Category Archives: twin cities

Except for today – thank you, rain! – it has been so hot around here that it’s causing a sweat shortage because we’re all sweated-out already from days of climbing temperatures….don’t people come here to get away from 103 degrees in the morning?! Even though being outside last week felt like sitting in a fire and brimstone-filled sauna, The Redhead had just one thing on her mind and Momma couldn’t distract her from it – riding her new bike.  Sounds like fun right?  Of course!  Training wheels, shiny helmet, glittery streamers – this thing has got it all (The Redhead owes her Grandma Ellie and Grandpa Curt a LOTTA hugs for this one!).

Sophia showed off her well practiced skill set….getting on the bike.  And that’s where the confidence ended.  One lap down the street and back again ended with a still-enthusiastic Redhead, just as long as I had both hands either on the bike or on her – preferably both.  Too bad I couldn’t miraculously sprout and extra set of hands just for this event!  Another time down and back up the street and I saw the tension begin to mount and a strained look growing on her face….no problem! I thought – we’ll just ride down the block to the park and give her a little break.  Pretty happy Redhead!

Fifteen minutes was about how long these smiles lasted before she was ready to get back into some air conditioning.  I don’t know if my Mom-sense ran out that day or what, but the next five minutes biking home caused a colossal meltdown.  I, of course, tried to console her the best I could….but not before snapping a bunch of cute, crabby-faced pictures!

 Misery begins….

….and ends in a face full of tears!


Popsicles, anyone?

~ Hollie


Can all of us in the Twin Cities agree that this “Summer” has been one of the most sun-less seasons ever?!  Believe me, I hate to complain when my alternative is frigid winter, but when the sun showed its face for the approximate 30 minutes that we had beautiful weather today, I frantically raced into action as if I might never see Summer again.

Out came the sun tea pitcher that I’ve kept close at hand, just in case we had enough rays to brew!

I love sun tea….no idea how it tastes so much better than kettle-tea, but but somehow those warm rays lend Lipton a little bit of magic.  Here is the finished sun tea next to the cute plant pot that The Redhead made.  Notice that there are no actual plants growing in the pot.  As I predicted, the poor things didn’t make it very long…

I raced around like a madwoman, frantically running back and forth around the living room trying to jam my shoes on, dragging the pitcher to the porch and excitedly hollering to the Redhead to “quick, get ready so we can take a walk while it’s nice out!”

We have some great paths right outside our door – some shoesie pics as we walked a trail:

What’s more fun than climbing on a giant rock?  Nothing!

And The Redhead’s favorite spot – the bridge with what she calls the “waterfall” which is, in reality, a creek with some rocks (but we’ll let the fantasy continue).

The sunshine was fantastic while it lasted – let’s hope we have lots more soon!

The Redhead tonight: “What are you doing, Momma?”

Me: “Just hanging forks on the wall!”

…wait a minute…I’m sure I remember being told NOT to do that as a kid!  And here I am, doing it on purpose!  At least this time it didn’t involve a food fight or getting out of washing dishes.  DIY art for my dining room was the adventure for today!

I have a small-ish two bedroom apartment, but somehow my walls are always blank – you’d think I’d be able to fill a few walls with stylish stuff, but either the “stuff” I want to put on my walls surpasses my budget or I am just unable find what I’m looking for.  So I decided to make some of my own, on the cheap – and I’m pretty excited at how it came out!

I nabbed a set of forks and knives – four of each – from the thrift store for around $1 per set the last time I was there and then picked up a couple of $3.00 picture frames at Wal-Mart.  I really have something against perfection and eat up (pardon the pun!) the interesting mismatch going on with the forks.

Then it was time to lay the newspaper down on the dining room table and let the white spray paint fly!

After they were dry, I used the absolute easiest method of hanging them on my wall and was thrilled that it worked!  I picked up some Scotch “Permanent Mounting” tape, which is not technically permanent, and comes in a long roll of thin adhesive foam.  I need to make the statement that I am in no way affiliated with 3M and I don’t receive any kind of compensation by mentioning their products – I just REALLY liked this stuff!  The best part about using this kind of adhesive – besides that it will come off of the wall without taking paint with it – is that you can easily cut the strip into whatever shape you need which was absolutely perfect when I was attaching it to my oddly-shaped utensils.

I measured and marked two inches between each knife and fork and just stuck them to the walls!  Afterward, I decided to give the Permanent Mounting a go with the frames and mounted them on the wall in the same way.  Time will tell if the mounting will work long-term, so I’ll update this post later on to let you know how it holds up through the hot days of summer.

I am really liking the result!  It’s a really simple look, but just a bit unexpected.  I saw some similar pieces at a well-known boutique about town with a price tag of $70 a piece, so I was excited that I could recreate it for a fraction of that …and it’s always more fun to make it yourself, especially when it is this easy to accomplish!  My new art, from a seat at my dining room table:

I really wish that I had a green thumb!  I don’t.  I don’t know what the opposite of having a green thumb is, but my thumb is that color.  I wish that I could keep a plant – any plant – alive, but it never seems to work out for me; however, when The Redhead gave me a hand-painted (by her!) flower-pot, I felt like with her help, we might be able to successfully grow our own little flowers.

This is her getting frustrated that I wanted to take pictures of her present instead of getting down to business and planting something in it – you can see her face getting more and more miserable with every shot (geez, Momma!).

I love that even simple things like planting seeds feels like a new and exciting adventure to a three year old…she loved the idea that she was going to get to plant something in “mud”.

Now, the best part – getting our hands dirty!

A little water (hopefully, we’ll remember to do this on a daily basis so the plant will actually grow).

Dirt, sun, water and a great paint job – if I were a plant, this would be the life for me!


I love soup!  Any day, any time.  I seriously ate a bowl of shrimp bisque a friend offered me at 7:45 in the morning once (and it was fabulous!).  However, as the days warm up, I am well aware that people’s hot-food threshold will be reached as we all look for stuff to make for meals that won’t cause us to further crank up the air conditioner, so here’s my farewell to soup for the season post, featuring the BEST soupy meal I’ve had in a really long time!

My friend, Randy, has a passion – no, obsession – for French Onion Soup.  He’ll order it no matter where he is eating, looking for an awesome bowl.  It only makes sense that he perfect his own recipe and, after some badgering, he gave it to  me!  I love his take on the classic:

One rainy day last week was a perfect soup day:


…so after The Redhead and I made a dash to the grocery store (after playing in puddles), I followed his instructions and made the BEST French Onion Soup ever, just like Randy promised!!!


The recipe calls for four large onions of any type – Randy says that he has used Walla Walla onions, other large Spanish onions or even small organic onions from the Farmer’s Market.  I chose a mix of white and red onions – just the normal, grocery store variety – with a few shallots mixed in because I LOVE shallots. 

I also made some really easy croutons out of sourdough bread by just tearing the loaf into smallish pieces, tossing with melted butter, a little salt and pepper and toasting them in the oven at 350 degrees for about ten minutes – yum!

In my opinion, a good bowl of soup is lonely without an equally delicious sandwich, so I put together some toasted ham sandwiches with some fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil – aren’t ingredients this time of year so pretty?

I asked Randy if I could share his toiled-over recipe and he said definitely, so here you go if you want to rebel against the warming weather to recreate the magic in your kitchen!

Incidentally, I just found out that Randy has recently made a dream move to Maui!  I wish him luck and the time of his life! 


I’ve got a different kind of adventure going on this week at my table… the crafty bug has bitten be hard lately and I’m so excited to be almost done hand-making a present for my Mom who is celebrating her birthday next week!  It’s supposed to be a surprise, so I can’t post a picture (hi, Mom!), but it IS kitchen/food related, as most of my gifts tend to be….I can’t figure out why….

Anyway, I’ll post some pictures next week after I see her for her birthday and let you know how it turns out!

Wow!  The last two weeks have been so incredibly busy for us…The Husband had some minor surgery, we spent some quality time at the State Fair (one of my most anticipated events of the entire year!), we’ve spent some extra time with family and school has started back up – whew!

All the while, my poor little blog hung out quietly alone in the corner waiting for me to have a moment to cook something.  I have to admit, my kitchen’s been a little lonely for the past couple of weeks, too, as we’ve either shared meals with friends or family at get-togethers or opted for convenient restaurant options on our super-busy days.  I swear my oven thinks I’ve abandoned it.

For whatever reason, it always takes me just a little bit of time to readjust and get back into the groove when my routine changes – I guess I’m not as flexible as I always think I am!  But it’s time to get back on track – and back in the kitchen!

The only really delicious thing to have come out of my kitchen in the past few days was this really yummy berry cobbler.  I snapped pictures right before The Redhead decided to try to do some unofficial “taste testing” with her fingers – luckily for the visitors we had over to share dessert, I caught her right in time.

We all really enjoyed it – too bad I also had to enjoy scrubbing out the oven after we were done!  Word to the wise (I totally knew better and should have done this in the first place): if you’re gonna cook delicious, juicy, ripe berries in the oven and you don’t put a cookie sheet under your baking dish, you’re gonna end up with disgusting, dried out, burned berries in the bottom of your oven…and you’re gonna get real friendly with the steel wool.  Uggg.

On the bright side, maybe I scrubbed away the calories from the cobbler (?!).  Speaking of calories, I’ll be posting the delicious and the not so delicious food I had fun eating at the fair shortly.

Blog, it’s good to see you again!

– tcfoodie