08 February 2013

Bistro de Church.

...then again, coming home for lunch is pretty sweet, too. Obviously, the main benefits being seeing Bradford for a bit mid-day as well as a few pooch snuggles. But it also gives me a chance to eat something at least mildly healthy, as well as throw together all the random stuff left over in the fridge - typically, Brad finds these combinations horribly offensive, so they don't cut it for dinner. But I'm more than happy to concoct a nice lunch for myself.

Mashed potatoes, chili, lime-spiked Greek yogurt, and an avocado. Delicious, and protein and fiber rich for belly goodness. This lunch makes me extra happy. Especially since, you know...

Remember the punch-you-in-the-face-delicious soda I mentioned? Seriously. Who can I punch? Worth the trip up north alone.

By the way, the Midnight in Paris soundtrack has been my work music for the past few days, and I just love it to death. You just may, too.

06 February 2013

Sloppy joe slop sloppy joe.

It seems almost wrong to go from writing about our awesome weekend away to... cafeteria food. But * hold onto your hats! * that's what's coming. I mentioned at some point that we have a cafeteria at work, which was totally new and foreign to me with this job. While I'm still slightly in awe of all the options right there, steps away from my desk (since I posted about said cafeteria, I moved to a spot just beyond it), I've eaten there enough now that it's a good backup if I stick around but, you know, nothing to get too worked up about (grilled cheese, veggie burger, sandwich bar). Until last week, that is.

Between the snow and meetings, I was around the office for lunch a bunch last week, and imagine my surprise when the "hot meal" selection (which is usually like, chicken wings or meat lasagna) was veggies and tofu. Wtf?! Tofu? For realz? I don't have a particularly emotional connection to tofu or anything, but to have it available was pretty exciting. The veggies were labeled "curried veggies" as well, so I didn't have high hopes for much beyond edible. But guess what? This was one tasty stir fry! And they even let me add in a heaping scoop of broccoli. Thanks, lunch lady (actually, lunch man).

I certainly felt much better post-lunch than I typically do after a cafeteria meal of grilled cheese and curly fries. I can never resist the dang curly fries when they are offered. Who can? (Don't even get me started on cheddar rounds, either.)

After the success of tofu day, imagine my insane surprise the next day when I discovered.... mac and cheesiology. Say what? (The little sign really said cheesiology.) They had a made-to-order mac and cheese bar, where they sauteed veggies (or meat, if you are so inclined) for you. As I was ooh-ing and ahh-ing, some co-workers approached and instantly joined in the ooh and ahh. (We were still talking about mac and cheese day today.) It is amazing the level of joy a little mac and cheese can bring to a room.

I kept mine light, with mostly veggies and less noodles and even less cheese. I bypassed the carrots (really? carrots?) and peas, opting for mushrooms and broccoli. From the noodle selection (yes, there were selections!), tri-colored rotini. A small scoop of cheese sauce. A small scoop of crumbled blue cheese.

Pre stir.

Post stir.

This lunch may go down in cafeteria history. Like I said, we're all still talking about it. Thanks, blizzard, for stranding me at work for lunch last week!

04 February 2013

Pooch-cation all I ever wanted.

If you've talked to me at all today, I'm sure you are already sick of listening to me rave. About up north. About Cabin on the Creek. About the winter wonderland. About getting away and relaxing. And, most of all, about how proud we are of the pooches for tolerating nearly five hours in the car (each way), for frockling off leash in the woods and not running away, for being left alone in a strange house and neither freaking out nor destroying anything (irreplaceable; Heidi did murder half a roll of TP). And, of course, for clearly having the times of their lives.

"Can you believe they are trusting us?! Suckers."

The cabin was awesome. When Brad and I first started talking about a trip up north, I had a very specific picture of what I wanted. Brad spent a few days researching cabins and came up with this amazing gem that was not only exactly what I had imagined but was also dirt cheap, despite being enormous (it could comfortably hold three couples and some kids on couches). It is a true cabin, but it is only a few years old so  everything is modern and clean. There are covered, enclosed patios, a grill, a fire pit, a fireplace, a bench by the creek (and obviously a creek), a DVD player (and a dang VCR AND a tape deck! If only I'd of known....), a wine/bottle opener (critical!), puzzles, games (I highly recommend Hunting and Fishing Trivial Pursuit), soap, a blow dryer. And there was a duck phone.

It is also out in the middle of the woods and although there are other cabins within walking distance, none are in sight and you feel totally secluded. So, of course, I brought some appropriate entertainment -

And, as I mentioned, there was cabin-appropriate entertainment available, too -

Because the weather was so crazy (I don't think it stopped blizzarding the whole time we were there), we stayed pretty close to home. Honestly, the point of this trip was to travel somewhere and spend time with the dogs anyway, so that worked out just fine. I guess Brad probably knew, but I was excited to discover Sleeping Bear was just down the road, so that was the perfect morning trip for the whole family.

Heidi gives Sleeping Bear her seal of approval.

I always attempt family photos... Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't - and that usually turns out the cutest.

You know we found time to eat some delicious food, though, and we were lucky to be just a few miles from Glen Arbor, so we braved the roads for our reservations Friday night, even though I imagine Brad's white knuckles were just starting to unclench. At Blu, we had a delicious meal of blue crab puffs, a little Blackstar Farms Late Harvest Riesling for me and a nasty gin and tonic for Bradford (he earned it!!), ricotta gnocchi with beets and apples (me), and steak with Gorgonzola cream (which, I must add, Brad actually said.... wait for it.... might be as good as his beloved Outback!). For dessert, I convinced Brad to get the honey tasting, which was beautiful but not his favorite (I thought it was fun and tasty).

After our dunes trek Saturday, we were starved, so we dropped the kids back home and turned back around for lunch at Art's Tavern - a dusty dive that came highly recommended. I started my meal with a warm gingerale and whiskey and was immediately won over.

Neither the perch sandwich (me) nor the grilled cheese (Brad) disappointed. The tator tots especially didn't disappoint. With full bellies, we walked down the street for a tasting at Cherry Republic. I especially love a tasting that includes various cherry sodas, and the black cherry cream soda is punch-someone-in-the-face delicious.

Back home, and a movie and a nap later, we were ready for dinner. Basically at the end of our driveway was the Little Traverse Inn, which was so flipping cute we were going to eat here regardless of what the internets had to say (luckily, the internets had good things to say). They had a super fun menu with lots of English pub fare, but, sadly for me, everything had meat (except for the fish and chips, which I basically had for lunch). It was ok, though, because after our heavy lunch, I was craving something light. Brad got the chicken pot pie and I was excited to order the spinach salad with onions, mushrooms, and an EGG as well as the smoked salmon appetizer on Irish soda bread.

The teeny bar looked and sounded like a lot of fun but we had pooches and games waiting for us at home, so after a glass of Sex and a giant Fat Tire, we headed back home.

I think it's safe to say that all four of us were sad to leave our woods retreat. So much fun was had, and so much more fun is left to be had in the area (blizzard weather pending). We're looking forward to heading back to Cabin on the Creek soon.... maybe even next month. Stay tuned!