Archive for June 2008

MONSTER Cookies!

June 30th, 2008 — 12:35pm

I found a the following “Monster Cookie” recipe at a blog titled “Dinners for a Year.” Totally “mom” cookies, which seemed appropriate since nearly half of my guinea pigs were three little girls under the age of 8.

The cookies were moist and chewy, and reminded me of trail mix in cookie form, since ingredients include peanut butter, oatmeal, and chocolate chip cookies. I think this makes them healthy, so I’m loading up. And as with anything I bake, I’m sure you could make them even more healthy, but I rarely strive for that. So please enjoy my somewhat healthy monster cookies, or take a stab at modifications per your own tastes.

3 eggs
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1/2 cup margarine
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 10 ounce bag M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine all ingredients, except the oats and M&Ms, in the order listed. Mix until well combined. Stir in the oats and M&Ms being careful not to crack the M&Ms shells. Drop by golf ball size pieces onto prepared baking sheets – about 6 to a sheet. Press down slightly. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes – they should look a little under done. Let cool for a minute or two on the sheet and then remove to parchment paper on the counter.

2 comments » | Kristin's Kitchen

New Bistro Coming to Monroe Street

June 30th, 2008 — 11:06am

A new neighborhood bistro, just blocks from my house, will soon open at 2611 Monroe St. (where the longtime Italian restaurant, Papa Phil’s, was formerly housed). The bistro will feature locally sourced European-inspired cuisine along with wine, spirits, and Belgian beer. Check out the menu here. The concept and menu seem strikingly similar to that at Brasserie V, which is located just up the street from the Bistro, but I’m excited nonetheless. I love new restaurants that I can walk to, and I was never very impressed with Papa Phil’s. It will be interesting, however, to see if the Bistro can measure up and compete with new Monroe Street standouts like Brasserie V and Pizza Brutta.

Comment » | Madtown Lovin', Restaurant Reviews

Weekend Pics

June 30th, 2008 — 10:46am
Playing kickball at last night’s BBQ
Kristin and Karen, post-Green Lake 10k

A new found trail and boardwalk to the lake

Kristin and Karen sitting by the lake

Comment » | Uncategorized

No-Bake Strawberry Pie

June 30th, 2008 — 5:41am

I had what felt like a very long and fulfilling weekend complete with my favorite fish fry at the Lodge, relaxing time at Green Lake, flea market shopping, a 4th of July 10k race, a 14-mile run, a 65-mile bike ride with several friends and flats, some quality baking and craft time, and a great Sunday night barbecue at our house with Karen’s entire family.

Upon completing my 65-mile bike ride on Sunday afternoon, I wanted nothing other than to start baking and cooking for the evening’s festivities. I made a strawberry pie, monster cookies, and mushroom tarts to add to the mix. Below is the recipe for strawberry pie, which I found on the Domino Magazine Web site. The pie was very light and refreshing, and extremely quick and easy to make.

No-bake Strawberry Pie

2 lbs. fresh strawberries (about 4 pints), tops removed, plus 4 strawberries, reserved
1 ¼ cups milk
¾ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cornstarch
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 ½ cups graham-cracker crumbs
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar

Place 2 pounds strawberries in a blender and blend on high until pureed, about 10 seconds (do in two batches if necessary). Combine milk, sugar and cornstarch in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and whisk until dissolved. Add the strawberry puree and lemon juice. Cook on high heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture is thick and bubbling (about 7 minutes); remove from heat. Place graham-cracker crumbs in a 10″ x 1 ½”-deep pie plate, drizzle with melted butter and mix until all the crumbs are moistened. With the back of a spoon, press evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate to form a crust. Pour strawberry filling into crust and let cool completely (about 30 minutes). Cover and refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, place heavy cream in a mixing bowl and, with an electric mixer, blend on high until stiff peaks form. Add confectioners’ sugar and blend another 10 seconds. Using a spatula, spread the whipped cream over the filling. Slice reserved strawberries, add to top and serve.

3 comments » | Kristin's Kitchen

DIY Tiered Dessert Tray

June 27th, 2008 — 8:14am

Although I already have two craft projects in the works—a tea cup/saucer clock and a framed earring display case (both to be revealed upon completion), I recently found my next craft project!

The inspiration is pictured, right. Think recycled kitchenware turned tiered dessert tray. Here are the full project details, created by Kate Pruitt for Design*Sponge. I can’t wait to start building my very own tiered dessert tray. Just think of all of the wonderful little desserts I could display on such a contraption. Finally, my scones and cookies would have a fitting home and a chance to really strut their stuff!

For the rest of the summer, I will definitely be on a mission for great vintage plates, candlesticks, and vases. Perhaps, I’ll also need a little ceramic deer to plop on top, like the beautiful dessert tray pictured right, available at Esty. Craft on.

2 comments » | Crafts & Design

Madison Mallards vs. Brainerd Blue Thunder

June 27th, 2008 — 7:51am

Bobbie Jean, Karen, Kristin, and Kim

Last night marked my second Madison Mallard’s game in one season (an outing with colleagues). Does this now make me a groupie?

It’s always amazing to me how much Madison rallies around it’s summer-collegiate team. The Mallard’s are considered by many to be one of the most successful baseball franchises, and by far the most successful summer collegiate team in the nation. The Mallard’s fans are hard core.

Comment » | Madtown Lovin'

Songs in the Key of Life

June 27th, 2008 — 7:35am

Yesterday marked opening night of Milwaukee’s 11-day Summerfest, the World’s largest music fest, and featured one of my all-time favorites, Stevie Wonder, on the big stage. What I would have done to see Stevie live. I’m a huge fan.

Although Stevie’s been semi-retired for more than a decade, apparently it dosen’t take much for him to get back into the groove and move a crowd. Must make it a little easier when you’ve got a hit list as long as Stevie’s and 58 years of crowd pleasing under your belt.

Wish I could have been there to see him perform in person. Good news is there is plenty of good music ahead. Check out the upcoming Summerfest lineups at

Comment » | Books, Film, and Music

Orzo Salad with Currants, Olives, and Pine Nuts

June 26th, 2008 — 11:08am

I’ve received a few requests for the orzo pasta salad I made for last night’s concert on the square. I found the recipe in an issue of Real Food (Summer 2007), a quarterly magazine produced by Minnesota-based gourmet grocer, Lund and Byerly’s. The salad was awesome, and made great leftovers for today’s lunch. Many ingredients, but worth the effort. Enjoy!

Orzo Salad with Currants, Olives, and Pine Nuts

1 ½ cups orzo pasta
2 cloves garlic
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley sprigs
½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. curry powder
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup currants
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
Garnish: parsley sprigs (optional)

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain, then rinse with cold water and drain again. Transfer to a large bowl. To make dressing, add garlic and salt to the bowl of a food processor and process until garlic is minced and a paste forms. Add parsley and process well. Add lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, curry powder, cumin, and pepper; process for 30 seconds. Pour oil in a slow steady stream through food chute with processor running.

Drizzle dressing over pasta. Add onion, currants, olives, and pine nuts; toss well. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Comment » | Kristin's Kitchen

Last Night’s Concert

June 26th, 2008 — 5:52am
Abby and Kristin toast to the first concert!
Our beautiful spread!

Everyone turned to listen to the symphony

Jill sampling my new orzo salad dish
I had a great time at the first concert on the square last night. I took a late lunch break, and staked a spot on the square at 3pm (which is the earliest you’re allowed to place blankets). As such, we definitely had great seats, close enough to see and hear the symphony, but also far enough away to chat without catching an evil eye (or so we thought).

It was a perfect summer night for the first concert. Warm, sunny, and no sign of rain. Abby and I arrived at the square at 5:30ish to set up our table and food. Shortly afterwards, we were joined by my friend Jill, who was also my college roommate freshman year, as well as her friends Angela and Shayna.

Our amazing feast included Orzo salad with currants, olives, and pine nuts; Olive French bread; Rosemary crackers with Swiss cheese; Green beans with cilantro yogurt dip, Strawberries and Raspberries; three different kinds of cookies—banana chip, butterscotch, and store bought M&M (aka, “crack cookies”); and red and white wine. Everything was delicious, and I had a blast hanging out with my girls.

I’ve found that when it comes to many things in life, the concert on the square being one notable example, I can’t help but make a big production. Like I can’t just go to the concert at the last minute and pick up dinner along the way. No, no, I must slave in the kitchen the night before to bring to life the perfect menu I’ve created in my mind, and arrive at the square at the earliest moment possible (2:59pm) to secure great seats. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t know how. I like, no make that love, to make a production of these types of things, and to experience life in the most elaborate and meaningful way possible.

Comment » | Madtown Lovin'

Tri Like a Girl

June 25th, 2008 — 8:43am

My new Terry TRX gel bike seat is on it’s way!

“Our first shot at a tri-specific saddle has a wide, gel-padded nose that allows you to drop into the aero bars with a higher degree of comfort. Longer overall and narrower in the rear to reduce the opportunity for chafing. Perforated “tri like a girl” leather cover is functional as well as just plain fun — perforation allows the leather to breathe; lightest weight vanox rails; rear v cutaway for pressure reduction against the tailbone.”

Who knew so much throught and design could go into a bike seat? I am so overdue for a new saddle, not to mention a new bike. Can’t wait to try it out on my next ride.

Comment » | Racing and Training

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