I’m still alive

I’m still around. A lot has happened since my last post, but I wanted to share with you the very best thing that had happened…

My daughter gave birth to twin boys March 23rd, 2014. Grayson Nathaniel & Jackson Christopher. They were born 6 weeks premature and are doing so well for being 2 months old!

My daughter amazes me!

Farmer Markets have started up and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ve got the itch to get back in the kitchen…

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Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Uncategorized


Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cupcakes


Well hello there!  It’s been awhile! I’m still here. I’m still cooking.  I had to get over the terrible year that was 2012.  A lot of healing has taken place since Jeff died.  I still miss him so.

I’ve decided to pick myself up and get on with things.  Cassidy and Ryan are now 21 and 19 respectively and are out there in the world doing their own thing.  As they should.  So now it’s time to take care of Sarah.

I’ve dusted of the Y membership and gotten back on track with living and eating healthy.  In my quest to eat healthy while not depriving my need to bake; I came across a book called Hungry Girl To The Max by Lisa Lillien.


This book has been my saving grace.  It has saved breakfast, and most importantly, dessert.  One of my favorite recipes in the book is her Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cupcakes. Are they ever good!  4 Weight Watcher points each (if you are counting) and only 135 calories.  Low fat AND low cal…SCORE!

The recipe is easy and makes 12 perfect cupcakes.


  • 1 3/4 C moist-style devil’s food cake mix
  • 1/2 C egg beaters
  • 1 C water
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 C Cool Whip Free (thawed)
  • 1/4 C reduced fat peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons light chocolate syrup
  • 1 tablespoons chocolate frosting
  • 12 small pretzels (broken into pieces)

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with baking cups or spray with non-stick spray.

In a large bow, whisk cake mix, egg beaters, baking soda and water until smooth.  Evenly distribute among baking cups.  Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (between 23-25 minutes).  Let cool completely.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix Cool Whip with peanut butter.  I use a whisk for this.  In another small bowl whisk the chocolate syrup and frosting together until smooth.

Spread cupcakes with peanut butter mixture then drizzle with chocolate mixture.  Top with pretzel pieces and ENJOY!  I sure did.

I suggest keeping these in the refrigerator after frosting.  Also, don’t be alarmed if the pretzels get a little on the soft side; they still taste good and you still get that salty/sweet combo.

Oh! Before I forget.  We have a new addition to the family.  A Sphinx (hairless) kitty named Maximus Decimus Meridius (my son got him and named him) Max for short.


Isn’t he cute?!


Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Uncategorized



Appleton Farmer’s Market


Took a ride up to Appleton today to walk around it’s downtown farmer’s market.  I do love the Appleton market.  I need to stock up on my favorite sauce ever from Jimmy J and hit my favorite bakery Renards Bake Shop.  I picked up a few awesome things along the way.

My Loot:

  • Heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • Jimmy J’s Hot Rib Sauce
  • Ciabatta loaf from Renards
  • Cinnamon/Raisin Oatlmean from Great Harvest Bread Co. out of Neenah, WI
  • Sweet Potato-Sage Pasta from Dalla Terra out of Appleton, WI
  • Michigan blueberries
  • Michigan peaches

While I’m in Appleton I like to hit all my favorite stores. One of those stores being World Market. I love everything about this store. It was at World Market where I discovered my all time favorite summer drink combination:

Sangria and sparkling Meyer lemon juice.  LOVE IT!  If there is a World Market in your area, I implore you to try this over ice.  You will quickly become a believer.

I have some pork steaks on the grill all sorts of slathered in Jimmy J’s sauce with some fresh sweet corn with garlic/basil butter to be enjoyed on my deck with a tall glass of my sangria mix.  The perfect summer dinner in my world.


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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Uncategorized



The Best BBQ Chicken…EVER!

I have fallen in love….with a BBQ sauce.  Yes I have.  While strolling the Appleton market I came upon the Jimmy J’s sauce stand and he had samples (admit it you are a sucker for samples too!).  At first I was like whatever…then he waved a meatball on a stick under my nose.  I caved in.  I went with the XXX it was tasty but the after burn kind of took over and I figured it would be too much for company if indeed I bought a bottle.  So I went a step down and tried the Hot.  Perfect!  Seriously good flavor, good heat (but not too much) and for $4 a bottle, why not.  So I thanked the kind man for the samples and went on my way.

Here is what my $4 got me…

When they say you will lick your fingers, they aren’t joking.  You want to lick the plate too, but I digress… hehe.

