Back to Blogging 2018

Hello friends! It’s been some time since words hit this white space. A lot has changed. You won’t find any more comedy about bad dates. Though you can re-read and reminisce here. And here.

Instead, you may find the joys, laughs, and lessons of marriage.

Because this happened:

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You will still find delectable bites and drinks; perhaps an occasional recipe or two. The love of food doesn’t fade.

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In about five months you may also catch tips and tricks for the new mom or mom to be.

Because this also happened:

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What does remain unwavering is the love of travel and joy of writing. With trips to Paris, Amsterdam, Bruges, and the Philippines; we’ve got a lot to catch up on!

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Ready to join me again? Or for the very first time? 🙂

Nutmeg’s Spreads: My New Favorite Snack that Gives Back

Farmers markets are my jam. I could spend every weekend perusing each vendor. I want to learn about the products, those new cookies and that bundle of flowers.

When the season is right, I stock up on ALL the tomatoes I can get my hands on. I’m always walking out with two or more bundles of flowers. At the Minneapolis Farmers Market you just cannot get me away from the pork egg rolls, omg yum!

But the last time I went to the Linden Hills farmers market; I may have just found my new go to every day snack. Like I need a new jar of this already. I’ve licked that thing clean.

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Have you had Nutmeg’s Spreads yet!? If not, introduce your life to the best peanut, almond and cashew butter. Not only is this my favorite almond butter, but every time you’re eating this delectable snack, you’re giving back! Nutmeg’s exists to provide financial resources to nonprofits in Kenya. So every time you’re snacking.. you are actually spreading the love.

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During the time I spent sampling each; I met multiple repeat customers. They either told me or I overheard; we just cannot keep this in our fridge. Our kids/we/me keep eating it!

So its delicious and you’re spreading the love. What more could you want? Well an added bonus is that Billy and Megan, the owners are so welcoming and informative. They’re mission driven and full of jokes. The company reflects them and is named after them, Megan (Meg) and Billy (he’s the nut ;)).

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This weekend you can find them Saturday at the Northeast Farmers Market and Sunday back at Linden Hills. Stop by, say hi and try those spreads!

How to Staycation: AC Hotel Bloomington

Growing up I moved ten times before high school. Ten! When your family moves that much it is inevitable that you will live or spend significant time in hotels. I look forward to hotel stays, heck I even crave going to a hotel just to relax. It feels like coming home.

These days I am most certainly not moving around as much but I still enjoy a good staycation. In fact after last weekend I’m pretty sure Staycations will happen for me more often. I’m getting them on the calendar 🙂

There is no better place than the AC Hotel Bloomington Mall of America to kick off your staycation tradition or to book for your next trip to the Twin Cities. With its proximity to the Mall of America, a shopping weekend could not be easier. It was the perfect excuse for me to pop in to the new Zara and do a little wardrobe updating.

From the minute you walk in the lounge, the entrance is enticing. The signature scent embraces you. All of the natural lighting makes the lounge a comfortable space to hang out, relax or to get some work done. The modern clean lines remind you of Europe yet the art is local and gives you that Minnesota feel at the same time.

 

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After all that tiresome wardrobe updating at the MOA, nothing could be more refreshing than one or two of the hotel’s signature cocktails.

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Cocktails require accompaniments and the AC’s tapas style lounge menu will absolutely do!

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After an evening of signature cocktails and tapas, getting out of that heavenly king sized bed was not on the top of my to do list. I could have stayed cozy in there all morning!

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But alas I had to… a European breakfast was calling my name! I mean they even have a machine fresh cutting prosciutto for you each morning. How do I get one of these in my house?!

 

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I was also pretty impressed with the help yourself breakfast drink selections. Iced coffee and soy milk, yes please!

Now if this doesn’t look like the perfect little breakfast plate.. 🙂

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Signature scents, cocktails, tapas and beds you don’t want to get out of.. what more could you want in your staycation?

Thank you AC Hotel Bloomington MOA; I had a wonderful stay!

(Disclaimer: A complimentary stay was provided in partnership with this post)

Pho me. Stat.

It was a snowy night…

A combination of the heat pump not working… slash in the midst of repairs…

A wanderlust filled heart…

An ache for vacations past…. And a craving for those little plastic chairs and tables we so delicately perched over… slurping our broth and noodles.. allowing drops to fling this way and that.

Not a care in the world for where those drops ended up.  Just a need to demolish this concoction. The salty, spicy and flagrant bowl of warmth.

I also had free beef soup bones in need of using…

SO I MADE HOMEMADE PHO!!

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I LOOSELY based it off of this recipe:

I excluded what I did not have and let the broth simmer for over 9 hours…

Now it will never compare to those mornings in Hanoi we spent hunched over our bowls.. But this will do. This will more than do!

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What is your favorite Pho recipe?

Joys of Fall….

Remember those blanks in the calendar I once professed my love and excitement for?

Well those blanks somehow dwindled…. were too few cherished evenings.  In their place have been the joys of fall.

Joys of fall…. something I don’t normally say.

I mean.. I know what comes after fall in Minnesota. What those tumbling leaves mean. Those fire red leaves, flashing at me to book my beach vacation now!

Fall to me means winter is coming….

But this year something is different. I’m taking in all the fall activities without that grain of salt or nagging feeling of “I know you’re coming snow….”

Like Fall Funday, which friend Kbail plans every year.  This year a tour of breweries and “hop off the light rail spots.”

Like Bang Brewery.

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At Bang Brewery you can apparently find men posing in the door way…. who wouldn’t want to go there 🙂

Joking.

Like all the plaid you can wear required.

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Post Fall Funday, do you know what is required?

Um… Bacon.

Did you know all the things you can do with bacon? Or the types or meals you can add bacon to? (psst even vegan bacon :))

Like this Praline Bacon from Heyday!!

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When fall comes around, I’m over here throwing bacon in and on everything… like salads, pastas and my brussel sprouts. For other ways to use bacon, check out this article

Do you have a favorite fall ingredient?

AND Are you out there enjoying all Fall has to offer? If not, get to it!

Snow is coming…. shhhhh 🙂

A Little Sip n Flow

Alright, one cool weekend and everyone is all “Where’s my comfy sweater and PSL latte?”

I’m over here soaking up the sun and the mornings where I can still take the dog out in barely there layers…. 🙂

I’m not yet ready for fall and am not one who invites it in so soon.

I’m the one praying for 70 degree October days and keeping my boots and sweaters at bay…. (for as long as I can!)

I will wear open toe booties until the first snow falls..

So…

Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy the rest of summer!

1) Yoga at the brewery! How could you beat a morning flow session and a cool environment to get your sweat sesh on?

2) Slow Saturday mornings and brunch at home..

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3) Sipping my iced coffee with Almond Breeze Almond Coconut milk… I’m a true “iced-coffeer”, you know the kind that prefers iced to hot coffee, so when Blue Diamond sent this to sample, I was all about my iced lattes! (I will drink iced even when it snows!) Call me crazy 🙂

Have you tried their Almond Breeze Almond Coconut milk?

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4) Summer BLT Salads, because, tomato season, hello!IMG_3535

5) Cherishing those lingering cabin days..

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So while some may be wishing for fall, you can find me in the city, sipping my iced almond coconut milk latte, begging summer to stay and participating in a little yoga flow 🙂

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk

Pizza “Farmin”

Have you been to a pizza farm?

If not, you are missing out.

Rolling fields, green pastures, farm to table ingredients (quite literally), scenic dining, traipsing through fields. All the many experiences of a pizza farm.

And did I mention… Pizza.

Apparently these places have been around for quite some time. A hidden gem and secret to many. Until quite recently most people I knew had never heard of one.  There were a handful of people I talked to, who had any clue what I was referring to.

Thankfully, the secret has been exposed. The crowds are headed out of the city and onto the farm.

Checking out a pizza farm has been on my list for quite some time. I just needed the perfect excuse.  And D’s birthday pizza farm wish was exactly what it took to get me there. One only turns 29 once, and if a pizza farm is what she wants, well of course that is what she is going to get!

Off we went to check out A to Z Produce and Bakery.

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I think I’ll require D to do all my table settings from now on 🙂

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Look appealing? You should check it out 🙂

Patio Obsession

As soon as I can take the dog outside, minus a coat, my patio obsession begins. This obsession is real, I’ve talked about it before, here.

When do they open? How early do they open? How many are within walking distance?

How can I decorate my patio? Where can I find that perfect outdoor rug? One with color and pattern and all the feel of spring.

I’ve been pinning patio inspiration for months. Just waiting for those sales to spring up!

I have finally acquired almost all of my new patio pieces. A side table or so may still be on their way… But an almost complete and perfect patio sits waiting to  greet our Minnesota summer.

Not much can add to my perfect patio, except the perfect snack! A simple cheese plate, enhanced by Blue Diamond Nut Thins. Have you tried these guys ? I had not previously, and they are delish! The perfect accompaniment to a wedge of double cream brie 😉

I can’t lie, I even had them for breakfast the other morning…..

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Side note: Bets on whether or not I ate that entire wedge by myself…?

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Nut Thins.

Lets Break a Rule

A little fun fact about me.  I don’t break the rules. I cannot handle the enormous guilt I experience when doing so.

I follow the rules and I most likely annoying others about them.

Perhaps this explains my career choice?

You know, the law and such.

Perhaps this holds me back from having a bit more fun? Perhaps I miss out on fully experiencing things because of that little angel of good on my shoulder, poking me, shaking its head and laying out every almost impossible negligence scenario in my head.

I blame my Torts Professor.

With all of this in mind, imagine my reaction to the “Trail Closed” sign while hiking last weekend. My frozen pause, my we shouldn’t do this look.  My ok, lets turn back now attitude. Turn back we did.  No amount of convincing was going to get me to change my mind.

No, none at all.  And as we walked back down the trail, other hikers were headed past us. Brazenly moving the sign away and traipsing up that hill (bluff).

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I’m quite convinced my thought process could be overheard, as that little angel of good kept poking my shoulder, shaking its head and my desire to try the new and explore arguing back.

It took a mere four people nonchalantly passing the sign to convince me to break the rules.  All the while every ridiculous tragedy scenario running through my head. ( It never goes away. never)

Break the rules we did.

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Rule breaking required shopping and pizza.  But of course.

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Have you been to Red Wing, MN? It is a town that calls for exploring. A day trip, a weekend, just go. I could spend hours in and out of the shops, sampling the beers and O! The St. James Hotel, I would love to spend a night there. Who is in for a weekend trip with me to Red Wing?

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I promise to consider breaking a few more rules, key word, consider 🙂

The Greenie

As Spring creeps in, the weekend days get longer.. and so does my appetite for adventure.

To explore and hop into places I’ve never been.

Northeast Minneapolis is full of such places.

Despite living so close to many of my “undiscovereds”only when the snow begins to melt do I get this re-energized need to discover.

Discover I did last weekend.

A group of us finally made to a legendary dive bar.

A dive bar known for its kool-aid-ish, make you crazy type of a drink. (Note I did not get crazy, merely craved some post drink late night scallops. Normal, right?)

I do not even want to know what is it in.  But post drink, that frozen pizza served all over the bar was smelling mighty delicious.  Like I was seriously tempted to grab a slice of that processed peperoni off of my neighbor’s (read stranger’s) pie.

The bar was hopping at like 5pm and the people watching was over the top.  The Greenies (and the Pinkies) were a flowing.

And I can finally say I’ve had the famous Greenie of Northeast at Tony Jaros River Garden.

 Nothing like a green drink to usher in my spring 🙂

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Have you been?