Little River Bed and Breakfast
Innkeeper(s): Paula & Rob Fox
20th Annual Maple Syrup Weekend, It's All "Grade A" 27 Mar 2015, 6:34 amThis weekend (March 27th - 29th) is the 20th Annual New Hampshire Maple Syrup Open Doors Weekend. This is a great event and a lot of fun for people of all ages.
Read about our 2011 Maple Syrup adventure for ideas on how to plan your weekend.
I thought I would use this blog posting to note a change that we have heard is coming for years and has finally come (and honestly makes things more self explanatory). Maple Producers are changing the grading system.
- Grade A Light will now be Grade A Golden
- Grade A Medium will now be Grade A Amber
- Grade A Dark remains the same
- Grade B will now be Grade A Very Dark
Check out this link to a more in depth explanation of the different grades.
For the record, at Little River B&B we use Grade A Very Dark all the time. It is richer in nutrients than the other grades and it has a rich maple flavor. Its great for cooking but we think its great for everything.
Travel Planning: Places to See, Things to do! 30 Jan 2015, 8:20 am
|Harrisville, Hancock, and Madame Sherri's Forest|
|Parker's Maple Barn and Pickity Place in Mason, NH|
and last, but not least... Peterborough!
Madame Sherri's Forest (in West Chesterfield, NH)
Pickity Place (twice) (in Mason, NH)
Parker's Maple Barn (in Mason, NH)
|Scenes of downtown Peterborough|
Cookie Tour 2014 - Peppermint-Swirl Sugar Cookies 21 Dec 2014, 10:08 am
The 2014 Currier and Ives Cookie Tour took place on Saturday, December 13th with partly cloudy skies and cookies galore! This was our fifth year participating and as has become our tradition... we had a new cookie to share. This year's Peppermint-Swirl Sugar Cookie is fun to look at and fun to make! The recipe is a pretty simple slice-and-bake-type refrigerator sugar cookie dough, but there is a little bit of technique involved in shaping the dough into the peppermint-swirl shape.
A bit of background first... the inspiration for these cookies started over a year ago with some adorable Peppermint Candy Sugar Cookies I saw on the Bakerella blog via Pinterest. I loved the way they looked and the way they were packaged with the two twisted ends, but when I read the recipe and realized the beauty was in the icing, I was pretty sure I would never succeed in making the 300 - 400 cookies we need for cookie tour. So I pushed the idea to the back of my mind and moved on to other things. Fast forward to October of this year when I tried a recipe for Candy Corn Cookies. They are basically a slice-and-bake sugar cookies that has been layered and cut to look like candy corn. I didn't think there was anything too special about the way the cookies tasted, but they looked really cute. So, if I could make slice-and-bake cookies that looked like candy corn, why can't I make slice-and-bake cookies that look like peppermint candies, right?
So after some general Internet and YouTube browsing didn't turn up any ready-made solutions for my idea, I decided I would need to figure it out for myself. I did, however, find a cool YouTube channel by yoyomax12 where she makes really cute slice-and-bake cookies with a panda face! So if yoyomax12 can succeed in making cookies with a panda face, I should be able to make cookies that look like peppermint candies, right?
And off to the kitchen I went. I made a basic refrigerator cookie dough (my recipe is below, but if you already have a favorite recipe, you could probably use your own), divided the dough in half, colored one half red, left the other half plain, and got to work making the design. To be honest, the technique for forming the pattern in the dough is not all that difficult. I actually got the technique to work reasonably well on my first try, but it is really hard to put into words so I'll just have to count on pictures... and even a YouTube video... to show you how.
Here's the video...
Or if you'd rather just see photos, here you go.
|Start with two equal-sized discs.|
|Cut each disc in half and join one red and one white half.|
|Cut disc in half again and flip over one half to get alternating colors.|
|Cut again, into fourths, diagonally across white and red segments.|
|Rearrange segments to alternating colors.|
|Turn disc on its side and start rolling into a log.
Make sure to keep rolling in the same direction.
|Roll until cylinder is about 2 inches thick and 8 inches long.|
|Wipe off flour from outside of dough to help sprinkles stick.|
|Roll in sprinkles or pearl sugar. Wrap in waxed
and chill for several hours or overnight.
|Cut chilled dough with a sharp, serrated knife.|
|Transfer cookie slices to prepared baking sheets and bake as directed.|
|Even cuter when wrapped to look like peppermint candies!|
Here's my recipe for the cookie dough. It contains cream cheese in addition to the butter, which makes a soft, not too crumbly cookie. The peppermint flavor is not overwhelming, and the recipe includes just a bit of vanilla in addition to the peppermint to give it some nice flavor.
Peppermint-Swirl Sugar Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temp
1 ½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
red food coloring gel
nonpareils, sprinkles, or pearl sugar
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon vegetable shortening
Make dough: In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in sugar, egg, vanilla and peppermint extract. Add flour, salt and baking powder and mix until combined. Divide dough in half and add red food coloring to one half until desired color is obtained. Wrap each half of the dough in plastic and chill for 15 to 20 minutes, or up to an hour.
Shape dough: Working on a lightly-floured surface, form each half of the dough (red & white) into a thick disc, about 5” diameter. Using a large knife or bench scraper, cut each disc into 8 wedges of equal size. Next, rearrange the wedges so you have two discs that each resembles a wagon wheel with alternating red/white segments, making sure all the points meet in the center. Carefully start squeezing the pieces together and rotating in one direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) to start forming a cylinder. Turn the cylinder over, and rotate in the opposite direction. Lay the dough cylinder on its side and finish rolling the dough into a log, about 2 ¼ inches in diameter and 8 inches long. To get the characteristic swirl, make sure to continue roll in the same direction. Put a thin layer of sprinkles in a shallow pan and roll each log in the sprinkles to coat, pressing lightly to adhere. (If you use a lot flour when rolling the dough, dampen outside of dough with a wet paper towel to help sprinkles stick.) Wrap each log in wax paper and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
Bake and finish cookies: Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Working with one log at a time, use a sharp, serrated knife to cut ¼” slices and place slices on prepared baking sheets. (Note: Dough will cut best when cold. If knife gets sticky, clean it between cuts with a damp paper towel.) Bake 8-10 minutes, until cookies are baked, but before edges start to brown. Let cool. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips with shortening and frost bottoms of cookies with chocolate. Place cookies, chocolate-side-down, back on silicone baking mat or on a clean piece of wax paper and allow chocolate to fully cool and harden. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry location.
Peterborough and a Chocolate Factory 8 Dec 2014, 1:07 pm"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."
- Charles M. Schulz, creator of the comic strip Peanuts
As we progress through the holiday season, it is hard for me not to think about sweets... especially, chocolate! Cookies, cake, brownies, candy, hot chocolate... you name it... it all holds a special place in my heart. Now, Peterborough has it's own chocolate factory to add fuel (cocoa and sugar, of course) to my dreams. Chocolate maker Neely Cohen opened the "bean-to-bar" Vicuna Chocolate Factory and Cafe at 15 Main Street opened in October. During the week, Vicuna Chocolate Factory produces five varieties of chocolate bars including Pure, Maras Salt, Cocoa Nibs, Coffee, and Yellow Chili. On Saturdays and Sundays, the cafe is open offering tastings of the chocolate bars, a variety of homemade cookies and pastries, hot chocolate, tea made from cocoa bean husks, and locally roasted coffee.
Neely's own story is fascinating. Still in her 20s, she has studied dance, fashion design, religion, political science, and languages. She graduated from the chef training program at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York and worked as a pastry chef. She moved to Peru and worked as a chocolatier for Choco Muzeo (Chocolate Museum) in Cusco, Peru, teaching bean-to-bar chocolate making. She competed on the Food Network show "Sweet Genius"... and won! (These, and other stories, are shared via the Vicuna Chocolate Facebook page.)
As a special treat, Vicuna Chocolate made the Boston Globe's list of New England chocolatiers who "set the bar high".
And if that isn't enough chocolate, the multicultural Mariposa Museum across the street will feature their "World of Chocolate!" exhibit through January 31, 2015. The exhibit invites you to learn the stories of many cultures through the trail of chocolate. From ancient Mexico, to sugar plantations in the Caribbean, to chocolate factories in Europe, the United States and more. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, learn about the author's fascination with chocolate and how he came to write his story.
Chocolate, chocolate, everywhere! Peterborough sure is a great place to be!
Peterborough - Celebrating 275 Years! 12 Oct 2014, 7:57 pmAfter months, even years of planning, the week-long celebration to commemorate Peterborough's 275th Anniversary began under less-than-ideal weather conditions. And well, yes... it did rain on our parade... but it didn't seem to dampen spirits! The parade stepped off Saturday, October 11 at 10:00 AM, led by the 6th New Hampshire Regiment (portraying soldiers and civilians from the Civil War), followed by the Governor's Horse Guard, marching bands, antique cars, local organizations, floats, and more! (For more photos of the parade and other events of the day, please see our Facebook page.)
|6th New Hampshire Regiment Infantry Company E leading the parade.|
|Peterborough Food Pantry "Float"... very creative!|
|William Diamond Junior Fife and Drum Corps|
|The Lexington Minute Men|
|Monadnock Community Hospital - The most enthusiastic marchers on this rainy morning!|
|Fred Marple, the official Frost Heaves "dignitary" in the parade.|
The celebration also included special tribute to William Diamond, a Revolutionary War drummer in Lexington, Massachusetts under Captain John Parker. In April 1775, a teen-aged William Diamond beat his drum as the call to arms, summoning the village's minutemen to the start of the Revolutionary War. He is famously portrayed as the young drummer in the "Spirit of '76" painting by Archibald Willard. In 1795, William Diamond and his wife Rebecca settled in Peterborough, purchased land to farm, and raised their family here. He died in 1828 and is buried in the town's cemetery on Old Street Road. The tribute to William Diamond featured participation throughout the day by the William Diamond Junior Fife and Drum Corps, The Lexington Minute Men, and the 10th Regiment British Soldiers. In addition, William Diamond's drum and desk were on display at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, courtesy of the Lexington Historical Society.
|The Lexington Minute Men, the 10th Regiment British Soldiers, and the William Diamond Junior Fife and Drum Corp gathered for the special presentation in front of the Monadnock Center for History and Culture|
|Actor portrayal of William Diamond, giving an account of his life|
|William Diamond's drum|
Other activities in town also included demonstrations by Colonel Ebenezer Hinsdale's Garrison Company recreating aspects of 18th century colonial community, a traditional blacksmith creating late 16th and 17th century armor such as that worn by the Polish Winged Hussar knights, music performances by the Temple Town Band and the NH Pipes and Drums band, the rededication and grand opening of the original Main Street entrance to the Town Library, a special Farmers' Market, food court, and activities for all.
|Participant in the Garrison Company's community cooking chicken over the open coals (said to take about 4 hours to cook this way).|
|Blacksmith working on armor|
|Tent in the 6th NH Regiment's camp|
The day ended with a great fireworks show over the rivers in downtown Peterborough at Depot Square Park, sponsored by The Peterson's Real Estate.
But the party isn't over just yet! Additional events this week include a talk on Peterborough in the 60s at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture on Wednesday, concerts on Friday, and Ken Sheldon's Frost Heaves live comedy show, an Open Hearth Cooking demonstration, the Peak into Peterborough Festival, a contra dance, and more on Saturday, October 18, 2014!
(For more photos of the day, please see our Facebook page.)
Hiking Mt Monadnock - The Marlboro Trail 6 Oct 2014, 11:23 amThis past month we invited our friend Andrew on our annual hike up Mt Monadnock and we decided to tackle yet another new trailhead (well...new for us). After having peaked many times starting at White Dot, Old Toll Road, Dublin Trail and Birchtoft, we knew we needed to check either the Pumpelly or Marlboro trailhead off our list.
We were on a bit of a time schedule and knowing that Pumpelly is the longest trail on the mountain, we decided to tackle Marlboro. We had never done it before and were unsure what to expect and it definitely threw us a few curves.
|Paula and Andrew at the Marlboro trailhead|
That was a good sign we were going to have plenty of solitude on the hike (which we were hoping for). That was the case as we passed nobody on the way up and just two groups on the way back down.
|Views from mid-climb|
The last curve was the views. Even just halfway up Marlboro the views were expansive and spectacular. I am sure it didn't hurt that it was a beautiful day but Marlboro is the only trail whose views look Westward towards Keene.
|At the top of Monadnock|
Our day at "The Big E" 19 Sep 2014, 4:32 pmLast week, Paula and I took a day out of our schedule to visit The Big E and volunteer as tourism experts at the NH State building. We had a great time and wanted to share our experiences.
|Scary bears :)|
Answer: The Eastern States Exposition, known as The Big E is the fifth largest state fair in the United States (I think I have that correct). What makes it unique is that it is a multi-state fair encompassing all six New England states.
|Ask me, I'm an "expert" :)|
- Carnival food: we had Gyros, fried Oreo cookies and hand made cider donuts and apple fritters
- Agricultural buildings having all sorts of animal competitions: we saw hundreds of cows 'getting their hair done', piglet races and sheep shearing
- Carnival: we didn't go but they had a ferris wheel, roller coaster and all the other requisite amusement park rides
- Crafts fair
The Big E also has its "Avenue of States". The Avenue of States encompasses one side of the fairgrounds where each of the six New England states has a building which is a replica of their original state house. Each state house offers vendors unique to their state selling unique foods and specialty items plus an information booth filled with tourism brochures and so-called experts :)
The Wapack Trail...twenty-one miles of scenic beauty 10 Jul 2014, 6:39 pmThe Wapack Trail may be one of the more under-rated hiking trails in the Monadnock Region and is a fantastic way to get out and enjoy our local scenery. There are plenty of vistas looking out in every direction.
Four facts about the Wapack
- At ninety plus years it is one of the oldest interstate trails in New England
- Its twenty one miles long spanning more than nine peaks between New Hampshire and Massachusetts
- There are seven miles of spur trails
- The trail includes hiking through the defunct Temple Ski Area
There are brave souls who hike the entire twenty one miles in one day in early September. For those of us not quite in such great shape...cough cough...me...cough cough, we do it in sections :) Paula and I often hike the most Northern section (that would be South Pack and North Pack) and it is a moderately challenging hike over two peaks.
Several weeks ago we decided to explore a little more of the Wapack and with our niece Casey and friend Paul we started in New Ipswich and hiked up the spur trail to Kidder Mountain. Its a pretty easy three mile round trip hike that that only climbs 350' to the summit but the views at the top were quite nice and we did a little geocaching as well.
Then this past week Paul and I decided to get more ambitious and do a point to point hike on the Wapack starting at Berry Pasture Trail and then hike the ledges all the way to the base of Temple Mountain. Its called Berry Pasture for a reason and when the blueberries are in season you can eat your way up the mountain. This is also a trail that kind of smacks you in the face and makes you suck wind early. 800' of vertical in less than a mile is a pretty consistent upward climb. Once at the top and heading North you are rewarded with views of Monadnock and a less intense path.
The last stop just before the old Temple Ski Area is an treeless area of bald rock sporting quite a few cairns and a handful of stone chairs to sit in and take a rest.
All in all this was an excellent hike and we have now covered about nine miles of the twenty one miles of Wapack but realize there is so much more to explore. That's why this is such a great treasure to have here in Southwest New Hampshire.
Kayaking...even if you don't have your own... 21 Jun 2014, 7:37 pmKayaking is a great activity you can do in the Monadnock Region and there are plenty of wonderful rivers, lakes and ponds you can enjoy but we realize not everyone owns their own kayaks. Well, there are several options in the Peterborough area that still make it possible.
|Kayaks ready to launch at Otter Lake|
The other option is Otter Lake at Greenfield State Park. The advantage to Otter Lake is that they rent the kayaks right on the beach and simply them into the lake and go. We decided we needed to check out Otter Lake for ourselves since renting kayaks there is so easy.
|Paula in front and to my left checking out the shoreline|
What's happening in June 2014 1 Jun 2014, 3:08 pmThings are finally warming up in Peterborough and so are the events. Every month we are trying to highlight three events we think are unique, new or cool and this month we would like to feature a cool arts/crafts fair, a music festival and the start of the Peterborough Players summer season.
Saturday, June 7th at the Peterborough Townhouse: OK, so what's so unique about an arts/crafts fair? "*broke" has the philosophy that art should be for everyone. Thus every item for sale by the artists costs less than $50. I think that's pretty cool and at the last show we found the perfect gift for our niece...a hand-crafted ocarina necklace made by a local artist. Walk around, there is something for everyone!
June 13th, 17th and 22nd: One of newest additions to the arts and music scene in the Monadnock Region is the Electric Earth Concert Series. Now in its third season, EEC is a classical music series focused on bringing great classical music performances to our region. In June alone there will be three concerts: one featuring a look at Bach's solo violinist works, a second featuring folk music artist Tim Eriksen and a third a concert on the "Green" in Jaffrey featuring the works of Schubert.
June 25th - 30th: This actually rolls into July as well but the Peterborough Players are opening their season with a one woman comedy called "Family Secrets". This actress portrays five different family members hilariously revealing the family's secrets. If you are interested in coming to one of these performances, check out our Peterborough Players Package.