Visiting Wisconsin…

13 Aug

This year we were able to go up to Wisconsin to visit where I grew up as we haven’t been able to visit in a few years.  We were only there for a semi quick weekend trip. However, we got to see a lot of people and had a lot of fun.

We visited the Milwaukee County Zoo one of our days which is always one of my favorites.  I love the train, I love some of the buildings – it has lots of memories so I’m happy we were able to go again.

We also spent two days at the Wisconsin State Fair.  This fair has ruined me for all other fairs.  The options of food is simply amazing and beyond delicious.  When we went to the Florida Fair earlier this year, we were disappointed as the most unique thing there was pork – at least that we could find.  However, the Wisconsin State Fair has lamb sandwiches, bison burritos and sandwiches, honey ice cream, maple cotton candy, etc. So many delicious things!

The fair is known for its Cream Puffs which I didn’t love too much growing up, but they’ve grown on me the older I’ve gotten and I have to admit other cream puffs I’ve had have not been as good, so maybe I’ve just been spoiled – like so many other things!

Cream Puff

Cream Puff

 

Between my husband and I we ate a lot of delicious stuff over the two days.  His favorite item that he had was a pizza cone. However, the Ruben egg rolls that they had years before were delicious too.

pizzacone

sausage pizza cone

I played it pretty safe my first day – nachos and a taco hot dog.  However, the second day I went a bit more crazy.  I had a Fat Elvis on a Stick which was a peanut butter cup deep fried with banana, chocolate, and bacon.  I also had a turkey and cranberry doughnut – both were oddly delicious although!

Fat Elvis

Fat Elvis

Turkey Donut

Turkey Donut

We also stopped for Kopp’s burgers and custard one night on the way home.  I forgot how delicious their burgers are, definitely need to be a stop on our next trip!  All in all it was a deliciously fun weekend. It was good to see friends and family and a good trip to visit Wisconsin.

Music Mondays…

11 Aug

Chicken and Asparagus Stir Fry…

10 Aug

We tried another new recipe this weekend from skinnytaste.com since we are back home.  This week it was Chicken and Asparagus Stir Fry.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium shoyu or soy sauce (or Tamari for GF)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tbsp canola or grapeseed oil, divided
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • fresh black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Lightly season the chicken with salt. In a small bowl, combine chicken broth and soy sauce. In a second small bowl combine the cornstarch and water and mix well to combine.

Heat a large non-stick wok over medium-high heat, when hot add 1 teaspoon of the oil, then add the asparagus and cook until tender-crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Increase the heat to high, then add 1 teaspoon of oil and half of the chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside and repeat with the remaining oil and chicken. Set aside.

Add the soy sauce mixture; bring to a boil and cook about 1-1/2 minutes. Add lemon juice and cornstarch mixture and stir well, when it simmers return the chicken and asparagus to the wok and mix well, remove from heat and serve.

For 1.25 cups its under 300 calories which makes it super yummy!  We served it on top of some brown rice and it made enough so we have leftovers throughout the week for work.

First Attempt at Stuffed Chicken Breasts…

12 Jul

Another weekend, another recipe off of skinnytaste.com that my husband and I try. This weekend I picked that we try one of the stuffed chicken breast recipes – spinach and feta to be exact.  They were easier to stuff than we thought they would be and were super delicious! While my blog has become a lot of recipes lately, hopefully I will have some other posts in the future. I’ve been focusing on my other blog more lately.

Yum!

Yum!

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken by skinnytaste.com

Ingredients:

  • cooking spray or oil mister
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and juice squeezed out
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 oz) crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup fat free ricotta
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt and pepper, plus more to taste
  • 8 thin skinless chicken breast cutlets (1.5 lbs total)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large baking sheet with spray.

Heat the oil a medium sauté pan. Add onions, garlic and scallions and sauté about 1 minute. Add spinach, parsley, dill, 1/4 tsp kosher salt and pepper and cook another minute or until heated through. Remove from heat and mix in the feta and ricotta cheese.

Season chicken lightly with more kosher salt and pepper to taste.

Place about 1/4 cup of spinach mixture in the center of the chicken and roll, then lay the chicken seam side down on a platter or piece of wax paper. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Place the breadcrumbs in another bowl.

Dip the chicken rolls into the egg wash, then into the breadcrumbs and place seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remainder then lightly spray to top of the chicken with cooking spray. Bake about 25 minutes or until cooked through.

With them, we made Buttery Lemon Parsley Noodles from thepioneerwoman.com 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Pasta (fettuccine, Linguine, Angel Hair)
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/4 cup Finely Minced Parsley
  • 1 whole Lemon
  •  Salt And Pepper, to taste

Preparation Instructions

Cook the noodles according to package instructions. (If using angel hair, stop just short of the al dente stage.) Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Throw in the cooked pasta and cook it around in the butter for a couple of minutes so that a few of the noodles get a little bit of a panfried texture to them, add in the parsley.

Zest the lemon. Squeeze in the juice, then add the zest of half the lemon.

Add salt and pepper to taste, then toss around and serve.

Both of them were super delicious and a nice light dinner!

Music Mondays…

7 Jul

Edison & Ford Winter Estates…

6 Jul

On our way back from Sanibel, we stopped by the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, FL.  We had to kill some time before heading to Culver’s for lunch so we looked what was around for us to do that would be cheap since we are Bok Tower Garden Members. (Love their reciprocal program – we save so much money!)  The Edison & Ford Winter Estates were on there so we decided to go. (There are plenty of other things nearby that I want to do, so I feel another Culver’s trip will be in our future!)

We went on a Sunday in the middle of summer. Most of the estates are outside, so you definitely don’t want to go if it’s raining or too hot. We got there around 10 a.m. and it wasn’t too busy. The suggested that we head out to do the outside part soon with our audio guides and come back to do the mini-museum later. We agreed and off we went.

IMG_4522

Edison’s house

It was amazing to see – to think that they only used it for a portion of the year! I would have definitely loved to work for Edison back in the day as he had electricity way ahead of everyone else. You can’t go in the actual estates, but you can go in some of the garage’s and see into the houses. A lot of the furniture is the original in the houses which is neat to see how it withstood time.

fig tree

fig tree

It was a gorgeous place to just walk around, reflect on history, relax, and work up a sweat for our delicious lunch!  It was also neat to see how the two were such close friends and old photos from the time period.

Edison's garage - Ford stored a lot of his vehicles in it.

Edison’s garage – Ford stored a lot of his vehicles in it.

pond area

pond area

Edison's Lab

Edison’s Lab

To get through the entire thing, take some photos, and go through the museum it took us about four hours. It wasn’t bad for the time period, and we were happy to just see a part of history. They apparently due more in depth lab tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays which could be interesting, but it was still neat just to see it all. I wish land and houses were still that cheap as they bought a lot of it for only $200.  However, that was a time in the past and you can’t dwell in it! However, you can definitely learn from it.

Sanibel Weekend…

3 Jul

A few weekends ago we went away for a mental health vacation. My husband and I needed to get away, relax, get our minds off some things, and we really wanted time just the two of us away. We hadn’t been on vacation solo since Europe back in October. So we were frantically looking for the time off and then the location. We ended up on Sanibel Island. Its only about three hours away from our house, there was enough to do. We had never been, so we booked the week before and off we went.

The living room at the Sanibel Inn.

The living room at the Sanibel Inn.

We drove there Thursday night after work.  We didn’t get in until about 11 and checked into the Sanibel Inn. It had decent reviews online and seemed to be in a decent location. We loved it and would stay there again in the future. It was clean, spacious, budget-friendly, and had free bicycle rentals which is a must for the island.  We had a room with a king size bed and then a separate living area with a mini kitchenette.

We went off for a bike ride our first morning. I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 15 years, but after a few shaky moments and almost falling off within the first five minutes, I was okay. We road up to the lighthouse on the island and all over stopping at a store called She Sells Sea Shores (sadly, not on Castaway Cay) and then road back.

lighthouse!

lighthouse!

After that we went to Cheeburger Cheeburger to continue to feed my burger craving that has developed over the past few months and never left.  We ate some delicious food, looked at some stores and then spent the rest of the day at the beach.   The island is interesting as all the stores are only open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. – except for the grocery store and some restaurants. It’s definitely touristy, but throughout our weekend we drove all over the entire island.

Our first night we ate dinner at the Mad Hatter. It had great reviews and it lived up to expectations. The food was delicious – scallops for me, lamb for my husband – although my favorite was my beet salad appetizer that I had. So delicious! I would drive the 3 hours just for that.  One of the best parts of the meal was the fact that we ended up eating next to a couple that was celebrating 55 years of marriage. They were adorable, they chatted to us some and the husband surprised the wife with a cake with their wedding photo put on it. The best part of that cake – the side said “55 Great Years.” That says a lot as they must have had a wonderful life together and it’s not over yet. I can’t wait to see how happily I am in love when we hit 55 years!

Beach Time!

Beach Time!

The next day we spent the morning at the beach and then explored some throughout the afternoon and evening.  The Inn not only had free bikes but set up lawn chairs and umbrellas for you. We will definitely decide to stay there next time as there will be next time. There is also a Shell Museum and a Wildlife Preserve on the Island. We went through both. I was a bit disappointed we didn’t see any manatees at the nature preserve, however, it was summer so I completely understand.  We then went through a walk on the beach while the sun set to shell and take in the sights.

beach!

beach!

The second day we ate at the Mucky Duck and Doc Ford’s Rum Grill – both were decent. The Mucky Duck was fast, not nearly the highest quality food, and Doc Ford’s seemed a bit over priced, but both were decent. I partially wanted to go to the Mucky Duck as they yell at in an episode of Gilmore Girls (Rory’s bad date after finals, the bar the guys head off to is the Mucky Duck) so it was at least as good as that!

Sunday we stopped by Edison and Ford’s Winter Estates before stopping at Culver’s and driving home! I wanted to stop there as the inner fat kid in my loves Culver’s – and they are on the west coast in Florida. Eventually, there hope to be some close to me in Orlando.  However, until then I will drive to the coast to get my craving filled when we don’t visit home.

The weekend was much needed and super enjoyable. It helped clear our heads and we discovered a new close-by vacation spot. Hopefully, the next visit will be sooner rather than later!

shells on the beach

shells on the beach

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