Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Barn Inn Granola Bark Recipe from The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast

Barn Inn Granola Bark
In a recent trip to Florida I was given a bag of Granola Bark by my daughter in law.  I have never considered myself a fan of granola and typically do not eat it, but after the first bite, I was a dedicated fan of this delicious snack that was not too sweet and quite addicting.  It is produced and sold through a large chain grocery store.  Upon arriving back to our Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, I began a quest to replicate the recipe.  Unable to obtain the exact ingredients, I formulated my own.  It might be slightly sweeter; however, it is incredibly better and I've included ground flax meal, which is a very healthy ingredient.

This took about 45 minutes to prepare the grains, spices, and syrup, and another 30 minutes for baking.  One bite and you will be convinced.

Barn Inn Granola Bark


3 Cups regular oatmeal
1 cup raw sliced almonds
1 cup whole raw almonds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup raw, hulled sesame seeds
1/2 cup chopped dried apples or raisins
1/3 cup flax meal
2 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 cup honey
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla


1.  Heat oven to 250 degrees. Line a 11 1/2" x 17 1/2" cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray paper with cooking spray or simply use only a cookie sheet that has been sprayed.

2.  Place the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax meal, dried fruits and spices in a large mixing bowl and combine.

3.  In a small, heavy saucepan combine honey, corn syrup, cream, and butter.  Using a candy thermometer, cook on low until temperature reaches 250 degrees, which is hard ball stage.  After reaching hard ball, stir in sea salt and vanilla and remove from heat.

4.  Pour the hot liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well with a rubber spatula or large spoon.  You will have just enough liquid to act as a "glue" to hold the grains together.  Quickly press the granola onto the prepared pan and press firmly into the cookie sheet.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes. 

Barn Inn Granola Bark - A Nutritious Snack
 5.  After the granola has cooled, use a knife to cut into desired size pieces. The granola will be firm but chewy.  Store in an air-tight container or zip-lock bags. Good, good, good!

Great sources for grains and baking ingredients are the many bulk food stores in Ohio's Amish Country.

The Ashery Country Store, conveniently located on SR 241, is situated several miles north of Mt. Hope and offers a broad selection of nuts, grains, and fruits, along with hundreds of other baking items and meats and cheeses.

Berlin Bulk Foods situated in the heart of Berlin offers a broad selection of gourmet seasonings, spices, cereals, meats, and cheeses all packed into this small location with an enormous inventory. 

Walnut Creek Cheese is one of Holmes County's largest income-producing businesses.  They offer what is probably the largest selection of all your baking needs.  They also carry fresh produce, meats, cheeses, Mudd Valley Creamery Ice Cream, and more.  This location has a bakery, lunch counter, cannery, kitchen/housewares department - a must go to location.

Troyer's Country Market
 Troyer's Country Market carries a lot of fresh produce, features a deli, many food samples, a good selection of grains and cereals.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
December 29, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Amish Cheese Ohio, Vacation Holmes County Cheese Houses

Typical Scene in Holmes County Ohio - Grade B Milk is Shipped for Cheesemaking
 Amish and Swiss immigrants who left the Swiss Alps to settle the hill country of Holmes County, Ohio, brought with them cheesemaking skills and experience in the science of producing exceptional cheeses.

Prior to refrigeration, the only means of preserving milk was to make it into cheese.  An elderly Amish man, Johnny Y Schlabach, who lived to age 101, was the cheesemaker at the Honey Run Dairy Company, today the home of the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, told me, "If you want good cheese, don't let your cows get into apples."  He explained that something in the apples will ruin the cheese.  He also said that every time they had to make cheese, they had to kill a calf because they needed the enzymes from the calf's stomach.   At that time there were many cheese houses in Holmes County, one about every few miles.  Farmers took their cheese to the local cheese house by buggy, cart, or hack.  Between the late 1800's and into the mid 1900's, in Walnut Creek Township alone, there were eight cheese factories. In the early 1900's there were about 50 cheesehouses in Holmes County.

Every year millions of pounds of cheese is made from milk produced in eastern Ohio.  Many varieties of top-quality cheese may be purchased from cheesehouses in the greater Holmes County area.  Include a cheese house visit on your next Amish Country vacation.

Broad Run Cheesehouse & Swiss Heritage Winery offers 30 cheese varieties that may be paired with one of their many fine wines.  A nice vacation stop.

Heini's Cheese Near Berlin, Ohio
 Holmes County Cheese produces cheese, selling wholesale and retail, located at 9444 SR 39, Millersburg, (330) 674-6451.

Heini's Cheese Chalet in Berlin, Ohio is a cheese-producing facility where you may enjoy a free factory tour and sample many different varieties of cheeses. Recommended stop.

Guggisberg Cheese in Charm, Ohio
 Guggisberg Cheese is home of the original Baby Swiss Cheese, which was developed in Holmes County.  The Guggisberg family is 2nd generation from Switzerland and still maintains ties to their Swiss heritage.  Their market features 60 varieties of cheese and other authentic European products, including Black Forest Cuckoo clocks, another recommended stop.

Brewster Dairy, a large producer in Wayne County cuts and packages over 200,000 pounds of swiss cheese daily.  Their Big Cheese Shoppe presently is under construction, not available for retail sales.

Pearl Valley located in Coshocton County is known for a number of award-winning cheeses.  Just south of Holmes County, a stop is worth your time to stop and sample or watch cheesemaking in the morning hours.

Yaggi Cheese in New Philadelphia, third generation cheesemaker, offers fines cheeses and many other local food products. Recommended stop.

King VIP Suite at The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast
  When visiting Holmes County consider a stay at the award-winning Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast , originally the home of Honey Run Dairy, for the finest in hospitality, where our friendly staff will give you up-to-date information on places to go and things to do in the area. 

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
December 27, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Estate, Collectible, and Animal Auctions in Ohio, Antique Goose

Typical Farm Auction in Holmes County, Ohio
Estate, collectible, and animal auctions in Holmes and Wayne County, Ohio, represent the majority means of land and asset transfers.  Not only is this how many assets are transferred but auctions also provide the perfect setting for Amish socialization and entertainment. Forms of entertainment such as the county fair, a Cleveland Indians ball game, or the movies are forbidden for the Amish once they have joined the church. Auctions, on the other hand, offer the opportunity to set aside one's work for a few hours, do business; and, of course, during the course of doing business socialize with others.  Much local news is learned at auctions.  Sometimes husbands and wives both go, but often only the men and one or two sons go along, especially if it is to one of the local weekly animal auctions.  Generations of young Amish have learned to auctioneer simply by observation.  I have witnessed young boys who are very adept in auctioneering. 

Father and Son at Mt. Hope, Ohio
 An antiques, collectible, or estate auction is held almost every Monday evening of the year at the Kaufman Auction House, located at 3149 SR 39 in Walnut Creek, Ohio.  Beginning at 5 p.m., the goods being sold usually include collectibles and antiques, but may also include business store closeouts, new or surplus items, household, tools, and more. They also conduct specialized coin auctions. Because of Christmas, their regularly scheduled auction for this week will be held on Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Shown below is a favorite find, an antique hand-carved antique goose, now a part of my decor at the Millersburg, Ohio Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast. 

Antique Hand-Carved Goose Found at Auction

If anyone out there knows the history or information on the carver who made a number of these geese, please contact me at the inn. The carver used very heavy ironwood for the base.  Perhaps he was a carousel maker from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which was an idea presented to me by an expert.  I am most interested in learning who the maker was. I was told that this was one of numerous geese that were discovered in a barn in northern Ohio.

A great source for information and postings of upcoming auctions may be found in the Holmes edition of The Bargain Hunter.

Weekly auction dates are:  Sugarcreek - Mondays and Fridays
                                        Farmerstown - Tuesday
                                        Mt. Hope Auction Barn - Wednesday
                                        Kidron - Thursday (Thanksgiving - Moved to Friday)
Any auction that falls on an Amish holiday will be postponed to the next day.  Ascension Day is one of those dates.  Good Friday and Old Christmas (January 6) are two other Amish holidays.  Throughout the year (during fair weather) the Amish host school auctions and other humanitarian fundraisers that the community and visitors enjoy; ie, Kidney Sale, Haiti Auction, Holmes County Home Auction, and more.  An interesting antiques and collectible auction will be held on January 14, 2011 at the Kidron Auction Barn.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
December 25, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sleigh Ride in Holmes County, Ohio

Enjoy a wintertime sleigh ride in Holmes County, Ohio.  Each year visitors to the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast take pleasure in an old-fashioned winter sleigh ride offered at a few local attractions.

Sleigh ride at The Farm
The Farm at Walnut Creek provides a unique experience for patrons. Enjoy a one hour ride over the 120 acre farm filled with over 500 different animals, including some exotics such as zebras and kangaroos, can be hand feed on your journey. The cost is $25 for adults and $16.75 for seniors and children. The farm also offers a group rate of $14.75 for 15 or more people. Reservations are required, and of course, the ride is provided, weather permitting. Sleigh rides are conducted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and leave hourly.

Amish Country Riding Stables
The Amish Country Riding Stables in Charm, Ohio, offer sleigh rides when there is enough snow on the ground. Reservations are required.  The standard sleigh holds 2-3 people.  Larger groups wishing to ride must give ample prior notice for larger sleigh accommodations. The cost of the 20-25 minute ride is $40 per person.

The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast will be happy to schedule your reservation for a delightful winter wonderland trip. Return to The Barn Inn for servings of hot chocolate and a warmup at the fireplace.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
December 22, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Amish Fry Pies in Ohio's Amish Country and Recipe

Amish Fry Pies - What years ago was found only in the south, today are offered at many locations in Ohio's Amish Country. Visitors to Holmes County and the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast greatly enjoy shopping at the local bakeries, taking home a supply of these delectible fruit-filled desserts. Why bother eating a pie with a fork when you can enjoy your favorite fruit pie eaten from the palm of your hand!
Fry pies found at a local bakery

Fry pies, traditional to the South, have grown in popularity among the Amish. Traditionally, they were filled with apple or peach pie filling and baked, but now they come in a wide variety of choices.
Fast food chains also caught on to this trend; McDonalds and Burger King offer baked apple pies in some locations.

Today these popular treats are freshly made, beginning with pie dough rolled into a circle. The thickened pie filling is placed on one side and the pie dough is folded in half and sealed shut. They are then deep fried and finished with a delicate sugar glaze.

Hershberger's Farm and Bakery
Hershberger's Farm and Bakery opened in 1986 and offers 16 varities of these delicious pastries. Flavors include: apple, cherry, black and red raspberry, raison, lemon, elderberry, peach, strawberry, blueberry, and grape; just to name a few! The Amish Pie Company, located in Walnut Creek, Ohio specializes in many kinds of pies and pastries which can be ordered on line. Additionally, Kauffman's Country Bakery just outside of Berlin that offers a wide variety of baked goods, including fry pies.

Recipe for Amish Fry Pies:

Pie Dough:
2 C. white pastry flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 T. sugar
6 T. butter
1/3 C. milk
1 egg yolk

2 cups pie filling of choice

2 T. warm water
1 T. corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
Powdered sugar until thickened to flowing consistency

Mix flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and butter with pastry cutter until slightly lumpy.  Beat egg yolk with milk and add to the flour mixture.  Stir with fork and pat into a ball.  Knead as little as possible.  Form into 8-9 small balls.  Roll out between two pieces of thick plastic.  Place into a fry pie press and fill with 1/4 cup pie filling, or if you don't have a press, simply fold over and press edges with tines of a fork.  Moisten edges with egg whites before sealing.  Deep fry like doughnuts at 375 degrees for two minutes, then glaze.  Serves 8.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
December 19, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Amish Christmas

Guests of the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast often ask if the Amish celebrate Christmas. Yes they do, but in a very different manner from the rest of us. An Amish Christmas is very simple, as you will see in the poem below.

The Old Order and the New Order Amish spend more for gifts and may participate in gift exchanges; whereas the Swartzentruber sect would keep with the older ways.

The picture to the left displays a snowman made by Amish children. Look at how creative they are since they are not sitting in front of a television or gaming device! They even thought to add a beard and a pet cat.

At Christmas time I usually read the poem, "The Year of the Sled" by my cousin Barbara Yoder Hall. It so aptly describes an Amish Christmas.

The Year of the Sled
By Barbara Yoder Hall

Amish Christmas... No trees, no trimming, no toys, no Santa,
But no sympathy needed. Different world... secluded and sheltered.

No electric... so no stereo, TVs, radios, cassette recorders, electric trains.

Christmas was simply- The birth of the Christ child, a day of rest.
I loved resting on Friday, or Tuesday, or Saturday for no apparent reason.

Oh, but Christmas WAS different; Breakfast was better. No mush, no oatmeal.
Instead, fried potatoes, sausage, eggs, fresh butter, biscuits, buttermilk...
AND one gift, unwrapped, beside our plate... a practical school item;
sometimes a ruler, or Eversharp, or a box of Crayolas.

Christmas really WAS special;
Our only candy of the year... a block of chocolate... a
Knife stuck in the middle to chip off pieces all day, and
the next, if there was any left over.

Oranges too... juicy, run down your arm kind.
Chocolate and oranges all day, what a delight!

Oh yes, the year of the sled.
"It stood in the smokehouse between the hams and
Sausage for two weeks," Dad said.
"where did you get the money for it?" an older and wiser
Sibling asked.
"I sold a cow," he said simply. "Good," I said, "One less to milk."
"Smaller milk check," Mom said.

Amish children sled riding

Boys rode first, while girls did dishes, naturally.
Ten children and a sled, two at a time... plus baby.
Baby squealed. Babies don't know you're supposed to be quiet.

Long, cumbersome dresses and a sled, but still happy.

Brother Ferdinand said to me, "I knew it was in the smokehouse."
"No you didn't," I told him, "YOU would have told me."

Today I went shopping... bumper to bumper traffic...
Tired clerks, rude people rushing.
I say to myself, but ONLY to myself,
"I'm going back to the year of the sled."

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz

Joe Keim from Map writes about his Christmas memory: In our home Christmas meant having lots of oranges and grapefruits around. Otherwise, we received homemade candies and maybe some chore gloves for the winter. Very rarely did we get more than a $10 or $20 gift, and this, of course, had to do with the fact that there were 14 of us children. However, I must point out that I did receive one gift that will forever stand out. It was a black wool hat. I was 14 years old at the time, and I, in the worst kind of way, wanted to be respected as an adult and not just a kid. The black wool hat made that difference. I got rid of my stocking cap and started wearing the wool hat and finally I felt like a grown up.

There are about 10 different sects of Amish in the Holmes and Wayne County area. For more information, visit the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center.

The owners of the Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast share Amish information at breakfast time. A small orientation is given while guests are eating their meal about places to go and different ideas to do. We provide places that normal tourists wouldn't think of, as well as highlight interests such as quilting, wood working, antiques, etc.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Shopping in Ohio Amish Country

Plan now to Christmas shop in Ohio's Amish Country, avoid crowds, and find the gift that you will love to give and they will love to receive.  As most people know, in Amish country, the pace of life is slower, simple gifts are the norm, thriftiness is a virtue, and friends and family are the most valued gifts.  For the most part, the Amish and Mennonites keep Christmas gift-giving practical, simple, and within their budget.  This, of course, eliminates a lot of stress.  Businesses listed below that are not linked to a website are Amish businesses and do not have a website.  If a telephone is listed, it usually serves as a place to leave a message.

Keim Lumber Company, long known as a leader for tools, also offers wooden toys, board games, sleds, old-fashioned ice cream freezers, bird feeders, home decor items, Bosch mixers, and more. Note their sales and special hours.

Amish Country Peddler offers, in addition to their primitive home accessories, Crocs of all types including fur-lined shoes and boots and has become one of the largest Croc retailers in the state of Ohio.  Their sister store, The Amish Country Peddler, offers much in the latest country decorating trends.

If you're serious about a practical gift for a "Down to Earth" person, consider the purchase of the Muckmaster Boot from Maysville Harness, 8572 Mt. Hope Road, Maysville. Muckmaster boots are rated to provide comfort in temperatures from minus 20 to 70 degrees.  This commercial-grade boot is an ideal gift for that person who works in harsh outdoor winter conditions.   Charm Boot and Harness is another exceptional store where top-quality shoes and boots for both men and women are sold at very competitive prices.

