Insanely Great Waffles

Well, it’s Monday—less than a week until Valentine’s Day.  Have you been thinking about something special you can do any other day this week?  Making homemade breakfast is always a treat for your family, but during the week you say you are too busy. So you usually buy the frozen toaster waffles. Well, I have just the answer for you. I call them Insanely Great Waffles.  They are really wonderful, super fast and easy, and they freeze well so you can have your own “frozen toaster waffles.” Serve them with fresh fruit or your favorite maple syrup, and your family will think they are something special. (I won’t tell them you really made them because you wanted them yourself!) This recipe is sure to become a family favorite.

Insanely Great Waffles

¾ cup flour

¼ cup cornstarch

½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 cup buttermilk or whole milk

1/3 cup oil

1 egg

1 tablespoon sugar

¾ tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the milk, oil, egg, sugar, and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.

Preheat waffle iron. (No need to use nonstick spray; these will not stick.) Cook for 2 ½  to 3 minutes or until done.

Green Eggs and Ham Pizza

I mentioned a few days ago that I’m always searching for wonderful new recipes. One of the questions guests often ask is whether I make the same thing for breakfast every day, or if I have a specific menu for each day of the week. Absolutely not! I would get really bored making the same thing every day—or even rotating just a few menus. I admit I have a few favorites that I like to fall back on from time to time. But I love to try new recipes, and I love finding that new idea that turns out to be something my guests find irresistible. This breakfast pizza is one of those. When guests first see it, they are usually surprised. And then when they taste it and love it, I’m happy.

Give it a try, and let me know how your family likes it!

Green Eggs and Ham Pizza
(4 servings)

1 lb. pizza dough (make your own, or buy premade dough from the grocery store or your local pizza parlor)
½ cup pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
sliced deli ham, cut into thin strips
4 eggs

1. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each one into a 7-inch circle (or for Valentine’s day you could make a heart shape). Put them on a cookie sheet and roll up the edges to create a crusty edge.
2. Spread each crust with 1-2 tablespoons pesto.
3. Top each pizza with about ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
4. Place 4-5 strips of sliced ham on each pizza.
5. Bake at 500 ° for about 5 min.
6. Crack a whole egg in the middle of each pizza and continue to bake for 5-7 min. longer.

Serve immediately!

Places to Eat in Downtown South Bend

Okay, so Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and you’re thinking, “I have to plan something special to do…maybe go out to dinner.” Well, this year the 14th is on a Sunday, so that gives you several options—maybe you can make a special date for Friday or Saturday when places won’t be quite as crowded. Many restaurants are offering dinner specials for the whole weekend.

If you live in the South Bend area, go to the Downtown South Bend Web site and discover all the wonderful places just around the corner from us where you can have a romantic dinner. If you are going out to eat, why not make the evening even more special by spending the night here at the Inn? We only have a few rooms left for Valentine’s weekend; check our Web site for availability.

What are your favorite places to dine here in South Bend–or wherever you live? I’d love to hear from you.

Coming tomorrow: A fabulous Green Eggs and Ham Pizza recipe!

Happy Ground Hogs Day!

Phil

Ever see the movie Groundhog Day? A fun and thought-provoking date night movie. Bill Murray plays an arrogant and egotistical weatherman who is stuck living the same day over and over again. Once he realizes he can’t do anything about his predicament, he decides to make the most of it. He learns to play the piano. He gets to know each person in town. He even saves a homeless man’s life.

So where’s the romance, you ask? One of my favorite parts of the movie is the way this man watches the girl he loves and learns to know exactly what she looks like, enough to make a reproduction of her face. I wonder how often we are aware of what is going on around us in such detail.

Try spending today looking at the people around you with an eye toward details you may never have taken the time to notice before. What can you compliment someone on, or start a conversation about? Maybe buy your friend or loved one a small token that means something special–a bouquet of her favorite flowers, a book on a topic he’s expressed an interest in, or her favorite treat from the bakery. Love and friendship mean paying attention and taking the time to show someone you care.

February is for Lovers

Well, it’s February and Valentine’s Day is coming, so I thought I’d spend the whole month blogging about food and love. After all, romance can be all year long–not just one day of the year! I hope you’ll join me on this month-long journey. I’ll share some recipes and fun suggestions about how to put a little more romance into your life every day.

Tom and I have been married for 28 years, and now that we have the Inn, we are together all day, every day. And there’s always more work to be done! It can be hard to make our relationship the priority we want it to be–to take the time to watch a movie together or go for a walk after dinner–and forget about all the “work” around us.

I’m sure that, like me, you can get so busy that it is easy to let days and weeks go by without spending quality time with your sweetheart or your kids. Look for an opportunity this month to stop the madness and focus on your special someone for a few hours. And if you need help getting into the spirit, why not come for a mini getaway here at the Inn? We’ll have fresh cookies waiting!

Busy Weekend in South Bend

Looking for something to bounce away the winter blues?  Check out the Harlem Globetrotters on Friday January 22 at 7pm at the Joyce Center. For Tickets and information.

If  you need something to warm you up come and check out Menopause the Musical at the Morris Performing Arts Center for the next 3 nights!  It’s definitely not the “Silent Passage” any more!

Check out our last minute specials for this weekend!

Coming in February don’t miss our 28 days of Food and Love Blogs!

The Oliver Inn – “Best of The Midwest!”

The Oliver Inn - Selected as "Best of the Midwest" for 2009/2010

The Oliver Inn - "Best of the Midwest" for 2009/2010

The Oliver Inn has just been selected as “Best of The Midwest” by BedandBreakfast.com for 2009-2010, based on the excellent reviews posted by guests just like you during the last year.  The BedandBreakfast.com team read through thousands of reviews and carefully chose The Oliver Inn for “Best of the Midwest” based on the detailed descriptions provided by reviewers in their comments.  This is just another in a long line of accolades for The Oliver Inn!  Visit our web site (www.oliverinn.com/about) to read about some of the other awards we have received, or click on the review links on the left side of this page to read what guests are saying about The Oliver Inn.  Better yet, come for a visit, and see for yourself!  Experience the elegance of The Oliver Inn this fall.

Mystery at The Mansion!! Friday, October 2nd and 9th – Tours start at 5:30

Dillinger’s Dastardly Deeds…Based on the true story of John Dillinger’s robbery of a South Bend bank in 1934, This mystery needs all of your investigative skills to track down a secret accomplice in the heist. Travel back in time to hear accounts from those involved and cast your vote for the person who helped “Public Enemy Number One”. Tickets are limited. Advance tickets are available and strongly recommended to guarantee a place on a tour. The Northern Indiana Center for History. http://www.centerforhistory.org.   Call 574-235-9664, ext. 232 for details. Coming in from out of town? Complete your “mystery” weekend with a stay at The Oliver Inn. Rooms are still available for the weekend of the 9th.