“She longed to work again in a productive and serious environment, surrounded by productive and serious people.  She longed for peers.  She longed for family: sharp, inquiring, challenging, and intelligent.”

 — Elizabeth Gilbert:  The Signature of All Things 

Sjölind’s Chocolate House – Mount Horeb, Wisconsin #Sjolinds

sjolinds_0268 blog

Going to Sjölind’s Chocolate House is such a treat!  

My mom bought some chocolate treats for myself, my husband and son.  I had been coveting their peanut butter cup, and mom bought it for me!  Look at that delectable morsel!  I ate it in two days, in case you were wondering.

Their caffeine drinks are excellent.  So are their sandwiches.  Our favorite is the muffaletta. Their quiche is amazing and so are their baked goods.

They have a huge collection of chocolate from around the world, and make chocolate treats themselves.  I’m buying their homemade malt balls next.

They make and bake much of the goodies sold at Sjölind’s.  Tracy Thompson, the master baker and chef of Sjölind’s can do no wrong!


Sjölinds Chocolate House 

219 East Main Street

Mount Horeb, WI 53572

(608) 437-0233

Freddy Valentine’s Public House in Spring Green, Wisconsin

valentine_0329 blog

My husband and son discovered Freddy Valentine’s Public House (restaurant) while they were walking around in the lovely town of Spring Green, Wisconsin.  They had already eaten dinner somewhere else, but my son, mom and I came back a few days later to eat there.

valentines_0314 blog

Freddy Valentine’s is in the 1915 Spring Green State Bank Building.  I love the building – it’s beautiful on the outside and inside.

valentines_0327 blog

As you can learn by reading their website, the Neo-Classical Revival sculpture pieces on the front of the building look like marble, but they are really Terra Cotta.

valentines_0320 blog

The owners David and Jeaneane Owen have done such an incredible job decorating the restaurant while preserving and honoring the bank’s history.  I personally love being in the restaurant because it reminds me of Manhattan.  Sophisticated and comfortable.

valentines_0322 blog

I am not an architectural writer…but they repurposed many parts of the bank which adds charm.

valentines_0323 blog
The windows are incredible.
Another dining area.
Another dining area.

valentines_0318 blog

We ate in this lovely room.  We arrived before the restaurant filled up, and had the owner, David, all to ourselves!

I could see eating a leisurely meal at Freddy Valentine’s, drinking a lot of rich red wine or a martini, and passing out sleeping at the nearby House on the Rock Resort.

But what about the food?  We loved it all.

My mom was ready to eat her black bean burger but I made her stop so I could take a photo.
My mom was ready to eat her black bean burger but I made her stop so I could take a photo.
I ate the BBQ brisket sandwich. Scrumptious!
I ate the BBQ brisket sandwich.  Scrumptious!
My son ate every iota of the corned beef Reuben sandwich.
My son ate every iota of the corned beef Reuben sandwich.  Especially love the marbled rye bread.

Thank you for creating this restaurant, David and Jeaneane.  We will return many more times.


Freddie Valentine’s Public House

134 W Jefferson St

Spring Green, WI  53588

Phone: (608) 588-0220


Luna Moth #lunamoth

moth_0204 blog

The Luna Moth is one of the largest moths in North America.

Although rarely seen due to their very brief (1 week) adult lives, Luna Moths are considered common.

The adults do not eat or have mouths.

They emerge as adults solely to mate, and as such, only live approximately one week.

They are more commonly seen at night.

My son and I came home late one night to find this Luna on our kitchen window screen. It was beautiful!

Dry-Spiced Chicken and Figs #figs #chicken

This dish is so delicious.  The tender, lightly spiced chicken thighs and the subtle flavor of the figs make this a regular meal for our family.

thighs_0232 blog
See the figs on top? Lots of healthy ingredients.

Dry-Spiced Chicken and Figs

Adapted from The Feed Zone Cookbook by Biju Thomas & Allen Lim


1/2 cup rice or wheat flour
Dry Spice Rub (see below)
2 pounds chicken thighs, cut into large bite-size pieces
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1/3 – 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 red onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped or food processed
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 dried figs, cut into quarters
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, coriander


  1. In a bowl, place flour and spice rub.  Add chicken and stir contents to coat all surfaces.
  2. Pour enough oil into a large, heavy pot to coat the bottom.  Turn heat to high.
  3. Sear the chicken pieces in the hot oil, turning so that both sides are golden brown.  Remove from pot and set aside.  The chicken is not cooked yet!
  4. Pour 2 cups stock and vinegar into the pot and cook off bits of flour from the bottom.  Return the chicken to the pot, then add onions, carrots, garlic, figs, cilantro and salt.
  5. Cover and let simmer on stove top over medium heat until chicken is tender, about 30-40 minutes.
  6. Serve on top of rice or pasta.


Fall In Love

“You may feel stuck – trapped in a bad relationship, grieving over a divorce, miserably and interminably single – but it is in your power, and your best health interest, to choose joy.  Okay, so you can’t find romance.  Or your soul mate doesn’t feel the same way about you.  But you can put yourself in the path of happiness.  You can fall in love with life.”  – Lesley Dorman