Category Archives: Travel

Hiking and a Raptor at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

Yesterday, Craig and I went to the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center for a raptor program and to hike a bit.

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

There were many pretty wildflowers on the property!

wildflowers

The one thing I was most excited to see was the raptor program. A kestrel was brought out and he stole my heart. I love birds and am fascinated by them. I even grew up with birds as pets.

We learned a lot about kestrels and now I want to see one in the wild! I think I will end up working with birds at a nature center when I retire. 🙂

Kestrel at Schlitz

We then went on a small hike on the trails overlooking the lake and with lake access. The weather was gorgeous and it was such a clear day that we could the Wisconsin shoreline extend northeast about 50 miles.

Lake Michigan

Craig skipped rocks.

Craig skipping rocks

Lake Michigan at Schlitz

After the hike, we cooled off with some Kopps custard–I got chocolate chip cookie dough.

Kopps chocolate chip cookie dough

I picked up Wheat Belly at the Central Library. I started reading it last night and discovered that the author is a cardiologist from Milwaukee! So cool! I kept hearing about this book and was intrigued. I’ll let you know how it is when I finish it. Anyone read this yet and have feedback to share in the comments?

Wheat Belly book at library

This morning, Craig and I played tennis (I won, hooray) and then we did a dreaded cleaning behind our refrigerator. Oh man was that gross. I feel better now that we got the dust and dirt out from underneath. The only problem is that I have experienced bad dust allergies all day as a result. No fun!

It’s just beautiful here, so I think I am going to take a walk outside and listen to a fitness podcast.

Have a great Sunday night!

A city girl married a farm boy

We had a nice weekend away in Shawano and DePere!

Halfway through our trip, we stopped at the outlet mall (no luck there) and then at Starbucks, where I got my free birthday drink. We shared a Venti Salted Caramel Mocha Frappucino.

Venti Salted Caramel Mocha

Mmm…whip cream and caramel is divine. I do think I prefer the hot Salted Caramel Mocha though.

Mmm...caramel and whip cream

Last time we went up north, the Olympics were just starting and I had Olympic fever, so I didn’t read anything I brought with me. This time, I made a point to chill out and read a magazine and a book. The Snow Child is pretty interesting so far.

Better Homes and Gardens magazine and The Snow Child

Loved that one of my favorite textile designers, Amy Butler, was featured in the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

Amy Butler article--Better Homes and Gardens

Amy Butler in Better Homes and Gardens

I celebrated more relaxation time with a Sprecher beer.

Sprecher Special Amber

Sometimes I find things in Shawano that I don’t see back home–like Biscoff spread and a BlenderBottle.

It was my first time trying Biscoff and it’s delicious. I like it better than the Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter. It’s somehow not as sweet, if that makes any sense.

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The BlenderBottle will be great for post-workout protein drinks. I also think I am going to take it to work to have a protein shake as a snack around 3 p.m. as that’s when I get hungry.

Blender Bottle

The whole reason we went to Shawano was to stay an hour away from DePere, which is where my friend Jenny (a city girl) got married to Tim (the farm boy) on Saturday!

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Isn’t this sign the cutest?

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I don’t like the way my arms look in photos, so I had to adopt the model/actress pose during the wedding. Here is my friend Kim and I.

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Hooray, Jenny is finally married! She had been dating Tim since they were 19 and she turns 33 in about a month. That girl is patient! 🙂

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On Sunday, Craig and I headed into town to have breakfast before packing up the cottage and leaving.

I got a country benedict as my meal and it was very tasty! I hadn’t had hollandaise sauce in a while.

Country Benedict

My first day off this week has been productive and fun! I’ll write that post next.

Amy’s Candy Kitchen, Cedarburg

Last Friday, my mom and I went to Cedarburg, WI to celebrate my birthday and check out the town.

After letting our Anvil Pub & Grille lunch settle a little, my mom and I walked down Washington Avenue and came upon Amy’s Candy Kitchen.

