Thursday, August 23, 2012

Stuffed tomatoes and sore butts.

Hey peeps.

It's been a crazy few weeks, with my trip to Orlando and Minneapolis, and Steve's buddies from college visiting. There has been Packers games,  Brewer games, beer pong games, drinks by the water, cheese curds, and a whole lot of fun. So amidst all my traveling and all of our visitors, I did manage to eat healthy. For three days.  Two of those days involved tomatoes, which made me very happy, and Steve very sad. Here is a rhyming formula:

Potatoes: Steve happy, Cate depressed
Tomatoes: Cate ecstatic, Steve enraged

He says tomatoes taste like rotten lettuce. Not sure what that means.

Anywho, he'll eat them anyways which is nice. So one of the meals I made was Orzo caprese in tomato cups. DELISH. It is easily served in a tomato cup, but I also had it on its own the next evening for dinner...just as good. Anything with orzo and pesto, I am sold. It was super easy too, a nice weeknight meal. Also, if you add something like basil to tomatoes, and roast them, Steve magically can tolerate tomatoes. What have I gotten myself into?

AMAAAAZzzzzing. We also served it with some chicken we had lying around. We bought a huge thing of chicken breasts from Sam's club, that is now gone after having three 25 year old guys come visit...coincidence? I think not. (Excellent chicken parm though). We rubbed the chicken in this spice delightfully called, "Butt Massage" by Paula Deen. It tasted like a less flavorful barbeque sauce. Not your best Paula. Do love that Kristin Wiig sketch about you though. Butter and oil!

Also during all this fun, food indulging, and lack of exercise, I should've been training for Tough Mudder...which is 3 weeks. Great job Cate. What a teammate. So, I started the Tough Mudder boot camp this week. I decided to try a week on the medium level before moving up to hard, and let me tell you...I never thought you could sweat from your eyes. Probably not medically possible, but it certainly feels like it. There are four circuits, with a five minute warm up and a cool down. Should take you approximately 50 minutes. Here are the circuits:

1 minute running
1 minute grapevine (awkward in your apartment complex gym)
1 minute side shuffle (continued awkwardness)
1 minute high knees
1 minute butt kicks

Circuit 1:
2 minutes running
1 minute pushups
1 minute squat with weights
2 minutes jump rope
1 minute mountain climbers

1 minute rest

Circuit 2:
2 minutes burpees (DEATH)
1 minute turkish getup (basically hold your arm up with a weight and use your other arm to help you stand up and back down. Repeat and switch arms after 30 seconds)
2 minutes skaters
1 minute crawl outs
2 minutes ski jumps
1 minute side planks

1 minute rest

Circuit 3:
2 minutes standing mountain climbers
1 minute jump squats
2 minutes high knees
1 minute pull-ups (whatajoke)
2 minutes quick feet
1 minute lunges on a bosu

1 minute rest

Circuit 4:
2 minutes tire jumps
1 minute low plank
2 minutes run
1 minute tricep dips on a bench
2 minutes burpees (AGAIN REALLY)
1 minute lunges

1 minute rest

Cool down! Just random stretches and a 2 minute wall sit. Intense. I'll write the harder level when I try it next week.

Sigh. I must go because Steve is making phallic references to our jalapenos. Also I just drank half a diet coke before realizing it expired...over a year ago. HAPPY EATING AND DRINKING NONEXPIRED THINGS.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Minneapolis: A Journey in Food

Hello all!

I'm back from a wonderful trip to see my uncles in Minneapolis with my bff Caroline...the best part about it, was my Dad flew out to surprise me! We had been planning a trip for him to come out in September, but he showed up on the doorstep of my uncles' house (after we had passed him in the car, much to the dismay of my uncle who quickly took a left). Fantastic surprise, you got me family members.

So even though I'll have to run 10 miles everyday for my poor swollen stomach, the food was amazing and so were the cocktails. It was four days of drink, food, and catchphrase. With a little Taboo and Cooking Scrabble (the tiles are in a grocery bag!).

To begin our journey, we arrived at the Town Hall Tap. I had been to this restaurant before with Steve last summer, and had to get the brie cheese curds with blackberry chipotle jam. AMAZING.

Caroline and I also split two chicken sandwiches, one chicken salad and one chicken something or other. I apologize if I forget some vital ingredients, this food coma has made everything seem like a blur.

Now normally I don't like to double dip (get the same thing I've ordered before at a restaurant), but I couldn't help it. the chicken salad sandwich comes on a pretzel roll, and the sweet potato fries are sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Say no more. Thanks Town Hall Tap!

We visited the Guthrie building and had a lovely view of the city, before returning to the house to play catchphrase and start in on the cocktails. The uncles' have an amazing restaurant called Wise Acre right across the street. They get all their food from a local farm. We walked there for dinner and started with a couple appetizers. The homemade chips were served with a caramelized onion dip and fresh veggies. Not bad at all.

 We also ordered the gouda nettles. I am still not quite sure what this was, but after looking it up, I believe nettles are an herb that is added to the cheese and it was served with bread. Very flavorful, and I always love me some gouda.

Caroline and I split a tomato basil pie. We split many things so that these food journeys did not end up in vomiting and a comatose state. The pie was my favorite part of the meal..the crust was flaky and delicious, and the basil and tomatoes so fresh. It was served with grilled summer veggies, the perfect August evening meal.

We finished off the meal with a sampling of custard with amazing toppings. I slept well that night, fo sho. Our evenings usually ended with more booze and the olympics. Friday morning we had a late start, and ventured over to the Colossal Cafe, a dive featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I had seen this episode, and knew exactly what I wanted to get. It was the only breakfast dish featured on the show: Pancakes with apples, walnuts, cinnamon maple sugar, and brie. That's right, brie. Cheese for breakfast?! Most people from Wisconsin would say, "umm..yeah..and? Your point?". However, I have never heard of such nonsense. When I saw a picture of the pancakes, I thought there were two sticks of butter on top (puke). They were amazing! Caroline and i split them with a breakfast sandwich (fatties) that had prosciutto, sundried tomatoes, fried egg, and swiss.

We had a post-breakfast stroll around Lake Nokomis, one of Minneapolis' 10,000 lakes. One of the things I love about this city, is people are always out and about, running and biking. It's fantastic. Caroline and I went for a run around Lake Harriet, and the creeks and bike paths are just amazing. The run was well needed and in no way makes up for my stretched-out stomach...perhaps I am preparing for Thanksgiving.

We have now come to my favorite meal, Friday night dinner. It was at a newer restaurant called Eat Street Social. The area it's located in is called Eat Street, and they have another one in a different part of town called Northeast Social or something like that. It was a pretty trendy atmosphere, and the menu and cocktails were creative. We were on our way to a play at the Open Eye theater, a tiny local not for profit theater where we saw a friend of the uncles' perform a political piece. So we ordered appetizers. The scallops were PHENOMENAL. Might be the best I've ever had. They were served with a corn puree and potato salad...and you all know how I feel about potatoes. But this one is one for the books.

I had this with the gazpacho, which was super fresh and had just the right amount of spice. The cocktail I had was the coolest one I've ever ordered, called the Jackson Pollack. I'm not sure exactly what they used for the splashes of color, but I think there was cayenne aioli and basil oil involved. Count me in. Caroline had an amazing salad with peanuts and duck! She's usually not into duck, but it was tender, light, and melted in our mouthes. Delightful.

The play was good...the producer and main actor, Kevin Kling, was friends with my uncle Ricky and is now close with Doug and Charlie. He was born with a birth defect in one of his arms, and lost feeling in the other arm after an accident. He has produced many plays, and written three books, and his talent is beyond words.

The next morning, we went to the Mill City farmer's market. It's one of the best ones I've gone to, and we got small donuts from a food truck that was voted one of the top 10 most creative food trucks in the U.S. The menu looked awesome, with items like sweet potato tacos yummmm. We found ingredients for the dinner that we cooked Friday night. I love farmer's markets.

For lunch we went to another Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives spot called Psycho Suzie's. The food was okay, but the decor and atmosphere would keep me coming back. It's a motor lodge full of tiki decorations, outdoor seating, and a bloody mary bar. We ordered a bunch of appetizers: cheese curds, fried asparagus, pickle pinwheels, bourbon maple bacon wrapped smokies, and deviled eggs. I also made a bloody mary based on a recipe found by the bloody mary bar. It had sriracha among other ingredients, which I decided to spill all over our table, so that was also fun and not embarrassing.

This was the kick start to our cocktail hopping, which took up the rest of the day. It's a hard life, eating and drinking your way through vacation. I'm pooped.

First we went to the Red Stag, a supper club opened up by two strapping Wisconsin gentlemen in Minneapolis. Even though I just couldn't eat another bite, we ordered the fried smelt, which is a small fish. They were delicious, and I would've eaten more if I wasn't bursting to the brim with fried food. I had a lemon basil cocktail, which was a bit harsh, but I do love that combination.

Next we come to my favorite venue, W.A. Frost and Company. It was located not far from the UMinn campus. Complete with an outdoor garden, the inside had an amazing dining room, and the basement can be likened to a castle den. AMAZING. This was also the location of my favorite cocktail, a peach violette. Beautiful color, beautiful flavor.

And now comes the final meal of Minneapolis: home-cooked. After days of stuffing myself full of amazing cuisine and fried delights, it was nice to have something that we made all on our own. The menu was a flank steak in a whiskey balsamic marinade, panzanella salad (italian bread salad) with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, corn, and basil, and grilled corn on the cob. We finished off with rolo fudge brownies, which were blow your mind amazing, but super rich.

Recipes for the steak marinade and brownies can be found here:

After an amazing trip,  I left with a full belly and a smile on my face. With my Dad, who came back to Milwaukee with me :) I had a wonderful time sharing good eats and drinks with friends and family. Now, it's time for boot camp and non-fat yogurt. Happy eating!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chicken parmesan burgers

Hello everyone!

So I just got back from Orlando, where I totally forgot to take pictures of the food, so that is really productive for this blog. HOWEVER, I did eat at Gloria Estefan's restaurant, Bongo! I think that's what it was called. There were many mojitos. Anyways, the cuban food was amazing. I got a churrasco salad, which is a grilled meat found in Latin countries. It was served with avocados and a chimichurri sauce (which I can never resist). It's like chimichurri? Don't need to read the rest of the menu. Just kidding, I read menus for fun.

I presented my Master's paper at APA, which was less like a presentation and more like, let's pin your poster on this bulletin board and people will walk by and ask questions that you will not know the answer to. But I learned a lot. Also, they had a pina colada hour. So that was worth the trip in and of itself. I also got to see a Cirque de Soleil show, which was hands down the coolest thing I've ever seen.  I spent the entire 2 hours with my mouth ajar. Also, I believe my blood pressure may have been at dangerously high levels with the heights and all. Overall, very cool. Not cool? Tequila with jalapeno. Be careful.

This week, I'm going to Minneapolis with my friend Caroline to visit my uncles. It's going to be a weekend full of food and drink, just like last summer, so be prepared to be overloaded with pictures. For now, here is two recipes that Steve and I made last week. The chicken parmesan burgers were from pinterest, although my Mom has a wonderful recipe as well. They were delicious and easy, smeezy.  Here is the recipe:


We made them on onion burgers, with a side dish from our food network magazine. P.S., the new one came out, and I have been talking about it all day everyday in a very obnoxious manner. The side dish was this Asian asparagus and mushroom delight. Here's the recipe:

I've also been trying to bake like once a week, since Steve is so fat. Just kidding Steve, you are wasting away. I love you. My friend Laura and I baked these last week to surprise Steve and our friend Delara when they were on call, delivering babies and saving the world. They were cake batter blondies and they were amazingly easy, and only needed a few ingredients. Here they are:

I've also made an observation that going to the grocery store with Steve, results in many more things that I would ever care to purchase. Like cinnamon chips. I believe we went with the intention of buying green onions. Whoops. However, it was a good excuse to add some to a really good oatmeal raisin cookie recipe, found here: I added 1/2 cup of cinnamon chips, and they were pretty tasty.

I hope everyone is having a good week! For a new workout, I tried this circuit from pinterest. It was SUPPOSED to be three rounds that last 25 minutes. Um..I got through 2 rounds, and it took 30 minutes. Maybe next time Cate. Nice try. Here it is:

50 jumping jacks
20 squats (with weights)
20 jump squats
20 alternating lunges for each leg (with weights)
15 burpees (woof)
25 pushups
30 mountain climbers
50 crunches
60 second plank

I'll end with one last pic of the chicken burgers! Happy eating everyone :)