Minneapolis Road Trip Recap!

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I’m back from my road trip up North!

Ben and I left Friday afternoon, made the 3.5 hour journey up to Minneapolis and upon arriving in our beloved city, we made the first logical stop – Trader Joe’s, yo!

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I never went to Trader Joe’s when I lived in Minneapolis and I have no idea why – I just love it! I made sure to stock up on all my faves:

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Chocolate Brownie PURE Bars: perhaps the squishiest, most wickedly-delicious brownie bar on the planet!

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Nut butters!

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I’ve never tried TJ’s Peanut Butter made with just peanuts and salt (probably because I’m always racing for the almond butter!) so I picked up a jar to give it a try. Of course I also got some Creamy Almond Butter with Sea Salt, natch.

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Salad Dressing: these dressings looked a lot like the Annie’s Salad Dressings that I love so much, so I decided to give them a try. The ingredient lists look very similar, and I’ve never had a Trader Joe’s branded product that was bad, so… win, win!

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And ahhh, the true loves of my life – Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels!

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I clearly dug into these the moment we got home today. I like to eat them in a three step process.

Step 1: Bite and crack off the top layer of pretzel, exposing the peanut butter nugget inside.

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Step 2: Devour said nugget.

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Step 3: Polish off the bottom pretzel.

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Whee!

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A pretty good haul of booty, if I do say so myself! ;)

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A friend of mine and I stayed at another friend of ours’ condo up in Minni (this same group of us), and on Saturday morning the three of us got up and headed to the baby shower co-hosted by this lovely lady! Does she look like the hostess with the mostess, or what? ;)

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Her home is just fantastic – it has so much character – and she had the perfect little buffet set up for all the shower guests.

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Fresh flowers made an elegant centerpiece, and really brightened the room.

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Love the colors!

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The menu included two types of Quiche (mmm spinach with spicy pepper jack cheese!),

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some assorted pastries including one of the best pieces of baklava I’ve had!

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Fresh Fruit & Berries,

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Bran Muffins (don’t knock – this recipe is from one of our friends’ Mom, and we are all obsessed!)

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and Chocolate Cupcakes with homemade frosting, made by the other co-host. THESE ARE TO DIE FOR!!!!

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Hostesses!

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Here’s our new Mommy!!

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Shower friends. ;)

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Mama had a good time opening all her gifts. Aren’t baby clothes the cutest?!

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Our little guest of honor was a perfect angel throughout the entire shower. She snoozed and cuddled with all of us girls the whole time!

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Such fun!

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The 7 of us have been friends since high school, if you can believe it! We’re currently spread out from Iowa and Chicago, to Cali and Minnesota, but are lucky to have remained close over the years. Are you still friends with people you went to high school with?

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After the shower wound down, and baby had to take her nap, my friend and I hit the shops of Minneapolis. It’s a great city for shopping, didn’t you know!? Plus it’s hard work, so we re-fueled with some Starbys. Mmmm, Starbys!

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After shopping, we hit one of my favorite Thai restaurants in Minneapolis – Sawatdee.

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Sawatdee has several locations throughout the city, and I used to eat here all the time when I lived in Minni.

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It’s nice enough to take a date to, but casual enough to walk right in. Know what I mean?

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I needed to hydrate. So I did. Rocked about 4 ice waters!

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We ordered the Fresh Vegetarian Spring Rolls to start.

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MMMM!!

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Chewy spring roll wrappers, stuffed with rice noodles, cilantro, cabbage, and other crunchy veggies. Served with a peanut dipping sauce.

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Holy.Cow. I would drink this sauce if I could! It came with a tiny little ladle for drizzling – so cute! This roll was oh-so refreshingly fresh and chewy. Bomb.

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For my entree, I got an oldie, but goodie: Pad Thai with Tofu…no spice please!

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omg, it was just as good as I remembered!

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Chewy rice noodles in a savory, peanut, garlic sauce, with crunchy bean sprouts, chopped peanuts and fried tofu.

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I stuffed myself. :oops: It’s true, I did. It was so good!

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After dinner we went to a lacrosse game…seriously! ;)

The girl whose condo I stayed at was a Minnesota Viking’s Cheerleader for 6 years and recently made the switch to cheer from the Minnesota Swarm professional lacrosse team. Lucky for us, their final game of the season was last night – so we got to see our friend, Laura, cheer! :D

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There she is – see her in the aisle there?! Yeah! Laura is one of the girls that I danced with growing up. She’s "the tall one" in all of these pictures. ;)

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They performed choreographed dances on the field after the 1st and 3rd quarters. They were AWESOME!! She’s the one in the middle, in the first row. This girl was born to dance – she’s amazing.

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We had ice cream while watching. Perfectly natural.

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This morning, before Ben and I had to hit the road, we made time for brunch at zee fabulous French Meadow Bakery & Cafe.

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French Meadow uses all-natural and organic ingredients – you truly feel good about the food you order and eat here.

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It’s also VERY popular – we got there just in the nick of time. Three minutes after we ordered, there was a line out the door!

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Special touches like little bud vases at every table, really set the mood for a cozy brunch.

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Food’s up! I ordered the Breakfast Quesadilla. It was a very unusual breakfast choice for me – but everything on the menu looked so good and I panicked when it came time for me to order. I basically just picked the item my eyes were on at the moment!

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Soooo glad I did though!!!!! This was an organic, gluten-free, sprouted quesadilla, stuffed with fresh eggs, black beans, cheese and spinach. It came with a spicy chipotle dipping sauce, homemade guacamole and house salsa. THE BEST!

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I don’t know how they did it, but this tortilla was wonderfully crispy, yet chewy, at the same time. It was dy-no-mite.

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One of my dining companions got the Cajun Style Hashbrowns… ummmmm, three people in line came over to ask her what it was because it looked so insane, and smelled even better!!

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Crispy hashbrowns, salty, thick-cut bacon, whole roasted garlic cloves, cheese, tomato, bell pepper and onion – scrambled to amazing, cheesey, ooey-gooey, crunchy perfection. I need to start every morning off with this meal!

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Or maybe I should start it out with this humongous Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing!!!!

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We sat, we ate, we conquered. Brunch is the best!

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Afterwards, in a semi carb coma, Ben and I made our way back to Iowa in the drizzly rain. We’re happy to be home, but had a fabulous little weekend away. Love my friends, love Minneapolis, love a good old fashioned road trip.

Now it’s time to decompress and get ready for the week ahead. I hope you all had just as fabulous of a weekend – I’ll talk to you tomorrow!

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Comments

  1. Kaitlin 04.25.2010

    It looks like you had a great time! I used to live in Minnesota and haven’t been back in 4 years now…this makes me really want to go back now and catch up with all my friends from high school!

  2. Matt 04.25.2010

    Looks like you had a great time! I love brunch too :)

  3. How cool you just shared about two restaurants that feature some GF items! We are heading to Minneapolis this summer, and I look forward to stopping into both of these :) Thank you!!

  4. I am also still friends with tons of girls from high school, but especially close to 4 others. We get together every few months!

  5. What I love: the flowers. the color cupcakes. TJ’s. & the adorable cafe! Glad you had a great weekend with your gals!

  6. Wow, so many beautiful photos and so much good food!!
    I’m so relieved someone else eats their peanut butter nuggets that way – it’s the ONLY way IMHO!
    I’m glad you had fun :)

  7. Jenna 04.25.2010

    Aww, you were right in my area last night, I live only a few blocks from Sawatdee! You hit up some of the best gems in Minneapolis while you were in town it looks like.

    By the way, I eat my pb filled pretzels in a three step process as well. However, I live the PB filled for step three. :)

  8. Looks like SUCH a fun trip! I eat my peanut butter pretzels the same way :-)

  9. Ms. S 04.25.2010

    Looks like you had fun! Hey, is the girl in the first picture you posted of the hostesses working for an AmeriCorps program called MN Reading Corps, by any chance? She looks SO familiar. If not, there is someone else wandering MN who looks incredibly similar!
    Jealous about your French Meadow brunch. I miss living within walking distance of it! Though it’s probably better for my purse that I don’t. :)

  10. Jessica Lee 04.25.2010

    I live in Chicago and I almost never go to TJ’s. I’m a WF girl :) I have been curious about those PB pretzels though. They look goood.

    Looks like you had tons of fun girl.

    Oh man, I want a spring roll. They are soooo delicious!

  11. Bridget 04.25.2010

    Looks like you had a blast! Ohhh my…. I am craving thai food now :)

  12. Jessica 04.25.2010

    My kids and I love the pb pretzels from Trader Joe’s. This weekend we dipped them in chocolate :)

  13. That looks like a fun weekend! And omg, that Egg quesidilla looks SO GOOD!

  14. Run Sarah 04.25.2010

    What a great trip! I love the TJs pb pretzels and the soy ginger dressing, they’re both awesome. What a fun bridal shower! I am still good friends with some girls I went to high school with as well.

  15. Lauren 04.25.2010

    I don’t know what is better here, the food or the amazing time you had with friends…LoL. It all looks sensational!!!
    It’s so great that you are still so close with your best girlfriends from high school. I love that you guys are still able to get together just like old times! :) That’s awesome!

    I have both of those dressings opened in my fridge right now and both are fabulous. Good choices! :)

  16. Joanie 04.25.2010

    So glad you had fun in Minneapolis. I live right by French Meadow Bakery…such good breakfast!! We should have a blogger meet up next time you are in town!

    Too bad it was so dreary and gross here this weekend!

    Joanie

  17. Evan Thomas 04.25.2010

    I wouldn’t know where to start; that all looks AMAZING

  18. kate 04.25.2010

    Pad thai with tofu is my go-to dish when it comes to Thai food. Yum!

  19. Jenna 04.25.2010

    I am totally going to Sawatdee tomorrow when in Minneapolis. Our tour is going to be on Washington Ave. so we have to eat around there, and fancy that’s where Sawatdee is. I’ve never been there but your pictures have convinced me to give it a go. Glad to hear you had fun with everybody!
    Cheers!

  20. Jess 04.25.2010

    It looks like you had a great time!

    Yes, I am still very good friends with a group of four girls from high school. Two of them I have known and gone to school with since kindergarten! We have all been in each other’s weddings in some way over the past four years. They are my truest and bestest friends. I have friends from college, but none beat these “lifetime” friends :)

  21. sassy molassy 04.25.2010

    Looks like a fab weekend of good eats and awesome friends! I am still very close to my high school friends. We get together at least once during the summer and during the holidays. Love it. Also, next time you hit up Trader Joe’s, try to snag the TJ’s brand crunchy peanut butter w/ roasted flax seeds. It is TO DIE FOR.

  22. WOW!
    What a weekend, Kristin!
    So jealous! Hahahaha ;)
    Lovely pics, girl!
    Delicious eats, as usual.
    Have a wonderful week!
    Brazilian XOXO´s,
    Gabriela

  23. […] Comments « Minneapolis Road Trip Recap! […]

  24. Manya 04.26.2010

    Hi Kristen!
    I’m writting to you all the way from Greece! I want to tell you that I’m enjoying your blog so much, it’s such a pleasure to read about your every day life, and feel all this good energy that’s coming out of you.
    Thank you sweetie!

    p.s
    If you ever visit Greece let me know, and if you want to get a taste of the non touristic part go to my blog.
    (manya-mykitchenstories.blogspot.com)

  25. I’m not close with any of my high school friends. I graduated early and went away to college and never went back. Most of them stayed in the area and remained close. Makes me sad sometimes.

  26. Kelsey Huebsch 04.26.2010

    Love the pics of you girls! I’m sure it was a wonderfully special weekend for you all!

  27. Dave 04.26.2010

    WOW!
    What a weekend, Kristin!
    So jealous! Hahahaha ;)
    Lovely pics, girl!
    Delicious eats, as usual.
    Have a wonderful week!
    Brazilian XOXO´s,
    Gabriela

  28. […] finishing up my Annie’s Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette today, and will get to try some of my new Trader Joe’s dressings next […]

  29. Eric 04.27.2010

    Hi Kristen!
    I’m writting to you all the way from Greece! I want to tell you that I’m enjoying your blog so much, it’s such a pleasure to read about your every day life, and feel all this good energy that’s coming out of you.
    Thank you sweetie!

    p.s
    If you ever visit Greece let me know, and if you want to get a taste of the non touristic part go to my blog.
    (manya-mykitchenstories.blogspot.com)

  30. […] I picked up some Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette at Trader Joe’s when I was in Minneapolis last weekend (word to you lucky Omaha peeps who are the proud new owners of a TJ’s!!!) and knew right […]

  31. […] favorite roll recipe online, back in April. After I ate some of the best ones I’d ever had up in Minneapolis later that month, THEN saw Brittany make them on her blog a couple weeks ago – clearly it was […]

  32. […] am SO pumped for never-ending supplies of almond butter, peanut butter filled pretzels and so.much.more! Opening day is TBD, but it supposed to happen sometime this year. […]

  33. […] this particular jar of Trader Joe’s Salted Peanut Butter for ages…it’s actually been around 2 months, which is still a pretty long time for a jar of nut butter to last in my […]

  34. Deanna 01.27.2012

    I stumbled upon your blog and I love it! Also, it seems a friend of mine danced with your friend Laura and I’ve met her! Such a small world. Keep up the great work!

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