Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Labor Day Community Events in Lancaster

There are many options to consider as you travel to Lancaster, PA but for those visiting on September 5-7, options include a benefit auction and a large craft show.
Hospice & Community Care will hold their Annual Labor Day Auction on Saturday, September 5 and Monday, September 7th at the Lampeter Community Fairgrounds.  Labor Day Auction  According to their website, The Labor Day Auction is Hospice & Community Care's largest fundraising event and proceeds raised from the auction benefit care and comfort for adults, teens and children coping with serious illness and loss.”  Some of the items being auctioned are Sports Memorabilia from the 2015 Women’s US Open, Baltimore Orioles, Penn State, and New York Yankees.  Vacation getaways to Hilton Head, Ocean City and beautiful quilts and jewelry will also be auctioned at this event. 

The Heart of Lancaster Arts & Crafts Show will hold their 28th anniversary show at Root’s Auction in Manheim.  This two day event is held Saturday and Sunday both 10 AM – 4 PM, rain or shine.    Over 200 juried artists and crafts persons from Pennsylvania and nearby states will be displaying their fine work.  Many options for food are available and live entertainment featuring Susquehanna Pipes and Drums as well as a jazz group.

Both of these events are a short distance from our Bed and Breakfast.  Make plans to enjoy these and other Lancaster County Attractions during your stay.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Canning Applesauce - Passing on the Tradition

Each time there is an opportunity to pass on a tradition and teach the next generation the many "how to" items, I cherish the time.  Such a time came this week when my youngest daughter and I decided to make applesauce.  A trip to our local orchard, Kauffman Fruit Farm,
provided us the apples we needed. This year we chose a combination of Ginger Gold, Summer Rambo, and few Earligold.
 I like to mix some of the varieties when making applesauce. 
1. After washing the apples, I cut the apples into quarters and placed in the large kettle with some water added. No need to peel or remove the seeds with this method since I used my Victorio Food Strainer.  
2. Cook the apples on medium heat until the apples are soft.
3. Place the hot apples into the Victorio Food Strainer - the apples are very hot so be careful not to burn yourself!
4. Follow the directions on the Victorio by stomping the apples down the funnel into the strainer to have the applesauce pour down the chute.
5. Allow the applesauce to cool slightly before adding sugar.  In recent years, the amount of sugar that I use has lessened considerably to almost sugar free! Different varieties of apples determine the sweetness of the sauce so this will be personal preference as to how much or how little sugar you add to the sauce.
6. Options for applesauce would be canning or freezing.  This year we decided to can the applesauce.  After pouring the applesauce into jars, they were placed in the canner till it boiled for 15 minutes.  Take out the jars and listen to the sound of the seals on the jars "popping".  My daughter loved hearing this happen! 

Great way to spend a few hours with your daughter.  Not only do we have applesauce to enjoy during the Fall and Winter months, but it was rewarding to hear my daughter say with delight - "Cool, I am making applesauce!"

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Afternoon Trip for Ice Cream

When you grow up in Lancaster and have lived here most of your life, it is easy to overlook or not take advantage of some of the wonderful treasures we have here.  Today it was decided to take a 15 minute drive from the Bed and Breakfast through the beautiful farmlands to a local farm where they make home made ice cream.  

My daughter and I drove down Route 340 through the quaint towns of Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse to arrive for our afternoon treat. Lapp Valley Farm is known for its rich creamy ice cream and freshly made waffle cones. The ice cream is made on the farm from the fresh milk and cream from their Jersey cows. The twelve choices of flavors today made the decision difficult but we choose Cookies and Cream and Butter Pecan - both in waffle cones, of course!  
If you are visiting Lancaster, this is a "must" - and if you visit the farm between 4:30-5:30, you can watch the cows being milked and pet the calves! Don't forget to just drive some of the back roads of Lancaster County and enjoy the beautiful farmland!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Corn coming out your "ears"?

CORN – enough to last for a year!!
July is here and that means corn on the cob!!  However, you can enjoy fresh corn all year long by freezing it – in a few simple steps.
1.     Cut corn off cob and scrape off the juicy bottom part (that’s where the fresh taste comes from.)
2.   Put cut corn in a kettle and add enough water along with the juice from the creamed corn so that it will not stick.  Bring only to a boil.

3.   Drain.
4.   Spread corn out on trays, preferably underneath a ceiling fan to cool—stirring occasionally until cool. 
5.   Pack in freezer boxes and add reserved juices.
Now you’re all set for fresh homemade chicken corn soup next winter when the cold winds and snow are hurling ‘round the house.  Or to compliment a dinner, make a dish of corn by thawing a box of it.  You may need to add a bit more water, pinch of salt.  When it comes to a boil, add some crème cheese for a creamy yummy dish.

In my earlier years of doing up corn, I used to par-boil the cob of corn in large kettles, take them out and put in cold water immediately and then cut off the kernels.  Then I discovered this new way---it not only is faster but there are no more cobs to deal with in and out of the kettle. This improved method makes the finished product taste much fresher and almost like it was just pulled from the stalk.  Why not give it a try??

Friday, July 24, 2015

Inspiring Gardens from Monticello

Recently I had the opportunity to tour the home and grounds of our third President, Thomas Jefferson, at Monticello in Virginia. Monticello was a plantation of 5,000 acres and Jefferson experimented with many plants, trees, flowers, fruit trees, and vegetables. Jefferson designed and planted his oval shaped flower beds in 1808 around the four corners of his house.  He loved the informal style of his landscape design. In addition to the flower gardens, Jefferson documented the planting of over 160 species of trees including mulberry, locust and ornamental trees. When Jefferson referred to his "garden", he meant his vegetable garden.  
He grew 330 varieties of some 99 species of vegetables and herbs. The vegetable garden is 1000 feet long.  My daughter was most fascinated by the fact that his favorite vegetable was peas and that he planted 23 varieties in his garden!

My parents, owners of Flowers & Thyme, don't have a plantation of 5,000 acres but they certainly enjoy the many flowers, trees, fruit trees and vegetables around the grounds.  My mother enjoys finding new perennials and annuals to plant each year while my dad takes care of pruning and spraying the fruit trees on the property.

Both work in the vegetable garden cultivating, planting, weeding, and harvesting their produce.  Much of the fruits, vegetables and herbs that are from the gardens are then served to the guests at breakfast.  The flowers from the many landscaped beds are arranged by Dad and displayed in the rooms. I appreciate and enjoy their love for gardening. Plan a visit to Flowers & Thyme Bed and Breakfast and enjoy walking around the flower and vegetable gardens!

Friday, July 17, 2015

USGA Meets Lancaster, PA

Thanks to the Women's USGA Tournament coming to Lancaster early July, more national and international people are now aware of this treasure we call "home". Lancaster is not only home to the Lancaster Country Club where the Open was played, but is home to many other private and public golf courses. There are a variety of different levels of playing experiences from the beginner to the experienced golfer. Most of the golf courses are open year round. There are also many driving ranges for those who need to practice their swing.

Lancaster also has miniature golf courses suitable for all ages.  Village Greens Golf Course is located about 4 mile from our Bed and Breakfast.  

Two large courses cover about 13 acres in the natural beauty of their lush gardens and woods. The scenery changes as the seasons change with daffodils in the Spring to vibrant Fall foliage. 
Both courses will test your skill as you golf through natural obstacles. This is a great opportunity to test your putting skills with friends and family!

So whether you are an avid golfer and want to try the many options of public golf courses such as Foxchase, Tanglewood, or Crossgates or want to enjoy a round of miniature golf, Lancaster has something to offer everyone.

Friday, July 10, 2015

How I Convinced My Husband to Love Zucchini!

Earlier this Spring, my daughter and I planted a small garden with tomato and pepper plants.  We also purchased some "squash" plants from the neighbor boy who grew the plants from seed.  Not sure what type of squash we would produce, we planted them and waited for the results.  We now have both yellow squash and green zucchini in abundant supply from our garden.
Basket of yellow squash and green zucchini
 Since I love to try new recipes, this is a great time to try summer squash in a stir fry, sauteed, breads, soups, ratatouille, etc!  My husband is not a true fan of this garden vegetable but I did find one recipe that he LOVES and enjoys.  Here is the recipe for Italian Zucchini Crescent Pie.  Don't ignore the slightly strange ingredient (mustard) in this recipe - I think it is the secret bonus ingredient that makes this recipe all the more special!

4 cups sliced zucchini (I mixed yellow squash with this also)
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup butter
2 TBsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
2 well beaten eggs
8 oz shredded mozzarella
8 oz can crescent rolls or 1 unbaked pie shell
2 tsp mustard

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook zucchini and onion in butter for 10 minutes, or until tender.  Stir in parsley and seasonings.  In large bowl, blend eggs and cheese.  Stir in vegetable mixture.  Separate crescents and press into pie or quiche pan, if using.  Spread dough or crust with mustard.  Pour mixture into crust.  Bake 18 to 20 minutes.  If crust browns too much, cover with foil loosely until done.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

IF you have leftovers to reheat, cover loosely and bake 12-15 minutes at 375. This is so delicious served as a dinner entree or for breakfast!  If staying at Flowers & Thyme Bed and Breakfast during the summer squash season, this may just be on the menu!

A slice of zucchini pie garnished with fresh green cilantro leaves