What Happens in Vegas, Comes Back from Vegas

Last time I wrote I was on a huge fitness kick. I assure you I am still on that kick but had a bit of a detour. The week of Thanksgiving is aways tough for staying on track, this year was even more insane because I was sick, then Thanksgiving, then Las Vegas. I didn’t get all my workouts in which made me feel guilty, but I knew my body was calling for rest.

IMG_5765Why would you book a trip to Vegas if you knew you had bootcamp? Well, my family is there and for once in a very long time, all my siblings were there so it was a must-do! We had a blast!

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Everyday Vegetable Soup

When Rich and I started cooking together, my soup technique freaked him out because I never used a recipe (he likes rules). I use recipes as guidelines and wing it most of the time because it’s fun. These are the reasons I don’t (can’t) bake. Soups are especially fun to wing it with because the possibilities are endless, I doubt I’ve made the same one twice. I like to throw in whatever veggies need to be used and voila! Soup! I am happy to say that Rich is now soup recipe-free and we can make fast and delicious soups anytime.

So here is my standard brothy tomato based veggie soup, the ingredients may change a little, sometimes it’s vegetarian, sometimes it’s not,  but whichever way you look at it, it’s a go-to healthy soup. I’ll share with you the one I made yesterday because I finally remembered to take pictures. If you choose to make this with meat, brown your protein, drain, then add the onions. I like to make this with cut up chicken breast so it’s like a chicken chili of sorts.

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New Beginnings – The Fitness Edition

It has been a crazy 5 months since I wrote about leaving my job and trying to figure out career things. Since then, life things happened which created stress which I was not prepared to handle. So what do I do when I get stressed? I dine out more often without working out much (or not at all). I basically indulge in all of my favorite things without thinking about the toll on my wallet or weight.

So it was time for change. I am not generally weight conscious but I AM at a point where things don’t fit right and I don’t feel great about myself, at least that’s how I felt 3-4 weeks ago (when I originally wrote this post). My wake up call was “running” the Monster Dash 10 Mile in October. I had not trained so expected to walk most of it, and I was ok with that. What was shocking to me was the pain I felt in my feet and my legs during and after the race, those were the extra pounds stressing my body in a way I had not experienced before. It also made me sad to think that running wasn’t part of my repertoire anymore. I started running 6 years ago because I didn’t want to be on the sidelines anymore, cheering others on but not participating. Running became fun and a great challenge but I’ve lost my way over these past few years and I’d like to get back into it.

Race day.

Monster Dash race day!

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Bitter Melon – What is that thing?

IMG_4828Yesterday’s chilly weather called for oven-dried tomatoes, so I popped into the Minneapolis Farmers Market for a bucket of Romas. “Just ONE bucket of tomatoes!” I told myself.  Of course I wandered around and ended up purchasing a bunch more produce. I really can’t help myself.

The most exciting find was bitter melon, that bumpy, cucumber looking, vegetable thing that is actually a gourd. In researching recipes, I learned that bitter melon is used widely in Asian cooking, including beverages. The most surprising detail was that it is used in beer as a bittering agent in place of hops in China and Japan. Not surprising, after tasting a raw piece. Continue reading

Stuffed Jalapeños and Squash Blossom Appetizers

I’m making this one short and sweet. The market is out of control so you have to cook fast or that produce will go bad! I found these great squash blossoms and had a ton of jalapeños so thought “appetizers!”

I am convinced that frying things in the house is not for me so I decided to bake stuffed  jalapeños wrapped in prosciutto (inspired by Amanda Paa) and breaded squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese. Here is a visual guide.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Slice and seed the jalapeños. Slice the cheese into long pieces. I used smoked Gouda. IMG_4356

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Spring at the Farmers Market

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Radishes at the Kingfield Farmers Market

You may or may not know this, but I am a OBSESSED with farmers markets. I have been a volunteer at my local market for over three years (since I moved into the neighborhood) helping people get set up and most recently, helping with the operations committee. It’s naturally a great place to get fresh produce and local products, but also a place for people to come together and have a great experience.

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Dreaming of Puerto Rico

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One of my favorite things in life is traveling to new places. Learning about a culture first-hand through their history, traditions, and food is just fascinating and pure joy for me. I was glad to tag along on Rich’s business trip to Puerto Rico for a little relaxation after a crazy couple of months and a bad case of cabin fever.

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Bust out the grill, it’s taco time!

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I have been meaning to tell you about these tacos for several weeks, but life has been a bit hectic. I recently quit my job and have been pretty ambitious in efforts to find my place in this little world. More about that later, back to those tacos…

At the end of March we had an amazing sunny 70 degree day during this neverending winter. If my memory serves me correctly, we also had a snowstorm shortly after in true Minnesota fashion. So what do you do on an amazing day?

Bust out the grill! Continue reading

Happy Hour Nibble – The Bulldog Northeast

Ah The Bulldog Northeast, one of my favorite places to get a drink and nachos. Known for their array of beers, especially of the Belgian variety, this is a great place to eat, drink, and watch a game. There are four Bulldogs in the Twin Cities, but this one is the best in my opinion because of the ambiance and food menu. The stainless bar is the center of the bright space with over 20 taps that rotate frequently.

Victory DirtWolf Imperial IPA

Victory DirtWolf Imperial IPA

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Schell’s 30th Anniversary Pilsner Series

I was able to try the Schell’s Pils series ahead of its release and write about it for Minnesota Beer Activists. Read the post.

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