Blog Hiatus for This Ohio Life

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Hello, Readers!

I have been slacking in the blogosphere as of late, so I wanted to take a short moment to let you all know that I’m still here. This Ohio Life is just taking a bit of a break while I catch my breath.

Life has been busy this summer. The good kind of busy where you look at your blog and realize you haven’t posted anything since mid-July. Not because there’s been a lack of things to write about – just not enough hours in the day to do it.

These are a few things that are keeping me from blogging:

I will be back to blogging as soon as I can – I have a whole series on de-cluttering (creating space) I’m in the process of writing and I have adventures from San Antonio and Seattle to share (once I finish telling you about Michigan, that is!). I also have some great Ohio products to show you – one of which has been helping me with all of this travelling we’ve been doing lately.

Good Harbor Grill – Glen Arbor

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Good Harbor Grill is a cute little cafe in Glen Arbor, Michigan. Only open seasonally, from May to October, this restaurant was our first stop for lunch during our Michigan vacation last September. The Grill serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In the fall they serve breakfast and lunch before closing up shop for winter after the third weekend in October.

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The idea for Good Harbor Grill came from the owners’ (Brendan Burrows and Ann Derrick) sail boating trip in the Caribbean. While sailing in the tropics they thought about what would be the perfect restaurant to find in the next harbor. They also thought about what they could do if they moved to their cottage in Northern Michigan. They ended up creating their perfect restaurant in Glen Arbor focused on summertime foods with fresh and local ingredients and flavors from around the world.

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Brendan and Ann’s love of the water and sailing are evident before you step into the Grill. The outside of the restaurant is painted a deep ocean blue. Inside the decor is reminiscent of the cabin in a boat. Wood planked walls are adorned with paintings of sea scenes and nautical maps. Models of boats, taxidermied fish, and other flotsam and jetsom complete the look.

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We stopped for lunch at Good Harbor Grill after our morning kayaking trip down the Crystal River. This was my parents’ second stop at Good Harbor Grill. My mom was really excited to eat at the Grill on previous Michigan vacations she and my dad took, but their schedule never lined up with the Grill’s schedule.

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My parents both ordered the veggie Greek wrap and Greek salad. One of the reasons my mom likes this restaurant so much is that they have tasty vegetarian offerings: for instance, the soups are all homemade and one option is always meat-free.

The wraps looked amazing! The veggie Greek wrap is a vegetarian version of the Grill’s beefy Greek wrap. Large falafel patties replace slow cooked beef and are folded into a pita with sliced cucumber, tomato, and a cucumber-dill sauce. The wraps were nicely complimented by their accompanying Greek salads.

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Another reason my mom was excited to come back to the Grill was that she knew they had gluten-free bread options for me.  I ordered a grilled salmon sandwich, which came on delicious gluten-free bread. If you can easily eat gluten and other wheat-filled delights, you might not pay that much attention to the bread holding your sandwich, but trust me, good bread makes a good sandwich and good gluten-free bread can be hard to come by, especially in restaurants. This bread was awesome and definitely strong enough to hold my massive wild Alaska salmon, topped with tomato, lettuce, and red onion.

In addition to my salmon sandwich, I also enjoyed some coffee at the Grill. They have their own blend of fair trade, organic coffee roasted by Higher Grounds Trading Company in nearby Traverse City. Everything was delicious!

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Kenneth, who eats meat and wheat (and therefore never has a hard time finding food he can eat in a restaurant Angry Smilies - Irked), went with the Maryland crabcake sandwich. Served on a toasted wheat bun, the house made crabcake is lightly sautéed and topped with lettuce, tomato, and a spicy caper remoulade sauce. It looks as delicious as he says it was!

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For dessert, Kenneth and I shared a gluten-free brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream. And by share, I mean I let him eat a little bite of the brownie and one of the dollops of whipped cream. Happy Smilies If I could get away with it nutritionally, I’d only eat dessert.

My parents split a peach blueberry pie topped with whipped cream. I think our dessert came out first so I was too busy snarling at Kenneth over my brownie to photograph the delicious pie.

Good Harbor Grill is a great spot for lunch in Glen Arbor. The next time we visit Michigan I will insist we stop in for breakfast and dinner so I can make a fully informed recommendation… but I’m assuming it’s an awesome spot, no matter what meal you’re stopping in for. Happy Smilies

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Good Harbor Grill – Glen Arbor

Address: 6584 Western Ave, Glen Arbor, Michigan 49636

Phone Number: 231-334-3555

Hours: Summer hours (starting in May) : Monday – Sunday 8am – 9:30pm. Fall hours: Monday – Sunday 8am – 3pm, open through the third weekend in October.

Good Harbor Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Turmeric Matcha Latte

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In our house, Kenneth is the cook and I am the baker/drink maker. Kenneth loves experimenting with different spices: smoked paprika, cumin, and turmeric are some of his favorites. I love baking with unique ingredients, like pomegranate seeds in cookies, cacao nibs in smoothies and adzuki bean brownies.

We’re both always looking for ways to create dishes that include healthy and interesting ingredients. Turmeric is an easy way to add color and depth of flavor to a meal and can be used in a number of ways.

I love turmeric for its bright yellow color and earthy flavor. Kenneth often adds it to savory dishes like chicken or as a seasoning for his popcorn (one of our favorite snacks). I’ve been looking for other ways to use turmeric and have found a wealth of recipes I want to try — so many that I’m not even sure where to start! 🤔

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The Kitchn has a list of really easy ways to add turmeric to your diet. I’m also intrigued by these Sweet and Spicy Zucchini Refrigerator Pickles from Brown Eyed Baker as well as this Turmeric Golden Paste and Turmeric Butter from Deep Roots at Home and Be Good Organics.

I found so many drink recipes that use turmeric in interesting ways – I could drink turmeric several times a day for a week and not get bored! There are smoothies, like this Coffee Turmeric Smoothie from The Almond Eater or a Turmeric Coconut Smoothie from Natural Health in Action. Some people have made pretty tasty looking hot drinks too, like Turmeric Mocha Hot Chocolate from Healthy Aperture. Then there are these really unique drinks, like Turmeric Glow Lemonade from The Glowing Fridge and Turmeric Switchel from The Kitchn. Switchel is an old drink, popular in the American Colonies in the 1600s. It’s made with water, vinegar and often has ginger added. It can be sweetened with molasses, honey, sugar or maple syrup. I tried switchel for the first time at a tasting of popular drinks from the 1800s at Slate Run Historical Farm, a metro park near Columbus.

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I found a few different ways to incorporate turmeric into my breakfast, my favorite being this Turmeric Oatmeal from Food52. Speaking of oatmeal, I also found a DIY Turmeric Oatmeal Face MaskHappy Smilies

Some of the most interesting recipes I found were desserts! Turmeric adds such a gorgeous, vibrant yellow – no wonder cooks and food bloggers are finding new ways to add it to sweet treats. I love this Mango and Turmeric Cheesecake from Be Good Organics and this fiery red Blood Orange-Turmeric Upside Down Pound Cake from Cooking on the Weekends. Before making a cake, though, I think I’ll be making these Turmeric Tea Cookies from 365 Days of Baking or Almond Butter, Turmeric and Ginger Cookies from Jessi’s Kitchen.

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I also learned that turmeric can be grown in the garden and used fresh — something I’m looking forward to experimenting with when we move to a house with a yard in a few months. I’ll follow the directions posted here on Attainable Sustainable: How to Grow Turmeric.

The first new recipe that I’ve tried with turmeric is a latte. And it’s delicious! ☕

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I’ve made this latte at home and at work. I’ve tinkered with the measurements and with the texture of the turmeric. Green tea matcha powder is very fine, it very easily dissolves in water or milk. The powdered turmeric I have is not as fine and doesn’t dissolve completely. You’ll be left with some turmeric in the bottom of your cup, which doesn’t bother me. I did try grinding the turmeric with my mortar and pestle — I was able to get a much finer powder. It dissolved better than before, which makes the turmeric flavor stronger. I’d recommend using a little less turmeric if you grind it finely, or are able to buy finely ground turmeric.

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This is a gorgeous green drink! I’ve been trying to get myself to like green juices, but I have found very few that I enjoy drinking. This is one of those few! The green tea gives the drink a slightly grassy flavor (which I really like!) and turmeric adds a warm, earthy depth. It’s only slightly sweet, which is how I like my lattes. If you prefer something sweeter, feel free to adjust the amount of sugar. Winking

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Turmeric Matcha Latte

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened matcha green tea powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon sugar in the raw
  • 1 cup milk (Any milk, I’ve used whole milk, almond milk and coconut-almond milk with great results)

Directions: In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and simmer over low heat. Once heated to the desired temperature, use a handheld frother to foam drink. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

Adapted from: Matcha Green Tea Latte from Health Bites Vitacost
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Columbus Metropolitan Library – #newmain

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Libraries. Are. The. Best.

I love libraries! Some of my earliest memories are of going to the library for storytime or the summer reading program in Piqua. I love reading and the best place to get new material to read (or books to reread) is the library. Everywhere that I’ve lived I’ve had a library card. For me, that’s eight library cards!

For a wonderful period of eight glorious months – I worked at a library! 📚 Shout out to my favorite library ladies at the Miami Township Branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County – you rock! 📖

#newmain media preview

Since I love libraries – I was stoked to be invited to the Media Preview of the re-opening of the Main Library of the Columbus Metropolitan Library! When I lived in Columbus I frequented this library and a few other branches often.

I started reading my #1 favorite series: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith while a patron of the Columbus library. I also borrowed a ton of educational materials for work. I’d request as many books on a topic as I could find online, then wait for them all to arrive and go pick them up in one fell swoop. I’d almost instantly regret requesting that many books at once, though, because I had to carry them to my car and then up to my apartment or to my desk at work. #booknerdproblems

#newmain tour

The Media Preview was held last week, just a few days before the library’s grand reopening this past Saturday, June 25th. After a quick introduction, and a request to share our photos and tweets with the #newmain hashtag, we were off to tour!

We were split into groups based on different literature genres. I was in the poetry group with lots of other bloggers.

#newmain view topiary park

I liked the main library before the renovation – but post-renovation library is impressive. The new layout is bright and open to encourage a sense of community and togetherness.

Some of my favorite features of the library are the gorgeous vistas seen throughout the building. The new floor plan is so open – you can see across the atrium to other parts of the library from all floors and at many spots you can look from one end to the other and see downtown Columbus. There are also lovely views of the new park plaza which connects to Topiary Park.

Another favorite is the library’s focus on sustainability. They’re working to achieve LEED gold certification and will be able to use the building to teach sustainable practices to the Columbus community. Nature Smilies

There’s a big focus on technology and making it accessible to all library users. Each floor of the library, near the elevators and highlighted with bright orange walls (the only bright colors used in the building to make them stand out) are interactive discovery boards. The huge touchscreen boards can be used to find out what events are going on at the library and where meetings are being held. It can even help you find a new book to read! Expressive Smilies

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My group kept getting held up at the many windows, since we were all bloggers we were all stopping for photos! There are so many nice spots to stop and enjoy the view!

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An area of libraries that I love to visit are the local history and genealogy departments. I dabble in genealogy from time to time and I love learning about history, whether it’s history of my home town, where I live or when I’m travelling.

The genealogy and history department at the #newmain has some awesome new features: a digital lab (with one of the largest scanners in the US), a discovery board for local history and genealogy and an all digital microfilm with some full text searching! The department is a digital hub for Ohio libraries and institutes and is able to put scanned materials online.

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The Atrium, the center of the library, is also very open and well-lit. I imagine I could spend an entire afternoon perched on one of the many chairs along the railings on any floor, just watching people come and go.

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The library has a new area for teens – the theme of openness and community togetherness continues in this part of the building too. Our library guide told us the computers are oriented so the teens using them face downtown Columbus. The hope is that this view will help teens imagine themselves working in one of the buildings downtown. Study areas overlook the board room, another aspirational view for teens.

