Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just for the Hull of It. (I crack myself up)

I've been wanting to try my hand at chocolate covered strawberries. I have no idea why....I just wanted too. Last night I gave it a try.

Here are my strawberries. (Don't blow up the picture or you'll see how fuzzy it is.) I also purchased some Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips.

I washed and throughly dried the strawberries and then I put the chocolate chips in a double boiler to melt.

I then poured the melted chocolate into a deep bowl...well, actually I used a glass as I don't have a short deep bowl.

And then I dipped them and placed them carefully on a sheet of wax paper.

Voila! Chocolate-Covered Strawberries. I had several tasters last night who said they were delicious! (I'm one of those rare people who actually doesn't like strawberries. I know...I'm weird.)

Next time I make them, I would put the wax paper on a small tray so I could move the strawberries to the fridge or freezer to expedite the cooling process. I will also try them with dark chocolate.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Steamed Fish with Corn, Tomatoes and Onions

I've decided to post one of the other recipes I used for the Lake Trout that we caught in Lake Michigan. This recipe is a family favorite. The original recipe calls for Pickeral, but it worked great with the Lake Trout as well.

Steamed Fish with Corn, Tomatoes and Onions

  • Pickeral or other fish fillet (skin removed)
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 ears fresh corn on the cob
  • garlic salt
  • 2 -3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of water

Tear off a good size sheet of heavy duty foil (or 2 piece of regular foil). Spray with Pam or other cooking spray. Peel and slice onion into rings. Place these rings on the prepared foil. Core and slice tomato. Lay the tomato slices on top of the onions. (This creates a bed for your fish). Place the fish on top of the onions and tomatoes. Season the fish with garlic salt and pepper. Remove the corn from the cobs. Put the corn kernels on top of the fish. Place pats of butter along the top of the fish. Add a couple tablespoons of water to the packet. Seal the foil securely around the fish. Place foil packet on medium heat grill or 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes for average size fish fillet.

Serve, making sure you get some of the onions, tomatoes and corn with your fish serving.

Sorry I don't have any pictures of the actual recipe. I think we just ate it too fast. Enjoy.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Card of the Week (CPS #125)

I've been so distracted lately that I haven't had a chance to work on any cards, but since BW and I have a wedding to go to on Saturday...the pressure is on. I used the Card Position Systems weekly challenge as my guide.

This is the CPS #125 sketch and here is my submission:

I think I like it!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Must See Dance!

I think I've done a pretty good job keeping my enthusiasm for So You Think You Can Dance down to a dull roar. I haven't posted weekly updates on who danced well or who was voted off. I realize that the intesity that Krissy, Cait and I have for this program is not necessarily the same with everyone else.

BUT, last night, something very special happened and I want as many people as possible to see this dance. The performers are Melissa and Ade and....well the video and the dance explain it all. You don't have to stay and watch all the judges comments, just make sure you see this dance.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My First Tomatoes of the Season

Here are my first two tomatoes of the year. They are off my Early Girl tomato plant.

Aren't they beautiful!

Tonight we are having BLT's cause I think that is the best way to eat a tomato.

Also grilled up some zucchini and yellow squash on the grill. I will post this recipe soon. We will be eating gilled zucchini for awhile now as a friend dropped off a lot of zucchini yesterday along with about 15 turnips. I have a recipe for a turnip gratin. Anyone have any other turnip recipes?

Krissy and Cait....come and get some zucchini and turnips. I've got plenty.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Maple Ginger Glaze

After writing about my fishing expedition and the subsequent Lake Trout fish fest, I think it's only fair to provide the recipe for the Maple Ginger Glaze. I worked well with the Lake Trout, but I originally used this for a cedar planked Salmon recipe.

Maple Ginger Glaze
  • 1 cup Maple syrup (Grade B if you want to save a little money)
  • 1-3 tablespoons grated or minced ginger (I like a light ginger flavor, so I use 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
Add all ingredients in small saucepan and simmer until reduce by 1/3. Prepare fish. Pour glaze over fish and bake or grill. Serve remaining sauce with fish for those who like extra sauce.

I hope you like this as much as we do.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Movie Review

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Grade: A-

We magically turned Thursday night into movie night last night. We so wanted to see the new HP movie, that we skipped So You Think You Can Dance on TV last night. (I don't even know who was voted off last night.)

The latest edition of Harry Potter, was as magical as ever. This edition finds Harry, Ron and Hermione attending their 6th year at Hogwarts, during a time where Voldemort and his Death Eaters are causing death and destruction in both the wizardry world as well as in the Muggle world. The story also focuses on the love relationships developing between many of the main characters.

If you are a HP fan, then you will love this movie. If you haven't followed the stories, you might find this film somewhat disappointing as this edition is clearly a set up for the 7th (and if Cait is right...the 8th) movie(s). Like most serial films, this one does not stand alone...but works well as the next step in the Harry Potter saga. As a small warning, the movie does deviate from the book a bit. Does it do justice to the struggling romance between Professor Lupin and Does it add a scene into the movie that wasn't even in the book....yes. These are some of the sacrifices which likely had to be made in order to keep the movie from turning into a 4 hour saga. (OK - I'm a little bugged by the Lupin/Tonks romance not being played out properly, but that's just because Lupin has always been my favorite HP character.)

The special effects, particularly at the Quidditch Match, are spectacular. Might be worth pulling out The Sorcerer's Stone just to analyze the dramatic improvement in special effects from then until now. It's amazing the developments in technology in just 8 years.

Highly recommend seeing this movie with other HP fans as the discussions afterwards are wonderful. So exactly how many horcurxes are left? Did you notice the Dumbledore's wand at the end of the movie? Do you remember the scene when Harry spun Tom Riddles' ring? All good questions...all good fun. I can't wait to re-read the 7th book. I think I'll start tonight.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Fish Tale, Part One

I may or may not have mentioned that I am not the world's most outdoorsy girl. In fact, gardening is about as outdoorsy as I get. Imagine my utter excitement when told..."we are all going fishing on Monday".

Here's what happened, BW and his brother got talking about how it would be good to take the boys out on the lake fishing. Seemed like a good idea...teenage boys should get out fishing. So, naturally I supported this idea. Well, I guess they mistook my support for much more as now we all "get" to go.

Being the mature person that I am, I spent the next 2 days whining about not wanting to go. One...I didn't want to get up at 5:30am on my VACATION and two...I get motion sickness in a car if I'm not careful. But after a stern talking to from my significant other, I decided to try and make the best of it and just shut up.

After a restless night, got up early and headed to the docks to meet Captain John. It was odd as all six of us headed out. I found myself identifying with the two surly teens. They weren't very excited about this outing either.

After some prep, we finally loaded up on the Infinity to head out to Lake Michigan. Ya gotta love the smell of diesel in the morning. I sat wrapped up in all the warm clothing I brought up with me. Not expecting this expedition, I was hardly prepared and it's way cold out there on the lake.

Once we got in position, the first mate was very busy setting up all the fishing lines. I think he had 9 going at once. Basically, fishing like this consists of sitting around waiting for the 1st mate to hook a fish and then you reel it in. I don't know if I truly consider it "fishing", but heck...what do I know.

The first couple hours weren't too bad. I keep focusing on the shoreline as much as I could and I managed to reel in 2 fish. At some point, Captain John decided to change our fishing location and things went downhill very quickly. This new location put us right in the middle of these rocking and rolling swells. Just writing about it brings back all the queasy feelings.

How do you know Linda isn't feeling well? First clue, she is very quiet and since this is far from my normal state, I think everyone knew I was struggling. After about an hour or so of this, I pleaded with BW, "don't we have enough fish". Then the gods and Captain John had mercy on me and we wrapped up our little expedition. I'm happy to say I didn't hurl and we managed to bring in 10 Lake Trout.

You will notice the distinct lack of pictures from this adventure. Well, I didn't think it would be a good idea to bring my camera as I wanted to have both hands available to hold on with. Mary did have her camera and she took many photos that validate that I was really there, but she hasn't sent them to me yet. As soon as I get some, I promise I will post in all my greenish glory.

Here's the only good thing about fishing on Lake Michigan...THE FISH. Oh my goodness, they were delicious. There is a small fishery business right on the dock in Leland. The boys took them in to get filleted. That evening we cooked up four of the fillets. Just for variety, we used 4 different methods or sauces.

  • 1 fillet was pan fried on the stove (egg wash and flour)
  • 1 fillet was wrapped in foil with sliced onions, tomatoes and fresh corn and cooked on the grill
  • 1 fillet was cooked on foil on the grill with a maple-ginger-soy sauce glaze
  • 1 fillet was cooked on foil on the grill with butter and barbecue sauce
All were delicious and almost made up for the fact that I spent the rest of the day swaying. And I still have 5 fillets in my freezer, so we've got a couple more wonderful dinners ahead of us. Yum.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cherry Festival & LUNCH!

