Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Balsamic Salad Dressing

As you may remember, I moved back home with my parents at the end of May and was going to stay there until my lease was up and Andy and I found a place. Well, my lease is up and so is Andy, so now I've decided to stay with my parents for a while longer, grow a nice savings account, and be their personal chef.

You know how moms are always the best cooks because they 'make everything with love'? I finally nailed my moms balsamic salad dressing. I think it's because they have fancy olive oil and balsamic and I usually just buy whatever is cheapest.
This salad dressing has changed the way I look at salads. I used to drench mine in Caesar, Ranch or French dressing and load it with croutons and bacon bits {ok, I might still do that}. 

Toss this dressing with some field greens, feta cheese, fresh raspberries and you have yourself a tasty little salad.

Another favorite is greens, apples, feta {duh, it's delicious}, and pecans or crushed walnuts.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekend Review

The last three days were everything I could have asked for and more.

Friday after work I met some friends at Bar Louis in UpTown for happy hour, followed by drinks in a cabana at Flux, and ending the night with karaoke at the 1029 Bar placing bets on some game where you place a piece of paper with your initials in numbered slots and if the wheel lands on your number, you win! I, however, did not win.
Saturday, my cousin Pam picked me up and we headed up to Marie's in Big Lake for the Gunter Way block party.  There was a whole pig cooking when we arrived and we got to watch the guys rip that baby apart. Besides the unseasonably cold day we had, it was a great time. There was music, good food, flip cup table three tables deep, dancing, and hours of beer darts (which I refuse to play because I've seen what a dart to the foot can do).
The fun went in to the wee hours of the morning and since most people have kids, we were up nice and early to start all over again with bloody's and screw drivers, and hot dogs and hamburgers for breakfast.
Pam and I decided that we are going to move to Gunter Way so we can do this every weekend.

Linking up with...
Sami's Shenanigans

Friday, July 26, 2013

Confession of a non-blogging blogger

Hello Blog Land.

It's finally Friday. I was sick on Monday but boy has this week felt long.

I haven't had much going on or much that I've wanted to write about lately that I wanted others to read. The Man Friend is no more and it took a lot of back and forth in my head to come to that decision. I've always been leery about introducing a relationship here because guys seriously come and go.

When I introduced the old Man Friend I was pretty confident that we would last quite some time, then things started to go downwards and almost everything bothered me in some way or another and I was embarrassed to bring him around. When we started to make plans to live with each other, I knew I had to end it before I was tied in to a 12 month lease.

Needless to say, my mind has been occupied with other thoughts besides what I want to share with the blog-o-sphere.

After reading some other blogs, I've decided I'm going to date myself for a while, focus on me. Take myself to restaurants he wouldn't go to and to movies I was never invited to see. I'm going to work out harder and make that number below actually move!

I have so many fun events coming up that I'm looking forward to attending alone or with friends then I was when I knew I'd have a date. Bachelorette parties, weddings, block parties, State Fair, cabin weekends, etc.

Tonight is the kick-off to Ali's current single life with a happy hour with what feels like long lost friends and a night out in North East. Tomorrow I will be going to my cousins block party which should also be a blast since I've met a few of the folks before.

{I really wish I had an ice cold beer or glass of wine to cheers, but I don't so here's my water cup}

Cheers to following your heart, listening to your gut, and being strong enough to walk away
Here's to the fun times ahead
Get it girl!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Weekend Review: Cousin Cabin Weekend 2013

This weekend started with my company work outing on a chartered boat on Lake Minnetonka. It was a perfect day to be out on the lake while searching for my new home. It's a tad small, but I've settled on this 35,000 sq. ft. home.

Being the Event Coordinator Extraordinaire that I am, I also but together a weekend at the cabin for all my cousins on my mom's side. There's quite a few of us, so with spouses and girlfriends/boyfriends, we had 18 people make it up for the weekend.

A couple of the cars
Most people came over on Friday evening and everyone got settled while the guys started the grills and got about 100 hot dogs and brats cooking.

We had these glasses that we got from a New Years Eve wedding and they were a hit at night. We made a nice big fire and enjoyed that until the wee hours of the morning.

Saturday everyone got up and I made a super easy breakfast for a large group. Cheesy hashbrowns, scrambled eggs and ham. All done in the oven and all in tin pans so there were no extra dishes or slaving over a stove. After breakfast we loaded up the boat and headed out to the sand bar.

Sorry I'm not sorry Pat. You were asking for this.

