Saturday, April 5, 2014

So.Sick.Need.Soup.


So. Sick. Need. Soup.






 


Viral Bronchitis.

Viral=Antibiotics don’t work. Just have to wait until it clears your system.
Bronchitis: Hurts to breathe, coughing and now in my ears.

 
I need soup.

 
Soup is one of my favorite foods. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Why more people don’t have it for breakfast is bewildering to me. It’s easy to digest right when your body is just waking up, it’s warming for right before you go out to the hard cold world, and it comes with noodles!
From Google Images

Soup is like a warm internal bath that bathes your cells with its healing chickeny goodness. I need soup.

This is my chicken soup that I make all the time. Homemade chicken soup has it all over the canned stuff and you can make a lot for very little. My soup has two secret ingredients that make it stellar.

 


 




Stock  base:                                                        

1 chicken about 3-4 pounds                       
1 med. Onion
3 carrots, roughly chopped
3 celery stalks
Salt & pepper
Water to cover


Put all ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let go for about 2 hours. Cool stock. Remove all solids, reserving chicken for soup. If not using right away, put in freezer bags and frees.

 

NEED. SOUP. NOW.
CHICKEN SOUP



Everyone likes soup.
Soup

Chicken meat from stock (or if you didn't
make stock, cut up chicken meat)
Bouillon cubes to match water
*(so one to one if one cube matches
one cup, if one cube to two cups, adjust)

2-3 stalks celery diced
2-3 peeled carrots, diced
2-3 Tbs. flour
Butter or olive oil
¼- ½ tsp cumin
Salt & pepper
Kluski Noodles
Parsley






In a pan melt your butter and sauté your celery and carrots until crisp tender. Add your flour so that the vegetables are covered and cook for a minute or so more taking care not to burn them. Add chicken stock and the remaining ingredients.



 





The cumin is the key to making this taste really “chickeny”. For years I couldn’t figure out why soups out had such a pronounced “chicken” taste while my homemade soup always tasted like slightly flavored water. The cumin highlights the chicken taste and adding the bouillon to the stock also doubles the concentration of the chicken flavor in the soup. It’s like a soup infusion.

Who knew?
 

 

These noodles are also key.

 

These make it taste just like grandma used to make it.

 

They look just like someone’s grandma made noodles just for your soup because they knew you needed comforting. I love make-believe noodle grandma. She keeps me in comforting egg noodles. Thank you make-believe noodle grandma.

Eat more soup. Soup is comfort. We need more comfort.

I need a nap.

 

 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Jenny's Homefront Strategy: Feeding the Family for Free


What do all these things have in common?



Coupons allow you to get name band products at a considerable
savings. Maybe even free!

All of them were totally free. Free, name brand products that my family will use and I didn't spend a dime on. What is better than free? Free name brand products.

Before you get the wrong I idea, I assure you there is no five finger discount going on here. How do I get free products? I coupon. Couponing allows me to take the money we've budgeted for food and personal needs and stretch it to the nth degree. Couponing has allowed me to purchase more expensive name brands that I may have otherwise walked past.

Couponing is a big part of Jenny's Homefront Strategy.


If you asked me four years ago if I couponed I would have told you I don't have time for it. I'll admit, couponing sometimes feels like a second job. But with the prices in the stores being what they were and the economy being what is is, you can hardly afford not to. "Coupon shopping: is a bit different than your more common "needs based" shopping. With "coupon shopping" your goal is purely an economical one. Buy as much of a product that you will use and the rock bottom price. When you coupon, you anticipate future needs. This requires  you to store your additional products. This is referred to as your "stockpile". A stockpile is a good thing, please do not confuse it with hording. A stockpile is composed of items that will be consumed in a reasonable time frame whereas hording behavior generally is for items that have no real intrinstic value and or are not consumed. A stockpile will disappear as items are eaten or  used. Hording does not.

