At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn
The Best Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe Ever 23 Nov 2015, 10:57 am
Followers of this blog know that I am a true fan of Thanksgiving. It is and has always been my favorite family holiday. I love that it reflects the importance of family. The importance of remembering family and all those in your life throughout the year that have touched your life in one way or another are called to mind. They have shown a kindness, extended a kind word, shown particular thoughtfulness that warms the heart to recall.
Part of those family moments are spent gathered around the table for Thanksgiving dinner. Stories will be shared, anecdotal moments of Thanksgiving’s past will be remembered and hopefully, in the spirit of the holiday, a thought for those less fortunate in our world will be in our hearts.
Thanksgiving is about tradition too. In the tradition of sharing I want to give you all this recipe for some easy, very yummy dressing that will make you forget all about the stove top variety.
At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn hopes you really enjoy this stuffing and it gets to be a tradition at your house too.
The Best Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe Ever
1 loaf of french bread- cubed and toasted till lightly brown.
1 loaf of stuffing loaf bread- cubed and toasted till lightly brown.
In a cast iron skillet place two sticks of butter. Chop 1/2 package celery and 1 pound of carrots. Chop one large onion. Use some fresh thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage, pepper and a bit of salt- (Not too much salt as you’ll be putting in chicken broth.) Put all of this into the cast iron skillet and saute for about 1/2 hour. Don’t overcook this as it is going to be baked in the stuffing. Allow this mixture to cool to room temperature as you’ll be mixing it by hand. It really does a much more thorough job than a spoon.
*Note the bread. Use good quality bread. I only buy one loaf of the “stuffing bread” that is already pre-spiced because I want to add a bit of the spices myself using fresh as above.
Place the toasted bread cubes into a very large bowl. You will want to have enough room to really mix this well. Add the sauteed veggie mixture to the toasted bread cubes. Allow enough time for the moisture in the veggies to seep into the cubes. Then, lastly, you will need to add a bit of chicken broth to get to your particular texture heaven. Some folks like their stuffing very wet and some a bit dryer. The bread used will also play into how much broth you need to add. P.S. If you enjoy baking the stuffing in the actual turkey, remember that the turkey juice will also be another source of additional fluid to your stuffing so don’t end up with stuffing that’s really wet by adding too much chicken broth.
When stuffing is of the consistency you desire, spray a very large baking dish with Pam. I always use a bigger pan to bake because the best bit of stuffing is the crunchy bit and if it’s not crowded in the pan you will have more crunchy bits. This is all there is to the stuffing. It’s simplicity is it’s secret. I have giving this recipe to many guests. Some dress it up with craisins or apples, nuts, meat and more but for me, the perfect alchemy is found in the dance of fine bread, fresh spices, fresh butter merging with veggies, enough room to bake creating that crunchy outside, moist inside rendering a perfectly seasoned accompaniment to turkey and gravy. Feel free to tamper with this at will to create a tradition of your own.
Happy Thanksgiving from Patti, Gary and the gang At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn. Remember all those in need this holiday and help where you can.
Easy Thanksgiving 2015 10 Nov 2015, 4:27 pm
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It always has been. While I completely embrace the “meaning of the season” of Christmas, over the years much of this has been lost in the glitterati of commercialism and overbuying creating such a environment of retail mania that the reason behind this sacred holiday can easily be lost in the shuffle.
Thanksgiving tends to be a family oriented, time together moment of joy much more my style. Everyone collaborates on a grand dinner, stories remembered and told around the table and memories of those present and those now gone permeate the conversation.
All this said, sometimes, circumstances, available time, job requirements, later than expected working hours etc. all combine together to throw a bit of a wrench into the celebration.
With the ideal being a relaxed, not over taxed hostess, a lovely but not necessarily complicated meal enjoyed together in celebration of all the many things we have to be grateful for I have created an ideal dinner menu for the time stressed among us.
Be honest, how many ways do you really want to learn how to use left over turkey. Turkey is a lean meat anyway. Re-heating it over and over and over can leave a less than appreciable difference between turkey and shoe leather. Solution: Think Smaller, think a lovely hen rather than Thomasina Turkey, especially if you have a dark meat lover in the family that would not be pleased with only the roasting of say, a turkey breast.
Think only 1 or two veggies rather than a very large number. While variety is a lovely thing, with all the usual additions to the Thanksgiving feast of stuffing, pie, rolls etc. too many veggie entrees can leave you with a lot of left overs. Think combo: Saw a wonderful pre-holiday show today. Lovely mashed potatoes all finished in the bottom of a casserole dish with sauteed brussel sprouts topping this. Voila….one casserole pan, two nice entrees. Room on your table improves with this idea too.
Who among us can say that there are not some really excellent pre-done rolls on the market now? Whether you go for the crispie nature of a yummy baguette or are more of a Sister Schubert soft bread connoisseur, it is not a mandate to choose Thanksgiving to have to “make the bread.” Buy it and enjoy the time with family…or, if your family is a fan of stuffing, say “no” to the bread period.
Gravy can be made the day before. Easy enough to do and a great time saver. Use wings for your gravy beginnings if you don’t wish to roast your meat of choice the day before.
Cranberry Sauce is the easiest thing in the world to make. Happy to share my recipe if you’d like. Give me a call. This too, can be taken care of the day before and will actually taste better having had the time to merge.
Pie: Choose the pie the whole family will eat. It doesn’t have to be pumpkin. Further, it’s really crazy to have 5 different pies about for one holiday. We all know that the clean up duty of that particular scenario could find you a dress size up by the end of the year. Find consensus among your guests and choose that pie. Just for the record, no one will turn you in to the Martha Stewart police if you buy the pie rather than make it. I mean, Mrs. Smith and Marie Callender really need the money.
Ok, the round up.
A day or more before:
Buy bread and buy pie.
Make the cranberry sauce.
Make the mashed potato for casserole dish. If brussel sprouts are not your thing, work up your own culinary magic to top the potatoes. Carrots would be beautiful. So would yellow or zucchini squash.
Make the gravy. This is a great time saver for preserving your sanity and sense of humor on Thanksgiving day but if you’d rather use the meat you are roasting, there is relatively little left to do if you have already followed the above protocol.
Roast your “SMALL-ish” fowl choice.
Make the gravy if not pre-done.
Heat the food already prepared.
Bake the pie
Have all the time you need to really be with your family, talk to your friends and not be rushing around like a crazy person. Happy, Happy Thanksgiving to all the cooks present and past. They are largely the architects of all the Thanksgiving memories we all carry with us though our lives. Enjoy your family and your Thanksgiving.
Halloween Asheville 2015 31 Oct 2015, 11:28 am
Halloween in Asheville, most especially the Montford historic district, will be in full swing tonight. For the last several years it has rained in celebration of all Hallowed Eve but Ashevillians remained true to our intense dedication to celebrating all things that go “bump” in the night.
As the children arrive at our inn, the real ingenuity, creative spirit and joie de vivre reflected in their costumes shine through. Last year the highlights were a piano keyboard and a refrigerator complete with shelving housing glued in place food selections.
The kids in our neighborhood are treated to a barrage of fear stimulating vignettes as they approach participating neighborhood houses traipsing through machine generated fog drifting through the air as the screaming harridan sound tracks herald the coffin lid opening. The big reveal delivers Count Dracula complete with blood stained teeth and his famous “Good Evening” effectively completing the circuit and delivering the desired effect of bone chilling fear.
For those wishing to support our four legged friends Brother Wolf is hosting Howl-A-Ween from 11 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Theater lovers will enjoy “Day of the Dead” at BB Theatre on Commerce Street from Asheville’s Contemporary Dance Theatre. Or my particular favorite, a cult classic at the Masonic Lodge- The Rocky Horror Show.
For those that consider any holiday, even the most bootiful one of the year, another occasion to shop… The new Outlet Mall is hosting Boo Bash. Fun games, pet adoption opportunities and more from 5-7 p.m. October 31.
Lastly, in tribute to the hit show, The Walking Dead, Asheville
“A Wake for the Living Dead” which is both a vaudeville show and also dinner at Lex 18.
We have a few rooms left guys so if you’d like an evening of thrills and chills, you’ll find us on the porch handing out treats so we don’t get tricked and we’ll be happy to help Halloween 2015 be your most memorable celebration yet.
The above list is only partial because as always, we aim to please and it’s Asheville as You Like It.
Vacation Safety Tips 16 Oct 2015, 10:43 am
Vacation denotes many things to many people. For some it is a time of frenzied activity composed of seizing each and every moment of time and for others it’s fabric becomes one of ease and rest providing an opportunity to be fully present in one’s life path absent the usual demands of job requirements and associated deadlines. For all, just the very idea of vacation takes the shape of a halcyon moment in memory. Sometimes, the actuality can be a bit different.
While we may endlessly research the destination, the things available to do certain things once we arrive there and even the accommodation we choose- it is not all that uncommon to concentrate completely on aesthetics on both of these fronts.
For the purposes of this blog, I’ll concentrate on accommodation offerings you may think reasonable to expect but may be catastrophically absent. In “legal, licensed lodging land”- there are regulations in place providing for nearly every aspect of guest safety that is realistically possible.
Fire and the devastating consequences of that is something no one wants to think about, most especially on vacation. In legal, licensed accommodations, the public safety is looked after by rules and regulations requiring 2 means of egress per room, fire alarms, smoke detectors etc. Even something as basic as a fire extinguisher can save the day in an unexpected emergency. Each legitimate lodging property is thoroughly inspected to make sure they are present, functional and that they stay that way.
Recently, in the state of N.C., where we own our bed and breakfast, there were incidents resulting in deaths by carbon monoxide. Our state legislation responded in record time with requirements enacted requiring all licensed, legal properties to provide carbon monoxide detectors necessary to insure that visitors to the state of North Carolina are protected against this in the future. On site inspections were made to insure that properties complied.
Another off shoot of protection for visitors is food protection. Any legal, licensed property providing or serving food in the state of N.C. is overseen by the Public Health Department’s inspectors conducting site visits to ensure that food is carefully, safely prepared and stored and does place the public health at risk for improper techniques. The costs of these visits are the responsibility of the the hotel or bed and breakfast housing guests legally.
Sometimes, unfortunate things happen and it is no one’s fault. A severe fall at a property could result in guest injury and associated medical expense. Legal, licensed lodging properties in the state of N.C. protect visitors by requiring that those who house them operate in a safety conscious manner. Bannisters near stairs to assist in climbing, floors intact to guard against falls and should the unthinkable happen, they are required to pay for insurance to cover these incidents.
Doing things by the book, doing them right is a responsibility. Rules and regulations are generally in place for a reason. It’s time that these safeguards are observed by everyone offering lodging and not just by those of us that did not cloak what is clearly a business enterprise under the guise of “a sharing economy.” That always seemed an inept name to me anyway. Sharing kind of implies that this arrangement is not transactional-a kindness offered in the absence of any return expectations. Try staying at an Airbnb and just asking them if they’d like to “share” this home, apartment or room with you on a complimentary basis just so you can experience how they live locally and visit their neighborhood. Get back to me on how that goes would you?
Hard Lox Festival Asheville 2015 9 Oct 2015, 12:12 pm
Hard Lox Festival is a food extravaganza but it’s also a grand opportunity to learn more about Jewish heritage, music and dance traditions. The early 1800’s saw a large influx of persons of Jewish descent arrive in the south. A noteworthy item, at that time, more Jewish residents lived in the south than in NYC. Asheville in the 1890’s enjoyed a budding business community with many Jewish businessmen contributing goods and services unknown to this area at that time. From the Palais Royal Store to Bon Marche, a department store which served Asheville citizenry for 90 years Jewish businessmen thrived and drove no small amount of the downtown commerce from pawn shops to cigar shops and everything in between.
Hard Lox began as a festival in Asheville 13 years ago and Gary and I have missed only 2. The dancing is awesome, the entertainment alternates between funny and Jewish traditional music, rounding off regional flavor of both Southern Appalachian and jazz components.
You will find knishes, noodle kugel, pastrami on rye, lox and a fine bagel, Matzo Ball soup (home made-You heard it here first) and nearly every traditional, favorite Jewish food you’ve ever loved. Some fine entertainment will be on hand and at some point through the festival they will warm my heart and rev up the crowd with Hava Nagila. It is jazzy and it is plain divine fun. Makes you wish you knew the steps but frankly, no one cares if you do. So, do it. Get out of your seat. Dance like no one is watching Asheville loves weird so if it’s not perfect, you’ll fit right in and the worst that can happen is someone will think you’re a local.
Autumn Date with Bug Life 29 Sep 2015, 12:42 pm
Much in this world can create separation in people. Religions, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic factors and cultures. For today’s blog, I will concentrate on “lovers.” The lover’s of bug life. They find their subjects interesting, colorful, industrious, diverse and a source for really thorough investigation and study. The Non-Lovers of bug life- They that scream “EEK” as they run frantically helter skelter completely- oblivious to even their own personal safety- in their desperate attempt to flee bugs of any description.
This blog is a primo opportunity for the lover’s of bug life. Our NC Arboretum is place of intense natural beauty and also, unbeknownst to many, even our local residents, a place of great educational opportunities of all kinds.
We’ve been innkeepers in Asheville for a really long time. We strive to avail our guests of out of the box opportunities; the kind that turn a mere few days away vacation into an eco nature adventure.
Our Southern Appalachian region is home to a unique and very diverse bug population and our NC Arboretum has taken advantage of that in offer a Saturday class appropriately named Field Entomology in Autumn. This class will provide participants to go out into the arboretum in company of professional entomologist, Jonathan Marchal, to both collect and identify insects. The main focus is on butterflies but dragonflies, beetles and other classifications of bugs will be included in the discussion. Class is: $52 and is four hours in duration.
The Details In Short Form:
Place: The North Carolina Arboretum Price: $52 Date: Saturday, October 3 Time Frame: 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
The bugs are lonely and they are waiting for you. Don’t make them feel unloved. Oh, remember at the beginning of this blog when I began discussion involving the lovers of bug life vs. the non-lovers of bug life. You may consider this innkeeper a girl of only one word. “EEK.”
Greek Festival Asheville 2015 22 Sep 2015, 1:37 pm
At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn is ideally situated to get thee to the Greeks. Of course, I mean the Greek Festival held in Asheville every September. Folks have been attending this popular fest in Asheville since 1986. This year the dates are September 25-27 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11:00 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at 227 Cumberland Avenue within the confined area of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Asheville, as we locals know and our visitors appreciate, is no stranger to festivals but the Greek Festival holds a special place in my heart. The music reflects the geography of Greece, existing as it does at the very crossroads of eastern cultures of Asia and the western influence of Europe. Even in their earliest culture played a role in the education of boys and was reflective of societal changes at any given time.
It is nothing short of invigorating to watch the Greek folk dancing in traditional dress as participants of all ages move in rhythms begun in their earliest years. It is joyful, colorful and rich in tradition.
All that dancing works up quite an appetite and believe me, the Greeks are grand cooks. This festival offers an opportunity to partake of such regional favorites as lamb shank, baklava, spanakopita and souvalki. For those who revel in a great “cuppa” tea, a fantastic professional brew of Greek Mountain Tea can be enjoyed. It is delicious and known for its healthful qualities.
A tour of the Greek church, Holy Trinity is also available for those either interested in learning about Greek Orthodoxy or architecture buffs. The building is beautiful, simple and the stained glass windows with the sun shining through is a lovely and peaceful way to end your day at the festival. It may call to your mind the Greek philosopher Plato who said, “Be kind, for every one you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Biltmore Vineyard Wine Club 11 Sep 2015, 9:55 am
One of the very best things about owning a bed and breakfast in Asheville’s historic district is our proximity to Biltmore Estate. The 3 mile drive offers easy and convenient access to the estate. Our guests, like the nearly one million guests each year that visit Biltmore, fully enjoy their experience on the estate. It goes without saying that one of the most popular stops is the winery.
From now until September 30, 2015 Biltmore Estate is offering a free gift of a complimentary wine tool set. along with the purchase of a membership to the Vanderbilt Wine Club. Offering the very best vintages of Biltmore wine, this opportunity could serve as either a wonderful self indulgence or a really special, thoughtfully chosen gift for someone on your gift list that really enjoys wine.
Each quarter of the year, shipments of specially chosen wine, creating interest and inspiration for the season arrives at your door. It can be in the form of a robust red, a lavish white or, if you enjoy both, a lovely combination of wines. As most true connoisseurs of wine know, there is a story behind each wine, the grape chosen for a specific nuance. Each shipment of this wine arrives with special notes from the winemakers, recipes Biltmore chefs have used these specific wines in and other interesting information.
There are many ways to capture memories of a special vacation. Given their choice between a tee-shirt or membership in the Vanderbilt Wine Club as a souvenir, I think it’s possible that the latter choice will come much closer to ensuring that you have a babysitter or dog sitter for your next vacation. Just Sayin!
5 Must See Spots for Fall Color in Asheville 31 Aug 2015, 10:43 am
Before launching into the places we send guests at our bed and breakfast to observe the best of Fall color I want to say that Fall 2015, according to the experts, will be ” a thing apart” -A breathtaking display of beauty!
Evidently, the chlorophyll in the leaves of trees, responsible for their green color, can begin to retreat a bit earlier in response to less rain fall. This retreat, due to stress, caused by low water, allows the carotenes and xanthophylls (orange and yellow) , always present in the leaf but camouflaged by the green, to shine through. The red color, caused by anacyanthis, created only in the fall is a protective color providing shelter against dangerous radiation and freezing of the tree’s leaves. The combined actions of the carotenes, xanthophylls and ancyanthis are responsible for the vibrancy of color all “leaf peepers” travel from their homes searching.
Because some of these mechanisms are temperature dependent, the higher elevations, which maintain colder temperatures first, will see the first changes. This same cold cascades down to the lower elevations as the season deepens.
Here are 5 Must See Spots for Fall Color
Earliest Season Color:
1. The Blue Ridge Parkway North (Asheville)
2. Mt. Pisgah (Buncombe County-County in which Asheville is positioned)
Later Season Color:
3. Blue Ridge Parkway South (Asheville)
4. Dupont State Forest (Near Brevard)
5. Kimberly Avenue (Residential street in North Asheville)
The bonus of varying elevations in the area is that within a short drive generally from late September moving through the end of October, a magnificent display of color worthy of magazine covers is available for viewing in Asheville.
Plan to spend some Autumn time 2015 here. It’s a spectacle you won’t soon forget. We still have a bit of availability and we’d love to help make your Fall 2015 a picture postcard memory forever.
How To Make The Most of your Bed and Breakfast Holiday 25 Aug 2015, 9:38 am
Per the most recent statistics from the lodging industry, about 1/3 of available accommodations in the United States are bed and breakfasts. We were presented with a wonderful opportunity, having owned our bed and breakfast for so many years, to poll our guests as to why they chose a bed and breakfast accommodation rather than the more customarily chosen hotel experience.
Here are the most popular responses:
This was a special trip and we thought a bed and breakfast would do that best.
They are more private and we are looking for down time.
We’ve been through some challenging times lately and wanted some TLC.
Desired an “insider feel” of the place we chose to vacation.
In an effort to really maximize the value behind these responses we thought to explore them and make suggestions that would allow guests to really make the most of the bed and breakfast holiday.
Every guest is special to bed and breakfast owners. They are not dealing with 300 guests a day. They sincerely desire to help make it memorable for their guests. I believe we would all agree that is best accomplished when it it clear what would make it special. That differs widely among guests. The surest way to actually get what would make a trip unforgettable for you is to share that information with your innkeeper. Both of you want exactly the same thing! That’s an ideal situation to secure what you want. If you’d like flowers, a card, a special dinner or anything else that is achievable- share this with your innkeeper. They will do all in their power to “make it happen.”
There is an unfortunate and I think, largely unearned reputation that some innkeepers really overstep your personal boundaries and seem not to understand that you would like some “alone” time. Innkeeping is a busy job. While in your job you may have a function, an innkeeper dons many hats every day. She is laundry, marketing, special events, advertising, web design, receptionist, guest relations expert and more. I say this to let you know that while her highest purpose is your best stay-It is highly unlikely that she will be sitting down for the long, protracted discussion you fear where breaking away seems hopeless and the conversation drones on and on. Your innkeeper is delighted to have you in house and if your stated objective is peace, privacy and quiet, you have an ally.
It has been of interest to me that many of the “helping” professions find themselves transitioning into innkeeping. I am a Registered Nurse and my husband worked in Employee Relations-both very people focused. Innkeeping is well over 50% taking care of people. Whether the innkeeper is about creating a room designed for pure comfort and beauty or trying to identify what would make her guest thoroughly relaxed and joyful-It’s the caring that’s behind it.
Unlike other jobs where one’s choice of living location is completely based upon where the job is-Many inn owners have chosen their location specifically because they wanted to live there. They love where they live and because they are having the “local” experience every day they are in an ideal situation to share it. Whatever you want to do they can get you there with a minimum of muss or fuss. Many innkeepers send their guests communication at point of booking. Responding to that note with specific likes in dining, interests or special hopes you have for this vacation is a great way to help your innkeeper do what she does best- Make your very best personalized vacation experience to date. A win-win by any definition.