Sunday, July 22, 2012

Up, Up and Away!

Every year the nearby town of Hillsborough, New Hampshire hosts the Balloon Festival.  This was the view from the inn and the back of our house last evening!  It was so exciting to see the balloons as they were so close! 

As they landed in the field behind our property Mason walked with Ava on his shoulders to see the balloon....I ran behind with my camera to snap a picture.  Before a moment passed I could hear the sound of another balloon also landing to the right of this one!
Ava ran toward the basket to say hi to the folks on their ride as they landed safely.  The operator of the balloon (pilot?) asked our precious 4 year old grandaughter if she liked "my balloon"...of course Ava was thrilled to be talking to them as well as seeing it land!

One of the greatest things about living in New Hampshire is the beauty of the countryside.  It truly is so tranquil and how exciting to view it from the air.

When I took this picture I realized the sun was behind the balloon and I was worried I wouldn't get a very good picture.  Much to my surprise the sun shined through the balloon making it look like stained glass (as my friend from high school Janet commented).  

Just another great afternoon in New Hampshire!
All the best
Cyndi and Mason

Monday, July 9, 2012

What To Do With A Windfall?

Imagine my surprise when Mason nearly skipped through the door today to show me what came in the mail!  As many small businesses we have utilized Google for marketing over the years.  We were delighted today to be the recipients of a "windfall" as part of a class action settlement from the Google Settlement Fund!

First, we didn't even know about the class action suit or the settlement....so imagine our delight when the check came our way today!  Not only that, we have no idea what the class action suit was even about.  But somehow as part of the marketing we've done through Google we were eligible to receive this settlement...so we are happily accepting this windfall!

We only have until Dec. 26, 2012 to cash the check or it is no longer valid it says.  In addition, as we were concerned about the tax implications....it does recommend that we consult a tax professional as neither the attorneys nor the settlement administrator can provide us with any tax advice.  Thanks...we appreciate the honesty on the tax question.

So, we ask you dear readers of our blog, Facebook and Twitter, former guests, future guests and others  who follow our exciting inn world....what would you suggest we do with this windfall?    Should we invest in some new furnishings, flat screen tv's for the guest rooms, more landscaping, additional marketing, a new piece of kitchen equipment?  We'd love to renovate the lobby of the inn and re arrange some of the doors to the kitchen or have a custom built wine rack for Mason's wine collection.  What to do --what to do?  All of these ideas screamed through our minds as we opened the part of the check with the amount in it.

Oh....by the way did we mention the amount of the check????????   $1.90   Now that is really something to think about!  What to do with $1.90??  We look forward to your comments and feedback on how to spend this incredible windfall!

All the best from beautiful New Hampshire
Mason and Cyndi Cobb

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer's Lush Strawberry Jam

Did you have a chance to pick strawberries at your neighbohood farm? Maybe you picked some up at the local farmer's market or even the produce section of your grocery store.  Strawberries were abundant this year and many area fields were lush with strawberries early in the season!

 One of my favorite things to do with strawberries is make an easy and yummy Strawberry Jam.

The recipe calls for the jam to be used within two weeks....how easy would that be?  Here are some of my favorite ways of using left-over Strawberry Jam (if you end up with any!):
  • Warm the jam and drizzle over French Toast
  • Use in Cereal Bars
  • Top Cheesecake
  • Drop a teaspoon in the middle of muffin batter
 Here's the recipe for you to try at home:

Easy Strawberry Jam

  • Combine 1 lb (fresh or frozen) strawberries, hulled and quartered with 2/3 cup sugar in a large skillet.
  • Add in 1 peeled and coarsely grated Granny Smith Apple (the pectin in the apple thickens this lush jam)
  • Cook over medium-low heat, stirring and breaking up strawberries until the sugar dissolves.  Simmer about 15 minutes till jam thickens
  • Stir in 1 Tablesppoon fresh lemon juice. 
  • Place into a bowl or jar and let cool
  • Refrigerate for about 2 hours and keep chilled.
  • Serve within 2 weeks
And a few more great ways of using remaining Strawberry Jam:
  • Slice a Croissant lenthwise, slather the middle with jam,  place in a baking dish mix up egg, half and half, vanilla, a little sugar, a bit of Grand Marnier and pour over the top;  bake at 350 for about 15-18 minutes, top with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and some slivered almonds! A delicious dessert or breakfast.
  • Stir into Greek Yogurt for a sweet treat
  • Roll out and cut up pre-made (or from scratch pie dough), bake and top with sanding sugar then dip the "pie fries" into the strawberry jam
  • Use in Thumbprint Cookies
  • Over your favorite ice cream or make a banana split
  • Red, White & Blue Pancakes - drop fresh strawberries and blueberries onto your pancakes once placed on your griddle.  Drizzle with warm jam and garnish with powdered sugar and blueberries! 
Happy Independence Day to you all--- Enjoy your Strawberry Jam!