Tag Archives: salmon

The Trout Diaries: Salmon Edition


Welcome to my Tuesday Trout Diaries! It’s a series of emails I sent my dad after our Charter Fishing Trip to Duluth last summer. I was trying out approximately one new recipe each week since I’m not in the habit of cooking fish and I wanted to make sure nothing went to waste!

Each week, after the diary entry, you’ll see how I adapted the recipe I tried to make it my own and to cook just for me.

In case you missed them, here are the past installments:

But I have something different in store this week!

While the rest of us on that Charter Fishing Trip caught lake trout, my husband caught a nice Coho Salmon! This is what I was cooking up this week…


Date: 8/9/17
From: Carrie
To: Dad
Subject: Trout Recipe of the Week

Trout  Salmon Recipe of the Week

This week I had the girls over for dinner. We plan a dinner night in once a month, taking turns who has to do the cooking so that at least once in a while someone cooks for us! I knew I wanted to make the salmon that Rob caught!

Tomato Basil Coho Salmon

I don’t have a true recipe this week, but took some cues from a couple of other recipes. I knew I wanted to make pesto with the basil in my herb pot. I made this Skinny Pesto version – really freaking easy. I covered a baking sheet with foil and spread the pesto over the top of the salmon and then topped it off with some grape tomatoes from the farmer’s market. (I halved the tomatoes first.) I got my inspiration from this Salmon with Pesto and Tomatoes recipe and this Pesto Salmon with Asparagus & Tomatoes recipe. I set the oven for 450 degrees and… 

As I was making it, I got nervous that there were bones because Kim was bringing over her 6-year-old daughter. I decided to cut up a chicken breast and zucchini, tossed it in some Fat Louie’s Tuscan Olive oil and put it on the foil baking sheet with the salmon because there was plenty of room. I put it in the oven for about 20 minutes.

The salmon came out perfectly, the chicken a little dull and dry. (I cut the chicken in tiny pieces because I didn’t want it to come out under cooked.)

Kim said that although tedious, I can always remove the bones before cooking – they are all in a little row. I might think of that next time if I have more time.

Until next week!



Here is my recipe instpired by this Salmon with Pesto and Tomatoes recipe and one for Pesto Salmon with Asparagus & Tomatoes: 

3-Ingredient Tomato Basil Coho Salmon

  • 4 fillets Coho Salmon, skin on the bottom (but I’m sure any kind of salmon will do)
  • prepared pesto (I like the prepared kind in the deli over the jarred stuff on the shelf. Or make your own Skinny Pesto.)
  • approximately 1 cup  grape tomatoes (halved)


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Cover a baking sheet with foil and place salmon on top, skin side down.
  • Spread desired amount of pesto on top of salmon and top with grape tomatoes.
  • Bake fro 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve with any delicious side, but I’d recommend this Zucchini & Onion Saute, as this dish also has Mediterranean flavors.

What is your favorite easy way to prepare salmon?


Thirsty Thursday – Tongue in Cheek


As part of our Thanksgiving Staycation, we had a lazy day that Sunday. We had breakfast, sipped coffee and hung out in our pjs catching up on the DVR. {Well, that’s pretty much every Sunday morning for us.} 

We never did eat lunch, so we opted for an early dinner. There was only one problem: The Packer game was on at 3:25pm.

That just would not work. I didn’t want to go to a Sports Bar to watch the game for three hours when it was on local television and could watch it in the comfort of my own home.

But I had an idea. I scanned through our Groupons and looked up each restaurant. Finally, I chose one that did not look like it had an TVs:

Tongue in Cheek – in St. Paul

We would DVR the game and watch it afterward, sans commercials. This also meant Rob couldn’t be on his smartphone during dinner to check scores. Win for me!

The bar at Tongue in Cheek opens at 4pm. Since our tummies were empty, we took full advantage of that! We also took advantage of their Happy Hour.


We started by splitting the flight of Cock(tail) Teasers. I don’t believe you can order these teasers outside of Happy Hour. I didn’t see them on the regular menu. Rob said that he couldn’t imagine having to create these miniature cocktails for just $2 each. He thought, “How annoying for the bartender!” But they’ve thought of everything here. They make the teasers ahead of time, so that they are ready-to-serve with only a garnish needed.

