French Toast Casserole

Northfield Inn French Toast Casserole:



Typically, on a weekend, I will do a breakfast buffet. I always make a version of the casserole to satisfy my guests with a sweet tooth. This is a very easy casserole you can prep a couple of days in advance. Yum! 

5 large eggs

1 1/2 C whole milk (or you can use skim or other milk, it just doesn’t make as nice a custard.)

½ C sugar

1 tsp vanilla or almond flavoring


Mix together until frothy


Slice a baguette or use old bread/brioche/challah and put in an 8x8 pan sprayed with oil. (I like the baguette because it makes a nice lattice like casserole.)


Pour liquid over and soak overnight.  


Optional: sprinkle with slivered almonds before baking. I also take 4 T of flour, butter and brown sugar that I melt and mix in a pan. Dump a cup of oatmeal, mix and top the casserole before baking.


Bake at 350 degrees covered with foil for 45 minutes and then uncover and bake for 15 minutes or until the custard is set.


I will often prep the casserole and freeze it just thaw before baking.   This is a very forgiving recipe and will bake into a delicious breakfast even if it becomes a little freezer burned.


Garnish with sprinkled powdered sugar and fresh fruit.  Serve with maple syrup, although I find it is sweet enough for most people without the syrup.


I have made this casserole with gluten free bread and almond milk and it was a hit

Wow 2019!

Wow 2019!

If I made a career out of blogging I would make no money and I would have been fired a couple of months go. Oh well, my apologies.

January has been relaxingly slow, but I am looking forward a very busy year. In February, I get to see so many of our Northfield Inn old and new friends as many parents come to visit their students at Carleton and St. Olaf. Last week I had the pleasure of hosting a luncheon for 22 women from a local Methodist group. Desserts, my chocolate chip cookies, seven layer bars, and brownies were a hit. I served a huge salad along with corn muffins and black bean soup. Requests were made for my recipes. Although none of you have had my soup, I am attaching the recipe. It was sooo good and healthy, a rare combination. Many guests have had my corn bread muffins so I am attaching that recipe also.

See you all at the Inn! I promise not to take so long adding to the blog…

Northfield Inn Corn Muffins

 Makes about 15 muffins

1 C. plain yogurt

1/4 C melted butter

2 eggs

Mix above together 

Add 1/3 C sugar

Dry Ingredients

2/3 C high lysine corn meal (you can find it at the Coop)

1 C flour

2 t. baking soda

½ t baking powder

¼ t salt


Mix with wet ingredients. Just fold in until barely mixed.

Add ½ can of corn.

Baked in muffin tins with cupcake papers or sprayed with cooking spray at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

I have made these gluten free with Pamela’s flour as a substitute for the flour, also, vegan by subbing the butter for Earth Balance, soy yogurt and ½ c of applesauce for the eggs.

Northfield Inn Black Bean Soup     


1 16oz. package of dry black beans

Rinse beans and soak overnight (at least 8 hours).  Drain beans and cover with water again and bring to a boil and simmer for around 2 hours until the beans are soft.  Before this point, don’t add salt, this will make the beans hard and you will never get them soft.


Sauté vegetables in 2 T olive oil:


3 celery stalks

3 large carrots (scrubbed, I don’t peel mine, you lose all of the great vitamins).

1 large onion

Chop all the vegetables and cook for about ten minutes, add 3 cloves of garlic for one minute and then dump it all into the pot with the beans.  Add one 32 oz container of vegetable broth (you can use chicken but the vegetable keeps the soup vegan) and cook for another 45 minutes.


1 T. Penzey’s southwest spice mix (or add cumin, paprika and oregano)

1 T salt or to taste (I like mine a little salty)

Several grinds of fresh peppercorns

At this point you can puree this with an emersion blender or leave chunky. 

Sides: sour cream, chopped jalapeño pepper, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro, cheeses (parmesan or cheddar)





It has been a few weeks since my last blog. Forgive me but a lot has happened since the middle of September.

