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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Foodie Road Trip in Wisconsin

It wasn't a planned foodie road trip but rather a trip for visiting the kids in Wisconsin. That didn't stop me from making a list of what I would like to pick up because I knew we would be going shopping on the Saturday. I managed to buy some rather interesting food items some of which will be used for holiday gift giving and entertaining so be sure to check back over the next few days to see how I used them.

Cake & Bake

One of our first stops was Cake & Bake in Germantown, Wisconsin. I love shopping in these types of stores mostly for ideas! I also like buying a few items to make something different. I didn't buy a lot there coming out with a Santa candy mold, three cookie cutters, Christmas jimmies, Dora the Explorer® party favours and mint flavoured chocolate waffers.

What I really like about these kinds of stores is being able to get a large variety of molds and cookie cutters for a very low price. Quite often cookie cutters are priced at 99¢ or less. Candy molds are more expensive at $1.99 and more. There is just so much to see! I like watch the cake decorating classes in session and it always smells so good in cake and baking stores.

World Market

I discovered WorldMarket® a few years ago on the food network. This is a chain store that I find quite amazing! The closest one to us is a fair drive so I only get to shop there two or three times a year but they also sell online so I might try that sometime. The closest WorldMarket® to the kids is only about a 15 minute drive so of course we had to stop.

This store has just about everything kitchen and entertaining related from furniture to dinnerware to kitchenware and of course the part I like the most foods from all over the world. There is a large wine and beer section as well. Each of the food aisles is divided into the country of origin for easy shopping. Spice blends and herbs are incredibly inexpensive at WorldMarket®. The smaller 7 g (.25 oz) bulk packages are 99¢ and the 85 g (3 oz) packages are $1.99. They also carry specific spice blends used in regional cooking as well as regional sauces.

I didn't buy a lot this trip and much of it will be used during the holidays. My purchases included: dobla dark Belgian chocolate dessert shells, Albatros® mini toasts, certified organic Japanese secha green and tropical roast mate teas, basil oil, Azienda 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil, Bronco Bob's roasted mango chipotle sauce, Argentine steak rub, Ghirardelli intense dark premium assortment chocolates, Hengstenberg Bavarian style sweet mustard, curry powder, Herbs de Provence, lavender and cinnamon sticks.

Jelly Belly®

I don't keep a lot of candy in the house mainly because no one eats it. What candy we do have in the house tends to be homemade in small batches usually for entertaining purposes. The commercial candies I'm partial to are Maynards wine gums, sour suckers and black licorice while my husband likes an occasional chocolate bar and jelly beans.

The kids gave us a Jelly Belly® dispenser and a 2 lb bag of the gourmet jelly beans. Now this is just a really cute gift! You have to put a quarter in it then twist to get out 5 jelly beans. It is going to be a huge hit with the grandbabies and for entertaining matching nicely with my husband's circa 1973 jukebox (picture here).

Cheese & Butter

Each region of the countries we travel have must bring home foods. Wisconsin says dairy mainly cheeses. Not only are they good quality cheeses they are fresh and inexpensive. I gave a bad rap to cheese sticks (strings) in one Frugal Kitchens 101 post. I should have clarified that I am against individually wrapped cheese sticks not the bulk cheese sticks that some cheese factories like Cedar Valley make available. These would be a frugal, environmentally friendly substitution to the individually wrapped cheese sticks and they taste so much better! They are quite large so I would pull them in half for children. Our other dairy purchases included: 3 lb butter, mozzarella cheese, Swiss cheese, brick cheese and medium cheddar cheese.

Dinner

Saturday morning before heading out shopping we enjoyed a lovely bacon and eggs breakfast. One of the kids cut up beef tenderloin then poured over a homemade marinade. We left the house just after lunch and didn't finish shopping until close to 6 pm arriving back at the house about a half hour later. It would have been so very tempting to stop somewhere to eat out. We were exhausted! Instead of sitting in a restaurant making the night longer we were able to go back to the kid's house, change into comfortable clothes and wrap presents while dinner was cooking.

The beef slices were broiled to perfection forming a lovely, rich and flavourful beef au jour. Sides were mixed vegetables and mashed potatoes with sour cream and cream cheese.


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