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A delicious brunch at home starts here!
A delicious brunch at home starts here!

5 things you need to make brunch at home

Don't hop on the brunch hater train, Milwaukee. I'm still a huge fan – what's not to love?

I have been considering making my own at home more frequently – especially on those snowy mornings that you just don't have the energy to deal with heading out. 

Making brunch at home is fun -- and so are some new additions to the kitchen to do it with. Here are five suggestions that could add to your home brunch experience, too: 

Stu's Bloody Mary Mix

I normally don't make bloody marys at home as I'd rather trust a bartender. So, when a friend shared this with me earlier this week it seemed like the perfect purchase. This mix is based on pickle juice not tomato – so it will stay fresh longer and the kit has all the fixings you will need to make a great one. Get a bottle of Great Lakes Distillery or Central Standard plus some fixings and you are all set. 

Rachael Ray divided skillet

The worst part of making brunch at home for me? The dreaded cleanup. No dishwasher means a counter full of dirty dishes. This handy pan allows you to have two things cooking at once and save yourself a dish to wash! Or, your husband hates onions so you need to make him some scrambled eggs without them? Problem solved! Make some of the delicious ones on the left and your husband's wussy ones on the right. 

Babycakes Waffle Stick Maker

I first noticed the adorable turquoise color but then fell in love with the idea of making my own waffle sticks. This waffle maker is compact and makes you four waffles sticks. If you had a big group of people this would be a hassle, but for a lazy morning at home this is perfect. And since you have now added turquoise to your kitchen you may as well get this butter dish and cover, too! 

Bistro French press and mug set

I'm a Keurig girl during the week – weekends are for the Bodum French press. This Bistro French press holds 34 ounces and is big enough for a few delicious cups (two come matching!) of Anodyne or Stone Creek. After brewing don't l…

You could win tickets to see "Dancing Pros: Live" and more.
You could win tickets to see "Dancing Pros: Live" and more. (Photo: Milwaukee Theatre Facebook)

Win tickets to three great events

I'm always looking for ways to keep myself busy in the winter – and Milwaukee has no shortage of events or shows for you to do the same. I shared a few of my favorites a few weeks back – which you can read here – and today I have a few others you should add to your calendar.

Plus, you can enter to win tickets to all of these. You can thank me later! 

1. Milwaukee Wine Opener
The 10th annual Milwaukee Wine Opener -- brought to you by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation -- will be held Feb. 7 at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. Get there and taste what everyone is talking about! The night features limitless small bites from Milwaukee's favorite restaurants, and tastings from any of the 70 selections provided by Johnson Brothers purveyors – i.e., wine, wine and wine! The evening is exciting and fun, and also features a unique silent auction, raffles, and live music by Ryan McIntyre. Plus, it benefits a great cause. Want to go? Head here to win tickets or here to purchase them now.

2. WMSE Rockabilly Chili
The 12 annual Rockabilly Chili Fundraiser will be held Sunday March 2 at MSOE University’s Kern Center. Rockabilly is a chili competition that pits over 50 Milwaukee restaurants, cafes and caterers against one another to determine the city’s best chili as voted on by you. The 2015 event features an expanded venue that includes the first floor gymnasium and the second floor field house – plus the chili pepper races. Want to go? Go here to win tickets or click here to purchase them now.

3. Dancing Pros: Live
For the first time ever you can see the pros from "Dancing with the Stars," "So You Think You Can Dance" and other international dance pros compete with one another for your vote in Dancing Pros: Live! Using electronic voting remotes attached to every seat, the audience will become part of the show and vote for their favorite couple. Alan Thicke of "Growing Pains" will be your host for the night -- which is this Saturday, Jan. 17. Want to go? Visit h…

Get ready for bahn mi, Downtown Milwaukee!
Get ready for bahn mi, Downtown Milwaukee!

Vietnamese banh mi restaurant XANKIA now open

UPDATE: XANKIA opened for business in Downtown Milwaukee at 222 W. Wells St. on Wednesday Jan. 7. I hope to stop in soon to get a taste and will report back. In the meantime, go get your Bahn Mi! 

Last September our Molly Snyder reported on the closing of Arin Bert Coffee at 222 W. Wells St.

Downtown Milwaukee will soon welcome XANKIA -- pronounced Sun-kia and formerly known as Banh Mi Nhu Y -- this coming December or early January.

The Vietnamese restaurant has another Milwaukee location at 5455 S. 27th St., and focuses on Vietnamese sandwiches and Hmong cuisine. The South Side location is inside Pacific Produce and offers eight varieties of bahn mi that are made fresh to order. 

Owner Xa Xiong confirmed he is currently working on the space and hopes to open before the end of the year. 

Stay tuned for a first look -- or a first taste of banh mi -- once it is available. 

Dinner Lab is just one of the events at which you can eat and drink your way through winter!
Dinner Lab is just one of the events at which you can eat and drink your way through winter! (Photo: Dinner Lab)

6 events to help you eat and drink your way through winter

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is winding down and the Milwaukee winter will settle upon us. Don't shutter yourself in the house – get out and enjoy some of the best food and drink events of the season. 

Here are six:

1. Soundbites

The fourth annual Soundbites is a delicious event to benefit 88NINE RadioMilwaukee. There are 12 chef hosted tasting stations that offer up the perfect pairings of small plates and songs from your favorite djs and restaurants such as Goodkind, Story Hill BKC, Pastiche and more! Head to the Iron Horse Hotel for the Jan. 22 event for good grooves and grub.

2. MKEtable: Locavore

Post by #MKEfoodies

Milwaukee's MKEfoodies organization is putting on their very first event in a new series of events called MKEtable on Jan. 14. The events aim to showcase intimate dining experiences at area venues at an affordable price – and the first one is being held at Locavore in Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. The five-course meal will feature local products from area vendors – plus representatives from these purveyors will be available to talk about each course and will answer any questions you have for them. 

3. Food & Froth

Think hundreds of craft beers, dozens of local restaurants and caterers, a handful of local bands, and three floors of exhibits – all held at the Milwaukee Public Museum. When was the last time you tasted a frothy beer next to a T. rex? This yearly after hours event sells out early – so don't wait till the last minute to get your ticket for the 17th annual one on Feb. 21!

4. Bittercube Apothecary

The Apothecary is starting to look party ready. Come see the finished product on January 6th!

A photo posted by Bittercube Bitters (@bittercube) on

You've tried and loved the products from Bittercube -- now you can check out their new Apothecary in the Lincoln Warehou…