Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Great Food: Episode 7

It was a good old fashioned BBQ this week as Nate and I attemped to make:

Barbecued Chicken and Corn and Radish Salad.

First let me say, that some of our recent dishes, while good, were nothing to write home about so to speak. Not true this week my friends. We hit the summertime jackpot in this dish.

You essentially make your own extremely delicious BBQ sauce and combine in with my all time favorite thing...chicken with the skin on.

We did actually buy the full chicken and break it up like the recipe says but I do think you could buy the chicken alraedy cleaned.

Now the salad, was also a big hit because it was in contrast to the chicken in its lightness and freshness. The green specks you see are a green chile pepper chopped up to give it a little heat, but it is SO not spicy.

This meal gets our seal of approval and two thumbs up for a repeat performance.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Michelina's Revenge

This weekend, Nate ran his first marathon in Duluth!! The day literally could not have been more beautiful, and it was perfect running (and spectating!) weather.

We arrived Friday night and headed down to Canal Park to partake in the racing festivities.

Here is the official moment of Nate picking up his race packet. He looks a little nervous to me, but he swears he was cucumber cool the whole time.

Now, for those of you who may not know, Nate suffers from "runners Trot," or what we like to call "evil poop monster" at the Hanson household. Either way...I think you get the picture. You are probably thinking...TMI Greta...TMI...but it is completely relevant. Stick with me..

When Nate started training for the marathon, some 16 weeks ago, he hired me on as his nutritionist. Nate had second thoughts about this as I began to take my job seriously (it is me after all...) and was nixing things left and right that could potentially flare the "trot". After getting the nutrition on track, and a daily dose of the "miracle product" of Yo-Plus, runner trot was gone from Nate's running life.

Fast forward to the evening before the race. Michelina's was the presenting sponsor of the Spaghetti dinner. I think you may be starting to draw some conclusions based on the blog title.....

Here is Nate enjoying the Michelina's....

Race day came....and it was GORGEOUS. Nate left at 5:30AM to get on the bus, and he looked strong, confident and a little nervous. I got into place as a spectator at about 8:30 at mile 23. I got the text message at 9:30ish that said Nate just crossed the half way point! He was seriously truckin...sticking to his goal pace.

Then....disaster (or Michelina) struck Nate. Unfortunately, Nate had a few bouts of "the evil poop monster" that did not quite allow him to finish in his goal time, but let me tell you when I did see him at mile 23....he looked strong and had remained positive. I was SO impressed with him and so proud of him.

And he is raring to get to the next marathon....without the Michelina spaghetti dinner.

CONGRATS NATE! You did an amazing job....something many people cannot do...and you did it under some adversity! Looking forward to cheerleading you at the next one!

More official race pictures to follow........

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Great Food: Episode 6

This weeks episode: Spinach Penne with Ricotta and Pine Nuts

As I am sure you can see, ours is not nearly as beautiful because we didn't use Green Penne...couldn't find it anywhere. Ok fine, couldn't find it at Cub. But it was our stock up trip, and I didn't feel like going to another grocery store just to find green penne.

No need for the green pasta, because this dish was still tasty. Now it isn't rave-worthy, but I will say is it is a VERY easy, standard, don't-have-to-buy-special ingrediants sort of meal.

And it is super quick. We like our Pine Nuts extra toasty because we think it bring out more of the flavor, so we left it in the oven a little longer than it said.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Urban Dare!!

This weekend,we participated in Urban Dare, a one-day Amazing Race-ish event that has you running through the city looking for crazy statues, art, and places of interest. Nate and I had SUCH a great time. It was something we had never done before and we are always looking for new crazy things to do so this totally fit our bill.

So the day started out with Summer, Katie and I (and the boys of course) met at the starting line at Loon Cafe. They got all of the teams together and we had to answer trivia questions to determine start times. After we missed the first question, Nate and I got the second one right and were off!

We got a list of 12 riddles and clues that we had to decipher. At this point, let me say THANK GOD for our Internet Specialists who helped us figure out these clues! We seriously couldn't have had as much fun or did as well with out you!

Our first clue was to find this wall of music, so off we ran! At each place you had to get a picture of both you and your team member to document that you were both there. Surprisingly, we actually got some decent pictures.

Then it was off to Loring Park where we did our Bolo dare (Nate totally scored on this one) and then to the Walker Sculpture Garden. We got to the sculpture below and no one was around except this like 6 year old girl and I asked her to take our picture...not sure if she even knew how to operate a camera, but lucky for us our picture turned out!

We also took the opportunity to nab a family passing by to get our 5:00 bonus for building a 6-person pyramid. The Dad was complaining of bad knees and the middle school girl was suffering from a bad attitude, but all together we got the dare done...BONUS!!

We took off running for First Avenue where we figured out the "stars" were. Our star was 10,000 Maniacs and it took us for what seemed like ages to find it. We even had roadies from the tour bus that was unloading trying to help us, but it still took quite a bit of time.

One of the most challenging clues to find was the George Washington flagpole, but our I-Team came through in a clinch and we ran there as fast as possible. The rest of the stops kind of fell into place. We really lucked out with a great route...not a ton of backtracking.

Our final clue was the only one we didnt' know for sure, but by the grace of god we ran to the Metrodome and saw the "Foul Pole" flag immediately. The "Bubble Dare" was here, which consisted of shoving your face in a plate of whipped cream to find a peice of bubble you can't guess who rose her hand to do this one!

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Here is how our clue sheet looked by the end of the race!!! It was SO much fun, we had perfect weather, and are excited to do it again. Check out to see if it is coming to your city.

There is another company called Great Urban Race that does something similar. Nate and I are already signed up for the Twin Cities race in Sepetember!! Who wants to join us?

P.S. I know none of you will believe this, but for the record I have to state that of the 2 of us it was Nate who blew a gasket and got pretty 'bitchy'...not me. Just for the record....crumbled under pressure like a graham cracker. I don't want to rub it in tooooo much so I'll leave it at that. ;)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Summer!

It was celebration abound for Summer's 30th Birthday! We all met at the Schuster household for a champagne toast to Summer's 30th year before heading out for a good old cocktail crawl.
Of course before we did this we had to take some pictures of the 6-pack, and open some gifts.

In our typical style, we couldn't do anything in the ordinary so we went with a "prom-style" birthday photograph.

I really thought Nate and I had the prom pose down (being we actually went to prom together) but check out Katie and Summer's knee bend...CLASSIC.

Shout out to Summer's sister who babysat Max for the night so that the new parents could come out and get their drink on. She was seriously the multi-tasker of the century. She was taking pictures left and right, making a cake, and at one time trying to form soft peaks WHILE taking pictures.

The night started at La Belle Vie, a very swankified place. We had some very delicious drinks, and contemplated hyper-miling....don't ask. Katie--check out whose head looks the biggest in this picture...ummm mine.

Then we ventured to Bar Lurcat because they has some seriously delicious bar food. Delicous Bar food that is not served after 10. We got there at literally 9:59. Our waitress "tried" to get our order in and did manage to get the girls salads ordered (thank god we had a birthday girl to help guilt them into it) but the sliders we ordered for the guys ended up being one order (read 2 very small hamburgers) for 3 very hungry boys.

Here was how the birthday girl felt about that.

The night ended at Town Talk Diner with Summer and Joe sharing a 40 oz. champagne of beers, complete with champagne classes and a chiller. We all enjoyed some seriously greasy food, and one last drink of the evening.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Weekend FESTivities

This weekend brought with it good weather (finally!) and with it Nate and I decided to check out a few fun festivities that were going on downtown...double bonus...both were FREE!

Minneapolis Mosaic is a festival that goes on each year that helps celebrate the "diversity of the city." (Dad--quit rolling your eyes). It wsa pretty cool. They had some streets blocked off and had a bunch of music and great ethnic food for sale. Nate and I had some pork tamales, steak tacos, and some fairly good chinese food.

They had a mural up that anyone could paint on, that will be placed somewhere within the city after the festival is over.

The other really cool thing was that they had 3 theatres open and every 15 minutes a new act or performance would come on stage. We saw a ballet, a high school dance troupe, and a really random film.

Then I saw someone with cotton candy and I was determined to find out where it came from. So I coaxed Nate into walking over to the blues fest to see if there was cotton candy there. The music was good. To be honest we didn't stay long since we had to get biking before it got dark, but it was a good scene. And....I got my cotton candy.

Oh...and for those of you who think you can't teach an old cat new tricks....Lucy (our ancient cat) has decided that an entire room in our house dedicated to her is just not quite enough space and has taken a liking to our coat closet. And she will sit and cry by the door if it isn't open. I realize that this isn't 'technically' a trick, but seriously...where does this cat come up with this stuff?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Party Like It's 1989

No that isn't a misprint...this Thursday Nate and I...and the entire GCOM function partied at the Fine Line like it was 1989.

Yes, it was a year end work party for the record books. Big Hair, sky high bangs, neon leggings, spandex and valley girls abound were all present.

Now let me say that General Mills has been known to throw a good parties in its day, but I am pretty sure this one takes the cake.

The night included an open bar, food and an 80's rock band lip synching competition. I was totally skeptical of this contest, but then I found out they hired professional choreographers for each group, acting lessons and more, and let's just say it was worth it!

And fear not...General Mills humor was abound...making it a scene that NBC should have been there to film for ideas for The Office.

Here was one of the singers during the "Pet Shop Boys" routing....yes...that really does say Betty Rocker. The picture next to it was the entire band...check out the lead singers costume. It pretty much doesn't get any more exact than that. We take our competitions seriously at the General.

Next up was Madonna's Material Girl...unfortunate face captured on film here, but had to share anyhow.

And then there was our Chief Marketing on the executive board of GMI..dressed as George Michael. Awesome.

I really have never had more fun at a work party. Probably a little too much fun considering I had to work the next morning. I must say the bangs I am currently sporting translated nicely to an 80's hairstyle. I just kept thinking of my sister, and how growing up she would spend hours on her bangs and I would run around saying cock a doodle doo! teasing her that she had rooster bangs. Looking back...that really doesn't even make sense, but I thought I was SOOOO funny.

Katie and I both sported some serious legging action.

Ahh memories. I only hope that the girl that decided to go on stage for her lip synching contest literally sporting only her underwear and fishnet nylons didn't ruin this party for years to come.

I was talking to our HR person and said girl above comes up and says "I'm not getting fired am I?". Hmmm...probably should have thought that one through before getting practically naked in front of all of your co-workers.

At least the open bar will help erase that from some of our memories...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Great Food: Episode 5

The lesson learned from this "cooking experience": Follow the Directions.
On Tuesday, Nate and I attempted to make Spring Risotto with Peas and Zucchini.

Normally, when we are cooking we try to split it up...he'll take the mean, I'll do the side dish, etc. With Risotto being our only dish, splitting it up wasn't an option which of course meant there was 1 too many cooks in the kitchen.

After taking painstaking care to stir the Risotto for 30 minutes plus, carefully adding 1 cup of broth after the prior cup was absorbed, I told Nate we were ready for the peas. Nate cuts the bag of peas and dumps the WHOLE thing in. I say.."wow that seems like a lot of peas."

At this point, I think it is fair to tell all of you that I really hate peas. My Mom can TOTALLY vouch for this. But for the sake of my dear husband who has been obsessing about risotto, I said let's try the dish..I'll just pick out the peas.

Come to find out...the recipe only required 1 cup of peas. So to me this dish tasted like peas with some rice and other veggies, but I have hope that the next time we make it we can follow the directions, and I will like it much better.

Ours Theirs

P.S. Nate is getting fancy with his photo editing skills...notice the light fade around the dish. Very fancy Nate....very fancy.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Great Northern Lakes Run

Last Saturday Nate and I both ran in the Great Northern Lakes run in White Bear Lake.

I ran the 10 miler and Nate kicked butt in the 30K (about 20 miles). He is well on his way to a very successful marathon on June 21st...also known as our 10 year anniversary of dating. Awwww......

So I finished about an hour and a half before Nate did and got to see all sorts of people running to the finish line. And you know the finish line is what it is all about for me. Some people love the feeling when you are lined up on the start line with all the anticipation and just waiting to hear the gunshot. For me, that is the worst. I think I might just put to much pressure on myself.

But the finish line that is where it is at. I was watching the contenders of the 30K come in and the 3rd place girl raced in and than ran back my way on the course and stopped a little ahead of me. Then I hear her screaming come on MOM! And here comes her Mom and the girl starts running with her and is like "YOU CAN DO IT, only 2 more blocks left" and the whole family was there cheering them on. I get a little choked up thinking about it.

And I think the people that come in last get MORE encouragement than the people who win the race. For the 10 mile race, these 2 older women (I would say upper 60's) came in quite a bit after everyone else, and all of the spectators were just screaming for them.

Anyway, it was a great way to start our Saturday, and I had to laugh because the announcer kept saying a couple/family that sweats together stays together. So how about it family...who is up for a race with the whole family?!?!

Great Food: Episode 4

This week we were feeling in the mood for some asian flare, so we tried our hand at Cashew Chicken.

Nate was pretty much in charge as I was running late from work, and he did an excellent job. He wsa pretty stoked that we actually got to include onions (since I am not a fan). The sauce ends up being more on the sweet side, so next time we will probably add something to give it a little extra kick.

All in all it was really good, and required very few ingrediants, so it will be a good quick staple.

Our neighbor was nice enough to come over with his chain saw and help us with our tree that went down during the storm. So I turned to the master cookbook and whipped up some Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Let me tell you...these are delicious. I do not even like carrot cake, and I thought they were really good. There is about a cup and a half of carrots, some coconut and walnuts in the cake part that make them very filling.