Cannot Spell Broccoli (aka Recipe Sunday!)

I have a thing for cooking shows.  I can spend all day watching Food Network.  Any show involving Ina Garten, Giada de Laurentiis, Bobby Flay (call me!), or Molton Brown, you name it, I’m there.  My friend Stacy has a thing for that annoying blond dude Guy Fieri.  I don’t have a point to make about that, I just wanted to out my friend for her weird taste.

Anyhoo, I wanted to share with you some fabulous recipes from my favorite gal, Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa.  ‘Sup, Ina?!  I have all of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and enjoy thumbing through them regularly.  To date, there are a few of her recipes that rank super high on the BACKFLIP METER.  They are Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli and Easy Sticky Buns. Ooh, and I just realized that I should share with you her A-M-A-Z-I-N-G Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts.


Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

I share this recipe a lot cuz I really lurv it.  However, as a result, I have discovered the fact that, for the life of me, I CANNOT SPELL THE DAMN WORD BROCOLLI, or BROCCOLI, or whatever it is!  SO, thank you spell-check.  Thank you.

Two notes about this awesome recipe:  1) It’s so delicious that you’ll want to make enough.  If this is a main course, definitely use about 1 bunch of broccoli per person. If this is for a side dish, then just follow the recipe’s quantity of 4-5 lbs.  broccoli.  2) If done properly, the broccoli will get nice and crisp and browned on the edges (i.e., roasted), so don’t be alarmed.  This makes it extra tasty!


Easy Sticky Buns

This is an incredible recipe.  My dad practically begs my mom to make these on the weekends, and they do not disappoint.  Ever.  If you don’t have experience working with puff pastry, get ready – cuz you will now.  Don’t worry – it’s super easy and makes you feel fancy, and who doesn’t love feeling fancy?!

My dear friend Amy might punch me in the face over this, because she’s completely in LOVE with The Pioneer Woman Cooks’ Cinnamon Rolls. This recipe makes like 7,000 rolls, so be forewarned.  You might need to build a bigger kitchen first.


Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts

Hooray for puff pastry!!  Yes, this crowd-pleasing and “ooh and ahhhh” inducing recipe requires puff pastry, so you might as well stock up on puff pastry from the market.

My mom served these for our first course at Thanksgiving last year.  It was so damn impressive – having a first course and all.  Maybe this is done elsewhere, but I got a kick out of it.  I’m totally stealing this idea for when I host Thanksgiving (gulp), but I should probably get a dining table first.  We’re a table-less home.

Special note:  If you’re not a goat cheese lover, you can substitute with feta cheese. If you want to be extra slutty, try using the marinated feta in a jar.  Uber slutty.  Just don’t bother with mozzarella – not enough flavor.  Trust me.

Okay, that’s all for today.  Enjoy getting fat!!

Just a Taste!

Good golly, I’m so freakin’ excited!  Last week, our amazingly talented and sweet wedding photographers, Erin Hearts Court, sent over a tasty sampling of photos from our wedding.  This was their attempt to tide us over and whet our appetite for what’s to come…meaning – 1,200 or so photos for our viewing and framing pleasure.

Well, needless to say, they were successful.  I’m blown away by their talent.  They captured our day so perfectly, so beautifully…. I literally cannot stand it!  I’m pretty sure I even did a back flip.

Here’s just a taste so you can see why I’m so freakin’ excited.

Smoochin' in the woods during our first look!

Me and my papa just before the ceremony (note: my bosoms don't normally look like that!)

My adorable parents after the rainy ceremony

Our portrait shoot in the woods

Guess what? It rained...and we loved it!

Sexy time on the dance floor

Thank you so much Courtney and Erin.   I cannot wait to see what’s to come!

Security Blanket

I have a confession to make.  I have seen the movie “Father of the Bride” a million times.  In fact, when it’s on TV, which it often is, I MUST watch it.  And, they usually play “Father of the Bride II” right after it, so I watch that, too.  I can’t help it.  It’s a disease.

There’s just something about an old, favorite movie that brings me such comfort.  It wraps me up in a blanket of soothing familiarity, when nothing seems familiar at all.  Lately, I have been suffering bouts of homesickness, which is funny to me.  In my adult life, I haven’t lived in one place for more than a few years, so there really isn’t a ‘home’ so to speak.  I can’t quite put a finger on it.  I’m feeling untethered, out of place…like I simply don’t fit in.  For me, this is not unusual.  Since I’ve always been a little peculiar – energetic, loud, too happy for most tastes, being a loner is pretty normal for me.  I just haven’t figured out how to accept this status quo over the past 32 years, so rather, I turn to movies as a coping strategy.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to travel and live abroad.  When loneliness or homesickness would settle in, I’d turn to the oldies but goodies (aka ‘security blankets’) on my shelf for a little antidote to cure what ailed me.  I’m seeing a pattern here – one that would make my sister, whose more discerning literary, cinematic, and musical tastes wince at the corny-factor of the list I’m about to unveil to you – save a few (you know the ones, Sara!).

Movies

  1. Father of the Bride
  2. You’ve Got Mail
  3. Something’s Gotta Give


Television

  1. Gilmore Girls
  2. Sex and the City
  3. Friends (my sister, lil bro, and I know every single episode)
  4. The West Wing


Books

  1. It’s Not About the Bike
  2. The Ya Ya Sisterhood
  3. Emma

“Father of the Bride” is on right now and I’m in a conflicted state of bliss.  It bonked me on the head with a crushing dose of a) missing my wonderful and funny parents, and b) remembering how wonderful our wedding was just two short months ago.  When you’re feeling a little blue, out of whack, or just plain homesick, do you turn to a quick fix?   What are your security blankets?

Off to the Sweet Corn Festival for a giant bucket of corn for lunch.  Have a wonderful Sunday.

Buckets of Corn

Allow me to plan your life for you.  Okay fine, so maybe I won’t plan your entire life for you, but I will gladly plan your social calendar for you…. at least for the next 2 months.   And you should know that I am only re-posting material from a recent post for your benefit.   This is all about you.  Trust me.  I’m a professional.  (Quick – name the movie!)

Besides sunscreen, cold beer, and mosquito bites, summer offers us so many delightful things.  And one of those things is happening this weekend.  Yes folks, it’s the one and only…

Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival!!!

So stock up on dental floss, grab your bib and Wet Wipes, and head on over to the great town of Sun Prairie this weekend.   It’s just TOO GOOD to miss – if only for the sheer funny of it all.  Something about tons of people sitting around eating a shit-ton of corn is really, really funny.  Not enticed yet?!?  First of all, that’s bologna.   Second of all, just read below for all the reasons why you should go.

Buckets of Corn & a Salt Shaker Tree = Enough Said

After a long day of cow poop throwing, there’s nothing I love more than a nice bucket of sweet corn to take the edge off.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A bucket of corn.  Like this!

Enjoying a large bucket of corn from the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival - 2009
Bucket of Corn!

Last year, Danimal and I went to the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival, and it was pretty much the coolest thing EVER!  I know what you’re thinking.  “How on Earth could a corn festival be the coolest thing ever?!  Like, seriously… how?!”  Excellent question.   THIS is how…

Infamous Salt Shaker Tree at the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival

Salt Shaker Apparatus

Friends, allow me to introduce you to the world’s most incredible invention.  It’s a salt shaker apparatus.  You could also call it a salt shaker tree if you like.  No matter what you call it, it’s a laundry rack holding 50 salt shakers dangling from strings.  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  This was the first thing I noticed as I stepped into the fair grounds and quickly realized…”Oh man, this is going to rock!”

After we got our large bucket of corn, we had to shuck it ourselves.  This was the least fun part.  But then, you enter the BUTTER LINE.  There’s a whole row of people dedicated to this one simple, yet very important, task – buttering.

Our butter kid was especially nice.  Apparently, he was enjoying a promotion of sorts, as he had climbed the corn-fest- worker ladder, moving from garbage hauler to corn butterer in a matter of two years.  We were impressed.  But I digress.  This is the cool part – Butter Boy took our bucket of corn, and one by one, rolled our delectable ears into a large pan of butter.  Don’t believe me?   See for yourself…

Buttering our corn at the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival

Butter Boy butters our corn!

Yeah, it was pretty much awesome.   And for the finale, we moved on to the now infamous salt shaker apparatus.  Very strategically we salted our 9 ears of corn, lifting and rolling to ensure sufficient salt coverage.  A success!  Then, we joined the masses of people strewn about the grounds, awkwardly eating corn in silence, with no chance in hell of either looking attractive or having a conversation, because every single soul in the place had teeth full of corn.  Lovely.

And stay tuned for the next social calendar recommendation for September.  I’ll give you a clue.  It has something to do with CHEESE CURDSCRAWLING, and BEER.   Save the date:   September 25, 2010.

We Beat Carmen and Dennis!

Thursday was our two-month wedding anniversary.  Hooray!  And to celebrate the fact that we had made it TWO WHOLE MONTHS and beat the matrimonial union of Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman, our dear friends Debbie and Danny graciously shared their Flip camera video footage of our wedding ceremony.  Yep, that’s right folks – another post about our wedding, you lucky devils!    

We love this photo taken by our amazing photographers Erin Hearts Court! I'm the one on the left.

 

 It was an awesome experience.  Since our wedding day, we have talked and reminisced about things we remembered from the day.  But even though it was only two months ago, it feels like it was two years ago… and the memories are already fading.  I’ve been grasping at any kernel of memory or photograph I can get my hands on and have been pleading my case to friends, desperate they have some videos from the day to help fill the cloudy void.  Well, Debbie and Danny delivered and it was amazing.   

We sat huddled around the coffee table, our necks craning to see the small video on her laptop.  Sitting cross-legged on the floor, we watched our entire wedding ceremony unfold before our eyes – from the sweet and funny start to the rain-soaked finish. These ten or twelve blissful minutes captured everything that we forgot had happened – the funny quips from our incredible officiant, my over-hamming-it-up to the audience (not intentional!!), the rain drops starting with a tiny pitter patter to a full-throttle pour right during the vows… it was so sweet.  Before I knew it I was crying.  Watching this magnificent moment as we became husband and wife – being able to relive every word, laugh, tear, was simply divine.    

It was funny.  When the video started, Danimal was sitting behind me.  But as the minutes passed, we inched closer to each other until we were sort of wrapped up in each other as we sat on the floor.  We began to hold on to each other more tightly, barely breathing as we carefully listened to the words our officiant worked so hard to perfect.  By the end, we resembled an entangled couple at a yoga retreat.       

I know all of this sounds so cheesy and dramatic.  It’s just a video for crying out loud!!   But this ceremony – this sacred ritual that so many others have experienced, was ours, and it meant so much to us.  I am so grateful to have been able to experience that moment again.   

To all of those getting hitched down the road, I highly recommend you hire a videographer, cinematographer, or a friend-with-a-cool-handheld-video-camera-ographer so you too can revisit this unparalleled day in your life.   

Thanks Debbie and Danny!

Favorite Songs Sunday!

Happy Sunday, y’all!  I love Sundays.  I always have.  I can’t explain it – most people hate Sundays because it means we have to go back to work or school the next day or are forced to get dressed up in scratchy clothes and go to church.  But me…I love ’em.  I usually wake up on a Sunday morning and when the realization that it is indeed Sunday pops into my sleepy brain, a giddy feeling washes over me, similar to that feeling of realizing it’s Christmas morning.  

There’s just something about Sundays for me – like a joyful, indulgent, don’t-have-to-run-a-million-errands-like-on-Saturday feeling.  I can wake up, make way too much coffee, turn on my favorite program (that’s what my grandma called her TV shows) ‘Sunday Morning’ on CBS, flip through the unread magazines, and make To Do lists in my head that will be quickly forgotten.  After my dose of political magazine shows (aka ‘programs’), I usually turn off the TV for the rest of the day, put my iTunes on shuffle, and enjoy the sweet revery of freedom that we still have before we trot down the path to parenthood. 

