Corey Lake Orchard Bakery: Not So Vegan Review

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As most vegans would agree, ones’ relationship with ones’ local farmer is closer than ones’ local grocer.  Growing up I was raised upon going to the farmers’ market called Corey Lake Orchard.  If you are ever in the Southwestern section of Michigan, I would highly suggest it if you are looking for something truly Michigan.  It is a family tradition to go to this market amongst all the surrounding lakes and buy local produce from a family run farm.  My mother and her parents used to go to this market once a year also to get extra produce to do canning for the family and the 4-H fair.  Many people around the tri-state area have also done the same as it is very popular.  You can read more about the orchard/farm at the above link.  Throughout the years, the business has been passed down throughout the generations and hence it has changed a bit.  For one thing, we have noticed prices are much higher than even last year (popularity increase?) and less produce availability.  Additionally on the plus side, there is now a bakery that has filled in part of the original building.  See my vegan opinion/review below:

The bakery itself is just a small section of the normal building that has been decorated and adjusted to service customers with a sweet tooth. When you walk in, there are two sections of glass cases with pastries such as donuts on one side and pies on the other side. Additionally there are frozen pies in a freezer along with some frozen locally raised meat products.

There is also a Keurig for coffee and tea ($1 each). Unfortunately there were no pastries that were vegan but there was at least some selection in the coffee section. It is a help yourself style Keurig.

As for the food: Well… there is absolutely nothing for vegans! Nope, not even one thing… We went in full hopes because some of our friends love the place and said we had to go for breakfast. Many of the local places have vegan donuts so we were very excited about the prospects (it’s really hit or miss in lower southwest Michigan). When we got there we went through our vegan routine and looked at the ingredient list of everything on the menu for the donuts, pies and cookies. Sorry, everything is very traditionally made with eggs and milk. There were a few things without eggs but just about everything had milk. Lactose-Intolerance sufferers please be warned to look at the list before choosing something. The food looked good but the coffee was our highlight. :) I’m sure many vegetarians and carnivores will love this area though since we have heard a lot of good reviews. Some things of interest are probably the above photo of sticky buns and cinnamon rolls. Apparently there is also apple cider donuts in the fall when apples are in season on the farm. Additionally there are apple cider slushies for the summer months (vegan).

This is the dining section that I love since it reminds me of my grandmothers house. I’m not sure exactly why but the painted tables and fresh produce just really brings back the memories for some reason. I felt at home. When you eat here, you can sit looking out at the orchards and just listen to nature. It would be nice to have a bit more of a view but I guess that’s what I get for being so short. ha-ha It really is relaxing though even if you go to just have coffee.

This is part of the view from the dining area. It was super sunny and around 90F the morning we went so it is hard to see everything. This photo shows the orchards that you can see while dining right there on the porch. There is no indoor seating available at this time.

So all in all our trip to Corey Lake Orchard was rather nice and relaxing.  We really did not purchase all that much since the produce in season right now is basically tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, hot peppers, corn and blueberries.  It will be another few weeks before we really get into the swing of summer produce.  Vegans looking to have a nice vegan breakfast, I would not recommend this bakery since there are no options besides coffee.  Vegetarians and Carnivores, go for it.  Your purchase will not only support a local business, but also support a historically run family farm and support the home grown/slow cook movement in America.  We wish we could have supported them more but unfortunately since there were no options besides coffee, it was hard to help out.

Fourth of July Recap: In Photos

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“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”  M. F. K. Fisher

Happy 4th of July in America!  (Um, rather belated birthday celebrations…)  Fourth of July (USA’s Independence Day) was a special event for us seeing as we are celebrated on the lake in Michigan.  Michigan is party central when it comes to holidays in the summer months (forget about it in the winter)- so we lived it up.  Every year the lake association holds a special breakfast for residents and their families.  It’s basically a place to go eat breakfast and chat with all the neighbors around the lake.  We engaged in the chatting but considering there are usually no options for vegans, we ate before we left.  This is fine though since we had more time to chat with others.  It’s always nice to have this spare time to chat with people we haven’t seen in years since we have lived miles away.  Then we BBQ’d for lunch and dinner out on the lake – such a blessing!  Then after the sun went down the skies lite up with fireworks galore all over the lake!  So without much more babbling on my part, here’s our holiday in photos:

Today was a special event for my maternal side of the family. My uncle has been working for a few years to restore my deceased grandfathers’ tractors so all of them would once again run. This morning during a local parade all of them were driven by my younger cousins. It was a happy, sad moment for all of us sitting on the sidelines watching them roar past. After the parade we all were playing around on the tractors that we remembered from our childhood with my grandfather. This is me riding one of them at top speed – complete with a giddy look on my face.

Grilling outside on the patio next to the lake. Love life on the lake! The silver thing in the grill is called a “chimney” and is used for charcoal. Apparently this is now used to make the coals heat up quicker – we normally use a gas grill but this is what is available. Warning charcoal isn’t the best for your health if you use it all the time – it has carcinogens.

Since we were having a party on the lake, we chose to make a large grilled salad (Recipe) from the lovely and talented Angela at Oh She Glows website.  We have made this a few times already but really enjoy it for the simplicity and easy access to the ingredients.  We love this recipe since we can take it along on a camping trip and serve about a 100 people (okay maybe that was an exaggeration a bit).  We used all locally grown ingredients to make this recipe today – so exciting to be able to say that!

Here are the vegetables after they are taken from the grill. Isn’t it a gorgeous sight!?!

The finished salad. Mmmmm It doesn’t look like fun but it has all the flavor (umami) that one could ever wish. You can eat it just as is, on top of a salad or even with tortilla chips as a salad.

Every year there is a parade on the lake – and in the city. We had to drive to another city to see the road parade but then locals decorate their boats and parade around the lake in all good fun.

There are a lot of people that were in the parade this year but not as many that decorated. It goes by years if it is good or not. I thought the kayaks were cute, especially with an umbrella.

The sunset was absolutely gorgeous! It was a bit cooler than normal in the summer time so the colors really popped out of the sky.

Genki Husband checking out the lake as the sun was setting.

Genki Husband and I made this vegan cake for everyone to test out. We went ahead and put sprinkles inside the cake for an extra festive look and decorated our heart cake with the American flag. Seems like everyone loved it until they found out it was vegan – we have to stop telling people it’s vegan so they can enjoy it. ha-ha

As a requirement, Genki Husband got a roaring bonfire started to entertain us pyromaniacs.

Fireworks are technically illegal in Michigan if they got past a certain height but many people travel across the state borders and purchase them to bring back for the 4th of July. We did not do this though. It seemed like Chinese lanterns were very popular this year in Michigan. Apparently one must unravel the paper lantern, light the wick inside and let it soar up into the sky. It is amazing how high these can reach – that is if they get past all the trees.

These are the lanterns going off the dock. One is actually in the water and one is floating to the skies. There was also one stuck in a tree – but it didn’t burn anything thank goodness. These go so high that it looks like an airplane.

While the neighbors did fireworks next door, we also watched the fireworks across the lake in all different directions. One actually does not have to buy fireworks on this holiday because there are so many others that do. I think many people actually saved theirs until the weekend for this purpose. We then watched fireworks for a few more days.

The 4th was so exciting all around that the furry babies were so tired. Genki Cat actually stole a bed that was setup at my in-laws on the floor for a family member. It’s a hard life…

If you are American, how was your 4th?  Anyone else see these Chinese Lanterns?

Anniversary Recap: In Photos

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“The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they’re right if you love to be with them all the time.”

Julia Child

Happy Tuesday Genki Friends!  June 25th was Genki Husband and my 9th anniversary of marriage.  It was a special year for us since it was a year we could celebrate our marriage together with family members and friends.  It’s been a bit since the special date but it is still fresh in mind and I wanted to be sure to express my love for the special day.  Genki Husband and I did get married rather young but we are living proof young people can still get married in today’s society and stick strong together through anything.  Since this year we were in Michigan, it was planned we would go with family and spend a special evening at a winery called Tabor Hill.  It is a popular winery around the world but oddly enough not in Michigan.  Their Classic Demi-Sec has been shipped to the White House of the United States by many presidents, according to the wineries’ personnel.  If it’s good enough for the leader of the Free Country, it is good enough for us.  We celebrated our first anniversary at Tabor Hill and we again celebrated this 9th year into our marriage.  Enjoy the photos of this event.

Just as you walk inside the winery you will notice there is wine tasting with many awards being showcased. Additionally there are small gifts, wine and chocolates being sold.

Another view of the inside. The woman in the pink shirt is where you go for reservations. She will be kind enough to assist you to your reserved tables. It is best to have reservations since the dining area is small and does tend to have small parties often which fills the place up fast.

Tabor Hill Winery in Michigan, USA. Small dining area before entering the actually dining room. We’ve never had to eat in this smaller area so I’m not sure but I believe it might just be more like a bar area for those not wishing to have a full table experience. There is also dining outside too. On this date the dining room was filled so I didn’t want to disrupt anyone while eating by taking photos. It is a warm setting inside with a fireplace during the cooler months and outside each window are bird feeders so the birds come up and feast while you do inside.

Does anyone else do this? Genki Husband and I have an addiction of taking photos of bathrooms – no idea where this comes from or why we do it. Ha-ha Anyway, this is the wineries’ bathroom complete with grape vines. So adorable when a restaurant thinks of the smallest touches to make the customer feel appreciated.

As we made reservations via the telephone, we did manage to ask the staff if there was anything they could serve to vegans. We were assured the chef and staff all new what a vegan ate and that something would be made special for us. We were told it was not to be just a salad. Unfortunately when we arrived, we mentioned to our waitress just as the telephone staff stated and asked to have something made vegan. Nope, the waitress had no idea. It was a shame since there is almost nothing on the menu that is 100% vegan. Seeing as the prices are a bit high, it is not reasonable to get a $20 salad (normal is around $8 other places) without toppings. This was one of the salads we found to be converted to vegan. It is spinach, artichoke hearts, strawberries and a spicy strawberry vinaigrette dressing. To tell the truth, it was a bit off and I ate only the bottom without the dressing. I’ll spare you the details of the taste.

Our second shared entree: foraged wild mushroom pizza with wild asparagus. We got this expecting at least a medium-sized thin-crust pizza but it was about 5″. It’s more befitting as a small appetizer instead of a full priced meal. This was delicious but it really was not enough seeing as we had to take off all the cheese. I think this is just seasonal.

This is the view from the dining room. It is the actual vines that hold the grapes of the wine we were drinking. The wine is fantastic! (And we had a good portion to prove it.)

It was warm when we entered the winery but as we were coming out after dinner we noticed a cold front was coming in across the countryside. You can tell the difference in color between the above photo and this one.

Tabor Hill is located in the middle of the countryside so when we were driving home we noticed the weather kept changing. Just about ten minutes after the above photo was taken we took this one. The warm ground was being hit with cold breezes from a storm front and it caused steam to come up off the ground. In Michigan the weather can change drastically within seconds.

We had a delightful time at Tabor Hill Winery and we would definitely go back again.  I would probably not go back for the food but would for the wine instead.  Last time we visited we were not vegan and it was wonderful food but now that we eat healthy and are vegan, it was not worth the price vs. food availability.  The wine is well worth the price and the trip to the countryside.

Wavered Times: Life in Photos

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Hello Genki Friends! It has been so very long since my last blog I’ve almost forgotten how to type on my laptop instead of the touch screen of an iPad. As all of you are probably aware, we have been very indecisive lately and have been given way too many options.  Without going into too much detail, let me just say sometimes choosing among many options of greener pastures isn’t as easy as it sounds.  The grass may be greener but which pasture will make one happier?  Oh our wavered times we live in right now.  Thankfully I have been taking pictures and posting occasionally on Instagram.  But for now I will leave you with a few blog posts with photos of the last few weeks. {more to come} Check out some of the things that have happened lately in photos.

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Stressed Out Stormy Monday

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Lately we have had tons of storms all over the place. It storms for a few hours, then the sunshine comes out, then storms once again. Such crazy weather…

Oh I’m so far behind on my daily blogs this week once again.  I’m sorry for the lag in posting but things here have become quiet busy.  Genki Husband is supposed to be at his new job in 1-2 weeks however it seems like everyone is on vacation thanks to the holiday coming up next week.  Who thought about moving over the Fourth of July?  If you were considering it, don’t!  Actually it wasn’t our choice but his companies choice…  So we have been stuck inside most of the day trying to get rentals to call us back and work through the pain and suffering while talking to a moving company.  Now I understand why people years ago just stayed in one place, it’s not easy to move.  Okay, so enough complaining on my side…  As I sit here and try to calm a bit, here’s my day in photos.

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Pool Party {Sunday}

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Sundays are normally our quiet day of the week.  Thus, today we didn’t really get into much work around the two houses but we did get into a little bit.  Today we took our time getting up and just enjoyed cuddling with the furry babies before entering the day with full arms.  Sometimes we all have these days right?  It was a bit cloudy when we woke up so it was a surprise when we got around to mowing my in-laws yard that the sunshine was beaming through the clouds and the humidity was around 70% and it was only 10A.M.  After working on the yard at my in-laws we went ahead and headed over to my parents house to do their yard work.  Nothing like a little hard work before play.  That’s what we did, we spend a few hours in the afternoon to sit around and lounge in the pool.  It is not 100% clean and working yet but that didn’t stop us because it was very hot after mowing the yards most of the day.  I also introduced my parents two smaller dogs to the pool so that they knew it was a place that contained water.  We do this for all of the dogs to assure they know and do not hurt themselves while playing outside.  So, this is our day through photos:

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Graduation Party Mixed With Shopping {Saturday}

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Saturday just happens to normally be one of our busiest days of the week for some reason while on vacation here in Michigan.  Not only do we tend to my in-laws and also to my parents.  Today we managed to skip over to my parents house in the late morning to work outside on the pool once again since something just isn’t right with the filtration system.  We had hoped everything would be fixed but for some reason the pool company that was supposed to set everything up with the new equipment didn’t set up anything besides piping and the pool liner.  It’s very strange so now we are all working together to get it to work correctly.  In the afternoon we went to my cousins’ graduation party from high school and then went shopping afterwards for some miscellaneous items for my mother and us.  See our day in photos below:

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Pool Cleaning and Relaxation Time {Friday}

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There is a phrase that goes, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass but learning to dance in the rain”.  Although there may have been storms all around us today, it was so breathtakingly beautiful.  As seen in the photo above as the sun began to set for the night.  It just goes to show there is always something positive even through the dark clouds.  Today was a day full of cleaning the pool, fixing the new heat pump (yep, we have to heat ours in Michigan) and preparing some flowers around the garden.  It was easier work than the last week but then again we don’t mind hard work as long as you get something in return.  For today we received a beautiful sky show, a little vitamin supplementation from the sunshine and a relaxing swim in the pool.  See our day in photos:

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Rain Day With a Run {Thursday}

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Rainy days always encourage me to bake in the kitchen or cuddle up with Genki Pup and a good book.  Today we were searching for rental properties though, so no fun in the rain until later in the afternoon when we went for our rain.  The thing about rain in Virginia is when it rains it really does pour for days and days.  It seems just when the ground is flooded and your yard can not handle any more, there are still two more days worth of rain.  In Michigan, it will rain for a morning and part of the afternoon then all of a sudden the sun will come out and it will be a gorgeous sunny day (with high humidity).  It’s very strange how the different states react to weather but all very interesting to be able to live in different areas and compare/contrast.  It’s all about the experience.  So on to our day in photos: (which just shows how little we actually did do. oops)

This morning we sat outside on the screened porch and drank coffee as we listened to the rain fall around us. It’s so comfortable to be in Michigan in the spring/summer months. We finally got around to eating breakfast which consisted of these two beauties: Vegan Bagels from Big Apple Bagels. This is the European Bagel which contains, poppyseeds, sesame seeds and caraway seeds. The combination is really tasty but I have to admit I’m still addicted to my everything bagel since it contains garlic and onion. Lately you may have noticed we are eating a lot of bagels for breakfast. This is because we aren’t sure the exact date we can get our moving truck to pick up our things in Virginia which we will have to drive down to meetup with them. So, we are in a waiting pattern and wish to not purchase a lot of perishable items since we are moving in a few weeks or less. (crossing fingers)

