Wednesday, September 30, 2009
BOOOOO!...did I scare ya??? Probably not but you can freak me out by joining me in my kitchen while I lovingly prepare your breakfast!
In our kitchen, we have a nook that nicely accommodates two to four ghostly, I mean lovely guests at a time for breakfast. The nook overlooks our backyard garden and with Autumn at the brink of causing a gorgeous view that you can enjoy while you dine. Or...you can breath down my neck and critique my culinary skulls, I mean skills in the kitchen.
You won't be allowed in "my space" of course but from the nook you will be able enjoy our always frightening, I mean enlightening conversation about our inn, about our food and of course about the state we have grown to fall in love with, organ, I mean Oregon!
Also, enjoy a night time, all lights out, flashlights only tour of our inn and hear about the spirits, I mean stories that have been shared with us by previous owners. You will also get the pleasure of hearing about how I got "freaked" out a few times by footsteps outside our bedroom door at 2am, whispering voices by my head while I tried to sleep and oh yeah, I even got a back massage when no one else was in the inn but me! Kinda creepy??? I think so but heck I'll take a back massage from just about any "body!"
Don't be "afraid" to book a tomb, I mean a room at our inn and be prepared to be entertained, well fed, scared to death and have a little fun while you do it! Of course your stay includes a nice bottle of "organ red!"
Monday, September 28, 2009
This is my dad! He looks like a "thinker" but he really is a "stinker." Yeah, I just called my dad a stinker. Every time I try to take picture of him, he has to pose. If you wanna call it a pose that is. "The Pose" always involves putting a hand somewhere near his chin or resting on a hip, etc. And most of time he thinks he is really funny. To his credit, most of the time he is!
I think that is where I get my freaky weird sense of humor. Sometimes I can't believe I am 40 something 8 years old. I don't feel that old and I act a lot younger sometimes.
Well when I was telling my mom about my last blog or two, she reminded me about all the work my dad did around here since we bought our home. Oh my gosh...how in the heck could I forget what HE did??? A run down of his labor of love (for me of course) is as follows: remove a huge old rotton apple tree, get rid of tons of shale stepping stones from the garden, remove a large pond and all the pieces, replace some, not all but some electrical outlets around the house, put a cute lamp over my kitchen sink, replace the switch that goes with it, DD 40 pretty much anything in and outside the house that squeaked, moved furniture, moved furniture in and moved furniture out and just moved furniture up and down stairs when I changed my mind. He caulked, he replaced rain gutter screws, he tightened a second story window box that was hanging dangerously loose, remove a flower box on the Sister's Suite outdoor ledge because he thought it was a shame to cover the pretty windows in that room, hung pictures, and only threatened to come out to greet our guests in nothing but his tighty whities.
But you know what my dad does when he visits now? A few little things here and there but mostly he enjoys his favorite spot inside or outside the house...the front porch swing! He grabs a few pillows and stretches out and soaks it up. There is nothing like a slight swing on an old front porch in the summer and a little dozing now and then for good measure.
So, thanks dad for everything and oh yeah...all the other new electrical outlets are waiting for you in the shop! See you soon!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
The cute boy in the picture is our son Steven. He is a man actually but he will always be our baby. He is used to us saying that so he is cool with it.
In my last blog I failed miserably in mentioning how much Steven did here at our inn to help make it what it is today. So, please forgive me Steven and if I may take a minute to thank him for his very important contributions.
I actually can't believe I forgot about how much he did for us. It has been a few years ago and I am 48 after all. Is that a good enough excuse? Maybe not, but this kid worked his buns off the first two years we owned our house. He was my companion on our many trips to Oregon. Thank God he finally got his permit and license and got to help out with the long drive. Every chance we would get, we would load up our car, our jeep or truck or whatever we were driving at the time and bring our goodies to Albany. Unloading it all was the easy part!
Arriving many times to grass knee length high, weeds in the backyard as tall as me and not even being able to find the path that led around the once gorgeous English Garden, brought me to tears on more than one occasion. Steven being the angel that he is and the man that hates to see any woman cry, pulled out shovels, rakes and hoes and "always got to work" right away. I remember one time it was 10pm and very dark and I was just gaping at the backyard fretfully. He grabbed a shovel and removed a huge weed and bush that was taking over a big portion of the garden. I couldn't believe how hard he worked that night to make me happy.
Besides making sure the garden was in perfect shape each trip, Steven did anything I asked him to. Of course it helped that we gave him a little incentive sometimes in the form of hard cold cash. Removing kitchen cabinet doors, painting, painting and even more painting, moving furniture, hanging curtain rods, cleaning out the basement shop, comforting me when I swear I heard footsteps outside my room the night before and anything else that needed doing around here, he did and he did it with a smile on his face.
I don't think there is a room in our home that Steven hasn't put some type of imprint on. I miss my helper and I know that he is happy in CA with his friends and sisters but I still keep my fingers and toes crossed just in case he decides to come to Oregon some day. A mom can only hope!
So, Steven, thank you...thank you...thank you!
Quite often our guests enter the front door of our inn with their hands full of luggage, tote bags, jackets, etc. and don't even get a chance to put the stuff down before they say, "wow, this house is absolutely gorgeous!" Now, I can say that because I refuse to take most of the credit.
Once in a while I will sit in the "girl" chair in our living room and look out across to the dining room and hallway and just think about how absolutely gorgeous 101 years old really is. Always giving the previous owners their due credit. Because of them, the house was preserved and taken back to it's glory with a long list of repairs, remodels, painting, wallpapering and outdoor landscaping. Don't get me wrong, our inn still left us plenty to do and as those of you that own a piece of American history know, it will continue to provide busy work for anyone choosing to be it's care taker.
We are going on four years of ownership as of November this year. The first two years we owned the home, it remained empty except for frequent visits as we began turning our century old Craftsman Bungalow in to the inn it is today. More painting, cleaning, buying furniture, filing conditional use permits, health department licenses, and every other kind of legal paper work you need to open an inn in the state of Oregon was mostly done before we even moved in. So, December 2007 brought us to Oregon for good as Ray finished up a 30 yr. career with the fire department and we began the next phase of our lives.
More major remodeling such as adding a new bathroom that looks original and putting some things like doors and door ways, etc. back to where they belong have kept us busy. I love finding treasures in our basement and was lucky to find two skinny french doors that were originally at the bottom of the stairway. They are hanging in their original spot and now are used to help regulate the heat and AC we had installed just before opening as well. Along with the doors, other treasures are still hidden in the basement and will emerge someday as we have time to see to it they are preserved and placed back in their respective places. Until then, we maintain as we can only hoping to continue being the nurturers and keepers of this 101 year old piece of living history.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Happy fall and yes, fall is my most favorite time of year. I think I have mentioned that a few times before. I love the colors of oranges, reds, yellows, browns and greens. I love the colors of nature and how they blend so perfectly in everything Autumn is about.
At our inn, we are in to blending colors but more importantly, we are in to blending yummy things then baking them and then of course sharing them with our guests.
A few days ago, I grabbed my Martha cookbook and made pate brise so I could actually have homemade crust for my pumpkin pies. Thought it was going to be a mess but now that I have had a piece of pumpkin pie the first day of Autumn, well let me just say...oh my gosh that was the most delectable pie crust I have ever tasted! Talk about crisp, melt in your mouth and the most perfect pie shell to ever hold the treasures fall brings, it was quite delicious if I do say so myself! And I do sometimes say that...is it rude?
Every once in a while something wonderful comes from your oven and you just have sit and enjoy every minute of it. I say, if it's really good and almost brings tears to your eyes, then go ahead and say so! There's no shame in loving your own cooking. Ray told me before that it is rude to oooh and ahhh over your own creation but what the heck...sometimes you just have to.
So today I ooohed and ahhhed! Yes, I did both of them and enjoyed every minute of it! I may even do it again tomorrow!
So, don't worry if you are reading this blog and you are planning a visit to our inn and you are wondering if you are being left out of the pie loop. We are planning to make our pies throughout the fall season. An Oregon Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris or even a little Hogshead Whiskey goes really good with Pumpkin Pie according to Ray.
See you soon!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Leaving Edgefield Lodge this morning, I just couldn't resist jumping out of the car for a quick picture of these lovelies. Ray was nice enough to pull over first of course and said, "go for it." So, I did!
Rows and rows of wine grapes all over the entire state of Oregon are just pleading to be picked. So, what are we waiting for? The perfect time of course! The timing for harvesting wine grapes is an important part of the whole wine making process. The time of day, the weather, the kind of grape to be harvested, etc. has to be cleverly calculated as to procure the perfect taste.
Remember your mom telling you that anything worth having is worth waiting for? Well, it is absolutely true when it comes to "good" wine and grape picking. Still learning and very much enjoying the tasting part of all that learning, I think I can finally say that my palate has finally reached a point that it knows when really good wine is impressing it. We recently opened one of our old favorites we retrieved from the wine cellar. My second glass was one of Oregon's Pinot Noir's a friend has brought to share and I realized that my tastes had truly changed over the last year and a half. It was actually a little shocking to come to this realization. Shocking and pleasing at the same time of course.
