Michigan

Loving Lately 🚙🍎🍁

Loving Lately: Our Annual Fall Drive

It’s official, because now we’ve gone two years in a row. We turn off the DVD player, take away electronics, set the phones down and tell the kids to look out the window. We spend almost the whole day explaining that the journey is the destination. The venture promised to bring donuts and apple cider, which we probably shouldn’t have mentioned early on… because for the duration the question du jour was “How long ’til we’re at the donuts?”

The day was gray and blustery, a perfect environment to be warm inside the car. It set a dramatic tone for the drive, adding an extra element of excitement. (This is what I am.) Our first stop, before heading out, was lakeside. The waves were really crashing, and one can’t help but get caught up with enthusiasm.

img_8746

And I’ll tell you something else. I could never get tired at looking at the tall seaside grasses blowing in the wind. Any season. Monet had his lily pads. I should have a gallery dedicated to grasses.

img_8755

After a hearty breakfast we continued north, to try and catch more of the color change. We had no place we had to be, the world was our oyster. Since we weren’t getting off the beaten path, this translates into stopping at those scenic views advertised along the highway. I love those nostalgic bella vistas! (And the kids don’t have a choice.)

img_8758

We eventually did make it up through the Leelanau Peninsula, which is one of my favorite places in the whole world. And it was a lovely blend of still green trees with bursts of those that peaked early. It was really beautiful. To give you an idea, a friend of mine captured this shot at Thumb Lake, not too far away, last week with his drone.

Image courtesy of Alex Childress Photography

Being that we couldn’t hold the kids off any longer we did find a picturesque road side stand, Farmer White’s in Williamsburg.

img_8826

img_8828

img_8824

Farmer White’s served excellent fresh cider, which I confess I really enjoyed. But most importantly, they served donuts.

img_8804

It was a nice stop, and it hit the spot. However, we still had daylight and open road. We continued further north and met some of our friends from Petoskey at another roadside gem, Friske’s Orchards in Ellsworth, Michigan. The orchard was huge and offered a lot of entertainment for the kids; such as, tractor rides, a corn maze, tetherball, and a playground; which is awesome; because kids that sit in the car for hours have some energy to burn. A successful color tour if I do say so myself.

img_8876

Traverse City’s Harvest

I’ve been craving the Korean beef tacos from Harvest Restaurant in Traverse City, Michigan. If you’re not from Michigan, you might not have heard of a great place called Traverse City. It’s a bay town that offers the best of what is trending across the country, i.e. food trucks, organic cafés with Vegan offerings, etc. and still manages to preserve the best of that “up north” feel that Michigan treasures so much. It was a few years ago now that my sister (the chef) and her family made their way up to Traverse City and visited one of those food trucks, the Roaming Harvest Food Truck to be exact. In the area known locally as “The Little Fleet” a variety of food trucks can be sampled. Other members of her family ventured out towards other good things, but in the end everyone wanted her Korean beef tacos. With those kind of reviews, I had to plan a trip myself. (Where wouldn’t you travel within reason to try good food?) The Roaming Harvest Food Truck is seasonal, like many of its menu items. They support local farms and businesses that supply their ingredients in an effort to provide the best and most sustainable food for their customers. Thankfully, the Harvest Restaurant is open year round, and the Korean beef tacos are always on the menu… along with the sweet potato fries that you can dip in a green cilantro style chimichurri. Yessss!

IMG_5912

If you get the opportunity, I encourage you to check out the whole town. Traverse City has so much to do, from the beach to great shopping downtown, sailing to wine tasting… and the food scene is booming. Of course if possible, make sure you try to hit up the Harvest Roaming Food Truck or Harvest Restaurant. Their seasonal items only last so long, and you’re sure to want to taste them. (And just know that if I am not there eating along side you, I am envious and wish I was.) For more information and the seasonal menu visit roamingharvest.com.

IMG_5972

 

Promenade Artisan Foods

Trenton, Michigan is a great town along the Detroit River with historic charm and a thriving trendy vibe. It contains downriver Detroit’s best kept secret of Elizabeth Park (unless you’ve been to Jazz on the River or had your wedding pictures taken over the bridge). It also just happens to be the home of the cutest café to ever open in southeast Michigan, Promenade Artisan Foods. If you are from the area you might have sampled their cookies, brownies, and pies etc., carried by many local markets, or maybe even placed a personal order yourself for a pie during the holidays. Of course, now if you are in the area you can visit the coffee shop/café/dessert place in person!

 

IMG_5891

 

IMG_5861

Promenade Artisan Foods is celebrating their Grand Opening to the public this week! The owners Jonathan and Chelsie Brymer are a husband and wife team that have a love of family and passion for serving their community. They put that same love and care into every baked good they make from scratch and cup of coffee they pour -over (that’s a coffee joke). And speaking of coffee you are certain to enjoy another Michigan favorite as they are serving Chazzano Coffee of Ferndale to ensure you get excellence.

IMG_5864

I have had the pleasure of sampling a few of their menu items and delicious creations. The strawberry tartine is a lovely light treat, an open-face style multigrain toast with a Mascarpone cheese, fresh strawberry slices and a drizzle of a balsamic reduction- really fantastic. Of course the kids loved the chocolate chip cookies, and a Nutella “pop tart” inspired pastry. But the biggest surprise was an Espresso Soaked Amaretti topped with pistachios, uh, genius! I think we should all have one every night after dinner.

IMG_5887

Also in all seriousness, don’t leave without a slice of tomato, feta, and bacon quiche. Because even if you’ve filled up on pastries and don’t have room for it when you are there, you are going to be so happy to warm it up for yourself for breakfast the next day. (And I know this to be true from experience.) For more information, store hours, and to see their seasonal offerings visit the Promenade Artisan Foods Facebook Page.

IMG_5857

Thank you Jonathan and Chelsie for sharing your culinary gifts and love of life with the metro Detroit area… And God bless you and your family with your new endeavor!

Love,

Sadie’s Nest

Loving Lately 🐝

Loving Lately: Honey

My husband has a great boss name Jason; who happens to be friends with a guy named Terry; who happens to be the president of the Michigan Beekeeper’s Association. Recently Jason gifted us a beautiful large jar of Terry’s Lazy T’s honey. How fortunate are we?

Honey, also referred to as liquid gold, has been used in the kitchen as a natural sweetener for ages. But did you know that it has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that have made it extremely useful for medicinal purposes as well? Many people believe it is a viable solution in dealing with allergies. Bees collect pollen which is then used to make the honey. The small traces of pollen that remain in the honey are comparable to vaccinations in that once consumed your immune system builds antibodies to the pollens. This is just one of the reasons why buying local honey is so important. It can help you build up tolerances to common allergens in your own area!

The sweet nectar in honey is loaded with antioxidants that have been linked in studies with promoting healthy brain function and boosting memory. In addition, honey has been successfully used as a cough suppressant and topically useful for treating minor burns and wounds. No wonder it’s considered so valuable!

For more information about the Michigan Beekeeper’s Association and keeping bees click on www.michiganbees.org

Loving Lately ❄️

Loving Lately: Snowy Days

I’m a Michigan girl all year round. I love getting the full experience of all the seasons.

a9c9675ecb94e8b428a2c09073619feb

And when it comes down to it, I love the snow. And if it’s going to be cold, you might as well have snow. It’s beautiful.

b46247574b3acae50a8713cdc588cf65

 

We’ve not really had a lot of snow this year, but the last couple weeks I’ve really enjoyed our blanket of white.

4ab65487f23bd1f20dc9f06d2968850e

Although, I’m not enjoying my week long head cold-turned sinusitis… I actually could have done this week’s Loving Lately post on over-the-counter cold medicine.

72d6b7e3addfdb8fbba4afdc7d9f3852

But I’d rather focus on something lovely. And I have so much fun sharing my favorite Pinterest pictures. (For which I can take no credit)

Harvest Season at The Orchard

As far back as I can remember we would take a family trip in the Fall to visit a good sized orchard in the southeast corner of Michigan. My mom still tells the story of the blustery day they first walked into the large barn structure with a huge warming fire roaring in the (now closed) stone fireplace. It has grown into quite the attraction since the earlier years since we used to go, complete with bouncy house, tent sales and music shows. And sadly I think they do most of the apple pressing for the cider on weekdays, not on the weekends while the kids are out of school and we actually have the chance to go. I loved watching the apples get crushed through the viewing window, while the bees were buzzing everywhere. But the donuts and cider still taste the same, and the country store still sells local homemade treasures. They offer a huge variety of Michigan made jams, jellies, candles, honeys, and more. They still make a corn maze, where you can get lost in dried stalks grown over your head. I take my children on the hay ride, where they bring you out to pick a couple of apples right off of the tree, just like I did as a kid. And you can feed the farm animals, like goats, right out of the palm of your hand, jump in large bales of hay, ride a pony, and pretend you’re driving an immobile tractor. I love getting my kids to farm country.


IMG_1700 IMG_1702 IMG_1703

IMG_1706

IMG_1696 IMG_1713

IMG_1716 IMG_1712

IMG_1738 IMG_1743 IMG_1782

Loving Lately ❤️

Loving Lately #1: My Local Farmer’s Market

I think it is vital to support your local farmer’s market. Buying organic produce is ideal, but don’t count it out if they don’t proclaim to sell organic goods. Talk to them, ask questions. Many vendors aren’t “organic” but still have much healthier practices than produce you can buy at your local grocers and their goods are likely much higher in nutritional value! Here is a list from the Michigan State University Extension of the top seven reasons to buy from your nearest farmer:
• Locally grown food is full of flavor. When grown locally, the crops are picked at their peak of ripeness versus being harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store. Many times produce at local markets has been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.
• Eating local food is eating seasonally. Even though we wish strawberries were grown year round in Michigan, the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased directly from a local grower. They are full of flavor and taste better than the ones available in the winter that have traveled thousands of miles and picked before they were ripe.
• Local food has more nutrients. Local food has a shorter time between harvest and your table, and it is less likely that the nutrient value has decreased. Food imported from far-away states and countries is often older, has traveled and sits in distribution centers before it gets to your store.
• Local food supports the local economy. The money that is spent with local farmers and growers all stays close to home and is reinvested with businesses and services in your community.
• Local food benefits the environment. By purchasing locally grown foods you help maintain farmland and green and/or open space in your community.
• Local foods promote a safer food supply. The more steps there are between you and your food’s source the more chances there are for contamination. Food grown in distant locations has the potential for food safety issues at harvesting, washing, shipping and distribution.
• Local growers can tell you how the food was grown. You can ask what practices they use to raise and harvest the crops. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about that food.

Loving Lately #2: Cute Drinking Glasses

IMG_5588

I have a problem not buying kitchen gadgets and ware. I realize that it’s more Martha Stewart than “chef” in general, but I can’t help it, I love the stuff. I like juice in juice glasses and milk in milk glasses… And I already admitted it was a problem. How adorable are these? (I wish the cow would have shown up better so you could see it more clearly.) The best part was I got them at Homegoods for $1 each, which is practically like buying them at garage sale prices! Right? At least that’s how I justify it to myself. (My husband is awesome in that department by the way, he never needs justification.)

IMG_5587
And just look at these! The bee glasses are perfect for honey colored drinks like iced tea. I prefer mine unsweetened, but how much more adorable would it be if I actually sweetened the drink with honey? The whole thing is practically enough for me to want to have a bee themed party! Seriously, I need to think about that…

The Perfect Weekend

I imagined it all going very differently. It was going to be an outdoor wedding. My husband was the best man for his long time dear friend. We rented a house on a lake with my husband’s sister and her family for the weekend. The kids were all packed, from swimsuits to wedding guest attire. I could just envision myself writing stories while the kids played on the beach. At its peak, we would dance on a floor under a grand white tent in the woods. My sister-in-law was stopping at the grocery store to have the house stocked with muffins, pizzas, fruits, veggies, sodas, etc. upon our arrival. It was going to be perfect.

IMG_5819

There was a minor set back the night before we were leaving my 9 year old came down with a 104.3˚ fever. Alternating Tylenol and Motrin, we had the fever was in control, and by morning at medicine time he was a steady 98.7˚. Hoping for a fluke, some kind of fast and furious 24 hour bug, we decided to take our chances and head out for the 4 hour journey north. The car ride was as expected; hungry kids, potty breaks, diaper changes, music and movies. I forgot my laptop! Oh well, no work this weekend, all play. Pulling up to the rental was exciting, choosing our beds, checking out the scenery and the kids greeting their older cousin.

IMG_5821

We opted out of attending the rehearsal dinner with my husband. We’re kind of a distraction, a traveling circus if you will. Besides, since the fever, Isaiah could use another night of recovery. Everything was under control as my husband left to fulfill his Best Man obligations. Pizza was in the oven, the kids just started a movie and my sister-in-law had gotten the baby to sleep. I got this.

IMG_5794

I’m not sure what went wrong first. I guess it started with the baby waking up as soon as everyone left the house. He was starting to have some sort of reaction, and the preexisting rash on his face was getting inflamed and starting to ooze. All of the sudden the house felt cold and damp. I started coming down with an upper respiratory thing. Isaiah’s fever was back and his nose was bleeding. Elijah began a cough. By the time Owen got home I was spent. Things seemed to go downhill from there. Needless to say, there wasn’t much sleeping. By breakfast Naomi had an upset stomach so badly that she had two clothing changes. I was completely overwhelmed, and missing the wedding was inevitable. Owen of course had a commitment, but I would have to take one for the team.

IMG_5800

Maybe it was because Elijah was licking up his spilled water off of the basement carpet? Maybe it was because Noah was in a constant state of scratching and my arm was exhausted before we even had lunch? Perhaps it was because Naomi was out of clean clothes? I felt like the walls were caving in. (Although that could have been the sinus pressure in my head.) I needed to get some fresh air and a moment to myself. I decided to walk down to the lake and take in some of the calm. Naturally as soon as I got to the dock, the next door neighbor needed to cut his grass with a jet powered lawn mower.

IMG_5804

My precious niece opted to stay with me and the kids in lieu of attending the wedding. And I am forever grateful, because it was her optimism and suggestion of duct tape and one of her shirts that kept me going when I realized Owen had taken the diapers to the ceremony. At this point things were so ridiculous; all I could do was laugh. So much for the perfect weekend! Hey man, sometimes that’s how the cookie crumbles. Of course, I’m home and reasonable now, so I can say that.


Congratulations Lee & Amy! Wish I could have seen it in person!

North Star Brick Oven Bakery

Driving across the country in the Upper Peninsula, it’s easy to get lost in paved (and not paved) roads lined with pine trees and over-grown greenery. It’s far from urban living. The occasional home or building you pass by is noticed, but doesn’t necessarily jump out at you or scream “look at me, stop here!” Such is the case with North Star Brick Oven Bakery. It sits humbly about 13 miles north of Newberry, and may easily get overlooked to the common passer-by. But those who know it’s there and are familiar with the local treasure are certainly pleased with its location.

IMG_6508

IMG_6510

The owners, Joanne and Paul Behm, have been perfecting their sourdough hearth bread recipe for years. In fact, all they bake is sourdough bread; in several varieties derived of an ‘Alaskan Mother’ from 1956. The selections are subject to change; such as the “red and white” made of unbleached flour, cranberries, ‘St. Joe’s maple syrup,’ well water and sea salt, aptly crafted for the fourth of July. They are quick to explain the health benefits of sourdough and share any information they know about the process and method about baking it into loaves.

Some of the spices and herbs used in the loaves

Some of the spices and herbs used in the loaves

Most bread these days is made with baker’s yeast. North Star Brick Oven Bakery makes their bread the traditional way. That means their sourdough contains microflora, a probiotic which aids in digestion and inhibits bad bacterial growth. And sourdough microflora contains all of the amino acids of most plant proteins without the protein that forms gluten; so even those with gluten intolerances can often eat traditional sourdough bread (not those found at most supermarkets). There are many other health benefits from eating naturally fermented bread too, such as providing vitamins B1 through B6 from lactobacillus and B12 vitamins from wild yeast.

IMG_6514

Joanne was in the middle of the “Rock and Roll” stage of the process when I arrived. She was cutting into portions, a large dough of her 12 grain variety into round “rocks” before she “rolled” them into more oblong loaf shapes to proof.

IMG_6517

She had her regular white sourdough loaves already proofing; a technique that depends on the temperature of the bakery and the moisture in the air. It’s a science really that Joann has perfected from years of practice. This day for instance she did not need to cover the loaves with a sheet of plastic. There was enough heat in the bakery, and she didn’t want it to proof too fast. In fact, this stage of the process should take about 3 hours.

IMG_6529

The loaves are baked in a wood-fired brick oven; which Paul had just cleaned. It’s a nostalgic and hands-on approach avoided by mass producers. And a personal touch appreciated by their customers. The result is an artisan, hand-crafted edible art. And Joanne and Paul are eager to share. In fact, they have dried “starters’ available for anyone wanting to start their own sour dough bread, and a wealth of information for a novice like me to get started.

IMG_6522

The North Star Brick Oven Bakery is located at 19639 M-123, Newberry, MI and worth the visit! (They also have the cutest little bags to take your bread home!)

image

But if you can’t make it there, do yourself a favor and find a local sourdough bakery so you can start reaping the benefits, Joanne and Paul would want you to. Or if your feeling spunky… make your own!

Sliced, toasted and buttered... yum!

Sliced, toasted and buttered… yum!

Up North

What is Up North? It’s so vague, right? …And yet so specific. To a Michigander, like me it’s a state of mind, full of pine trees, often a water source and sand, fresh air and outdoor activities. Literally I think many people consider a certain point on I75, maybe somewhere around Gaylord where all of the sudden when you reach that point, you are ‘up north.’ Of course there is further north, all the way in the Upper Peninsula. Regardless of your classification, I think everyone can agree that they love up north. Oh my goodness; Sand dunes, boat rides, fishing trips, canoes, kayaks, hikes through the woods, campfires, hot dogs, s’mores, turtles, seagulls, deer, squirrels and chipmunks… to name a few associated words. And if you’ve experienced this, then you probably also can imagine the sounds of leaves rustling in the breeze, the crunch of twigs and leaves under your feet or those of the woodland animals, the smell of the smoke from last nights fire, the sound of rippling waves and the splash of fish and frog jumping in the water. (Block out the mosquitoes.) And you’re there, and you really want to be there… you know. That’s it alright. Up North.