Staying at a quaint small bed and breakfast can be a really relaxing way to spend your vacation.  My husband and I take an annual trip to Iowa for the Iowa football homecoming game.  We have been doing this for about 8 years now, and have reconnected with some of his college friends which has turned it into an annual event.  The second year we went, we stumbled onto the Mission House, with hosts Ray and Shirley.  We have stayed there ever since.  Unfortunately, they decided to retire for a second time (Ray was 84 and Shirley was 73) and sold the place.  But they will still hold a special place in our hearts.

Shirley cooked the breakfasts and everything was homemade, from the juices to the cereals.  And Ray made the best coffee ever and had a fresh pot going all day long!

Baked Pears

Ingredients

  • 5 Bosc (or Bartlett) pears
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Halve the pear but do not remove the skin. With a melon baller, remove the core. Lay the pear halves onto a paper towel to dry them.
  3. Melt butter in an oven-proof skillet.  Add the brown sugar.  Stir until the brown sugar melts, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Place the pears into the skillet skin side down.  Add lemon juice and stir.
  5. Turn the pears over and baste the skin side with the melted butter/sugar mixture.
  6. Bake in the skillet 17 to 20 minutes or until pears are tender.  Baste the pears several times to keep the skins moist.

Nutty Stovetop Granola

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup real maple syrup (always use the real maple syrup even though it costs more)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine the quick oats, wheat germ, almonds, walnuts and the pecans.  Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, place the oil, maple syrup and brown sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has melted and the mixture just begins to bubble, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the oat mixture and stir well to completely coat.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the granola begins to sizzle and toast, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Remove from the stove and stir in the raisins.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

This will keep for up to 2 weeks in a tight lidded container.

Serve the pears with a dollop of yogurt and sprinkled with the granola for a satisfying start to a breakfast or as a light fare by itself.

photo credit: Caro Wallis via photopin cc