So nice to be up North…

Up North - October 2014

We spent a fantastic, long weekend up in northwest Michigan in the Traverse City area. I honestly don’t think I can come up with the appropriate words to really describe how breathtakingly beautiful it was up there (especially with the fall color on display)! As you may already be aware, fall is my favorite season – so this weekend I was in my happy place…seeing the fall views all around me (so much color!), wearing sweaters and scarves, enjoying a warm fire (don’t forget the s’mores -we had those too), stopping at an apple orchard (more on that below), etc. I was like a kid in a candy store and it was great! Why can’t I stop using exclamation points…yep, fall does this to me, I can’t contain my excitement!!!

We spent some time hiking around where we stayed (Lake Ann, MI) and also enjoyed a hike in Sleeping Bear Dunes, we drove around and stopped in Leland, visited the L. Mawby and Big Little tasting rooms, made it out to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, and did a bit of shopping and dinner in Traverse City too. The lakeshore colors are stunning and it was beautiful watching the waves crash along the shoreline.

We are lucky, here in Michigan, as there seems to be no shortage of apple orchards to visit and enjoy this time of year. I had the pleasure of visiting an orchard that was like none other I’ve been to before; one of the highlights for us was stumbling upon Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm where they grow and sell antique apple varieties. I was fascinated at how many varieties of apples they had available – most of which I’d never heard of or seen before. We picked up 3 small containers to take home of Sheepnose, Spitzenburg (supposedly Thomas Jefferson’s favorite), and Ashmead’s Kernel apples; we ate Almata (these are pink on the inside) and Macoun apples on the spot, before we got back to the car. They also ship gift boxes and the woman who rang us up was the owner’s granddaughter – so charming and such an interesting stop along our way.

You can view more photos from our trip here.

Kilcherman's Christmas Cove Farm

Up North - October 2014

Up North - October 2014

Up North - October 2014

Up North - October 2014

Up North - October 2014

by Valerie | 10.20.14 | For Funsies, Travel | No Comments »

weekend haps

Untitled

After a busy work week, we found some time for some much needed r&r over the weekend – I watched one of my favorite Halloween movies, enjoyed our fireplace, and did a bit of decorating around the house. Ryan did some yard work too, mowing and raking leaves, cleaning up some of our garden beds for the season (he pulled quite a lot of herbs which we’re hoping to dry and use throughout the winter). And Melody enjoyed a nap near the sunshine coming in the window on Sunday afternoon; she’s a professional at that!

Jack-o-lantern

Sun napping

by Valerie | 10.13.14 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

fall y’all

fall y'all

So this is what my front yard looks like now… I know, I know – we need to get out the rake, but isn’t it beautiful? We made a big pot of homemade soup with fresh garden peppers and herbs over the weekend too – yum!

by Valerie | 10.06.14 | For Funsies | No Comments »

take a hike

Pinckney

The weather in Michigan this last week was pretty spectacular and we couldn’t resist taking advantage of it and enjoying a hike on Saturday in the late morning/early afternoon. Bonus: We stopped for fresh cider and doughnuts on the way there and were able to enjoy some of the early fall color on display too!

fall afternoon

Pinckney

fall afternoon #nofilter

Pinckney

by Valerie | 09.29.14 | Around town, For Funsies | No Comments »

Squirrel!

Squirrel

Our dog, Melody, is very familiar with certain words and makes it clear she understands (or at least is excited) when you say those certain words out loud…words like, “outside”, “treat”, and “squirrel”, for example. We’ve got 3 bird feeders at our home, which the squirrels, chipmunks, and birds all seem to enjoy and Melody delights in chasing off squirrels from our yard whenever she’s given the chance; it’s pretty great to watch – you can tell she’s really proud of herself and she’s having a great time doing it whenever she bolts off after one. And, working on a college campus, there is no shortage of bold squirrels to observe; some of which will even approach you and beg for food/pose for this photo. I like to imagine they all have names (most of which are “Henry” for some reason). Did you know the University of Michigan has a Squirrel Club?

