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!

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.

  • 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
  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.

  • 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
  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

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

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!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Kelsey's Sunday Brunch

I have been really book crazy lately.  Like it's out of control.  I work a block away from the very pretty Madison Central Library and have taken to visiting on a weekly basis, leaving with no fewer than three books each time.  Did I mention that I've only returned one book so far.  There's just not enough hours in the day!

I also love buying books but very rarely do so at full price.  Instead I like to hit up the thrift stores where I spend $1-3 a book and have frequently found bestsellers from the past couple of years.  Sometimes I will go to the local used book stores as well, especially if they're having a sale.  Currently I'm reading The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer and have Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on deck.

Yesterday Nate and I set out on a great adventure around Madison, doing some of our favorite things that we had been talking about doing for a while and as a little early birthday celebration for me.  We started out by getting a milkshake and scrambler at Mickie's Dairy Bar for breakfast.  Then we headed to Henry Vilas Zoo and hung out with some animals and I even fed the goats!  Then we headed out to Picnic Point where we enjoyed some great views, lunch and relaxation.  After that we took a loop around Art Fair on the Square and then walked down State Street to the Memorial Union.  As we were heading around to the Terrace, Nate got down on one knee at a spot that is special to our relationship and proposed.  Family and friends were waiting on the Terrace to help celebrate.  Best birthday present ever if I do say so myself!

And for those of you who are here for the food:
  • As someone who enjoys a good farmer's market, I thought it was worth sharing these tips on Farmer's Market etiquette from a stall owner's perspective.
  • Check out the results of this cookie experiment that shows what a difference the type of baking sheet your using can have on the way your cookies cook.
  • Last time I brunched I shared with you my love for the Joy the Baked Podcast.  I've recently also fallen in love with The Lively Show and would definitely recommend it.
Hope you had a great weekend!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chocolate Pudding Pops

Frozen treat month continues! These came to be when I gave my boyfriend mono a few months ago. Oppsi. I tried to make it up to him by making him pudding, which failed. I was in a rush and not thinking. The pudding didn't get thick enough. It was pretty sad, until I thought put in the freezer! Soupy pudding was no more.

You could simply make pudding and skip the freezing, but it is summer and I think you probably should. This is super easy to make. It takes about 20 minutes in total and you probably have most of these ingredients in your kitchen already.

These are very chocolate-y. The addition of a little unsweetened chocolate really amps up the chocolate flavor. If you don't have any on hand, don't worry. They will still taste delicious with only semisweet or bittersweet chocolate.

I've made these with and without the addition of butter. I'm not sure that it makes a huge difference, but I like to add it. I think it gives it a little more texture and body, plus I like to think it helps the popsicles slide out of their molds easier. Who knows though.

These really are the perfect summer popsicles. They don't melt super fast and by melting I mean they turn to pudding. No dripping and sticky hands involved. Its like pudding meets ice cream on a stick, but with less melting.

If you don't have a popsicle mold, it would be totally worth trying to freeze a bowl of this pudding and eating it like ice cream. The ingredients are almost identical to those found in ice cream. The options are deliciously endless. Cool off and make these as soon as possible. You won't regret it.


Makes 6 popsicles
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups whole milk

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
6 wooden popsicle sticks

  1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan, Slowly whisk in the milk, in a thin steam at first so that lumps don’t form, then more quickly once the cornstarch mixture is smoothly incorporated. 
  2.  Place over medium-low heat and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 7 to 10 minutes (slower over lower heat is better, to give the cornstarch time to cook), before it starts to simmer, the mixture should begin to thicken, enough that it will coat the back of a spoon. 
  3. Add the chocolate, and continue stirring for another 2 to 4 minutes, until chocolate is fully incorporated and mixture is quite thick (like pudding). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and butter.
  4. Let cool slightly, then pour evenly among popsicle molds (there will be about one cup of pudding leftover. That is okay though because you get pudding right away). Freeze the molds for about 30 minutes and then place popsicle sticks in molds; continue to freeze for another 4 hours before serving.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 Years Ago: Homemade Marshmallows 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Farmer's Market Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

I work on the Capitol Square which is also home to the Dane County Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings.  It's said to be the largest produce only farmer's markets in the country which means tons of selection, but also lots of crowds.  Since I'm no longer living in the downtown area, I rarely make the trek on Saturday mornings, but I have gotten in the habit of taking a break at work to head to the much smaller, Wednesday markets.

This past week at the market it seemed like there was a really good variety of vegetables at some great prices, so as I was walking around I decided to get ingredients to make a stir fry.  I had to take a couple laps around the stalls to get all my supplies and ended up with summer squash, green onion, broccoli, asparagus and sugar snap peas.  I also took home a head of lettuce and a couple khalorabi, all for only $13!  Usually when I make stir fry I go with a spicier szechuan sauce, but decided to go with a subtler peanut sauce this time.  It still put lots of flavor in the dish and didn't leave out a little spicy kick either.

Hope you enjoy!


  • 2 cups brown rice (measured before cooking), cooked
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Choice of seasonal vegetables (I used sugar snap peas, green onion, asparagus, summer squash and broccoli)
  • Desired amount of peanut sauce (I used about half, or a little over 1/4 cup)
  • Olive oil
For the peanut sauce:
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons Asian chili garlic paste
Adapted from Food and Family.

  1. Prepare peanut sauce by mixing ingredients in a small bowl.  Heat in microwave in 20 second increments, stirring in between,  until peanut butter is no longer in large clumps. (It's okay if it's not completely melted into the mixture, the hot skillet will take care of that later.)
  2. Drizzle olive oil in skillet (or wok if you have one) and cook chicken.  Set aside.
  3. Pour desired amount of peanut sauce in skillet and sautĂ© vegetables until they begin to soften.  Add chicken to mixture and stir until coated with sauce.
  4. Serve over rice.
Linking up with Time to Sparkle.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Brittany's Sunday Brunch

Doesn't today feel like you woke up and get to relive yesterday? I feel I should be getting ready for work! This long weekend has been great...but quite different than my normal 4th of July agenda of watching fireworks, eating brats and sunbathing on the boat. This year, it was more wedding themed.

Since we officially booked our ceremony and reception site, we have had wedding fever (yes we, my fiance loves to stay in the loop and help me and my indecisive nature pick wedding things)! It's been so much fun. 

On the Wedding To-Do this weekend:
  • Start a wedding website. We chose to use The Knot's website template. It's been working out nicely!
  • Order save the dates from Wedding Paper Divas (we had a persuading coupon). We decided on a simple flat sheet with one engagement picture and feminine font. It's perfect!
  • Register!
  • Celebrate checking things off the wedding to-do list!
Registering was so much fun. We both still use our college-day items (that were hand-me-downs when we got them then). It will be exciting to have the chance to get some good quality stuff. What's the bulk of our registry, you ask? Kitchen goodies and dinnerware, of course!

Before going to Pottery Barn and Macy's, I made sure to have ideas in mind. This article and this one helped to make registering less stressful.

Big Items on our Wish List:
  • All-Clad cookware set
  • Kitchen-aid stand mixer
  • Chicago Cutlery set
Smaller but just as exciting items on our Wish List:
  • Hand-held mandoline 
  • Digital meat thermometer 
  • Baker's blade
Once we got things done on the To-do list, we made time to reflect on how much fun we were having and on the more important part of the wedding: becoming Mr. and Mrs. We did this by having an impromptu dinner date at my new favorite place, Coopers Tavern. Want a delicious meal paired with the perfect tap, all with a beautiful view of the Capitol? Then go there. We also took our time walking the square after dinner and then the next day at the Farmers Market. Ever try a pastry from Graze? The above picture is me trying their chocolate croissant for the first time. It was quite the buttery, yummy treat! There was even an accordion player next to us while we ate. It felt like we had traveled to Europe! 

Overall, our 4th of July was far from traditional but very fun. I hope you all had a fun and safe Independence day! 

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Boozy Roasted Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles

Summer is in full swing and we thought you could all use some recipes to help cool you off in the heat.

To kick off this months theme, Frozen Treats, I have some boozy roasted strawberry lemonade pops for us. I guess I just could not let go of last month's strawberry theme, but these popsicles really just make sense.

They bring together classic summer drinking. Everyone loves lemonade and why not add strawberries for some color and extra flavor. Then add some vodka and you have real easy summer living happening. Then freeze it all. Its a wonderful thing.

This recipe is actually perfect for this time in Wisconsin;s strawberry season. They won't be around much longer at Wisconsin farmers markets or you have more strawberries in your fridge than you know what to do with.

Like I have mentioned in a previous post, roasting strawberries is great for less than perfectly ripe strawberries (which is common with store bought berries) or too ripe strawberries. You know when they loose some of their firm juicy quality and become less pleasant to eat and will probably go bad within the next day. That is what I'm talking about when I say too ripe.

If you happen to be using local strawberries and they are on the smaller side, I would cut them in halves instead of quarters. When you roast the berries, I strongly recommend using parchment paper. I found that they stuck to tin foil.

While you roast the strawberries, start squeezing your lemons. I think squeezing your own lemons is really worth the effort. I got this amazing lemon squeezer. Amazing. It was so easy. You should get one. You won't regret it.

Heat up some water to add to your freshly squeeze lemon juice, just hot enough to dissolve some honey. Let is cool off before you add the vodka. We wouldn't wanted any of it to evaporate, duh. If you want to make these booze free for youngsters, just replace the vodka with water. No big deal.

You will fill up your popsicle molds, leaving about 1/2-inch at the top. Plop the strawberries on top of the lemonade. Some of them will sink. Some will not. The stawberries will bleed their juices into the lemonade, turning it a pretty red-pink.

Get them in the freezer. Let them chill out for a bit and then get some sticks in them. I opt to use wooden sticks, rather than the plastic things that came with my molds. I think it looks cuter and they are easy to devour.

I hope you give these a try! Maybe for Fourth of July weekend? Probably. I think it also wouldn't hurt to mix up a vodka lemonade and dip you popsicle into it, like a giant flavored ice cube. You know you want to.


Makes 6 popsicles
1 1/2 pints strawberries, quartered
2 teaspoons honey
Zest of one lemon

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1 3/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon honey
4 1/2 tablespoons vodka

Popsicle mold (I use this one)
6 wooden popsicle sticks

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss strawberries, honey and lemon zest to coat. Spread strawberries evenly on prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. While the strawberries roast, combine warm water, lemon juice and honey, whisking to dissolve the honey. Let cool slightly. Transfer the cooled strawberries to a dish and transfer as much of their juices to the water and lemon juice mixture (I used a spatula to pool the juices together on the parchment paper and poured it into the mixture. It wasn't much). Finally, add the vodka (if you choose not to use vodka, replace it with 1/4 cup water). Prepare you popsicle mold.
  3. Fill each popsicle mold about 3/4 of the way, with the lemon mixture. Top off each popsicle mold with roasted strawberries. 
  4. Place the molds in the freezer for about an hour (or until firm enough to keep a popsicle stick upright) and then place a popsicle stick in each mold. Freeze for 12 hours before enjoying.
2 years ago: Grown Up Pink Lemonade


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