Posts by Miz Kathleen, The Innkeeper

Making Bread and Memories of Dad

Posted by on Mar 16, 2019 in At The Inn | 2 comments

My dad passed when he was forty-eight.  Granted he wasn’t as old as my grandparents, but it seemed like a reasonable age.  Now that I am sixty-five, I have a slightly different perspective.  We shared a number of similar traits.  Both went into the sciences and ended up in art later in life.  Both made lists.  I still have the list my dad wrote out for me when I was buying my first car, essential items that needed to be in the trunk at all times.  Our work ethics were similar.  He gave me two screwdrivers, a hammer and a pair of pliers when I left for college.  I was the only person out of sixty-five on my dorm floor who had tools of any kind.  This fact led to a number of life-long friendships.  We both loved gardening, although I didn’t realize it pulling weeds as a kid.

I don’t ever remember Dad cooking, but he made several kinds of wine, and he made bread on Sunday mornings.  My bedroom was right above the kitchen.  I swear, when he started to knead the dough, the pounding would rattle my old wooden bed frame.  Although my first job was at a bakery and I love baking here at the B&B, I have never made a lot of yeast bread.  Several years ago, one loaf won a ribbon for us at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center’s Blue Ribbon County Fair- a Feta Rosemary French Bread, but any bread since has been either quick breads or rolls, or scones.

Timing the First Rise of 3 breads

On Fridays during Lent we do a meatless meal at church after services, and bread always factors into it.  I decided to give it a go and signed up for a Friday in March and one in April.  Made four different kinds today.  Went into it with my lists.  One list  was the time frame of where each recipe had to be in terms of mixing, rising, kneading again, rising again and baking for each one to have its own oven and be done by 1:30PM.  I was fifteen minutes late starting at 7:15AM, had a few phone calls in between and surprisingly, still managed to have the last one out of the oven by 1:23PM. 

From the left, rustic country bread, raisen oatmeal, molasses cornmeal and cranberry walnut
From the left, Rustic Country Bread, Raisin Oatmeal, Anadama Bread and Cranberry Walnut

The first loaf was a simple country rustic bread that required almost no kneading.  Only used ¼ teaspoon of yeast and some beer but can take anywhere from 8 to 18 hours to rise the first time.  That extended resting period is called autolyse.   The second was an oatmeal-raisin bread.  The third was a molasses and some cornmeal Anadama bread, a New England Classic, and the fourth was a cranberry-walnut loaf.

They look decent enough, and if they are lacking, I certainly can’t blame America’s Test Kitchen.  All the recipes came out of their phenomenal Bread Illustrated book.  Just wish Paul Hollwood or Mary Berry were here to poke at them and let me know if the crumb was correct, over or under proofed and baked etc., etc., etc.   Oh well, it was fun. I don’t think they will kill anyone tonight, and I had some quality time with Dad. cheers, mizkathleen @Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

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Elopement Wedding Photos Taken at Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

Posted by on Feb 3, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

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Gracehill Bed and Breakfast located in a Firewise TN community!

Posted by on Mar 24, 2018 in What's Happening Locally | Comments Off on Gracehill Bed and Breakfast located in a Firewise TN community!

A long but fruitful journey…  Today Little Round Top Subdivision in Townsend, TN, home to  Gracehill Bed and Breakfast, and the community of Laurel Valley were designated the 19th and 20th certified Firewise communities in the State of TN since 2002 by the National Fire Protection Agency.

Committee Members from left Gayle Bustin, Bruce Carrington- Chairman, Leon Knoz- Firewise Coordinator, Ed DeWhitt, Nathan Waters- Dept of Forestry, and Kathleen Janke.

Committee Members from left Gayle Bustin, Bruce Carrington- Chairman, Leon Konz- Firewise Coordinator, Ed DeWhitt, Nathan Waters- Dept of Forestry, and Kathleen Janke.

