Spending an afternoon on Put in Bay was on high on our list of things to do during our vacation in Ohio this year. If you've ever been to the high energy island positioned at the north end of Lake Erie, you know that it's a special place.
We were enjoying a beautiful July afternoon on Put in Bay when we got caught off guard by an unexpected afternoon thunderstorm. ⛈ So we did what anyone else would do when caught in the rain without an umbrella - we took shelter in the nearest building.☔️ Which in our case - was a butterfly museum. 🦋 How lucky was that? 😂
Hanging out with these beautiful butterflies was a great way to wait out the rain storm. They are truly fascinating creatures to watch. And I learned that even though these spectacular insects spend their lives in a beautiful tropical habitat that is protected from the elements, they refuse to fly when it's raining outside. 🤷🏻♀️
I learned all kinds of interesting butterfly facts that day. Like, did you know that butterflies taste with their feet? 🦋 Adult butterflies only feed on liquids—usually nectar - so the winged insects use the taste receptions on their feet to help them find host plants and locate food. I've never been so happy to not be a butterfly. 😂
I may not be able to float like a butterfly I'm also not on a liquid diet and I don't have taste buds attached to my toes - so... I'll take it. These smoked citrus chicken drumsticks make me appreciate every single taste bud on my tongue. Actually the bright citrus flavor and spicy cayenne pepper in this delicious chicken wakes up all my senses.
Smoked Citrus Chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
1 Tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 pounds chicken drumsticks
1 cup wood chunks
Serve chicken with orange slices.
This grilled chicken would be a delicious addition to any summertime menu. Enjoy!
For me, summer just wouldn't be complete without a trip to Johnson's Island. What, you haven't heard of this tiny green sanctuary in the middle of the Sandusky Bay? It's okay - not very many people have - and I'm fairly certain that the island residents prefer it that way.🤪
The small island in Northern Ohio is a far cry from tropical but it holds a special place in my heart. It's the place where I had the privilege of spending my childhood summers. The childhood utopia where I learned to fish, to swim, to ride a dirt bike, to forage for wild raspberries and play ghost in the graveyard after dark ... in an actual cemetery. 👻🤣
Lucky for me, my parents have made this slice of mid west paradise, their permanent home. Even though the over 700 mile journey from my house can be a challenge, I visit as often as I can.
As a kid, I didn't appreciate this idealistic place to grow up. I assumed that every kid spent their summers riding bikes through the woods and jumping off dangerous cliffs into rocky waters below. 😳 It wasn't until I got older and started to visit with my boyfriend (now my husband) and later, my kids, that I realized what a treasure this little island really is. And of course, they fell in love with it too.
My mom is an amazing cook and she's an expert at fixing meals on "island time". Like when word get around that the fish are biting, no matter what time of day it is, you grab your worms and head to the "hot spot" which means that all other plans get cancelled. Fishing trumps dinner every time. 🤣🎣 And when we wake up to one those perfect Northern Ohio summer days, we grab the sunscreen and heads to the boat. 🚤 Any meals that were planned for the day get either packed in a cooler and loaded on the boat for a picnic or put back in the refrigerator for another day.
Like I said - my mom's become an expert at making delicious meals despite the crazy schedule. I'm not nearly as flexible as she is with my meal planning, but then again, I don't live on an island. 😅 I did however, manage to whip up a quick batch of Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons while I visited this summer. Sure I had to mix together the batter and put them in the frig while for a few hours while we attended a summer regatta party. But I was able to come back and bake them just before I went to bed. #islandlife 😂
Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons
2 egg whites
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond
2 1/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Let cookies cool on sheet 5 minutes.
Where are my gluten free and dairy-free followers? This recipe is for YOU! Well, it's for me too. I'm not gluten or dairy intolerant and I love these as much as you will. Enjoy!
Ahhh... summer vacation. I was lucky enough to have spent two weeks on vacation with my family in Ohio and Northern Michigan this summer and I have to say --- it was glorious. It's always good for my soul to get out of my usual routines for a while and experience new places, foods and activities. But even more restorative than nightly trips to the ice cream shop was the opportunity to reconnect with some of these wonderful members of my family that I haven't seen since pre-pandemic.
