summer fun & on the road again

NY state of mind

It’s been a whirlwind of a week for me – at the office, we packed up everything to move into our new space while at the same time packing for Ross on the Road events we’re traveling for in seven cities from Tuesday, July 19th (in Boston) through Thursday, July 28th (in Chicago); in the process, I’ve been lucky enough to see some really beautiful event spaces, like the Ascent Lounge in New York and the First Amendment Lounge at The National Press Club in Washington, DC. In NY, I made a point to stop by Junior’s and pick up some black and white cookies to take home (I can’t resist, they’re so good!) and in DC I was sure to take a stroll by The White House of course. Next week, I’m headed to Los Angeles and Chicago and looking forward to it.

In Ann Arbor, we had Art Fair this week…which always brings our hottest summer temperatures and thunderstorms; Ryan and I enjoyed strolling around downtown and seeing the sights yesterday. It’s always so good to come home! Speaking of home, I’m lucky enough to have a husband who is an amazing cook – I’ve been craving some delicious pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil so Ryan was kind enough to cook that up for me when I returned home from DC on Friday, yum! Our garden is doing great; we pulled a whole bowl full of fresh tomatoes from our garden box just yesterday and our peppers, onions, and herbs seem to be enjoying the summer weather too.

pasta with garden tomatoes, garden basil, & farmers market pesto

garden tomatoes & sun tea #grewitmyself

by Valerie | 07.24.16 | Around town, For Funsies, Garden, Travel, Work | No Comments »

home cooked

Cod & Potato Brandade with Watermelon Radish Salad & Garlic Toasts #blueapron

Tomorrow we’ll receive our third Blue Apron shipment in the mail and we’re still really enjoying it – I still feel a bit like a kid opening presents on Christmas morning every time we get a box; as I mentioned here, it’s been fun to try new recipes at home, new ingredients (like watermelon radish), and we’ve enjoyed having all the groceries needed for the meals shipped right to our door too. Another thing I have personally loved about it is that we are spending the time it takes to make the meals together in the kitchen, listening to music (sometimes there’s dancing!), talking, laughing, and enjoying a beer or a glass of wine. Week one brought us: Butternut Squash & Poblano Chili with Toasted Pepitas & Charred Lime, Apple & Parmesan Cheese Panzanella Salad with Smashed Purple Potatoes (we altered the recipe and used Parmesan in place of blue cheese), and Cacciatore-Style Baked Eggs with Lacinato Kale & Parmesan-Garlic Toasts. Week two brought us: White Pizza with Baked Eggs & Arugula-Brussels Sprout SaladCod & Potato Brandade with Watermelon Radish Salad & Garlic Toasts (pictured above and below), and Chicken Meatballs & Creamy Polenta with Tomato Sugo & Lacinato Kale. I’m looking forward to more culinary adventures and fun in the kitchen! Want to see more photos of our food? Take a peek here!

Cod & Potato Brandade with Watermelon Radish Salad & Garlic Toasts #blueapron

Cod & Potato Brandade with Watermelon Radish Salad & Garlic Toasts #blueapron

by Valerie | 01.29.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Recipes | No Comments »

weekend haps

garden rose & ranunculus

We spent a productive weekend doing lots of cooking at home (2 more Blue Apron meals – Chicken Meatballs & Creamy Polenta with Tomato Sugo & Lacinato Kale and Cod & Potato Brandade with Watermelon Radish Salad & Garlic Toasts – as well as an original tomato, roasted vegetable, and noodle soup that Ryan put together…“mmm noodle soup”), running errands, and cleaning house. And I picked up these gorgeous roses and ranunculus for myself…just because.


Melody is looking extra cute in her Valentine’s Day collar, by the way!

my buddy and me

my buddy and me

by Valerie | 01.25.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants, Recipes | No Comments »

good luck

Happy New Year's Eve

We enjoyed a lovely New Year’s Eve with friends and followed it with a full day of house cleaning and a delicious dinner of pan-fried yellow lake perch, rosemary cornbread, roasted potatoes, and black-eyed peas (we used this recipe as a guide, but Ryan gave it his own spin). Here’s hoping that the new year brings us all plenty of good luck!

Black-eyed peas

Rosemary cornbread

by Valerie | 01.05.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

giving thanks, part II

Thanksgiving 2014

I know this is a bit belated (I caught a bug and was feeling under the weather last week and I’m finally feeling myself again), but we enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Low, warm dinner lighting doesn’t make for the best photos of food, but it was all so delicious! I am so thankful to have such an amazing husband, who is not only the best partner I could possibly dream up but also an amazing cook. It was so nice to have our dear friends Michael and Jennifer join us for Thanksgiving dinner (and bring along that delicious apple crisp to share – yum!) with Ryan’s Mom at our house. I hope you had a wonderful, delicious Thanksgiving filled with good memories as well as good eats!

