Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"The Little Touches"

Greetings, Foodies and Friends!

A rainy week in the State of Maine (one could say "the rain in Maine falls mainly on the plain..."). It almost feels like Autumn here, and to those who know me best: I LOVE FALL!! It is the most inspiring season of the year for me cooking-wise. Today's breakfast was a Country Apple Coffee Cake to start. Next was a request from a guest who made a week's worth of reservation back in March: Sweet Potato-Pecan Pancakes with Syrup. Always happy have my guests re-experience something they enjoyed the last time!

We have guests from Ottawa, Canada, Escondido, California, Bethesda, Maryland, New Mexico, and the Pokonos area of Pennsylvania. Tonight's check-ins are from London & New York City. What an honor to have "the world" come to my front doors!

Have to run and get ready for my cookie making time before 3pm--nothing like a warm cookie--or 2--enjoyed with a cup of comforting tea on a rainy day.

Until next time...

Your Maine Innkeeper,
Inn at Long Lake

Saturday, June 13, 2009

June Bride and Bridesmaids

Received a lovely note from Bridesmaid Stacy L. over her friends' (Mylan & Dan) wedding last week in the area. It read:

Dear Keith and Staff.
Just wanted to send a note to say thank you for everything during our stay last weekend at your beautiful inn. We had a fabulous time and everything was absolutely perfect. It was a great place for us to stay for the wedding weekend. The entire bridal party, bride and groom, and all of our friends that stayed, loved it! Best wishes for a bright summer!

Maid of Honor

Awwww...<*blush*>...Thanks, Stacy, Mylan, Dan, and lovely bridal party! On behalf of myself, Matthew, Gail, Susie, and Debbie--it was our pleasure! ;-)


Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer is Here!

This week has been an exciting week for me.

I had no reservations this past Tuesday and Wednesday so I headed up to Montreal (a glorious 6 hour drive) for some R&R. I stayed at a 6-room inn at which I normally stay. Yvon, the host, an older gentleman, is always a great host. I always bring him a bag of my inn-made granola and a bag of my cookies (which he remembered from my last visit). Why not bring a taste of Maine to this great city?!

I so enjoy shopping up in Montreal! There is a wonderful store on Ste. Catherine street called "Simons" that has a super selection. Of course, Inn at Long Lake is always in my mind (and heart) and, with regards to designing the rooms, it is thrilling to head out and find treasures for the inn! "Maison Simons" has some great napkins for my dining room, 2 silver pillows that were awesome for the BENNY GOOD MAN SUITE (I thought they would be more appropriate for the Jupiter II (Lost in Space) but they worked (!), and a "fur" pillow that I just "had to" grab for the CLARA BOW ROOM! That is part of the Joy of innkeeping...knowing you have captured the essence of accommodations for your guests!

Yvon and I spoke candidly about running an inn. Having been an innkeeper for some years, he spoke quietly about having PASSION for what one does. I so believe in his words as a mentor and host.

A June wedding has brought guests to the inn (congratulations to the Fox wedding party!). Also, a seaplane school in town has brought some repeat guests (Naples is a great Seaplane Accredidation destination).

Tomorrow's menu is Cherry-Sour Cream Coffee Cake and Harvest Vegetable Breakfast Pie (an old recipe from my Phillips Academy days in the form of a quiche).

Have to run but thanks for reading. Today's thought: Live with passion---it will get you everywhere you want to be!
Your Maine Innkeeper,
Naples, Maine

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Easy Meal Ideas with Chicken

Hi, Blog Readers.

How easy it is sometimes to get into the routine of the "same ole' thing" during our weekly meal planning. Shows, such as the one hosted by Robin Miller on Food Network, show you how to buy once, cook once, reheat, and eat happily and healthy.

One idea I like that I have done is with Chicken. Simply marinate 4-6 chicken breasts in lite Caesar dressing (or other garlic-herb marinade), bake for 22-25 minutes at 350 degrees on a prepared baking sheet, let cool--and watch the creativity come alive!

Idea #1: CAESAR SALAD OR GREENS SALAD...Slice a chicken breasts and put over mixed greens for a quick lunch. Feel free to add lots of tomatoes and other veggies.

Idea #2: CHICKEN SALAD...Cube up 1 or 2 breasts, toss with mayo (I use Smart Balance), a pinch of Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper, and chopped celery for a delicious Chicken Salad (with, or without the bread!) I like this with a plain toasted onion bagel. Yum!

Idea #3: FAJITA FUN...Saute some sliced bell peppers, onions, sliced marinated chicken, and fajita seasonings for a wrap better than take-out. Garnish with cheese, sour cream, and salsa, if desired.

Idea #4: CHICKEN PARMESAN...Slice the cooked marinated chicken. Saute peppers, and onions. Add chicken. Add pasta sauce (homemade, if possible!), a splash of chicken/veggie stock, and simmer. Add "blop" of tomato paste, if thin. Serve over whole grain pasta. Top with Parmesan Cheese. For CHICKEN CACCIATORE, add quartered fresh mushrooms to the veggie step.

Basic recipes, for sure but...Think of your favorite restaurant meals and know you can prepare these at home, taking control of the ingredients for your optimal diet. Consolidate your cooking during the Summer heat by using the oven as few times as possible. You'll also save money in the process!

Hope your day is going super. Keep cooking!

Your Maine Innkeeper,
Inn at Long Lake