7 Tips To Get the Most Out Of Your CityTins

5273-citytins-milwaukee-restaurant-gift-cards-2015-LFor the last few years, Wisconsinites in Madison and Milwaukee have enjoyed one of the coolest holiday gifts around- the CityTin. Foodies dream of CityTins because each tin contains 20 coupons for local restaurants. Want to get the most of your CityTins? Check out these CityTin tips!

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5 Ways To Add Wisconsin Food And Flare To Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving-smoked-meats-MFP The ultimate foodie holiday, Thanksgiving, is right around the corner so of course I have to write a blog post about it. But I’m not just any foodie, I’m a WISCONSIN foodie, so I’m here to tell you how to make a Thanksgiving dinner that celebrates everything Wisconsin.

1. Start with a cheese plate. When festive smells fill your kitchen but dinner’s not ready, you’ll want to give your guests something to munch on, so put together a nice cheese plate. Include some of your Wisconsin cheese favorites like cheddar, Havarti or gouda plus fall inspired pairings like apple slices and pumpkin butter. You can even prepare the cheese plate a day ahead, just remember to take it out of the fridge an hour or so ahead so the cheese can get to room temperature for maximum flavor impact.

2. Have a side of macaroni and cheese. Growing up my mom never included macaroni and cheese in the Thanksgiving side dish line up but now that I’m in charge of my own Thanksgiving dinner, mac and cheese is a must! My favorite recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving because it’s completely stove top so it doesn’t need to compete for valuable oven space.

3. Get fancy with the cranberries. You probably have cranberries every year, and even if all you do is open a can, those cranberries are most likely from the Badger State since Wisconsin is the number 1 cranberry producing state in the USA. To really pay homage to the cranberry, skip the can and try some Wisconsin Wilderness Cranberry chutney.

4. Add a Wisconsin Kringle to your dessert spread. Keep the usual desserts like pumpkin and apple pie to avoid griping from the turkey day traditionalists, but add in something unexpected like a Wisconsin kringle. Kringles come in a variety of fall flavors like apple, pumpkin and cranberry.

5. Serve a Wisconsin-made turkey. You might have heard of Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon, but have you heard of Nueske Applewood Smoked Turkey? Yep, it exists! And you can have one on your dinner table by Thanksgiving if you shop at Wiscnosinmade.com. Or if you’re feeling lucky, head over to our Facebook page before 11/11/14 to try and win a turkey.

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

29 Wisconsin Problems (But A Cheese Ain’t One)

If you’re saavy enough to be reading this awesome-sauce blog, you’re probably aware of #FirstWorldProblems, but you might not be aware of “Wisconsin problems”  (#WIProblems) because I just came with the hash tag. #WIProblems hasn’t made it big yet, but I’m confident that it will because I asked the Facebook fans of Wisconsinmade.com to share their favorite Wisconsin problems and there were 140 responses! 140 also happens to be the number of characters that you are allowed to use in a Twitter post. Coincidence? I think not! Tweet your favorites!

Here are a few problems that are unique to Wisconsin:

  1. My beer froze during the Packer game!
  2. I always have to explain what a cheese curd is and why they squeak.
  3. How do I turn my lawn mower into a snow thrower?
  4. So many good fish fry spots, so little Fridays!
  5. Shoveling a path to the grill to cook up some brats.
  6. Out of state bars don’t have brandy for my old fashioned!
  7. The bubbler isn’t working.
  8. It’s -20 degrees outside (or 3+ feet of snow) and school’s not canceled.
  9. Why is New Glarus beer only sold in Wisconsin?
  10. I’m late to work because I got stuck behind a tractor.
  11. I always have to explain what a butter burger is.
  12. Michigan gets mad at us when we say our state looks like a mitten.
  13. A Kringle has nothing to do with Santa Claus.
  14. It’s not “Wess-con-sin” it’s “Wis-con-sin” just like it’s spelled!
  15. Don’t call it ice cream, it’s frozen custard!
  16. I’m mad the price of fish fry went up by $1.
  17. How do you pronounce Eau Claire?
  18. Where is everyone? Why are the roads empty? Oh right, Packer game’s on.
  19. I’m trying to turn a corner and can’t see if any cars are coming because of the giant snow piles.
  20. It’s 40 degrees out! Where are my shorts?
  21. The lint catcher in the dryer is full of cardinal red (or Packer green) lint.
  22. You meet a nice person that you want to be friends with and you find out he/she is a Bears fan.
  23. There are more miles on my snow blower than my car.
  24. The plow truck plowed in my driveway with the heaviest snow ever.
  25. It just started snowing and I don’t want to go outside and shovel the driveway but I know if I don’t I will hate my life later.
  26. I need to be ready to leave for work 20 minutes early so I can clean the snow off and defrost my car.
  27. That one day in March when it’s kind of warm and you think winter is finally over, but NOPE!
  28. The air hurts my face.
  29. These Packer footie PJs are awesome, now why don’t they make them for adults?

What’s your favorite Wisconsin problem? Share it in the comments or on the Wisconsinmade.com Facebook page.

Image via Flickr

5 Fall Treats That Are Better Than a Pumpkin Spice Latte

coffee

I am sitting at a Starbucks writing this so I might get struck by lightening, but here goes.

I don’t like the pumpkin spice latte.

There, I said it!

Now, before an angry fall lover strangles me with a scarf or whacks me over the head with a gourd, hear me out. I love fall too, but have you tasted a pumpkin spice latte? It doesn’t taste like pumpkin. There’s some sort of squashy flavor in there sure, but I’m not sure what it is. My suspicions were confirmed when a investigative food blogger the Food Babe wrote this post to confirm: no pumpkin in the pumpkin spice latte. I’m not as extreme as the Food Babe, I try to eat healthy foods as much as possible but I do enjoy the occasional fall treats including my variation of the pumpkin spice latte- more on that later. Here are a few of the best:

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Happy Anniversary and Congratulations! We Survived Year 1 of Marriage

pie photo

In my first job out of college I learned all about how to manage expectations. Under promise, over deliver. Well, I wish someone had managed my expectations about the biggest event of my life that happened 1 year ago this month- my marriage to my husband Phil.

The actual day was perfect. I was surrounded by people who truly loved me, my (now) husband, my mom and dad, my best friends, my super-senior grandparents who traveled from Pennsylvania, and my husband’s family who from day one have made me feel loved and accepted. Seeing all of the people who traveled from far and wide to be in Wisconsin for our wedding (I like to tell people it was a destination wedding for everyone but the bride and groom) made me feel like I MUST be doing SOMETHING right in life to have this many people who cared about me. Plus there were cheese curds, five different kinds of pie, and New Glarus Spotted Cow on tap at the reception- so trust me, it was an awesome day.

The perfection of the day itself contributed to my mismanaged expectations. I was under the impression that the fun would continue for the first year at the very least. That’s why they call it the honeymoon phase, right? BUT to my surprise life went pretty much back to normal –job issues, cars breaking down, pets messing up the carpet… and about a million conversations the begin with “it makes me feel [insert feeling] when you [annoying behavior].”

DOESN’T LIFE KNOW IT’S MY FIRST YEAR OF MARRIAGE AND EVERYTHING IS SUPPOSED TO BE BLISSFUL?!?!

(First world problems I know- for the record, I try not to get overly stressed about the small stuff, and as my dad says, everything is small stuff. )

But to be perfectly honest I was a little freaked out. If it’s this hard in year one how hard is it going to get?

Fast forward to first anniversary. I was adamant with my husband that we take some time to slow down and celebrate. He didn’t want to go out for dinner since he had just spent the week dining out with clients with his job (see, there you go getting in the way of my bliss, dang you life!). So instead, I made a healthy but still fancy dinner for two at home with wine, candles, matching dishes and cloth napkins. We reread the notes we wrote each other on our wedding day and all of a sudden all of the small stuff that happened in the last year felt down right microscopic.