1. Keep a binder and buy multiple papers. Or if you are lucky enough have friends who don't coupon save you their coupons. There are many ways to set up a binder. Personally for mine, I keep it very simple. I personally see no reason to clip coupons that I may not use. It takes way too much time and time is one commodity I don't have much of. For my binder, the most recent coupons go in the front, with all the multiple pages grouped together. So if I have page one of an insert and I've bought three papers, each page 1 of that insert is grouped together and put in a clear sleeve in my binder. All the old inserts are in the back and as they expire and I remove them, I put the empty sleeve in the front so I've always got a supply of clear sleeves and the old coupons are removed. If I need a coupon, I remove those out of the sleeve, cut them out with one motion and if I've got them stacked right, I get three or more coupons cut out at one time.


Personal care items too! All free or nearly so!
 
2. Find websites that have already done the coupon matchups for you. Sites like krazycouponlady.com or mommasneedtoknow.com have already done the matchups for me so I can cruise through what is on sale in local and national stores. In the Rochester area the only national store we have is Aldi's or Walmart, everything else is regional grocery stores. One of those regional stores has an add where about 95 percent of the ad is their store brand merchandise. The other regional store has higher prices than both Aldi's, it's regional competitor and Walmart. So it makes very difficult to coupon match. Like everyone else, I'm incredibly busy and have no time to go through several store's advertisements to see who has the best price. These websites are a Godsend. The women and men that go through the work of price matching truly help more families than they know. They list the item, size, what coupons are available and if there are any printables. I often use that as my grocery list so I can go in, get just those items and get out before I'm tempted by more than my pocketbook can handle.

3. Learn your terms and how to read coupons. Trust me, the clerk ringing you up doesn't necessarily understand couponing. A "transaction" is different than a "purchase". If a coupon reads "Only one item per purchase", that means you can only use one coupon per one item. If a coupon reads, "Only four like coupons per transaction", however, it means you can only use four coupons in that one transaction. So, say you wanted to purchase five shampoos but the coupons that you had for that particular shampoo limited to four like coupons per transaction",  you could only use four of those coupons for that transaction. (No one is saying you can't ring up the fifth on a different transaction however).

Some manufacturer's are becoming increasingly strict with their coupon verbiage and policy which begs the question, "are they really wanting to alienate their consumer"? The reality is that there are very few of the "extreme couponers" out there as most of us do not have the time to spend 6-8 hours in a store. Most of us are just trying to stretch our budgets. The reality of the situation is that if you make it hard for those to coupon to use your brand, they will use someone else's.

4. Do not have brand loyalty. I don't know about you but Tide doesn't pay my bills. Nor does Crest, Campbells or Jiff. Yet growing up these were some of the frequent products that were always purchased in my mom's home. Many of these products rarely, if ever come to a coupon and even with a coupon are generally so much more than other products. Let couponing open your world to new products. I've tried so many new products that my family has enjoyed simply because I had a coupon.

5. Stack your coupons. You'll hear this term often when you begin couponing. What this essentially means is that you can use a store's coupon with a manufacturer's coupon. Create the perfect trifecta with a store sale or a low everyday price and you can walk out with the store with a perfectly free item or in cases with store programs, they giving you money back in the form of "store bucks" or gift cards. Some even have kiosks right in their store that print their coupons based on your spending habits.


CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens
all have some type of "store rewards".
Keep these in mind when considering
a purchase.
6. Lower value coupons are often your better bet at grocery stores. Most grocery stores double coupons up to a dollar. That means, if you have a coupon worth seventy-five cents and it doubles because it is lower than a dollar, it now has become a dollar fifty coupon. Unless your store is running a special or has a policy of doubling dollar coupons, if you have a choice between a dollar off one item or a coupon worth seventy five cents that will double to a dollar fifty, the lower denominator coupon is your better bet.

7. Don't limit yourself to grocery stores.  When you think "food",  you naturally think grocery stores. Surprisingly, your pharmacy stores like Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS are often excellent places to pick up soup, cereal, or soda/pop. All of them accept coupons. Most of them will price match if you simply ask the manager, and they've been doing that long before Walmart started advertising it. Many will reward you with "store bucks" in the form of register rewards. Keep in mind, you are paying the sale price or full price for that product when you reach the register, but that reward can be used towards your next purchase. Don't overlook store loyalty cards. Believe it or not, even dollar stores take coupons these days.


