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!
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:
Chocolate Brownie PURE Bars: perhaps the squishiest, most wickedly-delicious brownie bar on the planet!
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.
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!
And ahhh, the true loves of my life – Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels!
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.
Step 2: Devour said nugget.
Step 3: Polish off the bottom pretzel.
A pretty good haul of booty, if I do say so myself!
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?
Her home is just fantastic – it has so much character – and she had the perfect little buffet set up for all the shower guests.
Fresh flowers made an elegant centerpiece, and really brightened the room.
Love the colors!
The menu included two types of Quiche (mmm spinach with spicy pepper jack cheese!),
some assorted pastries including one of the best pieces of baklava I’ve had!
Fresh Fruit & Berries,
Bran Muffins (don’t knock – this recipe is from one of our friends’ Mom, and we are all obsessed!)
and Chocolate Cupcakes with homemade frosting, made by the other co-host. THESE ARE TO DIE FOR!!!!
Here’s our new Mommy!!
Mama had a good time opening all her gifts. Aren’t baby clothes the cutest?!
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!
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?
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!
After shopping, we hit one of my favorite Thai restaurants in Minneapolis – Sawatdee.
Sawatdee has several locations throughout the city, and I used to eat here all the time when I lived in Minni.
It’s nice enough to take a date to, but casual enough to walk right in. Know what I mean?
I needed to hydrate. So I did. Rocked about 4 ice waters!
We ordered the Fresh Vegetarian Spring Rolls to start.
Chewy spring roll wrappers, stuffed with rice noodles, cilantro, cabbage, and other crunchy veggies. Served with a peanut dipping sauce.
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.
For my entree, I got an oldie, but goodie: Pad Thai with Tofu…no spice please!
omg, it was just as good as I remembered!
Chewy rice noodles in a savory, peanut, garlic sauce, with crunchy bean sprouts, chopped peanuts and fried tofu.
I stuffed myself. It’s true, I did. It was so good!
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!
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.
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.
We had ice cream while watching. Perfectly natural.
This morning, before Ben and I had to hit the road, we made time for brunch at zee fabulous French Meadow Bakery & Cafe.
French Meadow uses all-natural and organic ingredients – you truly feel good about the food you order and eat here.
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!
Special touches like little bud vases at every table, really set the mood for a cozy brunch.
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!
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!
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.
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!!
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!
Or maybe I should start it out with this humongous Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing!!!!
We sat, we ate, we conquered. Brunch is the best!
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!