[FHCx53] National Margarita Day/Cook a Sweet Potato Day



For another alcoholic drink, we were kind of worried that it could be awesome like Hot Buttered Rum or really not-our-style like Hot Toddy day. We were hoping for at least pretty good like Drink Wine day.

Our margarita needs led us to La Casita, a local Mexican restaurant that is a go-to for pretty much anyone in the Roseville area. At SP‘s school, it is customary for staff to pay a visit to La Casita after senior graduation in June. It’s just part of the culture around these parts.

On Mondays is SP‘s mandate. The guys come over and they play video games together. It always means getting some good food, so it was with ease that La Casita was chosen for this week’s get-together. Their margarita list is extensive, and pretty fun. It’s worth it, though, to just get a classic house margarita.

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From left to right: House Marg, Golden Cadillac, Pomegranate, House Marg

And they were very tasty! None of us went for the blended, frozen kind. It’s sweet and only a little boozey. It’s very apparent why the drink is so popular! The problem is that one margarita may slightly impair your judgment. So things like endless baskets of chips might cause some major distress to your digestive system. Be forewarned: you won’t feel the alcohol until it’s too late. Drive safe, everyone.

Oh. And cook a sweet potato day. Here’s how we cook potatoes in the SPAK household when we’re lazy:

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Doesn’t take much to enjoy a potato!

Tomorrow is Banana Bread Day! If SP enjoys anything as much as he enjoys AK, it’s banana bread. SPom’s banana bread.


[FHCx52] National Sticky Bun Day

Hold on to ya’ butts.


I’m about to give up one of my secrets. The secret is called Isles Bun & Coffee, and it’s the best bun you can get in Minnesota. Cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, and pecan sticky buns adorn the menu at this tiny, tiny shop in uptown Minneapolis. Yeah you can get coffee, but why would you ruin a bun with coffee? Supposedly, they’ve won awards for their coffee so I guess they’ve got that going for them. Which is nice.


These buns are primo. Optimal. The epitome of bun. We were sad that we couldn’t do both a sticky bun and a cinnamon roll lest we don’t eat the rest of the day. But opting for a pecan caramel roll was a great way to start our Sunday in this beautiful, sunny, 40 degree weather.

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These buns are roughly the size of your head. And normally when a place would advertise such a claim, people expect the rolls to be one of two things: 1) Just a mess of goo with nothing holding it together, or 2) a hard, overbaked crust of tasteless dough. Isles has the art of the bun mastered. The tender crisp of an edge meeting the soft interior lined with all sorts of amazing cinnamon and caramel flavor. You don’t need a knife to take this sticky bun apart. You will want to use your hands, though, and you’ll quickly find out why they call it, “sticky.”

As you can see, we got a side of the cinnamon roll frosting. This was AK‘s first visit to Isles, so I had to have her experience the delicious icing if only for a fleeting moment. But it should be noted that sticky buns and cinnamon rolls are not the same thing! That means we’ll likely return in October for cinnamon roll day. There’s just nothing that competes with Isles around these parts!

Tomorrow is Cook a Sweet Potato Day and Margarita Day!


[FHCx51] National Cherry Pie Day

Seasonal? Not really. That’s ok,


Pie is pretty universal. As our last foray into pieing went very well, we were happy to observe today’s food holiday with a slice. Today in particular is the day of the Cherry pie, a fruit pie that’s been celebrated in the USA for a long, long time. So long that they’ve warped the space-time continuum and made the official day for cherry pie outside of summertime when cherries are ready. This is the world we live in.

Our fancy for pie took us to Baker’s Square, a midwestern chain of pie restaurants. It’s the kind of place where older people flock for their 4:45pm dinner. But as it was/is a staple of the midwestern “diner” scene, SP frequented The Square many times in his youth. One summer, they offered all-you-can-eat pie for something like $7. When you do the math, you’d find that you’d have to consume 3 slices to make it worth your money. SP couldn’t even finish a third slice even when he was a youngster. There is an upper limit for pie when you’re dealing with this much decadence.

Anyway, cherry pie.

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Tomorrow is Sticky Bun day and boy-oh-boy is SP excited to take AK somewhere special!


SP: +2.2 pounds, total lost: 87.6

AK: 0.0 pounds, total lost: 25.8


[FHCx50] National Chocolate Mint Day

50/366, can you believe it?


With Girl Scout cookies abounding these days, it’s hard to turn down a box of Thin Mints. But as all people focused on losing weight will tell you, sometimes you really have to weigh the consequences and decide if it’s really worth it to buy a box. You can make a donation the troop directly, though, if that is the source of your guilt.

We decided to use the leftover Peppermint Patty today to get to our chocolatey minty. We handed it over to SPom and she whipped up these amazing brownies. Brownie mix, lightened up, with a little bit of peppermint extract in the batter. Then, distribute the bits of peppermint patty. We were all pleasantly astonished at how well the patty melted. They were so, so, so good.

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The extra-dark pieces in there are the remnants of the patty.

