Monday, October 9, 2017

Baked Chow Mein

Family recipes are the best! Especially one's your mom made. When my husband Ryan's mother passed away I photo copied all her recipes so that I could continue to make them for him. I had yet to make this one years later which is a big wife fail but I did finally this weekend. He told me I had the flavors right but I needed to chop up the bean sprouts next time. Go figure that was not in her directions but it is okay I know for next time. This recipe makes me think of recipes from like the 1950's and at first I thought some of the items sounded gross together. I was of course wrong this is a delightful little meal. A very American way to each Asian food.

What you need~

Click on image for directions.

Browning the onions.

Chopping the veggies.

Putting it all together.


It was really rich I could only eat one bowl.

I love these type of recipes that give you happy memories. I will make this again but chop up those bean sprouts.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Friday, October 6, 2017

An Honest Tribute: Tom Petty

All Photos are Courtesy of Tom Petty's Website.

I have struggled all week to really verbalize how I feel about Tom Petty's passing. I think often  I think my idols will live forever because at some point I put them in a non-human category in my heart. I am going to try my very best to articulate all the mixed feelings I have.

A childhood dream-
I always snuck into my dad's vast CD collection and listened to his 80's CD's. I know the reason I love music is due to this early exposure to rock music from my father. My dad had a lot of different music but I was drawn to the Tom Petty songs early on. I cherished those CD's and once I knew how to burn copies of CD's I did that with some Tom Petty ones. I was not adult enough back then to understand the genius of Petty's lyrics but I loved the guitar riff's and interesting twang of his voice.

We all "Free Fall" into being adults-
My adulthood started with the introduction of IPod's and portable music devices I could fit into my pocket. I always had Petty in the mix on every portal device I had. I started to really get into his lyrics and truly feel the music. No matter what sort of day you were having you could find a song that fit that mood. It was in adulthood that rumors started that maybe Petty had not really written all original music that some of his maybe "borrowed" from others. I still to this day have mixed feelings about this because what he made was pure genius to me. Many of his records do not have a bad song on them which is hard to achieve. A couple of years ago I got another bad taste in my mouth when he sued Sam Smith for one of his songs claiming Sam ripped off one of his songs. It made me a little mad at him for a while. I could not stray from his music for too long though it was too good.

I watched this documentary series on HBO called "The Defiant Ones".  To my pleasant surprise a large part of it features Tom Petty and how he really has helped shaped other's careers. I then go to see Stevie Nick's in August and she tells a really cool story about Tom Petty and how she was star-struck meeting him. He is just constantly in my life as a constant undertone it appears.

I cannot imagine a world where Tom Petty is not quietly influencing others and making beautiful music. He was not a huge character yet everyone seems to have been touched by him in some indirect way. I only wish I saw him in concert at some point. I had to post some thing about him. I had to write my thoughts out and get them out of my head. I will never forget how he has influenced my life and I will continue to collect his records when I find them in dusty little shops. Although I may have to pay more for them now.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Apple Oatmeal

Thick and creamy you really cannot go wrong here. I made a mistake of buying 12 pounds of apples while apple picking. I thought I would need a lot of apples for all the things I wanted to bake which I did need some but not that much. It is a bit funny looking back on it. So what does one do when you have that many apples? I made a huge double batch of crock-pot oatmeal and apple/pear crumble. Ryan requested this oatmeal for breakfasts this week and I was rather unsure how it would turn out. I am happy I made it though because it turned out delicious.

SO many apples!
What you need~
4 apples (diced and peeled)
2 cups steel cut oats
1/2 cup maple syrup
5 cups milk *I used almond
1 cup apple cider
1 tbsp. cinnamon
Using my trusty apple peeler.
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

Add all your items into the crock-pot and mix well. I cooked mine on low for about 5 hours. I let it cool before putting in containers for the week. If not sweet enough add a little honey before eating it. This is a good way to use up some apples but also really get that fall flavor into your weekly rotation for a bit.

I hope you enjoy this breakfast treat.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pumpkin Chili

Rich and creamy is really how I would describe this chili. I have been making pumpkin chili for years in different ways but I think this was the best batch yet. It has been insanely hot which is throwing off my fall game. I love fall it is my favorite holiday and yesterday I gave in and started making my fall favorite dishes. This is a healthy chili but you would never know it because it feels super hardy.

What you need~
1 pound of ground beef OR turkey
2 green peppers (diced)
2 jalapenos (diced)
1 yellow onion (diced)
1 tablespoon of garlic (peeled and diced)
1 can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie)
1 can of kidney beans (drained)
1 can of great northern (or white) beans (drained)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 bottle of pumpkin hard cider
1 cup of tomato juice
1/4 cup of Texas chili seasoning
1/2 tablespoon of pumpkin spice
1 tablespoon nature's seasoning
1 tablespoon apple BBQ rub

Prep all the items that need to be diced or pealed. Brown the meat and season it with the Texas chili seasoning. Then throw everything in the crockpot for 6-8 hours on low. Top with cheese and crackers when serving. Super easy and packed with warm flavor.

Like I stated before this is a really filling and hearty soup. This was enough for us to each have dinner and lunch the next day. I highly recommend you try it out now that the weather has started to cool.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

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