MKE Moments

As I’ve mentioned before, the last several months have included many trips to Milwaukee for work on a big project. When east coast vacation plans with the WI-fam in early August had to be delayed and I saw another MKE trip on the calendar for mid-month, all things aligned for me to fly out there earlier for a weekend of WI-fam fun before work. Here, a few snapshots along the way.

Coffee

Saturday @ 6:25 AM – Wide awake early, so I decide to make some iced coffee & read for a while to start the day. “Can I get some non-decaf coffee packets?” That was my question as I went down to the front desk once I discovered the in-room coffee service only had decaf. “You mean regular coffee?” was the response. Umm…yes – evidently I do need some caffeine to ease into this day.

Custard

Saturday @ 2:01 PM – As we were out and about on Saturday morning, late afternoon supper plans were finalized. So when the shopping was done, we resumed the great Milwaukee custard tour with a stop at Leon’s Frozen Custard. For some of us, custard might have been our entire lunch. Another delicious vanilla cone – the heat of the day made this a fast melting and messy treat.
golfSaturday @ 6:57 PM – Mini golf with the cousins on a summer evening. It has been decades since I played. Fierce competition gave way to silliness among our 3 teams. By the end, my team of 4 (including the 3 year old) only had 2 golf balls to play among us all – so the adults would tee off and our littlest team member then made a game of getting the ball into the hole. From my play, evidently the stress of the last couple of weeks of work was working its way out via some horrible shots…

more custard

Saturday @ 7:47 PM – To beat the heat after mini golf we all headed to Kopp’s for more frozen custard. Truth, the LaCroix was more satisfying at that point in time after a filling supper and a hot round of golf. I only ate about 4 more bites of custard after this pic…but of course, since this was vacation I had to have custard twice in 1 day…

sleepy Will

Saturday @ 9:45 PM – Tuckered out from a full day…for the youngest in our crew, it was too much effort to stay awake for the final Phelps medal ceremony…watching the Olympics together & cheering on our favorites was a great end to the day…

market

Sunday @ 5:07 PM – After saying farewell to the WI-fam &  settling into the work hotel, I walked 2 blocks to the Milwaukee Public Market. Finally a chance to stop into the market after walking by it on every trip so far…a few provisions for a light supper & breakfast options for the mornings…

Monday morning

Monday @ 7:17 AM – Waking up to a view like this over the lakefront doesn’t jive with the “MKE travel advisory” email in my inbox from corporate security. Praying for peace here in this town!

beirhausTuesday @ 6:10 PM – A team celebration dinner to end an all day workshop meant a taste of Milwaukee at the Bavarian Beirhaus – complete with accordion music.
23rd floorTuesday @ 9:21 PM – Ending the day with drinks on the 23rd floor – the picture can’t capture the amazing view of the moon reflecting on the calm lake waters. A great jazz trio playing in the corner & plenty of laughter with colleagues.

The trip was quick; however, plenty of fun moments were had both “at play” and “at work” behind the cheddar curtain.

A is for…

As school days are drawing near for so many (my sister has already started back to her 18th year of teaching!), Carole’s prompt this week is a variation on the classroom classic exercise, the acrostic: 10 words that describe you (& begin with the same letter as your first name).

Artful & Aromatic: Zinnias & Basil from the Farm Stand
Artful & Aromatic: Zinnias & Basil from the Farm Stand
Adventurous… While not in the sense of extreme sports, I often respond with “I’m game” when some suggests trying something new…

Adept…I think I’m skilled in many areas – both at work and at home…

Attentive…to my family and friends…to the environments I’m in…always aware…

Amiable…I think I’m a friendly sort of person…

Adaptable…how else do you “survive” entering your 8th school as you start 10th grade when Dad’s career had us moving around?