AK really loved the gooey inside, and SP especially liked the crisp edges’ contrast. SPom really works wonders, doesn’t she?

Tomorrow is Cherry Pie day!


[FHCx49] National Crab-Stuffed Flounder Day/National Drink Wine Day

The seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake.


Alright. Crab-stuffed flounder. Someone at the top of the food chain of this food-holiday-making machine decided to go obscure, so here we are. Our initial plan was to kill and eat Sebastian and Flounder make something like this at home but there really isn’t much access to flounder in these parts. Instead, after a tiny bit of hunting, we succumbed to Beyonce’s advertising and took ourselves to Red Lobster. There, this beauty awaited us:

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Look at dat stuffin’s.

Of course, while we were there chomping on our Cheddar Bay Biscuits™ we overhead another table order wine, saying “It’s national drink wine day!” Little did they know, they could have celebrated both holidays at once.

Us? We waited until we got home so we could have the good stuff. SP is a fan of a Hungarian wine called Tokaji. The wine was made semi-famous by Kings Louis XIV and XV, and as well by Bram Stoker when Harker drinks some near the beginning of Dracula. Dracula himself isn’t a fan of the stuff. He never drinks wine, ya know.

Our choice in Tokaji is this beauty. It’s sweet and subtle. Makes for a terrific dessert wine fit for royalty!

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Join us tomorrow for National Chocolate Mint Day! Now where did that giant peppermint patty go…


[FHCx48] National Cabbage Day/National Café Au Lait Day

Don’t mix these two together…


Cabbage is pretty awesome, and often takes second fiddle to lettuce (sometimes third to spinach, but who’s counting). The major downside to cabbage is that it smells pretty rank when you cook it. So I think most people generally avoid it. But it’s very good! One of SP‘s favorite Japanese foods involves cabbage: Okonomiyaki.

Tonight we celebrated our Eastern European heritage by making Cabbage Rolls. These particular cabbage rolls are of the Ashkenazi variety, and we call them Holishkes. You make a meat filling with rice, egg, onion, garlic, and ground meat, wrap it up in boiled cabbage leaves, and then cook with a tomato sauce. Recipe included!

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1 lb 93% lean ground beef, 1/2 large onion (diced), 5 cloves garlic (minced), 1 egg, 1/4 cup milk, and 1 cup cooked rice. Some salt and pepper to taste.

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AK boils the cabbage and tongs out some leaves.

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Take 1/4 cup of the meat filling at a time and form a log on a lettuce leaf. Cut off the fibrous corner of the cabbage to maximize edibility.

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And it makes a wittle cabbage!

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The sauce is 16oz tomato sauce, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and 1 tsp worcestershire. Pack the rolls into a slow cooker and let them go on super-low for 10 hours.

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Dinner is served!

The stuffing was fantastic. It’s hard to go wrong with onions, garlic, meat, and rice. The cabbage was cooked perfectly. It’s just a coating to keep things together and doesn’t annoy with little shreds of inedible weirdness. The flavor of the cabbage itself is really awesome, as all of the weird soapiness of raw cabbage dissipates. We weren’t as much a fan of the sauce, as it reminded us too much of Spaghetti-Os. So maybe next time we’d change that. Otherwise, an amazing dinner!

Well, as you know, neither of us really like coffee. So Café Au Lait day was brought to us by our friends at Lund’s & Byerly’s Bakery section. They make these amazing desserts and we had to pick one up. It’s coffee, it has milk, and… it’s in a cup! So I guess that’s how we’ll observe the holiday.

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Behold: The Café Au Lait of SPAK – Tiramisu chocolate cup

It was a great way to ingest coffee without succumbing to normal coffee. Yes, yes, we know. It’s not the same. However, we might get bored with our FHC if we don’t go for some interpretations here and there!

Tomorrow is crab-stuffed flounder day! You read read that last sentence right. You read that last sentence wrong.



[FHCx47] National Almond Day

Oh, Amygdalus…


Here’s to almonds: plain, salted, cinnamon roasted, chocolate covered, Jordan… Almonds are great for all sorts of reasons. It’s “nutritionally dense” which means it carries a lot of vitamins and minerals per gram. As opposed to chocolate cake, which is deliciously dense, and carries a lot of sugar and fat per gram.

But for real. SP has a hard enough time getting lunch eaten during the school day. You really don’t get much time as a teacher, and that makes choosing lunch very important. For a very long time, his go-to has been a turkey sandwich with potato chips and an apple, possibly with a chocolatey something for the end. Over time, the need for the chocolatey thing mattered a lot less. Most recently, there was a paradigm shift as chips were no longer a major part of the SPAK household. It was just getting too hard for the two of us, so we really eat chips sparingly these days.

That meant finding a low-calorie, filling side to go with the sandwich. One option that SP has found that works really well is almonds. And it seems he’ll never get tired of them!

2016-02-16 11.28.14So thank you, almonds, for being part of this complete lunch.

Tomorrow is Cabbage day and Cafe Au Lait day!