Laugh and be Jolly

Christmas signDeck the hall!  Put up the holly, laugh and be jolly!  It’s time to start the celebration!  It’s just the perfect way to start the holiday season.  It’s time for the annual Holiday Open House at the James Manning House B&B!

Every year in the beginning of December our little historic community provides holiday spirit for visitors, the greater community and friends of Bethany with an event we call “Christmas in the Village”.  This year the event is scheduled for December 1, from 2-4, and is a free event.  Many of the area organizations plan special events for everyone to 019enjoy.  The library invites Mrs. Claus to come and help children write letters to Santa Claus.  She and a helper read stories to the children.  The librarian offers cookies and hot chocolate as well.  Bethany United Methodist Church is offering a “Keepsake Christmas for Families”, which includes a hands on craft for inspiration.  The Bethany Historical Society has an open house with cookies and punch.  They are also planning a surprise display, which reminds us of a great part of our country’s history.  Bethany Village, senior living, invites all to their tree lighting and Tricky Tray.IMG_3695

The two historic B&B’s, E. Kellogg House and the James Manning House will be hosting open houses.  Enjoy the Christmas decorations and see the beauty of these two lodging inns.  There will be seasonal treats at both.  Perhaps you’ll have to clear the doorway for the Victorian Strollers to pass with their hoop skirts much in the same way the residents of these fine houses did 150 years past.

The James Manning House is pleased to present the Honesdale High School Chamber Choir singing Christmas carols and seasonal songs.  This talented group of young people will delight all who stop to listen.  Here at the inn we are preparing dozens of cookies and treats to tempt your palette.  Enjoy seeing the Santa Claus collection and decorated trees of various themes.  We dare you to count the Santa Claus collection, numbering above 350!  (hint: count the snowmen instead, far less of those, for now!!) Maybe you need some unique Christmas gifts, our little gift shop, is ready to help fill the need.  Gift certificates are also available for holiday giving.

The evening finishes with “A Journey Through Bethlehem” a living nativity presented by the Bethany Presbyterian Church.  The story of Jesus’ birth told through living story and live animals. The living nativity runs from 4:30-6:30, December 1 and December 2.

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Simple Scones

simple scones

Guests have been asking for my scone recipe for some time.  This is my favorite recipe and using different additions will give you a variety of scones.  One trick is mentioned below, freezing.  I also start with frozen butter and grate it in the food processor.


2 c. all-purpose flour                              ½ c. butter, frozen                                                   ] 1 t. baking powder                                 ½ c. fat free sour cream                                          ¼ t. baking soda                                   1 large egg                                                             1/3  c. sugar                                         1/2 t. salt                                                                       ½ c. raisins*

Directions:  In a medium-sized bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt.   Grate the butter into very small pieces.  Work into dry ingredients with your fingers.  This mixture should resemble coarse meal.  Stir in raisins.*

In another small bowl, beat the egg and cream until smooth.  Using a fork stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until large clumps form (do not over work the dough.  Pressing the dough into the sides to pull together to form somewhat of a ball.  Divide into two or three clumps and dump on a floured board.  Press each into a thick disc.

Cut disc into 6-8 triangles (or cut with round cookie cutter).  Put pieces on parchment lined cookie tray, approx.. 2” apart.  Bake in 375 degree preheated oven until golden around the edges. To serve dust with powered sugar or make a glaze with confectioner’s sugar and water, milk, or juice, approx. one tablespoon liquid to one cup of sugar.

The secret to the James Manning House is to freeze the preformed scones before baking. Once frozen wrap tightly and store for up to one month.  Bake as many as desired from frozen state, do not thaw.

*Alternate additives:

Mixed dried fruit                  craisins and orange zest                                                         Lemon-blueberry                dried cherries and almonds                                                   Butterscotch chips             dried apricots and white choc. chips                                 Chocolate and coconut      hazelnuts and toffee                                                                 Pecans and caramels        craisins and white chocolate                                                         Be creative!!

