Cranberry Scones for Thanksgiving with Tips from a Bed ‘n Breakfast Baker

  • Here’s a cranberry scone recipe from I really like that might work well for Thanksgiving…
    Some things I’ve learned about making scones: They’re similar to making pie crust……if butter is ice cold you get better results. I start by cutting the butter into chunks and sticking it in the freezer a half hour before I need it. Also liquids need to be very cold…..leave in the fridge until you’re ready to use. Handle dough as little as possible. And when they are on the cookie sheet ready to go into the oven, put them in the fridge for 10 minutes to let the gluten settle….whatever that means. I think once you find the scone recipe that you like, stick to it and do variations on that recipe… lemon blueberry or apple cinnamon, etc. Keep the basic ingredients the same until you have enough experience with them and you feel more comfortable trying different recipes.

    They are definitely best made the morning you want to serve them and they really are quick to make once you know how to do it.

Pumpkin Treat, A Quick Dessert

We’re here in the middle of Pumpkin Season and I ride by the fields around Hilltop House where the Lovingly Challenged orange orbs blink back at me asking–“won’t you take me home?” So I thought I write up a few Pumpkin recipes we like that might glean one of those guys in from the cold.pumpkinsfieldPUMPKIN TREAT

1 cup + of pumpkin puree (Okay, this isn’t the quick part, but if you’re putting up for the winter and you want to buy one of those pumpkins…) cook pumpkins in big chunks placed pulp down on a cookie sheet, in an oven at 300 degrees and cook till soft, about 30 minutes. Scrape pumpkin pulp and keep in freezer in 1 cup servings until you use. (of course a can of pumpkin works pretty well too).

1 pkg vanilla pudding–you can use fat free, sugar free, or regular (Note: if regular, taste before chilling and sweeten to your taste. We recommend Maple Syrup which is as natural and as local as you can get in these parts, and it stirs / whips in beautifully.)

2 c. fat free Cool Whip

1/4 c. low-fat milk

1/2 t. vanilla

Swirl all the ingredients together by hand or in a blender or a Nutri-bullet. Chill in individual serving cups–stemmed or ramekins. Serve when cool. Dollop with more Cool Whip.

Remember Pumpkin Seeds come along with that pumpkin you buy. While it’s roasting in the oven, clean the seeds of the membrane, salt and spread in single layer on a cookie sheet. You can enjoy these healthy–tryptophan and protein—roasted seeds while you scrape the yummy pumpkin from its skin!


Home Made Gluten-free Granola a la Hilltop House!

Here is a recipe for Gluten Free Granola that I adapted from Chowhound. I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free oatmeal to make mine. It’s pretty incredible how easy this granola is to make and how much better it is made fresh than from a box on the grocery shelf. I find locally made, very tasty granola in nice packaging, but if, like me, you’re serving it often and you know, one of those Bs in B&B stands for (complimentary) breakfast, it’s prohibitive to buy all done up. OatsGranola is a great option for guests that need or want to eat gluten free. Here are the changes I make to create my healthy version

3 cups gluten-free oats
3 Tbsps. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. maple extract
1/2 cup diced dried fruits (cranberries, apricots, cherries)
1/2 cup nuts and or seeds (pecans, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
Heat oven to 300 degrees and arrange a rack in the middle. Place the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and nuts and/or seeds in a bowl. Mix together and set aside. Combine the melted coconut oil (they say to eat a teaspoon a day for health!), syrup and extracts in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add to dry ingredients and stir until oats are thorougluOatghly coated.
Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, Stir and bake for 5-15 minutes longer until golden brown. Remove from oven, add dried fruit and let cool still in that thin layer.  Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

This recipe is the best I’ve had and my guests agree.  Here’s the original recipe, fyi.

***Make sure that if your serving someone with celiac disease or have a high sensitivity to gluten that all your ingredients are indeed gluten free.




Blueberry & Greek Yogurt Parfait for Breakfast

It’s a challenge in the winter with the limited variety of fruits available to come up with a fruit dish for our guests. This dish is something that I created for myself and it is my favorite thing to eat…….except for chocolate ; )  Blueberry Maple Yogurt ParfaitThe longer I am involved in running my B&B, my motto has evolved: I try to keep things pure, simple and as healthy as possible. This dish fits the bill. I even picked the blueberries myself and froze them last fall. (She says proudly, rocking back and forth, her thumbs tucked in her suspenders!) They are as freshly frozen as possible. And the fact that they are frozen adds an especially nice texture to the dish.

Blueberry Greek Yogurt Parfait (1-2 servings)

• 8 oz. Greek yogurt
• 1/3 cup frozen blueberries (use fresh seasonally)
• 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
• 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
• pure maple syrup to taste

Mix yogurt, berries, walnuts and cinnamon together. Scoop into serving dishes, top with a few blueberries and drizzle on pure maple syrup.

Funny enough, it never occurred to me to serve it to my guests, but when I realized I had nothing fruit-wise one morning, I thought of my personal breakfast of this yogurt parfait, which I then made for my guests. It was an immediate hit and has been such for everyone who eats it. And the best part is it’s healthy and easy. Fits my motto.