Thursday, August 25, 2016

Grand Marais

I seriously don't even know where to begin with this blog post, we packed so much into 4 days it was an insanely fun and adventurous trip!
We hiked, and hiked and hiked.  We also kayaked on Lake Superior.  We saw the sites by foot and by car.
And boy did we eat!
I have visited Grand Marais years ago, but have never really explored it much at all.  I have stayed more in the Lutsen area in years past.
Let's start with where we stayed, I rented a loft over the home owners garage, it was brand spanking new, I mean we are the 4th people staying there.  We felt like we just walking into a Pintrest ad, it was so dang cute!



We were just off the lake, and could hear the waves crashing the rocks in the evening very soothing.
On the drive up there we stopped in Duluth and checked out the new Northern Waters Restaurant, nice place- in my opinion the best smoked fish in Minnesota!


Let's talk about the food and then move on to the sight seeing.  It's going to be a lengthy one!



Gunflint Tavern, they have an awesome rooftop bar, with an amazing view of the bay.  We were not super impressed with the service or food.  I had the vegetarian chilli, hubbie had the enchiladas, we also shared the hummus platter.
But again the view is awesome!  



Check it out a new brewery!  Voyagers.  They did a great job with this brewery. There is also a sky deck at this place.  When we went there was an awesome band playing.  The beer was great.  They also have a small menu, we did not eat there.  I would for sure come back here!


Dinner time!  We went to My Sisters Place, great service. 


 Great food!  Beer list was ya know, ok.
We started with the fried mushrooms, I didn't notice when I ordered them they were portabella mushrooms - omg SO good!  It came with a horseradish sauce. 
I ordered the brie and bacon burger with a spicy apricot onion mixture, very interesting combo.
Hubbie had the smoked gouda and arugula burger, it thought it was good, but he likes a spicy burger, he should have had mine.



Trail Center Lodge, they rent cabins here & have a shop, the place was unusually busy so we had to wait.  We sat at the bar in these fun wood chairs, but not super comfortable.  The are known for the pizza, burgers and malts.  Silly us we didn't get any of those, just not in the mood.  
I had the taco salad, really good. Husband had fish and chips.
There is a beer garden but it was raining when we went but it was real cute.  Right off the water.



Writing this is making me full!  But we were so active, that makes you pretty hungry!  
Ok so for dinner one night we made reservations at the Harbor House, it's literally a little house 2 levels, and they run a kitchen out of it.  We had such slow service, that we only had a drink and an appetizer then left. 



So we went across the street to Dockside Fish and Seafood, I had the clam basket & Mr. ordered the all you can eat herring basket (he only had the 1 basket).  Really good!  You can sit inside or out.  The also just sell fish, smoked fish - I wish I bought some!  I would for sure come back here!

Alright the last meal, we were full so we just shared an appetizer, it was a beautiful dish.  We sat on the dock overlooking the bay.  We did have to wait but not long, they take your name you can sit on the beach while a server comes around and takes your drink order, doesn't get any better!

This was at The Angry Trout, we shared a smoked fish platter, 2 fishes, fruit, cheese.  


Oh no tricked ya, we went to the Crooked Spoon before this and had a drink, we wanted to sit outside but the rooftop was closed, only reason why we left.  The food coming out of their kitchen looked really good. 

Alrighty on to the discovery of the land & water!
What an absolutely gorgeous area!  I was really hoping to see a moose, as I have only seen them in the zoo.  No luck this trip, only deer & fawns.
This girl hates heights, I really pushed myself on this trip & I'm glad I did.  
This summer we bought a couple kayaks, I love it!  My new favorite hobby, I wish I could do it everyday!

We went kayaking in lake superior, just amazing, the water is crystal clear and all the beautiful rocks.
 We checked out this one bay we called it 2 fish house bay, there are 2 old abandoned fish houses.

Another area was at a public access area.  




Another spot was on a resorts property, called Hollow Rock.

Artist pier, right in town a collection of rocks and a peninsula out to a light house, very popular area.
A great hike we took one day was at Devils Kettle at Judge Magney State Park.  Very beautiful, a bit tough it was about one mile uphill, then down 200 plus stairs then back up them!  My calves were burnin' I tell ya the next day!  But once you get to the waterfalls, it was worth it, very refreshing!

Another great hike was at Pigeon Falls, half in the US & half in Canada, AMAZING!  That's a pretty easy hike too.  I loved it. Oh also the tallest falls in Minnesota. 



Take a drive up the gunflint trail while your in town, you won't forget it!  Maybe you will see a moose! Breath taking views.



You need to stop in and get a free tour at Grand Portage National Monument, again the views are just breathtaking.  And you will learn some great facts!  We really enjoyed our time there.


There is so much to do and see up in Grand Marais, make the trip - you will love it!
























Sunday, August 14, 2016

Kimchi



Making kimchi (fermenting) is WAY easier than canning so don't be intimidated.  
If you enjoy Asian food and cabbage I bet you will enjoy this.  
Adjust the amount of Sriracha to your liking, if you like it spicy kick it up a little with more hot sauce.  If you're a wimp put in less then I call for :)
This takes about a week to ferment. 


What you need:
1 large head of cabbage
1 large carrot, julienned
7 radishes, thinly sliced
6 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup sea salt
1/4 cup Sriracha 
6 cloves of garlic. minced
1 Teaspoon minced ginger
1 Teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons Fish sauce 
1 Jug non chlorinated water


How to make it:
Slice up the cabbage into 1 inch strips, leaving out the core.
Place that into a glass bowl, sprinkle with the 1/ cup of sea salt and cover with water.
Cover with plastic wrap, you may want to way down your cabbage so it's covered by the water.
Leave that to sit for 24 hours.
Once your time is up, separate the cabbage from the brine, saving the brine.
In another bowl mix all the other ingredients.
Now add the cabbage to the ingredients you just mixed together, mix all well.
Take 4 pint size jars, wide mouth if possible (make sure they are clean) and pack with kimchi mixture, add brine if necessary to submerge mixture fully.  Leaving 1 inch space from top of jar.
Cover with lid and forget about it for 7 days!
Pop into the fridge and enjoy when your ready for some kick butt kimchi!



There are many ways to use kimchi, but my favorites would be in a fried rice or mix up with Raman noodles, throw out seasoning packet that comes with the Ramen - WAY to much salt in that, mix it up with the kimchi.  YUM!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Swiss Chard Spinach Artichoke Dip



Yes you read that right!  Swiss Chard, Spinach & Artichokes all in a creamy cheesy Dip!
Let's think of this as a super healthy dip ok!?!?!!
Ladies and gentlemen, I have SO many vegetables - they are just coming out of my ears, and I am always looking for a new way to use them.
One night this week I said let's have an appetizer from the garden night for dinner!
And this was one that I came up with.
You are just going to love it - promise!



What you need:
8oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 package of frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
5 artichokes, from the can (chopped)
2 small leeks, or you can use green onions (chopped)
2 cups swiss chard, chopped (leaf only)
8oz shredded mozzarella
dash of salt
dash of pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt



How to make it:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
In a mixing bowl mix everything together, saving aside a half of a cup of mozzarella
Once that is all mixed spoon into a baking dish, I used my cast iron skillet
Top with your remaining cheese
Pop into the oven and bake until bubbly brown approximately 25 minutes

Serve with your favorite crackers or tortilla chips, SO good!!


Hope you enjoy!