Smitten with the Mitten

Recently I traveled to Michigan to visit family out there. I had such a wonderful time I would like to share with everyone! I had an extremely long lay over time and travel day, and that was Exhausting!! But I finally made it to Holland Michigan at 728 p.m. after leaving my house at 730 that morning. My cousin chris picked me up and it was very weird because he has a grown up job, and his own apartment  and the last time we really spent time together was in high school in the marching band. haha. (since he went to college in Ohio).

The next morning Chris left me a note and I was left to explore holland on my own. He lives four miles away from downtown, and I had no idea where I was going but I was determined to be a good traveler and find it all on my own!!! I rode into town crossing a highway, train tracks and everything else  I stopped and took pictures along the way. Holland is known for its tulips, but obviously no tulips were in bloom. This was the first time ever I visited Michigan in the Fall.

So it was really  cool to see all the nice foliage. I locked up my bike to a rack, and then roamed around. I met my cousin for lunch at the cutest little cafe EVER. I got a toasted chicken salad sandwich, and apple cider donut. Except they forgot my apple cider donut at first and then gave me THREE for the mistake. I mean come on people, I was trying to be somewhat good. hahaha.

The cafe had antique tables and chairs, all mismatched and just had the best atmosphere. I then spent the afternoon going into all the shops downtown had to offer. Downtown Holland is the CUTEST downtown I have EVER been too. Everything is so kept up, clean and charming. There was not a tacky store in sight, or dirty, everything was just so cute and classy. Here are somethings I came across downtown.

Hope College is located in Holland, and as I walked from store to store I was asked twice if I was a student there. I felt so awesome, and was flattered people still thought I was a student.Holland also even has a fireplace on the sidewalk in their downtown area. how presh!!!

For dinner we drove to my aunts house in South Haven where I spent the next night. We had a lovely chicken dinner and then, spent some time with family. I made blue and yellow jello shots for the upcoming game!

Friday morning I spent with my grandfather. He is such a funny man and I was excited to get to spend some one on one time with my G-papa. He is a business man, and never stops of thinking of business, he showed me all his business adventures, and how he’e made all his deals, and all the houses he’s built. The morning I was there he had a friend looking at cars for him in Pennsylvania  so that was exciting for him as well.

We drove around South Haven, my favorite town, where my mother grew up. It was weird to see it in the off season.

We visited my Aunt Emmy, and went to My moms houses she grew up in as a child.

We went to my grandparents old house, one I have great memories of as a child. He also had an antique mall on the property, which is still up and running by someone else and it was very cool to go here as well.

We then went to his new business venture, which is a storage area that he has renovated and made beautiful! He has a little office inside of it as well, with many antiques, and when we were leaving he said hold on one second I just need to clean the place, and whips out this old, old vacuum, that actually works!

We then had lunch at McDonald’s  where he goes everyday and they even know his order there and usually have it ready when he walks in. I mean it can’t get any more precious. We had a lovely day and I am so happy I got to spend quality time with my Grandpa!

After my time with G-papa My aunt and I headed to Detroit to pick up my mom from the airport.We walked around Ann Arbor eating fro yo and buying michigan apparel for game day. Chris met up with us later in the night, and then we seperated with parents. We decided that we needed rain gear because the game day forecast was rain. I wanted to go get boots from the local store, we went around 12 am and turns out our parents were there too. That was pretty funny running into them, I have size 11 feet, so the cute michigan boots didn’t fit me. the only thing in my size were “Tingley Rubbers” which were rubber outsides that went over my shoes.

 

Saturday morning was game day and was we expected the weather was crappy. Light rain and a little bit chilly. My mom and Aunt Coleen arrived looking as nerdy as ever. It was pretty funny. We set up the “tailgate” which was inside, sloppy Joes, fruit, chips, dips, all the good stuff. We indulged in jello shots, peppermint patty shots, rum and orange juice, and I promptly threw up. I rallied though and soon enough we headed out to the game. We all had poncho’s and I greatly appreciated the beauty of the poncho, they are just an awesome invention. We walked through tail gate parties, where my mother was hit on. (ew). Came across the drum-line outside the stadium and followed them into the stadium. That was fun, and made me miss colorguard.

 

It was homecoming weekend at University of Michigan. At the beginning the had all winning University of Michigan Olympians on the field, that was cool, and the alumni band and cheerleaders which was just funny.  We had awesome seats, and we danced and just had a great time at the game. There is a lot of traditional things they do at the game that was cool to see. My favorite was the slow motion wave. Whenever Michigan scored the student section would pick up the smallest girl next and hoist them up and down for every point. The score was 40 something to zero, so I am sure it got very tiring for them.

 

We were so exhausted from the day- drinking, standing, in the freezing rain for hours and hours on end. That night instead of going to the bars me and my cousins just layed on Erika’s bed and just chatted about life, and it was just as fun.

 

On Sunday we walked around Ann Arbor, and ate food, like Jimmy Johns subs, they were pretty cheap and yes, they do make them quick. Insomnia cookies, whats better? I saw a lot of the U of M campus, and Erika and I did silly things that we read from a book when we were out shopping. That night we went to the movies and I got the student discount because I still have my BSC ID ( I will be using that thing for years to come because it has no date on it of when I attended school). We saw trouble with the curve, and we loved it. JT was so AWESOME in it.

 

Monday I woke up and walked the neighborhood. I took pictures of almost every fraternity house I could find because I have such a fascination for them, I think they are so awesome, sorority houses as well. I loved exploring it by myself and finding my way through town. Later in the evening Erika and I went shopping and then decided to go out for the night. We went to local grocery store, and there was one of those mechanical horses and it was ONLY A PENNY. Its name was Sandy so I wanted to ride it really bad, I couldn’t believe it was only a penny. I took a picture on it and my cousin put in a penny, as soon as she put in the penny this woman came over to us and said “excuse me there is a 65 pound weight limit on that, you’re going to burn the motor out.”I was SO UPSET! My cousin said “well its a good thing she’s only 64 pounds!” hahaha. Later that night  ee went to a college bar called Charley’s. Unfortunately it was just the pub menu at this time, so we got pub food and a really cool drink called “The Bubbling Cauldron”. It was served in a huge mason jar, like HUMONGOUS and it was bubbling because there was dry ice in it. We loved it and it was super tasty. We then went to another bar, which had three dollar you call its, so basically every drink was three dollars and we took it upon ourself to try every drink we could. Cinnamon Toast Crunch which was made with Rum Chata, I love rum chata :). Dirty Bong Water, which was pretty tasty, White Gummy Bear, Superman, Key Lime Pie, Some sort of lime green and blue bomb that I didn’t like too much. We then went home and picked up paint to paint the rock! There is a rock on campus that gets painted almost every night and Erika and I decided that we needed to paint it as well. We had so much fun painting it and were laughing the entire time.

 

 

We decided to put Lindz and Erika “Were the two best twins that anyone could ever have” G-mama, Jay, an Anchor, 2012, And our states. We thought the rock looked really awesome, and I got paint everywhere. The next morning we went to go check out our rock and we put too much paint on it so almost all the words dripped down, but it was still sort of readable. We headed to lunch to the Famous Zingerman’s, where they filmed the five year engagement. They make their own bread, cheese, meat, so everything is like organic and unprocessed, which means one sandwich is fourteen dollars. But it has a really cool atmosphere, and the sandwiches cant be beaten so it was worth it.

 

 

 

Every time my cousin and I are together we buy underwear and then write memories on it from the trip. This time we got halloween underwear, and we wrote on it in the parking lot of McDonald’s outside the Airport.

This trip made me learn a lot about myself by spending time with the other side of my family. I am a lot like my Aunt Coleen, more than I have realized in years past. She loves to entertain, and have guests, and just by the way she set up the tail gate it was exactly how I would of have done it. I think we both take pleasure in throwing fun events and planning and decorating for them as well. My cousin Erika and I are more alike than we realize, we have the same taste, some of the same clothes, and pretty much the same life.

 

It was such a wonderful trip and it was fun to see Michigan in the Fall and spend some time with the other side of my family that I rarely get to see! I hope they can come visit me in MA sometime soon!

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End of my Whole30

Thirty days of Paleo, it was… rough.

I learned a lot about myself and my eating habits. I was miserable/cranky/irritable, and every other horrible personality trait you can think of. As you can read about here: Beginnings of Paleo.

By day 14 I lost count of what day I was on, eating Paleo became normal, and I no longer thought constantly about the foods I was “missing” out on.

I think my favorite part of the diet is not weighing yourself until the end, Helps not obsessing over weight and just feeling good. I have no goal weight because I just want to feel good in clothes, in life and feel most important HEALTHY. I decided step one is to not be ashamed of my weight and openly share it, and even to the world, via Senior2realworld. :) I felt the changes, I felt good. My jeans from last winter were so loose I could not wear them. Even some yoga pants were loose. At the end of the 30 days I am  unsure of how much weight I lost, because I didn’t weigh myself before. I can tell you: before I had my gallbladder surgery I was at 222. After my surgery and not eating for 14 days and at my lowest skinniest nastiest point of the recovery time I was at 198. I began to gain weight once I was eating again. (duh) and I got frustrated and stopped weighing myself after 212. This was well before Paleo. After Whole30, I weighed in at 206.5

The first introduction I had was Graham Central Station Ice cream. To reintroduce sugar and dairy. I felt good. no stomach ache, Could not believe it. I had cheated (oops) through out the diet, very little, a bite of cookie here, food not cooked in coconut oil and I felt as though, I would die. My body rejected the idea of any of this, so I was surprised when I felt fine. I would also get extreme sugar headaches, my body was NO SUGAR. OWW. I had to go for a modified barium swallow and they made me eat graham crackers and honey nectar and fruit cups and I felt so gross after that I could barely shake it for the rest of the day.

Unfortunately the next day was my Cookies and Cocktails Party. Where I indulged in cookies and alcohol. Except I really didn’t have that many cookies because they made my tummy weird, and I really didn’t drink much of the cocktails. I had SEVERE acid reflux issues. Luckily my Dr. before I got off Paleo prescribed reflux medicine because food was traveling down my esophagus slower than normal.  I especially noticed this with carbs such as bread, cookies anything like that. But it was painful, un sure if I had this problem before and ignored it because I felt crappy all the time or if it is actually worse now.

I also BURP ALL THE TIME off the diet now. I am currently on vacation and traveling through various family members and I dont want to be that person a “diet” and difficult when it comes to meals because they are already nice enough to let me stay with them and cook for me! I am still making healthy choices when I can. (yesterday at the airport I picked a grilled chicken salad) over subway, the many chinese foods and sushi and mexican I really WANTED.

Once I return home from Vacation Paleo will begin again. But my own version of Paleo so it can become more manageable for me and a lifestyle.  For example, I am going to eat beans, and maybe the occasional piece of chocolate and dessert if its special occasion. I want to learn more about what triggers my  acid reflux!

Herman the German Friendship Cake

I saw this one of the many times I was scouring the internet, and I LOVED the idea. The concept is you make bread and it takes ten days, at the end of the ten days, you divide the batter into four, and give it to three friends, and bake a cake with it your self.

Here is the how to:

Herman the German Friendship Cake

It feels so cool to make this cake it is so Old Fashioned, and Fun! What a great way to bake, and realizing how timing is so important to baking. I am a bit nervous making the starter, but I think I did alright, I am on day three, and my herman is VERY bubbly, I think I added to much yeast… I have not decided who I am going to give my Herman portions too yet either, I want to make sure it is someone who can keep him alive!! I am hoping who ever I give it too, will give it back to me, so I can make more.

What is awesome about this, when it is finished, so will my Whole30, so I Will be able to enjoy the Cake! :)

I will keep updating as the ten days progress! Can’t wait to meet & eat Herman.

Update: The ten days is OVER! and so is Herman!  After ten days he was looking good and I baked him into a tasty cake!!

The cake has a very unique taste because it it is sourdough, and next time I would like to just bake the bread, and not add any ingredients.

