Wednesday, August 31, 2011

crockpot Wild Rice Soup

With the kids heading back to school and the weather turning just a bit cooler; it has me wanting to pull out some of my great fall recipes and start cooking up those soups, chili's and stews.

I have been making this recipe for years and is always a crowd pleaser. It does require a couple of steps before you can just put everything into the crockpot, but it is a great meal to make in the morning and then just forget about until dinner time. {I wish I had a better photo, but this was all I could find}


Wild Rice Soup:

1 cup wild rice
1 pound bacon
medium onion, diced
2 - 10 oz. cans of cream of potato soup
2 - 10 oz. cans of cream of chicken soup
3 cups milk
2 cups Velveeta cheese, cubed
4 cups chicken breast, cooked and cubed

Directions: Cook the wild rice by adding the rice, 2 teaspoons salt and 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Pour off water and rinse rice.

Meanwhile, fry together the bacon and onion.

Combine all ingredients in the crockpot on high until thick and hot (this can be kept at 'low' temp if you make this in the morning to serve later in the evening.)

*I am linking up to Kelly's Korner. Stop over there for some more great crockpot recipes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Minnesota State Fair

Summer is officially winding down. The daylight hours are getting shorter and shorter and soon all the kids will be back in school. But there is always that one last summer activity that we eagerly anticipate each year and is really the perfect way to wrap up summer.

The Minnesota State Fair!


We wanted to get to the fair early this year, so Tyler could join us before heading back to college. And I was so happy that the weather looked good and it worked in everyone’s schedule for our whole family to go this past Friday!!

Our first stop is always to get some cheese curds! This is my favorite and if I were to only get one thing to eat at the fair, this would be it!



Some other State Fair favorites include:

the Horticulture Building with the amazing vegetables and flower displays




the Space Tower



a stop at the Twins booth


the Pet Center where I bought this awesome gadget- seriously


a ride down the Giant Slide


apple dumplings



A stop at the Blue Moon Dine In Theater is a newer favorite of ours. This is a great place to stop and get out of the sun, sit down for a bit, watch a movie and eat some great food. The Korean BBQ tacos are great and the corn and bacon woodfire pizza is amazing!



No trip to the fair would be complete with out the mandatory stop at the Midway.


I think the Midway might be the whole reason Jake likes going to the fair! Look at that smile:)





He cleaned up at the basketball game. He even got Drew to hold them for him for while he kept playing.


That bag (that Jake brought from home) is filled with his winnings. :)


And the reason Tyler comes to the fair is because of Sweet Martha's Cookies.



Look at that smile.


And I found a patch of sunflowers. :)


With all of the fun things to do and eat at the fair;
my favorite parts aren't about any of that, but rather;
it is about spending some great family time,


the jokes and the laughter,


and the memories that are made.


That is what the fair is all about.

Monday, August 29, 2011

weekend lens

Picnik collage
lots of family time :: packing :: MN State Fair :: bean bag toss game :: smore bars :: Buffalo Wild Wings :: smoked pulled pork :: last day of hockey camp for Jake :: moving Ty back to college

Friday, August 26, 2011

sunflowers of summer

Last evening, I coaxed Pete out for a little adventure. This past week, I had seen all over the news and in the newspaper about a stretch of sunflowers along a major highway near the airport. I absolutely love sunflowers and the story behind this completely touched me, so I knew that I had to take the little drive to go see this row of sunflowers.


According to the StarTribune newspaper, Tom Henry, a local resident, had an idea to plant “20 flowers on the stretch of unused airport land” but his idea quickly grew to “plant one sunflower for each day of the year.”

365 beautiful golden flowers that reach to the sun.


I couldn't wait to get my camera out and start taking pictures. :)


He has even added little month signs to help people find their ‘birthday flower’.


Pete's flower was very tall!


My 'birthday flower'.


This ‘long and winding row’ of sunflowers can be found in Richfield on the north side of Hwy 62 between Cedar and 28th Ave.



It is worth the drive to see this summer beauty and to ‘stop and smell the sunflowers!!’


We need more people like Tom Henry, who makes the world just a little bit brighter!


This is a lesson to all of us: to reach to the sun and make the world a little brighter!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Adele Concert!!

I was so excited when Pete picked up on my subtle hints that I would really, really love to go the Adele concert and he purchased us tickets. After she had already cancelled twice for the Twin Cities and more tickets were available because she changed venues from First Avenue to the Excel, I felt like now was my chance and that it was meant to be.

We started our evening at a favorite St. Paul restaurant, WA Frost.



I love this spot in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood; the food is always good and the patio area is true summer destination. This restaurant’s patio has been on my summer ‘bucket list’ and so I was so happy that we were able to enjoy a wonderful dinner on the patio!


After our pre-show dinner, we headed over to the Excel for the concert. The warm-up band was Wanda Jackson and the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls. Unique sound and good, but I was super excited when Adele finally took the stage.

She came out in a simple black dress and was holding a Wild Jersey with her name on it and the number 21 (the name of her most recent album). The newspapers today said that all entertainers are presented a Wild jersey their first time performing at the Excel but very few bring it on stage and acknowledge the gift. Very classy. And her first song was Hometown Glory.

She apologized to the fans for cancelling the show earlier this summer and promised to make it feel like it was First Avenue. Her set was so simple with hanging lampshades, which was perfect because it didn’t compete with her amazing voice. You really did feel like you were in some lounge and listening to her singing.


Adele was so warm and genuine and stopped after almost every song and asked for the lights to b turned up and talked to the audience about the song and where it came from. This is a great YouTube video of her talking and then singing ‘Turning Tables’.

She did a tribute to Amy Winehouse and asked for everyone to shine their cell phone lights to the ceiling while she sang ‘Make You Feel My Love’.


Her last song of the evening was everones favorite, 'Rolling in the Deep'. It was such a fun evening filled with amazing food and amazing music!
Thanks sweetie for picking up on all my hints! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

an adventurous walk

My walk today was a little more adventurous than usual and consisted of me running into traffic and also being told ‘I love you’ by a complete stranger.

My plan this morning was to go to the gym like usual, but for some reason at the last minute I changed my mind and decided to go on a 4 mile walk outside. I left Bella at home because she only makes it at the most about three miles.It was very windy, but cooler and less humid and was a perfect summer morning for a walk.

About 2 ½ miles into my walk, I was on a walking path along a fairly busy road when I noticed this dog running across the road, darting in and out of traffic. It was a young golden retriever (same breed as our dog) with no owner in sight. I knew I had to do something or that poor dog would get hit and there was no way I wanted to witness that!

So, I went out into the road and started stopping traffic and poor little dog came over to me and I grabbed its collar and pulled it back over to the walking path. I was still looking around trying to find its owner but saw no one. Ugh! So I am trying to calm this jumpy dog down while still holding onto its collar and call the phone number listed on its dog tag. No answer, so I leave a message. Ugh! So what am I going to do with this dog whose name on the tag said Josie. I couldn’t just let it go and there was no way I could walk a mile and a half home dragging this dog with just a collar (no leash) back to my home.

Luckily, at this point a man that was out running stopped to see if everything was ok. He held the dog by the collar while I dialed animal control, who said they would send someone right out. The runner guy then left and I am standing there on the walking trail trying to hold on to a dog who at this point is just wanted to be let go and is starting to get a little nippy. My cell phone rings and it is the dog’s owner who sounds frantic! I tell him where Josie and I are, and he says he is about a block away, he would be right there. Within a couple of minutes I see this big man running down the path flailing his arms. He reaches us all out of breath and gives his dog a big hug and then he thanks me over and over and says; ‘I love you, lady.’ :)

Even though my walk was stopped and delayed me about a half hour, I knew that if my dog were to get loose and lost in the middle of traffic, I would want someone to help her. And 6 month old Josie reminded me so much of Bella!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

A couple of weeks ago, as we were just coming home from a little vacation, I saw that Twitter and some of the blogs that I follow were all a buzz about something called 'pies for Mikey' (#piesformikey). I quickly found out the very sad reason why. A popular food blogger had lost her husband suddenly to a heart attack. He was so young and it is all so very sad!

The blogging community quickly responded and wanted to know how they could help Jennie and what they could do to support her and her family- which is so completely amazing and awesome! {You can read her entire post here.}

She responded;  "As I spend Friday reflecting on the love and life that was gone in an instant, I'd like to invite all of you to celebrate his life too. Mikey loved peanut butter cream pie. I haven't made it in a while, and I've had it on my to-do list for a while now.

I kept telling myself I would make it for him tomorrow. Time has suddenly stood still, though, and I'm waiting to wake up and learn to live a new kind of normal. For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there's no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on."

This story brought tears and touched me on so many levels.

And so, yesterday, I made Jennie's recipe for Peanut Butter Cream Pie. {And it was awesome!}


And shared it with the one's I love. You can bet it was made with extra love.


I am so thankful for this beautiful reminder of hugging your loved ones like there is no tomorrow!
Love you with all my heart! xo