Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Joys in Asheville, NC

I might have mentioned that our Asheville Bed and Breakfast was expecting snow and snow we got!
Now, the snow is magnificently beautiful but quite honestly, sometimes a girl needs a laugh. Right now, I find myself in that position. I thought maybe someone else out there might need a laugh just as badly, so here are just some of the nearly hysterical things I have seen out there in our winter wonderland today.

1. A neighbors pet bird wearing some kind of frock while hitching a ride on that same neighbors dog.
2. A man, dressed in full ski attire, skiing in the road down Biltmore Avenue.
3. A woman crossing an icy street on one of our busier thoroughfares who appeared to be using her hot coffee to melt a small piece of ice she evidently thought she might slip on.
4. A woman using a hair dryer plugged into an extension cord from her home trying to de-ice her car door lock.
5. A woman, apparently having no snow shovel with which to remove the snow around her car, trying to use a red bucket for this same application.
6. Another woman without one of those handy, dandy apparatus's designed to either brush the snow from your car or windows or the other end suitable for ice removal if needed...Well, she was very creative and was using a glass jar in place of this item. I am thinking that this glass on glass application is not going to bode well for wind shield visibility at the completion of her mission.

Stay tuned for more "you heard it here first" stories as the snow contines its beautiful arrival to our fair city.



Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Easy Chocolate Truffles Recipe for Valentines in Asheville

Chocolate is one of life's small glories. Affordable in some form even for those on a meager budget. Unlike some desserts that require table service, flatware and some pomp and circumstance to serve; it is complete within itself.

As a special treat for our guests I will sometimes make homemade truffles here at our Asheville NC Bed and Breakfast ... At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast. I sometimes prepare them for Valentine's Day, Easter and Christmas. They are always very gratefully received by guests. It is not uncommon for someone to come down our staircase at the inn just licking their fingers (they are sometimes a bit messy) and smiling broadly in appreciation.

By definition a truffle is: a ball shaped chocolate mixture dusted with cocoa. They can actually be rolled in nearly anything: coconut flakes- (toasted or raw-entirely your preference), pecans, confectioner's sugar or nearly anything you would enjoy.

Now, we all know and the lucky among us have experienced the joys of this decadent confection. It is petite, capable of being enjoyed while "on the run" though best enjoyed with a cup of coffee and due to its small stature one does not risk the possible consequences of overindulgence with just one.

For your enjoyment, I submit this extremely easy recipe for you all to enjoy and present to a loved friend or lover. Unlike some truffle recipes it does not require the user to amp up to the levels of professional baker, thermometer in hand, to get good results. We invite you to visit our Asheville Bed and Breakfast Recipes page for more recipe ideas.

A long time ago when I was much less skilled at confections than I am now...I believe when my husband and I first bought the inn, I made some of these for my two best girlfriends I had left behind in Florida on the first Valentine's Day after we came here. I also sent some to my Mother and new husband. She thought I was inspired and had one happy husband.

That was more than 10 years ago and not one Valentine's Day has come and gone since then that they have failed to mention those truffles. So, give it a shot. Make someone's day, let them know you love them and make your contribution to their day unforgettable.

At Cumberland Falls Simple Chocolate Truffle:

Ingredients:
1 lb. as good a quality of bittersweet chocolate as the budget will permit.
1 cup heavy cream (You cannot use Fat Free for this)
2 tsp. Vanilla extract good quality

Directions:
Chop the chocolate finely. You can use a food processor quite well for this application. Place in a large Pyrex mixing bowl (must be able to tolerate heat)

Bring cream to a just before a boil. DO NOT BOIL. Pour directly over chopped chocolate. Allow to sit 10 minutes; use a rubber spatula to gently incorporate the chocolate and cream until combined. Let mixture sit at room temperature just until it begins to thicken (about 15 minutes depending on kitchen temperature.) If you need to quicken this up, you can use an ice bath. Pour ganache into a shallow glass dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until mixture is very cold and set but still pliable. (About 30 minutes) Using a small spoon, scoop out ganache into 1-inch nuggets, place on parchment lined baking pan. Chill for 10 minutes. Use gloved hands to enhance shapes into balls. Roll in cocoa powder or your choice of toppings to coat. Chill in airtight container until ready to serve.

Present your creations in a container worthy of their greatness. The lucky recipients will be talking about you for many Valentine's to come. I promise!


Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chili Recipe with Beef - Extraordinaire!

It has been overcast, cold and generally foreboding here in Asheville for a day or two now. It's been damp too. Now, all those things together spell the need for....You guessed it; a pot of chili.
Ok, it won't bring about world peace, it won't make the sun shine or the dank day be any less so but when there is a chill in your bones there is nothing like a good pot of chili to warm the cockles of your heart.

Yesterday, here our Asheville Bed and Breakfast ... At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn, we broke out the old chili pot. So, break out your own special pot, follow along with us and let's make a pot of heart warming chili.

At Cumberland Falls Chili Extraordinaire:

1.5 lb. of ground chuck
3 slices of pepper bacon
4 cans of petite diced tomatoes (14 oz.)
1 small can of tomato paste
2 cans of red kidney beans
3 cans of black beans
1 onion chopped fine
2 carrots chopped fine
3 stalks celery chopped fine
5 cloves of minced garlic
1/4 cup chili powder
2 T. cumin
3 T. Basil

Sauté onions, carrots and celery in a bit of good quality olive oil.
Add the bacon and cook till very brown. Remove all visible fat.
Brown the ground chuck in the same pot. Remove all visible fat.
Add the minced garlic and cook a few minutes till well merged. Add tomatoes and paste. Add the beans.
Stir until well blended and add remaining spices. Cook for at least one hour.

Now, there are all kinds of ideas as to what completes a great bowl of chili. Some say crusty bread (me), some prefer crackers (my husband), some use Frito's we all know and love as a side. Some add a smattering of raw onions to the top of each serving and some add either sour cream or a wonderful cheddar cheese or both on the top too. Whatever your particular choice. Go to it. Bon Appétit!

Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Monday, January 18, 2010

Asheville Weather Forecast

If you need a little winter getaway to a cozy Asheville Bed and Breakfast, I have the tea kettle on, the fireplaces roaring (well, it is still winter) and the goodies are warm here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn.

To say it has been frigid in Asheville, North Carolina in January 2010 would be the highest form of understatement. Gary and I have lived here for more than 10 years and one of the best things about Asheville's climate is that all four seasons are well represented but not in a brutal way.

Summer is, despite what they say, occasionally toasty...Ok, very toasty but not every single day of summer. Winter, is represented customarily in the most delicate of manners. Enough to say you got some, provide justification for breaking out lovely sweaters and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate but not sufficient to interfere with activities of daily living. Nor are the temperatures, as a rule, so miserable as to keep home all but the stalwart.

Before 2010 even peeked through the time curtain all that changed here in Asheville.
On December 18, 2009 we had nearly record breaking snow and cars all over town were doing a wonderful impression of the ride "bumper cars." More notably both before that and most certainly after that date the temps have gone places that one might expect in Chicago. Tormenting they were!

However, for the last several day here Asheville not only have the
"weather fairies" been kind they have made this girls day. The sun is shining bright in a cloudless sky & I have "made hay while the sun shines" again visiting the garden here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn cutting back some of the plant life it was simply to cold to content with earlier. For the time being, it is blissful and I intend to take full advantage.

Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Valentine's Day History - Matters of the Heart

The month of February has come to be associated with romance and matters of the heart; both literally and figuratively. Valentine's Day and also American Heart Association Heart awareness campaign are but some of the tributes to matters of the heart. We pride ourselves in tending to matters of the heart here at our Asheville NC bed and breakfast, At Cumberland Falls.  While you make plans for your personal Valentine's Day celebration, consider this history lesson.

St. Valentine took it upon himself to defy an edict issued by Claudius, then Emperor of the land disallowing young men to marry. During Valentine's time the once heralded Roman Empire was rapidly in decline fraught with civil strife, educational decline and increased taxation. Claudius,in need of more soldiers to protect his flagging country felt the emotional attachment to wives and hence families made men both weak and ineffectual as soldiers. Though Claudius's ban on marriage was not well received by Romans in general they were kept silent aware of the danger in speaking out.

Valentine, observing the sheer pain of love that could not be culminated in marriage risked his very life by secretly performing the sacrament of matrimony. Such things have a way of being discovered. When it was found out, Claudius responded with Valentine's arrest.

Incarcerated for his defiance of the "no marriage edict", Valentine's jailer, Asterius, also hearing of Valentine's gift for healing implored him to bring sight to his own child, a blind daughter. It is said that through his strong faith he was able to restore sight to the girl.

Though Claudius had ordered Valentine's jailing he too was impressed with the fervor of Valentine, if not the direction it took. He tried to convert him to the Roman gods. Not only did this prove unsuccessful, embarrassing all the more the defied Claudius--- but to add insult to injury, Valentine, in full awareness of the consequences of his actions, also tried to convert Claudius. Claudius,giving full vent to his anger, ordered the execution of Valentine.

Now, meanwhile, not only had Valentine restored the sight of Asterius's daughter but they had developed an abiding and cherished friendship. As you might imagine, the news of her friends impending execution was terrifying to her.

It is unclear as to whether Valentine's interest in the young girl was for her soul or he loved her in a romantic way but immediately before his execution his last thought was to contact her. He sought writing instruments and paper penning her a last message. Ending his missive to her was "From Your Valentine." Either way, it is clear that his love for her was uppermost in his mind even as his own death was at hand.

