Michigan Summer Sundae

21 Aug

MI Blue Sundae

One of my favorite places in the whole world is Charlevoix, MI.  Having grown up there every summer, it is my happy spot. Memories of being surrounded by family & friends as we walked to the beach or the tennis courts often flood my head when I hear “summer” or “up north”. Afternoons would be spent on the water, cruising over to Oyster Bay to swim in the protected waters. The biggest concern of the day was “when is dinner?”. With long days (in July, the sun sets close to 10pm), there was no real rush. But you always knew you were in for a delicious meal, playing with the fabulous flavors Michigan provides during the summer months. Summer time in Northern Michigan is hard to beat. And so is this Michigan Summer Sundae.

Michigan Summer Sundae


Bake the Blueberry Muffin Bread as instructed.

Slice the Blueberry Muffin Bread and place into individual sundae bowls. Scoop the vanilla ice cream onto the bread, and top with fresh berries. A true summer treat!

photo 1photo 5Bread in a bowlbread with ice bream

Images of a Northern Michigan Summer

cvx flowerskayak with housesmeritage in oysteraerial of cvxcvx lighthouse

Blueberry Muffin French Toast

18 Aug

 french toast plated

Blueberry Muffin French Toast

So, I’ve been wanting to make this for a really long time. I had this inspiration one night when I couldn’t sleep. Being a big fan of French Toast, I was contemplating how to make it even better. And then it hit me. I love a really good Blueberry Muffin. So why not bake the muffins in a bread pan, slice it up, dunk it, and throw it on a griddle? And that’s exactly what I did. This is by no means a healthy start to your day, but it’s for sure a happy one!


  • 6 Thick Cut slices of Blueberry Muffin Bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 Cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Salt to taste
  • All Natural Maple Syrup


Bake the Blueberry Muffin Bread as instructed. Once cool, slice into one-inch think slices.
Whisk the eggs, milk, spices and vanilla extract in a large shallow bowl.
Dunk the bread into the bowl. Evenly coat both sides of each slice of bread in the egg mix.
Heat a lightly oiled/buttered griddle or skillet over medium-high flame.
Cook the bread until golden brown on each side, around a couple minutes each side. You may need to add more butter between slices.
Serve hot with All Natural Maple Syrup.
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michigan syrupeggsfrench toast soakingfrench toast in panfrench toast with juice

Blueberry Muffin Bread

15 Aug

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 Blueberry Muffin Bread

Hold onto summer with this absolutely delicious Blueberry Muffin Bread. Pick out the biggest, juiciest blueberries of the season and load up the batter. It’s easy to make…. trust me, I’m not a baker (I rarely use measuring devices when I cook). But this bread will now be a regular in my home. My parents have noted that while it’s obviously good to eat just plain on it’s own (I made this at our family cottage and let’s just say it didn’t last long), their new favorite is to toast a slice for breakfast…. the blueberries get hot, the edges crispy, and the butter just oozes out of the bread…yuummm. You can also use this bread to make Blueberry Muffin French Toast or a Michigan Summer Sundae.


  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter
  • 1/3 cup Skim Milk
  • 1 Whole  Egg
  • 1 Egg White
  • 3/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups Fresh Blueberries (12 oz)

For topping

  • 3 tablespoons cold Unsalted Butter, cut into bits
  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar


Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Generously butter bread pan, or spray with Pam Baking Spray.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over moderately low heat, then remove from heat. Whisk in milk, then whisk in eggs and vanilla extract until combined well.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, then add milk mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in blueberries gently but thoroughly.

Pour batter into the buttered bread loaf pan.

Make topping: Rub together all topping ingredients in a bowl with your fingertips until crumbly, then sprinkle evenly over batter in the bread pan.

Bake until golden and crisp, about 45-50 minutes. Insert a wooden pick  into the center of the bread – when it comes out clean, it’s done. Let it cool a bit before removing it carefully from the pan. Enjoy for breakfast, lunch, snack and dessert!

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Summer Fish Bake in Parchment

8 Aug
Today’s post comes from a good friend of mine, Erin. Erin has been a DIVA for years, and let me tell you … she’s a pro. I remember the first time she hosted at her home, and wow did she take it up a notch. Not only did she have a beautiful, themed set-up, (and delicious food!) you could tell she loved entertaining her guest. And she did it with such ease and grace. Everything was in place, each detailed well thought through. I love being a guest in her home! Always welcoming & kind, Erin has the biggest heart… her love for her family & friends is very evident. It’s this love that translates into her cooking and hosting. A true DIVA. And now, Erin’s story & recipe!
“My family visits Marco Island, Florida several times a year. We learned a version of this recipe from a fish market on the island. It’s the perfect meal for dinner parties. In fact we even had it for one of the DIVAS bachelorette party a few years back! The reasons it’s so great is that you can prepare it earlier in the day, then pop it in the oven once your guest arrive. Since there are veggies and beans in the dish, there is no reason for any other sides. It’s simple, quick and delicious! You can make it in one large parchment paper sheet and serve from there or get individual bags and cut up the fish. You can serve the parchment bags right on the individuals dish for the perfect presentation. Hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!”

Summer Fish Bake in Parchment 


  • Parchment paper, large sheet or individual bags
  • A Meaty fish like tilapia, halibut or sea bass
  • 1 Can of Northern Italian beans
  • 1 Yellow Squash, julienned
  • 1 zucchini, julienned
  • 1 Red Pepper, julienned
  • 1 Shallot, sliced thin
  • 1 container Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Kalamata Olives, sliced
  • 1 Bag Fresh Spinach
  • Good Olive Oil
  • Fish seasoning or just bit of salt and pepper

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Pre heat the oven to 400. Chop all the vegetables. Please note this can all be done in advance earlier in the day.

photo 2Layer parchment paper followed by northern Italian beans, spinach, veggies, fish, seasoning, feta cheese and olives. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Wrap parchment up tight. Cook for about 20 mins depending on fish size.

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Serve immediately either in parchment or out. Enjoy!


The Princess Glass

27 Jul

Because Every DIVA Should Have a Princess Glass

This is Granny. As her first grandchild, and first “girl”… she had all brothers and all sons, we have developed a special bond over the years.  She is a very special lady, and our relationship means the world to me. This particular story takes place a couple years ago when Granny was downsizing in her home.

I was helping her go through her kitchen, deciding which items she would like to take with her. Given the fact that Granny used to be able to host a dinner party for 100 people, and didn’t need to rent a single serving item, she had a lot of items to sort through. So with that said, it was quite a process. When it came to the wine glasses, she had some options. I was drooling over several of them…. beautiful crystal, art deco, slender & elegant, back-porch cool… but she reached for the plain-jane, dishwasher safe glasses. She stated that she was done entertaining, so why should she use a fancy glass when drinking by herself?

This is where I reminded her what she’s taught me over the years.

And let me begin with, this moral goes beyond just drinking wine.Nobody should undervalue their time alone, or not treat themselves to something because they’re not with a group.

I continue to tell her that in my home, where I live alone, I have what I refer to as my Princess Glass.

My Princess Glass was an impulse, splurge purchase. It’s a Kate Spade Lenox glass; and I only own one of them. I drink out of my Princess Glass when I’m drinking on my own at home…. because why should I down-play my evening when I’m not entertaining? And why should Granny? I instructed her to pick out her favorite, fancy wine glass so she too could have a Princess Glass at her new home.

Her response? “But Kristin, I’m a Queen.”

So while I still drink out of my Princess Glass, Granny now drinks out of her Queen Glass…As she should.


27 Jul

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When splurging on a flavorful meal, it’s important not to neglect your beverage. While wine is always a good go-to, some dishes just require a different twist….like a twisted cucumber garnish in a sake cocktail. And well, why not add vodka? This Saketini is a fantastic match with Asian meals, such as  the Asian Sobo Noodles or Shrimp & Veggie “Fried” Brown Rice.



  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 2.5 oz Dry Sake
  • Shaved Cucumber Garnish

Mix the Vodka and Dry Sake in a martini shaker. Serve in a chilled martini glass with a shaved cucumber garnish!


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Asian Sobo Noodles

27 Jul


My brother and his wife recently renovated their home, and not only do they have an absolutely beautiful kitchen, but the master chef skills to match. They are quite the team in the kitchen, and when they get creating, you’re in for a delicious treat. Their dishes are always big flavor. And they even create cocktails to match! I was fortunate enough to be invited over for dinner the other night when they created this Asian Sobo Noodle dish, Seared Ahi Tuna on the grill, and Saketinis. Let’s just say I’m already looking forward to my next invitation!



  • 1 Box Sobo Noodles
  • 1 package Edamame
  • 5 Large Carrots, shaved into ribbons
  • 1 bunch Green Onions, grilled
  • 1 cup Peanuts
  • 4 tsp Sesame Seeds
  • 3 tbls Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbls Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Chili Oil

Boil a pot of water, and cook the noodles according to the directions on the box. Heat up the grill in preparation to char the green onions. Brush the green onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the bunch of green onions onto the grill, turning often. Keep an eye on them to ensure they get a char, but don’t burn. Once cool enough to handle, chop into 1/2 inch length strips.

In a large bowl, add the edamame, shaved carrots, & grilled green onions. In a separate bowl, mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, olive oil and chili oil. Please note these are estimates on measurements – please adjust to your liking and spice tolerance! Add the soho noodles to the vegetables, drizzle the sauce over the noodles, and mix well. Add the sesame seeds & peanuts and mix. This dish can be served hot or cold. Serve with Seared Ahi Tuna and a Saketini!


Shaved Brussel Sprout Caesar

25 Jun


This is not your Grandma’s brussel sprout. This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants, Buccan. With their motto of “small plates, big flavor”, this dish sure packs a punch out of a vegetable most people would usually avoid. By baking the brussel sprout, the nutty flavors of this nutritious veggie emerge and make one of the best salads I have ever eaten. The Warm Brussel Sprout Caesar is a must when on Buccan’s seasonal menu.  And since it’s not currently on their menu, I made it a mission to try to recreate it on my own. I share with you,  my version of an updated classic.


