Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Gift of a New Year: Making a Vow to the MORE

We're not generally makers of New Year’s resolutions.  But this year, we've decided to make at least one.

In 2012, we make a vow to the "More".
And yes, Rebecca, more cowbell.

Because -- in this world of cynicism and anxiety-- where everyone is fighting for their own piece of the pie, and so very few people actually bother to stop and simply give a shit... the fact is, all anyone really wants is a little bit of comfort food and someone to share it with.

And so, we're going to work on giving you that in 2012.

And as for you, our dear readers and compadres, we wish all of the following --
And may 2012 be filled with Good Food, Great Friends, and MUCH to be thankful for!

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Monday, December 26, 2011

New Year Apron Giveaway

Caramel Apple Pie Apron - A crisp bib of caramel-
colored cotton with a gathered skirt descending
from a contrasting tie-waist and pleated detailing
at the bust will be sure to keep your most prized 

silks protected from your favorite sauces.
If you've been reading Burp! for a while, you may remember being virtually introduced to my grandmother, Gladys, back in March of 2010 when I wrote about the cake we made for her 90th birthday party.

Grandma passed away this year -- the Sunday before Christmas -- peacefully, and just the way that she would have wanted.

Although it's been difficult, there is much to celebrate in the life of this woman who lived for almost a century. She lived to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary, and 91 birthdays.  And she left behind myriad children and grandchildren who were inspired and encouraged by her life of faith and strength.

One of the things I'll always remember about my grandmother is that she never wore pants.  In fact, I can think of exactly one occasion when she put on a pair of "trousers" (as she called them) to do some particularly strenuous yard work.

Grandma was always decked out in a blouse and skirt, and almost every piece of her clothing was hand-made.  She acted as her own tailor, so every piece of her clothing fit her to a "t".

Although my grandmother wasn't a particularly adventurous cook, she was a big fan of the waist-apron, which protected her skirts from greasy or floury hands & accidental spills.  Her style was fairly conservative, so most of her aprons were plain and made to go with everything.

I'm a little different from Grandma in that way. I have a major "thing" for cute aprons... and I always feel that the more colorful they are, the better. If I had more space, and ignored my sense of frugality, I would probably own 50 of them.

This year, I was privileged to receive a Caramel Apple Apron like the one pictured above, from Shabby  The apron is just as cute as you would expect, with designer details that make it not only a practical kitchen item, but also an adorable fashion statement. The apron is well constructed, made with sturdy cotton fabric and cute retro detailing, including somewhat unusual cotton rope ties (rather than fabric) at both the neck and waist.  I would have been happy to find a utility pocket or two in the front of the apron, which would have increased the apron's utility; but overall it's a nifty little addition to my collection. And maybe, just maybe, I carry a little piece of my grandmother with me when I'm wearing my apron in the kitchen.

In honor of Gladys, who would have been 92 years old this spring, I'm pleased to offer one lucky reader a Shabby Apple Caramel Apple apron. This giveaway is a big THANK YOU to all of our loyal readers for being with us in 2011, reading and commenting, and reminding us of what's really important.

So, try your hand at winning a Caramel Apple apron.  And usher in all that delicious cooking for 2012 with style.
For your chance to win a Shabby Apple Caramel Apple Apron like the one pictured (a $40 value), please read the instructions below. Be sure to leave a comment for each entry (and leave your email address if you don't have it listed on your blog/contact info).   Please note that this contest is limited to residents of the United States. Contest ends 12/31/11 at NOON (CST).

Mandatory entry 
(must be completed or no other entries will count):   
Extra entries – please leave a comment for each additional entry, letting us know you completed it
  • Visit, take a look at the products on their site and let us know which one is your favorite. 
  • Use the following text to tweet about this giveaway (please leave a link to your tweet in the comments for credit):  
    • Shabby Apple Apron giveaway - #win @Burp_blog:  Ends 12/31 #giveaway
NOTE:  The lucky winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Facebook on January 2, 2012 .  The winner will be emailed separately to arrange for mailing of the prize pack.

Full Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by  We were sent a free Caramel Apple Apron for the purpose of this review and giveaway. However, all opinions expressed in this review are our own.

