Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Year In Review

Hello, 2017 I can see you around the corner. While I am excited for what lays ahead it is always nice to reflect on what was. 2016 was a challenging year. I know I have seen things about people excited to watch 2016 die. How sad.  While it was a year that brought on many sad things you must always look at the good. A new favorite quote of mine from Star Wars states: "I am one with the Force, the Force is with me."

Lebrewski cruise was a fantastic first trip of the year. Packed with great music and craft beer. We even got to swim in the nice warm water of the Bahamas.

For Liz's 30th birthday her and Ryan jumped out of a perfectly good plane. It was thrilling and terrifying to watch.
Electric Forest was one of the coolest places on earth. Good vibes and tons of really tasty food mixed with non-stop music. 

Threw a totally fun Halloween party with some really creative games and costumes.
We painted our house! What a time consuming project. It was well worth the time and effort though to make my house go from trash to a treasure.
I love traveling to MN  to see my friends. Add in good food, beer and some bluegrass you have heaven. Not to mention we got to hang out with some cute naughty kittens.
We did some racing this year. As always is was fun and Ryan beat his personal times.
My favorite thing this year my tattoo. It took a ton of work, it hurt soooo bad and it was totally worth it. My gift to myself for turning the dirty 30!  
The last big trip of the year. Toronto was a blast. We saw dinosaurs, ate poutine out of shipping containers and traveled by tram everywhere.

In closing count your blessings. This year was tuff but it was still amazing. Have a wonderful new year.

XoXo Emily

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Creamy Coleslaw

After a long and wonderful Holiday weekend it is fun to reflect on some of the food items I made. Here is one of my recipes that turned out to be a big hit. This coleslaw is a hybrid of a couple recipes and it did turn out really good. I will for sure make it again.

What you need~
1/2 head of green cabbage (shredded)
1/2 head of red cabbage (shredded)
1/3 a cup carrot (shredded)
2 tablespoon white onion (diced)
1/2 mayonnaise
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon Nature's seasoning
Dash of smoked paprika

Mix all ingredients till the mayo on the list in a large bowl after dicing and shredding.  Mix the items from mayo to the bottom of the list in a smaller bowl and whisk vigorously until well combined. Once your dressing is mixed slowly add to the large bowl until you get to the consistency you desire. I had about 1/2 cup of the dressing left that I put aside to add later if the coleslaw dried out. Let sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours (best overnight) for all the dressing to soak up.

It is so tasty!

 Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, December 19, 2016

Top Secret Lasagna

One of my favorites. Are you ready for a challenge? This is a complicated recipe but it is worth it. I do not make it often for the fact that it is labor intensive. This will for sure test your ability to muli-task but the depth of flavor you get with all the ingredients is totally worth it. I like to refer to this one as a show stopper meal. It will impress people and on top of that it is healthy. YES, I just dropped the top secret/secret part of this recipe. It has ton of veggies mixed in. I once made this for some family and they raved about it. I had a slight happy smirk all dinner knowing I got them to eat a healthy lasagna. Here it is in all it's complicated cheesy goodness.

What you need~                         
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
Optional seasonings (Nature seasoning, Mrs. dash, red pepper flakes, garlic & onion powder, basil, oregano thyme)
1 onion (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 cups tomato paste
3 cups crushed tomatoes
2 cups fat-free cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cups parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup mushrooms (chopped)
2 cups fresh spinach
8 oven-ready lasagna noodles
2 cups Italian cheese (reduced-fat, blend)
Let the fennel heat up in some olive oil.

Sauté turkey with fennel seeds, seasonings.
Add onion and continue to sauté until tender.
Add garlic and tomato paste.
Sauté for 3-5 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes.


      Mix cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, mushrooms, carrot, zucchini, spinach, garlic salt and nutmeg together.

      Build lasagna.

      Put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the lasagna pan.
      Place 4 lasagna noodles over sauce.
      Top with 1/3 of sauce.
      Top with 1/2 cheese mixture.
      Place remaining 4 lasagna noodles.
      Top with the rest of the cheese mixture.
      Top noodles with remaining sauce.
      Cover all with Italian cheese blend.
      Bake covered with foil at 350 for 1 hour.
      Uncover for last 15 minutes to brown cheese.

       As with any recipe I have please season as you go. Make sure to taste. I have measurements for the strong spices in the recipe. The rest is up to you to do.

      It is delightful. On a cold night it hit the spot with it's melted cheese and rich flavor. I know it is a ton of work but that is what makes it special.
      I love making this for the leftovers too!

      Until next time~
      XoXo Emily


    Monday, December 12, 2016

    Snowy Owl Tattoo: Volume 2

    AMAZING. I do not often lack words. I mean I feel like even the word amazing is lackluster for how I feel about this art on my body. I thought it would be fun to show you the slow progress this tattoo took over the full 3 sessions and 12 hours. The three sessions were spread out over about 6 months. Plenty of time to heal in between each. I as always highly recommend my tattoo artist Greg Counard and Endless Expansion Custom Tattooing. As I stated in my older post he is gentle and exceptional at his craft.  I will not discuss price as many have asked. I will state that you pay for what you get and my art was worth every penny and all that pain. Here are the comparison pictures.

    First Session:
    4.5 hours
    Finished outline.

    In progress outline.

    In progress (Pictured Greg).

    Zoomed in finished outline.

    Second session:
    6.5 hours
    Add caption

    Third session:
    2 hours
    The night of rather red.

    Next morning.

    Zoom in next morning.
    Side by side comparisons:
    1st session.

    2nd session.

    3rd session.
    I am so happy with the art and cannot wait for it to fully heal.

    Until next time~
    XoXo Emily

    Wednesday, December 7, 2016

    Peppermint Bark

    Peppermint is my favorite holiday flavor. Surprisingly I am not a big candy cane person but I do love that flavor. This recipe is a big hit with my co-workers and friends. I try to make it around the holidays. I made a double batch this year so I can spread the holiday cheer.

    What you need~
    10 ounces of chocolate almond bark
    10 ounces of white chocolate almond bark
    1 teaspoon of peppermint extract
    Crushed candy canes
    Small chocolate covered candy cane pieces
    Parchment paper

    Start by laying out the parchment paper on a cookie sheet. This is so it is easy to transfer to the fridge/freezer.

    Melt the chocolate almond bark in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second sections stirring till melted. Took me between 1.5-2 minutes. Add your peppermint extract to the melted almond bark and pour onto your parchment paper. Use a spatula to spread this into an even layer. Sprinkle with crusted candy canes. Place in the fridge for 5 minutes and then freezer for 5 minutes. While this is setting up melt your white almond bark.
    Take the chocolate almond bark out of the freezer and pour the white melted almond bark over it. Use your spatula and quickly spread it in an even layer. The reason you freeze the first layer and need to spread quickly is to not melt the bottom layer. Add more crushed candy canes and other toppings as you wish. Let it set for about an hour before you break it up into smaller pieces.


     As stated above big hit at the office and if you make a double batch you will have enough for an army. I promise you will be munching on it all the time though.

    Until next time~
    XoXo Emily


    Monday, December 5, 2016

    Travel Adventures: Toronto

    It was a whirlwind of a road trip. Over 1500 miles later we are back in Green Bay after traveling to Canada. Having never been to Canada we did not know what to expect traveling there. We fit right in with at least 3 people asking me for directions. I fell in love with this city with it's awesome commuter system and quirky neighborhoods.  Here are some highlights and lowlights of our road trip.


    Poutine. This is a must in Canada and I went out of my way to find the best in the city. We found it after a subway ride/ trolley to a shipping container pop-up called NOM NOM NOM. Hand cut fries topped with a smooth beef type gravy and a pile of white cheddar cheese curds. How cool is this city with food trucks that are actually containers!

    Allan Gardens:
    Allan Gardens Conservatory is over 100 years old with a garden-filled greenhouse that covers over 16,000 square feet. It was something we stumbled across roaming the city on Friday. It was one of my favorite stops on this trip. They decorated the plants for the holidays.

    Fancy dress.
    (FUNNY MOMENT): We saw a cute little Russian lady (worker) try to remove a black squirrel from a basket of flowers with a water wand. It was hilarious.

    St. Lawrence Market:
    Two floors packed with local vendors. First floor mostly offers meat, cheeses and produce. Some really exotic stuff. Second floor is where you can actually buy food. We got smoothies, bubble tea, maple tea, crackers and some other gift things. This was one of the really cool stops as it made me want to move here for all the fresh options.

     Some of the exotic meat selections including octopus and turtle meat.

     Kimchi fries:
    These started the trip off right on Thursday night. If you have never had Kimchi think of tangy slaw similar in texture to sauerkraut. These fries had pulled pork and cheese spread too. I would eat these every single day forever.

    Holiday window displays:
    Nothing shouts holidays like some classic window displays. My favorite ones had animals that were animatronic and moved.



    Eaton Square:
    4 floors of shopping. It got myself some leather boots and took in the largest Christmas tree I have ever seen. The giant deer were pretty spectacular too.


    ROM (Royal Ontario Museum):
    Is a museum of art, world culture and natural history in Toronto, Canada. It is one of the largest museums in North America and the largest in Canada. It took us almost all day Saturday and was worth it. With Dinosaurs and armor is was packed full of history.
    British breakfast: Over easy across the street from the ROM had the coolest vibe. Packed when we arrived I got the eggs in a hole. A Montreal bagel with two eggs in between each piece. Topped with cheese and bacon it was perfection. I almost forgot to mention the home fries that were salty and crisp.

    TTC (Toronto Transit Commission):
    This was awesome. Subway and trolleys all over the city all day and night. For $12 a day we traveled quickly all over the city. We did get turned around a bit with the hidden subway stations and such but that is the fun of roaming a city.

    Low Lights 
    The Christmas Market:
    This was the whole reason for us going to Toronto and it was pretty lack luster. We enjoyed the scenery and the brewery but that was about it. Everything was overpriced and not a whole lot of custom gifts. Mostly things you can buy from a normal store.

    The giant tree was cool at the Christmas market.
    Ice skating:
    Tiny, tiny rink that was pretty powdery from overuse. I really wanted to go but it was not worth the money. Looked pretty though.
    Car oil spill:
    Some vehicle on the way there lost some oil and a car part. It was dark and Duke was hit with the piece. As you can see it was covered in oil. No damage to the car at all just this sloopy mess. We attempted to car wash it off that did not work. Ryan got it off with soap last night when we got home.
    Blizzard travel:
    Road trips are generally fun unless you have to drive 12 hours in a snow storm. We made it but Duke was put to the ultimate test. He is a little tank.
    In conclusion what a fun trip to get away. The food and culture in Toronto were fantastic. I would visit again for sure.
    Until next time~
    XoXo Emily