What I Loved Last Weekend

Since arriving home from the beach a couple of weeks ago, I feel like life has been going nonstop. Between work, visitors and our visits elsewhere, it's been difficult to get any big projects done around the house. I've got plenty of things on the backburner, but you'll just have to wait for those. I promise a big, fun project is coming up within the week, so stay tuned. 

Until then, here are some things that made me smile over the weekend:

Hinterland's Door County Cherry Wheat. On Friday, Eric and I wandered over to local drinking establishment Frank's Power Plant to wind down after a tough work week and enjoy a couple beers. I started off with a trusted Riverwest, but then was offered to taste the Door County Cherry Wheat by Hinterland, a local gastropub. Now, I do enjoy a fruity beer on occasion, but most of them are too heavy or syrupy or too overwhelmingly sweet. This one? This one was heavenly. It tasted just like sweet, dried cherries, but not too tart - it was perfectly smooth. I had two and I probably could have had a third if I wasn't worried about passing out on the walk home. I will definitely be drinking this one again.

After swigging back on a couple cherry beers, we walked across the street for a slice of pie at Classic Slice pizza
This establishment is, well, a classic around Milwaukee, but I'd never tried it before. I knew they served whole pies and "by the slice," but when I ordered my slice of Mac 'n Cheese pizza (a flavor I rarely turn down when it appears on the menu), I had no idea what was in store for me once it was served.

HOLY PIE. Classic Slice's slices are BEHEMOTH. They are not the size of your head. They are bigger than that. They are like a normal human head and a baby head put together. Topped with cheese and sauce and extras. Actually, that doesn't sound so appetizing. But I promise you, my slice was. Different from most of the mac 'n cheese pizzas I've tried, this one's sauce base was actual red pizza sauce, not a cheesy sauce. It was a nice change, though I think a cheese-based sauce wins out in the end. The crust, however, was divine: light, chewy and perfectly foldable so I could shove the monster slice into my mouth. And shove I did. I'm only partly ashamed to admit I polished off the entire thing. 

And then I came home and immediately fell asleep while watching "Jurassic Park." Partytime, USA.

Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to go to the Wisconsin Dells. We had a wedding there that afternoon, but wanted to get there early to take in some ultra-touristy guilty pleasures while in the Waterpark Capital of the World. Last time we were there, we didn't have much time just to walk around and take in all the glory (read: t-shirt & knick-knack shops, fudge stores and oddities museums) of the Dells, so this time around we wanted to make sure we got the downtown Dells experience. Downtown Dells reminds me of an East-Coast boardwalk - chock full of gaudy, kitschy stores hocking cheap crap you're somehow convinced you need only while in a mind-numbing state of vacation euphoria. And I love it. In fact, I think I stumbled across the greatest souvenir shop of all time: Moccasins. 
Moccasins seems like a typical souvenir shop; its shelves adorned with shot glasses and keychains, but it also had an entire display of, well, this:

I was nearly blinded by the haunting faux felines, when I turned the corner and came across the Holy Grail of ultimately awesome '80s Wisconsin Dells apparel. 
Of course, ironic '80s t-shirts have been popular for years now, but there was no irony to be found in this store. They had racks upon racks of authentic '80s clothing (you could tell by the "vintage" neck tags) that we assumed either A) Were still being attempted to sell since the days they first lined the walls of Moccasins or B) Were found in a warehouse somewhere and then brought out to the storefront. I honestly believe it might have been the former.
I'm still kicking myself for not buying this sweatshirt.

You'd be the raddest dude at Ridgemont High walking in the first day of school wearing this t-shirt.

Totally bitchin'.

The rest of our time in the Dells was fun: We ate tasty burgers, fudge, chocolate-covered bacon and attended a wedding at a hotel resort with three different indoor/outdoor waterparks, but nothing lives up to the t-shirts, so I won't even  bother getting into the rest.

Weekends out of town are always fun, but I'm looking forward to a long weekend at home where I can relax and hopefully get plenty of blog-worthy projects done. Oh, and maybe have another Classic Slice or two...


Your Weekly Pins

Another Friday, another week full of pins! Here's what caught my eye on Pinterest this week:

[Best birthday cake ever??? If you can't read the labels, you'll see this monster cake is made of brownie, chocolate Cool Whip, cheesecake, chocolate ganache, peanut butter cups, peanut butter chips, peanut butter mousse and peanut butter ganache. I WANT IT NOW.]

[Peanut Butter Oreo popsicles. These could not be any easier to make, and they look delicious and cute to boot!]

[Carve a pumpkin using a big ol' rubber mallet and cookie cutters. Genius? Absolutely. I WILL be doing this come Halloween season.]

[Sigh... This craft closet is so amazing - well organized, tidy and oh so cute. My craft closet? Uhhhh.... trust me, you don't want to see.]

[One thing I could do to make my craft closet a little cleaner is to use all those leftover pieces of scrap fabric and make them into a simple, adorable necklace, like this!]

[Not exactly a "craft," but this tutorial is one of the best for showing how to neatly and easily fill a pastry bag - something I hate doing when baking.]

[There's no escaping it - Fall is right around the corner. However, it would be a little easier to embrace while wearing this adorable outfit. I want it all, and luckily, I've already got most of it in my closet! :) ]

[I can always get behind anything mustard yellow, and the detailing on this skirt just sends it over the top. Would look gorgeous will wool tights and booties.]

[This is another outfit that would be perfect for fall. Honestly, I have a bit of an issue when it comes to cardigans... as in, I cannot stop buying them. And that scarf is cute and classic, too. If I were in high school, this would definitely be my Friday-Night-Football-Game outfit. Because I am not in high school, I will deem this my "Pumpkin Patch" outfit. Because everyone needs one of those....]

[These shoes. They are the bomb. I love them and want them on my feet immediately (told you I can't resist anything mustard yellow).]

[I do. Mindtrip = Those born in 1990 are now 21 years old.]

[Sometimes, not so silently...]

[I've long said if I didn't have an office job I'd definitely get a half-sleeve tattoo. I just love the look of them - and this one proves a large tattoo can still be feminine. Sigh.... if only.]

What have you pinned this week?


The Discovery of a Lifetime

When I moved from Columbus to Milwaukee more than three years ago, I surprised myself with how easily the transition went for me. I found a great apartment in a fun neighborhood, quickly fell into a group of great friends and, well, falling in love with the boy next door didn't make it too hard, either (that's right, Eric was my next-door neighbor in my very first apartment in Milwaukee). 

However, there will always be things I miss very much about Ohio: mainly being able to spend time with my friends and family, missing special occasions, cheering for Ohio State football without being met with death stares and also: Jeni's ice cream.

Jeni's was my favorite local ice cream shop when I lived in Columbus. I appreciated their insistence on using quality, natural ingredients in their products, their ability to think of outside of the box flavors when it comes to a traditional summertime treat, but mostly I just loved that their ice cream was, for lack of a better term, THE BOMB DOT COM.

In fact, Jeni's ice cream is so delicious and so in demand, they have their own ice cream cookbook.

It's not like Wisconsin doesn't have its own delicious creamy treats - it is the Dairy State, after all - but I've yet to find anything local quite like Jeni's. 

That is... until I actually did find Jeni's in Wisconsin.

I was strolling down the aisles of my beloved neighborhood market, Groppi's, when all of a sudden I got a hankering for ice cream like you wouldn't believe. Heading over to the freezer, I imagined finally giving Ben & Jerry's new "Americone Dream" a try - until a stack of red-orange pints with handwritten flavors down the side caught my eye. Could it be?? It couldn't be..... 

Made in Columbus, Ohio

I audibly gasped. "Oh my god......" I yanked a pint of Strawberry Buttercream from the freezer and ran to show Eric my most fantastic discovery. 

"$10 a pint????" 
Obviously, Eric didn't think spending a Hamilton on a few scoops of ice cream was the wisest fiscal choice. But then again, Eric has never had Jeni's.

Normally I can show restraint when a pint of ice cream sits in my freezer. Eat half of it, then save the other half for another day. I am not ashamed to report I ate the whole dang pint in one sitting Sunday night. The Strawberry Buttercream was rich, sweet and filled with tiny little seeds -assurance that real strawberries are at the heart of this ice-cold treat.

What an amazing find! I couldn't believe I found my very favorite ice cream, local to Ohio, just a few yards from my front door. Groppi's had about four different flavors of Jeni's in stock, and next I'll grab the Pistachio Honey, which I've never tried before. I felt like I'd stumbled upon the Holy Grail - I just hope my little corner market continues to keep this treasure in stock.

If you're from Milwaukee, RUN to Groppi's market in Bay View and pick up a pint or two for yourself (I promise, it's worth the price!). If you're a Buckeye, enjoy having one of the best ice cream shops in the country right in your own backyard.


Happy Birthday, Mr. Pancakes!

Today is Mr. Pancakes' second birthday! Well, I mean, I think it's his second birthday; the people at the Humane Society told us when we got him they thought he was born somewhere around the middle/end of August. I deemed his birthday August 22nd just because... well.... it sounded about right.

Speaking of the Humane Society, this was the photo posted on their website that made us hop in the car immediately, drive over there, and claim him as ours. Fun fact: We'd had the name "Mr. Pancakes" picked out well before we ever saw this picture, and ironically enough, his name was listed as "Mr. Goodbar" on their web site! It was fate.

Since then, Mr. Pancakes has gone from being terrified of leaving one area of the living room (it took him two days after we first brought him home to venture out farther) to moving all the way across town to a new house! He's learned how to model during photo sessions and most recently developed a love for playing fetch with rubber bands (no, seriously, he plays actual fetch).

We love the little guy, and wish him many, many more cat years ahead! Tonight, he just may be dining on Fancy Feast.


Your Weekly Pins

Another Friday, another week full of pins! Here's what I've been keeping track of on Pinterest this week:


[I love the mix of playfulness (hot-pink cardboard deer head!) with seriousness (stacks of old books) atop this dresser. And the dresser itself? Perfect shade of gray - and those white accents are actually decals applied to the front. Love!]

[This dresser actually comes from the same house as of one above. Again, the gray/pink combo is stealing my heart. And there are those white decals again - perfect touch!]

[I love the idea of a wall full of mirrors - does that make me vain? Possibly. I know our living room is covered in white frames, but would it be overkill to put this mirror collage in the guest room?]

[OK, so I think we've established I have a thing for wall collages, but this one is to die for. First of all, that blue/green combo is killing me with cuteness. And I love how the collage is made up of so many different elements - frames, mirrors, photos, oversized letters and that super-fun sconce. Love it!]

[I am never going to get over my obsession with card catalogs. I mean, never. It is a serious problem.] 

[The Apocalypse may be upon us because this week the ONLY food item I've pinned is not loaded with fat, sugar and deliciousness. OK, so it actually is probably delicious, but also totally healthy! This Chinese chicken salad with spicy ginger dressing called to me as soon as I saw it. I'm definitely intrigued by the dressing, and can't wait to give this a try. That is, if I can give up my Crash-Test-Dummies sauce...]

[Baby penguin meets baby dolphin. I see the pictures. My mind explodes with cuteness. The end.]

[I may have shed a tear or two in this exact same situation. What? It's "Don't cry over spilled milk," not "Don't cry over NO milk...."]

What have you pinned this week?


Crash-Test-Dummies Sauce

Lately, it's seemed like every healthy living/food blog I follow has been raving about a certain sauce whose ingredients I could only assume were liquid joy and a shot of ecstasy (not that ecstasy...). That sauce would be the now slightly blog-famous Mmmm Sauce, originated by the fabulous Mama Pea, which was based off something called Yumm Sauce at cafe chain Cafe Yumm

Never one to be ashamed to jump on a bandwagon of any sort, I decided I had to know what the appeal of this condiment-for-everything was. So, I ran to the store to pick up all the ingredients - though one tricky ingredient (another I'd been reading about for months on all the same blogs) eluded me: Nutritional yeast. 

By all accounts, nutritional yeast is a wonder food. High in protein, low in fat and free of sugar, dairy and gluten, nutritional yeast is especially a staple of many vegan pantries. Its slightly nutty, cheesy flavor makes it the perfect ingredient to make a vegan "cheeze" sauce, and also a mighty-fine addition to popcorn and garlic bread. OK, awesome, but nutritional yeast, as I discovered, isn't easily found at any old grocery store. I looked high and low at three different markets and couldn't find it anywhere. Turns out, you need to head to a health-food store to find the stuff. I found mine in one of the bulk bins at the Outpost Natural Foods in Bay View, but I'm fairly confident that Whole Foods carries the stuff, as well.

Don't be put off by its extreme likeness to fish food - the stuff is good.

OK, so back to this dream sauce. Why did I title this post "Crash-Test-Dummies Sauce" rather than "Mmmm Sauce?" Well, while the original recipe called for curry, I didn't have curry on hand. What I did have was Punjab Red Tandoori, another Indian spice, so I just decided to use that instead. New ingredient = new name. Eric suggested "Crash Test Dummies" for obvious reasons
The best part is, after you collect all the ingredients, it's super easy to make. For the original recipe, click here. If you want to make it like mine, just substitute Punjab Red Tandoori for curry - or try another Indian spice! I've also seen spinach added to the recipe, giving the sauce a nice bright green color.

Crash-Test-Dummies Sauce
Very, very slightly adapted from Mmmm Sauce

  • 1/2 c. canola oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 1/2 c. almonds
  • 2/3 c. water
    • 1/2 c. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • 1/2 c. nutritional yeast
      • 4 T. lemon juice
      • 2 tsp. minced garlic
      • 1/2 tsp. salt
      • 1.5 T. curry powder
      • 1 tsp. dried oregano
      • 1 tsp. dried cilantro

      You start off with almonds, chickpeas, oil and water in a food processor. Give it all a whir until it's smooth.

      Once that's all liquidy, you simple dump in all the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth, again.

      That's it.

      The result, honestly, lives up to the hype. I dipped a finger in right after everything was blended and was blown away. It's a bit nutty with a hint of cheese and garlic - all good things. I made a double batch of the stuff, which is said to keep in the fridge for 7-10 days, and here I am, four days later, having successfully polished off the entire batch.

      I first drizzled it over stir-fried veggies and chicken.


      After finishing that bowl, I made a small bowl of brown rice, corn and peas and topped with with more sauce. Also amazing.

      Since then, Crash-Test-Dummies Sauce has found its way atop sliced cucumbers, quinoa, fresh salads and, more often than not, into my mouth straight from the spoon. It's just that good.

      Nutritionally, this sauce is on par with hummus, so even a bowl-licking neanderthal like me can feel good about guzzling down the stuff like beer water.

      I'm already planning on making a new triple batch tonight. You've been warned: The stuff is addicting.

      Thank you, Mama Pea, for concocting such a versatile, flavorful and healthful sauce. I've got a feeling it will remain a staple in my fridge for weeks



      A room in which to live

      At this point, you may be wondering if the only places in our house we live/doing anything in are the kitchen and the "French Room." After all, these are really the only two rooms of the house you've had a full glimpse of. I assure you, dear friends, we've got more than just two rooms in our home. Today, I invite you to take a sneak peak at the room where we surf the 'net, watch the Brewers and, more often than not, eat our meals: The living room.

      The reason I haven't shared the living room in full is that it's never been quite.... right. To tell you the truth, it's still not. Not exactly. You've seen our white frame collage, and our thrifted dresser, but you've never seen it all put together. Now, with the addition of a quirky flea-market find to one of the once-bare walls, I'm beginning to feel like it's finding its style. 

      Remember last month when we headed to the Northwoods to spend Eric's birthday camping? Well, on the way home we were fiending for some McDonalds totally healthy breakfast, and one our way to the fast food joint health store, happened upon the Shawano flea market. It was an incredibly hot day (if I remember correctly, the high was 97), so we couldn't spend much time there, but we decided to take a quick look to see if there was anything special we just needed to have. 

      Aside from the obvious treasures, like Eric's $1 back scratcher (which we came home with) and the eloquent t-shirt and Wienee Mobile (which we did not), we found this somewhat perplexing, but very interesting-looking display board.
      We think it was an old hardware-store hose display; it's got listings of all the different hose gauge sizes (is that the proper term?), and just sort of caught both (or all four?) of our eyes immediately. It reminded me of something you could find on Three Potato Four. We haggled to $17 for it, and took it home.

      As it is now, our living room has a gray/yellow color scheme to it. This is the fashionable color combo of the moment, and I admit I'm a sucker for it. I knew this display board would look perfect in our living room... it just took us an entire month to hang it.

      After going back and forth on whether to replace the wire hangers with little shelves to hold books and trinkets, we decided to keep it in its natural state - it was unique, it was industrial and it just look pretty dang cool all there on its own. And so, it was hung.

      And we both loved it.

      So, now that you've seen the new addition, and now that you've seen the left-hand corner of our living room, it's time to show you the whole thing.

       The lamp you see in the center is my biggest embarrassment of the living room - I've had it since college (it's the definition of a "college" lamp)! I can't wait to replace with with a lamp that fits more into our personal style, but I haven't found anything that has wowed me. I'd never buy anything "just because" or just to fill up space - if I'm spending my hard-earned money, I better love what I'm buying! Besides, we all know great home style comes with time.

      Remember our thrifted dresser Eric found at a thrift store by his office? Well, he also found this intricate clock and this vintage globe (which still boasts the Soviet Union) at the same place!

      The next photo is to show you what is on our TV six out of seven days of the week. Coincidentally, Yuniesky Betancourt (the batter shown on the TV) was just in the process of hitting a home run against the Pirates on Saturday. This entire shoot, Eric was shuffling around the living room so he could still watch the game while staying out of the photos.

      So there it is. Like the rest of the house, the living room is a work in progress. We'd like to add a couple  more accent colors and accessories, but I like where it's headed. Clean, simple lines with a splash of personality sprinkled in. It does the job, and is the perfect space when we just want to kick back and relax.



      Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...