Bad Cupcake

Here’s a little funny for Sunday morning….

Last weekend I made a super yummy ultimate chocolate bundt cake – which used buttermilk in the recipe. I bought a big jug of buttermilk to make the cake. I have a bunch left….so I figured…why not just make it the same way, forget the chocolate in the batter and make cupcakes. Well, folks…. it doesn’t work that way.

My first batch of cupcakes overflowed the pans and proceeded to bake on the bottom of my oven. Oopsie. I tried again with a different pan, didn’t fill as high and thought- this just might work… until I took them out of the oven and watched them go -poof- and deflate into themselves. Argh.

At that point I said bad words and left to go watch golf and take a nap. Then I was hungry for a snack. So, I ate the deflated cupcake. It looked like heck, but tasted pretty good.

Today I made a half batch of chocolate icing and filled in the divet… frosting covers a multitude of sins.

So, anyway- I still like the batter and I still have buttermilk… so what’s a girl to do??? Next batch- I am going to omit the vanilla and add corn and jalepeno peppers and cayenne pepper and bake it in my bread pans. I will keep you posted.

Sometimes, when things don’t turn out… it really sucks. Sometimes when things don’t turn out… it might not be as bad as it seems. It’s not what you expected, but it might be just as good in a different way. And who knows… down the road it might turn into something fantastic that could never have happened if the original had turned out.

This is the story of my life. Happy Sunday, friends! XOXO.


Beef Stew

The forecast was for rain all weekend.  I did not really mind.  It has been a busy summer and I needed a good excuse to be a bum. I have been eating out a lot and been on the go. All I wanted for the weekend was to go to yoga, read my book and eat something delicious. This is what happened. Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and actually went to 7:30 am hot yoga.  Yay for me.  I was then ready for the rest of my day… which was going to be a whole lot of nothing.


I knew I wanted to make something hearty and comforting….. So I went to Piggly Wiggly. The girls in the bakery almost had me talked into the white frosted long john with green and gold sprinkles… but I got this stuff instead.

I bought:
1.5 lbs of beef stew meat
2 packages of frozen stew vegetables
1 package of pearl onions
1 big box of beef stock
1 package of bacon - on sale- I thought would be good for breakfast
1 container of baby Bella mushrooms


I already had a fresh bulb of garlic, a can of tomato paste and a couple of bottles of decent red wine.  I also already had salt, pepper and butter. I later found a can of diced potatoes. (I would never usually have a can of potatoes in my pantry but I have a friend who does not cook who keeps sliced potatoes in her pantry and fries them up in garlic and butter and her kids think she is a rock star. Who knew? I though I had bought some sliced potatoes, but apparently I got diced potatoes instead.)


Oven temp:  275 degrees F with rack on lowest part of oven.

Green pot

I have an old green heavy enamel pot and I made the stew in that. First, I let the meat hang out for a bit on the counter and I salt and peppered it.  I chopped up a few pieces of the bacon and started frying it in my big pot.  It seemed dry and might be burning so I added a glug of olive oil to get things started.  I browned the meat in two batches, adding a spoonful of flour to each batch.  I must of added too much flour to the second batch because things stopped browning and started to get gluey.  I only freaked out for a second, and then I opened the wine (Beringer Merlot 2009 that had been in my booze cabinet forever. ) I added a cup of wine and mixed it all up… soon it was a lot better, but kept drying up…at that point I decided the meat was as brown as it was going to get and took all of the meat out of the pot.  I added about 1/2 the bottle of wine and the whole box of beef stock.  It was starting to smell good! I put the meat back in, added a few whole pieces of garlic, about 3/4 small can of tomato paste and stirred it all together. I put the cover on and put it in the oven at 275 degrees and cooked it for about 2 hours while I took a nap. At that point, I added both packages of the frozen stewed veggies.  I covered it back up and put it in the oven for another hour. I tasted the whole thing after hour 3. It was pretty good- meat still needed a bit more cooking.  The sauce was to die for.  I was a little disappointed that there were only two potatoes in the whole thing.  I dug around in my pantry and found a can of diced potatoes.  I opened the can, rinsed the potatoes and put about 3/4 of the can into the pot.  I then added about 1/2 the package of pearl onions. I also chopped up the baby Bella’s, salt and peppered them and sauteed them in a hunk of butter.  When the were looking kind of brown and yummy I dumped that in the pot too.  Back into the over for another hour.


The final product was super yummy.  I kept eating one little bowl, then another little bowl, and then another little bowl.  Then I was full.  I was going to make ho-made bread to go with it- but the recipe I found would take about a billion years…. So I made do with the bread I had leftover for sandwiches.  I smeared a gob of butter on it and ripped it up and sopped up all of the juices.  It was fucking fantastic.

beef stew

This picture does not do it justice… I failed to take one last night.  This is a picture of it cold. Sorry about that. It looks kind of like dog food… but I assure you it is really good!

There is a ton left over and I am going to give some to the people I love.

Like a Rolling Stone

I just can’t seem to stop moving. Literally.

Years ago, someone asked my sister if I would be around for a while.  Her response, “She’s a rolling stone.”

Let’s see.

1969-1987:      Mom and Dad’s house. Birth through high school graduation.

1987-1991:      University of Wisconsin –Madison.  2 years in the dorms. My first apartment was torched by an arsonist and the location is where the Kohl center now resides. I find this very suspicious.  Second apartment was a total dive on South Orchard Street near Union South.  The kind of apartment that is still available when the semester has already started.  Year 4 we had a great apartment on Pinckney Street which was right off the square and near lots of good bars.  Perfect.

1991-1992:      Year off.  Spent some time in a shack in Clark, CO, another dive apartment on Langdon Street in Madison, and finally my Mom and Dad’s place again.

1992-1996:       First year apartment was a total dive in Forest Grove, OR.  The following three years were spent in a much better place in Beaverton, OR with my two roomies Nicolas and Trevor.  We are still very good friends. We would have parties after we took our board exams and there would be a bunch of future optometrists getting hammered and lifting weights and being crazy in general.

1997:       Charlotte, NC:  My first job as an optometrist.  I had a pretty decent apartment.  My sister came to visit with paint rollers in her suitcase and we painted the place.  Living room wall blue, my bedroom purple.  We must have done a decent job because I got my deposit back.  When it came time to move, two friends came to get me.  Big Mike took one look at my sofa and said, “Oh no, I am not moving that cheap sofa down 2 flight of stairs again.” This sofa had been purchased for 100 bucks in Oregon at a rummage sale and had been transported to both Wisconsin and North Carolina.  We threw it over the balcony and put the broken bits into the dumpster clearly marked no personal items.  Had a great dinner and bottle of wine at Manzetti’s and got the hell out of there.

1998:       Returned to Wisconsin.  Lived with Mom. (Dad was in heaven by then.) I filled-in all around the area working for a bunch of optometrists.  My Mom was my roommate/secretary/Mom.  Once in a while I run into one of the doctors I used to fill-in for.  Whenever he sees me the first thing he says is, “How is your Mom?” They used to plan my schedule and did a great job.

1998-2000:      I bought my first house on Lake Street.  Great bungalow.  Fabulous garden because the previous owner really was a master gardener. (Unlike, me…. I am a wannabe.)  My Mom helped me plant a raspberry patch and asparagus patch.  Later, both were destroyed by the next owners who built a bigger garage.  It was my first place.  When a good friend got married, I was able to host several of the groomsmen instead of them having to stay in a hotel. I remember making cinnamon rolls from a can and orange juice from a can and they thought I was freaking Martha Stewart. Fun.

2000:       Sold the first house because I was working out of town and the commute was getting to me. Made a small profit, so that was good.  Moved into a historic apartment in an old factory. Great loft.  Historic Fox River Mills.  It was pricey, more than my house payment but fun.  Lived there until I blew my ACL skiing and couldn’t make it up the steep stairs to the loft.  Back to Mom’s…

2001:       Knee better. Rented a crazy apartment above the old dime store on Main Street. I remember I was just getting out of the shower watching CNBC when the Towers fell.  That was such a terrible tragedy.

2002:       Moved to Oshkosh, WI and lived in a small apartment for a very short time.  Bought my tiny 2 bed/1 bath green and white “cottage”. No lake. Just a small, cute as pie house.  The best thing about the place was that it was in the direct path of the largest airshow on the planet, the EAA, which is held every July.  I would be outside watering my flowers and watch the B-52’s fly directly over me.  I think the pilots must of thought, “Who’s the crazy chick watering her flowers in her nightie?” I loved it.

At the time I was dating a much older guy (17 years) who was financially more established and in a completely different socio-economic sphere.  It took a while but eventually I started having some of his friends and family over for dinner. I have to say they were all good sports and didn’t make me feel bad about my tiny house or hand me down furniture.  In fact, I think they liked how relaxed my place was- not fussy!

We used to go to the Pioneer Inn on Lake Winnebago.  It has been destroyed now, but used to have a great little tiki bar with live music in the summer. One particular summer night, the vodka was flowing and I did my best Stevie Nicks impersonation.

‘I’ll follow you down til the sound of my voice will haaauuuunt yooooo.’

To this day my now ex-sweetheart doesn’t like to listen to Fleetwood Mac anymore because it reminds him of me.  It was a really good impersonation.  I did the spinny-dance moves and everything.

2007:       Work change.  Moved to…guess where? Mom’s house again. The tiny house sold very quickly and I was desperate and threw everything into boxes and moved in with Mom.

2008:       Bought my current house.  Super cute.  A little bigger. 3 bed/2 bath.  Great yard, on a river with a bit of a cliff in back.  I did make a few improvements to the place. Always thinking ahead to when I would sell it.

Guess what?  I haven’t sold it.  I have officially been in this house the longest I have stayed in a single place since I graduated from high school.  Woo hoo.  I did put it up for sale for a short time about three years ago anticipating another job change. It didn’t happen.  I am glad I stayed.  I also had a weak moment this winter when we had the worst winter in 100 years.  I was sorely tempted to move south.  But, I didn’t.

I must be planning to stay a while because I am starting to make changes to the place that are just for me- not for adding resale value.  I have never done that before.

All bets are off though if I win the Powerball. Then I might have to buy a compound in Miami Beach and a ski chalet in Steamboat. (A girl can be a dreamer, can’t she?)

Am I still a rolling stone?  It would seem I have worn a flat spot that has landed. I roll a bit and then come to rest, back in the same spot.  That’s ok.  I feel good about it.

The potential to roll is there. As long as I have that it seems to be enough. For now.

Lake Street House Front



Lake Street House Back


Lake Street Bloom
Historic Fox River Mills Loft
Green and White ‘Cottage” Oshkosh Front
Green and White ‘Cottage” Oshkosh Back
Current House Back Garden
Current House Side Yard View of my Neighbor Jerry’s Tree.