Amy's Candy Kitchen

Amy's candy kitchen in Cedarburg

Weird site note–in the past couple of years, I have introduced myself to people and then they seem to think my name is Amy instead of Lisa. I have been told I look like an Amy or the girl from Chasing Amy, so I guess it makes sense. So, I wish this was my candy kitchen because it’s a chocolate paradise in there.

The candy apples are not cheap, but they looked beautiful and delicious.

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I’m a reese’s pieces fan myself, so those were most appealing to me.

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Amy's in Cedarburg-candy apples

My mom treated me to a little birthday dessert–a Belgian chocolate caramel. I got milk chocolate and my mom got dark. It was melty and so tasty. I am a big fan of chocolate and sea salt though.

Amy's candy kitchen caramel with sea salt

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All of their candy looked divine!

candy at Amy's kitchen

Amy’s has won many awards for their candy, including best overall for their candy apples, which was awarded by the Wall Street Journal.

Amy’s Candy Kitchen
W62N579 Washington Avenue
Cedarburg, WI 53012
(262) 376-2145

Anvil Pub & Grille in Cedarburg

It was my birthday on Friday and since I was furloughed for one last day this summer, I went to Cedarburg with my mom. For all of you non-Wisconsinites out there, Cedarburg is about 20 minutes north of Milwaukee.

I’ll recap what we saw there in another post, but for now, will talk about the great place we ate lunch at: Anvil Pub & Grille.

Anvil pub & grille

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We got there at the right time because the place was filling up after we sat down. It was quite popular!

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The interior of the restaurant was cozy and historic feeling. The building is a restored blacksmith shop from the 19th century, so a history nerd like me loved it.

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The patio looked nice to sit on too, but it was a hot and sunny day, so we passed on that opportunity.

Patio Anvil Pub & Grille

Since it was my birthday, I needed to celebrate with a cider at lunch. I chose a strongbow and since this isn’t as sweet as other ciders, I need to buy it more often. My mom is normally a beer drinker and hadn’t had cider in a while, so I made her try it. She enjoyed the flavor too.

Strongbow cider

Lunch was a veggie forge sandwich and it was really yummy! I splurged and got fries, which were fantastic. Normally I like to get something healthier as a side, but hey, you only live once.

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Mom got a blackened salmon salad and said the salmon was delicious! The salad also had mango and avocado in it.

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I would definitely return to Anvil Pub & Grille next time I am in Cedarburg. It made for a unique and tasty lunch spot.

Anvil Pub & Grille Cedarburg

Anvil Pub & Grille
N70W6340 Bridge Road
Cedarburg, WI 53012
(262) 376-2163
http://anvilpubandgrille.com/

Weekend up north

We headed up to Shawano, WI over the weekend, where my husband’s family has a cottage on the lake. I didn’t grow up going to a lake cottage or cabin, but it’s a tradition in Craig’s family.

I drove and was feeling sleepy halfway through our trip, so a trip to Starbucks was much needed. I tried a White Chocolate frappucino for the first time.

Needed a pick me up while driving up north

We stopped in Oshkosh, where the EAA flyin was going on and we saw the Good Year blimp and some fighter jets.

Good year blimp

Here are some pictures from the lake.

Shawano

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We ran into town on Friday night and I picked up a salad and some Chobani at the store.

Healthy dinner

Craig supported the girl scouts and got a hot dog.

Craig eating his hot dog

On Friday night, I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, but admittedly spent a lot of time on my cell phone because I was a little bored. They weren’t horrible (especially if you knew that Boyle was creating the first live movie) in my opinion, I just get bored during those in general. I like the parade of nations part best.

I enjoyed this cider finally.

Fox Barrel cider and the olympics

We ventured out to Wausau to hike Rib Mountain on Saturday.

The views from the top were beautiful.

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me at Rib Mountain

us at Rib Mountain

We went on the yellow trail and it wasn’t that tough or long of a hike.

the yellow trail at Rib Mountain

The top of the observation tower offered the best views of the area.

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It was nice to get a change of scenery over the weekend. I didn’t get to do any reading of magazines or books, which was a bummer. I did watch a lot of Olympics and Craig learned just how excited I am about the summer games. I was so happy Lochte won a gold!

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My one complaint about the weekend? Getting a cappucino in town at a local coffee shop. Let’s just say that the girl admitted that she didn’t know how to make one and when she started to make it, kept asking if I wanted it flavored with vanilla. Then another lady took over making it, asked me if I wanted vanilla flavoring and it was finally done about 15 minutes after I ordered it. I think there was something wrong with the machine or the barista. I should have complained or walked out as the capuccino was not very good in the end. I don’t think Shawano will be getting a Starbucks anytime soon, so I know to just be happy with my instant coffee when I am up north.

AJ Bombers Milwaukee

We wanted to try a new restaurant when celebrating Craig’s birthday this past Thursday, so we headed down to AJ Bombers on Water Street in downtown Milwaukee.

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I liked that we could fill out our own orders.

menu AJ Bombers

We played one round of “soccer” and realized we weren’t too good at it.

Birthday boy!

We had some peanuts to start.

getting peanuts!

Then our cheese curds arrived and we gobbled them up pretty quickly!

cheese curds

Craig ordered the Milwaukee burger, which was on the Food Wars show.

Craig's burger

I had the veggie burger on a pretzel roll.

my veggie burger

To me, the interior was very manly. Peanuts on the floor, peanut filled “bombs” that fly through the air, etc.

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AJ Bombers Milwaukee

Craig and I both really liked the food we ordered and would return to AJ Bombers. This mostly vegetarian might even try a hamburger next time!

AJ Bombers
1247 N Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 221-9999
info@ajbombers.com

What I ate and drank in Door County

This past weekend, Craig and I headed up to my favorite place in Wisconsin: Door County. Basically for all of you non-midwesterners, it’s the peninsula of Wisconsin or the part that sticks out into upper Lake Michigan.

I thought I would recap our trip by featuring what I/we ate during this post and subsequent posts will feature what we did. I love to travel and share what we experienced.

Door County is known for their cherries, so that explains why most of what I ate all weekend was cherry flavored!

We went up there on Thursday night, so on Friday morning, we woke up to eat a hearty meal at Al Johnson’s in Sister Bay. It’s a Swedish restaurant known for having a green roof, complete with grass and goats roaming on top. No goats were spotted this time, which bummed me out.

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My eyes look puffy! I needed some coffee badly.

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I ordered Swedish pancakes with cherries. Craig got the same thing, but with ice cream. That boy loves ice cream, so I wasn’t surprised that he would eat it for breakfast when the option was there for him to do so.

Al Johnson's swedish pancakes with cherries

We had lingonberry juice with our meal. It was Craig’s first time trying it and he approved! I had lingonberry jam when my mom and I traveled in the Seattle area.

Lingonberry juice

On Friday night, we had dinner at Wild Tomato in Fish Creek.

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It was our second time dining here and the pizza was just as yummy as the first time. They use a lot of local ingredients, so everything tastes super fresh. The place was packed after we settled in for a while!

The cider I wanted to try wasn’t available, so we shared a cherry soda.

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We ordered a sausage pesto pizza and it was just as delicious as it looks!

Sausage pesto pizza from Wild Tomato

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On Saturday, we went to lunch at The Cookery Restaurant in Fish Creek.

I had an Island Orchard Apple Cherry cider with my meal. It was fantastic!

I liked that the restaurant featured the local farmers & producers they purchase from by listing them on the menu.

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I also liked the interior of the restaurant. We chose to eat inside, but we had a great view of the bay. There is a really nice patio to dine on outside as well.

Craig had a fish sandwich and enjoyed it.

Craig's meal (fish sandwich)

I had a turkey cream cheese and cherry chutney sandwich. It came on toasted granola bread and had a side of house made dill potato salad and the best apple sauce I have ever had in my life!