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

½ c. butter, softened                      ¾ c. non-fat sour cream                                                   ½ c. egg substitute                         1 t. vanilla                                                                         1 c. sugar                                        ¼ c. non-fat plain Greek yogurt                                     ¼ c. unsweetened applesauce       ½ c. brown sugar,packed                                               1 t. baking powder                           2 c. all-purposeflour                                                        1 t. baking soda                                                                                                            Streusel:  1 t. cinnamon, ¼ c. brown sugar                                                                              Glaze:  2 T.  non-fat milk, 1 c. powdered sugar

Directions:                                                                                                                               1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a 10” Bundt pan by greasing with butter flavored Crisco and dusting with 1 T. flour.

2. Blend butter and sugars in large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add sour cream, egg substitute, applesauce, yogurt and vanilla.  Beat until well combined.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Add the flour mixture to the batter bowl and blend until combined.

4. Pour ½ the batter into the Bundt pan and carefully spread to cover the entire bottom of the pan.  Mix the streusel and sprinkle on top of the batter in the Bundt pan.  Cover with the remaining batter.sour cream streusel

5. Bake in warm oven for 45-50 minutes, or a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

6. Loosen the cake and invert on serving platter.  Make the glaze by combining the ingredients and stirring until smooth and thick.  Drizzle over cooled cake.

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Five Days of Christmas Traditions

Tradition #2  C is for Cookies!  That’s right there are a few cookie monsters that live      cookiecollagearound here.  We’ve been enjoying baking (and eating) cookies as a family for a very long time.  I think every family has their traditions when it comes to the sweets.  I know I have very happy memories of helping my parents cutting out sugar cookies then sprinkling colored sugar on the frosting my mother spread over those tender morsels.  The whole time Perry Como was crooning out the Christmas melodies on the record player.  So tasty were some of those cookie recipes that they need to be made again and again each year.  Then when my favorites were joined together with Warren’s fond favorites that  also had to be made the list of recipes kept growing.  As my daughters’ started their families they of course made their favorites, or even more fun we might get together to bake.  This is especially true with the sandtarts, those wonderfully buttery thin delights that only my daughter can roll to perfection.  DSC_0551  Now there’s Pintrest and more recipes to try, but the favorites can’t be forgotten, so the list of cookie types that must be made just keeps growing, and growing. Dare I say, so do the waistlines during the holidays!  So what is your favorite cookie?  See if it’s on our list, I’m always game for trying the recipes of others just send it our way. This year our cookie platters include: Frosted Sugar Cookies, Sandtarts, Chocolate Tassies, Butter Spritz Cookies, Raspberry Danish, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Squares, Oatmeal Jam-Up Cookies, Peanut Butter Cups, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Macaroons, Apricot Foldovers, Chocolate Chip, Candy Cane Cookies, Red Velvet Ooey-gooey Cookies, Chocolate Mint Pinwheels, Cinnamon Bun Cookies, Gingerdoodles, Snowman Shortbread, and German Springerle.  13cookies

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Five Days of Holiday Traditions

It’s that time of year again, everyone hustling around, busy, busy, busy.  I thought I would that the last few days to talk about some traditions around the inn, and slow the pace if only for a short time.  Traditions are the memories, warm and cozy, of the Christmas of our youth.  They are the passing of time and the passing of life.  I hope you enjoy hearing about some of the things we enjoy and hope you are busy making traditions of your own.

Tradition #1 is Crafted with love.  During December the innkeepers can be found taking some time from the cleaning and cooking to make things homemade; Warren in his craftedwithloveworkshop and Janet crafting cards.  These traditions started many years ago when money was tight and children were small.  Warren loved to make wooden toys and our children loved to play with the wonderful trucks, trains and moving animals their father crafted.  Now Grandpa is very proud and excited that our nine year old grandson is showing an interest and working on a pull toy puppy for his little sister.  In the past he has helped his Grandpa with some hammering and a bit of painting, but this year he has been working with some machines and doing the project himself, with guidance and teaching from Grandpa.  I guess that teaching spirit is just like riding a bike, never forgotten.   It’s wonderful to see the bond that is building over sandpaper and paint.  Meanwhile after the cookie baking and Christmas Open House, Janet will get to work crafting and stamping the Christmas greeting cards to send to family and friends.  She feels it’s one way to relax and keep the stress out of the holiday planning.  makingcards

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