Bernie, Two Months!

Hello from Bernie’s 10th week! She is nearly 2 1/2 months old and smiles more and more each day! We have settled into the best little routine where every morning we have wiggle time, then go to the gym to stroll and listen to Unorthodox, and then come home and make a big summery salad for lunch. In the afternoon we do a fun thing like read crinkly tail tale books or swat at hanging vegetable toys before snuggles and nap time (that’s when I watch Jeopardy and read Bringing Up Bébé). Then we make dinner and Eggboy and I watch Fargo while we wait for Bernie to poop so that we can then give her a bath without worrying that she’ll poop in it (yep, learned that one the hard way haha). It’s peak maternity leave livin’ around here and we are soaking it in. Also the weather has been amazing, so we are, as Bernie puts it, “GOO!” Some highlights from this past month include:

-Our first little family picnic! On Memorial Day, we grilled sausages, potatoes, and broccolini, and drank rhubarb soda while we enjoyed the evening breeze.

-Bernie’s first out of town visitors! Jaclyn and Katie came to town and we had the best weekend ever, which included a trip to Fargo for the Antiques Roadshow (with a stop at Silver Lining Creamery after), the North Dakota Shakespeare 5K (err- we walked 3Ks of it ;), an afternoon picnic in the backyard with cookies and cookie dough (and carrots for balance), and cinnamon roll pancakes at Darcy’s.

-Cuddle time with Mrs. Moose. Bernie’s been grasping and swatting at toys and in true baby fashion she definitely prefers the super saturated weirdly colored high contrast ones. The muted rainbow lover in me is like “😳🙄 But Bernie, this hot pink neon green bumble bee clashes terribly with your navy car seat, mustard outfit, and olive pacifier…” but it’s ok, maybe one day she’ll love dusty rose like I do??

-Bernie’s first Syttende Mai, Norwegian Constitution Day! She is 5/16ths Norwegian, so we went to Sons of Norway and ate lefse, krumkake, rømmegrøt, and all of the other faves. She wore her Norwegian accessories from our friend Trude in Norway and had the best time!!

-My first Mother’s Day, it was delightful! Bernie and I worked on her cookbook and snuggled the day away. Then the following week it was my birthday and we went out to lunch wearing identical outfits and spent the rest of the day baking cookies and cake!

-Bernie talks soo much!! We have great conversations about Ooo and Ahh and Goo, I love them.

-She has gotten very tall, she has Eggboy’s legs. Hallelujah!

Ok, we’ve gotta go pick rhubarb!! Bernie’s sending some friendly hiccups in your general direction and I’m waving! Bye!

-Yeh!

ginger scallion chicken and dumplings

Hello, hi!! How are you all January-ing and coping with the Monday of Months/post-holiday slump/dry weather? Warning, I’m about to be the overly cheery person in the room but once I re-arranged my open shelves with all of my pink and purple kitchenware to be Valentine’s Day themed and also splurged on a tube of Kiehl’s coriander hand cream, I remembered how I’ve actually become kind of obsessed with January. I used to dread it soo much but that was back in college when it’d still be dark when I emerged from the practice room and then have to schlep around the streets in the dirty slush if I wanted to do anything social. These days, however, winter means Eggboy’s version of summer, which means we can go on more trips and stuff! It’s the most fun time of the year. And I want to tell you about our most recent adventure, our Great Midwest road trip!!

We drove from Grand Forks to the cute town of Red Wing, MN, to Chicago, to Kalamazoo, MI, and then up around the Upper Peninsula, through Wisconsin, on to Duluth, and then back home, by way of Bemidji, for pizza. We stuck to smaller roads and searched out historic and one-of-a-kind places that bursted with personality. It was delightful and tasty and we saw so many adorable cute towns that all felt like they came right out of a snow globe.

Here were some of the best places we went:


Red Wing, MN

St. James Hotel- A beautiful historic hotel in the little cute town of Red Wing. It was so beautiful that I didn’t even care that it was exactly the type of place that would be a little bit haunted. We’d seen it a bunch of times from when we’d pass by on the train from Grand Forks to Chicago but this was our first time inside and we loved it.

Hanisch Bakery- The coziest homiest bakery, with a killer sprinkle donut and orange slices as a side to their breakfast sandwiches. The donut had like a sprinkle crust. It was perfect.

St. Ignace, MI

Bentley’s Cafe- Ok, I don’t know whose idea it was to take a pasty tour of the U.P. in the dead of winter (oops, it was my idea…) but basically the first four stops on our tour were closed for the season and Eggboy and I got soooo hangry, I don’t think we’d ever been that hangry before. Finally we found Bentley’s and they had pasties! OMG they were amazing. Their crust was extra buttery and flaky and the veggie one had lots of cheese in it. I would eat this pasty again and again. 

Marquette, MI

Landmark Inn- Another beautiful historic hotel! (We hit the beautiful historic hotel jackpot on this trip.)

Lawry’s Pasties- Amazing pasties!! The crust was way sturdier than the one at Bentley’s but in a really satisfying way.

Jean Kay’s Pasties- More amazing pasties!! Between Lawry’s and Jean Kay’s, these had a higher ratio of vegetables to meat, but I couldn’t choose a fave, they were both delicious. 

Pence, WI

Reinerio’s Sausage- Secret basement sausage!!! This was recommended to me by my instagram friend Britt and it was just a little bit out of our way, in the itsy bitsy unincorporated town of Pence, WI. The owner makes sausage in his basement and it’s so good! We came home with a cooler full of fresh salami, breakfast sausages, other sausages, and a giant chunk of Asiago. 

Duluth, MN

Duluth’s Best Bread- This is new since we were last in Duluth (on our mini moon four years ago!) and I’m so glad we went. We bought a giant soft pretzel for the road and crusty loaves of flax seed bread and wild rice bread to take home that I have been toasting up in the morning to have with the Asiago from the secret sausage man.

Northern Waters Smokehouse- We ate here on our anniversary and it was the tastiest most casual anniversary there ever was. I ate a pastrami sandwich that had the perfect amount of mayo (aka a gigantic load of mayo).

Uncle Loui’s Cafe- A perfect diner. In my storyboard for the Duluth curling team Olympic gold medal movie, at least two important scenes take place here.

Bemidji, MN

Dave’s Pizza- We finally went here after hearing about it for years! I’d been craving classic Midwest square cut cracker crust pizza (I know, I know, shame on me for talking smack on square cut pizza, I knowww, I’m terrible) and it was perfect. Finished it off with a spumoni.

Chicago, IL

We spent time at some of our old trusty favorites: Russian Tea Time, Christkindlmarket, and Furama!

Things I learned on this trip: 

-Using a real paper map is wayyyy more fun than a cell phone map.

-Sometimes places that are the cutest and have the most personality and history (and that I end up loving the most) have lower star ratings on the internet than newer hipper places. So I’m learning not to put so much weight on star ratings on Yelp and stuff.

-I will never take another road trip without my Birdling Weekender. It’s set up like a clothing bento box, with different compartments that you can access quickly and easily. We stayed in a different place each night on our trip and I was not *once* stressed out about packing/unpacking/locating my underpants. 

-I like my pasties with both gravy and spicy ketchup.

-Small cocoon-like bedrooms/hotel rooms rule. We stayed in two very large rooms and I barely slept those nights. The best sleep was in the smaller rooms.

-Ok, yes, I LOVE square cut cracker crust pizza.

-Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker is bananas!!

-Trips where you only bring sweatpants are the best trips.

