happy monday

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Happy Monday, friends. Hope you all enjoyed your weekend. It was a glorious sunshine-y spring weekend here in Minneapolis. I went to a show at First Ave with one of my oldest friends in the world (and her husband), the mister and I went to an after-hours fundraiser at the Minnesota Zoo AND spent hours upon hours in the bright gorgeous sun – reading and having quality outdoor time with the dog. Not to mention, general lawn and garden maintenance while we had the motivation!

Busy week this week, as I will be prepping for the Blogger Bake Sale that is happening THIS Saturday and there is a lot to do; namely, baking many many yummy things on Thursday and Friday so they don’t get stale before the sale.

Hope everyone achieved the perfect level of caffeination today – onward, ho!

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MPLS Food Blogger Bake Sale 2013

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As the adorable cupcake image states – there will be a food blogger bake sale on Saturday, May 4th. This will be the second year i am organizing the whole shebang and think we’re all in for a great time. Tracy and Molly of Kitchen in the Market have graciously donated their space in Midtown Global Market for the sale. So please, swing by on Saturday, May 4th – from 12-3pm and pick up some goodies. 100% of the proceeds benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry – the campaign to end childhood hunger in America.

Check out the blurb about the event on the City Page’s Hot Dish Blog. And please share the Facebook invite with all your sweet treat loving friends.  Stay tuned – next week I will post a list of participants. So many great bakers!

latest read…

Where-You-Go-Bernadette
i recently read Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette and loved every sentence of it. the book is told through various pieces of correspondence between the main characters with commentary/narration by Bee (Bernadette’s daughter). I laughed out loud several times and even when she was depicted at her worst, i couldn’t help but root for Bernadette the entire time. i am not going to describe anything in detail, because this book was so fun to read i don’t want to spoil any little bit of it for anyone. this book would be the perfect kick off for your spring/summer reading list. i promise.

the best banana bread i have ever made

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any coconut oil fans out there? being vietnamese, i have been eating coconut, drinking coconut water, using coconut sauces, putting coconut in desserts all my life. however, this banana bread is my first foray into using coconut oil and so far, i am not disappointed. no sir – not one bit.

there’s no butter or conventional cooking oils in this recipe. instead, the combination of coconut oil and greek yogurt keeps this bread moist and not too dense. if you love banana bread, this recipe is truly stellar.

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(the most gorgeous) BANANA BREAD
1 1/2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup 2% or full fat greek yogurt
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2-3 medium-size bananas (depending on how much banana you like)

-Heat oven to 350. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
-In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt – set aside.
-In a separate bowl, beat the coconut oil on medium-low until soft – should only about 30 seconds. Then, add the greek yogurt and beat until completely blended.
-Next, add the brown sugar, continuing to mix until fluffy. Add the egg and bananas, mix until combined. At this point, the batter probably looks kind of gross – don’t worry about!
-With your mixer still going, add the dry ingredients slowly – blend until completely combined.
-Pour into the loaf pan.  Bake for 50-55 minutes. The bread is done when a skewer stuck in the middle comes out clean.

ENJOY!

casual get-together

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myself and a friend have recently started organizing monthly knitting/crocheting get-togethers. we just had our second meeting last weekend and feasted on the above pictured spread. i’m a hostess at heart, so in general, i love throwing parties – however, there is something extremely satisfying about a small gathering of your closest friends with a few choice delectable foods to snack on. what is your go-to party food? my favorite is to put together a cheese platter with honey crisp apples and a crusty baguette.

spring storm

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if you are a resident of the midwest, it’s possible you could be looking at a similar view to the picture above, taken in minneapolis (where i live). we’re in the midst of quite a spring storm right now and while i normally love snow – a big snow fall on april 11th would make anyone despair just a tad, i think.

so how about we try not to think about it? and instead, drool over this GORGEOUS home in san francisco:

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to see more photos of this stunning home and read an interview the owner, visit the FvF website. so much eye candy.

yarn time

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i recently took on the task of teaching myself how to crochet. i’ve been working on my knitting skills for the last few years, but it just never took with me. for whatever reason, i decided learning to crochet might be more up my alley. and so far, i have proven myself to be correct! i completed my first project last night – this simple scarf. you may laugh that i just completed a scarf in april, but if you are from minnesota, you’ll know that my timing couldn’t be more perfect, as we have 6+ inches of snow headed our way. SIGH. i’m hoping to reach a point where i will be able to crochet cute creatures

architecture inspiration

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i adore the state theatre. the interior is so beautiful that it immediately makes any show i have seen there doubly enjoyable. built in the 1920’s, this building is a perfect example of the “roaring 20’s” architecture style. the original stage floor was made of glass and lit from below – i can’t even imagine who dreamy that would have looked. from 1921 – 1978, it served primarily has a movie house. then, oddly enough, in 1978, it was bought by the Jesus People Church and became a house of worship. the Jesus People covered up the murals and sculptures. in 1989 the state was bought back by the city of minneapolis and went through a 2 year renovation, re-opening as the lovely theatre it is today. if you have a chance, go see a show there.

i was reminded of this amazing place on saturday, for it was the location of Aziz Ansari’s stand up show in minneapolis. if you have never seen him do stand up, i also highly recommend it.

check out my favorite bit: Aziz Ansari’s 50 Cent grapefruit story

30!!!

ImageQuality time with the mister after birthday events

i celebrated my golden birthday this past saturday. it got me thinking about list making. i love list making. what i don’t love, though, is how incredibly fast summer in MN flies by. you make all these plans and have all these ideas and the next thing you know, it’s september and you’ve left a lot undone that will now have to wait until next year! so i decided i want to make a list of 30 things to do during my 30th summer. i haven’t actually come up with 30 items, however, so this will be the very begging and i will keep adding to it as spring goes on.

Summer of 30
1. take a river tubing trip (ideally more than one)
2. check out at least 3 different state hiking trails
3. take 2 mini road trips
4. go to a cabin
5. go swimming every week
6. run a 5k
7. plant a beautiful front yard flower garden

to be continued…