Thursday, June 30, 2011

Simple Things.

Like last week, I’m linking up with Jesslyn Amber again to share the

Here are mine for this week:
~Rhubarb Bread~
~Bringing our roses back to life~
~Finishing the first session of summer school today~
~Walks with JW & the Whit-bug~
~Beautiful sunrises like the one today~
~Anything from Curly Girl design~
But mostly…
~Another cottage weekend with my handsome husband~
 What simple things are you loving today?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rhubarb Bread

Don't you just love summer and all the fresh produce?  Maybe some of you that read this have the glory of fresh produce all year long, but in Northern Michigan we...don't.  Hello snow.  Anyway, now that gardens have started 'popping' with plants and goodies, we've been trying to incorporate them into our weekly diets!  This week we got some rhubarb from a plant at our cottage.
I had a recipe for Rhubarb Bread from my friend Becky that I'd been wanting to try. Note to self: all of Becky's recipes are delicious; try them immediately.  I kid you not this rhubarb bread is AH-mazing.  Let me explain:
I made it yesterday.
It made 2 loaves.
I took half a loaf to my parents.
Theirs was gone last night.
Ours (sadly) is now gone too.

I tried a few tricks with the recipe to make it a little bit better for you without sacrificing taste.  So, I added flaxseed meal instead of an egg, applesauce instead of some oil, and agave instead of some sugar.  You don't have to do that, but we thought it was delicious!
Here's the recipe:
Rhubarb Bread
(makes 2 loaf pans – can be frozen)

1 ¾ C. brown sugar divided into 1 ¼ and ½ cup measures
2 teaspoons agave syrup
¼ C. oil (just shy on measurement)
½ cup applesauce
1 egg
1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal plus 3 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. Buttermilk (or milk with vinegar trick)
1 tsp. baking soda
2 ½ C. Flour
2 C. diced rhubarb (1/2 inch)
1 C. chopped nuts divided into ¾ and ¼ cup measures
¼ C. butter somewhat softened

[1] Preheat oven to 350 and grease two loaf pans.
[2] Combine 1 ¼ C. brown sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce, flaxseed meal mixture, salt, vanilla, cinnamon.
[3] Stir in Flour and Soda.
[4] Add Buttermilk.
[5] Stir in rhubarb and ¾ c nuts.
[6] Pour into greased loaf pans.
[7] Combine remaining brown sugar, butter and nuts.  Sprinkle over top of loaves.
[8] Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. 

**I cooked the rhubarb with some water in the microwave for 1 minute before adding it to the bread mix.  Seemed to be a good thing!**

Ok, now go find rhubarb and make this.  Feel free to send me some if you like :)  If you have questions about the recipe, I'd be happy to answer them -- or if you don't have the substitutions, I can fill you in on the original recipe!

I love it.

It's that time again.  What I'm loving Wednesday...

That we got to spend a beautiful weekend at the lake...and we have another one lined up for this weekend.  Life at the cottage is WONDERFUL.

That our garden is giving us lots of fresh goodies and so are our friend's gardens, including rhubarb.  I made some AMAZING rhubarb bread yesterday.  I'll share that recipe tomorrow!

That our puppy (aka 11 year old black lab) is so sweet and funny.  Did I mention she thoroughly enjoys beer?

That JW and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary over the weekend -- nothing huge, just lots of relaxing and a nice dinner out. 

Baby Liza :)

That the 4th of July is coming up.  One of my favorite holidays in northern Michigan.
this was taken at our first fourth of july weekend together :)

And of course, my lovely two buddies...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Berry Salad Bliss

On Sunday night, JW and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary!  We went to the Douglas Lake Bar and Steakhouse -- partly because it was close to our cottage and has a beautiful view of Douglas Lake and partly because I worked summers there for five years and seriously enjoy their food.  It is seriously gorgeous out there and Sunday was the perfect day.  
Proof of the beautiful day -- Whit-bug on the pontoon boat

Did I take pictures?  NO.  I have been fighting a cold for a week and we'd been on the lake all day.  Think: windblown and stuffy nose.  Not the prettiest sight.  But dinner was delicious.  I started with their summer berry salad.  Ah-mazing.  It might have even made up for the fact that I couldn't enjoy a glass of wine ;)
this is the dlb -- photo from here
So today when I finally realized I was hungry for lunch -- say 3:00 or so, I searched our fridge, cabinets and our new CSA box to see what I could come up with.  Berry salad...duh.

Here's the coolest part: the strawberries and lettuce are from our garden!  Wahoo for green thumbs :)

Lettuce - whatever kind you like (prob not iceberg though) or even spinach
Watermelon? (trust me, it's good...we just didn't have any)

Toss the lettuce, top with berries and sliced almonds. 
this looked so good, i decided we needed a BIG picture

I know, I know, you've seen this recipe before.  But let me let you in on a little dressing secret stolen straight from the DLB.  Don't tell them I was paying attention to the chefs even though I was a meager little waitress.  

makes enough for 2-3 small salads
1 heaping teaspoon raspberry jam
Drizzle red wine vinegar
Drizzle olive oil
4-5 fresh raspberries
Dash Salt + Pepper

Pulse in a mini-food processor or blender.  Taste test.  Drizzle over the salad.  You won't be disappointed.  I suppose you could use a store-bought dressing but this one is so simple and yummy!

Are you still staring at the jam jar?  Yes it really does say "Intercourse Canning Company".  My parents drove through Intercourse, Pennsylvania (a nice quaint Amish town) and my mom found all the goodies at the Intercourse Canning Company far too funny -- muffin mixes, bbq sauces, salsa.  Yes, they've provided us with endless entertainment. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wedding Week - The ABC's

It's crazy to think that a year ago today we were in the midst of last-minute wedding planning.  And now this year, we're in the midst of planning for baby Liza.  Life seems to fly by, but this week I wanted to recap all the fun we had at our wedding last year, so first come our wedding ABC's (ps - most photos are courtesy of Paul Retherford Photography):

We had about 200 people there over all (but our guest list topped out around 275).  Hello small town wedding.

I had 5 bridesmaids - my cousin was my maid of honor (since she is practically my sister), then a friend from high school, two from college and my sister-in-law!  We had two flower girls - Jon's cousin Serenity and niece Lorelei. 

Our caterer was out of Traverse City - Catering by Kelly's.  They had actually done my brother's wedding.  They were fantastic to work with and the food was great!

My dress was an ivory A line skirt with a sweetheart neckline and a dropwaist.  I wanted something fancy, but simple and understated.

JW proposed to me on April 2, 2009 so we were engaged for a little over a year when we got married on June 26, 2010.

Our flowers were from Flowers Unlimited.  It's in Indian River and the coolest thing about Kelly's business is that she grows a bunch of her own flowers in front of her house.  It was too early in the season for any of our flowers to be homegrown, but she did a beautiful job!

JW also had 5 groomsmen - his cousin was his best man, another cousin, two close friends, and my brother.  My nephew Mason was the ringbearer :)
Since we knew we wanted to have kids pretty quickly after we got married, we decided to live it up for our honeymoon.  We went on a 7 day cruise in the Mediterranean - stopping in Italy, France, and Barcelona.  Then we did an extra day in Barcelona.  It was AMAZING, but we were running around all day long and felt like we needed another vacation when we got back!

A friend of mine from college designed the invitations.  They were simple and really set the tone for our big day!

Justice of the Peace
Our priest was Father Mike -- one of my friend's uncles.  Though we didn't know him extremely well, we were relieved that we had spent time with him before our marriage and he could incorporate some of those details into the ceremony.  Having him as our priest also meant we got to be married at The Cross in the Woods in Indian River.  
We had guests sign two picture frame mattes.  They're hanging above our mantle now :)

Ladies Night
My bachelorette party started with some wine tasting in Traverse City, followed by a night out on the town.  It was fantastic and we still have some great memories (like my girl Katy's lost shoe).

The music for our wedding was relatively traditional, but two friends of ours sang during the word: BEAUTIFUL.  As for the reception, we had a DJ (who sometimes struggled to follow directions).

Um, I think we still are.  Or we're certainly no experts yet :)

Old, new, borrowed, blue
My something old was my mom's veil.  She had a VERY long veil that was double-layered, so she gave half to my sister-in-law and saved half for me.  My new was my dress, shoes, or beautiful hair piece my MOH had made.  My something borrowed and blue was a handkerchief from my husband's grandma which was wrapped around my flowers.

Our photographer was FANTASTIC.  He had done of my friend's weddings and we had seen his awesome work.  He did a lot of photojournalistic photos, but also had the classic shots as well.

Question Popping
JW proposed to me in our first house that we owned together.  I came home from work to find rose petals scattered everywhere.  That was a Thursday - two days later we left for a week vacation in Cozumel.  It was perfect.

Our reception was at the Emmet County Fairgrounds.  They built a new community center a few years back and they definitely kept true to the up north feel of Petoskey.  It was gorgeous.  And we decorated it all ourselves!

My shoes were a simple pair of silver sandals.  I didn't want to be too tall and they were comfy all day long.  I think I lasted about half way through the reception before I finally took them off.  
We only had a cake so that JW and I could cut it (and so my nephew could lick the frosting...see photo below).  But we also had homemade chocolate chip cookies as our favors and a dessert bar for guests!

Nothing terribly unique...just that it was a beautiful day with my best friend :)  Oh and I wore my mom's veil!

We did traditional vows in our full Catholic ceremony.

Wedding Woes
It POURED the night before the wedding.  I mean, poured.  Our wedding was supposed to be outside, but fortunately the church at The Cross in the Woods is just as beautiful and has huge windows looking outside, so it wasn't a problem.  And by the time the ceremony was over it started to get BEAUTIFUL out :)

What?  No, I think.

As I mentioned before, we had my nephew, Jon's neice and cousin as our ring bearer and flower girls.

We were wiped out after our wedding day.  We went home to sleep in the house we had finally moved into a week before.  And then we had tons of friends and family over for a brunch the next morning.