Midwestern Magic, Part 2

Grandma and I

After leaving the Wisconsin Dells, we arrived in Maplewood, MN around 5 pm – perfect time for a barbeque! It was great seeing my aunts, uncles and cousins – and my sweet grandmother, who’s turning 90 in a few weeks but still has a razor-sharp wit. My dad was grilling up salmon burgers and cranberry walnut bratwurst, and the table was heaping with apple ambrosia dip, roasted potatoes, smoked salmon and three types of pie. We ate and then sat around being merry – here’s proof.

Some of you reading this blog know that I’m a big klutz – and if you don’t, well, you do now. As I oohed and ahhed over the beautiful handcrafted doll house at my grandmother’s house, somehow my big old booty bumped into a little TV tray and sent diet coke splashing everywhere. Thankfully everyone was cool about it and helped me blot at the carpet, but how embarrassing! My butt apparently has a mind of its own – thank god it doesn’t have its own zip code. (Just a few days later my butt took down a plate of grilled cheese. I guess my butt is striking back for being sat upon all these years.)

Top the Tater

After the BBQ, I had a strange craving… for TOP THE TATER! You folks in the Midwest might know what this is – a sour cream dip filled with chives and other herbal seasonings. My cousin Sarah bought some once with Old Dutch potato chips (locally made in Minnesota) and I was hooked by the salty, creamy combination. I figured… when in Minnesota, do as the Minnesotans do – so I splurged at 11 pm (come on now, only 9 pm Cali time) and bought some Old Dutch and Top the Tater to eat in solitary bliss in my hotel room. Yeah, yeah – bad weight loss blogger (HONEST weight loss blogger!).

A classic photo I found in my Grandma's album - hopefully this is the ONLY topless picture of me on the internet!

The next day we spent at my Grandma’s house catching up, looking at old photos and helping her with some household stuff – I learned how to properly wash windows. Did you know that the correct way to wash windows is to wipe downwards on one side, and then wipe horizontally on the other? No streaks! We relaxed over lunch and told old stories – and then we were back in the car with my dad, heading to Chicago to see my cousin Becky get married! Come back Monday to read about her awesome and unusual midnight wedding snack!

Post-BBQ Bulge

Helo my lovely bloggies! I hope those of you in the states had a great long weekend, and those of you outside the states had an equally lovely weekend. After 7 hours in the car on the I-5 (flat, devoid of any scenery), I was happy to be home last night at 8 pm. We drove up Friday evening to Petaluma, where Matt and my parents live. (What’s the correct grammar for that? Matt and Mine? Matt and I’s? Our parents? Someone chime in – Amy, I’m lookin’ at you.) Friday was a stressful day at work, and as I had hoped I would not do, I was tired, bitchy and stressed out Friday night so I picked up a $5 Little Caesar’s pizza. That was the first not-so-health-concious choice of the weekend.

The I-5 in all of its flat glory.

Saturday, I had delicious thai food for lunch… and then Saturday night, my in-laws prepared a BBQ feast of artichoke crostini, cheese burgers with bacon and avocado,(so simple, and so yum!) corn on the cob, potato salad, and chili. Dessert was a big old slab of apple pie covered with vanilla ice cream. I didn’t gorge but I definitely ate more than I should have, and regretted it that night as my stomach felt like an over-blown balloon. I’m spoiled to have awesome cooks on both sides of my family – and we’re super lucky that as a married couple, our parents get along and we eat, vacation and hang out together 🙂

Sunday was where the real damage was done! The daytime was fine, as me, Matt, my siblings and their significant others went to Lake Sonoma. Matt and I had Subway sandwiches, BBQ potato chips, and Hornsby Hard Ciders, but it’s hard to pig out when you’re swimming and laying in the sun.

Water Babies in Lake Sonoma

We returned to another BBQ feast at my parent’s house – this time of smoked and brined tri-trip, smoked turkey, potato salad, pasta salad and baked beans. My mom makes incredible potato salad – tossed with sour cream and mayonnaise to make it ultra cool and creamy. A few chopped eggs and lots of crisp celery makes it a total comfort food treat – I definitely had seconds. Dessert was homemade cheesecake (amazing – with a sourcream top, made by my father-in-law, Mike) and creme brulee (delicious, with a crackly sugar top) made by my dad.

My mom's amazing potato salad

 

To add to that, a bottle of Gewurtztraminer was cracked open and my sister had a “Cheese – Off”, in which we all tasted and chose our favorites in a blind taste test of Wisconsin Cheese vs. California Cheese. (I’ll write about that later!)

So, as you can tell, the food choices of the weekend were not “diet friendly”, but they were “family friendly” and I had a great time seeing all my loved ones. My goal is to be back on plan and tracking this week, and try and squeeze in some gym time. I’m already behind on that goal since it’s Tuesday night and I’m doing homework and now I have class the next two nights…but… I’ll catch up. I will, I will. When life gets busy and the food around you is so tempting, how you do stay on track? (At least I swam all the way across the lake on Saturday! That was definitely good cardio!)