Christmas in the heartland

I was pretty worried that our plan to fly to Kansas City, have our parents shuttle us to Wisconsin, and then fly out of Minneapolis was going to be a disaster. We do have a history of traveling in winter and getting stuck in snowstorms. But thanks to unseasonably warm weather (sadly, no white Christmas for us), we got to every stop without a hitch. And we had a really great time seeing family and friends in the Midwest.

First stop was my family in Kansas. We decided to make prime rib for our almost-Christmas dinner, and it was fantastic. We rubbed the roast with a paste of olive oil, cracked peppercorns, thyme, basil, sea salt, rosemary, and crushed bay leaves. It created a really flavorful au jus in the pan, too.

Apparently in our food coma we neglected to take any more photos, but we did also have a yummy seafood dinner with my dad and stepmom, bubble bread and Frenchiladas (stuffed crepes covered in cheese) with my aunt and uncle, and a lot of flipping through old photos and chatting with grandmas for geneology research.

I’m very excited to start using this bad boy, an enameled cast iron dutch oven that was a gift from my parents.

And these cookbooks. The Paradise Cafe was an institution in my hometown, Lawrence, before it closed.

I forgot to mention that the night before we left for our trip, I started feeling just awful. I think all the stress of Renegade and making last-minute orders caught up to me. So the entire trip I was hoarse and coughing, but I powered through!

Charlotte and Charlie rode along with us halfway to Wisconsin. I made them matching outfits for Christmas and they were so cute.

They’re even starring in their own 2012 calendar!

Everything normally covered in snow was dry and brown, but I still enjoyed the scenery.

Iowa.

Minnesota.

Wisconsin.


If you look closely you can see people ice fishing on the lake.

Once we got to Wisconsin, we did all the Wisconsin essentials.

Drove a big truck.

Ate sausages and cheese curds.

(It was at this point that I lost all willpower to resist sausage logs, Chex Mix, and cookie trays for the rest of the trip.)

We watched cardinals perch on Mike’s parents’ Cadillac of birdfeeders.

Had a Paul Bunyan sighting.

Tried on Stormy Cromer hats.

And mourned the lack of snow in the yard.

In Minnesota we met up with friends and did the Minnesota essentials: walked on a frozen lake, played a bird identifying board game, and ate pickled herring (well, Mike did).

Mike got to hold baby Maya and learned that babies love beards!

I was definitely ready to get back to my house and my doggies, but I had the best time catching up with everyone in our hometowns.

Now that we are completely stuffed to bursting, we are going to wish 2011 farewell with a shrimp ring and ring in 2012 by starting a cleanse. Happy New Year!