When we pulled up to the lake house our eyes beamed with excitement; a cozy cottage tucked quietly on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, right in the heart of Traverse City. This was our first true visit to Michigan and we were immediately swept away by the beauty of this destination.
The crystal clear water that sat calm and serene was just feet away from the wooden deck that perched above the narrow beach. I have a feeling that I will always remember these memories of casually lounging on the deck, with a grand spread of appetizers and a glass of rosé in hand, engaged in conversation with family while the kids played in the sand and ran back and forth from the crisp water. There is something about that Michigan air, the soft breeze that seeps into your skin and dances through your hair. The cool nights remained warm enough to walk barefoot yet required jeans and sweaters as we sat around the bonfire; a few simple requirements for embracing lake life in the summer.
While there is so much to see and do in northern Michigan, we stayed close to our house and didn’t travel far from Traverse City. A few of our highlights included: a trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes, exploring downtown Traverse City which is painted with tree-lined streets, curb side cafes, and eccentric boutiques. And of course I can't forget the family picnic in the park where we lugged our baskets and bottles of wine and caught paper napkins in the air as the wind blew them away into the woods.
When we vacation with family we take advantage of our culinary delights and cook unique meals with local produce and fish each night, but we did manage to escape for one night out. I highly recommend Amical, a bustling bistro with a focus on French American cuisine. You will quickly feel like you are whisked away to a quaint European café where your highest priority is to sit back, relax and enjoy the fine food, spirits and atmosphere. Jonas highly recommends Press On Juice, the local juice shop that will replenish and refresh your body from the inside to the outside!
Michigan, you swayed us with your still blue waters, your subtle waves, your character and charm.
We look forward to meeting again!
A few weeks ago, at the end of the summer harvest, a friend and I gathered our children and drove out to a local farm to pick our own vegetables. As we drove down the grassy lane that divided the farm fields, the kids became restless with excitement. As soon as the doors of the car opened their frenzy was released into the fields and twelve little hands began picking so quickly that I couldn't keep up. The result? A trunk full of vegetables so minimally priced that I could hardly be upset that I was literally going home with a carload of produce.
Fast forward a few weeks and we are still using up the last of the vegetables. We are well into autumn, but the scent and taste of these summer fruits takes me back to warm summer airs where the scent of lake water and sunscreen linger all around us. I froze several of the veggies, I made a giant batch of salsa and I made enough marinara to fill a freezer. It's taken me awhile, but I am finally learning when you follow a strict SCD or Paleo lifestyle you really need to be prepared and bake and cook in bulk; especially if you have children and are always active.
This recipe is super easy and extremely tasty and can be adjusted to fit your palate.
SKILLET RATATOUILLE WITH POACHED EGGS
yield: 5-6 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 yellow organic bell pepper, diced
1 green organic bell pepper, diced
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 (15 oz) can organic diced tomatoes (I use the box to avoid metal cans)
1 tsp dried or fresh oregano
1 tsp dried or fresh basil
salt & pepper
1 avocado, sliced
parsley for garnish
1. Preheat over to 385 degrees.
2. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the diced onion, zucchini, and bell peppers. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Add in diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer about 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, oregano and basil.
4. Make 6 small nests in the ratatouille mixture. Crack eggs directly into the holes and transfer the skillet into the oven.
5. Let cook until egg whites are set, about 8 to 10 minutes.
6. Garnish with parsley and avocado slices.
Meet Boo the bat. Boo is a mischievous little creature who pops up around the home bringing "tricks" or "treats" to your kids during the Halloween season. I'm always happy to embrace a new family tradition and this little sneak-a-boo is a perfect way to engage my children during the autumn months. Boo arrives in a whimsical vintage styled cottage; complete with his story on the back. Boo is made of soft plush material and totes bendable wire ears and wings for adorable positioning. Velcro on the edges of the wings, and small hooks on the feet allow Boo to do what bats do best… hang upside down! In fact, our Boo prefers to sleep right next to Jessica's bed, upside down of course!
Our family has been focusing on the concept of less is more and simplifying as much as possible. When we simplify, life is less complicated and cluttered. With Jessica's birthday around the corner I am reminded that we don't need more cheap, plastic trinkets to fill the house, but rather a few meaningful toys that are well appreciated and, preferably, give back in some way.
Sneek-a-Boos happen to give back to an incredible foundation; The SHAMBA Foundation. The SHAMBA Foundation was humbly started by Steven Kyalo, a member of the Akamba tribe in Kenya. Twenty years ago he single handedly began his quest to help homeless children. As he explains “I was touched by seeing orphaned kids in the slums of Nairobi begging for something to eat.” So I thought , “Let me take these children to my house so I would be able to stay with them and feed them.” This was the beginning of Steven’s one man orphanage.
After some time The SHAMBA foundation developed into a 501©3 non-profit which allowed Steven the ability to obtain the much needed funding to run his orphanage. With every purchase of a Sneek-a-Boo product, a donation will be made to this foundation. So in addition to creating lasting memories, lots of laughter and giggles, a few tricks and treats you are also helping children in need; a concept I can back 100%!
Now for the GIVEAWAY! Sneek-a-Boos would like to offer one Yellow Finch reader their very own little Boo to start a new Halloween tradition! To enter simply follow Yellow Finch on Instagram and leave a comment below OR on either of my Instgram accounts (@elizabethmjacob and @kickncrohns). That's it!
You can read more about the Sneek-a-Boos company and founder, Mindy Haering, over on their website, twitter, Instagram and Facebook page.
Head to Amazon to purchase your Boo.
For more info about The SHAMBA Foundation click here.
"I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you."
I have a serious love for kale. It manages to make its way into our meals on a weekly basis and I always incorporate it into breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whether it's in the form of a smoothie, kale chips, roasted kale, sautéed kale or a kale frittata, my family can guarantee kale is on the menu.
My friend recently gave me a jar of her homemade kale powder and I can't get enough of it! I've been adding it to our morning smoothies, sprinkling it over salads and casseroles, tossing it into eggs, and well, just about anything and everything. For the most part, this powder is tasteless and can easily be added to any dish to give you a healthy boost of vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C. Kale is also a good source of vitamin B6, folate,thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin E and several dietary minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. In other words, it's superfood that you should incorporate into your diet!
yield: depends on how much kale you use
1-2 bunches of fresh kale (it can be Curly, Lacinato, or Red Russian)
1. Thoroughly wash the kale and press between two clean towels to dry.
2. Remove any thick stems.
3. Lay out the kale on large cookie sheets if using an oven or line them on the tray of your dehydrator.
4. Dehydrate at around 120 degrees until crisp. I use the oven but you can just as easily use a dehydrating machine.
5. Once kale is dehydrated, place the leaves in a Vitamix or Ninja (you can use a blender or food processor as well) and pulse until desired texture. Try to get it to a powder consistency; this could take a few minutes.
6. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in Europe. During World War II, the cultivation of kale in the U.K. was encouraged by the Dig for Victory campaign. The vegetable was easy to grow and provided important nutrients to supplement those missing from a normal diet because of rationing.
“Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the Romance of the unusual.”
I seek enchantment through travel.
I find purpose in simple moments spent with loved ones.
I turn to nature for tranquility and peace.
My mind is full and my heart is filled with the unusual.
I see new ideas all around me.
I am bountiful with life.
These photos may be from last summer, but they are special memories and collected treasures that I wanted to share. I'm finally getting around to editing our vacation photos from this summer and thought I should share last summers first.
Click the link below to see our travels to San Juan Island last summer.