Monday, May 25, 2015

Kelsey's Sunday Brunch

I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend so far!  Memorial Day weekend is basically the kick-off to summer, right?  Pools are opening.  School is out or nearing the end of the year.  Gardens are planted and allergies are in full gear.

I had bridal showers the past two weekends and I am seriously feeling so loved!  Before we had registered I made sure to research many of the products I knew we'd be registering for to make sure they were high quality and would last a long time.  Some of the kitchen items we chose are:
  • Fiesta dinnerware for place settings and serving pieces
  • Cuisinart Multiclad Pro line for pots and pans
  • Kitchenaid stand mixer
  • Anolon bakeware
  • OXO kitchen utensils and gadgets

Lately I have tried a couple of new recipes that turned out great!  For Mother's Day I made raspberry streusel bars from Sally's Baking Addiction.  We also made Naked Persian Turkey Burgers from The Skinnytaste Cookbook and were even able to freeze some to enjoy later.

I've been enjoying the extra time off to get some reading done.  I had been in a bit of a reading rut for a while there, but a well-time trip to the library a couple weeks ago scored me some really popular books right now. I'm planning on doing a lot of reading this summer to prep my mind for law school mode in the fall.

I read The Girl on the Train in just a few days.  Any Gone Girl lovers will enjoy this one.  It is completely engrossing once you get about a quarter of the way in.  While I enjoyed the read, I honestly don't have much desire to read another psychological thriller anytime soon.

I'm also leisurely reading Hyperbole and a Half.  I'm not really sure exactly how to describe it except that it's sort of like an autobiographical graphic novel that also has full blocks of text in it.  It's a quick read and I often find myself laughing out loud while reading.

Right now I'm also reading All the Light We Cannot See.  It's a World War II story from the viewpoints of a French girl and German boy.  It's very well written and I'm enjoying figuring out how the two story lines are overlapping.  It's due back at the library in a couple of days so I better get reading!

Have you read any good books lately?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Roasted Strawberry-Rhubarb Buckwheat Biscuit Cake

Happy Memorial Day weekend, friends! I have this to die for strawberry-rhubarb biscuit cake. Ah-mazing.

Before we get to the food, I have to share how difficult it has been to get this post up. My cat has been a relentless snuggle bean. I can't sit down without her showing up and climbing into my lap.

I often complain how she doesn't give me enough loving, finding it very hard to kick her off my lap. When she was too slow to get on my lap before my computer, she still climbs on. Sprawled out, one leg on the keyboard, belly up. Cuteness.

As I write this she is sitting on my belly giving me the stink-eye. She has obviously claimed my lap as her own and has some computer jealousy.

It may be that she knows her mother, me, is about to leave her for two weeks and she wants all the snuggles she can get before that day arrives.

Now about this cake, cobbler, fruit and biscuit situation. It is maybe the most delicious thing I've ever made. I had frozen strawberries from last summer and rhubarb from the farmers market.

If you are using frozen berries, be sure to drain them. If you don't, you'll end up with way too much liquid. Which is bad. We don't want that. Set them in a strainer overnight on the counter or in the refrigerator.

Did I mention how easy this is to make? It took like 45 minutes all together, including dishes. The cake was gone in about the same amount of time. Remember, this is a judge free zone.

The biscuits come together really quickly, they are fairly doughy and dense, not so light and fluffy, but it worked for me. Using all white flour is totally acceptable.

I sort of just used what I had on hand. You could substitute creme fraiche or sour cream for the yogurt.

Roasting the fruit results in a super jammy and buttery consistency. I would have slathered it all over myself, if I had more of it. That is right, it is that good.

It is so good you want to sit down all alone, dim the lights and turn on your favorite cooking show and savor the moment.

for the fruit:
2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen, if frozen, defrost and drain first
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons butter
for the biscuits:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
8 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into quarter inch cubes
1/2 cup full fat greek yogurt or creme fraiche
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds removed and scraped
for the egg wash:
1 large egg
splash of water or milk
brown sugar

  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven, preheat the oven to 375F. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the first six ingredients for the fruit, tossing to fully coat the fruit. Place the fruit mixture into an 8-inch oven proof skillet or metal baking dish, placing small pads of butter on top of the fruit. Place in the oven to roast for 12 to 15 minutes. While the fruit roasts, prepare the biscuit dough.
  3. To make the biscuits, in a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cold butter and vanilla bean seeds and use your fingers to quickly break the butter down into the flour and sugar mixture. Some of the butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, others will be the size of small peas.
  4. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the cold yogurt . Stir with a spoon. The mixture will be rather wet. Shape the dough into a rough disk, dividing the dough into 6 pieces. Brush the top of each biscuit with the egg wash (whisk together one egg with a splash of milk or water) and top with brown sugar.
  5. Remove the strawberries from the oven and carefully place the biscuits over the hot strawberries. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the biscuits are cooked through and the biscuits are golden.
  6. Remove from the oven, allow to cool until the strawberries are no longer bubbling, and serve warm.

Monday, May 11, 2015

April's Sunday Brunch

Another belated Sunday brunch, on a Monday. It is only because my mom demanded so much attention on Sunday.

Not really though. She demanded an appropriate amount of attention and probably deserves more because she is just that awesome. Honestly, it has just been a whirl wind the past two weeks, resulting in my neglecting the blog.

Have I mentioned I'm building a garden? By building a garden, I mean my boyfriend and his friend are building it while I paint all the pieces pretty colors. It has been consuming most all of our weekends.

I do help some, it just doesn't involve ox like strength. I get assigned all of the super tedious and boring tasks. They may not require strength and brawn, but they are necessary.

The whole thing would fall apart without those tedious tasks, seriously. That is what I tell myself as I wander around picking up rocks anyways.

A lot of people have been asking why such a mammoth fence. It is to keep all variety of woodland creatures out of my garden, ensuring I get to enjoy the full bounty of the garden. You would be surprised the lengths little and big woodland creatures will go to eat that first perfectly ripe strawberry or snap pea.

We planted our very first seeds this weekend, after a lovely mother's day brunch at Osteria Papavero, which was delicious as always. Send all your best wishes to our tiny seeds. I hope they grow. How such tiny little fellows grow into giant radishes, carrots and snap peas blows my mind. It is a true miracle of life or science or both.

The boyfriend and I spent a Friday afternoon in Milwaukee and checked out the Ale Asylum Riverhouse. It was amazing. I highly highly recommend. If you follow me on instagram, you saw some of these pictures.

We had some unique mozzarella sticks wrapped in prosciutto, mustard deviled egg salad and a burger with raspberry preserves, brie, pickled red onions and prosciutto. I forget what my boyfriend had because I was too involved in my burger. It was true love.

My mom and I had a little ladies day the other weekend that included a lot of shopping. With the mission to find me a graduation dress because that is happening, officially in six days. Unfortunately for her she couldn't try on too many clothes due to a bad shoulder.

Instead she had herself a pretty violet cocktail, plus some, at Sushi Muramato. Treating her to a cocktail and being the driver was the least I could do, after a day of watching me try on clothes.

And now for an obligatory cat picture. She is a real lady. Don't you think? On this particular day she was doing the relaxing for me, while I stressed out over my first interview related to my degree. First real professional interview ever really.

I was done with papers the week before classes ended, in order to focus all my attention on this interview. It came at the end of my last week of classes, ever. I never have to go to class again. I'm a real grown up. It is so wild and scary. I'm not a student anymore.

I was crazy anxious to have it over with and hopefully do well. I just had to get the interview over and I could officially relax for the first time in 2 years. I typically interview terribly, letting my nerves take over.

Not this time though! Whether or not the interviewers thought I nailed it, the feeling after I left that interview was maybe the best I have ever felt. I can't even describe it.

Exhilarated, exuberant, ecstatic, proud. I don't even know. I was on cloud nine the whole rest of the night. It was the perfect way to close out my graduate career, besides the official graduation ceremony next weekend.

With that, I leave you with my new spider plant I bought this weekend with my mom and grandma. I'm pretty obsessed with plants right now. What are some of your favorite house plants or outdoor plants? Do you have a garden? What are you planting?


