Farmers' Guest House blog
May 11th, 2015

Homemade Danish 101

Making your own Danish doesn’t have to be intimidating! There is a moderate amount of hands on work involved – most of the time is in the chilling.  I make the dough in the morning, roll and fold in the afternoon, and make the braid the next morning for breakfast.

Homemade Danish Recipe


1 envelope of yeast (2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast)

½ c milk – room temperature

1 egg – room temperature (breaking it into a small bowl will help bring it to temp)

5 T granulated sugar

¾ tsp salt

2 ½ c flour

14 T butter, cold, cut into pieces


Whisk the yeast in ¼ c warm water 105 – 112 degrees in the bottom of a large bowl.  Let that rest while you make the flour/butter mixture.

Place the butter pieces into a food processor.  Add the flour and pulse 10 – 12 times until butter is fairly crumbly but not fine – there should be visible pieces of butter in the mixture – this is what gives you a flaky pastry.

Add milk, egg, sugar and salt to the yeast mixture in the large bowl.  Add the flour mixture to the bowl of wet ingredients and gently fold the two mixtures together.  Do not over mix.  Fold just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and no more than 12.

Flour a work surface and take the dough out of the refrigerator.  Flour your hands and use flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface.  With a well floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle 15 x 10 inches.   Fold the dough in thirds like you fold a letter to go in an envelope.  Repeat this rolling and folding process twice more.   After the last fold, fold in half and wrap tightly in plastic once again.  Chill for at least 30 minutes but no more than 12 hours.

Preheat your oven to 400˚

Take the dough and cut in half.  Return the other half back to the fridge, wrapped in the plastic wrap.  On a sheet of parchment or a baking mat, roll out the dough to make a 12×8 inch rectangle.

Cut off the top two corners and make two triangle cut outs at the bottom.

Cut slanting strips down each side with a sharp knife.  Spread filling down the center. *  Fold the strips over one another, tucking in the top and bottom ends to seal in the filling.  Let your braid rest for 10 minutes before placing in the oven.


Brush the top of the braid with egg wash and sprinkle with sliced almonds just before placing in the oven.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes (or 12 – 15 if using a convection oven) or until a nice golden brown.  Rotate the pan once if using a conventional oven.


Allow to cool for 15 minutes.  Glaze with 2/3 c powdered sugar mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice and just enough milk to make it the correct consistency for drizzling. Transfer to serving platter, Slice and serve.

*Fill with raspberry jam or a  cheese filling (recipe below) or any other filling you prefer.

Cheese Filling

Blend 8 oz softened cream cheese with 1 egg yolk, 1/3 c sugar and 1 ½ tsp lemon juice.




March 21st, 2015

Best Breakfast Contest Finalist

Yes, folks, once again Farmers Guest House has submitted a winning recipe to the Best B&B Breakfast Contest and made it to the Finals!  Here it is for you to consider -

Apple Jack Cheese Stuffed French Toast & Midwest Berry Sauce – Serves 6

Locally sourced breakfast is a priority for us here at Farmers Guest House and this recipe is a fine example of tasty ingredients found in the Great Lakes region of the Midwest contributing to this local favorite.  Here are our local sources found in this classic French Toast dish:

  • Cage Free Eggs from Dykstra Farms, Thompson, IL
  • Raspberries from Fincel’s Farm, East Dubuque, IL
  • Cherries from Door County, WI
  • Cranberries from Twin Lake Cranberry Co., Vesper, WI
  • Apple Jack Cheese – Torkelson Cheese Co, Lena IL

French Toast

1/2 loaf of day old French or Italian Bakery Bread cubed

6 large, fresh eggs

1 ¼ c whole milk

¼ c maple syrup

6 slices Apple Jack Cheese


Spray 6 ramekins with pan release spray.  Fill each with cubed bread, packing down ever so slightly.  In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together eggs, milk and syrup.  Pour  ½ cup of egg mixture into each ramekin.  Wait a few minutes and then toss bread cubes with a fork to be sure egg mixture is evenly absorbed by bread.  Bake in a 350 oven for 30 – 40 minutes until puffed up and brown on top.  Remove from oven.  Reduce temperature in oven to 200.  Cool for 5 minutes and remove from ramekins.  Slice in half horizontally and place a slice of Apple Jack Cheese between the layers.  Place all six “sandwiches” on a baking sheet in the warm oven until cheese melts.  Plate, add ¼ c warm berry compote on top of each and serve.