by Valerie | 09.26.14 | For Funsies | No Comments »

blue skies & sunshine

#rossschoolofbusiness

Blue skies

Sunflower

by Valerie | 09.23.14 | For Funsies, Photography | No Comments »

feeling fall

new sofa - sunshine - late afternoon

This week really began to feel like fall, with the cooler temps; I welcomed my favorite season by lighting a fire in our fireplace and enjoying a hot cup of fresh apple cider. Today we made veggie chili – it’s been simmering on the stove all afternoon and will be perfect for dinner tonight. I picked up some lovely orange mums and these dahlias pictured below. And we got this great new (vintage) sofa, which you can see a bit of in the photo above; it’s a perfect match to our existing chairs and will be nice to have some extra, comfy seating in our front room. The light is so beautiful in the late afternoon in there…

Dahlias

by Valerie | 09.14.14 | Around our home | No Comments »

Things I love

Cloud formations

Things I love:

  • My husband (who makes me lattes).
  • Roos Roast Lobster Butter Love in my lattes.
  • Saturday mornings at home.
  • Thunderstorms.
  • Garden flowers.
  • Pasta for dinner (with fresh-cut garden basil on top).
  • My cutie pup (who looks extra cute here in her Texas Tech collar begging for crackers).

Things I love: 1) my husband (who makes me lattes). 2) Roos Roast Lobster Butter Love in my lattes. 3) Saturday mornings at home.

Things I love: garden flowers

Pasta dinner with garden basil

Things I love: this cutie pup!

by Valerie | 09.08.14 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Afterhouse

Found this buried in the walls - Detroit paper from August 1946 #afterhouse

We enjoyed helping out at Afterhouse yesterday in Detroit (you can read more about Afterhouse here and here). Spent several hours of hard work for a good cause with some really great people; and, bonus, we got to hang out with the adorable Ezra too! We also met a very nice young lady who lives in the neighborhood and Ezra was really digging her beautiful braided hair – so cute! In the process of taking down some of an old wall, a paper was unearthed – Detroit Free Press dated August 24, 1946 that stated “One answer to Detroit’s housing shortage. City to get material for 10,000 homes.”

#afterhouse

#afterhouse

#afterhouse

by Valerie | 09.01.14 | For Funsies | No Comments »

adventures in home canning: salsa edition

Adventures in home canning

Just in case you didn’t read the last 3 posts, we have waaaaay too many peppers this year and don’t know what to do with them. From hot sauce to pickled jalapenos now we are giving a go at making a salsa for home canning.

Ingredients:

  • 23-24 roma (paste) tomatoes (roasted on the grill)
  • 1+ tbsp olive oil of your choosing (the + is for coating the tomatoes)
  • 1/2 purple onion, finely diced
  • 8-10 serrano peppers, minced w/seeds in; adjust that for your heat tolerance
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of cilantro (before chopping)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

1. prep the tomatoes

Heat up a grill to medium/medium high heat. Coat the tomatoes in an olive oil of your choosing; I used a chipotle infused olive oil. Place tomatoes on grill then roast them until skins start to blacken in spots and tomatoes become a little bit soft. You don’t want them too soft as they’ll just turn to mush. Set aside to cool. Once cool cut the top of the cores out and place in a blender and puree.

2. make salsa

Heat a large sauce pan to medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and heat it up. Add the garlic, onion, and peppers to the pan. As they start to sweat add the cumin and chile powders, stir so that they are well coated. Add the tomatoes and vinegars and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes. Add salt.

3. can that s*!t

Follow directions for your preferred method of canning. We used the water bath canning method, which we tried our best to follow Ball’s recommendations. Sanitize your jars and lids and keep warm while you prepare the food above (we used our dishwasher to sanitize and heat). Prepare a large pot for canning and bring that water to a boil. Once the salsa is ready add it to the jars, put lids on, and put them in water bath. Follow the recommendations of time for the jar size you are using and altitude you are cooking at. Once done, remove and set aside for 12-24 hours. Store in a cool place; we’re talking about temperature here not a fashionable location.

4. Is this a tested canning recipe?

No. It is based on many other tested recipes. From what I can tell is that the key to canning salsa is an addition of about 5% acid (vinegar or lemon juice) and making sure it is brought to a boil. There are lots of recipes published by university agriculture programs out there that break down how to calculate the addition of acid to your salsa. We will update this post months from now after we crack a jar open and consume it. If we don’t get sick, success. If we do get sick, yeah diarrhea!

by Ryan | 09.01.14 | Garden, Recipes | No Comments »

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