Monday, May 4, 2015

Kelsey's Sunday Brunch

Around this time each year once the weather warms up I feel like there's always so much going on all of sudden.  This year especially, with our wedding coming up as well as a couple of weddings of friends, there's a lot going on pretty much every weekend and many week nights it seems!

A couple weeks ago we went to the annual band concert for the UW Marching Band.  There's always lots of good music, pyrotechnics and a flying music director.  This year's theme was "There's No Place Like Home" so we enjoyed songs from both Wizard of Oz and Wicked, along with lots of Badger classics that you'll hear at all the sporting events.

On Saturday night we went and watched the Madison Radicals, a semi-pro ultimate frisbee team, play with a couple of friends.  It was a nice change of pace for a fun activity to do, and it's a fairly easy game to understand what's going on even if you don't know the rules (like myself.)  After the game we went to the Essen Haus, an authentic German restaurant, nearby to enjoy a boot of beer.

With just two months to go we are really in the home stretch of wedding planning.  Invitations have been sent and the RSVPs are trickling in.  We have most of the logistics figured out and are starting to wrap up loose ends.  There's an exciting couple of months of pre-wedding events and weddings coming up!

Multiple times a day I usually find myself scrolling through my Instagram feed.  I follow a mix of family, friends, bloggers, brands and a few celebs.  Here's a few of my favorite accounts that I think anyone would enjoy following:
  • April, Brittany and my accounts of course ;)
  • The Knot and Loverly for my daily dose of wedding inspiration
  • Bevcooks for a mixture of pretty food and cute babies with hilarious captions
  • Iambaker for the prettiest homemade cakes
  • Shanty2chic for the aspiring DIYer in me
  • Harlowandsage to help cool (or spark?) my puppy fever
  • Realnutritioncg for beautiful travel photos and equally beautiful food shots
  • OXO to learn some clever cooking, cleaning and organizing tips
Plus many, many more!  Who are some of your favorite instagram follows?

Monday, April 20, 2015

April's Sunday Brunch

 Happy Monday! It has been a really long time since I've done a Sunday, post. Does this one count or am I still behind because its a Monday? Anyways, here is the past couple months of my life!

I took a day long photography basics class, at the Madison Club. It was with Danielle Bradley who owns First Moments Photography. She was wonderful and I learned so much!

I wish I've had more time to practice what I've learned. The above are from my day session. Soon though, I'll have loads of practice time and time with you all. Prepare yourselves.

Awhile ago it was really exciting that it was just barely warm enough to sit on the back porch, while there was snow on the ground. Not that exciting anymore since I've had the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors a bunch of times!

There have been fires outside. Not pictured, hot dogs roasted over the fire. Love me some hot dogs.

I got to try out Oliver's Public House for the first time. Their brunch was really reasonably priced and good portions. Very tasty. I had an omelet with bacon, caramelized shallots, apples and cheese. Yum.

But their drinks are what really shined. I'm in love. The drinks remind me of what you might get at Merchant, but faster and with less people crowding your space. This may have been due to being there at noon and not midnight, but I liked the vibe and drinks.

I do not recall what the drink was called pictured above. My friend had the Mai Tai for brunch, yum! I had the bloody and it was really tasty too, real smokey. It was the perfect way to start spring break.

There was a trip to Milwaukee to learn a thing or two about building a garden and giant fence to enclose it from my Grandparents. More to come about our garden. Its exciting.

I refueled with some Kopp's, because you just have too. Best custard ever. It was pretty chilly outside, but the sunset and company was worth it.

I lied. I have gotten some practice using my newly learned camera skills. Daffodils seemed appropriate. It is spring people! The first farmers market was this weekend.

These are not actually from the farmers market, but from my parents house. I know you were curious where these beauties grew up.

Have you seen my awesome big cat pictures that replaced my Christmas wreaths. Jealous? They are pretty awesome.

Maybe you didn't notice them because of the beautiful daffodils, but that is why I'm here rambling and redirecting your attention. You're welcome.

They could use some new frames and matting, but they were quite the find in my parents basement.

This is actually what a lot of my life has looked like. A table, some paper, furious typing, learning, jams, too much coffee and cookies. I'm in the final stretch. 18 days until my last paper is due.

18 days plus a week or so to graduation, but who cares. We all know what really counts is that last paper. Hooray!

Happy Monday friends,

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Kelsey's Sunday Brunch

Ahoy it's Sunday!

Spring has officially sprung!  We had a couple good days of rain and the grass is getting greener, the tulips have started sprouting and I even spotted some little flowers already in bloom when I was walking to my car after work the other day!

I think we officially rang in the start of warm weather this weekend by making our first visit of the year to the Memorial Union Terrace.  As was expected it was crazy busy and we had to wait almost an hour for beer but it was worth it to enjoy some good beer and ice cream with good friends.

The Farmer's Market starts next weekend and I can't wait!  I don't make it to the big Saturday market very often but there's a smaller one during the day on Wednesdays that's just a couple blocks away from my work so I will likely be making a weekly visit there.  There won't be much produce for a while still but I'm already thinking about the farmer's market stir fry with peanut sauce or broccoli salad for when there is.  I actually couldn't wait for the broccoli salad so I whipped up a batch last week for lunches, yum!  We've already grilled out a couple times this year but I'm really looking for grilling season to ramp up some more.  I'm planning on trying out Brittany's lemon chicken kabobs for a healthy, tasty dinner sometime soon.

What are you looking forward to making this farmer's market and grilling season?

As a former waitress and hostess, I'm always drawn to articles about working in the food service industry.  Here's 15 reasons why everyone should work in a restaurant at least once in their lives.  I couldn't agree more!

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Strawberry and Mixed Greens Salad

A couple of months ago I shared by go-to lunch salad, a sweet potato and mixed greens salad.  Honestly, after eating it almost daily for a month straight, my love for that salad faded (don't worry, I'm sure I will become obsessed again in the future because it's too tasty not too!)

Recently I decided to revamp it a bit to make it a little less wintery, and a little more springy.  While it's nowhere near strawberry season in Wisconsin, it must be it other places because they're all over at the grocery store in a rich red color and at such great prices!  Fresh, sweet strawberries replace the cinnamon honey roasted sweet potatoes while a salty, light feta steps in for the tangy goat cheese crumbles.  This salad is also topped with a sprinkling of craisins and a small handful of pecans.  If you're looking for a little more protein to round out this salad, go ahead and throw on some grilled chicken or some quinoa.  Feel free to customize with whatever you have on hand!

As you can see, after I photographed this beauty I threw it in a tupperware to take for my work lunch.  I suggest keeping the dressing separate if you're doing this as the balsamic vinaigrette can really eat away at the lettuce and by lunchtime it'll be really soggy.  If you don't have little dressing containers like I do, I'm intrigued with the mason jar salads as well.  If you're going to do that, I would suggest putting the dressing in first, then top with the pecans, craisins and feta, then throw in the strawberries and put the lettuce on top.  If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!


  • 2-3 cups spring mix lettuce (or other choice of greens)
  • 1/4 cup strawberries, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons craisins
  • 2 tablespoons feta, crumbled
  • 1/8 cup pecans (or other choice of nut)
  • 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette


  1. Spread spring mix lettuce over large plate or bowl.
  2. Top with strawberries, craisins, feta and pecans.
  3. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.
  4. Toss and enjoy!
If you like this salad, you may also like:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Champagne Mojitos

Mojitos are one of my favorites. So is champagne. Put them together and yum. This drink is perfectly bubbly with the great traditional mojito flavor. Make this the next time you host brunch, celebrate a bridal shower (yes, I have wedding brain...the countdown is finally into the double digits!), or just have extra limes hanging around. For me, here's the list of things I was celebrating when I made this spring-y cocktail:
  • It's feeling like spring! The birds are chirping and the windows are open (slightly)
  • Iced coffee season is here. Enough said.
  • The Madison farmer's market is only a few weekends alway
  • Honeymoon is all planned 
  • Oh and I got a new job!

This recipe is super easy but the champagne gives it a special feel. The original recipe from Food Network suggests using cava, which I used and liked. But, I don't think using a different kind would be a deal breaker. Go ahead, get creative!


1/4 c. fresh mint leaves
2-3 Tbsp. sugar
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 c. rum
1 bottle chilled cava

1. Put mint, sugar and lime wedges into a pitcher and muddle
2. Stir in rum
3. Strain into chilled glasses and top with cava
4. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Everyday Granola

Simple, homemade, good for you granola is tough to beat.

I buy a lot of granola at the store, but when I have the time I like to make it myself. By no means am I a super healthy eater. I eat what I want.

Sometimes it might be organic other times it might be super processed, deliciously fake cheese. Cheetos! I digress.

When I buy granola though, I'm buying it to be somewhat healthy. Some whole grains. A few nuts. The perfect snack or fiber for your morning yogurt.

What I am trying to say is that I like to have a little control over what goes into my granola, specifically sugar. There does not need to be much in your granola, in terms of fats or sugars.

It can be hard to find a store-bough granola with just a few ingredients. Hence, making it is the way to go, when time permits. It is simple, clean and easy to make.

This is a pretty basic granola, hence "Everyday Granola." Original, I know, but everyone needs a good and safe based to venture out on their own from, knowing they can always come back.

I sort of just use what I have in my cupboard. All the little leftover handfuls of nuts. You know what I'm talking about. A recipe called for all but 1/4 cup of slivered almonds, what to do with the leftovers? Stash 'em away for some granola. 

Perfect opportunity to use up various seeds, like sesame or flax, as in this recipe. So many sesame and flax seeds, with so few opportunities to use them and then there was granola. Everyone gets to play! No, your granola is not going to taste like sesame.

Any flavorful oil will work in here. Until coconut oil was all the rage, I used olive oil. The coconut oil also does not make this taste overwhelmingly like coconut, for all those coconut haters out there.

Egg whites make your granola a bit more crunchy and you could add up to about 3 tablespoons. I used egg beaters and would probably skip egg whites, if I had not had egg beaters on hand. The protein bonus does not hurt either.

If you like granola that is in bigger pieces, press the granola down firmly, with a spatula, not stirring it for the remainder of time in the oven.

After it comes out of the oven do the same thing, letting it cool completely before breaking it up, tossing in the fruit at this point.

If you have not gotten the gist by now, this recipe is flexible. Change the amount of oil or honey you add, maybe it is too much for. Maybe it isn't sweet enough. That is okay. Not offended, promise.

Spread you wings and play around with the ingredients. Use what you have on hand. Go wild. It will be fun. You deserve it.


2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds

3 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon egg white
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup dried fruit

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Stir honey and oil in saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth, or microwave in a measuring cup for 30 seconds. Pour honey mixture and salt over oat mixture; toss. Add tablespoon of egg; toss. Spread on prepared sheet. Bake until golden, stirring every 15 minutes, about 40 minutes. 
  2. Place sheet on rack, to cool. Stirring immediately for a less chunky mixture or let cook fully for bigger chunks. Mix in fruit. Granola will keep for up to a week, in a air-tight container.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Kelsey's Sunday Brunch

Happy Sunday Everyone!

I hope you've had a fun, basketball filled weekend so far and that you're favorite team is winning unless they're playing our Badgers of course ;)  We've had some pretty great spring weather for the most part the past couple of weeks and Ruger has been getting spoiled with extra walks and time outside soaking in some rays.

Us Badger Kitchen ladies and a couple of friends started off the weekend by enjoying cocktails at the Old Sugar Distillery.  It's always good to be able to catch up and unwind at the end of the week, even better when you're sipping on some local spirits.  I was tempted to buy a bottle to take home but couldn't quite pull the trigger.

I've been trying out some new recipes lately.  This spring quinoa salad with honey lemon vinaigrette was a winner.  I'd like to give this garlic parmesan chicken lasagna bake another try and maybe throw in some broccoli and make a smaller batch this time because sometimes there is just too much leftovers for the number of days in a week you're willing to eat the same meal.  If you can't tell, I'm currently spending some quality time on Pinch of Yum while meal planning for the week.

