The last weekend in April seems a ways away from the point in time I am publishing this blog, but it sure is nice to dream about warmer temperatures and spending time outdoors with friends, enjoying good food, music, and in general, camaraderie. While the Chippewa Falls SpringFest offers a chance for the locals to get out and about and reconnect, it’s also a wonderful opportunity for those not familiar with the Chippewa Valley to come check it out and see everything it has to offer. So, here are 5 excellent reasons to make the trip to Chippewa Falls the last weekend in April.
So, why would couples who would like to do something a little different to celebrate Valentine’s Day want to come to Chippewa Falls? For starters, Chippewa Falls is nestled in the north woods of western Wisconsin, a town of 13,000 people. Not a big city by any means, in fact, most folks would call it a small town. With small towns come charm, and I do love the charm Chippewa Falls offers. Yet, I hesitate to call Chippewa Falls a small town, somehow that description misrepresents everything it has to offer. Continue reading
Are you looking for a fun way to spend New Year’s Eve? Is the hustle and bustle of the season preventing you from spending quality time with that special someone in your life? One thing seems to be clear, we all enjoy an adventure of some kind or another. What better way to reconnect with that special someone than to create some memories of just the two of you. Chippewa Falls has plenty of adventures to offer, even on New Year’s Eve!
Here are 5 ways for you to experience the Chippewa Falls Area:
#1 – Leinenkugel’s Brewery. The most obvious and, probably, the most famous landmark in Chippewa Falls is Leinenkugel’s Brewery. Leinenkugel’s has been around for nearly 150 years and their tours take you through you the historic brewery and educate you on the Leinenkugel family history of brewing. You will have an opportunity to taste their world famous brews and shop for some mementos to take home with you.
#2 – Irvine Park Christmas Village Continue reading
Variety is the spice of Life! Especially in the kitchen and the meals we prepare. When our kids were still at home we tried to make sure we experienced a variety of dishes. I will be the first to admit, we raised a bunch of fussy eaters, which made selecting recipes a challenge, but as time went on we found we were able to modify various recipes to fit our specific tastes.
For those of us who live in the upper Midwest spring can be an elusive season. It is the time of year we start to feel cooped up and long to spend time outdoors without having to wear hats and gloves. There are days we look out the window to a beautiful sunny day, only to step outside and discover it is all an illusion. Even though the sun may be out, the temperatures are not spring-like at all and the wind gusts remind us of the wind chills we experienced in January and February. It seems every year at the beginning of April I come to the same conclusion, for hearty Midwesterners, spring is more a state of mind than a season we can count on to spend time comfortably outdoors. We are between seasons, there is no snow for skiing, snowmobiling or snowshoeing. Fisherman need to wait another month or so before they are able to fish for anything other than pan fish, and baseball season is just beginning. For the extra-hearty die-hard Milwaukee Brewer fans, their home opener is April 4th with projected high temps in the mid-30’s. Call me a wimp, but that isn’t my idea of fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love baseball, but if I am going to a game, especially at an outdoor stadium, I much prefer temps in the 70’s. I guess that just speaks to the hardiness of most upper Midwesterners. I have no doubt the Brewers will have plenty of support on April 4th, despite the cool temperatures and my absence. So what does all of this have to do with having fun in the Chippewa Valley this spring? Well, dress accordingly, because we have plenty of things going on indoors and outdoors!! Continue reading
Well, I am proud to say a Wisconsin Cheese has won the World Championship Cheese Contest held in Madison, WI earlier this month. We offer up hearty Congratulations to Emmi Roth USA for it’s winning entry of Roth® Grand Cru® Surchoix cheese. Even though the contest is held in Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland, the judges are a well rounded panel of cheese experts from around the world. In fact, the last time any cheese from the U.S. won the Grand Prize was in 1988. I don’t claim to be a cheese expert or connoisseur, but, I do appreciate a variety of cheeses. In fact, I would go so far to say that many of us Wisconsinites have a tendency to complain when we travel to other states and find the selection of cheeses to be lacking. I believe this is a reflection of how fortunate we are to live in a place where excellent cheese makers abound. Continue reading
With the arrival of March come the thoughts of spring weather. Those of us in Wisconsin, especially here in the northern half of the state, begin to daydream of warmer temperatures, the tulips and
daffodils peeking up through the ground, the ice melting off of the area lakes, robins looking for worms in our lawn. Most of us up here realize it will be another 40 to 50 days before that really happens, but we can dream of it anyway. So, what are we left with? Well, the other day we were fortunate enough to have some unusually warm weather, it got above 50 degrees and, since I have lots of windows with southern exposure, I was able to open them up and get some much appreciated fresh air into the B&B. This led to thoughts of deep cleaning the house. I try to do this once every 3 or 4 months to make sure our guests are very comfortable while visiting Pleasant View Bed & Breakfast. With 5 guest rooms, this task can be somewhat daunting. So, what I have found to be helpful for me is to break down the chores into specific tasks. Then, the challenge is to stay focused and not get side-tracked by all the other things you notice along the way. I will share with you how I break down my chore list, feel free to adapt to what ever works for you. Continue reading
As I was doing my research for a fantastic Valentine’s breakfast that my guests would never forget (that is always the goal, whether or not I accomplish that is another story), I found a recipe for Creme’ Brulee French Toast. When you go to a Bed & Breakfast you would expect to see French Toast on the menu. I constantly challenge myself to provide my guests with a breakfast they would not cook for themselves or something different than what they would order when they go to their favorite restaurant for breakfast. So, if I am going to make French toast, it had better be something pretty spectacular. I found this recipe on AllRecipes.com I thought would be good. My, oh, my, let me tell you, good is an understatement! You know I always say a clean plate is the best compliment an innkeeper could ever ask for, and I had clean plates across the board. I like this recipe because you prep the night before and then pop it in the oven the next morning. I served with pork sausage links we buy from the butcher in Chippewa Falls, along with a locally made maple syrup to drizzle over the French toast, and, because it was Valentine’s weekend, chocolate covered strawberries.
Gather the following ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
1 cup packed brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tbs corn syrup 1 teaspoon brandy-based orange liqueur
6 1-inch thick slices French bread 1/4 tsp salt
Melt butter in a small saucepan, mix in brown sugar and corn syrup, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
The recipe says to remove the bread crust, I did not do this and found the presentation to be just as beautiful as posted on the allrecipes.com website. Also, I did not use Grand Marnier® as recommended in the recipe. I went to the local liquor store and purchased an airline sized bottle of a brandy-based orange liqueur. While Grand Marnier® is delicious, and I am sure substitutes are just that, substitutes, there are plenty of things going on in this recipe, so I felt the real deal was not missed. Since the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, I did not see much reason to invest in a large bottle of liqueur. There are purists who feel there is no substitute for Grand Marnier®, so if you don’t want to make a sizeable investment in the large bottle, look for the airplane size bottle of Grand Marnier®.
Remove crusts from bread, and arrange in the baking dish in a single layer. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla extract, orange brandy, and salt. Pour over the bread. Cover, and chill at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove the dish from the refrigerator, and bring to room temperature.
Bake uncovered 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until puffed and lightly browned.
I know your friends and family will enjoy this recipe as much as we did at Pleasant View Bed & Breakfast. You could save it for a special occasion, such as a birthday or holiday celebration. Or, sometimes just getting the entire family together at the same time to the breakfast table is reason enough to celebrate. I am willing to bet if they know you are serving Creme’ Brulee French Toast, they will be seated anxiously waiting for you to serve breakfast. And who knows, you may start a new family tradition.