Thursday, September 29, 2022

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Cooking Thursday

 Fall is definitely starting to show up here in West Michigan.  It's getting cooler and I'm seeing some bits of color in the trees.
It's a good time for chili, soups and stews.  Here's one of our favorites, a recipe I've been making for many years.  It goes together quickly and when you take it out of the oven, the meat is so tender and it's everything is full of flavor!

French Oven Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut in 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 large onions, cut into eight pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
4 large carrots, quartered
2 large potatoes, cut into chunks
1/3 cup quick cooking tapioca
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon basil
2 cups tomato juice

Combine tomato juice, tapioca, sugar, salt, pepper and basil in bowl.  Set aside
Place meat, onions, celery and carrots in a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish.  Pour tomato juice mixture over top and cover.
Bake at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.
Add potato chunks and bake another hour.
Remove from oven and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Monday, September 26, 2022

Afternoon at the Lake

 We have a small group from our church that tries to get together every month or so. One of the couples has a cottage on a lake a little over an hour north of us.
Our group went up there last Sunday after church.  It was supposed to rain, but the clouds cleared and it was a beautiful day!

Here's the view of the lake from their cottage.

The cottage.  We sat out on their deck and had lunch and did a lot of talking.

The guys kept talking but the girls decided to take a walk.

How do you like this "cottage" that was around the bend?

Another view of the lake.

A picture of our group.  These are some great friends!

They had to take a boat ride.  I let the rest of them go, I would rather stay on dry ground!

Pretty hydrangeas growing near the lake.

It's always so calming to be near the water.

Shortly before we left, this bald eagle was circling overhead.  Such majestic birds!

We had a great time together and enjoyed the beauty God placed around us.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Fun Weekend

 Alaina and Ruby spent the night with us this weekend. Here's some of the fun we had.

Ruby has to read books each night for school, so she read this puppy book to Bob.

After that we made something fun.  We used Kisses, Nutter Butter bites, peanut butter chips and mini chocolate chips.

The Nutter Butter Bites had to be opened up and the frosting scraped off.

Ruby was scraping off frosting too.  While they did that, I melted the peanut butter chips and Bob was unwrapping the kisses.

We put a little of the melted peanut butter chips on each Nutter Butter Bite and pressed a kiss on top.

Here's what they looked like.
Then, we put just a dot of melted peanut butter chips on the cookie bit and put a mini chocolate chip in it to make the stem.

Here's the finished product - cute little acorn bites!

The next morning, we put them in little bags and gave them away for a little Fall treat.  Alaina and Ruby each kept a bag to take home.

We stopped at Great Grandpa and Great Grandma's house and had lunch.  

My Dad was outside because my brother was there doing a little digging so they could have their septic tank pumped.

When the girls got done with lunch, they went outside.

My brother put them to work throwing the big chunks of dirt out of the hole.  Dad and my sister Cheri were keeping an eye on things!

I asked Alaina to show me the big chunk of dirt she had, and I got this pose.

After they got done with digging, my brother Duane walked out with them to check the apple trees and taste a few!

Alaina came back with this leaf to show me the pretty Fall colors.

And then it was time to go back home.  We always have fun together!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Cooking Thursday

 I recently saw a recipe for steak bites. The person who shared it said her family loved them because they were so tender and her kids usually wouldn't eat steak.  Usually when we have steak, Bob grills it, but this way I could get it made when he is working late.
So, we tried it and they are so good! They were easy and very quick to make, and as promised, very tender!

Buttered Steak Bites with Mushrooms

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons butter, divided
6 ounces button mushrooms, sliced

Cut the steak into bite size pieced, 1/2" to 3/4 " in size. Sprinkle meat generously with salt and pepper.  Heat a heavy, flat bottomed skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter. When the butter has melted, swirl to coat pan and add about half of the meat, spreading evenly across the pan.
Cook for 1 minute, then use large spatula to flip the pieces over. Cook for another minute, then remove to plate. Repeat with second half of meat with one more tablespoon of butter. Cover meat with foil to keep warm.
Add remaining butter to skillet and toss mushrooms in butter. Let mushrooms cook without stirring for 2-3 minutes until browned. Stir and let cook for a few more minutes, until soft. Add mushrooms and buttery pan drippings to the steak bites on the plate.
Serve hot. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Out with the old, in with the new!

 I told you that as we were getting ready to leave last weekend, our refrigerator suddenly died!  We were able to find a new one and it was delivered shortly after we came home.

Here's our old one, pushed out of the way and ready to be taken by the delivery guys.  They sure don't last as long as they used to!

Here's the new one.  I really like having the freezer on the bottom.  It makes it easier to find things at eye level in the refrigerator.  This frig has a nice layout and lots of storage in the doors.  I hope it lasts awhile!

Monday, September 19, 2022

Historic Home Tour

 Today I'm going to share some pics of the home tour we went on. This is the longest running tour in the midwest and many people come to Marshall to join.  It isn't just houses and every year is different. We did lots of walking, all over the city on the first day.  The second day we drove to some of the places that were further out.

One of the first places we visited was the Honolulu House.  It was built in 1860. The man who built it had been an ambassador to Hawaii before it became a state.  He loved it and built a house to reflect Honolulu.

Here's some pictures to give you an idea of how it looked inside.  The most amazing thing about this house is that what looks like wallpaper is actually paint.  And not only are all the walls painted in detailed design - all the ceilings are too. It took 3 years for them to paint all the ceilings.

We toured this old church that was built in 1872.  Theyhad someone playing classical music on the organ when we went in.  It had beautiful stained glass throughout.

We walked down Mansion Street - which had lots of gorgeous houses.

Here are just a few of them.

We saw this carving which was carved in 1970 from one tree.  The tree was 250 years old.

Have you ever heard the saying "What the Sam Hill?"  Well, Sam Hill was an actual person and this was his house.  However, he was known for using terrible language and that's how that saying came to be.

Charming streets in the city as we walked.

This was one of our favorite houses to go through.  It was built in 1856 by the owner of the Stagecoach company that took people from Detroit to Chicago with a stop in Marshall. The inside had been completely restored and had beautiful old furniture in it, and even an antique organ.

This was an old school that is restored to look like it did when it was built, and it has all the old school items in it as well.  We went through another old school that had been renovated into a gorgeous home.  

This home was to be the Governors mansion.  It was expected that Marshall would be the state capitol.  However, at the last minute that changed and Lansing was chosen.

On Saturday Evening, there was a Civil War Ball.  There were quite a few people dancing in costumes, which looked quite hot! I loved seeing some of the young kids participating.

Look at those authentic costumes!

At night, the fountain across the street from our bed and breakfast was lit.  On this night they had luminaries lighting the walkways as well.  Such a pretty scene.

We enjoyed our little getaway!  If you ever have a chance to visit Marshall, I recommend it!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Marshall, Michigan

 I'm back from my little break. Because I just started my new job in December, I don't have much vacation time.  Bob and I usually take our vacation in September, so this year we just took a long weekend.
Before I tell you more, I need to share what happened before we left.  We planned to leave mid morning on Friday.  I was at work Thursday, when I got a message from Bob. He had left work and was not feeling well at all.  I was immediately concerned about covid when he gave me his symptoms, and thought this weekend might not happen.  I did a covid test on him when I got home and it was negative.  So we thought we would see what the morning brough.
He was feeling a little better in the morning, so we thought we were back on track.  However, suddenly there was a hot, smoky smell in the kitchen and then the refrigerator made a crackling sound and quit. 
We were thankful it happened while we were still home!  Thankfully we have a spare refrigerator in the garage, so we loaded everything into it and went to buy a new frig. 
Then we were off - a little later than expected, but still on our way.
We went to Marshall, Michigan which is said to be the most historic city in Michigan.  Marshall is a little over 1 1/2 hours from our house.

Every year they have a 2 day tour of historic homes and buildings.  We love history and old homes so we knew we would enjoy this.

We stayed in the National House Inn, which was built in 1835 and served as a stagecoach stop between Chicago and Detroit. It was a beautiful place, full of charm and history.

Across from the inn is a huge fountain with seating areas around it.

This was our room.

Here are a few other rooms that we got to a chance to see, each one different and each one named for someone important in Marshall's history.

This is the entry.  The fireplace and old wood floors were amazing.

This is the dining room.  We enjoyed some delicious breakfasts here.

There was even a pretty little garden with a sitting area.

This is now a little telephone nook, but it used to be a closet under the stairs.  But, behind the wall was a hidden area, where someone could look out through grates in the stairway, and see who might be coming in the door.  There was a trapdoor hidden in the floor that let to a secret room in the basement.  It was a way to hide runaway slaves and help them get to safety.  

Do you ever buy Win Schulers cheese?  Win Schuler was from Marshall and had a restaurant there.  My friend Bonnie had told me often how they enjoyed eating there, so we had supper there on our first night.  It was delicious.  This is how they served their famous meatball appetizers.

Tomorrow I'll share more about the home tour.