Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Happy Puppy OR A Dog and His Dinh

It's true. I've been slacking on the blog. Part of it may or may not be due to the fact that we got our first family pet a few months ago. Tom and I had discussed getting a dog over the years, but somehow this winter it suddenly became a reality. We found a ~10 month old dog at the SPCA shelter that we decided almost as soon as we saw him that he belonged with us. He's a medium-sized shepherd mix of some sort. He was laying down in his cage, giving the best "puppy dog eyes" he could, while the rest of the dogs in the shelter were jumping up and down barking. He just looked so sad in there. My reaction was, "I just want you to be Happy...Happy." -- a line from one of our favorite movies, Happy Gilmore.  And thus (after two days of considering other options), his name was established.  So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the newest member of our family: Happy Gilmore Symons

Monday, March 3, 2014

Cast-Iron Skillet Blueberry Cobbler

This post may surprise some of you who know that I am not typically a fan of cooked fruit. However, after some conversations about Blueberry Cobbler at work last week, I decided I wanted to give it a try.  I had made a Blackberry Cobbler once before after picking fresh wild blackberries with my mom in North Carolina. I thought that tasted pretty good. And, I do like blueberry muffins. Plus, I reasoned, Tom will probably like it, and if all else fails, I'll be serving it with vanilla ice cream that I KNOW I like.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Brew Blog: Schmohz Brewery

We did a little impromptu trip to Schmohz Brewery last weekend before heading over to our friends' house for dinner. I didn't actually know that this brewery was there. When we walked in, I had the immediate impression that I somehow walked through a time vortex straight back into the 1980s. I mean, really. Wood paneling, cement floors, drop ceiling, and tables and chairs that I swear are right out of the 80s. Not to mention the video games...but we'll get there. It had the feeling of an older person's place. Yes, I'm turning 30 this year, but Tom and I were definitely the youngest ones there. It's also the sort of place that puts a QR code on their website, if that gives you any sort of indication.  They didn't have a ton of beer to choose from, and I wasn't really in the mood to branch out and try something new. So, I opted for a soda. They make their own black cherry soda and root beer -- I decided to try the black cherry and it was delicious! It was very smooth and creamy and not terribly carbonated. Normally, I like a lot of carbonation, but this was good just the way it was. 

Brew Blog: Ashley's Belgian Beer Festival

It just so happened that the same weekend we planned a baby shower for my sister-in-law, there was a Belgian Beer Festival going on at Ashley's -- a favorite hangout of my brother's. He was able to participate in the festivities all week, but Tom and I were at least able to join in for part of the weekend. They had numerous events and special menus -- beyond the seemingly never ending list of Belgian Beers on tap. It was really quite an impressive production.

Ashely's Belgian Beer Festival

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Brew Blog: HopCat

The next stop on our brew tour was HopCat.  I think I had actually only been to HopCat once before, and it had been a very long time. I think Tom's been a number of times, but we hadn't been there since we began our "Brew Tour". We had said months ago that we needed to set a date to go there with a friend of ours and his family, and we finally made it there a few weeks ago. One of the lures of HopCat (besides the beer) is their famous "crack fries" -- which I don't think I had had before. Our friends had already ordered some by the time we got there -- and, YUM! They are quite tasty.  I got some more as a side with my burger, too.  Good food.  Anyways, on to the beer.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brew Blog: Grand Rapids Brewing Company

After an unexcusably long hiatus, it's time to get back to the Brew Blog!  We took some time off of our brewery tour as the weather got nice last year, but we've knocked off several new places this winter that I have not gotten around to posting yet. First places first, we'll start with the Grand Rapids Brewing Company. Several weeks ago we caught an improv comedy show in downtown GR with a couple of friends. Afterwards, since it was right around the corner (or far too many blocks in the blustery Arctic tundra that has been West Michigan this winter), we decided to hit up Grand Rapids Brewing Company. None of us had been there before (unless you count the one time I went when it was the previous owners in the old location...not the same thing at all). GRBC is the Michigan's first Certified Organic Brewery, which alone makes it pretty unique. However, you will notice that the prices reflect the high-quality, organic ingredients.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Appetizer Plate: Garlic Goat Cheese Spread, Roasted Red Pepper Spread, Caponata

After going out with Tom for drinks and appetizers a few weeks back -- and the appetizer plate not coming as specified on the menu -- I had been wanting to make my own appetizer platter as a fun and different dinner. I wanted to do a set of spreads that I could put over warm slices of a French baguette, and possibly pair with some cured meats. The first couple of recipes that I had in mind were some sort of goat cheese spread and a roasted red pepper spread -- two things that I had had before and liked, but never tried making myself. The Garlic Goat Cheese Spread, was basically taken from a recipe I found on -- and included a mixture of goat cheese, plain Greek yogurt, roasted garlic and herbs (I think I used basil and oregano rather than thyme).
roasted garlic
Started with some roasted garlic -- perhaps the second time I've ever done
this...I should roast garlic more often!