Pages

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chocolate Review

Every now and then I like to highlight some of the chocolates that we make here at the inn under our Life By Chocolate banner.

Ok, I also just like to look at picture of chocolate and this gives me an excuse. Sometimes I have to taste them too just to make sure I'm describing them right!

We make a unique bunch of chocolate bars. They are all made with 72% organic dark chocolate and have little pockets of flavor. Some of the most popular ones are the Bee's Knees with honey and bee pollen and Wild Rabbitwith chili pepper! The wrapper design features images from some of my art quilts, which you may see hanging on the walls around the inn.

IMG 6246 2

Halloween is practically around the corner, but we actually have our chocolate cats available all year around just because who can resist a chocolate cat! We make them in dark or milk chocolate.

IMG 2459

Our crunchy butter toffee is also a popular holiday treat that we have available all year. The chocolate is organic and so are the almonds.

IMG 1583

We have a large selection of chocolate bark in dark, milk, vegan, or white chocolate with all sorts of yummy things in them, such as almonds, dried cherries, pistachios, coffee beans and sea salt, and cranberries.

IMG 1564
IMG 1423

Our shop is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but you can also shop our web store at Life By Chocolates.com

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Local Bounty

August is a wonderful time to live in an agricultural community! A local farmer stopped by yesterday with a bonanza of strawberries and cucumbers! I think I ate a half basket of strawberries before I even had time to put them away. Wow, are they good when they are this fresh. These were from the Boehm Family Farm in Climax, NY on Route 26 just 15 minutes from us. They grow Apples, Peaches, Nectarines, Pears, an assortment of Vegetables. Plus have Apple Cider, Apple Cider Donuts, Handmade gifts, and more. This was their first year growing strawberries and they had such a bumper crop they were driving around to the local restaurants to see if anyone wanted to buy some. We were more than happy to oblige.

IMG 0456

And while we are thinking of food . . . In this photo I'm in the middle of preparing one of our breakfast specials, Asparagus and Mushroom strata. This is the onions sautéing, while the torn brioche and mushrooms wait their turn to be layered into the final dish for baking.

IMG 0455

Still thinking of food, with a nod to gardening . . . I finally decided that it was unlikely that I'd ever get the big Victorian Greenhouse that I dream of, so if I wanted to get a Meyer's Lemon tree, I might as well just go for it now!

This is a dwarf Meyer's Lemon from Four Winds Nursery in Fremont, California. Four Winds is legendary for their dwarf citrus trees and because I spent my childhood in Fremont, where I walked past Four Winds on my way to school every day, I, of course, had to purchase my tree from them!

IMG 0451

I'll be keeping it in a container so that I can bring it inside during the winter, but these trees do very well in containers.

I'm still working on our front garden, trying out various perennials to see what will do well. This is one of the latest - Pink Baby's Breath. It is putting out beautiful sprays of pale pink flowers, perfect for flower arrangements.

IMG 2408

This is one side of the front garden. You can see that it still has lots of room for improvement and more flowers. Budget only allows a limited purchase of new plants each year, but I have loads of patience and half the fun of gardening is puttering around it it to see what develops!

IMG 2409IMG 2410

One of our recent guests, Barbara Fiore, caught a rare shot of us together with our pups, Hudson and Bree, as we were heading out on a walk! It's rare because usually Mark or I are the ones taking the pictures, which always leaves one of us out of the shot.

Kim and mark hi res

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fish & Game - A Fabulous Farm to Table Restaurant in Hudson, NY

During a brief break after the 4th of July weekend, we had the opportunity to finally try the new (or new to us!) farm-to-table restaurant in Hudson, NY - Fish & Game.

The restaurant is located on 3rd St near Warren St (the main "drag" in Hudson) so it is very easy to find and plenty of on-street parking, at least when we were there.

Upon entering the establishment, we were immediately charmed by the blend of rustic and modern decor. It felt very welcoming and comfortable.

NewImage

The menu for dinner is an seven course tasting menu, with 2 optional courses, which, of course, we opted for! They do not list the menu on their website because they are all about "fresh from the farm." This means that the menu is always changing as it is based on what happens to be available on that particular day/week from the many local farms that they showcase in their dishes. They also make it clear when you make the reservation that there are no menu or ingredient substitions. What they serve is what you get. Lucky for us, that's our favorite way to dine - surprises from the kitchen!


IMG 0446

I just took a few quick photos of two of my favorite dishes because I was there to enjoy the experience and not be a food paparazzi!

This was a tender and sumptuous layering of pork belly and strawberries. Yum. It practically melted in my mouth.

