I know it’s hot. Can you remember the last time temps soared about 100 degree in Michigan? Even though it’s been a hot week, this summer has been kind of beautiful and we’ve been enjoying as much Pure Michigan as possible on the weekends.

Getty 4 Drive-In in Muskegon

About a week and a half ago, we went to a drive-in movie in Muskegon. There are actually a lot more drive-ins left in Michigan than you might think. There’s a great website that lists all the drive-ins in all the states – check it out! There’s some neat history underneath each listing. Getty 4 shows double features for $8 a person. We saw Transformers (meh), but because it was Sunday and I had to work the next day, we ducked out (drove out!) before Super 8 started. Bummer, but it was a beautiful night anyways. We went swimming in Lake Michigan and biked around town a little before heading to the flick. Here’s Buff looking mad while walking on some breakers.

Buff on the breakers

BTW, these two pictures were taken with my iPod Touch and the one of Buff were taken with Instagram, an app that gives pictures an old-timey feel. The quality is not great, but my regular camera is broken so it’s either these or a work camera.

We also went kayaking one weekend in Grand Haven because I scored a sweet Groupon for Lakeshore Kayaks. I don’t have any pictures of that, but it was beautiful. If anyone wants to meet up for a kayak trip, I’m happy to go!

Tiny tomato in my garden!

The garden is HUGE. I already have about 20 tomatoes — the heirloom plants are out-producing the hybrid/GMO plants, surprisingly — and my basil, swiss chard and sunset lettuce are looking amazing. Tomorrow night, if I can stand the heat of our house long enough to make something for dinner, I’m thinking some pesto and greens over pasta would be lovely.

Oh, exciting news: My sister Breck is engaged! She and her lovely fiance, Adam, are planning a small, private ceremony for next fall. She’s excited, I’m excited. It’s a good thing. Congrats, Breck & Adam!

Other than that, we’re planning a few more weekend excursions that I’ll share later, but for now  that’s basically it. I hope you’re all having wonderful summers as well. In case you haven’t gotten into a the mood of summer yet, may I suggest a small does of  Will Smith’s “Summertime”?

Our backyard tonight. Not a bad way to end the day.

 

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Check out my swiss chard, growing so hard…

Swiss chard

… and my basil plant (the same one I posted before which I wasn’t sure what it was).

Definitely basil

Also! We got a new kitten, for anyone who didn’t see my Facebook album. He came from the farmers market, where someone dumped him for someone like me to find. He’s running around the office like crazy as I type.

His name might be Charles or Charlie.

Anniversary One

On Sunday, we celebrated our first anniversary in the only way appropriate: I worked most of the day before we took off for Grand Rapids for a few hours of food and fun. We ate pizza and drank craft brews at 25 Kitchen and Bar, thanks to some fabulous specials ($5 pizzas + $2.25 taps = AWESOME). Then we went to Viceroy and Stella’s, where we drank these ridiculous egg white drinks and played pinball while watching people do gong-show style karaoke during “Shit Show Sunday.” I ended up falling down a flight of stairs and a questionable guy tried to scam us while we took this picture, which totally didn’t turn out how I imagined, partly because of the questionable guy. It was absolutely a hipster romance and I loved it. I think Buff did too.

Here’s to the next year being as good as the first. Love ya, Buff.

Bryan giving me that hateful, "Don't take my picture" look

Thanks to everyone who came out to our humble home on Sunday to celebrate Buff’s 25th birthday. It meant a lot to him (and to me) that y’all came and ate my cooking ad that many of you replenished our supply of alcohol with your whiskey gifts and left-behind beers.

If you want to see some of the pictures I took, check out the Facebook album I just posted to see what you missed. Thanks again to those who came!

I had a real itch to start a garden this year. Well, I actually had a real itch to buy a CSA basket and bask in the array of fresh produce it would surely provide each week. And I had an even bigger itch to spend less at the grocery store. Gas prices really do affect the price of food, which I re-learn each time I walk out of the store, never spending less than $40.

And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little inspired by Bonzai Aphrodite‘s uber-impressive urban farm. I’d love to do tire potatoes next year if I don’t kill everything in my microgarden this year.

So with the help of my mother and Gaertner’s Greenhouse in Saginaw, I’m growing heirloom tomatoes, sweet peppers, sunset lettuce, swiss chard, oregano and basil this year in a mini garden. Most of my seeds came from Sustainable Seed Co., in case you’re wondering.

I’ve never grown produce before, so I started small. I bought a poly-plastic, snap-together garden bed and set it up on the west side of our house (do you know how hard it is to find untreated lumber at the big box home stores? do you know we only have big box home stores in this little town?) and things are beginning to grow.

Here’s a peek at what’s popping up around here.

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything her — even after vowing to keep up the blog once the wedding ended, I failed right around New Year’s Eve.

But  we’re about one week away from our first anniversary and I’m slowly realizing that (a) time passes quickly, especially when you get into the swing of The Real World, and (b) there are plenty of people – dare I say, too many – whom we haven’t seen since the wedding.

