Fried Chicken In A Haunted House: The Lemp Mansion

The Lemp Mansion is supposedly one of the most haunted places in America.

You may have seen Zak yelling at ghosts at the Lemp Mansion on Ghost Adventures and you might have seen it rank on lists like HGTV’s “America’s Scariest Homes.

According to the Lemp Mansion’s official website, it was built in the early 1860’s and functioned as the Lemp family’s home and brewery office. The family built a brewing empire that declined with when the Prohibition hit. In 1922, their brewery that used to be valued at 7 million sold for half a million.

You’ll find the Lemp family’s history includes much sorrow, unexpected death, and four suicides (three taking place in the mansion). The mansion is big, old, and beautiful, and tragedy occurred within its walls. I suppose this is why they say it’s haunted.

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The Best Cream Cheese Wontons & Dinner At Chef Ma’s

Things that weren’t, but really should have been included in our pre-marital PREPARE Inventory assessment:

  • The speed at which one prefers to watch Netflix series.
  • One’s preferred thermostat settings in both the summer and winter.
  • How to divide up leftovers.

Sure, we argue about money and chores from time to time, but our biggest most heated fights have been about cream cheese wontons.

Cream cheese wontons are my favorite food in the entire world. They always were. And when we order them, I will count them and squirrel away exactly half so that I can enjoy the leftovers at my own leisure. Jake has this theory. Instead of splitting meals in half, he should get to eat 2/3 because he’s larger. Basically, he’s wrong.

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My First Airbnb Experience: Finding The Good

“Find the good.”

This plaque greeted me when I walked into the bathroom of my Airbnb suite. I felt very taken with it.

I’m not sure if it’s a result of my upper Midwestern upbringing, but I struggle accepting gifts. “But are you sure?” I always find myself asking when someone offers me something for nothing. I’d hate to inconvenience someone, you know? Not inconveniencing people was like our golden rule growing-up.

For example, I was always under the impression that accepting seconds from a host or hostess who cooked a meal  was inconveniencing them out of leftovers. My perspective changed when I hosted a dinner party. I felt elated when my guests returned for seconds. It meant that they enjoyed the food and this made me happy. I couldn’t have even cared if they cleaned-out the crock-pot.

Just this past month, I booked a room through Airbnb in Iowa City. For a very reasonable price, my accommodations included a private bedroom and bathroom suite inside a family’s home. I had never used Airbnb before and expected my hostesses to be relatively hands-off. While they respected my privacy, they also offered me everything under the sun to make my stay more comfortable and welcomed me with the warmth I’d expect from old friends. One of the hostesses reflected on their Airbnb experience, sharing that they’ve been fortunate. Everyone who has booked with them has brought good into their lives.

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A Recipe: Our Favorite Sweet & Savory Stuffed Bell Peppers

It wasn’t until age 32 that I ate my first stuffed bell pepper. I even made it myself.

Neither of our parents made stuffed peppers. In fact, my mom hated peppers. Stuffed peppers became like eggplants in my mind. I added them to the list of foods I watched TV chefs prepare in utter fascination and hoped to try someday when I was older.

On a recent trip to the library I rented Nonna’s House which compiles recipes from the Italian grandmothers who work at Enoteca Maria, a restaurant in Staten Island. At Enoteca Maria, Italian grandmothers take turns leading the kitchen and sharing their family recipes. One evening I prepared my first batch of stuffed peppers following Margherita Amato’s recipe. They baked up beautifully and tasted even better. We enjoyed the leftovers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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A Little Post About Taste Bar

This is a tiny post about a tiny bar where the classic cocktails are listed chronologically. My friend @ArsonistKitten told me so, but I found the idea so fantastical that I almost didn’t believe her.

They are. From the Mint Julep c. 1790 to the Cosmopolitan c. 1985. After going through a stretch where I felt jaded by expensive, unbalanced signature cocktails, I typically stick to Manhattans or whiskey. They never let me down.

I asked the bartender if he could recommend a drink based upon my affinity for Manhattans. He suggested the de la Louisiane made with bourbon, Benedictine, punt e mas, Peychaud’s bitters & absinthe. It was perfect and he was right.

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