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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September is National Chicken Month! That means it’s time to take flight with a recipe that’s not only apropos for the occasion, but in this case, also does double duty. We’re talking about Black Bean and Chicken Chili from our friends at Queen Anne Guest House in Galena, IL. Not only does this delicious dish feature the bird of the season, it’s also handy for sport of it as well. Whether you are tailgating outside the stadium or parked in front of the TV, this recipe pairs to perfection with one of America’s favorite pastimes so football and food fans feel free to rejoice!

Queen Anne Guest HouseQueen Anne Guest House

Black Bean and Chicken Chili

Ingredients:
2 T olive oil
1 T Riley’s (all purpose) seasoning
2 pounds cubed chicken breast
3 14 1/2 oz. cans of chicken broth
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes
1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 16oz. can refried beans
3 15 oz. cans black beans (rinse somewhat)
1 large diced red pepper
1 large diced onion
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1 T Amish all purpose (herb) seasoning
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
12-24 drops hot sauce
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/3 cup chopped mild banana peppers
1/2 t. liquid smoke
2/3 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Directions:
Sauté chicken, onion, red pepper and garlic together in large skillet with 1 T Riley’s seasonings and 2 T olive oil. Add all other ingredients in large pot and place sautéed items in pot. Bring to boil then simmer 20-30 minutes.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ok, before you get upset that the summer sun is on its way to setting, we thought we’d offer 5 alternatives to brighten your day in the best way possible – by saving you both time and money. Just pick and choose what’s best for you from our Top 5 BnBFinder End of Summer Travel Options:

1) Enjoy the final days of seasonal specials with Summer Getaways. Sadly, just like summer itself these deals will soon disappear, so grab a hold of them before they’re gone.

2) Indulge in an impulse with Last Minute Spontaneous Bed & Breakfast Specials. You know you want to get away, and you can even go today.

3) Fill up your free time with Gas-Saving Getaways.

INN-SIDER TIP: To make planning as painless as possible, check out the suggested One Tank Trips from cities such as Boston, Chicago, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC parked right on the Gas-Savings Getaways page.

4) Escape the office with Mid-Week Bed & Breakfast Specials. Instead of lingering longingly at the sky during lunch, enjoy days of fun in the sun sans multiple emails and excessive staff meetings.

5) Buy a BnBFinder Gift Certificate! Because we know you know someone who deserves some days off (yourself included!), why not make sure they have no excuse not to take them? With a BnBFinder Gift Certificate it’s simple to do because it’s accepted at over 1,500 properties, with no expiration or blackout dates; includes free shipping, or you can download and print an instant e-Card; and it can be sent with a personalized message.

INN-SIDER GIFT:
You’ll receive 10% off your purchase when you use the promo code SUMMER10 from August 28-September 7, 2015. So get buying and let’s get booking!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

We’re big fans of music, and so are many of our inns. This month we profile Noble House Inn in Bridgton, ME about their special series, “Acoustic Sounds At Noble House Inn: Music Above the Lake,” an ongoing event that is popular with both guests and locals alike. Innkeeper Cindi Hopper recently told us how this special amenity got started.

“I love music and was introduced to ‘listening rooms’ at the Bugle Boy in La Grange, TX,” she reveals. “When I knew I was coming to Maine to run the inn, I asked Bugle Boy owner Lane Godsey how she booked the acts and she told me about Concerts in Your Home. The website is very user-friendly, and they have great support folks. I listed my venue and the acts started contacting me to play here.”

Noble House InnNoble House Inn

Now in her third year of hosting these intimate concerts, Cindi has found that her passion has proven its potential. “Some artists require a guarantee and I can’t host them because I simply don’t make any money on these – they are much more a marketing effort and a gift to the community, which has proved to be my major source of guests! The townspeople love that I host the concerts and the musicians love the venue, so it’s a win-win. I accept donations in a champagne bucket for them, and so far they have made enough that they all have been willing to come back.”

The performances take place in either the formal parlor or on the north lawn (weather permitting). While there is no fee for the shows, the suggested donations Cindi mentioned usually range from $10.00-$15.00.

For a list of upcoming shows for the remainder of 2015, head here.

To check out some videos from past performances, login to your Facebook account then follow this link to Noble House Inn’s page.

Friday, August 21, 2015

This month we head to the Tar Heel State for some spectacular sunsets. As summer slowly winds down, we figured it’s apropos to show some inspiring images that capture its essence in vibrant hues that warm the heart. Enjoy the eye candy!

Inn at Corolla LightInn at Corolla Light

No Darkness In Sight at Inn at Corolla Light
Inn at Corolla Light in Corolla, NC is located on the historic Currituck Sound at the upper end of the Outer Banks. Nestled in the seclusion of stately water oaks and tall pines, the inn provides guests with comfy accommodations and plenty to do. There are 43 new and individualized rooms and suites onsite. All include refrigerators, coffeemakers, TVs, VCRs, and radios. Many also feature separate sitting and entertainment areas, gas fireplaces, breathtaking views, king-sized beds, large bath facilities, lavish whirlpools, and kitchenettes with full cooking capabilities for private, in-room dining. Guests can make the most of a local experience with  full use of the amenities of Corolla Light Resort and the best of the Outer Banks. Outdoor enthusiasts can stroll or bike the paths of the historic lighthouse (on complimentary bicycles); play tennis or racket ball; golf, fish, hunt, or hike; visit the sports center; swim in the competition-size pool; relax in the hot tub; workout in the exercise room; or shop till they drop. Also available on the property (in season) are parasailing, jet skis, kayaks, paddle boards, and much more. The inn can assist with Wild Horse Tours too.

Wildberry LodgeWildberry Lodge

Pick Your Perfect Experience at Wildberry Lodge
Wildberry Lodge in Leicester, NC is a custom built log home nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The inn is located 12 miles from historic Asheville and the nearby Biltmore Estate – close enough to all of the area attractions and action, yet far enough away for guests to sit serenely under the stars each evening. All accommodations showcase their own character, from the log structure to the rustic yet sophisticated decor and the amazing views outside the window or by a balcony. Two big highlights of this B&B include the spectacular Great Room fireplace (32 feet in height) made from local “Dogget Mountain” rock and the comfortable decks designed for relaxing and taking in the breathtaking surroundings. There are also some highly animated hosts you’ll find onsite (in addition to the innkeepers!), including two shaggy highland cattle (Callie and Laddie), some miscellaneous goats, and assistant innkeeper, Sassy, a lovable mixed breed dog.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Holualoa InnHolualoa Inn

It’s time for the latest installment of Breakfast Recipes to Feast On! This month’s enticing edition brings the Aloha State to your plate as we feature Punalu’u French Toast with Lilikoi Cream Cheese from our friends at Holualoa Inn in Holualoa, HI. A taste of paradise is a tantalizing way to start the day, so feel free to indulge and devour this decadent dish as the new main attraction of your morning meal. As the locals would say, it’s onolicious all the way so enjoy!

Ingredients:
12 slices sweetbread
Filling:
1 ½ cup cream cheese
¼ fresh lilikoi (passion fruit) pulp or frozen juice concentrate
Honey to taste
Batter:
4 eggs
¾ cup milk
¾ tsp cinnamon

Directions:
Serves 6
Serving Size: 3 halves
Preheat griddle: 300`

Slice sweetbread ¼ inch thick, allowing 3 slices per person. Set aside. Blend cream cheese, lilikoi and honey well. You should have a thick consistency. Spread evenly on bread slices creating sandwiches. Slice diagonally. Dip sandwich halves completely yet quickly in batter (sweetbread absorbs very fast). Place on griddle. Lightly brown all sides. Sprinkle lightly with Powder Sugar. Serve with warmed syrup.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Even though the arrival of autumn is waiting in the wings, there are still plenty of ways to make the most of summer. This month’s cocktail we crave – the Raspberry Basil Mojito from our friends at The Bed & Breakfast at La Jolla – offers just the right amount of tantalizing refreshment to help you savor the season.

The Bed & Breakfast at La JollaThe Bed & Breakfast at La Jolla

Ingredients:
1 cup simple syrup (3/4 cup sugar + 3/4 cup water, heated to dissolve)
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
1 cup FRESH key lime juice (use regular limes for slightly less acidity)
2 cups white rum
1/4 cup Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
1 liter club soda
Ice
Fresh raspberries and lime slices to garnish

Directions:
Pour the cooled simple syrup in a large pitcher and add the torn basil leaves. Use a large spoon/ladle to muddle the basil leaves so they release their flavor–beat them up pretty well. Add the lime juice, rum and Chambord. Stir. Add the club soda, stir, and top with ice if the pitcher allows.

To serve: Garnish each glass with fresh berries and lime slices. Serve over ice or chilled without ice.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Whether you’re inspired by Outlander, a Scotland enthusiast, or have an affinity for whisky and haggis, if you can’t make it to the Highlands this September, there is an exhilarating option that’s the next best thing. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the New Hampshire Highland Games and Festival. The three-day event celebrates everything Scottish – including music, food and drink, athletics, dance, and heritage.

Taking place at Loon Mountain Resort in Lincoln, from September 18-20, attendees will enjoy seminars and a variety of live musical performances from artists including Albannach, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, and John Carmichael (to new a few). Athletes from Canada, Iceland, Scotland and across Europe, and the US will compete in events such as Caber Toss, Weight Over the Bar, Hammer Throw and more. There will also be piping, drumming, fiddle, harp, and Highland dance solo and band competitions.

Glynn House InnGlynn House Inn

Glynn House Inn in Ashland is perfect place to stay for all the action. When you book three or more evenings in a luxury suite during the Highland Games, you will save 10% off seasonal rates. At this beautiful B&B, guests indulge in elegant surroundings, dine on enticing entrees, experience unrivaled service and genuine hospitality. Every morning a multi-course gourmet breakfast is served in the Victorian dining room with a full gluten-free breakfast menu always available. Refreshments are provided each afternoon, while complimentary wine and cheese are offered every evening. Travelers can bring their favorite four-footed canine pal too when they reserve one of five pet-friendly accommodations. For relaxation after a long day at the Games, guests can pamper themselves by booking an in-room massage prior to arrival.

In addition to the Highland Games, visitors can revel in numerous local activities including boat trips, fishing, hiking, outdoor adventure trips, and train rides. Inn guests enjoy savings off regular rates, and shoppers are spoiled for choice as well – antiques, art galleries, crafts, among other things – are all “tax free.” Fall foliage fans will be in awe of New Hampshire’s spectacular autumn palette of seasonal hues.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Glen-Ella Springs InnGlen-Ella Springs Inn

Relaxing on a porch overlooking the pool…if an image could sum up summer in one shot this one seems right on track for some seasonal indulgence in relaxation, restoration, and rejuvenation. That’s exactly what guests will find at Glen-Ella Springs Inn in Clarkesville, GA, located just 90 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this B&B offers first-class gourmet dining and plenty of Southern hospitality. There are 16 well-appointed guest rooms all featuring private baths, luxury amenities, and covered porches complete with rocking chairs for guests to take in all of the exquisite natural scenery. The rustic yet elegant accommodations are close to all nature has to offer in the area, including hiking trails, waterfalls, flyfishing and much more.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Each season we’re going to start featuring a tantalizing sweet treat that we think showcases what winter, spring, summer or fall is all about. We’re starting with Sand Dollars & Beach Glass, an Elegant Seaside Dessert, from Oakland House Cottages by the Side of the Sea in Brooksville, ME. Artistic and delicious, this dish delivers on sweetness and favorite seaside summertime sights.

Oakland House Cottages by the Side of the SeaOakland House Cottages by the Side of the Sea

Ingredients:
“Beach Glass”
2 cups of granulated sugar
1/4 cups of water
Dash of cream of tartar (if you have it, if not it’s critical)
Food coloring (green and red to make brown “beach glass”)

Blueberry Compote Filling
1 pint fresh wild Maine blueberries
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 tbs. cornstarch mixed into 1/4 cup cold orange juice
1 tsp. fresh, grated ginger root

Ocean Waves
1/2 cup granular sugar
2 tbs. water
food coloring

Directions:
Beach Glass Instructions
Oil lightly a sheet pan and place in the refrigerator until you need it. Using a long wooden spoon, stir all ingredients in heavy pan and heat on medium-high. When the mixture starts to boil and clear add small amounts of coloring to make the desired color. Your own King Neptune’s touch will dictate the amount of green and blue you add to make a pale turquoise “glass” or the amount of green and red you add to make the brown “glass” like we did. You won’t need much. Stir carefully so crystals of sugar do not form around the edges of the pan. Frequently brush the insides of the pan with warm water to wash any crystals that form back into the pan. Continue to heat to 300°-310° F to the “hard crack stage” on your candy thermometer. This is important because you want the “beach glass” to be brittle, not rubbery, but sugar will start to caramelize at a temperature higher than 310° F changing color and flavor. Pour the mixture into the cold sheet pan rocking the pan to make the syrup spread to glassy thickness. It’s hot and will make the entire pan hot. Cool in the refrigerator. Break it into pieces to create pieces of “beach glass.”

Blueberry Compote Filling Instructions
Put all ingredients into a medium saucepan, heat until it boils and reduces somewhat without breaking all the berry skins. Let cool. The filling can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Sand Dollar Instructions
Measure dry ingredients into large bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture is gravelly in texture. Add water slowly mixing carefully not to make it too sticky, just enough to hold together without crumbling. Roll out on lightly floured surface. Two different sizes of circle cutters are needed. I use a coffee pot lid and the outside ring of a donut cutter (which is about a half inch smaller than the pot lid in diameter). Cut pastry circles. Put a tablespoon of filling on a smaller circle. Moisten the edges of a larger circle, place over the bottom, and seal by folding the top edges under slightly. Brush the tops with an egg wash. Cut (with pointed scissors is pretty easy) the “sand dollar” signature 5-armed star shapes in the top crust. Bake at 400° F until lightly golden brown. Let cool and dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar.

Presentation and “Ocean Waves”
Ingredients for Beach Sand:
Large grained Sugar in the Raw, a natural cane turbinado sugar.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Did you know B&B’s are musically inclined? Many innkeepers have an ear for talent and are music fans themselves. So much so that they want to share the experience with their guests by offering specials that sound as good as they seem. Once a month we’ll take a tour of these packages, so tune in and take note!

Music to our ears this July is the Symphony on the Prairie Perfect Prairie Picnic Package from the Prairie Guest House in Fishers, IN, a place where they certainly know how to celebrate summer by combining good food and music under the stars for one amazing experience.

Prairie Guest HousePrairie Guest House

Symphony on the Prairie is a summertime tradition in Central Indiana that features the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and special guests performing in a gorgeous outdoor setting. Guests of the inn can enjoy an overnight stay package that includes two tickets to the Symphony on the Prairie, a perfect picnic for two, a beautiful suite, and a bountiful, home-cooked breakfast in the morning, made fresh from the inn’s gardens and the local farms that surround it.

Perfect Picnic Package includes: Mini brie wheel and crackers, fresh fruit, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, mixed nuts, dark chocolate bar, and bottled water. Innkeepers John and Karen Newton have been supporters of local music for a long time, and the goal of the package is to showcase the neighborhood musical gems.

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