Over the years, I've made plenty of trips to the St. Croix Valley for picnics and hiking in Interstate State Park, a paddle boat river cruise on the St. Croix River, and a knitting retreat that included a wine tasting at Chateau St. Croix Winery. Taylors Falls, Minnesota and St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin are less than an hour from my home in the northern Twin Cities suburbs, so it's the perfect distance for a day trip.
I love local ice cream shops. I try to seek them out whenever I travel—Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn, Chaeban Ice Cream in Winnipeg, The Pearl Ice Cream Parlor in La Crosse, Lappert's Ice Cream in Hawaii. At home, I tend to stick with a handful of favorites. After all, ice cream season in Minnesota is short, and if I'm treating myself, I want to make sure it will...
Janesville's tagline is "Wisconsin's Great Outside." It makes sense: the area has hundreds of acres of parks, miles of trails, and an award-winning botanical garden. However, on a recent visit to Janesville I was also delighted to discover a burgeoning local food and drinks scene, a historic house museum with a link to presidential history, and a cozy bed and...
After starting in the riverside city of La Crosse and spending a couple of days in America's Little Switzerland, I continued east across Wisconsin to Kenosha, a city of about 100,000 on the shore of Lake Michigan. With sand dunes, a boardwalk, and historic lighthouses, the city has an unmistakable beach town feel.
It's one of the indisputable facts of summer: hot days call for cool treats. While I love indulging at my favorite ice cream shops, I try to eat healthier treats at home. Last year, I developed a recipe for a frozen yogurt-style dessert made with bananas; this year, I teamed up with Barlean's and Zoku to make frozen pops!
Whether I'm at home in the Twin Cities or on vacation in New York City, ice cream is one of my favorite local foods. I love ice cream because there is so much room for creativity and the opportunity to incorporate local tastes, cultures, and ingredients. On a recent visit to Winnipeg, I was struck by the city's vibrant culinary scene, and Chaeban Ice Cream was one of the highlights.
On our recent trip to New York City we stayed in the Prospect Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn. Every day, we walked down Vanderbilt Avenue to the 7th Avenue subway station, a route that took us past the original location of Ample Hills Creamery.
I love river towns—I've always found spending time near water soothing, and being based in the Twin Cities means that there are plenty of picturesque options within a few hours' drive. Stillwater is my go-to, and I've also had great trips to Red Wing, Mankato, and Winona. However, my list of riverside day trips and weekend getaways included a major oversight: La Crosse, Wisconsin.
New York City: 8.3 million people, 305 square miles, over 26,000 restaurants. It would take a lifetime to do justice to New York's culinary scene—we had eight days. So I've decided to take the same approach I did with my post about London. Instead of creating a very incomplete dining guide, I'm compiled my personal New York culinary highlights.
A couple of years ago, I wrote about how Winnipeg was a budget-friendly way to satiate my international wanderlust. Since then, Winnipeg's dining scene has exploded, The Forks Market has been revitalized, and I've been reading all about the spa experience at Thermëa. So when Travel Manitoba and Tourism Winnipeg offered to host me for a few days, I was eager to see if Winnipeg was worth a return visit.
When I'm shopping for snacks, I spend a lot of time reading the nutrition facts. I'm looking for foods that are low in sugar and made with natural ingredients—plus, my snacks need to be portable and tasty. Recently, I found a new go-to snack in a spot I wasn't expecting: the kid's section of the yogurt aisle.
Eggs are so much more than a baking ingredient or breakfast food (to be honest, I rarely have eggs for breakfast—I'm too busy eating oatmeal). Nutritious, easy to keep on hand, and versatile, I turn to eggs when I need an appetizer everyone will love, an easy Mexican-inspired weeknight dinner, or a recipe to use up the zucchini and tomatoes in my CSA share.
As I mentioned in my post about my trip to Mankato, I stopped at Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery on my way home. Located a 15-minute drive north from downtown Mankato, the winery has a rural feel, with expansive grounds that include streams, trees, and 13 acres of vineyard. There's also a tasting room where you can sip wine and spirits.
As a freelance writer and blogger, I love going to conferences. The nature of my work means that I spend most of my days working at home alone, so it's exhilarating to find myself in a room full of people who understand exactly what I do for a living. Plus, conferences are a great reason to explore places I wouldn't ordinarily visit—a couple weeks ago, I found myself in Clear Lake, Iowa...
I've now hit the three-month mark as a full-time freelance writer (I've previously written about my efforts to set up a routine and my newfound leisure time/cookie baking habit), and the whole process has been a lot tougher than I expected. On some level, I thought that my side gig would transform magically into full-time employment...
After my recent stay in New Ulm, I decided to spend some time in nearby Mankato, Minnesota. Located along the Minnesota and Blue Earth Rivers, Mankato is best known for its many outdoor recreation opportunities: there are over 50 miles of paved trails perfect for running, cycling, and walking.
Brunch is one of the best meals of the week. Delicious baked goods, eggs, fruit, maybe even a mimosa—you can't go wrong. This month, Barlean's challenged me to create a brunch recipe with their Superfruit Seed Blend and Organic Culinary Coconut Oil, and both products seemed perfect for a brunch-worthy loaf of chocolate strawberry bread.
As I mentioned in my post on my day trip to Red Wing, this year I'm focusing on visiting as many Midwest destinations as possible. Since Germany is my favorite international destination, a visit to New Ulm, Minnesota was a must...