 

Here is Herman before the oven

 

Herman all baked and tasty!

 

I divided Herman up and tried to decide on what Loved Ones would love him the most. First I picked Audrey and Amy (my baby cousins). They were SO EXCITED to receive herman. They were speaking of him as if he was a real person and Amy says “Look at his bubbles Lindsey HE IS SOOO CUTEE”

Here is Herman going home with Audrey and Amy- look how excited.

 

Her face covered in chocolate from Chocolate Peppermint cookies. 

The next person is Vavo! She loved the idea of it and thought it was so funny that I gave her a gift that she had to make. She said it was the most unique thing she has ever received.

 

There are so many other people I would like to give Herman to but I only have one more left, and no car :( so I am hoping herman makes it somewhere soon!

I hope Herman comes back to my one day, and we get to hear all about his new adventures!

 

Blue Slime- Blue Lagoon Cocktail

This one was for my cookies and cocktail Party. Its strong-but tasty, I combined a few recipes together to make it.

2 Quarts of Pineapple Juice

One Liter of Vodka

One Liter of Blue Curaco

Pineapple Chunks

Half a bottle of Sweet and Sour Mix

Mix together and serve, and the color is BEAUTIFUL

Cookies and Cocktails

This was the name of my last event. Cookies and Cocktails. Here is the invite I sent out to everyone via FB:

So heres the deal, does anyone actually ever get to use all those recipes you PIN? NOW YA DO. This party idea came to me like a dream.

The concept is sort of based off of a Cookie Swap. Back in the day my family and I would make dozens of cookies and bring them for the family, We would all swap a dozen and come home with 8 do

zen cookies of what everyone else made. It was great fun.So why dont we try it out? on a much smaller scale. So the cookie swap will consist of everyone bringing 2 dozen cookies, this way you can swap a few cookies with everyone else this way your coming with a VARIETY of 2 dozen cookies. (if we dont eat them all at the party).SECOND PART: COCKTAILS. We’re getting older, time to explore more than just the sprite and flavored vodka. haha. There is a whole world out there of cocktails we have never tried. So find a cool cocktail recipe online make a pitcher of it, and bring it! If everyone brings a pitcher we will have a grand old time. Sipping and trying everyones concoctions!
I really wanted to make really great cookies and I thought long and hard about this decision. I decided on my classic Peppermint Cookies and also decided to take on Girl Scout Caramel Delights. Those cookies have quite a few steps but I had some time.
For the cocktail I knew it had to be blue, I love blue drinks. I found a variety of recipes online but decided to combine my own together.
I picked up a few little things at Michael’s because I wanted to make prizes. I got one dollar glitter crowns and used stickers I already had at home. I got a sugar cookie scented candle for the winner of best cookie, and then I soaked gummy bears in vodka. I thought it would be fun for people to have something to wear to show off their wins. haha.
I also was given flip flop drink charms because I used to be OBSESSED with flip flops. I got stickers and stuck everyones initials on the back of the drink charms with the help of Audrey and Amy. I then took the scrapbook paper I bought at Michaels and made name cards, to for each person who was coming. This way they could place their name on the cookies and cocktails they made so it would be easy when it came down to voting.
For voting I wrapped a box with wrapping paper and cut a hole in it for the ballot box, Cut scrapbook paper for the ballots. I made a list of the participants, and put it on a clipboard so I could easily tally when it came to the votes. When I throw a party I try to imagine everything that will be needed at the party so I dont spend the whole night running around for things. Example: a bucket of sweatshirts if I am having a party outside (someone always needs a sweatshirt). If I plan on playing games I have everything set. and ready to go. Just makes it more pleasant to be a party host!
My cookies I made were Caramel Delights and Peppermint Cookies. I was excited to see what everyone would bring. It was funny that it forced my non-baker friends to bake. One of my friends said ” I can’t believe you like to do this, it gives me so much anxiety” Other friends were very impressed with themselves that they were able to make something from scratch.
Here is the lay out of the cookie table: How delicious do all of these look?!
 My friend made so many different cookies. Like the non domestic Ash Pags who bought pre made cookies and filled them with frosting (caught ya). Brielle who frosted and decorated Oreos Halloween Style. Shannon who made the Pinterest S’more cookies. Ashcow some sort of sprinkly fudgey goodness. Toni, authentic Pizelli’s, because her mother owns a Pizelli iron. Erik had someone made tasty chocolate covered sugar cookies, and bertha cooked premade cooke dough (caught you too). Kels who made cup cookies peanut butter and chocolate chocolate, Sarah Andes Choco Mint Cookies, Ariana nutella cookies Morgan “dark and stormy” spice cookies with real rum in them and they WON best cookie. They were really tasty, and my personal fav just because I could see how much effort was put into them, Monika’s Pinata Cookie. These things were amazing, so I asked her to send me pics of them. They made noise when you shook them, I mean CMON and look a the color and THE BOWS! Bravo Monika, Bravo.
Cocktails were another great adventure. We called mine Slime, or Blue Lagoon, but we had so much of it, it was strong but tasty, and I froze the rest. It made a huge cocktail. Erik made some arnold palmer mix, that was delish. Ariana a cranberry margarita, Toni and winter sangria with cranberries and figs and other sautéed winter fruits. Ashcow made this delish Thin mint cookie martini that she mixed right there for us. IT was to DIE for. Bertha made apple cider and rum, ( I always love that) and Sarah made Love potion, which was vodka sherbert lemonade, it was yummy and won best cocktail! ( I think I am forgetting some).
I started my classic Cereal Box game, which is wear you have to pick up the cereal box with just your mouth, only having your feet on the ground, your arms, knees anything else can not touch. As the game progresses I cut the cereal box and make it shorter and harder.
Then we decided it was WAY to friggin hot in the basement so we moved out to the deck. A Deck party with Twinkle lights on October 5th, Can you believe it? I definitely did not mind.  Outside we played a humming game where I make team members stand far away from each other and when I scream go run and hum to their other team mate while the team mate tries to guess. It was hilarious.
Me with a crown too:
Byt the next day I ended up with so many cookies-so many cocktails left over, and it was so fun to see all my college friends again, make people step out of their comfort zone and throw together. We had a blast hanging out on the deck and enjoying cocktails.

