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Simple solution to lasting Flower Bouquets

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We always like to have fresh flowers at Applewood Manor for the guest to enjoy while they are staying with us. For a year or so I was using the small packets that come with bouquets to keep the flowers from wilting too soon.  They really did not work as the flowers wilted quickly.  I also observed/smelled the bacteria growth in each vase, a sight/smell which only a Beta fish would love.  Dissatisfaction and frustration was growing, especially with at least twelve small vases to contend with.

Thanks to the internet, I spent a bit of time investigating recipes that logically could work and not just the repeat of old wives’ tales of aspirin, changing the water daily, etc.; as if I had time to change the water in all the vases in the MacIntosh, Granny Smith, Northern Spy, York Imperial, Cortland Cottage and the Winesap as well as all the vases in our dinning room!  This recipe has been simple, inexpensive and successful for the last 6 years. It is time to share the magic.

Applewood flower vases 001

Applewood flower vases 002

Bacteria free long lasting flower water:

  • 3 jiggers of regular bleach (if using 1 1/2 oz jigger just use 2)
  • clear soda pop to 2 cup line
  • tap water to 4 cup line
  • stir mixture to blend

In a glass 4 cup measuring bowl mix the above ingredients.  Pour into container/vase for flowers.  Store left over flower water mixture for next arrangements in empty 2 liter soda pop bottle well marked – DO NOT DRINK .  Store at room temperature and shake before using if it has sat. Note:  Do not be concerned if the mixture does not have a fizzle.  The fizzle has nothing to do with the use of the mixture for cut flowers.

What you have is a fluid mixture with sugar to feed the flowers as well as water to keep them fresh.  The bleach kills all bacteria that would have formed off the stems and eliminating foul odors.





Applewood Manor’s Pumpkin Blooper Bread

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Pumpkin Blooper BreadI needed some more bread recipes and was giving a try/ taste to find some good ones worth serving to our guests.  Not all recipes are created equal!  With all the cooking I do for our Bed and Breakfast you would think I would be able to read a new recipe and follow it with much wisdom and experience.  Not reading carefully always gets you in the butt.

I found a Pumpkin Bread recipe from Maine that looked easy.  I had a can of Libby’s Easy Pumpkin Pie mix sitting in my pantry with all the other correct ingredients on hand.  Easy work; there cannot be that much a difference between a regular can of pumpkin and this mix? In the beginning I noticed something was going wrong, I had way too much dough for a single 9×5 inch bread pan.  So, I prepared two 9×5 inch baking bread pans.  Hey good deal, two loves from one recipe, eureka!  Baked them and not only did they look beautiful but they tasted wonderful, a thumbs up from my favorite taste tester, Larry. Next time you are in Asheville you might be driving by our Inn and smell the pumpkin bread cooling! Maybe Larry will save you a slice!


So here is my adapted recipe I call Pumpkin Blooper Bread:

Applewood Manor’s Blooper Pumpkin Bread

Preheated oven 350 degrees

2 – 9×5 bread pans

Electric mixer

24 servings (12 servings / loaf)

3 c. sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 c. canola cooking oil

3 c. flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

1 can Libby’s easy pumpkin pie mix-30 oz can

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 c. finely chopped toasted pecans

Mix together in mixer the oil, eggs and sugar.  Stir in separate bowl all the dry ingredients  to combine.  Add dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin to oil, egg & sugar.  Add chopped toasted pecans and vanilla, stir into batter.  Pour (as equally as possible) batter into prepared pans.  Bake 350 for 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Let bread cool in pan before removal.  I recommend using parchment paper in the loaf pan for ease of removal.  Cover with two layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours before serving.  Tastes best if slightly toasted/warmed in oven by broiler for breakfast.  This can also be used as a cake dessert with ice cream/whipped cream.