February 4, 2014

FIRE Roasted

I do believe this is a record for "time in-between posts" for yours truly. 

I have a warming and inspiring post for you today fellow readers; with a dash of jolly good fun thrown in.

The Roasterie Downtown Factory Location.

It's a bird!...No, no it's definitely a plane.

Early this morning my dear Mom and I woke up to brave the current "snowpocalypse" or "snowmaggedon," whatever you may call it, to head to downtown Kansas City for a special breakfast and presentation at the main headquarters, fondly named "The Bean Hangar," of a celebrated local Coffee House, The Roasterie to support my Mom's dear friend's Foundation FIRE-The Foundation for Inclusive Religious Education

After grabbing some OJ and a beyond delicious blueberry scone (the Britishness is rubbing off on me already..), we were seated at our table, mingling with other guests and patrons until it was time for the presentation to commence. 

Special Blend coffee for FIRE.

FIRE was founded in 1996 by a group of parents (my Mom's friend being one of them)that aspired for their children with special needs to attend their parish schools with siblings and friends. 

My Mom's dear friend (far left) alongside her Mother and Sister.

Growing up in the Catholic Community it is very sobering to know that most Catholic Schools do not have the proper funds to host special needs students-needing to provide Special Education teachers, Para educators, materials and equipment, that would enable schools to educate children with special needs alongside their peers. 

This is where FIRE comes in. Over that past twelve years, through dedication and with support of family, friends and the community, thousands of dollars have been raised enabling financial grants to be given to qualifying schools in the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. 

It is truly remarkable how each advocate for the Foundation speaks with such light and love about children, some their own children, being able to be included in receiving a Catholic Education-to grow in love and faith with the rest of the community. But what is truly lovely is how these children impact the community in return. The way they are able to approach life with such joy and light, radiates throughout the community. 

It was sincerely enlightening and beautiful to behold the love and passion that each speaker and parent carries for their loved ones. It made me realize that we should all approach life like the parents and children that make up FIRE- with a fire and excitement for life ourselves. 


After the presentations had been given, guests had the opportunity to take a tour of The Roasterie's Coffee Hangar and learn about the art of making a savory cup of joe. Being the coffee enthusiasts that we are, mother and I decided to give it a go. 

Ready to go!

We started in the part of the factory where our guide or "Cupper" (the official name of one who is in charge of tasting coffee, sounds like a job I'd be sufficient at), gave us a presentation and demonstration of the components to deciding if a coffee is acceptable for consumers-  it involved a decent amount of sniffing, slurping and sniffing again to make sure it is perfection (of you require a better explanation here is a link).

Fall/Winter 2014 Trend Alert.

We then had the pleasure of popping on my favorite fashion accessory- hair nets (you see we can't have any stray hairs flying into a coffee grinder that would be "tout simplement horrible!" You must read that phrase with your best french accent or it will lose its luster)before heading into the main hangar. 

Rows upon rows of coffee beans. 

Group Shot. 

It smelled like I had just jumped into a cup of coffee, the aroma was intoxicating. We were introduced to the four machines (my favorite being named "Behemoth.") that are responsible for roasting the beans using a rare method called "air roasting" which heightens the flavor of the bean, before packing the coffee into the companies signature packaging. 

Roasterie has three coffee houses throughout the Kansas City area, but if you are unable to make it over to snatch up an in-house cup, you can pick up a batch of Roasterie at a local grocer near you! 

Finishing up, Mother dearest and I wrapped back up in our winter warmest and made the trek back to the car (outside had been turned into a winter wonderland!). Hopping in to warm up, and head home..but not before dear Denise promptly turned on the windshield wipers and buried me in a heap of snow- talk about a wake up call! Burr.

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland...more like February Freeze. 


Good Morning to you! (Disclaimer: this shot is posed).

I hope those of you reading from KC are enjoying your few days off and to all my other readers I hope you are enjoying your day-wherever you may be!

As Always,
Stay Happy,

xx Haley.

January 25, 2014

Pigging Out at Pig & Finch

I think I may qualify as the year's worst blogger. It has been a half year since I have entertained you with a post-I have a deep respect for the bloggers out there who are constantly able to update their blog on a daily basis-they deserve a gold star. 

I have a really exciting and mouthwatering post for you, dear readers, so you will want to stick around for this!

All this week Kansas City, and many other cities at that, has been participating in the annual "Restaurant Week," where local eateries are able to show off their lunch and dinner menus, and foodie customers, like myself, are able to give their work a spin. The very neat thing about Restaurant Week is that a percentage of the proceeds are equally split between three of our local charities: Harvesters- The Community Food Network, the KC Regional Destination Development Foundation and the Greater KC Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (I have linked "Restaurant Week" if you are interested in learning more). 

My sweet Mother and I have been itching to give Restaurant Week a go-well it has been myself mostly- so having finally convinced Denise that we should go, I took to the trusty internet to find the perfect venue for a Friday afternoon lunch. 

After having looked over a few menu options we decided to pay a visit to Pig & Finch, a Gastropub that has merged the historical motifs of the British Pub and American restaurants (Fitting since I will be moving to London in the Fall!).

Bracing against the harsh Kansas wind we made our way into the warm and inviting Gastropub. The atmosphere was pulsing with the afternoon rush and we were delightedly greeted by the charming manager who took our names and reserved us a table.

Once seated we delved right into to menus that were placed before us-one could not help but salivate at the thought of a hearty bowl of Chicken Pot Pie. We learned, during our visit, that all the food on the menu is selected via Farm-To-Table; meaning that it has been bought from local farms and or farmers markets. 

We agreed to pick different dishes off the Lunch Menu in order to experience as many delicious delicacies as possible. I resolved to order the Roasted Tomato Soup, Chicken Pot Pie (it was too tempting to pass up) and for my dessert choice the Lemon Creme Caramel. Sweet Mother went with a Warm Butternut Squash & Kale Salad, Veggie Melt and Hot Chocolate Bread Pudding (My stomach is growling just writing about it).

As we patiently waited for our selections to be delivered to our table we caught up on life's happenings and the future's mysteries. We made it about five minutes before we came to the conclusion that we needed a warm cup of tea to hold between our paws while catching up.

I expected to be given a quaint teacup and saucer but I was proven, pleasantly, wrong. We were each brought an individual tray including a cup, saucer and kettle. Then the real fun began- our lovely server fetched a case filled with a glorious array of Harney & Sons Fine Teas. I chose a soothing Chamomile tea while Denise went with and Organic English Breakfast brew.

Tea Time!

The tea was heavenly (another British trait that I have noticed sneaking into my life). Not shortly after our food arrived. 

I could not have picked a better combination of comfort foods to consume. The Tomato Soup was a perfect combination of creamy and deliciously textured, accompanied with notes of basil and ricotta. But do not even get me started on the Chicken Pot Pie- it was divine. Served with a soft puff pastry to substitute the pie crust, it was the epitome of "rainy-day" comfort food, I felt as if I was transported back home curled up eating one of my favorite dishes. 

Roasted Tomato Soup & Chicken Pot Pie

Butternut Squash & Kale Salad & Veggie Melt.

Sweet Mom

I also snuck a taste of Mom's Kale & Butternut Squash Salad, and for someone who isn't the biggest fan of squash, it was refreshing. I also received a slice of her Veggie Melt and again was delightfully surprised. The bread was perfectly crispy and the pesto along with grilled zucchini and oven roasted tomatoes was pleasantly flavorful. 

I suppose this is sneaking. 

Finishing off the last bites of our main meals, we gladly made room for our desserts that were placed before us. The Lemon Creme Caramel was light and lemony. But the real prize winner was the Hot Chocolate Bread Pudding. I wish I would have taken the Manager's suggestion and ordered one for myself! Bits of the bread were just the right amount of crisp while others were perfectly softened by the bittersweet chocolate that seeped between. A true delight for any chocolate enthusiast. 

 Lemon Creme Caramel

 Hot Chocolate Bread Pudding

A clear winner..

We lingered at our table to finish discussing the obscenity of celebrity culture and the joys of finding your true passion(s) and having the courage to pursue them. 

It was a perfect afternoon spent with Mom and I look forward to visiting Pig & Finch again in the timely future!

July 24, 2013

Harbor Springs, Michigan

Sorry again for delayed update, but I do have lots of pictures to make up for it!

