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Archive for April, 2011

It’s certainly not every day that a meal turns out absolutely stunning enough to snap a photo and rave about it. But there are a few occasions in the kitchen when a meal looks picture perfect and tastes as good as it looks. These delectable culinary creations will hopefully make your mouth water. The images make my stomach growl, but it doesn’t take much to get a pregnant woman’s taste buds piqued!

The first savory dish is vegetable lasagna. This dish was inspired by having bought too many vegetables at the grocery store. I looked up a recipe to use them up and this was it!
 

The lasagna pan was almost overflowing and it was extremely dense! There are endless veggies and 4 kinds of cheese! Yes, 4! Parmesan, ricotta, cottage cheese and mozzarella! We enjoyed this lasagna for a few dinners and packed the rest away for lunches. I would definitely make it again!

Next up is a fruit smoothie that I made a few times prior to going to volleyball practice on Saturday mornings. It’s not your average smoothie either! The ingredients included:

  • Banana
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Frozen organic raspberries
  • A generous spoonful of organic Naturally Nutty Vanilla Peanut Butter
  • Orange juice (enough to give it a smoothie-like consistency)
  • Dash of cinnamon

And the smoothie result is below. Mmmmm…. this smoothie recipe makes for some truly satisfying fruit intake! The peanut butter and cinnamon give it a little extra pizzaz!

On one of the days this spring when we’ve been spared of rain and snow, we grilled out. The menu was simple: grilled potatoes, grilled asparagus and BBQ chicken. It tasted just like a hot summer day. Ahhhh.

The only pregnancy craving I’ve had so far has been for homemade popcorn. …and a few weekends ago, I indulged myself. I wasn’t planning on making two monster-sized bowls of popcorn, but it just kept a-poppin’! David was able to partake in my craving as well. (It’s always nice to share anyway.) Once the popcorn was popped and transferred into HUGE popcorn bowls, I heated up some butter in the hot pan to spread on top. It was finger-licking good!

Last but not least, I made my first chicken pot pie. It was a recipe that I got from a friend after she served this wonderful down-home-style dish at a dinner party. My attempt at the recipe yielded the same delicious results as my memory served from that long-ago dinner party. This sumptuous meal will be on the fall/winter menu for years to come in our household!

I hope you aren’t too hungry now! I sure am.

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Going green

The safe beige colors on our walls are no more! It’s a subtle difference from sandy beige to a greenish color called fishnet. (It’s actually the same color that we had in our living and dining rooms, so it’s not really an earth-shattering change.) The two-tone color scheme just wasn’t working for David, so he took it upon himself to re-paint the entry hall and kitchen green.


There was a fair amount of cutting in required to complete the task, especially in the kitchen with the many upper cabinets. My involvement on the job was to remove outlet covers, artwork from the walls and to de-clutter the counters so David could just paint on by. He has become quite the skilled painter over the past few years with our constant home renovation habit and doesn’t mess around with blue tape anymore. At least that eliminates one time-consuming step. Even so, I think it still took about seven hours to transform our lower level into a green oasis.

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Some early spring M-22 touring led us to Glen Haven, a charming historic settlement that is now preserved and maintained by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Below, I am pictured in front of the Glen Haven Canning Company building where fruit was processed and shipped to market via Lake Michigan. Now the Cannery building is home to the Great Lakes Boat Museum.


Our M-22 tour continued as we drove up the Lake Michigan Coast to the village of Leland, home of Fishtown. Since, it was a Friday night, we decided to dine at the Bluebird Restaurant for their 1/2 off pizza special.

The bacon and pineapple pizza was a taste sensation!

We concluded our trip with a drive through Suttons Bay and along the West Grand Traverse Bay coastline back into Traverse City. Not a bad way to spend an evening…touring the scenic M-22 highway, stopping in historic villages and enjoying great food with great company. That’s what life is all about here Up North.

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A winter post! (Sorry about that folks. This has been sitting in my drafts for a while now.) David and I got out of the house for a few Sundays in late winter to enjoy the special Sunday rates at Traverse City’s Mt. Holiday. For just $10 a lift ticket on Sunday mornings, it was too good of a deal to pass up. We met up with another couple and the guys did all of the slope action, while the ladies stayed warm in the lodge catching up on life, reading magazines and tending to her 2-year-old.


Mt. Holiday itself is a charming little ski hill located east of downtown Traverse City. The amenities include a lodge, restaurant/bar, fireplace and changing facilities. The family friendly non-profit ski hill facility is operated by a board of directors. The community-run ski hill is a bit of a rarity. The longtime owner of the ski facility tragically died tending to the hill he loved in 1999. Then the community rallied over the next few years to purchase the hill and continue to run it as a ski resort. It was incredible foresight on behalf of the greater Traverse community because Mt. Holiday is a gem! It very well could have been sold to developers for a housing development.


After hitting the slopes, the boys would join us in the restaurant for some beverages and lunch. Our friend’s son enjoyed every minute of it. He spread out his car collection and made friends with many of the skiers who were refueling in the lodge. Mt. Holiday is truly a family friendly establishment where people of all ages are enjoying the joys of winter. Doesn’t that warm your heart?


Not that I’m dreaming of winter when the warm weather has just arrived… it just gives me the warm fuzzies just thinking about taking our son to learn how to ski there someday. Thanks for being there Mt. Holiday!

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When we debuted our kitchen remodel just shy of a year ago, you may have noticed a void above the refrigerator in this post. The intent for that void has always been to give a flat screen TV a home in our kitchen. We didn’t know what size TV we would end up with during the design process and but we did know that the TV cavity would need to be altered for a snug custom fit. Of course, we had the space pre-wired with cable and electricity because it was part of our master plan, after all.


Once we purchased our telly, David got to work adding drywall on the sides for the TV to slide right in. The good news is that it was a relatively small area to drywall which kept the dust down (kind of). The TV was secured in its space with good ol’ heavy duty velcro. (Yep, velcro! It was David’s brilliant idea.)


And there you have it. The TV is shown here in its little nook in the kitchen. Now, we won’t miss a play during the big game, we can cook along with our favorite Food Network chefs or catch the evening news! It turned out great!


The first meal we cooked up in our TV-clad kitchen were chicken fajitas- a staple dinner menu item around our household. Yum!

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Movies were free all week at the State Theater downtown for Spring Break. Last week, we went to see Fast Times at Ridgemont High… 1982 flashback! Caddyshack was showing after Fast Times, but we didn’t stay for the double-header.

Instead, we headed over to the Blue Tractor for dinner because we happened to have 2 coupons for $2.95 burgers from the Blue Tractor… talk about a cheap date*!

*It wasn’t totally cheap… because we did have the couples special at the movie theater (2 drinks and a large popcorn for like $8)… and at the Blue Tractor we added a basket of fries for $3.99, my fruity N/A drink was $2.99 and David had a $6 beer… so it wasn’t a complete cheap date… but it was still a lot of fun!

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