Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook–a book review

This is my review–

Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook by Kristine Hansen is a comprehensive and delightful look into Wisconsin farms and cheesemakers. Currently living in Wisconsin, I have heard of many of these farms and cheesemakers and look forward to tasting cheeses from several more. The recipes are easy to follow and the story behind each cheese simply fascinating. I appreciate that this cookbook also has a list of all the award-winning cheeses, festivals, and fairs that one may taste a sample, and references to websites where out of state readers may order some of Wisconsin’s finest. I enjoyed reading the Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook and highly recommend it to anyone who loves to eat and cook with cheese.

My disclaimer-Special thanks to Rowman & Littlefield & NetGalley for providing a copy of this book for review.

Reviews PublishedProfessional Reader

I started requesting books to review on NetGalley about a year ago now and have successfully reviewed 20 books. I have enjoyed doing this. I have always loved reading and books have remained my #1 pastime and passion my whole life. I primarily request cookbooks because I love reading cookbooks and I learn so much about food and food preparation from them. It seemed a natural progression to post my reviews on my blog in case readers/followers were interested in reading cookbooks too. Anyone can become a member of NetGalley and request books from publishers. Sometimes your request is accepted and other times based on your profile and other things taken into consideration your request is rejected.  If accepted you receive an advanced reader copy download and have a certain period of time to submit a review. This is an excellent way to read new books without having to pay for them. From this interest came opportunities that I found on my own to become a member of author book launches and I’ve loved being a part of launch teams. This is not an ad-sponsored post nor do I receive any type of compensation for talking about it. This is simply a cookbook review and a hobby of mine that makes me happy!

Being married to a Dutchman all I’ve heard our entire marriage is how great cheese is in Holland. Yes, Holland has great cheese. However, we are not always able to order from or travel to a place that sells cheese directly from Holland. Lucky us we live in the cheese capital of the United States and there are many, many cheesemakers near where we live. I requested the Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook because it is about Wisconsin cheese and also because this cookbook has outstanding reviews about the recipes featured, and also features the author throughout visiting the farms where the cheese is made and learning/ then writing about the history and culture behind the cheesemakers cheese. Several of the farms and cheesemakers featured in this book are known to us and others are on our list to visit. I loved, loved, loved this book and I’m so glad I requested it.

Until next time–many blessings to you from me!


An Old Fashioned Christmas–All the Things!

The first old-fashioned thing we did this year was to attend a Christmas parade in a town about 40 minutes away from us. At the end of the parade, the entire town gathered to watch Santa light up the Christmas tree above the Al Ringling Theatre.

My YouTube channel with Santa lighting the Christmas tree video is here

The second thing we did was gather to watch the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stop and perform, gather food contributions for the local food pantry, and then go on their way towards their next stop. We try and catch this festive treat every year because we both love trains and we love that they collect food for local food pantries.

My YouTube channel with CP Holiday Train video is here

The third thing we did together was travel to La Crosse WI and see the Rotary Lights–which are an annual thing for us and enjoyed thoroughly!

My YouTube channel with the Rotary Lights video is here

The fourth thing I did was by special request by a local library and that was to read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to a group of children one afternoon shortly before Christmas.

And finally, the fifth thing we did was to buy tickets to see an afternoon viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Al Ringling Theatre in Baraboo WI.

We work extremely hard all year long to get work, projects, shopping, and plans set in stone as much as possible so that we have the whole month of December to volunteer during our free time and enjoy Christmas. There’s no last minute shopping or wrapping or unexpected this and that. Baking is done at a leisurely pace and any dish I need to make for a work potluck or get together is handled quickly. This has worked out really well for us for a number of years and has helped us to enjoy Christmas without stress and live each day throughout the holiday season with much more intention.

Next up>>That’s a wrap–A Look Back at 2018.

Tomato Tortellini Soup

I’ve needed this soup lately. This fall has been a bit trying. We live in an area that up until six months ago was fairly quiet. Suddenly construction started around us everywhere. There has been construction on the interstate that starts up at midnight and goes on until we get up. While I realize this is the only time some of these repairs can get done– we get no sleep during these times.  Most of the construction has involved machinery that digs down deep into the cement, tears it up, chews it up, and then a truck backs up (beep, beep, beep) and collects it. Then during the day, there is construction from 6am until 6pm right across the street. On the weekends the property manager for us has been trying to have the driveway and parking lot fixed, so you guessed it over a month now of construction right outside our door. My husband sleeps right through it, me not so much. Six months of this and I’ve reached my limit. Here’s hoping for finished construction projects and long cool nights of sleep in my future.

Here’s the recipe for the Tomato Tortellini Soup 

There is nothing better after a long day of work on little sleep than a good hearty tomato soup. You will love the Tomato Tortellini, it’s easy to make and yummy.

This month has been busy already with processing squash to eat this winter, visiting nearby lavender farms, zoos, even a corn maze, and of course visiting local apple orchards and buying lots, and lots of apples for eating and applesauce.

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I hope your fall is going great!

Dane County Farmers’ Market & Eating Local

This past weekend we drove down to Madison WI for our first trip this year to the Dane County Farmers’ Market. It’s been awhile. We have had several local farmers’ markets we’ve been doing business with for a couple of years now. This year much to our disappointment one of them is selling produce that looks pretty bad and their corn made me really sick. There’s an older lady that runs the stand who is very friendly and we’ve known her for years and get a kick out of her mainly because she really speaks her mind. I asked her if anyone else had complained about getting sick from the corn and she said “Well you know they use A LOT of chemicals in their fields, more now than they’ve ever used to keep up.” We know we cannot always get organic produce, and unless it is noted at the stand, we know most of what we buy has had some chemicals used. Sadly more and more I am getting sick from chemicals, additives and all the crap that’s in our food supply. So, we stopped patronizing this stand and one other that just stopped selling with no fair warning. The Dane County Farmers’ Market is the largest producers-only market in the United States. We started out for Madison at 6:00 am and got there, after a couple of stops, by 7:30 am. Even at that hour the parking ramps were packed, the streets were lined, and the throng of market goers was strong. What you do once you get there is join the moving queue. The market farmers’ are laid out in a circle that surrounds the state capitol building. So when you join you walk in a circle and when you spot something on a farmers’ table you hop out of the moving line to buy it. Once purchased back into the line you go. This can wear you out. I promise. We used to get here around 11 am–it’s really packed then. But you know, 7:30 am isn’t much better. It’s a popular market filled with lots and lots of locally grown food. We love our farmers’ and I’m such a big believer in locally grown and knowing your farmer well. It looks like we’ll have to go there a few more times so that I have plenty of produce to process for winter. It’s hard to see by the photos, but we purchased almost two weeks of produce. We were able to get 1 # of green beans, 1 head of cauliflower, broccoli, 1 squash, 4 ears of corn, 4 zucchini, 2 bunches of carrots, 1 leek, 2 cucumbers, a bunch of kale, fingerling potatoes, 4 heirloom tomatoes and a beautiful bouquet of local flowers (of course) for $15.75. You absolutely cannot beat that. Once home I set about to clean, trim and repackage the produce. I shredded the zucchini right away for zucchini bread. Our dinner menu reflects 11 days of eating this produce so that we enjoy it when it is at its freshest. Next trip will be to buy some tomatoes in bulk to make sauce with. http://janrd.com/blog/5454/divine-tomatoes

How was your weekend?

Corned Beef Cabbage & Brine

corned beef and cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage time are almost here again! Have I told you that Reuben’s are my favorite sandwich? There’s a wonderful deli in Madison WI called Ella’s Deli that makes a delicious Reuben. Whenever I’m craving this sandwich, it’s off to Ella’s I go. The question addressed in this post is to brine or not to brine. I brine. This wasn’t always the case. I follow the process found here at the Cooking Channel blog and it works like a charm every time. For leftovers, I make sandwiches but will also serve the corned beef with coleslaw on Irish soda buns to pep it up some before I get tired of eating it altogether. The recipe I follow for the Irish soda buns is here at Martha Stewart’s website. I don’t eat meat, well red meat, at all. I do however make an exception on St. Patrick’s Day. This year I don’t have to pretend to be Irish, as recently I’ve discovered that I am 27%, Irish. I shall celebrate this lovely day this year in honor of my Irish ancestors.

I found this poem on an Irish Culture and Customs site here.


I just want to put something straight
About what should be on your plate,
If it’s corned beef you’re makin’
You’re sadly mistaken,
That isn’t what Irishmen ate.

If you ever go over the pond
You’ll find it’s of bacon they’re fond,
All crispy and fried,
With some cabbage beside,
And a big scoop of praties beyond.

Your average Pat was a peasant
Who could not afford beef or pheasant.
On the end of his fork
Was a bit of salt pork,
As a change from potatoes ’twas pleasant.

This custom the Yanks have invented,
Is an error they’ve never repented,
But bacon’s the stuff
That all Irishmen scoff,
With fried cabbage it is supplemented.

So please get it right this St. Paddy’s.
Don’t feed this old beef to your daddies.
It may be much flasher,
But a simple old rasher,
Is what you should eat with your tatties.

©Frances Shilliday 2004

Happy St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th!!