Fluffiest Cornbread Ever

January 30th, 2013 by Susan

Bring on the honey-butter!

Stirring it up! Cornbread is often thought of as a southern US food and seldom served in the northern states which is a pity. This cornbread recipe has become a favorite of our guests especially when served warm with honey-butter and along side an eggy breakfast casserole. Can’t say where I found this recipe as it’s been in my collection for ages.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. butter, melted
  • 1 c. yellow cornmeal  (I use coarse cornmeal)
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 2-3 T. Sugar
  • 4 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 can creamed corn (8oz)
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten

Turn the oven temp to 450°F. Pour 2T. of melted butter into an 8×8 pan and bake for 5 minutes until the cake pan is very hot. While the pan is heating, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the creamed corn, milk, egg and the remaining 2 T. of melted butter. Stir until smooth then pour into the hot cake pan. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown and tests done in the center. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving. Makes 9 pieces.

Dishing it out!  When I was about 10 years old, a friend and I decided to start a cooking club with only ourselves as members and our moms as consultants. We took turns week about in each other’s kitchens and choose recipes from our mom’s recipe collections. With their  blessings we’d cook up a storm and of course have to clean up after, this part was not nearly as fun as the making part!  I cannot remember what we made or how long we did this but I do remember we enjoyed the time in the kitchen.  I wonder if Brenda still loves to bake?

Book an Exceptional Trip to Sugarbush this Year

January 30th, 2013 by Katie Pate

Sugarbush is famous as home to the most diverse terrain in the North East. In fact, it was ranked #1 in Terrain Variety by SKI Magazine in 2010. Many Olympian skiers and riders fell in love with the sport and perfected their technique on the Sugarbush slopes.

Sugarbush resort is only a couple of minutes from the front door of our B&B in Warren. The ski shuttle will stop here to whisk you from the inn to the slopes in style.

Vermont-ski-and-stay-packages

Experience the adrenaline rush of a ride down a Sugarbush slope!

We’ve also found that the Sugarbush riders and skiers are among the friendliest at the top ski resorts in the North East.

First Tracks Tours at Sugarbush Resort

If you are an early riser, than let us book something really special for you: A first-tracks tour. 12 passengers can ride the Lincoln Limo and experience pristine, deep powder as they cruise down the mountain before anyone else. The route taken is determined by the weather and snow conditions on the mountains that day. Tours may go to the top of Heaven’s Gate or North Lynx, into the Slide Brook Wilderness Area or elsewhere, based on the judgment of the guide. The tour includes an en route pastry breakfast from Timbers Restaurant, a movie to get the adrenaline pumping, Sugarbush guides and one or two cat-served runs. (First Tracks-trips are available for advanced skiers and riders only.)

Our Vermont Ski & Stay Package

From now until March 31st (note black-out periods) we are offering you great prices AND flexibility for an inclusive skiing vacation in Vermont. Stay at our Bed and Breakfast and receive two Ski Passports per room. The Ski Passport includes skiing at not only Sugarbush, but also Mad River Glen and Olé’s cross-country. The Passport also provides promotions like freebies and discounts at local stores and restaurants. Visit our Ski & Stay page for prices and further details. We look forward to seeing you this winter!

Chestnut Soup

December 25th, 2012 by Susan

 

Hearty soup and artisan bread, what a meal!

Stirring it up! Until a few weeks ago I had never cooked with chestnuts. Many years ago I had chestnuts roasted on an open fire  (as one does at Christmas time!) from a street vendor in Toronto but nothing since then. I purchased some a few weeks back, sautéed them with some bacon and red onion and the results weren’t bad at all. The  next day however,  I decided that left-over chestnuts weren’t going to be on my list of favourite foods. Always ready for an experiment though I decided to try making some Chestnut Soup. I opened the pantry and this is what I came up with.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chestnuts, precooked and roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 slices bacon cut into 1/4″ bits
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 2 c. chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • thyme, a couple of good shakes
  • salt & pepper

In a heavy bottom saucepan, sauté the bacon bits till cooked but not quite crispy.  Add the red and yellow diced onions and continue to sauté until the onions are soft and the bacon is crispy. Add the diced potatoes, chestnuts, thyme and stock. Cook on low heat until the potatoes are soft then simmer for a bit so the flavours can blend. Using a hand blender, purée the soup to a smooth thick consistency. Use caution when blending the hot soup and do NOT pour hot soup into a blender or processor to purée it.

Dishing it out! My dad was the soup maker in our family and his experiments in making vegetable soups were renowned amongst our friends. Dad could make soup out of just about anything and it was always ”terribly healthy”. Although at the time we often thought  ”Not soup again”, recently a homemade soup experiment  is often dinner for Peter and myself. Dad would be proud!

Time to Retire Bottled Water? Yes!

December 8th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Bottled waterSome facts to ponder:

  • Bottled water costs the eager buyer up to 10,000 as much as tap water.
  • We are shipping 1 billion water bottles a week around the U.S. in ships, trains, and trucks.
  • Plastic bottles require energy to make and transport. Currently, the amount of oil we use to produce water bottles each year (17 million barrels) could fuel over 1,000,000 cars for an entire year.
  • Only 22% of the bottles get recycled; the rest end up in landfills (or worse).
  • Roughly 50 billion plastic water bottles end up in U.S. landfills each year — 140 million every day!
  • It takes over 700 years for plastic to decompose.
  • The University of Vermont UVM will be the first public university in the country to end the sale of bottled water, effective January 1st 2013.
  • Tap water in the United States is subject to more stringent federal safety regulations than bottled water.
  • West Hill House has beautiful spring-fed well water available free of charge from every faucet in the B&B.

Bottles in LandfillWe think the above says it all! As a Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State, West Hill House feels it is time to encourage a change in perspective.  While we have never offered bottled water to our guests, effective immediately we are updating our booking page and confirmation information to also request that guests do not bring bottled water to the B&B.

To help the process along, by January 1st 2013 each of our guests will be offered a complimentary West Hill House re-usable aluminum water bottle to use while they are here and take home with them if they wish.

Please make giving up bottled water YOUR New Year’s resolution!

Winter Wedding

November 29th, 2012 by Susan

Ryan & Jeff married by Greg Trulson, Justice of the Peace

 

With early season snowflakes whirling about them, and the temperature sitting at about 28°F, Ryan and Jeff were married in the meadow at West Hill House B&B. Our favorite Justice of the Peace, Greg Trulson officiated at the wedding making it a very meaningful occasion, as he always does. Following the ceremony,  the newly married couple asked Peter to continue taking photos as they enjoyed a short stroll around our wintery gardens.

Warming up by the fireplace a few minutes later Ryan and Jeff enjoyed an intimate wedding reception complete with wedding cake, made here at West Hill House, and a bottle of  Champagne. They were kind enough to invite Greg and Peter and Susan to join them.

Ryan loves experimenting with recipes. Check out her food blog called Skinny Supper. It’s a fun site with lots of photos to help you along.

Ski & Stay & Save at Sugarbush & MRG

November 28th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Sugarbush Quad-PackThe snow is flying, Sugarbush is open and Mad River Glen is opening soon.  It’s time to plan to your ski vacation!

You have an IMMEDIATE, but fleeting, opportunity to get a great deal on Sugarbush ski tickets for the coming season with their Quad-Pack.  The great thing about this pack is that there are no black-outs and you can share it.  So 4 unrestricted tickets at $50 each! These are ideal if you plan to ski during Christmas week, MLK weekend or President’s Week as our Ski and Stay Passport is blacked-out at those times. But you must buy them in advance on or before November 30th.

From December 15th onwards, other than the black-out dates, our Ski and Stay Passport offers great value as you can ski freely at Mad River Glen, Sugarbush and Olé’s cross-country, as well as enjoy offers and freebies at local stores and restaurants most evenings.

If you are planning to come during the Christmas season from December 21st to January 1st, please finalize your plans now!  We do have some rooms still available for some dates, but we are filling up fast!

Celebrate the 254th birthday of Robert Burns

November 27th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Robert Burns

On January 26th 2013 we will be holding our 5th annual Burns Supper at West Hill House to celebrate the 254th anniversary of the birth, on January 25th 1759, of this great Scottish Poet, often referred to as “The Bard”. (Bard is a Scots word for a poet.)

A Burns Supper is a significant tradition in Scotland and among Scots around the world. The evening will consistent of traditional Scottish fair including Haggis (which really is worth trying!) and Scottish Trifle. Wine will be served with dinner and a wee dram of Scottish whisky will be served  to toast The Bard (for those 21 and older; soft drinks will also be available).

