Wednesday, September 17, 2014

World's Best Garden Salsa with Fresh Zucchini, Tomatoes and Peppers

For as long as I can remember, my favorite salsa has always been my Aunt Laurie's. At the end of each summer, with the bounty from her garden she treats us all to vats of it...and we eat and eat and eat.

This summer, I decided to give her recipe a whirl. What I love about it is that it is full of fresh vegetables, and with my rather successful garden this year, I loved putting what we had to good use! I changed things up just a bit, to suit our family's taste and we shared some and devoured the rest. My kids could not get enough. It is incredibly simple, insanely healthy and so so good.

Garden Fresh Salsa with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Peppers

This recipe makes a TON, but your neighbors will love you for sharing!

10 cups of fresh tomatoes (after processing)
7 cups of fresh zucchini (after processing)
3 green peppers
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
1 large hot pepper
1 jalapeno
4 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1 bunch cilantro
3/4 c. vinegar
1/3 c. sugar
2 T. salt
1 T. pepper


Do NOT peel any of the veggies. You will need a very large bowl. 

For this recipe, you MUST have a food processor (or a blender would be okay). Place the tomatoes in the food processor and blend them up to your desired consistency. We like our salsa finely chunky. Be sure you have 10 cups of your blended tomatoes. I have used every variety of tomatoes including the cherry ones, and they all work well.

Place your zucchini in the food processor, but be sure you do NOT liquefy it. The zucchini is best just a little chunky or grated. You should have 7 cups after processing.

Place the peppers in the processor and chop. I like them a little chunky.

Place the hot pepper, jalapeno, garlic and onion in the processor and chop finely. No one wants to get stuck with all the heat.

Place the cilantro in the processor and chop. 

Add everything to a LARGE bowl and stir together. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and mix very well. Add extra salt or pepper if necessary. 

This salsa is the perfect spice for our family, a little kick but nothing that burns. The perfect way to enjoy the last bit of summer! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

One Week in Ann Arbor, MI. What you must see and do!

Last week I highlighted my very favorite parts of Ann Arbor. You can see my recommendations for 

But, many people are staying a bit longer or want a few more options for their adgenda. Here are some of my other "must do" favorites if you have plenty of time in our fine city or will be visiting multiple times. In no particular order: 

A Day in Detroit which includes: 

image via Max + Lula

image via Max + Lula

I have also had the following Detroit restaurants recommended over and over again: Avalon Breads, London Chop House, Traffic Jam, Rock City Eatery and Supino's Pizza!

Have a Little More Ann Arbor Fun which includes:

I also wanted to recommend more Ann Arbor food that we LOVE:

Cottage Inn Pizza:  Everyone loves pizza, and there is a reason Cottage Inn has been around forever! You must go to the original one on Main Street. Great for family dining and large groups!
Jerusalem Garden: If you love Mediterranean food, this is a must. Their Falafel Pita is the best I have ever had and the hummus...mmmm. A great "to go" meal.
Jolly Pumpkin: Just good food at a decent price in fun surroundings. 
Washtenaw Dairy: If you need a little ice cream treat, this is the perfect stop (double check sesonal hours).
Kilwin's: If chocolate is your thing, Kilwin's has it all plus the ice cream. I love the caramel apples! (double check seasonal hours).
Mani Osteria and Bar: Gourmet pizzas and fresh pastas, a foodie spot with inventive offerings. A little pricey but good.
Great Plains Burger Co.: If you need another burger after eating at Krazy Jim's Blimpie Burger, we love Great Plains. 
West End Grill: High end yummy food. If you are in celebration mode, West End is the perfect spot. 
Le Dog: A hot dog, soup, and fresh lemonade stand on Main. Get any of the soups, you won't be sorry. The location on Liberty has closed, but the one on Main is open (double check hours). It is SO good.
Amer's Mediterranean Deli: If you want a quick lunch that is fast, healthy and tastes great, check out Amer's. 
Prickly Pear: This was one of our first Ann Arbor food experiences and it was quirky and delicious in an unexpected way. Not your traditional Mexican food. 
Gandy Dancer: The location and setting are absolutely Ann Arbor. We loved our experience there, though the food prices are completely outrageous. 

And, I adore Ypsilanti food:
Drive a few minutes outside of Ann Arbor and everything you eat is half price because you a little ways away from the University, but the flavors and quality are there in full force.

Dom's Bakery: Best doughnuts EVER. Positively worth the drive.
 Beezy's Cafe: If you love Zingerman's but can't stomach their prices, Beezy's is the spot for you. Incredible breakfast and lunch with fresh and wholesome offerings and homemade breads that will leave you coming back daily!
Red Rock BBQ: Red Rock is my favorite BBQ joint in the Ann Arbor area. You will be licking your fingers clean!
Bill's Drive In: If you need something extremely cheap and easy, you must try the chili dog and homemade root beer. It is a family fave. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

What to do with 72 hours in Ann Arbor

Hopefully DAY ONE and DAY TWO in Ann Arbor were full of adventures and great food! On day three, I am taking you out of Ann Arbor and into Dearborn to see The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, both absolute musts for any Michigan traveler. The museum and village will take your entire day, but you will have time to grab a quick breakfast and a late dinner in Ann Arbor. Enjoy!


Our family loves a good bagel, and Barry's is our Ann Arbor favorite. Their breakfast sandwiches are also fantastic!

