The weather has definitely turned here and with highs in the 40s and 50s, a chill in the air, and beautiful fall color everywhere, it is undeniably fall in A2…and I LOVE it! I gladly pulled on a sweater, scarf, jacket, and boots before I left the house this morning and plan on planting myself directly in front of my fireplace for as long as I can this weekend; if you know me, then you know that’s where I’ll happily spend much of my free time until spring pretty much. The beauty of fall in Michigan never ceases to take my breath away!
In our house there is definitely a strong love of ice cream/sorbet. One of our favorite local places to go is Blank Slate and they recently had apple cider sorbet on their menu which inspired us to make our own, homemade apple cider sorbet. We looked up recipes online before putting anything together and ended up combining several different recipes we found. Here’s what we ended up with and I think it’s pretty delicious!
- Step 1: combine 2 peeled apples (we used Honeycrisp), sugar, and ground cinnamon – cook to soften
- Step 2: place cooked apples in a bowl, add a pinch of salt, and mash into apple sauce consistency – taste and add more cinnamon and/or sugar if needed
- Step 3: make and chill simple syrup – 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar
- Step 4: combine chilled simple syrup with 1.5 cups apple cider and apple sauce you made earlier
- Step 5: put into chilled ice cream maker and let it do it’s thing
- Step 6: once it’s reached the desired, frozen consistency, move it to a freezer-safe container for storage and/or serve and enjoy
I can hardly believe it’s already October, but here we are on October 1st… The weather has turned cooler here and it’s a grey, rainy day in Ann Arbor; leaves are starting to change and of course we’re enjoying college football, Oktoberfest beer, beautiful mums, and snuggles with Maddy as often as we can. Here’s a beautiful excerpt from Robert Frost to capture the mood of this day –
by Robert Frost
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow…
We’re always looking for good recipes and if it’s something that’s quick and easy to make that’s even better. When we came across this recipe for Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Veggies and tried it for ourselves, it did not disappoint. Quick…check. Easy…check. Delicious…check, check! I never would have thought to roast gnocchi to cook it, but it really worked out well, and to make this whole thing even more appealing it was really nice that cleanup was so easy given that we only used one sheet pan/baking dish to roast everything together in.
It’s currently 55 degrees, windy, and it definitely feels like fall here today. This turn in the weather always makes me crave a bowl of delicious, homemade, veggie chili. We’ve made a lot of chili over the years and every time we make it it’s slightly different – Ryan is an excellent cook and tends to just throw in a little bit of this and a lit bit of that and the end result is typicaly mouthwatering perfection…thus was the case with our chili today.
Here are some videos/photos I took of the process:
- Step 1: 1 tbsp butter, 1 diced bell pepper, 1 diced onion
- Step 2: chili seasoning, diced jalapeño (we used 4, with seeds!)
- Step 3: 2 fresh ears of corn, 2 diced fresh zucchini
- Step 4: ~2 tbsp semi-sweet baking chocolate
- Step 5: 1 28oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, 1 28oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes – lower heat, cover, & let simmer for 15 minutes or more
- Step 6: drain, rinse, & add the beans – 1 15oz can aduki beans, 1 15oz can black beans, 1 13.4oz can kidney beans
- Step 7: add spices to taste – s&p, smoked paprika, & chili powder…then let simmer some more
We have three different veggie chili recipes currently on our blog, if you’re interested, and here they are:
Ryan has always been a fan of the meatball sub, but since I don’t eat much meat at all (and what I do eat I’m very picky about) I was really excited to try making these vegan meatballs. They were delicious and did not disappoint! As you have to cook and then completely cool the quinoa in advance, and with all the steps involved from start to finish, it is a bit time-consuming…but totally worth it in my opinion.
Here’s a few videos/photos I took of the process: forming the meatballs, pan-frying the meatballs, baking the meatballs, then we added ours to some marinara sauce, we served ours as meatball subs with mozzarella and parmesan cheese, topped with fresh basil, on a baguette and toasted them in the oven to finish and melt the cheese…yum! Again, you can find the vegan meatball recipe here and I highly recommend giving it a try for yourself; this is one I think we’ll definitely make again soon.
While it feels nothing like fall in SE Michigan today (high of 89 and 94% humidity), with Labor Day behind us and September officially here…the summer is sadly over. We filled our last few weeks of summer with attending the Ann Arbor Wayzgoose and Printing Festival, a trip to Cranbrook Art Museum where we saw the Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986 and Shepard Fairey: Salad Days, 1989-1999 exhibitions, visiting two new-to-us breweries (Atwater and Batch Brewing Co), and the start to college football season. Also, Maddy successfully completed the snoot challenge…have you seen all this cuteness?!? Pictured above is an arrangement I made with flowers and herbs from our garden – roses, lavender, mint, lemon balm, basil, and sage.
We spent about a week and half in beautiful Lake Ann, MI; one of us was there to work, and the other was just along for the ride (and the gorgeous scenery!), and Maddy…well, Maddy was there to be Maddy! We enjoyed a few day trips to Traverse City, including catching a Traverse City Film Festival midnight showing of Anna and the Apocalypse at the State Theater, and spent a few hours at Sleeping Bear Dunes. It was wonderful to get away for a bit, listen to the sound of the loons calling out, sit around a campfire (s’mores!),…and with views like this, what’s not to love?
You can view photos from our trip here.
“Relax. Don’t worry. And have a homebrew.” – Charlie Papazian
We have successfully brewed our first homebrew beer; it’s an Amber that we’ve decided to call “Pimero Uno”! Is it the best Amber I’ve tasted? Of course not. But, it’s definitely drinkable and we learned a lot from brewing it ourselves so the next batch of beer, whatever style we decide to make, should be even better and I count that as a win. I must also acknowledge all the resources out there that helped us to get as far as we have; there are many great resources online (like the American Homebrewers Association), locally (like Adventures in Homebrewing, where we took an “Intro to Homebrewing Class” yesterday), and of course books you can purchase (like Brew Better Beer by Emma Christensen). Here are some photos/videos I took of our homebrew process along the way…
- Steeping the Grains
- Adding the Hops
- Chilling the Wort
- Measuring the Original Gravity
- Pitching the Yeast
- First Fermentation (…wait two weeks)
- Racking to a Secondary Fermenter (…wait two weeks)
- Bottling (…wait one more week)
- Open and Enjoy!
Cheers and more to come on our adventures in homebrewing soon!
Being the native Texan that I am, I am all-too-familiar with hot summer weather (or “super summer” as my Mom likes to call it)…where they have days on end of 100+ temps and little to no rain. While we haven’t officially hit 100 degrees here in SE Michigan (and typically don’t, thank goodness!), it has been in the upper 90s lately with a heat index of 100+ and combined with the high humidity it’s felt sweltering to me.
There are many things to love about the summer (for Ryan, the hot weather is one of them)… all that sunshine and so many hours of daylight, lightning bugs/fireflies, the food (fresh watermelon, popsicles, ice cream, everything on the grill, etc.), patio dining, cold drinks, and I convinced Ryan that we needed a kiddie pool to dip our toes into on especially hot days while enjoying our backyard! Hope you’re enjoying your summer and all the season has to offer.