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.




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!