We spent the entire morning visiting with my parents’ exchange students’ mother and little sister from Colombia. They were so adorable and the language barrier didn’t really seem to both any of us. My German and Japanese didn’t really help out this time around though. I’m thinking I should start learning Spanish so I can easily communicate with a lot more people – especially in California. Vegan Leftover Lunch: watermelon, tortilla, kale with avocado salad, sauteed peppers with onions, 1 vegan BOCA vegan patty and some quinoa. Shared among 2 people.

Snacks:  Today we had a few different snacks.  IKEA dark chocolate which is vegan approved, pretzels, and tons of watermelon.

Vegan Dinner: Fried Rice with mock egg! This is something I have made a few other times but keep forgetting about when dinner comes around the corner. The recipe is seriously easy and inexpensive so I highly recommend it. Thankfully it looks like normal fried rice and tastes amazing – I would serve this without thinking twice to someone that isn’t vegan. Mmmm  Recipe Coming Soon!

Today as I was looking through Pinterest, I came across this cute idea. I love sharing homemade baked items that are healthy and shares your feelings with others. I think a lot of time we fall into the category of not sharing our feelings with others until we feel as though it is too late. I wish I could make strawberry jam with each and every one of you but at last I would have to purchase a ton of strawberries… So I will send this picture to all of you and let you know how much you mean to me. All of you Genki Friends I cherish from the bottom to the top of my heart. Thanks for always being there for me and sticking with me through this difficult time. I appreciate you all!

Tiring Rental Search {Wednesday}

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Vegan Blueberry Granola Crumble Muffins. Genki Husband wanted muffins this morning and my mother-in-law had some old blueberries so this is what happened this morning. The granola was a bit strange to add on top but it does work.

Rental property searching… uggggghhh… This is a task I wish we had someone complete for us since it can be such a pain.  It might just be us but it seems like all the properties we call try to hide information about prices and availability.  Nothing seems dry cut and to the point.  Something we are learning is in some states properties do not always come with appliances such as refrigerators or stoves.  So strange to an Eastern/Midwestern girl.  Additionally, prices are much higher in some states compared to others.  These are just a few things we have come to realize that drastically differ between the coasts.  We are slowly finding properties but it is a slow process, prayers are much needed and appreciated from everyone.  Hopefully we can get our California friend to look at properties soon so we can make a selection and get moving on the move.  Since I can ramble on about our stress and anxiety at the moment, I will stop here and let you look at our day in photos below.

This is what Genki Husband had plus another one. You can be fit and a healthy weight as long as you eat healthy, natural foods that are pumped with tons of animal products or preservatives.

Everything Big Apple Bagel x2 with vegan butter and coffee. This is what I had since I don’t like cooked fruit.

Genki Pup is scared of thunderstorms so she chose to sit behind me as I ate breakfast. She was just as happy as can be and since it was warm and muggy, I was fine with her sitting behind me instead of on me.

Speaking of thunderstorms, this was pretty much the view for the entire day. Severe thunderstorms continuously kept hitting our area of Michigan. The weather was predicting hail but thankfully we didn’t get that severe but at times we couldn’t see across the lake.

Vegan Lunch of Leftovers: BOCA Vegan Burger, organic mixed greens, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut.

Another thunderstorm image

Vegan Dinner: tortillas, kale Quinoa salad with avocado and a lemon dressing and grilled peppers with onions. Genki Husband made the kale quinoa salad and it was delicious, I’ll have to get the link from him since it was so good. BTW, our protein was from the quinoa if you were wondering.

Another image of the storms today. Let’s just say we didn’t get out for any exercise today considering there were warnings all around. I guess one could say it kept us inside to rental property search though which is always good.

Question of the Day:  Anyone have any tips or tricks to finding a good rental for a good price?

 

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