Bemidji, Minnesota

Not everyone know this, but I am ordained–therefore I can officiate weddings.  This past weekend the family and I went up to Bemidji to officiate my friend Joni’s brother’s wedding.  Bemidji is about 4 hours north of the cities, and none of us had been there before.  We made a little vacation of it.  One night at a hotel and one night camping.  Lucy LOVED camping.  It was pretty sweet.

We headed up North on Friday morning.  We stopped for lunch in a town called Little Falls.  The town was not nearly as cute as the name implied.  In fact, it was not cute at all.

We ate at the Pizza Ranch, which is pretty much what you would expect from a buffet called the Pizza Ranch.

Before this trip I was under this beautiful delusion that all small towns were cute and quaint.   I thought everything was like Grand Marais (adorable town on Lake Superior, for those us you not from MN), with cute little shops and art galleries and candy stores.  That is not true.  Small towns are more likely to consist of a huge Walmart and then pretty much nothing else.  I was saddened by this realization.  Oh the sheltered life I have lived in the city.

Bemidji is actually a very nice town though.  The lake, which is also the Mississippi river, is beautiful.

We did the touristy stuff.  We took our pictures by Paul Bunyon.  Speaking of Paul Bunyon, everything is Paul Bunyon up there.  There are two Paul Bunyon streets–I mean main streets that actually intersect.  It was a little confusing honestly.

We stopped at a winery outside of town called Forestedge.  It was all fruit wines, but some were pretty darn good.  We got a Black Currant wine that I thought was excellent.

The winery also had some chickens…

After the winery we did the coolest thing of all.  We saw where the mighty Mississippi starts.  We headed to Itasca State Park, which is a very nice park.  I would camp there instead next time we go up there.

This was awesome.  The Mississippi was this calm little stream that kids were playing in.  We kinda want to see where the Mississippi ends sometime now.  If you haven’t been to Itasca to see this, I think it is worth the trip.

Yup, I am standing in the Mississippi River in this shot.  And I would NEVER do that here in the cities.  It was clean and pretty up there.

After Itasca State Park, I officated the wedding, which went well.  I wanted some pictures of that, but Alec was busy with Lucy and didn’t get time to take any pictures.

We camped that night at Lake Bemidji State Park.  As I mentioned Lucy loved it.  She crawled around the tent happy as can be.  She liked sitting by the fire too.  I feel bad we haven’t taken her camping yet before, and now the season is almost over.  It was actually a cold for her (and me) this past weekend even.

And that was our adventure up North.

Rhubarb-Rosemary Frozen Yogurt

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted for about a week or so.  Well that is because Lucy started to crawl, and then started pulling herself up.  I have been a little overwhelmed with how to keep her safe.  She can sniff out danger anywhere and crawls towards it as fast as she can.

Above is a perfect example.  It took her about 30 seconds to figure out how to pull the electrical plug safety things out.  Great.  I will be buying a different brand of those.

Needless to say, cooking and blogging hasn’t been my top priority.  I did make some frozen yogurt the other day that was quite good though.  I know rhubarb and rosemary sounds a little weird, but it works really well together.

Ingredients:

2 cups rhubarb, cut

1 cup cugar

2 sprigs of rosemary

2 cups yogurt

1 cup whole milk

To make the rhubarb syrup:

Put the rhubarb, rosemary, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Cook stirring occasionally until the rhubarb are falling apart and the liquid is thickened.  Drain through a fine sieve.   The liquid will be a beautiful pink color.

Once the liquid has cooled a little, add in the yogurt and milk.  At this point follow the instructions for your own ice cream maker.

I didn’t get a very good picture of the frozen yogurt, so you are just going to have to take my word for it that it turned out.  Since it is really hot this week, I will probably be making more ice cream recipes.

I made a handbag

I don’t think I have sewn anything for at least ten years.  Though apparently sewing is like riding a bike–you can always do it once you figure out how to actually get your sewing machine to work again (thanks Mom!). I got a fun new book that had tons of things you can make with one yard of fabric.  I thought this would be a good place to start with my new hobby.  For my first project I made a handbag, and it actually turned out!!! See below…

Here is a pic where you can see how big it is, though I don’t look too great…

Finally I have been obsessed with this button that I ended up putting on thepurse instead of doing a snap…

I had a blast making it, so I am sure there will be plenty of more sewing projects to come.  I think I am going to try a stuffed animal next.

We’re going to Party like it is 1958…

It all started when my mom gave me a book from 1958 about cooking and entertaining.  I figured this would be the perfect party.  I spent about a month looking at old recipes.  I sent out invitations.  I got myself a 50s housewife dress.  And last Saturday, I threw a pretty fun 50s party.  I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that everyone dressed up, and everyone seemed to have a  good time.

Now I believe that if you are going to go to the bother to throw a party, you should be able to enjoy it.  That is what I kept in mind while planning.  I was able to make all the food ahead of time.  Most of it was done the day before, in fact.  Instead of bar-tending all night, I made pitchers of drinks, and let people pour them for themselves.

The Menu:

I had a buffet style sampling of appetizers and desserts.  I made two types of Jell-o, a cherry-chocolate bundt cake, little cakes, ambrosia salad, a cheese ball, refrigerator pickles,  and spinach dip.  I made almost all of this on Friday morning.  Food in the 50s was easy! Packaged things, processed things, convenience food galore–I have never put such little effort into making food for a party before.

Cheese Ball: 

1 small tub of Merk Cheese

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese

a little blue cheese

a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce

Throw it all together and mix together.  Wrap in plastic wrap and form into a ball.  Put in the fridge overnight.  Before serving roll in parsley or chopped nuts.

Easiest Chocolate-cherry Bundt Cake Ever

1 devil’s food chocolate cake mix

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1/2 cup water

1 can cherry pie filling

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix it all together and put it in a bundt pan pre-sprayed with Baker’s Joy.  Bake for about 45-50 minutes.  Leave it cook in the pan for about 15 minutes then slide it out and let it cool completely.  Top with chocolate frosting.

Ambrosia Salad

1 package of marshmallows

1 tub of cool whip

1 can pineapple chunks, drained

1 can mandarin oranges, drained

1 cup coconut

Mix it all together.  That is it.  It is actually that easy.

The Drinks:

For ease, I wanted just one or two drinks at the party.  I decided on a Mojito and an Old Fashioned because they were both around in the 50s and they are both delicious.  According to Wikipedia (so it is probably right), the Old Fashioned was the favorite drink of President Truman, and the Mojito was the favorite drink of Hemingway.

Mojito:

1 2/3 oz white run

1 teaspoon sugar

2/3 ox lime juice

bunch of fresh mint

sparkling water

Put the sugar and the lime juice together in the bottom of a high ball glass.  Throw the mint in and muddle together.  Add the rum, ice, and sparkling water.  Serve with a slice of lime.

Old Fashioned

1 2/3 oz bourbon

dash of Angostura bitters

1 sugar cube

club soda

oranges and maraschino cherry

Place the sugar cube in an old-fashioned class and soak with the bitters.  Add some orange slices and muddle together.  Add the bourbon, ice, and cover with soda.  You can also use Sprite for a sweet Old Fashioned (serve with a maraschino cherry) or Squirt or 50/50 for a Sour Old Fashioned (serve with an olive).  If you are from Wisconsin, you can make these with brandy instead of bourbon.  Both liquors are quite good.  I like all varieties of Old Fashioneds.

The People:

Everyone came looking fantastic.  I didn’t get a ton of pictures, but here a few.

Here we are looking like a nice happy 50s family.

Our friend Joe came up from Madison for the party.  He helped me out a ton preparing for the party.  Plus he spent a couple of hours putting together a great 50s playlist.

I think Kelsey (my friend and former roommate) took the cake for the best outfit.  The baby she is holding is not hers though.  The adorable little baby Nina belongs to our friends Ann and Antonio.

Joe and Antonio showed up in the same hat…

Kara and Caleb–he is sporting a bow tie and she is wearing metallic gloves–pretty awesome.

Kim and Josh–my cousins-in-laws (is that a thing?).  Kim had the cutest hat!

Here is my friend Katie all decked out with broaches.

Here is Elle holding little Milo (Milo is not her baby.  He belongs to our friends Ray and Angie).

It was an absolute beautiful night, and we enjoyed some time outdoors.

Thank you so much to everyone who came.  I feel really bad I didn’t get pictures of everyone because everyone looked great! Next time I will be more on top of pictures!

 

Alec and Jennie Go Out

Alec and I were out to lunch the other day, and we thought wouldn’t it be nice to keep track of where we eat and if we liked it? That led to the creation of the blog: Alec and Jennie Go Out.  We both came up with the same name on our own, which is somewhat amusing.

Alec at a restaurant in Grasse, France

Each post has a review from both of us, which is nice because we have rather different tastes in food.

Jennie at the same restaurant in Grasse, France

Since we have a baby and don’t go out like we used to, we will also feature some guest reviewers.  Each review is based on a 1-100 scale broken down into 4 categories.

Tomorrow is our anniversary, and we are headed to the 112 Eatery.  We will certainly have a review for that.  So, check out our site if you want and maybe find some new places to eat in the cities.

Here is the link:

http://alecandjenniegoout.wordpress.com/

Thanks!