Monday, November 18, 2013

A Rewarding Dinner

Dan and I volunteer every year at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's annual gala. We sold beads to raise funds for the cause. Our shift started at 5pm and our duties wrapped up around 9:30pm. Needless to say we were starving at the end of our shift and thought we should reward ourselves.

Dan suggested we head to our favorite spot, Bar La Grassa, thinking it was late enough that we could get a table in the bar. Wrong! It turns out this is not only our favorite spot, but high on the list for others too. With little time to spare and convenience in mind, (we'd already valeted and close to kitchen close) we decided to head across the street to Borough. To set the stage, I'd been to Borough previously and Dan was resistant based upon feedback he'd heard from co-workers. I loved it the first time!

In the end, success! Our meal was amazing!! We started with Carpaccio. This dish was unlike your normal Carpaccio. It hosted an array of different flavors and textures, all suiting to the pallet. For our meals, Dan ordered a White Fish and I ordered the Duck. Me explaining these dishes to you won't do them justice. All I have to say is I've never ordered duck prior to this and I can't wait to order it again. Dan and I will be making a point, in the near future, to visit Borough again!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bacon Guacamole Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are a food I was never willing to try as a child and grew to like as an adult. The only kind I've ever had are the traditional kind with egg, mayo and mustard (my mom makes a mean deviled egg!).

Until recently, it never occurred to me that an ingredient other than mayo or mustard would taste good with a hard boiled egg. About a month ago, when searching for something to bring to a BBQ, I stumbled upon a recipe for Bacon Guacamole Deviled Eggs on a blog called Closet Cooking. I followed the recipe verbatim (minus tomatoes as I forgot them at the grocery store) and the eggs were a hit!
6 eggs, boiled, cooled, peeled, and cut in half lengthwise
1 lrg avocado, mashed
2T. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1T. jalapeno, finely diced
1T. red onion, finely diced
2T. diced tomato
1T. lime juice (1/2 lime)
1T. cilantro, chopped
salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
pinch chili powder (for garnish)
Scoop the yolks out of the egg halves, mash them, mix with the avocado, bacon, jalapeno, onion, tomato, lime juice and cilantro and season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Place a tablespoon of the mixture back into the holes left by the yolks in the eggs and serve garnished with extra bacon and a pinch of chili powder.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Good Food - Good Company

We are on the last lag of the construction adventure at the Stachel household. I couldn't be more excited!! It has been quite some time since I've been able to cook a decent meal in our construction dusted kitchen. The end is in sight and I know it will be well worth the wait (before and after post to come).

Although intricate meal making has come to a halt (not that it existed before), that doesn't mean entertaining has. A few weeks ago I decided to have a dinner party. I wanted to keep it simple considering we were lacking a put-together space. Initially I thought, "what a great night for a patio, dinner party", unfortunately MN weather refused to cooperate and we ended up inside. I dusted, it worked out. ;)

I wanted to serve something light, including only ingredients I had in the house. I started out with tortilla chips and Mango Salsa. For the main course I decided to serve a Curry Shrimp Flatbread. I served both of these with my favorite cheap white wine, the Kirkland Chardonnay. You can purchase a bottle at Costco (and Costco alone) for about $8.99. YES!!! Believe it!!! For those of you who don't know me well, I consider myself to be somewhat of a wine snob. I do NOT lead you astray. If you're a fan of a delicious buttery chard, this is the perfect everyday chard for you!

Anyhow, I was nervous about the mix and how everything would come together, but it turned out GREAT!! The wine paired awesome with the mango salsa as well as the flatbread. Sometimes the simplest things in life are the most enjoyable!

A "must have" summer wine!
Curry Shrimp Flatbread
Curry Shrimp Flatbread
Shrimp seasoning (adopted from
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 lime
1-2 T. chopped cilantro for garnish
Shrimp (you could use frozen small or fresh large, depends what you prefer)

2-3 T. Goat cheese
1/4 of  a Red onion
2 T. Sour cream
1 Cooked flatbread

Preheat oven or grill to 375. Mix all dry ingredients together. Heat 1-2 T. olive oil in sauce pan. Toss shrimp in the seasoning mixture. Cook shrimp. when shrimp is almost done, spread evenly on flatbread. Sprinkle onion and goat cheese over the top. Bake for 5-10 min. Top with cilantro and sour cream.

Mango Salsa
4 Mangoes 
1 Red onion
2 Jalapenos 
1/4 c. cilantro

Dice all ingredients and mix together. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Picadillo is a traditional Latin dish. This dish is one of my all time favorites! It's easy to make and has amazing flavor. One of my best friends got me hooked on this dish far before I knew the power of a vegetable. Oddly enough, this particular friend can't even successfully cook a frozen lasagna, but somehow she manages to make a mean picadillo dish along with homemade chips!
Finely chopped veggies are the essence of this dish.
Basamati rice is a key ingredient. The brand above is the best out there. I've tried several and none of them stand up to this one. No matter what brand of rice you choose, be sure it's basamati and rinse the rice when it's done cooking.

The finished product!

1lb Ground beef
3-4 serano peppers (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 red onion
1/2 clove of garlic
1  jar small green olives
1 can tomato paste
1 can black beans
olive oil
salt & pepper
celery salt
red pepper flakes

Cook the rice according to the directions on the package. Rinse rice when fully cooked.

Season the hamburger with celery salt, basil, red pepper flakes and cumin. Dice all vegetables. Put 1-2T. in pan. Cook all peppers, onions, garlic, and black beans. Season the veggies with salt & pepper. In a separate pan, cook the hamburger. Once hamburger is fully cooked add the veggies, strained green olives and tomato paste. You may need to add water or tomato sauce in addition to the tomato paste, dependent upon the consistency you'd like. I added a can of water.  Serve the mixture atop a bed of rice and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Haute Brunch

About three weeks ago, Dan and I were out and about and decided to grab brunch. Haute Dish in downtown Minneapolis was near and happened to be on our list of brunch spots to try. Although I heard the Biscuits & Gravy are a menu item not to be passed, I must say that my Pig in a Blanket was the right choice!

The Pig in a Blanket (contrary to your initial thought) consists of smoked pork shoulder, pepperjack cheese, and a johnny cake smothered with poblano gravy, topped with fresh cilantro. If you haven't been to brunch at Haute Dish yet, don't wait any longer. When you're there try the Pig in a Blanket alongside a mimosa and I promise, you won't leave disappointed!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

70 and Sunny

After many months of cold temperatures and snow, it finally feels like spring. A few weeks ago we were teased with a 70 degree weekend. Everyone thought THIS IS IT, warm weather is here; but everyone was wrong, snow came again the following week. As we near the end of the first straight week of temps above 70, I'm optimistic that warmer weather is here to stay!

With warmer weather comes outdoor activities, projects inside and outside of the house and best of all... delicious food and fun cocktails. Dan and I kicked off the warm weather with a round of golf. It then snowed the following week. Last weekend it warmed up and we decided that white wine, grilled lobster, broccolini and fingerling potatoes were the perfect meal to celebrate.

Forgot to get the pic of the lobster, but rest assured, it was delicious!

Grilled Broccolini
Toss in extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle red pepper flakes and salt. Place in tin foil on the grill for about 10 minutes. When fully cooked, squeeze fresh lemon over them and serve. 

Baked Fingerling Potatoes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice fingerling potatoes in half , length wise. Drizzle olive oil (I used Rosemary flavor) over a baking pan. Sprinkle garlic salt, pepper and parmesan over the pan. Place potatoes (cut side facing down) on the pan and bake for 60-70 minutes. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Warm Weather Ahead

With spring just around the corner... oh wait, spring is here! Let me start over.

With warm weather just around the corner (hopefully), all I can seem to think about is grilling, salads and fruity cocktails. Because there is still snow on the ground, I've adjusted my focus to the upcoming Derby for a Cure party, hosted by the JDRF-YLC. This event is near and dear to my heart as its main purpose is to raise funds for Type 1 diabetes. In addition to raising funds for a great cause, it makes the top of my list because it includes mint juleps and derby attire!

Here is my simple, yet bold, inspiration for this year!

Blackberry Mint Julep from
Dolly Chambray Dress from Anthropologie

Monday, March 25, 2013

Café Maude

This weekend I finally made it to Café Maude! Myself and a few friends visited their newer, Loring location and I can't wait to visit again. Their brunch menu is small, but don't let that discourage you. The cuisine was exquisite!

From presentation to taste, they've mastered each piece on the menu from simple blueberry pancakes to the not so common brunch listing of Sautéed Spinach with Fried Egg. If you haven't been, be sure to add it to your list. You won't want to miss out!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Emeli Sandé

You may or may not have heard of Emeli Sandé. She's an awesome up and coming artist from northern Scotland. I discovered her through an ad I was forced to watch after playing a word on Words with Friends. Looks like advertising does pay off!

Check out this live performance. You may just fall in love with her voice like I did!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Comically Crafted Commercials

In my opinion, some of the BEST commercials of all time have popped up in the last four months. With that said, I thought I'd start Friday out right by sharing one of my faves with you. I cannot watch this without laughing uncontrollably and hope it has the same effect on you!

Happy Friday!! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Bites

Last weekend I had dinner at one of my friend's homes and I offered to bring an appetizer. I found this healthy recipe for Buffalo Chicken Bites and had been wanting to try it so this was the perfect opportunity. They were super easy to make and they turned out to be delicious!! I found the recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Eat Yourself Skinny. I also stole the picture from her website as I forgot to take one, but they basically looked the same! ;)

Buffalo Chicken Bites
3 c. of shredded cooked chicken
1/3 c. hot sauce (I used Green Mill brand)
3 1/2 oz. fat free cream cheese
1 c. shredded cheddar 
1/4 c. red onion
1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 c. Corn Flakes cereal, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken, hot sauce, and cream cheese. Mix well. Stir in cheddar cheese and onions and set aside. Using three separate bowls, set out flour, egg and crushed Corn Flakes. Scoop out chicken mixture and roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Next dip in flour, then egg and last coat with cereal. Repeat this until all the balls are complete. 

Place balls on cookie sheet (no need to grease) and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing and enjoy!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Spicy Stewed Sausage and Pepper Pasta

Dan's birthday was earlier this week and as a part of the celebration, I decided to make him dinner. I wanted to try something new, so I dug for a recipe and came across this Spicy Stewed Sausages with Three Peppers on the Food&Wine website. I didn't need as large of a portion as the recipe called for so I cut it in half and also served it over pasta instead of bread. It turned out great!

1 lb sweet italian sausage (pricked all over with a fork)
Olive Oil
1 red bell pepper cut into 1-inch dice
1 green bell pepper cut into 1-inch dice
1 yellow bell pepper cut into 1-inch dice
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
1/2 small fennel bulb-trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
2 serrano chiles, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
1 habanero chile, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry red wine (I chose an Italian blend so that I could drink the rest!)
1/2 cup of freshly grated pecorino cheese
1/2 lb of whole wheat pasta (or any pasta of your choosing)

Light a grill. Brush the sausages with olive oil and grill over a medium-hot fire, turning, until nicely charred and just cooked through, about 16 minutes total. If you have a large cast iron skillet, set this on the grill and add about 1T. to the pan. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, feel free to use a regular frying pan on the stove. Once you've added the olive oil , add the peppers, onion, fennel and chiles. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt. Slice the sausages into pieces and add to the pan. Add the wine to the pan as well and simmer until it is reduced to about half, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle about half the cheese over the mixture. Serve atop the noodles and pass the remaining cheese. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Corn Chowder

Happy Monday!! I hope everyone's weekends were lovely. I had a great weekend with family and friends. We spent our Saturday morning celebrating Hockey Day MN, while watching my nephew's outdoor hockey game (it was still warm out). Saturday, a group of us visited the new Borough restaurant, which was awesome!! Great service and amazing food. Every single dish we tried was spectacular!!

Saturday night the temperature dropped and started the first of several days of sub-zero temperatures. Because of the negative temps, I decided soup was the perfect meal for dinner last night (and leftovers throughout the week). I found a corn chowder recipe via Pinterest, and put my own twist on it. It turned out great and I look forward to enjoying it throughout the week, in hopes to keep my core temperature up! ;)

Corn Chowder
1-1lb pkg. bacon
4c. potatoes, peeled and diced
1 stick butter
1 onion chopped
1/2c. flour
4c. non-fat half&half
2 cans cream-style corn
1/2 tsp. chili powder
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste
shredded cheddar to garnish
approx 1/2 c. skim milk to thin out 

Cook the bacon until crispy. Drain the bacon grease, crumble the bacon and set aside. Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes, until soft, but not mushy. Drain them and set aside when done. In a large pot, melt the butter. When butter is melted, add the onions and saute over medium heat until the onions are transparent (approx 10-15min.). Slowly stir in the flour until it is combined evenly with the butter/onions. Gradually add the half&half , whisking constantly until it reaches a gravy-like consistency. Heat over medium heat until it almost starts to boil, stirring often, then reduce heat to low. Add the drained potatoes, bacon (may want to save some for garnish), corn, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Heat an additional 10 minutes+, then serve! If you like the soup a little bit thinner, you can add milk to it, to thin it out. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Educational Shopping/Smart Advertising

There are a million different reasons I LOVE Crate&Barrel. One of the many is that they always include interesting facts as a part of their advertising.

Today as I was browsing their January catalog, I came across a handful of different wine glasses and an explanation as to how each of  their different styles directs the taste of wine. In addition to wine, they offer this tid-bit of education on the topic of cocktails as well as beer. Below you'll find the wine diagram.

If I were you I would make a point to visit their website, not only to browse through their awesome products, but to view the cocktail and beer glass charts as well.

Not only do I feel educated on the topic, but because I'm now knowledgeable, I think I need to purchase at least two more types of wine glasses!! Smart advertising!

To view the cocktail and beer guides visit the Inspiration section of Crate&
Winner&Is - Cocktails
Snowed&In - Beer

Monday, January 14, 2013

Good Eats!

At the end of 2012, I put together a list of restaurants that are on my "Must Visit" list for 2013. At this point in the year, I've yet to knock any off the list. This will change soon as we will be enjoying a good meal with good company at the new Borough restaurant in the North Loop of Minneapolis this coming Saturday!!

Also on the list, but not shown below is the soon-to-open Burch restaurant, which is under the same ownership as my favorite, Bar La Grassa! (click the pic to visit their website)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Best Year Yet... In a Nut Shell

2012 was AMAZING!!!!!!! 

If I didn't think it would bore everyone else, I would post pictures from each individual event that took place (there were so many awesome memories made!!!). In an effort to hold your attention I've decided to highlight just a few events from 2012. 

Cheers to a great year and hopefully an even better one to come!!
The year started out with wedding showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties. So many family and friends to be thankful for!
Next came a long weekend in Colorado for the BIG wedding. Activities and events that we'll never forget with our closet family and friends.

I got to marry the love of my life and BEST friend while 34 of our nearest and dearest witnessed!!

Our officiant, Gretchen, added another notch to her cowgirl boot in honor of our ceremony.
After the wedding weekend a trip to Vegas was in order.
We celebrated our nuptials in MN on an unforgettable, balmy, 80 degree day in March.

We had our first Zoe scare and had to make an emergency trip to the vet. Turns out it wasn't anything a little ice pack couldn't fix!
The remodel of the back yard took place. (before)
We attended the 1st annual Kentucky Derby party to support the JDRF-YLC.
Neon pedal pub with the Best of Blaine!!
Because Dan had to work over labor day weekend, we decided to make a trip our of it. We enjoyed a weekend of shopping, walking and eating in NYC.
One of my best friends also tied the knot in 2012. In the quaint town of Montevideo!
We attended several weddings in 2012 and two of our close friends went above and beyond to cut the mold of wedding receptions and brought in dueling pianos. They win the creative card for weddings in my book!! What a fun night!!
We roamed the streets of San Francisco and had a blast visiting with our west coast friends.
Next we drove up the coast to Napa and enjoyed several days of  sunshine, food and lots of wine!!
I finally made the trip to Texas to visit the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Young!
We celebrated Grandma's 75th birthday with a holiday trolly light tour.
We said goodbye to 2012 and rang in the new year with champagne and friends at the Local in downtown Minneapolis.