Feb 28, 2015

B-I-N-G-O and B-E-E-R Night!

I’ll start by saying I’m not a regular Bingo player and really not a gamer of any kind!  However, on this mid-week hump day, we stopped at a local spot for pizza and happy hour beers not realizing that it was “Bingo Night!”

We narrowly sat down and we had Bingo cards and daubers plopped down in front of us.  I guess the Bingo hosts wanted to get everyone involved, or they assumed that’s why we were there.  “Sure, we’ll play, after all, there are prizes to win.”

Photo Source: Bingo Strategies. Digital image. Bingo Strategies. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2015. <http://www.bestonlinecasino.com/bingo/strategies/>.

Then, just like that, barely got my coat off and the Bingo Host started calling out “B-51, G-14, O-29.”  You get the idea.  We were quickly sucked in and I got so caught up in listening for my numbers to be called, that I couldn’t concentrate on the pizza and beer order.  Bingo pros could probably do this simultaneously. 

I, on the other hand, was getting frazzled!  I became very aware that I had transformed.  I was determined to holler out “BINGO” and didn’t want to miss any important shout outs…the beer and pizza order would just have to wait. WHAAAT?

Did that just happen? 

Feb 24, 2015

Chicken & Basil Ravioli with Asparagus and Mushrooms

I recently found inspiration from a restaurant's simple plate of ravioli and marinara sauce. It was something simple, but bursting with flavor and the added veggies gave it great texture and freshness. So, I decided to make it part of my feature called "Ditto That Dish" challenge and make this myself. 

Feb 20, 2015

Ice Fishing and Girl Scout Cookies

If you’re not from around these parts and you know nothing about Minnesota, then you might not know that we drive on lakes around here!  Frozen lakes, that is!

In the state of 10,000 lakes, we have plenty of them to walk, ice fish, sled, snowmobile and drive on during the winter months.

Even this Minnesota girl gets a little freaked out when driving out on a lake for the first time. The sounds of cracking ice when driving a 3000 lb truck onto a frozen lake can rattle your nerves a little. 

The fact that there’s only 12 inches of ice supporting you and this giant piece of machinery from falling in water depths of some 50 feet below can get the blood pumping if you’re not used to it.

You’re probably thinking why do this death defying maneuver anyway?  Well, in February, if you’re not wrapped up in blanket watching "Grumpy Old Men" and sipping a glass of wine, then why not grab winter by the snow balls and have a little adventure once in a while!

Feb 15, 2015

SNL Celebrates 40 Years...Brings Back Memories!

It’s Sunday morning and I’m anticipating the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary show airing tonight.  I remember watching the show in its early beginning in the late 70’s as a teenager.  Of course, there are so many favorite skits and bits that I’m sure we’ll all be reminded of in tonight’s show.  Can’t wait!

Photo Source: http://www.moviepostershop.com

This morning I was watching NBC Today Sunday Morning show and was intrigued by their story on the SNL Cue-Card Guy.  Check out the link and watch Wally’s interesting story on being the SNL cue card guy for the last 25 years.  He must have a million great backstage stories!!


His story did serve as a reminder of one of my most fun memories of SNL. I visited the SNL studio on a tour of Rockefeller Center probably around 30 years ago. I wish I could say I actually went to a live show, but the next best thing, was seeing the studio and remembering my amazement of how small the studio was. Actually, most of the studios in the building were smaller than you might imagine. 

If you’re as old as I am, you might remember "The Phil Donahue Show," which was the other studio we toured.  Holy wow! This was a long time ago.

The other great memory of Rockefeller Center was touring one of the NBC News studios and I got the chance to be the “pretend” weather girl on the TV screen.  Undoubtedly and for certain NOT “Live!”

Also, looking back, the most meaningful to me, now, was that I had the chance to visit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

New York City is an amazing place, however, the taxi cab jaunts were comparative to a wild amusement ride! Whoa...what an experience! 

This Minnesota girl realized it’s just a great city to visit and there’s no place like home!

Put your smile on,
Laurie O

Feel free to share a square!

Feb 12, 2015

Please Don't Bring Me Flowers

I have mixed feelings on receiving flowers. Don't get me wrong, I’m not a flower snob - I do like flowers and I’m sure with Valentine’s Day approaching, many ladies and guys will be receiving their usual V day bouquets and chocolates. 

Commercialism has made our significant others think this is a perfectly romantic thing to do on this day. 

I received these dark chocolate covered strawberries for my birthday last year...SCORE, because you know how I feel about chocolate!  I was so excited about it that I gobbled one up before taking this picture!

If instead, Mister O had showed up with flowers for me, I wouldn't toss them out or hand them back and say,

Why, why do you give these flowers, you overly gallant sap?"

Of course NOT!  After all, it is a kind gesture!  On the other hand, do we have high expectations on this whole flower giving ritual for Valentine's Day?

Personally, I don’t need to have the usual Valentine’s flowers.  Maybe on Valentine’s Day we should try to think outside the chocolate box.  Perhaps what we really want is “quality time” spent with our, so called, Valentine "be mine" sweeties.  Here's a quick list of 5 simple flower averting ideas.

Feb 10, 2015

Ezekiel Toast with Cream Cheese and Strawberries

We all have those weekday frenzy mornings where we can't manage to squeeze in breakfast!  

Instead of grabbing a not so healthy pop tart or donut, it only takes the time of toasting a slice, spreading on some Greek yogurt cream cheese and cutting a strawberry.  

It's healthier and will hold off the tummy rumbles for at least a few hours or until lunch time.  

Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin bread is the key ingredient here. You can probably find it in the health food section of your grocery store or Trader Joe's is where I purchased this yummy and wholesome bread. Ezekiel bread is sprouted from grains and uses no flour. Click here for more on its health benefits

Also, it could be a great addition to a romantic Valentine's Day breakfast. Wonderful way to show your love!!

Feb 8, 2015

I Need To Get Out More

Last night was a beautiful evening in Minnesota. A mild temp in the 30's and no wind, which is all pretty terrific for winter time here.  

I've lived in Minnesota my whole life and have never seen the iconic giant spoon and cherry!  

This sculpture is pretty well known around these parts and often dubbed a Minneapolis symbol on tourist magazines and post cards. Located at the Sculpture Garden of the Walker Art Center, it's one thing to check off your list of things to see while visiting the city.

It's funny, when I visited Chicago, I pedal pushed, power walked and train hopped to catch as many attractions I could crammed into 3 days. 

But, in my own city, it's taken until now to see this classic piece of flatware!

After deciding to get out and enjoy the nice weather and finally check this out, I had no idea it was going to create a debate between Mister O and I. 

When I told him this was my first time here, he argued that "no we've been here together before!" "I brought you here before we were married."  

I responded with a resound, "no you didn't, that must have been your other girlfriend!"

"No way, it was not another girl." I remember it was you that I brought here before!"

Ya see, after being together a little over 20 years, I could understand where he might think it was me. However, I'm very confident that I'd remember if I had seen a GIANT spoon with a cherry on it. 

So, the debate ends, but not after Mister O found it very difficult to believe and causing a "he remembers, she remembers" park scene. Therefore, I'm going on record as saying...it wasn't me!

I'm thinking, though, after this little outing, that I really need to get out more! It's my goal this year!! 

I MIGHT bring Mister O! Ha 

Also, I do believe "a square of chocolate" would be a good addition to the spoon and cherry. 

Put your smile on,
Laurie O

Feel free to share a square!

Feb 4, 2015

Dirty Dancer Or Chicken Dancer?

From the time you could stand on two feet you might have danced at some point in your life. I've had a few twirls on the dance floor myself, but I've also enjoyed watching others kick up their heels. This can be a real circus-like sideshow of entertaining performers, comedy, contortion, artistry and elegance. The saying, "dance like no one is watching" can only be true for a very confident or “I don’t give a shit what others think” kind of dancers – that’d be my hubby (Mister O). 


I’m glad that he likes to dance, but sometimes our dance moods just aren't in sync. There are times I have to tell him to calm down – I'm just not feeling the John Travolta, "Saturday Night Fever" thing right now. Then other times we're like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Not really, but we think we are.

For others, they wouldn't even dream of stepping one foot on the dance floor. Worried of their lack of rhythm; worried that they'll step left and their partner steps right or worried that their moves just aren't dance worthy.

Feb 1, 2015

Skillet Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Instead of the usual hashbrowns for breakfast, how about a kick start of sweet potatoes, apples and mushrooms to go with those eggs. 

I'm making this to serve two for Mister O and I. My teenage son is still in bed on a Sunday...not unusual.  Friends, this is good and filling for a weekend breakfast!

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