Flight of Cock(tail) Teasers - $12

Flight of Cock(tail) Teasers – $12

The cocktails are pictured in order as they are on the menu, only from right to left. And that’s how we tasted them. Then we ranked them. Surprisingly, both Rob and I ranked them in the exact same order!

  1. Jack’s Pool – This one surprised me because I’m not a huge rum fan!
  2. Mother of Dragons – Another surprise for both of us. The jalapeno was subtle and the flavors were well-balanced. Who knew I’d like a Jim Beam cocktail?
  3. Cross Eyed Mary – Oh yeah. I love me a good bloody and I actually prefer gin to vodka.
  4. Tickle My Tiny Pickle – What you’d expect by the menu description.
  5. When in Rome – I thought this would be my fave. It wasn’t. But I didn’t not like it! Bottoms up!
  6. Why Not Minot? – Not memorable because, you know, I don’t even remember this one.

Each of these cocktail teasers came from each of their six sensory categories of all of the craft cocktails that they offer. Check them out on the main menu:


Looking back at that menu, it does look like you can get a flight of cocktails, if you’d like, outside of during Happy Hour. It’s just more expensive. I’m not sure if you get to choose which drinks come in your flight though.

We arrived in our Packer gear and the bartender commented. Rob told him that we were taping the game, so dining here was perfect because we wouldn’t have access to the score. We come to find out that Mike The Bartender is from Milwaukee and it was killing him not to keep us updated!

Mike gave us a ton of menu recommendations, including items that I wouldn’t have tried otherwise. Like this, for example:

Goldi-Lox - gravlox, horseradish, dill, salmon roe - $2

Goldi-Lox – gravlox, horseradish, dill, salmon roe – $2

All of the teasers on the menu are meant to be one or two bites. This one was much more! The teeny, tiny spoon probably helped with that. And for just $2, this teaser packed a ton of flavor! Not listed on the menu is the avocado puree on top, along with some crispy fried shallots that add a little extra crunch. {Mike did an excellent job describing each dish as he delivered them to our table.} I thought that this taste was perfection!

At this point Rob checked out the beers on tap. I found it to be a nice varied selection of mostly Midwestern origin:

  • New Holland Dragon’s Milk (MI)
  • Summit Winter Warmer (MN)
  • Indeed Sweet Yamma Jamma (MN)
  • Rush River Double Bubble IPA (WI)
  • Cuvée des Jacobins (Belgium)

While Mike poured him a Dragon’s Milk, I sipped on a $3-Happy-Hour Sangria.


I thought it was pretty good; but the more I drank it, the less I liked it. Not sure if that was because of the oncoming cold or because it needed to be stirred before I started drinking it.

We also ordered a cheese plate:

Artisan Cheese Trifecta - $9

Artisan Cheese Trifecta – $9

There was a blue, a semi-soft goat {which Rob loved until I told him it was goat cheese} and the Wisconsin Pleasant Ridge Reserve. Those little dollops are of apple puree, mango puree and balsamic. It was divine to drag a little cheese through it, despite the fact that purees like this always make me think of baby food! {In a good way.}

But the plain crackers to accompany the cheeses left a bit to be desired – like some fresh bread. Yes, I desired that.


 Rob ordered us another $2 Teaser:

Charred Feta - strawberry & black pepper jam - $2

Charred Feta – strawberry & black pepper jam – $2

If you think that looks huge, it was really only about two to three bites. Here’s a photo with a fork to give you some perspective.


But the bites were tasty! The salty… with the char… with the sweet… This was perfect for a taste! Any more than that would probably be too much.

I was originally planning to just order some more teasers for my dinner because a Heavy Table article I read suggested that was the best way to go. But Mike suggested the salmon. And who could argue with Mike?

Wild Salmon - goat cheese risotto, zucchini, tomato-gin consommé - $25

Wild Salmon – goat cheese risotto, zucchini, tomato-gin consommé – $25

Mike was right to recommend this. It’s probably some of the best salmon I’ve had! It was well-seasoned, the goat cheese wasn’t too overpowering and the zucchini ribbons had the perfect texture. My only gripe is that the salmon was just a tad under-cooked for my liking. But I still sopped up every bite!

And you know already that Rob got the burger.

The Cheeseburger - Cheddar, House Pickles, Arugla, Aioli - $12

The Cheeseburger – cheddar, house pickles, arugla, aioli – $12

 This burger will move to Rob’s Top 10!

{Which reminds me, he still needs to update that.}

I think there are three things that generally make Rob burger- happy:

  1. The quality of the meat.
  2. Seasoning the meat.
  3. The quality and use of the bun and toppings.

It’s places like this, where quality rules. Tongue in Cheek’s Mission:

We are devoted to only using animal products that are raised or caught in a humane and sustainable manner. This is something we are passionate about and it will never be compromised. We believe living a good life tastes better.

Amen! Oh and for the record, Rob thought the fries were just fine at first, but later said that they kept getting better with every bite!


We loved Tongue in Cheek so much that we bought another voucher when we got home. The East Side of St. Paul is an up-and-coming culinary hot spot. When I walked in to Tongue in Cheek, it reminded me a bit of Ward 6, also located in the area. Then the quality craft cocktails reminded me of Ward 6, too. However, these two restaurants are different enough that you need to experience both.

I love the concept of the Teasers on the menu at Tongue in Cheek. It gives people a chance to step out of their comfort zones to sample some things they maybe normally wouldn’t, without the worry of wasting money or a meal. I’d come here just to try all of the little different bites they have to offer!

Have you dined at a restaurant that offers small bites or teasers on the menu?

If so, what were your favorites or what did you try that you maybe would not have otherwise?


Redwood Room – Rochester


I can hardly believe that it was July when my friend Stacy and I dined at the Redwood Room in Rochester. In this post about Pinot Gris, I told you to “stay tuned tomorrow!” to hear more about this gem of a restaurant. Then I wrote nothing about it.

Well it’s time.

Because this place deserves some recognition.

You can dine at the Redwood Room either casually or if you are celebrating a special occasion. The dark interior and lighting give the basement venue a special sort of ambiance that might even make for a great first date. Better yet, they also have LIVE music nearly every night of the week. Although, on this trip, we dined too early to see any of that. I am not sure what time music generally starts. The online calendar just lists the date and name of the musician(s) that will be performing, but not what time they are expected to begin. I’d recommend calling for details and then making a reservation to ensure you get seating!

I remember being intrigued by the cocktail list online, but not finding those that interested me on the menu upon arrival. No matter. As I mentioned here, we happened upon a particularly delightful Pinot Gris:

Four Graces Pinot Gris - Willamette Valley {pronounced will-AM-met, damn it!}, Oregon

Four Graces Pinot Gris – Willamette Valley {pronounced will-AM-met, damn it!}, Oregon

We were brought some bread, which I remember as delightful as well:

543We started with an appetizer to share:

Risotto Fritters Spheres of Arborio risotto with a gooey center of smoked mozzarella and a crispy exterior of panko breadcrumbs . Served with a creamy artichoke tomato sauce. $8. 95

Risotto Fritters
Spheres of Arborio risotto with a gooey center of smoked mozzarella and a crispy exterior of panko breadcrumbs . Served with a creamy artichoke tomato sauce. $8.95

They were tasty; but we both agreed we would try something else next time. They were nothing like the risotto cakes that we were blown away by one New Year’s Eve at Sul Lago.

Stacy already knew what she wanted as her main course:

Shrimp Risotto Arborio rice cooked in our house made chicken stock tossed with Black Tiger sh rimp, sweet corn, pancetta, cream and fresh basil . $1 7 .95

Shrimp Risotto
Arborio rice cooked in our house made chicken stock tossed with Black Tiger shrimp, sweet corn, pancetta, cream and fresh basil. $17.95

The dish was just devine. Look at all of that fresh basil!

I was in a craving salmon that night. When I saw this entree for just $16, I was shocked. In the Twin Cities, you’d find a dish like this {and probably the risotto above} for at least $22. What a steal! Only an hour and a half south of from The Cities, Rochester offers some more affordable cuisine without sacrificing quality.

Cracked Pepper Salmon Fresh Atlantic salmon filet brushed with ro semary & garlic infused olive oil. Served with a creamy dill sauce and Redwood Room house rice. $1 5 .95

Cracked Pepper Salmon
Fresh Atlantic salmon filet brushed with rosemary & garlic infused olive oil. Served with a creamy dill sauce and Redwood Room house rice. $15.95

So good. For appearance purposes, the sauce could have been thinned a bit. But it tasted just fine. I love me a good creamy dill sauce and this hit the spot!

We did take a look at the dessert menu, but opted to pass, if only because our bellies were way too full.


I guess we were in a seafood-kind-of-mood that night. But now I’m curious about those gourmet pizzas on the menu….

What’s your favorite seafood dish?

Have you found a restaurant that seems to be a better value for the quality than others?


Losing Weight (or Maintaining) without Exercise


It can be done.

Although, if you can exercise, you should. That cardiovascular exercise is good for your heart and lungs. But if you can’t, that’s no reason to give up.

I feared gaining weight back when I stopped running (and working out at all, for that matter) in December due to back problems. But I’ve been mostly maintaining. I’ve been fluctuating between the same five pounds back and forth.

Without exercise, I need to be more diligent about what I eat. Sure, in less than a week and a half, I’ll be having surgery on my back. So I could just give up for now and say that I’m gonna “start again” when it’s over… or once I’m off pain medication… or once I’m feeling better… or once I can start running again. We can always say that we are going to start over “when”.

But this is my life, not a diet. I’m not on a diet. I’m learning to make healthy choices every single day. And for me, a healthy choice is sometimes an indulgent one. I believe anything can be enjoyed and fit into a weight loss program if not consumed in excess. It was when I had the all-or-nothing mentality and was totally restrictive that I failed.

So for the days leading up to my surgery, I’m going to document what I’m eating… Good and bad. Not for you to analyze, but for me. I can analyze when I’ve made good choices and when I should make better ones. I’m finding that I’m more aware of what I’m eating when I have to take a picture of it, too!

And since I’m still getting used to this plan to document my meals for about a week, I’ve forgotten to take a few photos but that’s okay.

And with that, here are Sunday’s eats!


Fiber One 90 Brownie

Fiber One 90 Brownie

I also had a banana (not pictured). Oh and I had a few sips of Dr. Pepper before I stepped out the door. {For the past several months, I’ve had very little pop, er… soda, whether it be regular or diet. It’s something I’d like to cut out completely, or at least keep to a very minimum.}


I met my friend Sally for lunch at Cafe Latte in St. Paul. We each ordered a pizza. I didn’t take a photo, but you can check out what they look like on their website. I think they are about 8 or 9″ pizzas. I got the Sonoma Pizza, which was made with basil marinara sauce, spinach, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, feta and mozzarella. If you make homemade pizzas at home, I highly encourage you to combine these toppings! I ate a little more than half of the pizza.


Yes, I went out again for dinner. While we do eat out often, it’s generally not twice in one day. Rob and I dined at The Lowry in Uptown {Restaurant Impression to come soon!} I sipped on a Surly Abrasive, a local Double IPA. (not pictutred). It’s quite hoppy and I always feel like DIPAs whet my appetite. Then, I devoured this salmon dish:


Salmon fresh Scottish Fillet, oven-roasted asparagus, potatoes, tomatoes & olives

It’s some of the best salmon I’ve had in a really long time. It was seasoned perfectly and I loved this combo of vegetables! I would get this over and over again when I go to The Lowry, but there are too many other things on the menu I’d like to try.

Dessert for me was a Founders Breakfast Stout. This stout is bigger and has much more flavor than a Guinness and gets it name from it’s upfront coffee flavor.

Founders Breakfast Stout

Founders Breakfast Stout


With all that dining out, I probably didn’t need an evening snack, but I’ve been pretty good about taking a little wedge of the Double Cream Brie leftover from my canceled Open House, rather than eating the whole wheel.

DCB & Crackers

What are Ancient Grains, you are asking? Here’s what the box top reads:

Ancient Grains

These crackers are delicious and we have a big box of them {leftover from the canceled Open House}. I really have to pay attention to the number of cheese and crackers I eat because I’m a cheese fanatic. {Hey, it’s a given. I grew up in Wisconsin!} So I made my snack into a pretty plate and even got inspired by the picture on the box:

Ancient Grains Crackers topped with Double Cream Brie and tomato

Ancient Grains Crackers topped with Double Cream Brie and tomato

I estimate that snack to be close to 300 calories (the size wedge I cut was about two servings). That’s a little much for a snack, but better considering that I could have just brought the wheel of cheese, box of crackers, a plate and a knife into the living room to sit in front of the TV.

Overall, the day wasn’t perfect, but I’m glad I got some fruit, veggies, protein and Omega-3s in there!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy salmon? If you have a recipe, please share!


Latitude 43 Grill & Bar – Bay City, MI


We made it! This is my final post on Restaurants Impressions throughout Michigan during our summer vacation there. I spread them out to about once per week so that I wasn’t throwing them all at ya at once. Whew. Now I will most certainly remember what to order/not order and where to go/not go on our next visit!

Our last stop? Latitude 43 Grill & Bar in Bay City, Michigan.

Affectionately called Latitudes, this restaurant is newer to Bay City. It opened in the fall of 2010. Our first visit was in September of 2011 when Rob and I met his friend Brad for lunch while we were in town.

I remember ordering the Turkey Burger and not being impressed. But Rob has since asked me if I’ve ever liked a turkey burger at a restaurant anywhere. He has a point. Maybe I was spoiled by my mom’s turkey burgers growing up.

When we were both doing Weight Watchers, my mom would make turkey burgers under the broiler quite often. I know many people don’t like the idea of a kid going on a diet. But I was actually a heavy pre-teen and did lose a lot of weight while learning to eat healthily on Weight Watchers. {That was back when you ticked off the boxes for food groups!} I even remember her taking out the tube of ground turkey and showing it to me to illustrate what one pound looks like.

Okay, back to Latitudes.

This summer, we went with some friends who really frequent the place! April and Brian had a few recommendations and also ordered some items that weren’t even on the menu. {It’s good to be a regular, huh?} One or our favorite non-menued {also non-photographed} item was the Cheese Balls.These were basically balls of gouda coated in seasoned breading and flash fried. They were served with a sweet chili sauce. Yeah, they had me at cheese. But these things had flavor, too.

For his meal, Rob chose:

House Sirloin

He ordered it blackened and it was cooked perfectly medium rare. For $11.99, you just can’t go wrong! Seriously, you aren’t going to find a decent steak around these parts of Minnesota for that price. I like that you can choose your sides here and was surprised by Rob’s choices: Jasmine Rice {not pictured} and Cottage Cheese.  Perhaps he was getting sick of the usual fries we’d had all trip, too.

After all the burgers we’d been eating, I was craving some chicken:

Chicken Pesto Sandwich on a Pretzel Bun – Tender grilled chicken crowned w/pesto, roasted red peppers, provolone cheese & mixed greens.

Seriously, Minnesota needs to catch on to the Pretzel Bun craze. Maybe it’s the German in me. I don’t know. Still, the sandwich was good, but not great. I’d try something different next time. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for this kind of food. We’d been eating so much of it on this trip.

In fact, our friend Brian started his meal with a salad and when I saw it, I knew that is what I should have ordered. Not because I was feeling guilty about being healthy, but because I actually had a craving for those vegetables the moment I saw them. When his entrée came out, he offered me a bite:

Char-grilled Salmon

This, too, hit the spot for me – well-seasoned and perfectly cooked. It was then that I regretted my choice. Oh well, I was very indecisive and not all that up to par that night anyway. But at least I know what I’d like to get next time!

We’ve all wished at sometime or another that we would have ordered someone else’s meal instead.

What dish was it for you?