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Posts Tagged ‘Tomo’

Ok, ok, so I’ve been going on living life, and not really sitting down in front of my computer much. Which good for me, sad for you (when I disappear for who knows how long), but good news, I’m still here, not goin’ anywhere, and I’ve got updates, pictures, and fun things to share (minus that Zucchini Cookie mishap. I can’t share a recipe that totally flopped. They turned out more like muffin tops, healthy yes, cookie no. Sooo, if you’re looking for a muffin-y recipe with zucchini, choc chips, & craisins, then contact me at aminnesotalife@gmail.com πŸ™‚ ).

Remember back when I attended the Healthy Living Summit in Chicago? Well, I also mentioned that I won not one, but TWO drawings. The first was from Athenos. It was a Swoop Bowl like this:

And a 2-piece Arctic Salad server

Wow, THANKS AGAIN Athenos!

Then, not only did I win that awesome set, but wait, there’s more! I won a drawing from Attune Foods!

I won 5 boxes of Uncle Sam’s High Fiber cereal, 5 boxes of Erewhon’s Gluten-free cereal, AND the best of the best: 3 bags of Attune Granola Munch (Apple Cinnamon, Maple Nut, and Chocolate with Chocolate chips). I’d be lying if I told you they lasted more than two weeks (if that). My FAVORITE was the Maple Nut (I’m secretly a Canadian at heart…or at least wish I was). The Maple Nut and Apple Cinnamon had little yogurt chips. Heaven. I tell ya, this product will be purchased in the near future! Thanks again, Attune Foods!

~~~

The second (technically 3rd) big thanks goes out to Ms. Tomoyo who came ALL THE WAY from Japan to visit me this last week. Let’s recap, shall we?!

Some wordless recaps:

(ok a few words: I bought this shirt in Japan for my dad. Tomo saw it and burst out laughing. Apparently the Japanese written on it says: Emperor of the Night who is summoned by women into their snack bars to get drunk and then take those said women home). Well in Japan, my dad would be a pimp evidently.

Ok, no more words:

Thanks for an amazing week Tomo! See you again soon, hopefully in Japan πŸ˜‰

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In the meantime

My day started at 4:10a.m.

More like my night ended at 2:30a.m. and I took a cat-nap until 4 when I heard Tomo come nearly crashing down our death stairs carrying her suitcase that most definitely weighs as much, if not more than her.

Today, Tomo left.

Mom, Dad and I drove her to the airport at 4:30a.m. I will say that, since I fell asleep in my clothes on the couch and didn’t even bother to remove my pants or put on p.j.s that I was looking pretty good for that early in the a.m. πŸ˜‰

In addition, I have lots of updates on our 8 day adventure around the Twin Cities, but while I whip that up, as well as some Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies, here is a dorky survey that I actually enjoyed doing, to tide you over.

I was tagged on Anne’s Blog @ Food Loving Polar Bear in her little survey/questionnaire. So here goes my answers to those questions.

1. If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?

I would want to fly or be invisible so I could walk through walls. Sounds like it’d be cool. Oh wait, I wanna breathe underwater too! Free SCUBA diving!

2. Who is your style icon?

Hahaha, if you know me at all, um I clearly don’t have an icon by the way I dress, but I do like simple and cute with some accessories and heels. Who’s that?

3. What is your favorite quote?

Wow, I love quotes, but I currently have this one on my email signature:

Progress involves risk. You can’t steal second base while keeping your foot on first. -Anonymous

Seems relevant to my life right now.

4. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

Tomo’s family told me that I am the nicest foreigner they’ve ever met and I’m really respectful and understanding of other cultures. πŸ˜€

5. What playlist/cd is in your CD player/iPod right now?

I’m a little behind on the times since I just got home, but I’m still obsessed with Love the Way you Lie by Rihanna/Eminem, and I really like the country tune: If I Die Young.

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

I used to be a morning person, but evidently my social priorities have me staying up really late. That will all change again when I’m working 40+ hours a week!

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?

Don’t hate me: NEITHER. I don’t mind them, but since I didn’t grow up with any, I could live without ever having one. Some people have really cool dogs though.

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

I am from Minnesota, and this is my life. (Travels, Friends, Family, my Faith, and the fun things I do…all while trying to find a healthy balance). Here is my About Page!

Tag some people:

Jamie @ Tearaveler

Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers

Molly @ Something.Beautiful

Janetha @ Meals and Moves

Have fun with the questions! :)

~~~

Enjoy and I’ll be back SOON!

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Why hello lovelies.

Yesterday was the big day!!! Someone celebrated a big, fabulous birthday, and what better way than for me to make a cake?!

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Now, I’m all about healthifying things and even though the original recipe would have been fine and dandy, we not only were out of some of the ingredients, but in some cases, our house only hosted the healthy alternative. So, when I finally decided to get my life together, well after 12p.m., and finally realized it was my mother’s birthday (that I had yet to prepare for)…

First up, I ran to Party City.

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour (I used a little less than that and Whole Wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I used one teaspoon + 1.5 teaspoons of Pumpkin Spice)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (didn’t have –Pumpkin Spice)
1 teaspoon ground ginger (used Pumpkin Spice)
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil (I substituted 1 1/4 cups of natural applesauce. Best decision ever. SO.MOIST)
4 large eggs (I used 1 cup Egg Beaters–that’s all we had)
3 cups grated peeled carrots
1 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

~~~

Maple Cream Cheese Topping

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat CC)
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (I omitted. Great choice. Didn’t even need it)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350Β°F

Line 24 cupcake molds with paper fillers.

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger Pumpkin Spice in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and raisins, if using them. Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each.

Bake cupcakes 14 to 18 minutes (I did 17. Perfection), or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing them.

Icing:

In a hand mixer beat all the ingredients together. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly. (Again, taken from Smitten Kitchen). I didn’t follow the cooling instructions, and hence the final product looking like this:

I was pressed for time or I woulda put a little more effort into finding a way to cut some sugar, but what’s the fun in that. The nut’ stats are still dec. Take a looksie πŸ™‚

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 cupcake

Amount per Serving

Calories 152
Calories from Fat 31.0

% Daily Value

Total Fat 3.44g
Saturated Fat 2.19g
Cholesterol 108mg
Sodium 193.49mg
Total Carbohydrate 19.25g
Dietary Fiber 1.47g
Sugars 10.32g
Protein 3.11g
~~~
So after playing lil’ Rachel Ray, I sweat my butt off running to draw up a huge banner to stream across our garage, blow up balloons, write her card, wrap the gift, all before she was to arrive home around 4p.m.
Did I mention I started this all around 1p.m.? I’ve always been know for my punctuality.

~~~

Then the fun came, Mom arrived home and hugs, kisses, and gifts ensued.

After our mini celebration, the fam was off to pick up Tomo at the Airport. Let’s just say “Fashionably Late” should be our last name. This time it was unintentional, I swear.

We made it to MSP just in the knick of time. I assumed Tomo would be coming in through the International Gate. Makes sense, no? Did I forget to mention that she had a layover in Houston, making her flight to Minneapolis domestic. Oops. Well, needless to say my stiletto get up and Versace shades bookin’ it through the airport was far from classy. And my $15 shoes were not giving me legit support (clearly). A few minutes later after kindly interrogating the Continental Airline worker where the eff our passenger was, she said they had pick up their bags and cleared out already. Crap.

Then I got a call. Here I was holding the gift bag in hand, and poor Tomo was wandering aimlessly, surviving on little English and some stranger’s cell phone. Thank God for Minnesota nice, eh?! πŸ˜€

We were finally reunited. At.Last. And then it was time for a birthday dinner/Welcome to MN partay.

Lucky’s was the place to be!

Popcorn, entrees, and some birthday cake to go around. ‘Twas perfection. I’ve got a lot in store for Ms. Tomo as she spends her first American experience here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. I’ll keep you all posted for that matter. It’ll be the most action I’ve had in my life all summer! πŸ™‚

Now back to that Twins game, which should have wrapped up 5 innings ago…

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Good afternoon πŸ™‚

Before moving Cady back to St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN on Saturday, we hit up my dad’s neighborhood block party from when he was growing up. Let me say, coolest idea ever. As we walked up, all these grown men and old ladies were like: “Oh Billy…so good to see you, is this your family…” My dad just turned 60 in May, and some of these people he hadn’t seen since high school. Pretty cool. Mom, sissy, and I tagged along for the ride & reunion.

I just love that sequence. Yes, my parents are that goofy. πŸ™‚

It was really fun to meet all the kids adults my dad grew up with. Sadly we could only stay a little while before trekking down to school to drop off the sister.

So in other news, I’m being a major slacker on the whole India recaps, but life is still flying by the seat of my own pants, so I have to keep you all updated on that, even if it means updates from the comfort of my own home, where I religiously watch Ellen, go for morning runs with my dad, and of course job hunting for the perfect Health Communication job. πŸ™‚

In the meantime, I’ve also been preparing for a pretty sweet arrival of a pretty sweet person. Ms. Tomoyo from my little nook in Japan is COMING TO MINNESOTA! TOMORROW! Eeeek. This also means MAJOR cleaning to ensue. Not really my orders, but more of my dear mother wanting a presentable home. I completely understand. And being that it’s my friend and sissy is officially brought off to college as of last Saturday, that leaves me, the non-working daughter to fend for myself and get to work! I promise I did deliver, too.

Not only did I clean my rank room (note* = I moved home on Aug. 3 and purposefully avoided that hell hole, excuse my language, for a good 3.5 weeks. The piles got deeper, and I got less and less motivated.) I was not kidding either:

Embarrassing. But now, I can sleep in my own bed and find everything I own, neatly in its place. πŸ™‚

Ahhh, finally. But my domestic duties did.not.end.there. After my morning run in the sun, I found myself in the cleaning mood too, so I proceeded to dust, vacuum, and wash the kitchen floors. Oooh, my momma’s gonna looooooove me πŸ™‚

Done and done.

~~~

And since I was feeling extra crafty and had a butternut squash to deal with (please don’t judge the fact that I had forgotten what I even bought and had to Google: tan squash, in order to find out its name and more so, a recipe to prepare with it). Embarrassing, again. But like I said, foodie-in-training.

Adapted from this recipe

Whipped Butternuttin’ Better Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (about 2-1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, optional, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I used 1)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (didn’t have any, so I sub’d Cinnamon)
  • I added a dollop of plain yogurt
  • I also added a small driz of honey…not sure why, but it was a good choice.

Directions

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, bring squash, water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt if desired to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash is tender. (It was about 25 minutes that I did).


  • Drain; transfer to a bowl. Add butter, brown sugar, nutmeg Cinnamon, yog, honey and remaining salt if desired; beat until smooth. Yield: 6 servings.

I will say: This was so good and sinful. Mom backed me up on that. πŸ˜€ I cut up an apple and it made the perfect dipper!

So I may have only spent an hour job hunting, but lil’ Rachel Ray here was making magic happen in the kitchen. I think the sacrifice was well worth it.

Now off to grocery shop for some of Tomo’s meals while she’s here. Look forward to full recaps on our adventures together in the next week, starting with the celebration of MOM’S –th BIRTHDAY TOMORROW! It’s a big one!

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