Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Thanksgiving recipe mainstays: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, cranberry raw relish, apple, pecan, and pumpkin pie

Holidays, Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

The following is a re-post of What's on your Thanksgiving menu? and recipes from a few years ago with a few additions. Recipe links are below.

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Welcome Trader Joe's, just in time for Thanksgiving

Brookfield, Development, Food, Living well on less $

Click caption box at left of slide show for captions and dates

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Save the herbs

Gardening, Living well on less $

Last year, I decided I would try to save a few herb plants over the winter in the house.

My experiment was 2 fold: to have some fresh herbs over the winter months and to save the price of buying the plants again the next summer.

So I dug up the plants from my garden and plunked them into a 3 Cup container. (Larger would have been better.)

Outside of placing them in a sunny location (east exposure) and watering occasionally, that was the extent of the tender loving care I gave them.

While they didn't exactly thrive, they did survive. The photo was taken last spring just before putting them back in the garden. They also supplied me with fresh rosemary and the occasional spearmint leaves. The creeping thyme I found did not need to be wintered in the house; it survived outside just fine.

This year I brought in the rosemary and mint again, and I will try a pot of parsley too.

My other gardening experiment this year will be to move a parsley patch close to my back door and cover with a translucent plastic bin when the temperatures head to the teens and lower. Between the warmth radiating from the south side of the house and the hardiness of parsley, I should have fresh parsley for Thanksgiving stuffing and other culinary delights all winter long.

So what do you have to lose? The weather should still hold for today and tomorrow. Get out the trowel and save those herbs!

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The "Cheap Date" - dinner & movie under $14

Family, Brookfield, Living well on less $, Just for fun!, Movies & Books

Last Friday night, my husband and I went on a cheap date. We had had a busy week getting our kitchen emptied out for the floor re-finishers, so cooking was out of the question. We were both too tired to go out for dinner at one of our favorite places like Singha Thai,* but we did need to eat dinner.

How about going to that new Asian place at Brookfield Marketplace?, I asked.  That seemed to click. The Asian Chef, the latest addition to Brookfield Marketplace on Greenfield Ave, east of Moorland Rd., just moved in a few weeks ago and so far, is getting rave reviews--at least from us and some of our neighbors.

Asian Chef offers a wide variety of choices and even lets you choose white or brown rice. The cost/value quotient seems right too. You can get a very adequate lunch or dinner for $4.75. (Some choices are more.) Since there really wasn't a good place to eat amid our chaos at home, we chose to dine in.

After our tasty dinner we went over to the Pick 'n Save to see if they had one of those Red Box movie rental for a $1 kiosks. Yes, they did. We picked out Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. That proved to be a winner too. It was a great story of South Africa during their early post apartheid days in 1995. Freeman plays President Nelson Mandela; Damon plays Francois Pienaar, the nation's Rugby star. Mandela uses the country's nearly all white Rugby team to unite the country.

The closeup shots of the Rugby games were reason enough to watch this movie. (Yikes, they make American football players look like wimps!) But watching a segregated nation come together was the real story. Invictus was inspiring.

Spoiler alert: My favorite scene was when the underdog South African team played New Zealand, the favorite, in the World Cup. New Zealand attributed their success to the Maori war dance that they did just prior to every game. It was very intimidating. In contrast, the South African team got on their knees on the field and thanked God for their win. It was one of those good vs. evil moments.

Rating: Invictus was rated PG-13. There was only 1 F-bomb that I heard, and it was said with a rather thick accent. There was one scene where Damon and his wife are shown in an embrace and they fall onto a bed in a hotel room. The audience doesn't see them on the bed though. So as movies go, it is pretty tame. Check out what Common Sense media has to say about the movie if you are unsure your teens should watch.

So that was our cheap date. Sometimes simple is simply perfect!

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Attention gardeners: Master Gardener Plant Sale, Sat. May 22

WISCONSIN, Special events, Living well on less $, Gardening

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Been to the new ALDI almost in Brookfield?

Brookfield, Living well on less $

Yes, it is true! Another ALDI grocery store moved into Brookfield - almost.

It is located on the Wauwatosa side of 124th Street on Burleigh Rd. next to the OfficeMax store, in the Lowe's shopping center. (Actual address is 12120 Burleigh)

They opened 2 weeks before Christmas. I stopped in that week and they were busy!

I shopped there again yesterday* because they had a fruit sale: cantaloupe for 89-cents, grapefruit for 29-cents, bag of navel oranges for $1.49, and bananas for 39-cents/pound. What a deal.

They seem to be well received, even in almost Brookfield. Like me, many shoppers bring their Sendiks heavy plastic grocery bags to reuse at ALDI.

People are interested in ALDI stores. From the weekly blog reports I receive from Brookfieldnow, I have noticed that 2008's posts on ALDI show up nearly every week on my page view totals.

Few stores consistently offer the same values as ALDI stores. Most of their products are made by mainstream companies, just relabeled for ALDI with their labels. The packages are often the same size and colors as the mainstream company, just the design is different. Other products are the same as other private label products. Their butter for example is the same as Roundy's butter, but at a cheaper price.

Plus, ALDI backs all of their products with a double your money back guaranty--even their produce. I once returned a moldy pineapple, which can happen anywhere, and they insisted on giving me double my money back. How refreshing.

So what do you have to lose? If you have never been to an ALDI store, give them a try ...don't forget to bring your quarter and bags. (See ALDI 101 below)

Past Posts: Shopping ALDI's 101: B.Y.O. B, Q, and C & New Loaction News
Just What Can You Find at ALDI's? Lowe Prices for One!
In Praise of ALDI's and Trader Joe's: Wish We Had Both!

*I shop at ALDI nearly every week but usually at the Hwy 100 store in West Allis, south of Greenfield Ave.

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Too many tomaotes got you in a jam? Try TOMATO JAM!

Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

Sometimes a homegrown tomato supply can be a feast or famine situation; after waiting forever for the first few fruits, they then all ripen at the same time. So, if you have had your fill of BLTs and tomato salads, maybe you would like to try this old fashioned favorite: tomato jam.

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10 years of sleeping on air

In praise of..., Living well on less $, Innovation

Recently, there have been some local commercials advertising their double sided mattresses over others single sided mattresses. The double you can flip; the single sided manufacturers say you don't need to flip. I didn't even know there were single sided mattresses, but the idea that you don't have to flip them seems far fetched. I have to think not flipping would result in a mattress sagging much faster?

But I have not flipped our mattress since we purchased it in 1999 and it is still as perfect as day one. Why? Because it is an air bed, not an inner spring, and we love it.

Even after 10 years, we often still say, I love this bed, when we crawl in at night. I am glad I don't have to flip it either. I used to single-handedly do battle flipping our former innerspring queen size. It was challenging back then; I can't imagine doing it now that I am 10 years older!

Because we were disappointed in the past by how quickly even a good mattress started to sag, we looked into getting an air bed. We checked out the mall air bed models and decided air was the way to go.

It wasn't until I looked for an under-bed drawer platform to set the air bed onto, that I discovered the Anderson Bed Co. ad in the back of my Martha Stewart magazine. It was there I saw their version of the air bed, the Ultimate Bed. We chose the Ultimate Bed over the Sleep Number bed because the Ultimate had a layer of memory foam on the top and used wool in their mattress pad.

The beauty of an air bed is that there is no sagging. It does lose a little air over time, but you just push the individual inflate controller and it pumps to desired firmness. I also sleep better on air. Because the 2 sides of the bed are separated, I don't notice when husband rolls over. There isn't that ripple effect of movement that used to wake me up.

Sleeping on air is a different experience. You nestle in and tend to stay in one position longer which gives a better night's sleep. That is especially important for light sleepers.

The Ultimate Bed is one of the few examples of new and improved that truly is. I highly recommend it. Check it out for yourself. Granted, the price was higher than a traditional innerspring mattress, but considering it is still as good as day 1 ten years later, we figured it would pay off in the long run.

As for the drawer platform, we got ours at PM Bedroom Gallery on Bluemound Road. It was more standard in height than the one Anderson offered and so our air bed looks just like a regular bed.

So that is my testimonial on sleeping on air, in case you were thinking about a new mattress and wondered what those air beds are like. Other family members have purchased Sleep Number beds and like them too. Either way, air beds arrive in a big carton and require a little set up. It is pretty straight forward. My 10 year old did it for me. If you move, you just disassemble. I do rotate the 3 sections of memory foam from time to time, but these are light weight -- nothing like my fights with the innerspring.

Whichever company you decide on, with air, you'll never flip again!

I am not affiliated at all with the Anderson Manufacturing Company, nor do I receive any compensation for my opinion. This piece was posted purely for information purposes.

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A peach of a year... literally!

Just for fun!, Gardening, Food, Living well on less $, Weather

Blog post with more photos

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My Mulberry marathon continues

Just for fun!, Gardening, Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

For full photo version see brookfield7

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In honor of State Fair, try a cream puff recipe!

Just for fun!, Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

Cream puffs usually top the list of must have food treats at the State Fair. In case you didn't get your fill, why not make your own? They are not  difficult to make, plus you can make them yourself for a fracton of the State Fair price

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Popeye Pizza, a.k.a. Quick Spinach Pizzas

Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

These little pizzas were inspired by a spinach pizza, dubbed "Popeye Pizza" that Jacks Pizza used to make about 20 years ago. I gave Popeye a Greek flair by adding the Feta and Kalamata olives. The pizzas are so easy to make, they hardly qualify as needing a recipe--they're more like assembling than cooking. But they are tasty just the same. Add a nice tossed salad and you have dinner.

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Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

If ever there was a reason to grill out, Sunday was it, for June 21st marked both the official 1st day of summer and Father's Day. It also marked my 1st full meal prepared outdoors.

In honor of Father's Day, I made grilled, marinated hanger* steak, chicken, red and green peppers, Vidalia onions, plum tomatoes, and mushrooms. Along with that I served Asian cabbage salad and fried mixed brown and wild rice. (It looks good enough to eat, don't you think?) We all thought it quite tasty.

I have made this marinade for years and used it in grilling beef, chicken and veggies. It is quite simple and is made from ingredients you probably have on hand. The original recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens Golden Treasury of Cooking.

MARINADE: Mix all ingredients in a pint size jar.
1/2 Cup oil. I use olive oil.
1/4 Cup lemon juice. You could use fresh, but bottled works fine too.
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce, I use Lea & Perrins
2 Tablespoons prepared mustard. My favorite is Plochman's Premium Natural Stone Ground
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large clove of garlic, minced

Put the lid on the jar and shake until mixed. It is best to marinade the meat either the night before or the morning of your grill out. To cut down on grilling time, I prefer to pre-cook the chicken by simmering for around 1/2 hour, depending on the size of the pieces. The beef I marinate raw. I put the beef in a separate Zip-Lock bag from the chicken and poured about 1/3 of the marinade in each bag. Zip shut. Keep the meat bags refrigerated until grilling time and don't forget to rotate the bags several times during the marinading process to evenly distribute the flavors.

I also pre-bake the onion halves because I like the onions well cooked. I just peel, cut in half, and place in a baking pan with a little olive oil. Bake at 350 until they start to soften. After they are cooled, I skewer, put in a plastic bag, and refrigerate.

Keep the remaining marinade in the closed jar refrigerated until grill time.

The steak took about 8 minutes on each side. It was cut in 2 inch by 10 inch strips, and I grilled it just like that. You can use the remaining marinade juices to baste the meat when you first put it on the grill. Don't use any of the marinade containing raw meat juice after your first basting.

The jarred marinade may be used on the vegetables--don't forget to use a separate brush.

This was enough marinade to serve 4-6 people. I marinated about 2 1/2 pounds of steak and 1 pound of chicken and still had some to baste the veggies while grilling. (We had lots of left-overs, yum.)

I have used sirloin roast, which is often less expensive than sirloin steak, and chuck steak too. The lemon in the marinade tenderizes the meat, I believe.

*I purchased the hanger steak from Sendiks in Elm Grove. It came already marinaded in au jus juice, then I added my marinade. The hanger steak was very tender and at $4.99 / pound on sale, not a bad price considering there was no waste. The butcher told me it was from a cut next to the T-bone. It looks a lot like flank steak. (They also had it with a teriyaki marinade, but we thought it too sweet.)

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Making room for Heirloom Tomatoes

Gardening, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

This will be my 3rd year planting heirloom tomatoes. If you have not tried any, make room for 1 or 2 this year. Their flavor is spectacular and their color and shape fun. I don't think you will be disappointed.

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Healthy living, Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

I have been making these oatmeal muffins ever since the oat bran craze came on the scene--maybe 15 years or more ago?

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Ever roll your own? I do; I roll OATS!

Healthy living, Interesting idea, Living well on less $, Entrepreneurship, Good food / recipes

Yes, I have been rolling my own for about 10 years now--oats, that is. I make my own oatmeal.

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Tomato Tortellini Florentine Soup: Spinach soup even kids like!

Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

This tasty soup concept came from New Orleans via a friend. While visiting relatives there several years ago she was served this delicious soup. Being the great cook she is, she had to recreate it upon returning home. Fortunate me, she shared her recipe. Yum! I make it several times a year.

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Wow! Now that is a good, cheap pizza

Good food / recipes, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

I cannot remember when we started the tradition of having frozen pizza on a Saturday night at our house. It may date back to when my husband and I were first married in the late 1970s. It is a tradition that has stuck over the years though. The brand may have changed, but menu has stayed the same. (I joke it is against my religion to cook on the weekend.)

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Biscotti Nocciole Cioccolato (hazelnut, chocolate cookies)

Good food / recipes, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

It is no secret; I love coffee! And what goes better with coffee than a good cookie? Biscotti, of course!

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Cookie marathon nearly finished, 2 hurdles to go

Helping others, Holidays, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

For as long as I can remember, baking cookies has always been a part of celebrating Christmas. My mom would let my sister and I help, even though that meant the task would take longer and the kitchen be messier. It is a cherished memory. 

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Town of Brookfield Aldi now open!

Development, Living well on less $, Town of Brookfield

Well, today is the day. After months of discussion and remodeling, the new Aldi store opens its doors today at 19555 W. Bluemound Road.

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Penzeys spice & herb shop now in Brookfield Fashion Center

Interesting places, Just for fun!, Living well on less $


Spice it up! Tomato & pepper salad

Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

Do you still have green tomatoes sitting on your kitchen counter? I do. (I treasure every one.)

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Start planning now: Free admission to Disney theme parks & free Disney dollars

Free, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

Around this time of year, I usually start thinking of vacation destinations for the coming year. How about this one?

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Happiness is a homegrown tomato

Gardening, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

It sure took long enough. I planted earlier than other years, and my tomato plants looked great. Yet those green tomatoes just would not ripen!

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Typically, gas prices are lower in August than May

Energy, Just for fun!, Living well on less $, National Parks, THE ECONOMY, TRAVEL

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Homemade Baked Beans

Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

What cookout or casual gathering would be complete without baked beans? Homemade ones are not difficult to make and taste ever so much better than canned. Like most things you make yourself, they are less expensive than canned or deli varieties. I make them a day ahead, starting them in the evening and cooking all night.

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Auntie Lu's Outstanding German Potato Salad

Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

Good German potato salad is a difficult thing to find. To my husband, there really is no other kind of potato salad, except German. The deli varieties and even restaurant offerings are always a disappointment, but my Auntie Lu's German potato salad, ah, now you are talking delicious!

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As Promised: 3, 4, 5 or More Bean Salad Recipe

Good food / recipes, Healthy living, Living well on less $

Since many of you might be needing an easy salad recipe for your July 4th festivities, I thought I better honor my promise from the Aldi's comments to share my 3 Bean Salad recipe. (I will try to post my German Potato Salad and Baked Beans recipes too before the 4th.)

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Silvia & Rocky Make My Day AND Save Me Money

Just for fun!, Living well on less $

Meet our kitchen dynamic duo: Silvia, on the left, and Rocky, on the right. They both make our day begin! (They were named by their manufacturer, Rancilio, not us. We do refer to them by name though.)

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"For Your Convenience" Packaging Shrinks, But Not Price

Just for fun!, Living well on less $, THE ECONOMY, Truth

Before we breezed out of town last weekend, I purchased some Edy's Slow Churned Ice Cream in what formerly was the half gallon size and tossed it in the basement freezer. (I know ice cream has not been 1/2 gallon for years. It is actually 7 cups.)

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Just What Can You Find At ALDI's? Low Prices For One!

Development, Living well on less $

I have shopped ALDI's for years now. It all started with "Big Tom" ketchup. We were a very brand loyal "Heinz" ketchup family and would not ever consider anything else on a burger. But a bargain hunting uncle of mine loved to shop at Aldi's and he would share the wealth with family. He gave us several "Big Tom" ketchups from Aldi's. Oh well, I can use them in meat loaf or something, I thought.

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Shopping Aldi's 101: B.Y.O. B, Q, and C & New Location News

Living well on less $

Want to shop at Aldi's? Here is a primer. B, Q, and C stand for Bags, Quarter, and Cash. Better bring your own.

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In praise of Aldi's AND Trader Joe's: Wish We Had Both!

Development, Entrepreneurship, Living well on less $

Poor Aldi's*.  The Town of Brookfield Plan Commission squelched their plans for a new store. One of the reasons cited in the Community Watch post was that, "Some members of the Plan Commission said they were wary of the discount grocer's reputation and the type of customers and tenants the store would attract to Bluemound Plaza..." (near Best Buy)

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Tuesday is Coffee Bargain Day at Alterra

Free, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

Today is Tuesday, and I must make my monthly pilgrimage to Alterra coffee at Mayfair Mall. (It is usually the only reason I venture over to Mayfair!)

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Heirloom Tomatoes, Everything Old Is New Again?

Gardening, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

I actually got my tomato plants into the soil yesterday! That is a record for me--usually I don't get them it until the first week in June. I am pleased with my accomplishment. :)

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Thanks Mom

Family, Holidays, Living well on less $

My mom was an amazing woman. Her priorities were God, Dad, us, others, then herself. She was kind, generous, and a whiz at managing money. Since the economy is in the news so much these days, I will focus on her money management talents.

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Sendik's Anniversary Party: Lots of samples and prizes

Good food / recipes, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

I just got back from a trip to the Elm Grove Sendik's. Wow, lots of tasty samples, good deals, and drawings for prizes.

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More blessed to give than receive, so stop shopping!

Charity, Holidays, Living well on less $

A number of years ago, my family decided to quit giving Christmas presents to each other. As my witty husband said, if I want a personal gift, I will buy it personally.

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The Turkey's last stand

Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

This is not a political commentary posting! It is about soup.

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