Today we celebrate the first day of spring, but to our bushes and trees, spring came several weeks ago. We have a saucer magnolia tree next to our patio and it started blooming in February. Yes, this tree is supposed to bloom in the closing days of winter or beginning of spring, but in years past the blooms appear one day and are typically gone a few days later when the frost causes all the blossoms to drop from the tree.
With the mild weather this year, the blossoms have lingered for over three weeks. The aroma when opening the back door is unbelievable and as the blooms fall, making way for the leaves, we have a carpet of pink pedals covering the patio. To say this has been a spectacular year in our back yard is an understatement.
In addition our Camilla bush is in full bloom and the 300 daffodil bulbs I planted last fall are also in full bloom.
We will soon be putting in our garden and getting ready for Garden Day. Yes, we our home will be on tour for Historic Garden Day next month. Will keep you posted. We are expecting over 1600 people (based on last year’s figures) to see our home on Garden Day. Obviously they will be here to look at the house, not the gardens, although we are making some progress on getting the yard in shape.
We would love to welcome you to The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast this spring or summer so that you too may enjoy our restful patio or wraparound front porch. Don’t you deserve some time to relax?
Guests arriving to stay at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, in Lynchburg, VA, are greeted with home-made cookies in their room upon arrival. This month our welcome treat cookie is a brownie-like cookie that looks like it has been shattered. Filled with minty goodness they have been a big hit!
Chocolate-Mint Crackle Cookie
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon pure mint extract
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1. Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl by setting it over a pan of simmering water, (but not touching the heatproof bowl) stirring constantly. Add the mint to this mixture.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and cocoa in a small bowl.
3. Whisk together sugar, eggs and melted butter in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in melted chocolate and mint extract until smooth (from step 1 above) . Stir in flour mixture (from step 2 above). Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls using your palms, then roll into confectioners’ sugar to coat. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing each 1-inch apart. Bake until slightly firm in the center, about 15 minutes.
5. Let cool slightly on sheets set on wire racks. Transfer cookies to racks and let cool completely.
**Dough can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days or rolled into balls and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Roll in confectioners’ sugar just before baking.
***Store cookies in an air-tight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 days (but they won’t last that long!)
This past Saturday the Academy of Fine Arts presented it’s third annual “Empty Bowls” event .
Empty Bowl events take place all over the country and always benefit hunger programs.
Our Empty Bowls event supports the Daily Bread. Located in downtown Lynchburg, VA, the Daily Bread was founded in 1982 to help those in need by providing one meal at a time. 365 days a year they serve lunch between 10:50-12:20 to approximately 160 guests. Their mission is to “provide a free, nutritous meal every single day of the year” through donations of food, cash and time by volunteers.
The Academy of Fine Arts conducts bowl making sessions in it’s pottery studio each January and February. Individuals, groups, co-workers, clubs and organizations come together to learn how to craft a bowl from clay. Then in early March the bowls are sold (you get to take yours home) after being filled with delicious soups accompanied by fresh-made breads and desserts at the Empty Bowls event. Participating restaurants this year included Market on Main, Bedford Avenue Meats, Lorraine Bakery, Catalano’s Delicatessen among others. All proceeds from this event benefit the Daily Bread in it’s mission to feed Lynchburg’s hungry.
If you would like to participate in 2013, by contributing a bowl or just eating delicious soup in a hand-made bowl please visit The Academy of Fine Arts web site at www.AcademyFineArts.com for more details.
Historic Point of Honor, in Lynchburg, VA hosted a “hearth cooking class” this past Friday. This seasonal demonstration presented regional recipes and cooking techniques from the early 19th century using an open hearth and brick ovens in a reconstructed plantation kitchen, sited where the origianl once stood. The bill of fare included roasted chicken, stewed and boiled vegetables, baked and fried foods and a unique dessert. Participants were able to assist and watch Rachel as she literally cooked over a “stove.”
Point of Honor is located 3 blocks from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast in historic Daniels Hill. Completed in 1815 by Dr. George Cabell this Federal-style mansion has been carefully restored to preserve the classical designs of the early 19th century. Named after duels that legend says took place on this fine point of land, Point of Honor has been home to many of Lynchburg’s remarkable citizens.
The mansion is part of the Lynchburg Museum system and is open daily. An additional “hearth cooking class” will be held on Friday March 23, 2012 between 11:00am-2:00pm. Advance registration is required. Call Point of Honor at 434.455.4424 for more details or to reserve your space.
If you ever wanted to party like there was no tomorrow and enjoy a drink or two, or three or four or… then the Seven Hills Hash House Harriers is an organization that you need to look into. They call themselves a drinking club with a running problem. I guess if you want to work off that extra beer or justify drinking an extra beer a three mile run through Lynchburg is a good place to start. This past Saturday, 11 February 2012, The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast was one of their refreshment stops on their jog through the city. This was their 17th annual Valentine’s Red Dress Run.
My experience as being a pit stop for the joggers is this is a group of guys and gals that enjoy having fun and sharing their enthusiasm with folks along the run. After all, why would you spend the coldest day of the year running around town in not much more than a red dress? Yes, girls aren’t the only ones that want to have fun which was very evident by the guys in their red dresses.
The Seven Hills Hash House Harriers, as they are officially known, was started in June 1992 and meets every Wednesday and often on Sundays. For more information on the club you can check out their website at: www.7h4hash.com. The organization has clubs around the globe and several of the runners I met were from out of town. Hard to believe that there is a drinking club in conservative Lynchburg. I know this isn’t for everyone, but you’ve got to admire their fun loving attitude.
Happy Valentines Day! Chocolates and flowers are traditional gifts for Valentines day so if you really want to surprise that special someone give them a delicious chocolate waffle. This recipe uses yeast so it takes a little longer to prepare than most of our other recipes, but the wait is worth it!
Step 1, The Starter
- 1/2 cup of lukewarm milk (between 100-110 degrees F) Use whole milk or 2% milk.
- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
- 1 package instant yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
Combine the starter ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Make sure the milk is not to hot (the hot will kill the yeast) or too cold (they won’t do their job). Put the bowl aside for at least 20-30 minutes while making the rest of the batter.
Step 2, The Batter
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1/2 cup of chocolate mocha baking cocoa-can use all purpose cocoa if desired
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup of natural sugar (Turbinado)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 3 room temperature eggs
- 1 stick of unsalted butter (melted) that has cooled down, but not re-hardened
- 2/3 cup of mini chocolate chips. If using regular chocolate chips coarsely chop them. If available use dark chocolate chips.
In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, wheat germ, cocoa, salt and natural sugar).
After the starter has sat for 20-30 minutes add the ROOM TEMPERATURE eggs, melted butter and vanilla to the starter and gently mix. Next, add the dry ingredients, the chocolate chips and natural sugar gently mixing until ingredients are combined. Tightly cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for a couple hours. This batter can be stored overnight in the refrigerator.
After batter has sat for a couple hours, lightly stir the batter and scoop the appropriate amount onto a hot waffle iron that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray. NOTE: If batter was refrigerated overnight, remove batter and let it come to room temperature (about 90 minutes on the kitchen counter). Then lightly stir the batter and cook per the waffle iron’s instructions.
Hot waffles can be served with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, strawberries and/or raspberries. This is also great with a strawberry or raspberry syrup. Sprinkle a couple of chocolate chips on the plate as garnish. Enjoy!
Your mother was right, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and when staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, an award winning bed and breakfast in Lynchburg Virginia, we try to make your breakfasts memorable.
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