This Grand Adventure: Chelsa-Bea: August 2013

August 29, 2013

Grandma's 1950's Peanut Butter Cookies

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This week, my family and I are taking a trip to Wyoming for a family vacation. It’s been almost three months since I’ve see my parents and almost four years since I’ve been back out West. My best friend, Laura, and her boyfriend are with us, too.

August 27, 2013

Kitchen Staple - Chicken Curry Salad

Easy Chicken Curry Salad, Chicken Curry Salad Recipe, Chicken Salad Recipe

After I graduated from college, I moved to Switzerland to work. I was in Geneva doing research for a small NGO that did work with the World Health Organization. It was truly the job of my dreams.

I love Geneva. I loved the culture. I loved the food. I loved everything about the experience. But, it was surprisingly harder than I anticipated, being away from my friends and family. For the first few months, I knew few people outside the other American’s that were staying where I lived and the people I worked with. I was very lonely when I first got there, so I got in the habit of doing small things that made me happy. I often worked late, and since I was living alone, it became habit to buy myself dinner once or twice a week.

August 23, 2013

Recipes Around the Web - Roasted Beet and Garlic Pasta

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As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, we’ve been stocking up on amazing produce at the farmer’s market this summer. Beets are one of those ingredients that I haven’t cooked with much. My mom was a huge fan of them when I was growing up and she ate them whenever they were in season. I always took a pass when she added them to salad or just ate them on their own. In the last few years, I’ve ordered them on a few menus here and there and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed them.

August 21, 2013

Zucchini, Corn and Black Bean Salad

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As I’ve shared before, we’ve spent a lot of time at farmer’s markets this summer. It’s been wonderful. We’ve had great fresh vegetables around the house every week. We used to go to the farmer’s market in Des Moines but it was more for the ambiance and the breakfast burritos and not so much for the produce. Since moving to Milwaukee, we’ve really tried to make to the most of our visit’s to the market’s and support our community.

Zucchini and Corn Salad, Fresh Summer Salad, Easy Zucchini Salad, Zucchini and Corn, Corn and Black Bean Salad, Zucchini and Corn Salad, Fresh Summer Salad, Easy Zucchini Salad, Zucchini and Corn, Zucchini, Corn and Black Bean Salad Recipe

I don't know what it is about the farmer’s market. Ha. I seriously go on fresh-ingredient-overload. I get super over stimulated and have to check out every single vendor, what they are offering and their pricing before I can purchase. I’ve got serious “Fear of Missing Out Syndrome” when it comes to the farmer’s market produce. I need to make sure that what I’m purchasing is the best quality, and most affordable product offered at the market. I am not kidding. Last week I looked at four different bunches of beets before I purchased. Does this happen to anyone else? Probably not, but okay, anyway, back to the recipe.

August 19, 2013

Milwaukee Eat Local Resource Fair

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Milwaukee’s food scene has definitely been one of the highlights of moving here. Not only are we constantly inundated with new restaurants to try but the number of local company’s producing amazing products for us to enjoy at home has also been extraordinary. Whether it’s the amazing farmer’s markets that we’ve attended or the fabulous festivals, I promise you, when it comes to delicious local food fare, Milwaukee is not lacking.

Over the weekend, my husband and I headed to the Urban Ecology Center to attend 2013 Eat Local Resource Fair provided by Eat Local Milwaukee. The Fair brought together local food vendors, local food organizations and advocates, and a variety of other sponsors. In general, the Fair was another great way to celebrate local food in Wisconsin.

August 16, 2013

Random Stuff and My First Video

So, while I feel like I’ve had an incredibly productive week crossing off to-do lists, sending emails and working on various projects, I have not been very nice to this blog. I actually have two recipes completed and about 300 photos sitting on my camera right now waiting to be uploaded and edited but I can’t seem to get myself to spend the time finishing them.

Maybe it’s that it’s starting to feel like summer again, rather than the fall-like weather we had earlier this week. Maybe it’s that I had my first ‘runner’s high’ ever yesterday and now all I want to do is put on my shoes and hit the pavement (this has NEVER happened to me). Maybe it’s that sitting on the floor with my kitty and reading article upon article seems way more interesting right now than finishing up a few of my half-started blog posts. Maybe it’s all of these things but I need to stop making excuses. Ha!

But, here is what I will share with you today, a really awesome little video (I might be exaggerating that a bit) I made of my husband fishing. Please realize that I am just learning this new set of skills, so the video footage and the actual video are nothing to write home about. I figured I would just share it, well...because I can. We went fishing last weekend so that I could practice casting for an upcoming trip we are taking and to enjoy the beautiful weather we were having that day. I was in a park where there were definitely three different weddings going on, a whole lot of geese and nature. Get ready to be enthralled. Enjoy!

August 12, 2013

So, Why Write About Food?

photo via a.fornum

My husband says I should have written this post months ago, but to be honest, I figured it would come out in my writing somehow. He says I need to tell you exactly why I write about food. I mean, I don’t know that I can truly call myself a food blogger but if that is, what this is becoming, then I figured I might as well tell you why.