On Sunday, July 5th, we traveled down from Leland to Traverse City. The week-end of the 4th is Traverse's annual Cherry Festival, so there is always lots going on. Our usual activity is shopping and eating. We visited all of our favorite stores and walked through the Arts & Crafts Fair...were I got this very cool hat.

We also got to have lunch in one of our favorite restaurants, Hanna's Bistro & Bar. As usual it was delicious.

The girls and I first visited Hanna's back in 2006. Krissy turned her bachelorette party into a wine tasting week-end up in Traverse City. Well, Caity's friend (did I ever mention that Cait did her student teaching up in Traverse) recommended Hanna's for dinner and even managed to get us a reservation at the chef's bar. We got to sit at this special bar area and watch the chef's prepare appetizers and desserts. Actually, we got to do more then watch...we got to sample too. The evening was spectacular and the best part was how much Mom/GMa enjoyed the evening. (She got the liver and loved it.)
Our lunch on Sunday was fantastic. I had a Mushroom Celery Root soup and an Iceberg Wedge salad with blue cheese, bacon and tomato (I have been craving this salad for about a month now). Kelly and Mary split a Morel Mushroom Ravioli appetizer and an Apple Salad, with apples, coconut, pecans and cumin dressing. (They also split another appetizer, which I cannot remember for the life of me. Ugh...this brain.)

If you are ever in the Traverse area, please have a meal at Hanna's. You will love it.

(And here's a convenient map to show you how to find it. How did we ever live without the Internet?)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Take Me to Your Winery!

One of the great perks of visiting Leland every summer, is it close proximity to many of Michigan's wonderful wineries. We normally spend a day wine tasting and resuppling my little wine cellar...aka, the closet in the basement. This year, we had so much going on that we only got to spend a couple hours hitting the wineries, but somehow we were still able make to it to 3 different wineries. Not bad for two hours of hard...hard work. (yea, right!)

Fortunately, a new winery opened in 2008 that was very close to Leland. This new winery, 45 North, proved to be a real delight. We had a charming woman assist us during our tastings. It probably didn't hurt that she was "tasting" along with us. If you've not done a wine tasting before, there is a typical order to it. You go from white (dry to sweet), rose (dry to sweet) and red (dry to sweet). I love dry whites. The dryer the better.
At 45 North, we went through their first 5 whites and loved everyone of them. I was particularily pleased with their unwooded Chardonnay. It was delicious. And as I have a intense dislike for oaked Chards (Mom- please note, I did not say hate), I was really pleased to be able to bring home some Chardonnay.
They also had a really nice Rose and and a Cabernet Franc that I purchased for Krissy as she loves red wine. (Don't tell's a surprise.)
Since my wine cellar only got half means I've got to make another visit in the Fall. Oh, darn. It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Visiting Fishtown

Here's where we've been staying the past few days. Isn't it adorable. It's even got an adorable name. It's called Katie Conner Cottage and it's up in Leland, Michigan. Leland is a small town, about 30 minutes north of Traverse City. It is a very popular vacation spot and also has a historic "Fishtown" district with a real fishery and a bunch of cute little stores.

I think this is the 4th year that BW's brother and sister-in-law (David & Mary) have been gracious enough to share part of their vacation with us. We couldn't have enjoyed it more. Thanks so much for having us.

More stories to follow including....the one that got away!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Up North!

Having spent my whole life living in Michigan, the expression "Up North" is readily understood by everyone here. Up North generally means any area north of the Flint, Lansing, Grand Rapids line that can be drawn across the state. Telling someone you are going Up North is usually followed by holding up your left hand and pointing to the area that you are headed. I think we are a very lucky state to have this map, literally....always at hand. (Ha!)

This is a lovely view of a Lake Michigan beach. This beach is where we are headed later today. As soon as I can get out of work...we'll be on the road.

I'm not sure that there will be much Internet connectivity Up North, so I may be absent from posting for a couple days. I do promise pictures when I return. (Please note that I promised pictures....not good pictures, just pictures. Photography just isn't one of my best skills.)

Have a great 4th of July and enjoy the long week-end with friends, family and good food.