a couple of weekends ago, i had the lovely delight of traversing northwest, away from the gray dreariness of detroit and to the, well, gray dreariness of wausau, wisconsin. you may ask, where’s wausau? it is promptly in the middle of … er …
everywhere. smack dab in northern-central region of the great dairy state. my parents’ happy home is snuggled into those wild, bear-filled, piney hills of wausau. as they moved there while i was in college, i must admit, i have no great attachment to the place. the things i really love there: my folks, my dog renny, runs on their intense hills (i guess that’s relative, intense hills compared to flat-as-a-board detroit), their delightful fine dining establishments (namely back when cafe, cafe le grand, and wright place), and the availability of new glarus beer (especially the spotted cow).

i really needed to go to the dentist. not that i was having any sort of mouth trouble… more like i wanted to get my pearly-whites checked while i still have dental insurance (smart move, right!?). so northwest i flew, leaving the mcnamara terminal with announcements for a flight to “warsaw, wi”. now, the place can be grim, but the images of WWII warsaw, poland  that danced in my mind after such an announcement were hilarious and so sad at the same moment.

regardless, trips home are just so nice! i have no catching up to do with anyone (to my parents’ glee, i believe) and our time revolves around food. time, for me, always revolves around food, but there is something special and joyously celebratory about meal planning with my mom.

we ate many delights. but here is a winner: an easy nut mix. salty, sweet, and crunchy with pockets of bright red chewy loveliness. this was the perfect pre-winter run energizer for the badger-state olympic 5k that my dad and i had geared up for on sunday morning… only to discover, while waiting for my mom, that the run was the morning before. it had made the front page wausau daily herlad. HA! an instant meyer classic, no doubt.

home-grown maple syrup from my mom’s friend barb powell

warsaw trail mix
(from the milwaukee journal sentinel)

2 cups pepitas
1 cup almonds
3/4 cups sunflower seeds, raw
6 tablespoons grade b maple syrup
coarse salt
1 cup dried cherries or cranberries (or other dried fruit!)


1. preheat oven to 300. line two sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking sheets.
2. in a large bowl, evenly coat pepitas, almonds, and sunflower seeds with maple syrup. spread mixture in a single layer on baking sheets, season with salt to taste.
3. bake for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
4. mix in dried fruit, and enjoy! the recipe says to mix them in once the nuts and seeds have completely cooled– i like to incorporate them in right after the mixture leaves the oven. i think it plumpens the fruit (and lets the snacking begin early!)