Anthology…of course, my curiosity send me to thesarus.com to find an “A” word for bookworm or reader…

Astute…building on my attentiveness, I am perceptive and able to connect the dots…

Assured…my confidence has helped numerous times in “fun” situations during all my years consulting and in various work projects…

Authentic…there’s too much going on to not be real in who I am and how I approach life…

Auntie…actually, I’m M’Amy or Miss Amy to the dear ones in my life…but the sentiment is the same…

And of course as a bonus, Artisan…when I was looking to begin this blog I thought long and hard about the name…when I came across this definition, I knew it was “me” – a skilled worker who practices some trade or handicraft

What words best describe you? 

Muffin Madness

This weekend I knew that I needed to do some smart food prep for the week ahead & beyond – later this week I’ll be gone for a fun weekend & a few days of work at the start of next week. A major project at work is really cranking up as a deadline nears – so the days are long & I know that cooking in the evenings can’t be counted on for meals.

As I started to make a list of possible make ahead meals I noticed that all of the entrees could be baked in muffin cups so that a portion of each could be frozen & ready for smart meals later.

A breakfast treat!
A breakfast treat!
First up, a new to me variation on baked oatmeal: Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal. This was a THM pin-spiration. I “made it mine” by adding some chopped pecans & shredded (unsweetened) coconut to the mix. These baked for about 22 minutes. The cottage cheese “frosting” makes these seem like an indulgence – a clever way to add some protein to the meal.

Breakfast or Lunch or Dinner?
Next, a recipe from the Whole30 recipe feed on Instagram: Buffalo Chicken Breakfast Casserole from Living Loving Paleo. I added some diced mini peppers into each muffin. Even though there recipe has breakfast in the title, they are an any meal muffin for me. These baked for 25 minutes.

A new “go to” recipe in rotation
And then, a new favorite – Cheese Dog Pie – was given the muffin treatment. I mixed about 75% of the hot dogs into the muffin batter and these baked for 25 minutes.

As the week begins, I have 8 muffins from each batch tucked away in the freezer & ready to provide me smart meal options in the coming days & weeks. And, as work zaniness ratchets up in the next 2 weeks the answer to “what to eat” is one less thing to worry about.

What non-muffin recipes have you turned into muffins? What are some of your favorite make & freeze meals?

Recently…July 2016

Ah JULY…a month of…celebrating the birth of this country…the zaniness of our political process through conventions…heat, heat, heat, heat, humidity – and all the ways to beat the heat…in the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my July days…

Reading…after a full read in June, I managed to actually read “ahead of goal” in July and completed 6 books which I will review soon: In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume; Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Marie Semple; Before the Fall by Noah Hawley; Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough; The 14th Colony by Steve Berry…

July Knits
July Knits
Crafting…a stash dive while sorting through the spare room yielded a skein of “charity” yarn from a blog friend’s fundraiser years ago…a baby knit started 6 (!) years ago has been found in the sorting and now being finished for an upcoming baby arrival…a few dishcloths knit and a “found” stack of dishcloths finally had the ends woven in & put into service…ending the month with a another stash yarn on the needles for a simple travel knit (& potential Christmas gift)…

All sorts of joy sparked!
All sorts of joy sparked!
Sparking Joy…in myriad ways as I dive back into KonMari and sorting “the stuff” in my spare room as the KonMari continues…GreenDrop made 3 pick-ups this month…a large box of yarn was culled from my stash & sent on its way to a longtime blog friend who will put it to good use…

Where knitting began…
Finding…Grandma’s handwritten recipe for “the” dishcloth that was the impetus to have her teach me to knit almost 19 years ago…I have plans for this & the last knitting that was on her knitting needles…

Streaming…really enjoying Foyle’s War on Netflix as I sort through things and knit…in addition to good stories, I think it offers some good insights into what life in the UK during WWII was like…

Watching…the latest season of Death in Paradise on a local PBS station…getting pulled into The Great British Baking Show

Listening…thoroughly enjoying the new Need to Breathe album…the Hamilton soundtrack is still in heavy rotation…

Sipping…all the iced drinks to beat the heat…

Farm stand goodies!

