Although we still have some highs in the 80s here, it is cooling off and there are signs of fall everywhere…changing leaves, cooler nights, an abundance of Michigan apples, and college football. This Texas gal will never get over how truly breathtaking Michigan is in the fall! We recently made our first batch of veggie chili at home and watched our first Texas Tech football game of the season on TV last Saturday (TTU 52 – ASU 45). We paired two excellent, local beers with our college football experience last weekend too: Wolverine Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest and Homes Brewery “Bang Down” Oat Stout. To top it off, we enjoyed watching the game while relaxing on our DIY pillow cases; we found some beautiful wool fabric at an estate sale which we bought for next to nothing and managed to sew 8 pillow cases from out of 2 different fabrics (4 euro shams and 4 standard shams). Happy fall!
We decided to make Maddy some homemade dog treats, following this recipe, today and she seems to love them. It wasn’t difficult and went pretty quickly (the most difficult/time consuming step was getting the treats to come neatly out of the cookie cutters and onto the tray without breaking) and it’s good to know exactly what goes into them as we made them ourselves. We used various cookie cutter sizes and shapes and, pictured below, Maddy waited patiently at our feet while we put these together. I’m sure we’ll be making more and trying some different recipes out in the near future; here’s to happy, healthy pups!
We spent a fun, Labor Day weekend in NYC; most importantly, we visited the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University where we saw some very rare type catalogs. While there, we also enjoyed seeing some of the sights, like Top of the Rock, the High Line, Central Park, and a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge; and of course we had some amazing food (pierogies at Veselka) and drinks (cocktails at PDT) too. You can view more photos and videos of our NYC trip here.
Yesterday was National Dog Day; here’s Maddy with lots smiles to wish you a happy National Dog Day!
We had a great Saturday afternoon at the Ann Arbor District Library too; they invited Ryan to be part of the Letterpress Open Lab and screening of Pressing On: The Letterpress Film. The film was beautifully done and it was really cool to see Ryan’s Bevel Chromatic Grotesque type in action (pictured here).
In case you’ve been living in a cave or hiding under a rock somewhere you might not be aware that today, Monday, August 21, 2017, there will be a total solar eclipse which will be visible within a band across the entire contiguous United States, passing from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast. In other countries it will only be visible as a partial eclipse. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire contiguous United States was during the June 8, 1918, eclipse, and not since the February 1979 eclipse has a total eclipse been visible from anywhere in the mainland United States. (see more here)
Here are some safe ways to view the eclipse; Ryan made his own pinhole camera using a box, some tape, a piece of white paper, and some aluminum foil.
Interested in seeing this from the comfort of your own, home, office, etc.? Here are a few sources for a live-stream of the event:
Listen to this…I’m, sorry I just can’t help myself!
It seems our garden is really set up to make sauces and hot sauce more than anything else. Rather than just using our serrano peppers for hot sauce again (which we still may do) we decided to mix them with our tomatoes for a nice salsa that can be quick canned for preserving in the fridge or freezer.
- 1/2 red onion (roasted on grill and diced)
- mix of roma and heirloom tomatoes, about 14 heirloom and 8 roma
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (+ some to coat the onions and tomatoes)
- 3 cloves of garlic pressed into a paste
- lots of serrano peppers minced (we lost count at 12, there may be more)
- cilantro to your taste (we used about a 1/2 cup loosely packed then finely chopped)
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp of distilled white vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
On a grill roast the tomatoes and onions. Remove from grill and let cool. Small dice the onion. Core the tomatoes and put into a blender or food processor and puree (ours produced just over 4 cups of tomato sauce). Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the garlic and peppers and sauté for a few minutes (3-4). Add the onions and continue to sauté for a couple more minutes (2-3). Add the tomato sauce and vinegar and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken a bit. Add the cilantro and salt and pepper to your taste.
This recipe is not safe tested for real canning, we’re not certain about whether or not there is enough acid to keep it on a shelf for long term. That said, there should be enough vinegar for long term freezing and making it shelf stable in your fridge for a while.
Also pictured above, we pickled our garden jalapeños using this recipe.
We grew our own poblano chile peppers this summer; now that it’s getting to be late August and the weather will soon turn, we’re harvesting a lot of ripe peppers, tomatoes, etc. and figuring out what to do with all our garden goodies. With us both coming from Texas, we are fans of spicy food and Hatch chiles hold a special place in Ryan’s heart as it wasn’t too far from his hometown and an often used and enjoyed ingredient in home cooking. When he recently saw fresh Hatch chiles in our local grocery store, he was sure to pick up a bag and decided they would pair well with our homegrown poblano chiles for a nice, spicy sauce.
- 3 tomatillos
- 4 poblano chiles
- 6-8 Hatch green chiles
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced to a paste or pressed in a garlic press
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Roast tomatillos on the grill. Roast peppers on the grill, over medium heat, until skins are browned and start to come loose from peppers; remove from heat, place in container, and cover to steam. Once cooled, remove pepper tops, deseed, and remove skins leaving you with only the flesh of the peppers. Put all ingredients in a food processor and purée.
After putting this together and tasting it, Ryan called it the “best sauce ever”; it’s fresh, and spicy, and if you’re not afraid of some heat give it a try for yourself!
It’s peach season in Michigan and there is an abundant supply of juicy, ripe fruit available at our local farmer’s markets – or if you’re lucky enough to have a friend who has peach trees and is willing to share, from friends too! We were inspired by our friend Jennifer, who recently made and shared a beautiful peach crisp photo, and our friend Laura, who generously gave us a bag of peaches from her yard, to make our own peach crisp and it did not disappoint; we used this recipe as a guide (thank you, Jennifer!) and Ryan did a bit of tweaking using what we had available in our pantry (we added oats and cinnamon and left out the garam masala).
While we aren’t growing our own peaches, we are growing our own tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, peppers, and herbs this summer and our tomato plants are producing some beautiful fruit; just look at this heaping bowl of tomato (there’s a zucchini hiding in there too) goodness! As our ripe tomato count is rising, we’re considering what do with them all…pasta sauce, salsa, etc. I couldn’t resist snapping a quick photo of them all piled up in this beautiful bowl by Abigail Murray Studio on top of this tea towel by MirDinara.
We also took some time this weekend to use the laser cutter at Maker Works to make a custom-etched dog tag for Maddy; what we ended up with was 100 times better than what we were able to get from the machine at the pet store too. DIY for the win!
Our garden is producing peppers like crazy now and our tomatoes are doing pretty well too; I picked another zucchini and a decent-sized poblano pepper yesterday! We had a fun weekend catching up on past Game of Thrones episodes for this season, visiting with friends, and we had a relaxing Sunday filled with a nice walk in a local park followed by some dog park fun with Maddy, then lunch at a local place that was new to us, and a visit to our local Humane Society to drop off some donations. The weather cooled off this past weekend and it was beautiful weather to be outside in! Cooler temps are already making me think of fall and I’m getting excited at the thought of having our first fireplace fire, fresh apple cider, and the changing leaves.
Ryan and I recently spent a day enjoying lots of summer things – cold beers on a warm, sunny patio, stopping in our local ice cream parlor, enjoying those beautiful, blue summer skies, etc. And our garden is starting to produce a good amount of fresh produce for us as well now; we’ve picked a whole bowl full of jalapeños and serrano peppers, 6 ripe tomatoes, 1 zucchini, and a whole lot of fresh herbs. Amazingly, the summer is already almost gone and suddenly it’s August! Where has the summer gone? Maddy seems surprised too…