Homemade Salsa

28 Aug

On the cooking trend this week (a huge part of living at home since my mom loves playing in the kitchen), I’ll share a quick homemade salsa recipe that is another great option for an appetizer over Labor Day! We made this as a topping to chicken and used jalapeños because we like it spicccyyyy (SNL reference- love Stefon), but you can make it smoother to use with chips as well. If you have the opportunity to use fresh ingredients then that’s always best but since we were making this recipe in a short timeframe we used store bought and it still turned out great! Enjoy : )

You will need:

3 tbsp onion

1 large clove of garlic

3-4 large tomatoes

peppers of your choice

3 tbsp cilantro

1/2 lime

1tbsp vinegar (not pictured)

salt and pepper to taste (not pictured)

Prep work: Remove the seeds from your tomatoes and chop them, along with your onion into small pieces. Mince your garlic, cilantro, and peppers (quantity and type determined by your preference for mild/medium/hot!).

1. Place onion and garlic in strainer and pour about 4 cups of boiling water over them, let sit for 5-10 minutes to cool.

2. For chunky salsa that’s great for use on chicken or sandwiches, mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and squeeze the lime over the top. For a smoother salsa for chips or other snacks, mix all of the ingredients including the lime juice and separate into two bowls. Using a food processor, mix the ingredients from one of the bowls together until they reach your desired consistency. Then, add the two portions together and you’re done!

Store your finished salsa in your refrigerator in an air tight container for a few hours in order to blend the flavors, and serve!

Farmers Market

27 Aug

Living in the boonies of Michigan, we’re lucky enough to have a farmers market nearby our home that I got to check out with my mom a week ago! The veggies are absolutely unbeatable, store bought cannot even compare, and there’s homemade crafts and jewelry for sale that got us into trouble as well : )

These sunflowers were so cheerful that I had to take a picture to share.

Then of course there were tons of veggies, including a load of sweet corn out of the back of a pickup truck with an attractive farmer sitting in the bed watching over his spot. Hot-dang. So, I bought some… Well played cowboy, well played.

We also found a veggie we didn’t even know existed- purple peppers that are in the picture above! They were sweeter and softer than ordinary peppers, but were great on a fresh salad!

There was also a booth for Michigan cactus? I didn’t know Michigan was known for their cacti, but we thought it was entertaining and snapped a picture as well.

One of the booths sold organic meats and eggs as well as honey. I thought these honey sticks that were available in all sorts of flavors for your tea were fun!

 

We spent about half of the time looking through all of the fruits and veggies, and the other half of the time sucked in at a jewelry booth. She had the cutest displays and little magnets with sayings on them! I bought a few things as gifts for certain peoples birthdays that are coming up : )

At the end of the day, we ended up with quite a few purchases! We’ve been enjoying them all week and I’m definitely excited to make a few more visits before the summer is over.

 

Next year I’m going to convince my mom to start a little garden of our own. We have the land and the sunshine, now we just need to get my step dad to make us a raised bed! I do have to give her mad props though- she’s tried planting herbs for years. And. Always. Fails. They just die on her. She’s tried what seems like everything and then gave up the past few years. But, drumroll please, check out her basil this year! I think it deserves a trophy after her years of struggles. Cheers to the mama, her basil and summer farmers markets!

 

 

Homemade Coleslaw

26 Aug

With Labor Day Weekend coming around the corner I thought it might be fun to share an easy yet staple dish that you can easily make and bring to a cook-out! Coleslaw is very easy to make and I even learned a little secret from my grandma while making it : ) This is traditionally my sisters recipe but since I took a stab at it I got to take some pictures to share!

First, start off by collecting your ingredients. You will need:

1 medium sized cabbage finely shredded

5-6 baby carrots finely shredded

1/2 apple diced into small pieces

1 tbsp honey

5-6 tbsp vinegar

1 cup mayo (not pictured)

1 tsp celery seed

1/2 tsp salt and pepper

Simply prepare all of your veggies, then mix all of the ingredients together! These measurements are approximate, so if you like your coleslaw sweeter or more vinegary than add more or less of that ingredient.

Now for the secret-grandma-recipe: prepare your coleslaw in a wood bowl that has been rubbed with a fresh clove of garlic!

Let the coleslaw sit in the wood bowl for an hour or two before serving to pick up the garlic taste, then serve! Cheers : )

 

 

Road Trip: The Final Chapter

21 Aug

Welcome back to the month long vacation recap. Ending now! We left off leaving South Dakota and making our way back through the midwest to Minnesota. So, after passing back over the lovely Mississippi River, we made it to our campground! It was a beautiful little family owned place on the water. We couldn’t have gotten any luckier with our campsites so far!

The first day we were there, we took in part of the littlest brothers hockey camp, which was the second main reason for the trip.

The next day, we headed into Wisconsin to try to find my mom’s old cottage. The last time she had been there, she was around my age. Very weird to think about! I’ll save the pictures since we technically walked up to someone else’s house and rang the doorbell and were technically trespassing. But it was definitely fun to see her old stomping grounds from her cottage to a local hole in the wall bar, to an old country club her and our grandpa used to golf at together.

The rest of the days we spent hanging out at the lake. Enjoying some amazing sunsets, fishing, sitting around bonfires, getting some kayaking in, and reading! I finished Nicholas Sparks Safe Haven, which was amazing and surprising and I’d definitely recommend it! I mean in the end it’s Nicholas Sparks, so you know it’s going to be a dramatic love story, but they’re all so good!

Our last day in Minnesota we spent at the rink for the little brothers end of camp scrimmage. It was pretty cute to watch- every detail was set up from the lit up H to spotlights to a dynamic announcer, even a smoke machine was set out. The boys got really into it and even though his team lost by one point, it was fun to see!

At the end, all of the kids got to hold up the “Stanley cup” which they all huddled around to hold. Little man brought some strategy to it and waited for the end so he could skate around with it which we all loved so we could get a cute picture of course!

And that’s it! We drove our little butts home all the way to Michigan after a pit stop to see family in Wisconsin, and right before getting home, we stopped at a little German restaurant outside of our town. Because what better way to end an American road trip than by eating German food and drinking German beer? Got to love my family : )

Prost! The end! I did it! Finally!

Road Trip: South Dakota Adventures

21 Aug

Welcome to the “We love America so we decided to drive half way around it” marathon. This has only taken a month, no big deal. Today, we’re going to wrap it up and move on to new things! I’m excited. So… we left off where we had just made it to South Dakota. Finally. Now for the fun stuff- all of the things we saw!

We woke up bright and early the first morning and with only two days to play, decided to make a game plan. Day 1: Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore, and visiting the cute town of Custer nearby our campsite. Day 2: Horseback riding through the mountains, the badlands, and head to Montana to meet up with the boys!

Heading to Crazy Horse we noticed that there was a lot of cute places to pull off on the mountains to view what we could only imagine were beautiful views. So we decided to test that theory and try it out. Ta-da! We were right. I’m borderline obsessed with the wooded area we had to walk through there- so clean and untouched looking!

The views were spectacular. I can imagine if you had enough time you could stop at every single one of them and be amazed each and every time. Unless you don’t like mountains. And then in that case you should probably keep driving : )

Next, we headed to our original planned destination- Crazy Horse! If anyone heads there, I’d recommend watching the 20 minute movie they play on repeat, because it really makes the process and the thought behind creating the great monument make more sense. The most amazing thing I took away from it was that it has been a work in progress since 1948 and this is what it looks like as of now…

The original sculptor hired to take on the project has sadly passed, but he left all of his plans and a smaller scale sculpture of what the final product will look like with his wife, and 7 of his 10 (yes 10- insane!) children who are carrying on his life’s work. Here’s what it will look like once complete…

 

Now how’s that for a work in progress? Here’s a side by side shot to show it as well…

 

Crazy (Horse) right? Buh-dum-chh. For scale as well, all four faces that make up Mt. Rushmore can fit into the side of his head. This thing was enormous!

Next, we hopped into our RV and kept on trucking to the main attraction of the day (and my sisters year/decade/life) Mt. Rushmore! Entering into the park was a little funny to be honest. You drive all this way, the there it is, right in front of you. Just sitting there. All of the flags were fun to look at and we of course captured good ol’ Michigan’s.

And, drumroll please… Ta-da!

Gorgeous! What hunks. Literally they were huge! Now, not that the trip and views weren’t fantastic and something to remember for the rest of my life, but my most favorite moment of the entire trip was winning the Detroit Red Wings Fan of the Day contest online! We’re hugeeee hockey fans and even bigger Red Wings fans. So this was pretty amazing : )

After that excitement, we moved on to the little town of Custer. I loved all of the shops and we had fun trying some new beers and cuisine!

Yes, that beer is called Buffalo Sweat. South Dakotians love their buffalo. So therefore I love them. And weinie-mobile? We take pictures of them everywhere we go- apparently our family had a hand in building the first ones so we’re pretty proud. And odd. Moving on to day number 2!

Waking up in the morning and going horseback riding is highly recommended. We had a blast and it was very pretty! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves : )

Last but not least, we headed to the Badlands! I’ve never seen anything like it- it was definitely amazing! Almost a mini grand-canyon that went on for miles.

And that ends the South Dakota portion of the trip : ) Next up- Minnesota, the final chapter! Took me long enough! Sheesh.

 

 

 

Road Trip: The First Leg

14 Aug

Okay, so this is long overdue, but I’ll try to put all of my pictures and vacation recaps into this weeks posts! Much easier than a daily vacation post, but that’s what these tests are for! Also, I wish I could video tape this so that my crazy cat lady street cred went up higher, but meet my new blogging partner, Deke (+4 lbs from his last picture) who is absolutely fascinated with the clicking of the keys and watching the words move across the screen. He probably knows how to use this beast new computer better than me anyhow.


Back to the purpose of this post… welcome to the first part of our RV vacation, circa 2012. The first leg of the trip took us from Michigan to South Dakota, where we saw a few amazing landmarks and spent our first 4 1/2 days! First, to recap, we left. Crazy, right?


Now that we have that reestablished, here’s a few snapshots of life on the road, and the amazing views we saw on the way, especially when getting into the mountains! First off came the construction. It was everywhere. No work no play.


The first night, there was an amazing sunset that I maybe snapped 20 pictures of. I’ll save you the hassle and show you two fun ones : )


This night, we drove until 4am and then slept at a rest stop with all of the truckers until 7am. We were too excited so it wasn’t too bad. But thinking about it now makes me tired! The next morning we actually got into the mountains and saw some of the amazing rock formations along the road…


What was great, is that despite all of the mountainous terrain, it was clear that this was farm country, and that make the views that much more pretty!


We got to see the M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i River, and realized how far away we were from civilization and cities when this was our only option for a gas station.


Our first big adventure was experiencing being a storm chaser in a top heavy RV. Coming across South Dakota you can see miles and miles of flat farmlands, which means you can see miles and miles of crazy storms coming your way. Well, we saw a storm, and when none of the locals or other cars bothered to pull off the freeway, we decided to truck right along with them. This was a mistake because we ended up on the side of the road hoping that a small hill would somehow shield us from the weather. Let’s just say we’re surprised that our RV was not on it’s side, and our windshield was not broken. 80 MPH WINDS. No biggie. It was exhilarating and nerve racking at the same time! None of my pictures really capture the true anger in the sky, but this one was pretty neat… This river was once a road. And that happened to be the road we were driving on.


The most amazing part of the day? The sky’s after the storm cleared…


Then of course, us being girls, we got lost. In the mountains. Going around 10 mph turns on a skinny windy road on a mountain. In an RV. In the dark. At least the sunset was pretty!


Then, finally, after failed GPS directions and hardly any cell service, WE MADE IT TO OUR CAMP! We celebrated. With lots of beer and then passing out. Please reserve your judgement on these next two pictures. This is how beautiful you look after 30 hours of driving and sleeping in a trucker stop.


The only one missing from pictures thus far is our baby girl pup Ruby. She wasn’t too keen on being a camper at first, but now, she’s one happy camper away from being in the obnoxious family from the movie RV.

I’ll leave you with that for now for the sake of picture overload. Next up: The big attractions we drove all those crazy hours for!

New Purchase

13 Aug

So, posting throughout my trip did not end up working out, because it turns out that you need service to upload pictures and publish posts! Who woulda thunk it. However, after we got home, I decided to invest in something new and bigger than an iPhone (which is not the easiest thing to post every post on) and purchased a brand new computer! Say hello to my new little toy, my MacBook Air : )

 

So far, I’m in love. Very confused, but in love. It weighs about three pounds and works! Which is more than I can say for any computer in my possession over the last 4 years. I’m excited to be able to keep up better with the blog and my inter-webs and will be sharing pictures from my trip soon since I’ve been slacking!

Goodnight : )