If nothing, we are resourceful. We use what we have or we find what others don’t want and we set about making something beautiful or delicious out of it. Whether it’s making a gourmet meal or dessert from the staples we have lying around or refurbishing a stool left in our trash area, we like seeing the possibilities in the pieces of things.

The Chef’s Possibilities

When I tell people the Chef is a chef I usually get the “Oh, you are so lucky” bit. I am in many ways, but not just because he cooks. Yes, he cooks and he is much better at it than I am. What I tend to explain to people when we are on the subject is that he is really great at taking a few ingredients we have sitting in our pantry and making something spectacular. He does this on a regular basis. Sometimes, it’s dump hash, i.e. whatever we have lying around hash. That’s usually a Saturday morning thing. He pulls it off at dinner, too. I wrote last time about the shrimp skewers. He’s a sucker for a good reduction sauce made with whatever we have. I wish I had more photo examples, but I will have them in the future.

The Maven and Her Recipes

making cake in pan with recipe
Making the Zingerman’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Me, I need a recipe. I need direction. I need to take my recipe with me to the store and get everything I need. However, once in a while, I can pull it off on the fly. I did just that with a the Zingerman’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake I made not that long ago.

While the recipe is easy to find on the Internet, I did one better. I stopped up at the Lyons Regional Library on its first day in its new location only a handful of steps from my house. The first book I picked up was the Zingerman’s Bakehouse Cookbook. I recognized a lot of the recipes in there.

The Chef worked at Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor before we moved out here to be near family and to embrace mountain living. We ate just about everything Zingerman’s for a while. The sour cream coffee cake has always been one of my favorites. We purchased it a number of times and it can still be purchased on line, but that’s not the point here. The point really is that I made it. I had all the stuff I needed right here at home. It was simple and delicious and tasted just like the original. I even had the opportunity to use the Bundt pan I scored for free through a local online garage sale group.

The only adjustments I made to the recipe are that I substituted plain Greek yogurt for sour cream and I added a table spoon of flour to take into account baking at altitude. It worked! We loved the cake, and we love the resources at our local library.

It’s Not All About Making Food

We love making food. We love eating food, and this blog is about food most of the time, but we love our surroundings

Table with painted art
A table of art at the Apple Valley Art Show

inside and out. Inside, we, or I, like to take things we find and make them beautiful or at least make them look happier. Lately, that has me in our garage studio painting. More recently, I have been using acrylics I had lying around for years to paint flowers on pieces of wood. If there was something I didn’t have, I turned to my favorite second-hand art supply place, Art Parts Creative Reuse Center.

The painting on wood frenzy began with me reclaiming a wooden sign from the trash area in our complex as I mentioned previously. Now, I am painting on tree slices and creating magnets. I spent most of July preparing for the Apple Valley Art Show just up the road a short way. It was a wonderful experience, my first show, and I met so many beautiful people who love art, some who just happened to pass through and see us nestled in the little valley amid the jutting red rocks.

My next plan, now that the show is over, is to set up an Etsy shop and to paint the little wood table I purchased a couple years ago from Rosey’s Rescues. Also, I am finishing up the oil painting I did of my late pup, Maynard. That will go alongside the finished portrait of our senior pup Butch. The Chef has envisioned a kind of artistic shrine to all our fur babies, past and present. Guess I will have to dig up some photos of our felines as well.

That’s all for now from our little almost mountain town.


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