Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Door County Fall Colors + Dinner Date at Wickman House

Last weekend I visited Door County in northern Wisconsin for a short getaway with K and baby C, to explore the fall colors. Door County is located on a peninsula in northeastern Wisconsin, surrounded by Green Bay and Lake Michigan. We spend most of our time in the northern half of Door County, with K's family. 

We missed "peak color" by only a few days, so the trees were at 60% color over the weekend. Driving around was beautiful - I couldn't resist a roadside photo or two.

We also visited Newport State Park for a short hike on the Monarch Trail before a rainstorm arrived - baby C enjoyed the quiet trail and testing out his new fall gear.

We also spent time with K's parents at Fall Fest in Sister Bay - this was our first visit to the festival, in its 71st year as an annual event. We loved it - so many things to see {and eat}.

K and I spent a few hours away on Saturday night for a dinner date at one of our favorite restaurants in the area - Wickman House.

Wickman House is a farm-to-table "New American" restaurant that focuses on local farms and seasonal ingredients. The restaurant is located inside a beautiful three-story house, on more than four acres of land. The house was built by the Wickman family in 1872, and previously held an inn, a B&B and another restaurant called T Ashwells. Wickman House opened in 2012.

If you visit Door County, I highly recommend making a reservation at Wickman House or arriving when they open for the evening {5 pm}. Even though we had to wait to be seated, my favorite part of the meal was starting with a glass of wine in the outdoor {heated} gazebo bar.

All of the food I have tried at Wickman House is delicious and beautifully presented. We started with the deviled eggs on special that night - with a light amount of cheddar added to the filling. So good.

K ordered the pork chop and I had the salmon special, which was served over grits and garnished with blistered shishito peppers. Shishito peppers are incredible and extremely mild! I need to try making these peppers at home. Adding them to a salmon dish resulted in quite an interested flavor combination.

We finished our dinner by sharing a slice of flourless chocolate cake - it was super rich and chocolatey and I didn't need it, but the cake was worth every bite. Wickman House is located at 11976 Mink River Road, Ellison Bay, WI.

More posts about Door County:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Chai Pumpkin Muffins for a Friend in Need + ALS Awareness

This recipe for Chai Pumpkin Muffins is a warm, spicy breakfast idea for fall. Adding chai spice and pumpkin pie spice is a great flavor combination. These muffins are perfect to warm up your home on a chilly day or take to a friend or family member in need.

I am partnering with Linqia on a charity program for today's post, to raise awareness about ALS {amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's Disease}. This charity campaign benefits the ALS Therapy Development Institute. Before I share more information about this disease, I have a fall-inspired muffin recipe to tell you about that's comforting, will make your house smell wonderful and is perfect to take to a friend or family member in need.

When I started thinking about how to share information about ALS for this post, the first thing that came to mind was I need to bake something. While I don't personally know anyone that suffers from the disease ALS, anytime I think of a friend or family member that is suffering, I want to do something to provide extra comfort.

Comfort can be in the form of a phone call, visit, or small gift to provide a bit of extra cheer. These fall-inspired muffins would be welcomed in a care basket. I think these muffins are best enjoyed warm and topped with nut butter.

I'm on a chai-pumpkin baking kick this year, as I have made this batch of muffins multiple times as well as this recipe for Pumpkin Chai Slow Cooker Oats.

Before I get to the muffin recipe, I want to share more information about ALS.

What is ALS?
ALS is a disease that impacts the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, specifically those that control voluntary muscle movement. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. {source}. Doctors estimate that 5-10% of ALS cases are caused by a gene mutation, but the rest do not have a known cause {source}. The famous physicist Steven Hawking has ALS.

Can ALS be treated?
There are currently two treatment drugs that can extend life expectancy by a few months - but the ALS Therapy Development Institute is working on a promising treatment, AT-1501. Learn more about AT-1501 here.

How can you help? 
Take action! The ALS Therapy Development Institute is a non-profit, biotech organization that is dedicated to finding a cure for ALS. Make a donation online by clicking here.

On to the muffin recipe. I used a pre-made chai spice, but this DIY Chai Spice Mix from Fit Foodie Finds also looks delicious.

Chai Pumpkin Muffins
Yields: 12 muffins

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white flour wheat flour
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup sugar or maple syrup
2 Tablespoons unsweetened almond butter
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon chai spice
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional Chai Pumpkin Spice Sugar:
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon chai spice
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Mix wet ingredients in a food processor or mixer - bananas, eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, almond butter and vanilla extract.
*Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl - flour, sugar, chai spice, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
*Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined.
*Add batter to a muffin tin, with each muffin tin 3/4 full.
*Add ~1/2 teaspoon Chai Pumpkin Spice Sugar on top of each muffin.
*Bake for 25 minutes.

Looking for more recipes using chai spice? Try my: