Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Recent Food Truck Tour Stops - Sushi Fix & AZ Canteen

So it's been a while since I've done a post on lunchtime visits to some of the downtown Minneapolis area food trucks. I'm a creature of habit, frequenting the same three food trucks most of the time, but in the past weeks I've tried a couple of new trucks.

First up is Sushi Fix.The truck is normally parked between 7th & 8th street on Marquette when it's in downtown Minneapolis. The owner: Enkhbileg “Billy” Tserenbat, who is a former executive chef from Yumi Sushi Bar.

Nothing is pre-made. Everything on the menu is made to order. The fish they use is as fresh as possible delivered to the them the night before they use it.  No fishy smells, it is so tasty & tender, not hard & cold from sitting assembled in a package with fake green plastic leaves beneath it.

For $15, I splurged I tried that day's special...  
"The Hennepin Roll: Inside: shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber Outside: Spicy Tuna, Tobiko, Sweet sauce."

 It was a good sized portion, so I shared a piece with an inquisitive co-worker. We agreed it was the best sushi either of us had eaten in a long time & could hardly believe it was made in a truck. Yum!

I had also heard good things about Andrew Zimmern's newest food truck venture called AZ Canteen from Jason DeRusha on Twitter. AZ Canteen is normally parked a couple of trucks down from Sushi Fix on the same block. While Jason was singing the praises about the tongue he had eaten there, I was more eager to try the Andouille, Oyster & Crab Gumbo.

This particular recipe is a bit different than the Baton Rouge-style Gumbo I grew up with my Daddy making for me, which was always chock full of shrimp & crawfish, beside the sausage & chicken. 

The different ingredient in this cup was oysters. I admit I wasn't quite sure what to expect. It was actually really enjoyable. The roux was well made & the gumbo had a nice consistency - not too thick or thin There was even a taste of okra in the cup. Light on heat, it could have used a few splashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce, but for a dish made for a MN palate, it was pretty tasty.

The logo design is very quirky & fun.

In honor of the Great Minnesota Get Together, aka The MN State Fair, Smack Shack came up with a Lobster Corn Dog in a  Sweet Corn Batter & served with Lemon Chive Aioli, which was incredibly yummy. We have been begging & pleading on facebook for them to be brought back to the truck before the season is over.

Last but not least, our building management held a get together in the lobby for tenants of the building. Although this has nothing to do with food trucks, I had my first taste of "ice cream", or Raspberry Sorbet as this variety was, from Izzy's Ice Cream Cafe. It was good - I might just be tempted to stop by their store in St. Paul sometime with my Munchkin & try out some other flavors.

So that's it for a while. This coming weekend is the 3rd annual Minnesota Blogger Conference. I'll be attending & will place recaps of the sessions out here. Renewed inspiration for getting my blogging grove back is what I expect to find, along with a taste of Muddy Paws Cheesecake & a new avatar/head shot.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gateway to Change

Releasing fears...the gateway to change. I have avoided blogging about my determination to continue getting back into shape over the past few months. Back in April, I signed up to do a 90 day BeachBody fitness challenge at the prodding of a friend who had recently become a BeachBody coach. I wasn't thinking of it being a transforming process at the time, but surprise, surprise that's what it has turned out to be. 

I wasn't compensated to try this 90 day challenge. I shelled out some hard earned cash & ordered Brett Hoebel's Rev Abs program. He's easy on the eyes & figured that counts if I'm going to be working out with this dude 6x a week - right!

Most of us don't believe in overnight miracles when it comes to achieving fitness goals. There is no such thing. Sweat, consistency, persistence, pain, they all need to be in the equation to see any progress. But it is totally worth experiencing all of those things. Maintaining a higher level of fitness is something we all struggle with. As we age, it becomes an even larger challenge. 

From the Arnold Sports Festival Facebook page
One of my biggest fears throughout this challenge has been the scale. It was one of the requirements to participate to get on the scale & weigh-in, plus take measurements every Monday. Not only did we have to chart the progress, but we needed to post in a private Facebook group, sharing with people we didn't know, but who all shared this goal of conquering this challenge together. We signed up to be open honest & to offer each other encouragement along the way. It worked for me.

The gateway to change - an important place to pass through if what you crave is uncover the you that used to be. So just because the 90 days is up today, it's not the end. 12 lbs & 18" gone from my body in the process - a great result. I'm satisfied. It's so incredibly motivating and pressure-filled at the same time. The workouts must continue at the same intensity & probably more so than before. Once you move forward it becomes that much more difficult to take steps back because you know what you can achieve. You remember what you are capable of, plus you can't bear to lose the "me time."

