Minnes-O-ta Maple Chicken

Tonight’s stateside dinner was especially fun for us because Minnesota holds a special place in our hearts. We spent several years (away from our family and friends) living in Winona, MN where we made great new friends, traveled the state and welcomed our darling Miss A to the family. Lutefisk, lefse and hot dishes are among the traditional dishes for which Minnesota is known, but local cuisine often makes use of fresh fish, wild rice and locally grown produce.

Now admittedly while in Minnesota we never ate Lutefisk, lefse or hot dishes. We did however eat lots of locally grown produce, wonderful homemade doughnuts and deli sandwiches from our favorite restaurant, The Acoustic Cafe

Sadly we can’t quite reproduce the delicious little sandwiches we love so much (and that’s not for lack of trying!), so we instead chose a Maple Baked Chicken. Mr. N and Miss A were both very excited for Minnesota night, and for a recipe that combines syrup, chicken and oatmeal!  Continue reading

Crayons and Kumara

I have to first call your attention to the right hand-side of your screen. Mr. N has unveiled his “Eat, Play, Love” logo. After working up several concepts, this is his final masterpiece. He even had Dad, Miss A and me color a piece of the final logo so that we could all share in the design. I think it made our little budding designer’s day when I showed him how we could give it a permanent home on our blog. I think it gives the page a finishing touch. ;)

One of the many things that we’re learning from this whole experience is that there are thousands (maybe millions) of recipes in cookbooks and magazines, on the internet and in the blogosphere. In an effort to expand our weeknight repertoire we’ve decided to start trying some of these recipes. The new recipes may come from other blogs, internet sites, friends, family or the stack of magazine clippings that’s been piling up in my desk. As for tonight, we tried another kumara recipe from New Zealand – Kumara and Fish Cakes. Continue reading

And the winner is…(drum roll)

New Zealand! Thank you to everyone that participated in the poll. It was fun and we’re definitely excited about New Zealand (which won by a landslide). As we began our recipe search we learned several things about this country down under. One of the most fun facts – especially to the kids – is that New Zealanders refer to themselves as Kiwis. Mr. N and Miss A both thought this was great and are excited to include kiwis in one of our recipes. We also learned that New Zealand is best known for its lamb dishes even though chicken is the most consumed meat. And finally, much to dad’s dismay they grow and eat a lot of kumara (sweet potatoes). As for today’s meal we selected the Sausage Roll – a popular snack made in a variety of ways – and Curried Kumara with Roasted Cashews. Continue reading

Meet Me in St. Louis…

…Louis, meet me at the fair, don’t tell me the lights are shining any place but there. Right now I’m thankful that this is a blog and you can’t hear me singing. You should be thankful too. Let’s just say I’m no Judy Garland. So as you guessed, tonight’s state cuisine is from Missouri – St. Louis, Missouri to be exact. The “Gateway to the West” and the home of St. Louis Toasted Ravioli. Now I don’t know about you, but the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of St. Louis is ribs, not ravioli. But according to Midwest Living magazine and my good friend and St. Louis resident, toasted ravioli is indeed the specialty of the city. The recipe we chose for tonight is adapted from Midwest Living, which got the recipe from Charlie Gitto’s restaurant in St. Louis. Incidentally, this is the same restaurant that Mr. N and I met my friend for dinner last week. We didn’t order the toasted ravioli, but the pasta dishes we did order were delicious!  Continue reading

Round and Round We Go

It’s my turn to pick our next food adventure. I’ve narrowed it down to three places that I’m most interested in (today at least). The first is Jordan. My best friend leaves for a Jordan/Turkey adventure this weekend, so this seemed like a natural choice. (Be safe and have fun SusieQ!) The second is South Africa. Last week I watched the season finale of the Bachelor (horrible reality television I know) and I was in awe of the South African landscape. It was not at all what I expected. I would love to travel there someday, but for now our food adventure will have to suffice. And lastly, my third choice is New Zealand and mainly because we haven’t tried food from that part of the world yet. Since I’m feeling indecisive this week (and insanely busy with work) I decided to put the next food adventure destination up to vote. Let us know where you’d like to go….

Overcoming Some Fears

This weekend has been a whirlwind! We left town Thursday night for St. Louis. Dad had a conference to attend on Friday and Mr. N, Miss A and I were tagging along to enjoy a little change of scenery and visit the City Museum. The weekend wasn’t without its challenges – Miss A caught a cold, the conference hotel left a little to be desired and the wi-fi didn’t work (gasp!).  That said, we did squeak out some good times – dinner with an old friend, a visit to Union Station, lots of pillow fights, giggles and a few winery stops.

But my favorite part of the weekend, by far, was the three hours Mr. N and I spent at the City Museum. With Miss A under the weather, she and Dad stayed back at the hotel. Fortunately at 2-1/2 years old hotels are still a major novelty – elevators, fluffy bedding, escalators – it’s a virtual kids museum in its own right. As for Mr. N and I, we kept busy climbing through tunnels, shooting out slides, caving, crawling in cages suspended high above the ground, and descending 10-story slides! As a sufferer of a fear of heights and a claustrophobic, this was both a death-defying and positively exhilarating experience for me. It was a thrill to overcome some mild fears and truly explore with the wonder of a child again. Needless to say Mr. N had the time of his life, and often tried stuff first to make sure it was safe for me! So, if you ever visit St. Louis – it’s a definite must-see for children and adults alike.

So that brings us to this evening. Continue reading