Thursday, October 29, 2009

Soaking Mung Beans and Garbanzos

Yesterday while shopping at our favorite international market, Ron and I decided to enjoy lunch at the cafeteria.  It one's one of my favorite spots for fresh salads with ingredients from every corner of the earth.  I'm able to enjoy all the field greens I can stand along with curried beans and root vegetables GALORE.  I recreate a Persian-styles salad with walnuts, feta, hummus, egg, cucumbers, beets in ginger sauce, tabouleh and hummus.  I hav little delectable pockets of orzo salad with fresh greens and mung beans! 

The flavors explode in my mouth and Ron says my face lights up with excitement.  Who knew all it tooks was beans?!

I have my own dried mung and garbanzo beans soaking at home-I am going to make a side dish for this week's show that incorporates a little of everything I love.  More and more of my audience is asking for alternative protein dishes for their diets and both of these beans are loaded with protein (over 7 grams in 3.5 oz.) if boiled.  Raw, they provide double that
amount.  They are also an excellent source of potassium, necessary for a strong, healthy heart!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Comfort and History

Every day brings us a little bit closer to our projected opening of Casa Bella.

Our bathrooms are now outfitted with ample sinks with granite tops that create space for in-room amenities like Honey Soap and Shampoo. Recalling our favorite Tuscan villas and resorts has provided a road map for recreating romantic guestrooms with modern amenities.

Creating reading vignettes with ample natural and artificial lighting ensures each guest a cozy custom reading chair or sofa-perfect for enjoying a good book along with a steamy cup of hot chocolate or tea.

In the main hall a newly upholstered chair and a half with oversized footstool is the perfect sunny spot to enjoy Patty's collection of design and travel books, cookbooks and decorating magazines. Escape to the massive front tiled porch and reflect on the day's activities before heading out for a fun-filled day exploring our wonderful county.
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Casa Bella Bed and Breakfast of Newnan

Guests of Bed and Breakfasts, for the most part, are pretty easy to please. A comfy bed in clean surroundings - a few pretties, here and there, and a hot breakfast with lots of fresh coffee. That's pretty much the formula!

This weekend we installed a small coffee nook to satisfy the need for the fresh, hot coffee. We're still waiting on a new countertop but it's easy to imagine the finished space. Spread around the B & B are several one-cup coffee makers; allowings guests to grab a quick cappuccino or hot tea before breakfast or after a late night in Newnan.

It's been seven years since we closed The Old Garden Inn. Between learning how to operate a leased-access channel and running a Bed and Breakfast, the work load was a little too heavy.

But, as the opening draws near, I find myself becoming more and more excited. Choosing the breakfast menus and adding a few new items is great fun for a "foodie". Imagining the "oohs and ahh's" from guests is motivation to create beautiful plates of hot food. Laughter and smiles at the end of the morning are the reward, as well as the possibitlity of meeting wonderfully creative artists, authors and professionals.

Almost sixteen years ago I met my friend, Char' through the Bed and Breakfast. She called late one night and inquired about a weekend reservation. I explained to her that we intended to close that weekend -we had tickets to see "Grease" at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. She very lightly replied "oh, I was in "Grease" on Broadway". Of course I was excited . . .I am a "Grease" junkie. . .probably have watched the movie 100 times! So, began our long,wonderful journey into "sisterhood".

Ron and I agreed to let her and her husband, Roy Yeager, check themselves into their room and we would all meet in person at breakfast! "Grease" at the Fox was dull and disappointing. My sweet friend, Char' Fontane, was never dull and a thrill ride to the end. She's been gone now for two and half years-but I could never hope to meet another guest that was as so uniquely charming and loving!
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Casa Bella Bed and Breakfast

Ok, I can understand you might not want to stay just yet but things are starting to shape up around our house. The furniture is being upholstered. . .or painted; as is the case here.

This is my project today. I am applying a sunny white paint to this 30-something year old chair and upholstering with this pretty red fabric that was just applied to the bar stools. We are excited to offer our corporate guests a less-formal space to catch breakfast on the run. There is a pretty bar with granite and bar stools. And soon; a pretty little chair. All of these are just around the corner from the coffee nook and a nearby cappuccino machine.

We hope to open in mid-December-just in time for Christmas guests and family.  Please check back for our projected opening or call us at area code 770-755-6750.  Casa Bella Bed and Breakfast of Newnan, Georgia
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Fig-Infused Hot Sauce

As works continues towards the re-opening of our Bed and Breakfast in Newnan, I hardly have time to type out a quick note, much less cook! But eat and blog we must!

We are eating a simple meal of Fig Hot Sauce-infused Chicken Wings for dinner, served with crispy celery and homemade
Bleu Cheese Sauce. The hot sauce was the result of the bag of peppers I blogged about earlier in the month. Over the weekend I taught my hubby how to make an oven-roasted version of Chicken Wings that would omit most of the fat and quite a bit of the calories.

I start the process in an electric Meyer pot so that I can easily adjust the temperature through-out the first step. Before placing the wings in the hot pot, I coat the wings lightly with olive oil and sea salt. I start them on a temperature of 350 degrees and toss them regularly to prevent sticking. Once cooked through they are tossed in the fig-hot sauce with a little traditional hot sauce and garlic and allowed to marinade for at least twenty minutes before adding them to a foil-lined roasting pan. We roast them for about fifteen minutes at 425 degrees. The oven is well-heated before placing the pan in the oven.

The fig hot sauce provides so much flavor and pleasant heat that there's no time to miss the batter or butter traditionally used in Hot Wings.

Pictured here is my own Fig Balsamic which is another ingredient in the Chicken Wing Marinade. 

The recipe for the marinade is 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp fig balsamic, 1 cup fig hot sauce, 1 - 2 traditional hot sauce and salt to taste.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Flower Bed

I love whimsy in the garden and this is such a great conversation piece. Thanks to Aliree Helton for her imaginative use of an old iron bed.

While my "plate" at home is busy with dusty renovations, it has created a window of opportunity to plan next year's garden. I have been busy with seed drying and trying to understand gardening techniques that will ensure my success with new ideas. So far I have dried peach pits, prune plums, "killer" mini-beefstake seeds, pablano and some extra sweet green/red peppers.

As my husband and I prepare to re-open our Bed and Breakfast, I look forward to growing edible flowers to decorate plates at breakfast-along with useful veggies, herbs and fruits that will make their way into some of our old breakfast favorites.

Last night we enjoyed a French Potato Omelette with fresh tomatoes and Triple Cream Brie from France. Crunchy bits of fried potato provide a great contrast to the creaminess of the brie and softly cooked eggs.

Our new name for the Bed and Breakfast will be Casa Bella and will offer guests a totally updated look from the previous inn. We are excited to welcome visitors from around the world and showcasing our beautiful county and artistically-gifted residents!  We hope you will visit often for updates and watch for our opening in late fall!
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