MI Best Stories: In this episode, Eric Hultgren and Meegan Holland, of the Michigan Retailers Association, break down the importance of shopping local. Check out the MLive.com local gift guide for ideas on filling your holiday shopping list with local goodness, mlive.com/news/2020/11/michigan-holiday-gifts-we-love-to-give-online-ordering-and-downtown-shopping.html
In this episode, Amy Sherman sits down with dear friend Bob Benser to talk about Original Murdick’s Fudge staying open year-round, online orders and shipping for the holidays. Murdick’s Fudge is offering a couple special treats this holiday season, including their Sweet Treat of the Week, Michigan Holiday Brittle.
Watch the video below to learn more about it and how you can get a ‘free slice of fudge’.
Visit www.originalmurdicksfudge.com and enter the coupon code below, note terms and restrictions apply.
MLive Coupon code (case sensitive): MLIVETHANKS
Coupon description: 1 Free Slice of Maple Walnut Fudge with purchase of ‘3 Slice & Brittle Box’. (valid only for Shipping Now through Nov 27)
Coupon expiration date: Nov 27, 2020
Terms: This offer is only available for online orders with selected Shipping Date Now through Nov 27.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Eastbrook Homes shines a spotlight on a non-profit they’re thankful for: A.Y.A Youth Collective. In this podcast, you’ll hear from Lauren VanKeulen, CEO of A.Y.A Youth Collective, about their mission to provide resources for youths in crisis. Lauren discusses their heart and mission, the people they serve, the challenges they’ve overcome this year, and how those challenges made them grow and innovate.
Learn more about A.Y.A Youth Collective here: www.ayayouth.org.
Learn more about Eastbrook Homes here: www.eastbrookhomes.com
It didn’t take Shelby Nickerson long to figure out how CRUST, a Fenton-based artisan bakery, values the people, process and the principled techniques behind its products after she joined the locally owned business in 2014.
“The first thing they said to me was to make sure that our guests are taken care of and given a first-class experience from the moment they enter the door or call us on the phone,” said Nickerson, who now manages the bakery’s retail store and leads front-of-house restaurant staff.
“I could see it in everything that was happening here. There were no shortcuts, from the way the baked goods were crafted and prepared to the family atmosphere among the staff and how it extended to the community.”
And it’s that attention to detail and respect for others that drives CRUST staff every day, particularly as the holiday season starts and families across Michigan begin their annual traditions that reflect the same values as CRUST.
“It’s about food and doing things that bring us together,” Nickerson said. “And then to think that through our breads, our pies, our pastries and our Thanksgiving specials, we’re being invited into these homes and into their lives. It’s really important to us.”
CRUST, which opened in 2012 and has expanded to occupy nearly a full city block in Fenton, prides itself on using all-natural ingredients and eschewing preservatives. Its wide range of baked goods include pies, pastries, muffins, cookies, scones and made-to-order event cakes. The restaurant features handcrafted sandwiches, traditional Italian pizzas, salads and soups.
The bakery’s in-store pickup, delivery and wholesale retail operations have expanded CRUST’s reach to other parts of Michigan and the country. The ability to order online has been appreciated, said Amanda Lobaina, CRUST’s office manager.
“This is not your typical bread, pie or pastry, and people recognize that,” Lobaina said. “We feel that with everything going on this year with the pandemic and more, that people are going to want to do something special for themselves, for their friends or for their co-workers.
“We’re happy to be a part of those celebrations, to bring some joy to others and maybe make life a little easier.”
Lobaina noted that CRUST’s gift collections are popular choices throughout the year, but the care packages are of special significance around the holidays.
The boxes, which are shipped free of charge, can be chosen based on the recipient’s tastes or the time of the day – maybe an office breakfast or a mid-day pick-me-up treat. There are bread offerings for dinners or desserts to share as you swap stories or relax after a long day.
She’s seen an uptick in orders as a general show of appreciation in workplaces, social clubs and among friends. There has also been an influx in corporate gifts, she said.
Among the most-ordered items are:
- A best bakery box with cookies, brownies, bread and more.
- A breakfast box filled with scones, bread and jam.
- The cutie pie club that sends seasonal fruit pies every month.
- A cookie assortment box that will bring a smile to young and old.
- Cinnamon roll boxes that can be a morning lift or a day-of or day-after holiday breakfast.
- There’s even a puppy pack filled with handcrafted dog treats.
“There’s something for everyone, and people can take advantage of how we’ve crafted packages for their preferences to satisfy an individual gift or a group.” Lobaina said. “We always hear how much people love giving and getting baked goods.”
Other holiday specials include a German-style Stollen that has rum-soaked raisins and cranberries, real butter, whole and slivered almonds, crystallized ginger, candied citrus peel, nutmeg, and coarse-ground black pepper.
Lobaina described how the loaf is shaped by hand with an interior rope of marzipan and then after baking is dipped in melted sweet-cream butter, rolled in granulated sugar and finished with a drift of confectioners’ sugar.