8. Consider rebate and rebate like programs. Often a product will come with a rebate. If you are interested it that, it generally means sending in your receipt (always make a copy and date when you sent in the original) and sometimes the product's UPC. You will be rewarded with a check coming back to you in the mail. Rite Aid used to have one of these programs, I'm not sure if it still does. Also check out other sites like Checkout 51 which requires you to scan in a register receipt for that week from ANY STORE and when you reach a predestined amount, they send you a check. Not a bad system for the consumer for something you would have purchased anyway.

9. Different regions get different coupons with different values. Sometimes even the same paper has different coupons. Also, coupons repeat typically every six weeks.  I've actually had the experience of buying three papers only to have one that will have a completely different insert. Also different regions may have considerably higher value coupons. It pays to look online to see if there was a higher value coupon somewhere else. In New York, we tend to get either lower value coupons or coupons that often make you buy a ridiculous amount to save very little. "Buy six to save a dollar"... really? But by searching online you may find out that say, California got a higher value coupon or that there is a coupon to "Buy 3, save 40 cents" which, because you are buying fewer and can use more coupons, may be your best option. Also, you will see the same coupon appear typically six weeks, most times with the same ad. Keep this in mind when you need to stock back up.


10. Use clipping services and get rain checks. Reliable clipping services help you to build your stockpile when something goes on sale at a rock bottom price. You pay them for their labor in clipping and compiling coupons. (Legally you cannot "sell" coupons). Make sure the coupon has a long expiration date or will not expire before  you receive them. This also relates to rain checks. If you go into a store only to find that they are sold out of a product, make sure to get a raincheck and check back often.


These strategies help me to, "Pinch that penny until Lincoln cries". Because of my couponing, I have actually not had to buy shampoo or deodorant for  over three years because I "purchased" these items with coupons which made them free or almost free. Couponing takes time but it is an amazing feeling when you lay out all the items you got for free or near free and realize how much money you have saved at the end of the day.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

GET ME OUT THE DOOR BREAKFAST SANDWICHES!

Let's face it, mornings are hard.

Mornings are hard for everyone!
I'm a night person by nature and my morning self really doesn't like my nighttime self very much. I stay up way too late trying to get that one more thing done so that the next day goes easier only to wake up exhausted and with bed separation anxiety first thing in the morning.  Huge in the realm of world problems I know.

Too often this has resulted in my husband and I stopping at the local convenience store to buy some over priced, salted, and fat-laden breakfast sandwiches.

Boy they are good.

But not for the wallet.

So every so often I'll make a huge batch of these breakfast sandwiches as the cost is paramount to maybe four of these store bought delights and the taste is so much better. I've tried several methods of to finally get to this one that actually takes the least amount of time for the largest payoff. So here is how to make delicious breakfast sandwiches for a quick out the door, substantial breakfast.

Yum!
GET ME OUT THE DOOR BREAKFAST SANDWICHES

  • 4 packs of English muffins (I buy at the thrift bakery)                    
  • 1 large bag of precooked pork or turkey breakfast sausage
  • 2-3 cartons of eggs
  • sliced cheese of your choice
  • salt, pepper and cooking spray
  • Tin foil and Sharpe marker

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a muffin tin in each compartment with cooking spray and set aside.

Break eggs into a mixing bowl, season with S&P. If you like, you
can also add some shredded cheese to this mix for "cheesy eggs".
Pour a small portion into each muffin tin until you fill each of
the 12 compartments up. You will have to do this at least twice if
you want to use up all 24 English muffins. Bake in the oven  until
set, about 10 mins.



Once the oven has reached temp, split all your muffins and place
on a large cookie sheet. Once eggs are completely set, remove
from the oven and set oven now to broil. Put in your muffins in to
crisp.  Remove from oven.

Lay out one premade patty on 12 of the muffins.(half shown here due to small cookie sheet)  Follow that with one of your egg patties and top with cheese. Lay the other portion of the muffin on top. Remove enough tin foil to wrap your muffins and label with the type of muffin they are. Put in your freezer for a quick to grab breakfast on the go. With our microwave we find about a minute & thirty seconds is about what it takes to warm these up from a frozen state.


 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

It's Tomato Time.. Tomato Time...

From Google Images
Yeah I know it's all of 2 degrees outside as I write this and the woodstove is doing it's best to heat the old farmhouse, but believe it or not, it's time to plant the tomatoes!

Tomatoes are one thing I grow really well in my clay soil. This is good as tomatoes are my number one thing I can every year. In general, I can at minimum 50-75 quarts of tomatoes, several pints of pizza sauce, several quarts of spaghetti sauce and last year I did a few quarts of enchilada sauce. So we utilize our tomato harvest!




Why grow tomatoes? For many reasons. 
  1. You have a limited choice in the supermarket in tomatoes because supermarkets carry onlythe breed of produce that ships well.Why is this an issue? Well, tomatoes, like wine, have different flavors due to different sugar content and their makeup. Some tomatoes are sweet, some tart, some acidic, some mellow. If you buy just what is in your market, your doing your taste buds a disservice based on what is simply convenient for the supermarket.
  2.  Different tomatoes have different uses.                             
    While you can, and I have, used salad tomatoes for sauce,
    in general paste tomatoes are best. Their cell walls                     
    are thicker with fewer seeds and their purpose is for
    thick sauces. Beefsteak tomatoes are generally used for
    salads, BLTs, juice anywhere that you want to use it raw. 
    Pizza Sauce with homemade dough
    for pizza night!

    Currant or grape tomatoes are for salads, popping
    hole into pastas (with basil and Parmesan) or
    eating but the handfuls.
  3. Tomatoes are no harder to grow than lettuce.For years I shied away from growning tomatoes too thinking that they were too difficult to grew. Know what? They aren't. Tomatoes just take a long time to grow (about 8 weeks) so you have to plan about two months prior to wanting to transplant to put them in the ground. My experience is that they have to be transplanted, they don't generally do well just plunking a seed in the ground although anytime I spread my compose on any of the gardens, I generally have "volunteers" that show up in the flower garden, etc. (I simply call them "flower garden" tomatoes and consider myself blessed that my flowers have a new friend that I can harvest from later.) In the north this is especially true due to our short growing season. By the time the plants had set fruit, we'd be worrying about frost.
  4. Plant/fruit diversity.In your typical garden center     
    you are going to find only these varieties:
    a. Early Girl
    b. Big Boy
    c. Better Boy
    d. Best Boy
    e. Cherry Tomato
    f. Maybe Mortgage Lifter
    g. Maybe a "cherry" yellow pear tomato in the more exotic stores.

    
    So many seeds, so many different types of tomatoes!


    That's it. I've gone to big box stores, the garden centers, and department stores. This is pretty much the selection I see every year. Again, why? Because this is the generic plant versions that they know that they can sell. There is such a bigger world out there full of tomatoes you didn't even know existed. I purchase my tomatoes from a great company out of Florida every year called "Tomato Grower's Supply" http://www.tomatogrowers.com/?gclid=CM2A4JaK7rwCFe1QOgod6V0ADA. They have literally hundreds of different types of tomatoes. Did you even know that there were hundreds of different types. Here are some of the general different types of tomatoes. I'll admit here that I have issues with tomatoes as I always buy much more than I should but in my defense, there are such interesting varieties, how can one choose?

    a. Early season, mid season, late season
    b. Currant vs cherry vs. pear
    c. Oxhart vs. oxhart paste vs salad tomato
    d. Red vs. pink vs. black vs. orange vs. green vs. yellow vs. stripey
    e. Determinate vs. Indeterminate
    f. Potato Leaf
    g. Tomatillos (which no one seems to grow in my area)
  5. You can follow your food from seed to plate knowing exactly how it was raised and what was put on it.


    While I don't consider myself an alarmist, our food is generally pretty safe in this country, much safer that it has been historically, that doesn't mean that there isn't cause for concern. Major corporations have embraced the Genetically Modified Foods and spliced all sorts of things into seeds in an effort to boost production and eliminate problems with plant diseases and pests. While in some respects this is good, in many respects we have no idea what is being added to our food. Think this isn't an issue? Have you ever heard of DDT? Ever seen the movie "Soylent Green"?  When toxins get introduced into a ecosystem, each layer gets effected until the top end user, in this case us, gets the highest concentration. I've often wondered if this is the reason we see such a high explosion of kids that have peanut allergies. When I was a kid in the 1970's, no one I knew had any issues with peanuts, it wasn't heard of. Now every other kid seems to have an issue. And, anytime you let a corporation be in charge of making genetic changes in a food product, you run the risk of profit overcoming any basic common sense. In general, they aren't in social welfare mindset as much as the profit based mindset and that is mindset is dangerous to the public health. Choosing your seeds from a reputable company, growing them yourself and bringing them to your table assures you the freshest, most vitamin packed vegetables you can come across with the piece of mind of how they were raised.
So today I started my seeds. I plant a lot of seeds. I put them in these grow containers with the greenhouse tops and water in the tray beneath the seeds so they can slowly wick up. I use seed starter medium to give them the best chance to germinate.  Start them now as tomatoes take at least 8 weeks to be ready to transplant. I typically transplant them into a bigger container when the plant has at least three leaves so they can spread out and grow in a potting soil medium. I want to give the plants a good chance to develop a solid root system before setting them out into the garden in May. I always end up with way more than I need but as we probably use
tomatoes more than any other vegetable it is never an
issue with them taking over the majority of my garden.

So, ladies and gentlemen, get out there and get your seeds today for the best selection and try growing your tomatoes from seed. You'll be glad you did when you bite into that first tomato of the season and realize that there is a whole world of different tomato tastes you've been missing. Growing your food from seed allows you to become an everyday gourmet. Grow something today!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jenny's Homefront Strategy: Planning Your Own Victory Garden.

 

It's Spring!

Well as nice as the few days have been recently, we know better. But spring begins in our house as soon as the new seed catalogs start arriving so spring generally starts in December.

Now is the time to start planning this year's garden. When my grandmother was young, the Victory Garden was a patriotic way to make sure that the troops got the food they needed. Those on the homefront would grow the food they needed and make due with rations so as much food could be sent to the troops. Our homefronts are no different now than they were then. While the American food supply is generally safe, things like GMO which may lead to colony collapse in our bees who pollinate our fruits and vegetables. Many of the foods you eat contain GMO and the food industry is under no obligation to disclose what food or what it has in it. There are corn varieties for instance that actually contain Roundup. Sounds appetitizing doesn't it?

I like to know what is being fed to my family. My beef comes from my parent's farm, I get my pork from a trusted friend of theirs but like most people,  my chicken and fish come right from the store. We can't control everything but we can learn to grow as much as possible for ourselves so we know where our food comes from. Growing a garden or even having a few pots on the windowskill is a step closer taking back your food independence!

But, you argue, I live in an apartment, I can't grow my own food! In the first apartment I was in (on the 14th floor!) I grew cantalope, tomatoes and lettuce. There is a fantastic book on this subject called "The Indoor Kitchen Garden"  by Joy O.I. Spoczynska. For lugging all that dirt upstairs, you'll be rewarded with fresh veggies and herbs.

If you've never grown a garden before I'm going to suggest you start with some herbs. Herbs, like most plants, are basically useful weeds. They grew in the countryside, on cliffs, in ditches, anywhere and everywhere. One day someone tried a plant and discovered it tasted good and history moved on from there. They are fairly easy to grow and are generally pretty happy on a window ledge as much as in a garden.

I've been growing herbs since I was fifteen so I'm going to offer you up some suggestions.



 BASIL

This is a must have. Grow a lot. You can generally get a harvest off your plants once a week during the growing season. Grind those leaves up with some parmesan, olive oil and your favorite nuts and put it in your ice cube trays. Pop them out and put the pesto cubes ina labelled freezer bag and pop them in the freezer. Don't make the mistake I did the first time I grew basil and lift the plant for the leaves. You can take quite a few of the leaves off each plant leaving maybe 3-4 and the plant will survive and grow more. Harvesting and making pesto each week guarantees you a few bags of pesto that allows you to make your soups, pasta sauces or bruscetta instantly gourmet.  I grown this at least every other year if not every year. I'm working on my three gallon storage bags I put away two summers ago. A definite must grow. Annual.


CHAMOMILE or CAMOMILE              

Chamomile is a calmative in that it emotionally calms you (verses a sedative which physically calms you like valarian). Great for tea, especially for small children, it helps to aid in sleep. A nice herb for dream pillows for the same properties. The oil is highly useful in essential oils preparations. Comes in two forms, Roman Chamomile or German Camomile. I find it difficult to grow in my clay soil. Annual.

  

 

 





Chives gone to flower

  CHIVES 

  These onion like herbs are probably one of the easiest to grow.
  In a few growing seasons, you can divide them up and plant them
  somewhere else and have a second, a third and even more to
  give away. Great for butters, put in dips or even cut up in
  cottage cheese. A "gate way" herb if there ever was one.
  Perennial.









OREGANO

For whatever reason, my oregano loves my clay soil. It grows like nuts and very rudely attempts to take over the herb garden. I cannot begin to tell you how may times I have given clumps of this herb away only to be gifted with it taking over the space I just removed a clump from. The herb is an absolute necessity when making tomato sauce and is excellent when sprinkled over just about anything. Perennial.
 
 
 
 


                                                                 
                                                                
PARSLEY (FLAT LEAF)

 Flat leaf parsley earns it's place on your plate for farm more than just a garnish. This powerhouse can freshen your breath like no one's business and contains an impressive amount of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. It's a primary ingredient in Chimichuri sauce and an excellent add in to most dishes. Bi-Annual.










ROSEMARY      

I am so jealous of those that can grow this herb like a huge bush. I have to treat rosemary as an annual in my neck of the woods. I rarely can get it to last the season let alone survive over the winter even if I do bring it indoors. But for it's unique taste it is worth the effort. Rosemary tea is said to help bring a sense of alertness. For a better tasting drink, I've also had it steeped in pineapple juice which is really tasty. Annual in colder climates, perennial in warmer.








 



 

SALAD BURNETT


You've probably never heard of this herb. Salad burnett is a lovely herb that has a delicate cucumber scent and taste. I'm constantly introducing people to this deightful little plant because it is such a nice accent to a sandwich or floating on top of a bowl of onions and cucumber salad. Easy to grow from seeds (I get the seeds from a company called "Southern Explosures"), it is supposed to be a tender annual but until recently, the plant I had in my garden was on it's tenth season of coming up each year. Add it to your herb garden this year. Annual (?)









Monday, February 17, 2014

Budget Savers! Grandma's Hamburger Casserole

My son's birthday was this week...

 Birthdays in our household usher in two choices. What type of cake do you want (Chocolate with chocolate frosting -the boy takes after his mother on this one!) and what favorite dinner do you want me to make?

I expected my son to ask for pasta or maybe pizza but instead he said assuredly, "Grandma's Hamburger Casserole!"
 
 I grew up on this casserole. We had it very often and at times, I really hated it. But when you grow up, you often become nostalgic and suddenly those meals of your youth are the very ones you want to serve your family.

My son LOVES this casserole and it is one that is incredibly budget friendly. This isn't some fancy casserole and like most great American casseroles, this does have a creamed can soup component. Don't let that turn you off though. You can put this casserole together in about 20 minutes and pop it into the oven for an hour while you find other things to work on. This is the perfect 5pm dinner go to when you are driving home from work or errands and don't know what to make. You probably have everything already in your cupboard. In an hour you have a hot and tasty dinner on the table that tastes like so much more work went into it than it did. Try it! It may earn itself in your dinner rotation just yet. With only seven ingredients it's hard to go wrong!

 

I doubled the receipe amounts so we had some for lunches.

GRANDMA'S HAMBURGER CASSEROLE

1 lb of ground beef (or turkey), browned
1 tsp of butter to brown it in (I often leave this out)
1 10 oz can of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of white rice
2 cups of water
1/3 cup of soy sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Brown your meat in a skillet breaking it up as you go. If  your meat is very lean, you may have to add the butter to brown in, Remove from heat and drain off fat.





Put browned meat in a large casserole with the remaining ingredients.







Stir to combine well. Do not be concerned that it appears really soupy at this point.





Once the starches in the rice release and the rice absorbs the liquid, the casserole will come together more completely.

Cover your casserole and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Enjoy!






Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Yeah, We're Bad.. We're Bad...



The news came out this week. Flint is now the second most dangerous city in America.  
 
Charming.
 
While I grew up about thirty miles outside of Flint, I still consider Flint my “hometown” being that it is the nearest “big city” to my little village. Flint is like any other town, there are places you go and places you know to stay away with. Citing one piece of information to brand a town is a bit one dimensional. So let me tell you a little about Flint from a Flint Ex-pat.

 Flint has a lot of good qualities. Here are some of the things you may have never known about Flint, Michigan.
 
1940 W. Atherton Rd, Flint, MI
1. Like your work benefits? Like working five days a week and not six? Thank a Flint autoworker.  Trust me, employers don’t give benefits through the kindness of their heart. In February 1937 for forty-four long days, auto-workers in Flint, Michigan protested by having a sit down strike. They held off the National Guard and the police to stand up for the power of the American worker to have some say in their workplace and not simply be the pawn of a large corporation. Their strike and their ability to organize, gave a voice to the common worker. Because of their bravery, they created a legacy that helps the average worker today. Without these people fighting for basic workers right, you would have no heathcare, no vacation, no sick pay. There would be absolutely no safety net if you got hurt on the job. So next time you go to the doctor or have your day off, thank an American autoworker.

Each new strike showed that there were workers unwilling to live as slaves, workers who preferred to fight, even if to lose, than not to fight at all. Each new strike reinforced this idea: it is possible to fight, no matter how difficult the circumstances”. (http://the-spark.net/o_flintsit.html)

2. Grand Funk Railroad. Purely Flint through and through. Seems like everyone of a certain age knew someone in the band. I believe my parents went to school with one of the members. http://www.grandfunkrailroad.com/

3. Flint Style Coney Dogs. Not a chili dog like Detroit dogs, a full fledged Flint piece of heaven in a bun. My favorite places to get these:
 


I show you how to make a close facsimile at home, see The Coney Dog: Meat Gift of the Gods.
 



  C. https://www.facebook.com/StarliteDinerandConeyIsland

4. The University of Michigan, Flint Campus.  My aluma mater.
GO BLUE!
     http://www.umflint.edu/


5. The Flint Institute of Art.                                      
I spent many a day in between classes at school wandering through the galleries. I love this art muesuem. The tapestries were exquisite, the glass paperweights were beautiful and the
paintings are wonderous. I truly love this place.
http://www.flintarts.org/art/collections

6. The Sloan Museum. The Sloan Museum takes you through the early days of the auto industry. You learn about the people behind the names. They house over 80 vehicles and they do a fine job of really going into how the auto industry really helped to build Flint and the surrounding cities into a national powerhouse of industry. http://sloanlongway2.tru-m.com/sloan-museum/about-sloan-museum
 

            David Buick statue in Downtown Flint

7. The Longway Planetarium. Every child went to the Longway Planetarium at some point during school. It was so big, so amazing. You got a sense of how vast the universe is.

8. Halo Burgers. “Seven Days without a Halo Burger makes one week!” Yes it does…yes it does. Order a deluxe with olives for an especially delicious taste of Flint. OMG… I want one NOW!

9. The ROCK.. or some call it the Block. (It's called the Rock...just my opinion )
and it's stupid... and we love it. This rock or block is a landmark for reasons unknown. Every time you see it, it's been painted by someone. It can be graffiti'ed or a carefully executed plan, but it's a dynamic piece of public artwork if there ever was one.
 
                         Hammerberg Road and 12th Street

10. Back to the Bricks. A five day cruise and car show down Saginaw Street. A really good time.  http://www.backtothebricks.org/

 
So, in a sense, Flint is kind of like that boyfriend... yeah, you know the one. Kind of dangerous, kind of exciting... the one that you think back on and smile.. not the kind you'd necessarily marry but the one you definitely had to be with. Yeah, we're a little bad... but definately not forgetable... and you wouldn't have missed it for the world.