Monthly Archives: August 2009


Minnesota - land of 10,000 fried foods on a stick

Minnesota - land of 10,000 fried foods on-a-stick

Yesterday, Julie and I went with our friend Jill and her daughter Meredith, along with Jill’s mom Diane and her friend Marcia, to the Minnesota State Fair.  My goal for the day (and our first time to the state fair) was to eat as much food-on-a-stick as possible, and I can now declare the day a rousing success.

Pancake on a stick


The first stop was for breakfast, which was a “pancake-on-a-stick”.  It was a sausage dipped in pancake batter and then fried.  Tasty, especially with the syrup for dipping.

Jill, eyeing up a "Spam curd"

Jill, eyeing up a "Spam curd"

Next, we were walking by “Spamville”, and I just had to try “Spam curds”.  These were cubes of spam, battered and deep fried, served with barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, or ketchup for dipping.  Jill and Julie didn’t like these as much as I did

Nut roll and shaved ice

Nut roll and shaved ice

I had a little bite of Jill’s cashew nut roll and consumed a large Hawaiian shaved ice.  Not as good as the one we had in Hawaii, and not necessarily on a stick, but tasty nonetheless.

Buffalo on a stick


While we were outside the nut roll stand, I spotted “buffalo-on-a-stick”, so I had to go get one of those.  It was cubes of marinated buffalo meat, grilled with peppers and onions.  Very good.

Spaghetti and meatballs on a stick, and s'more on a stick

Spaghetti and meatballs-on-a-stick, and S'more-on-a-stick

Inside of s'more on a stick

Inside of s'more-on-a-stick

After this, we walked around a bit and then stopped at a “food barn” for lunch.  Julie and I split “spaghetti and meatballs-on-a-stick”, and a “s’more-on-a-stick”.  The spaghetti and meatballs was a meatball made with noodles as part of the meat mix, and then battered and deep-fried.  The s’more was a graham cracker batter surrounding chocolate and marshmallows, and then deep-fried.

Snickers on a stick


Dessert was a fried candy bar-on-a-stick.  There was the option of Oreos, Reeses Peanut Butter cup, Twinkie, and Milky Ways, but I went with the “classic” Snickers choice.

Chocolate covered bacon

Chocolate-covered bacon

Peach glazed pork cheeks on a stick

Peach-glazed pork cheeks-on-a-stick

One of the main goals for the day was to find chocolate-covered bacon.  While not a food-on-a-stick, it was still an over-the-top treat that I had to try.  We found it at Famous Dave’s, along with Peach-glazed pork cheeks-on-a-stick.

Mini donut

Mini donut

Julie, nommin on corn.

Julie, nommin on corn.

After the pork cheeks, we snacked on some mini donuts as the “mid-afternoon dessert”, Julie, Diane and Jill had roasted corn-on-the-cob and then on the way out I got dinner – an entire steak dinner-on-a-stick, including steak, potatoes, peppers, onions, and a roll.  Overall, an awesome day of eating.  Next year we will try deep-fried alligator, and deep-fried fruit-on-a-stick as well.

Steak dinner on a stick

Steak dinner-on-a-stick


Posted by on August 28, 2009 in Food, Justin, Travel


Steak tacos


I found a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens for steak tacos.  It looked pretty easy, and it was.  It’s just a steak, with a rub of chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, marjoram (from Julie’s plant on our porch) and oil, grilled and then sliced into strips, with fresh tomatoes (from Julie’s plant on our porch), cilantro, onion, lime, and crumbled queso fresco.


Very easy, and very good.  It’s a good ramp up to all the food on a stick I am going to eat at the Minnesota state fair on Thursday.  Bratwurst wrapped in lefse and then deep-fried.  Yum.

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Posted by on August 25, 2009 in Food, Justin


Diane & Aaron’s Wedding (and more cupcakes)


This past Saturday our friends Diane and Aaron were married.  I was able to not only enjoy the ceremony and reception as a guest, but also baked the dessert – cupcakes!   They requested four flavors, Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting, Cherry Almond Cupcakes with Almond Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Chocolate Mint Cupcakes with Peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.  

