Gracehill Bed and Breakfast http://www.gracehillbandb.com A Smoky Mountain Bed and Breakfast- Innkeeper near Gatlinburg and Townsend, TN Tue, 14 Apr 2015 13:03:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 A Mountain Quiltfest- 2015 Pigeon Forge, TNhttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2015/04/a-mountain-quiltfest-2015-pigeon-forge-tn/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2015/04/a-mountain-quiltfest-2015-pigeon-forge-tn/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 18:37:05 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=4468 Geisha 2015 Quiltfest Geisha 2 2015 Quiltfest The Look 2105 QuiltfestCabin 2015 Quiltfest
Kaleidescope 2015 Quiltfest Thousands of quilters gather at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, TN to look at quilts brought in from all over the United States. Local Quilting Groups (Piecemakers and Sevier Valley Quilters Guild) organize and administer the Festival. There are separate categories for professional and amateur quilters with divisions for hand and machine quilting, Appliques, Christmas Quilts, Children’s Quilts and military themed Quilts for the Quilts of Valor Organization.

This year the hundreds of quilts were displayed in the same room as the vendors who sell material, long-arm quilters, quilt kits for beginners and many other helpful tools for the quilting process. Patrons could wander the hall, looking at quilts and then talk to vendors who are able to explain what techniques can be used to accomplish certain effects.  The week long Quiltfest is held annually in March at the Pigeon Forge LeConte Center, 2986 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Copy and Photos by Bill Gathergood, friend and husband of a quilter extraordinaire.WaterBoy 2015 Quiltfest   Mistress 2105 Quiltfest

I could not attend the show this year and I’m sorry I am unable to attribute which quilters did which quilts… but as always, thank you for sharing your beautiful art work. mizkathleen@ Graehill Bed and Breakfast

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Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains, Jan. 24-31, 2015http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2015/01/wilderness-wildlife-week-in-pigeon-forge-and-the-great-smoky-mountains-jan-24-31-2015/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2015/01/wilderness-wildlife-week-in-pigeon-forge-and-the-great-smoky-mountains-jan-24-31-2015/#comments Sat, 17 Jan 2015 00:35:24 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=4130 A year ago one of my long time doctors dropped me an email asking if I knew about Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge. Said if I didn’t, I needed to scope it out and inform my guests! After asking around a little, I found a few of my friends had attended over the years and Bonnie handed me the 73 page pamphlet last week when we met for lunch. It took two hours to plow through the thing! I plan on attending a couple of different days. It’s coming up fast, Saturday, January 24, through Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the new and beautiful LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. For an online complete listing of “exhibits, performances, workshops, classes, walks and talks that are both informative and entertaining” go to  http://www.mypigeonforge.com/events/wilderness-wildlife-week/, scroll to the bottom of the article and click for the schedule.

Since Bill and Bonnie Gathergood are regular attendees of Wilderness Wildlife Week, I asked Bill to write a synopsis of the event. Here are his thoughts…..

Wilderness Wildlife Week is a free celebration of East Tennessee culture, history and science. Hundreds of entertaining lectures on bears, birds and butterflies of the area are free to the general public. Concerts by local musicians; Boogertown Gap and Lost Mill String Band are presented along with historical church music with Sacred Harp singing and traditional hymns.

For 25 years, Wilderness Wildlife Week, a concept begun by Ken Jenkins and Bill Landry, brings fascinating information about the National Park and surrounding areas. There are historical lectures on the Lewis and Clarke Expedition, the Trail of Tears march of the Cherokee as well as traditional Native American folk tales. The Master Gardeners of East Tennessee present several lectures on gardening techniques, creating butterfly habitats and planting specific flowers to draw hummingbirds or monarch butterflies to your yard. There are several classes on nature photography including a photo contest with all participants voting on the best photos.

For the last two years, Wilderness Wildlife Week has been held at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. The free lecture series are presented in the center’s many classrooms. People can also sign up for over 60 hikes through the nature trails of the National Park. All activities are free.

 

Thanks Bill, my first guest blogger! Blessings, mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

 

 

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Fruit- Honey Waldorf Saladhttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/06/fruit-honey-waldorf-salad/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/06/fruit-honey-waldorf-salad/#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2014 16:39:53 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=4079  