The Haggis will be piped in by a local piper and will be addressed in the traditional manner by Peter:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm. …

We will then encourage you to try some Scottish Dancing after dinner – we’ll show you how!

The Burns Supper will be held in our handsome Red Barn and we have room for only 30 guests. We expect a sell-out so don’t wait till the last minute to book. Tickets must be purchased by January 21st.

The Burns Supper is just $50 per person (including tax), and it is sure to be a memorable evening. Book two nights including the 26th and we will include the supper at the reduced rate of $80 per couple. Advance reservation is required for all tickets.

RoadID – Wear it!

November 14th, 2012 by Susan

I wear mine


RoadID. Pro cyclists wear it. Marathon runners wear it. Ironman competitors wear it. And, not that I fall into any of these categories, I wear one too. Whether you are an athlete or not, this comfortable little wrist band is a great way to have ID on you at all times.

For years we have watched the Tour de France on TV and have not only seen Bob Roll in some pretty funny ads for this ID but have also seen commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen and of course cyclists wearing the RoadID. The ID is available in numerous colors and styles including a style to thread in your shoelaces and even a RoadID for Fido.

Thanks to encouragement from Ted King we’re on board.

RoadID – never leave home without it – you just never know when it might help save your life.

The Red Chair visits West Hill House B&B

November 2nd, 2012 by Susan

Red Chair warming up and being admired by Snowball at West Hill House B&B

Warming up with Snowball

The Red Chair getting shelter at West Hill House B&B

Dry again!

The Red Chair checks out the Lincoln Gap - the highest road crossing in the State of Vermont

I feel high!

Ski School for the Red Chair at Mad River Glen

Teach me if you can!

The famed Single Chair at Mad River Glen has a date with the Red Chair

I am sure I could ski it – need snow!

The Red Chair visits with the Sugarbush cow

Please don’t sit on me!

Red Chair socializing with skier at Sugarbush

This guy looks a bit stiff

Hay there! The Red Chair enjoys a high perch at Hartshorn's Farm in Waitsfield Vermont

David Hartshorn gave me this perch

Red Chair at the Hartshorn Farm Stand in Waitsfield VT

I can’t help feeling squashed!

The Red Chair visits the Alpacas at Hartshorn's Farm in Waitsfield Vermont

I think they are staring at me!

Red Chair at Warren Vermont covered bridge

The river is not too Mad today!

Hi everyone, I’m the Red Chair that has been traveling throughout New England for the past several months.

I arrived at West Hill House B&B in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and rain was the order of the day. Fortunately my hosts offered rain boots and an umbrella so I stayed pretty dry. Inside I was given a place by the fire to warm up a bit even had a pussy cat come curl up with me for a bit.

Once the weather cleared my first stop was at the top of the Lincoln Gap Road, the highest road pass in Vermont, where I set foot, or should that be feet, on the Long Trail. The air was so fresh I’m felt I could have walked the full 273 miles of the trail but I had places to go and things to see.

With winter just around the corner I wanted to be introduced to the Mad River Glen ski area. I checked out the ski school meeting place then of course had to have my photo taken with the single chair.

From there we went to Sugarbush where I had my photo taken with a local cow before going  to sit beside the year ’round skier. He didn’t say much, we just enjoyed the solitude of the moment.

I visited the Hartshorn Farm and hey, for fresh food, maple syrup from their own trees and hay, head to their farm stand. And speaking of stand – look at me standing atop a huge bale of hay!

With my feet firmly back on the ground I posed with some squash then climbed up on the wall to sit with the boxes of pumpkins for a while.

My legs were getting a bit cramped so I hopped down and headed over to visit with the alpacas, The Finkles,  who didn’t seem to mind my company.  I certainly did not expect to see alpacas in Vermont!

A stop to pose in front of the Warren Covered Bridge that spans the Mad River then back to my temporary home at the West Hill House B&B and ready for a warm cup of hot chocolate and a little cake.

Wow, have I had fun! I can’t wait for my next adventure! Tomorrow I am off across the Green Mountains to visit Middlebury, Vermont – I wonder what adventures await me there.

 

A Traveling Chair?

October 24th, 2012 by Susan

The Red ChairYes, a Red Chair is traveling throughout New England and having a great time visiting B&Bs, historic sites, museums, gardens and beaches.  

Keep your eyes open, it may be coming to a B&B near you!

»