Monday, August 31, 2009

Craft of the Month

Eh. Didn't get done again this month. I am now officially two months behind. Gotta catch up - triple time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Women's Clinic {semi-wordless}

Have I mentioned we are season ticket holders for the Gophers? Have I mentioned they have a brand new stadium this year: TCF Bank Stadium? During the fall the Gophers (and the Vikings) basically make up my weekends. So, in the upcoming weeks... a lot of my posts will probably revolve around the Minnesota Gophers: tailgating, games and parties. It's fun, but I wanted to warn you.
{Gopher's 1960 National Championship Ring}{DQ Club Room}
{Did you know the helmets are glittery? They are.}
{Figured I should try it on}
{pads made sense to put on next}
{why not make an outfit out of it?}
{The tunnel the team takes to to the field}
{Coach is electric!}
{The largest professional and collegiate locker room is football shaped}
{Speech! Speech!}

Saturday, August 22, 2009

First View of The Bank {nearly wordless}

{scrimmage day = gorgeous} {friends+us outside TCF Bank Stadium}
{third largest outdoor scoreboard in the nation}
{endzone, non-student side}
{climb to the penthouse} {view from the penthouse}{us, post-scrimmage}{us+friends, post-scrimmage}{view of our seats from the student section - we are the A in MINNESOTA}
{testing out the bleacher seats}{us+Goldy: Gold Country at The Bank}

Friday, August 21, 2009

They're here...

Our season tickets arrived at my parent's house [at the time of order we weren't sure what our permanent address would be at the time of delivery] on Saturday, August 15th. By Sunday, August 16th they were in our possession. I can't beleive our first scrimmage (and chance to get inside the stadium) is already this Saturday, August 22nd. Sooooo exciting!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I can finally check this off my list.
photo source

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I like him.

Let me say this - I didn't like Brett Favre as a Packer. It wasn't so much him as a person I didn't like, but the fact he was a Packer. I remember after his last game as a Packer, he shed tears as he left the field (in fact so did some of the packer fans I was watching TV with). Retirement # 1.

Shortly after this was followed by his decision to become unretired. Ultimately Brett played for the Jets. I thought it was weird. I thought he probably should have stayed retired, but he looked good on the field. And much to my chagrin, started the season well and then: Retirement #2.

This year, when rumors started to fly that Brett Favre was coming out of retirement again *and* was considering the Vikings, I thought, "hmm... interesting." But didn't think anything could possibly come to fruition. When Brett confirmed at the end of July that he was going to stay retired and Brad Childress said the option was over, door closed, I was a little bummed, but ready to rally behind our current QB options. In the first preseason game I thought Sage looked good. But Monday morning, rumors started to surface again. It made for an interesting story, but rumors only.

Then Tuesday morning turned into Tuesday afternoon and we had a new Vikings QB, Brett Favre. And you know what? I think I like him. Yes, this was quite the process and roller coaster, but he seems legit. He loves the game, really questioned whether or not his shoulder was in a playable condition and waivered. Then Brad "made one phone call" (a story which I do find suspicious) and *ta-da* we have ourselves a new QB. While I'm not sure that a Super Bowl is in our future, this certainly has added a new spark to the upcoming season.

And can you even wait for October 5th or November 1st? I am ready for some football.

*Rich's family consists of mostly Packer fans (for some reason, Rich is the minority and a Viking fan). My mother-in-law has dedicated their basement to the Packers, complete with wall paintings, art work, clocks, etc. It's great. I would love to hear their feelings about this. Regardless, this should bring some lively conversations at Christmas!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happy Herb Pot

Remember my "saddest pot of herbs ever" post? Well... look at them now!!
I've actually harvested the basil on several occasions, in addition to the rosemary. They are thriving and I love it!! To me, nothing says summer like fresh herbs... oh! and tomatoes straight out of the garden.
*Happy, Happy*

Monday, August 17, 2009

Polish Cabbage Rolls (Golabki)

Last Friday our neighbors gifted us with a bunch of fresh produce. We received 3 zucchinis (one of which was probably 5 lbs and turned into 4 loaves of zucchini bread + a batch of zucchini cupcakes), 2 cucumbers and a red cabbage the size of my head. Okay, it's bigger than my head...

I've been trying to figure out what to make with this. I have never once bought cabbage, green or red, and outside of coleslaw I had no idea what to make. Thankfully for my recent trip to the Polish Festival, I knew that cabbage could be used to make cabbage rolls (Golabki).

I found a few recipes on line and ended up combining them to create my own version.

Polish Cabbage Rolls
{Sources: and}

16 cabbage leaves
1 lb Ground Beef, 93% Lean
1 lb Ground Turkey, 93% Lean
3 c. brown rice (cooked)
1 T. olive oil
1 white onion
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
2 garlic cloves
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. dried basil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
2 T. caraway seeds

16 oz tomato sauce
2 T. fat free Greek yogurt
1 T. brown sugar

Cut 16 leaves off of the cabbage head, place in boiling water until leaves are limp (2-3 minutes). Remove from water and set aside.
{Cooked leaves are on the left. The remaining cabbage will be used for a different meal this week...}

Sauté the onions, garlic, carrots and celery in the olive oil until vegetables are soft. In a bowl add the sautéed veggies, meat, rice, basil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and caraway seeds, mix this well. Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place about 2-4 Tbsp. of the meat mixture in the center of a cabbage leaf (depending on size of leaf); tuck in sides and roll to cover meat. {I rolled my leftover filling into meatballs and cooked them along with the cabbage rolls.} Place cabbage rolls, seam down, in a 9x13 baking dish.

Mix tomato sauce with the sugar and Greek yogurt; pour over rolls.
Cover and bake for 45-60 minutes.
{At the tail end of baking, I removed the cover (risked tomato sauce splashes in the oven) and turned on the boiler to get some additional color}

This meal had veggies, protein and carbohydrates, so I didn't serve it with anything else. As I plated Rich's serving the cabbage roll flipped, splashing sauce all over the plate. So aesthetics weren't that great, but I thought it was funny and I asked Rich to take a picture of it.
My plate worked out a little bit better...
All in all, these were delicious! Rich really seemed to like them, which is always considered a success. Apparently growing up he would get cabbage rolls at family events and large gatherings. So I was happy this meal brought back a touch of nostalgia, even if I used red instead of green cabbage.
Oh - the leftovers were even better! We will definitely be making these again!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Twin Cities Polish Festival

Have I mentioned that my future sister-in-law is Polish? (No, this is not the start of a Polish joke...) She is, as my brother and I put it, "Polish, Polish," in that she lives in Poland. Anyhow, she encouraged my brother to go to the Twin Cities Polish Festival and check things out. In turn, my brother invited me to go with.
{Eric and I upon arriving at the Polish Festival}

The TC Polish Festival had quite a bit to offer. There was Folk Music and Dance, Artist Booths, Polish Poster Exhibit, Traditional Food Market, Polish Dog Exhibit, Polka Bands, Polish Beer Garden, Free Polka Lessons and more. {This list was taken from the website and a lot of it I hadn't realized was going on -- like the polka lessons. That would have been fun...}

We walked around, checked out the vendors and their mechandise, asked questions about the Polish-American organization, picked up a flyer for a Catholic church service held Sunday entirely in Polish. It was fun.
{D - I had Eric pose with this. Do you know what it is for?} {Eric pointing out where Dominika went to school}

And then we focused on two specific areas: the traditional food market and the Polish beer garden...

{Beer fresh from the garden}

Apparently I was way too eager to eat the food we bought, because I didn't take a single picture, but here's what we had (all was shared):
- Kielbasa with Sauerkraut
- Pączki (a Polish doughnut)
- Meat Pierogies
- Placki Kartoflane (potato pancakes), served w/ sour cream
*Eric bought a Chleb to take home (a 2 lb loaf of Polish Rye bread)
We also had two piwos (beers) each, one Zywiec, two Zamkowe and one Okocim {Is that even a beer?}

{Before we left we took in some culture and watched these young Polish dancers}

After the festival, we headed to Kramarczuk's, a deli featuring Eastern European foods. And we ate some more...

{Eric eating a Polish(?) sausage with sauerkraut}

{me getting ready to dive into a golabki (cabbage roll) with a side of sauerkraut}

Unpictured we shared two liquor filled chocolates and had our own pastries. It was such a fun day and outside of eating and drinking, I think we picked up some good information for Dominika. After this trip it is official, my aversion to sauerkraut is history. I even picked some up at the grocery store. Yum!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer Break

{Apparently I needed a summer break to spend some time on the deck, Diet Squirt (my fave), a magazine and the sun.}

Monday, August 10, 2009

Plum & Blueberry Cobbler

Last week we were invited to our friend's house for a mid-week dinner party. Weekends get so hard to plan around, especially during the summer, but weekdays... I just never think to capitalize on them. I offered to bring a fruit cobbler for dessert and they accepted. I already had plums and blueberries on hand and was hoping I could find some a recipe that combined the two.

In the general scheme of things, this was a relatively light dessert; no butter, less than 1 c. sugar and fresh fruit. I, of course, partnered it with vanilla ice cream which took away some of the "lightness" of the dessert, but it was "light" vanilla ice cream so that helped.

Plum-Blueberry Cobbler
(Source: Prevention Magazine)

8 plums, quartered [I used 5 plums, sliced thinly ~12 slices/fruit]
1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries [I used fresh]
1/2 c. sugar [I used 1/3 c.]
4 t. sugar
2 T. unbleached or all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt [I probably used closer to 1/4 t. salt]
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 egg white, lightly beaten [I used a whole egg]
1 1/2 T. vegetable oil [I used 2 T. apple sauce and 1 t. vegetable oil]
Dash of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat an 8" x 8" baking dish with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, combine the plums, blueberries, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the flour. Pour into the prepared baking dish, sprinkle fruit with cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, combine 3 teaspoons of the remaining sugar, the baking powder, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour.

In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg white, and oil. Pour into the medium bowl with the flour mixture. Stir until a thick batter forms. Drop the batter in tablespoonfuls on top of the fruit. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar.Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Remove to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition facts (recipe w/o my alterations): 203.5 calories, 3.3g fat, 0.3g saturated fat, 0.6 mg cholesterol, 75.3 mg sodium, 41.7 g carbohydrates, 25.6 g total sugars, 2.3 g dietary fiber, 3.5 g protein
{Here's what the dish looked like after the party. Yeah, they must have hated it.} :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009


My mom offered us some basil last weekend to make homemade pesto. It's been well over 5 years since I've had enough basil at my disposal to make my own pesto, so I jumped at the chance. She filled an entire plastic grocery bag full of basil leaves and I was on my way.

I removed the leaves and washed the basil as soon as I got home. I took out the food processor and olive oil, started researching recipes and then called it a night.

The following morning my Mom stopped by; I told her I was going to start making the pesto and she wanted to help. I had wanted a defined recipe in order to find the 'perfect pesto' recipe. SUPER long story short, my mom is well-versed in making pesto. She is a pro. As a result, she doesn't use a recipe she just goes with the flow. Using the ingredient list below, she made pesto.

Basil Pesto
(Source: my mom)

Fresh basil
Olive oil
Pine nuts
salt + pepper

She stuffed the food processor with basil, tossed in the garlic, added a little olive oil and let the processor run until the volume of the basil went down. She then added more basil, Parmesan chunks [she usually uses grated, but I didn't have that], salt + pepper and more olive oil and ran the processor some more.

At this point she had left to run errands, so I had to finish it off. I added the pine nuts and ran the processor a bit longer until the pesto reached my desired consistency.

{This will be a nice treat in the winter when basil season is long gone.}

I poured the pesto into five small plastic containers, labeled them and put three of the containers in the freezer. The other two I gave away: one to my mom and one to my brother. I haven't used any of mine yet and my mom and brother haven't mentioned anything about using theirs. I did take a small taste when I was done and it was good.