Monthly Archives: May 2014



Sophie & Shamrock Saturday… and Friends!

Last weekend, for the Memorial Day holiday, we were invited up to a friend’s cabin. It works out well because they let us bring our dogs. When we went out to golf for the day, Lisa decided to move all the parts of their sectional together and cover it with blankets to create what she called a Puppy Lounge.

But Rob dubbed it the…


Happy Saturday!


Happy Friday!


I’ve been away a bit, not posting as much; but it’s because I’m still taking this girl’s advice on soaking up all that summer has to offer. With that, here are a few excerpts from my #100HappyDays:

 First up… Road Trip!

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Dining at Trails End on Lac Courte Oreilles in Hayward, Wisconsin:

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Before you ask, yes, that is a Schlitz beer sign. And no, I don’t know if they serve it or if they even make that beer anymore. I’ve never had it. And chances are (Thank God) that I never will…


A pooped out pupper dawg after returning home:

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Dinner for one. Oh, how I missed you fish!

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That is Baked Tilapia with Tomatoes and a Zucchini & Onion Saute. I added extra garlic tot he tomatoes… Oh so good!


Good for Gary:

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An impromptu dinner out and an impromptu seating on the patio put us front in center to one of the most fun local cover bands. Who could ask for more?

What Happy Days have you experienced this summer so far?



This Week: Cooking with What’s on Hand


So, I didn’t get my usual Monday Food & Fitness post up that I link to Running with Racheal.


I guess that weekend out of town ended with a lack of planning for the week. Now it’s time get creative and use up what we have in fridge and  pantry!

What do I know?


  • I have bread in the freezer and peanut butter in the fridge. Looks like it’s going to be a week of PB Toast breakfasts!
  • I put together some Quick and Easy Bowls for lunch this week based on what I had on hand. The rest will be leftovers
  • I have three days to cook dinner this week.
  • One of those days is just for me – I was considering this Strawberry Caprese Pasta Salad. Then I realized, we don’t have strawberries. So I may just make some Tilapia Topped with Tomatoes with this Zucchini and Onion Saute that always reminds me of Provence.
  • I have pork chops, green beans and ground beef in the freezer.
  • Worst case scenario, if I don’t get to the grocery store, we’ll be eating pork chops and green beans one night and Chocolate Chili another. Although, Rob has given me the go ahead on this One Pot Cheeseburger Skillet {I can’t call it a casserole or he won’t eat it!}

How’s that for last-minute planning?!


I had some trouble with my back this weekend. Sleeping and getting out of bed has not been easy. So I’ve decided to take the doc’s advice for the next couple of days.

  • Tuesday – PT Exercises & Walk
  • Wednesday – PT Exercises & Walk
  • Thursday – PT Exercises & Run (if feeling okay, otherwise, walk)
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – PT Exercises & Run
  • Sunday – PT Exercises & Walk

What are your favorite go-to meals when you don’t get to the store and can only use what you have on hand?

What’s the best and most creative dish you’ve come up with doing that?



It’s Really Happening! (And Jet Lag)


I’ve kind of fallen off the map this past  week.

There are a couple of reasons for that.

1) We’ve had beautiful weather! And I’ve taken this girl’s advice. Here’s one of my #100HappyDays pics to prove it.

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2) And from one of my other #100HappyDays… THIS:

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Yes, this fall, it’s really happening!

That someday has come and my dream is coming true! So now that our flights are booked, I’m in that zone – trip planning time. It’s one of my favorite things to do. So the book I’ve chosen to bring for my weekend up at our friend’s cabin:

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I have a feeling that because I’ll be sans laptop, that I’ll be reading this more like a novel than doing any actual planning. And I’m excited about that! I know it’s going to come up quickly. We know how the summer just flies by… Through my trip planning, I might be incorporating a Travel Tip Tuesday on the blog. We’ll just have to see…

But until then, let’s start out by talking about Jet Lag. I’ve usually done pretty well at combating jet lag. I’ve followed all of the usual suggestions:

  • Set your clock to the time of your destination to get in that mind frame.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Sleep, if possible.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.

All of that seems to work okay for me that I can hit the ground running when I go to Europe. Hawaii was a little more difficult; but we got up early and went to bed earlier there.

As for Australia, we have this to consider:

  • Sydney is 15 hours ahead of Minneapolis.
  • We have a four hour flight to L.A.
  • After our three hour layover in L.A., the flight time to Sydney is 15 hours. That’s a lot of travel time!
  • We arrive two days after we leave. Time travel, anyone?!

Here are a few fun articles I’m reading on jet lag:

What has worked for you when it comes to beating jet lag?


The Nearly Perfect Weekend


This has been a nearly perfect weekend!

On Friday night, I finally won the Champion Title at our monthly Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament!

We’ve been hosting for eight years, nine times a year. So this means that out of 72 games, I finally won one. It does feel strange winning, almost wrong, when you are the host. But now that I’ve won, I’ve redeemed myself as a player in my own eyes. And I don’t feel like I need to win again. 😉

orbsop trophy 1

Then, Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day in Minnesota.

My husband and I participated in the Challenge Obesity 5k. It was the first time I was to run a 5k since my back surgery just over a year ago. I walked a couple of them last year. However, the last 5k race I ran was in November of 2012.

But this was Rob’s first 5k! We had a lot better weather at Lake Como this year than I did with the girls last year. It was The Perfect Weather for a run.

Lake Como

Yet, this was the most difficult 5k I’ve ever done.

I started off strong, feeling great; but I think I did that first mile a little too fast. By mile 2, I had petered out. I wanted to stop so many times. And I finished horribly – almost four minutes more than my slowest 5k race: 42:40. That was a little disappointing. {And what made the day nearly perfect, instead of just perfect.} As I crossed the finish line, I was completely out of breath and dizzy for several minutes after the run. I had to keep walking around because I felt like I would fall over. I’ve got a lot of work to do!

On the other hand, Rob had the best first race experience!

This was his first time running more than 21 minutes at a time. He felt great the throughout the whole race! He even picked up the pace at each mile. Rob said that about two thirds of way through the run, a guy who had about twenty pounds on him and was six inches shorter passed him. This made Rob mad! Since the race was two laps around Lake Como, he thought he was being lapped by this guy. He wasn’t going to let that happen! So he picked up the pace and kept the guy just in the distance to pace himself. About a half-mile later, the guy veered off onto another path. He wasn’t even in the race! He was just a guy running around the lake in the neighborhood.

Rob laughed and loved the fact that he had that guy as a motivator. And he finished his very first 5k in 35:18.

He now has the running, bug, too.

Carrie & Rob 5k 5.17.14

Our next race is the The Bacon Chase on July 19th. You may know hat I’m not a huge bacon fan. I’m okay with bacon by itself. I’m just not into bacon-flavored foods or bacon added to dishes or sandwiches. But when I saw this race, I knew it was right up Rob’s alley. It’s going to be fun! And it’ll keep us running until then. I always need an upcoming race to keep me going.

I took Rob out for brunch to celebrate his first 5k at Ward 6 in St. Paul. We also found that they have a great cocktail list and all Minnesota beers on tap. Restaurant Impression to come!

ward 6

When we got home, we were determined to enjoy the day and perfect weather to its full extent. We played a little cribbage on the deck while the dogs frolicked in the yard. We followed that by an afternoon nap with the windows open, creating the perfect cross breeze.

I ended this near perfect day by enjoying some Punch Pizza with some friends while watching the Veronica Mars movie.

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Punch: The only certified Neapolitan pizza in Minnesota

Sunday was equally beautiful.

I slept in. That felt great. Then Rob discovered that they sell Izzy’s Ice Cream at Kowalski’s in Eagan. For the record, Izzy’s is the best local ice cream in the Twin Cities!

There is absolutely no reason to be inside on a beautiful weekend like this. Remember this post from Winter Carrie? She told me to get outside. So I did.

I tried to savor this perfect weather as much as I could, even with a Sunday nap out in the hammock. {I puffy heart weekend naps.} Dinner was a cook-out at our friends’ place. We were spoiled with an excellent dinner outside and enjoyed every moment of this perfect weather sans mosquitoes. {We are smart enough to realize that won’t last long!}

Who could ask for a better weekend!?

Here’s what’s on tap this week: planning


*We didn’t make a few of these last week, so they’ve been pushed to this week!

  • Monday – Dinner out after golf league
  • Tuesday – San Marzano Tomato Pasta
  • Wednesday Andouille Sausage with Red Beans & Rice and Creole Roasted Veggies
  • ThursdayPork Chops with Garlic Green Beans and perhaps this Garlic Cheddar Beer Bread
  • Friday – TBD
  • Saturday – TBD
  • Sunday – TBD


  • Caprese Salad {Not a poorman’s caprese. I’ve got mozzarella on hand for the real deal this time!}
  • Leftovers – We’ll have a lot this week!
  • Snacks – fruit, nuts and dark chocolate



We are using this Advanced Beginner’s 5k Program to keep going with our running. We are going to start at Week 3, so I can attempt to move into the 5k to 10k program easier later this summer.

  • Monday – Golf
  • TuesdayRUN2 miles
  • Wednesday – cross trainYoga
  • Thursday – RUN – 1.5 miles at race pace
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – RUN- 2.5 miles
  • Sunday –yoga and/or cross train

What was the highlight of your weekend?

What do you do to enjoy the outdoor weather?




It may be American Craft Beer Week, but it’s also Wine Wednesday, so I wanted to share with you a wine that we finally enjoyed last week! This Pouilly-Fumé {pronounced poo-yee foo-MAY} was given to us as a gift by our friends Brian and Erik in November. It was time!

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So what is a Pouilly-Fumé, you ask?

Well, if you are new to wine, let me just start off by telling you that one of the most confusing things when I started learning about wine was understanding what varietals each bottle contained.

You see, in the U.S. {and most of the New World}, we tend to label our wines by the varietal: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, etc.

In the Old World {think Europe}, wines are most often labeled by the region. Most of the time, the varietal isn’t even listed on the bottle. For example, a Bordeaux isn’t usually labeled as a Cabernet-Merlot, nor is a Burgundy {Bourgogne} labeled as Pinot Noir (red) nor Chardonnay (white). It is just known what type of grape it is made of because they’ve been growing the same grapes in these regions for hundreds of years. It has become commonplace, and even law, that wines from these regions are made from specific grapes.

On the other hand, in the U.S., despite that this particular region is known for it’s stellar Cabernets, you don’t see a wine called a Napa.Other grapes are grown and different wines produced here, too. That is why you will see the varietal listed along with the region.

In addition, there are even smaller regions within the bigger ones that also label wines. In France, these viticultural area are called Appellation d’origine Contrôlée or AOC. That’s why you will also see a Bordeaux labeled as Margaux or Pomerol, for instance.

Confused yet?

In any case, Pouilly-Fumé vineyards are found in the Loire Valley of France and produce spectacular Sauvignon Blancs. Our wine’s back label indicates such for it’s anglophone market:

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Now, Rob is not a huge fan of Sauvignon Blanc, sometimes from California, but mostly from New Zealand, which, to him, taste too much like green pepper.

Though dry, French Sauvignon Blancs aren’t as abrasive on the palate as Rob finds the New World versions. This one did not disappoint! It was easy drinking with well-balanced citrus and mineral notes. It paired perfectly with our sausage pasta tossed with veggies and a pesto cream sauce based loosely on this recipe. That’s a pretty non-traditional pairing; but it worked.

More traditional pairings include roast pork, grilled fish and scallops. You know, your lighter meats. Pairing the weight of the wine with the weight of the food is always a good bet. Otherwise, match the flavors in the wine with the flavors in the food. The citrus notes in this sauce would pair well with any seafood with a citrus-based sauce, such as the Grapefruit Walleye I made here. I’ve also read that a Pouilly-Fumé can work well with omelets, oysters and smoked salmon. And one of my favorite pairings with Sauvignon Blanc is a warm goat cheese salad with fresh herbs. My mouth is watering just thinking about that one!

But sometimes, just sometimes, you need to pair your Pouilly-Fumé with something “local”:

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We enjoyed our Pouilly-Fumé with an episode of the new TV series Fargo. Yah, you betcha.

No regrets.

After all of that, it’s important to point out that Pouilly-Fumé is not to be confused with Pouilly-Fuissé {pronounced poo-yee fwee-SAY} which is a wine that hails from the Burgundy region of France and is made of Chardonnay.

Furthermore, the word fumé in French means “smoked.” However there is nothing smoky about either of these wines. Generally speaking, most are fermented in stainless steel, not oak barrels.

More confusion? Well, then just drink the wine. That’s the easy – and most fun – part.

What is your favorite Sauvignon Blanc?

What is your favorite Sauvignon Blanc wine pairing?