Fast and Furious

The time has FINALLY arrived! I’ve been waiting for this day for almost 5 months.
No, I’m not referring to Easter (although, I do love a good chocolate covered marshmallow egg, and my good friend Sarah and I were just touting our love of Jelly Bellies). Nope, I’ve been counting down something MUCH more precious than a Peep…it’s finally the start of golf season in Wisconsin!

Now wait a minute…I know what some of you may be thinking. Before you get all bent out of shape and start mumbling at your monitor about how golf is just OHHH so boring, please allow me fill you in on the similarity between golf and food:

When discussing a “hole in one”: Instead of the beautiful image of a small Titleist golf ball soaring 167 yards through the air, falling gracefully into a cup on the 10th green, I sometimes visualize THIS:

What do you mean you don’t see the similarity? There’s a hole in one of those too!

My point in the above is that, despite winter’s attempt at throwing the Dairyland state a 9-inch curve ball of snow earlier this week, spring has officially sprung in northeastern Wisconsin. Now my fellow students and I at the Tech are flying the fast and furious sprint to the end of semester finish line! We’re making plans for how we’ll spend our summer break. Some of us, including myself, will be taking summer classes. Others will be working internship positions and/or regular jobs. There will also be students who choose to use the word “break” for all its worth. They’ll bask in the glow of the summer sun as much as possible, living it up on junk food and liquid refreshment at the beach or at area sporting events. Once the sun sets, they’ll gather their friends and hit up some nightly entertainment. Hey, those kids truly know the definition of RELAXATION!

Starting next week, I’ll likely see class attendance dwindle so quickly that some of my instructors will want to get their eyeglass prescription checked to assure that they’re seeing correctly. No worries…I’ll be sitting faithfully in class, reminding my wonderful instructors that they are not dreaming…that there really are some of their students who long to learn as much as possible from them for a few more weeks 28 more days. Yes, I’m counting down those days, too…

I’ll be spending part of my Easter Sunday at Shamrock Heights golf course. Brian and I will be partaking of the awesome brunch deal ($12.95… can’t beat it!) and then we’ll be putting on our sunscreen and hitting the links! For those who will be staying home for Easter and are still in need of recipe ideas, give this sweet potato and bacon gratin a try. I made it for Thanksgiving and it was a big hit. The potatoes are tender and flavorful, and the bacon adds a great smoky taste. If you don’t care for bacon, leave it out. You can substitute regular potatoes for the sweet potatoes, too. The best part is that it can be assembled ahead of time, leaving you more time to spend with the people you love on Easter. Have a happy and blessed holiday!

Courtesy of:


Yield: 4 servings


  • 8 pieces bacon, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 4 cups sweet potatoes, thinly sliced (1/8″ thick)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • parmesan cheese, grated, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees (325 F if using a convection oven)
  2. Lightly grease a small baking or casserole dish.
  3. In a small sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from heat, and toss with onion and garlic.
  4. In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, and cook until the mixture is well combined but still pale. Stir in the milk.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and bring the béchamel to a simmer. Stir in nutmeg, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
  6. Layer 8-12 slices of potato at the base of the prepared baking dish. Top with a few tablespoons of béchamel, and a few spoonfuls of the bacon mixture. Repeat with another layer of potatoes, another layer of béchamel, and more bacon. Top with one last layer of potatoes, and spoon remaining béchamel over the top. Finish with a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake the gratin until it is bubbly around the edges and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

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