Poll: What Do You Want To Learn?

Next month, we’re going back to school! Yes I’m going to culinary school, but you might be going to gardening school, getting your masters degree, or finding your place in your child’s PTA. I’m all about any reason to buy new notebooks and pens!

Even without a formal plan, I’m a big believer in lifelong learning. (Either that, or I buy certifications like other women buy purses… I seem to get a new one every six months.) This September, I’m going to give you a lesson a day. Yes, for the low, low price of ahem, nothing, I’ll tell you all you need to know about what I know each day for 30 days straight.

So what can I teach you?*

Here’s a quick poll to help me plan. Please fill it out and help me narrow down the options.

(If the poll isn’t loading, please click on the picture. No, Advanced Lessons in WordPress won’t be on my curriculum vitae quite yet…)

What do I teach you next poll?

online poll by Opinion Stage


If I didn’t touch on the lesson you’d like to learn and/or if you have specifics, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

As an added bonus, I might even create some youtube videos. Eek. Guess I better learn stage makeup and video production over the weekend, huh?

* I’m dumping all my knowledge here on the blog in September, but I hope y’all don’t think I’m a know-it-all because I sure don’t. As any good professor says at the start of class, I want this to be a discussion, not a lecture. If you disagree or have something to add, please always feel free to share. Let’s learn from each other!

Photos of Eggroll – Month Six

Hi friends! Eggroll here. Mom took a bunch of pictures during the month when we were out and about doing interesting things. You may have seen them on Instagram or Facebook. When she was getting ready to put this post together, she realized all the pictures came from a mini photoshoot she did one night after dad came home from work. That’s OK. I think we still both look awesome.

We’re finally getting a professional to take some pictures in a couple of weeks, so mom needed to test out how I do after 5pm. That’s become a dicey time for me depending on how I napped and ate that day, but I did pretty good. Having Noah dance around sure helps to make me smile.

My Aunt Robyn took some pictures of me back in May, but I was too grumpy to get many good ones. Here’s hoping the next guy has better luck. But that will be for month seven. For now, without further ado – here’s me at six months (and two days… I was busy at a wedding on the actual day. I’ve got a full dance card, what can I say?!)

[Read more...]

This Food Nerd Is Going Back To School

It’s time. Yes, it’s time for my next food related challenge. This clean eating thing has been eye opening to say the least, but I am excited to add some things back into my diet. Actually, the clean eating challenge taught me how to ADD more variety to my shopping cart vs. take away. I now know ways to enjoy lentils, whole wheat pastry flour, and beet greens. Also, I learned to love maple syrup as a sweetener for some baked goods. I’ll keep hard-boiled eggs, Angelic Bakehouse breads, and homemade salad dressing in the fridge, but will probably let the stevia products go. Risotto, white rice, and the occasional chocolate cake made with white flour and granulated sugar will be back in my repitoure, but I’ll try to keep them all to a minimum. Or at least surround them with greens and beans. I didn’t reach my goal, but did lose weight throughout the summer. Just a few more pounds to go, but a lot has been learned. I’ll take it!

Braise Culinary SchoolBut anyway, back to today’s topic, my next challenge. You guys, I’m SOOOO excited for fall this year. I always like that back to school feeling, but this year I’m going back to culinary school!! No, I’m not investing in yet another degree, but I am jumping into a three-month long program at Braise Culinary School here in Milwaukee.

Semester At Braise Cooking School

This hands-on ten-week course covers the fundamentals of cooking and baking as well as menu planning and wine pairing. Each student will receive a culinary textbook, chef coat and apron as well as the option to purchase a basic knife kit from Fein Brothers. The class will culminate in a graduation dinner where we will create a four course meal with the chefs of Braise for our friends and family. I get two tickets to the event on Sunday, November 16th. Of course Randy gets first dibs, but who else wants to be there? Talk about an awesome final exam!

Cooking School at Braise

I took two cooking classes as part of my hospitality management degree at USC. All I remember from those classes is how to make goat cheese grits (fantastic) and how chicken nuggets are made (disgusting). I was such a goober that I cooked enough turkeys for my whole sorority the year I took the first cooking class. I mean, how often do you have a wall of six ovens at your disposal at Thanksgiving time? (Still, what was I thinking?! Food nerd alert!)

As happens with all college courses, most of what was learned there is long gone from my noggin. I can’t wait to learn from Braise’s owner, Dave Swanson and pastry chef, Molly Sullivan. Dave was trained at some of the best culinary schools around, including Le Cordon Bleu in Paris before working at infamous restaurants all around the country. After time at well known restaurants like the Commander’s Palace in New Orleans and Sanford’s here in Milwaukee, Dave opened a RSA (restaurant supported agriculture) program, a cooking school, and now Braise restaurant, one of the area’s best, all of which celebrate local ingredients.

Braise Restaurant in Milwaukee

I pretty much want to be Molly when I grow up, never mind that she’s younger than me. She did her culinary degree specifically in baking and pastry and has worked all over the west coast and Midwest. In addition to doing detailed pastry work for Braise (and managing their cooking school), Molly has a side business, Miss Molly’s Pastries, doing desserts for events big and small. She too focuses on local ingredients and from scratch recipes. I mean, seriously girl… This life sounds amazing!

Culinary School in Milwaukee

The semester starts with basics like knife skills and sauce making and get to more intricate things like pasta, breads, and (of course) pastry. For as much as I love to play in the kitchen, my skills could really use some improvements. I can’t dice an onion into uniform pieces to save my life and the few times I’ve tried to make my own pie crust, it has left me with dry mouth and a need to purchase the grocery store’s version. The Normandy Beef Stroganoff I mentioned yesterday? Yeh, that would have been much better had I known how to cook a flank steak without charring the outside before the inside stops mooing. Oops. This class should help all that.

Fall 2014 Culinary School Oven

Braise’s mission is to reconnect people with their food through teaching and advancing community-based food issues, aiming to work beyond sourcing local foods by advocating larger sustainable principles, so I suspect we will also get some life lessons, too. Dave’s motto is “reconnecting people with their food.” I can get on board with that philosophy.

Class meets every Wednesday from September 10th through November 5th from 6 – 9 pm with four optional Saturday labs going even further in-depth on specific topics. Yah for grown-up activities and education!

Milwaukee Cooking School Classroom

I’ll give you a weekly updates about the class here on the blog if you’d like to play along at home, but I’d love to have you join me. There are still a few spots left, but you need to act fast. To register, just follow this link. Tell them I sent you and maybe we can share an oven. I’ll supply the turkey.

Now excuse me while I go geek out on school supplies. Yah!

*Braise Culinary School is sponsoring my attendance through a scholarship in exchange for pictures and social media marketing. All trade secrets are theirs, but the opinions expressed in these posts are my own.*