Sunday, October 19, 2014

Brittany's Sunday Brunch

Hello brunchers! So I was looking back at my Fall list and realized I'm semi-slacking. No pumpkin patch pictures or winery tours. I haven't been all lazy though, some things I have checked off and some fun things have been happening off-list.

Just a few days ago, I spent a lovely evening with great friends, food and drinks. Badger Kitchen and friends met up at Merchant, a local Madison restaurant. Merchant thrives on craft cocktails and fresh, local ingredients. Also, the crafty, upscale tavern feel gives it the perfect ambiance for a meet-up with friends. Laughing over cheese curds, pasta and fruit inspired cocktails was the perfect way to end the work week.

Other non-list activities included wedding fun! My fiancé and I have been having so much fun doing the little things, like picking out our wedding bands and going through boat-loads of stamps as we address our save the dates. Our wedding is finally next in the family so now it's really getting exciting!

But, I haven't forgotten about my list, guys. Don't worry. Cooking with fall flavors has been checked and rechecked off the list. But that was a give-in. Yesterday, we did one of the things I enjoy the most that's on the list; we went to the dog park. Not only do we have one happy off leash camper, we get quite the beautiful view to admire over, too. Even if you don't have a dog, I highly recommend visiting Indian Lake north of Middleton. They even have non-dog park walking trails if you're self-conscious without a dog. Trust me, it's worth going this time of year. To convince you all, I let go of my self-consciousness and posted this picture of a very tired me with no makeup. It's totally worth it.

Have a great upcoming week, friends!

- Brittany

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pumpkin Pound Cake

I could start this post taking about how much I love pumpkin and how when baking this recipe I was drinking pumpkin spice flavored coffee and had a pumpkin scented candle burning, but then this would sound like every other wonderful pumpkin blog post out there. When it comes to fall, who doesn't like pumpkin [cough, besides my fiancé, cough]?

Earlier in the summer when Badger Kitchen was thinking up the coming months' themes, pumpkin just couldn't be overlooked. But come October (ok, ok I was thinking about this since September), I just couldn't decided on a recipe to try. I really wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try something, non-baked good recipe. You know, get away from the traditional cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin trio recipe. But I was afraid of not liking it and my fiancé not even trying it. So, baked good it is. However, I've never had pumpkin pound cake before. I was pretty excited when I found this.

This recipe is super easy. Believe me, I made this after a very long wedding weekend while finishing up scientific figures for a grant and doing laundry and keeping the dog occupied. It reminds me of banana bread in the fact that it's really good without much effort. Also, this pound cake has the texture like banana bread in that it's dense but [dare I use the word] moist. Also, that cup of pumpkin goes a long way! I was afraid of it being bland but this pound cake is far from! The only thing I would do differently next time is maybe add a walnut or oatmeal topping to give it more texture diversity.

Bon Appétit,

Slightly adapted from Something Swanky

1 1/2 c. All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1 c. Granulated Sugar
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 c. Vanilla Yogurt
3 Egg Whites
1 c. Canned Pumpkin

Fall sprinkles optional (but why not? After all, it is cake)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bread pan or mini loaf pan.
2. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves and nutmeg.
3. In a separate bowl add together the sugars, yogurt and egg whites. Mix until blended.
4. Fold pumpkin into the wet ingredients. Then add the dry ingredients. Stir just until all is blended together.
5. Pour into pan (should make about 8-9 mini loaves).
6. Bake for 60 minutes if large bread pan or 25 minutes if mini loaf pan.
7. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

April's Sunday Brunch

Welcome to another Sunday funday brunch!

I've really started to like sharing these monthly post with you all! I'm deep into my last semester of graduate school and beyond ready for it to be done. Most days I feel like everything I do is for school and I don't have the time to do anything fun. I mean even the cat is pitching in at this point, learning by osmosis.

These posts remind me that I do do a lot of fun and good things going on in my life. I may not get to cook or exercise as much as I would like, but my school situation isn't as dire as I make it out to be most days. I hope you enjoy some aspect of these posts as much I do.

I went apple picking earlier this month at Door Creek Orchard. I'm still working on using them all up! Maybe some applesauce?

There have been a lot of fires in the fire place and lots of trips to my parents for more wood. I'm happy I have such a pyromaniac lumberjack for a boyfriend and get all the enjoyment without any of the work. I'm a good supervisor when it comes down to it all. We went through all that wood last weekend...

I've been eating well most weeks too, whether it is eating out or at home! My mother got a membership at The Madison Club and we went to brunch. I went to The Blue Marlin with my parents the other week and had the most delicious octopus and lobster. Everything is always delicious there, one of my favorite spots.

I went home for a Packer game and kindly used up some avocados for my mother, with this guacamole. Avocado, corn, mango, onion is heaven. I wish decent, fresh corn was around all year long. Pizza is one of my favorite things to eat while watching football. This one has a bunch of Fraboni's meats, cheese and a few random vegs. It was amazing.

Hung out on The Pontoon Porch with a bunch of awesome coworkers and friends this weekend. Has anyone in Madison seen this amazing structure on Lake Monona or been on it before? It was pretty rad, even if it was rather chilly. Must try it next summer. Who is in?!

What are you doing to enjoy the early months of fall? I'm heading to warmer weather in California and a brief vacation from school!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram (@badgerkitchen) and follow us on Facebook!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Cake

Its pumpkin time! Hopefully you aren't already sick of everything pumpkin because we got a lot of pumpkin coming your way.

Do we all remember better than sex cake from about 10 years ago? That is what I was going for here, pumpkin better than sex cake. Because I can't seem to help myself, I not only changed the cake to pumpkin but changed the sweetened condensed milk to dulce de leche.

This is not a typical recipe for me at all. I'm usually very against boxed cake. It doesn't take that long to mix up your ingredients, lets be honest, but sometimes you have to trash things up and make them super easy, semi-homemade and decadent, because sometimes they just taste better that way.

Whip cream is another easy thing to make at home, but it doesn't really stand up to cool whip. I'm secretly a huge fan of cool whip amongst other super processed dairy items. Nacho cheese, anyone? Velvetta?!  Love. I try to avoid them because they are so processed, but sometimes you just have to give into that guilty pleasure.

Back to the cake, you can choose to use the sweetened condensed milk and not turn it into dulce de leche, but I think you would be missing out. There isn't any work involved in making it, other than making sure it stays covered in water. You wouldn't want it to explode. Not to alarm you, but honesty is important in any relationship.

The cake is sort of dense, chewy and moist. It isn't overly sweet. I really like that some, but not all, of the dulce de leche soaks into the cake while some rests on top too. So indulgent and fall like! It got rave reviews from all my friends and by friend I mean my boyfriend and dearest friend, Leah, who also happens to be the photographer for this post!


1 can sweetened condensed milk (label removed)

1 box yellow cake mix
1 14 oz. can pumpkin puree
1- 8oz container cool whip
1/2 cup heath bits

Dulce de leche:
  1. In a large pot, fill with water to cover the can of sweetened condensed milk. Over high heat, bring to a boil Let simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, making sure to add more water as necessary. Remove the can of dulce de leche from the water and let cool to room temperature.
Pumpkin cake:
  1. Preheat an oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pumpkin puree (add only the pumpkin puree to the cake mix; DO NOT add any of the ingredients listed on the box, like eggs), until a smooth batter forms.
  3.  Pour batter into prepared pan (it was pretty thick and made a thin layer, not to fear though!) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. 
  4. Remove cake from pan and let cool for 10 minutes. Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the cake. 
  5. Place the dulce de leche in a microwave safe container and reheat for 30 seconds and pour over the cake, spreading evenly over the cake and filling in the holes (a spatula is helpful here depending on how viscous the dulce de leche is). Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes or overnight.
  6. Spread cool whip evenly over cake and sprinkle heath bits evenly on top. Cake is best enjoyed in 2 to 3 days.
Similar posts: Pumpkin Cheese Cake, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars, Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Kelsey's Sunday Brunch

The past couple of weeks have been a little crazy in my neck of the woods.  It's looked a little something like this: pack up apartment, take LSAT, move out of apartment and put everything in my parent's garage, live on the streets for a week (just kidding, more like my sister's guest bedroom), and now we're currently in the process of moving everything out of my parent's garage and into our new place.  Needless to say there hasn't been a whole lot of cooking going on.  I'm excited to whip something up in this new kitchen and figure out the best spot in the house for photo taking, bear with me on that one.

Yesterday I went to my first beer festival!  A group of us went to the Quivey's Grove Beer Fest and it was a lot of fun despite the chilly weather.  There were over 40 breweries there, mostly from the Midwest, and I got to try lots of new beers.  One of my favorites was the MobCraft Cinnamon Apple, so tasty!  We strung our pretzel necklaces ahead of time and also sampled the cheese curds they had for sale.

The Kitchn is hosting a free 20 lesson Cooking School starting tomorrow (October 6th) that I signed up for.  You can sign up for it here and join me in learning some new tricks or brushing up on some old skills.

Looking for some grilled cheese inspiration?  The Grilled Cheese Academy just released the 2014 Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown Book of Champions and it's available for free download!

21 Amazing Food Moments You Need to Experience This Fall, how many have you tried?

The Best of Madison ballots are open.  Don't forget to write in Badger Kitchen for the Local Food Blog category under Arts & Entertainment!  We'll send some good karma your way if you do :)


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