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Archive for July, 2011

How Did I Find This Book?

I found this one, again, paroozing around the Kindle bestsellers list while I was looking for cheap games…and ended up getting hooked on the preview sample.  It’s been awhile since I read a good mystery novel so I decided to just go with.

About the Author

Lisa Gardner is living the American dream.  She’s a hardworking woman who used to be in the grinds of corporate America putting in her duty as a consultant.  Traveling to manufacturing companies in Podunkville, USA and working weekends.

Source: Was from a random radio station but probably from a press release or website

Lisa started writing when she was 18 and finished her first novel her Junior year in college.  “Walking After Midnight” is a romance novel that a romance publishing house picked up.  She ended up doing a few of those novels and upon arriving home and being extremely upset about work one night…she wrote her first dark crime novel.  And the rest is history.

About the Novel

Tessa Leoni is a tough state trooper that has pulled her way out of the gutter and onto the straight and narrow with her sweet husband, Brian, and her little girl and whole world, Sophie.  But one day this happy family has to cross paths with D.D. Warren, a Boston investigator who is assigned to a case that seems like domestic abuse wrong – where Brian ends up dead with Tessa’s confessing to the murder.

It all seems so simple…but where is six-year-old Sophie?  Why are there so many things wrong with this picture when it seems so simple?

Review

This crime novel is the fifth in the D.D. Warren series (which I didn’t know existed before reading it) and takes us on a high paced adventure with a great female lead characters and supporting cast.  My favorite supporting character was her partner, who was also her ex-lover.  Made for very interesting moments and conversations within the book.

I found it to be a very gripping book that I didn’t want to put down once I hit the 75% mark.  Always the sign of a good book…and it actually had an ending which is a LOT more than I can say for my next review.  I didn’t give it full marks because it’s just not dynamic enough for me, but, good none-the-less and probably great if you’re a crime reader.

Star Review:

3.5/5 stars

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After the generous application of MiracleGro the plants rebounded back to greatness!  And today I got my first harvest of vegetables, in the form of a hand full of green beans!

A mother of a garden has never been so proud!  I even put it on a happy monkey plate to celebrate!

Crispy and Fresh!

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And don’t start thinking that this is some post about me being the milk man’s kid or something.  Get your mind out of the gutter.

This title is actually in reference to my crop tending skills, and lack there of.  While I thought that I had everything figured out, it turns out that something went terribly wrong that hadn’t become obvious to me until this week.

On a walk the BF and I went through the church parking lot near our house that has a HUGE garden with plots for members.  Upon looking at their crops and knowing that they had planted their crops the same week as me…I came to the realization that either these people have a prayer group for their gardens (that was clearly working if that was the case) or I had done something wrong.

Then I researched the gardening sites and it became blatantly obvious that I had missed the lesson on fertilizing and “feeding” your garden.  Time to call in the big guns.

Miracle Grow LiquaFeed to the Rescue!

Same exact size as it was over two months ago...go back and see the comparison. Not good.

Yikes, transplanted dill not looking so hot.

Better late than never on a pea fence, right?

There is good news though; first spotting of green beans!

Plus the little climby plant flowers look good too!

To be continued on the MiracleGro results…I just need to remember that it’s a learning experience and that it will just make next year’s crop that much better.

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EBTKS Vegetarian Stir Fry

Everyone has those days when they look into the fridge and think “what in the world am I going to do with all of this stuff?”.  Last Sunday was one of those days.  I had a bunch of things leftover from the Farmer’s Market and a homemade coleslaw kick and needed to get rid of the fresh veggies that taking a quick turn from fresh to rotten.

If this concoction would have turned out better I would have given the full recipe and instructions.  BUT it wasn’t that great so I’ll just give the ingredients and the pics.  It was a valid and noble attempt at discarding  ; )

Ingredients:

  • Cabbage
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cornstarch
  • Soy Sauce
Here’s the fly by night photo version:

Broccoli and Carrots

Bok Choy

Cabbage

Onions

Tah Dah!! orrrr Tah Dullll!!

I’m not really sure what I was missing but there was definitley something that was lacking.  Oh well!  I still used the veggies and got a couple of mediocre lunches out of it, mission accomplished!

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The Winzer Stube
516 2nd St # 100
Hudson, WI 54016

Websitehttp://www.winzerstube.net/
Menuhttp://www.winzerstube.net/winzerstube_menu_11.pdf

How Did I Find This Place?

