Monday, March 26, 2012

Wisconsin Restaurant Expo 2012

Sorry about the sporadic posting everyone, life truly has been crazy! But here I am now, again, to share a little of what goes on in the world around me. I'm stepping out of my normal posts about children/ home life to share something special that my little bro and I got to do. We went to the 2012 Wisconsin Restaurant Expo together!

My little brother, Jacob is currently enrolled in culinary school and let me to you everyone, he is amazing! Growing up my family and I all simultaneously agreed that out of everyone he would be the successful business man. Between his business knowledge and his mad cooking skills, he is a force to be reckoned with! Of course, I too have always been in love with my kitchen and cooking (keep watch on mmmmm my blog for an amazing recipe for homemade Naan bread!) So needless to say, a restaurant expo was right up our ally.

The whole event was great, but one of the most exciting parts was that Duff Goldman was the keynote speaker! He was great and shared a lot of helpful information. He definitely had his own style, not what I was used to as far as presentation style speeches go. He was kind of sporadic and he peppered tons of little funny stories and antidotes throughout his presentation. He veered off track several times too. The whole thing presentation was both entertaining and informative. We both liked it a lot!

Afterwards he was available for book signing for his bestselling book Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes. Jake brought something much cooler for him to sign, one of his mega big pastry cookbooks from school. Awesomeness! Apparently Duff thought it was neat too, he wrote: Yes! This book is much more useful than mine! Rock on, Jacob.

Jake was thrilled, as you can imagine. After he signed Jake's book he looked up at me, and kind of looked at my hands like, "Where's her book?" For some reason, even though I knew I was going to book signing, it never occurred to me to bring a book, I just had my camera, of course. I had been snapping pictures the entire time Duff was signing my brother's book, so when he was looking at my bookless hands I commented "Oh, I didn't bring a book because I just wanted a picture, because a picture is worth a thousand words, so by me taking your picture instead of you signing my book, it's like, better than getting a thousand signatures!" ....Um.... Slight pause..... He looked at me like I was an idiot or completely nuts.
Ah well :)

Here are some of the highlights of our day:

This is Corin Beier. She was one of the students that competitively entered the cooking competition! She was super nice and just looked so "chef-ish" I had to get her picture for the blog. :) Her and my brother were on opposing schools. Fortunately, I think she cooks better than she trash talks ;) Like I said, she was super sweet :)

Afterwords, before going home, we stopped at the old out of commission Pabst brewery. I don't know how old the buildings are, but they look to be at least 100. Very cool!

We had a great day and I wish I had time to share more, we took over 200 photos!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Snowy Cozy Days

After a whole winter of almost no snow whatsoever (for Wisconsin anyway) this spring has finally brought our expected snow globe white out snow fall! This past weekend we got just a ton of snow, it was breathtakingly beautiful! It was just like the movies, where someone goes to bed to the snow falling down, then wakes up in the morning to find everything covered in a think, shimmery blanket of white. It was just lovely!

So, it wasn't until March that I got to take the kids out in a sled! So I was very excited about that. :) I wanted to spend more time taking pictures, but that was impossible because my poor children's little legs couldn't make it through the drifts and they kept face planting into the snow. It was adorable, actually. :) Every Midwestern child needs lots of memories of face planting in the snow. :)

I just love the "powdered sugar effect" It looks like their playing in piles of sugar! That's the way I see it. anyway :)

After being out for only about 25- 30 minutes we came back into our nice cozy home. We cleaned up before starting some crafts. Look at Elle Bell handling the vacuum like a pro!

I am always on the lookout for things to do with the kids to help us all pass the time with something other than cleaning and watching tv during the day. Building block towers with mega blocks still remains their favorite thing to do, but on our snowy day we had fun with construction paper!

It was a great snowy day craft. We made everything out of paper (Ha! Come to think of it, everything but paper snowflakes :) I cut out animals for them to play with, they colored on the paper, we practiced writing out all of our names, they picked out colors and I made them paper crowns and we made paper chains. The whole package of paper cost only $1.00 and I bet we didn't even use half! It kept us all busy for a good 2 hours (add an extra 15 minutes for me and cleanup ;)

Yummmy Red Bull :)

It was just a great day. It's hard not feel in auto pilot 24/7 and just go through the motions as the hours in a day just pass by. Winters here in Wisconsin have always been a struggle for me, but being a stay at home mom with 2 little people can just be hard. I think it's that way for a lot of people who lives here though. You just have to really make sure to plan things to do so you don't get to caught up in having nothing to do!

Well, it was just about 70* here just a few days after the snowy day. I love the snow... but we are so ready for warmer days! Here comes Spring!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Homemade Pasta "UnRecipe"

Although this is a "recipe" for pasta, this is actually an un recipe. I'll give all the directions, but if you go a head and make them for yourselves, you'll see that you really made them without any directions at all. So this is my "un recipe" for the best homemade pasta. Ever. In the world. Yes.

The Homemade Pasta "Un recipe"


  • 1 egg
  • I cup of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of water

3 servings


Mix together the salt and flour. Make a "well" or hole that doesn't quite reach the bottom of the bowl and crack a large egg into it. You can do this in a bowl, like I did. Or, if you're feeling brave, do like the Italians do and Just heap the mound of flour directly on the counter and add the eggs into that.

Since this supposedly is only 3 servings I went ahead and tripled it. As I was adding in the flour I was disrupted by the littles running around me and lost my train of thought (Oh Lord, this is sad. I only had to count to three, for three cups, and I lost my train of thought. This is a new low for me and slightly disturbing) Anyway, I lost my "train of thought" and could not remember if I had done 2 cups or 3 already and I was in a hurry, and it looked about 3 cups but I added about a half cup extra anyway.

