Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Coolest of the Crops

We learned this weekend at the Mill City Farmers Market that apparently Garlic Scapes were ALL the rage on the East Coast Foodie scene last year and are just hitting the Midwest (go figure).

Little did we know how cool we were as we had just polished off our own batch of Garlic Scape we had gotten a bunch of these in our nifty crop share.

Here are a few things we learned...

1) This stuff is still garlic, and it is GARLICKY...
2) When you make it, use it. Because it doesn't seem to stay fresh all that long.
3) You do actually use the entire scape and not just the end.

So if you see these funky things are your local farmers market..try them out, and bask in the glory of culinary coolness.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


We hit up the Pride Parade this weekend, mostly because I had heard that The Firm (our gym's) float was always off the hook, but also because it was absolutely gorgeous out and I was 99% sure that this parade would be throwing candy.

Guess who was right? SCORE!

You know what else got thrown into the crowd? Pop Rock candy that was actually a vodka shot.
AND, full size bottles of mousse. Which by the way is actually NOT a good idea as I almost lost my entire bottom row of teeth when it nailed me in the face. Yup, that happened.

There were plays off of movies--brokeback anyone?

And just in general, fun outfits. Yes this mans paddle says SPANK

All of the local companies came out to support. From General Mills to Target I am pretty sure EVERY company was represented. (It was a looong parade). But we scored some sweet Cub Foods bling....just what every person needs.

And The Firm did not disappoint. It was the very last float of the entire thing, and pretty much brought down the house. Diva Doug was in all of his glory.

And as I watched the Firm's float go by, filled with half-naked dancing men, I was filled with PRIDE to be a part of a gym that is so welcoming of everyone, all shapes, sizes, races, orientation. A gym that can kick your ass and make you have fun while doing it.  

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Friend Filled Weekend

You know it is going to be a good weekend when Amy comes to town and this weekend didn't disappoint. Thank god she was here or this weekend would have shaped up to be the worst weekend ever between flash flooding in our basement, and the discovery of carpenter ants settling into our basement ceiling. More to come on that later...

Back to the good stuff which started with a delicious Indian meal, and some bowling. Seriously, I can't even remember when the last time I went bowling was, but it's gotten pretty high-tech. Amy forgot socks, and bam! Sock vending machine at your service..

Amy showed both of us up with her mad bowling skills and seriously awesome strike dance. I tried to replicate, but it really is one of a kind.

God decided to stop the flood  long enough for us to enjoy a bike ride on Saturday to the Farmers Market and the local Minneapolis scenery. We may or may not have forgotten sunscreen...

There was some weird dough-ball thing at the Farmers Market that smelled incredible and had fresh raspberries in the middle, so we decided to go for it and they were quite tasty. I don't have the slightest clue what they were actually called, all I remember ist hat I couldnt't pronounce it. Very helpful I know.

We took in soem shuffleboard, karaoke and beer Saturday night as the rain continued. I learned that it is very important when singing in a bar to have your 'kabuki' songs ready so you can pull them out at a moments notice. Apparently everyone at the bar that night had an entire arsenal of kabuki songs because they were pretty much professional.

Today we went to the Pride Parade which quite honestly deserves its own post all together so stay tuned for that.

It was such a fabulous weekend with Amy. It is always so great to spend some time with her and whenever she leaves I get to thinking.....why don't I live near Chicago and Milwaukee??? Maybe someday.....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cooking Light: Episode 13

We decided to spice it up this week with some Sriracha Chicken.

The problem was we maybe spiced it up a little too much. And really it was all my fault because Nate took the chicken off off the grill, and then I 'asked' him to put it back ON the grill for the photo.

Which led to Nate saying, oh well let's just put the rest of the glaze on the chicken for the photo...

And so we were left with a decent photo.....

....and really spicy chicken.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How Hard Can It Be?

From 8 cups of water a day to flossing, there are so many little quips you hear about what you should do to be your healthiest, best, be younger/faster/stronger longer. And beyond the should do's, there are the  I wonder if I could do's.

Like when my sister challenged herself to run every day for 30 days. Or more recently, my friend Summer gave up all plastic bottles and baggies. Both not a mandate to live longer, but an interesting  challenge to see if you can make a difference that will stick.I've been thinking about this for probably 8 months and haven't felt like I have the 'full story' built for how to do this on the blog but decided to throw a well-planned idea out the window and jump in.

Here's the deal: Every month Nate and I will tackle one of these 'common truths' or a wacky challenge just to see if we can. And we will report back on how painful (or hopefully easy it was) to stick to it. We have a bunch of ideas (or rather I do...Nate is probably learning about this as he reads this post...get pumped honey!), but feel free to leave any ideas you may have in the comments section.

So here goes---this months "How Hard Can it Be?" is to not eat past 8PM. (Obviously we'll start tomorrow as I sit here at 9PM munching on popcorn).

Now to be honest I don't really know why one isn't supposed to eat past 8PM. I'm sure it has something to do with metabolism, weight-loss, blah, blah, blah. And the reality is it doesn't really matter. I just want to see if we can do it, because let me tell you the 9PM treat is prevalent in the Hanson household. From popsicles to popcorn....there is usally some sort of bedtime snack around.

But not for the next 10 days. Why 10 days? Becaues it sounds good, and that way we can eat all the food we want while we are watching fireworks on the 4th of July.

We'll report back....and try to keep the whining at a minimum. :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010


After 5 years of living in St. Louis Park, we finally we able to catch some of the festivities of the annual St. Louis Park "Parktacular". While Nate was really volleying for the Waffle breakfast at the local VFW, we agreed that the parade would be most definitely the most entertaining. Plus, there was serious promise of candy.

In SLP, parades don't kick-off with a Fire Engine. No, they kick-off with America. Flags on motorcycles. Yes plural.

My worst nightmare quickly came true as the family we were positioned strategically close enough that "people would throw candy at us, yet far enough way it wouldn't seem like I was literally stealing candy from babies", started to get attacked by ants, so they moved RIGHT next to us. AND to top it all off, for some reason every single float that was throwing candy wasn't actually throwing it.

They were handing it out. Person by person. Or should I say kid by kid. Because all the adults got were some flyers on rescuing dogs and some stiff handshakes by politicians whose names I couldn't remember even with this photo.

So unfair.

But all was not lost, as I felt right back at home with my small town roots, when I saw this random tuba-playing parademan....

...Girls who are 'queens' of something even more ridiculous than Viroqua's Wild West Days...

.....and the future demise of our marriage. Nate says he might just join this 'fan club' when he is done with school.
Next year, I think we'll try the waffle breakfast.

Or borrow someone's know so they can really experience everything parktacular has to offer while giving me a stipend of free parade candy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cooking Light: Episode 12

In the last couple of months, Nate and I have had the insatiable desire for hot sandwiches. It's weird right? I mean it's summer, the time for light and refreshing food. Not hot and melty sammies. But if I could toot our own horn (and mostly just Nate's horn), we are quite good at the hot sandwich.

I am typically the idea generator. The sandwich mixologist if you will. But the real magic comes in when Nate puts it together in the perfect way, and toasts it just so. Give us a toaster over and we can give you a delectable sandwich. Or even give us a broiler. We can make that work too.

But, give us a grill.....and that is where the problems start to come in. Enter this weeks Cooking Light recipe: Classic Panini with Proscuitto and Fresh Mozzarella.

Now to be fair, I may or may not have mis-interpreted the directions on how exactly you were supposed to achieve the golden brown sandwich that the recipe promised.

Either way, this meal ended quite abruptly with Nate having a minor meltdown about how this 'just wasn't working'.  The end result was still relatively tasty, albeit a little heavy on the carcinogens.

But I think we will stick to our trusty little toaster oven from now on, and keep the grilling to meat and veggies (and fine the occasional pizza).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Crazy Good

Swim: 1.2 miles

Bike: 56 Miles

Run: 13.1 Miles

Smash personal best by 30 minutes!

Congrats to Nate for absolutely killing his triathlon this weekend. He looked like a rockstar the entire day, through the rain and cold (although he tells me it was great racing weather)...

I am SOO proud of you!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Not a Fan

I love the iPad. Have I mentioned that? I think I have but just in case I haven't:

I love the fact that my email and calendar are at my fingertips during my marathon meeting days at work.
I love the display for my Google Feed, where I can follow all of my favorite blogs with one tap of my finger.
I love that Nate and I can watch Modern Family on demand.
I love getting my news from NY Times, Time, Wired, Mashable, ......and more!
I love looking up recipes on Epicurious and with one click getting a mobile shopping list.

But, there is someone in our household who does not love the iPad.
And it's not Nate.

You see this wonderful little device, while sleek in design, does require two hands.
And Lucy is not appreciative that her 'lovin' time has diminished.
So I am trying to train her to just nestle in the crook of my arms that 'holds but doesn't operate' the iPad, but what can I can't teach an old (correction: VERY OLD) cat new tricks.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cooking Light: Episode 11

It is always an amazing feeling when we totally  nail a recipe, and this week was not only executed well, but it was also a guaranteed repeat performance in our household.

It all started with the mint from our crop share. Now I know I said we would make mojitos but we were in desparate need of some healthy fare in our household after a Baked Cheetos episode combined with some trial of the new Starbuck Hot Chocolate Ice Cream.

So Tabbouleh with Red Peppers and Cucumbers  was just the ticket. Combine that with our fresh mint, a whole load of parsley and some delicious grilled chicken and we were in business!

Cooking with bulgar was a first for me. I have had it before in a restaurant, but never made it at home. It was super easy, very quick and supposedly quite healthy. The triple threat!

This has fast become a staple in our house. I already ate both containers of left-overs....and I never eat left-overs. Nate and I will have to instate a little RPS action to determine who gets these leftovers from now on!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Well, in our case it was actually only 2 minutes late which led to being $300 short..but whose counting?

Nate and I once again signed up to participate in Urban Dare (think Amazing Race for 1 Day), but this time we had high aspirations of winning. Correction--I had high aspirations of winning. Nate just kept reminding me that he just really wanted to have fun.

And fun we did have. Despite the pouring rain, we ran our little hearts out, photo-capturing clue by clue as we raced back toward the finish line.

Yes, we were all business. Take a look at photos from the first year we did this (click here). What do you notice? Oh yes..the cutesy fun pictures that we clearly had someone else take.

Not this year. Find the location, snap the picture. Don't hangup the phone, don't even smile, just get the photo so we can race to the next spot. You may be asking yourself, why were you on the phone in the first place? Enter our internet specialist team, who were feverishly solving clues while we ran around the city making our path and job as easy as possible (totally legit by the event rules by the way).

Who better that Katie and Ryan--friends that helped co-create "the Google Bank" and have better internet skillz (yes with a z) than anyone I know. I knew they were the right choice, when I get this photo sent to me an hour before the event:
So did we have fun? ABSOLUTELY.
Did we win? No.

In fact, we lost by TWO lousy minutes. Two. 1. 2.

And of course you play the what if game. What if we had answered the first trivia question right to get our clue sheet first? What if I could have kept up with Nate and ran faster? What if we wouldnt' have missed the sculpture in the sculpture garden, or ran right to the first statue in Target field?

Ahh...the pain. BUT, we did win entry into the National competition, so depending on where it is and when it is we may just make an appearance there. In the meantime there is another company that does a similar event in Minneapolis in September, and Nate and I are already plotting our strategy for that one.

Watch out people.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

First Share!

We got our first crop share this Thursday. We are splitting a share with our neighbor, and I have to admit when I stopped over to their house to pick up our first share for the summer I had a bit of excitement to see just what would be in there.

Because the reality is (or at least what I've seen in the newsletter we get) this spring threw 'our farm' for a loop. Asparagus done in March, thus we will get none. Some weird fungus or something on some of the root vegetables. So it is up to Mother Nature, and a little luck based on the lottery system they have in place for the sparse items.

All in all, we are super happy with our veggie loot.

So we know what to do with the mint (umm...hello Mojitos!), but based on what we got it looks like we are in some serious need for some great salad recipes. Anyone have any they want to share?
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

College Wish Come True

UW-Madison. Known for it's gorgeous campus. Amazing Union. Fabulous Football games. Work hard, play hard. Anyone that went to Madison knows that you haven't really graduated until you have had your picture taken in Lincoln's lap at the top of Bascom. I, being a December grad, did not get to sit upon his fine lap as it was a blustery cold day when I graduated.

Imagine my delight when Rachel casually mentions that she too, has always wanted to get a picture with Lincoln. So we climbed Bascom, reminiscing the whole way up about days of sledding on trays, and trekking to class gone by. As we approached Mr. Lincoln we realized what a feat it was to actually get up there. Thank God we had Nate with us, so that we could get our triumphant picture that is the capstone of our experience at good old UW.

We quickly learned that Abe gets quite hot in the sun. Ouchee.
Nate was not deterred. He was Mr. Model up there, striking all poses possible.

Now that we had officially graduated (yay us!), we could take in the rest of the city as all alumni do. The best Farmers Market in the country, and a little Terrace action!

I miss Madison. I miss college. But I suppose if I went back I would just be old at this point.
As Nate says, there is always Law School.....