Heavenly Banana Bread From Scratch

At our Vermont B&B, we’re often complimented on our breakfasts, but our banana bread recipe seems to get an extra dose of respect …and requests for the recipe itself. You can imagine that the guests who are here for hiking or skiing want a delicious breakfast that will keep them full all day — and this recipe will help do just that. Before we begin, here are a few of our tips to perfecting your own loaf of homemade banana bread goodness:

Make sure the bananas are old. Really old. Many people make banana bread when the fruits’ skins are dark yellow with a few brown spots…go for total over-ripeness and wait a few more days for the skins to blacken. We promise these super-ripe bananas are not only completely safe to eat but absolutely essential to making delectable banana bread!

If you’re looking for healthier and heartier versions of banana bread, add some ground flax to this recipe when you add the flour (start with 1/4 cup and work your up if you like it) or add a cup of oatmeal (decreasing the flour by a half cup).  Another way to add heartiness is to increase the ratio of wheat flour and/or decrease the amount of sugar.   These variations will diminish the silky smooth texture of this banana bread, but I think it’s well worth the added health benefits.

This recipe makes 1 single loaf or 3 mini loaves or 1 dozen muffins.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork

3 very overripe bananas, mashed

2 cups white wheat flour (or use 1 cup white flour and 1 cup wheat flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Recipes from the Golden Stage Inn Bed and Breakfast

The Banana Bread Recipe

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease your baking tin(s).

2) Add the lemon juice to the milk, stir and set aside. (It will curdle.  This is good.)

3) Cream together the butter and sugar.  If unsure how long this takes, do it a little longer than you think.

4) Add the eggs and bananas to the butter and sugar, and mix.

5) Add half the flour (one cup), baking soda, and salt. Mix.

6) Add the milk & lemon juice that you set aside at the beginning. Mix again.

7) Add the rest of the flour (one cup) and mix for the last time! Mix just until blended. Do not overmix.

8) Pour your finished mixture into your greased pan.

9)Bake until edges are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Use the cooking times listed below as a guideline, but remember that the bread continues to cook a bit after removing it from the oven.  An overcooked bread is a terrible thing!

For a single loaf pan, bake for 60-70 minutes.

For three miniature loaves, bake for 40 minutes.

For muffins, bake 18 minutes.

And voila – you have warm, banana-flavored clouds of home-baked heaven.

Golden Stage Inn Original Recipes

Welcome to the “Inn Crowd”

When we have extra space at the Inn, we want to offer our loyal guests the opportunity to get away at the last minute for a lower price.  Ideal for those who have the freedom to escape to Vermont with just a few days’ notice, you can get exclusive access to discounted rooms or added bonuses such as free ski lift tickets or a night out to dinner on us.  We’ll always have something new and exciting to offer no matter the season, and we promise to keep your information confidential and not to flood your inbox.

For those of you who’ve arrived here through our newsletter, thank you for opting to receive our Spontaneity Pays Promotions through the “Inn Crowd” exclusive email list!  Your email address has just been added to our Inn Crowd mailing list.  Look forward to some fantastic and creative last minute deals!

If you’ve arrived at this page through our website or otherwise and want to become a part of the Inn Crowd, simply send an email to innkeeper@goldenstageinn.com to let us know.  We’ll add you to our email list and you’ll quickly see how Spontaneity Pays!

Locally Inspired Vermont Home Cooking

Our Treat to You

Swedish Smorgasbord Festivities

Seasons’ greetings and a happy new year to all from the Golden Stage Inn!

 

Our Christmas Eve of 2013 was as packed with merriment as the Inn’s dining rooms were packed with people for our traditional Swedish Smorgasbord.  Guests, family and friends all came together to celebrate the night with good food and good company.  Julie-Lynn’s  parents are each half Swedish, so it has become a family tradition to celebrate this joyful time of year with a Christmas Eve Swedish Smorgasbord featuring all varieties of Swedish food, drink and decor.  The Anderson-Wood family members spent the day preparing a multi-course meal – including appetizers, main dishes, and sweets for dessert.  Their efforts certainly paid off!  Supper attendees were welcomed into the living room glowing with a crackling fire and sparkling Christmas tree.  Conversations filled the rooms while we helped ourselves to hot drinks and appetizers.  Guests brought their own beverages as well; a sure hit was the mulled wine, which the Swedes call Glogg (pronounced ‘glug’).  The decor went far past traditional New England Christmastime to include Swedish-printed tablecloths and painted horses. Paper napkins wished us “God Jul,” or “Good Yule” in Swedish, and a few Santa Lucia dolls holding Advent wreaths adorned the tables along with the miniature Christmas trees. Nana Rosemary Anderson, who took the pictures below, was even wearing her favorite blue Swedish sweater for the occasion.

Delicious almond cake and apple cake

At a little past seven, the main dishes came to the table piping hot and we served ourselves buffet style.  Everyone left with stomachs stuffed after enjoying homemade Swedish meatballs, pickled herring (or sil), beet salad, and potatoes and peppers in cream. A few American favorites such as macaroni ‘n’ cheese and baked ham made an appearance as well, and were a hit with the teenagers that were present! My personal favorite Swedish Smorgasbord dish was the red cabbage, which is simmered with apples and molasses. Papa Bert Anderson is a staunch advocate of sil and was encouraging everyone to add it to their plate, and several were brave enough to rise to the challenge. My father and a one of my brothers loved it – but reviews from other diners indicated this northern snack may be more of an acquired taste.  When the desserts came around, however, every single mouth was watering in anticipation! There was almond kaka  and apple kaka (cake), perfect for dipping in an after dinner coffee. Spice cookies and dark chocolate covered clementines finished off the array of sweets.  My family headed out once our plates had been cleared and our bellies were ready to undertake the walk back to the car.  We were invited to participate in the event not only because I recently began working for Michael and Julie, but also because we are new to the Okemo Valley area and slowly getting to know the area and its community.  The hospitality and friendship that the Golden Stage Inn family continually extends our way has been perhaps the warmest welcome we’ve received so far – and we aren’t even the guests!  Check out some photos of us and the other dinner guests enjoying this seasonal family-style Swedish Smorgasbord meal at the Golden Stage Inn’s Facebook profile.

