Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cooking with Marie and Mel!

Just the other day I realized that in our 4 years of friendship Marie has not made me a single bite to eat, not a cookie or a cupcake or plate of pasta..... NOTHING!  Perhaps this seems odd to me because I show my love for people with food and I love to cook!  So, we decided that I should teach Marie to make a few things!

On the menu for our first lesson was Raspberry Balsamic Chicken and Quinoa with Vegetables and Herbs.  We started by creating our grocery list (and by WE, I mean ME) and taking a trip to Target.  Grocery shopping with Marie was like herding cats, she was all over the place and highly resistant to capture.  It didn't help that we were also shopping for her upcoming weekend at the cabin and we were VERY HUNGRY.


Once we finally made it to the checkout line we started discussing the difference between cow's milk, almond milk and soy milk.
Mel - I don't like cow's milk.
Marie - me either. 
Mel - I like soy milk. 
Marie - you should drink almond milk instead. 
Mel - why? How do you milk an almond anyway?
Marie - you should limit your soy milk intake because there are a lot of hormones in soy.
Me - Who exactly is putting HORMONES in my soybeans?
Marie - Jesus.

At this point the lady behind us started laughing very hard, which then turned into a further discussion between the two about Jesus and soybeans, while I stepped away to record the conversation for posterity.

Then we were exhausted so we went to Applebee's and had wine, because.... wine.

We met again the next night and started the process.  Which began with more wine and Marie reading each recipe 15 times.

I was supposed to be offering only verbal encouragement, but I am weak and after watching her struggle for a few minutes I helped her season the chicken and chop the veggies.

We were cooking at Marie's house so I have to show you a few parts of her kitchen and how completely adorable it is.  

Bulldog Salt and Pepper Shakers
The most awesome stove EVER.

 Marie started with the Quinoa, since it would take the longest.  After it reached a boil it had to sit for 10-15 minutes to absorb the water, so we moved on to the vegetables.

We cooked the vegetables over medium heat until the vegetables were tender.

Then we took a break for more wine.  At this point, even Chico wanted wine.

Once the vegetables were cooked, we wandered into the yard to find herbs.  Marie swears that these are chives, but I made her sample them because it made me laugh to make sure.

After combined the quinoa with the sautéed veggies and adding the herbs, our Quinoa was complete.  Now it was on to the chicken.  Marie was more nervous about this, so I picked a recipe that was delicious but also very easy.

The chicken was seasoned with fresh thyme and salt, added to the pan where we had already sautéed some diced red onion, then cooked the chicken until golden brown on both sides.  Then we removed the chicken and added some seedless red jam and balsamic vinegar to the pan.  Marie stirred that until it was smooth and then we added the chicken back in.

That is it!  The chicken was done!  We loaded up a tray and took Marie's delicious meal out to the garage bar to our victims awaiting dinner guests, Marie's husband Lee and their friend Nate.

They LOVED it and didn't believe were very impressed that Marie cooked it all by herself!

Even Ellie, the land manatee, enjoyed a few bites of chicken.

Click HERE for the recipe for Quinoa with Vegetables and Herbs and HERE for the recipe for Raspberry Balsamic Chicken.

During our super fun evening of drinking wine and cooking I also asked Marie a few questions, because I didn't think wine and sharp objects and a hot stove were challenging enough.....

When was the last time you were embarrassed?  
Me?  I don't know, it's been a long time.  I don't give two shits anymore.

When was the last time you swore?  
30 seconds ago.

When was the last time you were wrong?  
Never.  I am always right.  Wait.  That makes me sound like a jackass.  Did I have to admit I was wrong when it happened?  <looooooooooong pause>   Hmmmm.  I still think I am never wrong.

What dessert do you wish you knew how to make?
Ice Cream
That doesn't count.
Fruit Pizza
That doesn't count
Creme brûlée!!!!

What do you wish you knew how to cook?
Pizza on the grill.

Because this one time, at band camp, I blew up the grill.

Stay tuned for more installments of cooking with Marie and Mel!  Feel free to offer some suggestions of things you liked to see us make!

~ Mel

Monday, May 18, 2015

Behind the scenes at Twin Cities Live!

A few weeks ago the girls at Wild Ruffle were asked to be on a local tv show called, Twin Cities Live.  If you live in the metro area you probably already know about TCL, but for out-of-towners, it is an afternoon talk show on KSTP/Channel 5, weekdays at 3pm, hosted by Steve Patterson and Elizabeth Ries.  It is like our very own LIVE with Kelly and Michael!

Our friends Cate and Tammy have a blog called Wild Ruffle and they also own a shop called Urban Ruffle right next door to The Vintage Gypsy!  They asked Marie to be a part of the show, to model some TVG clothes and to provide some clothes for other models.  Marie tried a few different ways to get out of modeling, but in the end she reluctantly happily cooperated!  Marie is surprisingly shy sometimes.  The girls graciously allowed me to tag along and help out behind the scenes, which basically meant I made jokes and kept Marie from having a stress stroke.

It was so exciting to be inside an actual TV studio, though Marie and I should not be trusted to be serious anywhere.

We arrived about an hour before showtime and were escorted to the Green Room.  The halls of KSTP are lined with colorful blocks, all signed by people who have been on the show! 

They provided us with a make-up room stocked with everything from deodorant to curling irons and hairspray!  If you ever want to be horrified see what you actually look like, gaze into a mirror surrounded by 100 lights that shine with the intensity of the afternoon sun.  Yikes!

I could have spent DAYS just reading all the blocks, but I had other important tasks to attend to.

Bert's dress was a wee bit wrinkly after she put in on, so I did the only sensible thing and ironed it while she was wearing it!  Bert was one of the models , but she is also a blogger, she and her sister Laura have an awesome blog called First Time Mom.

About 30 minutes before showtime the girls had a run through, they were shown where Cate and Tammy would sit and where the models would enter for the fashion show.

Again, we can't be trusted...

At this point, I had to leave Marie and go sit in the studio audience.  I got a seat right in the front row and thought I was SO LUCKY, until the cameras moved in front of me and a big guy sat next to me.

Can you find me?

When I watched the show later, every time the camera panned the audience, all you see is the tippy top of my head behind that guy's shoulder!  Doh!

Anyway.... I knew Marie was going to be at the height of her nervousness now, so I texted her the one thing that makes her laugh harder than anything right now....  I am positive it helped.  

The focus of the show was Minnesota Bloggers and it was packed full of great information!  There was a blogger panel that had some great tips on monetizing a blog featuring a blogger name Alice, who has tons of great recipes on her blog,  Dining with Alice.  There was a cooking segment with Lindsay from Pinch of Yum, she had great tips on taking photographs for your blog.  The ladies from Twin Cities Moms Blog were there with great tips about balancing being a mom, a wife and a blogger.  

Lindsay from Pinch of Yum

Then it was the big moment!  Cate and Tammy talked about how their love for fashion progressed from blogging to an online shop and now, to a storefront in downtown Prior Lake!

Cate and Tammy did a fantastic job emceeing the fashion show, and they did it all without notes or a script!  I thought that was absolutely crazy amazing, as I would have probably froze as soon as I started talking!

Marie came out and she looked beautiful!  She was wearing the Dream Escape Maxi with the Cream Lace Duster over it, she also had on the Floppy Boho Hat and our Minnetonka Isabel Fringe Wedges.  She layered two necklaces, the MSP and the Tribe Necklace.  You can find everything she is wearing on our website, or by clicking the links in the captions.

Dream Escape Dress
Cream Lace Duster

Isabel Fringe Wedge
Floppy Boho Hat

Tribe Necklace
MSP Necklace

Bert was modeling our Handkerchief Dress with the Watercolor Floral Kimono.  

Watercolor Floral Kimono
Hankerchief Dress

The hour went by so fast!  It was so fun to be a part of the studio audience and to see what goes on behind the scenes of a LIVE show!  It is amazing how quickly the crew scrambles during the commercial breaks to reset the stage for the next segment.   As soon as the show was over Steve and Elizabeth taped the promos for the next day's show, it was fascinating how they could flip between talking to the audience and taping in a split second! 

Steve and Elizabeth answered audience questions and then stayed to take photos with everyone.

It was an amazing experience and Marie and I want to thank the girls at Wild Ruffle for letting us be a part of their special day!

If you are local, you can be a part of the back stage experience too!  Twin Cities Live has seats for up to 50 audience members every weekday, and the seats are free!  Sign up here to be a part of the TCL audience!

~ Mel