Another holiday favorite is a traditional Italian-style Panettone that can be an after-dinner dessert, a sweet mid-day snack or the base for an amazing French Toast breakfast. Bakers craft the loaf with vanilla-soaked dark raisins, candied citrus peel, the zest of oranges and lemons and then finish the bread with a crown of coarse pearl sugar.
Lobaina and Nickerson recommended placing orders in advance to ensure availability for holiday gatherings.
“If your heart is set on something, we don’t want anyone to risk coming in and not being able to get it,” Nickerson said. “We want these homemade treats to be a part of your at-home holiday.”
Crust is also offering its first-ever complete Thanksgiving dinner that can be picked up and reheated at home. Orders can be placed until Nov. 21.
The dinner feeds four and includes:
- Bourbon maple glazed turkey breast with made from scratch gravy.
- Boursin and parmesan mashed potatoes.
- Green bean casserole: fresh green beans topped with house made mushroom cream sauce and topped with fried onions.
- Candied yams topped with House made marshmallows.
- Sage and Apple stuffing made with crust bread, celery, onions and granny smith apples.
- Cranberry orange preserves.
- Challah pull apart rolls.
- Sea Salt butter.
“We are excited to try something new and see how our guests respond,” Lobaina said. “That’s part of how we try to adapt to what our community wants.”
Check out the video below for a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the Crust bakers at work:
We all could use some encouraging news in our lives right now. On Monday, Nov. 16, MLive partnered with Michigan businesses from across the state to provide meals to health care workers who have been spending lots of hours on the front lines during coronavirus pandemic.
As COVID cases rise here in Michigan, we’ve once again paired some of our Michigan’s Best family of restaurants with our sponsor partners to provide a welcome food hug for our frontline health care workers. Our Michigan’s Best restaurant partners are thrilled to be able to not just help feed essential workers with some of the best food in Michigan, but to also generate some much needed take-out business during these tough times.
Check out the podcast below to learn more about Feeding the Frontlines, how it came to be and how we hope to bring a little joy to our great state.
MI Best Stories: In this episode, Eric Hultgren talks with Amy Sherman about how Feeding the Frontlines came about and what we are doing this third time around. This episode is brought to you by Stanley Steemer of Detroit and Woman’s Life Insurance Society.
Read the rest of the article and find more at MLive.com/michigansbest.
As Grand Rapids-based Alliance Physical Therapy’s leaders prepared for the nationwide launch of its Agile Virtual Care telehealth practice, they were confident in the distinct advantage the service is providing patients.
CEO Richard Leaver explained: “We are embracing the technology that allows us to leverage a 40-year history of delivering high-quality care and exceptional patient experiences beyond our brick-and-mortar locations. We have developed a network that relies on existing physical therapy professionals and their expertise and proven clinical abilities.
“While others rely on the platform and try to build out the care network, we are balancing the strength of our practices with telehealth advancements. It is a fundamental difference.”
Patients will be able to access physical therapy from the comfort of their home and at the time that fits their schedules, Leaver said. The process is simple, convenient and, most importantly, effective because of the physical therapists who will customize treatment plans for each patient.
The standard of care, evidence-based treatment and attention to detail is no different from an office visit except for it taking place via a smartphone app, on a computer or tablet.
Agile Virtual Care will serve patients experiencing everyday body pain, movement limitations, strength decreases, a lack of flexibility, as well as those who require treatment before or after surgery. The most common areas of need center around:
“There is a full range of service and direct 1-on-1 care,” Leaver said. “As a consumer, you get more attention because there are no distractions and no one else in the session.”
Direct access to therapists can begin without a doctor referral and Agile Virtual Care will work with patients to determine any insurance coverage across the 29-state network. Virtual care reduces patient expenses by up to 47 percent and speeds scheduling an appointment by 60 percent over in-person care, studies have found.
“Our goal is to improve timely access to care and also geographical access,” Leaver said, pointing out that many patients do not live near a physical therapy center. Patients who do live near an office can use a hybrid treatment, particularly useful if manual therapy is needed.
The easy-to-navigate four-step process to regaining agility and muscle memory starts with requesting an appointment online or calling 1-844-648-0024 to provide patient information and a description of symptoms and limitations. Next, patients, within 12 to 24 hours, will receive an email with instructions to join a virtual care appointment at a time they’ve selected.
Patients enter a virtual waiting room before their visit and meet the therapist who will discuss the problem before evaluating mobility and movement thresholds. The trained, licensed therapist determines a course of care and recommends exercises and other recovery strategies.
The treatment continues at home through prescribed video exercises that give patients visual reference to their treatment, reminders to perform the movements and the ability to track their work. Future visits with physical therapists are charted out based on individual need. A typical first consultation and evaluation lasts approximately an hour and follow-up appointments are generally about 30 minutes
Virtual physical therapy is ideal for time-crunched professionals, weekend-warrior athletes who want to get back in the game and those simply looking to improve their lives, Leaver said. The virtual platform allows patients to skip steps necessary to access help.
Instead of going to an urgent care or scheduling an appointment with a primary care physician, who often will refer patients to physical therapy, there is a direct line to assistance.
“We’re really breaking new ground here with the immediate access to a robust, effective method of treating a wide range of conditions,” Leaver said. “We’re making it easier for people to live and feel their best.”