Caramel Delights- A crowd pleasing cookie

So I wanted to make something different for my Cookie and Cocktails Party. I have been debating this cookie for a while now. It seemed like it had a lot of steps, but when actually making it, its painless. I got this recipe from Once Upon a Plate. They were so tasty and I LOVED EM!

Here’s the recipe-

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
up to 2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350F
Mix all these ingredients together, and add the milk only if necessary. I didn’t use the milk :) The dough is a different dough, and very bread-like.
Roll out the dough and cut circles, the only circle cookie cutter I had was a large circle, I tried different things to cut out the middle, and the only one I found that worked well was the cap of a high lighter. hahaha. This dough can be fragile, but can be easily mended back together. Bake for 10- 12 minutes or until golden.
The recipe says to cover in chocolate after putting the coconut topping on, but I thought this was silly. So I dipped the bottoms in melted chocolate from Michaels. Heres a tip, melt the chocolate in a large LID! Rather than a bowl, this way its large and flat, and works perfect covering these cookies, you can dip both sides, but I dipped one side, let is set, and then rolled it in the chocolate to cover the sides and a little but if the tops that way if the coconut filling didn’t reach the end, you wouldn’t see the bare cookie. I DEFINITELY. recommend covering in chocolate before putting on the topping. I used one bag of chocolate melts and this was enough.
Topping:
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12-ounces good-quality chewy caramels
Melt caramels in the microwave, for 3-4 minutes and stir in the coconut. I missed the part of the recipe where it said to TOAST the coconut, OOPS, but it came out still delish, so if you’d like to toast the coconut before, heres the deal:
Spread coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Watch carefully, especially near the end of toasting time; the coconut toasts very quickly once it begins to become golden.
I used a tablespoon for each cookie and spread with my finger and it got very messy.
After the coconut has set, pipe some chocolate and drizzle over the cookies for a last good looking look!
Worth all the extra steps for these cookies :)