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 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!  

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…"

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 :)

A lot has happened over the last few weeks. A mini vacation to Phoenix for a wedding, halloween, a family photo shoot, pumpkin carving, one last trip to the farm, relishing every last moment of fall, and just loving my sweet boys. If you are from Ann Arbor you'll appreciate the boy who dressed up as the violin playing wolf for Halloween! How funny is that?




Eastern Market + Detroit Riverfront

We had such a fantastic time, this past weekend, exploring Detroit's Eastern Market and Riverwalk.
Here's the scoop (or at least what we did):

I LOVED the Detroit Eastern Market. It was one hoppin' place! The Eastern Market is a large venue, open every Saturday from 6AM to 4PM. Not only is it an eclectic, busy, and diverse place, but it is also saturated with table after table of the most vibrant (and sometimes interesting) produce. I just wanted to buy everything I saw. 
I especially loved all the old brick buildings surrounding the market, most of which were covered in graffiti art. 
After spending a few hours at the market, we drove over to the Detroit Riverfront, which was equally fun. It had to be the most beautiful and perfect day for a stroll along the river (across the river is Canada, by the way!) I loved the darling light house at the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor. I also really liked the GM Plaza (headquarters to GM). You can actually go inside one of the buildings and see, touch, and get into the new GM cars. If you've got little boys and husbands, beware! The GM building also has a food court, which was perfect to satisfy hungry tummies midway though our day. 
Hart Plaza has an amazing fountain, which, for 2 little boys was like Disneyland. Add a carousel, large boats floating down the river and a plaza to chase seagulls, the Riverwalk was a perfect Saturday outing with family and friends.