Archive for the 'Friends' Category

Holiday Photos

Posted by Karen in Family, Food, Friends, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc, Isla.
Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Family Portait

Family portrait

Punky Brewster shoes

This was the one and only time Isla got to wear her Punky Brewster shoes, because they fit her for this one day only.


A lot of shortbread was made, and as the official shortbread judge, I declare this particular batch of Quentin’s was the best.

schpeck bread

For some reason, there were several equally odd pics of Quentin and I at Christmas dinner enjoying the bread made with speck (yummy bacon-like stuff Q brought back with him from Italy).

Ricky Story

Isla still really loves to have stories read to her!  Grandpa Ricky read to her all about a very hungry caterpillar.

making poutine

Nate & I decided sort of last-minute like to invite a few friends over for poutine & pints on New Year’s day.  Here he is making the delicious gravy, which we poured over plates of homemade fries topped with cheese curds.  Yummmm.

Poutine & Pints 2010

It ended up sort of being Babypalooza!  Look at all those kids!

lady friends & kids

We’re outnumbered ladies!

little bird

My favorite new outfit of Isla’s, which she was working on drenching in drool.


Isla’s first sled ride!  Well, actually, the snow was so wet and heavy that we really couldn’t pull it anywhere, so we just sat her in it in her waaaay too big snowsuit and took pictures of her.


Isla’s first snow man!

And the making of her first snowman:

First there was the belly…

Posted by Karen in Friends, Isla, Malarkey.
Monday, August 17th, 2009 at 8:48 pm

20090817193618_n_k_2.jpg20090817194001_flowerchild2.jpgWe asked our good friend and awesome photographer Peter to help us document my belly.  Here are some of our favorites.


Latest Adventures in Local Foods

Posted by Karen in Day to Day, Food, Friends.
Saturday, November 15th, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Pedro gave us the most beeeeautiful pumpkin in the whole world 20081114164834_punkin.jpgon the last day of selling.  Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of it.  But I did get a picture of the aftermath of cooking that sucker up. 

It’s interesting what a disconnect there is in America when it comes to pumpkins as food.  We carve pumpkins, we decorate with them, we even chuck them, but very few actually consider cooking them.  When a recipe calls for pumpkin puree, we automatically think of canned pumpkin.  It’s true that cooking a pumpkin is no small endeavor – this particular specimen took a good 4 or 5 hours – but man is it gratifying, and so worth it.  Because this guy was so big it was a bit challenging to cut, and then wouldn’t all fit in the oven so had to be baked in a few rounds.  Then we let it cool, scooped and scraped all the flesh into our new totally kick-ass food processor, and blended it up.  The result was 8 pint glasses and a bit.  We froze the puree in the pint glasses, and will then warm them up enough to slide the puree out into a freezer bag or container for storing.  (We chose pint glasses because they are roughly the same size as a can of pumpkin puree, which is what most recipes call for – 16 oz. vs 15 oz.)

What, you20081114164907_punkin_martini.jpg ask, do we make with all that punkin puree?  Well, for starters, to celebrate the fruits of our labors (literally), I tried out Marianne’s pumpkin martini recipe.  I do love a good martini, and this one was a winner.  Thanks Mom Schroeder!  Nate made a pumpkin carrot soup that was pretty awesome, and is as we speak in the process of trying out a new pumpkin bread recipe that we hope to serve up at Justin & Juliana’s shower on Sunday.  We are also planning on making some kind of pumpkin cookie, or bar, or pie, or cheesecake for the shower.  We actually have a cookbook devoted entirely to squash and pumpkins, so I don’t think we will run out of ideas! The seeds of this guy were also big and perfect and beautiful, and I cooked them up in the iron skillet with some oil, sea salt and cumin.  Yummy.20081114173810_from_scratch_pizza.jpg

We’ve also had some new adventures in homemade pizza making, one of our faves. We made a pizza entirely from scratch a couple months ago – Nate made the crust, I made the sauce with tomatoes from our garden and CSA, we made the mozzarella, put veggies on it from our CSA, and venison sausage from a deer Peter shot at his grandma’s farm.  Wh20081114164815_pizza.jpgoa.

