Area Woman Who Has Been Avoiding the Gym For Months Feels Obligated To Go Only Because it is Next to the Store With the Good Cheese Selection

Detroit, MI – As the holiday season approaches, many people will find themselves returning to old habits of overeating and giving in to culinary indulgences. Area woman Lauren Church is no exception.

Church, Detroit’s only registered cake tester, is gearing up to get ready to start to plan on going to the gym once again. Her gym, only a short ten-minute drive from her house, has a variety of equipment and ample room for her to burn off some calories. It surely will be an excellent opportunity for her health as soon as she actually returns.

When asked about her motivations, Church looked at her feet and said she was, “[going] to the new Kroger over there, which is like RIGHT THERE”. The Kroger, a 60,000 square foot superstore, has a robust selection of goods. “They have an island of cheese. An ISLAND. I mean, if I have to head over there anyway… you know…” she added. “They have a snippins'[sic] bucket. Like small little tester pieces. I like the snippins [sic].”

When we reached out to Church’s gym for comment, they simply said, “Who?”

Church is expected back at her gym sometime this fall.

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Bacon Onion Havarti Crostinis

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Reminder: I’m still not a food blogger, but I love food.

Many moons ago, I found this recipe and made these as my go to appetizers for parties. Somewhere along the way I offered to pass the recipe along to a friend and on googling it couldn’t find the original recipe! Shame!

The only answer was of course to use my brand (hashtag my brand) to share it with the masses. Behold, my…

Bacon Onion Havarti Crostinis

-One small baguette, sliced into half inch slices (or buy the bag of pre-sliced baguette slices, ain’t no one gunna judge you)
-A chunk of havarti cheese (this I wouldn’t buy pre-sliced since it’s pretty thin)
-One package of bacon
-A third of an onion

There’s a holy trinity quartet of flavors here. Behold: my crude illustration.

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Here you have the salty, smoked flavor of bacon married with the sweet flavor of caramelized onions, and the creamy flavor of havarti… All balanced on the perfect delivery system that is sliced bread. The perfect food.

Now: how to crostini!

1. Pre-heat your oven to 400°.

2. If you didn’t buy pre-sliced baguette, go ahead and slice that guy up.

3. Put the baguette slices on a cookie sheet.

4. Cook up your bacon to your liking, and set it to the side.

5. While the bacon cooks, cut up your onion into strips. I made mine about a third of an inch thick and around two inches long. No need to be exact, just find this makes them a good size.

6. Set your pan to a medium heat and put in approximately a couple teaspoons of oil (I used olive) and a good chunk of butter. Melt!

7. Throw the onions in and keep an eye on them. I tend to bounce back and forth from tending bacon to onions at this point.

8. As onions brown, put them in a bowl. If you whoopsie and burn them, just start the onions over. If they’re starting to look a little done on one side and not the other, flip them but also carefully add a teaspoon of water to the pan.

9. Now take out your havarti and start to cut them into half inch thick chunks that will cover the bread slices.

8. Take the onion and put that on top of the cheese. I usually use tongs for this part since they’re buttery.

9. Throw the crostinis in the oven for about five minutes… just looking enough to melt the cheese.

10. Cut your now cooled bacon into approximately bread shaped pieces.

11. Once the cheese is starting to melt, take them out and carefully top the crostinis with the bacon. I sort of snuggle the bacon into the cheese to anchor it in.

12. Pop them in for a few more minutes, just to warm up the bacon.

YOU DID IT. NOW YOU HAVE BITE SIZED DELICIOUSNESS. You’re welcome, internet.

Cider Mill Donut Grilled Cheese Bites

20151015_161549(Customer service announcement – I’m still not a food blogger. Anyway.)

Guys, I invented A THING. At least I think I invented a thing. I’m not sure, I haven’t googled this… so we’ll go with I invented a thing.

I LOVE this time of year. AUTUMN IS THE BESSST. (Side note: It’s sad that fall only gets two months in Michigan. It’s perfect here in fall and anything beats the endless misery of winter.)

Part of my quintessential autumn activities is going to the cider mill. I don’t know if this is a thing for all regions, but in the Midwest, you drive out of town for about an hour, heading for your favorite mill (you WILL have a family favorite). Once you have arrived, you will stretch your legs and saunter into a long line of folks waiting for the same thing you are…

Cold apple cider and hot donuts.

It’s like peanut butter and jelly. Salt and pepper. Breakups and a half gallon of ice cream. THE TWO GREAT TASTES THAT TASTE GREAT TOGETHER.

sackofdonutsToday was the day I made my pilgrimage. I ended up with a sack of donuts and a half gallon of cider. I couldn’t help but sneak a fresh donut in my car. The donuts are usually of the cake variety and cinnamony and/or sugary in some way. Some places toss the hot donuts in cinnamon sugar. Some places offer many choices of different powered options. Today I ventured to a place that had the cinnamon in the batter, which blew my mind. I fully expected to have fingertips covered in sugar. But this was better.

This was better because I had plans.

I wanted to do something with these donuts. Something exciting.

Cider Mill Donut Grilled Cheese Bites. I KNOW, RIGHT?!

The idea is that maybe you’ll have people over for tea or a party or something and you want to mix it up with a new appetizer. We’ve all had it with candy corn and marshmallows decorated like mummies. This? This will be a hit. And you can’t get more fall than apples and cider mill donuts.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

Cider Mill Donut Grilled Cheese Bites

Ingredients –

  • One small/medium apple
  • A dozen cider mill cake donuts (cooled)
  • Cheddar cheese (I like sharp)

Equipment –

  • An apple corer/peeler certainly makes life easier
  • As does some kind of sandwich grilling device

Make the thing:

  1. Slice up your apple. You don’t want the slices too thick, about ⅛” is perfect.
  2. Cut up your cheddar into slices. I suppose you could go with shredded, but it might be a little messier.
  3. Cut your donuts in half. Usually a bread knife does a good job of not smooshing the donuts.
  4. Arrange the slices of apple and cheese inside your donut.
  5. Use your pan or sandwich press and cook those guys up! You don’t need to lubricate your pan, probably, because the donuts were fried in oil. That oil is in them, so it’ll be your lubrication for your cooking surface as the donuts heat up.
  6. Eat the thing!

As of this moment I am very full of donuts and apples and cheese. And I am happy, friends. I am happy.

Let’s talk about soup, baby.

The world, as we know it, has plunged into a frozen wasteland. Here: I have created a handy weather report graphic for you.

thisfrozenearth

Nothing can save us now from this arctic hellscape – except the warm, loving arms of soup. Yes, soup. Soup is: a. warm or even hot b. comforting c. easy to make a lot of so you only really need to make the effort once and get like five meals out of the deal as you huddle and wait for the sweet release of becoming a human popsicle.

It was just new years, right? You might have had a resolution or two? Cool, cool. Was one of them learning how to cook? I have NEWS, friend. Soups are a GREAT way to learn how to cook. It’s what I started out doing. I’m a strong advocate for soups for newbie cooks. You get to try out a couple different things, see what spices and herbs can do, and build up your skills. The first year my husband and I were living together we probably ate soup a good third of the time.

This was my first soup.

soup101

That’s it. You make the can of cream of chicken soup according to the directions, then dump in the veggies. Not the whole bag, maybe half. Once the veggies have thawed, you have soup. But then you can build on that. Maybe next time you want something starchy. So you make biscuits from a can. Make this soup. Put a baked biscuit on top. You just made pot pie soup.

But it can go on from there. Next time, maybe you add some onions. Dice them up, cook them in some butter or oil in the bottom of your pot until they’re soft. Then add the can of soup and veggies. Then experiment. Do I like thyme? Thyme goes really well with chicken. You might like to add a little to this soup. Maybe you have fresh veggies. Maybe you want to learn how to skip the can and make your own cream of soup from scratch.

This is such an easy way to get started. And cheap! If you screw it up you have three options.

  1. Eat it anyway. This option requires salt, probably.
  2. Throw it away. You’re out your time and maybe two bucks.
  3. This is probably my favorite option: add shredded cheese.

Cheese can save just about any soup. Just this Monday I made this Carrot, Potato, and Leek soup. I’ll tell you what: it was a damn bore. Pretty bland. Last night, in an attempt to save it (being as I had made like a half gallon of the stuff), I shredded cheddar cheese over it. Not a ridiculous amount. But enough that the soup was now kind of like a loaded baked potato situation and pretty tasty. SOUP = SAVED.

You can also freeze soup! So when you’re feeling lazy, instead of pizza again, you can just pull out a container of soup. I invested in a bunch of those Ziplock containers with the twisty top. Great for emergency soup supply. Also, fun fact, YOU CAN FREEZE CHEESE. Not all cheeses, but your basic shredded cheddar and the like? Yup. Cheese is magical.

There are all kinds of soups that are not hard to make that you can try out. Here’s a few of my favorites. I just looked and I have like 120+ recipes bookmarked. I might have a soup problem.

  • Tomato Soup from i am baker – My hands down go to tomato soup. It is easy, fast, and it tastes better than tomato soup from a can. It is not quite as easy as the two step soup above, but it’s not that complicated.
  • Chicken Tortilla Soup from Nutritious Eats – This is a similar ‘throw things in pot – wait – SOUP!’ I recommend using the Rotel with chiles because I feel like this mexican style soup needs a little heat. I’m not saying this soup has literally cured me of a bad cold, but it seemed to get a lot better once I started eating it.
  • Cheesy Broccoli and Potato Soup from Handful of Raspberries – Here’s a creamy soup that is comforting. Instead of celery I tend to dice up the stalks from the broccoli. That’s a nice thing about soup – if you don’t like something, you can just substitute it.
  • Italian Wedding Soup from Giada De Laurentiis – This is only complicated because there is an odd ingredient (curly endive, which if you can’t find it at Meijer or Walmart, just use spinach) and meatballs you make by hand, but it will be WELL worth the effort.
  • French Onion Soup from Sweet Potato Chronicles – A lot of recipes for french onion soup get really complicated. This one isn’t. The only suggestion I might have is backing off on the balsamic vinegar, especially if you haven’t cooked with it before. Cooking isn’t like baking. Things don’t have to be measured exactly like your recipe says for it to work.

Now some of these recipes have some advanced skills in them, but fret not! It’s just like learning anything else. You build on what you know with new skills. And all of these can be modified with more cheese. You got this. Feel free to comment if you want help getting your soup on. We are here for you. (The ‘we’ in this case is me and soup.) (Ooo. If I ever make that Learn to Cook with Soup book, maybe that’s the name.) (No, maybe ‘Soup to what’s?’ Ugh that doesn’t even make sense.)