Monthly Archives: October 2017

Yankee Tavern


Yes, it’s true. It’s been a while since I’ve posted about dining out.

But I need to do it – for my memory’s sake!

We recently returned to a new restaurant in our area. We had only been there once and we couldn’t remember what we liked, didn’t like and wanted to try next time! It kind of all mixed together. I even texted our friends who were with us on the first visit and they couldn’t remember either. Maybe it’s safe to say that the food was not memorable?!

In any case, here goes… I’m going to attempt to get back into the blogging game… or help my memory.


Yankee Tavern is the new South of the River overhaul of the old Valley Lounge, an old dive bar in Eagan we stopped in a time or two. Let me tell you, they put some money into this place to revamp it!

The prices are a bit high for the area; but I imagine it’ll take some time to turn a profit. Also to note… all items are à la carte. No sides are included. There are no prices online, so I can’t offer those up on the blog from memory.

There’s no real “about” information on the Yankee Tavern website at the time of this writing, but a few reviews and Facebook posts from friends and foodies indicated that this place is known for brisket, fried chicken and southern comfort food. But the menu truly is extensive.

When Rob and I went with the girls, we ordered wide variety of food.

First, sammies!

The girls’ general consensus is that these sandwiches were just okay, nothing anyone would order again. I think we agreed the Thin Sliced Sea Salt Kettle Chips were good as was the Blue Cheese Pickled Onion Cole Slaw. I know someone liked the Jalapeno Corn Bread with Salted Caramel Butter

Jalapeno Cornbread with Salted Caramel Butter

… but I found it to be a little burnt and dry.

I bet you’d never guess that Rob ordered a burger:

Neither of us remember which burger it was. He said it was fine; it just wasn’t seasoned at all. The side he ordered ^^Grilled Garlic Kiev Butter Smashed Potato. Also, just okay. I think he was hoping for the unforgettable, mouthwatering smashed potatoes that we had at Heirloom a month or so before, but those boots are just way too big to fill!

I went straight in and ordered according to a recommendation I saw online:

Two Piece Regular Crispy Style Fried Chicken | Louisiana Red Beans & Rice w/Ham & Andouille

The fried chicken was juicy, but the batter had no flavor, nor seasoning. I did get the regular crispy style, instead of the other flavors offered, though. Still, crispy fried chicken at your good ol’ Popeye’s and KFC still has flavor! The red beans and rice were good, but there was definitely way more rice than the red bean concoction, making it seem dry overall.


When Rob and I went back to give this place another try, we forgot all of this. All we knew is that it was close to another event we were attending and we should probably order something different.

I remember eyeing the “Bowls” on the menu, specifically the Thai Peanut one, the last time we were there. Though on this day, it was particularly chilly and the American Bowl just sounded comforting:

American Bowl – Mashed potato, shredded cheese, corn, deep fried chicken tenders, peppercorn gravy, sour cream, green onion

I liked that the corn was roasted and the gravy had a yummy peppercorn flavor, but biting into whole peppercorns started to get old! The chicken was nice and juicy, I just wished it would have been a bit crispier. The mashed potatoes weren’t completely mashed, which I don’t mind some chunks from time to time; but there were a lot of them. One of them was even under-cooked.

But then we found the star of the show:

Chicago Brisket Sandwich – Smoked brisket, pepper jack, giardiniera, ciabatta bread | Fried Shallot Haystack

It seems the brisket is where it’s at here! Rob loved the brisket along with the way the ciabatta was nicely toasted and the giardinera really set off this sandwich for that little kick that’s to his liking. He added the Fried Shallot Haystack as a side. These were very good! But I find them strange as a side rather than something you’d use as a topping.

Yankee Tavern is still in it’s opening months, so we’ll need to give it some time to work out some kinks. It really seems to be hopping thus far, though. It also appears to be a Viking Football hotspot. So consider timing if you plan to venture out on game day! Yankee Tavern serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What’s your favorite southern dish?



Salads & Stir-Fries (From the Best Cookbook.)


You can read about how I declared this the Best Cookbook You’ve Never Read <– here.

You can read about the first recipe I cooked from this cookbook here.

You can read about how I cooked tuna and salmon – {FROM A CAN!} – for the first time here.


A few things to note/that I’ve learned:

As I’ve mentioned in past post, Jules is really teaching me how to cook, and adapt.

I know bottled salad dressing isn’t the best thing in the world with all of the additives. I know I should make my own vinaigrettes. There are thousands of recipe variations out there and they usually keep in the fridge for about a week. But usually I make one up, find it to be not quite to my liking and so much of my beautiful extra virgin olive oil goes to waste. Or I use it once and don’t eat salads for the rest of the week. I haven’t found that favorite go-to dressing yet!

What I learned about dressing through cooking out of 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes is that you don’t need a traditional one. Just a squeeze of lemon (or lime!) and a little drizzle of EVOO and you’ve got yourself a dressed salad.

But first, let’s start with that stir-fry I made…


Summer Chicken Stir-Fry

I forgot to take a photo of this one. I was cooking this recipe when it was my turn to host Girls’ Dinner Night In. I really wanted to test out this recipe because I often am scurrying after work trying to prep a dinner when it’s my time to host GDNI. {Unless I use the slow cooker!}

Here are my notes, with what I changed in blue:

  • This recipe is supposed to serve only two. For Girls’ Dinner Night In, there was going to be three of us, plus one six-year-old.
  • I decided to make some parboiled rice to supplement and spread the dish. {The original recipe didn’t call for rice.} I made up a batch so I could freeze some for future use. {Especially for quick recipes like these!}
  • Again, you shouldn’t  really care about amounts that much in this recipe. The recipe called for “400g of minced chicken” I used a 544g package of ground turkey.
  • I added a cup of chopped frozen carrots for some extra veg and a pop of color. {The recipe only called for the green of zucchini and basil.}
  • I only had a bit of fresh basil left in my herb pot, so in addition to that, for a bit more flavor, I did my usual sauteing of a few cloves of garlic in some EVOO first.
  • I used cashews instead of almonds because my cashews were roasted and almonds raw and don’t cashews just seem like they should go into an Asian dish?
  • I used a regular saute pan rather than a wok because I don’t have one.
  • If this truly was going to only take about 10 minutes, I wanted to wait until the girls had arrived before I started cooking. {Except for the rice, I got that on early so I could make a big batch.}
  • One friend was running late, so I started the dish anyway, all while chatting with my other friend and her daughter. I forgot to time myself. With the slight distraction, it probably took 15 minutes and surely less than 20 because it was ready to go before our other friend even showed up!
  • The girls said they liked it, but I thought it was a little lacking in flavor. I seasoned mine a bit more and added Sriracha – Ahhh! much better
  • You can find this recipe in Jules Clancy’s cookbook 5 Ingredients, 10 minutes, or a similar recipe on her website, The Stone Soup.
  • This was so easy that I’d make some version of this again.


Butter Bean and Smoked Chicken Salad


Here are my notes with my adaptations in blue:

  • You guys! I hadn’t had butter beans until now! I thought they were just like any other white bean like cannelini  or Great Northern beans. {And indeed, I’d say they can be used interchangeably.} I think I was thrown off because the beans in the cookbook photo were smaller sized and the ones in my can were big. They were so good!
  • This recipe called for 2 small handfuls of shredded roast or smoked chicken. I just pulled a 4 oz bag of cooked shredded chicken I had sitting in my freezer.
  • Because I wanted a more substantial salad, I used bagged salad greens to bulk this up instead of the just the parsley recommended in the recipe.
  • This recipe serves two, so I combined everything except the greens and put half of the mixture in the fridge for the following day.
  • Overall this seems strange that it took me a whole 7 minutes to put together, but that happens sometimes.
  • After I took the photo, I added the following at the last second: 1 tbsp shredded parmesan and 1 tbsp cashews
  • It was a lovely salad.
  • Will make again.


Shredded Kale & White Bean Salad

Here are my notes:

  • My version isn’t the prettiest, but I didn’t add a bit of fried onion or shallot like the recipe suggested, instead I substituted shredded parmesan because it was just easier!
  • The dressing of EVOO, sherry vinegar and soy sauce was a bit too tangy for me. A few things I would do next time:
    • Put on the dressing a little at a time instead of adding the mixture to the dressing all at once.
    • Add more kale to stretch it out. {Perhaps my bunch was too small.}
    • Add something creamy to the salad to offset it a bit, like avocado or goat cheese
    • Add some yummy tomatoes! (If in season.)
  • I seasoned this dish generously, but after I took the photo, also decided to sprinkle some green onions and red pepper flakes on top!
  • This recipe took me 10 minutes.
  • Will make again.


Yes, Jules uses lots of beans in the recipes out of 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes. They are high in protein, filling and quick! However, if you don’t like beans or your diet doesn’t allow, every recipe in her cookbook offers variations. So please don’t shy away from these!


Do you have a favorite homemade stir-fry sauce?
Do you have a favorite homemade salad dressing?


Two Shih Tzus on a Couch


Sophie & Shamrock Saturday

Sophie and Shamrock don’t love Phoebe the way Rob and I do, mostly because we are jealous of all the attention we give her. And she wants to play all the time! But they do pretty well with her, nonetheless. Imagine my little heart a-flutter when I looked over and found the two Shih Tzus on a couch together!


Happy Saturday!

Cooking with Canned Tuna & Salmon! (From the Best Cookbook.)


You can read about how I declared this the Best Cookbook You’ve Never Read <– here.

You can read about the first recipe I cooked from this cookbook here.

A few things to note:

You know what I find liberating? That just by reading all of the suggested variations Jules shares at the end of each recipe in her cookbook 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes is that she’s given me the confidence to come up with my own.

It wasn’t until recently that I’d tweak a recipe rather than follow it to the letter. I’m always worried that something won’t turn out. But the more you try different combinations and learn what you like, the more you’ll get a feel for what you think will taste good.

So I think that this might be the best cookbook you’ve never read…

Not only because:

  • Each recipe is only 5 ingredients or less (save salt, pepper and EVOO)
  • The ingredients are real food, not pre-packaged ones like cream of mushroom soup or onion soup mix, for example (which generally contain lots of additives!)
  • The recipes take about 10 minutes to cook/pull-together

But also because:

  • The cookbook will end up teaching you how to cook by helping you learn how to throw ingredients together that you already have!


These next two recipes from Jules Clancy’s 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes I cooked just so happened to use canned fish. I’ve never cooked with either before! It’s time to get away from plain ‘ol tuna salad.


Noodles with Tuna and Tomato

Here are my notes, with what I changed in blue:

  • My friend had an overabundance of cherry tomatoes, so she gave a bunch to me knowing how much I love them.
  • Wait… What?! I can throw tuna from a can in a pan? Seriously? Why didn’t I think of this?
  • My tuna didn’t come packed in oil, so I just drizzled some olive oil in the pan before cooking.
  • This also sounded like a Mediterranean-style dish, so I chopped a couple of garlic cloves and sauteed that for a minute or so in the olive oil before adding everything else.
  • I didn’t have any parsley and felt like it needed a little green, so I chopped up just a bit of kale and sauteed it in the mix.
  • I think this would be lovely with some green onions, too.
  • I was very generous on the S&P.
  • I thought about adding red pepper flakes at the end, but forgot.
  • I didn’t have an 2-minute/ramen noodles, so I made up my own variation with pre-cooked rice from my freezer! See:
  • You can find this recipe in Jules Clancy’s cookbook 5 Ingredients, 10 minutes, or a similar recipe on her website, The Stone Soup.
  • I didn’t write down how long this took me, but throwing everything into a pan until heated sounds like no time at all!
  • Will make again.


Salmon with Courgettes & Brown Rice

Here are my notes:

  • Just a refresher: courgettes = zucchini
  • To be quite honest, now that I write this, this recipe is quite similar to the one above, just changing out the ingredients – I’m learning!
  • Don’t get caught up with the sizes/amounts that are called for in the cookbook. This isn’t baking and these recipes are very forgiving. For example, my can of salmon was 170g, not the 200g called for in the recipe. And I have no idea how much 360g cooked rice is and didn’t take the time to look it up. I just pulled some pre-cooked rice from my freezer. {I always make a big batch and freeze it in smaller servings for later!}
  • With this recipe, I also sauteed some garlic in the olive oil to start, just for some extra flavor. And because I LOVE GARLIC!
  • I topped this dish with chopped green onions because you can never have enough green onions. Amiright?!
  • This recipe took me 10 minutes.
  • Will make again.


Have you cooked canned tuna or salmon before?
If so, what is your favorite recipe?


The First Recipe (from the best cookbook!)


I’ve now made a few recipes from the Best Cookbook You’ve Never Read. I do – for the first time ever with a cookbook – intend to make every single one, à la Julie and Julia. Well, kind of… I figure if I do about 3 per week, I should be able to get through this book in about a year. Think of all of the experience throwing healthy ingredients together to make a satisfying meal I’ll have under my belt by then!

A few things to note:

Jules points out that in her book 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes that the five ingredients do not include things you should already have in your pantry like salt pepper and olive (or other cooking) oil. Also, these recipes take her about 10 minutes. While it may take the novice cook a bit longer, she does offer tips and tricks to cut down on the timing. And really, as long as a recipe takes me 30 minutes or less and doesn’t feel complicated on those nights that I don’t want to think, but I still want to eat something healthy and satisfying, it’s a win for me!

Oh! One more thing I never did mention on why this might be one of the best cookbooks is that almost all of the recipes serve just two people. In my book, that’s a win because it’s so hard to get my husband to eat leftovers. No more repeat dinners or extra lunches in the freezer! {I do enjoy having those leftovers for myself; but we’ve kind of met the max on the freezer right now.} Plus, if I’m making a chicken or fish dish, I will only have one leftover serving for myself rather than 3 or 5. For those of you with families, feel free to double these recipes. They’ll still be easy!

Lastly, I’ve been taking notes on each recipe page to remember what I did, how long the recipe took me to make, how I changed things up, or what I’d like to try next time. I’m including those in my summaries.

Now on to the very first recipe I tried from Jules Clancy’s 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes


Broccoli and Green Curry Soup

My first recipe was a winner! I didn’t get any photos of it because this is before I decided to make all the recipes and document them on this blog. I made this for lunch for Rob and me and was going to combine it with the Super Simple Sang Choi Boa, also in the cookbook. That part didn’t happen, but I’m so glad it didn’t, because who knew a broccoli soup could be so filling on its own!

Here are my notes:

  • There are only 4 ingredients in this recipe!
  • I used a bag of frozen broccoli from Costco – worked just fine.
  • I love green curry, but I wasn’t sure if my husband had before, so I erred on the side of caution and used 3Tbsp green curry paste. I’d use at least 4 Tbsp next time!
  • I forgot to add the green curry paste when instructed, so I added it later and it still turned out just fine.
  • I used the rest of my leftover can of coconut milk with some leftover farro and fruit for breakfast the next few mornings!
  • My husband thought this soup was very filling, too. He liked it, but didn’t love it. I guess I’m much more of a green curry fan.
  • I like a bit of heat, so add some red pepper flakes if you do or a squeeze of Sriracha like I did!
  • This recipe took me 12 minutes.
  • Will make again.
  • You can find this recipe in Jules’s free e-Cookbook on her blog The Stone Soup! It is the first recipe in the book and here is it called Addictive Green Curry of Broccoli Soup.
  • P.S. Remember when I didn’t like broccoli? LOL!



I promise to have photos of my next several results! Okay, writing this made me want to make this soup again… plus the weather is getting colder…

Do you have a favorite easy soup recipe?


The Best Cookbook You’ve Never Read


I have absolutely know idea how I came across Jules Clancy’s blog The Stone SoupWhen I did, I wasn’t reading it regularly; but suddenly something clicked!

I may or may not have mentioned that over the past year I’ve been checking out one cookbook from the library per week in an attempt to cook more and learn how to cook better. But I also know that when I’m really busy working, the last thing I want to do is think about what to make and spend the time in the kitchen concentrating on making something new, with the risk of it not being a winner.

I do like to try new recipes and styles of cooking. When I have the time and the energy, it is a fun thing to do! But other times, I want something quick, tasty and healthy. I want something that requires minimal effort, but is still satisfying. Is that too much to ask?!

Enter the cookbook:

Every single recipe in this cookbook offers variations, so this one is for everyone. 

~ Vegetarian or Vegan? She’s got you covered with substitutes.
~ Carnivore or Paleo? She suggest add-ins for those vegetarian dishes!
~ Dairy-free? You’ll get some great ideas for what works best in each recipe.
~ Don’t like or have an ingredient? Perfect swaps are suggested!

While I’ve been perusing cookbooks from my local library before I make the decision to buy, my library did not have Clancy’s cookbook on hand. So I bought it out right.

How do I  know that you’ve probably never heard of this cookbook?

It only has 39 ratings on Good Reads! Also, it was published in Australia and Great Britain. At first glance, you might look through it and put the book back down when you see measurements in grams and milliliters instead of our U.S. measurements. But don’t let that deter you! The conversions are simple and the recipes are forgiving.

Obviously, you can easily look these up on your own; but these are the basic, most used measurements and items you will need to know to use the book:

  • 500 g of meat = approximately 1 lb
  • 400 g can of diced tomatoes, etc. = standard U.S. 14.5 oz can
  • 180 g cooked rice = approximately 1 cup
  • courgettes = zucchini
  • aubergine = eggplant
  • coriander = cilantro

So put it on a post-it in the front of the book and forget about it!

How can I claim that this cookbook just might be THE BEST?

When I started reading it, I found that I had thumbed through a few quite a few pages and noticed that there was not one recipe that I would not makeI couldn’t believe it. Jules {can I call you Jules, now?!} notes variations at the end of each recipe that I couldn’t find an excuse not to make each one. That is, until I got to a recipe that called for tofu. I knew I wouldn’t be making that Japanese Kettle Soup… that is until I read the variations at the bottom!

It’s now on my list! I suddenly realized that I didn’t need to flag each recipe that I might make someday. I was willing to make them all! Instead I flagged recipes that I had the ingredients that I could make now.

You know the story of Julie and Julia? Well, I’ve never seen the movie nor read the book, but I understand that the protagonist attempts to make all of the recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. While that sounds incredibly daunting to me, I think I can do this with Jules Clancy’s 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes.

I’ll be making notes of my variations and posting on the blog my findings! I was intending to do the first few in this post, but it’s getting rather long… so we’ll save that for the next one. In the meantime, you can check out The Stone Soup blog to view the recipes and tips Jules has posted there and sign up for a free e-cookbook.

If you want to join me, here are a few links to where you may able to find 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes:


What’s the best cookbook you’ve read?


Five for Friday: What I’ve been Reading


Each week day, I think of something other than books that I can post about: my awesome birthday, our summer trip to Duluth Charter Fishing, any new restaurant/brewery we tried, our new deck that our friend Dom built for us, all the cooking I’ve done lately, anything and everything about our pupper dogs. Still, I come up short with the time and enthusiasm to post anything other than book lists as of late.

People, I haven’t even had time to go on trips this year! {I know, poor me! First world problems!!!!} The one we trip we did take this year {other than to visit family} was back in April/May to beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. Maybe one day, I’ll post on that. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been reading… (Mostly before bed!)


Reading People
by Anne Bogel 
(nonfiction) – worth a read

I wasn’t intending on purchasing this book and until I listened to Bogel read her first chapter on on her blog Modern Mrs. Darcy. Let’s just say that I learned a thing or two about myself, most importantly that I am an HSP. I’ve been many times throughout my life that I’m sensitive, but it has always had a negative spin on it, such as “You are just too sensitive!” or “You’re just going to need to get over that!” To me, being highly sensitive felt like a character flaw. I’ve learned that is not the case. And being an HSP doesn’t mean one is overly sensitive to emotions or that people need to tiptoe around you. It also means that too many people talking at me at one time can be frustrating. Or that I need time to sort things out if they feel like they are thrown at me all at once. I now know that it is a trait not a flaw and can learn how to work with it. I’m looking at reading more up on this topic.

That being said, describing an HSP is only a small blurb in the book. There is much more to this! Overall, I’d say it’s very helpful in pointing out how everyone is different, why not everyone thinks nor reacts in the same way and that we shouldn’t expect anyone to do so. Understanding these different types might explain some of your relationships and help with frustrations and help to appreciate the people in your life for who they are. It’s about understanding not only your own personality, but others as well.


A Three Dog Life
by Abigail Thomas 
(fiction) – worth a read


Per the usual, I have no idea how I heard of this book. I’m sure I was drawn to it by the word “dog” in the title. Before I read it, I showed my husband the little quote on the front by Stephen King. He is a huge King fan and said that he knows he’s a dog-lover; but Rob said he still didn’t want to read it. He doesn’t like when a book ends with a dog dying. Okay, so he wouldn’t like it if the dog died in the middle of a book either. He just can’t handle it.

I’m not giving anything away here by telling you that this is not what happens. This book is more about life after the author’s spouse’s accident. They dogs comfort her, but there was so much more to this book than expected. It makes me wonder, “What would I have done?”


Scrappy Little Nobody
by Anna Kendrick (non-fiction) – worth a flip

My reading of this little autobiographical account of Kendrick’s journey to Hollywood fame coincided with revealing of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. While she mentions nothing about Weinstein nor any other sexual harassment accounts that I can think of now, by her descriptions on what is like to try to make a career living out of acting, I can definitely see how blowing the horn on someone would be difficult!

While Kendrick does benefit from fame and fortune now, I found it interesting how fortune didn’t immediately follow the fame game! {At least in her case.} Her accounts of what it is like to promote a big film in the midst of becoming famous and still going back to her tar-stained carpeted apartment and fall asleep in her single IKEA bed all while feeling like promoting the whole thing was a lie gave me a new perspective.

Her writing style is one that makes you feel like you are hearing from a friend. I felt like I got to know her in this quick read. Her down-to-earth vibe feels relatable, even if you aren’t a celebrity. Her hope is that her book might make feel a “little less alone, a little less weird.”



The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks:
A Celebration of Creative Punctuation

by Bethany Keeley (non-fiction) – worth a read

Somehow, someway, when I went down the rabbit hole that is the internet, I came across the “blog” of “unneccessary” quotation marks. I spent a lot of down time laughing at that site. Grammar geeks, rejoice! You will have a ton of fun reading these signs by readers. While the submissions themselves are funny due to incorrect usage, Keeley’s comments and explanations can push some to over-the-top hilarious.

The book might be even better. When I read that she published one, I promptly ordered it from The book is separated into sections by usage. {You might even learn a thing or two!} My favorite, however, may be the Miscellaneous section at the back of the book. This book did a stint on my coffee table, sparking laughs and conversation!


Goodbye, Vitamin
by Rachel Khony (fiction) – worth a read

LOOK! Me reading fiction! I don’t know why I’ve been reading so much non-fiction lately. Partly, it’s all the cookbooks: I’ve been trying to read one of those a week! Still, this one is a quick and easy read. The writing is almost fluffy, while it’s not a fluffy subject. I’m not sure anyone will understand what I mean there. But it’s a quick enough read that you can make up your own mind. 😉


To be quite honest, I’m missing my commute so I can listen to audiobooks! The one on the top of my list needs a good 36 hours of drive-time. Sure, I know people who clean, eat breakfast or listen to audiobooks at other times of they day. However, I find it impossible. I miss so much when I start concentrating on what I’m doing and lose concentration of the story.


If you listen to audiobooks, when do you listen to them?
Any tips and tricks to get in more audiobook time?