Monthly Archives: December 2012

Favorites of the Year…



If you are looking for some easy Sparkling Wine Cocktails for New Year’s Eve, click here. But because we are closing out one year and opening another, I thought it was only appropriate to recap my “best ofs” on New Year’s Eve. Above, you’ll find a few of my favorite photos of the year.

And soon, I’ll be adding a new tab to the blog. It’ll be one listing our favorite dishes/restaurants in the Twin Cities. However, I won’t put that up until I post Rob’s Top 10 Burger List, which will accompany the Top 10 Fries posted last week.

Until then, here is a list of some of my favorites for the year…

Fave Birch Box Sample: 

Stainiac 2-in-1 Lip & Cheek StainDual purpose – perfect for travel!

Fave New Breakfast:

Magic Smoothie inspired by Kim at Living, Laughing and Losing. Nothing fills me with fruit, veggies and protein so satisfyingly that I feel refreshed than this smoothie!

Magic Smoothie

Magic Smoothie ingredients

90 Second Breakfast Sandwich inspired by Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean. Every since I’ve discovered them, I’ve been devouring them on a Thomas Everything Bagel Thin.

After taking a bite of my 90-second breakfast sandwich, Benny Bear appeared.

After taking a bite of my 90-second breakfast sandwich, Benny Bear appeared.

Fave BarkBox Sample:

Fruitables Healthy Dog TreatsPumpkin & Blueberry Flavor – Really? Dog treats can smell this good? {For the record, the dogs loved them, too.}


Fave Love with Food Box Sample:

San Franola Granola with Raisins – I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this stuff since I tried it. It wasn’t available on the LWF website the last time I checked. So I just checked now. It’s there and on sale! Yup. I bought some. Note: I’m not even a granola nor a raisin girl!


Fave Goodies Box Sample:

Biscoff Spread – Just read my post to find out why I love this so much. Note: This does not pack the protein like peanut butter. It is truly an indulgent junk food to enjoy in moderation.

Fave Race:

Since I ran my very first race this year, it’s really tough to choose. While the races I did didn’t differ in length {all 5ks and one 5-miler}, I loved that the variety of locations, weather, styles and terrain kept things from getting boring. I loved all of the races that I did for different reasons. I can’t name one that I wouldn’t do again. But if I had to pick one that was a favorite, I guess it would be the Run for the Apples 5 mile race.

That’s right. My longest race was my favorite. Why? I have nothing else to compare it to! I didn’t fret about  my time. I took things slowly and just enjoyed the scenery. I had never run that far for a race. Getting a little cider afterward didn’t hurt either. 😉

I ran for these apples: Haralson Apple + cider

I ran for these apples: Haralson Apple + cider

Fave Restaurant I Tried in 2012:

Naha in Chicago – A real birthday treat.

Fave Local Brewery:

It’s a tie! This year I fell in love with Lucid Brewing out of Minnetonka and Steel Toe Brewing out of St. Louis Park. Check ’em out!

Fave Wine:

I’m still stuck on two faves and haven’t found anything to top them yet. {Feel free to send me some others if you think they will! 😉 }  Topping my list are Opolo Mountain Zinfandel from Paso Robles, California {Thank you, Madeline and Sally!} and Davis Family Vineyards Russian River Pinot Noir. Guy Davis knows his Pinot. Period.

Fave Traveling Vineyard Wine:

While there were so many good artisan wines that came and went this year, I’m basing this on what is currently in stock at the time of this writing. And I’m going to surprise those of you who know me well. The Traveling Vineyard has carried this wine before, but this vintage is exceptional:

I rarely drink white wine, nor Chardonnays... But when I do, this will be it!

I rarely drink white wine, nor Chardonnays… But when I do, this will be it!

Fave Liqueur:

This was an easy one! When ordering cocktails, I’ve never gone wrong if there’s some St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur in the glass. This liqueur is floral and fruity without being too sweet.

St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Worst Overused Word or Phrase in 2012 that Needs to be Retired:

EPIC – I’m so done with this word. If everything is “epic”, nothing is.

Fave Concert:

This is a tie between my first ever Shovels & Rope show at the 400 Bar and the 10th Anniversary Thanksgiving Eve concert by the Ike Reilly Assassination at First Ave, both in Minneapolis. I’ve been to many Ike shows, but he and his posse played more songs that I’ve never seen live before. This was one of their best performances yet. I will profess that both of these bands are some of the best music you are not listening to.

Best Dinner Out on a Budget:

Technique in Mendota Heights. Three to five-course meals made by Le Cordon Bleu Student Chefs for under $20 – $35 per person? No brainer.

What are your “best ofs” of 2012?

Feel free to use these categories or write your own.

Have a safe and Happy new Year!