Aaron and Dianes Cupcakes

Earlier in the week I made the chocolate candies on top of each one – monogram A and D’s, and hearts.  I used our church’s kitchen on Thursday, since there are four ovens in there, and baked the 300+ cupcakes that afternoon and evening.  Frosted them on Friday afternoon, then delivered them (with the help of another friend, Lori, and her minivan) to the hotel on Saturday morning.  

diane and aaron cupcake close-up

Everything went quite smoothly, and the cupcakes seemed to go over quite well.  When we headed home from the dinner there were only about five left. 


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Posted by on August 25, 2009 in Baking, Julie


Boeuf a la ficille

Yesterday for dinner I made “Boeuf a la ficille”, from the Les Halles cookbook.  This was a super easy recipe.  Basically, you just take some carrots, turnips (I used baby potatoes instead), half an onion, and a couple of leeks, add water to a large pot and get it boiling.  Next, you just drop in a 2-3 pound beef tenderloin, boiling it in the broth for about 20 minutes.  Next, you take the tenderloin out to let it rest for about 15 minutes and finish cooking the vegetables.  Once everything is done, you cut up the tenderloin and serve.  It came out wonderfully, with good flavor.  Sprinkled with some sea salt, it was great, and only dirtied a pot and a couple of cutting boards.

Boeuf a la ficille

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Posted by on August 19, 2009 in Food, Justin


Two Cats in Need of Good Homes

Justin and I will be putting our house on the market in the next few weeks in preparation of moving into the 2nd floor of our building.  As we will be moving into a smaller, 2 bedroom apartment, we are looking to find a family or two to adopt our cats, Storm and Norm.  While this certainly wasn’t an easy decision, we both agree it will be better for the cats and us in the long run, as many of our friends and family are allergic to cats and can’t really visit us now.  While the cats are very comfortable with each other, they are not related, and would not need to go to the same home.  We are not looking to sell them, and we’ll include litter and a box, food, etc with each of them.  


Storm is a female domestic shorthair (fixed, all shots up-to-date), is about 5 years old and is a chunker – about 16 lbs.  She has both her front and back claws, though she is very good about using her scratching pad and hasn’t torn up any of our furniture.  She is very good about using the litterbox, as we’ve never had a problem with her going anywhere else.  She is very laid back, and is very comfortable with dogs, other cats and older children.  While mostly a lazy sleeper, she does have a playful side.  She loves having her face scratched, and likes to be around others.


Norm is a male domestic short hair (fixed, and all shots up-to-date), about 6 years old and weighs about 8 pounds.  He has had his front paws declawed.  Norm is a bit of a sensitive, quiet little cat.  He can be very affectionate and loves attention, but is a bit skittish around small children, or anything that makes too much noise (he won’t be in the same room when we watch movies).  He is pickier than Storm in regards to the litterbox, as it needs to be scooped and changed regularly  and must be a certain kind (scooped once a week, changed every other week, thankfully the brand is a cheaper Target brand).  He loves to run and chase around the house.  We had him before Storm, and it took about a week for him to adjust to her.  

Both Storm & Norm are indoor cats, and have only ever been outside within our fenced-in yard for less than an hour at a time.  We would prefer for them to go to homes where they will be taken care of inside.  

If you are interested in meeting and/or adopting one or both of our kitties, please contact us as soon as possible (email me at juliebgasper(at)yahoo(dot)com or leave a comment).  We hope to put the house on the market mid-September, and have Storm and Norm in their new homes by then.  Please feel free to pass on this post to any friends or family who you think would be interested in adding a cat to their family!



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Posted by on August 17, 2009 in Julie, Miscellaneous


friends and fotos.

The Paulsons, carefully coordinated :)

The Paulsons, carefully coordinated 🙂

This afternoon Justin and I drove down to Wisconsin Dells to meet up with some great friends from our college days.  We only get to see Mark & Kerry and their two boys, Riley & Logan, about once a year, but we always enjoy it when we do.  About 5 years ago we caught up with them in the Dells as well, and met at great restaurant, The Cheese Factory.  When we agreed to meet there, we had no idea that the restaurant is, in fact, a vegetarian restaurant.  We all found the food phenomenal and have always recommended it to anyone heading to the Dells.  When Mark & Kerry mentioned they would be vacationing at a resort in the Dells this weekend, we all agreed a trip back to The Cheese Factory would be on the agenda.  We connected with the fam at their resort, and then all headed over to the restaurant.  

Riley's self portrait
Riley’s self portrait

The moment I took our camera out of my bag before the meal, Riley, age 5, was captivated, and expressed his desire to learn how to use it.  With the strap securely around his neck, he snapped almost 200 photographs of everything and everyone around him.  While his mom and dad may have been concerned with the safety of the camera, I was actually really looking forward to seeing our visit from his point of view.  

5-year-old's view of Justin
5-year-old’s view of Justin

While there were plenty of “test” pictures, as he was figuring out the focus and shutter speed, there were a lot of really fun, neat photographs taken.  

dessert case
Checking out the dessert offerings…
This mother and son didn't expect the paparazzi at dinner!
This mother and son didn’t expect the paparazzi at dinner!
a cool shot of the out-of-order jukebox

a cool shot of the out-of-order jukebox

Hard not to smile at an excited kid with a giant camera!

Hard not to smile at an excited kid with a giant camera!

this is the lens cap.

this is the lens cap. and some sweet bokeh action.

I love this picture of Logan!

I love this picture of Logan!

Even Logan (Riley’s younger brother by 2 years) wanted to try (obviously!).  

Riley's not too pleased that it is Logan's turn with the camera!

Riley's not too pleased that it is Logan's turn with the camera!

Seriously... a 3-year-old took this picture!!

Seriously... a 3-year-old took this picture!!

As Justin downloaded the photos onto his laptop on the drive home, we were able to reflect on the chance we were able to have to catch up with this great family, as well as be a bit amazed at some of these fantastic memories – some more in focus than others. 

playing on twisted old trees is much easier without a bulky camera in-hand!

playing on twisted old trees is much easier without a bulky camera in-hand!

...plotting how to get the camera out of MY hands, and back into his...

...plotting how to get the camera out of MY hands, and back into his...


Posted by on August 16, 2009 in Friends, Julie, Photography


Scallops Grenobloise

scallops grenobloise

While I may be writing up this blog post, Justin definitely receives the credit.  He found a recipe in this quarter’s issue of Sendik’s real food magazine by Jacques Pepin for Scallops Grenobloise.  I picked up the few necessary ingredients he needed at the store while running errands, and then Justin threw everything together for a fast, absolutely delicious meal this evening.  First off, he cubed some french bread and lightly tossed it with some oil to toast in order to make fresh croutons.  He then peeled and cut out fresh lemon segments and diced some fresh button mushrooms.  He lightly seasoned some beeeaaauuuutiful sea scallops with freshly ground pepper and a dash of kosher salt.  In one nice, hot non-stick skillet, he heated a small amount of oil, then added the scallops to sear.  At about the same time, he melted some butter in a smaller skillet, then added the mushrooms, then, after a few minutes, a dash of red wine vinegar.  When the scallops were perfectly cooked (only a couple of minutes!) he arranged those on the plate, and sprinkled on the lemon segments, some capers, and the toasted bread cubes.  Then drizzled the browned butter and mushroom sauce over the top.  Add a bit a fresh parsley, and voila!  A ridiculously delicious, restaurant-quality meal on our table in less than 15 minutes.  Justin is definitely getting the hang of this cooking business!


Posted by on August 14, 2009 in Food, Julie