It's always interesting to me to witness how someone chooses to fill their day when they're on vacation from work responsibilities, household maintenance tasks and other obligations that occupy their time. For my family - fishing has always been something that they like to do on vacation. 🎣
Fishing is a favorite pass time when we visit my parents on Lake Erie. The kids are almost guaranteed to catch a variety of catfish, bluegill and bass off of the end of their dock. And as an added bonus for those of us who are slightly worm-a-phobic - it's the only place that I know of that I can bait my hook with a hot dog and still catch fish.🪱😅
This year, my family stepped up their vacation fishing game by venturing out into Lake Michigan on a charter in search of salmon and trout. And they found them! 🐟
I chose not to participate in the off shore fishing adventure with the rest of my family this year but, I did get to share in the experience through pictures - and then through my stomach.😂 The fish that they brought back was delicious!
Thanks to the family fisherman (and fisherwoman 😂), on the days following the chartered trip, and some very talented cooks, I got to taste the trout from Lake Michigan. I got to sample smoked, baked and grilled trout. I tried it with asiago cheese and rosemary, topped with panko and parmesan and drizzled with lemon and fresh dill. It was ALL good. 😋
The trout that I buy from my local fish market in rural Georgia is different than the trout that we ate on our vacation. It's still very good but it lacks the personal connection that I have with my meal when I know that someone in my family caught it themselves. 😂 Although they share a name, it's hard to compare the trout from streams with the lake trout from the waters of Lake Michigan, because they're very different from each other.
My recipe for trout amandine was tested on traditional rainbow trout filets - long before I ever even knew that a lake trout even existed. 💁🏻♀️ The buttery almond topping and fresh herbs are the perfect compliment to the flaky white fish. And now that I've tasted lake trout - I feel like it would be a great topping to try on that as well. If I'm being completely honest - I feel like most fish is better with a citrusy amandine topping.
4 skin on trout filets
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoons canola oil
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Pour sauce over filets. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
So, for my parents who graciously agreed to take the remainder of the trout home from our trip and store it in their freezer - you need to defrost some trout and try this recipe. 😂
I love a good deconstructed s'more. 😂 I like graham crackers. I like marshmallows and, I love chocolate - you know - because I'm not a psychopath. 😅 So it stands to reason that I would love a good ole, roasted over the campfire, s'more. But for reasons that defy logic ... I really don't care for them. 😬 And I have absolutely no explanation for it. 🤷🏻♀️
I'm completely prepared for the angry emails and comments that I will be sent about my choice to eat a s'more in it's deconstructed form. It's just my opinion but I suspect that it isn't a popular one. 😅 I won't debate you on the issue - I'll just be over here enjoying my roasted marshmallow and my Hershey's chocolate bar in their most pure - unassembled - form. 🍫
Like I said earlier - there's no logical reason for me NOT to like a s'more and I can't even articulate what it is about them that I find unappealing. This is the reason that it took me so long to make these cookies. I guess, I was afraid that I wouldn't like them all combined into cookie form. 🤦🏻♀️🍪
Well, this just proves once again that I'm an idiot for not making these cookies sooner. Loaded s'mores cookies are truly amazing and if you eat them warm and gooey, straight out of the oven, they're even more s'more-like. Personally, I like to wait until they cool and crispy and crunchy. Either way - you can't go wrong with these little treats.
Loaded S'mores Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
12 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup mini marshmallows
3/4 cup crushed graham crackers
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
No campfire required; s'mores.
This is a picture of the Perry Monument at sunset. I was amazed by the beautiful colors in the water and I didn't know if I could capture its essence in a photograph but I gave it a shot anyway. And since I'm the queen of #nofilter - my only hope was to catch the sunset at just the right moment.
I feel the same way when I photograph food for my blog. I don't feel like my pictures always represent my food in the best light. #punintended 😅 Sometimes, I just can't seem to get the lighting or the composition or the background the way that I want it. Even though a picture doesn't change how the food tastes, it definitely affects peoples perception of it so I want to represent it well.
I may never be an expert photo editor - but I hope that I can at least peak your interest in my food through my photographs. Maybe one day, I'll take a class or two and learn how to edit my pictures to make them more professional looking. For now - just bear with me and know that the food that I make is almost always "better than it looks." 😅
Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Biscotti is something that's been in my blog cue for quite a while but I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to make it. My summer trip to Northeast Ohio to visit my biscotti loving parents was the excuse that I needed to finally make it.
If you are a biscotti fan - you need to try these dairy-free biscotti loaded with butterscotch and chocolate chips. They're perfect to dip in your morning coffee or to snack on after dinner. Either way - I think you're going to like these.
Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Biscotti
2 2/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch kosher salt
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
Slice on the bias, then place slices back in the oven at 300 degrees for 5 minutes per side.
Butterscotch chips are my weakness. I cannot seem to open a bag without sampling a few. They're delicious in everything - especially these crunchy biscotti.
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