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like: Life's Lessons or Stream of Consciousness Sunday: 90 Days to Success

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Reinvention and the final Stream of Consciousness Sunday

stream of consciousness Sunday

Say it isn't so!

I've totally been delinquent, preoccupied, whatever you'd like to call it & haven't done many of these lately but it certainly won't be the last post of this nature - I'll just be providing my own inspiration vs. relying on Miss Fadra, who has told us she is moving on from hosting this weekly forum. 

While it's nostalgic & a bit sad, I imagine it's incredibly freeing for Fadra to let go of this weekly obligation & I support her wholeheartedly. I get it. I feel the pressure too, so it totally makes sense to move on, but before we do, here's one last linked post.

Today’s (Optional) Writing Prompt: What does it mean to reinvent yourself?

Today my son asked me "what I'd like to do for a living." A few days ago, I was joking around with him in the car and he told me: "Mom, you are going to be out of control when you grow up!" The thought of being a 40 something mom of a soon to be school-age child begs for a constant state of reinvention in my life.

if you read my last post, you would see how overwhelming my life has become lately. I'm fighting to keep up, yet I know my season of change is never-ending or at least it will feel that way for the distant future. I'm at a stage in my career where I know I need to be doing something else & I've taken steps to get where I think I need to be, but the path has not taken me where I expected it to go. I'm re-evaluating what I really want to be when I grow up, literally.

It's like my kid has ESP & knows what I've been preoccupied about lately even though I don't say a word about it to him. He's sensitive, loving & caring. I'm certain he knows when I'm stressed & when I don't want him to know I'm stressed.

The major victory this year has been getting back to the business of being in shape. I had put that on the back burner, but now I'm cooking with gas...down a clothing size & on the way to dropping one more. Feeling more like my old self, but in a different way - not my old competitive self, but comfortable in my own skin. I've learned it's not ok to put myself last ALL the time. I'm a better person for it - both inside & out. 

I know that it will take some time to put all the pieces in place so that my future will be more clear, but I am moving forward nonetheless. I'll know it when I get there, but for now I am trusting that this path to reinvention will end in a happier place.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Long Time No See

Holy smokes it's been over 3 weeks since I blogged last. It's been such a stressful few weeks - like nothing we've experience before as a family, but we are adjusting as we go. A roller coaster of celebrations, goodbyes, new beginnings, emotions & experiences.

---> Preschool Graduation
---> Saying goodbye to the old teachers
---> New School Age Summer Care provider w/ fieldtrips
---> Making lunches daily
---> Adjusting to the new teachers
---> Birthdays
---> Father's Day
---> T-ball Lessons
---> Swimming Lessons
---> Wedding
---> New schedules for everyone
---> Volunteering

The list goes on. All in the last 3 weeks. I can hardly fathom getting through it all, but we have. Everyday is a struggle. Like an amusement ride that never ends. The strength starts from within but from where I'll never know. No time to recharge the batteries, no time to second guess. Just go with it. Follow the schedule. It's just about all I can do.

I've been squeezing in some "me time" too. A girlfriend talked me into joining her Beach Body Challenge group - remember? We are on day #62 of a 90 day program. I chose Brett Hoebel's Rev Abs. Even with this crazy schedule I've made huge progress for me... 8 lbs down & 14 1/4" gone from all over my body. I've dropped a clothing size & overall am feeling more like my old self. They goal is to be down 2 sizes by the end of this & to continue what I finish, meaning I choose a new program to do at the end of this one to continue the progress.

My garden is taking shape & babies are everywhere:

Gives me some peace & joy to see them taking shape, plus it's a great daily reminder for Munchkin that patience reaps rewards. So hopefully it won't be quite so long before I blog again. Time will tell.

Oh! Guess what?! I pulled the trigger & ordered an iPad (version 3) today. Our family's first. I can hardly wait to pick it up. The badly needed new PC will have to wait ; )

Friday, June 1, 2012

Blink & You Just Might Miss It

Where are the noise makers, balloons & confetti?! This is post number 200! Do I get a virtual high five for that, because it's been really difficult to get motivated to write lately. My theme for the near future is "Back to Blogging" at least until the words begin to flow freely again. 

It's already June 1st & the older I get the faster time seems to pass by. The month of May was very productive, leaving me feeling blessed.

We took a couple of big leaps toward getting our Master Bedroom in shape. The 80's wallpaper is gone. Here's a swatch so you can appreciate how hideous it really was in there:

It was coordinated with this equally obnoxious print adorning the walls of our Master Bathroom:

There! See what I mean?! Totally gross! I gave some hints in my last post, but no photos so I'm including a couple now. 

The Master Bath mini update was the first thing we tackled years after our then two year old Munchkin started the job of removing the wallpaper from the wall, my hubby finished the job. Some new mirrors, vanity lights & fixtures make a big difference.

I loved it & was excited for another big change. Almost 7 years after we moved in and our Master is light years more cozy, warm, grown-up, & serene.  My hubby now calls it "the hotel" & wonders if room service is a possibility. (Not a chance!)

Kindergarten preparation tasks topped my to-do list. We needed to finish the enrollment process for our school year child care & get Munchkin's assessment completed. After two attempts full of angst & disappointment, he finally decided that he was up to the task of sharing exactly how much he knew with the assessor and stopped resisting. He talked faster than she could keep up with. The assessor kept saying "Wow!" and "Slow Down!" He floored her with his knowledge base & remarked that my son had taught her something in light of how successful he was, despite the results of the prior visits. She thanked me for my patience in bringing him back. I was beaming from ear to ear. Munchkin had made me so proud that day.

Munchkin's first fishing trip with hubby was this past weekend.  This child was not only stoked to go, he wanted to be prepared, so he practiced his casting in the front yard not once, but twice after he got his new fishing pole.

In no time he was casting his line very well...

And reeled the line back in like a pro...and it paid off. The little guy caught eleven fish! Who would have imagined. Munchkin had quite the fish tales to share with his friends on Tuesday at preschool.

Over the Memorial Day holiday, I finished planting everything I'd found for the deck garden this year, eleven pots in all. I have to say I did a great job : D

This Summer will prove to be one filled with new experiences for the entire family. I'm afraid if I blink I might miss something on the schedule I should have remembered. So I guess it's time to buckle up... off we go!

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy: Stream of Consciousness Sunday - Another Big Milestone or Two Strikes

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May Flowers & New Experiences

Looking back to see the last time I blogged & it's a little embarrassing. Once a week used to be my absolute minimum, but life's been a bit over whelming & every time I sit down to write, you might say my mind is overflowing. So much so that I can't decide what to focus on.  Spring has been a lovely one but one that has been full of pending transitions.

My only son is going to be a Kindergartener in the fall & I'm not sure I am ready for all the changes to come in his little world starting with a daycare provider change in less than a month.  It's a huge deal for me - not so much for my husband.  

Sometimes it makes you wonder - all the things that we as women process differently in our day-to-day lives.  The things that give us wings when we feel like we can't make it another day & calm us down when things get hectic are very different. I would care less about a cold beer, I'd rather relax with am extra large mug of hot Chai tea. As much as I love golf, my hubby loves it a lot more. My passion this time of year has become setting up & tending to my gardens.

The first few strawberries plants are in, using a different "pot" than I've used in the past. I've got about six more plants to load into this, but it's a start.
Two tomato plants are in their new homes for the season - I plan to find 3 more varieties to add to the mix...if I can find more of the pots I need to grow them properly. As much as I love my wooden pots, they aren't wide enough or heavy enough to stay upright in a good wind or as the plants grow really tall.
I love to take photos of the arrangements I've planted to give color to the front of our home until the fall.  The plants always look so meager at first but as they grow, they always fill in the posts so nicely. The after pics are a joy to look back on - giving me a huge boost of confidence.
From year to year,  I try to change things up. I'm not very predictable, at least in my opinion, even though my shade to part shade varietal choices are few.
My Mother's Day gift from my sister-in-law made it into this pot - a red Gerbera Daisy - the color Munchkin chose - his favorite.

We are finally getting our Master Bedroom together after almost seven years, which energizes me like you would not believe. It's always been the one room in our home that I didn't want anyone to see.  The horrid 80's poorly coordinated wallpapers drove me nuts & made me very sad. I never really felt rested in that space with all the "honey do's" swirling in my head.

With only our new headboard left to install along with a few more pieces of art to hang, most of the things on my Master Bedroom list are checked off as complete. The room has the feel of a fancy hotel room rather than an old run down motel room. I am at peace & feel calm when I'm in the space now. ( I promise to post the "after" pics when the last few elements are installed.)

The Master bathroom got a phase one facelift, which will be complete once hubby installs my new faucets. Phase two will have wait for a big windfall - I have such plans to make that space a retreat. One day...it will be.

My favorite thought for the day was: 
"Sometimes you take chances in life, not because you know it's the right thing to do, but because it's the only thing to do in that moment."

There have been so many actions taken lately where I've felt like I was shooting from the hip - choices that perhaps seemed bold for me, but they needed to be made. I refuse to regret or second guess those decisions. This life is an evolution - a web of paths traveled & consequences; joy & pain. I pray all the new experiences ahead in the coming months are worth every ounce of anticipation.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy: Stream of Consciousness Sunday: 90 Days to Success or Wordless Wednesday - Patience Reaps Reward

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Life's Lessons

So far, so good. It's been just over a week & I'm loving the "me" time. Late at night when the house is dead calm, my form is tight & my eyes are focused on the exercises. One rep, one set, one circuit at a time.

I'm committed to making changes during this 90 day fitness challenge period that I'll sustain going forward.  If nothing else, this is a mental exercise that will reap major benefits in other aspects of my life.  I'm enjoying the journey - not wishing away the hard work & sweat along the way. 

Here are just a few more words of wisdom to keep in mind:

So easy to get caught up in life's "what ifs" - Much more productive to look ahead & focus on what's next.   

Blessings rarely come in the wrappings you expect them to. Be prepared regardless. When you relinquish the worries, they just may flow.

"Healing is the return to wholeness." - Deepak Chopra

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: 90 Days to Success

It's been 3 weeks since my last post. With so much swirling in my head lately about my life goals & vision for accomplishments this year, it doesn't surprise me that I haven't been able to decide what exactly which goals I should be writing about. 

This blog is in no way going to turn into to place to keep track of this journey back to a higher level of fitness but I may journal a bit of it over on my Tumblr.  There is however a huge milestone coming for me on Monday, so just for this Stream of Consciousness Sunday I'm focusing on that measurement of success.

Today’s (optional) Writing Prompt: What is success to you and how will you know when you achieve it?

Sometimes it's hard to believe that this was once me. Determined, driven, focused, deprived, yes, but successful in my own way - conquering the vices of the mind to achieve a better body. A body that I used to compete with & one that as a group fitness instructor I used to help teach other to become more fit themselves.
These are my "before" my "before pics. I can look at them & say although I didn't win every NPC bodybuilding show I competed in - competition was always very tough. I always held my own & would come back for more again & again to improve - to move closer to "winning". I won the overall title in one important show, qualifying me to compete at the national level if I so chose & for that I deemed myself a successful competitive bodybuilder. But that was my "old" life.

Flash forward to today - and when I look in the mirror as a wife & a mom, I desperately want to see the me that used to be - not the me that I've been molded into today.  It's a strange thing to look in the mirror, accept the changes & wonder how you're ever going to get back to a place where you don't obsess about your appearance, not that I didn't back then either - I most certainly did.

I signed up to do a 90 day fitness challenge with a friend who has become a Beach Body Coach & is having a blast with it helping to motivate others while she improves her own level of fitness.  It begins Monday. I intend to do this the right way - to stay focused & dedicated the entire time. That means working out 6 days a week & following the "RevAbs" program the entire time.  I want to feel successful again & seeing major progress at the end of these 90 days will get me there. 

I've taken measurements to make sure I can not only visualize progress but validate it with the numbers on the tape measure. I will also buy a scale.  I REALLY despise scales. Being in tune with how my clothes fit has always been the best indicator of how things are going with my level of fitness.

I also took a fitness test measuring things like Squat Holds, Push-ups, Jumping Jacks, Planks, Cobras, Crunches & Leg Drops.  Because of the mini fitness challenge I started on my own back in January, where I worked out with my kettlebell every day of that month, I actually did pretty well with all of them - except for the Side Plank which I could not for the life of me figure out what I was supposed to do.

This next 90 days will be a stepping stone to achieving other goals I have to check off my list in 2012.  Don't expect me to post my latest before pics or my after pics here but know that if/when I'm successful with this goal - nothing will be able to stop me from blowing the top off of the rest of my goals. Mind over matter...is the secret & Mind over Body...will be the recipe for my future successes.

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
§         Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
§         Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
§         Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
§         Link up your post at all.things.fadra
§         Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.