We also made this simple deep dish pizza twice(!) in the past couple weeks.  You may recall that I've mentioned that I was gifted a pair of cast iron skillets for Christmas but I've honestly been a little intimidated to use them since they need to be cared for in a special way.  Deep dish pizza was a dish I knew I wanted to try making so I gave it a shot and it turned out great, the skillet isn't ruined and now I'm ready to broaden my cast iron skillet horizons!  Give me some suggestions!

We have been getting a ton of stuff checked off the wedding to-do list lately.  My dress came in (insert heart eyed emoji) so my mom and I went and picked that up.  Hello extra workout motivation!  We also ordered and received our wedding invitations from Vistaprint and we're getting all the details worked out for the rehearsal dinner at Tutto Pasta.  Funny enough, it's actually the same restaurant where I went to dinner before prom.  One of the extra fun things we got to do, well at least I thought it was fun, was pick out our wedding bands!  We are getting them from BR Diamond Suite where we were actually able to custom design them.  I wanted something a little more unique that I wasn't able to find at other jewelry stores.  Hopefully now that we've accomplished so much some of these crazy wedding dreams will stop!

Have a great week friends!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Winter Vegetable Chowder with Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Bacon

This should be called "almost vegetarian winter vegetable chowder," but it is not called that. The name was too long to fit in the allotted space.

That is how we should think of it though - almost vegetarian. Omit the bacon and you've got yourself a vegetarian situation. 

You could go even farther and hold the splash of milk and you'd have yourself a vegan party in a bowl.

Personally, I need the bacon in here. It adds some smoke and a meaty quality. It makes me think of this as more of a meal. Versus a bowl of flavored water and vegetables.

Actually, I could be a vegetarian, if and only if I could keep bacon and sausage. Basically anything pork. I don't really care for the other meats so much, but I do love the dirtiest meat of them all.  

There are lots of people who choose to eat all the meats but pork. I'm the opposite of that. I digress.

It is still healthy with the bacon. Bacon is good for you.

Enough talk about my love affair with bacon and other pork products. This recipe is flexible. I went heavy on the cauliflower because I love cauliflower. Love it.

You could use some celery root, squash, sweet potatoes. Whatever floats your boat.

I added a can of white beans to thicken it up and for a bit of protein. It is finished with some lemon juice, for brightness. 

Lemon truly brightens the whole thing up. Don't skip it. If you forgot to buy a lemon, substitute a splash of cider vinegar. It gets finished off with a small splash of milk too for creaminess.

The chowder is fairly creamy all on its own, but it is no cows milk creamy. You know what I mean? Love me some dairy. Again you can be flexible, work with what you have and like.

The crispy sprouts on top add a little color and texture. I love brussel sprouts. They are the best. Even better with crumbled bacon. I think this would be great with some crumbled goat cheese on top. Be creative. 

Reheating this was a breeze too. It thickens up though. Add some water to thin it out or do like me and pour it over some rice. Variety and flexibility. Words we should all live by.

One word of caution, easy on the salt. Taste as you go. The mustard and lemon combine for a pleasantly salty vibe, but you don't want to go crazy. Not the mention canned beans can have a lot of added salt too.


for the chowder:
3 slices, bacon
1 large cooking onion, small dice (1 3/4 cups)
1 leek, small dice (white + light green part only)
6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
4-5 thyme sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
1-2 parsnips, peeled and chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 large head of small-chopped cauliflower florets
1 ½ tbsp grainy mustard
salt + pepper to taste
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 can (16 oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup lemon juice
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1/3 cup heavy cream 

for the crispy brussel sprouts:
10 brussel sprouts, sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Heat a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon, cooking 8 to 10 minutes, until crispy. Remove and drain bacon, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the pan, setting the bacon aside for later. 
Add the diced onions to the pot and sauté until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the leeks and continue to sauté until the leeks are soft, about 4 minutes more. Add the minced garlic and thyme to the pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the chopped parsnips and cauliflower florets to the pot and stir to coat in the oil. Add the grainy mustard, salt + pepper to taste, and Old Bay. Stir to coat all the vegetables in spice. 
Add the lemon juice to the pot and stir. Add the vegetable stock to the pot, stir again, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid and lower heat to simmer. Let the chowder cook and bubble until the parsnips and celery root pieces are tender, about 15-18 minutes.
Ladle half of the chowder into an upright blender, with the white beans, and carefully purée until smooth. Pour puréed portion of chowder back into the soup pot and bring it back to a boil. Reduce heat to low, adding the cream, stirring to combine. Check the chowder for seasoning, adjust and serve hot. (you could also use an immersion blender, be careful to leave enough whole vegetable pieces.)
While the chowder is simmering/cooking, make the crispy Brussels sprouts. Place the sliced sprouts onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Pour the 2 tsp of olive oil over top, season with salt and pepper and a generous pinch of Old Bay seasoning. Toss lightly to combine and spread sprouts evenly on the baking sheet. Slide the sheet into the oven and roast for 10 to 12 minutes, or until browned on the and crispy. You'll want to stir them once while they are roasting. Serve warm sprouts on top of the hot vegetable chowder, with crumbled bacon.

Adapated from The First Mess

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Kelsey's Sunday Brunch

Welcome to March!  Is it just me or has this winter kind of flown by?  I might be kicking myself for saying that when we hit April and there's still snow on the ground.  I'm guessing it's a combination of having a relatively mild December/January for Wisconsin and all of the excitement of wedding planning because it sure doesn't feel like it was that long ago that we got engaged.  A very busy spring and summer will be here before we even know it!

Honestly though, I think I might miss soup season when it warms up.  I have been a lot more into making soups this year than in the past.  Canned soups can be mighty tasty, but there's just something special about homemade soup that you can't get from a can.  Recently I made this minestrone soup and it was mighty tasty.

The past couple of years for lent I've given up candy/desserts.  I choose it because it is actually challenging unlike when I was little and I would give up ice cream even though we never bought ice cream in the winter.  It also helps me make those healthier choices.  This year I did give myself one exception as my sweet friend Emily made me a countdown for my desk at work that requires the eating of one Hershey kiss per day.  I'll oblige if I must ;)
A Wisconsin tradition during lent, well let's be real it's basically a year-round tradition, is Friday night fish fry.  Nate and I decided to turn it into a little bit of a date night this week.  We were hoping to go to Quivey's Grove, a nearby restaurant that is well known for their fish fry, but an hour and a half wait we went elsewhere.  We ended up at the Tap Room at Hawks Landing where we washed down our fish with brandy old fashioneds, another Wisconsin tradition.  We rounded out date night with a game of mini golf on the indoor course at Vitense Golfland where match ended in a tie.

One thing I've been thinking about lately is how in the next few months my kitchen is going to change drastically.  Not only the actual physical kitchen since we'll be moving at some point this summer when I start law school, but also the tools I have in it.  Much of our wedding registry includes new kitchen tools or higher quality upgrades from what we have now.  Inspired by this article on essential tools for your first kitchen, I thought it would be fun to do a little comparison of what my top kitchen tools (meaning most used) are now compared to next fall/winter.
  • Chef's Knife: I have a really bad knife set that came in a kitchen starter kit I bought a few years ago (think, serrated knife can't even cut into a baguette bad) but then on top of that we have a mediocre chef's knife that while not great, can get the job done.  This gets used daily.
  • Cutting board(s): To go along with the chef's knife, we have a few different sized cutting boards that get used daily (at least).  My favorite is a giant one that can hold a ton of diced veggies but can barely fit in the sink to get cleaned.
  • Large non-stick skillet: Eggs, stir fry, grilling a sandwich, making a one-skillet meal, this bad boy can do it all.  I use mine close to daily and I honestly think that as I become more comfortable with my cast iron skillets this might be replaced, but for now, here she is.
  • Baking sheet: I may not use a baking sheet daily like some of these other things, but it does get used frequently and for a variety of reasons.  Besides just for baking, it also gets used for roasting, a tray for foil packets or even just to be there in case something overflows.
  • Spatula: Stirring, flipping, cutting, serving; it's practically a do it all tool!
What would be on your list?


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