Eating Our Way Up North

IMG_9615.jpgLast weekend Carter and I headed north to hear Elizabeth perform for solo and ensemble (as I said in my last post).

IMG_9612Before we went, I checked out some local restaurants that might be fun to try.

IMG_9613On the way to Steven’s Point, I found a cheesy option which I thought was appropriate being that we were in Wisconsin and all. The place had several different varieties of mac and cheese – that was their specialty – hence their name. Neither Carter nor I were very hungry, so we split a bowl – well, actually a mini cast-iron frying pan of the classic cheese – nothing fancy.

And that’s kind of how IMG_9611it tasted. Even though it is considered the #3 best restaurant out of 130 restaurants in Wisconsin Dells, it was rather cheesily bland. The macaroni was drenched in a creamy sauce. Maybe I just don’t like creamy sauces. We ate it, but were glad we didn’t order separate servings. (And I’m guessing some of their fancier dishes are more tasty.)

You order at the counter and take your dish to a seat  (or maybe the server brings it to you – I really can’t remember)- so semi-kind of, fast food.

Maybe it was #3 restaurant  – I haven’t been to the other 130. I’d give it a six out of 10. I did like the decor. Very Wisconsinish.


Once we got to Stevens Point, we were asked to meet the others at Hilltop Pub and Grill. (#4 of 91 in S.P. according to Trip Advisor). IMG_9617Cindy’s parents had heard it was a great place for Friday Night Fish Fry (definitely a Wisconsin thing).

I still wasn’t hungry (not feeling 100%) so had something simple – but most of the family got the fish fry. So, I did eat a couple pieces of Cindy’s fish and it was super good. Carter had the chicken tenders and said they were similar to what he’s had other places. But everyone truly thought the fish delicious.. Good recommendation.

IMG_9619
Various members of several sides of the family.

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IMG_9646Another restaurant that interested me was the Wooden Chair.  (Trip Advisor – 3 of 91). So after the Saturday competition we headed over.

The restaurant opened in 1993, but is located in a bank building from 1891. (Seems like I have been in several banks turned restaurants.) A lot of the structure/decor reflects the bank.

Jeff, Cindy, Carter, Elizabeth and I were the ones who ate here and we all got something different. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food. I was feeling better, so I got a BLT. The IMG_9650sandwich was absolutely delicious! I like BLTs and eat them a lot – especially on road trips – but this one was extra good – moist with a lot of bacon. I wished we lived closer so I could try some other foods. (I was still eating cautiously.)

The walls were brick and very old-time bankish – which I also liked.

And I had to smile at Carter and Elizabeth playing games with the creamer containers. Anyone who ever went out to eat with my dad knows how he had a whole series of games with the creamers – getting points for landing one upright, etc. These two never met my dad, but his DNA was evident in their choice of activities.

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All I can say is, their great-grandfather would’ve been proud of them.

 

FUN FRIDAY

 

 
Today's guest blogger is my daughter-in-law (who is 
also a pastor's wife) Cindy.  She's right - this is the appliance 
every pastor's wife must have - a crepe maker. 
Over the years I've made crepes with a staid women's group, high school kids and any time
we had company who
didn't know each other well. (Oh, and sometimes just to have fun!) Making crepes 
always, always gets people talking and laughing.  
Thanks to Cindy and the Northern Munchkin Cooking Show Crew.

 MAKING CREPES

Due to having a pastor's wife for a mother-in-law, I got a lot of good ideas for fun entertaining.  One of my favorites is having people over to make crepes. 
(And for a bonus, Linda bought me a crepe maker and cookbook for Christmas!)
Whether you invite a few people or 30 people, making crepes is an informal way
to have a gathering at your house.  Each person makes his or her own crepe, and
you can even ask everyone to bring a favorite dessert topping, creating quite a
variety of choices.  

Here's how to make a basic dessert crepe:

2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs butter, melted, plus 2 to 3 tsps for coating the pan


 
Toppings:  chocolate or strawberry sauce, candy (like M&M's, whoppers, peanut
butter cups, Andes candies, etc), fruit (strawberries, blueberries, bananas,
etc), maple syrup, jams, honey, nuts, whipped creme. . . .

Mix the ingrediants together, whisking until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate for 
at least 2 hours.  When you are ready to cook the crepes, thoroughly stir the
batter again.  Heat the crepe maker, butter the top, and then dip the crepe
maker into the batter. Set it back down on the counter, and wait about 1 minute,
or until the edges are turning brown.  With a spatula, slide the crepe onto a
plate.  


 Now comes the fun part.  Fill the crepe with ice cream and roll it up. (My kids
didn't take the time to roll the crepe--they just wanted to eat it.) Top the
crepe off with whatever kind of toppings you like.  

Even though only one person can make a crepe at a time, eveybody else is
talking, playing games, or watching the crepe making.  It's fun, easy on the
hostess, and everybody gets to make a great dessert.


 

FUN FRIDAY

We have a guest blogger for Fun Friday – Allison is a pastor’s wife in Wisconsin.

Our first church in Missouri had an unusual tradition–a chili and oyster supper on the Sunday evening before Thanksgiving. It began in the early 1900’s as a wild game supper, and over the years, the menu changed to include chili, oyster stew, and fried oysters. (A thoughtful mom provided homemade pizza for the kids, too.) Many of us didn’t like the fried oysters or the oyster stew, but this chili was a hit. I was given the recipe, and I’ve enjoyed using it.

In 2006, after we had served in our current church for about a year and a half, my father-in-law was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer that would soon take his life. Our church family was so kind to us through those difficult eight months. They allowed us to travel to Montana to be with him several times, and eventually, they told us to just go–just go and be his caregivers until the Lord took him Home. That last absence lasted eleven weeks, but their support of us didn’t waiver. They loved us in practical, tangible ways that really ministered to us when we were hurting deeply. When we returned, we wanted to say thank you–thank you for being so kind, so patient . . . thank you for being you.

So I found the chili recipe in my files, and we scheduled a dinner on a Sunday evening in place of our regular Bible study. We asked people to sign up for toppings for the chili such as sour cream, hot sauce, shredded cheese, chopped onions, and even Fritos, and I made the chili. As the evening began, my husband told them how much we appreciated them and their love for us. He told them how amazed others were at their kindness and generosity in allowing us to be away for so long. He reminded them again of how much we love them. Our church family really seemed to enjoy it (there are still stories told about people who used too much hot sauce that night), so we’ve made it an annual event. This recipe was originally used in an elementary school cafeteria, so it’s pretty mild and even slightly sweet, although those qualities can certainly be altered.

Cookie’s Chili

(Serves approximately 40. The recipe is easily doubled or even tripled. I’ve made it for 120.)

10 lbs. ground beef

1 large onion, grated

5 tablespoons chili seasoning, rounded (I’ve always used more)

Salt to taste

1 gallon plus 1 21-oz. can pork and beans

1 46-oz. can tomato juice

3-4 cups ketchup

In a large roasting pan(s), brown ground beef and onion in oven at 350 degrees, stirring often to break up into crumbles. When meat is browned, drain. Stir in chili seasoning and salt. In a large stock pot, combine pork and beans, tomato juice, and ketchup. Add ground beef mixture and simmer approximately three hours.

FUN FRIDAY – A PASTOR’S APPRECIATION TURNABOUT

Pastor’s Appreciation Sunday is a great idea and our church did some cool things for us.

But one fall, Ken and I started thinking about appreciation and how there isn’t Plumber Appreciation Week or Electricians Appeciation Week or Pet-Store-Cage-Cleaner Appreciation Week.

And even though the gift cards and dinners and trips were very much appreciated, we decided to do a turnabout and make Pastor’s Appreciation be us (the pastor) appeciating the congreation. So we had a high-level, confidential meeting with the other two pastors and their wives and we were on our way.

On Pastor’s Appreciation Sunday we invited all the people to come to an after-Sunday-night-church ice cream social. The three couples (pastors and us wives) bought gallons of every kind of ice cream and every kind of strawberry, chocolate, gooey topping imaginable. We had whipped cream and cherries and nuts and we had a party.

A couple of the pastors gave a speech about how much we appreciated the people

And we had fun.

The whole thing was easy to do and not all that fancy, but I think the people appreciated that we made the effort to appreciate them. That year we were the givers rather than the givees.