Food has always been one of the most important elements of my life. I am sure you are thinking, all right girl, cool but food is important to everyone. Okay...I get it, food is important to everyone, but food is important to me in a way that, well, is bigger than most things.

I don’t have a desire to be a chef, although I did contemplate going to the Culinary Institute for a hot minute before heading to college. And then for a while, I didn’t cook at all because I think I was intimidated by the idea that it was too domestic or that it wasn’t “cool” or something ridiculous like that. I think I fought how important it was to me for a long time.

My biggest pet peeve in life is spending money on bad food. And, I’m not talking about McDonald’s or even the occasional piece of Eddy’s White Bread, I’m talking about bad-tasting, ill-seasoned, and disappointing food. Whether it’s $1.50 or $300, if it doesn’t taste good or is just inadequate, I can’t think of anything more annoying.

I’m not a self-proclaimed foodie and I would probably argue that I’m not a food snob. But in reality, I am probably very much both of these. So, who is to blame for all of this, you ask? That would be my dearest mother. Yep, she is the culprit. Get this straight though, I am not complaining about that. I actually think it’s one of the greatest gifts she could have ever given me. The appreciation, desire and love for really great food.

I remember being so frustrated by her as a child. When everyone else got pudding-packs in their lunches. My mother would put homemade pudding in a glass ramekin for us to take to school. Now that I look back, what an amazing and wonderful mother she was. The thought and energy she put into our meals and exposing us to things that most people don't dream of eating or even know about until much later in life, I am now very, very grateful for. But at the time, I couldn’t quite see past the fact that she wouldn’t allow us to have Squeeze-It in our lunch.

You see, my mother has always loved food like it was her third child. And in some ways it was. My mother is an original Martha-Stewart wannabe, we’re talking 1980’s original Martha. She is so talented and fearless to try new things.  She is 10,000x’s the cook that I will ever be. For a short time growing up, my mother owned her own catering company. Oh and then she took some courses in wine-making and in general she made the best Sunday dinner of anyone I know.

August 9, 2013

Recipes Around the Web - Pickles, Pickles & More

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One thing I have been really wanting to try these last couple years is pickling. Up until recently, pickling always seemed ‘too complicated’. Don’t get me wrong, I love a challenge but sometimes when it comes to cooking, I don’t want to make things that seem ‘fussy’. But something in me shifted after some friends of ours pickled their own Brussels sprouts last fall and I’d been toying with the idea of pickling since.

August 7, 2013

For My Mr. - Happy Three Year Anniversary

“It’s good, it is work, but it’s the best kind of work, and there’s no one I’d rather work with.” - Ben Affleck

Today I celebrate three years of marriage to my best friend, my husband.

Nine years ago we met at a ridiculous party in college and then I proceeded to ignored him for a good six months while he persisted in getting me to notice him. Finally, his determination paid off when I agreed to study with him one night. I never could have imagined nine years ago, or even five that I would be where I am now but going on this grand adventure with this man has been the best and most exciting experience of my life.

While it hasn’t always been easy, and I will be honest we’ve faced our fair share of challenges, I couldn’t imagine doing this with anyone else. I didn’t realize it when I met him, but he is the most hardworking and determined person I know. In his work, his relationships and our marriage. He is genuine to the core.

His constant support, his unwavering love, his ambition to succeed, his constant generosity are just some of the reasons I continue to fall more and more in love with him. He is my partner. My confident. The best advisor, editor and business partner I could ask for. He is my best friend. I am grateful for him each day and couldn’t ask for a better person to spend the rest of my life with.

Happy Anniversary, Goose. I can’t imagine being on this grand adventure with anyone else.

I love you.

August 5, 2013

Week with Friends

The last seven days have been pretty exciting for me. They’ve been filled with good friends, amazing food and lots of laughter.

Last Sunday and Monday, my best friend Laura came to town for a conference. It was the first time anyone has come to visit, and having her here was such a treat. Despite being a bit brisk, we explored the city taking in patios, the river, and even the beach. We dinned at numerous delicious restaurants, including Bosely and Brady where we enjoyed, what I have been told is, ‘Milwaukee’s Best Happy Hour’.

August 2, 2013

My 5 Favorite Beers

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Since it’s International Beer Day and all, I thought it would take this opportunity to share with you my 5 favorite beers.

Beer and food have always gone hand in hand for me. I appreciate a delicious brew just as much as I would a good meal. I’m sure being married to a man who makes the stuff as a hobby has a little to do with it, but to be honest, beer is one of those things that I’ve always enjoyed (since I could legally consume alcohol). I wouldn’t consider myself any type of expert on the libation but in the last few years, I’ve joined the microbrew bandwagon and tried to expand my beer palette.

And if you’d like to learn a few random facts about beer, since we’re on the subject and all, have a listen to one of my favorite programs Science Friday, and discover why bubbles in Guinness float down instead of up and why to get the best beer flavor it should be enjoyed out of the bottle and in a room temperature glass. Seriously, this article is great. Who doesn’t love science AND food?