IMG 0447

I loved this combination of oh so fresh peas with onions, basils, and garlic scapes. One of my favorite things about having an organic vegetable garden is being able to pick fresh peas and eat them right off the vine. This was almost like that, but better because of the blend of other flavors.

IMG 0448

I would definitely recommend trying Fish & Game when you are in our area. Hudson is only about 30 minutes from our Inn and is always a fun town to visit for the great restaurants and shopping.

The Full Tasting Menu during our visit:

  • Mushroom and Onion Top Bouillon with spicy garlic paste
  • Bluefish with cucumber, cherries, and kimchi
  • Pork Belly with strawberries and sprouted fenugreek
  • Peas with onions, basils, and garlic scapes
  • Lamb and Rice Porridge with sprouted wheat berries and leaves
  • Beet Chips with shiso cream, chicory, and chocolate
  • Anise Hyssop Cake with toasted sweet oat milk


The optional courses were a hardboiled egg wrapped in thin sliced cured ham as a starter and then a final course of local cheeses.

Monday, July 21, 2014

New Products in the Art Supply Shop

Our art supply shop is expanding! We now carry a selection of Golden Fluid Acrylics, Gessoboard (both plain and cradled), Holbein Extra Fine Artists Oil Color, Derwent's Inktense Blocks and Pencils, and watercolor sketch books.

As artist's also get hungry, we also carry Liz Lovely Gluten-Free cookies! These cookies are so delicious, even if you don't need to be gluten-free. My favorite is the Ginger Snapdragons!

IMG 2372
IMG 2374
IMG 2375
IMG 2376
IMG 2377

Friday, July 4, 2014

Around and About at the Inn

I always enjoy walks around the inn to discover what new flowers are blooming.

I finally got the planter boxes planted with flowers. Spring was so late in coming and then zipped by so fast and into summer that somehow the planter boxes were neglected in favor of rose and tree planting.

Here we have some petunias and some plant that I grabbed when the clerk at the nursey said "get one more 4 pack and all the 4 packs will be cheaper." I think it might be some sort of daisy. We'll see once it blooms.

IMG 2339

The side carriage house garden is coming along nicely, but its full color is yet to come in the summer with all the coneflowers. The butterfly bush in the center is once again "playing dead." It may in fact be dead, but the last time it looked like this I cut it way back in preparation of pulling it out, but then it started to sprout new growth. So I've done that again, cutting it back to short stumps, and if there is no signs of life, I'll dig it out next spring and put in something else.

IMG 2340

This is the New Dawn climbing rose along the flowering fence that we put in 2 years ago. It is just covered with pale pink blooms that have a lovely light fragrance.

IMG 2341

The climatis are doing really well in their 2nd year, too.

IMG 2342IMG 2343

This year I have all orange marigolds in the side lawn herb garden.

IMG 2344

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Flowers Abound

We are already deep into our workshop season with the painting and fiber/art quilt workshops, but we still take time to stop and enjoy the flowers that blooming in profusion all over the property.

We had a week of rain followed by a week of bright sunny weather that has really shifted the plants, vines, and trees in to high growing gear.

IMG 0429
IMG 2247
IMG 2248
IMG 2249
IMG 2250
IMG 2251

All that flower admiring is making me hungry! Here is a nice bowl of our house-made granola topped off with lots of fresh fruit that is always available for breakfast. Yum!

IMG 2242

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Spring is a Time for Change

Spring was a long time coming this year, so when the weather finally started to warm, like many I was struck with the urge to get to the closest nursery to buy some new plants for the garden!

Not planted this spring, but flowering for the first time are the gorgeous Muriel tulips, which my mother (who's name is Muriel) gave me for my birthday.

IMG 2162height="333" />

We also planted two pear trees in the front lawn. Pear trees are such lovely trees, with their shiny leaves, and if we happen to get some pears to eat, too, so much the better.

IMG 2169

The next major change was to the front porch garden. There use to be this big ugly shrub there. It was yanked out and in its place we planted three David Austin roses. The area surrounding the roses will be filled in with more perennials when I decide what they will be.

IMG 2171

On the other side of the front porch garden, we planted another rose bush, along with some foxgloves, hollyhock, delphinium, and some "Dalmatian" flowers. Also coming up in this area are more of the Muriel tulips that I planted last Fall.

IMG 2172

Mean while in the back yard, the flowering fence is being filled in with sprouting climatis and climbing roses.

IMG 2168

The pool is sparkling and ready to be open for Memorial Day.

IMG 2167