First, my son Nate was married at the Inn. It was a beautiful weekend and confirmed what I had suspected since I arrive here. The Northfield Inn is a very special place. The wedding weekend (less than 50 people) was a very intimate and meaningful event. My daughter-in-law’s family stayed here while all of the out of owners hung out for a variety of events. Friday there was a pizza party, Saturday morning bagels and coffee while everyone got ready, flowers were put together and there was just all around socializing. The ceremony took place the lawn. It was chilly, 52 degrees but no one seemed to mind. We had several tornadoes the week before so we took a neighbor’s cut up tree and decorated the lawn with logs and simple mums. Okay, they were huge mums, if you go to Costco, you know what I mean… The food was casual but delicious,. Everyone hung around the Inn. Dancing on the stamped concrete patio, fire pit in the driveway and just chatting around the fireplaces inside. Of course, Sunday morning we had bagels from Tandem Bagels, a couple of my delicious breakfast casseroles (savory and sweet) and fruit, while everyone got ready to take off to locations around the country.

If you think the Inn might be a good place to hold your special event, let me know. The Inn cold be yours for a weekend to have an combination of events.

At least once a week I am asked what color paint we have on our walls. It is Restoration Hardware’s Silver Sage. When the paint was selected, the guys just took a paint chip and had it matched at Sherwin Williams. But DON’T get the Sherwin Williams Silver Sage. It is the wrong color. My neighbor made that mistake. In case are you want to know the trim is Sherwin Williams’ Dove White (and not White Dove).

It is not my intention to brag about the cookie recipe in my last blog but I had a chance to do something slightly different last time I made them. My friend Heather went to Montreal to attend Elton John’s last tour concert (lucky!) and brought me back a Bernie Sander’s Candy bar. It was dark chocolate with a “liberal dose of sea salt” :). I grated that bar into my recipe and OMG it was so delicious…



We have had a great couple of weeks welcoming back our students from St. Olaf and Carleton. First came the athletes, golfers, volleyball players and football, then the freshman excited and nervous about starting their next life phase.

The Defeat of Jesse James Day brought in guests excited about the reenactment and eager to have “fair” food without the fair crowd. What beautiful weather we had the entire weekend! The Northfield Inn is always an excellent place to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays and we have seen quite a few guests doing just that.

As promised, I wanted to share some recipes. Okay, so the story is my best friend from college Debbie and I decided to celebrate our fortieth birthdays with a weekend at a rustic spa in Central Illinois On Saturday night a psychiatrist spent the evening helping us get in touch with our “left’ brain and the next morning at breakfast she decided to share her cookie recipe. Since then, it has been my go-to cookie recipe. Over the years I have added peanut butter chips, butterscotch and Heath bar crunch. If you don’t feel like baking just spend a few days with us here at the Inn.

Northfield Inn Chocolate Chip Cookies:


Adapted from Mrs. Field Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 C. Sugar

2 C. Brown sugar

2 C Butter (room temperature)  {I have substituted butter flavored Crisco for a non-dairy version and it is still tasty}


Mix thoroughly, 2-5 minutes (I like it fluffy)


Add 5 large eggs, 1 ½ T vanilla, ¼ C water, beat until mixed.


Dry ingredients mix in a separate bowl (no I really don’t do this I just add the small ingredients and flour right into the “liquid”):


1 t salt

1T plus t tsp each baking soda and baking powder

4 C flour (sometimes I sub in 1-2 C whole wheat flour to add a little nuttiness)


Mix until just incorporated (don’t over-mix or you get a tough cookie and sometimes we like our people like that but not cookies).


This is where I change the recipe from the original.


6 C oatmeal (you can pulverize to make oat flour and I used to when I was a perfectionist but you know, it really doesn’t matter…).


Add and then fold in 3 C. good chocolate chips (Nestle’s or Kirkland brand are very good) and 3 C chopped walnuts.  


Bake at 375 degrees for about 7 minutes.  I put them in for 3 minutes 37 seconds and turn the pan and bake for another 3 minutes and 37 seconds.  I know that sounds crazy but there is a thin lie between done and too brown…


So this makes a million cookies (about 14 dozen) so I get tired of making them.  (After about 8 dozen cookies are baked, I shove the rest of the batter in a glass bowl and freeze to bake at a future time.)  Of course, when I am done baking, I freeze the cookies and bring them out as needed.  


I have tried cutting this recipe in half and it never turns out well….




My First Blog

My First Blog

As the Innkeeper, I have been encouraged by many friends and guests to put together a cookbook.  So I will add recipes on this blog.  Look for my favorites in upcoming blogs not to mention some interesting details about local goings on, new venues and just plain old ideas you might find helpful.

Northfield Inn Gardens

Northfield Inn Gardens

Mornings at Northfield Inn

Mornings at Northfield Inn

6:30 a.m.

Coffee, tea, water, fruit, yogurt and seltzer are provided in the butler's pantry to start a healthy day.

6:30 a.m. until Breakfast

After grabbing starters from the butler's pantry, relax in the living room while listening to some light jazz and read the paper, or stay in your suite to sleep a little longer, or take a long hot shower.


8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Enjoy our chef-designed breakfast in the dining room or your suite.

After breakfast, let us help you plan your day.

Before and After

Before and After

We thought it would be fun to show you some of the before and after photos of the renovation.

Home: October 2015

Before: Foyer

Before: Living Room

Before: Dining Room

Before: Kitchen

Before: Secondary Kitchen

Before: Bedroom One

Before: Bedroom Two

Before: Bedroom Three

Before: Spiral Stairs Entry


Home: December 2016

After: Foyer

After: Living Room

After: Dining Room

After: Kitchen

After: Butler's Pantry

After: Suite One

After: Suite Two

After: Suite Three

After: Laundry Room

After: Suite Four (Added as an Addition)

Our Story

Our Story

We have completed the Northfield Inn's promo booklet, Our Story, which provides history and amenities of the property and Inn. Feel free to download and share.

Holiday Window Scenes

Holiday Window Scenes

If you haven't seen the holiday window scenes at the shops in Northfield, it's worth a trip! Here are just a few from this year's Winter Walk. 

Our Ecological Footprint

Our Ecological Footprint

One of our guiding principles is to reduce our ecological footprint constantly and consistently. 

Throughout the Inn

  • Two new efficiency central air units (one upstairs and one downstairs)

  • New efficient furnace

  • LED bulbs in interior and exterior of home

  • Use of green-sealed cleaning products

  • Bathroom and bedroom linens washed only between guest stays (unless guests ask during their stay)

  • Recycle or donate plastics and aluminum

Each Suite

  • Ceiling fan in each bedroom

  • Extra blankets

  • Trash containers

  • All new, efficient water-flow, rain shower heads in each bathroom

  • Friendly reminders how to reduce water consumption

Food and Nature Ecology

  • Buy locally grown

  • Vegetable garden on property

  • Rain garden on property

  • Community walking, sitting garden on property

  • Composts egg shells, coffee grounds, fruits, and vegetables

  • No-kill but repel pests

Future Transportation Partnerships

  • EcoTrans

  • Northfield Bus Lines

A Few Photos

A Few Photos

Our new sign and matching lamp post.




During your stay, grab a game from our game box. Below is a list of some of the games you can choose. 

  • 5 Second Rule

  • Apples to Apples

  • Bananagrams

  • Cards

  • Checkers

  • Chess

  • Clue

  • Code Names

  • Connect Four

  • Dominoes

  • Michigan Rummy

  • Monopoly

  • Outburst

  • Over Ten Puzzles

  • Parcheesi

  • Payday

  • Pit

  • PlayStation 4 with Games

  • Scattergories

  • Scrabble

  • Sorry

  • Speak Out

  • Telestrations

  • Ticket to Ride

  • Yahtzee

Don't see a game you like? Let us know! We will do our best to find it and have it waiting for you upon your visit. 

Coffee Equipment

Coffee Equipment

We will have hot coffee waiting for you from breakfast through happy hour each day of your stay. If you wish to make your own coffee, however, here is a list of tools we have ready for you:

Poor Over Single Filter

Coffee Bean Scale

Manual Bean Grinder




Goose Neck Kettle



French Press

Chemex Paper Filters




Another option on the menu at Northfield Inn will be the more traditional breakfast items found in the Midwest. All the items are locally grown and organic. We start with baby round potatoes roasted in rosemary, sea salt, and coarse pepper. The eggs are from free-range hens and are prepared with salt and pepper. The bacon is from a sustainable farm down the road and is prepared with honey and coarse pepper. The toast is bread from a local bakery and topped with rosemary butter.

As with all of our breakfast entrees, you can also choose any of the following:

  • Greek yogurt cup with oats, nuts, fruit, and drizzled with honey

  • Cottage cheese

  • Muffin

  • Coffee

  • Tea

  • Milk

  • Apple or orange juice

  • Water