Berry Sauce

2 cups assorted berries – cranberries, cherries, raspberries

1/3 c orange juice

1/3 c water

3 T brandy

1/3 c sugar

1 T cornstarch


Stir first 5 ingredients in a medium sauce pan except raspberries.  Stir occasionally and keep at a low boil  until cranberries have popped.   Mix cornstarch and ¼ c cold water; slowly add to boiling sauce until desired thickness is reached.  Stir in raspberries and serve.

March 9th, 2015

Vegan Banana Muffins

What a wonderful treat for a vegan guest or anyone for that matter!

Recipe makes 18 – 22 muffins

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (4 frozen)
1 cup oil
1 cup soy milk
Preheat oven to 350.  Grease two muffin pans. 
Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add wet ingredients and stir just until combined.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 25 -30 minutes until toothpick tests clean.
To freeze, wrap each muffin individually with plastic wrap and place all muffins in a zip top bag clearly marked.  
March 7th, 2015

Pear and Mascarpone Tart

It’s been a cold winter, and spring is just around the corner!  By the end of February tasty fresh fruit is either hard to come by or costly – except for pears and apples!  This lovely tart can be served as either a breakfast treat or a light dessert.

Pear Mascarpone Tart

1 homemade pie dough
2 – 3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
coarse sugar for sprinkling
Roll out the pie crust to fit an 11 inch tart pan.  Combine the cheese, sour cream, egg, vanilla and sugar.  Beat 2 minutes on high speed with an electric mixer. Pour in the bottom of the tart shell.  Layer pears over the filling, overlapping the pears in a circular pattern.  Sprinkle coarse sugar over the pears.
Bake at 375 for 45 – 50 minutes until crust is golden brown and center is partially set and golden.
February 1st, 2015

We Need Your Help!

we need your helpIn 2014, Farmers Guest House’s Caramel Apple Bacon French Toast was recognized as first runner-up in the Best Breakfast in North America competition and we are gearing up for the 2015 competition.

That’s where you can help out. The 2015 Best Breakfast Competition’s focus is on the use of local, farm-fresh ingredients. We are encouraging our friends, former guests and, even, those who are not-yet-friends to provide suggestions.

We are looking for great breakfast ideas that will incorporate some of our great local, farm-fresh ingredients from the Midwest. Those of you who know us know that Farmers Guest House always uses local foods whenever possible, but we thought it’d be fun to have your input

As an added benefit, the winning entry receives a free one-night stay* at Farmers Guest House.

Submit your entry by emailing Susan at

Can’t wait to revisit Farmers Guest House and discover the unique country elegant getaway that Farmers Guest House can provide?


*subject to availability, Sun-Thur stay only, in the case of duplicate winners a drawing will be held

January 18th, 2015

Sleigh Ride in Galena


There’s nothing quite like a sleigh ride in the beautiful countryside of Galena, Illinois.  We bundled up this last week with a few friends and enjoyed a lovely trek with the team at Shenandoah Riding Center.

Located just a few minutes from downtown Galena, a sleigh ride is a treat guaranteed to delight everyone in your party. The many guests from Farmers Guest House who have enjoyed this classic winter activity have returned with rosy cheeks and a smile on their faces.

The hot chocolate is waiting for your return so book your stay here at Farmers Guest House and include a sleigh ride at Shenandoah Riding Center before the opportunity melts away!

January 4th, 2015

Skiing in Galena

The snow is piling up out at Chestnut Mountain offering some great skiing in Galena this year!  Chestnut Mountain has become a premier Midwest ski destination with its nineteen trails that span 220 rolling acres with a total vertical drop of 475 feet.

Here at Farmers Guest House we do everything we can to make your Illinois ski weekend getaway as relaxed and carefree as possible.  In addition to the fresh hot breakfast and locally brewed coffee each morning, we offer dryer service so your gear is dry and ready for your next day of skiing.  We also provide indoor ski storage and plenty of hot chocolate.  So give us a call or check our availabilityand enjoy a weekend on the slopes.

Chris Hamilton, Visit Galena CEO, enjoying breakfast with the winners of this year’s Chicago Ski Show package.

November 23rd, 2014

What’s that cooking?

What’s that cooking?

This is an often heard question around Farmers Guest House since I spend so much of my time cooking up something scrumptious in the FGH Kitchen.  This past week the scent of Beef Stew was in the air as I prepared a big pot of it for supper for Don and I.  One of my favorite new kitchen products is The Pampered Chef Rock Crock but a Dutch oven will do.  I hope you enjoy this Fall favorite.

