Fort Wayne – When stay-at-home mother Susie Rexroth of Auburn started to send her children to college, she and her husband, Paul, opened the doors of their DeKalb County home to guests.
"We had stayed at a bed and breakfast in the past. Each was unique and delightful," Rexroth says, adding that the couple enjoy entertaining and having people in their home.
The couple, parents to eight children ages 13 to 27, have six rooms available at their bed and breakfast, the Inn at Windmere. Asked how many rooms the house has, she smiles and answers, "Lots."
Rexroth, 54, a former nurse, says running the business is made easier with her family's help.
"(Paul and I) enjoy making breakfast together," she says. "He's my waffle man, and he makes the best bacon in the world. He bakes it. We're always asked, 'Where do you get your bacon?' "
To make their guests feel at home, Rexroth says they arrange for fun activities.
"The dining area is large enough for ballroom dance lessons," she says.
"Several couples have requested it. It makes a nice weekend getaway for couples," she says, mentioning that most stays are for two nights.
"Repeat guests? Yes. They'll sometimes ask for something they had before. Labor Day weekend, there's a group that comes for the ACD festival. I've got a fridge for guests. That's been very handy.
"I've got a gazebo in the back yard that I serve (breakfast) there. I had a honeymoon couple here that I served on the gazebo.
"We've had a wedding here. It was a small wedding," she adds.
Rexroth says that when the day comes that all her children are out of the house, she plans to keep busy entertaining guests at the bed and breakfast.
"I enjoy the moment and enjoy each day. As the children leave, that's what I'll do," she says.
Q. How many cookbooks do you have?
A. About 100. I think I've been given most of my cookbooks. I'm going to do a cookbook. Really, I can't tell you how often guests will ask me for recipes.
Q. What's your go-to meal?
A. A good quick meal for me is spaghetti in the crockpot. Get home and add garlic bread and a salad.
Q. What's one thing people won't find in your refrigerator?
A. Hmmm, well, margarine. I use real butter. I'd rather cook from scratch. I have a grinder. When I want to make whole wheat bread, I grind my own flour.
Q. What's your favorite cooking utensil?
A. Spatula. The million-dollar tool. … And my Bosch mixer. I'm on my second one. I always baked all my own bread. We make a German cookie every year."
Soft Pumpkin Cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl.
Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets. Glaze when cool. Makes 3 dozen.
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat until smooth. Glaze cookies.
Hannah's Fruit Sauce For Waffles
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons corn starch
Put all ingredients into saucepan and heat slowly, stirring frequently. Makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups.
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