Room With A View…Of Canada

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Have Passport, Will Roadtrip.

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You always travel with your passport, right?

Of course, I keep it with me all the time–because you never know when you might have to leave the country quickly.

I thought so, but I wanted to double check…and well, remind you to bring your passport.

Like for Birthday Trip #1, my only requests for Birthday Trip #2 is to go somewhere I hadn’t been before and I didn’t want to plan it (wow, I really AM a prima donna!).  Once we had decided that MSP would be our starting point, I pretty much let April take over the planning.  And by pretty much, I mean totally (thanks, April, for allowing me to foist that upon you!).

So when the aforementioned conversation happened, I was hopeful that Canada was going to make the itinerary.  I mean, April does live in a border state.  But one never knows, perhaps you now need a passport to go to South Dakota.  All I was told is that my first full day in Minnesota would be an early start and I would need a change of clothes.

Passport?  Check!

Extra clothes?  Check!

Snacks?  DOUBLE CHECK! (what?  this is me–April knew snacks were her best bet to keep me awake during our drive).

Coffee?  First stop, right around corner from April’s house.

As we pulled out of the parking lot, April handed me a stack of papers:

You navigate.  And since you’re bound to figure out soon, if you haven’t done so already, we’re headed for Canada, so if you forgot your passport now would be the time to say something.

I’m quite sure I squealed in response.  In less than a month, I went from the most southern point to the top of the country.  I was excited.  Six hours and change is how long it took to get our destination: International Falls, MN.   This meant that I could cross another place off from my 1,000 Places to See Before You Die book.  Don’t roll your eyes at me–it’s the little things in life.

During our drive north, the foliage changed considerably–from barely any change in the Twin Cities to nearly bare trees when we got to International Falls.  It was quite a beautiful contrast to the plush greenery of Florida.

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Healing

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Before I launch into Birthday Trip #2, I did want to take a moment to pay homage to ANZAC Day.  Today marks the 100th Anniversary of this very bloody battle, where the “winner” lost over 80,000 men and the “loser” gained a sense of self-independence.

One of my friends was able to make the trek this year to pay honor to her great-grandfather and his sister.  Following her travels on Facebook has brought a flood of memories back–of such a fantastic and memorable trip, especially Dawn Service.

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I’m so very happy that she was selected to go this year (to ensure the peninsula wouldn’t be completely overrun because the 100th Anniversary, there was a lottery in both Australia and New Zealand for tickets to this coveted Dawn Service)–it truly is a trip of a lifetime.

While I was trying to figure out what to write about ANZAC Day this year, I came across this great post that Uncle Spike shared of an ABC story of a man who’s life was remarkably affected by this battle and, while he’s never been to Australia or New Zealand, has been the keeper of their sacred sites safe for 3 decades.

For his full story, click on the picture below or here to see Uncle Spike’s post.  Thanks Uncle Spike for sharing!

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Lest we forget.

 The Lone Pine:    Ironically, not the original pine after which the hill is named. This one was planted in honor of that Lone Pine that remained after the bloodiest battle in the entire campaign.

An Extra Shot

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For those of you who are unaware, coffee is what makes me a whole person.  Don’t bother writing in with [insert crazy argument here]…all I will read is blah, blah, blah COFFEE blah, blah, blah.  I will then make a cup of coffee, thank you for the suggestion, and go about my day.

Anyway, I’m only mentioning this to those of you who have never had the pleasure of knowing Morning Me before coffee: she ain’t pretty.  And the point I’m so long windily trying to make is that it is a rare occasion where I turn down a cup of coffee.

As mentioned in my prior post, there was an announcement that my delayed flight would soon be boarding.  I was torn in two.  Coffee or getting to the gate on time?  Okay, there wasn’t that much tearing…especially given there was no line at the cafe three gates away (probably because most people don’t drink a lot of coffee at 8:30pm….except perhaps the baristas, who were, in fact, bouncing off the walls).  I asked for a breve latte.  Actually FIRST I asked how many shots where in the size I wanted.  Three.  Wow…really?  That’s fantastic.  Then I order a breve latte.  All the baristas stopped momentarily to see if I was actually a person.  A real-live-ordered-breve-and-no-skinny-anything latte.

Then the barista at the register said something magical: would you like an extra shot?  It’s free.  I’m sorry, FREE COFFEE?  Oh honey those are THE TWO BEST sequential words on the planet (except for maybe FREE BEER or FREE WINE).  It’s coffee and it’s free.  I know that extra shots are not normally free, but who am I to argue with a barista who was being extra nice [read: don’t go visit and start demanding extra free shots].  Too bad there wasn’t a lottery place in the airport, I would have totally played because I was feeling so lucky.

I think normal people might balk at 4 shots of espresso at 8:30pm.  But not me.  Oh no, not me!  With gusto I said “of course I do…that would be fantastic!”  I didn’t even question why it was free, I just went for it (I mean, really who would turn this down???)  As I was gushing my profuse thanks I could see a realization of the late time start to sink into the barista’s brain and I could read his sudden perplexed expression like a book:  no, no decaf–all regular please!

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Thankfully my gate was near by because it was so creamy and so delicious, I needed to sit down.  Colectivo Coffee is a Milwaukee based coffee and roasting company who has been contributing great coffee to the fine folks in and visiting Milwaukee since 1993.  You can even go to their store on Humbolt Avenue and watch the whole roasting process–which is not only fascinating, but smells amazing!  Trust me, if you’re in the Milwaukee area visit one (or more of their stores)–you won’t be disappointed: the freshly roasted beans shine through in every cup they make.

My coffee reverie was interrupted by nice flight attendant, who very graciously announced final boarding for my flight.  Once in my seat with my seat belt buckled and tray table in its upright position, the aforementioned reverie continued until the last drop of creamy coffee was gone.  And before you write in and chide me about 4 shots of espresso at 8:30pm, just know that after I finished my delicious breve, I napped allllllll the way to MSP!

Thirsty Thursday #13

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In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way). As such, I’ve decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. So without further ado, I present to you Thirsty Thursday!

Just when you thought I’d given up telling you about all my Fabulous Not Forty Birthday Trips, wham! I’m back!

Chances are if you are flying between MSP and NYC, you’re going to have a layover.  Not always, mind you, but mostly.  It’s usually at O’Hare, but this trip it was Milwaukee.  And when in Milwaukee, one MUST have beer (if, of course, one is over 21 or accompanied by a parent, guardian, or spouse over 21).

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This is the Leinenkugel (try saying that 10 times fast!) Oktoberfest.  I enjoy Oktoberfest beers–they’re not my absolute favorite, but in October I think it’s always a refreshing change.  This one was smooth and had a bit more body than I was anticipating (that’s not a bad thing, mind you).  It paired well with my southwest egg rolls (any guesses where I was eating?).  My connecting flight has been delayed and just as I was about to order another, there was an announcement that we’d be boarding soon.  No time to pout because if I hurried, I might have time to grab a coffee from the cafe still open a few gates down…

Sunday Comics #27

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An oldie, but a goodie from one of my all time favorite comics 🙂

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Street Fair

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I was having a hard time trying to figure out which on to which blog this post would go. I mean, I essentially ate my way from one end of the street fair to the other…but then again, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do at a fair? 😉

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I completely love the randomness of New York City.  You start out your day running some errands, just enjoying the absolute gorgeous spring day.  Suddenly you turn the corner to head to the grocery store–and you walk smack dab in the middle of a street fair.  Since it’s about lunchtime, you do the only sensible thing there was and head to the nearest food stall, which happened to be selling brats and order one–with sauerkraut, of course!

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The juiciness of the brat in combination with the tang of the kraut and the crunch of a fresh roll–it was magic.  You stroll along, eating your brat, looking at jewelry and clothing and flowers and just when you think the day couldn’t get any better…BAM! A Creperie.

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Not wanting to feel toooooooo gluttonous, you just order a lemon & sugar crepe–even though the Nutella is looking very tempting!  The silky texture of the crepe…

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The Incredible, Edible [Deviled] Egg!

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I love deviled eggs.  I could literally make myself sick eating them.  I’m quite certain that at least once [or ten times] in the last 4 decades, I have.  I don’t think I’ve met a deviled egg that I haven’t liked.  My aunt’s are probably my favorite [I’ll let them duke it out as to which Aunt holds the Deviled Egg title].  I asked for her recipe once and I got: “oh you know, it’s a little of this and a little of that.”  Great.  That was very helpful, thankyouverymuch.  So I did what I always do when I’m a bit stymied in the kitchen.  I fetch Granny’s or Ome’s recipe book–in this case, it was Granny’s–and then immediately kicked up the heat, as I think the creaminess of the egg lends itself to a bit of bite.

There are two things I have learned over the years.  First, I only make them in small batches, so that if I decide to eat them all in one sitting a couple of days, it’s not such a gastroenteritis nightmare.  Secondly, I start with a small amount of each ingredient I add.  You can always add more but there is nothing worse than adding too much mustard and having mushy, runny deviled eggs.

As such, it turns out to be exactly like my Aunt said:  it’s a little of this and a little of that.

So when it is a certain holiday and you find yourself staring at a colorful bowl of hard boiled eggs and wondering what to do with them, it is THE perfect time to do a bit of experimenting on your deviled egg recipe.  If you didn’t want to experiment on your own but wanted something different, try one of these recipes.  I tend to be a [somewhat] traditionalist and keep my recipe pretty basic.

Hard boil the eggs, cool them, peel them, cut them in half, scoop out the yolks, set the egg whites aside, and smash the yolks all together.  To that you are going to add:

  • mayo
  • sweet relish
  • a dash of vinegar (for just a bit of tang–of all the ingredients, this is the one you want to use the most sparingly!)
  • salt & pepper
  • mustard**
  • paprika or chipotle powder for garnish

**the mustard is how I decide what type of kick my deviled eggs will have.  EITHER I use [pardon me, do you have any…] dijon mustard for a spicy flavor OR I use yellow mustard and add chipotle seasoning powder into the mix for a  smokey-spicy kick.

I like to start out with a tablespoon or so of each ingredient [except vinegar–use about 1 tsp max per dozen eggs].  I alternate the mayo, mustard, and relish until the filling has a creamy, but not runny texture.  Add the seasonings. Do a bit of quality control tasting and once the filling is to your liking, refill the yolk indention of the egg white.  Lightly sprinkle paprika or chipotle powder on top for a bit of garnish.

TA-DA!  Yes, it’s that easy.  I’m telling you, the hardest part is not eating them all in one sitting sharing.   Bon appetite!