Fall is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it — the smells, the cooler days, the crisper nights, the colors, the pies, Halloween, Thanksgiving, volleyball and football start up again — what’s not to love? Alright, I admit there is one thing I don’t like — cleaning up all those damn leaves on my property. I own about an acre of land with maybe 20 giant oak trees. So the leaves can pile up and pile up quickly. And unlike in some neighboring cities, I can’t just push my leaves into the road, so I either have to do it myself or hire someone else to do it. But that’s a whole other issue. . .
Anyhoo, I saw this the other day on Facebook and wanted to share. This appeared on my feed from the magazine Midwest Living. This sums up everything that is awesome about Fall and I wanted to share it with y’all. What do y’all like about Autumn? Just let me know — either here or on Facebook! I gots a recipe for some Gluten-Free Rocky Road Brownies coming up later this week, and hopefully some other fun stuff.
Alright, so it’s been some time since I’ve been writing. I know, I know — I am ashamed 😦 But things happen in this thing called life. Not to make excuses, but I was trying to adapt to the new schedule caused by my new job. Then I got a weird volleyball injury that took up my time trying to rehab that. Then I got really sick really fast around Christmas and found myself admitted to the hospital several times. Lucky for me this happened in December and January so I got to fulfill two massive deductibles back to back. Hurrah! And hospitals are not fun — especially when you get the bill months later and can’t decipher what charges came from where and from whom and for how much. I will say to my insurance company that your estimate on what a CT scan costs is sooooo completely off from what the hospital says ($800 estimate vs. $1700 charge). All that fun and the multiple docs couldn’t even tell me what was wrong; just treated the symptoms and see what could be managed.
Then after getting to know the hospital, I got a weird infection that sidelined me for over three weeks. Meds didn’t work, I was weak all the time, I couldn’t walk without getting dizzy (which is a challenge if you have to navigate stairs to get to your truck — not that I could drive anywhere even if I managed to make it to the garage). Things eventually cleared up, but since I missed so much work, I ended up losing my job. Which I guess is alright aside from the fact that I am penniless. I don’t blame them for firing me; it just sucks for me. So much for my first stint in Corporate America!
But losing my job meant that I could focus on the physical therapy for the injury that happened months ago. And lucky for me (or unlucky for me), I met my out-of-pocket maximum for the year back in January so no charge! Well fast-forward a couple of months and my knees are still shit. I can’t afford COBRA anymore so I guess I will have to tape them up and just go on with life.
And that is what I am trying to do — go on with life. I think I’ve done enough wallowing in self-pity and it is time to git goin’! I’m finally able to work out again (with some obvious limitations) and I’m getting back to what I love — FOOD! And booze, of course. Actually, right now I am in the Corner Brewery here in Ypsilanti trying to raise my spirits. Some pulled pork tacos and a Buzzsaw IPA can sure help with my mood, but more on that later! Although it is a bummer that no one wants to join me here — stupid friends and their stupid jobs and families and prior commitments!
But in all seriousness, I plan on getting back to blogging and sharing my foodie adventures. I did just take another trip up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and found some amazing pasties, and breweries , and wineries, and distilleries. . . . I’m also trying to make a theme cake (note the emphasis on trying). What’s wrong with a round cake? I can do those, no problem. Dinosaur shaped? Ugh, I need to practice this. A lot. Plus I have some posts that should have gone out last year (oops!), but they’re still relevant.
So Stay tuned! More food and booze and hijinx heading your way! And for no good reason — here’s my sweet idiot dog Cooper enjoying the summer sun!
So I’m planning on doing some hiking soon and I was thinking to myself, “Waterlily, what would be something tasty that you can take on your expeditions?” And that’s when granola popped into my head. It’s something that’s good to eat when you’re on the go, plus you can eat it on its own or on top of stuff like yogurt, ice cream, cobblers, and the like.
I use a simple formula here: 4 cups of stuff + 1/4 cup of vegetable oil + 1/4 cup of honey. That’s just for the mixture that goes into the oven. You can add as much fruit as you like afterwards, like raisins (yuk!), or dried hibiscus flowers, or dried apricots, etc. Just don’t bake the fruit in the oven because it will burn. This recipe is very simple, and I love it when things are simple! Here’s what you need:
- 2 c. old-fashioned oatmeal
- 1 c. peanuts
- 1 c. shredded coconut (I used the unsweetened big shavings)
- 1/4 c. vegetable oil
- 1/4 c. honey
- pinch of salt
- 1 c. dried cranberries
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or foil. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, toss the oatmeal, peanuts, coconut, oil, honey, and salt to combine. Pour onto the pan into a single layer and bake in the oven.
3. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally while in the oven, until the granola is golden.
4. When done, scrape the pan to loosen the granola and allow to cool in the pan. After it has cooled, mix in the cranberries and store in an air-tight container at room temperature. Should last a month, but I have no clue — a batch usually lasts me a couple of days before it gets eaten up.
