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,


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