Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fall/Winter/Spring 2014/2015 Michigan Eats

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one."
(Mother Teresa)

Ever since we lived in Brooklyn, I've posted recipes and restaurants I've tried by season, but I skipped the past 3 seasons in Michigan ("Summer 2014 Michigan Eats" was the last such post) because I was on an unintentional blogging hiatus after I became a mom in November. Although I'm back, I'm still catching up -- now, not just on updates, but on life, since we moved! We left Michigan last Wednesday, stopped for the night in Youngstown, OH, and arrived at our new apartment in North Brunswick, NJ 1 week ago. More on that to come.

We were truly blessed to live with my mother-in-law, who prepared almost all of our dinners -- especially after Ava was born -- so that I could focus on breastfeeding and taking care of our new handful of a baby. The handful of recipes below were mostly from the end of my pregnancy, with the exception of the lactation cookies, which I baked a couple of months ago. Many of the places listed below were also visited towards the end of my pregnancy.

Just a Few Recipes

In early fall, new neighbors moved into the house on the left of us. They came from Germany -- father, mother, and 3 kids -- and with the dad taking a job with Daimler, naturally they had 3 different white Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs. I baked banana bread and Sam and I went over to their house to welcome them to the neighborhood. In the summer, I had baked zucchini bread for our other next-door neighbors on the right, who have been there forever.

Swirly cinnamon banana bread prep
Swirly cinnamon banana bread

Being a Trader Joe's fan, I discovered a website called Cooking with Trader Joe's, which posts recipes using items sold at the store. I've tried a couple, including the soup below, as well as a veggie lasagna with grilled vegetables, artichoke hearts, and spinach that I posted from last summer. Another Trader Joe's blog I read is called What's Good at Trader Joe's, which posts detailed product reviews.

Shrimp and black bean chimichurri soup prep
Shrimp and black bean chimichurri soup

For another easy recipe, I used rotisserie chicken from the grocery store for pulled chicken tacos, along with a very simple tomato-bean salsa. We normally go for soft tortillas, but I was in the mood for crunchy taco shells.

Pulled chicken tacos with chili salsa prep
Pulled chicken tacos with chili salsa

Last but not least, some recipes for sweets. The brownie crackles were made with a boxed brownie mix and tasted like perfectly fudgy bites, and the lactation cookies were also delicious, containing oats, brewer's yeast, and flaxseed meal (galactogogues that are fine and very healthy for non-lactating people, too).

Brownie crackles prep
Brownie crackles
Oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies prep
Oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies, with a side of strawberries

Fall, Winter, Spring Meals by Local Eateries

Since I didn't have a lot of homemade food pics to show above, below are lots and lots of non-homemade food pics for your viewing pleasure.

American: J. Alexander's, Rusty Bucket Restaurant & TavernSweet Lorraine's Cafe & BarThe Stand Gastro Bistro, TownhouseVinsetta Garage, Zehnder's of Frankenmuth (Frankenmuth)
J. Alexander's at the Somerset Collection in Troy, MI
Sweet Lorraine's Cafe & Bar in Southfield, MI
Valentine's Day dinner at The Stand Gastro Bistro in Birmingham, MI
Brunch at Townhouse in Birmingham, MI
Those chicken tikka masala fries at Vinsetta Garage in Berkley, MI
Zehnder's famous fried chicken meals in Frankenmuth, MI
American/Bars & Breweries: Clubhouse BFD, One-Eyed Betty's, Rochester Mills Beer Co., Royal Oak Brewery
Hankering for grilled cheese at One-Eyed Betty's in Ferndale, MI
American/Burgers: Redcoat Tavern
I got my chicken pot pie fix at Red Coat Tavern in Royal Oak, MI
Apple Cider/Donuts: Franklin Cider Mill 
Hot cider donuts are the best at Franklin Cider Mill
Bagels: The Bagel Factory
Bakeries: Great Harvest Bread Co.
Great Harvest Bread Co. was right next to my OB's office in Birmingham, MI
Banquets/Conferences: Petruzzello's Banquet and Conference Center
Barbeque: Lockhart's BBQ, Slows Bar-B-Q, Union Woodshop
Had lots of BBQ when I was pregnant, including Lockhart's in Royal Oak, MI... 
...Slows in Detroit, one of the most prominent BBQ joints
...and Union Woodshop in Clarkston, MI, which was our favorite (best mac and cheese)
Breakfast & Brunch: Rochester Brunch House
Saturday brunch at Rochester Brunch House
Coffee & Tea: Biggby Coffee 
Sweet and simple hot chocolate art at Biggby Coffee in Bloomfield Hills, MI
Donuts: Knapp's Donuts
Knapp's pumpkin donut on the far right, the winner of my pregnancy craving pumpkin donut taste-test
Indian: Touch of India
Good Indian food at Touch of India in Birmingham, MI
Mac & Cheese: Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez!
Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez at the Somerset Collection
Mediterranean/Middle Eastern: La Marsa, Shish Kabob Express
Pie: Dangerously Delicious Pies
Detroit's Dangerously Delicious Pies on Pi Day (3.14.15) 
Pizza: Buddy's Pizza, Hungry Howie's, Jet's PizzaPizzaPapalis
More pizza places, including Buddy's Pizza...
...Hungry Howie's
...and Jet's Pizza (I had to try all the local pizza options)
Seafood/Steak: Eddie Merlot's, Ocean PrimeStreetside Seafood, Wolfgang Puck Steak
Wonderful dinner and dining experience at Ocean Prime in Troy
Dinner for Sam's birthday at Wolfgang Puck Steak at MGM Grand Detroit
Thai: No Thai! (Ann Arbor), Thai Taste To Go
Arenas: Joe Louis Arena, The Palace of Auburn Hills
Sports-watching food at The Palace of Auburn Hills (Pistons v. Spurs)

Now that we're settling into our new place in NJ, I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to juggle a demanding baby and cooking again. I'm still in the process of washing and organizing all of my kitchen supplies, and we've been subsisting on take-out and some Korean food from our mothers for the past several days. Time to scour my Pinterest recipe boards and do some meal planning!