Notes — You can mix things up by changing the ingredients. Try different nuts, different fruits, add spices. The possibilities are endless. . . If you are still getting some moisture left over from the oil and honey, try baking at 325 degrees F for about 30 minutes
On this day (April 10th) way back in 1933, the great state of Michigan became the first state in the union to repeal prohibition — huzzah! Yup, Michigan became the first state to ratify the 21st amendment, which overturned the 18th amendment — that’s the one that made booze illegal. In your face Wisconsin!!! They were the second state to do it, but there’s still a little bad blood over here for them trying to call themselves the “Mitten State” a few months back. At least both travel boards worked together to use the controversy to help a good cause.
But I digress. . . back to the end of prohibition. Historians estimate that about 75% of alcohol consumed in the States during prohibition came through Detroit. Right across the border, Ontario went dry but Canada didn’t ban the manufacture of alcohol for export. Put that all together, and you can see how Michigan became Booze Central for the country.
I, for one, love the end of prohibition. If you’re a regular reader, it should come to no surprise. But here is how I intend to celebrate — with a Ginger Lime Martini! Sure it’s 10 o’clock in the morning, but what else am I going to do today?
This is taken from Eve Aronoff’s book which was part of my blogiversary give-away (I did pick the winner BTW). Consider this a preview for those who didn’t win the book. Maybe you’ll see it a bookstore near you; hopefully you’ll pick it up! Now I absolutely love these, and I may have had more than my fair share at that wedding reception I was talking about a couple of posts ago 🙂 I just can’t say stop when there’s ginger and lime involved. . . and vodka, don’t forget the vodka. Here’s what you need:
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1/2 t. grated fresh ginger
- 1 T, plus 1 t simple syrup
- 2 oz. vodka
- 1 T chopped crystallized ginger
1. Combine the lime juice and the ginger and let sit for at least an hour.
2. In a cocktail shaker combine lime juice, ginger, simple syrup, and vodka with ice and shake vigorously.
3. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with the crystallized ginger (I was fresh out so I didn’t add that last bit)
Notes — The color may be a little off from what y’all get. The vodka that I use has some Bison Grass in it and the grass gives it a greenish hue.
Just a quick post / announcement — today is my Blogiversary!!! I can’t really believe it’s been one year already. Hope that I can still try to keep things going! I will probably make some changes to some things, like adding more things to the blog roll or, adding more links, or adding a resource page or two.
And great news — I’ve finally figured out what to do for my anniversary give-away. You’ll have to stay tuned tomorrow when I post what it is (I have to actually go out and pick it up). And it will probably involve Facebook!
And Happy Black Forest Cake Day!
Happy March everybody! It’s another big month for foodie holidays — including my 1st blogiversary (can’t believe that it’s been a year already, not that that’s a foodie holiday). I was thinking about having an anniversary giveaway but I’m not sure yet. Maybe I’ll post something on Facebook (11 likes so far! check out the bottom of the side menu)! More on that later, but check me out on Facebook anyway. Anyhoo, here’s what we have in store for this month (check out some of these links): Celery Month, Flour Month, Frozen Food Month, Noodle Month, Nutrition Month, Peanut Month, and Sauce Month. Now here are some of the special days that we can celebrate in March:
2 Banana Cream Pie Day
3 Cold Cuts Day, Mulled Wine Day
6 Frozen Food Day, White Chocolate Cheesecake Day
8 Peanut Cluster Day, Agriculture Day
10 Blueberry Popover Day
12 Baked Scallops Day
13 Coconut Torte Day
15 Peanut Lovers’ Day, Pears Helene Day
16 Artichoke Heart Day
19 Poultry Day, Chocolate Caramel Day
20 Ravioli Day
21 French Bread Day
23 Chip and Dip Day, Melba Toast Day
24 Chocolate Covered Raisins Day
25 Lobster Newburg Day
26 Waffle Day (in Sweden), Nougat Day
27 Spanish Paella Day
28 Black Forest Cake Day, 1st Blogiversary!
29 Lemon Chiffon Cake Day
Today is Paczki Day! While other folks may be celebrating Mardi Gras or Carnivale, here in the Midwest we have Paczki Day. Well, it might not be particular to the Midwest, because if you live anywhere with a large Polish population, you probably know about Paczkis. But here in SE Michigan, we can’t get enough. According to AnnArbor.com, we here are crazy about paczkis and lead the nation in Google searches about Paczki Day. Personally, I never even heard of a paczki until I started living in Michigan. And thanks to the large Polish population in Hamtramck, MI (which is a city within Detroit), I am hooked!
But, let me back up a little bit. Some of y’all might not know what a Paczki is. First of all, it’s pronounced POONCH-key or PUNCH-key. These are Polish jelly-filled donuts which are traditionally served the day before Lent, which is the 40 days of sacrifice and penance before Easter. They came about as a way to use up all the lard, butter, sugar, and eggs in the pantry, because if you do celebrate Lent, you won’t be using any of those ingredients for the next 5 1/2 weeks. So, much like Mardi Gras, paczkis are one last indulgence before 40 days of fasting.
In the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area, probably all over Michigan, you can find local big box grocery stores stocked with them. I even found them as early as the first week of February. At places like these, you can find fillings like strawberry, lemon, or custard, but you probably won’t find the traditional flavors like prune or rosehip. Prune you’re more likely to find, but you have to work to find rosehip. Again, if you don’t know, rosehips are the fruit of the rose. When you leave the rose on the bush (particularly Rugosa roses) and allow it to wither, what eventually develops is a rosehip. They kinda look like those tiny tomatoes you find at the grocery, but on a rose bush. And in case you were wondering, they are very, very, very high in vitamin C.
There are several places around here where you can find some paczkis. All the big grocery stores have them — Kroger, Meijer, and Busch’s — and some other specialty establishments like Plum Market and the renowned Zingerman’s. Normally, I go to Copernicus Deli (where you can find some rosehip), but this year I got my first sampling of the goods from Ypsilanti’s Dom Bakeries. They were already my favorite donut shop in town (their apple fritters are ridiculously good!), but I never thought to stop in for some paczkis. But I’ll be heading to Copernicus this morning anyway to get some rose ones due to a special request from a Michigan ex-pat down in Key West.
So, if you have a Polish neighborhood in town, be sure to go on a hunt for paczkis today. Better yet, make a trip down to Hamtramck, MI and participate in the festivities throughout the day (I really should work for the Michigan tourist board). Don’t deprive yourself of this yearly event of sweet, deep-fried culture. And be sure to visit me on Facebook — I’m up to 7 likes now!
So this is a little late, and I apologize. As I said in my last post, I’ve been having issues with the editing software on here. I did a little adjusting of the settings here and there and I think I’m set.
No pictures of Daisy or Cooper this time. But since Groundhog Day is February 2, I did include some pics from Punxsutawney, PA. We made a stop there on the way moving from Maine back to Michigan. It was a little bit out of the way (well a lot out of the way, and it was especially difficult driving a moving truck on those twisty mountain roads), but I couldn’t resist meeting the famous groundhog!
In addition to Groundhog Day, we celebrate National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Macadamia Nut Month, and National Snack Food Month. Plus we get National Pancake Week during the last week of the month! Here are some of the fun holidays (along with some links, as always) we have this month:
1 – Baked Alaska Day
3 – Carrot Cake Day
4 – Stuffed Mushroom Day
8 – Molasses Bar Day
9 – Bagels and Lox Day
11 – Peppermint Patty Day
12 – Plum Pudding Day
13 – Tortellini Day
14 – Cream-filled Chocolates Day, Valentine’s Day
15 – Gumdrop Day
16 – Almond Day
17 – Indian Pudding Day
19 – Chocolate Mint Day
20 – Cherry Pie Day
21 – Sticky Bun Day
22 – Cook a Sweet Potato Day, Margarita Day
23 – Banana Bread Day
24 – Tortilla Chip Day
25 – Chocolate-Covered Peanuts Day, Clam Chowder Day
26 – World Pistachio Day
27 – Strawberry Day, Kahlua Day!
Happy 175th Birthday to the State of Michigan! So in honor of Michigan’s birthday today and tomorrow’s National Chocolate Cake Day, I present this German Chocolate Cake. Of course, from what I can discern, the (un)official state cake of Michigan is a German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake. It’s listed in Warren Brown’s book, United Cakes of America. Now these two cakes are very close — one uses pickled cabbage, the other uses some sweetened coconut. Those two ingredients are readily interchanged in any number of recipes, like kielbasa for example 🙂 See? Virtually the same!
Did you know that German Chocolate Cake isn’t actually German? It was named after Sam German, who developed a type of sweet, dark chocolate for Baker’s Chocolate. This recipe was developed in his honor, using the chocolate that he created. Originally, it was called German’s Chocolate Cake, but that was changed along the way, as things are wont to do. Now this cake wasn’t in my normal rotation, but after a couple of special requests for it, I’ve decided to add it. I couldn’t be happier with the results.
I used a chiffon cake for the base. Chiffon is an oil-based cake that was really popular in the ’40s and people loved it because it stayed so moist. The actual recipe was closely guarded secret until it was sold in the mid or late ’40s and later popularized in those box cake mixes you can find in the grocery store today. So if you ever make one of those cakes from a box mix (ugh!), you will be making a chiffon cake.
So since National Chocolate Cake Day is on the 27th, I’ll be posting on my Orange Devil Cake and my Chocolate Ice cake in the next few days. Stay tuned!
By the way, I got that Michigan birthday cake pic from the State of Michigan website. I’m not sure if they found the image or developed it themselves, but I just wanted to give them a shout out. Happy Birthday Michigan!