Archive for October 2007

Bonne Maman S’il Vous Plait

October 31st, 2007 — 12:35pm

For the most part, I’m a simple girl with simple tastes. I enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich almost every single day at work. Isn’t that so boring? But I’m actually a huge snob when it comes to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The ingredients must be of the finest quality. We’re talking two hefty slices of top quality wheat bread, Bonne Mamman preserves (ideally rasberry or strawberry), and only natural peanut butter. My current selection is Smucker’s Natural Chunky Peanut Butter. Definitely chunky.

My favorite part of the sandwich is the Bonne Mamman preserves. I learned about this French import from a college roommate senior year who had studied in Paris her junior year. The taste is phenomenal, and I knew I would never go back to Smucker’s or other lower quality spreads. So yes, I will spend top dollar ($3.50-4) for my little glass jar of heaven. Apparently, Bonne Mamam is the #1 imported line of preserves and jellies in the U.S. and its name means “grandmother” in French. This, of course, means that it is as close as you can get to homemade. There are over 20 flavors of preserves, jellies, marmalades and compotes to choose from. If you haven’t tried it, you must. You may never go back.

And can I just spend a moment touting the nutritional value of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Hello carbs, fruit, and protein. What more could you ask for in a meal? Such a solid selection. Mom would be so proud.

And the cost savings? My best cost estimate is that each sandwich costs $1.25 or less. We’ve got the $4 preserves, a $3 loaf of bread, and a $3 jar of peanut butter. That’s $10. And apparently a large loaf of wheat bread typically yields 16-5/8 inch slices, so 8 sandwiches, for a grand total of $1.25 a sandwich. But really, I think you can make the peanut butter and jelly stretch much further than that. Anyhow, PB & J is cheap, nutritious, and delicious. And you just can’t argue with the facts.

1 comment » | Kristin's Kitchen

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2007 — 6:21am

For the most part, I don’t really get into the Halloween thing, at least not the dressing up part. I’m all about the candy, though. This year, for the first time, I’ll have the opportunity to participate in the trick-or-treat festivities, and give out candy to all the little witches, goblins, princesses, and ghosts of the neighborhood! I’m very excited for that. These are the kind of things that I love most about living in a house, even though it’s not my own. We have a real kitchen, a great yard and patio, and a phenomenal neighborhood (with trick-or-treaters on Halloween, I hope!). Karen picked up the candy during her Walgreen’s stock shift this morning, so we should be all stocked for the little devils.

The office also very much gets into the Halloween spirit. We’re having a potluck over the lunch hour to celebrate, and many are dressed up in great costumes today, even our director. So far, I’ve seen a cowboy, a spice girl, and an application file. I’m admittedly lame, but I do have the excuse of having to do a public presentation this afternoon. It just wouldn’t be appropriate. Lame, lame, lame.

Last night I was thinking about Halloween, and it brought back memories of watching the HBO TV show Tales From the Crypt, with my grade school friend, April. We were obsessed with that show and watched it during sleepovers, which took place quite frequently growing up. Tales From the Crypt was a horror anthology series that ran from 1989 to 1996 on HBO that was based on stories from the 1950’s EC Comics series of the same name. Does anyone else remember the TV series? And the cryptkeeper?? Wow, unexpected excitement. Might have to find a way to get my hands on some of those DVDs and revisit my childhood.

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Red Beans and Rice with Extra Sausage

October 31st, 2007 — 6:08am

Apparently I did not get my fill of New Orleans cuisine this past weekend, as I felt the urge to go to New Orleans Take-Out on Monroe Street last night for dinner. For those of you who have been with me from the very beginning, you might remember that my very first posting, on Wednesday, May 16th, was a review of New Orleans Take-Out. I love it–so delicious, authentic, cheap, quaint, and unique. My dinner of choice, pictured above, is the red beans and rice with extra sausage, and a bonus slab of sweet cornbread, all for $3.85. Incredible! Delicious! Sometimes it pays to go out to dinner. If you haven’t been to New Orleans Take-Out, you must get there soon!

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October 30th, 2007 — 11:53am

My brother’s best friend, and current business associate, Ben, sent me a link for TasteBook, which he thought I might be interested in checking out since I so thoroughly enjoy cooking and baking. Before I provide more details, can I just say that I love Ben? He is so cool, so much cooler than my brother, actually :)

The concept of the TasteBook is pretty neat. For $34.95, you can create your very own personalized hard cover cookbook. Basically, you select 100 recipes from a database of over 25,000 recipes that have been featured in gourmet magazines such as Bon Appetite and Gourmet. Then a personalized cookbook, with your name on the cover (!), is created and sent to you. The service is offered by, which is one of my favorite online recipe sites. The Web site offers tried and true gourmet recipes that are tested and rated by chefs. Very cool. I also think this is a great gift idea for the quickly approaching holiday season!

1 comment » | Kristin's Kitchen

UW-Madison’s Class of 2011

October 30th, 2007 — 11:33am

Class of 2011? God, that makes me feel ancient. Thought some of you UW alums out there might be interested in reading today’s press release from University Communications regarding the current freshman class.

UW-Madison’s Class of 2011 Brings Talent, Diversity

“MADISON – The Class of 2011 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is an exceptional group of talented and diverse students, says Admissions Director Rob Seltzer.

The university received 24,870 freshman applications, the most in university history. Of those, 13,977 were admitted, and 5,996 students decided to enroll.

“We continue to see extremely high demand for spots in our freshman class,” Seltzer says.

“Some people think we’re trying to become more elitist,” he adds. “But that’s not the case. Quite simply, more and more students are applying for a finite number of slots.”

For fall 2007, the total number of undergraduates is expected to remain roughly even at a projected 28,999, compared to 28,462 last year. Total enrollment is projected at 42,041, compared to 41,466 last year.

Among the freshman statistics, there are several notable achievements, Seltzer says. There is record-high representation of students of color. UW-Madison received 15 percent more applications from students of color, who make up 14 percent of the new class. This year’s freshman class has 836 students of color, up 4.2 percent from last year and up 30 percent from five years ago.

In addition, 1,230, or 20.5 percent, are first-generation college students.
Also, numbers of international freshmen are rebounding. This year’s class has 292, up from 109 in 2002, the year after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Other key characteristics of the incoming freshman class include:
– Academically, 60 percent ranked in the top tenth of their high school classes.
– Women make up 53.5 percent of the class, down from 53.9 percent last year.
– The average ACT score is 28.0, compared to 22.3 for the state and 21.2 for the nation.
– Sixty-four percent intend to take honors courses, and 55 percent plan to study abroad.
– Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois are the top feeder states, followed by New York, California, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The top Wisconsin feeder counties are Dane, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Brown, Outagamie and Ozaukee.
– Students come from all states except Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Seltzer says that the university continues to be held in high esteem by students and parents across the country.

“When we go to a college night, no matter where in the country we go, there are people standing in line to talk with us and get our materials. That is truly gratifying,” he says. “We’re talking about humans and their hopes and dreams.”

For more information on UW-Madison admissions, visit

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The Job Interview

October 30th, 2007 — 10:28am

Yesterday afternoon I had a job interview for a new position in the Office of Admissions. As is everything with the university, it has been a long, drawn out affair, and now I am one of three finalists for the position which will be titled Manager of Recruitment Outreach. I think the interview went well. It was nice to interview with a room full of familiar and smiling faces, all of whom are colleagues that I know very well. But, regardless, it was still super scary and stressful. After the interview, I felt as if a major weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I know that whatever happens now, at least I put my best foot forward. I prepared like all hell for the interview, and I think I did a good job of anticipating the questions they would ask. The last candidate will interview during the second week in November, so I likely won’t hear anything until mid-November.

The position is a very exciting opportunity to lead our high-profile recruitment programs that impact literally every one of the university’s recruitment goals. It’s a natural progression of my current duties in our office, and an opportunity to move from a behind the scenes role to one of increased leadership, responsiblity, and visibility, and to really be the face and voice of our programs. That’s a little scary to me, but I am very much ready for the next step and bigger challenges.

I’ll let you know when I hear anything. Keep your fingers crossed!

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A Weekend In New Orleans

October 29th, 2007 — 11:22am

Where do I even begin with updates? As you know, I spent the weekend in New Orleans with Royce to attend the wedding of one of his colleagues. Visiting New Orleans and the weekend’s experiences were interesting, to say the least. It was my first time in New Orleans and honestly, I was not overly impressed. While I did see and experience some very cool things, I found the city to be dirty and scuzzy and will be in no hurry to return.

My favorite parts of the weekend were enjoying fresh hot beignets and chickory coffee at Café Du Monde, and eating at a tiny café called Café Amelie, which had fantastic Creole food, refreshing cocktails, and a romantic outdoor courtyard setting. I was not impressed by the French Quarter, which was where we spent most of our time. It was nice to see, but it’s just not my scene. I would have liked to have explored other areas, like the garden district and its historic homes and Victorian mansions. And Tulane University. But there’s only so much time in a weekend.

The wedding was beautiful. It was a traditional New Orleans wedding at an amazingly impressive downtown Catholic Church, and the reception was at our hotel from 3-7pm. Apparently it is custom in New Orleans to have the reception immediately following the wedding ceremony, and there is no formal sit-down meal, but instead dancing and appetizers for the duration. The 12-piece band was phenomenal. I had a lot of fun dancing. At the end of the reception, everyone participated in a “second line” march, which was sort of like a parade for the bride and groom in which everyone marched around waving handkerchiefs and umbrellas before the bride and groom headed off for a carriage ride around the city.

The weekend did end on a sad note, however. I ended things with Royce on Saturday night after realizing that we are just not a good fit. I’d like to save the details between the two of us, and just say that he is a great guy, and I know he will make someone very happy. I just don’t think that person is me. I hope we will be great friends because we do share many similar interests and I do think he is a lot of fun. It’s just sad to get online today and see that he had already updated his Facebook profile to “single” from being “in a relationship.” The end happens so quickly and suddenly. But I think it’s best for both of us.

3 comments » | Vacation and Travel

Last Installment of Door County Pics

October 24th, 2007 — 10:16am

This is the final installment of pictures from last weekend’s adventure in Door County. Although we had head home on Sunday, we still had a great day and enjoyed more activities in Door County. We awoke early to go into town to get coffee, and then sat by the campfire while Royce read to me from the book I had bought him for his birthday–African Tales by Harold Scheub. The reason behind the birthday present was that Royce and I at one point discovered that we had the same “favorite class” in college. It was African Storyteller 210 with Harold Scheub. Harold Scheub is the most amazing, inspirational teacher ever, and his class at UW is phenomenal. But more on that later…

Anyhow, we enjoyed several of the stories before starting in on our pumpkin carving. Royce was pretty intense when it came to carving his pumpkin. He chose a challenging design and did great work. I was feeling lazy and picked a simpler pattern. I think we did great work. From there, we packed up camp and then headed out for a final adventure–the long climb up the look out tower in Peninsula State Park. The view from the tower was phenomenal and a great way to end our time in Door County. That night, when we arrived back in Madison, we enjoyed dinner with Royce’s parents at their house. They are lovely and it has been great to get to know them better. And that was my weekend!

Now I am getting ready to leave tomorrow for New Orleans. Royce has a friend’s wedding to attend there, and I am his going as his date :) I’ll also be exploring New Orleans for the very first time! So much to do, so much to do, before I leave. I’ll be away from the computer tomorrow and Friday, but back with plenty of updates next week!

4 comments » | Vacation and Travel

Saturday in Door County

October 23rd, 2007 — 10:49am
Breakfast at the White Gull Inn–Door County cherry stuffed french toast.

Riding our rented tandem bike on the Sunset Trail. Royce, keep your hands on the bike!

Beautiful view of the lake.

EagleBluff Lighthouse

The bf.

Taking a seat at the amphitheater. My family used to come here for shows all the time when camping at Peninsula State Park (back when I was just a wee one). Ahh…such sweet memories. “This land is your land, this land is my land…”

Wine tasting at Orchard Country Winery and Cider Mill

Our Haunted Trolley Tour of Door County!


I am a bowling rock star–and never even knew! Look at the form! I totally dominated the 3-game series.

Cheers! And on to a late dinner at Mission Grill in Sister Bay.

Here are pictures from our fun-filled Saturday in Door County. Seriously, the activity never stopped from the moment we awoke that morning. I think it’s pretty obvious from the pictures above that both Royce and I share a very similar zest for life!

1 comment » | Vacation and Travel

Door County Weekend

October 23rd, 2007 — 7:07am
Road trippin
Mmm….Haacker Pschorr Oktoberfest. How appropriate.

Lunch at Kurtz’s–Royce was so excited to find a hole-in-the-wall bar and grill in one of the small towns we passed through! And I was so excited that it was named Kurtz’s!

Stopping for a picture at a rest stop along the road.

Picking up pumpkins and fire wood in Egg Harbor.

Drinking a beer and enjoying the view near our campsite.

Royce setting up camp

This past weekend Royce and I drove up to Door County for a relaxing weekend in the great outdoors. We camped at Peninsula State Park, where we both have very fond childhood memories of camping with our families. We were lucky to hit the peak of the fall colors and unseasonably warm temperatures, which made for a comfortable tenting experience. It was a great weekend, jam packed with fun and activity. We truly lived up each and every moment and were sad to come back to reality on Sunday.

The pictures above are from the first day of our three-day adventure. Mostly, from our road trip and setting up camp. Many more pictures on the way…

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