Sunday, March 31, 2013

What the hair is going on with Deana?!

This post actually has nothing to do with hair, or Deana.

One of my neighbors must run a salon out of her house. And her name must be Deana, because there is a sign in our alley that says "What the hair is going on with Deana?!"


And I see it everytime I drive through the alley to park the car in our alleyway garage.

I see it so often that sometimes I've just taken to exclaiming that phrase at random times during the day. No one gets it but me, I usually get a strange look or two, or if it's Hubs he just shakes his head in a sweet-and-exasperated-my-wife-is-such-a-weirdo sort of way.

Everytime I say it I feel a little silly, because it was a stream of consciousness sort of thing that I accidentally blurted out instead of saying it in my head like a normal person. But you know what? It's not a bad saying! It's a very innocent exclamation on an event, or a day, or a person (who may or may not be named Deana). 

Now, normally I swear like a sailor. It's actually very unladylike and I am in deep trouble once I start having kids and have to, you know, not use profanity.

But maybe Deana can help me start to moderate my speech a little. A small but important daily lesson that I should probably be more conscious of what I am saying out loud.

And in return, I shall do a little free advertising for the (probably unlicensed) salon whose sign hangs on my block and entertains my garage-entry daily with a fun little sign.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A blustery gustery date night.

Oh, the joys of living in Minnesota! The (literally) subzero wind chills, the blowing snow, the constant cake of salt on your car. Why did we move here again?

There was a week of -30 degree wind chills a couple of weeks ago, and I took to wearing tights under my jeans for a couple of days.

Then I realized that the tights deprived me of any sensation in my lower body. Importantly, I couldn't tell when my pants were falling down, exposing a couple inches of really attractive black tights above my waist. Until at the end of the day, when *finally* my male co-worker said to me, "Dude. What's going on with your pants."


In any case, there have been quite a few days where I've just been COLD all day. Cold at work, cold walking home, cold hiding under three blankets on the couch watching reruns of Top Chef. So when we were trying to decide where to go for Date Night this week I had one request: that it be a WARM place.

We were trolling our neighborhood and it occurred to us that we hadn't been to this restaurant before!

I saw it on the Food Network once, though. *Foodies love Minneapolis* A show called "24 in 24", where the host, some dude named Jeff, goes to a city and tries to eat four meals in a day for less than $24. 

He went to The Anchor Fish and Chips for dinner, which is in Nordeast Minneapolis, and ate fish fry.

We thought we'd do the same!

I was a little skeptical of the temperature control of the venue...I sat down and spied what I can only conclude is a fake electric fireplace. The size of a shoebox. In the corner.

Hunger overwhelmed me at that point so we sat down and perused the menu.
They had a variety of Irish-sounding menu items (pasties? bangers?) but the NAME of the restaurant has "fish and chips" in it. Obviously that's what we ordered.

We sat at the bar, so while we waited Hubs and I drooled over the frying station. Leftover crispy bits of fried batter and chips hanging out. Nomnomnomnom.

Oh Em Gee, holy deep fried goodness, Batman.

I washed mine down with a couple of pints of hard cider. 

It was delicious! I looked over after getting halfway through my fish, and this is what I saw in front of Hubbles.

 He looks guilty, like he's just eaten a lot of fish and chips in a very short period of time.

Happy Fish Fry! It's coming up on that time of year, where small town restaurants everywhere start frying lots of fish before Easter. We got our quota in early. Although maybe not really, because we are definitely coming back to the Anchor again. Soon.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Date Night Sausage Fest!

....Quite literally, a sausage fest.

Hubs and I discovered (thanks to some friends) that the Panera that was closest to us in Nordeast Minneapolis had gone under...*notearsthere*...and had been replaced by a sausage restaurant.

Ummm really?!

Well, I am usually ambivalent about sausage, oh me of the pork-less culinary life, but I do like adventurous eating. And Hubbles, well, you don't have to convince him twice to try sausage for dinner.

So off we went to New Bohemia, a "wurst and bier haus". So German. Hubs was in his element.


The food and beer selection was quite to our liking. They have over 20 beers on tap, and NONE of them are Miller Lite. I liked it already. I tried a couple different brews while I was there...Hubby couldn't decide. He picked a flight of beers, and it arrived on a paddle. 

 They had a bunch of non-pork options, I almost leaped across the counter and hugged the girl taking our order.

Hubs (surprise surprise) ordered the German style sausage. We then decided to try a pheasant sausage, and a rattlesnake-rabbit-jalapeno sausage.

So much sausage!

We ordered some slaw and fries and settled down at one of the long benches to drink our beers, eat our food, and watch some Badger basketball. They lost. But the food was a big WIN so it all evened out!

 Watch out New Bohemia, the Brunners are coming back at you. Soon.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Every day I'm dabblin'...

Ok, well not every day. But this weekend we were dabblin'.....BEER dabblin', that is.

In order to combat the wintry weather of the Great White North, we here Minnesotans like to come up with interesting and crazy activities to partake in during the 9 months of winter!

Just kidding. It's more like 6 months of winter.

Also, if any of you out there like to drink beer, you will have noticed that microbrews are all the rage these days! What is a microbrew, you ask? Well, broadly speaking, it's a small brewery (usually local, usually with a funny name) that likes to make specialty brews. Basically anything that isn't Anheuser-Busch or Miller.

Hubs is a HUGE fan of specialty brews, he's an aspiring brewer himself (we churn out a batch of beers every couple of months out of our basement), and so we joined with some friends and braved the chill for the 4th Annual Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival!!

What is this exciting event, you ask?? It involves hundreds of small breweries each setting up a booth and serving delicious samplings of winter brews, a smattering of local food trucks serving up steaming hot edibles, some music and disco fun, and all of the attendees wearing snowsuits and getting uproariously drunk. All outside. All in 10 degree weather. For 4 hours.

It was...a riot. We drank delicious brew samplings, had goodnatured conversations with friends and strangers alike, and boogied. I managed to snap some pics as well. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Winter blahs and life choices.

The other day I got some terrible news.

One of my best friends, who I love like a sister, has been trying for a baby with her wonderful husband for over two years now. With many ups and downs, and doctors visits, and fertility treatments, they had finally gotten pregnant.

She told me last week that she had lost the baby.

It's an unimaginable pain to lose a child, born or unborn, and it's been a rough road for her, one that she still has a lot of healing to do before she can leave. All I can hope to do for her is support her and be there for her for whatever she needs.

I'm at the stage in my life where a lot of my friends are starting families, and this hit home for me a little more than other news might. It got me thinking about the choices we make in life, how we prioritize our lives. Careers, loved ones, family, parents, children, cars, homes, vacations, what order do we place these things on our life list?

How often do we say, "I can do this later", or "That can wait", or "Someday I'll be able to..."?

Life is short. Disaster, tragedy, happiness, explosive diarrhea, all of these things could happen at any moment.

Hopefully less with the explosive diarrhea.

But the fact that these uncertainties exist make living terrible and precious and wonderful all at the same time, in my opinion. I am WAAAAY too Type-A and mega-planner to ever say "Life is short, let's spontaneously fly to Europe or the moon" (hey, it could happen someday.). But taking a big inhale-exhale once a day and appreciating the small and beautiful things in my life isn't hard to do, as long as I am conscious and remember. I have a wonderful family. My husband is mindblowingly awesome. I just downloaded a killer album on iTunes. 

What are the beautiful things in your life? Store away those things, in your memory if nowhere else. Life is short. Make it sweet.

And on a lighter note, here is a picture of my fur-baby dressed up as Santa Claus (Santa Claws? too punny?).

Happy 2013!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Korean Beef Tacos in the Crockpot!

Wow, this weather is crazy lately, no?

Somehow we have escaped the clutches of Winter Storm Draco (raise your hands if your mind immediately went to Harry Potter) here in MN. Hubs and I, unfortunately, will have to charge into the aftermath of the storm tomorrow as we head to Wisconsin to see family for Christmas.

Anyway, in the clutches of cold cold winter, what better to eat than something that has been slowly roasting away in it's own deliciousness all day in the crockpot?

Nothing is better, to answer my own question.

Especially if that something is Korean beef tacos!

Yay Pinterest and finding a great new recipe to celebrate and modernize my mom's cooking!!

I was mostly intrigued because of the cucumber slaw. It's a really simple dish, one that Momma Shin makes pretty often, and one that Hubbles goes a little coo-coo over. He really lurves this cucumber dish.

Along with the added advantage of having a crockpot do most of the work for me, it was time to give it a whirl!

In typical me-fashion, I edited the recipe as I went along. It calls for either short ribs or back ribs. I went with chuck roast, because I've had some spotty luck with roasts, and ribs are 'spensive, yo!

In the morning, all I did was put the sauce together and set the roast going. It said to put in ginger. I did so hesitantly. Not a huge fan of ginger. (It turned out to be delicious, so no worries!)

 I was mollified because this is also a garlicky recipe. YAAAAY GARLIC!! Sauce made, dumped over roast in crockpot, set to low, DONE.

This is what I came home to in the evening. OH MY.

The rest of the meal comes together pretty quickly. I started with the cucumber topping. Thanks to Mom, I've some expertise in making this.

Hothouse seedless cukes. Whatever you have on hand is probs fine. I prefer these because I'm not a fan of seeds. Pickling cukes work too, but where do you find them in the winter?

The trick, here, is this. Look carefully. Salt! I sprinkle a generous dose of salt over the sliced cucumbers, toss it evenly, then let it sit for at least 20 minutes. The salt does double duty. It seasons the dish, and draws out a lot of the unnecessary moisture from the cucumbers. Just drain the excess water after 20 min and you're set!

Add the rest of the seasoning: finely minced garlic, hot pepper flakes, sugar, and vinegar.

After that I just made a taco assembly station on the dining room table and we went nuts!

For some freshness and crunch, taco toppings = bean sprouts and cilantro. If you don't like cilantro, then lettuce probably would be fine. I HEART cilantro. Extra cilantro for me. And sriracha for that extra kick. I took a quiz online and discovered that I am 84% addicted to sriracha. Which doesn't surprise me one bit.

Tada!! So delicious. Unctuous beef, and spicy and pickly and crunchy fresh toppings! I had some extra cucumbers on the side. NOM NOM NOM.

It was a mega-hit. I will definitely be duplicating this in the future.

Merry Christmas everyone! My kitty says so too.

Korean Beef Tacos:

Ingredients (for the beef)

  • chuck roast, 2-2.5 pounds
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1-2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl, then place roast in crockpot and pour sauce over to coat. Set crockpot on "Low" for 8 hours, or "High" for 4 hours. Try not to stay in the house for the cooking duration, the aromas will drive you nuts.

Ingredients (for toppings)
  • 2 hothouse (aka English aka seedless) cucumbers, sliced
  • 3 tbsp (approximately) salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp vinegar (regular or rice is fine)
  • 1 tbsp hot red pepper flakes (I used the Korean extra spicy kind....cuz I like spicy)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • bean sprouts
  • cilantro
  • sriracha (optional, cuz I like spicy)
  1. sprinkle salt over cucumbers in a large bowl and toss to coat evenly. Let sit for 20 minutes, allowing salt to draw moisture out of the cucumbers. Drain excess water.
  2. Add sugar, vinegar, pepper flakes, and garlic and combine.
  3. Wash bean sprouts and cilantro, and assemble tacos.
  4. Enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Twinkle Lights Trolley Ride!

December always means one thing for me. ChristmasTime!

Tis the season to tra-la-la-la-la--la----lley!

Hmm. Trolley.

Anyway, thanks to LivingSocial, Hubs and I got to take a rare Saturday date night last weekend! We bought a deal (Living Social calls them "adventures"...I call them excuses to leave the house) called the "Twinkle Lights Trolley Ride".

I am a nut about holiday lights. I love all things twinkly and sparkly and Christmas-y, and the idea of getting to take a tour on a trolley to see twinkle lights was too much to pass up. Plus it included a cocktail and dessert afterwards!

So off we went!

Place: Great Waters Brewing Company in St. Paul, start and end the Holly Jolly Trolley!

Event: Lots of boozing and sightseeing nighttime twinkle lights!

Hubs and I bought a growler of beer from the pub to take on the trolley. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a growler is, I have now discovered it is just a hipster word for JUG. We bought a JUG of beer and finished it on the 2 hour tour.

It turned out to be hilarious fun! Everyone on the trolley was in various states of inebriation, the houses we toured took twinkle lights to UBERmode (read: walking tour, costumes, and photo ops with Santa on the front lawn), and our trolley driver Bill even stopped for a potty break so we drunks could finish the tour with class.

Afterwards we rallied to the Great Waters dining room for a cocktail and dessert. I had my first steamy cup of wassail, which it turns out is an alcoholic drink involving cider and spices. Hubby ate his apple crisp, then ate half of my chocolate cake. Never come between my Hubs and a dessert, unless you enjoy being in mortal peril.
The Grinch invades our trolley!
I saw him and screamed SAAANTA!! Like Buddy the Elf. Classy.

1987 Christmas Bear in a display...on someone's lawn. I have the same one!
Photo Op with Santa!!!

Hubby is excited about the Rudolph clay-mation display.