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Don’t Forget November and December Birthdays

November is here and December is fast approaching. Quick! Deck the halls! Brine the turkey! Vacuum the guest bedroom!

With all the chores to do before Thanksgiving and Christmas, it can be easy to forget November and December birthdays.  Just because someone happens to be born around the same time of year as baby Jesus doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a special day of their own.  My mom’s birthday is November 21st and  she often receives presents with the caveat “This is your birthday AND your Christmas present”.

Now, I know “it’s the thought that counts” and most people with November and December birthdays don’t make a big deal about their forgotten or otherwise diminished birthdays, but how about we make this year different? Let’s give the winter babies a BIRTHDAY present that isn’t under the tree or wrapped in red and green, but a legitimate cake, candles, and balloons present.  Here are some festive and tasty ideas for November and December birthday gifts.

Hand Decorated Birthday CookiesHand-Decorated Birthday Sugar Cookies

Freshly baked cookies decorated with cakes and balloons won’t be confused as a Christmas present so they make the perfet treat for a December birthday.


Popcorn seasaoning gift set

Popcorn and Seasoning Birthday Gift Set

Freshly popped popcorn makes a yummy birthday treat.  Add two flavors of popcorn seasonings, popcorn forks and a birthday gift box and you’ve got a popcorn party.


Birthday CakeCustomized Birthday Cake

Nothing says “Happy Birthday” better than cake! If you aren’t a baker, leave it to the experts at O&H Bakery to make a cake that the birthday boy or girl will never forget.

Do you have a November or December birthday?  Comment below and tell me your story.



Happy 5th Birthday Twitter! Wisconsin Food as Tweets

Twitter turns five years old today.  In honor of Twitter’s birthday, here are five Wisconsin foods as tweets- 140 characters or less.  Can you guess which food each tweet is about? Click on the links to see the answer to each one, or click “Continue Reading” to see all of the answers. Follow me on twitter @Wisconsinmade for recipes, gift ideas, and more.

1. Bucky’s fav frozen treat.  Scooped up on UW campus for 90 years.  Union Utopia, Orange Custard Chocolate Chip, Blue Moon, Mocha Machiatto. Answer

2. German sausage served up in a hard roll with kraut and mustard.  Perfect companion for beer. It’s the best food in Wisconsin, not the wurst. Answer

3. Oval shaped breakfast or dessert with layers of flaky, buttery pastry.  Many filling options. Icing on top. Perfect pair for coffee. Answer

4. First made in 1885 in its namesake Wisconsin town. Smooth firm texture, mild flavor. Golden or marbled in color. Pairs well with red wines. Answer

5.Wisconsin’s fav berry in a jar. Perfect with cream cheese for an app or topping for pork and poultry.  Popular at Xmas time. Answer

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Soda Cake Recipe

soda-cake-recipe-1 Soda cake is all the rage lately, mostly amoung dieters who use diet soda to make a lower calorie cake. But who says you can’t make your soda cake with regular soda? No one! The flavor combinations are endless- yellow cake mix with rootbeer, chocolate cake mix with orange soda, white cake mix with cream soda…I could keep going.  This soda cake also makes a great birthday cake for your soda loving friends.  Have a buddy who loves Sprecher’s rootbeer? Bake them a rootbeer cake for their birthday party. Continue reading to see the ridiculously easy soda cake recipe.

Soda Cake Recipe


1 box of cake mix

1 egg

12oz can/bottle of soda, Recommended: Blumer’s Premium Soda (picture below)

1. Mix these ingredients together to make your cake batter, then bake according to package directions.

2. Top with your favorite store bought icing and sprinkles!



  • Use only these ingredients! No oil- just egg, soda, and cake mix.
  • For the lighter version, use diet soda and 1 egg white in place of the egg and soda.
  • Be aware that white cake mix will be the color of the soda.  So if you use a blue soda and white cake mix, your cake will be blue…I’m not generally a fan of blue food but if you are, go for it!

 Rootbeer, orange, blueberry cream, black cherry, cream soda, diet root beer… so many options!


Does Race Matter? Kitchen Politics in the Election of White Versus Dark in a Chocolate Coconut Cake

Does race matter? My kitchen radio keeps broadcasting this question. Perplexed interviewers repeatedly put it to pundits and people too busy to be pundits, – people like me. Of course, they’re all discussing November’s election, – pretty much what they’ve been doing for the past four years. But this year’s presidential politics has a new twist. Now they’re conversation spins on race versus age.

As one who likes to consider how many years I have ahead rather than behind, I’d like to think that age is irrelevant. And if not irrelevant, at least manageable, thanks to physical therapists, opticians, podiatrists, beauticians, skin care companies, and their health-care compatriots. So when my eyes inevitably catch a glimpse of my image in the mirror, I just mutter TV Laura Petrie’s response to her mirror, “Snow White lives.” and get back to life, just as she did. John McCain probably does the same.

I wonder what Barak Obama says to his mirror? I wonder why media folk refer to him as black when his mother was white. My beloved dog is half Labrador retriever, half German shepherd. I don’t call him a lab. I call him a mix, and vets tell me how much healthier mixes usually are.

These idiosyncratic American political spins are making me dizzy. A little unbalanced, now I’m looking at two chocolate bars and wondering, “Does race matter?” I’m reading a cake recipe that I think my daughter, Lauren, would enjoy for her ninth birthday. It’s for a chocolate cake with coconut and whipped cream icing. Lauren loves chocolate, coconut, and whipped cream. (So do I.) The recipe is from the cookbook The White Gull Inn: More Favorite Recipes From Our Kitchen. The White Gull Inn is a renowned gourmet restaurant in Door County, Wisconsin. Stories of its other-worldly meals spread from the U.P. to Iowa. Even Chicagoans know to visit the White Gull Inn when they trek to Door County. So I’m absolutely confident that any White Gull Inn cake is to die for, especially a chocolate one.

But here’s the quandary. The recipe is White Chocolate Coconut Cake. And Lauren and I don’t like white chocolate; we’re prejudiced in this way. In fact, my snacking chocolate is 85% cocoa. So if I substitute dark chocolate for white chocolate will the cake still reach White Gull Inn standards? 

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