Honey Waldorf Salad

Honey Waldorf Salad

Honey Waldorf Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: Fruit Salad
 
Honey Waldorf Salad
Ingredients
  • 4 C diced apples
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 C grapes, both green and red
  • 1 C thinly sliced celery
  • ½ C chopped dates
  • ½ C chopped walnuts
  • ½ C mayo
  • ¼ C honey
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • ½ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. I use an assortment of Red and Golden Delicious apples and maybe one Granny Smith or my favorite, Honey Crisp.
  2. Core and cut up the apples, toss with lemon juice.
  3. Add the grapes (cut in half the long way if they are large.)
  4. Toss in the celery, dates and walnuts.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, honey and salt. Mix and pour over the apple mixture and mix well.
  6. Chill before serving.
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Award Winning View- taken with a cell phone no less!http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/06/award-winning-view-taken-with-a-cell-phone-no-less/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/06/award-winning-view-taken-with-a-cell-phone-no-less/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 18:55:27 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=4071 After 14 years of taking just about every conceivable photo at Gracehill Bed and Breakfast, guests still surprise me. It puts a smile on my face to see how different people see my home in a way I never thought of.  The photos are by Daniel Ray of his wife Paulette, staying for some needed R&R. Later that evening, he recorded a frog doing his thing croaking, and then played it back to the poor little guy who just went bananas. Said frog will probably need long term therapy….. 

Whole new meaning to "catching the rays." Taken by Daniel Ray of his wife Paulette.

Gives a whole new meaning to “catching the rays.” Taken by Daniel Ray of his wife Paulette.

Paulette, admittedly cold natured, warming her hands.  Photo by Daniel Ray.

Paulette, self admittedly cold natured, warming her hands. Photo by Daniel Ray.

Paulette, taken by Daniel Ray at Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

Paulette, taken by Daniel Ray at Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

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Fruit- Cheesecake Stuffed Peaches with Sliced Almondshttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/06/fruit-cheesecake-stuffed-peaches-with-sliced-almonds/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/06/fruit-cheesecake-stuffed-peaches-with-sliced-almonds/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 19:03:44 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3928

Cheesecake Peaches

Fruit- Cheesecake Stuffed Peaches with Sliced Almonds
 
Author:
Serves: 6 to 12 servings
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Bake for roughly 30 minutes at 350, just until the cheesecake starts to lightly brown and puff up a little. I serve these at breakfast but they would be good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Ingredients
  • 6 peaches, halved and pitted, don’t peel (It is really important to get freestone peaches, so they separate easily.)
  • ¼ C butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp cinnamon-sugar mixture
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ C sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ C sliced almonds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Dredge peaches through melted butter and set cut side up in a 9X13-baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  4. Beat together cream cheese, ¼ C sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla. I use a mini food processor. Dollop filling in the center of each peach, filling the hole.
  5. Sprinkle almonds on top.
  6. Bake until the cheesecake starts to brown, around 30 minutes.
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Side Dish- Brussels Sprout Salad w/Smoked Gouda, Pecans and Dried Cherrieshttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/05/side-dish-brussels-sprout-salad-wsmoked-gouda-pecans-and-dried-cherries/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/05/side-dish-brussels-sprout-salad-wsmoked-gouda-pecans-and-dried-cherries/#comments Mon, 12 May 2014 16:58:10 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3855 Brussels Sprouts Salad-     Something Healthy!

Brussels Sprouts Salad-
Something Healthy!

My sister Lisa forced us to eat something healthy at Christmas, in between eating holiday cookies and cakes! She got the recipe from Cook’s Country Magazine/America’s Test Kitchen.

Brussels Sprout Vinaigrette Salad with Smoked Gouda, Pecans and Dried Cherries
 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4
Prep time:
Total time:
 
Brussels Sprout Salad with Smoked Gouda, Pecans and Dried Cherries Or with Cheddar, Hazelnuts and Apples
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and sliced very thin
  • 4 oz. (1C.) shredded cheese (Gouda or Cheddar recommended)
  • ½ dried cherries or 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ C. pecans, toasted, skinned and chopped
Instructions
  1. Whisk lemon juice, mustard, shallot, garlic and ½ tsp. salt together in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in oil until incorporated.
  2. Trim the stem end of each sprout then cut each sprout in half through the cut end. With the flat surface on the cutting board, slice up very thin. We used a food processor. They need to be as thin as possible.
  3. Toss sprouts in with the vinaigrette and let sit for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours. Fold in cheese, fruit and nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Breakfast- Ham Spinach Gruyere Cheese Bread Puddinghttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/04/breakfast-ham-spinach-gruyere-cheese-bread-pudding/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/04/breakfast-ham-spinach-gruyere-cheese-bread-pudding/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 16:35:43 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3841
Breakfast- Ham Spinach Gruyere Cheese Bread Pudding
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ham Spinach Bread Pudding This can be made in a 9X13 Pyrex casserole dish, or 8 individual 8 oz circular ramekins. The 9X13 is easier, the ramekins make for a beautiful presentation. Once you take the ramekins out of the oven, let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a thin spatula around the edges and slide the pudding out onto a plate. Stick a sprig of thyme in it and garnish with sautéed sweet red peppers.
Ingredients
  • ¼ C butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced (or 3 leeks)
  • 6 oz package fresh spinach ripped into course pieces
  • ½ loaf of challah bread cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 C chopped cooked ham
  • 4 oz of shredded Gruyere cheese, about 2 cups
  • 3 oz of fresh grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme stripped off stems
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 C heavy whipping cream
  • ½ C milk
  • ¼ C Dijon mustard
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and cook for about 15 minutes. (The original recipe called for leeks. They are a pleasant taste, but I always have onions around the house, and leeks are more expensive and can be a pain to wash. As you are slicing them up you run into a ring of dirt and have to put them all in a sieve and wash the grit away.)
  3. Add spinach to the onions and cook another couple of minutes until wilted.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside to cool down so you can handle it.
  5. Chop up the ham.
  6. Grate both cheeses in a bowl and mix. Strip the thyme off the stems and mix in with the cheese.
  7. Beat eggs, whipping cream, milk and mustard together.
  8. Spray your baking dish(es).
  9. Spread half of your bread in the bottom of your Pyrex casserole dish or the bottom of the ramekins. Using half the ham, spread a layer on top of the bread. Follow with a layer of half the spinach onion mix, and half the cheese mix. Pour half the egg mixture on top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients layering the bread, ham, spinach and cheese. If using ramekins, be careful pouring on the top layer of egg mixture that it doesn’t run over the top and down the sides, pour slowly.
  10. At this point cover, and put in the fridge overnight. The next morning take out and let set out 30- to 60 minutes before putting in a 375F degree oven. Baked loosely covered in foil for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake the last 15 minutes till light brown on top. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Ham Spinach Leek TorteHam Spinach Leek

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Quilting Pigeon Forge & Sevierville, Quilts of Valor, Piecemakers Quilt Guildhttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/03/quilting-pigeon-forge-sevierville-quilts-of-valor-piecemakers-quilt-guild/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/03/quilting-pigeon-forge-sevierville-quilts-of-valor-piecemakers-quilt-guild/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 20:16:40 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3814 by Nancy Younce

by Nancy Younce

by Bonnie Gathergood

by Bonnie Gathergood

Many thanks to the Piecemakers Quilt Guild and Sevier Valley Quilters for allowing me to take photos at the 20th annual “A Mountain Quiltfest,” March 19-22, 2014, held at the Le Conte Center in Pigeon Forge.  What a beautiful new convention center this is with easy access and no cover charge for the show!  Not being a quilter myself, I certainly felt welcomed and picked up tidbits from snatches of conversation here and there.  Many of my friends are quilters, and belong to different quilting groups in the area.  There are various shows each year, and all are always well attended.

What originally attracted me to this particular show was the display section of quilts that are made every year by the two groups putting on this show, and distributed to shelters in the area, like Safe Space, for the children.  Two examples are shownto the right.  Nancy Younce’s quilt is done in a child’s style that made me smile.  Bonnie Gathergood’s was made from blue jeans her children wore when they were young.

Another special section was the quilts made by the Smoky Mountain Chapter of Quilts of Valor.  They meet once a month, at 12:30PM, on the first Tuesday of the month at the John Sevier Senior Center on Chapman Highway/Main Street in Sevierville.  The Quilts of Valor are for returning service members.  The national organization, Quilts of Valor, to date has distributed 98,207 quilts nationwide.  Some quilts are designated for Medal of Honor recipients.  An award ceremony will be held this August in Knoxville where the Medal of Honor recipients will receive their quilts. When President Obama recently announced 24 new Medal of Honor recipients, needles and sewing machines went into overdrive!  If you are interested in this local chapter contact Annie Matuszak at 865-774-7946 who says she likes binding best.  Why, I asked?  “Because you are in the homestretch!”

Award Winning Vintage Button Bouquet by Linda Roy

Award Winning
Vintage Button Bouquet by Linda Roy

Enjoying the show, from the left Phyllis Vlasaty of the Tellico Village Quilt Guild, Sue Ann Tippitt, Shirley Connors and Vickie Mueller

Enjoying the show, from the left, Phyllis Vlasaty of the Tellico Village Quilt Guild, Sue Ann Tippitt, Shirley Connors and Vickie Mueller

I bumped into my friend Sue Ann Tippitt gazing at the “Vintage Button Bouquet.”  She pointed out the characteristics of nationally known quilt designer Linda Roy of Knoxville’s prize winning quilt.  “This quilt wins a blue ribbon everywhere it is exhibited deservedly because of the high quality of Roy’s quilting and her creative design,” said Sue Ann.  The quilt features ruching, an unusual technique in quilts along with meticulous cross-hatching.

