Friday, December 18, 2015

Cookin' at Christmas

Are you sick of Christmas yet? I'm not - Christmas is a really big deal at our house. We start with this 20ft tree which poor Kirk had to put up all by himself this year. And then we have all our Christmas traditions. We sing carols, we read stories, we sit on a yule log, we eat cookies, we get to open one gift [always jamies] on Christmas eve and we open stockings and gifts on Christmas morning then we have the Traditional Red, Green and White Breakfast.  What is that you ask... well, of course, it's a breakfast where all the items are either red, green or white.

Two of the items are always cranberry bread [red] and zucchini bread [green]. Of course I do make these two staples in my job as Professional Innsitter but it's nice to make them in my home for my family.

My cranberry bread recipe comes from this Better Homes cookbook, a gift for my wedding shower 40 years ago and the Iowa cookbook, a gift from my mom on my 30th birthday, has my best zuchini bread recipe. They are still two of my favorites!
As you can see. Santa helped my in the kitchen this year! Ho Ho Ho! The trick to good cranberry bread is finely chopped berries and this Santa is very good at it.
Christmas Cranberry Bread:
Beat 1 egg, 1t grated orange peel. 3/4 C OJ [I like to use thick concentrate]. 2T oil.
Add 2 C flour, 3/4 C sugar, 1 1/2 t baking powder, 1 t salt. 1/2 t soda.
Fold in 1 C finely chopped berries and nuts if you like.
Bake 350 for 1 hour.
Enjoy on Christmas morning!

                                         What do you have for Christmas Breakfast?

Monday, December 7, 2015

O Christmas Tree

  I love the Christmas Holiday! I love everything about it - the presents, the music, the joyous spirit, the food [especially the cookies] and most of all, I love the  Christmas Tree. This year  I had a day off from my job as an Interim Innkeeper  in Cannon Beach and I got to go to Seaside for the Festival of the Trees with my family. Ho Ho Ho!

We got to sit on Santa's lap. We got to make jingle bell necklaces and of course we got to look at many beautiful Christmas Trees. The "Festival of the Trees" is a fund raiser for Providence Hospital.

Each organization who wants to donate something for the fund raiser enters a Christmas Tree to represent their donated item.These are two of my favorites: This blue one is all maritime themed. Check out the decorated crab pot. The one below is Swedish with simple homemade ornaments of straw and paper. I love all the variations on the Christmas Tree when imagination is allowed to run wild.

O Christmas Tree!


After the Festival of the Trees, we were all tired so we went to the Butterfield Cottage for their Gingerbread Tea. Of course we got to have tea in front of another lovely Christmas Tree!


                                                     Merry Christmas everybody!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Perfect Storm

Last weekend there was a storm in Cannon Beach Oregon - it was the perfect storm for the Stormy Weather Arts Festival . This festival is held each year in Cannon Beach during the storm season. Most of the galleries in town have featured artists and many have receptions. People come from all over to look at art, drink wine, and enjoy the perfect storm. This year I was lucky enough to be the Interim Innkeeper at the Cannon Beach Hotel during the Stormy Weather Arts Festival.

The Cannon Beach Hotel also had a featured artist - Jean-Marie Chapman. Jean-Marie has been coming to "our" hotel for 10 years during the Stormy Weather Arts Festival. She paints mostly oil portraits [here she is working on a portrait of hotel owner Claudia Toutain-Dorbec]. She also does some lovely seascapes. In both genres, she really manages to capture the essence of her subject. It's wonderful to have her as the "house artist"each year.

Of course just like the galleries, we hosted a reception for our featured artist. Guess who got to be the hostess?? Yea, I know- dirty rotten job but someone's got to do it, right?

 So, remember if you are ever in Cannon Beach during a storm, it might be the perfect storm for the Stormy Weather Arts Festival. Come and see me at the Cannon Beach Hotel. I'll pour you a glass of champagne.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Spooky Seattle

  Look who greeted us when we arrived for our training day as Innsitters at the Sleeping Bulldog B&B  in Seattle. OK, I was a little nervous... Well, it turns out it's a lovely B&B and a pleasure to take care of but the owner, Korby just goes all out for Halloween. There are skeletons walking bulldogs by the front door, cobwebs on the stairway, a witch by the cookie jar, crows on the chandelier and a huge spider hanging over the dinning table. It's SPOOKY in SEATTLE!

Here are two witches in the morning... spooky, huh? We had a guest with a gluten intolerance this morning so I had made some gluten free muffins. One of my innkeeping tricks is to make a batch of gluten free muffin batter and then divide it into several small bowls and add different ingredients to each so that you end up with two cranberry, two blueberry, two chocolate chip etc.. That way you have more options to meet guests dietary needs.

These are my Halloween Brownies [not gluten free] - made with Blood Orange Olive Oil- they are really SPOOKY!

So, even though it is Spooky here in Seattle, we love being Interim Innkeepers at the Sleeping Bulldog and hope to come back. I wonder what Korby does for Christmas? How do you decorate for the Halloween season?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall Fun!

I love this time of year! Fall can be so much fun.... I mean the decorating options are so great. As an Innsitter taking care of a B&B in the fall I often get to shop for pumpkins, fall flowers and other decor. Isn't this display wonderful? Well, I didn't do it. I didn't do any of these but they are some of my favorites. Tell me what you think:

This one might be just a bit too "cutesy"
but I kind of like it anyway.

The one below is almost too formal but...
I kind of like it as well.

This porch is my idea of the perfect fall  decor: subtle, lovely and seasonal. I'm just getting ideas for my next property. Fun Fun Fun!

                                                      How do you decorate
for Fall?



Thursday, October 1, 2015

Midwest Mansion

No, this isn't a museum. It's the Spaulding Inn B&B in Grinnell Iowa. No, we were not innsitters here. We were guests and we loved it!
                 I grew up in Grinnell and was there visiting my parents. This town like so many other Midwest towns is filled with beautiful old mansions. But even with so many to choose from, the Spaulding Inn stands out. It is an imposing brick beauty. Our room was the top left room in this photo and had a cozy little screened in porch on the corner.


 This 1907 mansion/B&B has many stunning architectural details such as this lovely stained glass window, burl walnut woodwork, built in lead glass book cases, two working fireplaces and art deco chandeliers.

Facing Main Street, the house boasts a grand porch with stone pillars and a beautiful bay window where guests now get to have breakfast. Yes, we were guests, we did not have to cook and we got to enjoy breakfast just like everybody else. What a treat!

But this little alcove was my favorite place to have breakfast. Note the beautiful lead glass and the chandelier. One morning Valerie served just the two of us here..... so romantic!
Now we are back to work but it was a treat to be pampered in this wonderful Midwest Mansion .

Friday, September 11, 2015

Twisted Tree Trail

Whether we are traveling as Innsitters or tourists, one of the things we love to do is go hiking. We always enjoy finding new trails and this is really unique. We call it the Twisted Tree Trail but it is actually the Wild Pacific trail. It has all these amazing, fantastic trees that you walk under and around and sometimes sit on! The forest hangs at the edge of the sea with stunning vistas all around.

Below Kirk is perched on a twisted tree - look at the bay behind him. It really is the Wild Pacific!

Of course not all of the twisted trees are used as seats. This one makes a fine bridge - it is actually a tree sawed in half where it fell. The one below a great door way that leads out to a viewpoint overlooking the crashing waves.

It's really a pretty amazing trail and one of our favorite places to go hiking. The whole trail is about 3 miles one way but you can do portions of it so you don't have to hike all 6 miles, Whew!!      If you ever get the chance, you should visit the Twisted Tree Trail.

                                                   Where's your favorite hiking trail?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Great Granola

As a Professional Innsitter , I'm all about breakfast. I bake pastry, I cook eggs, I chop fruit but one of the things I most like to do is make granola. Although it is very time consuming, I think that if an inn is going to serve granola, homemade is the way to go. It is always appreciated by the guests and on granola day the inn always smells so good! It's very interesting how many variations there are for this breakfast staple and how many different ideas there are as to what makes a great granola. So, I'm going to share three of my favorite house granola's for you to try if you want.

   Here is Elizabeth Padilla owner of the Dove Inn with her world famous granola. I've made a lot of this stuff in the four years I have been her interim innkeeper. Her great granola is very healthy as well as tasty... here it is:                                                    Dove Inn Granola                                     
3 C rolled oats
1 C slivered almonds   
1 C pumpkin seeds  
1 C unsweetened coconut
1/3 C maple syrup
1/3 C coconut oil
dash of salt
Mix well and bake in a 250 oven for one and a half hours stirring every half hour. Remove from oven and add craisins or raisins stirring once more. Let the granola cool and then enjoy! Elizabeth gets all her ingredients at a health food store and uses only pure maple syrup so you can be sure this granola is very good for you.

This is the house granola of the MacKaye Harbor Inn . What makes this granola so great is that it is really nutty and it has a secret ingredient! Here's the recipe for MacKaye Harbor Granola
Cook on the stove top 1/2 C honey, 1/2 C almond butter, 1/2 C flaxseed oil, 1/3 C maple syrup. Mix into 6 C gluten free oats, 1/2 C flaxseed meal, 1/2 C quinoa flakes, 2 C sunflower seeds, 1 C pumpkin seeds, 1 1/2 C sesame seeds and pinch of sea salt. Bake at 350 for forty minutes  stirring every fifteen. After cooling add any chopped fruit, nuts and the secret ingredient - mini chocolate chips. I really love the chocolate in this granola - what a treat!    

This pale gold granola is from the Reef Point B&B. It has a very     subtle taste with no fruit and the secret ingredient here is olive oil!   The sweetness of this great granola comes from brown sugar. 
Reef Point Granola      3 C large flake oats, 1 C sliced almonds, 3/4 C unsweet coconut, 1/4 C sesame seeds, 6 T maple syrup, 6 T brown sugar, 1 t water, 1/4 C olive oil, mix all ingredients and bake at 250 for one and one quarter hour turning regularly. Cool and consume - Yum!                   

So now you have some of my favorites to try. Isn't it interesting what variety there is? They are all very good and very different. What is your favorite granola?                          


Monday, August 17, 2015

Bay Watch

Being a Professional Innsitter can be a really tough job. You have to cook breakfast, go shopping, do the laundry, clean the rooms, do the ironing and then check the guests in. But at the end of the day, we get to sit down with a glass of wine and  look where we get to sit now. This is actually the private deck off our bedroom for the next few weeks [I know you wish you were me, right?].

Our "home" hangs right out over this beautiful bay. What a great place to Bay Watch. From our deck we can watch for lots of wildlife and lots of boaters, including kayaks and stand up paddle boards. It's always a good show.

We took our inflatable kayak out on the bay and got to watch some wildlife and some other kayaks. We took this photo looking up at "our" deck - the very top one - pretty great, huh?

Of all the wildlife we get to watch in the bay, this guy is the most impressive. We've named him "Butch" he's the house eagle and he comes to perch on a tree right outside our window while we cook breakfast every morning. I swear he's taking notes on how to make a great omelet! Actually I think he is watching the bay for his breakfast. Which is not an omelet......

Although eagles may be the most impressive, we can also see bears, seals, sea lions and whales....

I could not get a good shot so you have to believe me when I say that there was a whale under this spout. We got to watch him for quite a while, he really put on a show, WOW!

What a great bay to watch! What is your favorite bay?


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mountain Man

Kirk is really a Mountain Man ! He likes being an innkeeper but when he's not doing that, he loves to be a mountaineer and so does our daughter Martine. Here they are on their way up to the summit of Mt Sahale. At 8,700 feet it is one of the tallest peaks in the North Cascade mountain range.

On the long hike up they got to see amazing mountain vistas, lots of lovely wildflowers and these two adorable baby marmots. Both of them said it was one of the most beautiful hikes they have ever done.

Of course climbing a mountain like this takes hours [12 to be exact] of hiking some of which is done over glaciers. So that's one reason why I did not go on this expedition. Another reason I did not go is that climbing can be very dangerous, duh! Fortunately Kirk has been a mountaineer for years and knows how to be safe.

               And finally, the actual summit of Mt Sahale - I guess it was well worth all the effort!

Now, this is a photo of another climb Kirk did this year - Mt Princeton in the Collegiate Range of the Rocky Mountains. He did this climb with another mountaineer friend of his, Dave Clark.

Not quite a 12 hour hike but at 14,200 feet it is a much higher mountain. Pretty amazing huh?
                          He's my Mountain Man.