Cinnamon Apple Cranberry Sauce

In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, here is a yummy healthy side dish to try out with your family dinner. 

Total Time: 45 min
Prep 10 min
Inactive 20 min
Cook 15 min
Yield: 12 servings
Level: Easy


2 cups cranberry juice
1 (6-ounce) bag sweetened dried cranberries
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 cup sugar
2 Gala apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 teaspoons corn starch
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the cranberry juice, cranberries, cinnamon and sugar. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have softened and apples are tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove 8 ounces of the liquid to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch. Slowly add the cornstarch-juice mixture (slurry) to the cranberry mixture, stirring constantly. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour into a serving bowl. Refrigerate until thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and serve.

Read more at:


UP 200



Musher at the UP 200 Photo taken by The Peninsulas at the start of the February 2010 UP 200

UP 200

The UP 200 is a 240 mile dog sled race from Marquette to Grand Marais and back to Marquette. The race started in 1990 and occurs each year in February. Forty sled teams, which consist of 12 dogs on each team, take off from downtown Marquette. The trail consists of "stretches of near-wilderness, creek crossings, hills and valleys, and heavily forested land" ( Mushers come from all over Canada and the U.S., including Marquette county. This event is a unique because it a qualifying event for the Iditarod, the most famous dog sled race in Alaska. 

During my time as a teacher in the U.P., I decided to share local events with my students through classroom themes. In March 2010, our theme was dog sled racing. We read leveled books about Alaskan sled dogs, researched the Iditarod, and completed a read aloud of "Stone Fox," while we worked on comprehension strategies. A local musher brought in his gear and shared about life as a musher. I encouraged my students to attend the UP 200 and attended the event myself to gather pictures and information to share with my students. This unit was the most fun we had as class and the most fun I have had as teacher, even to the this day. We worked on improving our reading, writing, and math skills while learning about the local community. 

Information and quote from gathered on November 23, 2013.


Allow me to introduce myself: the name is Beth Graham and I am lucky to call our intelligent and beautiful blogger, Melissa, my BFF. I also got to share a room with her while she was teaching in Ishpeming (I'm an SLP...look it up). But my bio isn't why we're here. We're here because it's deer season.

A year ago, on Thanksgiving Eve, I was exactly where all hunters want to be; sitting in my deer blind watching the does. I was a little edgy because I knew, in all likelihood, this would be my last hunt of the year. There was a lot of family coming to town for the holiday. This was my 6th year hunting and I still fell under the category of, "Buckless Yooper" (insert intense music here). Around 3:30 pm a decent sized spike horn started making appearances. But he was chasing one of my does and I never had a clear shot at him. My adrenaline was sure pumping though. Around 4:30 my girls started to meander on their way. Then HE came in. A beautiful 5 pointer. I set up my shot, clicked off the safety, and...


As I shot, the buck stood up on his hind legs to rub his antlers in a branch. Shit! Did I miss because of it? I knew it was a good shot but couldn't account for his movement. He bolted. That's when I got the adrenaline shakes. A hundred things were buzzing in my head, but I managed to get a text to my husband, Justin, who was sitting at our camp. "That was me! Five pointer at least. It ran. Oh shit." Justin isn't the most technologically advanced guy and I'm only allowed to text him during deer season. When he hadn't responded in 30 seconds I sent out eight more rapid-fire texts. He finally responded, "ok." I guess my adrenaline rush hadn't reached him. I promised myself I'd wait 15 minutes before going to collect Justin and start tracking my deer (you don't want to come up on a deer that's laying down and dying and push it further away). I'd like to say it was the longest 15 minutes of my life, but I only made it 10 minutes before I hightailed it back to camp. I know I was talking 100 miles an hour when I came through the door and found Justin reading. READING?!?!? He apparently didn't realize I'd just shot a BUCK! At this point, my version of the story and Justin's differ. But I'm writing this so you'll hear it how I remember:) He made me drink a beer to use up more time. He might as well have poked a hole in the bottom and had me shotgun it. Knowing I should wait and actually waiting are two horribly different things. Finally he started getting his outdoor clothes on. Finally we headed out.

First stop, the scene of the shot. Blood! And lung tissue!! We were on the trail. The blood trail was far apart and there was little snow. But I'm an excellent tracker and was literally running from one blood spot to the next. And then the trail ran cold.

My heart dropped.

My stomach dropped.

We backtracked.

We split up and went down different paths. And then I saw it, blood! I called for Justin and he started to laugh as I was hunting for more blood to follow. "Turn around," he told me. And there he was, my first buck.

The rest of the night was a blur. Family and friends flocked to our camp and celebrated with me. And, of course, there was the traditional shot of blackberry brandy for the successful hunt to go with all the beer.

"The second week of deer camp, is the greatest time of year!" ~Da Yoopers, "Second Week of Deer Camp," 1987

Sugarloaf Mountain, May 2010 Photo taken by The Peninsulas

Sugarloaf Mountain

The start of the 2010 summer would be the last of my living in the U.P., so I decided to make the best of it and do some hiking. Sugarloaf Mountain was the first place I checked out. Sugarloaf Mountain is located just outside of Marquette on County Road 550 and overlooks Lake Superior. Sugarloaf Mountain consists of a 3,200 foot trail and stair system up to the top of the mountain. There are two different routes available for people to reach the top. There is the "Difficult" route for the more adventurous of hikers and the "Moderate" trail for those less adventurous. It takes about 20 minutes to travel up to the top of the mountain which is 470' above Lake Superior. No matter which trail you take to the top, it's worth the hike up to experience the breathtaking views of Lake Superior and Marquette County. Sugarloaf Mountain is a MUST do adventure when you are in the Marquette area. 

Info gathered from and on November 23, 2013. 

View of Marquette County from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, May 2010 Photo taken by The Peninsulas
View of Lake Superior from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, Summer 2010 Photo taken by The Peninsulas
Welcome to Ishpeming!

Back in the summer of 2009, I was fresh out of college and looking to land my dream job of becoming a teacher. Well, it didn't take long and I landed that dream job in a little town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This was it, the beginning of my new life as a college grad, a teacher, and now as a yooper. I knew I was starting an adventure of a lifetime. I didn't know a soul in the U.P., but that would soon change. 

Ishpeming is located just west of Marquette along US 41 and it is a different world that what I was accustomed to living in downstate. The culture was different, the people talked differently, and it was a whole different landscape. However, it would be home for the next 9 months. 

During those 9 months, I met some of the best people in the world who later I would consider my yooper family. They took me in as one of their own and became family. My real family was over 8 hours away, downstate, so I know I couldn't have survived without them. My next few blogs are going to be about my life as a yooper and my crazy yooper adventures. I am excited to share these adventures with you and I hope you find enjoyment in learning about the U.P. as much as I do.

These pictures were taken on my very first trip to Ishpeming in August 2009.