Thursday, January 29, 2015

February Meals

A Mitten State staple is the Northern Michigan Pasty.  It was one of Danny's mom's favorites.  The first and last time I tried making some was for her but the recipe I used wasn't my favorite; therefore, I found another one.  It's from a metro-Detroit blog, Dula Notes, and I'm hoping for great thing.  Stay warm!
  1. Northern Michigan Pasties
  2. Banh Mi Bites with Shallot Aioli
  3. Spicy Potato Tarragon Soup
  4. Sheperd's Potato Pie
  5. Winter Pasta with Chorizo
  6. Porter-Braised Chicken with Root Vegetables
  7. Buttermilk Waffles
  8. Jerk Spice Salmon with Hot and Sweet Slaw
  9. Lemon Pesto Penne
  10. Sticky Asian BBQ Boneless Oven Baked Wings

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Without exaggeration these are the only things I want/need.  My minimalist interest leave me eager to get rid of things opposed to accumulating them.  For better or worse, this means I don't want cheap things readily available at Target.  This works out well for impulse shopping but it's not so great for actually getting what you want.  Consequently, these are the items I'll be saving for in the foreseeable future.

1. Reupholstered dining chairs - I bought fully upholstered dining chairs at Target for every day use and I want our formal wood dining chair cushions to match.  I have no illusions about my DIY talents and will be hiring this job out.

2. Everyday dishware - When Danny first got his place I bought a dish-set from IKEA.  It's functional but I really want an upgrade.  This is currently on a huge sale and might be the first item checked off my list.

3. Sofa bed - Although I want to get rid of the plates, I'm still all about IKEA.  This sofa bed isn't fancy but it's affordable and the color matches the office.  We don't have overnight guests often but when we do it'd be nice for them to have somewhere to sleep.

4. Mail holder - I'm currently using a sleigh from Christmas to hold our mail.  It's convenient but not cute.  I love this multi-use holder. I'm not sure this particular one would fit our space but Matt is an amazing craftsman and I've floated the idea of Danny going over there to make one.

5. Detroit Art - This sign is from Mudgie's and I want it bad.  Sadly, they got it a year ago from ACO and I can't find it anywhere online.  Detroit Scroll is similar but quite pricey.  I may attempt a homemade version of this...

6. Bike - A legit Detroit Bike would be awesome but it's something I will probably work up to.  Danny bought a bike last year and it would be a fun activity to do together.  I'd also need a helmet.

7. Running shoes - A need more than a want.  My beloved gym shoes have a hole and their days are numbered.  I prefer laceless but these Brooks are highly rated.

8. Portfolio - As I transition into a new career I think a work portfolio is appropriate and these multi-purpose ones look great.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Seldon Standard

The Seldon Standard is filling in the gaps of the lower Midtown landscape.  The more than causal but not quite formal eatery is signature New Detroit.  It's a fairly large restaurant that offers a communal dining table for crowded nights or people looking to mingle.  There is also a small parking lot which inevitably increases my appreciation.

The menu prices are a bit above average; however, a lot of the food is locally sourced.  I went for lunch and ordered the pastrami sandwich which was worth the $14.  It's so good that I want to go back soon for another because the menu is seasonal and it will likely be rotated out.

As usual, I couldn't resist asking the waitstaff about an interview.  Jessie consented to answering my questions about the city but prefers to keep a low internet profile so no picture.

Do you live in the city?
I live in Boston-Edison.

What do you like about Detroit?
It's home, so there's always that.  I was out of the city for about a decade in my formidable 20s.  I finished school, went to the east coast, went to the west coast and I moved back here 3 years ago.  I've always preferred it socially here. There are other physical environments that might seem more pleasing to live in but socially people are so friendly and honest and real here, I've always found that really refreshing.  Also the cost of living situation is so much more reasonable here.  In your early 30s you can not work 3 jobs and buy a home and take vacations.  In New York City, Los Angelos, San Francisco and Seattle that's not a possibility these days for people who aren't making high six-figure incomes.

What would you change about the city?
I wouldn't say change perse... I would like to see a lot more progress being made in our infrastructure.  Especially in our education system.  This city is not going to have families living in it again until we have safe and reputable schools to send children too. I have a dozen friends since I've been back who have moved out of the city because they have young kids.  I'm not saying it can't be done - it can definitely be done, raising children in the city, but it entails sending them to private school.  It's a fully time job to get your kids educated and keep them safe.  That's the one thing I would like to see MAJOR tax payer dollars going into.

What are you looking forward to in 2015?
Summertime. Belle Isle beach.  That's what I look forward to on this specific cold winter day.  Also all the exciting stuff coming down the pipeline.  You can literally see the city change month by month at this point. Sometimes I think it's almost too fast.  I think people definitely need to keep moving forward but sometimes take that one step back to see how that change is effecting the city as a whole and not just making it a brighter, shinier place for people to enjoy on a nightly basis once a month when they come down here.

What do you recommend on the menu?
The squash flatbread is definitely A++.  The roasted cauliflower.  The pistrami sandwich is something we have right now that is kind of a special and it's absolutely fantastic.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Happy Friday!

As promised The West Wing's Big Block of Cheese speech. Our White House's version was virtual, the answers were not earth shattering given the 140 character restriction but I was impressed by the number of accounts they had running.  A short "stunt" on Twitter might not seem like a big deal but I think it's cool.  It's important for people to know that their government is listening or at least looking at what they have to say.  After nearly six years in constituent services I can confidently state that most people simply want someone to listen.  

As for the weekend, tonight is ladies night. Since season 3 of The Americans begins on FX, Lindsey and I can finally watch season 2 on Prime.  I'm nervous and excited, the show is so suspenseful I can hardly stand it.  Saturday morning I'm going to go cross-country skiing with my sister-in-laws and Cara.  I'm hoping the snow sticks around because I really want to go.  After that Danny and I are going on a little road trip with Mr. B.  It'll be an interesting adventure.  Sunday, I'm heading to the Eastside with Mom and B for church with Granny.  I will also try and find something fun to blog about.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Parenting Practice Part 3

The nice thing about regularly watching the same baby for years is that you get a window into what life is like with kids.  It definitely not the same as parenting but it's a quality test. The lessons learned from Gwen at (nearly) 1 hold true and I thought I'd update my observations. I know childless people have naive ideas about parenting; therefore, I enjoy giving my ideas a test run.

Minimalism extends to children. Toddlers do not need a lot of stuff.  All of Gwen's toys are kept in her dedicated play space in buckets from the dollar store. One container is dedicated to library books, the other two are her permanent toys (books, paper, crayons, blocks, flashcards and stuffed animals).

Kids can entertain themselves. We play with Gwen a lot but endless activity is exhausting and impractical.  All of her toys are easily accessible and sometimes she has to use them to entertain herself while we manage other things.  She's always in view and comes to us if she needs something but independence is an important lesson that I won't waiver on.

Dedicated mess space is a must. Little kids make messes. As a semi-neat freak this is a tough pill to swallow but it is inevitable. Luckily, Gwen has adopted my aversion to messes and she constantly wants things "cleen".  As great as this is she's still little and has her limits.  This lovely little table set from IKEA helps contain the limits. During meals we move it close to the dining table so that she can happily feed herself and I don't have to worry about food spilling on my upholstered chairs.  She can also do arts and crafts without me having to worry about her drawing on furniture or other items.  Admittedly, this is mainly possible because Gwen is great at following instructions. I'm holding out hope that our future children are half as good.

All toddlers love to yell, throw and run like crazy.  Even our good Gwen is a rebel. Her terrible two-ness is minimal but she can be extremely bossy.  There is no winning here and we often just do what she wants.  Her rapid movement also means pictures of Gwen are hard to capture.

Naptime is awesome but nighttime is nerve-wrecking.  Lessons about SIDs in health class have left me permanently scared.  During the day this isn't a problem, I enjoy the short reprieve to run an errand, read or, honestly, also take a nap but at night I'm a disaster.  Gwen sleeps in a playpen in our room and will probably do so until she is 5.  When she was little I barely slept and regularly checked to make sure she was breathing.  These concerns improved slightly in recently months but took a massive set-back when she threw up TWICE this weekend!  I heard her cough at 2:45 a.m. and thankfully knew what was coming to pull her out of bed and rush her to the bathroom.  This happened again 30 minutes later and my weekend sleep was ruined.  If she wasn't tossing or talking in her sleep, I was wide awake and panicked.  This is a not so useful parenting lesson because I don't feel comfortable with children sleeping in their own room!

There it is the good, bad and ugly.  Since I love books I will conclude with my favorite library book selections from this weekend.  I may not want a lot of toys in my house but anyone who wants to buy our future kids books is welcome to it.

  1. Itsy Mitsy Runs Away by Elanna Allen
  2. Who's on First? by Abbott & Costello
  3. President Taft is Stuck in the Bath by Mac Barnett
  4. Books Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt
  5. Chicks Run Wild by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
  6. Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin