Friday, August 24, 2012

A LONG Overdue Visit!!!

We FINALLY got Amy back in the cities (after a long absence), and we got to "hang out" with her for four days...AWESOME!!!!!!

She arrived Friday afternoon, and we had a RIP ROARING BBQ pizza evening on the patio...sooo fun...soooo tasty....soooo AWESOME!  Davey has become a MASTER chef on his new grill, and it was QUITE lovely to enjoy the amazing weather, and the FABULOUS pizza with my family!!!!!

After pizza, Duane, Abigail, and I went to Target to get the "fixins" for s'mores (I'm on a roll...what can I say??!!)...YUM!!!!

Saturday, we hit the outlet mall in Albertville.  Before we got there though, we stopped at a few places in Maple Grove (Robin had a gift card to spend), and made a stop in Rogers for a REALLY REALLY quick run through the antique mall (me), while Robin, Emilie, and Amy perused the wares at a vintage jewelry store across the street.  TOTAL score on all our parts...I found the following ceramic chickens....

and they found some really cool vintage jewelry!

After SPEEDING through the shops, we headed to Gualadajara for lunch.  REALLY awesome Mexican food, and very affordable...if you are IN need to check it out!!!!

After lunch, the girls headed to Albertville, and Duane, Dave, and I checked out the antique store next to the restaurant...I TOTALLY scored...

We then headed to Albertville, reconnected with the girls, and had a GREAT time shopping for back to school stuff...!!!!

After the outlet mall, Duane and I headed back to Eagan to "regroup", and they all headed back to south Minneapolis.  We hooked up soon after, and CONTINUED our adventure with dinner at Erte, in North Minneapolis...SOOOOOO awesome.  I had the "the House"...the BEST cut sirloin I've EVER tasted, and the scalloped potatoes with carmelized onions...which were also AMAZING!!!!!

After dinner we caught a movie..."The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"...ODD movie, but I REALLY liked it (and, OF COURSE, cried like a baby at the end...).  Very creative...very thought-provoking...and I LOVE Jennifer Garner!!!!!

We then headed back to Eagan, and went to bed.  Sunday, we spent putzing around the house, and I had everyone over for dinner.  I tried a new recipe, that is DEFINITELY going in the second edition of FLAIR (Frequently Looked At, Interesting Recipes...):

Salt and Vinegar Crusted Chicken with Balsamic Caramelized Onions

Yields: 6 servings

6 chicken breasts- about ½ inch thick
3 cups salt & vinegar potato chips, crushed
⅓ tsp. salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup flour, seasoned with salt & pepper
olive oil

Balsamic Onions:
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 T. olive oil
fresh herbs (whatever is on hand...I used basil, rosemary, and parsley)
2 T. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

fresh parmesan cheese


Rinse and pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Combine eggs in one shallow baking dish, seasoned flour in a separate shallow dish, and potato chip crumbs, plus ¼ tsp. salt, in another.

Dredge each chicken breast in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Dip in eggs and then coat both sides with potato chip crumbs.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken breast on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side or until chicken is golden).

Place browned chicken breasts on a baking sheet and finish cooking in oven about 8 minutes at 350 degrees (may take longer, depending on thickness of chicken).

Balsamic Onions:

Over medium-high heat, drizzle olive oil in skillet and add sliced onions. Saute until nice and dark golden brown. Add herbs, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper.

Top warmed chicken with onions and fresh shaved parmesan.


Monday, I had to go to work to prep for a training that I had to do for "new hires" on Tuesday, but, after spending the day at school, went back to Robin and Davey's to celebrate Davey's birthday.  We ordered take out from Bagu, a Thai restaurant in the neighborhood.  I had the beef curry, and it was AWESOME!!!!!

We got Davey a rotisserie rack for his new grill, and, again, had a lovely evening on the patio...

After dinner, we watched "Red", the retired spies movie with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren (among others...!)...SUCH a great movie...!!!!! 

I then headed home and ate the ENTIRE box of Kohler Terrapins that Amy brought with her (in, APPROXIMATELY, 43 seconds...)...

OH MY DEAR LORD IN HEAVEN....possibly the TASTIEST chocolates EVER....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was AWESOME to have Amy here, and we had a GREAT time!  She's coming back in October...can't wait to do even MORE fun stuff in the cities!!!!

Here's hoping YOU had a visitor that makes you HAPPY recently too!!!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oronoco Gold Rush Days

Last Friday Robin, Emilie, Duane, and I headed south on Highway 52 to Oronoco for OUR second annual Gold Rush Days (they've been doing it for 40 years!)!!!! 

Ornoco is a town of approximately 2,200, and once a year EVERYONE in town participates in this antiquing extravaganza...whether it be serving breakfast at the VFW, parking cars in yards, or setting up booths to sell antiques and bric-a-brac.  Vendors come from near and far to sell their stuff (renting their spaces from the city). The proceeds from the festivities go (from what I've heard) to the city coffers to fund local projects.

Last year mom and dad came up, and it was about 160 degrees.  This year, because of dad's recent surgery, they weren't able to come...which was too bad, because the weather was AWESOME!!!!!!

We started with breakfast (at the VFW), then spent the rest of the day looking at HUNDREDS of booths of antiques and junk, snacking at various food stands (biscuits and gravy, a home made ice cream sandwich, a corn dog, steak and onions on pita bread, and a dish of blackberry ice cream SOMEHOW made their way to my stomach...).

Pancakes and sausage and biscuits and gravy at the VFW!!!

You can find almost ANYTHING at Gold Rush Days!!!

Yep...ANYTHING...even a boyfriend (as the tag on these guys informed us...)!!!

...ANYTHING (not completely sure WHAT this is...)!!!

Someone in Duane's family used to have this model!

Shopper chicks!

with Snoopy!!!

Where we had the steak and onions on pita..YUM!!!


Yay Old Threshers!!!!!

It got more and more PACKED as the day went on...
I felt like we were at the state fair!!!

Very cool...very crowded...and very kitschy!!!!

Here's hoping YOU were able to shop for fun stuff recently too!!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Relaxing at Lake Vermillion!!!!

After "A Cappella Love" closed, I had a few days to regroup (i.e. do all the stuff I put off/avoided/ignored/didn't do), then Duane and I headed north to Lake Vermillion to spend a few days with our friend Janet, at the FABULOUS cabin she and her family built. 

OF COURSE we had to stop (on our way) in Cloquet to eat at Gordy's Hi Hat, because we try to hit ANY place featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives"!!!  I had the pizza was DELICIOUS!!!!

After Gordy's, we hit up the Wal-Mart to buy food (WAAAAY too much food!), and finally got to the lake around 10:00.  We found the boat (in the dark), dumped all of our luggage and supplies into the front, and headed to the island.  Janet did a GREAT job driving in the dark...except for the low wake buoy that she hit halfway there, but...the boat didn't sink, we didn't get dumped in the water, and the buoy was still there when we sped by the next it was all good! 

I LOVE going to Janet and Greg's cabin!  They built it from the ground up...on an ferrying everything by pontoon from the dock at Timbuktu...the "marina" area about 15 minutes away.

It's always SUCH a treat to go to their's rustic, but has running water.  It's rugged, but has a composting toilet (or an outhouse...should you so choose).  It's rough, but there's a coffee maker and really really comfortable beds.

We spent the first evening (after unloading everything) lying on the dock, watching the GAZILLION stars and the end of the Perseid meteor shower.  It was dark...and quiet (except for an occasional loon)...and SOOO starry.  AMAZING!!!!!

We were only there for ONE full day (and parts of two others...coming and going), but we managed to cram a TON of fun into that full day...kayaking, speed boating around the lake, more kayaking, s'mores over the campfire, FABULOUS meals (I made bacon and cheese omelettes for breakfast, and we used up the rest of an AMAZING cherry tomato pasta sauce I made earlier in the week over gnocchi), wine on the deck, cards on the porch, a hike across the island, and lots and lots of great conversation.

Wrigley loves the lake too!!!


Janet SWAM halfway around the island with me in the "support kayak"
(and except for that part where I almost whacked her in the head with the went well...)

Wrigley keeping an eye on us from the neighbor's dock!

SOMEONE wasn't very successful at getting from the kayak to the dock...

Relaxing after her swim!!!!

After an AWESOME night's sleep (so quiet, and cool...and dark...PERFECT for sleeping!), we got up to impending rain and wind, so got ready and headed off the island as soon as we could manage.  The ride from the dock to the other side of the big part of the lake was wet, and bumpy, and, frankly, a little tense, but we made it, and headed to Ely to meet our friend Pat for lunch.

Pat was the art teacher at my school, and took me under her wing when I started, since I had no mentor (like the other new teachers).  She showed me how to work the copy machine...where the teacher's lunch room was, and helped me in innumerable ways to adjust to my new job.  It was DELIGHTFUL to see her, and even though the weather was CRAZY (raining one minute...sunny the next...then rainy again...), we had a great time!!!!

After lunch and a little shopping, we headed back to the cities.  Such a great (yet brief) trip! 

Here's hoping you were able to "get away" recently too!!!!!!