Sunday, September 25, 2011


This year's cider mill crawl was a huge success... the weather was gorgeous, the donuts and cider were awesome, and the company was so much fun.

If you missed out on previous cider mill blog posts, here is some background:

Because we have already mostly covered the southwestern metro Detroit area mills, we headed to the northwestern area.  Next year, east bound!  Check out a few pictures from the day here, but if we are friends on Facebook I will upload a bunch more when I am done blogging.

 Place settings with judging card

 Bags for this year's crawl... resuable totes from JoAnn's with little apple trees!

 Jacki and Katie enjoying the first taste of the day at Spicer's in Fenton

 Jill is very excited about the cider at Spicer's

 While Steph and I are stoked about the donuts at Spicer's!

 Second stop, Parshallville Grist mill in Parshallville just down the road from Spicer's

 Very tasty... Steph had to grab a bowl of caramel apple slices too mmmmm

 Jacki is impressed at Parshallville's selection of apples

 Hanging out at Diehl's in Holly... Katie is excited because she just caught a bee under a cup

 Slightly less excited faces at Long's in Commerce... something broke in their barn and it was closed inside.

 Back to my house for tasting and judging

 Katie had to leave early, but here is the rest of the cider mill gang

 After all that sugar and carbs, we had a light dinner of wraps, veggies, fruit, and salad

Thanks girls for another awesome crawl!  I cannot wait until next year for CMC4!

And now, for the results!!!!

Overall Experience:
1st-  Parshallville
2nd- Spicer's
3rd-  Diehl's
4th-  Long's

Best Donut:
1st-  Spicer's
2nd-  Parshallville
3rd-  Long's
4th-  Diehl's

Best Cider:
1st-  Spicer's
2nd-  Parshallville
3rd-  Long's
4th-  Diehl's

OVERALL RANKING (120 points possible)
1st-  Spicer's with 106 points  WINNER!
2nd-  Parshallville with 100 points
3rd-  Long's with 81.5 points
4th-  Diehl's with 62 points

Here are my thoughts:
Spicer's - It was very busy and seemed like there was a ton to do there.  Parking sucked and the line for donuts was confusing.  But... the cider and donuts were seriously amazing and would probably beat out any of the previous year's winners.

Parshallville Grist-  Adorable.  It was pretty empty but the other customers said that wasn't usually the case.  No activities to do here, but a very nice store area.  The cider and donuts were very close to Spicer's, so it is worth the visit.

Diehl's-  Not very impressive.  The cider was like apple juice and while the donuts were flaming hot, they were just ok.  There is a large parking area with tables and play areas but it is in the middle of nowhere.

Long's-  This is a little hard to judge because the barn was under repair so we could only buy donuts and cider from the stand in the parking lot.  The cinnamon sugar was coarser than the other places so it was crunchy.  These donuts actually held up the best over the couple days following the crawl.  I would have loved to have had them fresh and hot.

Definitely try this at home!!  Grab a few friends and head out to a couple places and do your own judging!  Here are a few tips:
1.  I highly recommend light meals before/after.
2.  Don't eat more than 1/4 donut of each kind at each mill if you are doing a tasting later as well.  It is hard, but limit yourself.
3.  Bring napkins because most places don't have them.  They usually have small cups for the cider.
4.  Throw a cooler in the car if you want to keep your cider cold.  Also, throw in some water because you will need something after all the cider.
5.  Three mills is really what you should be doing, we added a fourth because it made sense geographically.  But when you get to that fourth mill, you are a little sugared up and need a break.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your own crawls!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Salsa Chicken Tacos

So my random return to the food blog world is a fail in the picture department.  Sorry, you will just have to trust me that this is delicious.  I make it as often as I can but realized I never blogged it... at least I don't think so.  Either way, it deserves a quick post.

Salsa Chicken Tacos
Serves: 4ish

-3 frozen chicken breasts
-3/4-1 jar salsa (I like Pace thick and chunky- hot)
-1 cup frozen corn kernels
-1/2 block cream cheese
-1 cup canned (rinsed) black beans
-shredded cheese
-10 pk taco sized tortillas
-rice (plain white instant... 1 cup water/1 cup rice)

In a crockpot, throw in the frozen chicken and dump salsa over top.  Cook on low for about 6 hours.

Break up chicken in the crock, throw in the corn, cream cheese, and beans and stir.  Turn up to high and cook for about 30 minutes.  Stir to make sure it is all mixed up and hot.

Spoon into tortilla shells.  Top with cheese if you want.  We usually add some plain rice to the shell first because it can be kinda juicy and the rice will soak it up.

TA DA!  Difficult right?  Well it is ridiculously awesome so you should go make it (looking at you Pete).  It even works great as a dip... just add more salsa to make it thinner and scoop with chips.