I had some drumsticks in the refrigerator that I wanted to put on the grill and figured it would be the perfect vehicle to try this sauce out.  Making BBQ chicken isn’t rocket science, but a lot of people seem to struggle with it. Either it’s burned on the outside and raw on the inside or just overcooked period.  I found the key ingredients to perfect chicken on the grill are low heat and patience.  No par boiling necessary.

I put my gas grill on the lowest setting possible and kept turning the chicken every five minutes.  When the skin started to get brown, I started to baste the chicken with Jimmy J’s sauce.  It took me about 35 minutes to cook the drummies fully.  The chicken was perfectly cooked  (the juices ran clear. If the juices are pinkish…keep cooking) and the sauce was finger-licking sticky. MmmMMmm!

I paid $4 for a 21 oz bottle at the market.    For my Milwaukee (and non-Wisconsin) readers, they do have a website  They do charge a little bit more on their website, but it’s sooooo worth it.  Shipping is at a fair price as well.  I implore you to order a bottle and defy you to tell me this isn’t some good sauce!

Happy grilling!

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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Dill Pickles

I took a trip up to Appleton to see how their farmer’s market was.  It’s AMAZING!  I would have taken pictures of all the awesome that was in my bag, but I didn’t get home until late.  Anyways, part of my loot was some pickling cucumbers and red spring onions. They were $3 for a nice bunch. I figured I’d chop them up and eat them with my lunch if I didn’t have all my canning supplies.

The lady who sold me the cucumbers told me not to worry if I didn’t have all my canning supplies, that I could make dill pickles that would last in the refrigerator for about a month without “all that canning fuss.”  Sold!

Seriously, everything you need for this recipe is pictured above.  Pickling cucumbers, onion (I used the red spring onions from the market), garlic and dill seed.  The vender lady made it very clear to used dill seed NOT dill weed.  You can pick up dill seed at Pick N Save if you are in Wisconsin.  You will also need some vinegar, kosher salt, water (to make the brine) and clean jars with clean lids.  That’s it.

I used a 1 part vinegar/1 part water method.  For about 5-6 cumbers use 1 c vinegar/1 c water and 2 tablespoons of salt.  Brink the mixture to a boil and let cool to room temp.

In the mean time slice your cucumbers.  For the most part I did spears.  Then I remembered I had a fancy pants cutting tool so I made some hamburger dill cuts as well.

Again, for 5-6 cucumbers 2 spring onions (white/red parts only.  The green parts tend to get soggy and that’s just gross), 2 cloves of garlic (chopped, whole..whatever you want) and 2 tablespoons of dill seed.  More or less depending on your taste.

Put the dill seed, garlic and onion on the bottom of a clean jar.  Add your cucumber slices.  Pack them in the jar nicely, but not to the point where you are forcing them into the jar.

Fill jar with cooled brine.  Leave about 1/2-1/4 inch space at the top. Put lid on tightly and give the jar a little shake to distribute the dill seed.  You should have something that looks like this:

Put in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before enjoying them. I’m pretty excited to put the hamburger cut pickles on my burgers this week.

Note:  These are not canned in a water bath.  They cannot be stored unrefrigerated.  They will last about a month refrigerated, but please do not leave them on the counter over night.



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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Farmer’s Market Week 3


I made out pretty good this week.  No bread though :(  My favorite bread vendor now sells at the Wednesday market. My work schedule doesn’t allow me to visit that one so the Amish will have to fulfill my bakery needs on Saturdays.  Not that I’m complaining…

This week’s finds:

  • Onions
  • Door County Cherries!
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Eggs. Nothing beats farm fresh, nothing.
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Strawberries

Not pictured is a big bunch of mint and another quart of strawberries.

Next week I will be going to the Sheboygan market.  They have fantastic bread vendors and a down right awesome vegan stand that serves the best vegan sausage and biscuits.  I just may stick around and put my toes in the sand and ooo and ahhh over Lake Michigan.

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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Uncategorized


Farmer’s Market Week 2


Another successful stroll through Fond du Lac’s farmer’s market this morning.  I seem to have made a new Saturday morning routine.  I swim for an hour at the Y then hit the market.  It’s a nice little chunk of “me time”. 

All the beautiful produce I’m starting to see makes me miss HighCross Farm.  The last time I saw Steve and Kath Jeff was still alive.  Time sure has flown.

I loaded up on strawberries again since this will be the last weekend I will be able to get them freshly picked.  I really wish strawberry season had a longer window, but I take what I can get. 

My booty:

  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Purple Garlic
  • Mixed salad greens
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes

I have a strawberry/rhubarb buckle baking as I type.  Recipe found here.

Next week I might actually leave Fond du Lac and see what other city markets have to offer.

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Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Uncategorized




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