Category Archives: St. Paul

Two of America’s greatest…

About a week and a half ago I surprised with an evening filled with beer and bacon. Yes, you read that correctly, beer and bacon. Yum. The whole shindig took place at the Great Waters Brewing Company. There were four courses; each incorporated bacon and was paired with one of Great Waters’ brews.

So as not to be rude to those involved– few pictures were taken. But please trust me when I say this event was absolutely delicious. I think that I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite but if push came to shove, I love the Mini Bacon Slider– it was a great combination of savory and sweet. I did not want the night to end but left feeling awfully American!

Check out their website and drop in to enjoy: http://www.greatwatersbc.com/

Cheers!

 

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PTSD from an MRE?

My first time… eating an MRE

About 6 months ago I started a new position at my office and am blessed to work with a director that shares a similar management style as well as personality to mine. Every once in a while our conversations may stray from work related topics to (more often than not) talks about food. In a recent conversation I shared that I would be willing to try just about anything food-wise.

Needless to say his mind got to spinning and being a 2-time Iraq War Veteran his first inclination was to ask if I had eaten ane MRE (Meal Ready to Eat). He went on to explain various “meals”, Five Fingers of Death, Country Captain Chicken aka Triple C; I knew where this conversation was going. The gauntlet was thrown, I was going to eat an MRE.

A week or so later, Joe told me he had to go get something from his car… and then I saw it. A brown package simply labeled “Menu 8 Meatballs in Marinara Sauce”; obviously leaving much to be desired. The package weighed a ton; but I was told this was one of the “best” options from all the choices available.

It was interesting to learn that within the MRE there is a bag that you simply add water to, it heats up and then “cooks” your meal. Make sure not to overfill.

The trick to allowing the “cooking” to take place hands free, is to put the food bag back in the box and lean against something to keep it upright. But don’t be fooled, there are no enticing smells in this cooking process.

 

While my meal was cooking, I took the time to explore the other items and sides in this bag of tricks. Check out this little treasure trove; matches, toilet paper, seasoning, coffee. Chicklets that double as a diuretic what more could you ask for?

 

 

 

 

But for the main course– it’s “Wheat Snack Bread with our lukewarm Meatballs and Marinara. This bread is about the consistency of a pop tart and smells like yeast warmed over; i.e death.

 

At first bite, the bread was disgusting but the Meatballs and Marinara tasted like Chef Boyardee from a can. I thought to myself, “Okay, this is not soo bad”. Shortly thereafter, I was informed   I forgot one of the key ingredients– cheese; so I had to slap that on and go in for a second bite…

This step actually made it significantly more disgusting… please disregard everything you see below…

As previously stated, I am willing to try anything food-wise at least once. In this instance I will never need to try this nor any other flavor of MRE again. Joe tells me while in the field there are ways of “spicing” thing ups and that you become a really inventive chef– I will leave it to the pros! Thanks to Joe and all those serving in our military. The sacrifices you make and the work that you do, do not go unnoticed; my hats off to you!

 

**Sidenote: While the title of this post is PTSD from MRE, PTSD is no joking matter. If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, you are not alone, there are many resources available to you or your loved one. I have provided some links below:

Make the Connection: http://maketheconnection.net/conditions/ptsd?gclid=CMet2Luay68CFe4DQAodoHssZA

National Center for PTSD: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/

 

 

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“This one’s for the GIRLS…”

 

 

 

My first… wedding show (continued)

 

I owe huge apologies (I know you were all waiting with bated breath) but I forgot to post the wedding dresses that KG and I saw at the Unveiled wedding event a few weekends ago. Again, my apologies but here are some of the dresses we saw– also sorry that that there will be no pictures of KG trying on dresses as we must keep those under wraps!

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Gooey Deliciousness

My first time… cooking with Butternut Squash

On Friday, a friend from work was so kind to give me a Butternut Squash. I was so excited to make something with it, although to be quite honest, I wasn’t even sure where to start. Did I need to peel this? Does it taste like pumpkin? What could I possibly make with this thing?

First things first, I thought I better figure out the right way to prep the squash and find a recipe. So I took the the internet, found a recipe and then headed to YouTube to find out how to get going.

I began by slicing off both the top and the bottom of the squash…

Next it was time for the peelin’

I had to peel a few times around as the skin was thicker than I had expected. After making my way down the bright orange flesh, it was time to scoop!

Then it was time to cut open this little beauty

Once halved I then diced the squash– this large squash yielded about 10 cups total. Which is perfect because that is exactly how much I needed in order to make Butternut Squash Pasta Bake!! I lined a cookie sheet with foil and then lightly coated the foil in cooking spray

I then combined salt, pepper and fresh rosemary for seasoning…

and lightly sprinkled the squash until evenly coated.

With the oven pre-heated to 450 degrees I put the cookie sheet in the oven and set the timer to 45 minutes. In the meantime, it was time to tend to the shallots.

After the shallots were sliced I set them aside and heated a pan to begin cooking bacon

While the bacon sizzled away, I grated about 2 cups of provolone cheese and set it aside

Back on the bacon front, after cooking about 12 slices I discarded all but 3 teaspoons of bacon drippings– I then added the shallots to the leftover drippings. I let the shallots sautee for about 7 minutes

I also started boiling mini penne pasta

And worked at chopping the bacon

And once the pasta was done it was set aside

The timer went off soon there after, so I knew it was time to add the squash and bacon to the same skillet as the shallots

I pulled this from the burner and covered– to be used very shortly. Meanwhile, in a medium stock pot I whisked together whole wheat flour and skim milk.

Once it reached a rolling boil, I began folding the provolone into the mix

and stirred until cheese was melted and “drippy”

And then gently tossed the penne into the mix

After fully coated, I scooped the pasta mixture into a greased, 9×13 inch pan

In a spur of the moment thought I sprinkled some garlic powder over all of the noodles

I then added the squash, bacon and shallot mixture to the top of the pasta

Once covered I then topped the mixture with Asiago and Parmesan cheese

It was then time for the cookin’. With the oven set to 450 degrees I baked the pasta for about 15 minutes… and tried to resist the temptation to peek. My socks were BLOWN off!!!

 This this creamy dish is divine! The squash and cheese mesh so beautifully– this is now most certainly one of my favorite fall meals! Dig in!

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Here comes the bride…KG!

My first… bridal show

No, no, no, not for me, for my friend Kristin! I was absolutely over the moon when Kristin’s boyfriend (now fiancee) proposed this summer! I am so honored to be a part of her wedding party and was excited when she asked me to join her this past weekend at Unveiled

We had such a blast seeing all the different ways to personalize your wedding. From ice sculptures to bands and chalkboards to dresses the world really is an oyster for the modern day bride!

                

We had such a great time– the options were endless and ideas abounding, and I haven’t even shown you the dresses (those to come tomorrow)!!!

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Key Krazy!

My first time…. to Keys Cafe

A month or so ago when the weather was still gorgeous, I had a day where I just had to get out of the office. I couldn’t stay inside for another minute nor at my desk. So I enlisted my friend Krystal to lead me somewhere I had never been. She selected Keys Cafe in St Paul, and she did not lead me astray!

We sat outside to soak up the sun and the breeze. On the menu? Everything from breakfast to burgers. Krystal opted for a Denver Sandwich. Think Denver Omelet between two buttery pieces of grilled toast.

denvaaah

I chose the Keys burger, which was divine, the bun was fresh and extremely soft. The patty was thick and just perfectly seasoned. With a hearty side of fries and pickle slices, this burger gets my approval!

cheeseburger

The Keys Cafe has multiple locations throughout the Twin Cities–pick the location closest to you just make sure to check the hours as they vary from location to location. Enjoy!

http://www.keyscafe.com/st-paul-mn-raymond-ave/ 

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Pour one out for this Indian Summer!

My first… time making white sangria

Last weekend Sunday was just begging me to get outside. My next door neighbor Kacie texted me and asked if I would like to watch some football outside. Of course my answer was “YES” but I wasn’t sure how we were going to swing it. Little did I know Kacie had a plan, she did the carrying and I opened the doors!

yup, that's a tiki bar

While watching football, baking in the heat and getting a tan it was hard to believe that it’s October in Minnesota (not that I am complaining). But with heat comes thirst so it wasn’t long before we were concocting–White Sangria that is!

We started by dicing some fresh farmer’s market apples…

watch your fingers Kacie!

And then some strawberries

nom nom nom

Next, we grabbed a large pitcher, tossed in the fruit and added some cheap TJ’s Charles Shaw Chardonnay

Two Buck Chuck

Upon pouring we realized that was not gonna cut it…

needs some work

So we added some Famega Vinho Verde, which is a sparkling white wine

mouth-watering

Added a little club soda and walllll-ah

still missin' something

Well, not quite. It seemed a little bland. In order to spice it up a bit we added a little…

🙂

and some…

putting it to good use

Garnished with a lime and another taste…

fabulous

This was the real WALLL-AH! This drink was the perfect drink for the Indian Summer day that we were experiencing. Not only was it fun to make but it was also light, and super refreshing!! Cheers!

“Baby, Baby, Baby…. OHHHH!”

My first time… meeting Malcolm and Lydia

Over the past two days I have been so honored to meet two of the newest editions to this beautiful world. Thus I have baby(sitting) on the  brain!! My great friends Casie and Jamie had babies within DAYS of each other and I can’t even begin to tell you how cute they are. I am so thrilled for them and love watching their families grow!

Malcolm Thomas

Lydia Pearl

After snuggling these two beauties (who will some day fall in love and get married) I am reminded how much there is in this world that I have still yet to touch; the world keeps changing and I can only imagine what it will look like when Lydia and Malcolm are my age!! Yea for babies!!! xo

Time to catch up (sorry! 18/19/20)

Day 20: Your grades or report card

Since I am years removed from college and nearly a decade removed from high school I don’t have easy access to a report card or any set of grades. And while I did well in college my high school grades were nothing to brag about. Since we no longer get “graded” I strive to do my very best to live my life according to the quote below. With an open heart I try to move through each avenue of my life, and live it to the very fullest.

great advice~ Thanks Jan!!

Day 19: One of the best days of your life

🙂

Live each day for today!

Day 18: Your favorite outfit

only a few

A few years back I decided that I would like to revert to the days of my childhood where I loved girly dresses and frills. I made a very deliberate decision to try and get as many dresses I possibly could. I jokingly stated that I would like to have one dress for every day of the year. While I am probably in the 20- 30 dress count I can definitively say that dresses are most certainly my favorite outfit!

Day 14 & 15 for your viewing pleasure

Day 15: Your childhood home

Good old West Des Moines, Iowa. I lived here in the earliest part of my childhood but the house was a cornflower blue with peach trim. Mine was the room on the corner; one small window on each side. Lots and lots of memorable moments in this home. Did I mention it was my mom’s childhood home too?!

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21st Street stomping grounds

 

Day 14: Something you hate

Quite frankly growing up we were never allowed to use the word hate it was on the same level of a curse word. With that stated at this juncture in my life it was not hard to think of something that truly truly TRULY HATE! And if you know me well you already know that I cannot stand winter, and despise the cold!! So, you might wonder what else could she possibly dislike so much?!? Here’s the answer… snow that has stuck around in this never-ending winter; that is slowly wearing on all of us and becomes dirtier and dirtier with each passing day!

uggghhhhh!!!!! summer please!