Then we stole an idea and a super easy slow roasted roma tomato recipe from the Kastlers and have now made our new  favorite pizza, with buffalo mozzarella and basil. Thank you, thank you, thank you Madeline for sharing this recipe, it has changed my life.  In fact, on the chance it will change yours too, I’ll put it below.

I had the intention of canning a whole mess of salsa, because we eatalotta salsa and this would be a good money saver, in a20081114173822_salsa.jpgddition to not going through all those jars.  But the recipes for canned salsa call for a ton of vinegar or lemon juice to  make sure it’s acidic enough to be safe, and after a couple of test batches, we decided the tang was too much.  So I ended up just making one large jar at a time that we’ve kept in our fridge and ate right away, and that’s kept us in salsa heaven for a few months straight!  Note to Karen’s Secret Santa: I want a pressure canner so I will be able to can salsa without all the vinegar or lemon juice! 

And the last thing I would like to discuss is all the usage I’ve been getting as of late from our dehydrator, handed down to us by Mom Phillips – thanks Ma!  Faithful readers may recall that earlier in the season I spent way too much time drying an insane amount of dill in the dehydrator.  I was kind of over the contraption for awhile after that. But lately I’ve been drying lots and lots of apples and cranberries and I’m kind of in love with the thing.  I can now reasonably declare that Honey Crisp apples are hands down, without a doubt, the greatest apples in the entire world.  It does not matter what you do with them – eat them raw, dry them, bake them, roast them with fall vegetables –20081115095155_dehydrating_cranbizzles.jpg they are astoundingly delicious every time.  I vow to one day buy them by the bushel and dry and can and whatever else I have to do to them so that I can eat them non-stop, year-round to my heart and tummy’s delight.  Ohhh Honey Crisp.

I’ve also been making craisins, which, as it turns out, is not as easy as just throwing a bunch of cranberries in the dehydrator.  Here’s the method I’ve been using:

1. Put the cranberries in a pot of boiling water so they pop (this allows the moisture to escape in the dehydrator).  Poke any that do not pop with the end of a knife.

2. Soak overnight in a bowl of orange juice mixed with honey or maple syrup.

3. Drain the cranberries, reserving the liquid, and spread them out on the racks of the dehydrator, then plug the thing in and let them dry for what seems like forever.  (You could also use an oven on low heat.)

4. Very important step: Make the reserved soaking juice into a martini using a 2:1 ratio of juice to vodka. Or mix it with soda water (and vodka) for a yummy sparkling juice (cocktail).

I made one pint of these (craisins, not cocktails) last week and have been eating them with granola and yogurt for breakfast.  They also added a perfect punch to a breakfast dish of cooked cracked barley, cream, and maple syrup that Nate made. I imagine they would be awesome on a salad with some goat or bleu cheese and walnuts and a nice vinaigrette.  Mmmm.  I have 3 pints currently drying which will hopefully last a few months.

And now we’re off on a round of errands to start getting ready for the shower tomorrow and get a certain wonderdog a birthday present – Seward co-op, Green Gifts Fair, Urbanimal!

Slow Roasted Roma Tomatoes a la Mad-dog

Prep a shallow baking pan with two tablespoons of olive oil.  

Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and lay them cut side up in the pan.

Brush another tablespoon of olive oil over the cut side of the tomatoes and sprinkle with chopped garlic and herbs – rosemary, thyme, oregano, whatever you have.  

Put it in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours.  Voila!  

Use immediately on a pizza or in a pasta dish, or freeze and store.  Freeze them right in the pan and then put them in a baggie or container so they will be easier to separate when you want to use them.

So You Think You Can Dance…dance…dance…dance…

Posted by Karen in Day to Day, Friends.
Friday, October 24th, 2008 at 9:38 am

As many of you know, my favorite TV show of all time is So You Think You Can Dance.  I’ve given it some thought, and I really can’t put my finger on why I love it so much.  I mean it’s not like I was ever a dancer and am fantasizing about what might have been.  And I’m not a big fan of American Idol (which would have made a whole lot more sense since I did once upon a time – uh, and maybe just this past weekend – sing), or 20081024082249_sytycd.jpgDancing With the Stars, or those other talent contest type reality shows. Anyway, there may not be a lot of logic behind it, but I so loooove it. I think I was a little embarrassed about it for awhile so I didn’t really talk about it, but at some point several of my lady friends and I realized we were all secretly watching it and obsessed with it. So then we started making ladies’ night out of it and getting together to watch it, thereby combining several favorite things into one: the best TV show of all time, my lady friends, and wine.

After the actual TV show is done and "America’s Favorite Dancer" is declared, the top 10 or so dancers go on a national tour.  Well.  Last year my lady friends and I talked about getting tickets to the live show, but by the time we got around to it the only tickets that were left were super crappy yet still expensive seats, so we decided against it.  This ye20081024083128_bollywood.jpgar lots of stuff sort of came up during the season and we were all pretty busy, so we kind of stopped getting together to watch it.  I ended up YouTubing most of it.  So we all kind of missed the boat on buying tickets for the live show.  And then came my birthday.  And I received the greatest present ever, 2 tickets to the live show!

My lady friends were all pretty jealous, and some (Peacock) tried to buy the 2nd ticket from Nate.  He was strangely silent about the whole thing, because he is secretly a total fan of the show but is too embarassed to admit it! 

The show was this past Sunday evening at the Xcel Center in downtown St. Paul.  We decided to have dinner at the nearby Great Waters Brewing Co., which was an experience in and of itself: the place was packed with ladies!  Mostly teenage girls, but also some tables of moms, and some tables of my-age ladies all getting their drink and dessert on, like we do.  And yes, they were ALL going to So You think You Can Dance!  Nate was feeling a bit out of place at this point, and trying even harder to look like he was just there to support me. 

Once we got to the Xcel, there were more dudes, but it was still definitely heavy on the ladies.  I told Nate not to judge 20081024082931_russian_dance.jpgme, but that I needed to buy some merchandise.  I had my heart set on a Super Twitch shirt, but alas, they had none, and the lines were too crazy long for me to check out the other goods. We made our way to our seats, only to find that they totally suuuucked!  As far back as could be, and as far in the corner as could be so that we were actually kind of behind the stage.  I still didn’t care, I was so psyched.  We had some time to kill, so we decided to walk around.  We ended up coming out again in a place directly facing the stage where there were these bar stool type seats.  These had a killer view, and a little table to stick our popcorn on. We figured we’d hang out there a while till we got kicked out.  But we never did!  We got to stay there the whole show!  YAY.  

And it was awesome.  They did almost all of my favorite numbers: the group Bollywood, the Russian boingy boingy one, the suitcase, the bed one, the door one, the garden, the frankenstein one, and so many more…  It was soooooo coooool.  And of course, my favorite dance of the season, and the reason I’ve had to start every day this week by blasting this song, Comfort and Twitch’s hip hop dance to "Forever":

Thank you Nate and any Schroeder siblings who played a part in this totally awesome birthday present!!!

Babyfest ’08

Posted by Nate in Bruno, Friends.
Monday, June 2nd, 2008 at 8:50 pm

20080602194235_pict0005.jpgBruno was kept extremely busy tonight checking on all the babies and making sure their faces were never more than a few seconds away from a healthy doggy-lick.

Lilyana on the left, the youngest of the group, is luckily well-versed in doggy lick acceptance — they have a very friendly dog of their own.
Frances and Ayla managed to avoid most of the licking with their superior bipedal skills and masterful piano duet.

20080602194256_pict0009.jpgNot satisfied with her reception from the piano solo, Frances decided to show off by donning 20080602194247_pict0006.jpga pair of adult shoes and going for a stroll.

Someday, kiddo, someday all too soon…  :)

Overdue post: Pirate Shower!

Posted by Nate in Friends, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc.
Monday, May 12th, 2008 at 5:29 pm

Home sick today, trying to use my last bit of energy to catch up on the blog.  Or start to, anyway – we’re massively behind.  Here goes…

20080429052936_pirate_cake1.jpgTwo weekends ago we had a shower for our friends Scott and Shannon.  And not just any shower!  They’d alerted us to their plan to decorate the kid’s room with various pirate themed items, including sheets for the crib, so we decided to have a Pirate Shower!  20080429052948_pirate_cake2.jpgKaren took charge of the pirate cake: vanilla with chocolate frosting and a fearsome Jolly Roger flag made with her new decorating kit.  I seem to have missed a shot of the final product, once the icing was smoothed out it was 20080429052914_monster1.jpgawesome!  Continuing my recent bread-baking kick, I whipped up a treasure-chest bread bowl, guarded of course by a creepy olive-eyed sea monster.  Raarrr!

20080429052924_pirate_baby.jpgThere were games, including pin the eyepatch on the pirate baby, Pirate Pictionary, and much fun was had by all!

20080429053000_spread1.jpgIt turns out to be a very good thing we had the shower when we did – they weren’t due for three more weeks, but in the middle of the week after the shower we received an excited text message from Scott: the baby was on its way!!

Welcome to the world, baby Jo!!!

20080429052905_soccer.jpgEven more amazingly, they both showed up for that week’s soccer game, Scott to play, and Shannon and  Jo to cheer.  We’re playing this year on an indoor league, and getting thoroughly beaten every week, but it’s still incredibly fun!

20080429052845_icecream1.jpgLastly, some bonus pictures from a few weeks back when it actually felt like spring:  we went out for ice cream at a local shop, and they had little doggie ice cream packs!  20080429052835_icecream2.jpgI think they said they use half the fat and sugar, and who could pass up one called "Bruno Tracks"???  Not us.  That dog has the best life…

Whew.  Not caught up yet, but at least it’s a start!

Things That Made Me Laugh This Week

Posted by Karen in Friends.
Saturday, March 8th, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Thing #1:

Thing #2:

Thing #3:


Weekend Travels

Posted by Karen in Beer, Bruno, Family, Friends, Travel.
Friday, March 7th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

My BFF Katie is preggers and due in like a week and a half (yik20080305074811_bruno_ayla.jpges!) and  Nate, Bruno, and I recently decided to pay a visit to her, her husband Tim (who I’ve been friends with since high school), daughter Ayla, and dog Lofert in Madison.  Poor Lofert has had some leg issues, but is now on the mend, so this was the first time he and Bruno got to play and be best doggy friends.  And since licking babies is one of Bruno’s favorit20080307102230_tube_o_ayla.jpge things to do in the world, he was delighted to see 1 1/2 year old Ayla.  Ayla has started talking more, but has decided the world really needs a new language, and she is just the little lady to invent it.  She also decided that Lofert needed to be renamed Loooowwwwrrry, and we couldn’t help but agree.  Katie’s plans for world domination have really been slowed down by all this baby stuff, but I think it’s clear that Ayla is now ready to be on board. 

Ok so then we went to Colorado for a long weekend.  We started t20080307103306_n_k_snowshoe.jpghings off right by meeting my aunt and uncle in Denver at Wynkoop‘s for dinner and yummy beer.  The rest of the weekend we somehow managed to squeeze in crossword puzzles, stuffed french toast breakfasts, lunch at the Pickle Barrel, a visit with the grandparents, hot tub time, dinner at a fun new restaurant, an O’Dell’s brewery visit, and good times wit20080305074139_pool.jpgh friends.  The weather was funny and gave us a 65 degree day that we made the most out of by going for a hike with the dogs, and then was I think around 40 the next day.  So that day we went for an awesome snowshoeing trip in the mountains!  We were able to get together at Coopersmith’s one evening with Troy and Scotty, and Rick was delighted to spank them all soundly at a few games of pool. 

I was really excited to see my friend Paula (who I went to college with in Duluth), her husband Todd, and their beautiful daughter 20080307102454_me_esme.jpgEsme!  Esme has the #1 all-time best baby hair ever!  She has a blonde mohawk that gets kind of squished up in the front, and then a short brown mullet in the back! No hair on the sides or in the middle of the back of her head!!!  It’s truly amazing.  Esme is super mellow and happy and just hung out all wide-eyed pretty much the whole time while we had dinner.  Todd told me some incredible baby poo stories that had me laughing so hard I almost passed out.  Parenthood seems to be really agreeing with them and it is a beautiful thing to see.

And last but not least… we went to a concert of the Irish band Solas! It was great!  They really are ridiculously amazing musicians.  After the concert they were hanging out at a table talking to people and signing  autogr20080305072844_solas_solas.jpgaphs.  Nate got all super shy and we almost punked out, but I realized it would be so stupid to NOT say anything, so we totally talked to them and told them our last name was Solas.  And then they asked us to join the band.  Ok, not really, but we did get this sweet Solas & Solas photo!

Valentine’s Day

Posted by Nate in Friends, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc.
Saturday, February 16th, 2008 at 3:42 pm

20080216133432_pict0007.jpgFirst, the exciting news:  I’ve been working out this week, and after our Valentine’s Day potluck I seem to have packed on a few pounds of what can only be solid muscle!!


20080216133424_pict0003.jpgThe kegerator was full, we had some wines available, and everyone brought amazing dishes to share.  Karen made a few games to play: Ultimate Crush, and completing the classic poem "Roses are Red, Violets are Blue…"  (unfortunately this is a family blog so I’m not going to print the winning lines…  Hee hee.)

20080216133411_pict0002.jpgIt was a fantastic party, and since we we were trying to do it as a sit-down dinner we had to string two extra tables together – basically taking up our entire living / dining room!  Pretty tight quarters, but everyone fit.  Hopefully Cody has a picture of the seats with people in them, somehow I forgot to take pictures for a while there…

We’ve been cleaning in bursts the last two days after the party – doing dishes, taking tables down, putting chairs back in the garage.  Karen just walked by and sighed, "oh, it’s so nice to have the house back to normal…"  Amen.  Now we’re about to go treat ourselves to free beer at Town Hall – we’re members of the Pint Club, don’tcha know, so we drink free on Sat from 4-5.  Ahh.  :)

Halloween in Chicago

Posted by Nate in Family, Friends, Homebrewing, Travel.
Thursday, November 1st, 2007 at 12:03 pm

img_3741.JPGTook a quick trip to Chicago last weekend for a super-fun Halloween party: Heaven and Hell(icious)!  Now that Laurel and Freddie live upstairs from my usual Chicago destination, they decided to throw a joint party and decorate the downstairs like a creepy idea of hell and the upstairs like heaven.  It was awesome!  img_3767.JPGNot sure you can see the amount of detail that went into heaven, but they laid down white paper on the floor (looked good and protected against spills), hung blue plastic on the walls, blew up a million balloons, hung streamers, and even printed a ton of gorgeous cloud pictures to put on the walls!!  No idea who these people are but it shows some of the decorations…

img_3714.JPGKaren and I went as a portable (pirate!) bar, and won in the informal costume contest!  Who could resist a working tap and snack vending machine??  No one.  (You can’t see it, but Karen has a three-compartment snack vending machine like you see in grocery stores.  I rigged it so it was free, and we filled it with bar snacks!)
Laurel dressed up as Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas — including a hand-stitched patchwork dress!  Whoa.  Clearly the costume judges were being nice to their out-of-town guests to have overlooked her…  :)

img_3715.JPGCody brought back out his creepy baby outfit.  Creepy.  Karen let him rest on her bar.dsc01067.JPG

A great time (and much pumpkin ale) was had by all!  Happy Halloween!