Category Archives: Activities

Mastering movie nite

A little over a month ago marked the re-opening of the Uptown Theater on the corner of Lagoon and Hennepin. Having been under construction for quite some time I was waiting with anticipation to see the new digs and I was excited when I heard they would be showing Joaquin Phoenix’s newest movie The Master.

We started across the street with drinks at Williams and then headed over to the theater to catch the late showing. I was so excited that it did not cross my mind to take any pictures. 

The entry was brightly lit and the colors vibrant. It was easy to smell that this place was brand spankin’ new. At the ticket counter we were shown a screen of available seats and allowed to pick where to sit. Once inside the theater you were escorted to your seat– similar to going to a baseball game or something. The chairs were huge and super comfy and the screen extremely large.

While the movie was not what I expected, the theather was awesome and I most certainly would return. Due to my lack of pictures I have included the link below… I recommend checking it out in person!

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Feeling Surly?

My first time… at Surly Brewing Company

Over the years more and more brewery’s have found success in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. One of the first the comes to mind is right here in Minneapolis; Surly Brewing Company. Tickets are extremely hard to come by so I was thrilled when my friend Jenelle invited me to tag along with she and a few close friends.

Upon entering for the “tour” you check in, drop off your food donation for the local food shelf and are given 5 tokens for free beer. Thus, we headed right up to the front of the tap room for drinks.

Having tried a few of the Surly beers I opted for one I have not tried; Cynic Ale.

Absolutely DELICIOUS (to say the very least)! Then it as off to the “tour”– I say tour because while the warehouse is rather large, there is not a ton to see. Nonetheless still very cool.

It was then time for intermission aka back to the tap room for more beer… next up… Abrasive Ale. Which was named in honor of founder Omar Ansari’s father’s company which was at one time housed in what is now Surly Brewing Company. This one was a little more amber in its hue and had a fuller bodied taste that the Cynic.

We were most certainly having a great time… excitingly enough, while at intermission there were quite a few people who were unable to stay and gave their tokens to us. It was a hard decision to make but we decided to stay in the tap room and make sure that the tokens did not go to waste.

The fun didn’t stop there…

It was very cool to see the brewery and try all the delicious beers.  It was so fun to hang out with good people, drink up and laugh like crazy. If you get the chance to visit Surly, I would highly recommend it. For more info click the link below. Cheers!!!

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My first… Continuing Education class(es)

There is nothing like waking up to -11 degree temperatures, attempting to start your car (with no success), having to jump your car and then head off to another day of Continuing Education classes. What’s on the docket today you ask? Microsoft Office Excel 2007 training. Needed? Yes. Enlightening? No.

I feel like I am on the show Community

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Adventures in sleepovers

My first… sleepover (in years)

My girlfriend Ashley and her husband built a gorgeous house this summer that is just perfect for entertaining. So I was thrilled when Ash called saying her husband was out of town for a guys weekend and that we should have a girls night; sleepover, pajamas required!

We opted to do a progressive dinner with the main focus being fondue, and drinks of course. Everything turned out phenomenally. Ashley, Christine and I spent the night talking, laughing, eating, and more eating.

It was exactly what the doctor ordered. I love catching up with friends and not have to worry about when it it is time to head home. We kept the conversation lengthy, the wine flowing and loved every minute of it!

Oh I forgot, that ONE boy was invited… COOP A LOOP!!!

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Better to be found than lost (in this case)

My first time… at Found Things

This killer antique store is nestled in the heart of Des Moines’ East Village. Being a rather frequent visitor of other Des Moines area vintage and antique stores, I was surprised I had never been here, and even more surprised that my out of town relatives have been here multiple times. Where was I? Nonetheless, I was thrilled to browse around this little gem.

The store was bright, cheery and filled to the brim with history and treasures for all. Following suit with the other out-of-towners in my family, I will most certainly be making a stop here whenever I am back in Des Moines.

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You are what you eat…

My first time… making kale chips

My friend Ashlie was so kind as to make Kale Chips at one of our recent book club meetings. And whether she knows it or not, she kind of made a monster out of me. I love these things. I was skeptical at first but after one salty, crunch bite, it was love! She told me they were super simple to make, so I thought I would give it a try.

All you need to make this scrumptious (and healthy) snack is 1-2 bunches of kale, olive oil and sea salt… yup, that’s it!

I started with a fresh bunch of kale and separated stems from leaves…

Rinse the kale thoroughly and set it out to dry

I was anxious to get going so I patted the kale dry and then tossed it in a bowl with some olive oil

Sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 350 for 15 minutes

I made the mistake of forgetting to flip the kale half way through… nonetheless, the kale chips were still delish! My only regret is that I did not make more. Enjoy!

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My first time… to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park 

This past weekend I was home for Thanksgiving. While there my younger brother had won tickets to a local band and we headed downtown to pick up the tickets from the radio station. My brother was attempting to get buzzed in when I saw this cool sculpture garden across the street. I jumpe out of the car to get a closer look. Turns out the sculpture is called Nomade by Jaume Plensa…and it is part of the Pappajohn Sculpture Park.

When asked about the sculpture by Wall Street Journal blogger, Lauren Schuker Plensa described Nomade by stating that “It is made to embrace you as you walk into it, to transform the body as it creates a home for it.”

I have been to a number of sculpture gardens before– there were other sculptures in this park but this is the one I was most drawn to. I can only imagine what it looks like when it is lit up at night. Next time I go back I will try and take a picture. Until then, enjoy!!

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Gnocchi, no?

My first time… cooking with gnocchi

Recently while at the grocery I found gnocchi on sale. While I have had gnocchi before I had never tried to make anything with it myself. Intrigued with the challenge I bought two packages and began looking around online to see how professionals prepared this Italian potato dumpling. There were lots of variations– after reading through the various recipes I decided to meld a few into my own creation.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 package mushrooms
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp garlic chili sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons half and half
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 packages potato gnocchi
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas
I began by slicing mushrooms, and chopping both onions and garlic

Meanwhile, I was heating a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high–once hot I added the garlic, onions and mushrooms to the skillet

I then added about a tablespoon of butter to the mix

Along with about a teaspoon of garlic chili sauce–just enough for a kick not so much to make it spicy

Once thoroughly mixed I added the chicken broth and allowed this to simmer until the liquid was reduced by about half

While the broth was simmering, I put a pot on the stove and started boiling water for the fluffy little potato pillows (aka the gnocchi)

Once ready, the gnocchi floated to the top of the pot

I used a slotted spoon to gently scoop the gnocchi into a colander to drain. I had to be careful with the gnocchi as they are rather fragile after boiling

I then added all of the hot gnocchi to the broth that was still simmering

Incorporating the gnocchi into the broth, I  added half a bag of frozen peas

After mixing in the peas, I finally took my first taste and decided to add some red pepper flakes

The smells were incredible– I scooped the mixture into a bowl and sprinkled with an asiago parmesan cheese mixture. Big spoon and a small glass of milk, I sat down for this dinner time treat.

The gnocchi was pretty good– I think next time I would like to make homemade gnocchi but I would like to stuff it with something other than potatoes; they made for a pretty filling meal. Nonetheless it was fun and a nice comfort meal for this cold winter night!!

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“I’ve got thrills…”

My first time…at The Dakota Jazz Club

As a lover of live music I was so excited to be invited the Molly Dean’s show at The Dakota Jazz Club. All I knew of Molly and her music is that she is “amazing”, “incomparable” and that I would love it.

These descriptions were 100% accurate. I was truly blown away. Molly’s voice is soulful and soothing; like being wrapped in a soft, fluffy blanket. I found myself moving to the music and not wanting it to stop. When writing this I wanted to try and come up with some comparison so that you could get a better idea of her style but she is truly one of a kind.

The Dakota Jazz Club was the perfect venue–I was situated at a table right up front. Dim lights, lots of seating and great drink specials make this an ideal location for music and friends. Cheers to Molly Dean!

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PB and Oreo MASH UP

My first time… making stuffed cookies

Tonight I have a book club meeting. Thus, last night I found myself wandering the aisles of Target wracking my brain trying to figure out what to make. Then it donned on me– stuffed cookies. Rachael Ray just had an entire article last month devoted to the sweet treats but of course I could not remember any of the recipes off the top of my head. So, I went with one of my favorite combos, chocolate and peanut butter. Follow the steps below for your own decadent cookie, and yes, it really is that simple!

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