Makes 12 standard muffin-sized Pupcakes
1 ½ cup all-purpose wheat flour
¼ cup rolled oats
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup water
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tablespoon honey
2 large eggs
1 Granny Smith apple, shredded with skin on
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional, add to help repel fleas/ticks)
Makes enough to spread a small amount on each cake; will be fairly flat. If you wish to pipe the frosting on the cakes, as we have done in the pictures, triple the batch.
8 Tablespoons low fat cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons plain yogurt
2 Tablespoons honey
2-3 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
Pick one, or a combination
½ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup minced parsley
¼ cup minced mint
12 each whole leaves of mint or parsley
For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a muffin pan or use paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, and baking powder until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, water, olive oil, honey, and eggs until combined. Stir in the apple, cheese, and garlic (if using). Add the wet apple mix to the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.
Evenly distribute the batter among the muffin cups, and bake until they spring back when lightly touched in the center. About 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven onto a wire rack. After 5 minutes, remove the cakes from the pan to cool completely. If you have used oil in the pans, with no liners, it is important that you remove the cakes from the pans while they are still fairly hot, to prevent sticking. Be careful!
For the Frosting:
While the cakes are cooling, mix the frosting: Cream together the cream cheese, yogurt, and honey. Sprinkle in the flour while mixing, a small amount at a time, until it is thick and spreadable.
Once the cakes are completely cool, spread a small amount of frosting on each cake and sprinkle your decoration on top.
If you have used liners, be sure to remove them before giving to your pup.
This time of year we are putting the finishing touches on our winter projects in preparation for the season. There is endless cleaning and painting underway. At each turn, Beth is at the ready with a helpful tip to make the job a bit easier or more eco-friendly. We didn’t want to keep these household tips to ourselves, so we created a new column in our blog, Beth’s Helpful Household Tips. We figure running a household is what we do, just on a much larger scale. If you have any to add, please let us know and we will share them in our next newsletter.
Removing a Century of Paint from Hardware and Hinges: When soaking overnight in coca cola didn’t work, we were loathe to try paint thinner. Beth said, boil the hardware with baking soda. Then use a toothbrush or wire brush to remove the paint when the paint becomes soft. Polish with ketchup. Sounds a bit bizarre, but it worked; all the Inn’s 5-panel wooden doors now have new paint and shiny hinges. It works like a charm.
Cleaning Walls (For Painting) Take a hot bucket of water and add in this order: ½ cup of baking soda, ½ cup white vinegar and ½ cup ammonia. This will not leave any residue that would impede the paint from sticking.
Absorbing Paint Smell Even though we use low VOC paint, there is sometimes a lingering order. Beth went right to the kitchen and asked for a couple of roughly chopped onions. She set the plate where we were painting and the onions absorbed all the odors. There weren’t any lingering onion smells either. Make sure to dispose of the onions as they won’t be safe to eat.
We are pleased – and relieved – that the Harrison House has finally gotten its new roof. We had planned this project for a couple of years, but Murphy kept striking with something even more pressing to tackle. Just last April, we had crews scheduled to begin work on the roof when Lizzie’s Cottage, the former Log Cabin, developed a roof leak. The crews showed up and instead of beginning the Harrison House, they jumped right on Lizzie’s. Now when you walk up Harrison Street hill from the ferry landing, the historic Spencer House, aka Harrison House Suites, will stand proud with its new paint colors, roof and renovated gardens.
While we had the house closed for the new roof, Erin and Dave took the opportunity to do a few interior projects. They refinished the original first growth oak floors in the San Juan Suite and installed matching hardwood in both bedrooms. They also laid a beautiful Brazilian Chestnut floor in the Orcas Suite upstairs.
On other Winter projects, Erin has been sprucing up the interior of the Lower Tucker House, giving Dove in the Window and Secret Passage a fresh new coat of paint. Dave has a few new counter tops on his “honey-do” list and our handyman, Brett is scheduled to help us with two new showers. Then it will be time to turn our attention to the gardens and fruit trees. Our apple trees, after a bumper crop last fall, will receive a substantial pruning. Our guests are still enjoying our apples in strudel, apple sauce, crisps and pies. We can’t wait for you to visit to see all the new changes.
We are proud to announce that both the Harrison House and Tucker House Inns have joined the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection, a distinction reserved for premier inns offering extensive amenities and top-rated guest reviews. To qualify as Diamond Collection properties, we had to pass a comprehensive professional two day on-site inspection that measured everything from the quality of our sheets (the inspector stayed overnight to test them first hand), how we answered the phones and interacted with guests, to the quality of our breakfast service, and yes he tasted everything! The evaluation criteria were 13 pages long and included every aspect of running our Inn from the condition and quality of our buildings, safety requirements and much more.
This distinction was certainly a team effort and a culmination of many years of hard work. Everything had to come together, the physical plant, our customer service and hospitality, the amenities and our food service. Stephanie Prima-Sarantopulos, our Director of Internal Operations, spearheaded many customer initiatives that helped ratchet us to this level. Throughout the years, our guests have provided valuable feedback and given us many suggestions that we have incorporated into our service. Now with the addition of Beth Fricke, our Guest Services Department will grow to three providing even more capacity for personalized service to our guests.
I had to admit, we all had a few butterflies as Jim, the inspector, sat down for breakfast his first morning. He arrived, like many of our guests, tired and fatigued from a long day’s journey from coast to coast. After our morning greetings, his first words were, “I love your sheets.” We exhaled just a bit and thought, we have started off on the right foot.
Next I needed to cook breakfast. Chef Molly was on vacation. It is something that we do and I have done for upwards of 45 guests on busy summer days, sometimes admittedly half asleep. This morning I was only cooking for 6. What could be easier? We prepared eggs benedict with a zucchini pancake layered with Canadian Bacon, wilted spinach and a poached egg, garnished with pesto and grated Parmesan. Mother Nature had even saved a few calendula petals for garnish. I chatted with him as he ate, trying to gauge his reaction. At one point he put his fork down and I held my breath. At first I didn’t think I heard him correctly. He went on to say that this was one of the more imaginative and delicious breakfasts he had enjoyed doing these inspections. We hit the ball out of the park. Another exhale, and we all slowly began to relax.
After a tour of the property, we spent the evening debriefing and getting his suggestions on how we can move our service and property to the next level. We also had the opportunity to ask Jim questions about areas where we were struggling and wanted some perspective and suggestions. Since he visits so many other properties and sees many different types of operations, it was valuable for us to learn how others do things.
So this winter, in addition to working on many of our guests’ suggestions from the feedback forms we received last summer and fall (some of the larger projects have to wait for the quiet season), we are incorporating many of Jim’s suggestions as well. This was such a valuable experience. Not only was it validating for our team to know we are on the right path, and we have come a long way since we stepped foot on these properties almost 9 years ago, Jim helped us chart a course for the future.