Breaksea Upcycle's Awesome Mittens

I saw some totally awesome mittens at No Coast Craft-o-rama this month. I didn't buy them because I just got a new pair of gloves, but now I can't stop thinking about them.

Breaksea Upcycle
's makes mittens locally using recylced pants, and so the mittens have a handy pocket! The pair I tried on were all cozy and fleecy on the inside, and I was like "OH SNAP! These are some awesome mittens!" I tried them on, took them off, walked away, walked back, tried them on again, looked at them longingly, and then walked away again.

If you're like me and saw them, and still want them, you can buy them on their website, or locally at I Like You, The Wedge, and Seward Co-op.

[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]

Cheese Underground Sponsors Cheese Limerick Contest

Cheese Underground Sponsors Cheese Limerick-Writing Contest:
From Cheese Underground:

Writing about cheese is fun and I think more of you should try it.

That's why I'm sponsoring a Cheese Limerick Contest. The winner gets an autographed copy (by all 12 cheesemakers) of the 2011 Portrait of a Wisconsin Artisan Cheesemaker. If that's not enough to inspire you, then this cheese limerick by Christine Perfetti should:

There once was a woman from Oregon,
who really liked eating her parmesan.
She said with much glee,
"I'm in love with my cheese."
And her friends thought,"oh what a moron."

Here are the rules:

1. Write a cheese limerick.
2. Email it to me with your mailing address before 5 p.m. on Dec. 16.
3. A bunch of my friends will sit around my dining room table, eating cheese, drinking the leftover sake in my fridge from my cheese festival, and pick the winner.
4. I will then mail the winner the super cool autographed calendar, but probably wait until the next morning when I'm sober so I don't send it to Siberia.

See, wasn't that easy?

Oh yeah, the winning entry will also be published on this blog. So send me some good cheese limericks, people!
Visit Cheese Underground Blog for Cheese Limerick-Writing Contest!

[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]

Wood from Your Hood - a Great Gift

image from BuyLocal, MN

For our first wedding anniversary, my husband presented me with a portrait from our wedding.

What made the gift extra-special, in addition to his adorable face, was the frame he selected.
The frame was from Wood from the Hood .

What is Wood from the Hood? Here in the Twin Cities, Cindy Siewert, her husband Rick, and Jonathan Buck, collect and mill lumber from local trees that would otherwise be turned into mulch or firewood. That lumber comes from trees that have fallen naturally, cut down because of disease, or removed for new construction.

The Wood From the Hood frame that gerg gave me even had a zipcode stamped on it: 55406. It was the zipcode from the neighborhood where we lived when we were first married. SO SWEET.

So you're probably doing some shopping right about now, what with the holidays upon us. Consider a Wood from the Hood product: a photo frame, cutting board, coaster set, or cribbage board. The craftsmanship is lovely, the sentiment is charming, and your gift supports a locally operated business that is doing something really special with trees from our own neighborhoods.

Retailers include:
Mill City Museum
Bibelot Shops
The Wedge
Mother Earth Gardens
Linden Hills Natural Hom
Seward Co-op
Brown & Greene
Interior Motive

[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]

Fighting the Cold—with Punch!

Fighting the Cold—with Punch - Dara & Co. - December 2010 - Minnesota

Earlier this week, the cold and the snow had me feeling a bit grumpy. I looked to my icon and fighting guru Bruce Lee for a better way to deal with this nonsense, and I remembered this valuable quote, “Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch.”

I’m ready to strike against the cold creeping up my fingers, but my punches are coming from the kitchen—in the form of hot toddies and fun punches. *POW*

Although we first started calling punch by its name in 1632, there are countless variations of the drink that keep it relevant today. Whether it’s served up as an apĂ©ritif in porcelain or featured as the main event at a house party, punch is practical, group-friendly, and fun to make. *BAM*

Why not take the opportunity to feature the juice of the season, apple cider, in a warm, satisfying punch? I’ve even whipped up a recipe for you. *BANG*

*WHAM* Wassail

(i.e. Punch when you have to punch)

Serves 6

7 cups apple cider
4 cinnamon sticks
6-8 whole star anise
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of allspice
1.5 cups Cointreau®

In a large dutch oven, bring all of the ingredients (except the Cointreau) to a low boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for an hour. Serve hot; spike with Cointreau. Garnish with whole cinnamon sticks and star anise.

Not prepared to make your own hot toddy at home? I know a place where they’ll fight the cold for you: Head to W.A Frost. There, you can warm your fingers with their amazing Star Anise Hot Toddy, which features their star anise and clove house-infused brandy.

Star anise not your thing? No problem. Try a cup of their Hot Buttered Pumpkin, Mulled Wine, Wassail Bowl, Hot Apple Pie, or Irish Coffee instead. And just in case your fighting form needs a break from the booze, they’ve got more than a dozen hot tea offerings and several varieties of USDA Organic and Fair Trade Certified coffees. *BOOM*

Are you ready to fight back against winter’s chill? What’s your secret punch recipe? Who’s serving up a butt-kicking hot toddy in your neighborhood?

[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]