When we first came to Americus, in 2002, there was a beautiful
golf course right here in Americus known as Wolf Creek.
During the economic downturn, the golf course closed.
In 2013, two brothers and a cousin decided to bring the land
back to life, not as a golf course, but as a vineyard.
It is a beautiful property with over 100 acres of lakes.
I really enjoyed seeing all the wildlife including dragonflies
I am so easily distracted - back to the muscadine grape
They are planted on the old golf course fairways.
When I visited in August, the grapes were not quite ripe
They have 9 different varieties of grapes planted.
The vines were overflowing with grapes.
They have raspberry vines, too.
Jerry English, one of the owners, was kind enough to show me
around. This is where the grapes turn into wine. From
what I've heard, these bottles are now full of this year's
We had the privilege to try some of their first attempts from
last year's crop. I can honestly say that it was
They have recently come up with their new logo and the
store will be opening in November 2016.
If you might enjoy some Southern muscadine wine, be sure to check
Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn blog. Stay
tuned for Chapter 3 of A Tale of 3 SouthWest Georgia
Did you know that there are 3 vineyards within a reasonable
drive from Americus, Georgia?
We set out on several day trips to check them out, just for
The first one we visited was Still Pond Vineyard Winery and
It was a beautiful drive through the country to reach
Arlington, Georgia, about an hour or so from Americus.
We passed acres upon acres of farm fields.
Finally, we came upon the sign for Still Pond Vineyard, just
1.5 miles ahead.
The minute I stepped out of the car, this dragonfly landed at
my feet. I took that as a sign that this was going to be a
really good day.
The entry way is charming and we were greeted by Charles
Cowarth, the owner and winemaker (and distiller...) who gave us a
tour of the facility.
This machine harvests the muscadine grapes.
This is the machine that actually presses the grapes to
extract the juice.
This is where the magic happens, turning the grape juice into
These tanks are enormous.
Besides making wine, Still Pond is also distilling
The entire distilling process is really fascinating.
They are producing vodka, brandy and Moonshine at Still
Legal, moonshine, to be clear.
Here you can see the brandy is aging in barrels, not yet ready
Now for the tasting room. The first thing you notice is
the number of awards that have been bestowed upon so many of their
And, the most amazing part of this experience is, your first 7
wine samples are FREE!
You might try the blackberry bliss.
or the gold limited reserve
or the Farmhouse white
or how about some mead? I did not know that mead is wine
made from honey. Did you?
So, after all that tasting, we had a hard time deciding what
We decided to take a walk around the vineyard and check out
the pond on the property. Of course, I was totally distracted
by the dragonflies.
A few of them posed for a photo.
It's amazing how many different species there are.
I discovered my new favorite dragonfly, the halloween
The pond was beautiful with Spanish moss covered trees
Truly a picture perfect day.
After learning about the muscadines and how they are
we took a closer look at how they are planted.
You can just imagine how much work it would be to harvest by
They weren't ripe yet when we visited, but, they sure were
So, the next time you visit us in Americus, consider staying
an extra day to visit our friends at Still Pond Vineyard and
Stay tuned for our next blog post on Vineyard Winery #2!
Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn Bed and Breakfast
blog. Check back soon for the next installment of Daytripping
This is the first year that the birds and the beetles have
decided to share the figs on our fig trees. With an abundance
of figs, I decided it was time to try a new recipe. I found a
recipe that was similar to a cobbler or a crisp and thought to
myself, I can make this gluten free (so I can eat some). Be
forewarned, the recipe yielded a high ratio of crumble to fig, so,
if you would like less crumble, adjust accordingly. I started
by harvesting some fresh figs, washed them and halved them.
I placed them in a single layer in a baking dish - about 16
figs fit perfectly as most were small.
I preheated the oven to 350 degrees as I assembled the crumble
ingredients - butter, brown sugar, cocoa, coconut flour, almond
flour, baking powder, salt and toasted pecans.
I allowed the butter to soften to room temperature and then
added the dry ingredients to the butter.
It quickly combined into a dough.
I chopped the pecans
added them to the dough
and here is the finished crumble dough.
I placed some of the crumble on each fig half.
It took about 30 minutes for the figs to soften and start to
release their juices, and for the crumble to turn a beautiful
Kim and I both did a taste test - We both loved it!
So, the next time you have some figs that you want to play
with, try this recipe. It was delicious! And, let me
know how it turned out for you.
Gluten Free Fresh Fig Crumble
16 small figs, halved
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place halved figs in a single layer in a shallow baking dish,
cut side up.
- Combine the next 7 ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing until
it holds together.
- Add the pecans and mix until it is evenly incorporated.
- Place a generous amount crumble on top of each fig, gently
pressing onto each fig.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the figs begin to release
their juice and the crumble is nicely browned.
Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn Bed &
Breakfast. We hope to host your visit to Americus in the near
It's that time of year when watermelons are ripe and the
temperature outside is crazy hot. What is more refreshing
than chilled watermelon soup? It's easy to make and a great
way to use all that extra melon. By the way, the watermelons
this year have been phenomenal!
