Friday, August 27, 2010

I still bleed green, gold and Badger red

Ah...August. Warm sunny days, the beginnins of cooler fall nights.

And three small reminders that I am still Sconnie Girl at heart.

1) The Vikings.

I can't even believe I care enough to write those two words on this blog, but seriously now. It sucks to be a Packer girl in Viking country. Especially thanks to Mr. Favre who make the Vikings fans extra cocky, and pushy when it comes to dissing the Pack. And here's the thing. I could go about acting like I did in WI: not caring or thinking about the Vikings except for the days they meet the better team from the better state. BUT sometimes we don't even GET the Packer game on TV, and everyone everywhere is wearing purple and yello. Ech.

2) The Gophers

One would think since both Nate and I are attending school at the U of M, we would have some affinity toward the lamest mascot ever, Goldie the Gopher. But...nope. Nothing. This house roots for one College team and one college team only---WI Badgers. Of course them, and anyone who is play Ohio State.

3) The State Fair

I swear when you are born in MN, you are pre-programmed to go ape shit crazy about the fair every year. Now don't get me wrong. It's a fine fair. And I'm sure if Nate and I ever have little ones running around we will go to the fair and enjoy it.

But what I don't understand is the obsession that Minnesotans have with it. People take off of work. It's on every news channel, and newspaper for 2 full weeks. The only good thing about the fair is it gives everyone a 2 week reprieve from the typical weather small-talk and turns it to fair-talk.

Nate and I often talk about how we love our jobs. Love the city we live in. But we wish we lived in WI. I wonder if we could petition WI to take over this small part of MN and change the state line? In the meantime, we will continue to cheer louder for our football teams, and find alternative ways to have fun these last two weeks of summer that don't include attending the greatest MN get-together...

**Note of disclosure: Nate actually does like the fair, although I would argue it's less about the fair and more about the chance to eat a pork chop on a stick. But the reality is I could cook him a pork chop and ram a stick through it, so maybe I'll give that a whirl this week. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cooking Light: The Summer Squash Episode

We made spaghetti this week. You would think...oooh. Big deal. Right?

Well THIS spaghetti was actually made with Homemade Marinara Sauce. Yup. Tomatoes from our garden made this blissful sauce, and while I will ALWAYS love the sauce I grew up on (with good old trust McCormick's spaghetti sauce seasoning packet), I have to admit this sauce was quite amazing.

And I'm sure you are thinking, that's a great shot of summer squash but where is the spaghetti? Well, here's the deal. Remember this craziness?

Well, I finally had to put my foot down and say: NO MORE baked goods out of zucchini. One can only consume so much zucchini cake, zucchini bread, and chocolate chip zucchini muffins until one must purchase a larger size of pants.

And so we got creative. How to use a never ending supply of summer squash and zucchini? Well, the above photo shows one of my personal favorite uses: Smothered in Balsamic, Basic and Parmesan Cheese. Yummmmm.

The reality is we started simple. How about a little Zuke and Squash saute? Or, a little marinated grill action?

And then we started to get bored with that. So we move onto a Almond and Zucchini Orzo salad.
It was good. Decent really. But didn't hold our interest.

And so we moved onto Spicy Summer Squash Soup.
Yup. Soup in the middle of summer.
But you know what this one was REALLY good, especially with some avocado and cilatro.
One that will have a repeat performance this weekend.

Then, we tried to get fancy.
Carrot, Zucchini, and Summer Squash stuffed Chicken breasts.
I was a little weirded out by this one, mostly because it was a weird cooking method that I can't even remember right now. But trust me. It was weird.

Keeping with the theme of complicated, we also tried a Summer Squash and Potato Torte.
Very. Good.
And GREAT leftovers. Arguably better.
But quite an involved process to make (or so I heard since Nate completed this one all by himself while I was out at a movie!)

And so we went back to the basics, but added a twist.
This one was a Greta-creation, and was quite tasty if I do say so myself. I've got no fancy name for it, but all it was was corn on the cob cut off, squash (of course), red pepper, lime juice, cilantro, and some fiesta lime salt.

And the latest and greatest (although I am sure not the last) of our squash adventure was a
Zucchini and Summer Squash Quinoa that had amazing spices that ramped up the taste.

And so the summer squash saga continues, because it keeps growing. And i cant' give it away fast enough. It is sad when the biggest accomplishment of the week is finding a recipe that uses BOTH zucchini and summer squash (SUPER MAJOR DOUBLE BONUS SCORE!).

So if I've talked to you in the last 2 week and told you that I'm not doing anything. It's not true. I've been cooking, and eating a LOT of squash. Lots and lots and lots.......

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Food On The Go

Nate and I headed to the Mobile Food Truck Showdown in Minneapolis tonight. With on-the-go, pop-up anywhere food trucks gaining in popularity (Exhibit A), I was pleasantly surprised that Minneapolis is not too far beind this trendy new craze.

And since my company is in suburbanville, and it isn't likely I get to run into these fun little eateries, I was super stoked to learn that there was a showdown of some of the top trucks tonight. In one location.

So we threw out our plans of making another veg filled dinner and headed to the showdown.

How sweet is it that you can make turn an old firetruck into a coal-fire pizza oven?

And that the pizza actually tastes good?

We also has some seriously delicious pulled pork tacos from the Chef Shacks which were topped with black beans and pickled cabbage. So. Good.

And we capped the evening off with an Italian Meatball Burger from this place:

We had really high hopes of hitting every truck there but my stomach was full after the first three.
Nate and I started day-dreaming of procuring a used short-bus and creating our own mobile culinary experience to take on the road.

I'm thinking a dessert bus that serves cotton candy and sno cones...

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Tale of Two Jobs

Nate started his new job this week, supporting the buyer of boys/girls kids clothes at Target. He is super excited about the new gig, and I have been given strict order that I am no longer allowed to shop for clothes at Gymboree, Gap, or any place else for Finn (sorry buddy...). Baby Leo is still in the money because Nate doesn't support baby clothes...

Anyway, it has been quite the transition as Nate goes from working at his desk, in excel doing financial models all day to being in meetings all day and drowning in email. Which is pretty much my world every day.

I am starting to wonder what life will be like with BOTH of us in that situation. It's kind of fun because we can totally commiserate. But not fun, because I no longer receive my morning check-in call from Nate. So if anyone else feels like a morning check-in call, I usually am looking for my telephone to ring between 8-9AM....

Anyway, for all of you current (and future) kids clothes buyers, make sure you check-out Target, buy some clothes and think of Nate!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Check it.

I know some of you are just getting on the Facebook bandwagon (Dad...) or continue to shun in (Nate and Mom..), BUT here's the deal. Social networks are awesome.

You get to keep in touch with friends that are far away on a daily basis. Check-in on what they are doing, thinking, taking pictures of, etc.

Enter Foursquare. A new-ish network where you check-in to places you go. So when I go to Target, I go to my foursquare app on my phone and 'check-in' to this place, thereby telling everyone who I am friends with on foursquare that I am at Target.

Sounds a little stalker-ish right? Well it is, but I love it. I love knowing that Katie is back at Bobo's Asia Fresh vying for her mayorship, or that Meghan is throwing back a few drinks at a bar on a weeknight.

What is a mayorship? Well, once you are the person that has checked-in the most, you become Mayor. (By the way, I am mayor of Viroqua's Wal-Mart right awesome is that?). And when you become mayor, you could get a special deal.

Which brings us to Restaurant Week. We were out for a lovely meal with the Wongske's and as I go to check-in to the restaurant, I come to find out that JUST FOR CHECKING IN, I get a free appetizer. It pretty much made my entire night.

Who wouldn't love this? Free? Just for checking into this place?

I am a little obsessed, I'll admit. But  I love it, and this is my PSA to get more people on it. Hell, Nate is even on it now that he has a fancy iphone. And HE doesn't even do facebook.

So join the fun, and help feed my stalkerish habits....

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cooking Light: Episode 17

With all of the vegetables we have been cooking, there has been little room for meat in our lives, but we did treat ourselves to a protein packed entree the other night when we tried our hand at Grilled Turkey Burgers with Fresh Mozzarella.

*Notice the grilled zucchini side dish--still couldn't escape the veggies*

Interestingly enough these burgers did actually have some sirloin in them so not sure if this name could get by legal where I work..

Here's the deal. This was fine. It was tasty. But guess what a regular burger without all the extra ingrediants of ground turkey, plus ground sirloin, plus some other random ingrediants would for sure be JUST as good if you put some fresh mozzarella and marinara on top.

I'm not hating on Cooking Light, I just expect more out of them at this point. Sheesh.

So it's back to 25 ways to cook a summer squash tonight....and to buy Nate smaller clothes tomorrow (at least he says that as a whine because we aren't eating 'real' food anymore...).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

All In The Family

Another half-marathoner joins the family this weekend.

Meghan flew to Minneapolis to drop 13.1 with style. With the humidity slated to be 87% when we left the house, Meghan and I thanked Grandma and Grandpa Ekern at mile 4, whom we were absolutely certain put in a word with the big guy to keep the heat away until we finished. The weather complied with very overcast skies, low temps, and a nice rain shower half-way through. But no lie, 1 hour after the race it was HOT, HUMID and 95 degrees. Thanks G&G!!

I was so proud of her as she crossed the finish line and honored that I could be her running buddy to cross that line with her.

In other news, we attended a drunken spelling bee on Saturday night where upon entry you get 2 drinks, and for each round you spell correctly, you get another drink. We sang karaoke. We went to the Uptown Art Fair. We ate brunch. We at burgers. We played Killer Bunnies and watched a movie. We took a nap and got a pedicure.

It was a full, and fun weekend. When are you moving to MSP Meghan?!?!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Not Like The Other

Thanks for the words of encouragement everyone. I do love blogging, it's just some days that I feel like I have nothing interesting to say.

And this could very well be one of these days, but here is the deal:
We have a garden.
We also participate in a crop share.
This becomes a problem when both are producing at the same time.

Take a look at the below. One of these squash is not like the other (notice the ballpoint pen placed for dimension).
One of these came from the crop share.
The rest came from the garden.

Which gets me to thinking, perhaps we should start our own crop share. I mean, if our garden is producing better veggies than a self-proclaimed farm-gril maybe we could swing it. I am after all from rural Wisconsin.

So, the real disturbing thing about this photo is that I took it yesterday afternoon.
AFTER, I had floated a few friends some squash from the garden.
I was still left with this.

And then I came home from work and picked 5 more, and this is how I feel about it:

Summer Squash--comin gout of my ears. And we are going to have another batch by the end of the weekend. For sure. What's a girl to do with so much squash????
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tapped Out

I feel bloggy bored. I think I need to take a break. Or get some new ideas.

Does anyone even read this thing?

There isn't much going on beyond work for me and school for Nate. Work .School. Work. School. Repeat.

And that about sums it up. Thrilling isn't it?

Maybe I'll get inspired this weekend while on the trail with's hoping.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cooking Light: Episode 15 and 16!

It was a double-header at the Hanson house last night as we decided to do a Mexican Fiesta for our game night with Alex and Debra. I'm not sure what possessed us to try 4--count them FOUR--new recipes on a WORK NIGHT, but we did...and I think the overall result was quite tasty!

A key part of our recipe plan was to use as many vegetables as possible as the thought of wasting vegetables from our garden wracks me with guilt. So we did Mexican Grilled Vegetables. Peppers, zucchini, summer squash, asparagus and as a SPECIAL treat for Nate (who got a promotion!!!) and Debra (because well...because she's the guest) we added mushrooms and onions (two rareties in the hanson household).

Besides the queso cheese, and special vinegratte I'm not sure how 'mexican' this really was but it tasted good with the rest of the meal....

Now, the dessert did not exactly fit into the theme of the night, but I had blueberries and peaches are in season...and from that you get "Blueberry and Peach Cobbler"
Was it the most delicious cobbler I've ever had? No.

But it was Cooking Light.
Which means less calories.

So I am sure it would be like Diet Coke, or Baked Cheetos. At first, you do not really like the 'light' version, but then it grows on you and you don't miss the regular at all...I think it would be the same with this recipe..assuming I make cobbler all of the time which I don't. Even though I bet Nate would be up for it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Thank You Thomas Edison

We had a special surprise last Thursdsay that I would have blogged about immediately had I not been rendered unable by the very thing I wanted to blog about: Power.

Yes, power. Electricity. The stuff that turns stuff on.

I pull into the driveway with a list in my head a million to-do boxes long of what I need to get done and Nate says;--Power's Out. (Good thing the swearing challenge was done because there was LOTS of it).

It wasn't until I suggested watching a movie (mmm...needs power), making salsa (yup...needs power), and finally realizing that although wireless internet is indeed wireless it still needs power that I let out a war cry of frustration and decided to srap all plans of 'need to do' for the evening.

Instead, we headed to Dairy Queen for a semi-liquid dinner of BLIZZARDS!!! And then we both just sat on the couch with little book lights reading. Well, I was still fuming. Nate tried to get me to view it as 'forced relaxation' but that didn't fly with me.

I will say I ended my day with an entire new appreciation for electricity, and all of the things that I take forgranted that it runs every day (like my garage door).....