1349 Gunbarrel Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Cold Weather Comfort Food

Although it took a while for the 2016 record-breaking heat temperatures to break in our area, we were anxious to try some new cold-weather breakfasts.  After extensively researching homemade sausage, we sampled our St Francis Cottage sausage recipe with friends, who confirmed it is a “go” on a sandwich, as a side, or as a part of an entrĂ©e.  The special blend of spices, along with chopped apricots, apples, and a bit of ale give this sausage recipe a pleasant, light flavor.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


It has been too long since we have posted an update on progress. We have been busy with a visit from our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters from Canada and a trip to DC area to visit my brother, Bruce and his wife, Barbara (from whom we were gifted with some wonderful recipes!). MAJOR progress has been accomplished over the past few weeks on the B&B. (If you don't want to read through this detailed post, I have added a short project to the video gallery that illustrates what has transpired).

In our last update, the siding and the front porch and back decks had been installed or were under way. The windows and shutters were in. Shakes had been added to gables. At this point the outside doesn't look a whole lot different except for the addition of some temporary front stairs and the handicap ramp landing, but the inside has seen major transformations and a few small design changes.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Traditional Breakfast Favorites

Many guests prefer a traditional American breakfast, and we aim to please.  We will offer the meals described below as part of our standard menu or upon request.  Various breakfast sandwiches will be on the mid-week menu, and there will also be weekend options.

Here are a few of the dishes that will be available and that we hope you will enjoy.

The Breakfast Croissant Sandwich

Breakfast Croissant Sandwich - Eggs over easy, country ham, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, spinach, on fresh croissant.   Strawberry, blueberry, and kiwi, yogurt parfait.  Cranberry juice. Strawberry and kiwi garnish.

Friday, August 26, 2016


All events listed below are FREE to the public.  For a list of many other local September events, please review the Chattanooga Events Calendar .

Reflection Riding Fall Native Plant Sale 2015.  We love this sale and the wonderful plants.
Reflection Riding Fall Native Plant Sale 2015.  We love this sale and the wonderful plants.

Reflection Riding Fall Native Plant Sale – September 9-10, 2016, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center, located at the foot of Lookout Mountain, will host its Fall Native Plant Sale on Friday and Saturday, September 9-10.  We have purchased numerous plants from Reflection Riding for our gardens, and we are always impressed and pleased with the plant quality.  Check their website for the schedule of interesting and informative presentations available that weekend.

Friday, August 19, 2016

August Harvest and Late Bloomers

2016 Tennessee Area Drought Map,
2016 Tennessee Area Drought Map, origin:

According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, Hamilton County, Tennessee has endured extreme drought conditions this summer, presenting significant challenges to establishing our gardens surrounding St Francis Cottage.  As Shunryu Suzuki wrote, “A garden is never finished,” which is especially true with such limited rainfall.  So, we continue to plant, water, sow, and pray for rain. We are beginning to gear up for the fall planting season with hope for consistent rainfalls to enable spring bulbs, plants, shrubs and trees to bloom for our first guests to enjoy.  Fortunately, our first hard frost doesn’t hit until around mid-November, so we have time to plant once the summer heat subsides a bit.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

St Francis Cottage Bed and Breakfast Going Up Quickly! 

After three and a half years of planning and the roller coaster ride of bureaucracy, a lot has been accomplished since breaking ground in late May of this year.  Under the guiding hand of Cole Poorman of America's Home Place, the foundation, framing, windows (Oswaldo Nunez Framing), are all in place.  Electric wiring and plumbing are well on the way.  HVAC plans have been established and the work should start next week.  Kitchen cabinets have been measured and will arrive in about 8 weeks.  Siding has been delivered and the west wing is covered. Most of the internet and cable infrastructure has been installed. And the fire sprinkler system is nearing completion.  It's all a bit overwhelming, but we love it!

Our applause and thanks go out to all the hard working crews on each part of this job.  The heat and humidity has been pretty brutal, but progress continues amidst Chattanooga's hot, hot summer of 2016.

Progress as of July 29, 2016. Though not pictured, siding has been delivered on site.
Progress as of July 29, 2016. Though not pictured, siding has been delivered on site.
Read more to see more progress . . .

A Bird Bath for St Francis Cottage

Brown Thrasher cooling off in our present birdbath.
We absolutely love watching and listening to the many native bird species that dwell upon, or visit our property, from the Eastern Bluebird and the preverbal Cardinal, to woodpeckers, owls and hawks.  What a wonderful way to begin our day by watching the smaller birds feast at the bird feeders or splash around in the bird bath.  

Saturday, July 30, 2016


St Francis Figure from our logo. Copper foil "leading"
construction with copper patina. About 8" tall.

I’ve always admired the art of Stained Glass.  But until recently taking a class and risking cut fingers, I never realized the intricacies and techniques required to make the glass come to life.  Nancy and I were attending the AVA Gallery Hop in 2015 and visited Visions Gallery on Main St.  While there we found out that owner, Carolyn Insler, was going to start teaching classes for beginning aspirants.  So, I signed up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Chattanooga FREE Eventful Summer Weekends!

Chattanooga from Point Park  (Photo: Wallace Braud)
Chattanooga from Point Park  (Photo: Wallace Braud)

Is your budget keeping you from taking that getaway weekend you desperately need during the summer months?  Then consider Chattanooga, Tennessee as your wallet-friendly destination! 

Read on for some suggestions on how to enjoy our incredible city without putting a strain on your finances.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Joint Craft Venture! - LEAF CASTINGS

Two Finished, Painted Concrete Leaf Castings at St Francis Cottage
Finished Concrete Leaf Castings.

We enjoy making leaf castings from elephant ears, hosta leaves and other leaves with a distinct vein pattern.  Nancy makes the castings using a high strength mortar mix reinforced with a central layer of fiber mesh joint reinforcement tape (used for sheetrock joints).  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Testing the Bed and Breakfast Menu - Round 2

A Look back at Round 1  

Many, many THANKS to our faithful food testers Jennifer and Ingo Jung, Colleen Fieser and daughter Liz Fieser!  These folks have been exceptionally brave critics and supporters as we attempt to add our own touches to some well-received recipes.

This trial menu item for St Francis Cottage, Savory Green Bean Benedict, was a big hit.
Savory Green Bean Benedict
L to R - Ingo and Jennifer Jung, Liz Fieser and Colleen Fieser at St Francis Cottage
L to R - Ingo and Jennifer Jung, Liz Fieser and Colleen Fieser

At our first gathering last March, we tried out a Green Bean Casserole recipe from The Old Coffeepot Restaurant in New Orleans that we saw on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  We decided to convert this savory dinner treat into a breakfast entree by serving the creamy casserole over English Muffins, ham and poached eggs, with a side of home-fried potatoes. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Home Grown Recipes!

Egg & Veggie Tostada and Michael's Egg Stack

Fresh Ingredients for Egg and Veggie Tostada at St Francis Cottage
Fresh Ingredients make this Egg and Veggie Tostada the taste treat that it is!

Egg & Veggie Tostada

Egg and Veggie Tostadas are a staple of the Braud household diet.  After a long day’s work on our mini-farm, we’ll often throw a couple of flour tortillas on the cast iron grille, grate some cheese, stir fry whatever veggies we have on hand in organic olive oil with some fresh garlic and herbs, and scramble a couple of farm-fresh eggs.  Voila!  A healthy meal that uber-satisfies without making us feel stuffed.   We can’t wait to share our favorite go-to, anytime meal with you!  (Read More for Michael's Egg Stack)

Friday, July 15, 2016

St Francis Cottage - Getting "Dried In"

Shingles being attached to roof of new bed and breakfast
Rear view of house with roof for wrap around porch on right.  Roofers working on first courses of shingles.  They finished the 2-story portion of the roof, yesterday.

After only a week of working on the roof sections of the house, we are one step closer to opening and one step closer to not having to worry about the weather for the main parts of construction. Framers and roofers have been working long hours to get us to this point.

Completed main and porch roofs for bed and breakfast
Completed main roof and front porch structures.

The framers also took down the interior cross bracing yesterday and it's starting to look more like a house on the inside with a definite feel for the size and layout of each room.  I found myself walking around just grinning about the progress and what we will have to offer.  We think it's starting to shape up nicely.  We look forward to having this ready for you to enjoy, too.

Interior view bed and breakfast Great Room area under construction
Part of the Great Room.

Friday, July 8, 2016

St Francis Cottage's New Blog!  

Welcome to A View from St Francis Cottage!  When completed we invite you to our place to Rest, Relax, & Restore while traveling or during an opportunity to just get away.  We were blessed with this wonderful piece of property almost 24 years ago, and we want to share its beauty, tranquility, and convenience with those who visit the Chattanooga area.

St Francis Cottage early exterior construction phase

St Francis statue with flowers in Bed and Breakfast garden
Over the next few months we plan to introduce ourselves and give you glimpses into the ideas behind the construction of our new Bed & Breakfast, here in Chattanooga.  We will share recipes; gardening tips; craft project suggestions; photos of various aspects of the new facility; and links to some of our favorite places, events and web sites.