  • 30 Brussel Sprouts, shaved
  • 1/2 Cup + Parmesan Cheese, shaved
  • Handful Sunflower Seeds
  • Croutons, such as Rosemary Infused Croutons
  • Olive Oil
  • Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Caesar Dressing, bottled or recipe below

Caesar Dressing Ingredients (modification from Ina Garten)

  • 1 1/2 cups Good Olive Oil
  • 1 extra-large Egg Yolk at room temperature (or 2 tbls Mayonnaise)
  • 8 Anchovy Fillets (optional)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Lemons, Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbls Worcestershire
  • A few Dashes of Hot Pepper Sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Chop the brussel sprouts into thin shreds. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, paprika, and salt & pepper. Bake the brussel sprouts until they start to wilt and brown a bit on the edges, about 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on them to ensure smaller pieces are not burning, turning as needed. Once cooked, place to the side to cool.

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If you are making the dressing, please follow the next steps. Otherwise skip to when the brussel sprouts are cooled.

For the dressing, place the egg yolks, mustard, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, worcestershire, tabasco, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until smooth. With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube, until thick. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and pulse 3 times.

Once the brussel sprouts are cooled, mix them in a bowl with the shaved cheese, sunflower seeds and dressing. Add salt & pepper to taste. Toss the croutons on top and serve  promptly.


Rosemary Infused Croutons

21 Mar

Image-1What do you do when you buy too much bread? You make croutons! The key is to use bread that is slightly stale, and make sure they’re well covered in oil, but not drenched. These particular croutons are unique though because they’re baked in extra virgin olive oil that has been infused with rosemary. The richness adds such a depth to the croutons flavors. The idea is to enhance the salad with croutons though, so I mix it with regular olive oil as to not overpower the flavors of the salad’s dressing.


  • 1 Loaf of Bread, such as an Italian Five Grain Baguette (slightly stale)
  • 2 tbls Rosemary Infused Olive Oil
  • 2 tbls Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

photo 1Toss all the diced bread into a large bowl. Pour the oils and spices onto the bread, and mix well until all the bread pieces are covered. Adjust amount of oil and spices as needed. Remember to always start with smaller amounts – you can add, but it’s pretty much impossible to remove oil already soaked into bread!

photo 2Spread the bread onto a baking sheet. Be sure to try to spread the bread out evenly .

photo 3Bake until crispy and slightly browned, about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them though, tossing as needed to ensure they’re baking consistently.

To preserve the crisp of the crouton, make sure the croutons are completely cool before placing them in a air-tight container or bag.

Honey Bunches of Quinoa, Breakfast Granola

14 Mar

photo-4Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet a lot of people skip it.  Which I personally don’t understand – I can’t wait to eat in the morning! :)  It’s so important though to give your body and mind much needed energy to get you going for the day ahead. This particular recipe can be made over the weekend and kept all week. The quinoa stays crispy, and the natural sweetness of the honey and maple syrup satisfy your cravings. And you get fiber in the dried fruit! So no more excuses of not having time to eat in the morning –  make it your habit to eat breakfast, and start your day off right!

This particular recipe is based off of a recipe by Gwyneth Paltrow, featured in her latest cookbook, It’s All Good. I’ve made several items from this collection, but her Quinoa Granola with Olive Oil + Maple Syrup was the first recipe I cooked. I highly recommend this book – incredible recipes, stories, and beautiful photographs fill this coffee table worthy piece.


One section that really stuck with me was from the introduction by Dr. Habib Sadeghi. He really summed up a feeling I have for cooking. He stated “Food is spiritual because it can be a metaphor for life…There are no bad ingredients in the recipe of life. Everything adds flavor to the final product and helps us absorb what I call psychospiritual nutrition. We can fully digest all the ingredients of our life and see that they’ve come together perfectly to make for a fuller human experience. In food and life, it’s all good.

So together, lets continue to make our spirit, and our belly, happy!


  • 1 1/2 cups Quinoa Flakes
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 tbls Raw Honey
  • 2 tbls Good Quality Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Pecans, chopped
  • 2 tbls Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Dried Cranberries & Raisins
  • 1/2 cup Dried Prunes, chopped
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • Sea Salt
  • Optional Addition 1: Spring Break – Sub the dried fruit for Shaved Coconut with Dried Banana Chips & Mango. Omit cinnamon
  • Option Addition 2: Sweet Tooth – Sub the dried fruit for Dried Cherries & Dark Chocolate Chunks

Note: When buying your ingredients, it’s important to note that the recipe calls for Quinoa Flakes, which is different from normal quinoa.photo 2

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey and maple syrup. When well mixed, add the quinoa flakes until they are well coated.

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Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and then pour the quinoa flake mixture onto the tray. Try to spread it all out so it will bake evenly. Sprinkle with the salt and cinnamon.photo 4

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a crispy golden brown. Be sure to keep an eye on the quinoa though, stirring as needed.

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Once done, set aside to cool and then mix in the other additions. Serve on top of yogurt, or enjoy on it’s own!

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