Friday, May 13, 2016

Mooyah Burgers

Brookfield Square has recently added five new spaces to the southeast end of the mall. Three of these spaces became restaurants and I have had the opportunity to try all three already. Jason's Deli is like a Panera but add a salad bar. I will write more about this one another day. Blackfinn AmeriPub is a sportsbar-style restaurant with great unique eats and I will write about this one too in another post. Today I am focusing on Mooyah.

I first found out about this franchise last year when I heard it was being added to the mall. I was curious what it was going to served but figured meat of some sort. Mooyah is a burger and shake quick-serve restaurant. You order at a counter and your meal is made just for you. It is either brought to you or they call your name when it's ready. 

My fiance and I had a wedding appointment in Brookfield and I suggested we check out Mooyah after. He was completely on board. 

Mooyah is not a large place, with seating for about 30. We both chose the regular burger with cheese and one of the things I like the most is that the majority of the toppings are free to add to the burger. Only cheese, bacon, and avocado is an additional charge. I added Swiss cheese, sauteed mushrooms, and grilled onions on a white bun. My fiance ordered American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. I asked for a side of Mooyah sauce on the side because you have to see what's so special about their own sauce--it's a creamy thousand island sauce. We also ordered a medium fry because it serves 1-2 people.

We grabbed a table while waiting for our order to be ready and took in the atmosphere. The place is very kid-friendly with coloring sheets and crayons to entertain the littles while there. The artwork is then posted up near the menu. They also have a "Moodle Doodle" chalkboard wall to draw on. 

Our food came out quickly and was served to us on metal trays. I was impressed by the size of the burgers--though flat, mine was bigger than the bun and the bun was pretty big.  They loaded on the mushrooms and onions for me. 

I took a bite and it was impressed. I would compare it to a Butterburger or Kopp's burger but it did have it's own flavor. we both enjoyed the burgers. 

The fries are freshly cut and fried and I was very glad I ordered the Mooyah sauce--we used that as our dip for the fries. The sauce was great - creamy and tangy. And the medium order of fries was perfect for the two of us to share. 

We both said that we would come back again and probably bring the little ladies with us. I think they would enjoy coloring and then seeing their artwork on display! And they would also like the food.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Working Out and Refueling

As you may or may not know, I was training for a half marathon earlier this year. I fell off the training plan with my busy lifestyle and ended up just doing the 5k instead. However, I still want to run a half marathon before my 35th birthday, so that gives me......140ish days to get it done.

Training for a half marathon is quite complex and requires dedication, proper nutrition, and a variety of workouts. It's not advised to just run to prep for a half marathon. Your body will be going through a lot during those 13.1 miles, so you need to make sure you prepare it properly. And that is a whole body experience.

While I currently haven't started training for the half marathon, I do run and walk when I have time to stay active. Two years ago, I worked really hard during the summer months and lost weight and gained muscle. Unfortunately I gained some of that back and more importantly I lost the muscle. So it's time to get back to it.

Recently Nuts.com reached out to me to find out how I incorporate nuts into my workout recovery. It really defeats the purpose of a quality workout to gorge on not-so-healthy options when refueling. You won't get the progress you want and will most likely feel sluggish. Check out this great chart on post-workout snacks.

Here's my method:




Post-run, I make sure that I provide my body the fuel it needs to recover properly--a good mix of carbohydrates and protein. Sometimes I have a vanilla protein shake and other times I eat some nuts or trail mix....depending on my mood. And of course, I give my body plenty of water.

All natural almonds are one of my favorite snacks of all time. They are great when I am in need of a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack and keep me from snacking on the junk food snacks that I typically go for. A handful provides a nice snack that is lower in calories and high in protein. Here are some other ideas of great times to eat nuts instead of junk food.

Sometimes I find it hard to find recipes that I feel have adequate amounts of protein for recovery. Nuts.com offers up some great recipes to help you pack your diet with protein in a healthy way.

So while I'm running and enjoying myself this summer in the amazing outdoors of Wisconsin, you betcha I will have some trail mix or almonds on my for recovery! And I know where to go if I happen to run out of them--Nuts.com - Their website has just about everything you can think of.

So please send those kind words of encouragement my way to help me stay on track this time and maybe you will see me out and about running and training this summer!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Mother's Day & Gifts

Mother's Day is right around the corner. I am not one to buy my mom the typical run of the mill gifts and always look for ways to get my mom something unique but that is totally her to show her how much I care.

I was emailed by Uncommon Goods recently and asked if I wanted to partner with them for a post. After a quick gander through their site, I saw many great gift ideas for my mom as well as for anyone when you are looking for that great gift that you won't find anywhere else.

Then I spent time learning the story behind the company. Back in 1999, the founder visited a craft show and was captivated by the unique handmade goods and the talented people behind the art. This gave him the idea of an online marketplace to help these amazing goods get in front of more people.

Uncommongoods offers unique handmade goods and shares the stories behind the artists. I had a hard time slimming down what to get my mom for Mother's Day as there are just so many options. Click here to see some of the great things they have available for mothers.  There are so many things that fit her taste and called out to me.
Uncommongoods.com Mother's Day Ideas

While searching for those goods, I put a few things down in my memory for future gifts when it gets closer to my friends' birthdays.

I found just the right gifts from some suggested links on their page for Mother's Day.  Though I can't share what they are just yet (gotta keep it a surprise from my mom who is an avid reader of my blog), I do plan to share after Mother's Day.

If you are looking for just the right gift, I urge you to consider a gift from Uncommongoods. I know there is something for everyone on the site.



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Qdoba Loaded Tortilla Soup

I don't often get many packages on my front porch, but when I do, they are boxes full of awesome from Qdoba.

One of my fiance's little ladies brought in a large box from the front stoop and I was baffled as to what could be inside. To my very happy surprise, it was a promo box from Qdoba all about their new Loaded Tortilla Soup. The box contained a flyer, jump drive, canteen, hat, and Qdoba card loaded with two soups and drinks.

My guy found a perfectly chilly night to go try this out. I am always a fan of deep fried tortilla taco shells and it seems that every place has their own way of doing it.

Basically you build this just like any other item on their menu and customize it with what ingredients you want inside. The only difference is the broth that they add to all your ingredients.
My guy and I had our made identically with chicken and all sorts of yummy veggies, etc added.
Of course top it with cheese and sour cream and we were ready to enjoy.
Because the shells are holding liquid, I would recommend this is something you eat right away. I started by breaking off pieces of the shell and scooping up some of the thicker soup with it. It definitely had a kick, but I could manage.
I really didn't think at first that there was much food in the shell, but by the time I made it half way through, I was feeling quite full. It was very delicious and I would order it again but with more sour cream for my sensitive buds!
I really enjoy that Qdoba is branching out in many different directions from their original burrito menu. Their chips and cheese is still my fave in town and you can see me once every other week leaving Qdoba with a three cheese nachos on my lunch. 

If you don't want soup, definitely try the nachos or the girls' favorite, the quesadilla. And the chips, you must get their chips. The lime salt blend on them makes them irresistible for me.

However, with our lack of "late Spring temps" lately, this soup would be a perfect warm up meal to get you thinking of summer heat!  Or have it for Cinco de Mayo next week!

Thank you Qdoba for supplying me with this opportunity to learn more about your latest menu creation and be able to try it. I can't wait to see what you have in store next!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Zymbiotics for your health




I have known about Zymbiotics for about a year -- first hearing about the company from my friends in the #mkefoodies group. After reading about it, I was a bit intrigued. Then I saw the products at Good Harvest Market and my interest peaked even more. I still wasn't 100% sure what it was, but I knew the products were supposed to be good for you.

I recently reached out to the owner Jeff after he introduced himself to the Wisconsin Whisk group that I am a member. I asked him more about his products, and he suggested that we meet up so that I could try them and ask anything that I wanted to know about them.

Here's a bit about the company from the website: "Zymbiotics are fine naturally fermented foods including Jeff’s Zauerkraut, Jeff’s Ginger Zarrots, Jeff Zimchi, and Jeff’s Vegan Zimchi.  These prebiotic and probiotic ferments are delicious and nutritious. We strive to use locally sourced produce for our products to reduce the environmental impact wherever possible.  Educating our community  on the health benefits of fermentation is a fundamental part of our mission."

Jeff and I met at Good Harvest Market and sat down in the cafe area. Did you know that Good Harvest Market has a full cafe, smoothie bar, and beer on tap? You can enjoy these treats while shopping or take a meal home. There is even a loft area above the cafe to get a better view of the store while you dine.

Jeff told me a bit about his products, Zymbiotics. The product are kept in the cooler case because they aren't pasteurized and are fresh. The products will last over a year opened or unopened if kept refrigerated. On your first time opening them, its recommended to open them over the sink--the CO2 builds up and could cause a little spill.

The company recommends at least two tablespoons of the products a day for maximum results. Here are more of the benefits of these products.

Jeff's Zauerkraut
Zymbiotics Zauerkraut
I tried the Zauerkraut first - a bright, beautiful purple color. It was delicious and puts the kraut at Miller Park and the green can(Franks?) to shame. I want to only have this with my brats and hot dogs in the future. However, I was told to not get it over 104 degrees or it will lose the good bacteria and health benefits.
Jeff's Ginger Zarrots
Zymbiotics Ginger Zarrots
Next I tried the Ginger Zarrots. I was a little hesitant as I didn't believe these flavors would go together at all. I was very pleasantly surprised - this was a great combination. I could eat this as a between-meal snack for sure. Or have them with a nice grilled chicken breast. Two tablespoons of this daily will be no problem. And there are some great recipes for this product on their website.

Jeff's Zimchi
Zymbiotics Zimchi
Next up was the Zimchi - As someone that has never had Kimchi, I wasn't sure what to expect except Asian flavors. It has beautiful color and a great variety of products in it. There is a kick of spice, but if I had some rice with dinner, it would be just fine for my palette. I didn't try the Vegan Zimchi, but I was told the flavor is very similar, just doesn't have the fish sauce in it.

Jeff was nice enough to send me home with the Zauerkraut, Ginger Zarrots, and Zimchi. I have had Ginger Zarrots a few times and can't wait to make a few of the recipes from the website. Stay tuned for posts on that.

Jeff's wife has her masters in nutrition and culinary arts and she oversees the recipes to make sure they are healthy and that the prebiotic and probiotic dignity of the products are in tact.

Zymbiotics can be found at Good Harvest Market, Woodman's, Albrechts Sentry, B&K  Sentry, and the Sendik's on Capitol in Brookfield. The local food stores have welcomed his products and really supported his mission. I love seeing local work together.

I recommend you try these products for improved digestion and quality bacteria in your gut. In just a couple weeks, you will notice a change. Eating fermented foods increases the vitamin content and helps us absorb the vitamins.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Wine Tastings at Spring City Wine House

I have now attended two wine tastings at Spring City Wine House. I have to say that they are very well run and provide you enough knowledge on the wines in addition to yummy bites to eat and time to talk with others in the class about the wines.

Here's a bit of a breakdown on how the classes are run. Three tables are set up in the back area of Spring City Wine House. This is an area that can be reserved for card nights, book clubs, and private parties--or it can be a quieter area to sit in the shop.

The first wine tasting we attended was all on Red Blend wines. The tasting was run by a wine distributor that Spring City brought in. I knew him from my former Fox Run Sentry Liquor days. Tom, Spring City's owner, was also around and helped describe the foods that came out throughout the tasting as well as provide some extra insight on the wines.




In front of each seat is four wine glasses with the first four wines in them, a glass for water, and a sheet describing the wines with places to take notes. On each table is a charcuterie plate to start and carafe of water to help clear our palettes between wines.

The wines are described one at a time in order for the participants to smell, taste, and swirl and then discuss what they like or didn't like about it. Two small bites made by staff at Spring House are provided for the first four wines and then two more for the last four wines. These bites are well thought out to pair well with the wines.

Each class lasts a little over an hour and after the class, the bottles are available to purchase after, while supplies last. I do believe that the favorites might also be spotted in rotation in the machines at Spring City.

I really enjoy these classes, and not just because I really enjoy wine. You have the opportunity to learn something new, meet new people, try new foods, and overall have a great time. I recommend that you check out their events page or follow them on Facebook to see when the classes are held. And they do tend to fill up quickly so strike while the iron is hot and sign up!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Tomato, Basil, and Brie Pasta

As part of the Wisconsin Whisk group, I willingly participate in the "All Whisked Up" blog challenge. How this works is that I am sent another Wisconsin Whisk member's blog, spend a little time getting to know them and their style and select a recipe to recreate. You can see my previous challenges here and here.


For February, I was provided the Wisconsin From Scratch blog. Sarah is actually one of the founders of Wisconsin Whisk and I have tried a few of her recipes before. She focuses on using fresh, local ingredients in her recipe creations and she also loves the science behind the food, being an engineer. In her more recent posts, she made many Asian inspired dishes. They look great and I hope to make some of them in the future.

But being an absolute pasta fanatic, I selected Tomato, Basil & Brie Pasta as my recipe to recreate. I love all of these ingredients but have never tried Brie in a dinner. My main experience with the creamy cheese is a Brie en Croute that my sister-in-law makes for holidays.

The recipe seemed simple to prepare, which is perfect for my busy schedule lately. Though it was easy to put together, I knew it was going to have great flavor. I chopped up the basil and tomatoes and got those marinating.


The toughest part of this entire recipe is removing the rind from the cheese. I didn't want to lose too much of the cheese so I had to be careful to slice thin. And then just chop it up and add it to the tomato mixture.

I popped a bottle of Rare Red to enjoy with this meal and took a sip or two while the noodles boiled. It was really good for an under $10 bottle of a red blend.

I purchased a loaf of asiago foccacia bread and warmed that up in the oven to serve with the dish. It smelled heavenly when I pulled it out of the oven.


Once the noodles were done, I added the tomato mixture and stirred until the brie was melted by the heat of the noodles. I realized I should have chopped the cheese a little smaller as it took some time to melt, but soon enough it became nice and creamy.

I served up a plate for both myself and my fiance and we sat down to enjoy. Though the cheese flavor was light at first, the tomatoes slightly blistered in the heat and brought great flavor. The basil added a freshness that I long for in winter. I can't wait to either grow my own plants this summer or pick up fresh ones from the farmers market and make this again. It will be even better!
This will definitely go on my "to cook again" list - it was even better as leftovers when the flavors had a little longer to meld. I didn't realize it at the time, but I did purchase light brie cheese--it was all they had at the store. I'm not sure if that affected the flavor, but it can only get better with full fat brie, right?
Wisconsin From Scratch has provided me another successful meal and I can't wait to try more of her recipes soon.