Monthly Archives: August 2008

Happy birthday Trav and Luke

Today was the birthday for both my brothers: Trav and Luke. They are two years apart, but their birthdays fall on the same day. Here is an undoctored picture of what 26 and 24 years of living on the edge can do to a person:

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Posted by on August 31, 2008 in Uncategorized


Happy Birthday Trav & Luke!

We had a fun day celebrating Travis’ & Luke’s birthdays today.  Travis turned 26 & Luke turned 24.  Aunt Maggie and Cousin Beth were up from Chicago, and with John and Sarah, Luke & Nikki, Travis & Jennie, and Justin and I, we were quite a ruckus group!  We all met and John & Sarah’s around 1 pm and had a nice afternoon of visiting, running to the fireworks store, and watching old home videos of the boys from 1987.  Then we had a wonderful meal of grilled chicken and brats, corn on the cob, fresh green beans, baked potatoes, homemade crescent rolls, chips and dip, etc.  And if we weren’t stuffed enough, we followed it all up with Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake.  I saw this cake on the smitten kitchen blog a couple of weeks ago and immediately decided I needed to buy the book that the recipe was in.  When Travis saw the cake, he asked right away if I would make it for his birthday.  Sounded great to me!  And yesterday, after the cake was made, he also requested Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Crunch Bars to line the plate.  Yes, it is completely over the top, but it was definitely a fun birthday treat.  After we were packed to the gills with food and dessert, the guys opened their birthday gifts, and then we headed out to John & Sarah’s land in the country and the guys arranged quite the fireworks display.  It was a fun way to end the evening, even though there were several times of running for cover while laughing hysterically!

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Posted by on August 31, 2008 in Uncategorized


A Note to the King Family

Dear Jim, Jenn, Maureen & Madie,
We love you!  BUT – You have crazy dogs.  Rest assured, they are well cared for and have thoroughly cleansed colons.  We just won’t go into detail about where that took place!!  
And Dory sure can run fast, can’t she?! 😉
Looking forward to seeing you soon.  Very soon.  Please come home soon…
Love & Hugs,
Justin & Julie
 A Note to everyone else – we’re sorry to have to put you through that!! 🙂
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Posted by on August 30, 2008 in Uncategorized


Quality Car Time.

Justin and I spent lots of time in the car today, but as it took us over to Hudson, WI/Minneapolis, MN, it was time well spent.  We got to Hudson right about noon, stopped for a quick bite to eat, and then I dropped Justin off at Troy Burn Golf Club.  His dad had to work in the area in the morning, so they decided to meet up there for their afternoon round.  They both agree that it is a very nice, but very challenging course.

Then I drove into downtown Minneapolis to Nicollet Mall for the Farmer’s Market.  The weather was gorgeous, I got a primo parking spot and came away with plenty of goodies – bread, carrots, sweet corn and green beans.  I was very tempted by all the beautiful flowers, but I figured they would wilt by the time I got them home into water anyway.  A picture lasts much longer, even if it doesn’t smell as nice!

I also just enjoyed walked and driving around the downtown area, with the skyways and sunshine!

After a quick trip to IKEA, I drove back into Hudson and walked around their downtown area and then along the waterfront.  I had brought a blanket and a book along in case I had extra time, and it was very nice to relax a bit before I returned to the golf course to pick up Justin.
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Posted by on August 29, 2008 in Uncategorized


Back in the swing of things…

To make up for yesterday’s lack of anything worth writing about, I’ll give you two recipes for the price of one today.  

First off, I bought pears last week and promptly forgot about them until yesterday when I was going through the refrigerator and found the fully ripened and ready boscs in the drawer.  As we have been on somewhat of a muffin kick lately, I found a recipe for pear muffins.  This is a very good recipe, but I ended up with 10 muffins rather than 6 (definitely not a bad thing!).  I think it depends on how big your pears are.  I also added just a bit of water as the batter was a little drier than I liked.  They came out very very good though, and I will definitely keep this recipe around.

Next, as we have had an abundance of plums from our tiny little plum tree (and we really don’t care for eating straight plums), I found a highly reviewed recipe for Plum-Apple Butter.  While not a true jelly/jam recipe (doesn’t contain pectin), it is as close as I was willing to come to one.  This was a rather labor-intensive process with lots of putzy steps (which I am really not a fan of) and it made a huge load of dirty dishes (also not a fan of), but as I would probably only make it once a year, and only then depending on our plum crop, I’ll also keep this recipe neatly tucked in my file.  

Plus, it’s fantastic! 
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Posted by on August 27, 2008 in Uncategorized


Ready to Go!

I think Storm has the memory of a goldfish.  “What is this fantastic little house for me to sit in?  So comfy!”  She doesn’t remember for a second that the only time these carriers ever come out is to take them to the vet so they can get shots.  As you can see from the picture, Norm remembers.  He remembers VERY WELL.  As soon as Justin brought these out of the basement closet, Norm ran down to Travis’ room and hid under his bed.  And as soon as Justin let him out of the carrier upon arriving home, Norm ran down to Travis’ room and hid under his bed.  He is there as I write this, several hours later.

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Posted by on August 26, 2008 in Uncategorized


Dulce de Leche

Mmmm….dulce de leche.  Or in english, sweetened condensed milk (goat’s or cow’s) heated to produce a wonderfully thick, rich caramel.  I’ve made it in the past by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk, completely submerged in water, for 3 hours.  This is an incredibly easy method with incredibly tasty results.  However, recent warnings against this method (namely, that the cans can explode) and the fact that our house was like a sauna for several hours because of the steam, have led me to find alternative methods.  The first of which is the easy way – just go out and by it!  Well, as this product is not quite in the mainstream of grocery items available in Stevens Point, we drove down to Plover’s Mexican grocery store, La Guadalapana.  And Hooray!  They actually carried two different types – one made with cow’s milk and one from goat’s (I had read about both on the internet).  So I happily scooped up both in order to make Alfajores this weekend, which is a Peruvian sandwich cookie, made with almond cookie dough and dulce de leche (or a similar product, manjar blanco, which I’ll never find in Wisconsin unless I make it!) sandwiched in between.  

So this afternoon, after getting up from an un-nap (laying on the couch WANTING to nap, but Norm kept coming up and poking me in the face, grrrr), I set to my project of deciding which type of dulce de leche we liked better.  I rolled out the cookie dough, baked the cookies, and then set to our taste test.  I cut several cookies in half, on the left side using the cow’s milk dulce de leche, and the right side using the goat’s milk type.  While both were excellent, we all agreed that we liked the cow’s milk type better.  

It had a richer, smoother, caramel-y flavor, while the goat’s milk dulce de leche was a much stronger, cooked milk flavor.  I’m thinking we’ll save the goat’s milk type for over ice cream or with apples, and I’ll use the cow’s milk type for the rest of the cookies, and will stick with that in the future.  Plus, it is the same cost as a can of sweetened condensed milk, with out the work (or fear of destroying the kitchen).
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Posted by on August 24, 2008 in Uncategorized