Spring has Sprung and a Sweet Red Onion Dressing

Although my morning walks have been few and far between, the ones that I have managed to squeeze in, between the soggy downpours, have been amazingly beautiful. Spring, while it took eons to get here and is still sparsely available, is amazingly glorious. Sometimes I just truly marvel at the tiniest creations we have been blessed with...like grass and reflections in a pond :)

I love this Sweet Red Onion Dressing. I think it has been passed down from friend to friend to friend, and I really don't know where it originated from. It's the perfect dressing for any green salad.

3 tablespoons diced red onion
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil

Blend everything on high until smooth.

For salad, toss together: green leaf lettuce, pecans, sliced green apples, feta cheese, cranberries, cucumber.










A lot has happened since my last post. Winter ended and the sun came out. We've been preparing for our upcoming move. The baby turned 1! And, once again, I am busy in the kitchen (my comfort place), making new and old recipes. Click on a food photo (above) for that particular recipe. Recipes include: Cranberry Oat Cookies, Spicy Cilantro-Lime Chicken Jambalaya, Roasted Marjoram Potatoes, Sweet Potato Black Bean & Quinoa Soup, Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing, Cauliflower Potato & Pea Soup, and Molasses Chocolate chip Cookies.

I feel like we are once again whole, happy and energized people. The sun, and a little warmth, can go a long way. We've made several trips to the park, the BoB has emerged from the dusty hole it was hibernating in, and I actually swept my front porch and gave the door mat a good cleaning. Phew.
Life is good, again. 

Orange-Carrot Smoothie

My brother-in-law's wedding was last weekend so we flew down to Georgia for a few days to be a part of the festivities. Both the wedding ceremony and reception were held on a Southern plantation--A plantation? Geez, doesn't that just sound romantic? Well, it was. And the weather couldn't have been more perfect--75 degrees and sunny. It just made me realize, more than ever, that I'm ready to kiss this horrible, no-good, never-ending winter of 2014 goodbye.

My husband's birthday was also this past week. The cake I made for him didn't really turn out as I was hoping...it looked more like a baby shower or wedding shower cake than an Awesome Husband/Father birthday cake--he thought so too :(

There is nothing I like more in the winter (except 75 degrees and sunshine, and perhaps living in California) than the California Navel orange. The Navel is not the best orange for juicing, however, it's perfect for smoothies and just plain eating. With the last few months being, oh, miserable--partly because of a two week long bout we had with the flu, croup, and two visits to the ER, among other things (like, the weather)--I've been turning a lot to my favorite cure all smoothie. High in vitamin C (my miracle drug), vitamin A and important antioxidant properties, this beverage brings sunshine to my soul :)

Orange-Carrot Smoothie
2 oranges, rinds and pith cut off
6 baby carrots
2 slices of jarred peaches, plus a splash of the juice (1 to 2 teaspoons)
2 to 3 tablespoons vanilla Greek-style yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar (sugar-in-the-raw), or less to your liking

Blend everything on high (Vitamix or powerful blender works best) for about 30 seconds (longer if using a less-powerful blender.) Add about 20 to 30 ice cubes and blend until smooth.

Buttermilk Ranch from Scratch

The holidays have come and gone. We had a most marvelous holiday with my family--most of which was spent cooking and eating (seriously.) But all too quickly the blissful, dreamlike vacation ended and we were thrust back into reality, actually a polar vortex, with temps reaching somewhere around -40 degrees. With the holiday break extended an extra 3 days for school closure, we got busy occupying our time in the kitchen--our comfort zone--cooking, doing artsy stuff and tackling a few science experiments.

We went to the North America International Auto Show in Detroit. A boys dream, really, or anyone who likes cars.

We filled our bellies with lots of fresh veggies, to keep the cabin fever at bay. Carrots and broccoli. I'm pretty sure my husband started to turn orange.

Buttermilk Ranch from Scratch

1 1/4 cup mayonaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried chives
a few grinds of fresh ground pepper

Blend everything until smooth.

Favorite Salsa

 I've made this recipe about 3 dozen times just in the last 2 months. That's a lot of salsa!!
But, we love it and it seems to always get devoured!  

We recently made a trip out to Grosse Point, MI to see and tour the Edsel Ford House and property. Edsel Ford was the son of Henry Ford and was an executive at Ford Motor Company. The 20,000 square foot house sits on 87 acres of lake front property. With it's (over 1 mile long) Lake St. Claire shoreline, incredible gardens, a charming (not so) little playhouse, and winding paths, one could definitely spend hours walking the grounds of this amazing property.
It was a perfect, crisp, fall afternoon activity to do with our little family and good friends. Even the young kids had a blast exploring the play house and running around outside.

A conversation I had with my 5 year old today:

Me: "What would happen if you got flushed down the toilet?"
Him: "I don't know."
Me: "What happens to your poo when it gets flushed down the toilet?"
Him: "It goes on a magical journey…"

Law Quad

One of my favorite places in Ann Arbor is the University of Michigan's Law School Quadrangle (aka the law quad). 
It's beautiful and magical, in a Harry Potter kind of way, and it's full of history and prestige. 
We love to take afternoon strolls through the courtyard, or meet up with good friends and let the kids play. . .and, we've even had our family portraits taken there :)