Shopping…the farm stands on Saturdays for so many fresh fruits & veggies…and long lasting “you cut” zinnias…and the annual visit to my local sunflower farm…

Kitchen goodness

Cooking…focusing on simplicity and the tastes from the farm stands…highlights include ham steak with roasted radishes, green beans & onions…a simple zucchini, sausage & ricotta bake topped with homemade tomato sauce…easy roasted chicken & veggies…a blueberry-rhubarb cobbler…a pin-spired stuffed pepper: buffalo chicken & spinach…easy skillet suppers of eggs & whatever leftovers could be chopped into a hash…

Ready to go!
Ready to go!
Traveling…one trip…two destinations: a week in Milwaukee with a weekend stop at home in the ‘Ville…

Milwaukee summer scenes
Milwaukee summer scenes
…the time in Milwaukee was busy and intense…the work days were long but the evenings included plenty of good, local restaurants…on Thursday evening, we checked out the Bastille Day Festival – after dinner we found a pub along the river walk with great outdoor seating to end the evening in good conversation as we watched the bridges raise & lower for boats…

Papa Cardinal brunching in the 'Ville
Papa Cardinal brunching in the ‘Ville
…the time at home in the ‘Ville was just what was needed…it was great to see Dad’s continued progress…the weekend was low-key…Saturday was a good day for a scenic drive around the area…the birds in the backyard and feeding on the deck can entertain for hours…

Looking ahead…While August vacations plans have been delayed, a fun weekend with the WI-fam is on the agenda…at least 1 business trip to Milwaukee…work kicking into hyperdrive as a deadline on a massive project looms…inevitably staying up too late to watch the Olympics…seeing my TX girlies as they settled into life in PA…

What filled your July days?

Linking up with Leigh’s What I’m Into round-up.

Beat the Heat

A timely prompt for this Tuesday that is in the midst of our 4th heat wave so far this summer…10 ways to beat the heat!

Farm Stand Flowers
Farm Stand Flowers from early morning errands
  • Drink plenty of water – My S’well water bottles are used just about every day of the year. During these heat waves, an extra bottle is in the car with me no matter how short the run.
  • Batch food prep/oven use – Turn on the oven once & do as much as you can in as little time as you can. On Sunday, food prep included an early morning oven run & an early evening oven run – and viola, food stuffs for 6+ meals this week were ready to go!
  • Run cold water over your wrist pulse points – I first read about this years ago when I lived in Chicago with only 2 window AC units in my apt. Even now, I do this before I go to bed as well as if I’m up during the night.
  • Avoid errands in the heat of the day – On Saturday I was up before 7am & so I pulled together my errand list for the day and was at Target as they opened – my list was finished & I was home well before the worst of the heat descended on the day.
  • Eat lighter – Farm stand produce is prime these days…making it very easy to have all the tasty fixin’s for all sorts of great salads!
  • All the iced drinks – While iced tea and iced coffee are in frequent rotation year round for me, even more is consumed in weather like this – although I do make sure to balance these with water! On Sunday & Monday, iced candy cane coffee was a bit of Christmas in July!
  • Take in a movie in a well chilled cinema – I was more current on summer blockbusters when I lived in my last Chicago apartment…many a Saturday afternoon was spent at a theater.
  • Splash your face – Whenever I’m at my bathroom sink here at home, I take a moment to liberally spray my face with my favorite rosewater tonic – just a moment and so refreshing!
  • Be grateful – In the midst of the seemingly extreme temperatures, take a moment to be thankful that we live in a time and place where we have so many options to help us pull through the heat waves.
  • Take a mental snapshot – Capture the heat in a memory for those snowy and bone chilling cold sorts of winter days that have you wondering if warmer temps will ever return. And remember, to everything there is a season…

The forecast shows that later this week this heat wave may break with a high of 88 on the horizon. In the meantime, many of these tactics (and more!) are in rotation to keep the heat at bay – as best as possible.

What do you do to beat the heat?

Linking up with Carole for Ten on Tuesday