Mustard Roasted Red Potatoes (& Monday nights)

Tonight, my fiancé (pinch me, please) and I are going to enjoy a celebratory dinner at his farmhouse up north (where we will get married next year). There will steak. There will be wine (for me). There will be beer (for him). There will be chocolate cake (for us).

And there will be these potatoes.

My favorite way to make ‘em. And I’ve made and eaten a lot of potatoes. It’s one of the main food groups in Wisconsin, afterall.

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Seth’s Strawberry Jam (& second dates)

On our second date, Seth brought me homemade jam instead of flowers.

“I thought you could get more use out of it.”

That, to me, was the height of romance.

The next morning, I spread some on my toast. Sweet, fresh, fragrant. It was better than I’d imagined. Much like our second date.

Since then, he has not only brought me flowers (hand picked and arranged by himself) numerous times, but he’s given me more jars of jam.

And now, after last week, I know how to make the magical jam. The romantic jam.

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DIY Cheeseboard (& jealousy)

We offer a meat and cheese board appetizer at work.

Every time someone orders it, I turn green with envy.

Meats.

Cheeses.

Assorted fruits and accoutrement.

It’s delectable. Delicious. The height of “I’m enjoying this meal out at a restaurant. Someone else is doing the dishes. I’m having a second glass of wine.”

Let’s recreate that at home, shall we?

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Kris’s Cornbread (& grandmas)

She stared at my forearm. Icy blue eyes narrowing behind her round bifocals. Pupils as black as the ink on my skin.

“Is it permanent.” Not a question, really. A statement. Pushed through her pursed lips, words hotter than the bright kitchen lights burning above us.

Yes. It was. That’s the thing about tattoos – they tend to stay put.

And my grandma had never been a fan of tattoos – it was a well-known fact. To be honest, I hadn’t been a big fan of them either for a very long time. I’d seen far too many bad tattoos from seedy small town tattoo shops – scarred, blurry, uneven.

But this one wasn’t. It was small, straight, even. The steadiest hand had drawn it, applied it. Permanently. It was my first. It was sweet. Literally. I had gotten a small sugar molecule tattooed onto my inner right arm. And I loved it. And I’ve loved every one since. Falling deeper, my affection growing with each addition to my collection.

My latest one is my most beloved. It’s a recipe. Written in my grandma’s handwriting. Of a cake she used to make me every year on my birthday. She hasn’t made it for me in years, and every attempt I’ve made has fallen flat. But this tattoo, this tattoo was a success.

Because this tattoo my grandma doesn’t hate.

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Sweet & Salty Soft Pretzels (& houseguests)

Entertaining can be stressful.

Sweet & Salt Soft Pretzels

The need to have everything planned and perfect. It’s work to make sure that the sheets are cleaned, towels are fresh, and snacks are prepped.

Pretzels can be stressful too.

Sweet & Salt Soft Pretzels

It’s work to make sure that the dough rises, the twists hold, and the salt stays.

Sweet & Salt Soft Pretzels

I’ve been making pretzels for a few years now and honestly, I’d rather make a double batch of these boys than have to entertain on a regular basis. Luckily, my friend Elise loves pretzels so entertaining her is pretty easy.

Sweet & Salt Soft Pretzels

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Bacon-braised Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries & Balsamic Reduction

Yesterday I put vegetables in cake. Today I’m putting bacon in vegetables.

Bacon Braised Brussels Sprouts | via Midwest Nice Blog

I’m either evil or a genius. Or an evil genius.

Yes, yes, I like that.

Bacon Braised Brussels Sprouts | via Midwest Nice Blog

And I love these Brussels! (Btw, thought it was brussel sprouts and not Brussels sprouts for the longest time.).

They’re braised in bacon fat with caramelized red onion and tossed with cranberries and balsamic reduction. They’re sweet, salty, savory. Complex yet comforting. I’ve been making them for years – usually bringing them somewhere for Thanksgiving when I want to impress people or as a side to go along with my beer braised pot roast to make a truly delicious Sunday supper.

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