Wife, Chicken Mommy, eBay Seller and Walking DIY Disaster

Category Archives: yummy food

Every year as a family we typically adopt a family. This year’s finances have been pretty tight, so we aren’t sure if we can swing it. Instead of giving up totally on the idea of helping someone in need, we’ve offered some help to a family friend. Still, it didn’t quite feel comparable to what we’ve been able to do in the past. Watching the news coverage of hurricane Sandy wrenched my heart. Until this past weekend I’d never been to New York City, so I only knew what it was like from stories, movies and tv. The scenes from Sandy coverage of the flooding just took my breath away. How do you watch an immense tunnel fill with water? How do you watch you car float away into a river? How do you see your warehouse full of records all but washed away?

When I read that Brooklyn based Norton Records lost their Red Hook warehouse, I immediately began to form a plan. The Millionaire has been traveling to the Philadelphia area for his work with a client over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend for the past several years. We’ve been fortunate enough that the small bonus he receives to travel over the holiday covers the expense of taking the rest of the family along. We had tossed the idea of a side trip to NYC the last 2 years, and this year decided to go come hell or high water. Then, I happened to see a call for volunteers from Billy Miller, one of the owners of Norton Records, and the details of my plan fell into place.

Anyone who knows anything about me and the Millionaire knows that we love music. We met via the Goner Records message board, no less. Our love of music has translated into a love of sharing that music, and the accompanying love of vinyl with the Millioniare’s kids. We have made a point to expose them to the music we love, the records we love and the artists we love. When possible, the kids go to shows and meet our friends and favorite bands. When I proposed helping Norton out during our side trip, the Millionaire didn’t even bat an eye. The plan was complete!

Sunday afternoon after a day of walking the streets of Manhattan, craning our necks to see the tallest buildings we’ve ever seen and grabbing a hot dog from a street vendor, we set off for Brooklyn. We fortified ourselves with what each member of the family unanimously agreed was the best pizza any of us has ever tasted: Brooklyn’s Grimaldi’s Pizza. With bellies full of pizza and excitement, we took off for Brooklyn Bowl, the bowling alley that donated the space for the wash-a-thon.

Billy and Miriam couldn’t have been more gracious and patient as they showed us what needed to be done. Rows of tables were set up with record washers provided by Discwasher of Pittsburgh, cleaning solution and rolls and rolls of paper towels. And records. Oh, the records. Stacked in tilted, soggy piles, some over waist high. One entire table was dedicated to tearing off the flood-soaked sleeves, while the rest of the tables were reserved for cleaning and drying and a final staging area full of fans to dry the labels. It made my heart hurt to see all those records, and know it was a matter of time before some were too far gone to save. Needless to say, we worked feverishly to clean and dry as many records as we could, knowing we only had a few hours before we had to leave the city.

I am so very proud of my chicken babies for their uncomplaining hard work. They could plainly see all around them the variety of folks that came out to help. Not only that, with the great DJs from WFMU that donated their time, the kids had an experience of listening to a great assortment of tunes that had us clapping, swaying and shaking right along. One of my most valuable life lessons has been the opportunity to learn how to have fun while I work. This weekend, my chicken babies had that opportunity as well. In the end the Millionaire family cleaned and dried 8 stacks of records. Each stack, a different run of a single title. Some were bigger than others, but we cleaned our hearts out. Our small reward was the visible gratitude from two of our record lovin idols, Billy Miller and Miriam Linna. That’s the best souvenir I can imagine.

 

 


Whoopie pies for breakfast, that’s why. While I wish the millionaire could go have tourist fun with us, the kids and I are still having a blast. We started our day at the Reading Terminal Market: the Flying Monkey whoopie pies and butter cake, almond croissant and breakfast club on a bagel. The boy wet with hot chocolate while the girls had yummy Italian sodas. After a quick trip to the Center for Architecture where we all drooled over cool souvenirs, we checked out the Fabric Museum gift shop (museum wasn’t open.) After a short rest we walked to the Betsy Ross house because the kids had never heard of her. *headdesk*

Of course since we were so close by, we just had to have a cheesesteak at Campo’s, a Mt. Vesuvius at Franklin Fountain, and delicious candies at Shane’s Confectionary (a treat I’ve been waiting for for an entire year! They opened a few days after I left Philly last year!)

I love traveling with the kids. As much wonder and excitement as I get out of traveling, it’s even that much more rewarding to see the same sights through their eyes. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but I know it will be fun!

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(If you’re looking for the blog hop post featuring the awesome giveaways, go here)

It’s fall. The weather is windy and chilly. And that means one thing to me: nesting. I’m a winter hibernator in general, but one thing I continually enjoy through the cold months is cooking and baking. Posting some of my yummy concoctions has been in my mental to-do list for a long time, so here goes another one.

This “recipe” is particularly timely on Halloween because it is Frankensteinian in nature. I cobbled it together from a handpie recipe and a dish my mom made during one of her visits.  This one is utter genius and the WHOLE FAMILY loves it. The person who loves it the most? The pickiest, moodiest, food-whiner. He requests it more often than I’m willing to make it.

Roasted Cauliflower Pie, or for today, Mummified Cauliflower

This recipe will make one “pie” but is easily doubled or tripled. I served this first at a Teacher Appreciation luncheon serving 60 people. Each pie make approximately 4 servings, but can be stretched if served as a side dish or buffet style. Excellent, flavorful vegetarian recipe!

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower chopped

1 red bell pepper and/or 1 yellow bell pepper

1 small onion

1 tube of crescent roll dough (you can get fancy pants and make your own dough if you want, but this makes things quick and easy)

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

cavender’s greek seasoning

Pizza stone or baking sheet

Preheated 350 degree oven

 

Chop cauliflower, peppers, and onion. (Quick tip: I pre-chop and freeze onions, peppers and celery to cut down on prep time, so the pictured onions & peppers are frozen.)

Pan roast them in a skillet adding spices to taste. Once softened – cauliflower and onion begin to turn clear, remove cauliflower mixture from heat and set aside.

On the pan or pizza stone rub a few drops of olive oil to slightly grease the pan. Open the crescent roll dough. Begin laying out the triangles wide end to wide end down the middle of the pan, with the points facing out. Lightly press the dough together down the center. It’s perfectly fine to add a second tube of dough if you want a larger pie to fill the pan, a cruster pie, or if you are expanding the recipe for a large function.

Spoon the cauliflower in a pile down the center. Some will spill out, and you may have a spoonful or so left over, depending on the size of your head of cauliflower.

After the dough center is covered alternately wrap the points of the dough over the top of the cauliflower mound and overlap the tips similar to a bread braid.

Bake at 350 until the dough is golden brown. Cut into slices and serve. If you are very lucky, you will even get to eat some.

This is all that was left by the time I got to the kitchen with a camera:

 

As far as I know, this is my original recipe. Feel free to share, but please link back or at least give me credit. If I am mistaken and this is published elsewhere unbeknownst to me, please let me know so I don’t continue to claim it!

 


I’ve been blogging and obsessively reading blogs since 2004 when my childhood friend Heather told me that she had a blog. “It’s not a diary!” she said. I started actively trying to promote my blog in 2012. Big gap there, eh? Really, I had no idea the ins and outs of monetizing, PR, social media or working with brands until I was asked to be part of eBay’s Parent Panel. When I was invited to attend their summit this spring, I had no idea the scope of what was out there. No. Idea. Still can’t grasp it really.

Since no children have actually made their way out of my lady bits, I never considered myself a “mom blogger.” In fact, putting myself into any one classification has always been difficult. Still, I shied away from relating to mommy blogs because they had such a reputation for being nasty to one another or so competitive towards one another that it wasn’t worth getting in the middle of. Now that I’ve met a few of these fine folks, I can proudly tell you that in my experience, moms that blog are awesome. The fine folks I’ve had the pleasure of meeting have been nuttin’ but nice. Could it be fake? Sure, but if it is, I can’t tell.

Over the course of the past several months, I have been the recipient of lots of helpful tips, encouragement and friendship from these women (and men, though they aren’t mom bloggers. Duh.) I imagine that there are plenty of nasty and backbiting people out there, just like in every group, but I’m not going to let that dampen my experience.

Then, last night, I met up with a local blogging group. Again, nothing but lovelies and amazing peanut butter chocolate cheesecake and a delightful Pimm’s cup at Theodore’s in Holland, MI.  I’m convinced that the nasties are making the nastiness.

I leave you with the beautiful cheesecake seconds before I destroyed it:

 


I love milk. It’s no secret. We always have at least a gallon or two in the fridge. Yogurt and cheese are staples at our house. The whole family likes to go for ice cream whenever we can. I’m unashamedly addicted to a certain fast food chain’s soft serve mixed with candy. Needless to say, I was very excited to be asked to tour Goma Dairy in Marlette, Michigan. Thanks to the United Dairy Industry of Michigan not only did I get to try something new, I got to meet fun bloggers and I had an excuse to have a sleepover. Win!

The Van Den Goor family runs a tight ship! Two of their daughters were on hand to help with the tour, and they were gearing up for an awesome event: Breakfast on the Farm. Goma dairy milks 2,700 cows and produces 29,000 gallons of milk EVERY DAY. Yep! In fact, I found it very cool to learn that their milk is shipped in part to Kroger and to a Yoplait plant.

Before this tour I had never been to a dairy farm, much less seen the inner workings. So, just in case you are city folk like me, you need to know that this is a VERY clean farm! Don’t let the poop and mud fool you. I asked our expert Vet, Dr. Erskine, about the cleanliness and he said that these cows were happy, clean, well cared for animals. I also learned a few things about the cows and babies that I didn’t know before.