Michael our wine dude is probably one of the reasons behind this epiphany. I gotta blame someone and poor Ray gets his share too often. So, what the heck, Michael doesn't mind being blamed for someone falling in love with the best wine Oregon can offer. And, thanks to him our wine collection is keeping up with our pourings as he brought us several bottles of his private cellar stock. Gosh, don't you love it when people share their goodies? Well, we have to share ours quite often too. Our guests are greeted with our sweet demeanors then we offer them the good stuff. Impressing often that the best of Oregon wine is served at our inn because we believe it is some of the best in world. So, scooch over Napa and make room for Oregon!
We are happy to send you on a little wine tasting trip when you come stay with us. We can head you South to Kings Estate or Sweet Cheeks or North to our Sokol Blosser or Adelsheim. And to end your perfect wine tasting day, we will also head you in the right direction to some of our favorite Willamette Valley restaurants as well.
So, come help Oregon stomp grapes and drink some pinot noir and enjoy all that is Oregon Bounty! The fun begins October 1st!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
About a year ago, I bought this sweet sign and some dishes at Vintage Roost. You've heard me talk about Vintage Roost! Debbie Williams opens her sweet cottage in North Albany several times a year and sells the cutest and most darling things.
I was oogling and oohing and awing at everything when I happened upon a set of stoneware dishes that had little birds on them with cherries in their mouths. Debbie told me the set was called, "Cherry Thieves." And thieves they were. The little birds painted on the dishes stealing the ripe cherries and flying away, was a must have! So, they were wrapped up and in my car about 10 minutes later. Of course I couldn't get away without the sign to go with the set.
There is something so luscious and divine about the little fruit that has always caught my eye and my taste buds. It seems that most things made with these gems taste like heaven in my mouth. So, I was thinking about what to serve our guests for an afternoon dessert last weekend and I thought..."hmmm, I remember my grandmother and mom making something called Dump Cake." I think I have made it years ago and it's probably the easiest dessert to make.
Off to the market to grab a couple of can of Oregon Lite Cherries and home to make my cake. Pretty easy recipe and unforgettable evidently because it was absolutely delicious! So, here goes my version of this cake. Easy, quick, delicious and very pretty if I don't say so myself!
Cherry Dump Cake
2 cans Oregon Lite Cherry Pie Filling
1 box white cake mix
1/2 cube of butter cut up (or more if you love butter)
hand full or two of coconut
hand full of chopped pecans
Grease a small casserole dish and pour both cans of cherries into the dish. Shake 1/2 pkg. of white cake mix over the cherries. Drop cut up butter pieces all over evenly. Toss coconut and pecans over top. Bake about 45 minutes at 375. The coconut kind of browned a bit too much so you may want to add that the last 15 min. or so.
Other variations if my memory serves me right involve the cherries with a chocolate cake mix, mini marshmallows, pecans, chocolate chips and prepared in the same fashion.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I know it's a few weeks away, actually it's only 13 days from today and I am so giddy I can hardly contain myself. Okay, don't worry...I won't take it that far but I am excited!
I love Autumn! Have I mentioned that before? I think I have eluded to that fact on Facebook but I don't know if I have really made that clear. But, Autumn is my most favorite time of year!
Living in SoCal most of my life, Autumn meant to me that it was going to start cooling down. I like summer ok but I really hate and I mean "really hate" hot weather. I grew up with no AC then we got a swamp cooler and anyone growing up with that in SoCal knows how well that worked in keeping you cool. You were still hot but now you were hot and sticky. So, Autumn meant things around CA were going to cool down.
Now we live in Oregon and the lush Willamette Valley provides us with the most perfect weather as far as we are concerned. Yes, the first thing we did when we moved here in the dead of winter was have AC installed. We are still Californians at heart I suppose and we do get a day here and there in the summer where it's 85 or so. Plus we have 3 stories to keep cool and our guests love the AC in the summer. So, it was the smart thing to do!
Now back to Autumn. Everywhere we go, every vegetable garden we see, every farm we drive by, we see pumpkins! Yes, pumpkins and so sorry for those of you just not ready for them but guess what?...they are ripe and almost ready for the pickin'. Along with pumpkins, our pears are ripe too. Well, some varieties will be ready to pick in a few weeks. Did you know that over 80% of the pears in the world were grown right here in Oregon? Mostly in the Hood River region of Oregon that is. So, right now is the perfect time to take that drive called the "Fruit Loop" in Hood River, Oregon. Winding through orchards, farms, roadside stands and of course vineyards, the Fruit Loop sounds like a perfect Saturday thing to do.
