Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gluten-free Breakfasts Made from Scratch at The Buttonwood Inn

At The Buttonwood Inn, when a guest informs us that (s)he requires a gluten-free breakfast, we can provide it.  I refer to my gluten-free cookbook or research recipes on the internet.  Our gluten-free guests can rest assured that they will not become ill while on vacation and can also enjoy the same breakfast as everyone else. 

I prepare a pancake and waffle mix using a gluten-free flour mix that I keep in my pantry. When I bake muffins, quick breads, cookies, brownies, or cakes containing wheat-derived flours, I substitute gluten-free flours.  I also store a gluten-free bread that I make from scratch in the freezer to use in our Baked Cheddar Cheese Omelet or Baked French Toast recipes.

With a little thought and mindfulness, we can provide delicious gluten-free foods at our inn.  Many of our fine area restaurants can also accommodate a gluten-free diet.

Recently, a guest was delighted with his gluten-free pancakes, stating that since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, this was the first time he had them for breakfast.  A few weeks earlier, a father and his daughter (who requires gluten-free) returned to The Buttonwood Inn for their annual hike up Mt. Washington.  On one morning, I prepared a packed "hikers breakfast" containing freshly cut fruit, Morning Glory Muffins, and a Breakfast Panini of scrambled eggs, cheese, and bacon.  I substituted gluten-free flour in the muffins and gluten-free bread in the panini. 

Our guest's daughter was also thrilled that I baked her gluten-free brownies that were moist, velvety, and rich in chocolate.  Here's the recipe for them, which I hope you enjoy!

Gluten-Free Velvety Brownies
Yield: 16 2” brownies
Note: low-fat and low cholesterol

2/3 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 egg
¾ cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Optional: 1 tablespoon chopped pecans, walnuts, or macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8” x 8” pan with vegetable oil.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites and egg slightly. Add the sugar, applesauce, oil, and vanilla and whisk until blended, but don’t overbeat. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Pour into baking pan and sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired. Bake for about 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Friday, June 3, 2011

MAGRR New England - Canine Adoptions

Bill and I have two adopted dogs that reside with us in our owners' quarters at The Buttonwood Inn.  We adopted Clyde, our Black Labrador Retriever/Doberman Mix, in New Jersey five years ago.  His former owner kept him in the basement and one day he escaped.  Unfortunately, he was hit by a car on a busy highway and suffered a severe injury to his back right leg.  Fortunately, a person from the area shelter drove by and rescued him, then arranged emergency surgery at the Raritan Animal Hospital to save his leg.  Clyde healed fairly quickly and now goes on hikes with us.

When we moved to The Buttonwood Inn the Summer of 2007, Clyde had a canine brother from NJ, Gus, a Golden Retriever.  He was rescued by our son, Tom, when he jumped up and down in the dog pound expressing adopt me!  Tom informed me immediately since we lost our beloved Golden to cancer and knew I wanted to get another dog.  When Gus turned nine years old, he contracted mast cell tumor cancer.  At Raritan Animal Hospital, the tumor was removed and he underwent chemotherapy, which put him in remission for a year.

After we moved to NH, Gus was enjoying life roaming the 6 acres around the inn until he developed another mast cell tumor.  Six weeks later he passed on.  Finding it difficult to live without our good-natured Golden Retriever, we decided to adopt another one as a new companion for Clyde who also missed his buddy, Gus. 

In searching PetFinder.com, we found Britt, a Golden Retriever/Collie Mix, at MAGRR (Memphis Area Golden Retriever Rescue).  This is a non-profit rescue organization located in Tennessee fostering and adopting out Golden Retrievers from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas to folks in the Northeast.  They strive to match up dogs with suitable owners by having you fill out a detailed form about yourself and your home environment.  Bill and I recently made a home visit with Britt to a home in Maine to determine if the future Golden Retriever owners would be suitable.  They are and will be matched up with a Golden Retriever that will come up to NH in the next few weeks.  Volunteers from Tennessee drive about 40 dogs in enclosed pens outfitted with beds in a renovated horse carrier.  They make stops in each state over a few days to unite them with their new owners.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Vegan Breakfasts at The Buttonwood Inn

Recently, a return guest brought his daughter to stay at The Buttonwood Inn.  He thought he was dropping the bomb on me by stating that she prefers a vegan diet and that she would be satisfied with cereal and fruit for breakfast.  I know that when I go on vacation, I would appreciate being served a special breakfast at a B&B, whether or not I was a vegan. 

Admittedly, I was challenged with the task of creating a vegan breakfast for his daughter.  But the internet always turns out to be my friend and I was able to find recipes with ingredient substitutions.  So I ran off to the supermarket and bought most of what I needed in the health food section.  The more mysterious ingredients were available in The Local Grocer health food store.

Vegans elect to avoid animal protein and dairy products. So I was able to find an egg replacer (soy based) and substituted soy milk for cow's milk.  Vegetable oil can replace butter.  So with a little research and extra effort, I was able to serve our guests the same breakfast items which turned out to be delicious!

Here's a recipe for Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies