Friday, August 19, 2011

To Review or Not to Review, Is That the Question?

Online reviewing and social media sites are rampant these days. Many of you choose to live your lives in real time instead of on the web. How could reviews impact you if you never use them?

Oddly, reviews, or lack thereof, can make some of your favorite websites slowly disappear. Obviously, places like restaurants and lodging are very dependent on word of mouth to get new customers in the door. (Most of the time, we're pretty sure that once you're actually here we can make your vacation time with us special!)

However, it's getting your attention, grabbing your eyeballs (as the techies say) that we struggle at. And that's where online reviews come in. Word of mouth is now online for many people. You're willing to try something new if your friend's Facebook friend tried it and liked it. And you don't even know your friend's friend!

All of those search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc, take into account how many reviews a site has. Does it get mentioned on Facebook? Twitter? How many times does a new person look at that site. How many times does a new person go further into the site to look for more info. Did you look for directions so you could go there?

Having no reviews (or other online mentions) when everyone else around you has them, makes your (my) site less 'valuable' to future searchers. If no one finds my business important enough to review, then it must not be very important.

Odd, how no news in not good news in this instance!

So, if you're considering reviewing a business online, consider this as well- not reviewing that business may make it slowly disappear from the online world. And online is where a lot of the world lives right now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Freeport Chocolate Bread Pudding

When Pigs Fly Bakery
You didn't know there was a specifically Freeport-based version of bread pudding did you? Actually, you can make this anywhere you can get your hands on When Pigs Fly chocolate bread!
  • 8 oz stale Italian bread, shredded
  • 1/2 loaf of When Pigs Fly chocolate bread, shredded
  • 3 c whole milk
  • 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 c cold coffee (for extra zip)
  • 1 c light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsps cinnamon
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 oz chopped semisweet baking chocolate whipped cream (optional) (Yeah, right, optional. Like you'd skip the whipped cream!)
Preheat oven to 325.

Lightly grease 13x9" baking dish and place bread in dish, covering the bottom. (Alternate chocolate bread with Italian bread so it's evenly dispersed.) In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream and coffee. Add the sugar & cocoa powder and mix well. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and add the vanilla extract and the cinnamon. Combine egg mixture with the milk & sugar mixture, mix well.

Pour the mixture over the bread in the pan. Sprinkle chocolate chunks on top. Let stand for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to soak all of the bread evenly. All of the liquid should be mostly absorbed before baking. Bake for 1 hour or until set (no liquid should be evident). An inserted knife should come out clean.

Serve warm topped with whipped cream. A raspberry sauce will also work. 

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main Street Freeport, Maine 04032

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Three Bite Apple Turnovers

apple tunrovers3-Bite Apple Turnovers ala mode

In the continuing quest for 'easy things to make for breakfast' I give you the latest entry...Three Bite Apple Turnovers. This is a light, fluffy, easy to make and eat turnover. You could cut the dough in half and make hors d'oeuvres as well. Pull the dough up so the four corners meet at the top and make Apple Pie Purses. The options are endless!

The fillings could be anything you want from sweet fruit fillings to savory meat fillings to gooey cheese fillings. You think it up and voila! you've got a great starter, full meal, after school snack or mini bites to pass around at your next party.


For the pastry: frozen puff pastry (or, make your own)
1 egg
turbinado sugar ('Sugar in the Raw')

For the filling:

I used the apple pie topper we put on pancakes.

(Basic recipe: 2 cups cubed apples, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp cornstarch. Mix fruit, sugar, cornstarch and lemon in a saucepan and cook until fruit is tender but not mushy. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, cool. To make it more like apple pie filling, add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp nutmeg.)


Make up your fruit or savory filling in advance so it has a chance to cool before working with it.

Defrost the frozen puff pastry in the fridge. (Takes about 3 hours.)

Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment (you need this step or the pastries will stick to the pan).

Remove pastry from the box, unfold. Using the folds lines as guides, cut into 9 squares. (They will be about 3"x3")

Lay one square on the parchment paper closest to you, spoon 1 tbsp of apple pie mix onto the lower portion of the square, fold top edge of square down to meet the bottom edge (forming a rectangle), with a fork press along the edges to seal (if you skip this, the apple mixture oozes out everywhere).

Make 3 diagonal cuts in the top of the pastry (steam vents).

Repeat until you have as many pastries as you want. 1 box makes 18. (If you want bite size portions, cut your rectangles in half and reseal the edges.) With 2 cups of fruit, you may have some leftover, use it to drizzle on top.

Whisk egg and brush the top surface of your pastries. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or so until golden brown.

Serving suggestion: sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve with ice cream.

Options: the blueberry mix from the blueberry breakfast cake would be great in these!

mini apple turnoversWith this recipe there is absolutely no reason to ever buy a Pop Tart again! 

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main Street Freeport, Maine 04032

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Road biking in Maine

Bailey Island MaineScenes from Bailey Island

Here is the perfect day-long bike + boat trip! (Thanks to Sarah and Abdi for suggesting and tweaking this!)

Your day starts with a hearty, home-cooked breakfast here at White Cedar Inn. After breakfast, drive from here to Portland with your bikes and hop on the Casco Bay Ferry to Bailey Island. (Departs at 10 AM from Portland.)

Stop in at Cook's Lobster House or Giant's Stairs Diner for lobster. Head to Land's End by bike, straight down Rt 24. Along the way, detour on Washington Ave for the Giant's Stairs. At Land's End, pop in for some great fudge and Maine souvenirs.

Giant StairsGiant's Stairs

Head back to Cook's Lobster and catch the ferry back to Portland at 2 PM.

Arrive in Portland at 4 PM and take a loop around the waterfront on the Eastern Prom Trail.

Eastern Prom TrailAlong the Eastern Prom

Still have some energy? Bike down Commercial Street to Becky's Diner for dinner. Drive back to Freeport and have drinks in the tavern. Collapse happily into your comfy bed at White Cedar Inn. Sweet dreams!

More adventurous? Bike from here to Bailey Island (about 25 miles) and then hop on the Island Romance at noon for a tour around Casco Bay. Return to Bailey Island at 2 PM and have a late lunch before biking back here. Take in the sights along Rt 24 before heading back.

cribstone bridgeCribstone Bridge on Rt 24, Bailey Island, Maine

Bailey Island ferry runs seasonally only. Late June to Labor Day.

Check out photos from the Bailey Island cruise here.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main Street Freeport, Maine 04032