Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Frontera Grill: Chipotle Hot Sauce

My husband & I returned from vacation about a week ago. We visited southwestern Michigan and Chicago. We had a great time and I didn’t want to come home! Our original plan was to spend two days in St. Joseph, MI, three days in Chicago, IL and one day in Saugatuck, MI. Well, we never made it to Saugatuck because we were having such a great time in Chicago that we decided to stay there an extra day. 
Don’t get me wrong, Saugatuck is a very cute little city. I have visited it before and had a great time walking around the downtown area. There are a lot of cute little artsy-fartsy stores and some great restaurants. There are also some great wineries that we were planning on visiting that are located near Saugatuck but there is just too much to do and see in Chicago that visiting Saugatuck will have to be rescheduled for another trip! 
Which will be hopefully soon because we wanted to visit Fenn Valley winery’s satellite tasting room located near Saugatuck because they make amazing, affordable ice wine and a great cabernet franc red wine as well. Since this is the second post that I have written that has mentioned Michigan wineries you might be starting to think that I am a wine snob. I wouldn’t say that about myself yet because I only really started drinking wine a couple years ago and I still have a lot to learn about wine. Right now, I would call myself a wine enthusiast!
Anyways, I am rambling a bit. What I really wanted to write about in this post is about an amazing meal my hubby & I had at Frontera Grill located in Chicago. Frontera Grill is one of the reasons why we traveled to Chicago this past week. Frontera Grill is owned by Chef Rick Bayless and his wife Deann Bayless. They also own two other restaurants in Chicago called XOCO and Topolobampo. I learned about Frontera Grill via Rick’s PBS cooking show titled “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” which is a great show that I really enjoy watching.
What I loved about Frontera Grill was that for each dish on the menu it listed what farm the organic meats and cheeses used in the dish came from. For the vegetables, the menu stated that a lot of the vegetables came from Frontera’s rooftop garden which means that the vegetables are seasonal and organic. 
All this attention to detail is probably one of the reasons why this place is so popular and I mean really popular. My husband & I got there on a Saturday at 5:15pm (the place opens for dinner at 5pm) and there was already a line that wrapped around the restaurant. We were probably in line for about 30-40 minutes before we got up to the hostess station to put our name on the waiting list. 
Once we were on the waiting list for a table, we then had to wait another 2 hours before we could find a table in the bar area to get drinks and an appetizer sampler platter. We were probably in the bar area for about 30 minutes before we were given a table in the dining room. I didn’t think I would ever be willing to wait that long for a dinner at a restaurant but I think it was definitely worth every minute (although it is convenient for the restaurant to be in downtown Chicago because once we put our name on the waiting list we were able to walk over to another bar nearby, get drinks and hangout for a couple of hours). It was worth the wait because this was one of the best meals I have ever had! I would highly recommend this restaurant to everyone.
After pigging out on the appetizer sampler, we shared the dish Pollo en Salsa de Elote, which is chicken, basted with Serrano chiles and a sauce of roasted tomatillos and fresh corn.  It is served with Iroquois white corn bread that is flavored with poblanos and cilantro.  The chicken had so much flavor, B swears it was pork!
Taquitos de Pollo: crispy taquitos filled with chicken, black beans and poblanos, with homemade sour cream, and aejo cheese.
 I didn’t try it because I don’t like fish very much, but B loved the tangy ceviche tostadas on the appetizer plate.  If we weren’t so full, I would have liked to have tried the plantain dish, Platanos con Crema, which came with homemade sour cream and fresh cheese.  B wanted to try the desserts as well after hearing from some other customers how delicious they were.
There is a small display of some Frontera products that are available for purchase at the restaurant. What they had available for purchase was some of Rick’s cookbooks, DVD’s of the various seasons of the PBS cooking show, Frontera salsas, a variety of Frontera hot sauces and a few other things. B & I decided to try out a couple of the hot sauces. 
Frontera Chipotle hot sauce

We bought the red pepper hot sauce and the chipotle hot sauce. I haven’t tried the red pepper sauce yet but I have tried the chipotle sauce with a couple of dishes and I love it! It has a lot of flavor and it has the right amount of spice to it. The reason B wanted to buy the chipotle hot sauce is because he was surprised to see that the list of ingredients actually included chipotle chiles. 
He said he has looked at buying various chipotle hot sauces or barbeque sauces that are supposed to be chipotle flavored and when he reads the list of ingredients on the bottles he finds that they use jalapenos or habanero chiles instead of using actual chipotle chiles in the recipe. 
I find this kind of odd, but then again I don’t work in the food industry and I don’t know if there is a good reason for this. Maybe chipotle chiles are expensive and the company wants to keep the product within a certain price range so they use jalapenos in the recipe instead. Who knows! Anyways, B was excited to see that they use chipotle chiles in the hot sauce and we were both happy to find that the hot sauce is made without any preservatives and is all natural. What a concept!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A sweet boozy dessert in 5 minutes!

At long last, I have found a dessert that I don’t feel guilty about eating.  My husband has quite the sweet tooth, so I am always on the lookout for desserts that are of a healthier kind.  When I was flipping through my August issue of Real Simple magazine I knew I had found the perfect healthier dessert to make for him. The recipe was from their “3 Ingredient Summer Recipes” article and the three ingredients in this recipe are: honeydew melon, fresh basil leaves and a white sparkling wine of your choice. It has got to be one of the easiest and quickest desserts to make on the planet.
You can use any brand white sparkling wine of your choice in the recipe but I recommend using Round Barn Winery’s Artesia Spumante sparkling wine. The winemaker’s describes the wine as “bright, fresh and softly sweet this wine is a perfect example of a Spumante that is not overly sweet.” I used this wine in the recipe and I thought it paired beautifully with the honeydew melon and basil leaves.
Round Barn - Artesia Spumante
 Round Barn winery is located on the southwestern side of Michigan and it is one of my favorite wineries to visit. My husband & I always have a great time when we visit one of their tasting rooms or attend one of their parties.  The staff is always friendly and willing to answer any of the questions you may have about their products. Many of my husband’s & my favorite wines are from this place. With their wide selection of wines, microbrew beers, brandies and vodka available to taste in their Baroda tasting rooms I’m sure you will find something you love and have to buy a case of!   We always seem to leave there with a case of wine.  Some of our favorites include the Vineyard Tears white wine, the Apple Demi-sec fruit wine, and the Pinot Noir.   If you are feeling daring, one staff member suggested you can blend the Apple Demi-sec with a quality vodka for a great martini.

Here’s the recipe via Real Simple magazine:

Melon with sparkling wine

Serves 4| Total Time: 05m
  1. Using a soup spoon, scoop half of a 5-pound honeydew melon into bite-size pieces and divide among bowls.
  2. Dividing evenly, pour 1 cup sparkling wine over the melon and sprinkle with ¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves
Side note: Make sure you use fresh basil leaves in this recipe because I really don’t think that dried basil leaves would taste very good in this dish.  The fresh basil leaves are really what make this dish taste great, the dish is really kind-of plain without them.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Homemade Watermelon Margarita Recipe

A margarita is one of my favorite drinks to enjoy with some delicious Mexican food. Or that was the case until I found out how many calories are in a typical margarita served at most big chain restaurants! Taking a quick glance at my book “Drink This, Not That” by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, I found that most margaritas served at restaurants range from 350 calories all the way up to 890 calories!!

That’s scary stuff! If I drank the margarita with 890 calories I would be consuming almost half of my daily allowance of calories in a drink! Keep in mind that this drink doesn’t provide me with any fiber, protein, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals that I would have gotten if I had eaten 890 calories worth of healthy food.  If I want to eat “bad calories,” I think I would rather have a few slices of light cheesecake or about 3 candy bars!
Using one of the pre-made margarita mixes that can be purchased at grocery stores to make margarita’s at home isn’t really a better option either. Scan the ingredients list of a few of the pre-made mixes at the grocery store and you will typically find a list of ingredients that goes like this: water, high fructose corn syrup, lots of preservatives, lots of additional kinds of artificial sugars, a few things I can’t pronounce, and different kinds of food coloring. That list of ingredients doesn’t add up to something I should be drinking because something seems to be missing from that list of ingredients: real fruit!
So what’s a girl to do if she doesn’t want to give up her drinking of an occasional margarita? Well this girl decided to start making her own margaritas at home from scratch. The recipe I found was very easy to make and contained real fruit which means I will be getting some vitamins and antioxidants with my drink! The watermelon margarita recipe is from Cooking Light magazine and each margarita is only 105 calories per serving!!! It’s a no guilt recipe and I won’t feel like I have to run 12 miles just to burn off the calories from one margarita.

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 3 ½ cups cubed seeded watermelon
  • ½ cup tequila
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Triple Sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
  • Lime wedges or watermelon balls (optional)
1. Place 2 teaspoons sugar in a saucer. Rub the rims of 6 glasses with 1 lime wedge; spin rim of each glass in sugar to coat. Set prepared glasses aside.
2. Combine watermelon and next 4 ingredients (through Triple Sec) in a blender; process until smooth. Fill each prepared glass with 1/2 cup crushed ice. Add 1/2 cup margarita to each glass. Garnish with lime wedges or melon balls, if desired. Makes 6 servings so share with friends!
Depending on the size of the watermelon you purchased you may or may not have extra watermelon left over to eat or use in additional recipes. I did have some leftover watermelon that I used to make the watermelon ice cubes that were used to make the iced green tea drink I wrote about in a previous post. If you missed that post please take a quick glance at it to find another great drink recipe!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Evol Burrito Review: Chicken, Rice & Bean

The chicken, rice & bean frozen Evol Burrito is the perfect solution for those days that I don’t have time to cook or actually don’t feel awake enough to cook.  It only takes 2 minutes and 45 seconds to heat up in the microwave. I know what you’re thinking, that frozen burritos are unhealthy and don’t have a lot of flavor but that isn’t the case with this burrito. I think it’s the best frozen burrito I have ever tasted.

 The description of the chicken burrito on the package states that the burrito is made with “tender free-range chicken braised in a sweet guajillo chile sauce, pinto beans, rice, Monterey jack cheese and an authentic tomato & roasted corn salsa-all hand rolled together in an insanely tasty flour tortilla.” Delicious! Also, it is a meal that will provide you with 21 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. It kept me full for hours!

 Beside the great taste, I love how the burrito is made with free-range chicken raised without any antibiotics and the cheese in the burrito comes from cows that were not given RBST (a growth hormone that a lot of cows are given).  Also, the list of ingredients contains things that I might find in my own kitchen, things like:  tomatoes in juice, garlic, jalapenos, lime juice, pinto beans, Monterey jack cheese, cilantro, water, etc. It makes me feel good to know that I am eating a product that lists ingredients that I actually recognize! A lot of the ingredients found in other frozen burritos are not ingredients you would find in your own kitchen. Their ingredients are found in chemistry labs and you have no idea what they are or what they are made out of when you read them on that ingredient list. If you want to eat something like this, be my guest but I think I’ll stick with my Evol burrito.
I found my Evol burrito at my local Whole Foods grocery store but according to the company’s website the burritos are sold all over the U.S. so you should be able to find their burritos at your local grocery store.
If you do decide to try one of their burritos let me know what your opinion is! They have lots of different flavors to try if you are not a fan of chicken burritos. My husband brought the shredded beef flavor recently so I will have to ask him what he thought of it. I can’t wait to try their veggie fajita and egg & potato burritos next! I especially want to try the egg & potato burrito because the egg in the burrito comes from cage free chickens.
The only downside of the burrito is that the burritos are kind-of expensive as far as frozen burritos go. The sell for an average of $3.00 a piece, but I think they’re worth it because most fast food meals cost more than that these days.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Iced green tea drink recipe with watermelon ice cubes

It’s a great time of year to be a resident of Michigan. That is because it is berry season! Although I’m sad that strawberry season is over I think I can get over it because now it’s raspberry and blueberry season! Also, we will have fresh cherries to look forward to soon as well. If you haven’t tried the Michigan cherry wine that Michigan is famous for you are definitely missing out. My two favorite cherry wines are from Good Harbor Vineyards located near Traverse City, MI and Karma Vista Vineyards & Winery located in Coloma, MI. Both wines have a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness and both are perfect to sip on a hot summer night.
Another great drink to sip on during a hot summer day is the iced green tea drink I made with watermelon ice cubes and frozen raspberries.  It is very easy to make and only has three ingredients. It is my new favorite drink, I hope you like it as much as I do!
Here is the recipe:
  • A pot of your favorite loose leaf green tea
  • 1-2 tablespoons of frozen raspberries
  • 2-3 watermelon ice cubes
  • 1-2 teaspoons organic light agave nectar (optional)
Puree several cups of seedless watermelon in a blender.  Pour the pureed watermelon into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight. Make a pot of your favorite green tea and put the pot into the fridge to chill for a couple hours. Once the tea is chilled you are ready to assemble the drink. Add a handful of the frozen raspberries to a glass and warm them a little in the microwave or by waiting a little while.

Fill half the glass up with some of the green tea and muddle the raspberries a bit to release their flavor.  We didn’t have a proper mojito muddler, but the handle of a butter knife worked just fine.  Add the rest of the tea, a couple of the watermelon ice cubes, and a teaspoon of agave syrup.  Stir and enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Spicy Elbow Macaroni with Veggie Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes

I am so excited!!!  I went outside to water my plants and found that a couple of my cherry tomatoes have turned red and are ready to pick! I picked and ate them immediately (no sharing!). They were delicious and had a lot more flavor than some of the tomatoes you find at the supermarket these days.

A bowl of tomatoes from my container garden!

This might seem like no big deal to a lot of people but I am excited because this is the first year I’ve attempted to grow herbs and a few other vegetables in my backyard. I didn’t know if I would succeed or fail but my plants seem to be doing very well! I decided to go with a container garden because I thought it might be too much work to figure out a way to keep our dog out of the garden.
In my container garden, I am growing cherry tomatoes, red chili peppers, basil, oregano, peppermint, thyme, dill, parsley, cilantro (the cilantro is for B because I am not a fan of cilantro but he loves it), red bell pepper and eggplant. I’m not sure if I will succeed in growing any eggplants but eggplants are one of my favorite vegetables so I had to try! I brought the plants from our local farmer’s market and from our local Whole Foods store.
I love having an herb garden in my backyard because I am able to pick fresh herbs from it on a daily basis. For me, it was very wasteful to buy fresh herbs from my local grocery store because I was never able to use the entire container before the herbs went bad.
Next year, I hope to install raised garden beds in our backyard and plant a proper garden with a bigger variety of vegetables. It would be nice to have room to plant zucchini, summer squash, green beans, wax beans, strawberries, black raspberries, cucumbers and some chives. We also are thinking of buying a composting barrel as well, so we can have organic soil to plant with next year. I will still need to look into ways to keep the dog out of the garden next year as well. Does anyone have any suggestions?
I found a great recipe that I plan on cooking again, once I have enough cherry tomatoes from my garden to use in the dish. I found it on the Rachel Ray website and I made a few changes to the recipe.  I made a few changes because I wanted to use up what ingredients were available to me in my house. I was hungry and I did not want to make a trip to the grocery store for just a few items! I wasn’t sure how the recipe would turn out but I thought it ended up being very tasty!

Spicy Elbow Macaroni with Veggie Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes

  • Salt (for the pasta cooking water)
  • 1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound frozen sausage-style veggie crumbles (I used the brand Morning Star Farms)
  • A pinch or two of red pepper flakes
  • 3 large cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • 2 bundles arugula or1/3 pound baby arugula
  • Salt and pepper, seasoned to taste
  • Low fat ricotta cheese
Cook pasta according to the directions listed on the packaging. Reserve a ½ cup of the starchy cooking water to add to the veggie crumble mixture later and then drain the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium high heat. To the hot pan add the frozen veggie crumbles and cook until the crumbles start to turn brown. Then stir in the red pepper flakes, and garlic and toss for a couple minutes. Then stir in the cherry tomatoes and cover the pan with a lid and cook until the tomatoes start to burst open, this should take 10-15 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on the veggie crumbles by stirring the mixture occasionally. The veggie crumbles are likely to burn if they are not stirred (I found this out the hard way). When tomato skins start to burst open, crack softened tomatoes open with a wooden spoon.
Once this is done, toss the drained pasta and reserved starchy cooking water in with the veggie crumble mixture. Stir to combine. Then season with salt and pepper to taste.
If you are serving with low fat ricotta, place a dollop on top of each serving for mixing in and serve immediately!
On a side note, I like the sausage style veggie crumbles because they have  83% less fat than regular ground Italian sausage, they are cholesterol free and only have 90 calories per serving. A serving is approximately 2 ounces. In comparison, a 2 ounce serving of ground Italian sausage has about 172 calories and it is not cholesterol free.
One thing to be aware of though, is that the veggie crumbles are high in sodium so I still wouldn’t eat them on a daily basis (though some pre-packaged sausages are about as high).

Friday, October 2, 2015

My 12 Hours On The Beyonce Lemonade Diet - Don't Get Me Started!

Let me start by saying that I'm not really fat per se but at the same time, I'm carrying around at least fifteen pounds I could afford to lose and when I recently tried to convince my doctor that perhaps it was muscle mass (from working out at the gym) that was making me tip the height to body weight chart on its ear, he felt my bicep and dryly said, "I don't think so."

I was in LA last week and I had heard that when Beyonce was getting ready to do Dreamgirls she had decided that she needed to lose weight so that she could look more like the icon, Diana Ross so she went on this lemon water with maple syrup and cayenne pepper fast and lost twenty pounds.

I thought, perfect right? I read about it and found out that it's really called "The Master Cleanse" and after getting the supplies, I was all ready to start. So this past Friday morning bright and early I made my lemon water and drank it all day, by 7pm that night I would have eaten the sofa. Thus my story...

The real idea behind the supposed cleanse is to rid your body of toxins, give your colon a cleaning out and give you a clean slate as it were to begin to re-toxify yourself all over again with the environment around you when you're done.

On my recent family vacation my sister-in-law and I had discussed it and we were ready to go on this thing. My massage therapist had gone on it and he had lost nine pounds in six days and said he felt more energized than he ever had in his life during and after the cleanse. I had also read in US Magazine that one of the Coreys (can't remember if it was Haim or Feldman) had also gone on it and lost over 150 pounds to get in shape for their new reality show.

I was ready for the adventure to begin on Friday. I chose that day because I was working from home and while I didn't expect major action on the first day, I was taking the precautionary methods that made sense in this situation. Well, it's a damn good thing that I did because approximately one hour after my first glass of the Jekyll and Hyde fluid (and a cup of "Smooth Move" tea that you're supposed to drink with it) I was off to the races (or moving as quickly as I could to the bathroom).

I'll spare you the details of what followed next but let me say that it was not pretty and you could hear my yelping for miles. (And let me say that days after that my stomach and my bowel movements are still not back to normal.) Okay so if I had done a bit more research I would have known what to expect but, oh well!

All day on Friday I stayed away from the kitchen. I kept talking myself into another glass of the yellow liquid, trying to convince myself that it was the most delicious thing ever.

To say my stomach was making odd noises is an understatement. All the while, my husband is saying, "I want to be supportive so let me know if it bothers you if I eat in front of you." God love him, he knew I was crazy and doomed for failure but he did try to show his support. Unfortunately I only heard part of his sentence as I was running back to the bathroom at the time.

Finally at 7pm having drunk all the lemonade that I was supposed to for the day, my stomach screaming and with a very sore behind from all the bathroom trips, I had to end my cleanse, my fast, my stupidity.

Look, I know that I need to eat less and work out more but I just haven't been able to do it. My heart (or mouth in this case) just doesn't want to do what my head knows it should. Let's face it, if I'm really honest with myself, it's not like Bill Condon (director of Dreamgirls) is waiting for me to lose the weight to have me star in his next film.

There are no quick fixes for us normal folk, it's all a lot of hard work and the sooner I realize that, the better. So hey, I tried to be a celebrity but during that twelve hours I felt less like a celebrity and more like Morale from A Chorus Line when she sings, "I felt nothing, I'm feeling nothing and he said "nothing" could get a girl transferred. They all felt something but I felt nothing except the feeling that this bullshit was absurd." Nope, the lemonade diet might be a success with the stars but it's definitely not for me!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Trying out a new grain for dinner: Bulgur

I decided to be brave tonight and try something new. That something is: a salad with the whole grain bulgur as the main ingredient. I found the bulgur salad recipe in the June issue of the Cooking Light magazine. It was the first time I had ever looked through this magazine and I have to say I loved it! Almost every single recipe in the magazine sounds delicious.
I have made a few of the recipes in the magazine already and they are all very tasty. The best part is that all of the recipes were easy to make, even for a new cook like me. Recipes that require me to have two or three pots on the stove all cooking at once really stress me out! Thankfully, the bulgur salad recipe doesn’t really require any cooking at all! Another plus, I didn’t end with a kitchen full of dirty dishes because this recipe doesn’t require a ton of different kitchen tools to make it. This is a big deal to me because we don’t have a dishwasher (we are working on this – we are planning on remodeling the kitchen soon so there is room for a dishwasher).

Here’s the recipe from the Cooking Light Recipe site:

Cracked Wheat Salad with Nectarines, Parsley, and Pistachios


  • 1  cup uncooked bulgur
  • 1  cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced nectarines (about 3)
  • 1/2  cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4  cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used dried parsley instead)
  • 1  tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 3  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3  tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (I used red balsamic vinegar instead)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios (I did not bother chopping the pistachios and I thought it tasted fine)


Combine bulgur and 1 cup boiling water in a large bowl. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Stir in nectarines and remaining ingredients except nuts; toss well. Sprinkle with nuts.
One of the changes I made to the recipe was I used red balsamic vinegar because I did not have any white balsamic vinegar. I thought the salad tasted great (and my husband really enjoyed it too!) but I plan on making the salad again with the white balsamic vinegar to find out how much of a difference there is in taste between the two vinegars. Also, there is a note in the magazine that states the salad can also be made with apricots, peaches or figs if you don’t have nectarines available. My husband loves apricots so I’m sure we will be making this variation on the recipe soon.
All in all, this recipe is definitely a keeper. I plan on cooking with the bulgur more often because it is just so easy to prepare.  I also like the fact the salad is only 188 calories per serving, which is about ¾ of a cup.
Hopefully, if you make this recipe you enjoy it as much as my husband & I did!

Friday, September 11, 2015

It’s Apple Cider Time!

I am craving some fresh pressed, tasty apple cider.   I know cider mills aren’t found in every state in the U.S. but if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that does have cider mills then this might be your favorite time of the year. B & I visited Goodison Cider Mill, located in Goodison Village, MI a few weekends ago. We planned it out so that we could go for a six mile run on Paint Creek Trail which is an 8.9 mile long trail that runs from Rochester, MI to Lake Orion, MI.
1/2 Gallon Jug of Fresh Goodison Apple Cider

It also happens to go right through Goodison Village where the cider mill is located. So, we parked near the trail and run our six miles and then walked over to the cider mill. We figured since we had just burned all those calories during our run that we had earned the right to have some cider & donuts. I normally don’t like donuts, but, the donuts from Goodison Cider Mill are the best and they are the only place I will eat donuts from! They have three kinds of donuts: plain, cinnamon & sugar and glazed blueberry donuts. Their glazed blueberry donuts are AMAZING and I have never found them at any other cider mill. I also happen to think their cider is the best around as well, though I may be a bit biased, as I have been going to this cider mill since I was a kid.   My favorite way to drink the cider is to heat it up for a couple minutes on the stove with some nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves added to it. It is just such a nice treat on a chilly fall day. B’s favorite way to drink cider on a chilly fall day is also a nice treat. He likes to heat it up as well and then add some spiced rum to it. :)
Mug of Warm Apple Cider
 Cider is also used a lot in cooking. It pairs very well with pork dishes; it can be made into apple cider syrup (for pancakes!), put into stews, breads, soups and whatever else your imagination can think of!
Anyway, since it has been a few weeks since we drank the last of our cider I am already thinking about going to get more cider.  The cider is only available for a few months a year so I always try to make the trip out there a few times each year. It is about a 40 minute drive one way to get to Goodison Cider Mill but it is totally worth it. There is another cider mill that is about 20 minutes from my house but they aren’t as good so I don’t even bother going there.

Side note:

I am planning on running a half marathon in the spring. So, hopefully, someday soon I will be able to start running the trail at its start in Rochester then run to the trail’s end in Lake Orion and then turn right around and run all the back to Rochester again! If I can do that, that’s about an 18 mile run, then I think I will be ready to run that half marathon!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Welcome to Hazel's Spot

I decided to start writing a blog because I am a newlywed that is trying to learn how to cook, Flexitarian style. It would be awfully easy for me to cook up a boxed processed meal for my amazing husband & me for dinner every night but I don’t want to do that! Instead, we would rather eat healthy food that actually has some favor to it! I get bored easily when it comes to food and it is a lot more fun to try to make a different, new recipe every night for dinner.

I am constantly buying new cookbooks and lots of cooking magazines to try and feed my addiction for new recipes to try and cook. There is special emphasis on the “try and cook” part of the last sentence because I don’t always succeed in making a perfectly delicious meal. Hopefully, as time goes on I will be able to call myself a gourmet home chef! I just need to keep reading the how-to cookbooks and watching the how-to cooking demonstrations on YouTube.

I hope to become a gourmet home chef by staying true to my beliefs. That means, buying fresh, organic whole foods as much as I can. Also, I try to only buy meat products that come from farms that practice sustainable farming methods.

I also intend on writing some reviews of food products I find in my favorite grocery stores and local farmer’s markets that I think are worthy of a mention. I might even comment on some of my favorite restaurants as well, because we don’t always have time to cook.

I hope you will join me on my “learning to cook adventure” and I encourage comments or feedback on any of the posts I publish!