So this morning, I was listening to some sweet tunes in the background while cooking up a batch of not fantastic french toast, the coolest thing happened.  The five songs I am obsessed with this week all played in a row!!  

So, after doing three backflips, I decided to share with you my favorite songs of the week. You are so welcome.  Really – it was no trouble at all.  If I were a more sophisticated and less lazy blogger/person, I would have figured out how to actually embed the songs into this here blog.  

  1. This is the Song (Good Luck)   –   Punch Brothers  (saw them perform with Steve Martin!)
  2. Home   –   Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
  3. Cosmic Love   –   Florence + The Machine 
  4. Jar of Hearts  –  Christina Perri 
  5. Little Lion Man  –  Mumford Sons
  6. Bonus track:  Leggy Blonde  –  Flight of the Conchords

Behold the Duchess de Mustard at the National Mustard Day celebration. She was delicious.

 

 National Mustard Day Update  

And, for your viewing pleasure, I thought you should see evidence of our meeting the one and only Duchess de Mustard at the National Mustard Day celebration on Saturday.  Her name was Vy, she was 4’11” tall, and probably 80 years old.  I tried to put her on a ham sandwich, but she put up a tough fight.

What Would Martha Do?

I’m sure all of you (all 3 of you) are die-hard Martha Stewart fans, right?   I mean, who isn’t?!?   So that means you must have seen her enviable monthly To Do list calendar in her eponymous magazine.  Read:  Total. Over. Achiever. 

So here’s the thing.  Danimal and I finally have the weekend off.  Praise Jesus!  This means that a) he doesn’t have to work, b) no house guests (though we love ‘em), c) no weddings or bridal showers or birthday parties or Baht mitzvahs to attend.  Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Hooray! 

As a result of our impending state of NOTHINGNESS, we’ve compiled a massive List ‘O’ Crap to do this weekend. Some of it is fun crap.  Other stuff is stupid crap.  But unlike our over-achieving domestic goddess Martha, we tend to lean more towards the “never quite get anything done” list.  So this is where you come in.  Help us decide which crap we should attempt to do over the next 48 hours so we can finally cross something off the damn list. 


The Willsaps Massive List ‘O’ Crap (some fun, some stupid) to Do this Weekend
 

1.    Friday Fish Fry (location TBD):  For you non-Wisconsin peeps, this is a big deal in Wisconsin.  Fish is fried, people gather, yada yada yada… 

2.    Celebrate National Mustard Day with a bunch of mustard-loving weirdos at our town’s National Mustard Museum. Jealous?!  

National Mustard Day will be celebrated at the National Mustard Museum in lovely Middleton, Wisconsin.

National Mustard Day!! Hooray!

 

3.    Fashion a necklace made of pretzels or a sweater vest made of hot dog buns to wear to National Mustard Day (see #2) 

4.    Buy Dan his first road bike!!!  (I vote for this one) 

5.    Go to the Farmers Market on the Square 

6.    Have a bake sale / car wash to raise funds for a new road bike (see #4) 

7.    Open a joint-banking account (gasp!) 

8.    Visit our friends who just moved to ‘Tosa (That’s a nickname for a funny-sounding Wisconsin town. There’s a ton of them. Check it out!) 

  • Wauwatosa
  • Oconomowoc (try saying this after 5 beers)
  • Ashwaubenon
  • Oostburg
  • Beaver Dam (this makes me chuckle)
  • Mukwonago

9.    Attend the Sugar Maple Festival to get our bluegrass on 

10.    Buy Lindsay a new mountain bike!! 

11.    Pretend to prepare the paperwork to officially change my name 

12.    Check out the new restaurant Graze and order every single starter on the menu 

13.    Work out (LOL!) 

14.    Nap… a lot 

15.    Cocktail cruise on the boat 

16.    Weed the yard 

 So many delightful options!  So, give it to us straight.  What should we two childless “adults” do this weekend? 

What are you doing this weekend….that involves mustard?  (keep it clean)