  • Cows are cold weather animals. They don’t sweat, so when temperatures get hot, they have to be cooled with fans. The barns were open sided and all the overhead fans provided a nice breeze, even for people!
  • Babies are separated very soon after birth. I was feeling sorry for them and their mamas until Dr. Erskine let us know that calves who are separated quickly have a much lower instance of infection and death than those left alone with mama. All manner of things can happen for the babies if not monitored. At the Goma Dairy farm, where we toured, mamas a left nearby for a few days. In part, to keep mama separated from cows who have not recently given birth and to be near the babies. AW!
  • Once babies are old enough they are put into individual compartments. It’s quite cute!
  • As for the Milk? IT NEVER TOUCHES HUMAN HANDS. How cool is that? When the cows come into the milking room, their teats are disinfected and sprayed off then a worker pulls a few squirts of milk to make sure that any milk going into the milking machine is clean, then the workers attach the milker thingies ( I’m sure that is the technical name !) Inside the milker thingies, is a wheel that spins. Once the wheel spins below a certain number of revolutions the milker pops off on its own. The milk travels from the milker thingy, into a room directly below the milking stations in the basement of the building where it is cooled. Once cooled it travels directly into a tanker. I had no idea!
  • Cows will try to eat your purse and/or behind if you get close enough. All the cows we saw were very curious. They never stopped eating or chewing their cud while we were present. (According to Dr. Erskine, this is a sign of a happy cow!) They constantly poked their heads over the railings and congregated around us as we mooved through the farm. It was kinda cute in a slobbery, enormous tongue kind of way.
  • Michigan is a “surplus” state in regards to dairy. This means that milk for sale in MI is from MI and surplus is shipped to other states. All our milk is LOCAL! Yay! Milk jugs are stamped with a number. Part of the number denotes where the milk originated. Michigan’s code is 26. This website shows you where your milk comes from.

All in all, I had fun and learned something new! I love learning and this trip was a success in that regard. Also, I got to make cow jokes. And say poop. All thanks to the United Dairy Industry of Michigan!

As part of our participation, we got awesome gift bags AND we get to share one with our readers too. The winner of this giveaway will receive an IDENTICAL gift pack containing a $50 pre-paid MasterCard , a brand new 17 piece MAGIC BULLET, recipe pack, Got Milk? baseball cap and some moo-velous cow print socks in a reusable grocery bag. Pretty cool right? All you have to do is use the Rafflecopter entry form below. What are you waiting for?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more UDIM: http://www.youtube.com/user/MichiganDairyNews http://www.michigandairynewsbureau.org/ https://www.facebook.com/MichiganDairyNewsBureau

Thanks to Dr. Ron Erskine for answering my pesky questions and graciously laughing at my teat joke. Thanks to the Goma Dairy, UDIM and the other experts on hand!

This post contains information provided by UDIM and Goma Dairy. I was not compensated for this post, however I was provided a gift bag and transportation to and from Goma Dairy. All opinions and photos are my own.


I’m not afraid to tell people that I don’t particularly care for living in Michigan. Actually, I’m usually not that tactful. I hate living here. I’m counting the days until the Millionaire and I can pack up our kitties and get the hell outta here.

BUT

There are a few bright spots. I’ve decided to make the best of my time here by seeking out places/things/activities that I actually LIKE about living in the mitten state. Considering that I have tons to do today and I stayed up much too late, my first #MILIKE is sleep deprivation related:

 BIGGBY Coffee.

BIGGBY started in East Lansing, MI in 1995 (fun fact: that’s the same year that one of my other loves, eBay, got going!) and has grown across the state, expanding into other states. It’s still got a nice local feel, and the coffee is as good, if not better, than other, bigger chains. Despite being franchised, the products and service have been completely streamlined across every location I’ve tried. When I moved here it was called Beaners, but apparently that is not a very nice word in some parts, so they proactively changed it to BIGGBY. (Who knew? I didn’t. Really. I’m not up on my racial slurs. ) Anyhoo, I was very confused for a while when I thought that the yummy coffee shop was gone. Then I noticed that while signs had been changed, the colors stayed the same and none of the locations looked vacated. WIN.

Since I came to Michigan, I’ve been a square peg in a round hole. I had all sorts of drama and life changes and whatnot. I quickly learned that making friends over dessert wasn’t really a thing here.  It seems though, that the stay at home mom and crafty crowd are A-OK with making friends over coffee, so there you go. Once I figured that out, BIGGBY has become a staple in my social forays. It also came to have a special place in my heart because I get a FREE coffee on my birthday every year.  Until a few months ago I had a pretty good drive to the nearest location. Now, in the space of that few months I have not 1, but TWO new locations within about a mile of my house. WIN-WIN!

You can find BIGGBY on Facebook Twitter, and of course at the BIGGBY website.

 

Stay tuned for more MILIKES. Believe it or not, there are more things I like about MI than meets the eye.

 

I wasn’t perked or paid for this post, I just like BIGGBY coffee. A lot. If they want to pay me to write about BIGGBY Coffee in the future, I’m ALL OVER IT.

 

 



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