In other news, I have to tell you about this miraculous recipe that I have been obsessing over since I first read it. It’s in Cynthia Chen McTernan’s book, A Common Table, which was a book that I was counting down the days to because I have been a fan of Cynthia and her delicious blog for years and years and years. She makes all of my favorite foods: mochi, steamed buns, potstickers, black sesame things, matcha things… and she makes them all look so darn beautiful! One time we shot a bacon and sweet corn ice cream sandwich blog post together and it was the best day ever. Cynthia is truly just as sweet and awesome IRL as she comes across on her blog and now in her book, I am definitely a good candidate for president of the Cynthia fan club. My copy of A Common Table is filled with bookmarks and dates scribbled into recipes that I’ve already made. We had her bulgogi on New Year’s Eve, mochi pancakes for the premiere of GMF season 2, and I’m planning to make like all of her sweets. I just love how her recipes tie in her heritage with her southern upbringing and beautiful stories, and they’re all so playful and fun too! I think it goes without saying that if you like good food and also fun, then you need her book. 

Here is my favorite recipe from her book. I like it because its ingredients produce the 1 + 1 = 3 magic. You’ve seen the magic in Melissa Clark’s salt and pepper chicken recipe, it’s the thing that happens when a stunningly short list of simple ingredients produces a thing that explodes with flavor and awesomeness. After making Cynthia’s chicken and dumplings once, I had the recipe memorized. It’s ginger, scallions, and chicken. Just memorize that! Then you make chewy rustic dumplings which are like thick potsticker wrappers and, holy smokes, I could eat them all day. It’s nourishing and strikes a perfect balance between comforting and not too heavy. Eating it makes you feel like you’re curing ailments you didn’t even have. I’m so in wuv.


ginger scallion chicken and dumplings

from cynthia chen mcternan’s a common table

serves 4

ingredients

2 lbs chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin-on and bone-in

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

3 or 4 scallions, sliced into 1” pieces (about 1/2 c)

3 inches ginger root, peeled and sliced into 1/8” pieces (about 1/3 c)

6 c water

1 c (130g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

soy sauce, for serving

chili garlic paste, for serving

clues

make the soup: season the chicken generously with 1 teaspoon salt. place it in a medium pot with the scallions, ginger, and water. (if desired, tie the ginger in cheesecloth to make it easier to remove later.) bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low, keeping the soup at a bare simmer.

make the dumpling dough: after the soup has been simmering for about 30 minutes, start the dumplings. in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. ladle about 6 tablespoons broth and trickle it into the bowl of flour while stirring the flour with chopsticks or a silicone spatula. a wet dish towel under the bowl may help keep it in place while you stir. after you’ve added all the broth, continue to stir until the flour mixture becomes pebbly and the water is evenly incorporated. make sure the dough is a comfortable temperature to touch, then use your hands to knead the dough until smooth and taut, 5 to 10 minutes. the dough should be fairly firm, not tacky, and should not stick to your hands or the bowl. if it does, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is firm. place in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag and allow to rest while the broth simmers for another 25 to 30 minutes (for a total of 1 hour altogether).

skim any scum off the top of the broth and remove the ginger, if you’d like. transfer the chicken to a plate or cutting board and use a fork to pull the meat from the bones. return the meat to the pot and let the soup continue to simmer gently while you make the dumplings.

form the dumplings: by now, the dumpling dough should be nice and pliable after its rest. the traditional method of preparing flat dumplings is to roll the dough out to a large rectangle, 1/4” or less in thickness, and then slice the rectangle into 1” x 2” strips. alternatively, you can form them the way noodles are torn for kimchi sujebi: pinch off a tablespoon of dough and pull it in half so that it forms 2 flat pieces. flatten the pieces to about 1/4” or less, if needed, but otherwise the pieces need not be uniform. roughly torn edges create a nice texture. repeat until the dough is gone.

bring the soup back to a lively simmer over medium heat, then drop the dumpling pieces into the pot. simmer until the dumplings float to the surface, 1 to 2 more minutes, then serve, with soy sauce and chili garlic paste on the side, if desired.


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett!

february adventures

luckily my effed up valentine’s day cake experience didn’t dictate the tone for the other parts of february because i squeezed in so many fun adventures for such a bite sized month! i got to hug old friends, eat schnitzel with cool new ones, play loud music, and jump a whole delta airline status!!!! i like you, february. come back again soon. 

let’s make a list:

photos 1 & 2: i spent a whole entire weekend at the grand forks ice arena watching the synchronized ice skating sectionals competition and i only left to get jimmy johns across the parking lot. i got to cheer on my old team!! it was sooo fun! it was sad when they didn’t win but the team that beat them was from north dakota so i still got to kvell. eggboy joined me for a few of the divisions but he got a lil bored so he left and did taxes.

photos 3-14 &16: i went to canada! which is a thing that you can do quite successfully in february if you live in the north pole already. my first stop was toronto where i stayed at the *coziest* bed and breakfast, ate at fat pasha, gave a couple of tahini covered #mollyontherange demos with hillel students and at their palatial jcc, and made ras al hanout hotdish on the marilyn denis show. i tried to make a ketchup joke because i thought that canada was the land ketchup, but either i’m incorrect about that or my delivery sucked? come on, ketchup chips, ketchup on mac and cheese, right??

in montreal i stayed with my bb and lead monkey bread inspiration, talia, in an apartment filled with hudson’s bay stripes and st. viateur bagels. we ate poutine and smoked meat and wore patagonia quarter zips for a majority of the time. my friends from the wandering chew put on the most magical #mollyontherange dessert party at the museum of jewish montreal. so many wonderful humans came out and we all ate so much sugar so naturally we needed to disco it off after. also in my two days there we managed to have one of those late-night perfectly boozy meals at maison publique, followed by some thick babka and schnitzel the next morning at hof kelsten

photos 15 & 17: kittsona, the town boutique, put on a cookie decorating #mollyontherange signing. i substituted the almond flour for hazelnut flour in these cookies and they were so tasty.

photos 18-22: conrad is a beast of a pianist and the last time we performed together, he was seven and soloing with our youth orchestra and i was 13 and putting on lip gloss and waiting for my triangle note. so it took a while, but we managed to perform together again in aspen this month with the aspen music festival! i decorated dobos torte and made cheesy spätzle while he played beethoven and jason eckardt music. from now on i only want to listen to beethoven while being covered in chocolate frosting. 

photos 23-28: proud of myself for not exploding from happiness during my 36 hours in new york, but somehow the stars aligned and i found myself in selfie distance from my all-time favorite podcast hosts, my all-time favorite ice dancers, three of my all-time favorite college homies, and i made my all-time favorite food on the today show. i also acquired a pair of comfy cool shoes called blog. i also got to eat hummus with rob and brian and they didn’t even fart when i was in the room. such mensches they are.

photos 29-36: then i went to florida! my friends george and sam have a new music group that was playing a david t little quartet (and u know how i love the loud music of david t little), so i dusted off my vibraphone mallets and brute forced some notes out. it was such great fun. i also got to see my tampa family and my old roomie and eat some fresh tomatoes which are in season down there, which felt so weird but so awesome! 

not pictured: eggboy and i went to see the town choir perform in a warehouse, it was so hip, it was like we were in brooklyn! i made suuuuuuuch a good chicken and dumplings (here is the recipe, next time i’m going to start with 2 tsp salt in the stock and work my way up and maybe not use the whole 4 tsp that it calls for). i acquired a love of matcha lattes and neck scarves. ooh and i watched this lucius, over and over and over.

tomorrow i leave for kentucky for the iacp conference! i'll be leading a cake workshop, talking on a panel, signing #mollyontherange, and seeking out the best kentucky dance clubs!! see you there??

-yeh!

 

hawaii

we went on a vacation! we left home when it was 20 below and arrived in the magical land of hawaii, where it was 100 degrees warmer. it was sunny the whole time, as if mother nature had just set the weather on auto pilot and fell asleep. it was perfect hiking weather, perfect papaya-for-breakfast weather (squeezed with calamansi!), perfect sitting-by-the-water-turning-off-my-phone-reading-a-book-and-not-looking-up-until-a-man-rode-by-with-a-mai-tai-delivery-bike weather. we listened to the la la land soundtrack, ate donuts before supper, and sat on the beach with moses and alana with buckets o’ poke from the little kahuku superette.

it was exactly hawaii.

i acquired a new favorite hobby, floating. i learned the joy of lying in the water and looking up at the sky with no thoughts and fears aside from the possibility of my bum getting nibbled by fishies. and eggboy discovered the wonders of shave ice and haleakala. we watched the sunrise each morning with coffee and the newspaper and observed a nightly bedtime of like 8pm. we made a chinchilla friend in moses's mom's garden. i miss the spam musubi and the pineapple. i came home with a musubi mold though so watch out, i’m going to musubi everything. 

on the road to hana, instead of stopping to turn around where the road “ended” we just kept on going, and let our jaws drop at maui showing off. our phones didn’t work on that road, and the lighting was different, i felt like we were on another planet or in another time. the world could have gone all brigadoon on us and, nope, we wouldn’t have known.

it was such a wonderful trip. i'm officially one of the tannest humans in grand forks and i'm ready to get back to work but also counting the days until we get to go back to hawaii :)


here were some of the places we loved most on this trip (to add to the list of places i loved on my last trip to maui and oahu):

koko head cafe // an adorable brunch spot with dumplings, bibimbap, congee, and a french toast that we didn’t get but it looked so epic that i’m regretting that we didn’t get it.

diamond head market // the site of eggboy’s first spam musubi! and, ugh, their scones are sofa-king good.

rainbow drive-in // nothing prepared me for how good their plate lunch would be. we got the mixed plate. i couldn’t stop eating it. even though i’d just had a malasada. even though i knew it’d probably give me a belly ache. so good. 

surfjack hotel // a super cute hotel in waikiki where we stayed for the first few nights! it is really hip but not painfully hip. just right. especially for an afternoon of playing jenga with alana and moses by the pool.

royal kitchen // jade brought us some of their manapua. sooo soft and doughy and good.

four seasons at ko’olina // a dream. we screamed when we walked into our room and saw the view. the beds were clouds, the service was flawless, the pools and laguna made me love going in the water. and all of the food was delicious, especially the pandan mochi donuts at la hiki. and there were poolside cake pops! i want to go here again and again and again. a huge mahalo to kim for making our stay there extra special!!! 

kahumana farm // an organic farm that employs homeless families and people with disabilities and supplies produce and eggies to a bunch of restaurants on oahu. so many things grew there that i’d never even heard of, and they had an awesome aquaponics setup. 

haleakala national park // eggboy and i did a lazy thing: instead of waking up at 3am to join the crowds for the sunrise, we slept in, drove up to the summit in the morning sun (what a pretty drive!), and then hiked the day away on the sliding sands trail. it was quiet and stunning and lovely and we weren’t exhausted like we’d have been if we woke up for the sunrise, so 10/10 would recommend this. on the way back down we stopped in the cute town of makawao for a smoothie. note to self: next time go on a day when komoda's bakery is open! 

paia flatbread company // we went here for pizza night and looooved the pesto pizza. the place reminded me of our town pizza parlor. quirky and fun! 

old lahaina luau // our first luau! we loved it. 

hana ranch burger truck // tasty burgers on the hana highway!

the road to hana // would definitely recommend. and i have some tips: the rental car company tried to get us to upgrade to a four-wheel drive for it but eggboy rolled his eyes and was like really? which made me a little nervous but it ended up being 100% fine in our two-wheel drive. eggboy's a good slow driver though, so it was a smooth ride, free of car sickness, and yeah, some of my favorite parts were after the highway ends. past that, it's gravel-y and narrow at times, but it's not too bad. they tell you to really load up on snacks and gas in paia before hitting the road, so we pretty much cleared out the mana market as if we were gearing up for the apocalypse. but in reality, we went through about 1/3 of a tank of gas and there were taco trucks, farm stands, and barbecue stops the entire way to hana lol. i'm not mad because you know how i feel about cute road snacks, but just so you know for future planning, you're not gonna die if you don't fill your backseat with bread before you leave. 


-yeh!