The week of 4th of July my husband and I finagled a fantastic full week off from work! We did a lot of fun things around town but one of our favorite discoveries was a small town in Wisconsin. Being from this state I have traveled all around, but had never been to this small town. New places are so exciting, especially exploring with no expectations. The day prior to our trip we decided we should venture down to Cedarburg. All I knew about this town is that it is close to Milwaukee. Well low and behold this place is a treasure hidden next to a small river and colorful natural landscaping. Not to mention walking downtown you cannot miss the detailing along the sidewalks!

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Lemon Bars

As my husband’s birthday approaches along with Spring, nothing seems more fitting than a lemon (or lime) bar to kickoff the season. Fitting not only because he absolutely loves lemons in any and all forms, but also that lemon and lime make me think of spring. And margaritas. Ok spring, margaritas and sitting out on the porch with an umbrella in my drink. Looking out the window I keep telling the snow it has had its time and that it is free to leave at any moment it chooses. I would chose this exact moment to say sayonara, adios, arrivederci and send it off with a sugary tangy lemon bar to set it on its way.

 

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Recently my mom gave me an old blue tin decorated with tiny white flowers and a big white chicken. I opened the small tin to find it filled with the recipes my grandmother and her friends used to trade and share. This tradition is such a special one; friends coming together to share things they love. I imagine this was their version of Facebook and Instagram.  I can picture them all sitting together with a cup of coffee or tea sharing their most favorite recipes with each other as the time flies by talking about everything except baking and cooking.

Why do we add walnuts, almonds, or pistachios to brownies?

Brownie

Today I started my afternoon by opening my Sheboygan Community Cookbook. I have had a hankering to make homemade brownies for the longest time. I am not sure why because I have never made them before and I am usually very content with a piece of smooth dark chocolate. While flipping through my cookbook my eyes stopped on “One Bowl Brownies”. There is something about the phrase “one bowl” that makes a recipe seem so much more appealing. Is it the instant reward of doing less dishes? Does the recipe somehow seem more simple and quick? I did find that the first of these is true. Before I made these brownies every single recipe I found seemed to include some required magical wizardry to perfectly melt chocolate into a beautiful flowing ribbon to make the bake that much more successful. However, this recipe called for no such wizardry and we created sweet chocolatey success. A little improvisation was incorporated into this recipe because our pantry is only stocked with “regular” chocolate squares and it called for unsweetened chocolate. Now let’s be honest here. It’s about 35 degrees outside and I’m in my sweatpants. I’m not about to go run to the store to track down unsweetened chocolate because I firmly believe all chocolate can be used in brownies. (Yes if you read carefully above this is the first time I made them so take that with a grain of salt!) Ultimately these turned out to be spiked with a few extra grams of sugar…about the amount of sugar a toddler would add to this recipe. If you need a quick tip on what to do with a semi-failed baking attempt: add it to ice cream. Ice cream always makes everything instantly taste better.