Archive for November 2007

Madison’s 11th Annual Fair Trade Holiday Festival

November 30th, 2007 — 12:42pm

After a nice long run and coffee tomororw morning, here’s where I plan to head. I’ve never been before, but it sounds very cool. Might even find some great holiday gifts!

The 11th Annual Fair Trade Holiday Festival

Fair trade education and gifts made by real people making real wages. Products include handcrafts, ornaments, rugs, pottery, coffee, chocolate, cheese, gift baskets, textiles and toys.

Date: Saturday, December 1, 2007
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: MATC’s downtown campus
Directions: Carroll Street between Dayton and Johnson

2 comments » | Madtown Lovin'

Award Winning Texas Bowl o’ Red

November 30th, 2007 — 6:01am

And here is the recipe for my award-winning bowl of chili, which I found in the Williams Sonoma Southwest Cookbook. I can’t honestly say that I enjoyed it all that much (too spicy), but others thought it had great flavor.

Texas Bowl ‘o Red
3 lb (1.5 kg) boneless beef chuck
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large white onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp ground New Mexico chili
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp coriander seed, toasted and ground
2 tsp cumin seed, toasted and ground
2 tsp freshly ground canela or 1tsp ground cinnamon
1 can (28 oz) plum (Roma) tomatoes with juice, pureed
1 oz (30 g) bittersweet chocolate
pinch of sugar
1 tbsp masa harine stirred into 1/4 cup water (optional)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
sour cream

1. Trim any excess fat from the beef, then cut into ½-inch cubes. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the onion and saute until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes longer. Raise the heat to high and, in batches, add the beef and brown well on all sides, 8-10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the ground chile, bay leaves, coriander, cumin, canela or cinnamon, oregano, and pureed tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and summer uncovered, stirring frequently until thickened, about 1 hour.

2. Add the chocolate, sugar, and the diluted masa harina, if you wish to thicken the stew slightly, and stir to combine. Cook for 15-20 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

3. Ladle into warmed bowls, garnish with a dollop of sour cream, and serve immediately

1 comment » | Kristin's Kitchen

Chili Cookoff

November 28th, 2007 — 6:24am
My beautifully crafted centerpiece
Let the games begin, may the best cook win!

Karen using her family crest to lobby for presentation points

Gotta try ’em all!

Judge Kristin at work

The Chili Cookoff winners–Kristin (best chili), Karen (best presentation), Carol (best chili name), and Kim (best cornbread)
Last night Karen and I hosted the inaugural K&K Chili Cookoff. The event was a huge success. After weeks of careful preparation, the cookoff went off without a hitch. We had twelve party attendees, six chili division entrants, three cornbread co-rec division entrants, and a few freeloaders (just kidding, they supplied ample amounts of beer, which made them far from freeloaders). Anyhow, I’m very surprised and flattered to report that my chili was named “Best Chili” of the party. Which I don’t really understand, because I thought that many of the others were far better. I made a Texas chili recipe without beans (which I named Bucky’s Bullseye Bowl ‘O Red) that I found in my Williams Sonoma Southwest Cookbook. The recipe had some interesting ingredients, most notably bittersweet chocolate and cinnamon. I even had to break out the mortar and pestle for spice grinding, so I supposed I did work hard for the coveted title.

We had so many variations of chili–white, vegetarian, spicy, meaty, beans, no beans, etc., and as you can see from the pictures above, our kitchen was overtaken by crock pots. I think that everyone had a great time, and now Karen and I are scheming on ideas for our next party.

3 comments » | Kristin's Kitchen

Clinton and Stacy

November 27th, 2007 — 10:02am

My camera is MIA. I had it on Sunday night, and now it is nowhere to be found. I do remain optimistic that it is somewhere in my possession, but a more extensive search may be warranted at this point. Therefore, I do not have Thanksgiving pictures today as promised. Hopefully they will be coming, perhaps fashionably late.

Speaking of fashion, TLC’s “What Not to Wear,” with Clinton Kelly and Stacy London is my favorite (currently running) TV show. Alas, I do not have cable at home, and up until this weekend, can’t remember the last time I even turned on a TV. Because of this, I tend to pack in episodes when I eventually do have have some form of access to cable. Karen said that I must have watched at least ten episodes over the weekend, but I would say it was more like five. Regardless of the number, I loved them all and enjoyed every minute. I love Clinton and Stacy.

In addition to a massive intake of “What Not to Wear,” which I might add Karen’s sister, Martha, graciously TiVoed for me, which allowed me to watch so many episodes in a row sans commercials, I also spent a lot of time not being a couch potato. We ran the Dan Gibbon’s Turkey Trot on Thursday morning in Elmhurst, which was a 5k fun run. And of course I am friends with people whom felt that distance was not enough for a day’s run. So, in addition to the race, that morning I also ran from downtown packet pick-up to Marath’a house, from the house to the race, and from the race back to the house, which in total made for a nine-mile run. Seriously, why must I be friends with these crazy people.

Our Thanksgiving meal was very nice at Martha’s, who is Karen’s oldest sister. It was the Mittelstadt sisters (Martha, Karen, Sue, and Kate) along with Sue’s husband, Martha’s husband and three daughters, and me! But by now, I am seriously like part of the family. Although I generally hate Thanksgiving foods (turkey, stuffing, cranberries, blah), it was a very good meal and I especially enjoyed the gravy, stuffing, and french silk pie (which Karen and I picked up from Baker’s Square earlier in the day). The rest of the weekend was spent shopping (I felt the great need to put my newly acquired “What Not to Wear” knowledge to use), playing with Martha’s daughters (aged 3, 5, and 8, who are like nieces to me…sometimes they even call me Aunt Kristin :), spending time with Karen’s family and friends, going out to dinner, and completing daily morning runs. It was a fantastic weekend spent with, what has become my second family.

2 comments » | Uncategorized

My Brother’s Turkey Dinner

November 26th, 2007 — 12:45pm

This is rather impressive for boys, I think. As some of you know, my brother and his best friend, Ben, have overtaken my parents’ house in Brookfield, while my parents spend their winter in Nevada and Kelly and Ben attempt to launch a business of their own. Kelly is a graphic designer, and Ben a computer programmer, and thus their talents mesh nicely. Anyhow, Ben and Kelly hosted a Thanksgiving meal at the house and invited a couple friends. As you can see, the offerings were complete, and I was also impressed to see that lace linens and candlesticks also donned the table. Indeed, a nice touch.

1 comment » | Family Fun

Ya We Fix That

November 26th, 2007 — 11:52am

Funny picture from this weekend in Elmhurst, Illinois. This sign was posted in front of a gas station garage. I had to laugh. I spent my long Thanksgiving weekend with Karen and her three sisters (and their families) in Elmhurst, Illinois, which is my favorite suburb of Chicago, and also where my Dad spent his younger days. I had an incredibly fun and relaxing weekend. It was definitely hard to come back to work and real life yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera at home this morning, and thus cannot upload my pictures from the weekend, but I promise to have good stories and pictures tomorrow. Hope you all had a great holiday weekend!

1 comment » | Uncategorized

Help Out by Dining Out

November 26th, 2007 — 9:51am

FYI- AIDS Network’s An Extra Helping is this Wednesday, November 28th. That means you can increase HIV/AIDS awareness in Madison by simply going out to dinner that night. Participating restaurants will contribute a percentage of the day’s sales directly to AIDS Network. “So help out by dining out. Fight the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS in your own community by wielding a surprising weapon–your fork.”

Comment » | Madtown Lovin'

WIST Holiday Trunk Show

November 21st, 2007 — 10:37am

So besides the incredible food, the main reason for going to Lazy Jane’s for breakfast on Saturday was for the First Annual WIST Holiday Trunk Show. Problem was we arrived 8 hours early. Karen thought the show was during the morning, but it was actually scheduled for 5-9 p.m. So we ate our breakfast at Lazy Jane’s, enjoyed the rest of the day, and then came back at 6 p.m.

It was a great little show with many unique handmade arts and crafts from local artists, not to mention the free champaign and cookies! WIST is short for the “Wisconsin Etsy Street Team.” If you haven’t yet checked out Etsy online, it’s definitely worth seeing. Especially in light of the upcoming gift-giving season! Etsy is a website that was launched in 2005 that provides the general public with a way to buy and sell handmade goods. There’s literally tens of thousands of sellers and it’s sort of like one big open craft fair. It’s a powerful forum. And you can find some very unique handmade items at affordable prices. As the WIST flyer states, “Join the Craft Revolution! Buy Independent. Buy Handmade.” Word.

2 comments » | Madtown Lovin'

Lazy Jane’s Cafe

November 21st, 2007 — 6:14am

Lazy Jane’s Cafe on Willy Street (1358 Williamson St.) is my all-time favorite place for breakfast. I went there this past Saturday morning to enjoy a home style breakfast in a relaxed, classic Willy-Street environment complete with random artwork, eclectic antiques, mix matched furniture and serving ware, and an assortment of people from the east side of town and beyond. Besides the atmosphere, my favorite part of Lazy Jane’s is their incredible scones. I love scones, and would fashion myself a true connoisseur. These are the best damn scones you’ll ever taste in your life. And, they’re as big as your head. My favorite is the raspberry scone, but this time I enjoyed a seasonal classic–a pumpkin scone with walnuts and white chocolate.

After quickly devouring the scone (which, I remind you, was as big as my head), I then moved on to my breakfast entree, the frittata with red peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, and asiago cheese. Mmm….good. My mom ordered this one the last time I went to Lazy Jane’s, the morning after Ironman Wisconsin, and it was tasty. So this time I wanted my own frittata. The whole thing. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed my two-course breakfast, which I think was much deserved after a 9-mile run earlier that morning. Lazy Jane’s is one of those places, like the Weary Traveler (which is where I had dinner last night with my friends Emily and Jill :), that I could eat at every single day and never grow tired of. Lazy Jane’s for breakfast and Weary for Dinner. Now that’s a life I could get used to.

3 comments » | Restaurant Reviews

Oh Christmas Tree

November 20th, 2007 — 6:24pm

A Christmas tree before Thanksgiving? Who ever heard of such a thing? When I was working a 9-hour shift at Banana last Sunday, Karen was buying, assembling, lighting, and decorating a Christmas tree, among many other projects. The girl cannot sit still. She also already decorated the mantel with poinsettias and garland. It all looks very beautiful and festive. Except, I am having trouble with all of the IU (Karen’s alma mater) ornaments dotting the tree. So for perhaps the first time in my life, I am enjoying a Christmas tree before Thanksgiving. And that is something to be thankful for.

2 comments » | Uncategorized

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