On our M-40 South route lies another small town, Gobles. The car seems to guide itself into the Gobles Grocery side lot. There is a small deli in the back, but the unassuming grocery has a secret. Jerky that rivals a Northern Irish jerky haven and cheese Wisconsin should cross the big lake for. If we lived in Gobles, I would probably grow curd toes and jerky locks from making daily stops. So if you are cruising M-40 South and see Gobles Grocery, please stop and load up on its tasty offerings.
Our family was in charge of making an Easter cake. Taking a clue from Pinterest, this is what the kids came up with. Tie dyed vanilla cake and decorated with Peeps and M&Ms. The kids smiled while decorating it, giggled upon cutting and seeing the Easter dyed interior, and relished the sugar high upon digesting the cake.
Rainbow Brite would be proud.
Spring is not complete without the annual egg dying expedition. The Latvian eggs are colored using onion skins. I’ve been saving up for the last few months. The eggs are draped with a leaf or flower and then wrapped in onion skins. The results are various shades of sunset to rust. Some artistic Latvians scratch traditional symbols on the rusty hued eggs. I tried. The cramp in my hand only resulted in a primary age “saule” or sun. Stephanie at Barefoot Rose is the Queen of scratching!
Our “traditional” eggs were lovely shades of periwinkle, pea shoots, and lemons. I left the older two soaking the last two eggs in color baths. Upon return, I found eggs looking like the Easter Bunny threw up all over them. Which is ironic, because I was in the other room dealing with that from little brother.
I’ll get a gun and license if I can get some Bambi candy. How did my hunter brother and dad not know about this?! The deer stalk my backyard each winter…
To ring in the start of Spring Break, we planned a party. Unfortunately little R came down with the flu. Since the food was already prepped, we feasted away when the little guy crashed. Maybe it’s a good thing we didn’t have to share…so good! We will be eating until we leave for vacation; pork nachos, pork omelette, pork pizza…
Pulled pork tacos
3-4 pound pork sirloin roast or pork of your choice
1 packet taco seasoning
1 12 ounce can of beer, root beer, or cola. (Root beer is my favorite. This time I used a ginger beer.)
Rub roast with seasoning mix plus black pepper. Spray slow cooker. Place roast in cooker, pour can contents around roast. Cook on low for 6 hours. Shred. Squeeze lime and mix. Serve with chopped cilantro, minced onion, and salsa verde on a corn or flour tortilla.
The rumors you've been hearing. They're true.
Salad cancels out bacon.
Let me explain.
The Salad-Cancels-Out-Bacon Rule
This logic is derived from a spectrum of proven theories, derived as follows, in a highly scien-matical, derive-atory way:
1. First, we establish that the ratio of bacon to salad is the same, that is:
bacon:salad = true
We can now proceed in applying the laws of cross-multiplication.
Where it all began, Arie’s London Bar and Grille in Plainwell. Many dates. Girl’s Night Out, book club. The proposal. A bachelorette party. Arie’s was our place. If we wanted a Cheers-like experience, only one destination held our hearts. Even when our oldest was little, our “date”night with kid in tow was Arie’s. Then kid two came along, a few less than memorable meals at the Plainwell location, and our once a month English fix became maybe a year or two. With just two kids, we ventured out for date night almost monthly. Then our little shocker entered the world and date nights slowly fizzled to once in a great while. So when we do head out, we try to hit up new places around SW Michigan. A few of our new favorites are Phil’s in Saugatuck and Chinn Chinn in Mattawan. Through all of this, our hearts lingered on getting back to where it all began.
Sadly, the Plainwell Arie’s location recently closed its doors. Looking for some of our comfort food, a relaxing meal, and a trip down memory lane we ventured to the Kalamazoo London Grille. Upon entering, I was not getting the warm fuzzy feeling. The gentleman that seated us was less than pleasant. The waitress, sorry I forgot her name, made up for him. She quickly supplied us with a black and tan for hubby and a pear cider for me. My favorite part of any meal is the naan with chutney. The tomato peach chutney was one of my pulls for returning. Here’s the thing, it tasted okay, but it was oily and our dish had more “sauce” than chunks. Those little bits of goodness are what I load up on. A little crispy naan and a gob of chutney… At this point, we were joined by Scott Campbell. He recently took over management of the restaurant. Scott shared with us his vision for the restaurant. We appreciated his candor and welcoming spirit. Also, he is looking to reopen Winston’s (also in Kalamazoo) and Arie’s in Plainwell (yeah!).
Next up was our salad of choice, Stilton Endive salad. Bitter endive, fresh greens, gooey Stilton, and walnut chunks, a salad made from blue cheese lovers. It was good, but not great. A few slices of endive with a few leaves of greens and the rest? Less than stellar iceberg lettuce. Really? For the cost, I expected better. Speaking of expecting better, I kept hearing a door closing. It was a microwave. Right out by customers. I am not sure what was reheated, but the beeping
of buttons and subsequent clicking of the door, bothersome.
Date night is about sharing meals, Stilton steak and Whitefish Grenoble. The whitefish is my favorite. Fried crispy, loaded with salty capers, lemon, and tomatoes, my go-to dish. On the side comes rice and grilled vegetables. I always sub the Indian plate (Indian greens, red & yellow dahl) for the grilled vegetables. This has never been an issue and usually the substitution is made at no or little cost. However this time, I was told that I would have to be charged for the Indian plate, $9.99. WHAT? I just want a taste of the Indian goods. After an exasperated never mind, the waitress said oh
you want a side of Indian greens. Um, yes, yes I do. That will be a little extra. That is okay. We also ordered
the Port Stilton Steak. The steak was a perfect medium rare, perfectly seasoned as were the grilled veggies and potato mixture. The slab of Port Stilton was so thick that it was not the least bit melted when it came to the table. By the end of the meal, it melted and oozed over the remaining slices of steak. Perhaps having it slightly melted over the top at service time…
Normally our dinner wraps up with a shared slice of Sticky Toffee Pudding and a coffee with Bailey’s Irish Cream. Stuffed and ready to move on, we did not relish in dessert. Another day. I have high hopes for London Grille. While we enjoyed our meal, the overall experience was okay. The days where the place was packed and the spirit alive, those are the London times we are missing. A true English pub feel. The days where the bar was packed 2-3 deep waiting for tables, Brothers Flynn playing and singing table to table, and the atmosphere transported you across the Atlantic. I am hopeful.
Recently M watched a cooking program on soups. Convinced he could make cheese soup, he rounded up the ingredients as best as he could remember. I found a recipe on Pinterest that sounded like what he recalled. Together M and E shredded cheese and pulled out the necessary utensils. Did I mention that I was in giving the little guy a bath? Pure brilliance on their part.
We subbed chicken broth for white wine and left out the bacon. The kids wanted it cheesy and full of corn. That is exactly what it was! Delicious! I should put them on meal planning more often.
This is the recipe that we followed:Wisconsin Cheese Soup
BACON TOFFEE BARK
1 package of bacon
1.5 sticks real butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1.5 packages of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment or foil. Add an even layer of pre-cooked bacon (you can cook it or buy pre-cooked) that's been torn into bite sized pieces (the crispier, the better).
My first attempt at artisan bread and…it’s a hit! I walked away for proper cooling only to return and find my mini baker assistant hmmming over a steaming piece. Papa excitedly tearing away at the crunchy exterior! Crusty brown outside and warm fluffy inside, what’s not to love. The website gives helpful guidance and ideas. This bread can also be baked in a crockpot! Check out the site!
5 Minutes to Artisan Bread5 Minutes to Artisan Bread