I’ve attended 3 weddings so far this year with a fourth one on the books for next weekend, so my advice to the newlyweds is this:

Life goes on marriage or no marriage and it will keep going on whether you stop to appreciate your spouse or not, but I suggest you do appreciate them. And it doesn’t have to be with expensive jewelry or steak dinners. Sometimes an $8 bottle of wine, a home cooked meal and some cloth napkins are enough to say “thanks for putting up with me.”

Oh, and by the way, I have to pay the bills on this blog, so check out Anniversary Gifts by Year at Wisconsinmade.com 

 

Photo by Hanson Photography. 

3 Scientific Studies Confirm: You Should Eat Wisconsin Cheese

Wisconsin CheeseHow much cheese do you eat?

According to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Americans eat an average of 33 pounds each year (see chart below). To give you an idea of how much cheese that is, 33 pounds is about how much your average counter top microwave weighs.

Is all that cheese consumption good for us? Bad for us? It sure tastes good, but what does cheese do for our health? It depends on who you ask, but even the strongest cheese naysayers can’t deny that the protein and calcium in cheese are essential to healthy muscles and bones. For those of us in the pro-cheese camp, some recent studies confirm even more healthy cheese benefits, for example:

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5 Wisconsin Gifts to Get Your Boss On Boss’s Day That Will Probably Earn You a Raise

I know I’m early but I wanted to remind you that Boss’s Day is October 16. If you like your boss, you should start thinking about getting your boss a card or maybe even a gift. A good boss deserves a card because they at least complete the first two steps of being a good boss.

  • Remembering employees’ names, saying hi and making an attempt to get to know everyone.
  • Checking in on employees and making sure they have what they need to do their job.

And that’s it! It’s surprising how many bosses don’t even complete the first two steps to earn a card. Now, a few bosses are GREAT bosses, a great boss completes the first two points AND does one or more of the following:

  • Gives you regular constructive feedback on your work.
  • Makes you feel appreciated.
  • Makes you feel like you’re not afraid to make mistakes.

Does your boss make it into the gift category? Great! Here are some fun gift ideas, and there’s even a good chance the boss will share these with the whole office.

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German Food In Wisconsin: How To Get To Germany Without Buying a Plane Ticket

Growing up my dad was in the army so I got the once in a lifetime opportunity to live in Germany for four years. Even though I only lived there from ages four to eight, Germany has left it’s mark on me. I can spot an authentic German deli or smell a Nurnberger bratwurst from a mile away.

I used to go with my mom to the meat market.  The person behind the counter would always hand me a slice of smiley face bologna- yes, you read that right. The bologna had two different colors to it that made up the smiley face. At the time, I knew the words “danke” (thank you) and “bitte” (you’re welcome) but I couldn’t keep them straight so I would just say whichever one I thought of first. The butcher thought this was adorable and it would usually earn me a second slice of bologna.

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Wisconsin Food Myths: True or Cow Poo?

Wisconsin Food Myths

 

Have you heard any weird myths about Wisconsin food lately? I have. How about the rumor that cheese is squeaky? Or the rumor that dairy cows outnumber people?

Which Wisconsin food myths are true and which are just cow poo? Read this blog post to find out!

Cranberries grow in water.

PooWe’ve all seen the cranberry commercial with two guys standing in the cranberry bog, but the truth is, cranberries grow on vines that lie low to the ground. Cranberry farmers flood the fields and the berries float to the top for easy harvesting.

 

 

Cheese curds squeak when you eat them. 

True

Mostly true anyway, FRESH cheese curds squeak when you chew them. It’s hard to describe if you haven’t ever tried a fresh curd. It’s sort of like chewing on a balloon. I know that’s not the most appetizing analogy, but it’s the best I can do. Try a cheese curd to see for yourself!

 

 

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