Monday, November 12, 2012

Minnesota Family Weekend

This weekend Joe and I made the trip up to my home state, Minnesota, for my dad's birthday. The above picture was taken through the windshield of our car as we passed through Minneapolis. I found out it is really hard to get a clear picture at night in the car without a flash. I couldn't keep the camera still enough. Kind of artsy?

We stayed at my sister's house in Lino Lakes. She had identical twin girls in July, Anna and Lily. I've been told when your sister has babies it is as close as you can get to having your own, which I'm finding to be true. I couldn't love those little girls any more than if they were my own. Which is part of the reason I got them little Mizzou onesies... trying to get that idea in their head at an early age.

One of the benefits of staying with my sister and her husband, besides getting to spend time with them and the girls, is that my sister cooks for us. Along with my mom, my sister, Hillary, is my cooking inspiration. Like me, she didn't start cooking until her mid-twenties, and now is an INCREDIBLE cook. However, she has gone alittle to the extreme. I mean, the woman has a chicken coop in her back yard to raise her own chickens. Not to eat them, just so they can have really fresh, organic eggs (seems like alot of work to me). She also does stuff like make her own chicken stock (again, not with the chickens she raises) and plans to make her own baby food when the girls are old enough. Also, if you ever have a question about grass fed beef or free range chickens or eating organic, she is the one to ask. Even if you don't have a question, she will tell you all about it. She buys her meat by the cow (literally, she recently bought a 1/4th a cow, meat already butchered) from local farmers who she knows raises them as grass fed cows. She almost convinced Joe and I to buy our meat the same way, but that idea went out the window when we realized we didn't have enough room in our freezer for a 1/4 of a cow.

Saturday night, we had dinner at Hillary's place for my dad's birthday. Dad grew up on a farm, and loves meals like ham and potatoes. Luckily for dad, Hillary had alot of ham in her freezer, since along with the cow she has also recently bough 1/2 a pig. Dinner was ham, cheesy potatoes, brussel sprouts, and green beans. I know the last two items don't sound very birthday dinnerish (who eats healthy for their birthday dinner, right?) but they were very good the way hillary made them. She cooked the green beans on the grill in tin foil with soy sauce, and the brussel sprouts were sauteed with olive oil and white wine. They were delicious.

The ham and the cheesy potatoes were also cooked on the grill in aluminum foil grill pans. This meal proved it doesn't need to be warm out to cook on the grill.

My mom made my dad's birthday cake, which was a coconut cake. The cake was made out of the box white cake mix, but instead of using water, my mom used pina colada mix. It was amazing.

The next morning, we did what we do every year for my dad's birthday. We went to my dad's favorite breakfast place, The Original Pancake House in Edina, Minnesota, and then we went to a Vikings game. I'm sure the team knew it was my dad's birthday, because it was a great game and the Vikings beat the Lions!

Being that Monday was Veteran's day, Joe and I were able to spend the entire Sunday in Minnesota instead of having to rush back down to Kansas City for work. All in all it was a great and relaxing weekend :)

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