I was looking to take my out-of-town guests to a place that was a little different but that would be filling enough for some native Texans.  Given that Texas has some of the best TexMex, Mexican, BBQ, and anything else that a burly man would eat…I started panicking since they weren’t the kind of guys that you would take to a small plate pasta bar or sushi spot.

Luckily my mind kept going back to a place that someone had told me was supposedly one of the top ten German restaurants in the US, Winzer Stube, in Hudson.

Since the drive was only a few minutes from where we were and I assured them it was from a reliable source, I was able to talk my guest to a place that one usually wouldn’t necessarily crave.

Atmosphere

Winzer Stube is right in the heart of old downtown in Hudson and surprisingly, is located in a basement location.

Winzer Stube Exterior

Now We're Taking the Stairway....to Stube

German Beer Cove

The Winzer Stube  offers bar, table, and booths  We were sat in the booths that were large enough for 4 people.  The dining room has a very old world feel with bricks, low lighting and old books adorning its walls and mantles.

Menu

The website for the Winzer Stube just doesn’t do it justice!  Their menu offers soups, salads, sandwiches, and some surprisingly shocking appetizers like coconut shrimp with mango chutney, crab cakes with mango chutney.  But at places like this I would advise sticking to the classics like these…

Authentic appetizers include locally made (Chippewa Falls) German pretzels with Bavarian mustard, button mushrooms with sautéed garlic, onions rings, Wisconsin cheese curds, potato pancakes (heart these), and herring in sour cream and dill garnished with onions.

Now strike up the polka band for the good stuff.

Main courses include

  • Sausages: bratwurst, knackwurst and mettwurst
  • Schnitzel: jagerschnitzel (pork with mushroom sauce), zigeunerschnitzel (pork with black forest ham and peppers in a light cream sauce), winzer art (pork with ham and edamer cheese) and breaded pork with a light cream sauce)
  • Veal Dishes: geschnetzeltes vom kalb (veal with mushrooms in a light cream sauce) and holsteiner schnitzel (veal with capers and anchovies)
  • Beef Dishes: tenderloins, rouladen (beef roll ups with mustard, pickles, bacon and onions), gulasch (chunks of beef and pork in a rich brown sauce), and Angus dishes called pfeffersteak (peppercorn sauce) and a French style steak dubbed “Cafe de Paris”
  • Assorted Dishes: include duck, beef liver, chicken, salmon and walleye dishes

Meal

We showed up on a Wednesday night which ended up being “Half Price Schnitzel” night from 5-9 PM so while my choice was already made up there were still other decisions to be made.

Winzer Stube's Artisan Bread, Served Before The Meal

The artisan bread made there brought me back to Europe.  If you’ve ever been to Germany you know that the bread is slightly firmer than we would normally prefer in America but oh-so-tasty and authentic.

Wisconsin Cheese Curds; Such a great deal considering when you go anywhere else you pay $6.00 for 6 curds!

What a deal! For $8.50 you get a monster serving of cheese curds that is enough for four people!  And who doesn’t like cheese curds?

Jagerschnitzel Hochwald mit Spatzle...and Half Price!

Und gut!  The jagerschnitzel was crunchy on the outside and moist in the inside.  The spatzle (little nuggets of flour wonder) were also very tasty and since one of my vices is mushrooms the sauce didn’t fail to impress.  While I am more of a white cabbage kind of girl, the red tasted like it did in Germany… vinegar and all!

Winzer Stube Cordon Bleu with No Sauce...I Think

I don’t exactly remember what this was so I apologize, but, my guests seemed to have approved of my choice in locations.  I think that it was the schnitzel that was cordon blue based.

Weisser Spargel und Pochierter Lachs; Salmon filet served with white asparagus, hollandaise and parsley potatoes

The salmon wasn’t how I would have cooked it, but, I understand that they’re trying to go with tradition.  Pan fried is always better in my humble opinion since you get a nice caramelized crust.

One of my companions also had the rouladen which he said was very authentic to as he recalled his grandma making it on Christmas…but not as good as her’s.  But in all honesty, what Christian is going to knock their Grannie’s Christmas tradition?

One of the other unique things that I should share is Spargel Fest, which is a white asparagus festival that occurs every year in mid May to celebrate the rite of spring in the valleys of Germany, which I was able to celebrate with the above salmon dish.

Overall Impression

The atmosphere is underground (so you have to be prepared for that) but the service was very good, the German beer was phenomenal and the food was the most authentic that I’ve had outside of Germany.  All and all a success and I see why they have named numerous awards for having some of the best German food in the country.

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