Thanksgiving Weekend 2013

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I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! Mine was filled with my four favorite things: family, friends, food and running. My cousins and I kicked off the long weekend by making our Thanksgiving themed costumes for Detroit’s Turkey Trot. The Turkey Trot is held every Thanksgiving morning before the Thanksgiving Day Parade and many of the runners run the 5k or 10k decked out in a holiday costume. I’ve run it several times before but had not yet joined the costume club. But this year, I ran the race decked out in a Thanksgiving tutu and turkey headband.

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We had a huge group running different races on Thursday morning. Kristen and I ran the 10k “Turkey Trot”, Lauren and her boyfriend Alex ran the 5K Stuffing Strut” and my aunt, uncle, Meghan and Eric walked the “Mashed Potato Mile.”

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In true Michigan fashion, we found ourselves running smack dab in the middle of a blizzard. And though it was a bit slippery, it was SO much fun. I even managed to somehow run my fastest 10k yet! I think that had a lot to do with how speedy my cousin Kristen is!

Later on, Eric and I went to his family’s Thanksgiving lunch where we enjoyed honeybaked ham and turkey, corn casserole, fruit, stuffing and mashed potatoes. And we of course enjoyed the company of his hilarious family. They are such a fun group and I am so excited that I get to officially join the Jones clan in less than 5 months! Around 4 oclock we made our way to my parents house for the Berendt Thanksgiving dinner. I usually eat pretty light at Eric’s party to save room for my family celebration, while he goes all out at his family’s, and eats a bit lighter at my family party. It’s all about prior planning, folks. At the Berendt festivities, we enjoyed turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Needless to say, by the end of the day I was completely stuffed. But hey, that is what Thanksgiving is for. We then continued our family tradition of watching Home Alone after dinner. And with that, the Christmas season officially began! The next morning I was up early once again to run the Jingle Bell 5k with my friend Annie and our favorite grade school teacher, Mrs. Leblanc.

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It was another chilly, snowy race, but we had a great time catching up. Later on, Eric and I visited Griffin Claw Brewery in Birmingham for a fun date night sampling some delicious brews. My favorite was their Screamin Pumpkin. So so good.

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The next day was my 25th birthday and we kicked off the day with a delicious brunch at the Dearborn Inn, a beautiful hotel right down the road from Greenfield Village. It was all decorated for Christmas, which obviously made me incredibly excited. The breakfast and the company were pretty great too.

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Later that night my family and LT’s family went out for dinner to celebrate mine and Lauren’s birthday. And to cap off an incredibly fun and busy weekend, Eric and I attended the Festival of Trees at the Ford Performing Arts Center.

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Different companies contribute beautiful Christmas trees, all decorated with a unique theme and much of the proceeds from the event go to charity. I loved the classic red and green trees, while Eric was a fan of the Detroit Tigers themed tree.

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All in all it was a fantastic weekend, and I was left feeling incredibly blessed and pretty darn pooped. I think tonight will include a viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life and an early bedtime. What are you all up to?

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Dinner at Jolly Pumpkin Brewery

This past Saturday Eric and I ventured out to Ann Arbor to see our friends Arielle and Dave. We met up for dinner at Jolly Pumpkin Brewery and had a fantastic time. Eric and I have been saying for some time now that you can truly never go wrong with dinner at a brewery. I don’t know what it is, but every brewery we have ever eaten at has not only had delicious brews, but has also had some delicious eats. And Jolly Pumpkin was no different. Luckily we had some great company as well.

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We started off the night with a few beers. The Seasonal Porter for me and the Bam Noire for Eric. My beer was rich and slightly bitter. I don’t often get darker beers but this one was really good. It had an almost chocolate-y flavor.

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For dinner I chose the “Not Just a BLT” and it was definitely more than your typical BLT. The sandwich featured fresh mozzarella, fire roasted tomatoes, fresh arugula, salsa verde and bacon. It came with Jolly Pumpkin’s signature truffle fries. The truffle fries are shoestring fries tossed in fresh rosemary and truffle salt. Arielle fondly refers to them as “crack fries” and I can see why. So good.

 

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Eric got one of their pizzas as per usual. He got the Margherita, a simple pizza topped with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Although it wasn’t the best pizza he’s ever had, he said it wasn’t too bad.

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And since Dave is a huge fan of pumpkin flavored anything, we all decided to try out the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. Fun fact: We actually referred to Dave as “Pumpkin Dave” the first few months of our friendship, because of his affection for all things pumpkin. Anyway… back to the eats. The whoopie pies were filled with buttercream and served over a ginger creme anglaise. Although the filling was a little too sweet for me, the pumpkin cake was awesome. Altogether, it was a great meal and a fun night!

Date Night at BaconFest Michigan

A few months back, Eric and I thought it would be a fun idea to take turns planning a surprise date night for each other once a month. We decided to take turns each month planning the surprise date for the other, and I claimed the month of June. All I needed was a fun event to bring Eric to…and before long I had discovered the perfect event for my bacon loving beau…BaconFest Michigan. This special food festival took place at the Royal Oak Farmer’s market and featured food from over 40 local restaurants centered around one very special ingredient: bacon. It was put together by the writers and creators of Eat Live Detroit, a food blog focused on the wonderful cuisine of Metro Detroit. And let me tell you…this event was absolutely awesome. And I don’t even really like bacon all that much. (Please don’t hate me). The event started off with the mayor of Royal Oak cutting the ceremonial ribbon…which, of course was shaped like a strip of bacon. Naturally.

And then the foodie feast began. Originally Eric and I thought we would stroll around and take a look at each vendor to see which food samples we wanted to tackle. But that method went out the window very quickly, as everything looked absolutely delicious. We started off with a Turkey, Cheddar & Bacon Panini from the Panini Press in Berkley.

It was pretty darn delicious, but didn’t hold a candle to our favorite dish of the night. Barbeque Chicken Pizza with a Barbeque Bacon Skewer from the Green Lantern in Royal Oak. The barbeque bacon was spicy and delicious. Eric may have gone back for seconds.

Another favorite of the night was the Corn Cookies with Canadian Bacon & Cheddar from Lily’s Seafood in Royal Oak. I always love cornbread inspired dishes and the salty sweet combination of this dish was awesome

Another standout was the Bacon Jam from Grange Kitchen & Bar in Ann Arbor. It was served on crispy crostini with goat cheese. The chef told us they usually spread this delicious jam on their sandwiches, specifically their burgers. We decided we may need to visit Grange to try one of these burgers ourselves.

It was really interesting to see what each restaurant brought to the event, especially since everyone seemed to create a completely unique bacon dish. The only repeat we saw was Bacon Mac n Cheese. But there was a clear winner between the two similar dishes: Cafe Muse’s Three Cheese Bacon Mac n Cheese with Fontina, Havarti, Mozzarella, a Honey Scented Gratin and Bacon (of course)

By this point we were both pretty full, but couldn’t quite resist the allure of the bacon inspired desserts:

Corn Muffins from Toasted Oak Grill & Market

And Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting…and more bacon from Cliff Bell’s in Detroit

All in all, this was a really fun event. And from someone who isn’t a huge bacon fan to begin with, I think that’s saying a lot. It was great to see so many local restaurants contributing to this event and it was clear that Metro Detroit has an amazing food scene. But after consuming my weight in bacon…I may need to go on a little bacon detox for a while. So don’t be surprised if you start seeing some more vegetarian recipes in the next few days!

Beach Grille Date Night

Hello again!

I apologize for the lack of new recipes this month. All the July baby showers, weddings & golf outings have kept me pretty darn busy at work. But it has not kept me from dreaming up some recipe ideas that I hope to test out soon. In the meantime I hope you all enjoyed the guest post from my lemon cake connoisseur Eric. I know, I know…he’s funny and he makes delicious baked goods. Told ya he was a catch. Anyway, last Friday Eric and I had the chance to go out and “celebrate” our year and a half of dating. Not that we actually care too much about random anniversaries and we are definitely not one of those couples who celebrates every month of dating… We just share the notion that any excuse to go out to eat is worth celebrating. So we chose an occasion and a restaurant. Since it was a beautiful day we decided to go to The Beach Grille on the Nautical Mile. All the restaurants on the Nautical Mile have an awesome view of Lake St.Clair, and if you can withstand the smell of fishflies, it makes for a pretty nice night out. Eric started his night with yet another bowl of French onion soup. Soooo predictable. Just kidding. This soup was delicious. Just look at his happy expression:

And that’s why we get along. The kid gets real excited about food. Plus we have a really great standing agreement that I always get to have the pickle that comes with his sandwich and he always gets the last bite of anything we share. Great relationships 101, folks. Anywho, For dinner I chose the crab cake sandwich and I was not disappointed. The crab cake was pan seared and flavored with fresh lemon. It was light, fluffy and very fresh. I’m not a huge fan of restaurants that deep fry crab cakes because I think it takes away the sweetness and flavor of the crab, but the Beach Grille’s crab cakes were perfect. Plus they were served on an English muffin with cheese…so that didn’t hurt to much either. Well played Beach Grille, well played.

Eric got the Daytona Sandwich, which included  chicken, bacon & cheese. All his favorite foods packed into one lil sammie. It’s like they knew he was coming in. And last but not least…we got a brownie sundae complete with Sander’s fudge. It was awesome. Chocolate layered upon chocolate. Can’t really go wrong. So there we had our wonderful summer date night. Good food and wonderful company. Come back soon for some new recipes!