This is Oregon Bounty time as well for things other than pumpkins and pears. It's harvest time for that lovely fruit that makes Oregon so famous for it's wines. Fast becoming the newest Napa Valley, Oregon's prize winning, world renown, and absolutely palate pleasing wines are featured not only at our inn of course, but everywhere you go in Oregon. Taking part in the Oregon Bounty events affords you the opportunity to not only "stomp the grape" at many wineries and vineyards, you get to drink the good stuff while you do it. And, I have been told that the more pinot you drink, the more fun you have stomping. Makes sense to me!
Pairing some of Oregons wines with a few slices of several varieties of pears and of course pumpkin pie, makes for the perfect Autumn afternoon. I start making pumpkin pies on the first day of fall so September 22nd my honey will be a happy man as we share a slice and a bottle of our favorite Pinor Noir on our front porch.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
I love going to Borders. I love gathering a few magazines, a few cookbooks and a vanilla latte' then cuddling in a soft chair and perusing while sipping and relaxing. Don't worry, I usually buy a few things while I'm there too.
Last week I was looking in the cookbook section and saw two that caught my eye. The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook and The Martha Stewart Cupcakes Cookbook. No brainer here even though there should be. But what the heck I grabbed the cupcake cookbook.
Even though we have only been in the B & B business a little over a year now, I am noticing trends in "the business" that follow the trends that have become part of our every day lives. Less sugar, less fat and more natural and healthy foods. So, what does this mean for us innkeeper types? Aren't we supposed to nurture our guests through our cooking? Aren't we supposed to make you feel at home by offering fresh baked chocolate chip cookies as you enter our doors? Well, some B & B's are tossing out the doilies and the fatty foods and starting a new trend that includes clean, fresh, simple, local and some very tasty meals.
One of those B & B's is The Pfeiffer Cottage Inn. Now don't get me wrong, we won't be changing much here, just continuing to offer the freshest home baked goodies we can muster up. Along with that, we are still walking out to our garden every morning to pick whatever is ripe along with a few snips of dill, cilantro, sweet or Thai basil. Living in the Willamette Valley offers us a "never ending harvest" of lovely foods to chose from. So, whether it's from our farmer's market where everything is locally and naturally grown or our own backyard garden, you will know it's fresh, simple and tasty and all made with love.
Walk through our door, have just one cookie...okay two, you're on vacation! Then prepare to be pampered, nurtured, fed and just plain taken care of!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
So, I have been teased, I have been made fun of, I have been given notepads as birthday gifts and I have even been told to "get a life." Well, I have a life...it's all on my notepad!
I made a list a few days ago, I sat and looked at it and then I laughed and said to myself, out loud of course, "oh my gosh...this list is hilarious." Someone could read this list and wonder what in the heck is she doing with that stuff on her list. So, here's my list! Go ahead and make fun of it, make fun of me, but you know what?...at least I'm organized...on paper anyways.
1. wedding cake topper
3. white candles
4. cute black shoes
5. queen dust ruffle
6. gluten free bread
7. potted mums
8. new socks for Ray
9. cat food
10. Cottage and Bungalows magazine, Oct/Nov issue
So, what does this list mean? Nothing to the outsider but to me it is a list of everything I need and a list of some things I don't really need but just want. Let me explain. The cake topper is for my oldest daughter's wedding cake. She is getting married to John in December and I have the job of finding the perfect topper. She didn't like the rubber duckies decked out like a bride and groom so I am back to square one. Um...well, we all know what the razors are for so number 3 is white candles. We all need white candles...don't we? Moving on. Well, every woman needs at least one pair of cute black shoes and we really need a new dust ruffle. We have a kitten so maybe I should hold off on the dust ruffle for a bit. The gluten free bread is for our guests coming this weekend and the potted mums...they just make the garden look even more lovely this time of year. Ray really needs new socks cause black dress socks with white sneakers and gym shorts just aren't his thing. The cat food is of course for my precious angels Sofee and Sienna and finally, the Cottages and Bungalows magazine...well, our inn may be featured in an issue pretty soon.
So, for some their lists are in there heads, for others, no lists are required and for me...well, let's just say...keep making fun of me cause I really love my lists!