My meal at the Cookery--turkey cream cheese sandwich with cherry chutney

For dessert, we got custard in Sister Bay a couple of times from Cafe Custard.

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In Fish Creek, I always like to hit up the market to look for local products. I got a jar of cherry jam, as always, but this time I was feeling like cherry almond instead of just the traditional cherry. I tried some this week and it’s really good. I am wishing I had purchased a couple more jars.

Love getting DC jam every time I go up there.

And even after the Wisconsin cheese tour a couple of weeks ago, I still couldn’t stay away from cheese and had to try Renard’s curds, which were good but not as fresh as the Hooks’.

can't stay away from cheese!

I love the chocolate cherry cookies from the Cookie Lady in Sister Bay, so I bought two of those–one to eat immediately and one to consume later!

I like the interior of this little cozy cafe too.

I brought some beer along to drink, but only consumed one of them during the whole stay. I had a New Glarus Two Women.

We concluded our stay with dinner at Fred and Fuzzy’s, which was the restaurant at our resort. That place was hopping every night! I didn’t take any photos, but we shared beer fries with Lithuanian dip and a Southwest Chicken wrap. Both were very good! Too bad this is when my stomach couldn’t hold any more food and I was in pain at the end of our meal.

By the end of the trip, I have to admit that we were sick of eating out and our stomachs really suffered from Sunday until Tuesday of this week. I am still not feeling great, but I am glad we enjoyed eating at some new places and some of our old favorites.

I’ll post info about where we stayed and what we did next! If you have any questions about Door County or where we ate, just leave a comment!

Wisconsin Cheese Tour: Hook’s Cheese Company

The second stop on the Wisconsin Cheese Tour on June 1st included heading out to the historic “Shake Rag” district of beautiful Mineral Point to check out Hook’s Cheese company. They make over 30 different types of award-winning cheeses and have been doing so for 40 years.

Hook's Cheese Company, Mineral Point

I wished I had more time to check out Mineral Point because it looked so cute.

Mineral Point, WI

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Hook's cheese

Tony Hook gave us a tour while his wife Julie spiced and bagged cheese curds in the background!

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bagging up cheese curds

Mmmm cheese curds from Hook's (they're delicious)

spicing up the curds

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We went in the “cave,” which was naturally really cold and made it hard to snap photos!

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cheese storage at Hooks

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blue cheese being aged

You could walk in and purchase cheese in the store on-site.

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Fresh curd today, Hooks Cheese Mineral Point

Like all of the cheese companies we toured, Hooks had won many awards over the years. Julie Hook is the only woman to have won the World championship, which was in 1982 for a Colby variety.

Hook's cheese awards

Finally it was a food blogger’s favorite part of a cheese company tour–time to taste the delicious cheese! I especially loved the cheddar varieties. Hook’s uses a special aging process to make sure that the 5, 7 and 10 year old cheddar cheeses are always moist and creamy.

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While most bloggers seemed to stay away from it, I had some of the blue and found it to be very tasty and unique. I like it best on salads. Hook’s Blue cheese is prized by chefs.

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Even though Tony explained it during our tour, I found a good explanation summarizing how blue cheese is made:

Blue cheese starts out like any other cheese: Cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk is curdled. Then moldy bread is ground into fine dust and mixed into the curds as a starter for the mold. Whey is removed from the curds, and the product is pressed and drained. Some recipes induce the mold after formation by making holes in the cheese and injecting the penicillium roqueforti bacteria. Then the cheese is aged; many are still aged in caves enriched with the moldy bacteria. The ripening of the cheese allows the bacteria and microbes to act on the curds of the cheese changing its structure. Mold forms and breaks complex molecules into simple ones, which smooths out the fibrous structure of the cheese and provides its pungent odor and sharp, salty flavor.

This machine drills holes into the cheese for the blue cheese making process.

machine that puts holes in cheese for the blue aging process

Tony clearly loves his job. He was so smiley and happy the entire time we toured. Thanks to Tony and Julie for letting us bloggers invade your creamery and check out the production!

Tony Hook, Hook's cheese

On Saturday morning, a few of us stopped by the Hook’s booth at the Madison Farmers market to say hi and purchase some cheese. I got some curds to bring back. 🙂 They were really fresh and squeaky (in my opinion, the sign of a good curd). Tony and Julie are there every Saturday, so if you’re in the area, be sure to support a really wonderful local cheese!

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Thanks to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board for sponsoring my trip to this cheese company. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Wisconsin Cheese Tour: Chalet Cheese

Our first stop on the Wisconsin cheese tour was in Monroe. We checked out Chalet cheese co-op, which is the only creamery in the United States that is making Limburger cheese. Their limburger represents 20 percent of the company’s production. They are also known for their Baby Swiss, German Brick, Swiss, Natural Smoked Swiss and rBST-free cheese.

Bloggers and bus

Chalet cheese is a farmer-owned co-op which was founded in 1885. Their products are distributed under brands such as Deppeler and Country Castle.

Chalet Cheese co-op, Monroe

Chalet cheese

Cheesemaker Myron Olson introduced us to the history of Chalet and how he got into the cheese making business. He clearly loves his job! I would too and doubt I’d ever really get sick of being around cheese!

Chalet cheese

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Karis and I sported lovely hair nets and all in order to tour the facility.

Karis and I

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Cheese making tools.

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Holly’s face is priceless here!

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I tried a piece of the curd and it didn’t really taste like anything at that point.

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It was cool to see the guys working while we toured.

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The Limburger cheese room. It was stinky in there, but I got used to it after a while.

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The wooden boards the cheese sits on have been inoculated with the correct bacteria.

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I believe this was Swiss cheese before it was put into the warm room.

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Clearly they have won many awards over the years!

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Packaging the cheese up!

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Myron showed us how they take a part of the Swiss cheese out to test the flavor.

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After the tour, we were able to try the varieties. I loved the baby swiss!

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Baby swiss cheese, Chalet

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I honestly didn’t love the limburger. It’s definitely an acquired taste. Although, I must admit that it was yummy with the strawberry jam.

Limburger and strawberry jam

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While the public can’t tour the facility, you can walk in and buy some cheese!

Chalet cheese prices

I loved this sign!

Love this sign!

Thank you to Myron Olson and Chalet for giving us a wonderful and in-depth tour of your facility! Next time I am in Green County, I’d love to go back there and buy some cheese from the co-op, especially their baby Swiss. I did see that the West Allis cheese and sausage shoppe sells the Deppeler Swiss.

Chalet Cheese Co-op

I was able to tour Chalet cheese co-op as part of a trip paid for by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing board. My opinions are my own.

Milwaukee Foodies on the Wisconsin Cheese Tour

On Friday morning, I got up bright and early, along with about 19 other Milwaukee food bloggers, and hopped on a fancy bus. We were off to learn about Wisconsin cheese courtesy of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing board.

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Karis and I look angry here, but I assure you we were happy. Well, she gets motion sickness, so she wasn’t as happy here as she was when she was off the bus!

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Photo courtesy of Amanda’s Cookin’

Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin’ and Inger of Art of Natural Living.

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I really enjoyed the gorgeous views of the Wisconsin countryside along the way.

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It was so wonderful to be with a bunch of like minded people for two days.

Cheese_Tour136 (1)-group at Uplands Cheese

Photo courtesy of Joe Laedtke, EatingMilwaukee.com

I’m going to post separately about each creamery we visited and the restaurants we ate at, so look for those all this week!

If you are a Milwaukee area food blogger and want to get on the Milwaukee foodies mailing list, click here.

Or if you are a Wisconsin food blogger and want to discover new blogs or be added to a list, click here as Lori and Paul Fredrich of Burp blog have compiled a wonderful list on their site.