Fresh Friday 11/21/14

Hey everyone!

I’ve had so much going on lately! I’m sure you all are in the same boat. Such a busy time of the year.  We have a shake-up of staff at work so that’s been going on, prep for holidays, and a mother who had surgery at the start of the month. There has been a lot of highway driving to go to the hospital, rehab center, and her place to hang out or to get things prepped for her return home. We (well, really, the Huz) installed a stair-lift at mom’s place for her to get between the 1st and 2nd floors. That was a HUGE ordeal, but after 2 weeks, it’s all finally taken care of and installed. Mom is thrilled. I’m glad that she can be more independent in her home now.

Last night, the Huz and I went to see Interstellar at the IMAX. Oh man! It was beautiful! I want to go into so many details with you on here, but I hate spoilers, so I’ll just give you the highlight reviews. No spoilers.

I mean, everything was beautiful. The plot, the actors/characters, graphics, sound effects, music (Hans Zimmer…great job!), concepts. Just beautiful. They did an amazing job of getting me to relate to the characters and their plights. For the raw content review: no sexuality, not much language, some violence, some intense frightening situations. I would not take a little kid to see it. Apollo 13 was an emotional movie, but this was more intense on that regard. I got choked up and teary in several spots. If you’re worried about non-Biblical philosophies, there was no mention of religion, except for a sarcastic comment about prayer to an object. It was a pure science-fiction movie and one with no agenda besides getting people curious about space again and what could be out there. That was very refreshing.

I am not one of those people who thinks there could be life “out there” in space somewhere. I think the Earth is God’s unique creation. But the universe is so enormous and so diverse! All of it was created to give God glory and I think it does an amazing job of that. I have always had an explorer spirit so the idea of going to see something brand new would be incredible. I would not be able to survive in space though. Yipes! But I enjoy (most) movies that take me there instead.

One comment by Anne Hathaway’s character was so poignant and, I thought, almost a hint of the Gospel, but not quite there. She made a comment that love is something that could not be a survival instinct. Love for the dead especially, but that it must be a kind of artifact of a higher dimension. I whole-heartedly believe that the higher dimension is God. He put the capacity for love in our hearts and it is beautiful.  Anyway, I would highly recommend this film and if you can see it at an IMAX, it is well worth the price!!!

Before heading out for the movie, I had some time to make some cookies. Our local Kroger carries persimmons and I have been dying to find more things to do with persimmons. I found a few cookie recipes on Pinterest and tried of them out. Yum, this recipe is so good!!!

You’re welcome and enjoy!

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Fresh Friday – Foodie/Wander Edition (Traverse City Food Stops)

To continue with the Traverse City recap, I’m sharing some of the places we stopped for food in the and around the city.  Of course, being northwest mitt-Michigan, you can expect lots of cherries featured on the menus. Some of my favorite things I tried was special-made cherry chipotle humus and cherry barbecue sauce.

House of Doggs140607 - TC House of Doggs

Website

120 S Union St, Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 922-1348

***UPDATE (1/3/16) The only location for House of Doggs is now in the Mall.  Here’s the address: 3200 S. Airport Rd., Traverse City, Michigan***

Now, if you want to talk about chili dogs, you talk about Cincinnati. That’s a firm statement and fact. I don’t even know why I bothered getting a Cincy-style chili dog outside of Cincinnati, but they did only alright. I’ll share that my companions LOVED their dogs, though. Matt’s mom heard that this place was on one of those foodie TV shows and so, it was our first stop the very day we got there. It was very good, and I enjoyed the theme of the joint – all dogs have their own quirky regional name, like: Be-Bop, Grand Funk, Disco, James Brown, etc. The brother in law got a real strange one, I think it was the HOD Fusion, which included crushed potato chips.

The Underground Cheesecake Factory140608 - TC cheesecakes

Website

1375 Yellow Drive, Traverse City MI 49684
231-929-4418

The Huz and I stopped in here because, hello, it’s cheesecake! We were in the area called The Village, which includes the renovated Old State Hospital grounds (apartments, shops, restaurants) for the annual Traverse Colantha Walker Dairy Festival. Naturally, they are incredible for their cheesecakes, but they also serve soups and sandwiches. We got our cheesecake to go but ate our lunch outside. So good!

