midwestern days

I love this.

My best audiobook listens to date… In order

1. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver

2. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

3. Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts

4. The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer - Siddhartha Mukherjee

5. Winter of the World: The Century Trilogy #2  - Ken Follett

6.  Fall of Giants: The Century Trilogy #1 - Ken Follett

7. Just Kids - Patti Smith

8. A Stolen Life - Jaycee Dugard

9. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hossenini

10.  The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

11.  Heft - Liz Moore

Coming home from vacation always sucks… Coming home to this book makes it suck less! #cookingwithcoolio #coolio #theghettogourmet #howtobecomeakitchenpimp #cookbook

Coming home from vacation always sucks… Coming home to this book makes it suck less! #cookingwithcoolio #coolio #theghettogourmet #howtobecomeakitchenpimp #cookbook

Looking for dracula

I never did the 'summer-backpakcing-across-Europe' trip that was popular amongst my peers.  I was always more of a 'roughing-it-in-the-third-world' type of girl.  And now, well beyond my days of gap year travels, I find myself on a train riding from Graz, Austria to Budapest, Hungary.  I have no regrets of my younger travels… but right now, for the first time, I am seeing the appeal of the Europe trip.  The old world is terribly charming.  

We just finished 9 days in Romania, a place I’ve always wanted to visit partially due to my childhood obsession with Nadia Comaneci and partially due to my Romania Jewish heritage - more the latter :).  If you’re thinking of going I’m here to tell you that Romania (Transylvania in particular) is pretty much everything you want it to be.  Talk about old world.  Charming little villages, rolling hills and snow capped mountains, horse-carts rolling down the roads, cows holding up traffic, old castles, tales of vampires… it’s got it all.  

It’s the odd vacation destination where a dark dreary day feels somehow right, and slipping into a small restaurant for a bowl of bean & pork soup a basket of bread and a pint of ale feels as satisfying as any 5 star meal anywhere. Not that they don’t do 5-star (check out Beca’s Kitchen in Bucharest). 

When I told people I was going to Romania for vacation I was met with blank stares, on one hand I want to be the good-will ambassador for Romania and let everyone know of its magic.  And on the other hand… the blank stares and disinterest are probably what keeps this place so special.

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Superior National Forest

I spent a long weekend, this past weekend camping up at Hogback Lake in the Superior National Forest.  This forest is such a magical place rich greens, moss covered everything, poisonous berries of all shapes and sizes… It’s everything you want a forest to be.

Campsite Cooking in a Dutch Oven [part 2]

With questionable forethought I decided to make my husband a birthday cake while we were camping last weekend.  I’d like to add that we were not car camping.  Our site was about a mile hike (or a 10 minute paddle, small portage and another 10 minute paddle).  It took us 3 trips to get all of our gear to the site.  Eric has started to admit that we were sorta glamping (you should see the 13lb mattress pad he brought along at my request).  Back to the cake, I went with the classic, Pineapple Upside-down Cake, mainly because it was a cake contained 5 ingredients and did not require frosting.  10 coals on top and 10 coals on bottom and after about 30 minutes (as the coals were well on their way to cooling) the cake was not only done, but it was perfect.  Like good campers me, my husband and his best friend polished the cake off in about 6 hours. 

Campsite Cooking in a Dutch Oven [part 1]

I just got back from a perfect weekend camping.  Deep in the Superior National Forest, a place filled with moss covered trees and carpeted with colorful flowers and berries, it was really magical.  We hiked and portaged all of our gear into our site and we made a few extra trips because while we were roughing it in some ways we absolutely were NOT in others.  I got Eric a Dutch Oven for his birthday and he lugged that cast iron beast into the woods and we ate like kings.

THE PIZZA

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Things I want to post on facebook but can’t because it will upset too many of my ‘friends’

- Food is not medicine

- A glass of juice is not a meal

- You cannot cure cancer by correcting your body’s Ph levels.  It’s insulting to people battling cancer and it’s a lie.

- Unless you can define, using the scientific name,  EXACTLY which ‘toxins’ your cleanse would be removing from my body shut the hell up.

- Throwing around a word like ‘genocide’ is offensive especially when I guarantee your knowledge on the situation in the middle east could not even fill up this thimble.

- Your ‘career’ at isagenix makes you sound like a combination of a drug pusher and a born again christian.

- You say it’s all about feeling energized but we all know it’s about replacing meals with shakes and fast-tracking weight loss

- I don’t care what character that quiz says you are

Barely anyone I know read’s this blog and I really needed to get this out… *sigh of relief*

I love traveling.  I love seeing new exotic places, tasting new spices, smelling new scents… but I am a midwestern girl at heart and I still find our humble landscape totally charming.

Cabin and Jenga Drinking Games

Summer in Minnesota is the best!

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Cabin Porn

After an great weekend up north I am fantasizing about buying a secluded cabin on a quiet lake where I can play music with my crazy talented husband, read, write, cook beautiful food and just escape the rat race.  There is something so invigorating about jumping into a lake and swimming around.  I’m so rarely out in the woods these days - it’s bumming me out.  I’ve decided I would like to buy this cabin (link here):

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Isn’t it amazing!  sigh.

Well I wanted to make a post about how an 8 year old put up a sign in his yard promoting his ‘free piano concert’ and how through social media and a good-hearted local musician he got a huge turnout on his front lawn in the pouring rain.  I wanted to write about how sweet this event was and how  it emanated love and happiness and laughter.  I wanted to write about the intermission which consisted of a half a dozen children weaving through the crowd handing out Oreo cookies.  It was a testament to how wonderful mankind can be - a great contrast to the current weeks events.

I want to say all of those things because I believe all of them.  But I also want to say - that this crappy 14 second video I took of the event (above) that does not even contain any piano music has a ridiculous number of views on youtube and it’s equal parts dumbfounding and awesome.

I would like this.

I would like this.

#sky #clouds #rain #rainbow #city #industrial #mpls #mn

#sky #clouds #rain #rainbow #city #industrial #mpls #mn

Sometimes I like to play movies in the background during the day as I work. Not to be a slacker, just to keep things interesting - multi-tasking helps me focus I swear.

This one, I clicked on cause I liked the name and it looked totally low budget and to my surprise, well, wow… it was really great.