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Showing posts from March, 2013

Day 90: Happy Easter!

We went to family gatherings today to celebrate Easter. I made a strawberry rhubarb crumb pie (recipe was from Ken Haedrich's book, Pie), and it turned out perfectly.

I also made deviled eggs using the recipe from Spotted Pig in New York:

Day 89: Butter Tasting

We had a butter tasting with some friends tonight. I know it sounds strange, but it was actually kind of fun. Brian got the idea from an episode of NPR's The Splendid Table.
I had no idea how different brands of butter were from one another. We tasted 4 types of salted butter: Hope CreameryLand 'O Lakes (Whipped)Plugra (European Style)Farmhouse Kitchen's (Handrolled) We tasted each butter alone and on sourbread. It was also a blind taste test. 
In the end, everyone else preferred the Farmhouse Kitchen butter that we got at Byerly's. I preferred the Hope Creamery butter. 

Day 88: Relaxing Night With Brian

Tonight was a nice night at home. Got pizza, watched sitcoms and relaxed with Brian:

Day 87: BLT at the Citizen Cafe

I firmly believe that the best BLT in the Twin Cities is at the Citizen Cafe. Thick bacon, brioche toast, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo. Somehow, at the Citizen Cafe, it is perfect.

Those are homemade potato chips over on the side. Man, I just ate it and it still makes my mouth water. I highly recommend it.

Day 86: Potato Wedges

I should make potato wedges more often. 475 degrees for 20 minutes or so and I have piping hot, fresh potato wedges with whatever spices I care to put on them. Tonight's was curry and garlic. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the free potatoes!

Day 85: Song of Kali by Dan Simmons

I finished reading Song of Kali by Dan Simmons last night. I polished the book off in less than 48 hours. Not only was it a quick read, the suspense kept me up late turning the pages to find out what would happen next. 
Set in India in the late 1970s, the story is about a journalist sent to Calcutta with his wife and baby daughter. His mission is to pick up a new manuscript by a famous Indian poet who was thought missing for the last 8 years.
To give away more, I fear, would ruin the story. What I enjoyed most about the book was the suspense, mystery and terror that seemed to be lurking just on the next page. If you enjoy Stephen King novels and other tales of suspense, I would recommend reading this book. 

Day 84: Water Thief

You can't have a glass of water in this house without a cat coming up to steal some. As a result, I leave glasses of water all over the house, abandoning each glass as Leela sticks her face in it. I prefer to drink my water free of whatever the cat licked last.

Day 83: Cats Excited For Spring

The temperature has been getting above freezing, and the cats have been trying to sneak out the door to roll around outside. Here's Livia lounging on the patio, ready for spring:

Day 82: S'mores Donut

I had the best donut of all time this morning at Mojo Monkey in St. Paul. It was a s'mores donut. Look at this beautiful thing:

It was as delicious as it looks.

Day 81: Jack in a Box

We went to Brian's parents' house for dinner last night. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the delicious steak, Caesar salad, mushrooms, etc. before I ate it all. I did, however, get a picture of Kelsey's cat, Saucy Jack.

Here is Jack in a box:

Day 80: Northbound Smokehouse

Brian and I went and grabbed a beer at the Northbound Smokehouse tonight. I do enjoy that place. They have good smoked foods (get the whitefish dip; it's amazing) and good beer.

Day 79: Livia in a Sunbeam

It turns out Livia likes to roll around in sunbeams too. Must be a cat thing.

Blog and Website Face Lift

I updated the design of my blog and my main website tonight. My main website, at is a landing page. I finally paid to upgrade my account and decided that I should celebrate by changing the look and feel of my page:

I think it looks rather nice myself. 
My other site is my blog, which is located at After I gave my main site a face lift, I started changing around things on my blog too:

I'm sure this won't be the last time I change the look and feel of my sites. Let me know what you think! I always appreciate feedback.

Day 78: Mystic Lake

Brian and I went to Mystic Lake for dinner tonight. Oddly enough, the food court has really excellent Pad Thai there. We also happen to like to gamble.

On our way out the door, I put a dollar in a slot machine and it took 98 cents. It was not worth the two cents to walk back to the change machine, so I decided to take the voucher home for my photo of the day:

Day 77: Half Priced Books Haul

I spent an hour tonight looking at Amazon trying to decide what book to download to my Kindle next. I wasn't able to make a decision. One 30-minute trip to Half Priced Books, a chain used bookstore, and I managed to find an armful of books:

It's so much easier for me to choose a book when I can hold it in my hand, scan the reviews from reputable sources on the back cover, and hunt for deals among the stacks.

Day 76: Cards Against Humanity

Brian and I went out to dinner tonight with friends to celebrate Brian's birthday. After dinner, we played Cards Against Humanity, a raunchy version of Apples to Apples. I do love that game. Here's an example:

One player drew the black card, and the rest of us had to pick two white cards from our hands to make the sentence funny. I created the following winning combo: "That's right, I killed amputees. How you ask? Flash flooding." With this game, the more offensive it is, the better.

Day 75: Rest in Peace, Janan

Brian's grandmother, Janan Gulbrandson, passed away on Thursday and the funeral was today. We will miss her very much, and family events will never be the same again.

Here is a picture of Janan that Brian's dad took at our wedding in 2009:

Some happy things I want to remember from this sad day:

After the funeral and back at the house, the family poured a glass of Budweiser into her favorite glass and set it on the table for her. Brian's dad, Bob, told us about the first time he met Janan in the late 70s, where she was making hamburgers "for the boys to hold them over until dinner." Only Janan would think of hamburgers as a snack when it came to her family. I'll bet those were some good hamburgers too.The priest talked about how Janan loved to travel, including her "short trips to Iowa with Roger and Sue." He said he didn't know what that meant. All of the family knew that she loved going down to her favorite slot machines at Diamond Jo's Casi…

Day 74: Happy Birthday, Brian!

It's Brian's birthday today. We had pizza, I made him a cake and we continued his Scotch tradition. A few years ago he bought a 25-year-old bottle of Glenfarclas. Every year he has a small glass for his birthday.

I think it's a great tradition. It also happens to be a great Scotch. I'm lucky he shares. Here's some pictures from our celebrations. Opening presents:

Cake and Scotch:

Here's the book on Scotch I gave him, turned to the page describing his birthday Scotch:

The cat wanted to help him open gifts:

I yelled at Brian to tell him to blow out the candles before wax got all over his cake. His response was to ask me why the candles were so big if we were just going to blow them out right away:

Day 73: Happy Pi Day!

Today was Pi Day, the day to celebrate a terrific number by eating pie. We got French Silk from Baker's Square. It is one of the best pies of all time in my humble opinion.

Day 72: Entenmann's Cookies!

Only when you live in a place for a while do you really seem to get the sense of it. Certain stores, restaurants and products become ingrained in your day to day life, and when you leave that place, those are the things you really miss.

For me, when I think about living in New York, I remember specific things that I can't get here: gnudi from the Spotted Pig restaurant, steak from Peter Luger's and Barcade. But even more than those one-of-a-kind restaurants/bars, I remember the things I used to get at the grocery store: Pennysticks pretzels, Apple & Eve apple juice, and Entenmann's chocolate chip cookies.

Now, the grocery stores have carried the Entenmann's brand in Minnesota for a while but it was only the donuts. It drove me nuts that I couldn't get a box of their chocolate chip cookies. Three years later, I'm going through Cub Foods, and there they are!

Now all I need is some Apple & Eve apple juice and I can recreate the snack that got me through la…

Day 71: Lego House Redux

I rebuilt my miniature version of my house in Lego. I made it smaller and went with a fully red roof to make it easier (I have many more red roof bricks than any other color).

I'm still not totally happy but it is significantly cuter.

I even built the back this time with the patio. It took me a lot less time to build that patio in Lego than it did in real life.

Day 70: Lire

I was organizing my office recently and stumbled upon an old piece of outdated currency from Italy. Here's what 1000 Lire (according to Wikipedia, Lire is plural for Lira) looked like:

I must have this from my trip to Europe when I was 16. I didn't go back to Italy until just after the Euros took over. I understand why the Euro was created, but I still miss the individualism and vibrancy of Europe's currency before 2002.

Day 69: Leela in a Sunbeam

This cat loves to lounge in sunbeams.

Day 68: Backyard Puddle Solution

Ice in our alley has made a giant puddle of the end of our backyard. To fix the issue, Brian chopped out a little river from the ice leading to the alley. It was rather fun to see the little stream flow to the alley. Puddle is not slightly diminished. At least it isn't flowing toward the house.

Here is the tiny stream chopped into the ice:

Day 67: Hillbilly Hooch at Burger Jones

I had a really good cocktail with dinner tonight at Burger Jones. It was called the Hillbilly Hooch. It came in a mason jar and had Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Vodka, lemonade and mint leaves in it. It tasted like summer. I am totally making these when the patio is warm enough for lounging and we are free of this seemingly endless snow.

Day 66: Book Exchange

I got my books from the Reddit Book Exchange in the mail today! My gift-giver sent me two of his favorite books from childhood: The Giver by Lois Lowry and Hatchett by Gary Paulson.

I haven't read these books in forever. I'm looking forward to rereading them:

Day 65: Salad?!

Brian worked late and, for once, I did the right thing. I made myself a salad for dinner. Not French fries. Not ice cream. A salad!

Spinach, mushrooms, red onion, croutons, ranch. That's my basic salad because it is so easy. I welcome easy salad ideas!

Day 64: Brian and the Reddit Gift Exchange

Brian got packages for the Reddit Snack Exchange and the Book Exchange. Here he is with his new snacks from Ohio:

That's two bags of chips, a bag of popcorn, two jars of pickles (for hot dogs) and also a bottle of Faygo (not pictured).

Here's the books he got from a Redditor in Oklahoma:

Day 63: Cats Like Legos Too

Livia loves my Legos and chases them around the wood floors like a toy mouse.

Day 62: My House in Lego

Yesterday, I organized my Legos. Today, I got to play with them. I built a Lego model of the front of my house. It isn't perfect, but I sure had fun building it. The minifigs are as close to Brian and myself as I could get.

Picture I used for reference:

Next time, I'll try to get that tricky roofline right first.

Day 61: Friends' New House

My friends, Andrew and Nicole, just bought a new house. We got to visit them in their new abode tonight. I'm so happy for them! Here's the happy couple in their new home:

Day 60: Vermont Snacks

Got an awesome box of snacks from Dakin Farm in Vermont for the Reddit Snack Exchange. I'm pretty excited to try everything in this box: