Monthly Archives: August 2013

Friday Food Round-Up!

Once Marcus informed me that he would be heading out of town on business through Thursday morning, I knew there was absolutely zero chance that I would be cooking any sort of meaningful meals for myself this week.

Instead I stocked up on supplies for breakfasts and salads and called it Good.

And now we’re in California, so there’s that.

Thus, this week, we’ll take a look at the misfit snaps I took of meals while we were on our European backpacking extravaganza.

In odd contrast to Paris (where I have absolutely zero idea of where we ate ANYTHING), I pretty much knew where we were going to source meals on this trip.  But some things slipped through the  cracks.

Like the world’s greatest Prague pastry.

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What it is: a sweet dough (think cinnamon roll or challah) that is wrapped around a cylinder and roasted over hot coals until it is baked crisp on the outside with a caramelized sugar crust and is still soft on the inside.  Jeanne actually tipped me off to these and the love I have for them is inexplicable.  I want to say that in the 48 hours we were there, I ate three of them.

If you know where these exist in America, WE NEED TO KNOW.

Then there was this meal at some restaurant in Prague that our tour guide recommended to us.  It was fine, but we had found a deeply authentic local restaurant the night before so it was very much a let-down.

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Obviously let-down is somewhat of a relative term when you are eating perfectly delicious goulash and beef stew with bread dumplings on a patio in Prague with a dark Pilsner Urquell in hand.

Serious first world problems.

And then there was the issue of this paella in Pamplona.

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We were so hungover and exhausted and hungry that it fit the bill, but in all reality it was Just Terrible.

Again, if your biggest struggle of the day is eating bad paella in Pamplona, like probably things are going okay for you.

What is the best thing you’ve ever eaten on vacation that you can’t find at home?

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One Kitchen, Many Hearts: In the Office

OKMH 2013

Top Row:  Allison , Beka & JeanneCenter: Moi & Kirsten, Bottom Row: Madelyn & Megan.

I don’t know about y’all, but when I read other blogs, I can’t say that I spend a lot of time contemplating those bloggers’ day jobs.  Largely because none of us blog about…work.

But the reality is that most of us are…working full-time and not blogging.

This month’s box came from Mads.  If by box, you mean that she visited Minneapolis last week and brought me my treats when we had dinner at The Bulldog NE.  It was a pretty excellent night.

When we were not busy sipping beers, eating burgers topped with fried eggs-peanut butter-bacon or truffled brie, deep fried cinnamon rolls and tater tots, well, there was this.

She gave me the chance to give up the awful water bottle I’ve been dragging around for the last two years and join-up with everyone else in 2013.

Cup

Already, I am cooler.  I am lead to believe that the little fin at the bottom of the straw would be deeply effective in breaking up unwieldy chunks of smoothie, should it ever come to that.

Prince, my anniversary orchid finally died.   And when I say died, I do not mean that he dropped all of his flowers and went dormant.  I mean that the stem turned brown and he is very clearly muerte.

Meet Audrey.

Plant

The Aloe.  Which, one of my co-workers named after Little Shop of Horrors.  It was not the easiest decision I’ve ever made.

And last, a calendar to replace the one of the royal family that Meredith sourced me for 2013.

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Or, in Marcus’ words, it’s a whole calendar full of Spots.  I die.  I’m really comfortable with January taking its sweet time to get here, but when it does, I am ready.

The 26th Year

I loved the goals that I wrote for Year 25. At the heart of all of them was the idea that I needed to stop wasting my time and mental energy on the things that don’t matter, and that I needed to start to saying Yes to the things that could make my life fuller.

You live life reactively if you live a life of No.

Saying Yes I…

Finished two marathons.

Saw the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Prayed at the Western Wall.

Row boated in the middle of Central Park.

Twirled in the Hall of Mirrors.

Ate deep-fried hard shell crabs out of a styrofoam container on the side of the road in the Carolina sunshine.

Floated in the Dead Sea.

Ran with the bulls.

Walked in the light of the Midnight Sun.

If I was looking to check boxes on a bucket list, this year would have pretty much brought the house down.

What’s sort of ironic is the fact that I don’t actually have a bucket list. Though if I did, it would contain the following: Watch the Kentucky Derby live, catch a walleye, catch a muskie, live on the water.

But this year was not about crossing things off. It was about living presently. It was about living as much as possible.

I am not setting any goals for my 26th year, and the reason for that is very simple.

There is no single life change I could make that would drastically increase my quality of living or the quality of the relationships I have.

So this year, for the 26th year, I have decided to start keeping a gratitude journal.

Because sometimes, thankfulness is enough.

I have been blessed with plenty.

Not Marathon Training: Week Two

Ah yes.  Another week of Not Marathon Training.

I think we’ll know that I’ve properly turned the corner once I stop thinking of it as Not Marathon Training. 😉

There’s really not a lot to say where 10 mile training is concerned.  The heat was just out of control last week and doesn’t look to be letting up.  I got to do my weekend runs outside (and early in the morning!) but the rest of my time was spent on the treadmill at an incline.

Why the incline?

For those members of the group not familiar with the 10 Mile course, Mile 2.5 – Mile 7.5 are essentially all some sort of climb to the tune of 200 feet.  It’s a party.  But I would vastly prefer it as the middle of a 10 mile race, than Mile 20 – Mile 24 of the marathon.

Also, I forgot to include this last week, but Hannah’s Ice Bath Beat-Down just cracked me up.

As the last bit of this evening’s potpourri, my parents gave me this as a birthday gift.

Snail

Perfect, right?

I think its new life will be attached to  DIY medal rack.  I had never planned on actioning my own medal rack but I think we can all agree that would be the most ideal permanent place of residence for the snail.

ICELAND

The wild land.

Land of the midnight sun.

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Yes this means I have finally found the motivation to begin blogging about our European backpacking extravaganza.

Since we flew Iceland Air and they provide free layovers, we ended up spending a day there on the way out and 15 hours on the way home.  The first layover was intentional, the second was a by-product of the fact that our flight from Madrid landed at 2:00 AM and our flight to Minneapolis didn’t leave until 5:00 PM.

What you should know about this country: It is only 50 degrees in the summer and the entire nation wears hiking pants.  We were woefully unprepared on both counts.  Basically we were wearing all of our clothes.

Also, they sell seal pelts.

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And I look like I am involved in some sort of cloak and dagger, moose and squirrel-style situation.  I still cannot make sense of this.

The Things.

Hallgrimmskirkja

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This is a beautiful basalt cathedral built in modern times.  The non-traditional architecture and the stark interior is a fascinating contrast to the gothic cathedrals spread across the European continent.  It is the sixth tallest structure in Iceland (after a heap of radio towers) and for $6 or so, you can buy a ticket to visit the top of the bell tower, which allows you to see pretty much the entirety of the city.

The Sun Voyager

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On the bay, this sculpture is meant to evoke the structure of a Viking ship.  Pretty much if you are walking along the bay, you will see it regardless of weather or not you meant to.

The National Museum of Iceland

Detailing the history of the Icelandic people from settlement to present day, this museum did a great job of explaining Iceland to Marcus and I since we were essentially clueless.  There are some wonderful reconstructions in the museum and a great assortment of Viking artifacts.  To summarize, Iceland is essentially the Australia of the Nordic countries.

The Golden Circle

We booked this tour through viator.com but it was actually run through Gray Line.  We chose the evening tour, which ran from 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM because we had the benefit of endless daylight.

If I can be totally honest, we did a lot of sleeping on the bus as we moved from place to place because we were exhausted.  If you discount the sleeping, what we saw was exceptional.

Thingvellir

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Gullfoss

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Strokkur Geysir

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The Blue Lagoon

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When we were planning our time in Iceland, I floated the idea that maybe the Blue Lagoon on the way home would be the best way to unwind after our trip.

This was the best idea.

We booked a shuttle directly from the airport and arrived just as they opened.  That was truly lovely because as we departed, the entrance and locker rooms had turned into a crowded madhouse.

We chose the most basic package (entry) threw on our suits and proceeded to sit in the springs and people-watch for the next two hours.  Between the cold air (it was ~50 degrees) and the bright blue water, we were in heaven.

The Food.

Saegreifinn

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I dragged this place up on Trip Advisor (which was absolutely invaluable on this trip) because I was looking for a seafood place that was (1) unpretentious (2) served whale.

So, after a morning of sightseeing, we sat down to a meal of whale kebab, shrimp kebab and really excellent lobster soup.

What was the whale like?  Red meat.  Served medium rare.  With the texture of venison and the neutral flavor of chicken.  Fascinating, but unmemorable.

Baejarins Beztu Pylsur

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When my in-laws were driving us to the airport, they produced a Delta SKY article for us detailing Icelandic To Dos and Eats.

Since our tour ran into the night and this is a cheap, late-night stand that was listed, it was the perfect pick.  Not to mention that they eat lamb hot dogs in Iceland.  Topped with fried onions, raw onions, sweet mustard, relish and ketchup, we had them fully loaded up because it seemed like the only appropriate choice. I’m sure the fact that we were ravenous at this point did not hurt the deal at all.

Friday Food Round-Up!

This month seems to be moving faster and faster.  And I feel like every night is another happy hour or another dinner.  It’s wonderful – one of the things that makes Minnesota summers so wonderful is the number of people you see.

But I really do love taking the time to cook.  Y’all know it’s centering to me.

That being said, the produce from the farm that doesn’t make it onto our dinner table definitely ends up in my lunchtime salads, so there are worse ways to live.

Monday – Roasted Chicken Thighs with 4-3-2-1 Spice Rub, Roasted Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, Sliced Tomatoes and Cilantro Pesto Green Beans from The Homesick Texan

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Dad joined us for dinner because Mom was out of town on travel.  The rest, I feel is very self-explanatory.  Summer on a plate.

Birchbox: August 2013

This month’s Birchbox theme was Finishing School.

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As always, whatever that means.

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In the box: stila stay all day liquid lipstick in Beso, Whish Deodarant Swipes with Hair Inhibitor, Whish Exfoliating Body Wash, KMS California FREESHAPE hot flex spray, OC8 Professional Mattifying Gel

If I may be so blunt, I don’t know what half of this month’s stuff is, nor have I ever longed for deodarant swipes with a hair inhibitor (WTH Birchbox?).

BUT, the stila liquid lipstick is so beyond phenomenal that they could have only sent that and I would have been thrilled.  Is it dangerous to put on because it’s sort of a lip stain?  Absolutely yes.  But the color is such an on point and bold red, that I just love it sick.  This (this!) is the red lipstick I have been searching for.