homemade dog treats

pb, pumpkin, grain-free homemade dog treats #diy #grainfree #dogtreats #homemade

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!

pb, pumpkin, grain-free homemade dog treats #diy #grainfree #dogtreats #homemade

pb, pumpkin, grain-free homemade dog treats #diy #grainfree #dogtreats #homemade

by Valerie | 09.10.17 | Around our home, Marvelous Maddy, Recipes | No Comments »

Adventures in salsa making…

adventures in home canning, starring homegrown tomatoes & peppers

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Prep:

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.

fire roasted garden tomatoes

by Ryan | 08.20.17 | Garden, Recipes | No Comments »

“Best Sauce Ever” – hatch green chile + poblano sauce

"Best Sauce Ever" - hatch green chile + poblano sauce 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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Prep:

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!

Untitled

by Valerie | 08.20.17 | Garden, Recipes | 1 Comment »

peachy keen

peaches

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.

garden goodies #grewitmyself

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!

custom, laser-etched dog tag @makerworks_a2

by Valerie | 08.14.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Marvelous Maddy, Recipes | No Comments »

weekend haps

58 & rainy on a Saturday afternoon in May

We enjoyed a cool, rainy weekend here in A2; watched some movies, cooked this Blue Apron meal, and visited my 26th Michigan brewery when we stopped by Brewery Becker in Brighton – my personal favorites on tap were the West Coaster (west coast style IPA), Victoria (Victorian era export stout), and Hefeweizen (classic wheat beer of Bavaria). Looking forward to the Memorial Day weekend ahead!

Baked Spinach Flatbreads with Sautéed Asparagus & Lemon #blueapron

Brewery Becker

by Valerie | 05.22.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Recipes | No Comments »

smoky, black-eyed pea veggie soup

smoky black eyed pea veggie soup with rice

We were a little late in eating our New Year’s Day black-eyed peas this year, but we remedied that for dinner last night; adding them to our soup made for a delicious and warming meal on a cold January night. Below are the ingredients and the recipe and you can watch us make it in this quick, time-lapse video here.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (we used chipotle infused)
  • 2-3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 carrot small diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 3 medium/smallish sweet potatoes large diced
  • 4 oz (2/3 a 6 oz can) tomato paste
  • 1/2 jar of red salsa
  • 1 12 oz can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3-4 cups of veggie stock (depending on how much broth you like)
  • 2 cans black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

In a large pot heat up the oilve oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic; cook until onion is slightly transparent. Add the bell peppers. Once everything starts to sweat a bit (or the peppers have started to become tender) add the smoked paprika. Cook for about another minute or so. Add the sweet potatoes and salt and pepper to your taste. Cook for about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomato past salsa and fire roasted tomatoes and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add the veggie stock, bring to boil. Once boiling reduce heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Add the black eyed peas and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve by itself or over some rice for a delicious, hearty meal.

by Valerie | 01.09.17 | Recipes | No Comments »

super leftover yum yum

cranberry sauce pancakes & fresh apple cider mimosa

What to do with all that leftover fresh cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, you ask? Whip up some delicious pancakes (this is the preferred pancake mix at our house) and top them with your leftover cranberry sauce (here’s one recipe)! And serving them up with a fresh apple cider mimosa can’t hurt either. Thanksgiving leftovers just keep getting better…

cranberry sauce pancakes & fresh apple cider mimosa

by Valerie | 11.26.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

Thank-Full Thanksgiving

kitchen table 11/19/16

With Thanksgiving just three days away, Ryan and I are getting ready for a quiet, cozy, Thanksgiving at home this year, and we are looking forward to cooking some delicious food together; I always enjoy all the yummy eats, followed by decorating our home for Christmas over Thanksgiving weekend! Below are some things that will be on our Thanksgiving table this year. What’s cooking in your home for the holiday?

Deviled Eggs with Bacon & Capers
Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange Liquor
Blackened Turkey Breast (prepared with a dry rub and grilled)
Gravy
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Root Vegetables with Fresh Herbs
Rolls
Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream

For some Turkey Day fun, you might enjoy taking a look at these:

Now that the weather has turned here in Ann Arbor, and we had our first snowfall last weekend, it’s extra nice to curl up by our fireplace too. I wish you a warm Thanksgiving, full of love, friends and family, happy memories, and delicious treats!

by Valerie | 11.21.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

Easter brunch

Easter Brunch 2016

We enjoyed a delicious Easter brunch at home, complete with what has become our traditional Easter menu of frittata (we made this one with cilantro, roasted poblano pepper, bell pepper, and onion) and savory swirls (we made this batch with store-bought biscuit dough and used this to flavor the Upton’s Chorizo Seitan), as well as roasted asparagus with lemon zest, breakfast potatoes, and the cutest little petit fours we picked up at a local market here in town. The Lenten Rose/Hellebore in my yard is doing very well and I was delighted to be able to cut and bring in several blooms to enjoy in vases in our house. It was sunny and not too cold out, so we enjoyed a bit of time outside in our patio chairs listening to the birds sing. Wishing you all a very happy Easter Sunday!

Easter Brunch 2016b

Easter Brunch 2016a

Hellebores

by Valerie | 03.27.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

Pi/pie, green, & spring

💗

Last Monday, 3/14, was Pi Day and we celebrated by ordering a pizza pie for dinner and enjoying an apple pie for dessert. We remembered to wear our green for St. Patrick’s Day last Thursday too; even Melody had some green in her collar, so we all avoided getting pinched. We made these Blue Apron meals at home (you can view photos here) over the last week: Crispy Brown Butter Gnocchi with Meyer Lemon & Brussels Sprouts, Baked Jerk Tofu & Smashed Plantains with Garlic-Ginger Collard Greens, Roasted Broccoli & Fregola Sarda Salad with Hard-Boiled Eggs & Tahini Dressing (we did fried eggs in place of the hard-boiled eggs), and Mushroom & Poblano Pepper Quesadillas with Monterey Jack Cheese & Avocado-Radish Salsa (we substituted zucchini for the mushrooms, due to allergy). And, as of yesterday, it is officially spring; I really enjoyed our walks with Melody over the weekend, seeing daffodil and crocus blooms, little green shoots coming up from the ground for tulips and lilies, etc., buds on the trees, the sky was such a beautiful shade of blue, and coming across this sweet little sidewalk chalk message pictured above. We picked up some cheery yellow daffodils and white tulips for the house, along with a beautiful purple arrangement I took home from a work event filled with stock, waxflower, and lovely, pale purple roses.

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes... Happy first day of spring!

event flowers

by Valerie | 03.21.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants, Recipes | No Comments »

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