Well, I had another baby! On December 15, 2016, little Maxwell decided he wasn’t going to wait another second and was born. And even though he was born on his due date, I was anything but prepared. See, JR was 12 days late. Yes, 12 days. While I certainly was not rooting for another almost two week late baby, I had convinced myself that Max would not be showing up anytime near the 15th. Perhaps sometime in the 20’s–like Christmas. But surely not on his due date. So when my water broke at 9:40 p.m. on December 14th, I immediately panicked (our house was a complete mess. I had lost my phone. I hadn’t done laundry in weeks.) But after a mere two and a half hours of labor, Maxwell was born. It was perfect.
Of course, now that Max is here, I should be in the “lose the baby weight” phase. But there was Christmas. Then New Years. And donuts are freaking delicious. Plus, who is going to eat all those Junior Mints?! And while I am technically down to my pre-Max weight (note: not pre-baby), my belly is squishy. It would be nice to be back to my law school size. Since it’s the beginning of the year, I can jump on the “new year new you” bandwagon. My social media has been swarmed with Whole30 posts so it is a constant reminder that I too need to be more aware of what I am eating if I want to see results.
That’s where this salad comes in. It’s healthy and quick to make. Plus, you can toss in as many vegetables you’d like, add chicken, salmon, etc., and make the salad more filling (and more of an entree v. side dish). But, regardless of what ingredients you put in the salad, it is truly the salad dressing that holds it all together. My friend Mel shared her dressing recipe with me, and now it is my go-to dressing. Ok, it is the only salad dressing I use these days. It’s light but full of flavor. And I can eat a salad and still feel healthy that it isn’t covered in a creamy, fattening dressing.
Being it’s officially fall and all, this weekend we went to the Minnetonka Apple Orchard. We hadn’t been apple picking since we lived in La Crosse, and while JR is probably too young to truly enjoy it, it was a great excuse to spend some time outdoors that didn’t completely revolve around lumber (yes, apples grow on trees. baby steps).
JR danced around the pumpkins and experienced his first hayride. Pancake could hardly handle herself-stopping to smell most everything and pulling her leash at every chance she got…so a pretty typical afternoon for her.
The only apples in season for you-pick were harlsons–a decent baking apple. After some prodding, JR got the hang of plucking the apple off the tree and tossing it into our bag.
Of course, now that we have all these apples, its baking time. When I found this apple muffin recipe, it was simple enough that I could easily get them into the oven while JR napped so it immediately went to the top of the “must-make” list. The biggest time suck is prepping the apples-peeling and dicing takes time. But these muffins are unbelievably moist (sorry if that word grosses you out but they are!) and completely delicious. And as a huge confidence boost, JR dances every time he takes a bite 🙂 So with that dancing endorsement, these muffins are worth making.
I use to think it was difficult to cook a meal after working a 12ish hour day (ohhh attorney hours). And then I had a baby. Now I understand a new level of tired. Given that JR wants to be constantly held from the second I get home until he gets laid down for bed, this makes cooking nearly impossible. I have not mastered how to cut veggies and hold a one-year-old.
So yeah, you could say I am into slow cooker meals. This pulled beef recipe does not disappoint. There is minimal prep (a little rubdown required so you will need to put your baby down) and if you are lazy like me, you can make your significant other shred the beef. But even if you shred the beef yourself, the extra work is completely worth the effort. There is this great spicy but subtle sweet taste that makes the flavor right on the mark. Plus this is a great variation from the typical tomato-based bbq.
I made the beef last week, and Matt had three sandwiches in one sitting. In fact, the beef was so tasty that I forgot to take pictures of the final meal. But at least I was able to hold my preggo-self back before devouring the beef for lunch today. I am happy to report that the leftovers hold their own–makes some excellent lunches.
Two years ago, it was brunch time. Matt and I decided to venture outside the Northeast and went to Edina for eggs and bloodies. It was just ok. Our bloodies were just glorified V8s with a mini pickle. I left disappointed and thirsty. After living within a mile from a bar with the Helen of Troy of bloodies for four years, I had yet to find a replacement since I moved to the Twin Cities.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying. My google history was riddled with “best Bloody Marys in Minneapolis.” And I dragged Matt to try every single one of the proclaimed best bloodies. Each one fell short.
“Seriously, how hard is it to find the best Bloody Mary in Minneapolis!” I complained on our drive home from brunch. “I’m starting to think the Twin Cities just doesn’t have one.”
And that’s how this blog started. “Why don’t you rate all the bloodies we’ve tried on a blog so other people in the cities can rely on your expertise,” Matt suggested.
This blog has now transformed from rating bloodies into my outlet to learn to cook. Nevertheless, my original idea behind this blog hasn’t completely been lost. And as it turns out, I sleep next to the mixologist who has created the world’s best bloody–Matt. It took several years of trial and error, but we finally have perfected what we believe to be the greatest bloody recipe. And it would be a sin not to share that recipe with the world.
It’s been a while. Again. Still been making new recipes. Still forgetting to take pictures. I’ve been lazy.
But there is something I have been spending my time taking pictures of. Surprise! There is a new addition to our family. Three weeks ago, a little French bulldog moved into our house. Her name is Pancake.
It’s been an adventure. Neither of us have owned or trained a dog before so we enrolled into a puppy class. Pancake is becoming proficient at playing fetch, and she’s great at sitting, but now that she has learned that sitting equals treats, walking on a leash has become more difficult. She will walk a few steps, sit, and wait for a treat. It’s only been three weeks so hopefully she will get the hang of it soon.
Our kitchen also has experienced a new milestone. I finally made something using yeast! I’ve been saying for months that I wanted to learn how to make dough, but every time the opportunity arose, I opted for Pillsbury’s.
This lazy streak has come to an end! Matt is an avid woodworker (the best if you ask me!) and he subscribes to every woodworking show, blog, youtube channel. One of the woodworkers he follows had a post about making a pizza peel with a recipe for tomato pie which included a homemade crust. Matt took it as a sign that it was time for me to finally learn to work with yeast. Clever guy 🙂
I love this tomato pie recipe because of the simplicity of it. While I love a pizza piled with toppings, sometimes you crave the bare necessities. Plus, you make this pizza up-side-down. The cheese is the first topping with the sauce on top. This unique structure and simple ingredients enhances the flavor of the pizza. It was the perfect recipe for me to start my journey working with yeast. And we’ve now made this pizza over 10 times. I’d say it’s a keeper! And I now consider myself a “yeast expert.” Well, as long as it involves this recipe…
Remember when I disappeared for a couple months. Well, I kept cooking but stopped taking pictures. In case it isn’t obvious, I’m not big on the staging portion of the photography part of this whole blogging thing. Eh. Instragram is about as good as it gets for me.
Instead of learning how to take killer photographs, I’ve been getting the most out of summer now that Minnesota weather is finally cooperative. Exhibit A: dancing on the boat on the way from dinner.
And I’ve had my fair share of meals made for me.
It’s been great. How can you not love Minnesota summers! With the fresh herbs growing in our garden, guacamole has been my go-to side dish. While I LOVE guac, I wanted to mix it up. After seeing a guacamole with goat cheese on a menu at a local restaurant, I had to try to recreate it.
This guacamole is far richer than traditional guacamole. The kind of guacamole you’d have at a fancy restaurant. A fun twist. The goat cheese makes it much thicker and not really cheesy. I really loved it, but I personally prefer traditional guac. Matt likes them both the same. Try it for yourself and let me know which you prefer!
When it comes to holidays, I love the ones that aren’t hyper commercialized. So yes, that means I LOVE April Fools Day. Playing tricks on people is something I live for. And no, I do not need a holiday for that. But when our nation decides to celebrate it–yeah, sure. I’m in.
My co-worker Amber and I spent our April Fools Day playing tricks on our co-workers. Sure, it was fun switching our boss’s diet coke for lemon juice and creamer. But it only made my thirst for mayhem stronger. I needed more.
So, this year I decide that Matt would be the perfect target for a fake cake. I told Matt that I made him his favorite cake–a black forest cake.
But in reality, I took a balloon–blew it up and covered it with homemade icing. Matt was psyched that I made him a cake out of the blue. I gave him a knife and asked him to cut us both a piece of cake. And then….bam! The “cake” exploded in his face and icing went everywhere. It was awesome. I laughed hysterically, and Matt looked at me and said, “So, there is no cake?” And that was the best part. He was all excited for cake. And there none. Bahahaa.
All and all, it was a good April Fools Day. Messing with our co-workers with Amber was fun. Messing with Matt only made the day better. And really, what is was was a reminder that there is no need to take life so seriously. Sure, I definitely get stressed. I have mini-panic attacks at work over nothing. I freak out over little things. But at the end of the day, I need to remind myself that I need to just laugh it all off. And that’s why I love April Fools Day.
Besides making an exploding cake, I made this delicious eggplant dish! I watched this Italian tv show with my father-in-law and memorized the ingredients as well as I could. This recipe is easy to make and delicious to eat. Try it. You will thank me.
Remember picture day back in high school? It was such a big ordeal. Picking out the perfect outfit, applying gobs of makeup, and finding a hair-style that’s just right. Yes, very similar to Goldilock’s adventure. Unfortunately for me, every year my pictures turned out the same. Eyes mid-blink. Uncomfortable smile. Messy hair.
Today, we had picture day at work. Well, kinda. See, our firm hired two new employees who needed photos for our website. Since the photographer was already going to be around taking their pictures, I thought, “hey, this is a great opportunity for me to get a better picture.” Maybe I can just sneak in and get a new pic. [no worries. I got the thumbs up from our marketing coordinator].
Why did I need a new picture you ask? Yeah–I’m not the most photographic of individuals. It wasn’t my best work. Meaning I’m that girl who has been complaining about her work picture ever since it was taken.
Today was the third time I’ve had my picture professionally taken for work. Move over, Beyonce. There’s a new diva running this town. But, channeling my inner celebrity paid off. I got to look at my new work pictures, and while I won’t be auditioning for America’s Next Top Model anytime soon, I no longer looked frazzled.
Photographing soup has always been a bit of a challenge for me. If it isn’t full of chunky ingredients, a creamy soup looks bland. What I should do is buy some cute, unique bowls from Goodwill to jazz it up. But its so easy to get lazy when it comes laying out colorful and eye-catching backdrops for my website. Thankfully, this recipe is full of delicious chunky ingredients, so my fiestaware bowls sufficed. This spicy soup was delicious, easy to make, and can be ready in twenty minutes. The perfect meal after a long day of work!
I had my first kiss when I was 14. It was on the second day of a bike tour in a high school gym. He asked if he could kiss me and then proceeded to count down from three. I held my breath, and we kissed.
My first kiss when my husband was far less innocent. After too many tequila shots and a full night of dancing, Matt and I finally kissed. We had been friends for a year at that point. And in the first month of our friendship, Matt came over for Chinese and tv. Apparently, Matt considered that a date, and I considered it just two friends hanging out. One year later, the timing was finally right. And thanks to tequila and daylight savings time, Matt and I were finally on the same page. Six years later, we are still together.
This recipe was another first. I’ve never made anything with Rice Krispies. I know. That’s insane. Rice Krispie treats are a baking staple. You’d think that sometime I would have made this. But between having a sister who kicks my ass at all things baking and having no desire to learn to bake, I never made anything with Rice Krispies. Matt loves cherries and marshmallows. When I saw this recipe, I realized it was time to try something new. No tequila required.
Whenever my parents came to visit me in college, the first thing we would do is go out to eat. As a freshman, I always wanted to go to the same place–Friday’s–so we could eat loaded potato skins. After reaching the freshman 15, my choice of appetizers had to change, and I haven’t had restaurant potato skins since.
My love of the saltiness hasn’t died. And with my lack of desire to ever make side dishes aside, this weekend I decided to try to recreate an old college favorite. I am proud to say I only ate two potatoes–letting Matt devour the rest of the plate. The two were just enough nostalgia for my taste buds. Although, I suddenly had the urge to play some good old fashion beer pong…