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The library is also making an effort to showcase their collection of books. Displays feature front facing books with stacks of the same title available behind them. I love this look! I know the old adage is that we shouldn’t judge books by their covers — but there are so many gorgeous book covers and they can really draw you in. I read so many books when I worked at the library (and took home more than I could ever read before they were due back) mostly because I saw all of these lovely books every day at work. One of my favorite things to do at work was come up with new ways to display our teen collection — the cover artwork makes a big difference in whether or not the book will be picked up! 📚

#newmain children's area

A very noticeable change at the #newmain library is the children’s area. Called Ready for Kindergarten, this new set-up is meant to help preschoolers, parents and families get ready for kindergarten. The storytime areas, book shelves and play areas mimic a kindergarten classroom — there’s even a few classroom fish in a large tank built into a bookshelf! Animal Smilies

The children of Columbus are a top priority and the library is making sure that all building renovations reflect this commitment.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library is renovating or building 10 of their locations. You can read more about each project here.

#newmain lunch

After our tour, we were treated to a lunch buffet, catered by Two Caterers. We had a taco bar with beef, chicken, taco toppings, a corn salad and some sweet treats! It was all delicious and the little cupcakes were adorable!

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Lunch was delicious, but the fondant cake of #newmain really stole the show! The cake, made by Queen Anne’s Lace Cakes, was both the library and a stack of popular books. It was gorgeous and smelled so sweet! The cake wasn’t meant for eating, which is probably for the best — who would have wanted to cut up such a lovely creation?

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I’m so glad I was able to tour the #newmain Columbus Metropolitan Library last week! I was really impressed with the renovations and more than a little jealous that this library is no longer a short fifteen minute drive from home for me.

The #newmain library officially opened on Saturday, June 25th with a dedication and ribbon cutting at noon. In the afternoon there were activities, entertainment and patrons could sign up for a commemorative library card. The festivities concluded with a special PBJ & Jazz concert in Topiary Park featuring the Caribbean Jazz Sextet.

Now through August 27th, the Carnegie Gallery will feature an exhibit called art unbound. Local artists were challenged to transform worn library books that would have been recycled into works of art. I’m planning to stop in and see this awesome sounding exhibit later this summer.

To learn more about the library renovation and to see more photos, check out this article in The Columbus Dispatch: Main Library Reopening. And be sure to visit the library yourself!

#newmain view downtown

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Columbus Metropolitan Library
– Columbus

Address: 96 South Grant Avenue, Columbus Ohio 43215

Phone Number: 614-645-2275

Hours: Monday – Thursday 9am – 9pm. Friday – Saturday 9am – 6pm. Sunday 1pm – 5pm.

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, PinterestTwitter, YouTube

Kayaking the Crystal River – Glen Arbor

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I love kayaking. The weightless feeling of being on the water is calming to me. I like to take my paddle out of the water and rest it on the sides of the kayak, close my eyes and just absorb that feeling of buoyancy. It’s magical. I only feel this way in a kayak, I don’t particularly care for boating and canoeing is a completely different set-up so it feels different. On a boat, especially on a large lake or the ocean, each wave is strongly felt and I feel unbalanced. Canoeing is a team effort, you’re working with one or two other people to paddle and direct your vessel. That effort is energizing to me, which is why I enjoy canoeing; but kayaking is my favorite water activity.

During our vacation in Michigan last September, we were able to go kayaking. We usually do some sort of water related activity on family vacations, it’s almost a tradition.

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When my sister and I were kids, we would go canoeing with our mom and dad on our summer vacations. We would rent two canoes, usually my sister rode with our dad and I shared a canoe with our mom. We switched partners halfway through one canoe trip – Britt was convinced there was an alligator in the river and Mom had to calm her down (we were in Kentucky so it wasn’t an alligator, but we had watched Lake Placid before our vacation 🐊).

It’s fair to say that Britt and I didn’t do much paddling back then – we weren’t very helpful canoeing partners. Now that everyone can wield their own paddle, we prefer kayaking.

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Of all the activities my Mom planned for our trip to Michigan, Kenneth and I were most excited for was kayaking. Kenneth and I went kayaking at Winton Woods when we lived in Cincinnati. It had been a few years since I had last kayaked and it was Kenneth’s first time. He loved it and couldn’t wait to get back on the water.

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We went kayaking in Glen Arbor. It’s an adorable little town, well technically it’s a civil township, in Leelananu County. It’s located on the northwest tip of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, if you imagine that Michigan is a hand it’s sitting on the tip of the ring finger.

There were kayaks for us to use at the cabin we rented, but we put in the water at Crystal River Outfitters, just down the street from our cabin.

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Glen Arbor township is about 87 square miles, 28 of which are land and 59 of which are water!

It’s located along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which was recently named the “Most Beautiful Place in America” by Good Morning America. Kayaking Crystal River is a great way to explore Glen Arbor! Rowboat Smiley

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While paddling down Crystal River, we saw lovely wildflowers (including some gorgeous red Cardinal Flowers!) , and a variety of fish and other wildlife. We saw turtles and even a Green Heron!

We also saw dozens of gorgeous properties – many of them were heavily damaged from the summer storm that had hit the area in August. Even through the debris that remained, we could see lovely backyard patios and landscaping that led down to the water.

It was a gorgeous day and we couldn’t have asked for better weather!

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While we were lucky to have wonderful weather, we were also lucky to even be able to enjoy the river and woods surrounding it.

Crystal River and the surrounding area were nearly destroyed 30 years ago. A golf course was proposed for the site in 1986, but a group called Friends of the Crystal River formed and opposed the golf course. In 2003, after many years of fighting to protect this delicate habitat, the Leelanlanu Conservancy was able to transfer the 7 acre Oxbow part of the river to Glen Arbor Township. Today the river is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The river flows from Glen Lake to Lake Michigan, covering a distance of 6.3 meandering miles. We did not paddle the entire length of the river, but we traversed a fair amount of it, paddling up and down stream.

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Some of my highlights during our paddle down the Crystal River:

  • Kayaking! I love it – it’s such a fun way to explore and exercise.
  • Photographing Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) while floating in a kayak (it wasn’t easy, but it was a fun challenge!).
  • Enjoying the stillness of the water and the trees.
  • Seeing how close I could get to a Green Heron (Butorides virescens) on the water (I got a few photos too!)
  • Hanging out with my parents and husband 🙂

I would love to visit Glen Arbor again and kayaking Crystal River is at the top of my list!

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Coldwater Cafe – Tipp City

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The Coldwater Cafe, housed in what used to be a bank in downtown Tipp City, is a great spot for lunch or dinner. The restaurant has menu items you’d expect to see in a big city restaurant, not on the main street of a cozy small town. This makes it a great option for lunch before antiquing (there are several awesome antique shops just a block or less away) or exploring one of the nearby Miami County Parks.

Inside Coldwater Cafe

This is exactly what Kenneth and I ended up doing for his birthday this year. We went on a nice walk at Lost Creek Reserve & Knoop Agricultural Center, ate lunch at The Coldwater Cafe and then explored Tipp City’s shops on Main Street.

Coldwater Cafe Drinks

To drink, Kenneth ordered a Belhaven Scottish Ale. He really liked this craft beer, which was smooth and nutty. I ordered a pear martini – which was amazing. It had St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur in it and was floral and sweet. It literally tasted like a fresh, but boozy, pear!

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Kenneth really likes crab cakes so he ordered the lobster crab cake salad. It came with large lobster crab cake, lightly sautéed and sitting on a bed of baby spinach. The salad was topped with red onion and sprouts with a champagne vinaigrette. It looked fantastic and Kenneth really enjoyed it.

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I ordered the grilled salmon salad – it was delicious! The salmon was cooked perfectly and topped with dried cranberries, feta cheese, toasted pecans and the Champagne vinaigrette over a bed of mixed greens. So, so good!

We finished our meal by sharing some vanilla crème brûlée, topped with fresh blueberries. A perfect ending to a fantastic meal. 🙂

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Coldwater Cafe – Tipp City

Address: 19 E. Main Street Tipp City, Ohio 45371

Phone Number: 937-667 – 0007

Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 11am – 9pm. Friday – Saturday 11am – 10pm.

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter