Weekend Update: Clean It Up

Happy Monday my friends. Yes, we are going to make Monday happy today. Think of one thing you are thankful for and make that your happy thought for the day. My happy thought: it’s my birthday month! What’s yours?

It’s going to be a real quick weekend update for you all today. Friday night, Dana and I were feeling so super creative and motivated in the kitchen that we ordered ourselves a Domino’s veggie pizza. 🙂

pizza and salad

I whipped up a batch of Julie’s raw brownie bites in the Ninja Ultima. Holy cow you guys. If you haven’t made these yet you absolutely must. They taste like a fudgy brownie. SO GOOD!

brownie bites

brownie bites

Dana and I actually went out to eat this weekend. For those of you who have been following me for a while, you know this just doesn’t happen very often. I ordered chicken fajitas and they did not disappoint. Although, my favorite part of the whole meal was probably the beans on that side plate.

El Loro Mexican food

We spent the day on Saturday with friends and it was such a great time. It was very much of an impromptu hangout, and sometimes those are the best! We grilled up burgers and hung out with the kiddos and the babies! Loved it.

On Sunday I got cozy in the kitchen and made a batch of beef and veggie soup. I am realizing I need more zinc in my diet and the best way to get that is through meat. This soup was completely amazing! I may or may not share the recipe.

veg beef soup

My body wasn’t too thrilled with me and my not-so-healthy weekend. I am going to do my best to get back on the clean eating track as best as I can within reason. It starts with that soup; mostly clean and veggie-packed! My body will thank me.

It was a quiet weekend once again which ends our quiet weekend marathon for a little while. We have lots of birthday celebrations coming up and I am obviously super excited!

One more thing before I leave you. My girlfriend Jen who blogs over at Brunette Anthem, is going to be featuring me and some of my healthy recipes over the next two weeks! Go check out her site. She is my fashion inspiration.

Happy Veteran’s Day to all. Today and always, we honor our nation’s veterans and those who are currently serving.

Continue Reading Weekend Update: Clean It Up

Photo Dump: Food Style

I have a bunch of food photos leftover on my phone from the last month or so and instead of just deleting them, I thought I would share them with you all. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have seen quite a few of these already.

Enjoy the photo dump, food style!

Strawberry spinach salad with feta cheese, black beans, basil and strawberry vinaigrette.

strawberry spinach salad

Dinner at mom and dads: Grilled chicken breast, salad with vinaigrette, roasted eggplant, and watermelon.

After my dining experience at Spoon River, I realized I really like eggplant if it is prepared properly. I love how they had roasted it with some olive oil, salt, and some herbs (at least I think that’s what they did), so I tried replicating it at home. I bought an eggplant from the farmers market, sliced it into large circles, spread on some olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted them in a 375°F for about 30 minutes, flipping the eggplant halfway through the roasting process. They turned out great! I will definitely be making them again this summer!

dinner eggplant chicken spinach salad

This is from a work potluck. I piled on the veggies, fruit, quinoa, and tried some of the crab salad too. Everything was awesome as always! We have the best potlucks.

work potluck

I don’t think I ever shared this one with you. This was a mushroom and black bean veggie burger from a restaurant in Apple Valley called Valley Tap House. We enjoyed this meal outside until the storm sirens started going off and we were forced inside. torrential rain began as soon as we got inside! This burger was fab btw!

valley tap house veggie burger

A random mini meal: veggies and hummus. Gorgeous.  veggies and hummus


This one obviously isn’t a food photo but I had to post it. He demolished one of his stuffed animal toys which he usually doesn’t do! He is very good about preserving the stuffing, but he must have had enough of this one!




Happy Friday, aka the best day of the week if you ask me!

Continue Reading Photo Dump: Food Style

My Friday Night: Blends and Spoon River

After work yesterday I made my way to downtown Minneapolis to meet up with my friends and fellow bloggers Katie and Becky. I always get excited about meeting up with these girls. Although we’ve only known each other for a short time, I feel so connected to them. Our conversations are always great, we laugh, we talk about life, blogging, food, etc. We always have an amazing time together and last night was no exception.

Becky poured me a glass of chilled white wine upon arrival of course. 🙂 Like she says, if you come over, she’ll always keep your glass full of wine.


The only thing about this get together was that it was a little bittersweet. Becky will soon be moving to Chicago, so this was our Bon Voyage get together. It was more sweet than bitter however because for one, I am thrilled for Becky and this new chapter in her life, and two, Chicago really isn’t very far away; a quick plane ride or a five-hour car ride. It’s no big deal. Now we have more of a reason to go out to Chicago. We’re already starting to plan for our trip out there!

Last night we headed over to Spoon River for dinner which is “a restaurant in Minneapolis committed to the advancement of organics, the support of local growers and serving the freshest, most delicious food possible.” source  Sounds amazing right? Well, it was.

spoon river

I ordered the vegetarian special for the night which was zucchini stuffed with ricotta, goat cheese, and kalamata olives, roasted bell peppers, roasted eggplant, green beans, and a quinoa pilaf. Oh my goodness everything was fabulous; so full of flavor and incredibly fresh. Go eat there now!  spoon river

The company with dinner was pretty fab too. 😉

becky katie melanie


We sat outside and enjoyed the perfect evening.

For dessert I enjoyed two homemade bars: a Special K bar from Katie and a cookie dough bar from Becky (recipe to come!). Both were sinfully delicious. I felt bad I didn’t have any bars to contribute!

We said our good-bye’s at the end of the evening but as I always say, “it’s not good-bye, it’s see you later.” I can’t wait to see you gals again soon. I love you both!

The remainder of the evening was spent cozied up in my sweats and laughing at this guy who thought it was a good idea to dissect his toy…


He looks a little suspicious if you ask me. What’s that hanging from his tongue? 😉

I still have some crazy fun things to share with you from this past week, but I need a little more time to put it all together! Be on the lookout next week!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Continue Reading My Friday Night: Blends and Spoon River

My First Taste of…

Ethiopian food!

This weekend we traveled to Rochester, MN to visit family. We were looking for a place to eat lunch and Ethiopian food was mentioned. There was a place just a few minutes away. The majority of us said we had never eaten Ethiopian food before but after looking on the restaurant’s website and glancing at the menu, we thought the food looked pretty good, so we decided to give it a go.

The restaurant was called the Nile Restaurant. There wasn’t much for ambiance except for a few photos on the wall and the temperature of the restaurant was absolutely freezing. I was thankful I was able to borrow Dana’s dad’s sweatshirt. We sat at one of the ten tables and started browsing the menu.

nile restaurant

We were greeted by the waiter who also turned out to be the chef and owner. We told him it was our first time eating this cuisine of food and asked for recommendations as to what to order. He told us that everything was delicious on the menu and that we would be happy with any of it (of course the chef was going to say that, right?). Super helpful. 😉

We asked him about the spiciness level of the foods and he explained that menu items with the word “wot” in them meant they were spicier dishes. Given that I’m a pansy when it comes to hot spiciness, I stayed cleared of those menu items.


I decided on a vegetarian option called Kik Alicha which was split yellow peas prepared with sautéed onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and sliced jalapenos.

Menu Ethiopian food The Nile


We started off with a couple orders of falafel too. They were super crispy and tasted good, but I think the flavor of my falafel is even better, plus mine are baked so they are a lot healthier than the deep fried version. Still, I had fun eating them and enjoyed them.

falafel The Nile

The food was presented on a large platter where each order was placed on the platter according to where the person was sitting. In the middle of the platter was romaine lettuce with some type of sauce on it, and on the side of the platter (the white stuff in the photo) was some homemade cheese. My dish came separately in a small dish because it was more of a soup.

Ethiopian food The Nile

To eat this dish, you grab a piece of the bread underneath the food called injera. Injera is made from different types of flours like wheat, teff, or barley (or a combination of them) and mixed with yeast and water. The mixture is then left to ferment for a while which brings out a sourdough taste. They then use a special surface to cook the injera. Anyway, you take the injera with your fingers and use it as a utensil to scoop up your food. It’s messy but that is how they eat! They looked at us a little funny when we asked for utensils to eat the falafel– now we know why. We were learning!

Ethiopian food The Nile

I wanted to taste the injera but since there was gluten in it, I limited myself to just a few bites. It really did a great job of soaking up the flavors of the dishes. It tasted like a sourdough crepe (or at least what I think a sourdough crepe would taste like).

My Kik Alicha:

Ethiopian food The Nile Ethiopian food The Nile

The flavor of the Kik Alicha was good; almost like something I would make at home. It was a comforting dish. It tasted like a split pea soup with turmeric. I also had a couple of bites of the other dishes to see what they were like.  I liked the chicken dish, but wasn’t a huge fan of the lamb or beef. No surprise there.

Overall, we all really enjoyed our Ethiopian lunch adventure. Many of us agreed that we probably wouldn’t need to eat Ethiopian food for a while again, but we were happy with the food overall. Unfortunately, I’m not sure my belly appreciated it though because I wasn’t feeling so hot later in the evening. But who knows, it could have been something unrelated that threw my system off.



A quick teaser for a recipe to come…  almond cacao cookies (clean!)


Cookie making was happening in our house yesterday! YESSSSaaaa!

Have you ever eaten Ethiopian food? 

Continue Reading My First Taste of…

Dinner Out at Mill Valley Kitchen

Last night Dana and I ate dinner at Mill Valley Kitchen in St.Louis Park. They offer Northern Californian cuisine and use fresh, local, and sustainably sourced ingredients to create their menu. I was looking for a restaurant with a nice atmosphere, with healthy and delicious food that wouldn’t throw my GI system off. Luckily, Mill Valley Kitchen had just what I was looking for.

mill valley kitchen


I started dinner off with their raspberry lemonade from the natural refreshments menu and Dana ordered a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

natural refreshments mill valley kitchen

raspberry mint lemonade mill valley kitchen


I drank the whole thing and even ate the mint. Is that weird? Does anybody else do that?


For dinner we both ordered the Nantucket Day Boat Scallops…





scallops mill valley kitchen

scallops mill valley kitchen

scallops mill valley kitchen


They tasted as good as they looked. Cooked to perfection.


We also got a side of Sesame Carrots….insanely delicious. I WILL be making these at home.

sesame carrots mill valley kitchen


and Brussels Sprouts with Lemon.

lemon brussels sprouts mill valley kitchen


It was a lot of food and I was so happy to have had so many leftovers to take home with me for the next day because everything tasted so good! The food was cooked simply and with such fresh and flavorful ingredients. It’s exactly how I like to cook at home! The nutrition facts are listed on their menu and they have clearly marked gluten-free options too. I like that I could leave the restaurant feeling good about what I ate.

I would recommend Mill Valley Kitchen to anyone looking for a healthy and comfortable dining experience.

Since we were all dressed up from dinner, I took the opportunity to get a family photo once we got home. 🙂



dana and melanie and moose

The rest of the evening was spent with Moose. We went for a walk and then sat out on the back patio. The weather was absolutely perfect last night. It was the perfect way to end the night.



Happy Saturday!

Continue Reading Dinner Out at Mill Valley Kitchen

Clean Eating Program Update

Hello! How are you all? I’m doing pretty well. Feeling pretty good. The laundry is almost all caught up from this weekend, now the house just needs to be cleaned a bit and we will be back in working order.

Clean Program Update

I wanted to give you an update on the Clean Eating Program I have been following for the last couple of weeks. For those of you who may have missed it, you can check out the clean program I am following by reading this post: Clean Eating Program.

If you will recall, the program offered the option of following the cleanse for 1-3 weeks. Along with the variation in length of time there was also an option of following the real cleanse which is smoothie/shake in the morning, solid meal for lunch, and a smoothie/shake for dinner OR you can simply follow along with the foods from the Elimination Diet OR you can try to do a combination of the two variables. The elimination diet removes dairy, eggs, wheat, caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol, red meat, strawberries, corn, and certain other foods that individuals tend to be sensitive to.

How I Followed the Clean Program

For the first 5 days I was following the cleanse to a T; a smoothie in the morning, a solid meal for lunch, a smooth blended soup for dinner. I would stop eating in the evening so that to allow my body 12 hours to digest and detoxify before my next meal in the morning. I was snacking in between meals only if I truly was hungry and would generally grab for raw fruits or vegetables if I did need something.

clean smoothie

Well, after day 5, I was starting to get real tired of all of this. I would dread eating smooth soup in the evening not only because it bores me having the same thing night after night but also because it was 90 something degrees outside and hot soup is just not appealing when it’s that hot. I’m not a fan of cold soup either. At this point I decided in order to save my sanity, I was going to continue the Clean Program, but would allow myself more solid meals from the elimination diet if I wanted to. This has been working out very well for me for the most part. Often I will still have a smoothie in the morning, a solid meal at lunch and a solid meal at dinner. I am trying to be careful with the snacking but have been finding myself grabbing for the jar of mixed nuts time after time. I believe it’s because my body was/is missing the extra protein.

It worked out really well to follow the modified version of the program while we were camping. There was no way I was going to be drinking 2 smooth meals while we were away. It could have been done, but it wouldn’t have been easy, or enjoyable. With a crazy amount of food preparation, I was able to make enough meals and snacks for us so that we could continue to follow the elimination diet while we were away.

spaghetti squash and meatballs

We went out to eat a couple of times and were able to mostly stick to the plan too. At the first restaurant we ordered a bison burger with a side salad. I just had to take the bun and the tomatoes off. The second restaurant I ordered whitefish with a side salad. I didn’t follow the plan exactly because I had their maple mustard on my salad. I couldn’t say no to that dressing when I was there, I mean come on. Again, I picked off the tomatoes, and the cheese and the strawberries, and enjoyed the rest of the meal completely.

angry trout fish dinner

Oh, and I enjoyed a couple of glasses of red wine too. That’s not in the plan. But for the most part, I did a pretty good job of sticking to the program.

How my body is responding

The intention of the cleanse is to remove excess mucus from the body and help to remove toxins as well. Our bodies are constantly working to remove toxins from the body but this just helps give the body a little nudge.

I can’t sit here and say wow, I feel incredible after doing that, but I can truly say I feel better. Quite a bit better in fact. I can’t really explain how I feel except for I do feel more “clean.” I will be anxious to follow-up with my naturopath and to find out how balanced my body is now compared to my last visit with her. I surely hope it has improved since last time! Otherwise I may be a little disappointed.

What I miss

Knowing that this cleanse was only temporary helped me when thinking of the foods I would need to remove from my diet. However, I am only human and I am really missing some of my favorite things: bananas, peanut butter, fresh summer corn, strawberries and tomatoes. Those are probably the main foods I am missing. Chocolate is another one but I have been able to make my own sugar-free version using raw organic cacao powder, coconut oil, almond butter, and stevia. I will be writing a post on this one soon! This has helped me a lot.

What’s Next

Three weeks is the maximum amount of time that one can continue on this cleanse (especially if following the option 1 plan with the two blended meals and one solid meal). After that time, it is recommended that you slowly wean yourself off of the cleanse and slowly reintroduce some of the foods you have eliminated. This is a perfect time to test specific foods for intolerances. It’s kind of like introducing new foods to infants: when you introduce a new food, you will want to wait a few days before introducing another new food to watch for any adverse reactions. Now that it has been two weeks, I am slowly reintroducing some foods. The first was raisins; my body tolerated them well. The next was wine, again my body seemed okay with it (my wine consumption is probably once every 2-3 weeks btw). Today, I will be reintroducing bananas which I am very excited about. I will continue reintroducing the foods back into my diet and watching for any adverse reactions until I am completely back to my normal diet.

I will most likely continue having smoothies for many of my breakfasts because it’s summer and a cold smoothie in the morning is pretty fantastic, but I am excited to be able to include more fruits like strawberries and bananas which were not allowed on the elimination diet.

My meals will become more exciting again! Wooo!! This means new recipes and fun food photos.

flounder and salad

I am very glad I completed this cleanse. Although I modified it slightly to fit my lifestyle and the events of summer, I do feel proud to say I followed it closely enough to feel the effects. I would highly recommend this Clean Program to anyone who is feeling they need a little detoxifying. Talk with your doctor first though, please!

Feel free to ask me questions about the program. I’m not expert but I did read the whole book and have been researching quite a bit about it the computer.

I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday!

Continue Reading Clean Eating Program Update

Sweet Friends, Decadent Desserts, and Free Wine

Hi my friends! I don’t usually post on Sundays but I have had such an amazing last couple of days and I can’t wait to fill you in. Does the post title intrigue you?

On Friday I got dolled up after work for a friend’s wedding. I was so happy that the weather actually held up and ended up being beautiful and partly sunny when the evening rolled around.

wedding ready

My hair actually looks pretty long in that photo. It’s hard to believe I had about five inches chopped off of it! I’m starting to like the cut more and more.

On Saturday morning, Dana, Moose, and I hit the neighborhood for a five-mile run. This was our test run to determine if we were ready to run in a 10k next weekend. Well guess what? We passed our test. The run went pretty well and we have officially decided to run in a 10k next Saturday! The registration is complete so there is no turning back now.

Next on the agenda was a meet-up with Becky and Katie, a couple of my fellow blogger friends. We met at a local Caribou coffee where we sipped on our coffee, chatted about life, new adventures, and of course, our blogs. There is so much to know and learn about blogging and it is so incredibly nice to have friends to bounce ideas off of.

coffee with blends

I have a few new projects I would like to work on with the blog this upcoming week. The girls definitely got the wheels spinning with some great ideas!

Our date continued at Patisserie 46 off of Grand in Minneapolis. They are well known for beautiful desserts, fresh bread and pastries, ice cream, but they also offer savory menu options like pizza, quiche, cheese plate, and paninis.

I pretty much freaked when I walked in this place. Cue the angelic music.

patisserie 46

Yes, these are all real and edible. Isn’t it unbelievable?

patisserie 46

We all snapped photos, drooled over the decadent beauties, and contemplated our dessert decisions for what seemed like eternity.

I decided on the “Rory” which is caramel mousse, vanilla cream, sable breton (don’t ask me what that is), salted caramel, and pecan nougatine. Sounds pretty fancy, right?

patisserie 46

It was a work of art…almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

patisserie 46

I savored every bite of it’s decadence. It was creamy and caramely and just sooooo good. I also bought a peanut butter and chocolate chunk cookie home to share with Dana. It was pretty good, but not as good as the Rory.

The main reason we went to Patisserie 46 was to meet up with the wonderful Teresa, who is one of the owners of Famiglia Meschini wines. This family-owned company manages a vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina which is where Teresa’s husband, Eugenio is from. He grew up in a wine-making family, and his passion for wine only progressed over the years. Teresa is equally passionate. Eugenio, along with Teresa, their family and other extended family members, own and run this growing business.

To read more about the family and their story, check it out here: Famiglia Meschini.

Teresa brought four different wines for us to divide among ourselves and taste. She also mentioned getting together again in the future to do more of a complete taste testing. We were all about that idea! We were all excited to meet her, hear about the wine and her company, and of course, we were all happy to get free wine!

Teresa FM wine

FM wine with blends

***Love these girls!***

After our sugar rush, we parted ways…

I’m not one to have a drink very often, but when I do, it’s almost always a glass of red wine, so I made sure to take one of the reds home to try. The one I got was the Pinot Noir which is made from grapes from Chile (they work with another vineyard in Chile).

FM wine

Dana and I had a quiet night on Saturday so we decided to crack open the bottle while we played an exciting game of Yahtzee. We have pretty crazy Saturday evenings. 🙂

FM wine

FM wine


We both enjoyed the Pinot Noir. It isn’t usually our first choice of reds (we usually go the cab sauv route or red zin), but this was a very pleasant, subtle, and smooth wine and we both liked it quite a bit.

I am excited to try some of the other blends too! If you’re local and what to try some of this lovely wine for yourself, you can click here to find a store nearest to you: Wine Locator.

(In case you were wondering, I beat Dana in Yahtzee). 😉

It was an absolutely fantastic Saturday!

Thank you Teresa for meeting up with us! Can’t wait to work with you again in the future, and ladies, can’t wait to see you again!

Continue Reading Sweet Friends, Decadent Desserts, and Free Wine

The New Hairdo

First of all, I don’t think I ever knew that hairdo was actually a word spelled out just like that. I always thought it was two words, but the dictionary tells me it’s one. Huh, well I learned something today!

I realize it’s Tuesday and a weekend photo recap would have been more appropriate yesterday, but I was really needing to write about running yesterday, and I decided this post could wait. Plus, I wouldn’t have been able to show you my new hairdo yesterday, so it all worked out how it was supposed to.

I actually went out for another run after posting yesterday. It wasn’t as great as my Saturday run, but it still felt good to get out. I definitely notice myself breathing a little heavier than usual, but that will go away shortly.

I’m going to keep it short and sweet for you all today. Here is a recap of my weekend in a nutshell…

Party time on Saturday! I ate way too many treats and my body paid for it the next day.  There was about 5x the amount of food in this photo at the party. Lots of nummies. Such a fun time and the weather held up for a few hours before the clouds opened up into a downpour!

party food

Chilaquile brunch on Sunday at Uptown Cafeteria with Dana, Ted, and Annie. Great food, amazing company.

chilaquile uptown cafeteria

Monday breakfast: the yogurt bowl is back. Greek yogurt with banana, strawberries, and honey. Simple and delicious.

yogurt bowl

And the big wow moment from yesterday was chopping off a good five inches of my hair.

long hair short hair short hair


I still have bittersweet feelings towards my new do. I wasn’t really planning on cutting that much off, but I did pretty much give the stylist the go-ahead to do it. I am just shocked at how much she actually took off. I haven’t had my hair this short in a few years at least. I know it will be perfect for summer and I just need to get used to it still. It’ll grow on me…haha, no pun intended. It does feel good to have it all cleaned up!

That’s all I have for you all today. I hope you have a fantastic Tuesday. Find something to smile about today.

Continue Reading The New Hairdo

The Fanciest Meal I Ever Ate

Last night Dana surprised me with a date night to Piccolo restaurant in Minneapolis. He had seen this restaurant on Anthony Bourdain’s show No Reservations, and had been intrigued by it since then. So, we made reservations, got all dolled up, and made our way to Piccolo for a dining experience that I won’t soon forget.

Piccolo says it best: “Piccolo’s cuisine is focused on quality over quantity, putting what is seasonal and creative ahead of what is safe and familiar. We believe in changing our menu frequently, buying locally and seasonally whenever possible, and putting a significant amount of time and devotion into each beautifully presented plate. Call it small plates, “fractional dining”, or simply a tasting menu à la carte. The menu is designed to allow guests a chance to create a different dining experience with each visit, pairing risk with reward.” source

I went into this restaurant with an open-mind; being fully aware that pickled pig’s feet and crispy frog legs were on the menu and that there was a good chance I would be tasting them. How often do you get a chance to try these items let alone at a superb restaurant where you know the ingredients used are incredibly fresh and outstanding? Not very often. I had to step outside of my comfort zone last night and at least try everything. It didn’t mean I had to like everything.

To all of you locals, Piccolo is located off of Bryant and 43rd in Minneapolis.















Upon entering the quaint restaurant, there were only a handful of tables. The host lead us back through the kitchen to a second little room that had three more tables. The room had a very casual ambiance with dim lighting, and a bunch of books stacked on a dresser. You kind of felt like you were in someone’s home. It was a very comfortable feeling.

We had to take a photo with the duck press up on the shelf because Anthony Bourdain talks about a duck press in one of his shows and actually ended up buying one. In case you haven’t noticed, we kinda sorta really enjoy the witty and well-traveled Anthony Bourdain. He is in town this weekend and we were hoping he would’ve stopped into the restaurant last night; I would have freaked!


Because there were so many menu items we wanted to try, Dana and I both chose the 5- course meal option; we each picked 1 item from each of the 5 tasting sections, so that we had ten total dishes to taste.


We ordered a carafe of Zinfandel to share and nibbled on some rustic sourdough bread while we waited for our first dish.

When our first dishes arrived, I was thoroughly impressed. These dishes were so artistically presented. The wait staff explained what was on our plates, answered any questions we had about ingredients, and then we got to the tasting!

Here we go; ten dishes in all to present to you. I learned about a lot of new foods last night so I am going to include those in this post so we can all learn something! ENJOY!

1. Grapefruit with fennel, parsnip milk, fried ricotta, and chervil. Chervil: delicate herb from the parsley family.


Octopus and piquillo pepper bisque with carmelized cauliflower, green olives, and fennel puree. Piquillo Pepper: a sweet and slightly spicy red pepper.


Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed both of these dishes. The grapefruit salad was refreshing and the fried ricotta melted in my mouth. The bisque soup was outstanding–it tasted like an upscale version of roasted red pepper and tomato soup but with delicate bites of octopus and green olives. Dana and I both agreed that we would absolutely order the bisque again.

2. Scrambled brown eggs with pickled pig’s feet, truffle butter, and Parmigiano. 


Waygu beef tartare with fermented baby turnips, black sea salt, and smoke. Waygu: Meat from wagyu cattle which is known for its marbling characteristics.


Thoughts: If I were to choose between these two dishes, I liked the egg and pig’s feet better, but I didn’t love either one of these dishes. I have a bit of an issue with certain textures and the tartare was just didn’t please my texture palate. Dana really enjoyed it though; it had great smokey flavor. The scrambled eggs were pretty good but maybe a little too rich tasting to me, and yes, I tried pickled pig’s feet! That was a first.

3. Maine lobster with avocado, couscous, tabiko, and yogurt. Tabiko: a Japanese delicacy, the roe of flying fish (kind of like caviar).


Poussin with crispy frog’s legs, asparagus, “baked” potato, and béarnaise. Poussin: a young chicken, also referred to as Cornish Game Hen.


Thoughts: I enjoyed both of these dishes and to my surprise, I really liked the crispy frog legs (the fried ball on the left side of the plate in above photo). The poussin plate was beautiful!

4. Duck presse with artichokes, steel-cut oats, Spanish chorizo, and mahon. Mahon:  from the island of Menorca, is one of a few cow’s milk cheeses from Spain. Mahón boasts a certain sharpness, and its lemony, salty flavors evince the rural Mediterranean seascape. Its rind contains a hard, crumbly cheddar-like texture and darkens as the wheels age. At peak, Mahón is tangy, intense and delicious. Source


Smoked veal breast with braised endive, speck, red grapes, and morcilla. Morcilla: Spanish blood sausage


Thoughts: I enjoyed both of these dishes although I avoided the fat of the veal because of my texture issues. I really liked the crispy morcilla; it tasted like crispy bacon.

5. Pandan leaf tres leches cake with caramelized macadamia nuts and toasted coconut ice cream. 


Braised pineapple with chocolate, nuts, caramel, and smoked milk.


Thoughts: I know you’ll find this hard to believe but dessert was probably my favorite part of the whole meal. 😉 Seriously these desserts were incredible and since the portions were so small you really take time to savor every bite. I truly could have eaten a few of these desserts. The smoked milk tasted like a creamy caramel candy that melted in my mouth. Mmm, my mouth watered just thinking about it again.

I am so happy we had the chance to eat at Piccolo and I am proud of myself for trying so many food items that were definitely out of my comfort zone. This was by far the fanciest meal I have ever had. It was so much fun to sample all of those dishes and talk about the flavors and the tastes of each one with Dana. We were total foodies last night and I LOVED it!

The service was impeccable and the ambiance was comforting and quaint. The restaurant was all about the food; they weren’t looking to distract you with a lavishly decorated environment.

It was an incredible experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a food adventure.

On the ride home I realized I didn’t get a picture of my whole outfit and I had actually dressed up for once, so I modeled when we got home.





It was a date night to go down in the books!

I have lots and lots of other fun plans this weekend so I need to get going! I hope you all have a great Saturday!

Have you ever eaten a fancy meal like this? What did you think? Did you try any foods that were out of your comfort zone?

Continue Reading The Fanciest Meal I Ever Ate

Fajita Salad and a Fun Surprise at Mall of America

There’s nothing like starting your day off with a veggie and fruit packed smoothie. Yesterday I whipped together a smoothie made with frozen banana, kale, kefir, aloe vera juice, peanut butter, and chocolate egg white protein powder and it was delicious.


I hit the living room for an arm workout, and then ended with a 30 minute incline walk on the treadmill. I’m slowly but surely getting back into more of a routine with the workouts again.

Then I was off to run a few errands and spend some quality girl time with my Betsy.

betsy and melanie

We both had the day off of work and we haven’t hung out since our lobster feast a month ago which is WAY too long if you ask me, so we planned a little get together. We were cozy and warm at my aunt and uncle’s house and we chatted away as Despicable Me played on the TV in the background. It was such a relaxing afternoon and I loved every second of it.

In the afternoon Dana and I did some shopping—we are looking for new countertops for our kitchen! Once dinner time rolled around, I was not in any mood to do any cooking and it just so happened that we had a gift card for Baja Sol that we needed to use. You may remember a couple of months ago when we tried to use this gift card but ended up going out for Thai food instead. Yup, it’s that same card, but we actually used it this time!

We went to the Baja Sol located in the food court at Mall of America. We made it up to the third floor and started walking towards the food court. Inevitably we parked on the opposite side of where we needed to be, but I was happy because it felt good to move my legs. Anyway, as we approached the rotunda we started hearing some music playing. When we got close I saw the sign (…and it opened up my eyes…), I got SUPER excited. Gloriana was playing at MOA! Maurices was sponsoring their performance. How cool, right? We didn’t stick around for long because there were so many people and I really couldn’t see them too well, but I was happy to even get the one glimpse that I did.

gloriana moa

At Baja Sol I ordered the veggie fajita salad. This monster was piled high with lettuce, sautéed onions and bell peppers, tomatoes, fresh onions, cheese, black beans, and a heaping spoonful of guacamole (I shared some of the gauc with Dana because I am a very sweet wife).

baja sol baja sol baja sol


I didn’t touch the shell because I’m still trying to stick to gluten-free and it was a flour tortilla, but I managed to chow down a good majority of the salad! It tasted really good and probably even more so since I didn’t have to put it together myself. It was a perfect Friday night treat.

Now I am off to run with Dana and the pooch around the neighborhood before heading out for a day full of friends and family. It should be a good one! Catch up with you all later gators.

Continue Reading Fajita Salad and a Fun Surprise at Mall of America