He is believed to have been executed on February 14, 270 AD. Christianity spread and the day became known as St. Valentine's Day. It began to be celebrated annually as a day young Romans offered hand written greetings to women they admired.

Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dining in Asheville - Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian Restaurant

Dining in Asheville is always an adventure and we invite you to explore all of the options when you stay at our Asheville bed and breakfast, At Cumberland Falls. From the beautiful,organic locally grown produce found at Laughing Seed to the awesome freshness of the New England lobster specifically flown in for your enjoyment at the Lobster Shack downtown, Mela's famous Indian flair, Loretta's sandwich perfection and Bistro 1896's slant on polenta and dessert heaven-- there are no opportunities missed for the perfect meal right here in Asheville, N.C.

Very soon, another Asheville favorite, Savoy's, will be doing a metamorphosis into another kind of eatery. Savoy’s long enjoyed as a fine dining establishment, with both a varied as well as distinguished menu, will be morphing into a more casual place of dining: Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian Restaurant.

The economy being as it is currently has prompted Eric, the owner to create a more cost contained and more importantly, comforting environment for these stressful times. In Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian Restaurant we will see soul stirring, cockle warming, excellently flavored, and delightfully affordable food in a place where just being there will likely be as valued as what you choose to eat.

Now, I'm as Irish as it gets but having always been of the motto that if I hadn't been Irish, being Italian would not have been a hardship tour. You may rest assured & bet your four leaf clover that one dark night after leaving At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn too tired to cook I will be searching for Vinnie's to sample what I know will prove a delightful end to the day.

Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Friday, January 8, 2010

Theater

There are so many blessings to living in Asheville they are too numberous too count. The natural beauty is unsurpassed, the people are still friendly and largely polite & the town is known for its diversity and culture and that, my friends, is a perfect lead in for today's blog.

Our beloved SART- AKA sartplays.org Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater has just released it's 2010 Season Offerings. I am a theater buff and was delighted with their selections.
I grew up in New York City and have been privy to some of the finest theater in the world and the folks at SART do a fine job.
Take a moment to visit their site, engage in the magic of fiction while staying with us here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast www.cumberlandfalls.com
. I assure you you'll enjoy it.

A Little Night Music Winner of 6 Tony Awards

Tuesdays With Morrie

As You Like It

Tradin' Paint

If the economy (or lack of) has you down and out, if you are so stressed even your good friends are running away from you and you don't remember the last good time you had a really fine time, now is the perfect time to visit Asheville. Curl up in front of the fireplace, enjoy a stellar breakfast, take a great hike and end the evening downtown with both a wonderful dining experience and a sojourn into the world of entertainment. Why, it will make a new person out of you!
Most of us could use that about now.



Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Weddings in Asheville Bed and Breakfast

The joining of two lives in faith of creating a future is always wondrous.
Here At Cumberland Falls www.cumberlandfalls.com we have had the honor of assisting many couples in creating their special beginning. Some of the weddings are large and some begin only as the couple but all commit to each other, as couples have been doing for many years, to stand fast by their partner as their lives merge. It is as much an act of faith as one of love.

Though we have been hosting weddings for the 10 1/2 years we have owned our home and have done both large weddings and small ones, our specialty at the inn is elopement weddings. I would also say they are our favorites. Sometimes, in a large ceremony, amid more details than most of us would manage in a year, no less in a small space of time- the real purpose of a wedding can be hard to find.
She wants formal, he prefers relaxed. She wants a catered four course meal, he wants Hors d’oeuvres, she wants a guest list of 50 and he wants to have only a short 2-person ceremony.
Coupling all this with family dynamics that may not be straight out of "central casting" can create more stress than any two folks need, especially on their wedding day.

Our wedding package provides a lovely, reasonably cost contained venue with traditional accouterments of minister, photography, floral and reception in the minature. It goes without saying that there are much more cost contained forums in which one can conduct a wedding service. The justice of the peace, a park with a notary etc. but there is a traditional flare missing from those events that we are able to offer here while not jeopardizing the chance of saving the big bucks for the honeymoon or the downpayment one your first home together.













Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls

Friday, January 1, 2010

Desserts

Almost Heaven At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast www.cumberlandfalls.com We have a special recipe for you to try. All of us will likely be invited to parties for the holiday's. Try bringing this. There won't be a scrap left I promise & it is so easy you will be delighted as well.


ALMOST HEAVEN

32 oz. of Small curd cottage cheese
1 container of Cool whip 8oz
3.4 oz of Instant pudding pistachio flavored
Pineapple tidbits 8 oz. (drained completely)
1 cup Pecan pieces
1 tsp.vanilla extract

Place cottage cheese in large bowl add pineapple tidbits and walnuts. Add vanilla. Fold pistachio pudding in (beware that it will begin to thicken the mixture quickly)
Lastly, add cool whip. Put in casserole dish and chilled overnight.




Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls
Labels: Recipes from At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn



Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls