Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wrath of God

Mother Nature decided to give us a run for our money this weekend. We had a terrible storm on Saturday evening. I feel a little bit at fault because Nate and I were driving back home when we heard about the Tornado warning on the radio and I said "I feel like St. Louis Park never gets hit. We must be in the lucky jetstream or something."

Well clearly there is some irony in that statement since about oh...20 minutes later this happened:

That was a live action shot taken by Nate. Meanwhile, I was in the basement with Lucy because once I saw the wind and the hail hit, I was out of there. Lucy may have just lost one of her 347 lives.

So I emerged from the basement, and Nate and I assessed the damage.

We had a part of our tree go down in the back yard. The first thing out of Nate's mouth was "It fell the wrong way!" because he really wants a new garage. Nice.

All of our landscaping and plants that I literally planted last weekend were completely demolished....remember how I was saying I felt hold because I was excited about window boxes and annuals? Well this is not exactly a picture of excitement anymore.

But most upsetting was my herb garden. Nate and I were admiring how lush and full it was about 15 minutes before the storm hit (Not even overexaggerating)...and talking about how we should be trimming it because it was so full. We enjoyed fresh basil on pasta last night in fact and talked about how delicious all of our meals would be with all of the fresh herbs. is our herb garden now:

Oh yeah...I thought I was SO smart for remembering to move them in next to the house. Next time I will literally bring everything possible into our tiny little house.

Did I tell you that it looked like we had a few inches of snow on the ground? Our neighbors were SHOVELING the snow off the driveway, and we shoveled the porch.

The eery thing about it was after the storm passed and we went outside you felt like you were in a horror movie because all of the steam coming from the hail, but when you breathed in and out you could see your breath.

Plus, it literally smelled like Christmas. I think it was because of all of the plants that just got smoked, but with the hail looking like snow and the smell in the air I half expected to see Santa Clause.

But even as I still mourn our blue ribbon herb garden, I realize it could have been a lot worse...and besides I know a good insurance guy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Great Food: Memorial Day Edition

So Nate and I cooked up a storm over the Memorial Day Weekend. We decided to do a "holiday weekend" version of our cooking night, and we were not disappointed.

The Main Course was:

Pan Fried Shrimp with Green Curry Cashew Sauce

We were lucky enough to get to try this sauce at the Schuster-Chevalier household at dinner one night, and Nate fell in love with it. Once we realized they got it out of this book, we knew this recipe was next on the list and it did not disappoint.

However........the biggest winner of the night was the

Carrot Salad---literally obsessed with this salad in every way. I am pretty sure I am actually turning a little orange because I have been eating so much of it. We made it Saturday night and I made another huge batch on monday to take for lunch every day this week. I normally wouldn't give out the recipe (a) because that requires a little too much work and b) you really should buy this cookbook) but I already have it memorized and it really is so amazing so scroll to the end for the recipe!.

Our side dish was:

Spinich with Orzo and Feta Salad--this is what is in the small square white dish to the side of our plate. This was not our favorite on the first night but it actually make good leftovers because it kills the mint a little bit. If you make we would recommend putting slightly less mint then they suggest.

Here it is:

Theirs Ours

And our Dessert was:

Lemon Custard Cakes: I was a little nervous about this as I was totally whipping it up in the midst of dinner flurry and there was folding in of egg whites involved, but they turned out great. And as a double bonus, I think they tasted better the next day after being refrigerated (even though they say to serve warm).

Theirs Ours

Alright so here is the most amazing recipe you have all been waiting for:

Carrot Salad:
Take 5-6 carrots and peel them and shred them (we used the medium size grate on our could probably also food process).
Add: 2 Tblspn seasame seed
2 Tblspn Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tblspn Sesame oil
1 inch peice of fresh ginger (chopped finely)
Salt and Pepper to taste tasty.

Also, I have had a request to show what our kitchen looks like after our whirlwind cooking efforts, so we'll be sure to do that one night. Our kitchen is very very small so it does look like a tornado hit it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Secret Date Update

This weekend was SO relaxing. We didn't have any plans and pretty much just relaxed, cooked a lot of great food, watched some movies, and did random chores around the house that make me feel 'old'....i.e. weatherproofing patio furniture, weeding flower beds, and planting vegetables. It was just over a year ago that none of this was even on the radar screen of somethign I may have to do in the future.

But we have a house now, and it does feel good to make it nice. And I am sure our neighbors appreciate that we haven't totally let ourselves go. Although, the people on the left of us clearly were foreclosed on and no one is mowing their yard...or doing any upkeep. Nate and I considered going over and helping ourselves to some of their annuals. Again, two years ago...never would have imagined that getting some free annuals would be such a thrill.

Anyway, with all the house stuff happening this weekend it was a great fit that Nate's Secret Date was to go to the ASID Home Tour. Now let me be clear that I have no idea what ASID stands for....but what I can tell you is that this home was OFF THE HOOK.

It was 4 stories...7 bedrooms, 6 baths, a pool, a library, an office, a room just for the dog, a fly-fishing room...the list goes on and on. I guess this guy is a huge advertising guru in town here or something. All I know is that he is totally loaded. Here is a picture of the outside of the house (no pictures allowed on the "inside"). I realize this looks wholly unimpressive compared to what it was on the inside but I had to include a picture.

And for another fun is Nate outside of the Linden Hills Food Co-op, where we biked for lunch on the way to the home tour.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cool New Websites

Here are a few of my new favorite websites. Each of course has its merits.


You won't believe it until you try it. You just type in a command and this guy in a chicken costume does whatever you tell it to. I am serious...I had it do the splits, cartwheel, act like a monkey, moonwalk, polka, and more. It can do it all.


This is a great website for when you need to take a few deep breaths (perhaps at work when you are trying to cool off before you decide to tell someone where to put it). Just click on the link, click into the blank space and move your mouse cursor...Voila! Beautiful Art created by you.


Have some pictures that aren't quite frame worthy, but are pretty good (i.e. funny looking?) Go to this website to add captions to the picture. Click on the picture below for an example.

Happy Procrastination!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Great Food: Episode 3

I think we may have had our first serious failure last night. Not sure if it is our fault or the recipe's fault...or maybe a combination of both.

Last night we tried our hand at: Creamy Fettucine with Asparagus. Now this dish had serious potentital from the start because it has goat cheese in it (one of my new favorite ingrediants). I had extremely high hopes.

Maybe it was because we completely overcooked the asparagus. Or maybe it was because we used dry dill instead of fresh dill. Or maybe the recipe just sucks. I am going to guess that it isn't the latter since every other thing in this cookbook in incredible, but I had to make Nate and I feel better somehow.

Here was our valiant effort:
Theirs Ours

Monday, May 19, 2008

Amy's Shower Day!

Yesterday was my good friend Amy's bridal shower. She looked absolutely beautiful of course. The shower was wonderful and it was so much to fun to meet her sister's and other family members (she has a huge family!). Everything was decked out Ireland and people were definitely buzzing about their upcoming trips planned to Ireland for Amy's big day.

Here is the beautiful bride to be:

And of course the Mom of the Bride to Be, who I am personally looking forward to dancing it up and partying it down with in Ireland. This is one fun lady people.
And here are Amy with her sisters (in green and black) and her soon to be sister (In the white dress with black belt).

And last but certainly not least....the happy couple. Patrick was lucky enough to come just in time to help Amy open up her presents. I always love seeing guys at bridal showers. You just cannot put someone more out of their is like deer in headlights. But Patrick did very good, and even got some manly gifts like a power drill and dyson vaccuum (ok the vacuum is a stretch but he did seem semi excited about it!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

This Week's Menu

So this week, our unplugged evening included Chicken Parmigiana and.....

Cucumber-Radish Slaw!! (YUMMY)

Nate and I seriously made a great team. I took care of the salad and he was all over the chicken...although next time we will definitely get the meat thermometer out for the chicken.

The "slaw" comes HIGHLY recommended from both of us. SO tasty, and so healthy. For those of you who rushed out and bought this cookbook to enjoy along with us, we didn't use the olive oil, and it tasted just as delicious.
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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day we gathered in Chicago for a girl's weekend full of fun.

On Saturday night we went out to Nacional 27 for dinner. It was excellent food, but I think all of our votes for favorite part of the menu went to the flight of Mojitos! 3 different flavors--all of which were delicious. I am pretty sure we could have each had our own flight.

But if we would have done that we might have missed the main event in a drunken stupor. The main event: WICKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was my first time seeing it and it was everything I could have hoped for and more. Defying Gravity was goose-bump popping good.

On Monday, Becca and I went shopping and everytime we saw something really hideously green we yelled-sang "Wicked"...

a) you have to know the song
b) you definitely had to be there...but trust me it was funny

And of course there was LOTS of Finnegan time. He is getting SO big....and definitely has a wide range of words he is working on....and has 4 teeth that he has learned to grind together in the most bone chilling sound you have ever heard.
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Friday, May 9, 2008

Sampling Circuit

Tuesday night Nate and I went to this thing called "Sampling Circuit" where you go to a new restaurant and get to sample a bunch of stuff off of the menu, as well as partake in free drinking. It was pretty fun. We went to this new place on Portland Avenue called Otho. The food was ok. Nate and I couldn't tell if we were being overly critical because of the event, or if the food really just wasn't that good.

There were some delicious martini drinks they made with that new nutrisoda that you see advertised at the airport. Seriously...surprisingly delicous.

Nate was also nice enough to sit in the sun the entire time....which didn't quite make for photogenic picture (see below pictured with the braised short rib).

All in all it was a pretty wild and crazy time for a "school" least for us two. It ended with a so called gourmet goodie bag. Dad--you'll be happy to know you have some cheese stuffed green olives coming your way.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Great Food Fast

Nate and I are starting to have "unplugged Tuesdays"...which means no TV, no Wii, no computer. Now that I am out of school and the weather is almost getting nice, we need to get out and enjoy it as much as possible.

We have decided that Tuesday night will be "Great Food Fast" night. For those of you who don't know..Great Food Fast is literally the best cook book you will ever purchase. We highly recommend it. We are planning on cooking our way through the entire book within the next year, and will document our successes and failures.

Tonight was definitely a success! We made Cream of Asparagus Soup and Crisp Goat Cheese salad. Both were delicious, but I think Nate and I both agree the soup was the hit of the night and was super easy (no funky ingredients Mom!) to make and seemed healthy enough.

So here are the beautiful pictures that were included in the cookbook to illustrate the dishes:

And here was our effort:

I think it was pretty least for our first effort. After dinner we were kind of like...what next..since we normally play some Tennis of Wii, check the TiVo listings, or plug into our computers to work or play video games. Turns out you can be really productive when you turn all of that stuff off. Hmmm......

Rain, Running and Relaxation

This weekend we headed home to Viroqua where Mom, Nate, Finnegan and I all participated in a race for St. Clare's Mission. It was FREEZING cold (and super early) but once I started running it was the perfect temp.

Mom and Finnegan blazed the trails for the 5k walk.
And Nate did his first "official" half-marathon! Way to go Nate!

The rest of the weekend was made up of relaxation and good food! We brought our WII home and Nick and Becca battled it out in boxing. Apparently Nick uncovered the secret move that ensure success in every round...wonder how his forearms are feeling today after all the rounds he played?

Friday, May 2, 2008


So I realize I am far from a true "Yogi" (Dad---this is a person who does yoga a lot...) but I sure felt like one this week.

Nate had his 2nd April Secret Date Night on Tuesday and he took us to Core Power to do a yoga class together. (FYI--as a reminder Nate had to do 2 SDN's in April because he lost our March Madness Basketball Bracket...wasn't even close).

It was really fun and I think Nate even enjoyed it. Well the place we went offers a free week when you first sign up, so I have been going Yoga crazy this week to take full advantage of my free week.

On Wednesday night when I went there was a guy there that had ALL the amentities from his own mat, own mat cover, towel, block, RIGHT DOWN to his own little spray bottle of fragrance to spray on his towel. I couldn't even hold it together because he was all breathing super hard and loud, and kept adjusting his sweat band. Then he took his shirt off and was sweating all over the place.

I think I'll stick to yoga at the General Mills gym.....the instructor is just as good and you don't have to deal with the true "yogi's".