Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dragonfly Photography at Americus Garden Inn

I've had so many people ask me how I get such great photos of the dragonflies.  I am going to share all of the photos I took on one walk today around the garden of 3 different dragonflies.  You can tell me which photo you like the best.  This first one, I really liked the way the green, blue and amber were highlighted by the purple queen foliage.

This is the first photo of this skimmer I took, not knowing how long I would have to take another photo or two.  Not a great angle, but, it gave me some idea of what kind of dragonfly it might be.

A slightly closer shot and you can see the amber spots.

This angle highlights that a chunk of wing is missing.

Here, you can see the wing spots or "stigma" very clearly.

The dragonfly stayed still long enough for me to continue taking photos from several different angles.

This shot shows the tip of the abdomen, indicating this is a male.

I just love the iridescent wings.

Once I saw this photo, I knew what this is.

This is a spot-winged glider.

Did you know that dragonflies can move their wings independently from one another?

Last photo before it took off.

As I walked by the pond, this dragonfly put on a little show for me.

Notice that this dragonfly is in the opposite position of the glider above, meaning the abdomen is in the air.

There was a lot of glare and I wasn't sure if the incredible blue of the abdomen and the green eyes would come out.

Notice the piece of wing that is missing, the wing spots (stigma) and the slight amber color on the forewings.

This is the angle that almost everyone sees Goofy.

The colors really pop in this shot.

Although this is closer, the colors are not as vibrant as the prior photo.

This is the best one of this dragonfly, in my opinion.  What do you think?

Thank you so much for visiting the Americus Garden Inn blog and allowing me to take you on a dragonfly photo session.  When you come stay with us, I'd love to do this with you in person!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Cold Brewed Coffee on a Hot Day

This is a repost of a recipe that was recently requested by one of our guests.
I love coffee. I've loved it since I was a little girl.
I need coffee. It's too hot for coffee. Well, it's too hot for HOT coffee!

Let me start out by thanking my sister-in-law, Susan, for reminding me how to make cold-brew coffee. For those of you old enough to remember when "sun tea" was popular, we used to put tea bags in cold water in a pitcher and set it outside in the sun to brew. This recipe is similar, but, it is for coffee. Of course, I start out with our signature blend coffee from Cafe Campesino, Americus Garden Inn Signature Blend freshly roasted beans.If you look up cold-brew coffee recipes, you will find that 1/3 cup beans
coarsely ground
mixed with 12 ounces of cold water
are the perfect proportions.

Mix together and cover.

Let it sit at room temperature overnight or for at least 8 hours. I find that if you put it outside, in this heat, it takes as little as 4 hours.

A quick stir and prepare to filter your brew. I use a metal strainer along with a paper coffee filter.

Pour the coffee mixture slowly to allow the liquid to drip through.

You can see all that coffee goodness.

Gently press the liquid through the strainer.

As you can see, we have 12 ounces of cold brewed coffee. This stuff is super strong and does need to be diluted which makes it ideal for iced coffee.

I decided to make mine with equal parts coffee and almond milk.

Of course, you could use regular milk or soy milk.
I added a little Splenda, Kim added some Hershey's syrup to his.

Now, doesn't that look refreshing? Try the recipe for yourself and see how easy it is to make. You could put it in the blender with some ice cream and make your own frappuccino, too!

Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn blog. Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter Cookies - gluten free, flour free

Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter Cookies

Usually, when I decide to make peanut butter cookies, I use my gluten-free recipe and, of course, I add chocolate chips.  I was thinking of using the chocolate hazelnut spread, but, when I went to WalMart, this product jumped out at me - Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams.

Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter Cookies

I used the Flourless Peanut Butter Cookie recipe from King Arthur Flour and used the Dark Chocolate Dreams for the peanut butter.   And, yes, I did add the mini-chocolate chips. The result?  Well, here's a bite for you!

Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie

Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn.  Hope you'll visit again soon.

  • Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter Cookies 
  • Adapted from Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Yield:  18 cookies

  • 1 cup Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using a mixer on medium, combine the Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter, brown sugar and baking soda.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla, and blend until the dough comes together.  Stir in chocolate chips..
  4. Scoop a Tablespoon of dough per cookie, roll into a ball, then, flatten the top slightly.  Leave a little room in between cookies as they do spread a little.
  5. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes - tops will be slightly crinkled.  You do not want the edges to brown.  Allow to cool on the pan.  They will be soft, at first, so let them set up before devouring.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pumpkin Almond Flour Waffles - gluten free, dairy free and egg free

This is my new favorite recipe.  It is gluten free, dairy free, egg free.  I have been using pumpkin, but, you can use applesauce or banana.   I do not use pumpkin pie spice for these and you cannot taste pumpkin.  All you can taste is DELICIOUSNESS!  I found the recipe on The Daily Dietribe.  Please visit the original recipe to read all of the tips and suggestions for making gluten free, vegan waffles and pancakes.  Iris has taken the time to clearly and precisely explain what works and what does not.  Almond flour is very expensive and she has already done the experimenting for all of the rest of us.

So, I've taken her recipe, which is really a formula, and I am sharing my adaptation.  The best way to enjoy these waffles is to allow them to cool and then toast them in the toaster.  The recipe makes 8 waffles.  I keep them in the refrigerator for a quick and easy meal or snack.  Hope you'll enjoy it, too.  One more thing, although they are incredible with honey, they are delicious plain.

Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn.

Pumpkin Almond Flour Waffles
Yield:  8 waffles

1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup corn starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 cup water

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk wet ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Mix wet ingredients into dry just until moistened.  Add a little more water if batter is too thick.
  4. Bake in waffle iron.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with chocolate chips - gluten free, wheat free

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffin - gluten free
For those of you who can have gluten free oats, here is a recipe for you.  Pumpkin combined with oatmeal and mini chocolate chips to create a very moist breakfast or snack muffin.  I made this recipe with an egg for the larger batch of 12 muffins.  But, when I divided the recipe to make just 4 muffins, I omitted the egg and they came out fine.   Try it!  Let me know how you like it.
Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn Bed & Breakfast blog.  Hope you'll come stay with us soon.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins - wheat free, gluten free
Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins - gluten free, wheat free

2 cups gluten free rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray or line with paper liners. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, 1 egg, maple syrup, vanilla extract and milk. 
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together oats, baking powder, seasonings and salt.  Add chocolate chips.
  4. Mix dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture just until combined.
  5. Let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes to allow the oats to absorb the liquid.
  6. Divide the batter equally into the prepared muffin pans.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes and until the center of each oatmeal muffin is set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

(For small batch, 4 muffins, divide all ingredients by 4 and omit egg.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Whole Wheat Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes - egg free recipe

Whole Wheat Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes
I am always looking for recipes that can be easily adjusted or modified for special needs and small batches.  When I have one or two guests for breakfast, I don't want to use a recipe for twenty.  So, I love recipes like this one.  Whole wheat (whole grains), cornmeal and blueberries with no added sugar, no eggs, and the milk can be replaced with almond, soy or coconut milk for a vegan option.  And, they actually taste good, too!

A couple of notes about this recipe, the batter is very thin, but, the pancakes puff up nicely, as you can see.  I used frozen blueberries and placed 8 - 9 berries on each pancake immediately after pouring the batter on the hot griddle.  I prefer to make sure every pancake has the same number of berries.  Lastly, I did use butter to grease the griddle.  If there was not enough butter on the griddle, they did stick.

Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn blog.  Please let me know how this recipe works for you.

Whole Wheat Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes

Whole Wheat Cornmeal Pancakes - egg free recipe (can be vegan)
Yield:  12 pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (can use almond, soy or coconut milk for vegan version)
1/2 cup water (can use orange juice or some lemon juice for a variation)

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (8 - 9 berries per pancake)

  1. Mix together the whole wheat flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine milk and water. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Batter will be quite liquid.
  3. Let batter sit for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.
  4. Ladle onto buttered griddle set to medium heat. Quickly, place 8 - 9 blueberries on each pancake.  Flip when bubbly on top, golden brown, and edges are slightly dry.
  5. Enjoy with some fresh maple syrup.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gluten Free Brownie Muffin Tops - vegan and grain free

Brownie Muffin Tops - Gluten Free
 Sometimes, I just want to have something fudgy and full of chocolate.  That is when I start experimenting to see if I can satisfy my craving.  I've been playing with this combination of ingredients and I'm ready to share the results.  Kim and I both loved the flavor of these muffin tops.  He would have liked them to be baked a little longer so they were not so fudgy.  I liked them this way.  You know how some people like the edges of the brownie and some like the middle?  You now know which of us likes which.
Fudgy Brownie Muffin Tops - gluten free and vegan
This recipe made just 6 muffin tops which I made using a jumbo muffin pan with regular paper liners.  For "garnish", I used 3 Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips per muffin top.  If you let them cool for a while and set, they will be more like traditional brownies.  But, if you are like me and you can't wait, they will be softer and more gooey.  There are no grains, no dairy and no eggs in this recipe.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Gluten Free Brownie Muffin Tops

Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn Bed & Breakfast.  Hope you'll come back, soon.

Fudgy Brownie Muffin Tops - gluten free, dairy free, egg free - small batch

1/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond flour
1 heaping Tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons dark chocolate chips
18 Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare 6 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine dry ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a separate bowl.  Mix in 2 Tablespoons of chips.
  4. Mix dry ingredients into wet just until combined.
  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups (about a heaping Tablespoon per muffin top)
  6. Place 3 Ghirardelli chips on top of each muffin top.
  7. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.  They will still look moist but edges will be firming up.  If you want them less gooey, bake them to desired consistency.
  8. Remove from oven but allow to cool in the muffin pan until set.  Try to resist the urge to eat them right out of the oven.  They really are better when allowed to cool.
  9. Enjoy!