It will be eclectic, informative, casual, and hopefully a bit of fun!  We might even throw in a few video clips.  Chattanooga offers many outstanding things to do and see, from outdoor-based activities to excellent arts and entertainment venues, a bountiful number of good restaurants and plenty of shopping opportunities ranging from "high end" to "never pay retail."  The area is surrounded by natural beauty and man-made attractions for just about every niche interest accommodating the whole family.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Meet the Brauds

Spring Panorama Vacation Rental St Michael Cottage in Chattanooga

We would like to introduce you to our family.  Our children grew up in our home on five acres, which now includes the St. Francis Cottage property.  We spent many years as a family enjoying our children, pets and the pasture that is now the B&B.  (Our miniature donkeys Meli and Margeaux now live with a nice family on 17 acres in North Georgia.)

Vacation Rental St Michael Cottage Chattanooga Back Yard in the Spring

St Michael Cottage backyard looking toward St Francis Cottage in Chattanooga

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Construction Under Way on First Custom Built Bed and Breakfast in Chattanooga! ! Opening 2017

Construction Under Way on First Custom Built Bed and Breakfast in Chattanooga! !  Opening 2017

After many years of dreaming and planning, St Francis Cottage has broken ground and almost finished with the framing stage of construction.  Projected to open in early 2017, this "built from the ground up" bed and breakfast in Chattanooga will be home to seven bedrooms, a large comfortable, inviting common area, a wrap around porch, a large covered rear porch and deck, many beautiful gardens, a small event space, a fully equipped conference room, and, of course, scrumptious, hearty breakfast fare.

St Francis Cottage Scraping land for initial foundation layout
 Clearing land for foundation layout

Thursday, June 2, 2016

It’s a Miracle . . . GOGI Berries Bushes are blooming and producing fruit!

Well, we think it's a miracle.

We’ve been experimenting to see if GOGI Berries, also known as the wolfberry (Lycium barbarum) would grow in Tennessee since they are native to China.  We were skeptical about any significant progress since we’ve been experiencing extreme drought conditions this summer. 
Gogi berry bush in bloom in the garden at St Francis Cottage
Thankfully, we had a couple of good rainfalls this past week, and we couldn’t contain ourselves upon inspecting our gardens after work on Thursday.  The delicate branches are full of beautiful purple blossoms, and there’s a speck of red, indicating the growth of our first gogi berry! 
First gogi berries in the garden at St Francis Cottage Chattanooga Tennessee
They are a nutritious super fruit, full of antioxidants, beta-carotene, Vitamin C and fiber, and we look forward to cultivating our seven bushes into bountiful berry harvests and sharing them with our guests, who will dare to try them. Gogis have an interesting flavor with an herbal aftertaste, but oh so good for you!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Natural Cleaners Vol 1: Laundry Detergent

At St. Francis Cottage, we will be using natural cleaners and laundry detergent, so I wanted to share a couple of recipes with you.  The first is a DIY laundry detergent recipe we use that my sister-in-law, Michelle Caporali, from Richmond, Virginia, gave me.  

LAUNDRY DETERGENT (makes 5 gallons)
4 cups HOT water
2 4 oz. bars castile soap (I use Kirk’s Original Coco Castile from Vitacost)
1 cup Borax
1 ½ cups washing soda
Place hot water in sauce pan and add grated soap bars (I purchased a grater from the Dollar Store that I use only for making detergent.) Heat water on medium heat and stir until the soap has completely dissolved.
Fill a five-gallon bucket half full with HOT water from faucet.  Add dissolved soap mixture, washing soda and Borax.  Stir until everything is dissolved and add more HOT water until bucket is full.  COVER the bucket, and it will take about two days for the mixture to gel. 

Summer Garden Goodness!

After harvesting pounds of organically-grown Natchez and Apache blackberries in June, we’re now transitioning into the July blueberry season, so that means hours of picking from our 40 bushes.  We can’t wait to share them with you next summer through a variety of recipes we’ve been collecting, from blueberry bars and muffins to pancakes, syrup and jam.  

Nancy Braud with the first thornless blackberries from the garden at St Francis Cottage
We’ve had great success this summer growing White Cherry Organic Tomatoes from seeds purchased from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, which are as sweet as candy!  We’re also enjoying our harvest from Johnny’s Alexandria (F1) seeds, a Mid-East Hybrid Specialty Zucchini Squash that’s absolutely scrumptious, and their Dunja (F1) Organic Hybrid Zucchini.  We made loaves of zucchini bread for our son Michael’s road trip, who recently visited from Berkeley, California.  Eating from the garden during these hot summer months is such a special treat!