Thursday, May 17, 2012

Heading North!

We are loaded up and ready to go!  It's about 3:43 AM and we will be hitting the road shortly.  The movers left yesterday with the rest of our stuff.  I feel like the Beverly Hillbillies...towing a Beemer and hauling 3 dogs, 40 pounds of onions, a case of wine, 21 pair of shoes, an iMac...

More later when we get to Michigan! :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Onion Harvest!

I didn't plant anything in my spring garden this year except three sets of Texas 1015 sweet onions.  Well I harvested them over the weekend and what a harvest!  For having done nothing but plant them and water them, here's what I got!

And I intend to bring all of them to Michigan with me.  I sure hope my family up north likes onions :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Artichoke Soup with Camembert Crostini

I discovered this soup recipe out of necessity.  Since we will be moving to Michigan for the summer, I must (have to!) clean out my freezer before we leave.  So I've been slowing working through what is in there and making dinner/lunch based on "what do I have."  Well, I had half of a bag of frozen artichoke hearts in there that I didn't know what to do with.  Frozen artichoke hearts are not my favorite food, which is likely why they are still in my freezer :)  Anyway, I had to find some creative way to fix them.

So I pulled out my favorite soup cookbook and sure enough, there were a couple of artichoke soup recipes in there, but I thought this one sounded the best.  And actually, it was really good!

Artichoke Soup with Camembert Crostini
Serves 6
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 small russet potato, peeled and finely diced (Do you know how hard it is to find a "small" russet potato?!)
8 oz frozen artichoke hearts
2 cup chicken broth
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the Crostini
12 thin baguette slices
2 oz Camembert cheese at room temperature

NOTE:  Try Brie, St. André or a soft goat cheese in place of the Camembert.  Serve extra crostini and a bottle of Pino Gris at the table for a light spring dinner.

In a large sauce pan, warm the oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and the garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5 minuts.  Add the white wine and potato and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the artichoke heats and broth an bring to a boil.  reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potato is very tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender or food processor.  Return to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper.

To make the crostini, preheat the broiler to high.  Top each baguette slice with a thin slice of Camembert.  Place on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese melts slightly, 1-2 minutes.

Serve, topping each bowl with 2 crostini.

NOTE:  Since I didn't have a baguette on hand, but I did have a good loaf of homemade bread, I used the bread instead and topped it with Brie cheese, again, because that was what I had.  It turned out just fine :)

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Michigan Summer Home

In just a couple of weeks, Harry and I head North to spend the summer in our new home on a small, private lake in Southwest Michigan.  The building of this house was a journey we had not anticipated until it began to take shape late last summer.  We have been looking for a way to escape the brutal Texas summers for many years.  During a visit in August to see Harry's sister Esti and her husband Art, they told us about this beautiful piece of property on a gorgeous lake that had been for sale for quite some time.  They were convinced the guy who owned it just wanted to sell it.  We looked at the lot and immediately thought, "This is it."  We made the guy a low-ball offer, he came back with an equally low-ball counter, and we took it.  And the journey began.  And what a journey it has been.  The lot is 11 acres with gorgeous lake frontage, incredible views and lots of wildlife.  But the most attractive part about this property is that Harry's family all lives in this general area of Michigan, and my brother and his family live an hour's drive East.

This is what the property looked like when we bought it late last summer.  The foundation and footprint were already built (A long story which I won't even go into).  The septic tank and water hookups were in place.  We simply had to design the house around the existing foundation.  The designer our builder contracted with did an amazing job of working with what was there.

Here's Harry and Art right after we bought the lot...already designing the house :)

These 2 shots are of the property from the lakeside.

Construction begins

I took these next four shots of the lake in November. 

The lake has families of geese and several swan couples

And here's the house as viewed from the lake

As viewed from the Northwest; the garage and side entrance

The lot is gorgeous...even in the winter.

There is a little brook that traverses the North side of the property.  Lots of wildlife here.  I can't wait to see the birds that inhabit this place in the spring, summer and during the fall migration.

The lake was so still the morning I took this photograph.  
I believe I took this one when we visited in February.

Sandhill cranes migrate through this part of Michigan.  I was able to get a couple of photos of them.  

The lake is gorgeous; it doesn't matter the season or time of day. 

My husband's nephews and their families sledding at our house this winter.  I so wanted to be there with them!  It's been years (years!) since I've been sledding.  

The granite for the downstairs wet bar.

The granite for my kitchen and master bath!

My beautiful front door!

And here's the finished house!  I took these a couple of weeks ago when we visited in mid April.  No landscaping yet, but the house is 98% done!

View of the front of the house

The East porch

Yes, more of the lake :)

Great room as you enter the house

Our office

To the downstairs rec room, wet bar and 2 guest bedrooms, each with a full bath.

Rec room (and wonderful husband :)

Wet bar (fridge to follow)

Wet bar

 Dining room chandelier 

 Great room/kitchen/nook

My kitchen!

 The three-season porch where I *know* we will spend lots of time!

From the Great Room, view of the main entrance

View of the deck and the 3-season porch

View of the lake from the Great Room

Cool accent window as you go down the stairs

Yes, another shot of the lake.  This one from the deck and the master bedroom.  I just never get tired of looking at the lake!

My husband and I are so excited about this next stage in our lives!  I keep pinching myself to see if this is real...  
...and if it's not, please don't anyone tell me...