Try His Recipes
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When Greg and Julie Brandt of Des Moines got married 23 years ago, he just knew he would become the chief cook and bottle washer. “Julie simply doesn’t cook,” he says, “and we knew that from the beginning.” Luckily, Greg, who is a district associate judge with the Iowa District Court, had been honing his culinary skills since college.
“It was never an issue,” he points out, with a chuckle. “She didn’t lead me on.”
An Ottumwa native, he is a graduate of Drake University in Des Moines and the Drake law school. He has been a judge for 26 years.
Julie, who works for Ascend Technologies, does, however, have a lovely cache of colorful contemporary dishes, serving pieces, and bright accessories you might need for perking up any table.
Greg gets his recipes everywhere, from Instagram and Pinterest to visiting friends. His homemade pizza crust comes from his daughter Katie’s friend’s dad who has a pizza oven in the backyard.
The pork tenderloin and coleslaw recipes he shares here were gleaned from a friend in Chicago, Joan LaBue. “Our kids were very little, as were hers, and yet she served us this wonderful meal,” Julie points out. “Greg now makes that meal about 10 times a year.”
Also, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, he shares Julie’s recipe for Homemade Bailey’s. It’s delicious anytime. Many Christmases they share bottles of it with friends and family. On a “big” year, they have been known to make 20 to 30 bottles of it to deliver.
Greg also has tried his hand at baking. “Obviously, it’s totally different from regular cooking. It has to be much more exact,” he admits. He now makes exceptional chocolate chip cookies along with his late mother-in-law Virginia Olson’s Granny Smith Apple Pie.
“I wish I could say that I plan menus by the week, but I can’t,” he says. “I often stop at the store about three times a week. I will say, however, that we’re trying to eat healthier.”
Aside from his fitness workouts, Greg has a bit more time these days. For a decade, he was on the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) Supreme Council. There are five chairs or seats on the council before becoming international president. During his tenure, he visited numerous college campuses, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to Syracuse and from Arizona to Occidental in California. “Yes, 10 years is a long time, but it was worthwhile, even though COVID-19 made it challenging.”
The Brandts have two college-age children, Nick and Katie, and two older fur baby Labs, Macy and Bailey. •