Hundred of belts to Choose From
 At R. W. Leather, 4415 Co Rd. 114; with a Sugarcreek mailing address, they are located in Walnut Creek, you will find the absolute best priced leather goods in the area.  Their entire-hide belts should last for 20 years and will not crack or distort.  An average comparison is theirs at $18 compared to a belt purchased from a finer store at $40 or $50.  They also carry purses, wallets, and exceptionally warm fur-lined winter caps.

Unique Play Structures
 What's more practical than a needed outdoor structure?  One Amish woman wanted a chicken coop for Christmas, and she got it!  Whether it for him or her, it's nice to have that additional outside space.  If you're shopping for a child's playhouse, Little Cottage Company surpasses all other builders of playhouse structures.

Create your own holiday meat and cheese basket which may include a selection of cheeses from Guggisberg Cheese, and many locally-made Holmes County food products.   Baskets containing fresh fruits, jams, jellies, Trail Bologna, and sauces may be ordered from Walnut Creek Cheese.   Offering a wide selection of cheeses is Heinis Cheese, and for the best in chocolates, visit Coblentz Chocolates or order on line.

A simple gift such as a book or inspirational CD may be purchased at the Gospel Book Store in Berlin.

Always at your service are the owners and staff at the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast.  Members of the staff can direct you to many other out-of-the-way businesses that offer goods and services not found elsewhere.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
December 8, 2011

Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns, 2011

The Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, on December 4 and 5, 2011, along with eleven partnering inns, participated in the 4th Annual Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns.  Our white chocolate-draped snowmen were the stars of our dining room table.  We are providing the instructions we promised to our guests who toured the inn. Our inspiration was a recipe published in a Kraft Foods book and linked here.  We, however, have significantly modified and elaborated from the original recipe.

Snowmen in a White Forest
 You will need:

8oz. cream cheese, softened
24 Nutter Butter cookies, crushed
Melted white chocolate
Melted chocolate
Oreo cookies
Mini peanut butter cups
Gum drops
Sprinkles for mouth (Wilton Jumbo Rainbow Nonpareils)
Black Sugar Pearls 78-523K for the eyes
Pretzels sticks (for arms, optional)
Plate, spoon, & wax paper

Mix the softened cream cheese with the crushed Nutter Butter cookies. Once combined, roll into balls (about 1in. for the heads & 1&1/2 in. for the bodies). Combine the "heads" with the "bodies." Place on a plate and refrigerate until firm.

In the meantime, prepare the hats. With half of an Oreo cookie without the frosting, dot the middle of the Oreo cookie with a little chocolate and place the mini peanut butter cup, upside down onto the Oreo.  With a large spoon, pour chocolate over the hat.  Do not submerge the hat into the chocolate because the peanut butter cup will melt. Make as many as needed and place on wax paper to harden.

Prior to beginning, set up a station for the eyes, mouths, and noses. Since the cookie balls are cold, the chocolate hardens quickly so you must be fast. We used tweezers to place the eyes and mouths. Make "carrot" noses with orange gumdrop candy.  Break off a tiny piece and shaped into a carrot nose. If your fingers get sticky, use granulated sugar to help form the nose.  You can actually use sugar and a rolling pin to roll out gumdrops to form other shapes.  On snowman we added a gum drop scarf as well as pretzel sticks for arms.

Once the cookie balls are firm, take the snowman and slice a small piece off the top of it's head. This gives a flatter surface for the hat to sit on. Dip the snowman in the melted white chocolate. Make sure that it is completely coated. Place him on waxed paper and, with your spoon, pour more white chocolate over it. This will give the "puddled" effect. Immediately begin to stick on the nose, eyes, and mouth, as the chocolate dries quickly.

Place the hat on his head. If you chose to make a scarf, drape it around his neck and put the pretzels in for the arms.

Reindeer on cookie sticks
We used the same recipe above to make reindeer as well.They were placed on sucker sticks and we used the regular chocolate to coat them, mini pretzels for the antlers, a dot of white icing and a colored nonpareil for the eyes, and cinnamon red hots for their noses.

 Dip the heads into melted chocolate and coat well. Place onto a sucker stick. Immediately apply the eyes and cinnamon candy for his nose. Use two regular shaped pretzels for his antlers. Place them back in the refrigerator to harden.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
December 7, 2011