Brussels Sprouts

by Valerie | 12.07.14 | Around our home, Holidaze | No Comments »

Giving thanks…

…for family and friends, for our dog Melody (she’s so cute it hurts), for good food, for our beautiful home, and for my amazing husband – who is a great cook, is always easy on the eyes, who lets me put my cold feet on him when I first get into bed to help warm them up, has a wonderful sense of humor, and who happily makes me lattes whenever I ask him to.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving brunch with friends and a quiet, relaxing Thanksgiving dinner at home with just Ryan, Melody, and me. Deviled eggs was the first thing we made, followed by pumpkin pie (which is a long, sad story – but it’s ok because we bought one from the store today to make up for it), bourbon whipped cream, fresh cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy, and turkey. On the floor, under a blanket, by the fire is where I found myself falling asleep early in the evening, with Ryan and Melody by my side.

We served our deviled eggs on a lovely Russel Wright piece. I really love Russel Wright serving dishes; they are so simple with beautiful, muted colors – we’ve picked up a few in recent years at garage sales and resale shops.  I think it made my deviled eggs look extra sexy – well, as sexy as deviled eggs can look, I suppose.

Today, Ryan made me waffles with fresh apple compote for breakfast and we took a walk to a nearby park with Melody. Later, we’ll enjoy some Thanksgiving leftovers and I’m sure to find myself by the fire,  under a blanket again, likely watching some holiday movies.

by Valerie | 11.29.13 | Around our home, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

2012: Week 52

2012: Week 52
Now is a good time for you to explore.

by Valerie | 01.05.13 | Photography | No Comments »

Weekend fun


We enjoyed a fun weekend & some lovely spring weather! There’s a reason they say “April showers bring May flowers” – the world around us is finally, really turning green again; the trees, shrubs, & flowers are blooming &, most importantly for us, our garden is coming to life! The onions we planted several weeks ago have little green shoots popping out of the soil & our other plants are already noticeably bigger – we planted two types of tomatoes (New Girl & Brandywine Heirloom) & more strawberries (Ozark Everbearing) over the weekend as well.

We enjoyed a friendly game of Texas hold’em with friends on Friday. Ryan was able to go on his first mountain bike ride this year on Saturday. And we made some really delicious curry potatoes, with onion & garlic & spices, in the slow cooker for dinner, with samosas & naan from Shalimar on the side of course! On Sunday we made a stop at our favorite flower shop, Pot & Box, saw a movie at the theater (Source Code), planted the strawberries & tomatoes I mentioned above, & had brinner – breakfast for dinner – which was delicious. And now here we are again, back at Monday – it happens so fast, doesn’t it?!?

by Valerie | 05.02.11 | For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »

Mmmmm beer-battered tempeh

Beer Battered Tempeh

So I had a craving for some fried food, and thought I would try something new…beer-battered tempeh. Its kind of like chicken tenders without the chicken. They were pretty tasty morsels and packets of fried nutty goodness, but then again most fried food is delicious, so try them out for yourself.

beer battered tempeh ingredients:

  • 1 package tempeh (we used Light Life Garden Veggie)
  • 3/4 cup beer of your choice (sorry vegans I used Guinness, but I am certain any good stout would work)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup flour for batter + additional flour (1/2-1 cups) for dredging
  • 1 tsp course ground black pepper
  • 1/2 -1 tsp mace
  • 1/4 tsp (give or take) onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp (give or take) garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • canola oil for frying (or other oil of your choice)
  • salt and pepper

Combine the beer, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp of mace, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the pepper, the remaining paprika, any additional mace you want, onion powder, garlic powder, and additional dredging flour. Cut the tempeh into thin strips, about 1/4″ thick.

Fill a large frying pan with canola oil, about 1/2″-3/4″ deep. Heat over medium heat. You can take a bit of the wet batter and drop it in, if it sizzles and rises to the top you’re ready to cook. Once the oil is ready to rock, dip a tempeh strip into the wet ingredient batter, shake it off some, then dredge it in the dry mix, toss into the oil and watch it sizzle. You can do this in small batches of 6-8 strips at a time. Cook until golden brown, flipping once during cooking. They cook pretty quickly about 3-4 minutes. Once cooked, place them on a plate with paper towels on it (helps soak up the oil), add additional salt, pepper, and any additional seasoning.

