Archive for June, 2010

The Cheese Cave, Faribault

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I said I would blog the Cheese Cave, and today we headed down there for an afternoon trek.  I was delighted upon entry at seeing a well organized shop with several layers of fun, food and festive ware.   Small, but very cute and filled with lots of surprises, dh and I were entertained from the moment we stopped and smelled the cheeses.

We sat down after a short browse of all manner of cheese related dishes and a few kitchen items, an open fridge with salads, sandwiches and super pops.  There is a nice bar with high end liquor, beers to bring the connoisseur to their knees and wise wine to mingle over.

We ordered up a couple of individual pizzas, one with tomato, fresh mozzarella and the best basil pesto I have ever had called the Capre’se.  The  12 year old balsamic vinegar and Italian parmesan cheese did nothing to dissuade my appetite for it.  We loved it as much as the Blue Pear pizza with Amablu Gorgonzola and sweet pears with honey and chopped pecans.  I was beside myself,  and regular readers know how rarely I have used that term…like never.

We truly enjoyed the three people who served us with such friendliness and complete openness.  I cannot say enough how much that means to me as I am a wanderer always away from my home, and d enjoys the interaction, too.  He was too busy eating the larger part of our splitting the pizzas to say anymore than that, and I said that for him.  He’s a guy, you know.  A nod and a smile is about the best I’m going to get out of him 9 times out of 10, but it’s all good.

Anyway, after the pizzas,  we ordered a piece of Grand Royal Vanilla Cheesecake.  First, let me say, it was a piece big enough for two.  Then I have to say it was so good, sprinkled with a crunchy toffee topping,  I have never tasted anything better, and because it was so huge, in the end, I had to help dh eat it, so I went way off my intent to keep my girlish figure intact by about 400 more calories which is a quarter pound…like eating a Big Mac, only more delicious and not as many calories, only the same actual weight.

So then, of course I had to bring home some stuff, so I got a sandwich, some gourmet pop, some buffalo sticks for dh, and some St. Mary’s gouda cheese, the best in the world and brother, sister, I am gonna give out an amen on that tip.  Mmmmmhmmmm.  Watch out now, cuz Jill will come running from the backroom if she hears you enjoying food.  That’s her thing, watching you love the food.  And I think the shop is like the dairy equivalent of the movie ‘Chocolat’ where the lady’ love goes into and infects the chocolate shop’s customers who eat the chocolate with that very same love.

So, then, after a real treat, oh and I asked them to put on the World Cup Soccer game between the USA and Gnana, and they did…so then, we paid for everthing, oh and  a pickle, don’t forget the pickel, and they can put you on a bonus point list for a gift after so many points.  Sign up for that, name only needed.

One point to remember, through an oversight, they did not get a tip line put on their receipts for  credit cards, so don’t forget to tip, okay?  Enjoy this place, it’s a real treasure.

http://www.thecheesecave.net.

FYI, House Plants

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

This is in reply to the many people I talk to who say they only kill plants and do not have a green thumb…it’s not that hard, just pay atttention for a few minutes once or twice a week…

For your home oxygen and cleaning, plants are an easy way to get
something pretty, natural and healthful in your home.

Most house plants need water, light, good fresh soil and that’s about
it…transplant every few years to accommodate growth, too.

1.  Buy a plant, or get one from your friend.

2.  Find a window with light and place your plant there, rotating it
every week by about one quarter turn.

3.  Water the plant either once a week, where you have humidity
or twice a week, where you have dry air.

You need about a cup of water each time for a six inch planter.

Here are the details;

If you water too much the roots will rot and the plant will die.
If you don’t water enough, the leaves will turn yellow and die.
It takes a lot to kill a plant, you really have to ignore all
the signs for over a week to kill it and then sometimes even
though a plant looks dead, watering it can revive the roots
and new growth will appear.  Give it a chance, even if it
has been ‘dead’ a while.

If you have good fresh soil, don’t bother with food.  Soil is food.
Over time, adding a cup of fresh soil will revive your plant’s home
food source and that’s all you need to do.

It’s nice to have a planter with a small dime size hole at the bottom
so excess water will run out, but you don’t need that if you are
careful.  If you do have the hole, you’ll need some type of saucer to
catch the water.

Use a pencil to stick into the soil to test and see if the soil is
moist, insert to about an inch down. If the pencil comes out clean,
it’s probably too dry.  Water it.  Once you see how much water your
plant needs, and when, you won’t need the pencil test anymore. But, be
sure to check the timing again as the seasons change.

If, after a few years, your plant is growing too big and is about to
topple over, you may be able to split it at the roots and give some away or plant
another pot.  Just take a pot, put slightly moist soil into it, almost
to the top, then dig a hole in the center of the soil for the plant,
and lay it down in the soil, cover up the roots and slightly up the
main stem of the plant, make sure the soil tightly packed so no air
holes form around the roots, and then add water and more soil to about
one inch down from the top edge, so water doesn’t spill over it.

Now think about where you would like to be if you were a plant…if it’s a hot spot
near a window, it’s no good for you or the plant.  If it is a spot
where dry air is blowing on it from a fan or vent, most plants won’t
like that either.  Other than that, just make sure you don’t have a pet
or child who will knock down your plant and you should be good to go.

Use one plant for every 100 sq ft of room to provide oxygen and cleaning properties.

Perfume and Garlic

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Nope, this isn’t a blog about my usual subject of food, though garlic is a food.  This is me wondering about people using perfume and garlic in large crowds at serious music events like the Minnesota Orchestra performances.   Last time I braved it, a woman had laid tons of perfume over bad body odor to the point of overwhelming my senses.   I sat there with a hankerchief over my mouth and nose, but I could still taste it in my mouth, it was that strong.

I have just finished writing an email to the Minnesota Orchestra in response to the offerings I keep getting, but have to refuse.  I suggested that they either ban perfume, cologne and garlic or have a section with a fan blowing away from the crowd so that the orchestra can once again get the audience they so richly deserve.  If you are a blogger, or journalist, please, give us a break and look into spreading the word so that asthma sufferers, people with allergies and people with sensitive noses can once again enjoy public events.  TIA

P

30 Day Pizza Diet

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

I thought I would share this URL with people who love pizza as much as I do and who haven’t quite lost that extra winter weight YET!  Seems there was a fellow who lost a sizable chunk of fat by eating a slice of pizza several times a day, read more;

http://www.tampabay.com/features/fitness/life-of-pie-losing-weight-by-eating-nothing-but-pizza/1029472

Hooray for Butler’s

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Butler’s Steak & Ale

507-786-9797

620  Water Street South, in the strip mall just south of Just Foods in Northfield

www.butlerssteakandale.com

Well, Norm struck a home run for me today when I and  my friend and hubby went for a tasting of Butler’s Italian Pasta Buffet for $9.95. It was good.  We all agreed.  The pasta, a thick curly noodle type with red and white sauces, a fresh mixed greens salad with onions and baby green beans, a red pepper and potato soup that was light and delicious, easy on the salt, thank the stars! and a nice flat bread with a couple of cheeses and marinara.  There was also bread sticks, big and soft and chewy and meat balls.  I didn’t care for the meat balls, but the others liked them well enough.  I don’t eat much red meat, but I will imbibe once  in awhile.  I did love the soup and will make that at home sometime or eat some more at Butler’s.

Oh, the new thing, for me at least, is to combine the red and white sauces, or marinara and alfredo sauces,so you get Campbell’s Tomato Soup colored sauce, if you’d added milk.   It’s delicious!

The service was more that adequate, very polite and just the right amount of happy.

The ambiance is developing nicely with some new bluish lovely light fixtures and the old English leather style booths, which are new, not old.  We did not try out the new deck outside because it was starting to get a bit hot and I don’t do well in hot anymore.

As for handicap access, in front, you will find the handicap curb some 40 or 50 feet to the north and south of Butler’s, or there may be back door access. sorry, I didn’t check that.

Three buffet lunches with 3 soft drinks and tax came to $35.00 plus a tip.  Not bad for all that.

All in all in was a good experience for me and I hope Butler’s stays around a long time.  We here in Northfield love a good eating establishment.  Don’t we?

Bright’s Fiery Rant (sorry)

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

With the lovely weather comes people who want to start fires, eat from fires, look at fires, and otherwise mess up our outdoor gorgeous oxygen filled freshly blown in air. People, as nice as this smokey seams, it is bad for the environment and our respiratory systems.  All this stuff is cancerous to eat and breathe, as the toxins reside in all wood and charcoal, oh, and the burnt food, just toss it, the burnt fat and muscle is awful for your body.  What about the children running around breathing deeply during play?  Argh.

Let’s  be environmentally aware and act upon it,  even when it means giving up dry, hard hot dogs, burnt corn and artery clogging meats.

My advice, use a gas grill, learn to cook better inside and/or buy a eternal log video  or dvd  made for your tv viewing pleasure.  (The television is the camp fire replacement, in case you haven’t noticed already. )

At any rate, be aware that a lot of people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory illnesses have to close their windows to keep your chimney smoke, camp fire and bbq fumes from coming into their homes…then they might have to turn on the air conditioner to keep the house from over heating and causing difficulty breathing.  If you depend on wood or corn heat for your home,  at least make sure your system works as efficiently as possible.

There is a lot of info on the topic of toxic wood, charcoal, etc., available online and elsewhere…here is a starter url for you.

http://www.smokersclubinc.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=4415

I’ve been hearing lately that half the children living in and around LA, California are coming up with asthma. That’s not good, not good at all.

Bright’s Flashes

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

We’ve been doing so much lately,  we don’t have time for a full blown one subject blog, so we’re keeping with what we started recently and that is just a few thoughts, brilliant flashes or ill thought out  dribble, whatever comes up and is relevant, important, or just plain cool or stupid.  You be the judge.

First, I’d like to give a shout out to the owner of Aquatic Pets at 414 S. Division Street in Northfield.  Why?  She said she would take a slightly broken aquarium that was left here when we bought our home…this is saving me a $20 fee at the landfill, as it is the last of stuff I am clearing out, recycling and giving away.  Aquatic Pets will sell the slightly broken aquarium to someone who will use it as a terrarium, fix it, or some great art experiment and then turn the money over to the animal shelter!  How cool is that?

Then, I ‘d like to say that Kurry Kabob is a very good place to eat, the food is fresh, and like homemade the owners tell me they use no prepackaged herbs or anything.  It is always good food and oh, if you are a little afraid of herbs or spices in your tum tum, they will cook you some plain dishes so you can go with the people who love the spice, like me.  It’s so good for you, and the tumeric spice which is in every curry sauce is said to stave off Alzeimer’s by cleaning out the arteries…you see, there is no such disease in India.  You have to eat it a lot, not just one trip to Kurry Kabobs.   At least that is what I have heard lately…andnot meant to be medical advice.  I am not a doctor, nurse or anything like that, but I go to one or two!

We got some super herbs and flowers over at the Northfield’s farmers market a couple of weeks ago, and they are doing very well.  Now I found out that Dundas has a Farmer’s Market, too.  Mon and Wed from 3 to 8pm and on Saturday, hours unknown.  It’s nice because a lot of people cannot make the Northfield hours during the week.  I haven’t been to Dundas yet,  but I will go soon and tell you all about it.

Went to Applebee’s and had the sampler plate,  well, I had one third there, dh had one third and I took a third home.  Gained 3 pounds.  No lie.  That stuff tastes great, but whew, talk about calories.  D had the bbq ribs, which were pretty decent for a chain restaurant.  The waitstaff has improved considerably, imho, and the prices are low enough.  Don’t park in the pick up spots though. I didn’t know servers came out to get the orders!  We just pulled in for a minute to see if they had a spot for us, and out comes the woman ready to take my order!  Fast.

Recently I decided to eat out less, and I have been taking home half my restaurant meals for some time now, but still struggling with the five or six pounds I would love to loose.  Not working. I have decided to stop eating at home as much.  I lost two pounds with this plan, real weight.  Seems like I think my home cooked food is less fattening, so I eat more of it.   Hope this plan sticks and the food I eat doesn’t.

Monte’s in Faribault  is still good, if not better with nicely priced lunches.  Depot in the same city, not to be confused with Home Depot, is under new ownership.  The food was pretty good when we visited last week and the three trains roaring by made it super fun for us sitting next to the window! Monte’s is closed again.

Gotto try the Cheese Cave in Faribault,  a new store on the 300 block of Central Avenue, west side of the street.  Mmmmm.  The cheese is aged right back of Depot restaurant in a cave.  Wow.  Right here in Minnesota.  Whodah thunk it?

Bon Voyage for now and Ciao, ciao, good bye!