Friday, June 28, 2013

Farmers Market Fridays - Early Season

Good morning and welcome to Farmer's Market Friday!  It is still early in the growing season here in Michigan so the farmer’s markets tend to have more offering by way of baked goods, fresh flowers, and preserves than they do wide variety of fresh produce.  If you are finding a lot of produce that typically isn’t ready yet, ask a few questions, the grower may have a greenhouse for growing early season produce or they may be shipping in produce from out of state. 
This particular morning we visited the Charlotte DDA Farmer’s Market in Charlotte, Michigan. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New House Reno Update - The Stairway

Remember this horror?

This was definitely the scariest part of the house to tackle because not only is it the stairwell, which presented challenges in how to reach everything, but it was also the most difficult to fix besides the concrete.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fruit and Yogurt Pinwheel

The heat here in Michigan has really cranked up this week and my little hockey lovers are not happy at all.  With the scorching temps comes a lack of appetites so I try to adjust the weeks menu and snacks to help cool us off and entice the kids.  Yogurt is always popular in our house so we make a lot of yogurt parfaits and such.  I was inspired by the little wedges of fresh peaches and pears that I cut up for a snack and designed these easy little pinwheels of tasty goodness.  Quick and easy - just fill a small cup or bowl with yogurt and stick wedges of different fruit vertically around the edges.  They just invite the kids to play with their food in a good way!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Farmer's Open-Faced Sandwich

What do you eat for dinner when your 4-year-old throws such a bad fit in the middle of the grocery store that you have to leave with nothing and take him all the way home even though you know you only have what you bought at the farmer's market in the house?

I scrounged up this tasty open-faced sandwich.  My daughter and husband loved it - the little guy isn't crazy about tomatoes unless they come in the form of ketchup so I just made plain eggs and toast for him.

I started with thinly sliced tomatoes that I heated with salt and pepper in a small frying pan.  Then I took this this gorgeous loaf of dilly bread.  I buttered and fried both sides.  I spread the top side of the dilly bread with mascarpone cheese and added a couple of the tomato slices.  Then I fried a couple of eggs with a bit of salt and pepper until they were over-easy and added them to the top of the bread slices.

The tomato added a little zip, the dilly bread had a wonderful herb-y aroma and the mascarpone and egg had a wonderful creamy richness.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Update on the Call for Prayers

I am happy to report Grandpa is doing well despite taking a terrible fall (he says he did not fall - he was knocked off by the shop door).  He underwent hip surgery and surgery on his nose and did very well through both.  He was transported yesterday to live-in rehab in our hometown.  We are blessed that this place is very highly rated and just so happens to be on our way home from the kids' daycare so it will be easy to visit him.  We were not expecting him to be able to make that move until at least another week from now.  His spirits are very good and he is doing all that he can do get back to healthy.  He has been remarkably tolerable of all the hen-pecking and fussing of all of us.  :)  He is very appreciative (as are we all!) of all the kind thoughts, well wishes and especially prayers that have come from all directions.

I am also pleased to tell you that the sweet little baby I asked for prayers for is also still holding his own.  His momma and daddy with the help and support of those they know and those they have met through this experience have come to a place of peace with his journey no matter which direction it takes.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Due to the changes coming with the elimination of Google Reader, I am adding Bloglovin to the list of ways you can follow.  Just click here to Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Farmers Market Fridays - Fresh Approach

I'm taking a fresh approach to Farmers Market Fridays.  The majority of those visiting seem to be looking for information on farmers markets rather than looking to promote their own links so I'm nixing the link up for now and I'll be post a variety of information on farmers markets and produce stands big and small.  I'll show you more about the products I find, the vendors who sell products, and recipes from the items I purchase.  I hope if you have questions or an aspect of farmers markets you would like me to feature, you will leave it for me in the comments.  If you are a vendor selling here in Michigan's lower peninsula, I'd also be happy to do a feature for you - if we can work out the timing I could even do a tour of your farm and write more about the "behind the scenes" of getting your products to market.

For a list of farmers markets in the mid-Michigan area, including locations and hours, visit my original Farmers Market Fridays post.  Today, here is a roundup of some of my recipes that are inspired by farmers market produce finds:

Garden Fresh Salsa and Chicken Chicken Recipes
Rosemary Roast Beef with Vegetables

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mini French Bread Pizzas

Start with a loaf of French bread and slice into 1-inch thick slices.  Lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet (probably need 2 cookie sheets for a whole loaf) and toast in the oven at 400 degrees until bread firms up but does not darken (5-10 minutes).  Flip the bread slices and top with pizza sauce, meat and cheese (add whatever normal pizza toppings you like).  Return to the oven and continue toasting until the cheese is melted through.  Great recipe for a quick summer meal with salad or for a party where you could even set up the toppings for guests to make their own (kids love this!).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Layered Country Breakfast

We don't get a chance to eat breakfast at home during the week so a big breakfast on the weekends has become a regular treat in our house.  The kids love eggs and often we'll sleep in and have this a little later than their normal breakfast so it usually holds us until mid-afternoon.  This is also a great "breakfast for dinner" option.

Start with 5-6 medium potatoes and dice them.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add about 2 tbsp olive oil or canola oil and the potatoes.  Season with garlic salt and pepper.  Stir periodically and continue frying until potatoes are cooked through and tender with golden crusty parts.

In a small skillet, cook about a pound of ground sausage until well browned.  You can use whatever you like or have on hand.  Here I used 5 bratwurst removed from their casings.  Drain and keep warm.

When the potatoes are done, top them with the sausage and a couple handfuls of whatever shredded cheese you like - I used colby jack.  Cover the pan and let sit over low heat to melt the cheese while you cook the eggs.  Do not stir.  My gang prefers over-easy eggs for this type of dish but any way you like them would work fine here.  Scoop the potato/sausage/cheese mix onto plates and then top with eggs.

Friday, June 14, 2013

In Need of Prayers

It has been a rough couple of days and I am asking for prayers from everyone I can for a couple of very special people who need them greatly.

First, a extreme preemie baby whose journey I have been following needs his miracle to come in.  He was born at 26 weeks gestation and has had a number of problems including one side of his heart that works too hard and lung issues.  The doctors are running out of options and nothing seems to work for him for long.  His distraught momma was greeting yesterday by the doctors saying that if he does not respond to this round of medication they will have to call in Hospice.  There are no words really.
Second, my grandpa fell 15 feet off a ladder onto a cement pad.  Stubborn old farmer.  Two strapping grandsons in his 20's there to help and he insisted on climbing the ladder.  A bolt that held the overhead doors on his work shop (big enough for a semi to drive through) snapped and the door and frame swung out and knocked him and the ladder down.  He has crushed a large part of the right side of his body and part of his face.  He had emergency surgery last night on his hip which was crushed.  His shoulder already had a metal rod in it and because the rod was stronger than the bone around it the bone took the shock and shattered.  Surgery on that will come in a few days when he is strong enough and when they can bring in a shoulder specialist.  His nose is broken.  His cheek bones are fractured and there are bone fragments.  When the swelling goes down they will consult with a plastic surgeon.  He, of course, has a concussion.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New House Reno Update - The Living Room

One thing I love about the new house is that we will now have 2 living rooms.  This means that the boys can hole up in the fireplace room near the food and access to the back deck with the guys and my daughter and I can hide away from the noise and snuggle up in this cozy "library" living room.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Question and Weekend Summary

Sometimes you think you are on to something new and exciting and it just doesn't work out and you are left wondering - do I stick with it and give it a little more time, do I need to change something, or should I just let it go?  That's where I'm at with Farmers Market Fridays so I need your help.

Monday, June 10, 2013

New House Reno Update - The Dining Room

I am soooo pleased with the reno on the dining room at the new house - it is exactly as I had pictured it in my mind.  Here's a before look!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Morel Mushroom Cheesy Venison Burgers

Usually its the end of morel season around here but the weather patterns this year seem to have extended the season a bit.  About two weeks ago my husband found a handful or so of these out behind the house and we were pretty excited.  There are few things that taste better than these rich, velvety mushrooms.  Its kinda a dog fight in my house the minute these show up so unless we score a bunch I have to come up with creative ways to make sure everyone gets a fair share.

Success in finding morels varies from year to year largely depending on the weather and moisture pattern but we have a few spots by both our house and our cabin up north that give us enough to enjoy.  We have had a lot of success finding them near Elm and Aspen trees and large rotting tree stumps or logs.  They are frequently on south facing slopes too.  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Farmers Market Fridays #3

Happy Friday everyone! Its official - the last of the schools are letting out and that means summer. With summer comes grilling and where best to get great grilling foods than your local farmers market! You can find an array of beautiful produce, baked goods, herbs and seasonings, and even meats at the farmers market and you can't beat the freshness.

Here's the problem - farmers markets are often something you stumble upon by accident while out for a drive or something you learn about through the grapevine. So with Farmers Market Fridays, I'm looking to spread the word on how great farmers markets are by encouraging folks to link up more information on them. 

Here's some ideas of who should be linking up!
  • Farmers market websites or blogs
  • Blogs with recipes inspired by farmers market goodies
  • Blogs with tips on how to make the most of your trip to the farmers market
  • Bloggers and websites with posts or articles featuring certain farmers markets you've visited
  • Vendors who sell their goods at local farmers markets (tell us where and when you will be at the farmers markets and what you'll be selling!)

New posts and old are welcome!  Please be sure to grab a button for your blog (you can get the code on the right bar) and invite others!

A huge thank you to Ashley at Crunchy Frugalista for being the brave first to link up and to Holly at Full Circle Creations for doing a feature post to help spread the word!  You ladies are wonderful!
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Thank You!

I just want to thank you all for your support and encouragement, for your friendship and camaraderie, for sharing this little country life with me!  

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Blueberry Raspberry Coffee Cake

This super moist and easy coffee cake was a big hit at home.  I love to throw this kind of stuff together in the evening after the kids are in bed and let it bake while I'm doing the laundry or ironing or whatever.  I usually cover it with a light towel for the night and let it cool on the top of the stove.  This time around hubby and I could not resist a late night snack of this while it was still warm out of the oven.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New House Reno Update - 1st Floor Bathroom

Oh how glad I am to see the transformation on this black hole of a bathroom!  It has come such a long way and we are very happy with how it has turned out.