My Blog on WCCO-TV: Bite of Minnesota

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Special Birthday

Yep, it was my birthday recently (actually, on the 12th). Typically my birthday celebrations span over an entire week as it's hard to get everyone together at one time and I can spend my actual birthday with Ryan.

This year Ryan was especially sweet. We've been so busy (my bro had a new baby!), so the idea of rush home-drive downtown-eat and drink tons-come home-passout wasn't so appealing this year. So, he surprised me by secretly taking the day off work and cleaning the house along with getting by birthday gifts ready. (sidenote: I was totally onto him. I knew it was suspicious that he made me breakfast and wasn't in a hurry to get to work. I was also suspicious when he answered his phone mid-day and I could hear that he was driving!)

So, when I got home from work, he was waiting for me all dressed up. He said he was taking me out for an appetizer and a drink close to our house. We went to Copper Bleu, a new upscale restaurant out here in the 'burbs. We then went home where he made me dinner and surprised me with our dining room table set with new dishes, water in wine glasses, and a new tablecloth.

It was all so perfect!! While I sat and drank ice wine, he made a surprise dinner of crab (again, Guy's Big Bite came in handy!) And he made a recipe I had picked out of the local co-op's newsletter. It had zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, spinach, soba noodles and tofu. Yum!

And, of course, dessert! This was a marscapone cheese, raspberry and chocolate cup. No, Ryan didn't make it, but it was still really good!

It was just so nice to be able to spend my birthday at home and with such a wonderful guy!

My birthday celebrations continued to be awesome as we went to my parent's house on Friday and had take-out and DQ ice cream cake (the first pic in the post). It was great to hang out at my parent's house without having to rush off to somewhere else.

On Saturday, we tried out a new restaurant with Ryan's family called FireLake. They pride themselves in using local ingredients and the food was wonderful. Ryan and I split the trout with grilled asparagus and shared some appetizers with everyone. I don't think I've ever had trout before, but I know I will again! We were having such a good time that after dinner was done and everyone had left, Ryan and I found a cozy couch and just sat and talked for another hour.
Next year is the big 3-0, so I'm sure I'll have some kind of party, but for now, I'll continue to enjoy my 20's for one more year!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Beer Battered Everything

Thanks for all the blueberry ideas, I'll have to put them to use!

Sorry for the blogger absence. I don't really have a good excuse. Just a bunch of typical excuses I could use (work, lazy, etc.), but I'm all about moving forward.

Has anyone been watching Guy's Big Bite on the Food Network? He strikes me as a nice guy, so Ryan and I have been tuning in and getting some good ideas. One was beer battered onion rings.

I love onion rings and used to make them from time to time at our La Crosse apartment. However, Ryan hated them and the smell they left behind. So, I'd have to time my onion making just right. Ryan would have to be at work all day and I'd make them with both our fans going and all the windows open. I'd have to take out the trash, do the dishes, light some candles and douse everything with Febreeze before he'd come home.

My onion ring making skills have improved over the years and somehow the smell has diminished too through using various recipes and techniques by Bobby Flay and Alton Brown.

So, recently while watching Guy's Big Bite, we saw the proper technique using beer. We just went on the Summit Brewery * tour, so this was especially exciting for Ryan. So exciting that he ran to the store to get all the ingredients.

Ryan made Beer Battered Onion Rings and Portabello Mushrooms:

We had batter and oil left over that we didn't want to waste, so he went on to make Beer Battered Fish, Onion Rings, and Green Beans the next day:

Let me tell you - it can be exciting making food like this, but I know it's not exciting (or healthy) for our bodies at all. I couldn't even look at anything fried for a couple weeks after eating this.

*Summit Brewery is a local beer made in St. Paul, MN. It's really good and they have some great varieties that come out throughout the year. Ryan's been trying to drink more local beer since it doesn't have to travel as far (less gas used, less emissions, etc.). Try it if it's in your area!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Blueberry Post Part II - The Food

So, after reading about all the blueberries we picked, now you're wondering what we did with all of them, huh? We did a lot with them!

First off, we gave a bunch to our families and we brought some to work. Everyone was so amazed at how much better they were than the ones from the grocery store. That's fresh and local for you!

Then, we used a ton for breakfast in yogurt and granola or just ate them plain. We also used them in smoothies with some of the strawberries I picked earlier in the year (picked 17 pounds of those, but forgot to take pictures).

We also made ice cream - yep, blueberry ice cream is so awesome! Speaking of icy treats, we made milkshakes with the blueberries too.

Almost immediately, I made blueberry muffins sprinkled with a rock sugar topping.

For another breakfast goodie, I made blueberry cornmeal pancakes. Totally not the healthiest recipe as it uses eggs and butter, but I plan to modify it in the future.

I also HAD to make a blueberry pie! Ryan and I served this with vanilla ice cream. I was tempted to make another pie, but figured I'd wait until apple season.

As you can imagine, there were still a lot of blueberries left, so they are all in the freezer in foodsaver bags. It's great to have frozen fruit around to throw into dishes!

Now that you see what we did with our blueberries, what would YOU do with 20 pounds of blueberries?
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