 

Until next time; God Jul to all and may your 2014 begin with warmth and joy!

 

Swedish Smorgasboard with decor at the Golden Stage Inn

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

There’s no place like Vermont to weather the weather with loved ones, a cozy fire, and a good book! With our first full-fledged snow storm hitting just two nights ago, the Okemo Valley has received 12-16 inches of snow in less than 24 hours. Here at the Inn, we were lucky to receive the upper end with 15-16 inches of snow, and we can see many of Okemo Resort’s 91 open trails right from our front yard. With 75% of the mountain slopes open and lessons and competitions already in full swing, it’s sure to be a glorious year. So let it snow! The sparkling fluffy powder on the ground is a far cry from the ice and sludge of cities and suburbs, making winter in Vermont a delight rather than a drag. Every year we look forward to this moment; we pack away our outdoor summer gear and get out the shovels and snowshoes. And when the snow finally blankets the hills, everyone is off on their skis and snowboards, skates and sleds, beating the cold with exciting winter sports and cozy indoor games, music and food. Here’s a glimpse of our beehives under the snow; the colonies are safely tucked away in their own stores of honey and heat for the season. We hope this tremendous snowfall is just a hint of what’s to come!

 

 

Golden Stage Inn Bed and Breakfast Vermont    Golden Stage Inn Vermont B&B Winter Season

 

 

Holiday Shopping, Round Two

Chester, Vermont is one of those towns you can drive through and admire, or dive into and discover.  I’d recommend the diving route, as it was the perfect place for me to tackle some pressing holiday shopping without feeling rushed, worried or overwhelmed.  It is eclectic, full of hidden treasures, and quaint without being frilly. Seasonal white lights have already gone up on the trees at the town center where a fantastic array of small stores surrounds the village green.  I always stop first at the Moon Dog Café to fuel up with curried chicken salad and a hot drink.  The long, soft-colored room has a small grocery section and an extensive collection of body care products, as well as scarves, tableware, and various odds and ends.  For those who love the organic, natural side of things, this place will hold your attention for a while.  At the far end of the café is a set of stairs leading to a vast playroom for young children called the SongYard.  The SongYard hosts events and arts ‘n’ crafts, and features a children’s clothing thrift rack.

Next down the line of Chester’s main street stores is Country Treasures, a quilting shop.  My mom took a beginner’s class there and made a gorgeous baby blanket.  Though I am not one for sewing, I still love looking at their creative fabrics and use them to wrap my Christmas gifts in a more personal and sustainable way.  Misty Valley Books is probably the best place to find something for everyone on your holiday shopping list.  This small bookstore often hosts local or visiting authors, and has a great selection of including a shelf full of Vermont and New England based fiction and non-fiction.  I found a small book full of early photos of my hometown, Springfield VT, to give to my parents for Christmas!  Other unique stores include a Polish Pottery shop, Mountain Leather Design, and DaVallia, a jewelry and home accent boutique a bit pricier than the rest of the plaza.

If you head east through the center of town, you’ll come to Meditrina Wine and Cheese and Pear Tree Home and Garden. I have not been to Pear Tree, but Meditrina is an intimate space with very knowledgeable staff. Continue east to get to the Vermont Country Store, an ever-bustling hotspot for Vermont products of every imaginable sort.

If you head north on Route 103, even more surprises await! Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts, or VTica, is an absolute gem that sits across from the gas station. I recently attended a gallery opening and was not only in love with the artists the owners chose to feature, but also the affordability of the entire collection. ‘Something to Celebrate,’ their current collection, shows the work of Vermont artists who have a high level of finesse comparable to those featured in high end galleries in New York, said President Robert Sarly. One does abstract glasswork that hangs like clouds from the ceiling. Another paints poppies on top of roadmaps of Chester and surrounding towns. At the back of the exhibit was the star of the show, a collection of 33 top contestants in an abstract challenge set up by both VTica and the VT Water Color Society.

Across from VTica is a combination antique gallery and seafood restaurant called Austin’s Antiques and the Wheelhouse Restaurant. I have yet to explore it, and am so curious to find out what the place could possibly look like inside! The chef has a weekly column called ‘Catch of the Week’ in the local paper with seafood recipes to try at home. (This week was lobster quiche – yum!) Continue up 103 and you’ll find a thrift store and a massage therapy office, followed by a woodworking business that hosts an annual chainsaw carving festival and competition every October! I attended the festival and was surprised at how affordable some of the carvings were. Beyond the creative displays of wooden statues and benches is Lisai’s market and grocery near the train station. Bonnie’s Bundles Dolls is an especially unique store, which hand-crafts old-fashioned Vermont dolls. They are gorgeous to look at, but certainly an investment. Finally, you’ll find an open-air roadside market selling Christmas trees and wreaths. In the spring they feature flowers and in the summer and fall are chock full of Vermont produce.

Though we are in the last week of availability for our I Hate Malls package, we are likely to make it an annual occasion! Keep us in mind next Christmas if the consumerism and advertisements are starting to get to you.

-Sophi Veltrop, Golden Stage Inn

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