Quilting is a tradition that goes back far into our collective history. Who hasn’t snuggled up under a big, soft quilt on a cold, winter night – or at least wished they could! There’s something special about a handmade quilt – that family heirloom, that work of art – something that surpasses the depth of many other household objects whether you’re a quilter yourself or just a fan, and that’s what the 38th annual Vermont Quilt Festival is all about.
May 26th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards
May 19th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards
And what, exactly, is a BrewGrass Festival?
The BrewGrass Festival is an annual, Mad River Valley celebration that combines three of the better things in this life: blue grass music, craft-brewed, regional beer (also cider and distilled liquors), and a delectable selection of finger-licking foods: *that’s* BrewGrass Festival.
May 6th, 2014 by Susan
Farmers and consumers both benefit from the CSA scenario. Farmers have time to market their food before the start of their long days in the fields, they receive payment for their produce early in the season which helps with their cash flow, and they have the opportunity to meet the people who purchase the results of their labors.
Consumers benefit as well with absolutely fresh food full of vitamins and flavor, they learn about new foods and new recipes, they know where their food is coming from, and they develop a relationship with “their farmer(s)”.
Here in the Mad River Valley there are several CSA programs underway and we recently bought a “share” in Muddy Boots, a CSA collaborative effort between three organic farms, Kingsbury Market Garden, Wood’s Market Garden and Burnt Rock Farm. Other smaller producers will also be involved so we will have the option of also receiving fresh bread, butter, sunflower oil, dry beans and a variety of other wonderful items.
Muddy Boots recently had an open house where we met one of “our farmers”, Aaron of Kingsbury Market Garden, who was getting his tractor ready for onion planting, and Marisa of Bragg Farm in Fayston, one of the smaller producers, who will be providing butter and cheese products.
Not only did we meet these two, we met a new-to-us food, Claytonia, which is quite delicate in appearance, tastes somewhat sweet, is full of vitamin C and will make a lovely addition to a salad of fresh greens.
This year at West Hill House B&B we will be incorporating items from our CSA share into our breakfasts so you, our guests, will be able to taste fresh, farm-to-tummy produce from our neighbors.
April 28th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards
As the weather continues to warm, the foliage begins to green, and the Winooski and Mad rivers begin to swell, thoughts turn to canoeing and kayaking Mad River Valley.
April 16th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards
That shift in the weather, that smell of maple sugaring in the air can only mean one thing: Springtime in Vermont is here!
Ah, springtime in Vermont: runoff swells the creeks back to bubbling life, the trees fill with the activity of birds. Both year-round residents and migratory species can be seen winging their way back to – and through – our neck of the woods: the Scarlet Tanager, Bicknell’s Thrush, the Indigo Bunting, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the Common Yellowthroat, the Meadowlark, the Blue-winged Teal, and many, many more.
March 31st, 2014 by Susan
Stirring it up: Here’s an easy recipe for a simply delicious and delicate treat. While easy, this recipe should be undertaken when you have no other distractions as you will be cooking with very hot oil. You will need rosette irons and handle as pictured here with the completed rosettes. The recipe for the sandbakkkels (the three cookies scolloped cookies) will be posted before long.
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 2 t. vanilla sugar or 2 t. white sugar plus 1 t. of an extract of choice
- 1 c. milk
- 1 c. all purpose flour
- 1/4 t. salt
- Canola oil
Whisk together the eggs, vanilla sugar and milk.
Sift together the flour and salt then whisk it into the egg mixture and whisk till smooth.
Attach an iron to the handle.
In a large, heavy pan heat 2 to 3 inches of Canola oil to between 360°F and 365°F. Keep a careful eye on the oil so that it does not get hotter during the cooking process.
CAREFULLY dip the iron into the hot oil.|
Remove the iron from the oil and dip it into the batter just deep enough to come up to the top edge of the sides of the iron. Do not cover the iron with batter.
Now, submerge the iron into the hot oil just long enough to turn the rosette a light golden brown. If the rosette falls off the iron, use a chopstick or a long handled roasting fork to remove it from the oil.
Remove the iron from the oil and place the rosette on a paper towel to cool. If the rosette doesn’t come off the iron easily, use a kitchen knife to gently press it off.
If you wish to change the iron to another shape remember, the iron may be extremely hot so use a pot holder to cover the iron when unscrewing it from the handle.
Cool completely. Just before serving sprinkle with powdered sugar.
This recipe makes about 25 large rosettes.
Dishing it out: Called struva in Swedish, these delicate treats were not common in our family, maybe because there were four of us kids and Mom had little time to stand over a hot pan of oil without one or the other of us needing (or wanting!) her full attention. When she did make these, usually for a special occasion, she would always save one for each of us. A rosette covered with powdered sugar and a cup of “tea” was about as special a tea-party as any child could wish for.
March 31st, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards
There’s just about nowhere more perfect for an outdoor Vermont wedding than West Hill House B&B in the Mad River Valley – and now is the time to plan that summer wedding you’ve always dreamed of.
Whether you’re going for a big ceremony with all your friends and relatives, a more intimate ceremony, or just a simple elopement, we have the experience and facilities to help make your special day one that you will look back on with fondness for the rest of your lives.
Our all-season, Handsome Red Barn is the perfect venue for larger weddings, as it is newly renovated and can comfortably accommodate up to 50 people. We don’t overload ourselves with big events – only six a year – so we can devote the helpful kind of stress-free attention your wedding deserves.
With our extensive experience hosting weddings, we’re familiar with all the wedding professionals the Mad River Valley has to offer, so we can help coordinate the services that fit your needs: catering, music, photography, cake, Justice of the Peace, and more. No detail is too small.
West Hill House B&B is ready to accommodate your rehearsals, receptions, and dinners, too. We offer on-site catering and we’re even state licensed for the sale of beer and wine!
Prefer elopement to a big ceremony? We have a number of elopement plans to suit whatever size ceremony you’re planning: whether it’s just the two of you or up to 16 guests.
We’re the perfect location for your Vermont Honeymoon, too – whether you get married here or not! West Hill House B&B’s location on a quiet country lane in the heart of Vermont’s lush Green Mountains is the epitome of intimacy and relaxation. Settle into one of our unique guest rooms with its incredibly comfortable bed, warm and soothing double Jacuzzi tub, pampering hosts, and only minutes away from a wide array of year-round activities.
With the amenities at West Hill House B&B and the natural beauty of the Mad River Valley, your perfect, outdoor Vermont wedding is but a reservation away. Don’t let the opportunity to hold your ceremony at our popular wedding venue slip away: book now.
March 23rd, 2014 by Susan
Stirring it up!
These bars are quick and easy to make, perfect when you need a little something to go along with an afternoon cuppa. Dates add a special sweetness and walnuts give a nice crunch to each bite. This recipe does not call for any butter or shortening.
- 2/3 c. all purpose flour
- 1 t. baking powder
- 1/4 t. salt
- 3/4 c. sugar, white
- 1 c. dates, pitted and chopped
- 1 c. walnuts, chopped
- 2 eggs, well-beaten
- 1/2 t. vanilla
- confectioners sugar
Stir the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Add sugar, dates and nuts, then stir in the eggs and vanilla.
Spread about 1/2″ thick in a well greased or parchment lined 9″ x 9″ square pan.
Bake at 325°F for 25 to 30 minutes.
Cut into small squares while still warm and dust with confectioners sugar.
Dishing it out:
Apparently this recipe was first published in Good Housekeeping magazine in 1917 but by all accounts, why the name Chinese Chews, remains a mystery. While this recipe may not be the same as the early version, my mom made these from a recipe in her trusty Five Roses Flour cookbook, A Guide to Good Cooking. My copy of the same cookbook is filled with annotated recipes on well worn pages, several of which are held in the book with tape. The recipe actually called for the squares, once cool enough to handle, to be rolled into balls then dusted with sugar. I never remember having them rolled but no matter the shape, the taste is great and they are chewy! One drawback though, they are so good they won’t last long!
March 23rd, 2014 by Peter MacLaren
Stirring it up:
For all of you who have been after me for the recipe I use to make German Pancakes, here it is. This is a simple recipe for one serving and can easily be increased depending on how many hungry folks are at the table.
- 1/4 c. all purpose flour or sifted bread flour
- 1/4 c. milk (2% is just fine)
- 1 egg
- 1 t. butter
- pinch of salt
- dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
This recipe is for one serving. Increase it by the number you are feeding. I have found that using a 10″ (25cm) round, pyrex pie dish and trebling the recipe makes 4 good servings.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C)
Place the butter in the baking dish (size is dependent on the number you are feeding) and place it in the oven when the oven reaches 400°F (200°C). Leave it there while you proceed but be careful the butter does not burn.
Combine all the ingredients in a food process or blender and blend until just smooth. A wire whisk will do the job however the batter will not be as smooth.
When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the oven. Pour in the pancake batter and put the pan back into the oven. Be careful as the butter and the pan are extremely hot and the batter may make the butter splatter a bit.
Bake for 12-18 minutes depending on the size of your pancake. You want around the edges to be puffed up and the center to be just firm. I tend to use a lower temperature than similar recipes call for, I find the pancake stays thicker in the middle while still being puffy around the edge.
The pancake will start to deflate as soon as it comes out of the oven so serve it immediately.
Top each serving with fresh fruit, some powdered sugar, and sausage or two along side, and you have a very yummy breakfast. Oh, and if you have a sweet tooth, add some real maple syrup.
Tip: Sometimes I dice apples or peaches, cook them in some butter in a separate pan until they are soft and add them to the batter once it is poured into the hot buttered baking dish. Makes a nice change from a plain pancake.
Dishing it out:
These are also sometimes called Dutch Babies. ‘Dutch’ relates to the German-American immigrants who were known as the Pennsylvania Dutch— Dutch being of course a corruption of the word Deutsch which is German for, well, German! My great-grandmother, Ursula, came to the United States from Germany when she was a child and I can only imagine that she would have loved eating this wonderful eggy breakfast treat.
March 20th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards
If you like craft beer and vacations, have we got the deal for you: the Vermont Bed and Brew Package is back for Spring. And we call it our “Brews and Snooze” special!
That’s right, all you micro brew beer enthusiasts should sit up and take notice so you don’t miss an opportunity that you can’t (or at least probably shouldn’t) refuse:
Mad River Valley’s Chamber of Commerce is once again offering you a chance to tour and sample the offerings of our local, award-winning, craft breweries, plus two or more nights lodging – what a deal!
You know the Mad River Valley for its skiing, its incredibly photogenic autumn foliage, its unique and welcoming communities, and, if you’re a beer enthusiast, all the great, craft breweries in the area. Touring them is a treat but can be logistically difficult: who drives? With the Vermont Bed and Brew Package, you can sit back and leave the driving to somebody else!
Here’s how the tour works – You get picked up from the B&B at 10am by a 14-seat tour bus, complete with coolers for your purchases, that takes you to:
- Mad River Distillers
- The Alchemist Brewery
- Lost Nation or Von Trapp Lagers
- Rock Art Brewery
- Crop Bistro Brewery
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
- Private tasting of Lawson’s Finest
You’ll also receive:
- a gift box containing hearty snacks and unique treats
- Specials to restaurants and shops in and around the Mad River Valley
- a unique, Mad River Valley 6oz tasting glass to use at the breweries and take home
Vermont Bed and Beer Package
Spring Dates: April 26, May 17 and May 31, 2014
More details are shown on our “Brews and Snooze” special!
Now, call us biased, but we don’t think you could do any better than West Hill House B&B, right here in Mad River Valley, when it comes to lodging for the Vermont Bed and Brew Package, so don’t forget to select West Hill House B&B as your choice of accommodation – or we can book it for you but call soon because space is limited.
See you then!