You can eat these bad boys any way you want. If you want to eat them like nuggets, pour some bbq-sauce or ranch in a cup and dip away, If you are the vinegar type, try sprinkling on some malt vinegar. I had mine in sandwich form. For the sammich, use any bun or bread of your choice, top with  some sautéed onions (make sure they are nice and caramelized), add some fresh lettuce, and a couple slices of tomato (or ditch the lettuce and tomato for some Brussels sprout slaw!!!). A good side dish is also recommended. Fried food loves to be paired with more fried food so some chips (aka French Fries) would be appropriate. I had mine with some mac ‘n’ cheese.

Oh, and why mace you ask? Apparently mace is often found in another fried delicious thing called the doughnut. I use it typically as a spice rub for barbecue. It has a sort of sweetness and spiciness to it, like nutmeg, only lighter. I figured if it is good enough for doughnuts it would make a pleasing addition to tempeh batter.

Beer Battered Tempeh

by Ryan | 04.23.11 | Recipes | No Comments »

Homemade Pasta with Awesome Sauce

Homemade Pasta

So I don’t know exactly what awesome sauce is; I first heard it the phrase while watching a video of a laser cutter playing the theme song to Super Mario Bros. That was definitely awesome. When Val tasted the sauce, it set her mouth ablaze with spiciness and flavor, and she claimed this sauce was “awesome.”

pasta ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of semolina flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1 tbsp of dried herbs (I used our Rosemary Rapture blend)
  • a pinch of salt

ingredients for awesome sauce:

  • 1 red onion diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic roasted
  • 1 tsp of dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp of hot sauce (I used Cholula)
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of butchers pepper
  • 1 heaping tbsp of dried Italian seasoning
  • 6 tomatoes on the vine, cored and deseeded
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine (we used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1/4 cup of veggie stock
  • kosher salt

Homemade Pasta

To make the pasta start by mixing the dried ingredients on a smooth surface. Form a well in the middle of the dried ingredients. Crack the eggs on the counter and break the shell over the well. With a fork start whisking the eggs and incorporating the flour. Continue mixing the flour and eggs, add the olive oil and water as needed. Work the mix until it begins to form a stiff dough. Once formed, put aside for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Homemade Pasta

To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling add some salt. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain the pasta and lightly drizzle some olive oil on the pasta so it doesn’t stick.

To make the sauce, pre-heat an oven to 450 degrees. Roast the garlic head in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Once cool to the touch, or cool enough to handle, peel the skin off of the roasted garlic. In a blender (or with an immersion blender) puree the roasted garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, veggie stock, and wine to a slightly chunky consistency. Set the puree aside. Heat up a large sauce pan or skillet to medium heat. Add the olive oil, heat for a minute or two. Add the onions and minced garlic cloves. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the dried herbs, the crushed red pepper, butcher’s pepper, balsamic vinegar, and hot sauce. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato puree and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes or longer. Salt to taste. Note that this sauce has quite a kick to it, so if you don’t like it spicy you might want to leave out some of the pepper or hot sauce here.

Put the pasta in a bowl, top it with some sauce, consider sprinkling some parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy.

A note about making your own pasta:

I’m not entirely sure if making your own pasta is worth it. While the taste of fresh the pasta was great, it did take a great deal of effort to make. The bulk of the effort was not in forming the dough, but forming the noodles themselves. We used our friend’s Kitchen Aid mixer attachment that extrudes noodles. Our first attempt with making linguine yielded noodle mush. So we reformed the dough and used the spaghetti extruder. As the noodles came out the pasta would stick to itself and we had to pull the noodles apart. It was a lot of effort, for something very simple. I don’t know if I needed to have the pasta dough cooler, a bit more flour, etc., who knows. If it wasn’t for the fact that sorting the noodles was like pulling apart several bags of pull-n-peel twizzlers it would be something worth doing all the time. I’ll do some more testing in the next couple week to see what I can do and if I can get it to be a bit easier. If  I can get the noodle part down I think we would fully switch to making our own noodles.

Homemade Pasta

by Ryan | 04.16.11 | Recipes | No Comments »

Louis Vuitton Store Locator Louis Vuitton Handbags Replica Where to Buy Louis Vuitton Handbags Cheap Louis Vuitton Handbags Replica Shoes for Women by Louis Vuitton Louis Vuitton Outlet Cheap Louis Vuitton Shoes Buy Louis Vuitton Bags Cheap Online Louis Vuitton Handbags Cheap from China Cheap Sale of Louis Vuitton Bags

Warning: file(): php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known in /home/ryanm/ : eval()'d code on line 223

Warning: file( failed to open stream: php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known in /home/ryanm/ : eval()'d code on line 223

Warning: array_rand() expects parameter 1 to be array, boolean given in /home/ryanm/ : eval()'d code on line 225

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/ryanm/ : eval()'d code on line 229