Thursday, February 18, 2010

Marquette Tribune: The man behind the curtain

The Marquette Tribune just posted a story on one of our hospitality employees.
It's a fun snippet of what working backstage for a concert venue is like. The article's author, Molly Gamble, seems to have captured the employee's personality and spirit quite well. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Music to my taste buds: Carr Valley's Cranberry Chipotle Cheddar

Friends, I have found the perfect artisanal cheese. It happens to be made right here in Wisconsin.
Meet Carr Valley's Cranberry Chipotle Cheddar, a dreamy blend of white cow's milk cheddar, smoky chipotle peppers and tart cranberries. I found it at a wine store while visiting Manitowish Waters in Northern Wisconsin, and have had fun with its versatile flavors ever since.
It's been great by itself, a couple of tempting slivers make a perfect amuse bouche.
It provides a great kick to a simple egg sandwich. This cheese carries a delicate yet pronounced heat, making the otherwise drab combination taste exotic.
Though my wedge is nearly finished, I will not fret. Carr Valley Cheeses are available to order online. Some other tempting options: the triple-cream Creama Casa, the Black Sheep Truffle, and the award-winning Cocoa Cardona, which is described as "like nothing you've ever tasted."
I can't wait to try out these intriguing varieties. The Carr Valley Cheese Factory and Retail Cheese Store is located in Fennimore, which is nearby to both Governor Dodge and Wyalusing State Parks. Perhaps I'll get to visit this summer, would anyone like to join me on an artisanal cheese road trip?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review: Special K Fruit Crisps

Thanks to the folks at the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a sample of some blueberry Special K Fruit Crisps. They also sent some Special K Granola, which I will post my review of soon!
Back to the Fruit Crisps... Boasting two fruity bars per 100 calorie serving, I was curious about the unmentioned nutritional information. It's not too bad... 2g fat (1g saturated), 7g sugar. However, there's really nothing in these crisps that would keep one feeling full, with just 1g of protein and less than 1g of dietary fiber.
As with most processed foods, the ingredients list looks unfamiliar. Though I do recognize "partially hydrogenated soybean oil," which means TRANS-FAT! Not good!
What about the taste, you ask?
Honestly? These taste just like Pop Tarts. They have a little frosting drizzled on top, and the fruit filling is sweet.
I do not usually buy "100-calorie" diet type food, and I have not bought Pop Tarts since college (used to love 'em), but if you are a fan of either type of product then you'd probably love these! They are a scaled down, somewhat healthier version of the real deal.
Thanks again to Foodbuzz and Special K for sending this product for review!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mad love for Trader Joe's stuff

Hello, world!
It's Friday and I have ZERO complaints. The week seemed long but it's OVER and it's going to be an awesome weekend!
Earlier this week, I went on a shopping raid at Trader Joe's. So a heads up, you're going to see a lot of products acquired from there in this post - thus, the title is fair warning :-)
1. Tonight - made a great dinner (more on that later). Possibly headed out to a retro bowling lounge with friends!
2. Tomorrow - our real estate agent is showing us four houses, and there is something exciting about each one. Afterwards, Zak is taking me to dinner and then we're off to the Pabst for a show from Jamey Johnson! He's kind of a badass on the country music circuit, and should put on a great show. Zak and I are not so much mainstream country fans as we enjoy alt-country music like Drive-By Truckers and The Old 97s.
3. Sunday - an early horseback riding lesson, then a friend's Super Bowl party!
Back to today's events. I hit up Trader Joe's the other night and discovered a new favorite treat - TJ's Pecan Praline Granola.
Doesn't it just sound delicious? I love that the serving size is close to "normal" for me - 1/2 cup. It's calorie dense, but packs a nutritional wallop with 3g of fiber, 5g of protein and 6.5g of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. It's pretty low in sugar, too - just 10g per serving.
I tried the granola as a snack today at the office - atop some Dannon 'toasted coconut vanilla' yogurt.
This. Was. So. GOOD. I don't usually go for the fake sugar yogurts, however the flavor of this one is to die for! So rich tasting and decadent.
Also at work, I got into some 'Lovey Gummy Tummies' that were also acquired at TJ's.
THESE ARE GREAT! A perfect gummy candy with a cherry flavor. As a big fan of red gummy candy, I highly recommend these.
After work, I decided to make the star of dinner a new-to-me vegetable - Brussels sprouts!
Can you believe I had never worked with these babies prior to tonight? I sliced them in half, tossed with some e.v.o.o and seasoning, and roasted in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. I made some quick Barilla Plus rotini, grabbed some red sauce and topped it with the roasted sprouts.
Zak started to eat it, and then began to groan with pleasure. I asked him what he thought, and he said - "Ohhhhh... these are like BACON! So good!"
Friends, Zak has been meat-free for several years now, so I take this as a high compliment :-)
I thought this dish tasted excellent. Can't wait to try it out again!
A little while later, I wanted something sweet. I topped about 1/3 cup of plain organic yogurt with 1/2 chopped TJ's fat-free brownie, and about 1/3 cup of TJ's granola.
So good!
I am off to primp for my retro bowling outing. Have a great Friday night!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fashion: Lauren Conrad cocktail dress for $24

Thought I'd share this excellent deal!
I've been looking for the perfect dress to wear to my friend's wedding rehearsal dinner, to show her friends and family what a classy maid of honor I truly am. This dress immediately caught my eye.
Today at Kohl's, this LC Lauren Conrad Strapless Dress is on clearance for just $24. Enter the code NEW6437 for an additional 10% off, and don't forget about Kohl's awesome $.99 per item standard shipping.