There are so many places in this world that I want to see. So many that look like a slice of Heaven was put right here on Earth. But there will always be one place that I will consider Heaven on Earth no matter where I go in the world; and that place is Harbor Springs. 

A view from the Bluff. Harbor Springs, Michigan.

Sailboats Galore!

Every year since the summer before my Sophomore year in high school, my small family of five has made the thirteen hour drive up to the little town about ten minutes away from a larger city known as Petoskey. 
We tried splitting it up into a two day trip the first year but after a horrific night in a smoke scented "Kids Suite" complete with it's own log cabin club house we dubbed "Camp Pilferage" (for reasons unbeknownst to me); we now make the trek in one day. 

Entertaining ourselves on the drive up. 

Tucked away in it's own quaint harbor inside the vast Lake Michigan lies Harbor Springs, a small lakeside town founded around 1847 with All American roots and touches of charm, sophistication and delight. 
Our yearly week-long trip to "Harbor" to stay with my Mom's Sister, Uncle and their seven children (our cousins, obviously, but they are also considered to be our great and closest friends); is always top on my family's list as our favorite trip of the year. 
Thirteen hours, five stops at the gas station, a completed season three of Downton Abbey (don't even get me started I have yet to accept the ending) and a solid four hours of listening to my Dad and Brother's choice of what we have deemed "Scream-o Rock Music" we FINALLY pulled into the driveway. 

The Harbor House

I have always loved the atmosphere of the "Harbor House" there are usually three families, assorted friends and a couple of boyfriend/girlfriends that stay for the week; what I love is that everyone gets along and is close to one another- as we all consider ourselves family. 
 There is so much that goes on the week we stay (which always centers around Fourth of July Weekend-you will never see a town look more American than Harbor Springs on the 4th of July) that I can hardly remember in order what commenced during our ten day stay (rhyme much?). 

Up North (Hat from the Monogram Shop, a trip favorite).

There were Boys' Golfing Days, lazy afternoons, boat rides, trips out to The Point to swim, jet skiing, the annual midnight Polar Plunge, the Paul Revere 5K run with a post-run jump in freezing lake. The list is endless. There were midnight powwows on the rooftop deck to just sit and stargaze, daily trips to Yummies Ice Cream, and Tom's Mom's Cookies at every meal. 
Like any All American town there was Mass on Sunday mornings, followed by lazy afternoon bike rides and a day trip over to Sturgeon Bay for lunch, swimming and shinanigans on the paddle board. 

A view down Main Street on the 4th of July.

The post run plunge! 

After the plunge

Boating and beach day on The Point with my cousin Kelsey and younger sister Maggie.

Look at my Momma go!

All the gals in their "Harbor Girls" Fourth of July shirts.

Every Wednesday and Saturday morning we would roll out of bed and walk over to Main Street for the Local Farmer's market, where we would leave with freshly picked strawberries, pies, spreadable honey and fresh flowers for the table. 
Every evening would end with a three round game of volleyball, this year the featured teams being the "Harbor Barbers" and the "Waboombas" don't let the names fool you we play some serious net. 
 The victorious "Waboombas" 

 My lovely parents.

 Us girls after the "Grown up Kids'" dinner.

 American Spoon Jams, which I simply love.

 Waiting for Turkey's Pizza

A look the other way down Main Street, during a Farmer's Market morning.

Sassy Momma

And Aunt!

My cousin Molly and I during an afternoon trip to the nearby Sturgeon Bay.

What I truly love is that we don't need T.V. and countless hours on our laptops and phones to be entertained; it's the nights filled with significant conversations, laughter and playful banter during a "Harbor Style" volleyball match, the sound of my cousin Bart softly strumming his guitar, the silent twinkle of the stars and the thunderous booms of fireworks on our Nation's birthday. When we are together it's each other's presence that truly delights the soul. We leave Harbor with bigger smiles, fuller stomachs and more memories; but most of all bigger hearts.

 Studly Daddy

And a goofy Brother.

Boys before annual Polar Plunge.

 And the Ladies.

 Here we go, it's time to MAN UP!

My Cousin Peter and Brother Trevor at a pancake breakfast at The Original Pancake House, Bay Harbor.

Nighty, Night.