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Delicious bruschetta

Our summer has been pretty busy, but with a good balance of of being laid-back and relaxing thrown in. We love exploring cool places around us and I especially enjoy finding places with wide open spaces for Juliet to run around in. This winery and pizza bistro is just an hour from our house the perfect place.

We went with Erik’s family when they were visiting over Memorial Weekend. The weather was lovely, and we enjoyed a wine tasting and pizza on the patio overlooking lush green trees and grape vines.

If you want to check it out, Falconer Vineyards and Winery is in Red Wing, MN. Thanks to my sister for telling us about this place!

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The pizza was really good. We ordered a bunch of different kinds and enjoyed them all. Since it’s been over a month I don’t remember each flavor but we got a smoked salmon pizza, a pepperoni pizza and two others. They make the pizzas in a wood-fire oven right on the patio.

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The view from the vineyard looking up at the winery and patio

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After we had pizza and wine, we let Juliet run wild in the vineyard. She loved it.

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The past month or so I’ve been staring at Juliet and thinking, “wow, she is getting to be such a big girl!”

This is a great photo of Erik’s mom, Erik and Juliet. We rarely get photos where Juliet is actually looking at the camera and smiling.

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Juliet and daddy

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Juliet and grandma Karen

For other great summer spots in MN and WI be sure to check out:

Nelson Stone Barn pizza farm

Two Pony Gardens Pizza Nights

 

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On Saturday morning I wanted a donut in a I MUST have a donut right now, kind of way. A chocolate donut to be specific. But I was feeling lazy and hadn’t showered and didn’t want to get in the car and go buy some. So I hung out on Pinterest for a while and found this amazing recipe for chocolate donuts. It looked easy enough and I had all the ingredients on-hand. I figured if I hurried I could have a delicious, homemade chocolate donut in about 20 minutes.

I was right.

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We had a great weekend and one of the reasons is because we kept it pretty laid back without any big plans. We went to a pizza party and gift opening with my younger brother and his wife on Friday and then spent Saturday at the farmers’ market and hung out at home. It rained/stormed all Saturday afternoon which was a great opportunity to bake some cupcakes.

Juliet is a fan of baking with me, she’s a great helper. I measure out the ingredients and she pours them in. She’s also a fan of stirring. If I don’t watch her closely she’ll try to sneak a taste…and sometimes it’s literally raw eggs and flour. EW. When is the “put everything in your mouth” phase going to end?

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Many of you know my love for potatoes runs deep. So does my love for brunch. So on Saturday when Erik and I had my parents over for brunch I was on a quest to find an awesome cheesy hash brown recipe. But the challenge was the fact that I really didn’t want to use cream of chicken soup for the creaminess in the recipe. Do those recipes taste great? Oh yeah. But I’m not a huge fan of the ingredient list in those cans of creamy soup so I try to avoid it when I can (though I’ll admit there are still times around the holidays you’ll see a can or two in my shopping cart).

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Sweet potato fries

Sweet potato fries are so easy to make. Peel, cut into french fry shape and place on a greased baking sheet with salt and pepper at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Turn/flip frequently to prevent burning. For the siracha ketchup I simply used 1 teaspoon siracha for 2 tablespoons of ketchup and mixed.

Happy Monday everyone. I hope you had a great weekend. We had a pretty relaxing couple of days and it was really nice. I did a lot of cooking and spending time with family, and I was able to sneak out of the house on Saturday night to meet up with a friend for dinner.

Part of the reason I was doing a bunch of cooking was for this post that is a part of a partnership I have with Unilever. Did you get a chance to view this awesome video “The Way Kids See It” that I posted last week? Unilever has a program called Project Sunlight which is their long-term initiative to motivate people to live sustainably by inspiring them to create a brighter future for children.

They are encouraging people to take part in a Summer Sunlight Activity which can help make your own household more sustainable. The activity I chose was one ingredient, five ways, to help reduce food waste.

In our house, we are no strangers to trying to eliminate food waste and ultimately save money on groceries. We often have “pantry parties” which basically just means we meal plan around whatever we have in our pantry/fridge/freezer. Most of the time the meals involve pasta, canned beans and tomatoes and actually end of tasting really great. It sparks creativity in the kitchen as well, which I really enjoy.

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barn

My younger brother Joel got married last Saturday to his awesome wife Katie. They hosted a fun, beautiful, rustic barn wedding on a farm in Wisconsin. The hope was for an outdoor ceremony but the weather had other plans. It literally down poured for hours as well as insane wind, but you know what? The ceremony inside the barn was just as beautiful as ever. And despite the weather, the day really was perfect in every way.

Joel and Katie were happy, laid back, just thrilled to be getting married to each other. And they kept their eye on the big picture. I admire them so much for that because I know had it have been me, I’m not sure I would have been able to hold my cool.

Their wedding really turned out to be the best day.

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