Sunday, August 30, 2009

Welcome to iFifth Grade

The start of school and being back in the classroom teaching fifth grade has been a whirl! I have a great group of students and I am enjoying getting to know them. My theme for the year was inspired by my new iPhone. It is "iFifth - Want to learn something new? Here's a class for that!" I have a picture of a huge iPhone out in the hall with the student names under each of the apps. I've also started an iFifth blog which the students think is very cool!

I wasn't planning to post a lot of school stuff here, but I just had to shared the video that I made while the students were moving into class on the first day of school. I set up a camera in the back of the room on a tripod and turned on a setting that took one picture every 2 seconds. It turned out pretty cool, I thought!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Yogurt with Blueberries and Lemon Curd

These has been my favorite healthy-ish treat this summer. I start with a big blob of plain non-fat Greek Yogurt - either Fage or the Trader Joe brand. (Greek yogurt is thick and tangy - yum!) Then I add a big spoonful of lemon curd (also from Trader Joe's), fresh blueberries, and almonds. Tangy, sweet, refreshing, and easy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Exploring Kerrytown - Ann Arbor

After my lovely lunch at Eve, I wandered around the Kerrytown area and did some exploring.

There is a thriving farmers market - lots of vegetables and fruit and jewelry for sale.

Zingerman's Deli is a popular place. I've never eaten here, but it always has a long line of people ordering sandwiches and other goodies. It is almost claustrophobic, a lot packed into a small space - the deli counter, bread counter, cheese and meats, and a small area PACKED with pricey gourmet goods. There are picnic table outside and another building set up as a coffee shop with Zingerman's homemade ice creams and pastries.

My favorite splurge purchase at Zingerman's is the Summer Fling Coffeecake. I have tried to duplicate it using my Coconut Poundcake recipe. I noticed that they use lime oil in the ingredient list - I may try that next time.

There are lots of little shops in the area. My favorite discovery was a shop called "Found." It is an funky antique and gift store - they sell all kinds of old items that are repurposed. They also have a neat collection of items that could be used for collages or projects. You know how I love to remix items, so this was store was so inspiring. Unfortunately my parking meter was almost out of time, or else I would have spent more time here!

Of course these button bracelets caught my attention....... did this cute set of blue and white tin toy dishes. I definitely need to go back here to do some more browsing!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Eve - Ann Arbor

I like to spend my last day of summer vacation doing some shopping and hitting a nice restaurant for lunch. So last week I headed out to Ikea (blogged here from my iPhone), and then decided to do a little exploring in Dexter and Ann Arbor. I ended up in the Kerrytown area in Ann Arbor and noticed the restaurant called "Eve." Just last week I had read that the owner of this restaurant was one of the contestants on the new season of Top Chef. I discovered that they had just started serving lunch about 2 weeks ago. The perfect place for the last lunch of the summer!

The restaurant is tucked behind the brick building that is next to the farmer's market. It is quite cozy inside - one main room and then a little room in the front by the bar. The decor is what I'd describe as an upscale lofty look. Even though the main room had a number of empty tables, I was put at a small table in the front which was about 12 inches away from the table next to me. A bit uncomfortable - I felt like I was eating with the strangers next to me.

I ordered the Aromatic Lamb pastry. When it arrived, I first thought they had forgotten the lamb and just given me the salad. But when I pushed the salad aside, I found the pastry hidden underneath. I'm not sure why it was served like that, I'd think you'd want the pretty pastry on top, but maybe discovering it hidden underneath is part of the experience. The salad was delicious - it had a lot of mint mixed in with the spinach and I was surprised how refreshing that combination was! (A great way for me to use up some of the mint from my garden!) And the flaky pastry with the lamb inside was wonderful. The ground lamb was sweet with golden raisins (and maybe cinnamon?), crunchy from pine nuts, and it also had some heat. Very unusual and creative!

I needed to have some dessert to end off the last lunch of the summer. They only had one dessert - triple chocolate pots de creme. I guess you only need one dessert when that one dessert is amazing! It is served in two pots - one chocolate and one with brown sugar whipped cream. When I saw that, I thought, certainly I won't eat all that whipped cream! Wrong! A little dip of chocolate and then a little dip of cream - what a heavenly bite! The chocolate was perfect - I think it was a blend of dark and milk chocolate ( which I loved, because I'm not a huge fan of pure dark chocolate). The chocolate was thick and rich, almost like a ganache.

And you can see by my empty cup that I scraped out every last bit!

That night I watched the first episode of Top Chef to cheer for Eve. (I think she came into the restaurant when I was finishing my meal. I had pulled up the Top Chef website on my iPhone to look at her picture.) She ended up in the bottom two, but was not eliminated. Hopefully she will do better next week!

Eve on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to School!

My life has taken a huge shift over the past couple weeks. For the past 8 years I have been teaching K - 8 students in our computer lab. I found out a few weeks ago that I am being moved into a 5th grade classroom. I have never taught 5th grade before so my days have been pretty consumed with getting ready for the start of school on Wednesday!

So if you are a regular reader, just wanted to let you know why I may not be posting as regularly over the next few weeks. I will try on weekends to set up a few things to auto post during the week, but the posts may end up being short and sweet! I will probably continue to use my iPhone to do some quick postings. I have lots of pictures of restaurants and projects stored up from the summer, so I will do my best to keep the blog active. I know I will need this escape from the world of teaching, but I fear all my clever energy will be focused on fifth grade for a while!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Book: A Charming Exchange

I picked this book up at JoAnn Fabrics a few months ago. It had some of the neatest ideas for mixing buttons, vintage jewelry, and all kinds of eclectic bits into jewelry. I enjoy looking through it to get inspiration for new projects.

Since I have such a stash of vintage buttons, I was immediately drawn to this bracelet. I've already started a project that uses this technique of stringing buttons together with jump rings so stay tuned!

I am so going to borrow this idea to make a necklace!! I really recommend this book if you are looking for some new eclectic ideas for jewelry designs.

A Charming Exchange: 25 Jewelry Projects To Create & Share

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Coconut Pound Cake

This dense moist pound cake is not something you should make if you are counting calories (re: sugar, butter, coconut). But sometimes you just need to ignore the calories and go for it! This coconut pound cake works great served with strawberries or grilled pineapple. Actually, it is delicious all on it's own! Last time I made it, I wanted to add a little lime flavor, so I added some lime zest and a glaze of fresh lime juice and sugar. It didn't quite have enough lime flavor for my taste, so I think I need to experiment a little more to get that right! The basic recipe come from Epicurious.

Coconut Pound Cake

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. Butter and flour a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

4. Beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and coconut extracts. Reduce speed to low, then mix in flour mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the coconut with a rubber spatula.

5. Spoon batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until golden and when a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

6. Cool in the pan on a rack 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake, then invert the pound cake onto the rack and cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap - it will keep for 3 days at room temperature. It also freezes well - put some in the freezer to serve with fruit for a quick and yummy dessert!

Lime Glaze (note: I'm not sure I have this mastered yet! If you try it, let me know if it works or any suggestions!)

Substitute the zest of 2 limes for the vanilla when making the batter.

Combine the juice of the two limes with 2 or 3 Tablespoons of sugar, to make a slightly thick glaze. Let the pound cake cool slightly. Set it on a plate and spoon the glaze over it. Let the glaze absorb into the bottom for a few minutes. Then transfer the pound cake back to the rack to completely cool.

Cool Stuff from Ikea - live from my iPhone

I'm doing a bit of shopping this morning at Ikea and I thought I'd take you along! I'll snap some Picts of cool stuff with my iPhone and post! An experiment - we'll see how it works!

Pretty pictures, I thought.

Love this kitchen.

Too cute!

Quick- need an excuse to buy this! A giraffe in a strawberry mobile!

Such cute storage!

Pretty little lamp!

Want to get a new bed. I like this one!

For all of this browsing, I walked out with only a 4 dollar shower curtain!

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, August 17, 2009

Trader Joe's Garlic Naan

This is my favorite new product from Trader Joes - the Garlic Naan. (It also comes in plain and another flavor - curry, I think.) This is the best bread! And it is so easy to turn into a wonderful little snack.

I like to slice it, toast it slightly in the toaster oven, and serve with a dip (here: Greek yogurt with some garlic, salt, and a squeeze of lemon).

It also makes the perfect flatbread pizza! I've been making pizzas with a bottled tomato pasta sauce and cheese on top. Or with some purchased olive tapenade with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. A few minutes in the toaster oven and you have a simple lunch or an easy appetizer!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Beige Beauties

A couple little necklaces I put together this summer. The first one has fresh water pearls and a stone pendant. This is one of the projects that I started quite a while ago, didn't like, and put away. This is what I finally came up with:

And the second one - just a simple little dangle that I can hang from a chain:

Friday, August 14, 2009

From Ocean Prime

Here's what I'm eating:

White Chocolate and Key Lime Tart

Salad with Granny Smith apples and goat cheese, Truffled Mac and Cheese

All were yummy!

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Salmon Spiedini Kabobs

I spend WAY too much time during the summer watching the Food Network. This is a twist on a recipe that I saw Giadi De Laurentis make. She used swordfish, but I used up some salmon that I had in the freezer and it tasted wonderful! The pancetta adds a salty flavor and a crispy crunch to the salmon - yummy and easy.

You may wonder how I got my salmon into such perfect cubes??? Well, here is the secret - I used my George Forman grill! Actually (confession) there was no propane left in my gas grill and with my wonky elbow I hadn't been able to get it filled. :-) The Foreman grill worked like a charm and gave me picture perfect kabobs to photograph.

Salmon Spiedini Kabobs

1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
salmon, cut in 2 inch cubes - I used about a pound and a half
thinly sliced pancetta
wooden skewers, soaked in water for about 30 minutes.

1. Combine the olive oil, herbes de Provence, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the salmon and toss to coat. Wrap the salmon in a strip of pancetta and thread onto the skewers. Set the skewers in an oblong pan and cover with any remaining oil. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, turning the skewers in the oil every so often.
2. Grill for about 10 minutes, turning often, until the pancetta is crisp.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

From my iPhone

I got an iPhone yahoo! This is a test of taking an image and posting from my phone!

-- Post From My iPhone

The Fly Trap Diner - in Ferndale

I've been wanting to check out the Fly Trap ever since I saw it featured on Food TV's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I took my friend Gail here for brunch for her birthday. It is a cozy diner - 2 small rows of tables/booths crunched close together. Even on a weekday in mid morning it was crowded and we had to wait for a bit to get menus and get served. The menu has lots of egg dishes for breakfast, and some unique sandwiches and other items for lunch and dinner. Each table was decked out with some fun salt and pepper shakers - I loved these that where shaped like the Sydney Opera House although I had a hard time figuring out where the salt came out!

Gail ordered Green Eggs and Ham. The eggs were flavored with pesto and the portions were generous.

I had some eggs called The Boot that had the Italian flavors of tomatoes, olives, cheese, and basil. I would have liked a bit more seasoning to them, but they were good. I loved the potatoes that came on the side - they were crunchy and seasoned perfectly. Breakfast was served with 4 slices of toasts. It seems silly to rave about toast, but it came with ginger blueberry jam that was delicious, and I ate 3 slices!

Prices are under $10 and very reasonable, especially for the size of the portions. I ended up taking about a third back home. I would like to go back to try one of the sandwiches and the mac and cheese! They sound yummy!

The Fly Trap is located in Fashionable Ferndale on Woodward near 9 Mile.

Fly Trap on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Linkwithin Widget

You might notice that I have added a little Linkwith widget to the bottom of each entry. It is supposed to direct you to other posts on the blog that have related content. Smiling - sometimes it works great and sometimes it presents unusual matches! Hopefully it may point you back to some older posts that may have something that would be of interest to you!

Friday, August 7, 2009


Yes, fudge is an entirely separate food group on Mackinac Island. You can smell the chocolate as soon as you start walking down the main street. There must be over a dozen shops on the island and most of them have store on both the left and the right side of the street. And they give samples - if they don't offer, just ask! As a food blogger, I felt obligated to sample as many different flavors and brands before I made my purchases. There were too many flavors, and I was tempted to try them all.

I ended up buying at JoAnn's, Ryba's, and Murdock's. JoAnn's really had some interesting flavors! I loved their double dark cherry chocolate and the orange truffle! I bought bought way too much fudge! But I shared a lot with family and friends - I divided it up into sampler packs so everyone could try several flavors.

I think this bit with caramel oozing out was turtle fudge.

And even the cat wanted to have a taste!


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