So here’s to keeping in touch and spending more time on my iMac (where I maintain my blogs) before it bites the dust. I’m going to try to maintain this blog for anyone who’s interested in cursory recaps of our life summarized in pictures and sentences punctuated with exclamation points.

To get back into the spirit of this place, here’s something delicious I whipped up last night. One of Buff’s Yoplait co-workers brought him an enormous bag of rhubarb, so I made a compote recipe I found in a magazine at my Aunt Tracy’s house. We roadtripped to Louisville to visit my Aunt Tracy and Uncle Tim with my sister, Breck, two weeks ago. Maybe I can post on that later.

Rhubard Strawberry Compote

What you need:

  • 2 lbs. of rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. of strawberries, quartered
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of apple juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon of  vanilla extract

How to do it:

In a heavy-bottomed pot (I used a dutch oven that has turned out to be my favorite/most useful wedding gift), combine everything but the vanilla. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Once simmering, reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until it breaks down and thickens. This should take about 50 minutes. Add the vanilla and stir.

my bread and compote

This can be served warm, room temperature or chilled. The recipe recommended it on pancakes, waffles or ice cream or to combine it with goat or ricotta cheese. I’ve been eating it on homemade whole wheat bread, which I made from a Laurel’s Kitchen method. The whole recipe is about five pages long, so I won’t post it, but maybe you should buy the book. It’s my go-to source for all kinds of cooking conundrums, first introduced to me by Georgia when we lived together and had wild cooking adventures at all hours of the night (see: Nick’s apple butter craving at 2 a.m.). I love the whole, holistic approach to cooking offered in its pages. It’s based on a vegetarian diet, but even if that’s not your thing, I’d recommend it just for the technical advice.

This compote, though, is so good. It’s a little bit tart, but deeply sweet at the same time.  Definitely tastes like summer. See you back here soon.

 

May 2011 bring you all you desire, especially fat cats beneath Christmas tree

We’re about seven hours away from a new year and, unlike many people, I’m sad to see 2010 go.

Obviously, this year has been very good to Bryan and me and there is very little I would change about the last 12 months. I knew this would be a year of change — graduation for both of us, marriage, first “real” jobs — but I never imagined we’d end up in West Michigan making the nation’s yogurt and chasing down criminals, respectively. We’re loving every minute of it, to be quite honest.

Thanks, family and friends, for your love and support this year. In return for your adoration, our door is always open. Happy New Year!

We had a nice little Thanksgiving, just the two of us. Unfortunately, I had to work on Thanksgiving Day but somehow Buff managed to get six (!) days off, so we eventually made it home for the weekend to see friends and family. Hope your turkey day was marvelous. 🙂

via Love and Olive Oil

I don’t know how many people that aren’t Buff or Abby or Georgia know how many blogs I read on a daily basis, but trust me when I say I read a TON of blogs in addition to the disgusting amount of news and Facebook/Twitter updates I consume on a daily basis.

One of my favorite blogs is Love and Olive Oil. It’s run by a young couple who make insane food. This was the first recipe of theirs that I ever made and I was hooked instantly. Since then, I’ve made a bunch of their recipes, but one of my favorites is this pumpkin turkey chili.

When fall rolls around, I crave all things pumpkin, from the requisite pumpkin spice latte to pumpkin cookies to baked squash with nutmeg (which is pumpkin’s cousin, obviously). I made this chili for my sister one time when she spent the night with me in Lansing and this week she asked me for the recipe. Since I sent her the link, I figured I should probably share it here too. I’ll probably end up making this one day this week. Even though it’s classified as “Stuff We Like,” I’ve never made this for Bryan so let’s hope he likes it.

My advice to Breck will be the same for you, kind reader: Don’t skimp on the cumin. It makes the pumpkin less intensely sweet and dessert-y and adds this other level of flavor that really makes the dish crave-worthy. If cumin isn’t something you normally keep in your pantry, you might want to change that. It’s great for practically everything, especially those slow-cooked, earthy fall recipes that are so popular this time of year. I season meat and veggies with it. It’s a must-have.

Happy eating!

 

One thing I’m not sure I’ve mentioned is how many Amish families there are in Mecosta County. I buy produce and the most outrageously delicious baked goods from them at the farmers market (which, sadly, is over for the season). We see them frequently traveling down Perry Avenue in honest-to-goodness horse and buggies. I’m not sure why, but they really love Walmart. We don’t normally see them at Meijer. I guess they just love really good deals. Anyway, I took this picture last week and had to share it. Have a good Sunday!

Hello!

We are Bryan and Whitney. We're two kids who recently graduated from college, got married and moved away from our hometown of Saginaw, Mich. This was our wedding blog. Now it's our life blog, where you can find life updates and keep in touch with us even though we're far away from wherever you might be. Leave comments, send us e-mails and keep in touch. We'd love to hear from you.
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