Monday, July 28, 2014

Brittany's Sunday Brunch

These past couple weeks were crazy busy! I felt I always had twenty million things on my mind, fully disorganized and cluttered. As a result, I feel today's Sunday Brunch will reflect that quite seamlessly.

  • Last weekend I picked up my wedding dress! Oh boy, I still absolutely love it. I had to resist taking any pictures; otherwise I wouldn't be able to keep myself from posting them here or ruining the surprise by showing my hubby-to-be. Southern Wisconsin ladies, check out Bliss Bridal if you are looking for a wedding dress. They treat you like a princess and the decor of that place is oh so lovely.
  • Part of being busy lately is from all the visitors. Best part of out of town guests is having an excuse to eat out. My recently food ventures included: 
    • Bluephies on Monroe Street. Even after stuffed bellies we split the Snicker's Pie. Yum.
    • Clasen's Bakery on Parmenter Street. Oh boy, we have discovered one of the best bakeries in town and it's in walking distance from our apartment. Yikes, I'm afraid their cinnamon rolls might become a weekend breakfast staple.
    • Basset Street Brunch Club. Brunch with my coworkers to get out of the lab, yes please! And don't forget their doughnuts. We took them to-go as a work snack for later!
  • On top of wedding vendor meetings, I've been busy babysitting, attending work meetings and meeting work deadlines. How should I stay organized so I don't forget anything? Icloud calendar has been a dream come true! If you're not a Mac fan, then try google calendars. If you have a gmail linked to your smartphone, the calendars follow with it! Pretty nifty. But I also like the good ol' fashioned hand written schedule. My calendar comes from Sugar Paper Los Angeles and it's feminine cuteness looks great in my work bag.
  • Restaurant week was this past week. Please share your favorite place and meal. And if you missed it this year, don't worry! It's semi-annual, so there's another one this winter. But let's not talk winter now, summer is just too great.
Hope you have a great week to come!
Brittany

Friday, July 25, 2014

Zucchini Bread

Back in May when I was picking out the seedlings to plant in my garden, I grabbed one for a zucchini mound kind of on a whim.  I had mostly planned out my garden ahead of time and hadn't been planning on growing zucchini, but boy I'm sure glad I did.


It's been a major confidence booster every since the start.  It was kind of unnerving when two weeks after planting my very first garden, the tomatoes and cucumbers all looked like they were dying but the zucchini was clearly growing.  And when I saw those first blossoms appear, I knew I must be doing something right.  I go one day to find that an actual little zucchini was growing (holy cow I can grow my own food!) and four days later when I go back the same one is now 16 inches long, 4 inches in diameter ripe for the picking.  Talk about success!


That first zucchini that I grew is the special ingredient that went into this zucchini bread.  I knew that I had a lot of the vegetable on hand so I chose to double the recipe and put both of my bread pans to good use.  Two loaves of bread only ended up using about a third of my giant zucchini, plus the four other ones that are sitting in my kitchen right now; I think I've got a lot of roasting to do.


Makes one loaf.

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely grated zucchini
  • (Optional) 1/3 cup walnuts or chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt).
  3. In a different large bowl, whisk together oil, applesauce, and eggs.  Then stir in the zucchini.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Stir in optional additions, such as walnuts or chocolate chips, if desired.
  5. Pour batter into greased loaf pan.  Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before removing bread from pan.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cookies n' Cream Frozen Pie

 

Frozen treats month continues here at Badger Kitchen and the timing couldn't have been more impeccable as we're wrapping up a little two day heat wave here in Madison.  We've had a generally mild summer weather wise here which has made for some really beautiful days to enjoy the outdoors.  I'm thinking Mother Nature might be trying to make up for what felt like the coldest winter ever by giving us lots of nice weather to enjoy.


For those days when the mercury rises and the humidity comes out to frizz up everyone's hair, this cookies n' cream frozen pie is a very refreshing treat to enjoy.  It's very easy to make as you're creating somewhat of a mock ice cream.  It's more like a frozen pudding actually, kind of like April's chocolate pudding pops.  No ice cream maker or anything fancy like that is required, just a little patience while it hardens in the freezer and a little self control so you don't dip all the extra Oreos in the pie filling while it's still soft.



Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups crushed Oreos, separated
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups cold half-and-half cream
  • 1 package (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 carton (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups crushed Oreos with melted butter.  Press to the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan.  Place in fridge.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat half-and-half and pudding on low speed for two minutes.  Let thicken for five more minutes.
  3. Fold in whipped topping and crushed cookies.
  4. Pour onto crust.  Chill in freezer for at least six hours.  Remove from freezer ten minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from Best of Country Pies.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

April's Sunday Brunch


  • I started mentoring a 13-year old girl through Madison Urban Ministry. It is sort of like Big Brother Big Sister, but these kids have a parent(s) who are incarcerated. 
  • My mentee and I went to the zoo and saw some pretty wild animals and scoped out Vilas Beach for our next outing. She is pretty rad and I think we are going to get along quite well.
  • I have been making loads of rice and veggies. It is the easiest summer meal ever. I'll be coming at you guys with a recipe eventually.


  • I went to Iowa for a little wedding reception fun. It was super duper cute, in a state park. It was a lot like my two good friends wedding, Tim and Renee. Super chill and outdoorsy. It is something like what I might imagine for a fun reception for myself one day. 
  • There was a beautiful sunset to end the Iowa adventure before heading home. 

 

  • Made delicious pancakes from A Cozy Kitchen's cookbook "Pancakes". They tasted just like she described, honey bunches of oats. Everything I've made from her book has been delicious so far.
  • The boyfriend and I are having a little date night at Eldorado Grill tonight. He hasn't been there before. I've been a handful of times. I actually met Rick Bayless there. I have a huge foodie crush on him. He signed my book. No big deal.
  • They make delicious margaritas and south western type food. So good. Did I mention it is summer restaurant week? That is half the reason we are going.  Twenty-five buck-aroos for a three course meal. Whhattt? Does anyone else have plans to go check some place new out for restaurant week?
  • Next weekend I'm heading to Door County for the very first time. I'm so excited. Door County has been in the works for probably a month. We didn't even plan it but it is cherry season. Door County cherries for me, straight from the source. SO EXCITED!
Don't forget to follow me on Instagram (@badgerkitchen)

2 Years Ago: Summer Squash Ribbons with Almond Salsa Verde

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dark Chocolate Sorbet

Welcome back to frozen treat month! All of July Badger Kitchen will be featuring frozen treats, just in time to help cool off in the summer heat! Although here in Madison it's a bit on the cooler side this week, this chocolate sorbet will be perfect for when the sun comes out this weekend!


I'm not going to lie, I was a bit discouraged with this month's theme. I pouted to my fiancĂ© that I wouldn't be able to pull off a good frozen treat without an ice cream machine. I joked around to him saying that if this recipe didn't work, I was going to buy frozen sorbet from the store and take pictures of it as if it were my own. Luckily, that was not the case. This recipe proved my pessimistic self that even with simple ingredients and simple kitchen tools, I could pull off a pretty darn good frozen treat!


This dark chocolate sorbet is not like normal fruit flavored, refreshing sorbet, but I can tell you it will still be a hit! It has a rich, intense chocolate flavor that pairs nicely with its creamy, cold texture. And as an added bonus, it's dairy free! Anyone lactose intolerant or who chooses to eat dairy-free, this is an excellent alternative to ice cream. Get your spoons ready!

Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients
1 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. cocoa
pinch of salt
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. vodka

Instructions
1. Combine all ingredients, except vodka, into a saucepan over medium heat.
2. While stirring often, bring mixture to a boil allowing the sugar, cocoa and chocolate chips to dissolve.
3. Once everything is dissolved, transfer to an 8x8 dish and freeze for 2 hours.
4. Using a spoon or fork, stir mixture around and bring the frozen crystals to the center of the dish. Return to freezer and stir mixture around every hour or so until sorbet is nearly firm.
5. Add the vodka and mix again. Transfer sorbet to a container and cover. Continue to freeze until it is firm to your liking. I allowed it to freeze overnight.
6. Serve with your favorite fruit or ice cream toppings!

Enjoy,
Brittany

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