Go ahead and mix that and add the water. The dough should be sticky and firm. This WILL NOT be enough water. I ended up doing about 10 Tablespoons of water and 4 Tablespoons of olive oil. Just add enough water and oil to make a dough you can knead and that looks all doughy and happy.

Knead this for about 4 minutes. I then let mine sit for 15 minutes.

Once that is done you can either roll out the dough with a roller or use a pasta maker. I used my nifty pasta maker that my mom gave me.

I took about 1/8 of the dough, floured it and rolled it through twice before rolling it through the pasta side. I decided to let the kids help. This, of course doubled the time it took to do this, but that's ok. :) After a while of this though E. became bored and wandered off and I set D. off to the side of where I was working. She happily, very happily kneaded her little ball of dough in the flour she kept stealing when I wasn't watching her. :)

Once you have the pasta, let it dry out for a bit before cooking. I let mine sit and become slightly dry, about 20 minutes.

Start a salted pot of water boiling. These noodles take about 8 minutes (depending on how long you let them dry out for.) to cook. It doesn't look like there a ton of noodles, but they are so very filling! All four of us ate our fill, and there was still enough left over for another whole dinner's worth, at least!

The rest of the family had the normal pasta sauce, but I rinsed mine until they were cool and added in just a bit of ranch dressing, a tiny bit of Sun Dried Tomato vinaigrette and a slight squeeze of lemon. It was perfect!

Although this takes longer to make than dumping a box of pasta in a pot, it was worth it! It doesn't even taste like pasta, it taste like long strips of Italian wheat goodness! Try it, you won't be disappointed!

Come check out some other great recipes and crafts here at:
Days of Chalk and Chocolate

Saturday, March 3, 2012


So, lately I feel as if my "Spiritual Life" has been lacking. I know that quite alone time with God is only one part of being close to God, but to me it feels like a big part. I feel that setting aside enough time everyday to read at least a little bit of the bible and then spend some time in prayer is not only essential to give myself some time to hear from God, but to show God that He is important enough to me for me to make time for Him.

Almost exactly a year ago today I was spending about an hour almost every morning with special prayer time. It would consist of bible reading/prayer/devotional reading and some journaling. I had about and 1 1/2 - 2hours every morning before the girls would wake up and that hour for me was essential.

Lately though, in these past months, the girls have been getting up much earlier. Sometimes they wake up with hubby and I and other times I might only have 45 minutes or maybe even an hour before they are up. So not only are my chances of getting some quite time before the kids get up slim, let me tell you, I am TIRED. Really TIRED. I eat right, exercise, get almost 8 hours of sleep, but let me tell you there is no cure for being a mom. I feel as if my feet hit the ground running in the morning and I keep it up all day, trying to keep our home clean and running around playing with two toddlers all day. Then in the evening, as everyone is winding down, I'm still busily whisking around the house getting kids ready for bed and finishing all those last little things that accumulate for the end of the day.

So, as soon as hubby leaves in the morning, I will read maybe a verse, sometimes a single verse, sigh a breathless prayer to God and fall asleep within seconds. I feel myself fall over on the couch and just hope God understands how exhausted I am. I usually am woken up 30 minutes later around 6:00 with kids jumping on me.

Today, after hubby left, I sat down with my bible. I already felt defeated and somewhat rushed because I know the girls could wake up any moment. and said to God "Ok Lord, I'm going to try to come to that place today. That place where I am completely enveloped in Your presence and can hear Your voice. Help me to not fall asleep and teach me more about who You are."
My bible is a devotional bible, so peppered in between the pages are little devotions and poems. I opened my bible at random and my eyes fell on this poem:

Once I worked at whipping up a feeling I could
call "worship." No more. I have lived
consciously in His presence long enough to know
Him, to recognize His pressure on my heart and
mind. We've been together long enough so that
fixing supper, changing the ribbon in my
typewriter, and riding a bike around my shell
road have become almost sacramental. This
does not indicate my "holiness." It indicates
His - His holiness and His drawing power for my
heart or for yours

----- Eugenia Price

Wow! I felt as if God was speaking to me directly and that this poem was written just for me. All of the sudden all these "mini memories" of God speaking to me throughout all of my busy days these past few weeks just came back at once. Like all the different people He has laid on my heart to pray for.

When I'm building block towers or sweeping, He has put so many different people on my heart and I just pray for them. I don't always know what to pray for, but I pray for them. This is worship.

While listening to music while chasing the kids around the house a line of music touches my heart so deep I can't help but to feel Him there. I say a quick prayer of thanks for the ability to serve such a Mighty God. This is worship.

I'm tired and just want to spend 15 minutes on the computer, but instead I listen to my girls and spend 15 minutes tenderly and joyfully reading them a story. I pray for God's help to be the mother He desires for them. This is worship.

Although not all at once, all these things work together for the glory of God and in turn worship Him. I can't define "worship" or "holiness" by my terms, I can only go by what He says in the Bible and offer my self as a living sacrifice.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's
mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and
pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.

Romans 12:1

Only by being led by the Holy Spirit can I following God's will and worship Him. A year ago that was spending an hour in the mornings with Christ. Since then, I have entered a new season in life and now God makes sure to clearly and precisely speak to me throughout the day. Of course, I do try to set aside even 2 minutes in the morning to dedicate my day to Him, but sometimes 2 minutes is all I have. I know that's ok now.

My two toddlers are up now! Have a wonderful day and know that even if you don't always feel near to God, He is near to you. :)