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©BURP! Where Food Happens

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Best of 2011

Difficult to believe we're coming to the end of another great year.  As it gets to be this time, we always find ourselves looking back, reflecting, and planning for what's ahead -- and that includes content for the blog.

We were overwhelmed this year as we looked over our blog stats for the year and realized how much we've grown. Despite the fact that we've been busier than ever (and that has been reflected in the frequency of our posts, particularly lately), we've more than doubled our readership from 2010 to 2011.

We'd like to thank you for your readership, your comments, and your feedback.  Burp! wouldn't couldn't exist without you!

As a thanks to all of you, we figured we'd share the top 11 posts on Burp! from 2011 (in order of popularity) ... just in case you missed them.

Top 11 Posts of 2011
These are in order of popularity, # 1 being the most popular post.
  1. Stout Ice Cream with Irish Whiskey Caramel Sauce: Pure Guinness, er, Genius
  2. Nettle & Garlic Ravioli with Rosemary Browned Butter
  3. Stinging Nettle & Garlic Puree: Putting Up a Bit of Spring
  4. Wisconsin State Fair: Door County Cherry Chutney
  5. Pickled Red Onions: Summer's Prize & Winter's Bounty
  6. Soul Food Fusion: Fried Chicken & Waffle Sandwich
  7. Milwaukee Mardi Gras, Part II: Bananas Foster Bread Pudding
  8. Spring Scallop Tacos with Strawberry Salsa
  9. Going Whole Hog: Our Experience in Pig Butchering Class
  10. Brown Butter Rhubarb Bars - the best & last of spring
  11. You're Not Too Old for Crispy Rice Bars with Browned Butter & Rosemary
Share in the Comments
As always, we're always listening and open to your feedback.  What was YOUR favorite post? What would you like to see more of in 2012?
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bits on Blogging and the Food I Wish I Was Making

I'm impressed with all of you who blog up a storm during this time of the year -- sharing delicious treats and logging all of your holiday baking and meal planning.  It's amazing, really.

Because while you're taking the time to share all the wonderful things you've got cooking (along with adorable anecdotes about your children, crafty ideas for holiday decorating, and plans for the new year), I'm experiencing a moment of not really feeling as if I have anything quality to convey.

Some of it has to do with other obligations, including my new freelancing gig at OnMilwaukee, which I really enjoy.  But, some of it has to do with not wanting to pump out content just for the sake of pumping out content.  When you come over to Burp!  I really want to give you something of value -- something unique and interesting. Original recipes.  Original content.  All the things you've come to expect from us over the past five years.  And right now, that's gotten to be a little bit tough.  

I’ve also been struggling a lot lately with identifying my own voice as a writer. The fact is, now that I've taken some definitive steps to make something more of my writing and cooking (more, that is, than the purely self-indulgent activity that is food blogging), I find myself increasingly constrained. Blogging isn't so fun when there's all that pressure.  And I'm certainly not nearly as amusing.  And yeah, I really need to get over that. Because I really love what I do here on Burp!  And I want to keep sharing it with you guys.  For a very long time.

So, with all that off my chest, let's shift gears and talk a little bit about all the food I wish I was making -- and the food I plan to blog about in the  new year.   Like the homemade sausages we're going to make with the back-fat in our freezer.  And the homemade doughnuts we've been meaning to tackle.  And that recipe for Thai style waffle sundaes that we've been keeping from you for a very long time.  And I'll bet there is plenty of new territory just waiting to be explored in our kitchen.  We just need a little time (and patience) to get there.

Of course, while we're fallow, maybe you'd like to take a look at my "Eat Me" board on Pinterest...?  It's kind of become my wishlist of sorts... All the food I'm NOT currently making -- but hope to tackle in some form, some day.  Pretty delicious stuff, and the pictures are pretty good too.

"Eat Me" Board on Pinterest
You could also do us the favor of leaving a comment (either here or on Facebook or Twitter), and telling us what you'd really like to see more of over here at Burp! during the new year.  We promise to take your suggestions to heart and use them to shape the content for 2012.

And, in the meantime, I'll be working on getting re-energized and inspired to come back here and give you what you really came for.


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©BURP! Where Food Happens