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A Poplar Forest Christmas

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Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest

Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s retreat just outside Lynchburg, Virginia, will host a holiday open house on Sunday, December 15, 2013 between 10:00  am until 4:00 pm.

Visitors to this octagonal house will see the house as it might have been decorated for Jefferson’s holiday guests.  Evergreen, holly and mountain laurel garlands will grace the railings and banisters, mantels and picture frames.  Rosemary and lavender will scent the rooms.  The natural materials used as the decorations are all found on the grounds, just as they would have been in Jefferson’s day.  The boxwoods shown in the above photo were removed about 3 months ago so that the front of the property can be restored to the way it looked in Jefferson’s time.

In addition to touring the home there will be early 19th century dance presentations by the Regency of Virginia, traditional candle-making demonstrations and the preparation of traditional recipes on an open kitchen hearth.

Admission to the open house is free with a donation of a nonperishable food item for Lynchburg’s Daily Bread of the Bedford Humane Society.  A special discount, 20%, will be offered on items sold in the gift shop throughout the month of December.

Here’s a fact that many people don’t know:  The Watts family built what is now The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lynchburg, Virginia.  Descendants of R. T. Watts were the last private owners of Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest.  If you are traveling to the area to see Poplar Forest and need a place to stay you can make reservations at their original home, now a bed and breakfast.

Mistletoe Market

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Santa and Mrs. Clause posing with mother and child at the Mistletoe Market

Santa and Mrs. Clause posing with mother and child at the Mistletoe Market

Once again this year downtown Lynchburg, Virginia’s Community Market (one of the oldest, continuously operating markets in the country) is presenting it’s annual Mistletoe Market.

Free Carriage Rides leaving the Misitletoe Market in the Community Market Parking Lot

Carriage Ride leaving the Mistletoe Market in the Community Market Parking Lot

Saturday December 7th, 14th and 21st between the hours of 7:00 am until 3:00 pm the Community Market will be filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and holiday greenery, unique, handcrafted gifts, food and beverage tastings, family activities, carriage rides through downtown (starting at 10:00 am, $2.00 per person,) Santa and Mrs. Claus and the Grinch will be stopping by.

Get your wreaths, trees and other greenery at this years MIstletoe Market

Get your wreaths, trees and other greenery at this years Mistletoe Market

Get a head start on your holiday shopping by supporting your local businesses, vendors, crafters, farmers and others who greatly appreciate your support all year long.  We’ll see you there!

Enjoy the holiday season.  Kathy and Mike with The Grinch.

Enjoy the holiday season. Kathy and Mike with The Grinch.

Kathy and I want to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and hope that next year will be a great year for you.  Of course if your travels bring you to Lynchburg give us a call, we would love for you to enjoy The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast as your home away from home.

 

Ham and Egg Breakfast Casserole

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Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

The nice thing about this breakfast casserole is that it is simple to make and feeds a crowd.  Unlike cooking pancakes, waffles or omelets which takes a lot of time if you have a large family, other than a little prep-work, you stick it in the oven and in about 30 minutes you have a delicious meal.  The other great thing about this breakfast casserole is that you can double the recipe and serve one today and save the other one for up to three months in the freezer.

The above was served with lightly sauteed vine ripened tomatoes and zucchini and hash-brown potatoes.  A fresh basil leaf was cut up and put on top of the breakfast casserole. Our guests loved this recipe and so did we because of its simplicity.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of fresh mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • dash of pepper and salt
  • 2 Cups of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a large sauce pan melt the butter, rough cut the mushrooms and saute them until tender add the Italian seasoning and salt and pepper the mushrooms. After cooking the combined ingredients let cool for a couple of minutes.  In a greased 13X9 baking dish spread the mushrooms evenly over the pan.
  • In a large bowl, add the cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, cubed ham and flour.  Mix ingredients well then spread evenly over the mushrooms.  Note:  The flour helps keep the ham and cheese from sticking together.  If you are on a gluten free diet you can skip this ingredient.
  • In another large bowl mix the eggs, cream, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper.  Once mixed pour over the ham and cheese mixture.
  • Bake the breakfast casserole in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole out of the oven.

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole out of the oven.

Freezing a breakfast casserole:

If you double the recipe and elect to freeze one, cover with a tight fitting plastic wrap the uncooked mixture (make sure it sits flat in the freezer until  frozen. Before cooking, remove from freezer 30 minutes before baking (do not thaw it).  Remove the plastic wrap and cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes, Uncover and bake for and additional 15-20 minutes.  Let stand before cutting and serving.

This would be a great dish to serve on Thanksgiving or Christmas morning when the entire family is visiting.  Also, it is a great way to use some of the left over ham.  If you want to serve a warm fruit dish consider the hot fruit compote that we wrote about earlier this month.

 

Monument Terrace

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Monument Terrace at night

Monument Terrace at night

It’s only fitting to write about Monument Terrace on Veteran’ Day.  Everyday, Monument Terrace pays tribute to those Lynchburg residents who gave their lives defending our freedoms.  Today, November 11th, Veterans Day there will be a ceremony at the foot of Monument Terrace allowing us reflect on the freedoms we enjoy and the costs of those freedoms.

There wasn’t always a Monument Terrace; originally it was a dirt path that connected Court House Hill (site of the original court house, now the Lynchburg Museum) to what is now 9th Street.  In 1882 August Forsberg designed stone steps, a plaza and a fountain to be placed at the base (now Church and 9th Street).  In 1883 five volunteer fireman lost their lives and statue of a fireman was placed on top of a fountain with water pouring from the nozzle of his hose.  That  statue stood there until 1924.

