Monday, September 25, 2017

Travel Adventures: Newport State Park

So cool! I am finally on the mend from being rather ill with a cold/allergy situation all week. It was hot in Green Bay so we got outta town and when as far north as you can go in Door County to this wonderful park. There was plenty of trails to roam and a lot of beautiful things to see. We topped this day off with a cider tasting at Island Orchard, watched a bit of the Packer game at a beer garden and ate at Al Johnsons!

Here are some highlights from the day.

The beach was a bit rocky but gorgeous.

Some of the little inlet beaches had cool rock formations.

My camera caught the light in cool ways on some of my pictures. I love this tree with the light.

We hiked about 4 miles plus along the shoreline.

Once again my camera takes a crazy looking picture. I look like a ghost floating on the water.

Ryan out on the rocks.

He looks like he is walking on the water.

I did not make this little rock pile. It was nestled amongst a quiet little cove.

It was sunny out can you tell?

 Newport State Park was a dream. Clear paths and different types of forest throughout. It was a really cool hiking place with not a ton of other people around. The main paths are even handicap accessible.

Warning though there are snakes (brown and gardener is what we saw). This is why we had a walking stick to shoo them along their way.

Al Johnson's. I have always wanted to go here to see the goats. It was funny because we got a drink at their beer garden before dinner over here. It was in that moment that it hit me that this was the famous restaurant with the goats on the roof that I always wanted to go to. Sadly it was like 80 some degrees so no goats but it was worth eating here still. The food was outstanding.

It was so dang tasty. I want to go back and eat everything on the menu.  
Shipwrecked brewing burned down a couple weeks ago. This was super sad to see on the way home.

Gorgeous sunset on the way home. What a view!


Even though I was recovering from being ill bringing lots of tissues and taking my time I was able to get out of the house and have a really awesome day. 9/10!
Until next time~
XoXo Emily 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Healthy Banana Bread

Surprisingly tasty. I always seem to have a ton of super ripe banana's at the weeks end. What to do with them besides freezing them for smoothies usually becomes and issue at the end of the month. This recipe worked really well and the flavor is spot on. Make sure to bake it for the full time. I had a little bread deflating happen. I added chocolate chips but you could easily add nuts instead or omit that all together if you wish. Great for a snack or quick lunch.

What you need~
2 bananas
2 eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup
1.5 cups flour
 1.5 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup greek yogurt
chocolate chips

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a bread pan 9x5 in size. Start by mixing your dry items (flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice, salt and brown sugar) in a large bowl. Using another bowl mix the wet items together (banana, eggs and yogurt). Slowly add the dry to the wet. I did this in my stand mixer. I added some chocolate chips to the batter as well before pouring into the bread pan. I did not measure them. Bake this for 35-40 minutes. Really make sure it is fully baked before removing. I checked mine and it was still a little doughy when I cut into it. It was really nice in flavor and I like that it is a little healthier than your normal bread you would make with no butter. I will make it again.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Our Family Booyah

Booyah. Anytime we make it we usually have at least a couple people that do not even know what it is much less how good it is. My parents make it at least once a year and my mom did make a good point that I need to be there for the whole process. I have been part of making it for years but never the entire beginning to end. I am going to go into what booyah is and how we make it but I just had to touch on this dish a bit from a tradition stand point. I think every family has a dish that they hold dear to their hearts and this is for sure my family's. You can make this on the stove in a smaller batch but the fire gives the soup a special flavor. I am sure the 90 plus year old cast iron kettle that we cook it in adds flavor as well. I look forward to making this every year and I specifically asked for some for my birthday this year. It was really the only thing I wanted. Now I have a ton of it and if we do not eat it all this week we will freeze some. Which is always nice for the dead of winter.

What is Booyah?
I have done some research and based off of my DNA results I am 59% Belgium. The part of Belgium that boarders France.  This dish comes from that region.

Per wiki:
Booyah (also spelled booya, bouja, boulyaw, or bouyou) is a thick stew of probable Belgian origin made throughout the Upper Midwestern United States.[1] Booyah can require up to two days and multiple cooks to prepare; it is cooked in specially designed "booyah kettles" and usually meant to serve hundreds or even thousands of people.The name can also refer to a social event surrounding the meal.

We have a 35 gallon kettle which is enough to feed at least 100 plus people realistically.

How is it made?
Making Booyah is a process. It takes a lot of time and dedication as the wiki page states. At least a two day process. The most time consuming part is preparing all the veggies for the soup. The following veggies must be cleaned, peeled or chopped before hand: Carrots, celery, corn, peas and potatoes. Some people add cabbage if you do that you are dead to me. We do not add it to ours EVER. The reasoning is that it flavors the whole thing and over powers the other flavors. I am not going to give all the secrets away but here is the general process. You cook your chicken and beef in the kettle with water till it is falling off of the bones. You then have to clean the meat off of the bones and throw it back in the kettle. At some point you need to add bouillon (chicken and beef) cubes as well as a small amount of tomato juice. You need to season with salt, pepper etc through this entire process tasting along the way. We all taste it numerous times to see what we all think. The biggest secret non-secret ingredient is fire. You need to constantly be watching the fire and adding wood. A little here or a lot there. My dad does this by sight he watches the booyah to check if it is boiling or bubbling. There is a specific time table for this whole process but I would have to kill you if I told you the full order of how we add things.  FAMILY SECRETS y'all.

The 90 plus year old kettle.

Smoke adding flavor.

The bowl attached the handle has been around in my family for at least 90 years.
What does it taste like?
I mean it tastes like booyah. The closest thing I can compare it to is if chicken soup and beef soup had a baby without noodles. It is a rich and hardy soup that easily fills you up. Perfect with a dark beer.

Gotta have those oyster crackers.

Cooling before eating.
My dad watching the booyah closely.
In closing I am proud to continue this tradition on in my family and look forward to next year when I get to help make it from start to finish.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Friday, September 8, 2017

Travel Adventures: Milwaukee Public Museum

DINOSAURS. I have wanted to go here for a while and decided my birthday was the perfect time to do it. It was the middle of the week so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. I mainly wanted to go to the butterfly exhibit but I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the rest of the museum. Here are some highlighted photos from our visit.

This is at the entrance to the museum and is really their most well known skeleton. Say hello to the most complete woolly mammoth skeleton in North America.

Here he/she is in all their glory. Super cool to see in person.

This butterfly was giant and beautiful. The blue color almost glowed in the light. They only had 1 or 2 flying around amongst the couple 100 around in the exhibit.

Here is all the butterflies hatching. It was cool to see. They stay in here till their wings dry and they can fly properly before being released.

My favorite. A monarch. It was hard to get a good picture but I snagged this on the water feeder.

Like a zebra.

I loved their little mouths and how they would eat up stuff.


This was in the old Milwaukee streets interactive exhibit. Ryan and I loved it and as you can see we took full advantage of the interactive options. By the way this bike is actually hard to ride. Sorry for the poor lighting it was dark in there.

I mean my favorite thing ever is dinosaurs. LOVE.

So... I literally shouted "Look Luna's family". Good thing no one was around. But for real look at those cute sled dogs. Notice how they are all different looking? That is what real sled Alaskan huskies look like. Working dogs not show dogs.
This museum really was special. We did it in about 4ish hours including the planetarium show. My favorite parts were the dinosaurs (duh!), the interactive exhibits, the butterfly exhibit and the detailed settings. Some of the backgrounds are hand painted and gorgeous. I guess the coolest take away from this place is it is not just stuff sitting in cases to look at. Everything is set up to tell an interesting story and I loved that. I mean the dogs in the image above are a prime example of that.

I would highly recommend you stop in.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily  

Friday, September 1, 2017

Travel Adventures: Minnesota State Fair

"Let's play a game." Was the statement that Maggie said to me when I told her I wanted to come to her state's fair to experience all the magic. This game was that someone in our group had to have a beverage or food item in their hand at all times. We almost died but we made it. No all kidding aside this state fair was rather magical and after spending a solid 8 hours there I would go back in a heart beat.

Here are all of the highlights and fun things we ate. Everything we ate all four of us shared besides the pronto dogs. Journal style in order of it all happening.

Besides Ryan we all look excited for the day. Little did we know the fun and extreme eating we would be getting into. Shout out to the awesome bus system for getting us there and back safely.

First thing we ate! A waffle cone filled with chicken and gravy. I mean how can that not taste outstanding? Below that pictured with Maggie was a beef pocket. It had gravy in it and was super creamy.
Waffle cone, chicken and gravy.

Beef pocket.

Next thing we wanted to get was the pickle beer who cares that it was 10 am. We picked up some yummy fried pickles. We planned on pairing them with the beer but we had to walk far and we ate them all on the way. The pickle beer was fantastic it was light in pickle flavor. Ryan also ordered a blueberry beer that was super packed full of berry flavor. We then watched the dog show which was one of the best parts of the fair. The best part of the show was a dog named confetti doing a handstand on a guys hands!
Fried spicy pickles

Cute tokens.

Pickle Beers!

View from above.
We wanted to see the entire fair so we went on this really old space type needle ride to see the sites. Here is the view.

Four samples.
Wanted to see the giant veggies and tasted some of the award winning beer along the way. Peanut butter and coconut beer where some of the crazy selections we sampled.

At this point we needed to get out of the rain for a bit so we went and wandered through some art buildings. What a cool pig with wings!
We also saw really expertly crafted quilts and all the food that people compete with in fancy little cases. Ton's of breads and pies.

The baby animals made your heart melt. This building was crowded but worth the look.
This cow is named Emily.

Baby Ducks!

Brand new baby pigs.

We needed a rest. We went into the arena and chilled with the cow shows for a bit. Who knew there were so many rules to this. Also, those cows are strong and do not take sass from the kids showing them at all.

Time for some more food. Always right? Had a Norwegian lefse (pictured below), Catfish,  cheese curds and a beerarita (pictured). I really liked the drink a lot I want to make it at home now.

Yea... We also ate a giant pork chop on a stick. Maggie and Ryan's favorite thing of the day.

There was a parade with bands and giant cattle!

We then had some falafel while looking through the bizarre area.

Cookie dough!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Beer.
After that we stopped for some chocolate chip beer.  It paired well with the cookie dough we ate like ice cream before that. While drinking our cookie beers we got a show. The people at the stand selling the beer did a little dance to a song for us.

Dancing away!

At this point we were still alive and chugging along. No one died yet.

This is a fact.

We were on the home stretch before leaving. I got a pronto dog. DO NOT CALL THEM CORN DOGS. I learned the hard way. Anyway they are more pancake and corn batter. I really liked mine a lot. This is the only thing I did not share all day. Also not pictured the corn I ate off of Ryan's corn on the cob.

Okay. In reality these cookies were not for us. I specifically had a friend ask us to buy them and bring them back to Green Bay. To be honest we were all tapped out at this point. We chugged along and managed to eat enough of the cookies to close the lid. It was tough though.
The End.

Bonus picture of Pickle. Maggie and Marshal's adorable cuddle cat. We watched a movie and cuddled.

 This past weekend was a blast. I love visiting my friends and we always have such a good time. This is a super awesome fair that I would love to come back to in the future. I want to say if you get the chance go. At least to play the game of food/drink against your belly.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily