Eating Our Way Through Port Washington, WI….Downtown Historic District

On our 24 hour escape from Green Bay to Port Washington, Wisconsin’s Historic District we ate at three restaurants all on Franklin Street. (you can read part one of this trip here)

IMG_0590Since our whole goal was to walk everywhere this was the perfect location. Our hotel was located at one end of this street with shoppes, restaurants, and other businesses peppered in between.

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This made getting around super easy. Our first stop was lunch on Saturday at the Schooner Bar and Grill. We are normally not bar and grill goers but the sign our front had some yummy things listed so we went for it. We were immediately greeted and told if we wanted a good view to head up to the upstairs room where we could enjoy lunch over looking the harbor. Well, yes, no more needed to be said, we headed upstairs. And wow what a great room…all windows, the roof opens when its warm enough, and you can see everything. Awesome!

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Service was friendly, view was wonderful, but how was the food? Well, the menu is small, but variety is there….and remember, it’s a bar before it’s a grill so keep this in mind when choosing this establishment. Anyhow, we each had sandwiches….mine was the grilled chicken and my husband had the smoked brisket. And both were wonderful. Super tasty, cooked perfectly, and very filling. I highly recommend this place to anyone looking for a great sandwich.

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Dinner brought us a bit further down Franklin Street to the Wicked Grill which also had a sign out front that I saw earlier in the day that said…… can you imagine reuben eggrolls??? Oh yes I can imagine…..and as you can guess, I am already working on remaking these myself at home.

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We arrived, were once again greeted ,and seated in the back where meals are served. IMG_0629

We began with margaritas and the sampler platter. Yes, we walked for miles and we were starving. Plus, we walked here so we could each finish the evening with a drink.

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I will confess, I ate all but one half of those two whole egg rolls….I only let my husband have 1/2 of one. He did get all the cheese curds though….that’s fair…right? Whom ever came up with stuffing an egg roll wrapper with reuben fillings should be the employee of the year since they were by far the best thing I ate in forever. My entree here was the pulled pork BBQ salad and this was also superb. I would return here without a doubt next time I am in the area. It was all fabulous.

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Then Sunday morning we awoke to catch the sunrise over Lake Michigan before heading back down Franklin Street for breakfast. IMG_0640

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We saw the night before a place called  Daily Baking Co and it opened at 6a.m. on Sundays so this was one of only a few places we could get breakfast.

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We arrived chilly from being outside in the brisk morning winds and immediately ordered coffee and a breakfast sandwich each. Everything we ordered was once again wonderful.

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And then we sat down in the nicely decorated coffee shop and enjoyed the scents of fresh bakes goodies coming from the kitchen.

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After this we took one more cold chilly walk around the harbor area before heading home and back to reality. As for the eats in this part of town, I really can’t say anything bad about any of the places we chose to enjoy a meal while we escaped for 24 hours. They were all wonderful for their own reasons….especially those egg rolls!!!!

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I walked out on this pier not 12 hrs prior to this…..what a change a few hours can make. If I had waited until today I would have been wet and cold!

This is Saturday:

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This is Sunday:

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Cabin Fever…..This Is Real People!!!

They say a broken heart is a true condition some people suffer from. I also believe that cabin fever should also be on the list of real diagnostic conditions. For me, and I know many others feel this way also, cabin fever is real. And the past two weeks it has been pretty severe. My moods are all over, my energy level I need to dig deep for, and my sleep is some nights great and some nights not so great. And when I listen to the weather…..well, it’s normally best not to listen to the weather.

Even though temps lately have been tolerable, I know living in WI the weather can turn back to full blown winter in a matter of hours so I try not to get to excited too early.  However, that didn’t stop me from taking my whole gang outside to play for the first time in months. Oh, it was glorious!!!! And it also gave me a big case of cabin fever!!!!IMG_0513

Like I said, I have been struggling and I needed to make a snap decision to turn life back around and get some air. All this took was a bit of thought, a quick email to my husband that I needed a break from life, and a few things thrown into an overnight bag…..and I was off on an overnight adventure to find myself again. Saturday morning I quickly threw together a penne pasta casserole for Sunday when I returned home to toss into the oven for dinner. This way I would not need to hurry home for any reason….and walla we were off to find sunshine, fresh air, and hopefully open water and not ice bergs. IMG_0520

Like usual, I chose the destination and I wanted somewhere I had never been before. I also knew I needed to be around water(two places that bring me peace are one around water and  two atop mountains…..WI has a ton of water and no mountains so my options were limited) and I needed everything in walking distance since I hate driving in strange cities. I made some strict rules for my husband to follow since he asked to join me in my 24 hrs. of solitude…..no job talk, I get to choose all the restaurants, I get to walk as far I my body will let me, and I get control of the remote control when we finally do decide to rest. He happily agreed and then was allowed to join me in my adventure.

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My destination ended up being Port Washington,WI. I had never been here and neither had my husband. IMG_0558

Upon arrival, it was sunny, gorgeous, and the ice had all melted and left open water and miles and miles of harbor walk for us to enjoy.

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We walked mostly paved walkways but we also did climb some pretty big boulders to make our way out to some of the lake markers that I don’t know know if we should have but we did anyhow. There were no Do Not Enter signs but clearly no one else was taking this route except us. It felt so good to be alive and breathing fresh air again that I really did not care if we would have found the game warden/or the dock master waiting for us when we returned.

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We explored for miles…..we saw so much beauty and I even got to sit on one of the piers for a bit and just let my mind clear itself.

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We paid tribute to a fellow kayaker by climbing to the top of his memorial gazebo which personally, could not have been placed on a better part of land. It overlooks where he lost his life and this is somewhere that can honor him and his love for paddling forever. Being a kayaker myself, I can truly see why he was paddling the waters of Lake Michigan….so gorgeous.

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After all this walking, more sunshine that I have gotten on my face in over 6 months, and even a bit shopping on the historic street next to our hotel….we were tired. We checked into our hotel located right on the harbor walk and walked to dinner before turning in for the evening. And believe it or not….I could not find a single thing on television to keep my interest so I handed over the remote control to my husband with a kiss goodnight….and that was that.

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I will soon fill you all in on where we all ate and the absolutely fabulous meals we had in this area of the city. We also already have plans to return as a family. Only next time, fishing poles, tackle, cameras, tripods, picnic blankets, and coolers will all be added to the packing list. Maybe even a few kayaks, paddles, and PFD’s.

 

 

Weekend Events/Food/Happenings

Wow what a busy weekend. Ours technically started on Friday evening when we found ourselves at our local hardware store staring at different wood stains. Yeh, we have a project happening around here and I can’t wait to tell you all about it later this week.

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I finally got to use my new cookbook holder my husband so nicely made me after I complained one evening that my cookbook would not stay open to the correct page while making a recipe. It’s amazing to me how he can go to his work room and whip something like this out in minutes. I guess he works with wood like I work with kids….its comes pretty easy to us both.

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Saturday I was solo all day since he needed to squeeze in at least one more ice fishing day before the ice is unsafe for the season. Plus, two of his best friends have been waiting to fish with him but with work travel lately fishing has not been able to be worked out for them. Being solo for me is not a bad thing though. I get so much stuff done when I am alone. I began my day at yoga…..I so needed this yoga session. Then I came home changed and off to the car wash I went.

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Living in WI does not make keeping your vehicle clean in the winter and easy task. And if there is one thing I dislike with a passion it’s my vehicle dirty. Being it’s winter, my only option is the car wash…just one more thing I miss during the winter months is being able to wash our vehicles in our own driveway. Soon…real soon. Anyhow, while I was sitting in the car wash I began thinking about treating myself to lunch but was also tossing around the idea of going back home to grab my husbands vehicle and treat him to a clean car come Monday morning. He was kind enough to treat me to midweek tulips after work one evening since he knew I was struggling through this week with the winter blues…so I figured I owed him one and a clean car would make him pretty happy. The tulips sure brightened my day with the melting snow making a nice mud mess outside.

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As for that lunch, I did end up treating myself to my favorite deli in the area and got myself my favorite sandwich that I ended up eating in my husbands clean car since the restaurant was fully packed with people.

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After lunch I came home, cleaned the garage, went for a 3 mile neighborhood walk, took a shower, put on my lounge clothes, made BBQ chicken pizza, and called it a day. IMG_8713

And then Sunday arrived. We already knew the weather was going to be nasty so I had planned all my indoor stuff for Sunday. House cleaning, haircut for my husband, laundry, and food prep all happened while my husband finished up the home project with that stain we picked out Friday evening.

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Food prep for this week looks like this:

I decided tuna pasta salad would be my choice lunch this week so I threw a quick batch together.

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Plus, I made a dozen hard boiled eggs then cleaned and chopped all the needed veggies for the week. I also sauteed some cabbage and spinach to have with eggs.

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That sums up my weekend…..super productive which made me feel pleased by Sunday evening.

 

New Cookbooks Are Being Delivered Which Meals New Meals Are Being Enjoyed

I’ve added yet another new cookbook to my collection. Right after Christmas I cleaned out my cookbook cabinet and found that there were not many I used anymore since going artificial sweetener free in my meal planning for my husbands health reasons. Even now, with the three new books that I recently bought, I typically get ideas from them and add my own twist to the meal I prepare. I know what will pass the test of my family and what won’t…and sometimes I wing it and hope for the best. I will say, and give a lot of credit to both my husband and my son, they have been really adjusting much better than I thought they would to a more plant based diet. Why plant based you may ask? To simply put it, fruits and veggies don’t have labels that I have to scan for things that are not good for us to consume. They are straight forward and don’t need any help being tasty.

In other news, has anyone else noticed more daylight hours? I sure have. I have also noticed that our snow here is melting and temps are slowing becoming tolerable. Mud season(Spring) is right around the corner and I for one am so ready to dive right in. My upcoming meal plans have grilled food on them, I have charcoal on the grocery list, and all this means life for me is finally turning a corner. We even went for a walk on the neighborhood streets the other night….I have not done this in months. WhooHoo!!!

So, moving on with some meal inspiration for everyone….here is what dinner time looked like at our house this past week. I accomplished five new recipes this week…wow this was amazing.

Saturday: Moroccan stew and homemade spring rolls with dipping sauce (meatless) (both new recipes and both so yummy)

***This was a mother/son meal combo. I made the stew and he made the spring rolls with dipping sauce. As for dad….he simply enjoyed the meal;-)

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Sunday: ham, peas, and pasta with garlic cream sauce and crusty bread

Monday: slow cooker beef lo mein (new recipe and oh so tasty)

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Tuesday: cheese stuffed manicotti with veggie marinara and cheese topping (meatless)

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Wednesday: Mediterranean pasta skillet casserole (new recipe that came from my own thoughts….maybe I aught to write a cookbook since this also turned out spectacular)

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Thursday: honey mustard crunch salads (honey mustard was another new recipe-fabulous!!!)

Friday: out

I am a bit afraid of what will come once the weather is really nice and I have so much less time to spend in the kitchen to prepare quality meals. Although, I know here in the midwest  summer is so short that I can surely come up with some fast, tasty meals that can be thrown together super quick after a long hot day of playing outside. The plan is to cross that bridge when I get there.

As for food prep for the upcoming week….none at all happened. I know I am going to pay the price for not doing any on Sunday but after waking up and making a trip to urgent care for an unforseen issue, I did not have the energy to do anything but sleep.

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Missing Summer

We are almost to the end of January and about this time every year I find myself really missing summer. Winters in Wisconsin are so long and seem to drag on forever. Shall we relive some summer moments together by looking back at sun filled summer activities? I say YES!

I miss floating on the lake covered in sunscreen and letting the birds fly above my head. (and hoping they don’t poop on me)

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I miss watching my husband catch fish while I paddle my kayak searching for turtles.

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I miss the beauty nature provides us for free.

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I miss camping and sitting around the campfire with good friends while someone else does the cooking.

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I miss seeing the most majestic creatures watch over us from above.

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I miss hitting the trail with my son.

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I miss relaxing on the river as my husband maneuvers us around boulders so I don’t have to get out of my tube.

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I miss finding big beautiful creatures that we literally stumble upon while hiking near the rivers edge.

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I miss sunsets that make you forget all the bad in the world.

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I simply miss feeling alive.

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Hag in there….summer is coming…we just have to all hang on a bit longer.

Cold…It’s Draining Both Mentally and Physically For Me

It has been below zero for 12 days. Seriously, some mornings are as low as -30 with the wind chills. It feels like months but according to the weather man this morning its been 12 days…..12 painful days.

A few mornings I have not even had it in me to drag myself out to go to the gym in the wee hours of the morning and we all know this is my happy place in the winter months. It’s simply astounding to me how it can get this cold.

I went out last night with my brother and walking back to my vehicle I could feel my inner core shaking….like when you are doing a plank and your near the end when your entire body starts to shake….yeh, that was me simply walking to my vehicle. Who needs to do planks, just step outside in Wisconsin during the winter.

My fingers are cracked and this is after putting lotion on numerous times a day.

I dread going to the grocery store since it takes a few minutes longer to load the packages into my vehicle.

Oh, and pumping gas. Yeh, this is not going to happen. I make sure my husband or son are with me and then I politely mention….maybe I aught to stop for gas, would you pump it please? Yup, I am THAT wife/mom!

I sit a pray every morning when 4:40a.m. rolls around that the garage goes all the way up and comes back down without coming off the track since garage doors hate the frigid temperature for some reason.

Thankfully two out of four of our vehicles are in the garage overnight. Although, so far all have started every morning at this point.

I already have my Christmas list started for next year….I want a heated mattress pad. There is nothing worse than climbing into bed after a long day and the sheets are freezing cold. I have resorted to turning on a heating pad a half hour before going to bed to “preheat” my side of the bed. Yeh, ridiculous isn’t it.

Apparently, the weather professionals say it is suppose to warm up as of Sunday. A balmy 30 degrees or there about….I am excited! Yes, you read that correctly…..I am EXCITED about 30 degrees.

I know its only January..but I am over winter. Anyone else feeling this way yet?

November=58 degrees…In Wisconsin…..Seriously??? Time To Trade In My Whisk For My Hiking Boots Once Again

As you can probably assume from the title, I am one VERY happy person. When I awoke Thanksgiving morning and saw the forecast prediction for the day after Thanksgiving was going to be in the mid 50’s I immediately put things into high gear. I simply looked across the room at my husband and he knew exactly what I was thinking……..he said calmly, “let’s get it all done today so we can hit the trail tomorrow.” I love how he understands me without me even saying a word.

As you can imagine I had a load of things on the to do list to accomplish with four days off for the holiday. We literally packed all our chores into one day, we got in our annual family hike for Thanksgiving morning, plus I made Thanksgiving dinner that same evening. Oh, I was so tired by evening but so happy to be free of the long list and just had a few things that needed tending to before we hit the long trail on Friday afternoon.

Thanksgiving family hike

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Then Friday arrived and I was excited to get in some warm mileage on a dirt trail once again before the snow arrives full blast. We arrived at our chosen trail head to find just us. I did not mind this at all, I parked our lone vehicle and it awaited our return.

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The temp on my vehicle upon arrival was a balmy 58 degrees. Amazing!!!!

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And a few steps into our hike and I had to chuckle. Clearly, this lone dandelion was not ready to give up quite yet on summer either.

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The trail was wonderful. Leaves crunched beneath our feet,

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signs of deer were everywhere,

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nature could be heard and saw along the way. It was so good for my soul…to just walk, listen, and breathe the air around us.

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The only thing that could have caused me any worry was that we were hiking during the gun deer hunt season here in WI. We did see many different deer stands, thankfully no active hunters during our time on the trail . And yes, in case you are wondering, we did also wear blaze orange for our own protection on this hike.

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With 3.3 miles Thanksgiving day and just over 4 miles Friday, we could all agree that summer is going to missed.

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Hiking, along with numerous other things we were able to pack into four days, left us all with a feeling of happiness. Add that to a fabulous Thanksgiving meal……along with my first ever homemade whipped cream (which turned out wonderful I may add) so my husband could enjoy whipped cream on his pumpkin pie along with everyone else…and I could not have been more thankful for anything else in the  world.

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Now, we all have to return to normal life once again and hopefully be ready for Christmas in a few short weeks. Sadly, I have a feeling I will not be hiking anywhere where that snow is not covering the trail come this time but who knows, maybe just maybe, wishes will come true.