until deep golden brown. Serve immediately.

Makes 4   4 1/2 inch waffles

Bangin’ Breakfast Potatoes w/Shirred Eggs

Our guests love this version of breakfast potatoes. I like to give food “a different twist” to kick up the flavor and to make it a bit more unique. It’s been fun to use the tiny potatoes that are now packaged and sold as a variety, including red, white, fingerling, baby Yukon gold and purple (yes, I said purple!). They add color and variety to dishes such as the one below and if I haven’t said this before, (sorry if I am repeating myself) but people eat with their eyes before their mouths.
The addition of a tiny bit of bacon, Old Bay seasoning and at the conclusion of the process, maple syrup, provides layers of flavors that are missing in ordinary home fried potatoes. Top with Shirred Eggs and sprinkle a bit of Pecorino cheese on top (this is my new “go to” ingredient) garnish with fresh chives and you have a mouth watering dish to present to hungry friends/family for a weekend breakfast or brunch.
You may also wish to try the addition of other root vegetables, such as carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes—whatever you like. Love this recipe!! Hope you do, too.

BANGIN’ BREAKFAST POTATOES
8-10 small potatoes (do not peel)
1-2 T. olive oil
2 pieces of bacon
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. maple syrup
salt
pepper
Old Bay seasoning
Before you begin, freeze bacon to make chopping easier.
Wash the potaoes and chop in small pieces. Drain well.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the potatoes to the skillet. Season with salt, pepper, and Old Bay.
Cook until potatoes are slightly browned and tender. Chop the bacon and add to the potatoes, stir together.
Once the bacon is cooked, add the minced garlic and toss. Check to see if more seasoning is needed. Add dried or fresh parsley. Lower the heat to keep warm and cook the garlic only for abut one minute.
Just before serving drizzle maple syrup and toss. Let that cook one more minute giving the potatoes a carmelized effect.
To make the Shirred Eggs, spray custard cups with cooking spray. Break two large eggs into each cup (for one serving). Add 1/2 t. butter and 1 t. cream. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Eggs should just be firm—not hard and tough.
Invert the custard cups on a plate, surround the eggs with the potatoes and sprinkle with grated Pecorino cheese. Top with strands of chives. Serve warm.
Shirred eggs 001

Discover Lewisburg in a Unique Way!

Mercedes giving us a ride

Mercedes giving us a ride

IMG_1185

If you love local history and discovering it in a unique way, this may be for you!  Local writer and historian, Karl Purnell now provides carriage tours of historic sites in Lewisburg on Fridays and Saturdays.  Mr. Purnell combines his passion for history and horses to present tours of Lewisburg (or Mifflinburg) in a restored six passenger surrey which was made at the Hopp Buggy Shop in nearby Mifflinburg during the 19th century.  He has a vast knowledge of local history and easily relates it to major events in our country’s past making it an extraordinary experience.

His trusty steed, Mercedes, not to be confused with another well-known means of transportation by that same name, gave us a wonderful “preview” tour recently.  We thoroughly enjoyed seeing local sights in a brand new way with much more insight into their colorful past.

You can also make arrangements for a picnic lunch after the tour.  What a wonderful and relaxing way to spend some time–we highly recommend it!  For pricing and reservations, contact the Mifflinburg Buggy Museum at 570-768-6010.

New Images for a New Year

New Images for a New Year

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Some changes have taken place at Copper Beech! We have updated the bathroom in the Susquehanna Valley Suite with new large tiles and fresh paint to give it a more up-to-date spa-like feel. For those of you who are … Continue reading

Pumpkinlicious

007Fall is upon us and with it, an abundance of pumpkins are available in our area. Bill went to the Buffalo Valley Produce Auction recently to purchase chrysanthemums for our garden and reported that there were probably hundreds, if not thousands, of pumpkins being auctioned in all sizes, colors and shapes. What a sight to see!!! We have also included pumpkins in our garden urns on the front steps to give a special fall welcome to our guests at the b & b.
For those of you who are nearby, there are numerous places to purchase that spooky or quirky gourd for your front step or for making into delicious desserts, breads, cookies, etc. Want to take in a corn maze or a ride through the pumpkin patch? A great activity for the whole family awaits you at Ard’s Farm Market on Route 45 just west of Lewisburg.
I love fall and all that it implies; the cooler weather, leaves changing colors and the foods that we often associate with fall. I look forward to making soups and stews to warm our tummies as the temperatures dip and those yummy accompaniments that go so well with many of them. Pumpkin bread is one of those and can be made well in advance, frozen for use later or given as a small token of affection for visiting family and friends. I have included my pumpkin bread recipe here that turns out moist and delicious and contains just the right amount of spice. It’s great by itself or top it with some whipped cream cheese to make it even more delectable. Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Bread
2 cups pumpkin
1 cup salad oil
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
3 cups sugar (I often decrease the amount of sugar)
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. allspice
1 1/2 t. nutmeg
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
Combine pumpkin, oil and eggs in a large mixing bowl.
Sift together dry ingredients and blend into pumpkin mixture. Mix well but do not beat to overmix.
Fold in nuts. Pour into two greased full sized loaf pans.
Bake at 300 degrees for 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before serving.Fall baskets 2014 006

Crunchy Iowa Granola

granola 002This morning I needed to make another batch of Crunchy Iowa Granola that I keep on hand for guests who might want an alternative to the breakfast being prepared that day. It’s also a favorite of my husband, Bill, who has a low blood sugar issue. He needs to have protein, not just carbs, for breakfast or he breaks out into a major sweat and gets the shakes! (Eggs on a daily basis is not his cup of tea!)
This is a very easy granola recipe that came from my niece, Wendy (who, like me is an Iowa girl, and thus the recipe name). I have to brag a bit to say that Wendy is a great cook and does most things from scratch and does an incredible job of providing delicious meals for her family.
This recipe is SO easy and you can add a lot of different options. For guests, I avoid tree nuts such as walnuts, pecans, etc. since many people either have an allergy or do not like nuts. In their place I usually add soynuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds to provide some protein but usually are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. (Just remember that nuts and seeds are a concentrated source of many nutrients but also contain quite a bit of fat—just saying!)

Crunchy Iowa Granola
1. Mix and heat until boiling: 1/2 c. canola or salad oil, 1/2 c. honey, and 1/2 c. brown sugar
2. Add: 1 t. ground cinnamon, 2 t. vanilla and 1 c. nuts
3. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray. Measure 7 c. rolled oats (not quick oats) into the pan.
4. Pour honey mixture over the oatmeal and stir well to combine.
5. Bake for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 375 degrees. Stir the mixture, turn the oven off and leave in oven overnight.
Store in a cool, dry container.
Options: add 1 T. flax seed or 1/2 c. coconut
You may wish to add dried fruit such as raisin or chopped dried apricots (which should be done at the end of the baking time so that they do not become overcooked.

Summer’s Bountiful Basil

001 The end of summer is always bittersweet for me. I am glad to see the end of brutally hot, humid days but sad to know that the beauty, taste and aroma of fresh picked produce will soon be gone. In those end of summer days, I often prepare fresh Pesto to store in my freezer to be able to savor the garlicky pungent flavor of Pesto all winter!
Bill and I grow a number of fresh herbs to use in cooking and for garnish at the Manor. One of my favorites is basil that I use in a variety of ways including chopped over fresh tomatoes with cheese, in homemade savory breads, infused in oils, salads, and pizza to name just a few . I also enjoy making Pesto for pasta, baked potatoes, green beans or broccoli and sandwiches. If you enjoy the pungent flavor of basil and garlic, the options are certainly endless.
In addition to using it fresh I also like to prepare some for the freezer to enjoy in the winter. Prepare the Pesto recipe and place a small amount in ice cube trays; freeze until firm and then transfer to a ziplock bag for easy storage and use. Who doesn’t need more easy ways to prepare quick meals? Most of us, right?
Hope you enjoy the Pesto as much as we do!

Linda’s Pesto
2 cups freshly washed and dried basil (firmly packed to measure accurately)
2-4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
3 T. pine nuts
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Put basil and garlic in food process. Pour in oil and process until smooth. Add pine nuts and process for a few seconds. Stir in Parmesan cheese.

Triple Threat

summer 2014 018  People often ask what it’s like to run a bed and breakfast. As one might imagine, days usually include greeting and checking in guests, preparing breakfasts to tempt sometimes sleepy guests out of bed, making and returning phone calls, responding to emails, cleaning rooms and, of course, laundry. Laundry can be a major chore with lots of sheets, towels, bathmats, comforters, blankets, and table linens that need washing daily.
We have chosen to use white linens throughout our b & b and sheets that have a high thread count to provide that extra measure of luxury when guests climb into their beds at night. (We often get comments about how soft the sheets and towels are!)
Keeping these linens sparkling white and yet still silky soft can be a challenge particularly if a guest may forget to remove makeup before going to bed!
Here are some tips and tricks that may be helpful.

  •  Most of us use too much detergent. Today’s high efficiency washers require very little detergent—probably 2-3 tablespoons in enough. (I know it sounds as if you won’t get your clothes clean, but it will.  The soap serves as a disinfectant.) 
  • Use warm water–not hot or cold, which will both set stains.
  • Never use bleach which damages the fibers of linens and are more susceptible to future stains and wear.  
  • For really difficult stains, try a combination of your detergent (used sparingly) Oxyclean and (Twenty Mule Team) Borax (yes, you can still buy this).  I refer to this combination as my “Triple Threat to Stains”.  It does work.
  • If you find your towels seem to be getting stiff, you may have a soap buildup in them.  About once a month, after washing your towels, restart the washer and add 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle.  If you have a glass window, you probably can see the soap suds.  This should remove the excess soap, soften and brighten the towels.  Try it!

Happy laundry!