Showing posts from July, 2013

SW WI Beer and Cheese Tour - Day 4

On the 4th day of our vacation we packed up our tent and headed toward Decorah, Iowa. Along the way we stopped at Spook Cave. We've toured a lot of caves but this was the first one that we saw from a boat!

Some parts of the cave were so low that we practically had to lay down in the boat.

In Decorah we visited Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm where you can walk through the test gardens, explore the many miles of hiking trails (if they aren't under water) and, of course, buy seeds.

Seed Savers Exchange is dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. Their mission statement:

Our mission is to conserve and promote America's culturally diverse but endangered food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.

Without Seed Savers, certain varieties of fruits and vegetables may have gone extinct. Each year I grow different heirloom veggies in my garden. I love the variety and the unique-ness that comes with growing heirlooms.


SW WI Beer and Cheese Tour - Day 3

On the third day of our vacation we climbed out our tent early in the morning and felt like we were in an airplane.

The clouds were completely covering the river valley down below. We ate breakfast sitting atop the picnic table so we could enjoy the view that much better.

Our original plan for the day was to rent canoes and paddle the water trail through the Mississippi backwaters but the river was too high and dangerous. Plan B: Hike!

Just a short drive into Iowa took us to Effigy Mounds National Monument. (free admission!) We set off down the trail to Hanging Rock which is a 7-mile hike (one-way) from the visitor center. The woods were so lush and beautiful and the trails were in great shape.

We were hiking high up on a bluff right next to the Mississippi River.

The forest was loaded with wildflowers and woodpeckers.

And I got to see my very first land snail!

Seriously, seeing that snail made my day. 

And finally we made it to Hanging Rock!

We passed other lookout areas along the trail but t…

SW WI Beer and Cheese Tour - Day 2

Read about Day 1 of our vacation here.

From Albany we drove 15 minutes south to Monroe where we toured the Roth Creamery. Green County in Wisconsin is known for it's cheese due in part to the fertile soil and the high quality of milk from our cows.The Swiss (the country, not the cheese) cheesemakers at Roth produce over 38,000 pounds of cheese a day! It was neat to see cheese made on such a large scale. 

Here the workers are pouring cheese into molds which will compress into blocks of cheese.

Brining Tanks - it really stunk in this room!

In true Swiss fashion, our guide ended the tour by yodeling. Roth also has an awesome store with cheeses from all over the world. They have numerous sale bins so we loaded up the cooler with a lot of different varieties. My favorite was Smoked Rofumo. 

Next we headed to Potosi for lunch at the Potosi Brewing Company and a tour of the National Brewing Museum.

Founded in 1852, at one time Potosi was the 5th largest brewery in Wisconsin. Before refrigerati…

On Our Menu: July 22 - 28

Last week was so hot that I didn't bother with a menu. We don't have air conditioning at our house so it was in the low 80's inside and above 90 outside. Yuck. Thankfully, it cooled off over the weekend and we were able to get some yard/garden work done. This week is also going to be warm (but not unbearable) so I'll be grilling out a lot. 

Over the weekend I tried Katie's Portobello Mushroom Burger recipe. I've tried a lot of different mushroom burgers over the years and these, by far, are my favorite. Christian really loved them too. The burgers tasted so meaty!

Here's what I'm cooking this week:

SW WI Beer and Cheese Tour - Day 1

Earlier this month Christian and I took a 5-day vacation to southwest Wisconsin and Iowa. Our first stop was the little town of Albany, WI. We parked the car, jumped on our bikes and set off down the Sugar River Trail.

The Sugar River Trail is a "rail-trail" meaning that the trail used to be a railroad but has since been converted into a recreational trail. 

Wisconsin was the first state to start the rails-to-trails program. We now have over 2,000 miles of rail-trails in our state!

After 16 miles of pedaling, we rolled into the town of New Glarus. We locked up our bikes and set off walking downtown. First we stopped at Tofflers Pub where we had some delicious burgers while enjoying their outdoor patio.

We browsed a few shops downtown and then set off on our bikes again to reach the New Glarus Brewery. New Glarus is loved by many but they don't export to other states so you'll have to come to WI if you want a taste. (We had Spotted Cow at our wedding and my current favori…

Thrifty Thursday: Antique Butcher Block

I have been looking for an antique butcher block for years. They are hard to come by and when we do see one at an auction we always get outbid. In fact, I was at an auction a few weeks ago and Christian gave me permission to bid up to $350. I thought I would get it for sure. Well, someone else bid $350 so I would have had to bid $375 to stay in. Since I had reached my limit I bowed out and was so mad that I missed out on yet another butcher block. 

One of my mom's favorite sayings is, "Good things come to those who wait." She is so right. Shortly after the aforementioned auction my parents saw a listing on Craig's list for a block about an hour from my house. So one stormy Friday morning I made the drive to go check it out. The antique block was exactly what I was looking for! The block was used in the 1930's by a butcher in Milwaukee. You can see deep cleaver marks and the top is worn and wavy showing it's heavy use throughout the years. I love that it came f…

On Our Menu: July 8 - 14

Christian and I had last week off so we took a little vacation to southwestern Wisconsin and Iowa to visit microbreweries, eat cheese, hike along the Mississippi River, explore drippy caves, and relax and unwind. It was a much-needed break from the daily grind.

In the meantime, our garden was producing a ton of peas! 

Many of our meals will be featuring the crisp spring veggies this week: