Tis the season

Happy one-year anniversary to Wisconsin Fun Next Exit.

It was a year ago this weekend that I was seeking spinach and scones and deciding to follow the advice of Orangette’s Molly Wizenberg and create my own little corner of the internet universe. I have been feeling nostalgic for the giddiness that I felt when I sat down with a bottle of wine to write that first post late on a Saturday night one year ago. I have truly enjoyed writing this and I’ve been thinking about how nice it is of you to join me here. So, thank you.

This past year has been a memorable one marked by an uprising,

a (temporary) job teaching third grade, a Packers super bowl victory, the Brewers in the playoffs, a train trip to Seattle,

road trips, old friends, new friends, an honest effort at really loving yoga (although my triangle pose is still a disaster), a new-found love of cats, specifically the two 10-year-olds who became my roomates in June,

moving to the east side, an attempt at growing a vegetable garden and cooking. Lots and lots of cooking.

Oh have I got some recipes for you. There’s an incredibly easy and delicious one for whole wheat pasta with a sauce made of butter, cream and blue cheese (go for a run first!) and tonight (while talking to my dear friend Jenn who lives in D.C. but aspires to move back to Madison) I made a vegetarian version of french onion soup with toasts and melted swiss cheese that tasted rich and hearty on this blustery day in Wisconsin. I plan on telling you all about these and more but for now it’s off to bed. Tomorrow I’ve got a date with Lambeau Field and Tuesday marks the first day of the campaign against Walker. I’ll provide the soup recipes and you provide the signatures. Tis the season for a recall. Let’s do this, Wisconsin.

Sweet dreams.

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Ashley’s sayonara breakfast

Happy heat wave.

This afternoon as I sat idling in sweltering contruction traffic on Willy Street my eyes were drawn to the sign posted outside the gas station that stated: “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.” Pondering this, I decided no truer words have ever been spoken. At least not today.

It’s been a week since Dan and I rolled up in my dusty car after 23 1/2 hours on the road from our trip to Wyoming. I’ve got loads of stories and even more photos, I’m not even sure where to start. So I’ve decided to begin at the end, with Ashley’s breakfast.

Ashley was one of our two lovely hosts when we were in Jackson and she made us a delicious breakfast of egg sandwiches with truffle aioli and arugula the morning that we had to skip town. The truffle aioli made the sandwich and I intend to pick up a bottle of black truffle olive oil as soon as I win the lottery this week (maybe from the aforementioned gas station).

Forgive me for not having the exact recipe, but all great recipes are meant to be experimented with and modified (for example, I asked Ashley to hold the bacon on my sandwich.) Any way you slice it, it’s going to be delicious…

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Ashley’s sayonara egg sandwiches with truffle aioli

Ingredients:

English muffin

egg

arugula

black traffle infused olive oil

mayo

cheese (optional)

Directions:

Fry an egg over medium. Mix together a small amount of truffle olive oil (maybe a tablespoon) and a couple of tablespoons of mayo (to taste). Toast an english muffin. Spread the truffle aioli on both sides of the english muffin. If you feel so inclined, slice a piece of white cheese and place on one side of the muffin. Place the egg and a layer of arugula (the spicer the better, says Ashley) on the muffins. Make into a sandwich and eat. Enjoy.

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I’ve got to run (into a lake), but stay tuned for more stories, recipes and photos from Wyoming… Until then, stay cool.

Wyoming or bust

Greetings from the equality state, where Dan and I have been visiting our dear friends in Cheyenne and letting them spoil us with meals like salmon burgers and spinach naan pizzas (recipes and photos to follow). We celebrated the fourth of July with a traditional meal of paella, lobster tails and sangria (isn’t that what everyone has on America’s birthday?) When we haven’t been watching this fascinating program that Derek introduced us to about looking for sasquatch (‘squatch’ as it’s called in the industry), we have been enjoying our meals and evenings in their lovely backyard.

Backyard Cheyenne

If you are looking for a special way to celebrate something this weekend whip up a batch of Sangria and play the Wisconsin game, which Dan and I invented on I-80 (minus the drinking part) and played last night with our Wisconsin ex-pat hosts: Sit in a circle and name off as many cities/ towns in Wisconsin until you can’t think of anymore, take a drink if you repeat one that has been said. Cheers the person who comes up with Trego, Chicag or Rio. Wisconsin fun this exit.

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Fourth of July Sangria

This recipe comes from the PBS site for Everyday Food

Ingredients:

2 juiced oranges

2 oranges sliced

2 lemons thinly sliced

2 limes thinly sliced

1/3 cup super fine sugar

1/4 cup brandy

1 bottle red wine (we used a Yellow Tail shiraz/ grenache blend)

2 cups club soda

Directions:

In a large pitcher stir together orange juice, sugar and brandy. Stir well. Add wine, fruit slices and club soda. Stir. Fill glasses with ice. Pour, serve, yum.

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Our Wyoming adventures continue to Casper and then my old stomping grounds, Jackson, where I can’t wait to sit outside at Teton Thai and order the chocolate bread pudding at Rendezvous Bistro… Stay tuned.

Tips for winning the summer

When Mr. Obama gave his state of the union speech last winter he discussed winning the future. I love this. I mean, who doesn’t want to win the future? It reminds me of the time that I was an archery instructor (?!) at a summer camp and a young man named LaTroy declared in a boastful voice: “I won archery.” You know what LaTroy? You did. So let’s win obscure things today, shall we? Here are a few tips for winning the summer.

Tip #1: Enjoy a delicious lunch. One with cheese, sauteed kale and a sliced tomato with sea salt. Yumtown. Population: you.

Tip #2: Avoid swimmer’s itch… I lost at this one.

Tip #3: When the temperature hits the 90s, chop four inches off of your hair.

Tip #3 part 2: Go to Thorps on Atwood for said haircut. They give you a can of pbr upon your arrival.

Tip #4: Sit close to the fridge.

Tip #5: Meet up with some friends and enjoy a tall glass of iced tea from Mermaid Cafe.

Tip#6: Take a road trip. And if you find yourself on Highway 20 in eastern Iowa on a Sunday morning, take the exit near Dyersville and visit the field of dreams before anyone else arrives. Run the bases. Yell, “Go the distance” at a father and son playing catch as you flee the parking lot.

Tip #7: Make beergaritas. My sister and I made them for the first time last summer after our cousin told us about them. Delicious.

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Beergaritas

Ingredients:

1 can frozen limeade

1 1/2 cans pbr

1 limeade can full of tequila

2 limeade cans full of club soda (or Squirt)

Directions:

Mix ingredients in a pitcher. Serve over ice. Cheers to winning stuff.

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Bonus points if you see fireflies tonight… Happy July.