Thursday, July 11, 2013

Afton State Park

After our low key 4th of July, Patrick went back to work on Friday and although I had the day off I actually spent the whole day editing photos so it wasn't really a day off for me either. We did have Kate and Jeff over that night to enjoy our homemade burgers and pasta salad so it wasn't all work.

On Saturday we headed to Afton State Park for some backpacking. Patrick had talked to Rickard earlier in the week and he and his family were going to be there Saturday night as well. Without making a plan besides we would meet up at some point at Afton, we actually ended up pulling into the REI parking lot in Bloomington at the same time. I guess we both needed some last minute supplies before we actually went to Afton. $200 later and we were on to our next stop. We planned to pick up our dinner at Bonngard's on the way. This place rivals Von Hansen's as top contender for Patrick's favorite meat establishment. They have samples there and every time we end up buying something we sample. We ended up deciding on bacon cheddar brats, twice baked potatoes and bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers for dinner.

Afton - July 6, 2013

While Rickard, Melissa and the girls went swimming, Patrick and I did some hiking without our backpacks. It was so warm and we had no idea if our site would be ready so we decided to keep them in the car until after we checked out our site. It's only 3/4 of a mile hike to the site, so its not too big a deal to go back. On our hike we saw them swimming so we hung out with them at the beach for a while before we went to get our bags.

Patrick and Sara


After we got settled at our site Rickard and his family came to hang out at our fire for the evening. They set up their hammocks, which are awesome for entertainment purposes as well as a comfortable spot to sit.

Emily & Ella

Afton - July 6, 2013-001


Camping at Afton State Park

Camping at Afton State Park

Afton - July 6, 2013-002

We ate a lot of tasty food that night. Along with our haul from Bonngard's, Rickard also brought the stuff to make popcorn and brownies.

Jalepeno Poppers

Bacon Cheese Potatoes

Cheddar Bacon Brats

Popcorn Making


Afton - July 6, 2013-003

With the humid temperatures the weather wasn't the greatest for sleeping, but we survived. In the morning the mosquitoes were horrible and it was scorching hot by 9am so we decided to head out immediately after packing up our stuff. The cold temperatures and no bugs sure make spring and fall camping much more enjoyable.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

4th of July

Our 4th of July was pretty low key. We went to the fireworks on Tuesday night near our house. This year we were smart and wore long pants and shoes and brought bug spray. In the past we haven't done that and the mosquitoes have made it a miserable experience.

Plymouth Fireworks 2013

4th of July Cereal

On the actual 4th of July, we spent our holiday doing the enjoyable things we just don't normally have time for. We bought a meat grinder attachment for our Kitchen Aid mixer a couple months ago and we finally had time to use it. Patrick had seen a recipe in our Rachael Ray Magazine that suggested you have your butcher grind up sirloin, rib eye and bacon for an awesome burger. So we used our attachment to grind up 1 pound of sirloin, 1/2 pound of rib-eye and 1/2 pound bacon. We also added parmesan cheese, chives and salt and pepper to the mix while the meat was being ground.

Hamburger Grinding

4th of July 2013

Hamburger Grinding

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Hamburger Grinding

Hamburger Grinding


It was a pretty easy process and the results were amazing. I am sure that has nothing to do with the fact that it is basically and steak and bacon burger, but none the less it was one of the best burgers I have eaten. The original burger that this recipe was based on is from a restaurant in Madison, WI called Graze. They have this burger on their menu for $21. That's crazy. We paid $25 to make 8 quarter pound burgers.

Since we we had the Kitchen Aid out we also decided to make homemade pasta. We have the pasta extruder attachment. We have done it a couple times, but I never used the fusili attachment. The trick to getting the noodles in a spiral shape was to twist them by hand since the machine didn't make them into tight spirals.

I didn't document what pasta recipe I used around Christmas, but I know it turned out better than this time. This time we used Annie's Eats Pasta Recipe and I substituted wheat flour for the semolina flour. The pasta was good, but we used it for a cold pasta salad with a yogurt dressing and it just wasn't all that tasty. I think if you use a richer sauce the half white and half wheat would be much better, otherwise I would stick to all white flour or the semolina.

4th of July 2013-002

Pasta Making

4th of July 2013-003

And after all that cooking we walked to Jimmy John's for dinner. It was a gorgeous night and nobody was around so it was actually the perfect way to spend our day off.