Higher Grounds Trading Co

Website

806 Red Dr, Suite 150, Traverse City, MI 49684
877.825.2262

It was a little chilly on the day of the Traverse Colantha Walker Dairy Festival. Of course, Michigan is a little further north than southwest Ohio, so we should have been prepared. We welcomed a stop into this coffee shop, which is just around the corner from Underground Cheesecake Factory.  This place has all the earmarks of a great local coffee shop, which I love! One super-cool thing is that they gave us our coffee in real ceramic mugs. The catch? We could bring them back when we were done and they’d be cleaned and reused, or we could take them if we really wanted. We returned ours, but mine had a Santa on it, which was fun. The mugs are donated to them and it would definitely reduce the waste from the shop. I’m pretty sure I saw that they offer the used grinds to small-garden farmers. Here’s the description they post on their website about who they are:

Higher Grounds Trading Co. roasts fair trade and organic coffee from around the world. We stick to high standards not only for ethical and environmental reasons, but also because we’re obsessed with quality: we believe these standards produce the best-quality coffees around. Our close relationships with farmers help us bring delicious coffee from the field to your cup.

Millie’s on Main – Mackinac Island140609 - Millies on Main

Website (couldn’t find a true website, so this is their Yelp page)

7294 Main St, Mackinac Island, MI 49757
906.847.9901

If I’ve been walking a lot before eating (which is all you really do on Mackinac Island), I am not usually up for a big meal. So, yes, I did go to a nice restaurant on Mackinac and only got chicken tenders and fries. But they were so good! Also, the special chipotle lime bbq sauce was amazing!! I loved it. I don’t think I would’ve thought to put lime in a bbq sauce, but I’m so glad THEY did because I could have probably drank it and been just fine. I can’t remember much else about the place, though, except that I had to take a pic of the bathroom. There were paintings in them by a guy with the same name as one of my friends, which was funny to me. Anywho, check them out. There isn’t a huge variety of food options on the Island, but this was probably one of the better options minus the Hotel.

North Country Grill and Pub140611 - suttons bay cherry chipotle humus

Website

420 N Saint Joseph St, Suttons Bay, MI 49682
231.271.5000

I’m jumping around, but I had to put this place in here. We stopped here for lunch one day on our way up to Fishtown (back from? I can’t remember which came first) and, again, we had been doing a lot of walking, so I went light on my meal. I snagged the Cherry Chipotle Humus. If you know anything about Michigan, it’s that it’s Cherry country. They did not disappoint. It was fruity, spicy – everything they promised. The inside of the place is amazing too; lots of beautiful wood, fireplace, giant bar. It was gorgeous.

The Cherry Hut

140613 - TC cherry hut 03Website

211 N. Michigan Ave. (US 31), Beulah, MI 49617
(231) 882-4431

I was told to stop here by a customer. The Cherry Hut was also featured on a reality foodie show, so we figured we had to check it out. They are, as the name would imply, all things cherry. The Huz had a burger with cherries mixed into the meat. I had a regular burger with cherry barbecue sauce – soooo good. The father-in-law ordered a “Complete Dinner” which came with just about everything on the menu. It was unreal how much food he had, and he loved every bit of it. They have a store of take-home treats that is very comprehensive. I bought some chocolate-covered cherries and gummy cherries to bring back to the office. They were gone within a few days. I would highly recommend a visit here for lunch or for dinner. The decor is real sweet too, like a 50’s dinner with cherries!

Moomer’s Ice Cream

Website

140608 - TC moomers

7263 N. Long Lake Rd., Traverse City, MI 49685
231.941.4122

There are a few different spots where you can find Moomer’s Ice Cream. We stumbled upon it at The Village in the downstairs of the State Hospital (don’t let that scare you) and also at their main store, which sits next to a dairy farm. I love local flavor and you don’t get much more local than ice cream from local dairy farms and other local ingredients. If you like Moose Tracks ice cream, you will love their Cow Tracks blend (pictured to the right).

Union Cantina

Website

UClogo

127 South Union Street · Traverse City, Michigan · 49684
(231) 941-5038

This is a great little Mexican bar in downtown Traverse City. My biggest takeaway was that I could actually order a DR. PEPPER and it came FROM THE TAP! Yeah! it is so hard to go through northern states sometimes. I must live right on the line where Dr Pepper stops being a thing in the north. The food was pretty good, but seriously, I can only remember the Dr Pepper. 😀 Oh, and there’s a crazy massive antique mall on the same block.

Fresh Friday – Foodie Edition (8/1/14)

I’ve been lax in my blogging of late.  All I’ve been posting lately is the Bible Verse Calendar, which is great, but once a month posting is not a good habit for a blog. So, I thought that with the start of a new month, I would start a new habit. I’m calling it Fresh Friday. I was going to go with Foodie Friday, but then I thought, “What if I want to talk about flowers sometime and I want to have a Flower Friday?!” Well, I guess I could…Maybe I could switcharoo it every few weeks or so. Throw in a Fun Friday too, here and there. Hmm…. (This is a perfect insight to the conversation I’ve been having for the last, oh, 17 hours inside my head. You’re welcome.)

I think Fresh Friday would encapsulate all the things I could want to share on any given Friday. Anything that doesn’t fit in, I can just make up a whole new category and squeeze it in there. Right? Isn’t that what the internet is for? Making up things?! So, here we go. The first edition of Fresh Friday!

Fresh Friday – Foodie Edition

We had some friends over last weekend and the menu was a bit of a challenge because of food allergies and intolerances. But, hey, I have a bunch of those too, and mine are just random, so I “challenge accepted!” it and here’s what we came up with. The food turned out yummy. You know all those fears that really intensely healthy foods will probably be bland and dissatisfying (or maybe I’m still a decade behind)? There are a couple websites that are working to change that opinion and from my experience with them, it is working!

My sister turned me on to this site. She and her husband have been trying to eat Paleo for a while. They succeeded for a bit and then, well, you know, unhealthy eating happens sometimes. But the idea is that you remove all grains from your diet, all processed foods, and just go with meat, fruits, veggies and nuts. The basic concept is that our bodies weren’t designed for processed foods. Our bodies were designed to eat what we could grow and raise in our own yards. I, myself, would have a hard time getting grains out of my diet, but I think the primary issue seems to be that there are too many grains in our diet. We overdo them quite a bit. And the whole GMO grain bit, that can be a bit of a challenge, but there are some great products out there from farmers striving to use pure grains not tainted or “enhanced.” Here’s a great page to look at: Paleo 101. I’ll tell you, though, my sister looked amazing as she was going through this diet lifestyle change. Really amazing! It’s a whole reprogramming on your idea of food.

I have been perusing this blog a lot recently. Added it to my Bloglovin’ app feed too and enjoying the posts therein. Definitely recommend checking it out.

Allrecipes.com might be old news in the internet foodie world, but they still are my go-to place for great recipes! I usually find myself reading the other user comments for tweaks and adjustments that they have made. Also, the reviews bit is wonderful. Nothing like seeing what looks like it could be a great recipe (to this untrained eye) only to find out that 25 other people tried it and lost their pan and stirring spoon because of it. (That’s an inside story with my family…my other sister tried to make something and left out a crucial ingredient, turning the “something” into concrete and completely unsalvageable. It’s a testament to how important even the little ingredients can be, especially in baking!)

So, here are the recipes we came up with:

Creamy Cauliflower Garlic Rice – Pinch of Yum

Have you heard of pureed cauliflower as an alfredo sauce yet? I’ve had some friends try it and they loved it so I was willing to try this recipe out. The garlic went right along with the rest of our meal. I had to tweak the recipe a little for some needs, but I think that it you follow it to a T, it would be 10 times better! Also, we had a bunch left over, makes a great next day lunch.

Fried Okra – AllRecipes

Super yummy! I made this with olive oil and gluten-free cornmeal. Turned out really good. The first time I made it, the meal kept falling off. But it was my second time frying okra myself and I think it’ll be a regular appearance in this house. I think my next cajun attempt will be jambalaya or gumbo…with sausage and chicken. Oh yum!

And the main course!

Coconut-Buttermilk Southwestern Grilled Chicken – PaleoLeap

Ok, so it’s a very easy marinade and takes no time on the grill at all. So, so, sooooo good! So flavorful too! I let the marinade sit for a full day and the meat was so juicy and full of flavor. Very definitely recommend this recipe and the other marinades on this website. Also, if you try to pin this recipe, for some nutter reason, the link was reported for inappropriate content, so Pinterest won’t let it through. Instead save the website to your favorites and come back for regular visits.

Direct Links:

Creamy Cauliflower Garlic Rice – http://pinchofyum.com/creamy-cauliflower-garlic-rice

Fried Okra – http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fried-Okra/

Coconut-Buttermilk Southwestern Grilled Chicken – http://paleoleap.com/coconut-buttermilk-southwestern-grilled-chicken/

Enjoy!!