I took several hundred photos while walking around the 400+ quilt exhibit.  This link goes to a short 3-4 minute video of 37 of those quilts.   I found out from previous experience that a flash attachment usually washes the color out of the quilt photo, but if you’re not using flash, a tripod helps with clarity on a longer exposure.   Quilt photography can be hard, particularly if it is a geometric quilt, with stripes and borders, which most have.  The viewer doesn’t really notice strips on a slant walking through the show but it can be bothersome in a two-dimensional photo, therefore, I only used one photo out of every 16 quilts.  That issue is my excuse and I’m sticking to it!  So to all the wonderful ladies who hung their blood, sweat and smiles on the wall and didn’t end up in the video, what can I say, asymmetric quilts photograph the best when hanging on a wall…. Next year’s Quiltfest will be March 18-21, 2015.  Some classes will begin on the 17th, but the vendors and the official opening are on the 18th.  Happy stitching.           Blessings, mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

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Breakfast- Chicken Crepes Mornayhttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/03/breakfast-chicken-crepes-mornay/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2014/03/breakfast-chicken-crepes-mornay/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 13:52:22 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3808

Chicken Crepes Mornay

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken Crepes Mornay
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast or Dinner Crepes
Serves: 8
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Many of my breakfast entrees can easily be used as a dinner main course. This is one of them. It is also my favorite new main course dish of 2013!
Ingredients
Crepe Batter:
  • 1 C flour
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ C milk
  • Spray oil or butter
Chicken Filling:
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 bunch green onions or med to large onion chopped up
  • 6 oz white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • Couple of ounces of spinach (optional)
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 2 lbs. chicken, figure about 4 oz. of chicken per crepe. (Either buy boneless breasts and cook in a little water on the stove top or buy one of those cooked chickens from the store and pick it clean. Let the hot chicken breasts cool in the fridge and then slice very thin.)
Mornay Sauce:
  • 4 Tbsp of butter
  • 4 Tbsp of flour
  • 2 C milk
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 C Swiss cheese shredded
  • ⅓ C fresh grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ C light cream (half and half)
Topping:
  • 2 Tbsp chopped up fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • ½ C seasoned bread crumbs
Cranberry Relish:
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 C orange juice
  • 1 bag of fresh cranberries. (I buy many bags when in season, and freeze them whole.)
Instructions
  1. Cook your chicken in a pot on the top of your stove in a couple of inches of water. Let cool and put in the fridge. When cold, take out and slice in very thin strips like 1½" by ¼' or even thinner.
  2. For the crepes, I usually let the milk and eggs come to room temperature before mixing, or you can microwave the milk to about 70 degrees. Beat flour, salt, eggs and milk together to form the crepe batter and let "rest" while you are working on the rest of the recipe.
  3. For the filling, melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet. Add onion and saute till limp. Add mushrooms and stir till cooked. Add chicken, sliced very thin rather than chopped, salt, and stir.
  4. For the Cheese Sauce, melt 4 Tbsp of butter in a 4 quart pot.
  5. Add flour and stir until smooth.
  6. Slowly pour the milk into your “roux” and stir rapidly until there are no lumps.
  7. Cook over medium heat until it starts to boil and thicken.
  8. Add remaining salt and pepper. Stir in grated Swiss cheese and fresh grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.
  9. Heat until melted then add one cup of the sauce to the chicken mushroom mixture and stir. Add ¾ cup half and half to the remaining sauce and stir until smooth.
  10. To make your crepes heat a 7” crepe pan over medium high heat.
  11. Spray pan and put about a ¼ cup of crepe batter in the pan and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. When a very light brown, flip over and brown other side. I then flip them out onto a piece of parchment paper or on a granite counter top and get another crepe cooking.
  12. While waiting for the next crepe, place about a ½ cup of the chicken mixture down the middle of the crepe.
  13. Roll and place seam side down in a sprayed 9X13 pan. Mixture should make about 8 crepes. When done with the crepes and chicken mixture, spread remaining cheese sauce on top of the 9X13.
  14. For the topping, take 2 Tbsp of butter and melt it in a frying pan. Add the bread crumbs and mix thoroughly. Cut up the parsley and add it to the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the whole mixture on top of the cheese sauce.
  15. At this point, you can bake it in a 350F degree oven for 20-30 minutes until bubbly, or cover and place in the fridge overnight and bake off the next day. If in the fridge, let set out a half hour ahead of baking time and it will then take 30+ minutes to get warm and bubbly in the oven.
  16. When you are lifting these out of the 9X13, you really don’t need to cut them, just put a spatula or two under and lift up.
  17. I like to put about a ¼ cup of cranberry relish on top.
  18. In a 2 quart pot on medium heat mix 1 cup orange juice and 1 cup sugar till dissolved, then add one bag of fresh or frozen cranberries and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook on the stove till the cranberry's start to pop, about 20 minutes. Remove and store in the fridge until needed.
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The Red Chair Travels to the Great Smoky Mountains National Parkhttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2013/12/the-red-chair-travels-to-the-great-smoky-mountains-national-park/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2013/12/the-red-chair-travels-to-the-great-smoky-mountains-national-park/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 15:07:34 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3777 Gracehill Bed and Breakfast was lucky enough to be chosen to host The Red Chair, for a couple of days, during a cross country trip Red is doing staying at hundreds of B&B’s across America.  What are The Red Chair Travels?   His own website and blog does a better job describing it than I can!  The following is an account of Red’s stay while being hosted at six different bed and breakfasts, December 2013, here in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Arriving at Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

Arriving at Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

Red showed up in Townsend (TN) on a windy, blustery day when weather was pounding the east coast with snow and rain.  He retired early his first night after having had a hearty dinner at Berry Springs Lodge in Pigeon Forge.  Red was the first guest up the next morning.  We chatted while I prepared breakfast, and he was patiently waiting on the other guests when they surfaced at 9:00.  He enjoyed lively conversation along with popovers with honey butter (no jam for this guy), caramelized pears pistachio, and chicken crepes mornay with a fresh orange cranberry relish.  He had seconds on OJ and decaf coffee.  He said he was so excited about staying at Gracehill and visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that he needed to watch his caffeine intake for the next couple of days.  I did learn he was not keen on sitting too close to the fire.  Good thing I had put him in the only bedroom without a fireplace!  

Guest of Honor at Breakfast

Guest of Honor at Breakfast

Wouldn’t have wanted to spark any bad dreams!  We hung around after breakfast for several hours doing this and that waiting for the weather to clear.  It didn’t, so we took off around 3:30, picked up another friend, and the three of us visited the most popular attraction in the most visited National Park in the United States, Cades Cove.  It is a pioneer settlement, an 11 mile one way loop drive ringed in by mountains.  Of course,  Red had to hop out of the car each time he saw a different animal- white tailed deer, turkeys, but no bears today.  He was quite the attraction himself as several dozen kids and parents wanted to make his acquaintance.  After being disappointed that Berry Springs didn’t really have a nude beach, he decided to go skinny dipping in one stream we had to drive through as water was a little high from all the rain.  He met us on the other side, chilled of course, so I cranked up the heat.  We skipped the hike I had planned to Abrams Falls as he was just warming up, but we did stop at several of the old homesteads.  Back to Gracehill Bed and Breakfast in time for sunset, the big attraction here at the highest house in the county.  Red chatted up our guests this morning, but stuck to coffee himself claiming he had to watch his figure this time of year.  With all the Christmas celebrations, he had packed on a few pounds.  Off today for a stop at Sweet Berries Bed and Breakfast on the Tail of the Dragon, 318 curves in 11.2 miles.  But that is their story to tell.  Maybe it’s a good thing he did skip breakfast.  I’ll pack a Dramamine for him!

Hugs and Kisses, Red, mizkathleen @Gracehill Bed and Breakfast. 

Goose Bumps Skinny Dipping!

Goose Bumps Skinny Dipping!

A bit drafty when you're wet!

A bit drafty when you’re wet!

 

 

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Fireflies, Synchronous or Not, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Parkhttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2013/06/fireflies-synchronous-or-not-in-the-great-smoky-mountains-national-park/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2013/06/fireflies-synchronous-or-not-in-the-great-smoky-mountains-national-park/#comments Tue, 18 Jun 2013 21:36:35 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3625 So, what does the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Malaysian jungle have in common?  Synchronous fireflies, that’s what!  Currently there are 2000+ species of fireflies in the world, and I am fortunate enough to live in one of two areas of the world that have these phenomena once a year in early June. Depending on winter weather, it can be from mid May to mid June, so check before making lodging reservations.  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will list the dates at this link.  Synchronous fireflies, also known as lightning bugs, blink in unison or in waves.  You’re sitting there in complete darkness and they all blink on and off at the same time. At times it is like a wave of light moving across a clearing.  This is called phase synchronization or spontaneous order.  I know I’d like to glow and have a little spontaneous order in my office, but I’m afraid I just don’t have the right genes along with the other 1998+ species.

La Femme Fatale

La Femme Fatale

Le Poor Duped Male

Le Poor Duped Male

Much varies between these firefly beetles.  Some blink, some don’t. Some fly, some don’t.  The color of their bioluminescence ranges from yellow to orange to red to green.  Usually it is the male blinking to attract females during mating season, but then you have those femme fatales that blink the pattern of another species to attract unsuspecting males for the ultimate act of cannibalism.  This link at wikipedia has a great article on them and much has been written locally, particularly from The Daily Times.  Their last article was Sunday, May 26, 2013.

So, how do you see them?  In years past, you just drove your car up to the Elkmont Campground area and hiked back on some old weed covered gravel roads.  That’s what my mom and I did.  However it became so popular that you now have to catch a shuttle from the Sugarlands Visitor Center outside of Gatlinburg.  Wait time and lines got long enough that the National Park now allows shuttles from the Townsend area too, and you buy your ticket ahead of time.

Don Alexander at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center (865-448-8838) says, sales open up May 1st each year at 10AM and tickets are a $1.00.   This year they sold out in 45 minutes.  It’s not often you can experience something magical for a buck.  The ultimate cheap date, and you get to sit on a blanket in the dark!    They run two shuttles a night from Townsend that hold 18 passengers each for a week to ten days. If you don’t use your $1.00 ticket, which really is a placeholder, your credit card is charged $10.00 for each unused ticket.

These shuttle buses from the Cades Cove Heritage Tours cost a lot more than $18.00 a night to run and this year they were underwritten by, who else, Townsend’s Firefly Café and the Blount Partnership!  You catch the bus at their restaurant location, 7967 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882, (865-738-3507) between 6:30PM and 7:00PM.  The buses return to the same location around 11:30PM each night.  Have dinner at the Firefly before you catch the shuttle.

Townsend's Firefly Cafe

Townsend’s Firefly Cafe

Cozy Seating in the Cafe

Cozy Seating in the Cafe

Deborah Lee, owner of the Firefly Café, has been a restaurant owner in Townsend for years.  Her new location, now in its second year, gets an A+ for décor, service and food.  My favorite is the Elkmont Burger, and they have the best French fries in town.  Deborah says,  “I called it the Firefly Café because I absolutely love the synchronous fireflies of the Smokies, and that they generate their light from within.”  I’m off to create a little spontaneous order.  Not!  mizkathleen@  Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

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Gracehill Gazette July-Aug 2012 (11)http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/08/gracehill-gazette-july-aug-2012-11/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/08/gracehill-gazette-july-aug-2012-11/#comments Tue, 28 Aug 2012 19:36:24 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3444 Click Here For the Complete Reprint ]]> http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/08/gracehill-gazette-july-aug-2012-11/feed/ 0 Bread- Popovershttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/08/bread-popovers/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/08/bread-popovers/#comments Thu, 23 Aug 2012 17:45:36 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3434
Popovers
 
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 8-9
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. The above will make about 9 popovers in a “regular” size popover pan, or 12 in a “small” popover pan. You can see the difference in the pans on the below. You can easily double this recipe. The first few times I made popovers they turned out fine. THEN, the next several times they were crummy (dense little pitiful things) so I stopped trying. A friend, who was fortunate enough to have them when they were good, was coming to visit and really, really wanted popovers, so I practiced on him the whole time he was here. I also did a fair amount of reading from different cookbooks and online. The funny thing is, the above recipe didn’t change, but how you made them did.
  2. Ideally, let your eggs come to room temperature by sitting out overnight or for several hours. Your milk should be about room temp also. If you don’t have time to let your milk come to room temp, put the 1 cup of milk in the microwave for about a minute, or less, and test with a thermometer to get it around 70 degrees or slightly warm when you stick your finger in it. Beat your eggs together and then add the milk and beat just until mixed.
  3. Two Sizes of Popover Pans
  4. Melt the butter. Add about 1-½ tablespoons of the unsalted butter in the batter along with ½ teaspoon of salt, and sift in 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Beat with beaters then let set out on the counter for at least 30 minutes or up until 3 hours!
  5. Put your empty popover pan in the oven and preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Take the pan out of the oven fast and shut the oven door. Spray 9 cups of a 12-cup popover pan with nonstick cooking spray and measure ½ tsp of the reserved melted butter into each cup. It should sizzle on the bottom. (Any left over butter, dump in the batter and mix it in.) Divide batter between 9 cups and bake for 15 minute. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 7 more minutes. Under no circumstances open the oven door while they are baking. When the timer goes off remove them from the oven and immediately poke with a sharp knife to allow the steam to come out and then invert to a wire rack. Serve immediately with butter, jam, apple, pumpkin or honey butter etc.
  6. When poking them with the knife, to release the steam, you are keeping them from collapsing in on them selves. Some people at that point would put them back into the oven for a couple of minutes, I don’t.
  7. I’ve made them both with eggs sitting out for several hours, and not, and usually by putting them in the warm butter and milk and letting the batter set out for a while they’ll get to the temp you want. One book really got into discussing different types of flour and I made two batches once, one with better-for-bread flour and one with all-purpose flour. Everything was exactly the same. Filled six cups with all-purpose flour batter and six with better-for-bread flour batter and I could not tell the difference, so I wouldn’t bother buying the special flour unless you already have it on hand, and if so feel free to use it. You are letting the batter set to stretch the gluten. Many books say don’t over beat the batter, use a whisk and stop just when combined. Again, one book talked about stretching the gluten and made a good argument for mixing up that batter well. I use electric beaters and mix until it is well mixed and don’t worry about over beating.
  8. One morning I decided to use my convention oven and set it to 425 degrees. When I put the melted butter in the cup before the batter it didn’t sizzle. They took forever to rise, but the last 10 minutes they did what they were supposed to do. So in a pinch I’d use the convention oven again, but if you don’t have to, save yourself the agony of watching them and just use the regular oven.
  9. So what do I think is key? Having the milk and maybe eggs at room temp and then letting the batter sit for a while. It is also important to have your pan very hot before pouring the batter in, and don’t open the oven door while baking or you will let all the steam out and that is what pops them up. I like honey butter the best. Mix a half a stick of soft butter and a half a cup of honey together. Mmmm.

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Side Dish- Deviled Eggs and Hard Boiled Eggshttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/07/side-dish-deviled-eggs-and-hard-boiled-eggs/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/07/side-dish-deviled-eggs-and-hard-boiled-eggs/#comments Sun, 15 Jul 2012 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3054 Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

 

Side Dish- Deviled Eggs and Hard Boiled Eggs
 
Author:
Serves: 36
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
TIP: The trick to deviled eggs is how you hard boil the eggs to begin with and I think I have tried just about any tip anyone has ever suggested. One of my favorite chefs says to place eggs in a sauce pan and cover with cold water to at least a ½" over the tops of all the eggs. Bring to boil, then place the lid on and boil for 5 minutes. Then remove from heat and let sit 15 minutes and then place them in cold water and let come to room temp before peeling. I imagine she says to cover after it comes to a boil, so you are paying attention and will start timing it after the boiling starts. Another trained chef from our B&B association says to place them in cold salt water, cover, bring to a boil, turn off heat, and let sit for 15 minutes before placing in cold water. Here is my version. Place eggs in cold water with at least a ½" of water over the top. I could tell little difference if I used salt in the water or not, so I don't. if you do, use about a teaspoon or less. What is important is the age of the eggs. Most of you use store bought eggs, and this should work particularly if you have the eggs for a week or two. I use eggs from my very favorite egg lady, Dawn and her son Jake. This method even worked with very fresh eggs as long at they were at least a week old. Those that were 36 hours old, would not peel regardless of which method or combination of methods I tried. Whether you cover the pan or not, bring to a hard boil, then turn off the heat, COVER the pan and let sit 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to pick them out of the hot water after 15 minutes, and place them in a bowl that has cold tap water in it with SEVERAL HANDFULS OF ICE. After about 15 minutes they are ready to peel. The ice water makes them shrink away from the shell a little bit. Tap the fat end of the egg to crack first. There is usually an air bubble at that end. You can always put a strainer in the sink and peel them under running water with the shells dropping into the strainer instead of down your drain if you need a little help. Cooking them this length of time has always cooked them, but not so long that the yolks start turning green. Good luck!
Ingredients
  • 18 Large Eggs
  • ¼ C plus 1 Tbsp of Mayo
  • ¼ C plus 1Tbsp of Sour Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • ½ to 1 tsp Lemon Pepper
  • Garnish with black olives, or green olives and a little sprinkle of paprika.
Instructions
  1. The amount of ingredients above is not etched in stone. Once you cut the egg in half and plop the cooked yolks into a food processor, add a ¼ cup of the mayo and sour cream.
  2. Add a little less than a tablespoon of the mustard and start off with a ½ a teaspoon of lemon pepper.
  3. Pulse the mixer until smooth then taste the mixture. Keep adding a little more of the above ingredients until it tastes the way you want.
  4. There is salt in the lemon pepper so add any extra salt very sparingly.
  5. You are looking for a texture that is neither too soft or too firm to pipe out of a pastry bag for the effect you have above.

 

Deviled Eggs Recipe

Deviled Eggs Recipe

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Bread- Corn Breadhttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/07/muffins-corn-bread/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/07/muffins-corn-bread/#comments Sun, 01 Jul 2012 11:00:12 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3058

Best Corn I’ve Ever Tasted

Bread- Corn Bread
 
Author:
Serves: at least 30 pieces
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
My friends at Sweet Berries Bed and Breakfast in Maryville, TN came to a pot luck once with the best corn bread I had ever tasted, and this is the recipe. I was never much of a fan of corn bread till I tasted this. It usually goes in a sprayed 9X13 pan, however you can put the batter in sprayed muffin tins and they will just plop out without having to use muffin papers.
Ingredients
  • 4- 8.5 oz Boxes of Jiffy Mix
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 C ½ & ½ or Buttermilk
  • 1- 10 oz Can Rotel (original or mild) Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies Well Drained
  • 1- 8.5 oz Can Creamed Corn
  • 16 oz Cottage Cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Break the eggs in a large bowl.
  3. Add the buttermilk or ½ & ½ and beat with an electric mixer for about 5 seconds.
  4. Add the Rotel tomatoes, creamed corn and cottage cheese. Beat briefly for 5 seconds.
  5. Add the 4 boxes of cornbread mix. Either mix in by hand, or less than 10 seconds with the electric mixer.
  6. You don't want to over beat and the batter will be lumpy. Pour into a well greased 9X13 pan, or if using muffin tins, pour even with the top of the tin.
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes in a 400° oven. If making muffins, test after 35 minutes with a toothpick. Don't over bake. It is okay if the toothpick has a few crumbs on it. The cornbread is very moist and freezes well.
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Pancakes- Corn Cakeshttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/06/pancakes-corn-cakes/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/06/pancakes-corn-cakes/#comments Sun, 17 Jun 2012 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3089

Corn Cakes

Pancakes- Corn Cakes
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 5 ears)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup yellow or white cornmeal
  • 1- 8oz package fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp fresh ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Pulse the first 4 ingredients in a food processor 3 to 4 times or just until the corn is coarsely chopped.
  2. Stir together flour and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in corn mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  3. Spoon ⅛ cup batter for each cake onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or large non stick skillet to form 2-inch cakes. Don't spread or flatten cakes.
  4. Cook cakes 3 to 4 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Turn and cook other side 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. I have made this before using canned corn, and they were tasty also.
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Gracehill Gazette May-June 2012 (10)http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/06/gracehill-gazette-may-june-2012-10/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/06/gracehill-gazette-may-june-2012-10/#comments Tue, 05 Jun 2012 21:03:43 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3365 Click Here For the Complete Reprint ]]> http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/06/gracehill-gazette-may-june-2012-10/feed/ 0 Soup- Gluten Free Corn Chowderhttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/06/soup-corn-chowder/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/06/soup-corn-chowder/#comments Sun, 03 Jun 2012 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3087

Gluten Free Corn Chowder

 

Soup- Gluten Free Corn Chowder
 
Author:
Serves: 10-11 servings, 2½+ quarts
 
Ingredients
  • 2 C water
  • 2 C diced peeled potatoes
  • ½ C sliced carrots
  • ½ sliced celery
  • ¼ C chopped onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ C butter
  • ¼ C all-purpose flour
  • or substitute 2Tbsp of corn starch for the flour for gluten free
  • 2 C milk
  • 3 C (12ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cans (14-3/4 ounces each) cream style corn
  • 1 can while kernel corn
Instructions
  1. I do this whole thing in a pot on the stove or you can follow the microwave directions below.
  2. Place water in a 2-quart microwave-safe dish, cover and heat until boiling.
  3. Add potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, on high for 8-10 minutes or until veggies are crisp tender; set aside (do not drain.)
  4. Meanwhile, in a 3-quart dish, microwave butter on high for 50-60 seconds or until melted.
  5. Stir in flour until smooth.
  6. Gradually stir in milk. Cook, uncovered, on high for 6-7 minutes or until thickened, stirring every 2 minutes.
  7. Add the cheese. Heat for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  8. Stir in the corn and reserved veggies.
  9. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Yield 10-11 servings, 2-1/2+ quarts.

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Museum of Appalachia Homecoming 2012, Norris, TNhttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/06/museum-of-appalachia-homecoming-2012-norris-tn/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/06/museum-of-appalachia-homecoming-2012-norris-tn/#comments Fri, 01 Jun 2012 23:24:41 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3347 For a three day, complete lineup to to:

http://www.museumofappalachia.org/Homecoming_Musician_Schedule.html

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Smoky Mountain Woodcarvers Festival, Townsend, TNhttp://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/06/smoky-mountain-woodcarvers-festival-townsend-tn/ http://www.gracehillbandb.com/2012/06/smoky-mountain-woodcarvers-festival-townsend-tn/#comments Fri, 01 Jun 2012 21:37:18 +0000 http://www.gracehillbandb.com/?p=3341 This festival is held at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, a museum housing artifacts dating from 3000 BC to the 1930’s.

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