Susan’s Beef Stew

2 lbs  lean beef roast cut in large chunks
4 large carrots cut in chunks
2 parsnips peeled and cut in chunks
½ a bunch of celery chopped with leaves
1 large onion diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 T beef base
1 c water
1/3 c beef stew seasoning mix (see below)

In a large bowl or a plastic bag, coat the beef in the seasoning mix.   Warm the oil over medium heat in the Pampered Chef Rock Crock; add the beef and brown on all sides.  Add the onions about half way through the browning process.  Add the tomatoes and any seasoning mix left from coating the beef to the Rock Crock, bringing up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for  1 ½ – 2 hours or place in 350 oven.  Add more water if needed.  Stew is done when the beef is tender.




Beef Stew Seasoning Mix


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder


  1. Mix all ingredients together. When making stew, use 2 to 3 tablespoons of this mixture per pound of stew meat. Toss meat in the mixture before browning the meat.



November 19th, 2014

Best reasons to stay at Farmers Guest House

Yes, it is all about the bed and the breakfast.  But not all are created equal.  Guest room beds here at Farmers Guest House, are spotlessly clean, comfortable and equipped with 4 plush pillows and luxury sheets.  Our award-winning breakfasts are made fresh each morning with the finest available ingredients – many locally sourced.  Fresh eggs from Dykstra Farms, our special pork sausage made locally at Weber Meats, and a variety of produce when in season makes your breakfast tasty and healthy.

And, there’s nothing like WineTime to make you feel at home.  Stop in the dining for a glass of wine, visit with other guests, let us make dinner reservations for you, or choose a table for two and just relax with each other.  Local cheeses are specially selected to share each evening along with a selection of wines from around the world.

There’s no better way to relax than Farmers Guest House.  Book your getaway today!


November 8th, 2014

Holiday Getaway

holiday getawayChestnuts roasting over an open fire. Carolers singing a holiday tune. The romantic glow of a town illuminated with the gentle flicker of luminaria. And everyone is enjoying simple pleasures. Hot chocolate. Candy canes. Festively wrapped gifts.

Step back and enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays in Galena. Festivities begin just as soon as the ghosts and ghouls from the hallmarked Halloween Parade go back into hiding for another year. The temperature cools, often crystal-like snowflakes start to fall, and the charming shops transform into a magical wonderland.

Be sure to join the fun as Santa Claus comes to town—after Thanksgiving—on Saturday, November 29. During the celebrated tradition, Santa makes his way down Galena’s historic Main Street to the Old Market House (123 N. Commerce Street), where he meets and greets children of all ages. Youngsters can sign their names in Santa’s timeless book (and perhaps even find their parents’ names written within) and sit on his lap to whisper holiday wishes. Those who visit Santa leave with a bag filled with treats to tide them over until the big day arrives. Santa will be at the Old Market House, looking forward to seeing all of the good boys and girls, every weekend following Thanksgiving through December 21.

holiday getawayAnother Galena tradition comes the weekend of December 12 & 13, when the town becomes aglow with thousands of luminaria candles placed in bags flickering and lining the town’s sidewalks, steps, parks and  levee. “Living Windows”—storefronts that come to life with costumed locals—enchant shoppers and those out for late afternoon stroll before dinner. Musicians and choral groups perform to set the holiday mood for passersby.

For those of you who want a “little more” holiday fun, join the ugly sweater contest and luminaria pub crawl to “warm up” this holiday season and enjoy time with friends, also December 12.

And there’s so much more. From a festival of trees to holiday tours of historic bed and breakfasts and progressive dinners, you’ll find holiday spirit here. Galena, Illinois. The quiet escape into a time and a place where you find the peace, romance and love shared in the season abounds and you can relax and create memories that will last a lifetime—one of the greatest gifts of all.


November 2014

29                          “Deck the Halls” Festival of Trees at DeSoto House Hotel

21 – 22                    Nouveau Wine Weekend

29                          Santa at the Old Market House

29                          Arrival of Santa Parade & Lighting of Tree

December 2014

5, 12, 19              A Goldmoor Christmas Carol Dinner at Goldmoor Inn

6                           A Taste of Christmas Progressive Dinner sponsored by BBIG

8, 15 & 22            Santa at the Old Market House

12                          Luminaria Pub Crawl & Ugly Sweater Contest

13                          Living Windows & Luminaria

14                          Mistletoe Stroll: Holiday House Tour sponsored by BBIG

For more information on lodging, dining, or additional activities, visit