Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hartwick Pines 2015

Saw this butterfly on our yard before we left our driveway.
This time we decided to bring Bandit with us.  This was his first time to join us on a long drive and he was just a perfect 3rd row passenger.
He loves walking/running on the trails.   It rained a lot but we were able to squeezed in long walks in between the rain which goes on and off all the days we were there.
One of the trails have a little hill that everybody enjoyed a lot.  We also got a surprise visit from the grandma and grandpa one day and the kids were just thrilled.
These wild flowers were just every where and they looked pretty along the path.
Every time it was not raining, we tried to stay out as much as we can and this was how Bandit usually was.  He was a good camper, he only barked at kids who were running and screaming along.  But usually he just watched at people and pets around.
One of the activity that kept us occupied when it rained.  This year was the first time Hartwick Pines don't have any events going on the amphitheater.  Don't know if the program is being cut off or cancelled.  The girl watching the entrance does not seem to even know of any programs.  We shall see...
On our way home.

Dow Run/Walk 2015

This year's Dow Run/Walk falls on a weekend when we also had a few other stuff going on.  We did the one mile run on Saturday morning with my mother in law.   As you  might already know, I jazzercise but I don't really run.  Most of my running are done only for fun with the kids and the dog but nothing serious.  Father and son were far ahead of us girls right from the beginning, then my daughter joined the grandma and they too went far ahead from me.  I came in 4 minutes later than my daughter and mother in law.  Vyn was 10th in his age group.
Came home after the run and did some birthday celebration.   We then had to go for the dance recital which lasted almost 4 hours.  Vyn and the hubby were both surprised that they actually enjoyed the performance and had fun.

The hubby ran the half marathon Sunday.  He ran faster than last year.  We saw a few neighbor friends who runs but the hubby said that the event was getting less participation than the last couple years.  Hopefully, they will be able to get more registration next year.  The route was changed a little but fortunately it still went through our road.  The kids and I were able to cheer as the runners as the ran pass.
Lyn and I went for the second dance recital in the afternoon.  She got an award as one of the hard worker in her class.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Gluten Free Cookies


First gluten free cookie recipe that uses what everyday everybodies pantry contains.  Found this from Betty Crocker


1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 package cream cheese softened                                                                
1/3 cup butter softened                         
3  tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla                                             
1 egg york                                             
1 1/2 cups Bisquick Gluten Free Mix                                            
Additional powdered sugar for work surface                                           
1  container Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy vanilla frosting, if desired                                          
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets with shortening or cooking spray. In large bowl, stir 1/2 cup powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, shortening, vanilla and egg yolk with spoon until well blended. Stir in Bisquick mix until dough forms.

2. On work surface sprinkled with additional powdered sugar, roll half of dough at a time to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Use metal spatula to transfer cookie cut-outs to cookie sheets, placing cut-outs about 1 inch apart.

3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; carefully remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Spread frosting on cookies.       

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

From the minimalist baker.  I used the recipe for the crust here using coconut flour.  It turned out a very good pumpkin pie.

Dough making is always a challenge for me.  The butter was still in chunks when I chilled it and it turned out crumbly.  I ended up just pressing the crumbles to the pan.

Fortunately, the crust still held its form.

  • 6 Tbsp cold vegan butter (or chilled coconut oil with varied results)
  • 1 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4-6 Tbsp ice cold water
  • 2 3/4 cups pumpkin puree (~1 1/2 15-ounce cans)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or sub mix of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  1. To prepare crust, add gluten free flour and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Slice or dollop the cold butter in and work gently with a fork or pastry cutter to cut it in. Don’t overwork, just get it incorporated.
  2. Next add ice cold water a little at a time and use a wooden spoon to stir. Only add as much water as you need to help it come together.
  3. Once a loose dough is formed, transfer to a piece of plastic wrap and work gently with your hands to form a 1/2 inch thick disc. Wrap firmly and refrigerate for a minimum 30 minutes, up to 2 days. Just let it warm back up a little before using. You don’t want it too warm or it can get too soft to handle.
  4. Once your dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare pie filling.
  5. Add all pie ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.
  6. To roll out the crust, unwrap the disc and place it between two sizable layers of wax paper (plastic wrap will work OK, but is a little more difficult to work with). Use a rolling pin to gently roll it into the shape of your pie pan. If it cracks, don’t stress - you can reform it with your hands once you get it in the pan. But try and be gentle.
  7. To transfer the crust, remove the top layer of wax paper and gently lay the pie dish face down on top of the crust and use the support of the wax paper to quickly but carefully invert it. Don’t overthink it - just do it.
  8. Once you get the crust inverted, gently use your hands to form it into the pan, working the crust up along the sides. It can be a little tricky but it bakes beautifully, so it’s worth the effort! Just try not to overwork the dough in the process - it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to perfect the shape. Any holes or cracks can be mended with a little excess dough and the heat of your hand.
  9. TIP: I would advise against trying to be fancy and do any elaborate design with the crust, so just get the crust in, get a flat edge and go.
  10. Pour filling into pie crust and bake for 58-65 minutes. The crust should be light golden brown and the filling will still be just a bit jiggly and have some cracks on the top. Remove from oven and let cool completely before loosely covering and transferring to the refrigerator to fully set for 4-6 hours, preferably overnight.
  11. Slice and serve with coconut whipped cream and an additional sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or pumpkin pie spice (optional). This would also be amazing with my Vegan Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream and Brown Sugar Pecans!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Found this recipe circulating in facebook from a "Ron Dattola"  it is called "Sopapilla Cheesecake".  My whole family, even the hubby who is trying to have a gluten free diet could not resist, he tried and love it.
Here is the recipe:
  2 cans Pillsbury Crescent rolls
2-8oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla extract...
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 stick butter (1/2 cup real butter not margarine)

  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Unroll and press 1 can crescent rolls into the bottom of your baking dish press the seams together. In a separate bowl blend the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla spread over top of dough. Unroll the second can of crescent rolls and place on top of the cream cheese mixture pressing seams together again.
Melt butter and pour over top layer of crescents.
 Mix the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar & cinnamon together. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture generously over the top. If you don’t think that’s enough cinnamon sugar on top add more its really up to you there’s no rules on this part of the recipe. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly and bottom crust is slightly brown.
Cool, slice and enjoy!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Great Turtle Half Marathon

This picture was taken while we were inside the car waiting for the ferry to take us to Mackinac Island.  The hubby ran this yearly scenic Great Turtle Half Marathon.  We took the Arnold ferry and will use the other ferries available for next year. 
Another view from the pier.

This bar/restaurant caught our eye.

Inside Mission Point Resort.  The kids voted for this pumpkin entry.
The race started and ended here.
Flying camera gadget.
Runners getting ready and warming up.  The hubby was ill with some respiratory viral infection two weeks ago and was not able to train as much as he wanted.  He planned to just take his time and not worry about running faster than his record.
While the runners were warming up.  The kids and I decided to walk to the Arch Rock.  We ate lunch at the Mission Point and walked to about mile 7 of the run to watch the runners.  We saw the hubby both at the Arch Rock and at 7 mile mark and he was doing great for somebody who is until now still recuperating.
 Residences along the way to Mission Point have their houses decorated for Halloween. 
Mallard ducks entertaining us while we waited for the ferry back to Mackinaw City.  We were back at Cabins of Mackinaw to watch the U of M and Michigan State football game.  Dinner was Fish and Fries at our favorite O'Reilly's Irish Pub.  Breakfast was at another favorite Pancake Chef and off we drove back home to reality while listening to the Detroit Lion's game in London.  The Spartans and the Detroit Lions won this weekend as well.

The weather was just perfect for the race.  It was uneventful until about mile 10 when a young man a few yards ahead of the hubby fell and broke his leg.
Finisher medal for 2014.

Monday, October 20, 2014

2014 CRIM Run

Healthplus Crim Festival has now become a yearly run for the hubby.  This year they offered a 10-Mile + 5K Combo which equals to more fun and longer stay in downtown Flint.
The winner. 

10 Mile race medal.
5 K medal.
Love the design of the Combo Race medal.
Five years of running the Crim.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Grand Island 2014

We drove to Munising on Friday the 25th of July and stayed at our favorite Hillcrest Cabins for the night.  We also picked up the running packet at the Holiday Express.
The hubby decided on running the half marathon this time. 
This is the picture of the medal.  It is handmade from wood and is the same medal the hubby received last year.  Good thing the hubby likes running in the trail because of the view and not for the medal.
Above is the picture of our ferry.

After the race, the hubby swam in the cold lake and off we went back to Munising.  I have to remember the mosquito spray the next time we come back.  The whole island is just infested with them.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ludington and Platte River June 2014

We got a little behind schedule for the drive but we arrived at Ludington State Park and finished setting up our camper by 4:30 pm.   Weather was perfect, cloudy, windy and cool.  We walked to the beach and the kids played in the water.   Then we visited the campground gift shop, checked out the  bathrooms and then Vyn entertained us with his magic tricks while Lyn and guama made loom bracelets.  The first night was quiet and we slept soundly until the neighbor's dogs started barking.
The second day, we went downtown Ludington, Lyn and I climbed our first lighthouse the "North Breakwater Lighthouse".  We stopped by House of Flavors for lunch where we also had a huge serving of ice cream for dessert. 
The hubby got excited when we happened to park right in front of a coffee roastery by chance.  Although they serve coffee drinks, they ran out of roasted coffee beans for sale which was a huge disappointment.  So we ended up buying his roasted coffee at a local organic store.  We ended the second day watching a campground concert by "Mike Lynch".  Who happens to be a very entertaining local guy.
Third day was a great day for playing in the beach, it was warm and sunny.  Then we walked to Hamlin Dam where deers were just watching us by the trails.
Fourth day, we drove to Platte River Campground.  We drove by a few smalls towns that were very picturesque.
Since we were not able to make reservations early enough, we got the rustic campground site.  Much to my delight, we were right next to the bathroom which includes shower rooms operated by tokens that cost $1.00 supposedly for 6 minute showers, but everybody was able to finish before the token ran out.    So the rustic part was just that there is no electricity available in our sites.
They were doing some construction in the Dune Climb parking lot.  Something to look forward to when we visit the area again.
Mama climbed her first sand dune and made it to the first plateau.  The kids and dad went all the way up.
 Fighting the gravity.
Fun run on the way down.  Mama and I just walked.
The next day was raining, foggy and windy in the morning.  We drove by the dune and as you can see in the picture above, people still climbed it.  I wonder if it actually would be easier to climb wet, packed sand.


It was foggy and windy in the morning but we still drove the loop just in case the weather gets worse. 

The afternoon was sunny and so we visited Glen Haven which is a historic village.  We stopped by the blacksmith's shop, the general store, the hotel and the cannery/boat musum.  Lots of history to the place but it was also loaded with black flies which were vicious.

Since it turned out to be a beautiful sunny afternoon, we drove up the scenic drive again.

So glad we were able to share these view with mama.

We also visited Glen Arbor and stopped by our favorite coffee roastery the Leelanau Coffee a roastery where we can really buy roasted coffee and have drinks as well.  We also visited some stores and of course The Great Lakes Tea and Spice shop  for my tea supply and our last stop was The Grocer's Daughter for some delicious chocolates.

Until the next adventure.  Thank you for visiting.