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Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Siblings’ Invasion of 2013 (a post by Molly)

We’re thankful for eyebrows

Five things I learned this weekend

The holiday season begins in T-minus three days and I’m feeling panicky generous. As I’m coming off an especially educational few days, I thought I’d share a few tips I picked up during November’s spare weekend.

1) Toilet paper is no substitute for paper toweling. Does this seem obvious to you? It only occurred to me Saturday morning after I sprayed the bathroom mirror with cleaning fluid and realized I had left the Bounty downstairs. Lazy, you say? Maybe. But I thought I’d save myself a minute or two by scrunching up a couple of fistfuls of the two-ply and wiping the mirror down. It created a lovely, seasonal but impractical snowfall effect that took some effort to remove.

2) You can substitute olive oil for vegetable oil in dessert recipes but only if the olive oil is not extra virgin (flavor’s too strong). A better bet is to substitute apple sauce for the oil. Better still, take your lazy self out into the cold night air and buy the ingredients your recipe requires.

3) Homemade cream cheese frosting can make anything taste good. Make extra should you find yourself dealing with an especially unfortunate baking incident. (See above).

4) Icicle lights don’t come with clips. You should know this before you spend an icy afternoon on your porch balcony, numb fingers ripping your new lights from their instruction-less packaging. I Scarlett O’Hara’d the whole situation, which means if you drive toward my house right now you’ll see icicle lights dangling precariously from the balcony gutter. I’m planning to take care of that…tomorrow.

5) At the very moment you surrender your last vestige of dignity, pull the knit cap over your head, wrap the giant white scarf around your face and slide on the unibomber sunglasses because the wind has whipped up at Lambeau Field and you can’t feel your face, you will be caught on the jumbotron for 77,000 people to see. You won’t realize this, though, until the woman two seats over points at you and screams, “Oh my God, You’re on the Jumbotron!” and you look up in horror. Fortunately, due to the aforementioned precautions, no one will recognize you except your similarly clad sister and the screaming lady you’ve never met.

This is the me that appeared on the Lambeau Field Jumbotron, shortly after a prolonged shot of the Packer Bikini Girls, a nice contrast I'm sure. Mr. Demille, I was not ready for my closeup. I am, however, fully protected from frostbite (and hopefully entirely unrecognizable).

This is the me that appeared on the Lambeau Field Jumbotron, shortly after a prolonged shot of the Packer Bikini Girls, a nice contrast I’m sure. Mr. Demille, I was not ready for my closeup. I am, however, fully protected from frostbite (and hopefully entirely unrecognizable).

These are the pumpkin bars I made for our tailgate.  As you may have guessed, I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil, which rendered them a little too healthy for my fellow tailgaters. I slathered on some cream cheese frosting, and added ginger snap halves to keep the frosting from sticking to the tin foil en route and they turned out to be quite a hit. Next time, though, I'm going to use the actual ingredients listed in the recipe.

These are the pumpkin bars I made for our tailgate. As you may have guessed, I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil, which rendered them a little too healthy for my fellow tailgaters. I slathered on some cream cheese frosting, and added ginger snap halves to keep the frosting from sticking to the tin foil en route and they turned out to be quite a hit. Next time, though, I’m going to use the actual ingredients listed in the recipe.

This is my sister Kathy and me. Bikini girls we are not. Fortunately, we bundled ourselves well because a sixth thing I learned this weekend is that NFL games can end in a tie. Honestly, the way the Vikings and Packers played during the overtime, I think this is a good rule. We could have been stuck in that stadium until Thanksgiving waiting for someone to score an actual touchdown.

This is my sister Kathy and me. Bikini girls we are not. Fortunately, we bundled ourselves well because a sixth thing I learned this weekend is that NFL games can end in a tie. Honestly, the way the Vikings and Packers played during the overtime, I think this is a good rule. We could have been stuck in that stadium until Thanksgiving waiting for someone to score an actual touchdown to end the game.

How to look hot and stay warm at Lambeau

I’m reposting this in honor of today’s game, which is taking place again on the frozen tundra. I’m layering up as we speak. Brrr! Go Pack Go!

Molly B and Me

I would have offered my advice to anyone so clearly befuddled as to how to gear up for a maiden voyage into Lambeau Field.

“I’m not sure I like the way you’re dressed,” I joked as I eyed up the head-to-toe Viking togs of two people weighing their options in front of a Hothands display. “But I’m happy to give you some advice.”

“We’d really appreciate it,” the gentleman said. “We’re from California.”

And there in the sporting goods aisle of Mills Fleet Farm on a game day Saturday afternoon I cheerfully instructed a man and woman I had never met, who turned out to be Mr. and Mrs. Frank Kalil, parents of Viking left tackle  Matt Kalil.

Perhaps I should be embarrassed to learn I had given detailed fashion tips to Miss California 1981, a woman whose mere presence at the 2012 NFL draft caused an Internet sensation. But…

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From a Kennedy archive we didn’t know we owned

Yesterday, during our annual hunt through the garage for the Christmas lights, we made an amazing discovery that, due to its uncanny timing, is still giving me goose bumps.

Folded into an old high school athletic program and tucked on top of a cardboard box lay a yellowed Green Bay Press Gazette very specifically dated November 23, 1963 noon — five months before I was born.

The historic special edition covered President Kennedy’s assassination and we found the paper almost exactly 50 years after it happened.

Freaky, right?

Half a century later, the paper stands as both a testament to that brutal day and a tribute to a team of reporters, editors and photographers, reeling themselves from the awful news, who covered every angle.

Sports reporter Art Daley interviewed the five Texans on the Packer roster, who each expressed a particular horror that the assassination had taken place Dallas. More than 800 University of Wisconsin fans heard the news while riding a train from Madison to Minnesota for a football game that ended up being postponed until Thanksgiving Day.

In a move Commissioner Pete Rozelle calls the biggest regret of his career, NFL games went on as scheduled. “It has been traditional in sports for athletes to play in times of great personal tragedy,” he said, according to my yellowed copy of the Press Gazette. “Football was Mr. Kennedy’s game. He thrived on competition.”

High school basketball games went on as scheduled and were covered accordingly, with Green Bay West edging Preble 60-59 and earning the top story and feature photo.

Wisconsin Governor John Reynolds called for 30 days of mourning and all area schools announced they would be closed on Monday, November 25.

In the weeks leading up to the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, Molly and I watched with fascination the steady stream of documentaries we found on television. We’ve read books and discussed articles we found online. Imagine how astounded we were to discover our very own piece of Kennedy history right in our garage.

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I thought this story about Packer Texans Bill Forester, John Roach, Hank Gremminger, Forrest Gregg and Jerry Nelson offered an interesting perspective.

This is the headline that caught our eye when we moved the paper aside to look for Christmas lights.

This is the headline that caught our eye when we moved the paper aside to look for Christmas lights.

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The front page of the Press Gazette on Saturday, November 23, 1963 at noon. My mom, who was pregnant with me at the time, saved this issue. My Grandpa Fey saved the Cincinnati Enquirer on the same date. I imagine reporters from Dallas, to Manhattan, to Green Bay understood their stories would have a profound and eternal effect on readers everywhere.

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The masthead reads “Saturday, November 23, noon.”

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Local reporters scrambled, covering a national story from every angle — politically, religiously, editorially, socially, and retrospectively.

It was a totally ’80s weekend, Packer fans

I had a little flashback Sunday afternoon, watching my beloved Packers, led by their third quarterback in three games, stumble to their third straight loss.

It was a totally ’80s weekend.

Remember the ’80s?

I do. I used to hop a bus with my friends at Marquette University and ride out to County Stadium to watch Packer home games.

That’s right, Lambeau luxury box dwellers, in the ’80s we sat in a baseball field to watch some Green Bay home games, which looked as awkward as it sounds. Both teams’ benches lined the same side of the field, and fan seats angled out away from the diamond field. First row seats behind home plate in the north end zone stretched farther away from the field than first row seats in the outfield in the south end zone.

We looked out over a sea of blaze orange as frugal Packer backers mostly wore their hunting gear to cold weather games. Very few Packer fans sported the team colors. To augment the limited action on the field, many fans also tucked a soft leather flask under their coat for quick nips.

When County Stadium didn’t sell out, as happened every now and then, Packer fans outside the stadium had to catch the game action on the am radio. Crazy, right?

Long about November bubbler chat centered on the college ranks for savvy Packer fans, who turned their eternally optimistic attention to potential breakout stars in the NFL draft.

The good news for us this week is the ’80s proved to be equally lean for the Vikings, who dominated the NFC throughout the ’70s, though they’ve never won a Super Bowl. Remember the Purple People Eaters?

They were calling for Rolaids by 1982, finished 8-8 in 1983 and a lowly 3-13 in 1984.

A hard and fast rule of fashion states that if you wore it the first time it was in style, you can’t wear it the second.

I like that rule, which has so far kept me out of this season’s stirrup pants and leg warmers.

I’d like to think it applies to football as well.

I sat through the years when our biggest hope as a franchise was to lock in a top pick in the next season’s draft. I know what it’s like when your season ends in December, and your hopes fade in September.

We beat the Vikings 14 times during the ’80s. Here’s hoping we can beat them again on Sunday and begin a quick climb back into 2013.

That's the No. 4 jersey just a year after we bought it. It has taken me 16 years to figure out what Charlie, Katherine, Vinnie and Elaine are spelling out in this picture but last night it dawned on Molly and me. It's KCAP! (or PACK, spelled backwards.) Obviously.

See the little guy in the middle of this post-Super Bowl XXXI celebration? That’s my son Vinnie (with his brother Charlie, sister Katherine and Aunt Elaine.) Vinnie was born in 1992, which means he spent the first 15 years of his life cheering for one quarterback. That’s a luxury we didn’t enjoy in the ’80s, the era of Lynn Dickey, Don Majkowski, Randy Wright, Jim Zorn, Anthony Dilweg, and David Whitehurst, among others.

I found this stencil of county stadium on a football game day at heritagesportsart.com. See how the coveted home plate seats turn out to be some of the worst seats in the stadium for football games?

I found this stencil of County Stadium on a football game day at heritagesportsart.com. See how the coveted home plate seats turn out to be some of the worst seats in the stadium for football games?

Redheads have souls

Molly B and Me

Last week, during downtime in her freshman CA class, Molly engaged in a vigorous defense of her eternal essence.

The instigators of this deep, philosophical debate were Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Molly’s mischievous pal who said, “If your mother’s a ginger, you don’t have a soul.”

South Park references aside, I’m here to defend my copper-haired, freckle-faced brethren.

We have souls, man, and back in the day we had street cred too.

We had whip smart comediennes like Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett; talented authors like Emily Dickinson and James Joyce and resourceful beauties like Tina Louise, the only castaway elegant enough to pack a full wardrobe of sexy evening gowns for a three-hour cruise.

Ask yourself this: in a comic strip full of cuties, who stole Charlie Brown’s heart? That’s right, the Little Red Haired Girl.

Back then redheads had pride. My sister Jenny, for instance, once won…

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The Forgotten Fruit (A post by Molly)

The Kohl of the Rabi and other things we learned from our CSA

We shamefully dissed a perfectly good vegetable earlier this season and we’d like to apologize. Mea Cupla, Kohlrabi, Mea Maxima Culpa.

Fortunately, the Kohlrabi has very thick skin, which, as it turns out, is what led us astray.

Sheer laziness and a ridiculous refusal to step out into the cold led me to discover that well-peeled kohlrabi is actually delicious. Honestly. Our story begins like this:

Our heroine, that’s me, eyes the cold, dead leaves whipping around her yard and vows that she won’t leave the house until morning, which means she needs to assemble dinner from the very odd remnants in her refrigerator. She spends a good chunk of time chopping up CSA leftovers she’d been studiously ignoring all summer – salad turnips, parsnips, leeks and the aforementioned kohlrabi. Tossed with a little pork she found in the freezer and CSA favorites including spinach, broccoli, carrots and garlic, the dish turned out to be, “The best stir fry you’ve ever made,” according to her husband. And that’s saying something because our heroine makes a lot of stir fries!

Here are five things we learned from the Laughing Fox Farm, our Community Supported Agriculture provider:

1)      You have to peel kohlrabi with a paring knife, not a peeler. In addition to its rough exterior, there is a stalky underlayer that should be removed before you eat it. Then it’s just plain tasty, either raw with hummus or a little lemon juice and salt, boiled in soup, or stir fried.

2)      Sweetheart radishes are my new favorite vegetable. I’m a big radish fan and I really loved these beauties. They’re not much to look at on the outside, but slice them open and take a moment to admire their brilliant rosy burst.

3)      You can put a little steamed kale in just about anything and it will be delicious. Kale is our new best friend. We pop it into our soups, pasta dishes, stir fries and salads. Those of us who eat eggs (gross!) even enjoyed kale in omelets.

4)      Fresh basil will always be our favorite herb. We grew it, bought it and brought it home almost every week in our CSA basket. Molly made daily variations of pesto and invented a Caprese Pie. We ate caprese salad frequently during tomato season and made gourmet sandwiches with basil leaves. The smell alone made us smile and, for a while, Molly made tea with basil leaves.

5)      We thought we were investing in our talented young friends when we bought a ½ share in the Laughing Fox CSA. We admired their work ethic and liked the idea of getting a weekly surprise basket of produce grown a couple of miles from our house. The rewards, though, were so much greater. We ate delicious fruits and vegetables well into fall and found ourselves experimenting with food we never would have tasted on our own. If you’re lucky enough to live near a CSA, treat yourself to a share. You’ll be glad you did.

Here I a sampling of our last basket from our CSA share. Isn't it beautiful? We actually took home a lot more, and Molly developed a serious obsession with squash, which she will write about on Friday, but I could only fit a sample of each item in this picture.

Here is a sampling of our last basket from our CSA share. Isn’t it beautiful? We actually took home a lot more, and Molly developed a serious obsession with squash, which she will write about on Friday, but I could only fit a sample of each item in this picture. I should point out the bunch of arugula in the lower right corner, because that is another vegetable we can’t stop eating. We like it in salads and on pizza.

Sweetheart radishes

These are the sweetheart radishes, which are tangy and beautiful. I think they would have made a lovely display on a vegetable tray, but I ate them all.

The Kohl of the Rabi

I made peace with the kohlrabi on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. So, it was more like the 17th hour, but that is not nearly as poetic. I peeled those suckers and they were delicious. Nuff said?

Thirty years of stir fries and this is the favorite. I used a little canola oil to get things started, and finished off with my favorite, House of Tsang Classic Stir Fry Sauce. Really, though, the kohlrabi and the salad turnips that made the difference.

Nearly 30 years of stir fries and this is the favorite. I used a little canola oil to get things started, and finished off with my favorite, House of Tsang Classic Stir Fry Sauce. Really, though, the kohlrabi and the salad turnips made the difference.

Happy Veteran’s Day, NFL Style