Here's the recipe:
Chilled Watermelon Soup (from Southern Living July
Yield: 3 - 4 cups soup
- 4 cups seeded watermelon cubes
- 1/3 cup apple juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- 1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
Process first 5 ingredients and honey, if desired, in a
blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down
sides. Cover and chill 1 hour. Serve in individual bowls with a
dollop of yogurt.
Stay cool and enjoy! Hope to see you here at the
Americus Garden Inn Bed & Breakfast soon.
I saw this gorgeous tree from the road and decided I had to
stop and take a quick look. It looked like a huge wisteria
The scent of wisteria was so strong that it took my breath
As I strolled along, I noticed the blooming dogwood
There was this one lone lily growing through the grass.
These white iris were covered with insects of some kind.
I'm not sure what these are, but, they were everywhere.
These were, too.
The yoshino cherries were in bloom.
And, there were still quite a few camellias.
This one had an insect visitor.
This camellia was full of ants.
These have been blooming for months and are just about done
for the season.
This camellia was particularly beautiful.
Another blooming dogwood tree.
I love these little white flowers.
And, as I left, I had one more opportunity to enjoy the
Thank you for joining me on my Easter Sunday walk. Hope
you'll come visit us and we can take a walk together, in
I had a special request for low carb muffins for a
prediabetic guest who had been told by her doctor to avoid "bread",
but, she didn't want to miss out on my baking. Since we had
one morning of her visit that there were no other guests, I decided
to try a new recipe just for her (and her hubby). My absolute
favorite gluten free muffin with rice flour is a cheese muffin.
So, I decided to try a savory option with almond flour to
keep the carbs to a minimum.
It is a very simple recipe that comes together quickly.
Just put all the ingredients together in one bowl, stir,
scoop into a muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes. The result
is a muffin reminscent of a whole wheat muffin with only 3 grams of
carbs per muffin! The recipe makes 8 muffins. Kim's
suggestion to maximize enjoyment is to place the muffins back in
the oven for a couple of minutes right before you eat them - the
crust crisps up and makes them extra tasty. If you look
closely, you can see the bits of sun-dried tomato, oregano, basil
So, give the recipe a try and let me know what you
Gluten Free Almond Flour Cheese
Yield: 8 muffins - 3 grams of carbs per
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup almond flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
oregano, to taste
basil, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
parsley, to taste
sun-dried tomato, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 muffin cups
with PAM. (Fill remaining muffin cups 1/2 way with water to
avoid hot spots.)
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Evenly divide batter into prepared muffin
- Bake for 20 minutes.
It's that time of year - time for the lights of Willet Way
Wonderland to be ignited. About a mile from our home, this
winter wonderland is an annual tradition here in Americus.
Although Santa wasn't around in person when we drove through,
his schedule was posted for those seeking a photo op with Santa.
Please click on the first photo and just enjoy the slide
show. No further comments from me are necessary. Hope
this brings a smile to your day.
Wishing all a safe and happy holiday season.
Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas.
|Gluten Free Chocolate Coconut Muffins
I am always on the lookout for new recipes, especially
those for people with special dietary needs. On the King
Arthur Flour website, I found a recipe for Chocolate Coconut Cake
made with coconut flour that sounded promising. In one of
the reviews for the recipe, someone shared that the recipe made 10
muffins. So, I decided to cut the recipe down to make just 2
muffins, one for me and one for Kim. Here is the pictorial
instructions to make 2 muffins, if you want to try it, too.
The only substitution I made to the original recipe was I
used brown sugar in place of regular sugar. These are not
sweet and the cocoa coconut combination is really nice.
However, next time I make them, I'm going to add some
Here are the ingredients you will need: coconut
flour, cocoa, baking powder, vanilla, sugar, 1 egg, butter, and
Sift 4 teaspoons, or 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of coconut
with 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder. Set aside.
Place 4 teaspoons or 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of
into a microwave-safe container with 1 Tablespoon of
Microwave for about 30 seconds, or until the butter is melted.
Add 1/8 cup or 2 Tablespoons of sugar (I used brown
and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
along with one egg to the butter cocoa mixture. Add a
pinch of salt, if you like.
Whisk to combine.
Add the dry ingredients to the mixture
and whisk to combine.
Evenly scoop into 2 paper lined muffin cups - place water in
empty cups to prevent hot spots.
Bake at 350 degrees
for about 20 minutes (check at 17 - 18 minutes)
Check with a toothpick for doneness - should come out
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 muffin cups with
- Sift together the coconut flour and baking powder,
mixing to combine; set aside.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter with the
cocoa, stirring until well blended.
- Whisk the sugar, salt, vanilla, and egg into the
butter-cocoa mixture. Add the coconut flour and baking powder,
whisking until smooth.
- Divide the batter into the muffin cups. Let it rest for
- Bake the muffins until set, about 20 minutes, or until a
toothpick inserted into the middle comes out
- Allow to cool and enjoy!
Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn blog. Come
back and see us again, soon.
THINGS TO DO THIS FALL IN SUMTER COUNTY
As the temperatures drop to a more comfortable level and
the gnats disappear, it is time to enjoy a trip to Americus,
Andersonville, and Plains. There are a quite a few upcoming
events that may inspire you to come visit us.
Former President Jimmy Carter has been all over the news
due to his recent cancer diagnosis and treatment. As you may
or may not be aware, Mr. Carter has been, and plans to continue,
teaching an adult Bible Lesson at his church on the Sunday mornings
he is in town. The service is open to the public and all are
welcome to attend. His schedule is posted on the Maranatha Baptist Church
Sunday, Sept 6 Jimmy Carter is scheduled to teach Sunday
School at 10 am.
Sumter Players will be performing "The Andersonville
Trial" Thursday, Sept. 10 through Sunday, Sept. 13 at the Rylander Theatre.
Tickets are $10 - $15.
Sunday, Sept 13 Jimmy Carter is scheduled to teach Sunday
School at 10 am.
‘The Ride Home’ which pays tribute to former U.S. POWs
and the families of MIAs will be Sept. 16-20. See the
Americus Times Recorder
The Manhattan Dolls will be performing music
USO style from boogie-woogie to the blues
Taste of Sumter will be held on Thursday, Sept 24 in our
beautiful historic downtown.
Plains Peanut Festival, honoring Plains, Peanuts and a
President will be Saturday, Sept 26 in downtown Plains.
Events include a parade, book signing, train ride and a
street dance. Visit the Plains Georgia website for more
Sunday, Sept 27 Jimmy Carter is scheduled to teach
Sunday School at 10 am.
Sunday, Oct 4 Jimmy Carter is scheduled to teach Sunday
School at 10 am.
The Broadway Boys, a group of 6 Broadway performers,
will be performing the music of Broadway on Friday Oct 16, 2015 at
Theatre. Tickets are $29.
Sunday, Oct 18 Jimmy Carter is scheduled to teach Sunday
School at 10 am.
Sunday, Oct 25 Jimmy Carter is scheduled to teach Sunday
School at 10 am.
Although some of these events are subject to change,
maybe you should just come to Americus to enjoy some peace and
quiet, along with some Southern hospitality. We'd love to see
Today, there are so many people on gluten free diets.
For those who can enjoy oats, here is a recipe that uses
exclusively oats. No wheat, corn, rice or other flour is
used. The recipe makes 8 muffins and can be doubled.
Here are the ingredients you'll need (the chocolate chips are
optional). I did not have "gluten free" oats, but, no one had
Celiac disease when I experimented and regular oats were okay to
You could simply put all the ingredients into the food
processor and blend at one time. But, I chose to use my
immersion blender and the chopping attachment for this small batch
recipe. I measured the oats into the chopping cup.
Added the sugar.
Baking powder was next.
Cinnamon was last.
All the dry ingredients are in the chopping
I blended until it looked about right.
This looked perfect, to me.
Now for the wet ingredients. I broke a banana into
pieces into the immersion blender cup along with one egg.
Added Greek yogurt
and some vanilla extract.
Everything is ready to be blended.
Immersion blender was perfect for this task.
Looks perfectly blended.
The oven was preheated to 400 degrees.
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet.
Blend with the immersion blender.
Here is the volume of batter once everything is mixed
This recipe makes 8 muffins. I've made it twice.
You can either use foil liners or you can spray the muffin
tins with non-stick spray. However, if you use the chocolate
chips for garnish, as I did, if you do not use the foil liners, the
chips sink into the batter. They stayed on top using the
1/4 cup of batter per muffin.
I carefully placed 6 chocolate chips on top of each muffin and
filled the empty muffin cups 1/4 full of water.
The timer was set for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, they were not quite done. I gave them
another 3 minutes,
Looks like 8 beautiful muffins to me.
A closer look
I allowed them to cool for about 10 minutes before serving
them. Everyone liked them!
Gluten Free Oatmeal Banana Muffins (wheat free, flour
1 ¼ cups old fashioned oats (gluten free, if needed)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
1 large ripe banana
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
48 chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line 8 muffin cups with foil liners or spray with
non-stick cooking spray.
Measure dry ingredients into food processor or
chopping bowl of food processor. Blend or chop until oats are
Blend egg, banana, Greek yogurt and vanilla extract
together with immersion blender.
Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and blend until
Divide batter into prepared muffin cups.
Garnish with chocolate chips, if using.
Bake at 400°F for 15 - 20 minutes, or until a
toothpick comes out clean.
NOTE: You can simply put all ingredients (not the chocolate
chips) into a food processor to blend. I was experimenting
and wanted to how the ingredients looked at each step.
Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn blog. Let me
know if you what you think of this recipe. Hope you and your
family enjoy it as much as we do.