Farmers' Guest House blog
August 5th, 2015

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Corn and Black Bean Salad

This corn and black bean salad is a tasty and unexpected side dish with a southwest frittata (shown here) or ham & egg cups with cornbread, which is what I served this morning.


1 1/2 c roasted corn cut off the cob (approximately 2 ears)
1/2 c chopped tomato without the seeds
3/4 c black beans
1/2 c chopped, cucumber without the seeds
1/3 c coarsley chopped, fresh cilantro
salt to taste
juice from 1 large or 2 small limes

Stir all ingredients in a bowl and chill before serving.  This also tastes amazing with 3 strips of chopped, cooked bacon added.

July 23rd, 2015

Blueberry Ricotta Coffee Cake

Blueberry Ricotta Coffee Cake

1 1/2 c flour

3/4 c sugar

2 t baking powder

1 tsp salt (use 1/2 tsp if using salted butter)

3 large eggs or 4 medium

12 oz whole milk ricotta

1/2 c unsalted butter, softened

1 t vanilla extract

1 T orange fresh orange zest,  finely grated

1 1/4 c fresh blueberries, divided

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 9″ spring form pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl with a wire whisk.

Beat eggs, ricotta, butter, vanilla and orange zest in a bowl until smooth.

Fold in dry ingredients, then 1 c blueberries just enough to incorporate.  Be careful to not smash berries.  Sprinkle remaining 1/4 c blueberries over the top and press in to batter slightly.

Bake cake until brown on top and center is set, 55 – 60 minutes.  Cool before removing ring.  Cake is best served after it has set for a few hours or overnight. Garnish with powdered sugar if desired.



July 8th, 2015

Maple Pecan Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is amazing!  Preparing the cakes takes a little extra effort, but is well worth it.  If you don’t have the pans to make 12 individual bundts, which is what I do here at the inn, you can use a standard bundt pan.


1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c butter
Blend until fluffy in a mixer.  Meanwhile, sift together in a separate bowl
2  1/2 c cake flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Add 3 eggs one at a time to wet ingredients in a blender, scraping down between each. Then add
4  t vanilla
1  1/4 c sour cream
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and fold to be sure it is all mixed.
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c flour
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
3 T butter
3/4 c chopped pecans
1 c maple syrup
1/4 c chopped pecans
Cut together until coarse crumbs.
Butter and flour 12 individual bundt pans.  Put one scoop of batter in each.  Sprinkle 1 1/2 T of streusel over each, using all of streusel. Place another scoop of batter on top of streusel.  Bake in 350 oven for 20 – 25 minutes until tests clean with a skewer.  Cool 5 minutes and invert on a rack. 
Stir maple syrup and pecans and drizzle over the tops of cakes after plated.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.
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.