It’s officially hibernation season in MN, which means one thing food wise: SOUP! I am a huge soup lover & love trying new recipes. I found this one last year and even made it for our family Christmas potluck. It is so tasty & a bit different than “normal” wild rice soup. You can easily add chicken or other veggies if you’d like too. This recipe, as is, ends up making about 5 servings for me.
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup uncooked wild rice
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
4 cloves minced garlic
2 medium carrots (diced)
1 stalk of celery (diced)
1 large sweet potato (peeled & diced)
1 small white onion (peeled & diced)
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 TBSP Old Bay seasoning
4 TBSP butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups of milk (I used Almond)
2 large handfuls of kale
Salt & Pepper to taste
Heat 1 tbsp of butter in a large stockpot & sauté onion for 5 minutes
Add garlic for another 1-2 minutes
Add vegetable stock, wild rice, mushrooms, carrots, celery, sweet potato, bay leaf & old bay seasoning
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat & simmer COVERED for 45min – 1hour (or until rice is tender)
During the last 10 minutes make your cream sauce in a separate saucepan
Heat your remaining 3 tbsp of butter
Add flour & cook for one minute (stirring mixture together)
Slowly add milk & whisk together
Continue stirring and bring the mixture to a simmer (it should be very thick by now)
Add your sauce & 2 large handfuls of kale to the soup
How has it possibly been another month!? I love doing these posts & gathering my top finds each month. Only 4 this month but they are all gems in my book!
#1 Sunglasses – I am always down for a good sunglasses steal! I was buying DIFF lately but these are literally half the price & identical! SCORE!
#2 Wedge Boots – I have always LOVED the Sorel boots like this but they’re $150! These are from Target and with their cartwheel deal they had, I got them for $29! They are true to size & super comfy!
#3 Happy Light – If you live in MN, you NEED this. I’ve been using it for a week now & I can seriously tell a difference. I use it right away in the morning for 20-30 minutes. I have even used it mid afternoon too for a little natural pick me up! It has given me an extra boost of energy & I haven’t felt so BLAH. I also have been sleeping great @ night. This is going to be my MN winter survival method until I get out of here!
#4 Michael Kors Raincoat – I purchased this in AZ but I had been eyeing it up on their website prior to my trip. It fits SO perfectly! I love MK coats because they make XS and they just fit petite gals the right way! I am also obsessed with this olive army green color. They have a few colors to choose from.
What a weekend! I dedicated this solo adventure to healing & finding inner peace again. After an emotional time lately, I deserved this. I always feel better after traveling & I have come to love traveling by myself. 10 years ago, I would have never even thought to do such a thing & now it’s all I know & love. I should do a blog post sometime with my tips for traveling solo. I’ve become quite good and confident @ it.
Anywayssss – I’m just going to do a little recap & share some photos from this weekend. I love being able to look back on my posts & see what I was thinking in that moment in time. A digital scrapbook in a sense.
I decided I was just going to go into the weekend with some plan ideas but nothing set in stone – going with the flow and doing whatever my heart desired in that specific moment. Doing whatever brought me happiness & joy.
I’ve been wanting to go to AZ for a few months now. I just thought it would be a really relaxing weekend spot. Different than the city life I’m used to. Less touristy & go go go like I did in Seattle last summer. I loved the mountain feel in Denver for my bday this summer too. And I of course knew I wanted to go somewhere warm! It was ridiculously cold in MN and 86 every day in AZ. Perfection. I settled on flying into Phoenix & staying in Scottsdale. It seemed like things would be pretty spread out yet close enough to drive between Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa & Tempe. I found a bomb Airbnb @ a luxury apartment complex in the paradise valley area of Scottsdale. I also rented a car for the first 24 hours to explore a bit.
I arrived @ 930am on Saturday morning. Nice & early so I had the entire day to do stuff. I grabbed the rental car. That is one thing I’ve never done by myself and it went really well. I really covered a lot of ground on Saturday in the car.
I set off right away to The Local Donut. I wanted to get there right away because they close early & I didn’t know if I would have time to trek there the following day. They are like the Glam Doll of PHX. I loaded up on a few different fun finds, my favorite being apple cider.
Next up was the Desert Botanical Gardens. I was so pumped for this. Haha. For real. It is like a massive cactus & succulent garden! My favorite! I had soooo much fun snapping cool pix here.
I had planned to go somewhere called Zookz for lunch but I stumbled across a chili stand. I mean come onnnn. Chili is one of my top 3 foods. No joke. I’ve never just stumbled into an actual chili stand before. So despite it being a scorching 86 degrees, I got the damn bowl of chili.
I then spent the afternoon shopping. I found a cool handmade dish thing to put my jewelry in. Cactus themed of course. I also found the Michael Kors jacket I’ve been eyeing up online. I’m obsessed with that olive green color and they had my size. SOLD.
Checked into the Airbnb around 3pm and explored the property. It felt like a resort. It’s surprisingly less than I pay in Minneapolis too! Here are some shots of the place …
Decided to grab some dinner @ a spot near my place – Blanco Taco & Tequila. I had been eyeing up these nachos. They were incredible. I actually feel really comfortable eating out alone these days.
Had a low key night just lounging @ the Airbnb and settling in. I had an early morning ahead and needed sleep.
Woke up @ 5am on Sunday! Wanted to get on the road by 6am to trek to Camelback Mountain. This is the highest mountain in all of Arizona. This was really something I was excited for. I’ve never climbed a mountain alone! Haha. I went for the cholla trail which is apparently slightly easier than the other one. I wanted to beat the heat by going early like that. When I arrived I still had to park a ways down the road and some people were already coming down! Wow. I started off and felt great! It was really neat with stellar views. There are some signs to direct you but it’s not much of a trail. The top portion got a bit intense. You had to like rock climb! Scaling on your hands & knees in some places. I took breaks for water and photos which helped. I’m not going to sugar coat it though, this is quite the workout. I spent a lot of time on the top just sitting there and reflecting. I was also dreading the climb down. HA. I have really bad knees especially when going down from all the extra pressure. I decided to just go for it. I was going relatively fast to get it over with but also trying to be careful to not get hurt. I definitely had to put my phone in my backpack and focus on where I was going and I needed my hands a lot. It took me 9,382 steps round trip. This was by far the most invigorating thing I did during my trip. I felt like I really proved to myself again that I am capable of ANYTHING.
I drove directly to The Original Chop Shop after that adventure for a healthy green juice & protein bowl. Both were amazing.
I returned the rental car after this and showered up. Spent a solid 5 hours laying @ the pool for the afternoon. It felt really hot in the sun but I love HOT! I studied a bit for financial accounting and just straight chilled. Soaking in the rays hitting my skin.
Had a massage booked for 6pm because that’s another “treat yo self” necessity in my book! It was amazzzzing. This was good planning for after that hike I did in the morning!
The Vikes were on so I walked back to the Airbnb after my massage & got the game on. I also LOVE Chicago deep dish pizza. One of my fave chi places (LOU MALNATIS) has a location in PHX. I ordered delivery and indulged!
I woke up on Monday and strolled to the hot tub. Just what every person does on a Monday morning @ 7am! HA! It felt so amazing though. I was calculating and plotting how I can move to Arizona in the near future. I have a game plan. We shall see if it all works out. March 2022 I’m out. I’m manifesting that shit right here! I can tell right away if I like somewhere and this entire trip gave me excellent vibes. I’ve been wanting to move somewhere warm and haven’t quite put my finger on what would make sense and feel right for me. Phoenix checked all my boxes!
I got ready for the day and walked to Scramble for a coffee & mushroom omelet. It felt great to just sit on the patio and eat my breakfast in peace.
I went back and studied @ the pool for a bit. And then I just laid in the sunshine for a short bit. Reflecting again on life and this trip. This is exactly what my soul needed. I’m proud of myself for just doing it.
I ubered to downtown PHX to drop my luggage off with the rental company. Then I was off to the Heard Museum. There was a Native American boarding school exhibit I wanted to view. I knew it would be triggering and upsetting. It was. Honestly, I just kept thinking WHAT IN THE FUCK. There are some seriously SICK people in this world. It was really sad but I am glad I got to see it.
I then did something completely random and not really on my plan list – I got dropped off in the middle of Rosevelt Row and just wandered alleys and found so many awesome street art gems. I legit love doing this.
Found another random spot called The Dressing Room and had a snack & marg to refuel.
It was already time to grab my luggage and roll out to the airport.
I missed my Mia baby but she was in good hands @ my sisters with her favorite cousin.
This was another solo trip for the books. I accomplished everything I wanted & more. I had time to decompress & think. I did new things that pushed me out of my comfort zone. I relaxed and slowed my body to melt & feel the inner peace deeply. I saw Camelback while on the runway and I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with pride and joy. I came, I saw, I conquered. Until next time AZ.
Thinking maybe I’ll do one more quick 2 night trip before the end of February when I go to Key West for 5 days! Traveling really does rejuvenate me!
P.S. thank you to everyone who reached out to me after my latest post about what I’ve been going through. I was humbled by how many of you actually care. Your kind words & gestures really mean the world to me. It’s easy to feel alone in this cruel world, but when y’all reach out (some of which are complete strangers to me) it renews my hope & faith in humanity. We are in this fight together!
INHALE – EXHALE. That has been my very simple motto lately. Just remembering to breathe has been my main focus. I’m going to share this with as much grace + class as I possibly can. Obviously there is pain associated with something like this, which can bring out bitterness. I have been trying hard to release those feelings & trust that karma & the universe will take care of everything for me.
I’ve been missing in action on here because I not only powered through that entire MBA math course in less than a month (& recently found out I was accepted into the program … more on that next week!), but I also went through a painful breakup. It was one of those things where you know it’s the right thing to do but it also hurts SO much. To let go of your best friend is just straight up hard. Those of you who know me personally, know that I am a very empathetic and deep soul. People don’t just come & go easily in my life. People who I become close to, become MY people. I would do anything for my people. I am fiercely loyal & protective of my people. I love my people hard.
Well I have learned that sometimes “my people” won’t always look out for me in that same regard. I have learned that I cannot expect people to love as deeply as I do. I am convinced some people are just not capable. And that has NOTHING to do with me and EVERYTHING to do with them. A few years ago, I would have blamed myself & obsessively thought of things that I could have “done better”. Well, not anymore. I have grown SO MUCH. My confidence is MUCH higher & I truly know my self worth. This level of self love did NOT come easily. I have been through some pretty crazy things the last 5-6 years relationship wise. I’ve put in the work though. I’ve gone to therapy. I’ve read, researched, journaled & put in the hard work to get myself to this place. I need a partner who has also put in the work & is ready to be their best self.
It’s really hard to admit defeat and give up on something/someone I tried so hard for. I know I shouldn’t refer to it as defeat but in reality it sort of is. I gave it my all – I really was genuine in ALL my actions. I was patient, kind, loving, encouraging, loyal and faithful. There is not a single thing I regret on my end. Betrayal is a jolting & traumatic feeling when it catches you off guard. I never once inflicted the type of pain that was inflicted upon me numerous times. When I sit here & think about how much I tolerated, I am not proud. But at the same time, that’s who I am. A lover, a fighter for what I believe in & those I love, a good woman. There were things done that just were NOT OKAY. Things that caused me deep pain & things I’m not even sure can be forgiven. I have tried but some things are unforgivable. You can’t recover fully from some things. I will most likely battle some of these things in the years to come. I’m working on that part because I know that will allow me to fully heal & be at peace. Even with forgiveness, these things will always be with me. Deeply engrained in my memories & soul.
Overall, I am doing well. I am staying strong & focusing SO hard on my healing & inner peace. I am believing that it will be worth it. I am trusting HARD. I have sat alone with an unbelievable amount of discomfort & not given in. I am sitting with this pain now, so that I will be whole again for my future soulmate. I am learning to live without someone, whom I was so close with. That is really hard. I am grieving a loss that is indescribable. I am leaning into the unknown & rolling with the new tides. There are times it hits me in gut wrenching waves, I am not going to lie. I have broken down @ the most random times. But every single time I have pulled myself up. Although there were some pretty rough times, obviously there were a lot of really good times & memories too. Those are the times that make me sad. I just keep allowing myself to feel all the feels and then move past them. Mia has been the biggest blessing I have. Her unconditional love has helped me stay positive every day.
I decided to go on a mini vacay to Phoenix & Scottsdale, AZ to continue my healing. Travel always helps my soul and traveling solo always makes me feel so confident in my abilities. I can conquer anything I want in life. I don’t need a man to do anything for me. Would I like one for a companion, ABSOLUTELY! I still believe in true love. But I also do not NEED one to complete me.
I have no doubt I will recover from this. I am not sure how long it will take, but I know I won’t give up.
One of my goals for this weekend in Phoenix was to hike Camelback Mountain on my own. It’s the highest mountain in PHX. It was hard, not gonna lie, but I did it! All 9,382 steps. It was an invigorating experience I will never forget.
Wow! The month of October absolutely flew by! As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have been busy working away on the MBA prereqs and just not in the mood to blog. More on what I’ve been going through next week. But for now, I am going to do a quick post with my favorite finds for my 4 legged baby MIA.
#2 – Kibble Bubble Dog Treat Pouch: I got this so we always have treats & snacks on the go! (like mother like daughter) It holds quite a few treats & they surprisingly do not fall out. I just hooked it right to the leash/poop bag thing I carry.
#3 – Silicone Ice Cube Trays: This may seem weird to have on a dog list, but I use these to make homemade doggy breath mints! Just mix greek yogurt with fresh parsley & mint. I freeze them and make little cubes to give her for treats. They come with nice covers too. I originally had plastic ones and learned the hard way that those will break easily. These silicone ones make getting the cubes out easily!
#4 – Cloud Star Chewy Treats: I love these because they are so tiny & soft. I hide any pills/medicine for Mia on these & they are easy to carry on the go!
#5- CBD Oil: I have been getting Lazarus Naturals but once my current bottle runs out, I am going to try Hempworx … My lovely friend (Amanda) sells it & I am looking forward to trying! Here is Amanda’s link if you are interested: https://www.hempworx.com/sparkfiregreen
#6 – Sherpa Fleece Blanket (LOL): Another one that seems weird to have on a dog list but SERIOUSLY … Mia loves this thing! If your dog loves to get cozy, this is the perfect blanket!
#7 – Dog Bed: This is LEGIT the best dog bed ever. Sometimes I wake up and can’t find Mia in bed …. she is always burrowed deep into this thing!!
#8 – Nail Dremel: I do Mia’s nails @ home & this thing works wonders! I tried a few different ones before getting this one & they don’t even compare. I use it 2x a week & she does great with it. I love that you can recharge it & it actually takes length off her nails effortlessly.
So there’s that! If you are a fur parent, I definitely suggest checking some of these items out!
I feel like I haven’t blogged in forever. To be honest, I haven’t been in the mood. I’ve been busy with other things & just really have needed to rest in my spare time. But I did want to do a post today with some MPLS restaurants that I’ve been digging or plan to try in the near future. You all know how I love me some good food. #foodie
There’s been a lot of turnover in Minneapolis lately in regards to restaurants. I revamped my ongoing food list when I moved to another area of the city in August. I’m more NE and DT now so some of these may be old news, but new to me! I’m going to do a little run though of my thoughts & if you’re looking for some good local MPLS eats, try something from my list below! Going to try & highlight places that I haven’t blogged about before! I have a few random pics to accompany my thoughts but I’ve been so bad @ taking food pics … need to stop just inhaling first – HA!
PIZZERIA NEA: so sad to report that after 17 years they closed a couple weeks ago! Bummer since it’s right out my front door. I did get to try it before they closed their doors & it was amazing.
STRAY DOG: aka my new hangout. This is literally 20 steps out my front door. They also have an entire vegetarian menu! My favorites include the house baked soft pretzels & cheese dip and the vegetarian nachos!
MACS: never eaten here but did have some drinks & watched a vikings game. Another one right out my door. Seems like pretty basic bar food.
SAVOYS: has been a fave for years but now I’ve got one a block away! Green & black olives are my go to toppings!
SONDER SHAKER: I was so excited to try this one & it didn’t disappoint! The loaded fries were on point! They have a new fall/winter menu out that I’m excited to try. This one is about 2 blocks from me! Yay! They also have crazy good fancy drinks!
GINGER HOP: I was sad to move away from Amazing Thailand but now I’ve got this! Thai style fried rice is my jam.
BLACK COFFEE & WAFFLE: the Como one isn’t far from me & I’ve fallen madly in love with the strawberry cheesecake waffle. I’m heading there this weekend with my girlfriend & we plan to try the new pumpkin waffle & the apple one that I’ve been eyeing up for awhile now!
ASTER CAFE: haven’t been here recently but it’s not far from my place & I’ve had it in the past and loved it. Nestled right down by the river & Stone Arch Bridge too! I want to go one night when they have live music!
R TACO: another walk across the street gem. If you’ve never tried their tacos, you must do so. They are on my foodsby app @ work too … very tempting to eat tacos 24/7!
HIDEAWAY BURGER BAR: went here for a Vikes game & got a burger, which looked so good online but I would say it was a so/so burger … really greasy, very little flavor & not much there. I’m gonna stick to Shake Shack or Five Guys for my burger cravings!
WILDE CAFE & SPIRITS: breakfast gem! I love their breakfast & brunch food. Down by the river with cozy vibes.
KEYS FOSHAY: another breakfast gem & a classic. Everything they serve here is so delish. Mushroom omelet has been a fave in addition to the French toast!
MUCCIS: before moving out of Uptown, you bet I tried this new hot spot! It lived up to the hype for sure! Tried the pizza, garlic montanara & rigatoni. Everything was awesome!
HERBIVOROUS BUTCHER: interesting concept, was sort of weirded out by the look & texture of the “meat” … but my sandwich did taste like a normal Italian sandwich.
CHEESE LOUISE: this is a southwest mpls gem. The grilled cheese was some serious comfort food. The bread was so soft & the combo of cheeses was perfect. Also fell in love with the parmesan truffle fries. Who doesn’t love fries!?
LIST TO TRY:
FIRST DRAFT TAPROOM: been here several times before but they recently added more food to their menu & the pics make my mouth water every time!
TARACCINO COFFEE: across the street & it looks like they have some good breakfast options in addition to fancy coffees.
TRIO: this one is back in good old Uptown. a plant based vegan restaurant! The food looks seriously bomb.
BARDO: fancy date night spot right out my door! I’m waiting to see their winter menu!
BACON SOCIAL HOUSE: this is next on my list … need to try a bacon flight!
PRACNA: don’t know much about this one. Just saw it down by the river & thought it may be a good one to check out.
GRAZE: a new North Loop Food Hall! Exciting! It appears to have awesome DT view too.
JEFE: Mexican food … right next door to Aster & Hideaway. Good HH!
SAMPLE ROOM: NE … don’t know much about this one either but would like to check it out as I’ve read good things!
RED RABBIT: this one has been on the list for awhile & it just never works out to go. I think my problem is that I compare it to my real fave Italian spot & don’t even give it a shot! (see below)
SNACK BAR: not sure this is even open yet … was slated for October. Small bites, wine & pizza in North Loop, what’s not to love?!
GIGIS: another one back in Uptown that I never got to. A little neighborhood cafe.
BOLUDO: EMPANADAS! YUM!
AND OF COURSE MY ALL TIME FAVE PLACE & LAST MEAL PICK …. would be @ the one & only BAR LA GRASSA. I’ve posted about BLG before & I honestly can’t get enough of it. It’s been a once a month affair for awhile now! Planning to go back in 2 weeks! HA! Highly Highly recommend if you want AUH-MAZING Italian.