Saturday, August 2, 2014

Recipe for Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was a little nervous about sharing a trade secret straight from Mrs. Fields' kitchen.  But I've met Mrs. Fields (back in my hotel days),  and I don't think she'd mind.  Then I did a quick internet search.  Apparently there are a LOT of versions of Mrs. Fields' cookies out there!  So I'm not going to promise that this is THE Mrs. Fields recipe, but I will promise that it is a GREAT chocolate chip cookie recipe!

Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 c. butter
2 c. white sugar
2 c. brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 c. flour
5 c. oatmeal (measure into blender & grind until fine)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cardamom
24 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 oz. Hershey bar (grated)
3 c. coarsely chopped walnuts

Cream the butter and both sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cardamom.  Add chocolate chips, grated chocolate, and walnuts.  Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.  Makes 112 cookies.

Unless you've got an industrial sized mixer, I suggest cutting this recipe in half.  Use a  food processor to grate the chocolate bar and to chop the nuts.  Instead of rolling into balls, I simply used my large cookie scoop to keep the size more uniform.  I also like to freeze a batch after they've been rolled.  Then I can pull out as many as I need and have a fresh plate waiting for guests as they check in to our bed and breakfast!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Overnight French toast casserole

Guests have been asking for my French toast with strawberry sauce recipe, so while strawberries are in season, I thought I should share.  This is a great recipe to prepare the night before - especially if you are serving breakfast to a large group (makes 10 servings).

Make-Ahead French Toast with Strawberry Sauce

1 (16 oz.) Challah bread loaf, cubed  (or substitute any bread you have on hand)
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, cubed
6 eggs
4 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup

Strawberry Sauce:
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 (10 oz) jar strawberry preserves

Arrange half of bread in a lightly greased 13 X 9 inch pan.  Sprinkle with cheese pieces and top with remaining bread.
Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, butter, and maple syrup; pour over bread mixture, pressing bread cubes to absorb egg mixture.
Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.
Bake, covered, at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.
Uncover and bake 20 more minutes.

Strawberry Sauce:
Heat sliced strawberries and strawberry preserves in a saucepan over low heat, and serve over toast.

You can easily adapt the sauce and use any fruit that's in season, such as blueberries or raspberries - just use your imagination!

You can also serve a variation of this recipe for just two people.  Take 4 slices of Texas toast, and dip in a batter of eggs & milk.  Toast one side of each slice on a griddle, then spread cream cheese on each toasted side.  Put two cream cheese sides together, and toast the other sides of the "sandwich".  Then serve with the strawberry sauce.

There is one final way to enjoy this recipe, which we highly recommend.  Spend the night with us and we'll serve you Breakfast at Tiffany's!  No preparation, no cleanup, just sweet enjoyment!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hot Springs Gallery Walk 25th Anniversary Aug. 1-3, 2014

On the first Friday of every month, Hot Springs' fine art galleries stay open late for Gallery Walk.  2014 marks the 25th Anniversary of this tradition, and as usual, Hot Springs has found a way to celebrate!  Not only will the galleries be open late on the first Friday, but they are turning this into a 3-day event!

The celebration will start Friday, August 1, with receptions at all downtown galleries from 5-9pm.  Many of the galleries have special exhibitions planned for this weekend, including "Art and Architecture in the Spa" at Alison Parsons Gallery; live music and interpretive painting at Legacy Fine Art Gallery; and Valerie Hanks Goetz will exhibit and demonstrate her horse hair and pine needle basket weaving techniques at the American Art Gallery.

Galleries will be open for regular business hours on Saturday, August 2, with numerous special events planned:  Steve Griffith will present "Travel and Painting:  Two Passions Combined" at Justus Fine Art Gallery; a photography presentation at Taylor Bellott Nature Gallery; and Chinese brush painting at the Artists' Workshop Gallery.

On Sunday, August 3, there will be an afternoon tea,  trunk show, and special sale at Legacy Fine Art Gallery, a "Paws in Prison" fundraiser at Gallery Central, and other galleries will be open special hours as well. Most galleries are located in the Historic Downtown Area of Hot Springs.  Check the schedule for times and addresses of each gallery.  We'd love to have you stay with us on this special weekend and discover why Hot Springs is the 4th Best Art Town in America!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fireworks in Hot Springs AR

Celebrate July 4th one day early in Oaklawn's infield on Thursday, July 3, 2014.  Gates will open at 4pm with live entertainment, a beer garden, food and beverage vendors and a mist zone.  In addition, there will be a kid zone and rock wall, along with exhibits by the Mid-America Science Museum, Arkansas Virtual Academy, and the Audubon Society.


Admission and parking in Oaklawn's north lot is free. Bring your lawnchairs or blankets and arrive early to get a good seat.  You won't want to miss the headliner, Downday, who take the stage at 7:45pm.  Arkansas' own Downday sings a mix of southern rock and country.  They have just released their second album, entitled "After All These Years".

The spectacular fireworks are set to begin at 9:15pm with the Air National Guard Band of the Southwest providing the musical soundtrack.  Book now at Tiffany's Bed and Breakfast, just 14 miles from Hot Springs. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Baked Pumpkin Spice French Toast with Cider-Maple Syrup

Is your mouth watering from just reading the title?  It should be!  This recipe can be made the night before and served to a hungry crowd.  As with most recipes we make, it's fairly simple and makes a sweet treat for a special occasion, such as breakfast at Tiffany's.

Ingredients:
1 lb loaf French bread, diced into 1-inch cubes
8 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 1/2 cups pumpkin spice egg nog
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons cold butter

Spray sides and bottom of a 9X13 pan and set aside.  Place bread cubes in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs together and add pumpkin puree.  Whisk until smooth.  Mix in pumpkin spice egg nog.  Add brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt and vanilla and whisk until combined.  Pour mixture over bread cubes and very gently toss until covered.  Let sit for 2-3 minutes and then toss again, making sure all bread cubes get covered in some of the egg mixture.  Place entire mixture in prepared 9X13 inch pan, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, white sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon.  Cut butter into small chunks and use fingers to crumble mixture together.  Cover, and place crumb topping in fridge overnight.

In the morning, take French toast pan out and set at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover pan and sprinkle crumb topping evenly over the top.  Bake for 45-55 minutes, until puffed and golden all over.  Remove and let cool for 10 minutes and then cut into squares and serve with butter and cider-maple syrup.

Cider-Maple Syrup
1 cup apple cider or juice
1 cup maple-flavor syrup 

In a small saucepan combine cider and syrup.  Bring to boiling over medium heat; reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until thickened slightly (you should have about 1 cup of syrup).

Serve warm.  Cover and refrigerate the remaining syrup for up to 1 week.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Eagles et Cetera at DeGray Lake State Park

The 35th Annual Eagles et Cetera will be held Jan. 24-26, 2014.  The longest running eagle awareness event in Arkansas will be held at DeGray Lake State Park in Bismarck.  If you are a nature lover, or a bird watcher, or just like to have a good time, this is a "don't miss" event!

Tina PhillipsEagle tours will be offered at various times Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Weekend programs will include guided day and nighttime bird hikes, raptor rehabilitation, birding safaris, turkey calls, birds of prey and owls from the Little Rock Zoo, and even an opportunity to meet and greet live animals.  The whole weekend hasn't gone to the birds, though.  There will also be presentations on bears in Arkansas as well as bat conservation.

If you don't make it to any of the other programs, you MUST make reservations for the live falconry hunt on Friday at 2 p.m.  You'll take a boat ride to a nearby park area and join a falconer on a live hunt.  Participants will aid the hungry hawk by following and flushing game - and if you're lucky, you'll witness a successful hunt and meal by the hawk! 

Check the schedule for event times.  Most events are free, except for the eagle tours and owl adventure.  We recommend checking into our Bismarck, AR bed and breakfast on Thursday because you're not going to want to miss a single event.  Besides that, WE plan on being on the falconry hunt Friday afternoon!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Live Racing Season Opens in Hot Springs

Since 1905, Hot Springs has enjoyed  live thoroughbred racing at Oaklawn Park.  The 2014 season is now underway and will continue every Thursday through Sunday until April 12.  Martin Luther King Day (1/20) and President's Day (2/15) will feature special Monday racing.  This one-mile track boasts of the highest purse distributions in the country.  In 2014, Oaklawn will host 31 stakes races, and pay out $20 million in purses during the 57-day meet.  The season comes to a spectacular ending with the Racing Festival of the South April 5-12, and the $1 million Arkansas Derby on 4/12. 

This year, the horse racing network TVG will broadcast live from Hot Springs for the entire meet.  Over the years, Oaklawn has become one of the most important winter race locations in the country.  The three-year-old stakes program has produced much success.  Oaklawn-raced horses have won 10 Triple Crown races over the past 10 years.  Wagering is always available onsite, but this year Arkansas residents can also download OaklawnAnywhere to place bets from their phones, tablets, etc.

Gambling isn't the only reason to visit Oaklawn.  You can have just as much fun watching the horses and people as you can winning (or losing) with a long shot!  Admission is only $2.50 per person, and reserved grand stand seats are an additional $2.50 on weekdays, and $4.50 on Saturdays and Sundays.  The track also offers numerous food and beverage options, including "the best corned beef sandwich in the universe"!  Post times will be 1:30 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays and 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Some exceptions are  Super Bowl Sunday, February 2; and the two holiday Mondays, January 20 and February 17, when first post is 1 p.m.

After all the excitement at the track, you'll want to rest and relax at our Hot Springs Bed and Breakfast.  You can stash your day's winnings under our super comfortable mattresses, and the next morning, we'll fill you up on Breakfast at Tiffany's before you hit the town for another day of racing.  Make your reservations online or call us at 501-865-6060 to book your winning stay!