Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Putting on Our Top Hat!"

(Pictured above: Roofers from Young's Roofing begin ripping layers of shingles off Inn at Long Lake's front facade. Two sides down, 2 to go!!)
Yes, it is getting pretty messy around the outside of the inn and as much as I am a "Neat-nik" the replacement of the inn's roof needed to be done. The inn is closed, of course, and the workers are really nice guys. The weather has been "iffy" with strong winds and I pray for their safety. We had to remove the awning, too, as shingles from that high up can puncture anything (I'm staying FAR away!! Yipe!)
Every couple of days I make them some cookies and they really appreciate it.
Still on vacation, reading cookbooks, sleeping liberally, and visiting friends that were "ignored" (but not forgotten) the last few months (ahhh, yes...such is the lot of the Maine innkeeper).
That's all from crisp, windy Naples!

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Do The Mashed Potato!"

Hi, Blog Friends.

I am still on my vacation but wanted to share with you a cool, easy way to make Garlic Mashed Potatoes. I saw it on the wonderful Cook's Country on the CREATE TV channel (sometimes on PBS as well). And who doesn't LOVE Garlic Mashed Potatoes? They go perfect with Roasted Chicken, Succulent Steaks, and even moist, naturally-lean Fish.

Garlic and potatoes complement each other well and the folks on Cook's Country analyzed the method by which they are harmoniously incorporated. The old tedious way: roast the garlic in the oven for a while, boil the potatoes/strain the potatoes, add together and mash. After trial research, the host (Chris) taught us how to make it all in one pot.

By lightly sauteing the garlic in olive on low heat (adding a few pinches of sugar at the end), the garlic becomes "pan roasted." Next, add seasonings, water, dairy, and bring to a slow boil. Add peeled, cubed starchy potatoes and cook them RIGHT IN the liquid!! The potatoes suck up the flavors as they cook and then when done, adjust seasonings and add more butter.

For the exact recipe, log on to the Cook's Country website! I thought it was really clever and wanted to pass this on to you.

Okay, back to my vacation!!! LOL.

Keith A. Neubert


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Annual Craft Show (Part II)

(Pictured above: Betsey-Ann Golon of Common Folk Herb Farm in Naples, me, and my assistant and co-organizer Gail Leahy pose for a photo opportunity prior to Saturday's Craft Show grand opening.)

Our Annual Holiday Craft Show

(Pictured above: Elaine of Elaine's Creations (aka. Mom) and I stand in front of my area, where I sold my inn-made cookies and granola.)

Greetings, All!

This past weekend Inn at Long Lake hosted the area's 20th Annual Holiday Craft Show. About 18 local artisans specializing in an array of mediums displayed their loving work throughout the inn. The show was a great success! Visitors from all over Maine visited the inn thanks to a recent article in the newspaper by writer Don Perkins. Thanks, Don!!
My inn-made cookies and mulled cider raised $140.00 for the Good Shephard Food Bank here in Naples, too.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Not Backward, Not Forward--Just Still"

(Pictures above: My oldest friend of 34 years, Bob, who works for Disney Corp. in Florida, visits Naples, Maine! We met in math class in 6th grade Junior High. Some days just change your life forever, huh?)

Howdoooo from an inn in Western Maine!

Yesterday Inn at Long Lake's roof began its facelift and the inn is closed for business. The entire process should take about 2 weeks. It is a large capital expenditure that I did not necessarily want to make at this time. Still, I know "once it is done, it is done."

After this weekend's 20th Annual Holiday Craft Show here at the inn (which keeps me very happily baking cookies all weekend!), I begin a 2-week vacation! This is challenging for most innkeepers because while they may not have guests, I find myself personally getting to projects that I wanted to do throughout the busier seasons, and learning to be quiet enough to assess the future direction of this amazing inn.

"Getting quiet enough" can be very challenging! Throughout all our busy lives we feel compelled, perhaps, to worry. Worry keeps us "stuck." It does not allow us the chance to give ourselves power---power to dream, power to play, power to create. To me, there is always a certain Faith needed to dream. It is that happy place where your creativity is realized by you and others. In my job, I am glad to have a lot of that--when guests comment that they think "the theme of the inn is really cool," or that "that bread we had for breakfast was too die for," etc. Nonetheless, it is from the "being still" that enables us to (hopefully) spark an idea of joy.

Not all of these realizations of happiness are about triumphs in innkeeping. Some involve taking better care of my body and soul. Some about taking better care of close relationships. At this time of year, despite my joy of running a business, I allocate some time to these as well. And, through these times, cooking and baking and cookbooks (yahoo!!!) provide some form of rudimentary structure to my existence---and almost put me in the place where I can dream, and play, and create.

Remember today to take a few deep breathes and remember your playfulness found in "why am I taking Life at this moment wayyyyyyyy too seriously?" Perhaps, from that moment of being calmly still, you will access that inspiration to move forward. There, with just a little Faith, Joy may be born!
Keith A. Neubert
Innkeeper and Fellow Vacationer