Yes, that right there is a floating pong table, also great for flip cup or just a table to hold your glass while enjoying the sand bar.

Saturday evening my cousin got some news about her son and since I had been sick all day and therefore not drinking, I offered to drive her home so she could be with him. Sadly we weren't able to stay the rest of the weekend, but from what I hear Saturday night continued to be just as ridiculous as Saturday afternoon. 

We decided that this will definitely have to be an annual event.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sister Dinner: Pizza Nea

Last night was Sister Dinner at Pizza Nea. We have one more pizza joint to visit before the pizza segment of sister dinner is complete.

Pizza Nea is in NorthEast Minneapolis, one of my most favorite areas of the city.

We browsed the menu and decided to start with Carciofo (artichoke dip). It was warm, creamy and full of artichokes. Very good.

For pizzas we decided on three different ones. 

The Diavola - Salami, pepperoncini, olives, mozzarella, cracked red pepper and basil.

The Salsicce - Spicy Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, cracked red pepper, mozzarella and basil.

The Pollo al Pesto - Chicken with basil pesto, onion, roasted red and yellow peppers, mushrooms, black pepper and mozzarella.

My favorite was the Diavolo then the Salsicce. The spicy sausage was seriously spicy, so if you like heat, I'd definitely recommend that. 

I love a good pesto chicken pizza, I just don't like mushrooms, onions or peppers, otherwise I'm sure the Pollo al Pesto would be up there with the other two. 

In a couple weeks we will visit Element for our last pizza place. Sad. I love pizza.

Here's some random photo's

My new 'I'm in a pissy mood and I need retail therapy' watch
The most veggie packed stir fry I've ever made. There's a bed of onions under all that goodness
Someone decided to run into my parents mail box and let it go fly into the yard. The perp returned 10 hours later to apologize.
Bacon wrapped burgers. They were delicious!
Heading off on a boat cruise for work in a couple hours then it's up to the cabin for the 
First Annual McNeally Cousin Cabin Weekend!

My dad went up North last night to 'build' a surprise and I can't wait to see it and share with you what he did. It's just one reason why my dad is a pretty cool dude.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekend Review

Hello Blog Land! I had one heck of a weekend.

Friday Andy and I went to the Surly taproom. I'm not super familiar with Surly beer, but I now know that I really like Surly Hell and the taproom is super close to where I live. Win win! After we got in a couple of beers we headed home and grilled up a delicious turkey loin, potatoes and broccoli in a blue cheese sauce. Yum!

Saturday morning I had a couple quick errands to run before picking up my cousin and heading out to the Apple River for our cousins 30th birthday. I had never been floating down the river before but let me tell you, it's a sh*t show. We arrived at the camp site around 10:30 and immediately cracked open beers and took shots while setting up our tent.

Our bus driver to the river was awesome. Every thing we did he yelled 'social'. 'Left turn SOCIAL!'  'Gas is $3.59 SOCIAL!' It was so much fun and really got everyone on the bus pumped up and ready for a good time. We had about 20 tubes tied up together and stopped a couple times along the way to do some noodle bongs and play volleyball.

I was pretty drunk disconnected the whole time so I'm not sure how long it took us, but I'd say it was a good 3-5 hours? Luckily our campsite wasn't far from where you get back on land so we didn't have to lug our coolers too far.

Being the old lady I am, I snuck away to my tent around midnight but never quite fell asleep. There were people partying until 6:00 AM. I have no clue how they did it. They must be 21, not 28 going on 68. It was funny getting up and walking through the camp ground and seeing the odd places people passed out. Several people didn't make it to their tents, instead found chairs or tables to pass out on.

Sunday morning we packed up and I was home nice and early and able to get some shut eye in my bed, and in air conditioning. It was my parents 35th wedding anniversary and since my sisters and I failed to throw any kind of party I headed out to the store to pick up some flowers and food to make them a nice meal.

I decided on stuffed chicken breasts that had a stuffing filling that was really good, and garlic potatoes and lemon snap peas. When mom and dad walked in from getting home from the cabin I had a little dish with olives from Byerly's olive bar, two beers and a glass of wine poured and waiting for them. 

They both totally appreciated the effort and thought that I put in to this. Hello daughter of the year award!!

If there's two things I learned this weekend it's this.

1. Adding flavored Bacardi or vodka to Bud Light is the bomb and I might do that more often (specifically Bacardi Razz).

2. You actually have to peel the 'vein' of snap peas off before cooking so you can eat them with ease.

Linking up with Sami.

Sami's Shenanigans

Friday, July 12, 2013

Food Truck Friday: Simply Steve's

Just as I told you today that Food Truck Friday came to a sudden halt, I found myself at Simply Steve's for lunch!

Andy came downtown and we wandered the streets lined with food trucks until we decided which truck we wanted to order from and collected free samples of pop. I chose Simply Steve's and had their Cajun Turkey Burger. It was so delicious!

Cajun Turkey Burger: Pepper cheese, chipotle mayo, lettuce, pickled onion, tomato

From the very first bite of my juicy turkey burger I got a kick from the cajun spices in the burger the pepper cheese and the yummy chipotle mayo.  

A couple things I really liked about Simply Steve's is that they give you potato chips with your sandwich and it's not extra. And the burger is good size and comes with greens, pickles, tomato and onion. It's a full meal unlike other trucks where all the add ons to a sandwich and a side of chips cost extra.

Today is the beginning of the Minneapolis Aquatennial and it kicked off with the tennis tournament on a plaza and Simply Steve's was conveniently parked right out front.

I love this city in the summer time!

Friday Favorites

Food Truck Friday has come to a halt because I've been having to make up a lot of time for work, therefore working through lunch and not getting to explore the magical world of food trucks. So, I figured I'd make a list of my top 10 favorite things right now.

1. Trader Joe's Boxed Chardonnay. A box usually gets mom and I through two nights. 

2. Birch Box! Love getting all these samples in the mail. Especially the perfumes. 

3. This little rascal who snuggles with me before I go to bed every night.

4. Fried food. Specifically fried chicken, fried cheese and fried potatoes.

5. $2 Mystery beers from Hell's Kitchen when dad has to work late and I have to entertain myself.

6. The fact that Starburst came to their senses and made a 'Favorites Red' pack.

7. Loving this sunset as my desktop background from my trip to Nuevo Vallarta this year.

8. I love that it's sand bar season which means floating pong and flip cup!

9. Love that my cousins do cousin events and I get to spend the next two weekends with some of these fools. Apple River and cousin weekend at the cabins!

10. Life. It's been good to me and I'm loving it pretty hard right now.

Have a wonderful weekend. Mine should be pretty fun with a visit to the new Surly tap room tonight and floating down the Apple River and camping tomorrow!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

If I won the lottery....

There's been a lot of big lotto numbers and I keep hoping to win, but I never buy lottery tickets. So I spend a lot of time day dreaming about what I would do with, lets say, $485,000,000.00!

1. I'd buy a ranch that was half on the ocean and half mountain so I could let all my miniature rescue animals roam free.
2. I would never worry about what I was eating or drinking because I'd have regularly scheduled lipo once a month.

3. I'd load up on every Michael Kors item so when all my money was gone, I'd still look good.

4. I'd get a black Lincoln Aviator with tinted windows so people rolling down the interstate would think I must be someone really, really important. Like Adrian Peterson or Joe Mauer.

5. I'd buy a small neighborhood so all of my family and friends could live together. The street would be a lazy river and the water temp would always be 78 degrees.

6. I'd have a Yogurt (lab) in my home.

7. The one smart thing I'd do with my money is go to college and get a degree. Maybe then I'll have learned that everything I spent my $485,000,000.00 on was pure sillyness but oh so much fun.

Linking up with Holly and Kristie


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Workout Wednesday: Week 3

Hola Workout Wednesday-ers!

I mentioned last week that I wanted to stay even on the scale with the long holiday weekend and I am. I've started the week full blast and have been able to get in a workout each day so far. However, after this mornings work out, I found myself asking, what's more accurate? My Garmin and heart rate monitor? Or, the machine I'm on? Any advise or knowledge is helpful.

Lunch workout and Subway oven roasted sandwich (400c) with carrots.

30 minutes on the elliptical and I was sweating like a whore in church, not that I'd know, I don't go to church (ba-dum-cha!). After the elliptical I went and did some arms, bench press and shoulder press followed by abs.

This is where my question comes from. I did a stationary bike pedaling through the mountains of Kilamanjaro, so it was rough, obvs. The bike says 204c and after the bike I went and did some leg workouts but my Garmin heart rate monitor totaled my calories burned at 187.

The skirt above I found at Costco in the lost and found. Just kidding, I bought it. It's Adidas and very comfortable and the shorts underneath don't ride up which is perfect for my thigh chub. I do however, wish the shorts were just a little bit longer.

Linking up with the now PregMeg of Skinny Meg and Angie from Asphalt and Trails