• Other Writings

    Dark Days Week 10: The Eye-Stomach Connection

    In all the time I have spent in the past year writing/dreaming/eating/thinking about food, I am still amazed by how visually connected we are to our food. I love cookbooks that have full color images for every recipe; rarely do I choose to cook something if I haven’t seen the final product. You could be the best food writer in town but if the images on your blog are sub-par, odds are your message won’t stretch far. Yesterday I had a perfect example of what I like to call “The Eye-Stomach Connection,” and how powerful it is, little control over it I have. I came home early from a pretty stressful…

  • Cooking,  Eating,  Local Products

    Dark Days Week 9: Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup

    It’s Wednesday again, and time for me to make another Dark Days Challenge meal. To be honest, I’m in desperate need of a local meal today. I’ve had a “fallen off the wagon” start to this week and I’m starting to mistrust my determination and will-power when it comes to turning down non-local junk food. So I’m using my Dark Days meal this week as a confessional. Get it all out and get back on track. Confession 1: I had McDonald’s for the first time in over 18 months on Monday. My stomach turns just thinking about it. I was in a bind out in the ‘burbs and needed to…

  • Cooking,  Local Products

    Dark Days Week 8 Part I: Bratwurst Pizza

    Up until this week, I have firmly taken for granted that good local food is accessible everywhere, as long as you know where to look for it. It may take a trip to a specialty retailer, a few phone calls or a visit to a farmers’ market, but in the end everyone is able to find something local to eat. Right? Why is that at all naïve? Someone should have let me know I live in a dream world! This past weekend I learned a difficult Dark Days Challenge lesson. Leave it to my big sister to clunk me on the head and say “duh. not everyone gets to live like…

  • Cooking

    Dark Days Challenge Week 7 & Loose Ends

    Every 6 months or so my company sets an entirely new schedule for clients, one from January to June, one for the summer vacation season and one from September to year-end.  I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the schedule resets. On the up-side it helps work feel less stagnant and gives me a chance to plan a bit around the seasons.  It’s a total bummer though that each time we get a new schedule, I have what I describe as fish-out-of-water-insomnia. Each time my schedule gets stuffed in the blender, pulsed a few times and spit back out, for the first month or so I have a really hard…

  • Cooking

    Dark Days Challenge Week 4

    Between finishing up the pre-Christmas things and wrapping up work (I’m on vacation Dec. 23 to Jan 2…wahoo!), this week has been all about my early Christmas present: The kitchen partner and I have saved for a new computer since early May, religiously putting aside a chunk of our paychecks and any extra spending cash. It’s pretty amazing compared to my tiny work-issued MacBook I have tried to run a blog from. I now have Photoshop and Dreamweaver, tools all the cool kids in the blogging world have. Can I please be in the club now? Yeah, right. It was only after installing them that I realized I have no…

  • Cooking,  Local Products

    Dark Days Challenge-Week #3

    First weeks of Dark Days of Winter Local Eating Challenge were a cakewalk. I tried a new recipe, had some decent photos, cruised through the post. Week 2-3, less of a go. I started reviewing some of the recipes and posts from the EAST recap (each week there will be a recap of the recipes other bloggers are making on Not Dabbling in Normal) and became discouraged. The “rules” of the Dark Days Challenge are to prepare and eat one entirely SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, and ethical) meal per week. Although Minnesota Locavore was born with the ‘L’ in mind, it seems adding the S-O and E is going to…

  • Cooking

    Dark Days Challenge Week 1

    The Dark Days of Winter Eat Local Challenge officially kicked off last week. I finally had a chance to peruse the list of other blogs in the Upper Midwest group that will be joining me from November 27 to Saturday March 31 in planning some special local meals. Each week the individual bloggers will be writing about their own challenges and successes in creating a SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) meal. There’s some Minnesota faces and some blogs I can’t believe I was missing out on in my group, led by Xan at Mahlzeit. I spent the better part of Saturday morning tucked in bed skimming through Google Reader. Not only am…

  • Eating,  Other Writings

    The Dark Days Challenge

    Over the past few months, there’s been talk about where Minnesota Locavore is headed, how things could/should be different, what was the best part of the past 6 months, how to know what’s really important to be writing about, etc. Some good, some bad, but all related to a conversation that keeps coming up. Over and over I’ve had friends and readers tell me: “I read the blog all the time. Your posts are great and I love the pictures. But honestly, I wouldn’t cook anything you make. The food is just too weird.” Oh… (pause) Okay… (longer pause) I should probably fix that, huh? Since then I’ve tried to step…