I recently posted a picture on social media about my neighbor's pears and many of you asked for the recipe of a pear custard pie.
I live on the east side of Madison in a tiny, older neighborhood. It's considered what most people call a "working class" neighborhood -- the homes are smaller and usually have tiny closets, tiny bathrooms and tiny garages. It's a great little community with mostly retired people or young families.
I like it because it feels like the kind of neighborhood you or your parents grew up in. No McMansions, no fluff. Not that those are bad either, but my neighborhood feels like a throwback to a simpler time.
Our neighbor Sue is in her 80s and we often find ourselves gabbing at the fence line. Jim fixes her computer -- the old one we gave her -- and he mows her front lawn every week. She often gives us vegetables from her garden or something small she picked up at the store.
Our other neighbor Ray is an older gentleman who keeps to himself but is equally kind. He plows our sidewalks with his John Deere when it snows. We return the favor when we beat him outside.
Anyway, Ray has a beautiful pear tree but never collects the pears. It took me a couple of summers but I recently found the courage to ask him if he needed help.
He told me that he doesn't care for pears so I could pick what I wanted. I promised I'd make him a few pear dishes to see if he would change his mind. I made him pear bread (muffins), pear butter and pear custard! I just gave it to him yesterday so it will be interesting to hear if he liked it. I hope he does and takes advantage of the wonderful fruit in his own backyard!
This is a recipe I found on Pinterest from a blog called Dinner at the Zoo. It was a hit and by far, the simplest recipe out of the bunch.
NOTE: The pears go to the bottom but they float to the top when they're done! I wanted to add that because I was confused at how it was going to work.
1/4 cup unsalted butter (I used salted butter)
3/4 cup milk (skim worked for me, FYI)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I omitted since I used salted butter)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
powdered sugar for garnish
September 23rd may be another day for you but in our house, we believe it's just for us.
My husband Jim and I dated for five years before he asked me to marry him. And what a gratifying journey it's been so far.
READ: Real Weddings: Destination Hawaii in 417 Magazine
Jim and I met at a television station in Missouri. He was a photojournalist and I worked as a general assignment reporter. Eventually we got promoted and by the time we left, he was working as the chief photographer and I left as an evening anchor.
We've bought 3 homes in three states in seven years. We are owned by two rottweilers.
I'm not feeling super sappy this year. This year, I'm feeling accomplished. Like hell yeah, we've got something figured out! But I do thank God for Jim. Our marriage is not perfect but it's perfectly ours. We've faced challenges, heartaches and new beginnings but through it all, we're there for one another. We've learned tough lessons but dammit, we keep learning.
If you have the secret to a forever marriage, I'd love to hear it. My gut tells me it's not magic but a combo of love, commitment and a lot of faith. But I'd love to hear from anyone who's willing to share. Also - any anniversary suggestions!
Love you Jimmy - you're my person!
People matter and stories matter -- just ask the family of Missouri Trooper Kevin Floyd who was senselessly killed 10 years ago today.
I never had the honor to meet Kevin but I feel like I knew him through his family. Kevin was ripped from his loved ones by an inattentive truck driver who bent down to pick up a piece of paper. That mistake took Trooper Floyd's life.
Just three weeks earlier, another trooper was killed when a woman struck Corporal Jay Sampietro as he directed traffic on I-44. The investigation showed the woman had been on the phone at the time.
That year was an incredibly sad year for law enforcement in Missouri. I covered both trooper deaths. During that short time span, I also covered the death of an emergency responder, also hit and killed by an inattentive driver.
It was a very weird time for us and we found ourselves asking, "When is it going to stop?"
In a journalistic way, these incidents created change. I helped launch a PSA campaign that reminded people to slow down and move over for emergency workers. That campaign caught the attention of the highway patrol and the National Association of Broadcasters. It got people talking. It honored the lives of the fallen.
But in a more human way, it changed me. I became a great admirer and friend of Cheryl Floyd, the widow who hung her head high to stay strong for her two children. Cheryl fought through tears to be a champion of the Slow Down, Move Over campaign and always made time for my phone calls.
She is with me today. She remains in the back of my mind when I see someone on the side of the road. In fact, on Sunday, I thought of her as I saw a family poorly parked on the side of the interstate as we drove back from Wisconsin Dells. We slowed down and moved over to the next lane.
And then yesterday I received an email from Telena, Kevin's then 16-year-old daughter. She's now married to a trooper and has children of her own! I hope she doesn't mind me sharing a few words. They really touched my heart.
She wrote, "I'm writing this to tell you thank you for every thing you did. I was 16 at the time of his death and 17 when I stood with you in front of a camera scared to death to speak. But you made me comfortable enough to get over the nerves. You were a godsend in that horrible time. My mom (Cheryl) always talked very fondly of you. You helped her keep her sanity during the case! Like my dad, you have a thankless job and I just wanted to reach out and let you know how thankful I was that you were a part of our lives at that moment in time."
You could have knocked me over with a feather. My husband and I were so moved by the Floyds during our time in Missouri and we're just feeling humbled that we could make a difference.
I hope reading this story also reminds you to take your time on the road, slow down, move over and pay attention. Nothing is as important as your life -- you can honor the Floyd family by taking some very small actions.
I am in love with The Graduate, a fairly new boutique hotel in downtown Madison.
I'm featuring its cafe in an upcoming Sip and Savor feature for Madison Magazine. The cafe is called Portage Pi and it's all about hand pies, fresh juices, smoothies and coffee. I just finished editing the video that will air as the magazine comes out.
Thank you so much to Chef Chris and Ted (aka Head Honcho) for letting us come out! I can't wait to share it with our viewers but for now -- a few pics!
Everyone in the news business cringes when there's breaking weather and the only option is to cut in over a live sporting event, or a season finale, or Jeopardy.
We cringe because on top of getting slammed with breaking weather, we also get slammed with hate mail, hate calls, hate smoke signals, hate thoughts... you get it.
I'm not going to preach. I know it bothers people. But there's something you should know-- every single station in the country will go on air for a tornado warning.
You know those funny memes that say..."You Had One Job"? At the heart of what we do, safety is really our one job. Seriously. We rarely get pressed to do our "one job" because there are very few times when the general public could be in a life threatening situation. I know some of you only had rain but others had hail, wind, lightning, etc.
We are fortunate to live in a place that doesn't have a lot of tornadoes. When I lived in Missouri, we would get several warnings a year. I've covered some major tornadoes (my husband covered Joplin) and if you've ever been through one, you get it.
I hope you don't ever have to get it... but even the "smallest" storms can leave you covering a child killed by a downed tree, a lightning strike burning down a house or flash flooding taking a family downstream.
It happens. People have lost everything in one of those "small storms" and it's devastating.
So, I said I wouldn't preach. I'm just making a quick point. We're sorry the NFL game was interrupted (at least it wasn't the Packers!) but we thank you for your patience. We had a few "thank yous" and that certainly did not go unnoticed at the station!
I'm so thrilled for my new pals at Cadence Cold Brew - I swear I'm one of their biggest fans since we found each other over a cold brew coffee blog post.
Long story short, Jennifer and Roy have a winning recipe. They've found a way to cold brew coffee quickly and put it on nitro tap. Kind of sounds like wrestling when you think of it... but it's pretty fabulous. Coffee keg party? Yes please.
They stopped by a while back and met some of the folks at the station. Then they were on the morning show for an interview. And now they'll be in Sardine--one of my favorite brunch spots in the city!
Looks like Guinness but tastes like awesome. Congrats, CCB!
I just wanted to give a special thanks to Chef Tory Miller for letting us crowd his restaurant for National I Love Food Day (really, just an excuse to talk about good food!)
We recently spent some time talking about Sujeo's one year anniversary, Korea, food and adoption. Plus, Chef Miller made us his Wisconsin-take on Korean ddeokbokki (duck-bogie.)
Tory and I have both been open about being Korean-born and Midwestern-raised. I think that's one reason he loves spending time at Sujeo. The Asian-fusion spot is kind of like a reflection of his life -- hence, likely another reason I'm drawn to his restaurants.
When Tory and I were chatting, I realized how his adoption story is very much played out in the kitchen. Tory leads in the culinary world by mastering a cuisine and then adapting the dishes to his liking. Whether it's Asian-fusion at Sujeo or Spanish-influenced tapas found in Estrellon, Tory Miller gets to discover who he is through creativity and food.
When you don't know exactly where you come from, you tend to spend some time trying to figure out who you are. I say this because I live it. I get to discover who I am through journalism and creating content... so I suppose we're all sort of chameleon-like in that way.
It pays off if you're a Tory Miller fan -- we all benefit from his discoveries in the kitchen. (And by that I mean his four kitchens -- L'etoile, Graze, Sujeo and Estrellon.)
Ddeokbokki is a Korean street food. *I actually tried to make it live on the internet once just to show people how easy it was but Tory's version is obviously much better and way less embarrassing. (My husband just laughed out loud...)
The cheese makes it irresistable. Korean people sometimes make ddeokbokki with cheese but Tory says when they do it, they use American cheese. DON'T EVEN. These are the same people who put corn on their pizza and serve it with a side of sweet pickles.
As you can imagine, Tory uses regional fare like a Chinese-influenced sausage made from Underground Meats and two award-winning Wisconsin artisan cheeses.
WATCH Chef Miller make his version of ddeokbokki!
The end of summer brings a new era to WISC with a brand new general manager. Tom Keeler replaces Tom Bier after four decades! One obvious bonus is the Tom-Tom situation -- meaning, I don't have to remember a new name :)
Tom has been on site for about two weeks and already he's bringing a lot of new energy and excitement into the building. I also love his hats and bright clothing choices - I know it's not really cerebral to make fashion observations but I did it. So. There.
We had quite a summer picnic this day - we drew for a lot of prizes including Shania Twain tickets, Badgers tickets and Edgewater Spa gift cards. One of the highlights was when Susan Siman won Shania ticktes but gave them to superfan Leah Linscheid. OMG!
There was so much food - and the portobello and mushroom caps were a big hit!!
Anyway, Tom's doing a great job on first impressions - he ordered the Chocolate Shoppe ice cream truck and let the news people go first!! I actually think that's the first time I've had a general manager say something as simple as, "let the news folks go first because they're on deadline." Smooth, Tom. Very smooth.
We also had someone come from United Way to talk about the upcoming campaign. It was very
Looking forward to the new era at WISC. It's been so wonderful to be a part of this legacy station and it's going to be great fun moving forward and continuing to build on what this station has accomplished. Stay tuned!
I write my Sip and Savor features for Madison Magazine a few months in advance so it's always a pleasant surprise to be reminded of a great experience when the magazine actually comes out!
We really enjoyed hanging out at MACS with owner Nick Morse. He was so gracious and made us a ton of mac and cheese dishes -- um, it's illegal to not like macaroni and cheese in Wisconsin!!
Make sure you pick up a copy of the September Madison Magazine and read 5 reasons why you should make time for MACS!