Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New domain...

I changed my domain name to:


Please change this on your Google Reader!!


So many restaurants, too little time!!!

We are moving!!!!

To the suburbs!!!

30 miles away!!!


While this is a very scary thing for us, we are SOOOO excited! We cannot talk about anything else. It's the biggest thing (other than getting married) we have ever done, and it's all we can think about!!

I will give more details once we have everything ironed out...we are still in the negotiations phase.

With our moving inching closer, I am feeling anxious about leaving all the great restaurants I have around me in Minneapolis. Something I LOVE about Minneapolis is all the small, quaint, locally-owned restaurants. You can go 1-2 blocks and find a great restaurant!! I have eaten at MANY of these restaurants, but haven't gotten close to eating at all of them.

Here are a few our my/our favorites:
**Cafe Ena (read about our experience here)

Those are just a sampling of my favorites in my neighborhood.

Yesterday, I met my cousin, Kelly at another neighborhood restaurant-King's.

My hair stylist, Taryn at Spalon Montage, told me about King's. She also lives in the neighborhood and just loves King's. I was excited to try it out for lunch.

I looked at the menu before we went and already knew what I would order...Who doesn't love grilled cheese and tomato soup??

First, I had a cup of coffee (it was a little chilly because we were sitting outside). Kelly ordered the tator tots. It seems like this is becoming a staple item on local restaurant menus.

Tater Tots $6.95
Housemade tater tots with gruyere and bacon sauce

The sauce was AMAZING!! These are not your everyday tator tots as you can tell. Ummmm...I can still taste these!! A Must-Try!!

We both ordered the half-grilled cheese and tomato basil soup...

Kings Grilled Cheese $8.50
Toasted with gruyere, fresh mozzarella and Wisconsin cheddar cheese

Look at that bread!!
It came with a big bowl of Tomato Basil soup.

I was really loving the grilled cheese, but the soup was a little thick and had a sweet after-taste. I realized that with tomato soup, I really need crackers. Too bad they didn't have any.

King's was a fun restaurant. The atmosphere inside was really neat, but everyone was sitting outside enjoying the 50degree weather :)

After lunch, we walked around Lake Calhoun...my FAVORITE spot in Minneapolis. I am definitely going to miss not having this lake so close!!

Great first day of Spring Break!!!!

The Big Sleep Debate...

I have been experimenting with my sleep regimen for the last few weeks. I am trying to wean myself off all the medications I have been taking...(acne meds, sleeping meds, anxiety meds, acid reflux meds, etc). So far I have successfully gotten myself off the acne meds (using Project Glow), have stopped my acid reflux meds, and I am currently working on getting off my sleeping meds.

Here is my reasoning for the sleeping meds:

I have always been a good sleeper, just ask my mom :) My husband has a different idea though. I have what is called Restless Leg Syndrome. Chad says it is like I am playing soccer in my sleep. I have always recognized that I move A LOT in my sleep, but until I moved in with Chad, it didn't bother anyone. Chad is a very LIGHT sleeper, so he wakes up to any movement I make. This has caused many problems!! I also woke up 8-10 times per night, which made me wake up tired, and feel unrested. The other MAJOR problem for me with sleeping is that I had HORRIBLE dreams. I cannot even tell you how many traumatizing, terrorizing dreams I have had.

Basically, I was waking up after 8-9 hours of "sleep" feeling completely unrested.

I have tried many things for my sleeping. I went to bed earlier, read a book, practiced deep breathing, etc. After talking with my doctor, we decided to try a sleeping medication-Amitriptyline. This is a medication prescribed for depression, but is also used for sleep problems.

This medication has worked wonders for me.

I sleep through the night. I get 8 hours of sleep and wake up feeling rested. My nightmares have stopped, and my restless leg syndrome has calmed down, a little bit :) I have also experimented with cutting down on this medication. When I don't take it, the nightmares return immediately and I am not able to stay asleep all night.

What should I do?? This is a medication I CANNOT be on when I get pregnant...so I have to figure something out...

My recent attempt at getting off this medication has been pretty successful. I haven't taken it in 2 weeks and have been trying something different- TEA!!!

I have NEVER liked tea. Ick!! But I saw Sleepytime tea a few weeks ago and decided to give it a try. I make a mug of tea about an hour before I am going to go to bed...I have been pretty impressed with it's effectiveness. I have been sleeping through the night, for the most part.

However, it has been taking me HOURS to fall asleep. All the tossing and turning is driving Chad crazy!! When I don't sleep well, he doesn't sleep well.

I am going to continue the tea every night and hope to get this under control...



Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Weekend Away....

It feels so good to have a weekend away. I am on my Spring Break (SPRING BREAK 2010 BABY!!!!) Every year on Spring Break, I feel like yelling that out...makes me feel like I am in Mexico with MTV for Spring Break...I know I am a dork.

My brother's band Roster McCabe was up here recording their next album and they finished early, so Chad and I jumped on the opportunity to come up here and spend some time together.

Before we left, I chose 3 new recipes from the Cooking Light: Fresh Food Fast magazine I picked up this week. I was SUPER excited to have some time to spend cooking this weekend!!

Chad, however, was not so excited to participate in my experiments.
He is very strong on his desire to stay OFF the blog...why??

My first meal was for Saturday's lunch...

Skillet Sloppy Beef Sandwiches.
* Cooking spray
* 1 lb. Lean ground beef
* 1 c. refrigerated prechopped tricolor bell pepper
* 1/2 c. frozen whole-kernel corn (I only had canned corn)
* 1 (14.5 oz) can Mexican-styled stewed tomatoes with jalapeno peppers and spices, undrained (I could only find diced tomatoes with the Mexican spices)
* 1/4 c. plus 2 T ketchup
* 4 (1 1/2 oz) whole-wheat hamburger buns (thanks Lund's bakery!!)

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef and bell pepper and saute' for 5 minutes or until meat is browned. Drain
2. Return meat mixture to pan. Add corn, tomatoes and ketchup.
3. Cook 9 minutes or to desired consistency.
4. Serve on hamburger buns.

Yield: 4 servings (1 c. beef and 1 bun)

Calories: 382 Fat: 13g

Creamy Ranch-Style Coleslaw
* 1/3 c. light mayo
* 1/4 c. nonfat buttermilk (I forgot this at home so I added a little milk)
* 1 t. salt-free onion and herb seasoning blend
* 1/4 t. salt
* 1/8 t. black pepper
* 4 c. packaged coleslaw

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. (I forgot to do this...oops)
2. Pour dressing over slaw. Toss well. Cover and chill.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size 1 cup)

Calories: 85 Fat: 7 g.
Chad's only words were, "WOW. This is so good!!" I think he said it 4-5 times :)

I was so happy that he approved!! He is pretty hard to please when it comes to food...

Because we were eating, Tesa decided it was time for her lunch too.

Tesa has really enjoyed being at the cabin! She has been exploring the whole time. We even let her explore outside yesterday for awhile (even though I was freaking out about it!)

She had a hay-day with a plastic bag...you would have thought I gave her a ton of treats!

Saturday night, I pulled out all the stops for dinner. I went all out with this recipe. I knew it would be another favorite of Chad's.

Tenderloin Steaks with Beer Reduction and Blue Cheese

* 2 t. steak rub (McCormick Grill Mates)
* 4 (4 oz) beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed (I only made 2)
* 1 t. olive oil
* 1 (12 oz) bottle dark lager (we used Finnegans)
* 2 T. light brown sugar
* 2 T. crumbled blue cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Rub steak seasoning over both sides of steaks. (I refrigerated them for 30 minutes)
3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add steaks and cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove steaks from pan and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 4-5 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.
4. While steaks bake, combine beer and brown sugar in medium bowl and add to pan. Cook 6 minutes or until mixture is syrupry and reduced to about 1/4 c.
(I made a HUGE mistake here. I added this mixture to the pan in the stove rather than the pan on the stovetop. The mixture did not crystallize or reduce because it was in the oven...duh)
5. Serve steaks with reduced sauce and sprinkle evenly with cheese.

Yield: 4 servings (1 steak and 1 1/2 T sauce and 1 1/2 t. cheese per serving)

Calories: 209 Fat: 8g

Garlic-Herb Steak Fries

* 3 cups frozen steak fries (I could not find these and used crinkle fries)
* 1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
* 1 T olive oil
* 1 t. garlic-sea salt blend

1. Preheat oven to 450
2. Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Arrange fries in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
3. Bake at 450 for 17 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring once.
Yield: 4 servings (3/4 cup per serving)

Calories: 170 Fat: 7g

Chad made a great salad, but again refused to be photographed.

The fries got a little too done, and the steaks were a little too done as well. Chad was changing out the laundry and he is the steak master so I overcooked them :(

It was still SUPER GOOD!!!

Dessert was only enjoyed by moi. Chad isn't a big dessert guy. That is one place where we totally disagree!! :)

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Banana Split

* 6 T Chocolate syrup (I used Trader Joe's Chocolate Sauce)
* 1 1/2 T. reduced-fat peanut butter
* 3 bananas, cut in half lengthwise
* 3 c. vanilla bean light ice cream
* 3 T. chopped unsalted peanuts

1. Combine chocolate syrup and peanut butter in a 1-c. glass measure. Microwave at high 40 seconds or until peanut butter melts. (I did not measure these out and only had a plastic measuring cup. I had a hard time getting the consistency right between the syrup and peanut butter. It was really thick)

2. Cut each banana half crosswise into 2 pieces. Arrange 2 banana pieces in each of 6 dessert dishes; top banana evenly with ice cream and hot chocolate sauce. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve immediately. (I only used 1 banana because it was just me. I skipped the peanuts and added strawberries.

This was excellent!!!!!

I woke up bright and early...at 7:10 a.m. I know right?? I'm on Spring Break, I should be able to sleep in. I got dressed and went for a run. It was A LOT colder than it was yesterday. The outdoor thermometer said 26 degrees....BBBBRRRRRRRR!!! I had to dig out an old-school purple headband to cover my ears.

It was really hard to continue running with the cold air... I ran/walked 2 miles. I came home and tried to sit on the deck to read my book...had to go inside because it was TOO COLD!!!

This is not water on the chair...it is ice!!

This morning, we got up and went to the Wharf in town for breakfast. They just started serving breakfast so I was excited to check it out. I ordered the eggs and hashbrowns. I did not realize the hashbrowns came on TOP of the eggs and there was 3-4 c. hashbrowns and 2 eggs. TOO greasy for me!!

I also had a small pancake on the side, which I ate half of. I had 2 cups of coffee.

Now it is time to take a quick nap and read my book.

Tonight's dinner plans: Lemon Red Snapper with Herb Butter and Risotto...yummy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Loooooonnnnnnng Week...

Wow was last week a long and painful week. Monday and Tuesday I nursed my calves back to health, or tried to. I felt great after my race but was really tight in my right calf. I held off on exercise and decided to rest for the week.

Chad and I had plans to go out for St. Patty's Day on Wednesday. Before we went out, I decided to cook up a chicken breast that was in my fridge....the important part of this story is that it had been in the fridge for quite awhile...longer than 7 days. I didn't want to pay to eat out and wanted to get rid of this chicken...Bad idea!!! I was already feeling icky from sinus stuff...the food sickness made a slow progression...

Chad and I drove down to Minneapolis and parked by Block E. My dad was at the new Kieren's with work friends (he is friends with Kieren through the restaurant biz) and we wanted to meet up with him...(You know you are old when you meet your dad at a bar for a holiday ;)

Luckily, he was just leaving. We found this out as we walked by the line of hundreds of people...he gave us his and a friends' wrist band so we could cut in line...I know, so rebellious of me right?
The new Kieren's is really cool!! Really open, rustic and Irish!! They had an Irish band playing so we stayed right up front and listened. We found a spot to sit and did some people watching. My stomach was starting to feel a little off...so I ordered a side of "chips". I was pretty disappointed with these, because I am used to British chips...thick, wedge potatoes. These were stringy...ech.
The coolest part of the whole night was the few times that the bagpipers came through the bar. There were probably 10 bag pipers and 3-5 drummers. They made their way around the bar...so cool!!!

It was a fun night, but my stomach was not happy when I got home. 2 beers and the fries didn't help...

Let's just say it was a LOOOONNNNGGGG night...

and I missed work the next day...


Monday, March 22, 2010

Thought I'd Died...didn't you?

I am still alive!

I have been sick for a week or so have had no energy to do anything...I promise I will be back tomorrow...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thought I was going to die!!!!!!

Okay not really, but I was close :)

Last night, I laid out my race-day wear and tried to get to bed early. Shana and I babysat our summer-job-family last night(more on this later.) I got home and watched some of Saturday Night Live...after Chad reminded me about daylight savings...oops.

I set my alarm for 7:00 a.m. and hoped to get a good night's sleep. The alarm went off a little too soon for me!! We drove to St. Paul and tried to find Como Lake. We drove past the pavilion and saw all the green gear and had to pull a U-turn.

It was A LOT colder than I thought it would be...brrrrrr!!! I checked in, got my t-shirt and waited for my parents.

My parents arrived and we hung out and tried to stay warm until the race started. I was starting to get nervous. My shins REALLY hurt yesterday. I iced them or 2 hours in the afternoon and then again at night. I stretched a lot today and tried to get them warmed up...
Malley was donning her St. Patty's Day collar...she got so many compliments. She is such a pretty dog!
We were in the middle of the crowd and a ways back from the start line. I started my stop watch when we hit the start spot and not when the race started...We were running around the lake backwards...so the mileage markers were off. That was a little confusing and kind of a mind-game.

The first lap around the lake was easy. That's why I look so "fresh."

As soon as we finished the first lap, I started to crash. My breathing got really heavy and uneven...I slowed my pace down a lot and got passed by a few people. I REALLY wanted to walk. After a few minutes, I told my dad I wanted to walk. Of course, he said I couldn't stop. He started asking me questions and talking about who we were going to pass. "See that guy? We are going to pass him." I didn't try to pass anyone until the finish line was straight in front of me. We passed a group of 7 as we sprinted to the finish line. I saw Chad and my mom and was so glad to be done!!
You an see the big group behind us...we were that far behind them and we passed them! You can also see my dad's hand on my back...sweet :)

The time says 33 minutes and 9 seconds. We subtracted 30 seconds from that because we were not right at the starting line when we started. So I will say my time is 32 minutes and 39 seconds.
I look like I am going to die, but notice the woman behind me. I had to hold onto my dad to make sure I didn't pass out after sprinting and then stopping. That guy in front of me was the guy I really wanted to pass, but I didn't. BOO

Also, thanks to my husband for the hard-to-pronounce last name. "And here is Joanie Ra-ch-ee".

I walked straight to a rock to sit down. After a few minutes, I felt great and was ready to celebrate!

My husband was pretty proud of me...that made me happy!!

We left the race and headed to Pizza Luce for breakfast. My mom and I ate breakfast at the Pizza Luce in Duluth. Of course, I kept on my race gear for breakfast!!

Chad had the breakfast burrito...look at the insides of that burrito. It was really good and spicy!

I had the french toast. It was really good, but not the best I have ever had.

After showering and recovering from the race, Chad and I headed to Shakopee to look at houses. What an exhausting experience!!!

Now I am catching up on American Idol from the week. Hope to get to bed soon...even though it is really only 8:22 p.m. It has been a long day!!!

Thanks to my husband and parents for cheering me on today!