Today’s Monument Terrace was completed in 1925 and it was intended to be a monument to those who fought and lost their lives in the first World War (1917-1918).  Since then other monuments have been constructed to honor those local heroes from other wars.  There are 132 steps taking you from Church Street to Court Street.  Along the way there are 10 landings and 11 markers and monuments along the terrace.  Eight of the markers are devoted to military service and three commemorate civic milestones.  Today there are monuments to honor those who lost their lives in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  Additionally there is a POW-MIA Monument and a Purple Heart Monument.

Friday gathering to show support for our troops

Friday gathering to show support for our troops

In addition to these monuments, every Friday since 2001 from noon-1:00 a group of citizens gather at the foot of Monument Terrace to demonstrate openly their support for the men and women who serve the United States in its military services.

In the event you are unable to visit Monument Terrace I have posted a few photos below of some of the monuments.

Vietnam Memorial at Monument Terrace

Vietnam Memorial at Monument Terrace

I started with the Vietnam Memorial because I wanted to honor those troops who were not well respected when they returned from the war.

The Korean War Memorial at Monument Terrace

The Korean War Memorial at Monument Terrace

The Korean War is the forgotten war.  Lynchburg like lots of towns and cities across this nation lost troops in this far off place.

A tribute to the veterans of the First World War.

A tribute to the veterans of the First World War.

It was only after we had World War II that this memorial was called a memorial to those who died in World War I.  Let’s hope we never see another World War!  This monument is at the foot of Monument Terrace at the intersection of 9th Street and Church Street.

 

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial--part 2

World War II Memorial–part 2

A tribute to “The Greatest Generation.”  Unfortunately the memorial had to be on two different walls due to the high number of causalities.  The National D-Day Memorial is just 20 minutes west of Lynchburg and is also a must see to those who fought on the Beaches of Normandy towards the end of World War II.

A memorial to those who fought in the Spanish American War.

A memorial to those who fought in the Spanish American War.

Unfortunately, The Spanish American War is just a foot note in many history books.  Monument Terrace pays tribute to those Americans that fought in this war.

A memorial to those who served in the American Civil War.

A memorial to those who served in the American Civil War.

For those of you who haven’t visited the Lynchburg area, we are only 20 minutes from Appomattox Courthouse where the country was reunited almost 149 years ago.  It is worth the trip to visit this national park.

Purple Heart Monument

Purple Heart Monument

IMG_9869.1The origin of the Purple Heart Medal dates back to the American Revolution.  The medal that is used today is given to those wounded or killed in time of war and was established in 1932.  Unfortunately, it is estimated that  more than 1.7 million medals have been given out since 1932.

Tribute to the POW and MIA.

Tribute to the POW and MIA.

This monument is to honor those that were held as a Prisoner of War (POW) or those that never returned from the war, Missing in Action (MIA).

I hope that all of us takes a moment to remember our Armed Forces, both current and past.  Veteran’s Day is more than just a day off or a time to go shopping at the mall.  If you have a reason to visit Central Virginia, I would hope you carve out time to  visit Monument Terrace, The Old City Cemetery, The National D-Day Memorial, Appomattox Courthouse and the Museum of the Confederacy.  There are many other interesting places to visit and things to do, but on this Veteran’s Day lets focus on these venues.  Today at 10:30am there will be a ceremony at the base of Monument Terrace.  Church Street will be closed during the event.

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Fruit Compote

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Hot Fruit Compote

Hot Fruit Compote

With Thanksgiving right around the corner I thought I would share our hot fruit compote recipe which is an easy to make fruit dish that works well when you have a large party to feed. I’m thinking about Thanksgiving or Christmas morning when you have a million other things to do and you don’t have a lot of extra time in the kitchen to think about cooking breakfast for the family that has gathered for the holidays. What makes the hot fruit compote a great dish (other than being super easy) is it is served warm on those cool fall/winter mornings. Obviously this time of year you don’t have many fresh fruit options so this one relies on canned fruit.  The optional ingredient, fresh cranberries, are available this time of year and add a little bit of tartness to the dish, plus it ties it into the season.  (Tip:  You can buy a bag of fresh cranberries and what you don’t use you can freeze so that you will have fresh cranberries throughout the year.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (15 1/4 ounces each) sliced pears–drained
  • 1 can (29 ounces) sliced peaches–drained
  • 1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • optional–two cups fresh whole cranberries

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine the pears, peaches, pineapple applesauce and cranberries.
  • Spray a 9X13 baking dish with a cooking spray and then pour the mixed ingredients (above) into the baking dish.
  • Spread the pie filling over the fruit and sprinkle with the brown sugar.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly.
  •  Serve warm.

We had a full house at the bed and breakfast last weekend and served this.  The guests loved it.  This can be cooked with an egg casserole at the same time in the oven so you can serve your family a filling warm breakfast that will satisfy them until Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Another option for this hot fruit compote is to sprinkle a light streusel topping on it and turn this into a healthy desert.

I hope you and your family/guests enjoy this recipe.  Kathy and I hope each of you have a great holiday season and that next year will bring you peace and happiness.

Happy Halloween

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interesting-halloween-facts-8 It’s almost here, Halloween, the second most commercialized holiday in the United States.  In preparation for Halloween Old City Cemetery had candle light tours of the cemetery the past two weekends, our neighborhood, Daniels Hill, had a ghost walk and this past Saturday was the third annual Zombie walk through downtown.  But here are a few fun facts that you may not have known:

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interesting-halloween-facts-17

 

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interesting-halloween-facts-13

 

We hope you have a great Halloween in a couple of days….Will you be dressing up for the occasion?

Photos above are from The Chive blog of September 9, 2013, “30 Interesting facts about Halloween”.