Nine years ago, I was invited to an all-day seminar by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry, for people who live “On the Edge…,” adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  That was my first introduction to Firewise TN and Leon Konz, the Firewise Coordinator and a man of infinite patience.   About a 100 people showed up, some civilians, mostly volunteer firemen, national park employees and other assorted official types.  The presentation opened my eyes to the potential fire hazards of building in the boondocks, er I mean the forest!  I wished I had taken the course before I built Gracehill.  Or before I arranged to have the back part of the subdivision road paved with no place for a fire truck to turn around, or about a dozen other good ideas, like why build a wooden fence and attach it to the side of your wood home? Talk about a long fuse saying, “Over here, burn me, burn me!”

Don Stallions- Chief of the Townsend Volunteer Fire Department, Lance Coleman- Director of Blount County Emergency Management, Gayle Bustin, Darren Baily- Dept of Forestry, Bruce Carrington, Ed Dewhitt, Kathleen Janke, Ed Mitchell- Blount County Mayor.

From the left, Don Stallions- Chief of the Townsend Volunteer Fire Department, Lance Coleman- Director of Blount County Emergency Management, Gayle Bustin, Darren Baily- Dept of Forestry, Bruce Carrington, Ed DeWhitt, Kathleen Janke, and Ed Mitchell- Blount County Mayor.

The up-shot was I came home and made some changes including cleaning out underbrush and removing scraggly pine trees with proximity to the B&B.  The nice aspect of that was it opened it up to a more park like setting, instead of an impenetrable wall of green in the summer.  A few months later, Leon contacted me and I held a Firewise meeting here with some neighbors. A few of us went through a Firewise assessment of our homes.  But even with the prospect of grant money hanging in the balance, we fell well short of the official designation.  It was a lot of work!  I mean hundreds of hours.  Then we woke to the reality of the Gatlinburg fires in 2016, and all of a sudden things took on a new perspective.

With great neighbors, the work didn’t seem so bad after all, but I have to admit I was most happy just hosting meetings and baking cookies.  Made a few phone calls along with Gayle Bustin, but Edward DeWhitt and our chairman, Bruce Carrington, accepted the brunt of the work and had the tenacity to get it done.  The recognition ceremony was today, and I have to admit I felt we accomplished something good.

We have lots of ideas for the grant money and for the future, but first on the list, are three items for 2018.  We bought a portable pump that can be thrown into our three acre pond that will pump water out into a huge collapsible pool.  The Townsend Volunteer Fire Department will carry those items on their truck, and it will save a 30 minute round trip back to town to refill the tankers.  Over the next three years, Bruce will also become a shepherd for forty days each summer and fall.  We have a five acre patch of kudzu that will be enclosed with an electric fence and powered with solar panels, new home to fifty goats and one guard dog.  Bye-bye kudzu, which is extremely flammable.

I have met a lot of great people along the way, and want to say thank you to all the men who showed up for our meetings and held our hands through this process.  It was always informative and usually fun.  Not quite sure which category this falls into, but imagine a group of us standing around our three acre pond discussing where we go if the community is engulfed in flames.  I was for building a little pier from the side of the road that would hang over the pond so my 90 year old mother and I could jump in without having to wade through the underbrush with Mom’s walker.  Says Nathan Waters, the Department of Forestry, “You two along with every snake and bear this end of the county.”  Not being a spoil sport, he had a couple of other ideas.  Gets you thinking anyway.  cheers, mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

For more information about the Firewise USA program, please contact Nathan Waters at 865-776-2111 and visit www.BurnSafeTN.org

 

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Cereal- Vegan Pecan Granola w Dried Fruit

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Recipes | Comments Off on Cereal- Vegan Pecan Granola w Dried Fruit

Vegan Pecan and Dried Fruit Homemade Granola

Vegan Pecan and Dried Fruit Homemade Granola

Pecan Granola with Dried Fruit
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
I've tried many granola recipes, including adding white or dark chocolate chips, or a recipe similar to this but using coconut oil, dried flake coconut, almonds and different dried fruit. I particularly like this one as some folks have a real aversion to coconut (invokes strong feelings in two of my friends) and some don't want to munch on chocolate with their breakfast. Better as a dry evening snack. At any rate, as with any granola recipe, don't leave out the oil, it really changes the texture, hand chop your nuts, pack it tight on the rimmed baking sheet before baking and lastly, I like storing my dried fruit in a separate Tupperware from the granola itself. Sprinkle it on before you eat each morning. Keeps the cereal crunchier.
Author:
Recipe type: Cereal
Serves: 10 cups
Ingredients
  • ⅓ C maple syrup
  • ⅓ C packed light brown sugar
  • 4 t of vanilla extract
  • ½ t of salt
  • ½ c vegetable oil (I like canola)
  • 5 C old fashion rolled oats
  • 2 C coarse chopped pecans
  • 2 C dried fruit (I use Craisins and chopped up dried Apricots, but you could use dried cherries, dates, figs, blue berries, what ever you have a hankering for.)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Stir together syrup, brown sugar, salt and vanilla in a large bowl.
  3. Mix in oil.
  4. Add oatmeal and pecans and stir until coated.
  5. Place on a parchment lined lipped cookie sheet. Press down firmly.
  6. Bake about 40 to 45 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  7. Let cool completely, at least an hour before placing in an airtight container.
  8. I keep the cut up dried fruit in a separate container and add to the bowl each morning.

 

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A Breakfast for Champions, Vegan that Is!

Posted by on Jun 1, 2017 in At The Inn, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Breakfast for Champions, Vegan that Is!

Vegan Stir Fry with Quinoa & Brown Rice and Black Chia Seeds

Vegan Stir Fry with Quinoa and Brown Rice and Black Chia Seeds

One Version of a Vegan Salad

One Version of a Vegan Salad

There is nothing “senior” about geriatric doctor and vegan, Kai, who visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this spring for four days of serious hiking. Perhaps he noted a hint of anxiety in my voice after I asked my standard question upon a guest reserving a room, “Do you have any food allergies or dislikes?” He responded he was a vegan. The first morning after breakfast he said, “Now that wasn’t so hard was it?” I laughed.

I have had a number of vegans over the years and certainly a lot of vegetarians, gluten free, lactose intolerant guests and just about every diet under the sun. One guest was on an elimination diet and by the time she stayed with me she was up to 23 food items she could combine! We managed and it was fun. For me anyway, not so sure how thrilled she was being in it for the long haul. I think every three days she could add one more food item.

So let’s talk food. It’s 50% of the title bed and breakfast. Why do folks come here? I think actually for the scenery more than the bed, and the breakfast of course, so maybe we should be called Gracehill’s Sunrise and Breakfast… Hmm. When I opened 17 years ago I started keeping track of what I served guests and tried to never repeat a menu any time they visited. The first time that became problematic was one Thanksgiving when four repeat guests were here for their 16-20 days and another couple was pushing 40 some combined days. After working on menus for two hours I finally called them and asked for one favorite dish I had made in the past

Vegan Homemade Granola with Dried Fruit served and Almond Milk with a Fresh Fruit Plate with Fruit

Vegan Homemade Granola with Dried Fruit and Almond Milk served with a Fresh Fruit Plate

for each of them. Was still able to come up with four new entrees over a four day period that none of the six of them had eaten before. One, Pumpkin Pancakes, went on to win second place in an international breakfast recipe contest.

Kai urged me to take photos of the dishes I prepared for him. Being in need of a geriatric doctor myself, I’m glad I did. Helps to remember what I made plus I can email photos to a future vegan guest and ask them what appeals to them. Two of my favorite magazines are Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country. I ordered their (America’s Test Kitchen) “Vegan for Everybody,” “Gluten-Free Cookbook,” and “Bread Illustrated” this morning. I’m looking forward to adding a few vegan and gluten free recipes to my morning repertoire. Bon Appetit!

Vegan Oatmeal with Almond Milk

Vegan Oatmeal with Almond Milk

PS Here is the recipe for the Granola pictured on the left.  I like mine plain with pecans.  My mother takes hers with Craisins and dried apricots.  I keep the dried fruit in a separate container and she throws a handful on top when the granola is in her cereal bowl.  I think it keeps the granola crunchier and we can eat it endless ways.  Everyone in your household could have a different bowl or bag of dried fruit they can add at their pleasure.

mizkathleen @ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

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