Spend the day at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village
Above are links to my detailed posts on each, but if you are going to both, be sure to purchase them together so you can save a few bucks! It will be an unforgettable day of fine American history. 

Isalita is a great place to eat with a group of friends or as a foodie couple. It has a hip vibe that we loved and food that kept us talking for days. A great ending to a perfect day.

Tune in next week as I give my final ideas for a full week in Ann Arbor and exploring Ann Arbor with Kids!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What to do with 48 hours in Ann Arbor

Are you exhausted from your first 24 hours in Ann Arbor? Hope not, because there is still so much to see and do! Here are my recommendations for


Zingerman's Roadhouse offers a larger menu with a little less wait than Zingerman's Deli. We love breakfast, lunch and dinner there. Prices are a little high for breakfast and the portions are not big enough to share, but the food is great. 
image via yelp 

The Natural History Museum is a fun way to pack in a little culture on your vacation and is especially great if you are traveling with kids. The Museum of Art is beautiful and unique and has some great pieces on display. Both places are perfect ways to pass rainy or cool days and are a fun, inexpensive stop as you explore the city.

image via University of Michigan

Christ Healing a Deaf-Mute
image via UMMA
For some reason I have not written up this fantastic place on my blog! We LOVE it. It is Cuban inspired street food with bold flavors and cool pairings, plus light and inviting decor that will make your mind think sunshine even in the middle of a Michigan winter. My favorite, if you like a little spice, are the loaded plantains, but really everything there is fantastic. You MUST get the churros for dessert (best ones I've ever had) and one of their Batidos (fruit shakes). Our favorites are the passion fruit and coconut.  Word of caution, it's great food, so it does get crowded!

With a full belly, it is time to work your body. One of our very favorite things to do is canoe down the Huron River! The Argo Livery offers lots of options for still water or water with a little more punch. Such a great way to spend the afternoon and see the city from a different angle in spring, summer or fall. 

I love that Sava's is in the heart of downtown and offers great food at a variety of price points. You won't leave hungry! Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, so get there!

While everyone has heard about the fantastic academics and sports at the University of Michigan, their performing and fine arts are equally as renowned. Use a free evening to watch students or professionals doing what they do best at Hill Auditorium. You will be so glad you did!
Concert Band in Hill

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What to do with 24 hours in Ann Arbor! Day One!

I have some good friends who will be visiting Ann Arbor this fall and I promised them a "must do" list. While there are many amazing places and eateries around town, I thought I would recommend my favorites that are unique to Michigan or things you just have to experience while in The Mitten State.

Each recommendation comes with a link to my insider tips, directions and review. I promise, you will love every second of your trip to Michigan!
*two quick tips before we get started...get reservations every where you possibly can and use the Blue Bus if you are hoping to ditch your's free!


This historic diner right on campus has a few of our breakfast favorites. On a weekend, be prepared for a bit of a wait or head in early or after the breakfast rush. 

One of the prettiest places in all of Ann Arbor, The Arb lets you see Michigan's wild right next to the city. Bring your walking shoes.

If you come from a city with less of a main street, Ann Arbor's will completely blow you away. It is where I first fell in love with the city.

image via HERE

If you love the perfect souvenir from you travels, this store is a "must stop." There is something for everyone inside.

Don't you dare walk into the big house with your red on! This is the perfect place for all things Michigan for adults and kids!

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I have not reviewed Zingerman's because it's good enough for Oprah and Obama, so there isn't much more I can say. Incredible breads, meats and cheeses and just walking through the store is a treat. That being said, your sandwich will run you $15 on average...not even kidding and you will want a whole one. The first time we ate there, I about died at our tab. However, it is delicious and an Ann Arbor staple, so it is a "must visit." Beware of intense crowds. Go at "off" times or be prepared to wait.

Thrifty Thea's Red Bag Lunch

Eat lunch at Krazy Jim's Blimpie Burger
I know I already recommended a place for lunch, but I could not decide between Zingerman's and Blimpie Burger because in my mind, both are absolute musts, so I guess you will have to eat two lunches or stick around for another day. Our family adores Blimpie Burger and we are so happy it is re-opening in a new location. Opening is slated for the end of August. Happy Day! New address is 304 South Ashley Street in Ann Arbor. Click the link to see why you can't miss it!

This might sound "ho-hum" but it is the perfect way to understand the history of the University and therefore the city in barely over an hour. Make sure you book online before your trip!

If you go to a football game, you MUST walk to the stadium from central campus and down State Street. This way you can enjoy all the tailgating and people watching. Football at the big house is like nothing you will ever experience, take advantage of it if you can!

image via HERE
Ann Arbor does food really well, and Pacific Rim is the perfect place to enjoy some of the best. The Asian fusion cuisine will perk up your palate and leave you wanting more. 

Want to know what to do in your next 24 hours? Tune in tomorrow! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Super Run Ann Arbor: September registration and free cape!

This Saturday, September 6th, the Super Run is coming to Ann Arbor!


The event will be held at Gallup Park (one of my favorites) from 8:30-11:30, and the money raised will go to local charities.

Dress up as your favorite Super Hero and run for cause! The 1K is only $10 and the 5K is $30. For more information or to register, visit The Super Run. There will also be lots of family friendly giveaways and activities at the event, so come enjoy a beautiful morning!

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The Super Run was kind enough to donate two registrations and one fun super cape to 3 of our lucky readers. To enter, leave a comment below, one comment if you are entering for the run one comment if you are entering for the cape! The contest will close Wednesday evening.

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Happy Running!