Hungry Haley

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minnesota

Minnesota Vacation Pt. 2

LifeHaley Hansen2 Comments

I left off last time talking about our mini weekend trip to Winona (remember the bat in the kitchen? yeah, that one) and I guess, since then, Minnesota kept me busy enough to pull me away from keeping things up-to-date here. Whoops! Don't you just love it when life happens :) 

We don't do a ton around here, nor do we prefer to. Our mornings start slow until someone leaves to go workout, after which another person or two will follow because we're just active people, especially in the morning. We cherish breakfasts and dinners, and the happy hour in between, together like nobody's business. But other than that, we're low-key. 

Minnesota Vacation Pt. 2

I love my family, and I love my alone-time. And the wonderful thing about this vacation is that it's giving me both. Family-time is the breakfasts, dinners, happy hours, and little daily activities in between, and alone-time is my morning coffee, workouts, the chance to bake something, and lulls in the afternoon when no one else proposes an idea for an activity, so I just escape upstairs to read or something. 

We chose one night to go into downtown Stillwater, which is adorable by the way, mainly for a store I've had my eye on since I first drove by it back in March, but also for - you guessed it - happy hour (we're barely moderate drinkers, I promise). I've been eye-balling this one cooking store on the main street in downtown like you wouldn't believe. Obviously we all spent like an hour in there. All of us. Sorry everyone, and thanks for loving me the way you do as you patiently let me peek inside every cookbook, run my fingers across every cast-iron skillet, every porcelain baking dish, every fancy coffee maker (I still love my pour-over). I could get lost in a place like that. 

Minnesota Vacation Pt. 2

I spent a full morning focused on scones - the first round came out like a muffin top (which is delicious on its own, but not the goal here), the second round came out like a complete utter under-baked soggy brick, and the third round came out absolutely perfect as could be. You can imagine my emotions - terrifying frustration and then pure joy - went hand-in-hand with each round. Onward and upward! 

Later that night, we grilled carnè asada - our California favorite. So much so, in fact, that my parents asked the butcher to freeze a huge stock for us so that we wouldn't have to suffer mediocre Mexican food out here. My stomach was feeling funky that day and continued to for the next couple, actually, but hey - I still got a few bites in and a really pretty picture of the whole meal! 

Minnesota Vacation Pt. 2

Have you heard of that one cereal company... you know, General Mills? Of course you have. Duh. I'm messing with you. Anyway, I visited their HQ! My dad made a connection for me with the leader of this cool company called 301 Inc. that helps grow small food start-ups, so he and I chatted one morning and probably could've kept chatting into the afternoon, too. What a fantastic and exciting time this is to be involved in food. So many companies are moving forward and keeping their eyes open not only for up-and-coming trends in food, but also for the latest news in nutrition and wellbeing. 

We visited a local brewery to hangout on Friday afternoon and I had my first very own beer! You should have seen the bartender's eyes when my brother told her this was my first beer. Yes, I'm 22 years old and only now drinking a beer. And I don't foresee very many more happening in the future - it's just not my thing. I did, however, really enjoy the mango-flavored one I tried here, as well as the free popcorn and the Jenga!

I don't think I've shown you enough food yet. That should change, shouldn't it? Here's our dinner from last Friday night at Lolo's American Kitchen. I found this place online when I was hangrily searching for a restaurant because I knew if I didn't, we'd be sipping cocktails and snacking for the rest of the night. FOOD. I wanted food that night. And maybe a glass of wine. We sat upstairs and pretty much had the place to ourselves, along with all the a m a z i n g food we ordered. A round of smoked salmon and tuna pokè appetizer bites for everyone came before our meal. I ordered the chicken tacos in a lettuce wrap with a side of grilled broccolini. The tacos were delish, but that broccolini just about had me on my knees. Unbelievable. When it was my uncle Tom's turn to order (right after mine), he said "I'll have what she's having", and my heart smiled. There's just something about it when people trust your taste and dinner order enough to get the same exact thing. I find that incredibly flattering. 

And to top off our weekend, we went on a boat! A boat. The way to my heart, besides a kitchen. We explored White Bear Lake and the beautiful houses the border it, sipped Blood Marys (I tasted Mom's and it was okay), snacked on prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and crackers and cheese and such, and just enjoyed each other's company. My kinda' day. And exactly the kind of sunshine and relaxing we needed before having a bunch of family over for BBQ-ing later that night!

Minnesota Vacation Pt. 2

Sunday was a day of church, hanging out with grandparents, and then walking around downtown Minneapolis. I LOVE THE CITY. Sometimes I feel deprived if I go more than a few days without seeing bustling streets, tall buildings, and other exciting characteristic city-things as such. We spent Monday with my grandma making lefse (see more on my "minnesota" IG story highlights) - a Norwegian sort of tortilla made from potatoes, flour, and butter. That's it. They're pretty good, but the highlight of it all was seeing my grandma so eager to share a part of her family with us and continue to pass on this tradition. Maybe you'll see a lefse recipe up here soon?! Ben and Natalie (my brother and his wife) left on Tuesday, so that day was all for them to just pack up. I took the day to do my thing - to workout, to read, to blog a little, and to get ready for the Minnesota Cup! My dad and I were invited to this event (think mini version of Expo West, for those of you who have been) and accepted immediately. How cool it was to see further development of already blossoming food trends, and to see a little debut of potential future trends! And since Wednesday was my last day in town, I had to squeeze in everything - a little workout, a little baking (I perfected a fluffy, moist banana bread recipe and could pee my pants I'm so excited to share it!), a little time with grandparents (I brought them some lunch from Panera and we all loved it!), and a lot of time with Mom and Dad in the city :) happy. 

So, now it's back to reality. I cherished my time in Minnesota and feel so incredibly thankful for my family. And because I've already been asked this more times than you'd imagine, no - I don't see myself living out there (in a place without a year-round farmers' market, you'd have to really convince me). But, that being said, I will be out there much more frequently because that's where my family is and that's enough of a reason for me to visit whenever I can :) 

Minnesota Vacation Pt. 1

Life, ThoughtsHaley Hansen2 Comments

I forgot to bring headphones (then spent $15 on crappy ones at the airport), both my phone and laptop died, and the book I started failed to grab my interest by the third chapter (so I gave up on it). What in the world am I going to do for the duration of this three-hour flight? The dead electronics and crappy headphones and boring book seemed like defeat, until I remembered my journal and how little time I've had during the past few weeks to actually intentionally whole-heartedly journal. I seized the opportunity and spent the entire flight thinking, writing, and reading back over the last couple months. I felt a little wellness-hipster when I filled three pages with intentions for this trip, but I rolled with it and I'm keeping those intentions in my mind everyday. Flying (in a plane, obviously) lets me see the world in a bigger-picture-kind-of-view, something I've been working on for... forever. Thank you, dead phone and computer and boring book and crappy headphones, for forcing me to think. 

If you're wondering what I'm doing in Minnesota, I'm visiting my parents who moved back out here in May. As a family, we lived together in Minnesota until 2003 when we moved to Orange County in California. Then I left for college and my brother left for England, and my parents were left in OC paying way too much for a house and missing our family here in MN. So, they moved. And here we are. Now you're caught up. 

Minnesota Vacation Pt. 1

My parents' house (our house? I don't know) is perfect - cozy but spacious, modern but welcoming. It feels like a home away from my home which is exactly what I hoped for. I even have my own room and bathroom (might be my favorite part, besides the kitchen). A quiet little part of me wishes I were a few years younger because maybe - maybe - staying here might sound a bit more appealing. You know, a soon-to-be 23-year-old post-grad living with her parents in quaint little Stillwater, MN (which is what I will be in roughly a year when I will have the opportunity to move back here) doesn't quite ring my bell. But now I'm just getting ahead of myself. 

There isn't too much excitement to share about the trip yet because it hasn't even been a week, but we've done some fun things worth sharing! I arrived on Tuesday, August 7th at night, so we all called lights out early to save energy for the next day. We love slow, early mornings around here and have been starting each day that way - I prep a pot of coffee filled high enough to water our whole lawn (not really, but kind of) per Dad's request, sip on that while reading the news or baking something and chatting with whomever is awake so far. Then there's a breakfast of some sort, which for me has been more of a snack because come 10:30 AM-ish, I'm ready to move and I hate doing that with a stomach full of breakfast. On days when Dad makes bacon and eggs, though, I choose those before a workout. Bacon + eggs > morning workout (most of the time). 

Minnesota Vacation Pt. 1

A lot of the days, afternoons, and nights have been pure family time and that's what we all came here for anyway, so we must be doing something right. My grandparents live just 20 minutes away, which makes a drive over to visit them or pick them up and bring them here for dinner easy as can be. As for the rest of my family's location(s), I don't know because I don't know the geography of this state yet (or still...?), but they've gotta' be close by and I can't wait to see as many of them as possible. 

OH GUYS. Funny story. My mom's high school reunion took place in her hometown of Winona this past weekend, so we all drove over there and stayed in a bed and breakfast owned by my mom's friend of a friend (or something like that). It was cute - up in the woods, very colorful and woodsy. Every corner and nook and cranny cradled an antique and every wall held a huge frame with an art piece. We came back from dinner one night and (what I thought was) a bird flew over my head when I walked into the kitchen. Thankfully, my dad's nervous voice sounds actually quite calm - "Um, that's a bat..." he informed me and I booked it outside faster than I've ever taken warm chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. A BAT, GUYS. The owner told us to leave the doors open and the lights on, assuring us that doing so would usher the bat outside. Not an ounce of me wanted to go back inside until I could be sure that thing had left the building, but because it was a bat and they tend to hide, I couldn't be sure. After an hour of playing Banana-grams on the porch, we couldn't keep our eyes open and had to head up to bed. I pretended the bat thing never happened... well, I tried to. We woke up to coffee and muffins the next morning, followed by a brunch of fresh fruit and yogurt, crispy bacon, and homemade aebelskivers! If you don't know what those are, they're basically pancake balls with some sort of fruit filling on the inside. Dad and I took a bite, made eye-contact across the table, and promised each other immediately to buy a cast-iron aebelskiver pan because we. need. these. on at least a weekly basis. We finished breakfast and gathered our things to checkout and as Ben (my brother) hopped in the shower, so did the bat. HAHA. Goodbye. I'm out. That's my story. 

as strange as the house was, it graced us with a beautiful view!

as strange as the house was, it graced us with a beautiful view!

I haven't had the chance to explore the adorable downtown streets of Stillwater yet, but I've heard wonderful things and I'm planning a full day ahead to explore the coffee shops, cafès, boutiques, and the one kitchen/cooking store everyone in my family is thoughtful enough to make sure I'm aware of. 

Minnesota Vacation Pt. 1

I do have plans to create some recipes while I'm here because, yes, that is work for me if you want to be all technical about it, but I'm lucky because I love my work so it doesn't feel like the dreadful kind of work that is all too common in the world of careers today. On the list so far are scones, a bundt cake, cast-iron skillet pizzas, sangria, and much much more. Stay tuned my friends! 

A Weekend in Minnesota (new home away from home!)

Life, ThoughtsHaley Hansen1 Comment

As the quarter dwindles to an end and assignments simultaneously pile up, I have less and less time and energy for creating recipes. I've also taken a break - kind of, but not really - from Instagram and I've been feeling like writing more lifestyle posts. A blogger who seems like just a blogger is not who I want to be, so my hope is that these posts let you into my life because I love it when my favorite bloggers do so for me. 

Okay, so about this whole Minnesota-thing. My parents moved! Our house in SoCal just wasn’t doing it for them anymore, and with both my brother and I out of the house + the majority of our family in MN/WI + the high cost of living in CA, a move back home(ish) made sense for them. They’ve officially been in the new house for a week and I was more than happy to be on the welcoming committee! Actually, can I be on the welcoming committee if I don’t live in the state into which one is welcomed? Minor detail.

Funny story about my flight out there on Friday – I must’ve gotten things confused because I assumed my flight left from SLO at 4 PM, which would leave me plenty of time on Friday for a workout, breakfast with friends, packing, and spending a couple hours on campus for PHE (from here on out, I’m going to refer to my volunteer position at Cal Poly Health and Wellbeing as “PHE” which stands for Peer Health Educator – if you have further questions about my role, I’m happy to answer them!). This assumption also justified my laziness on Thursday night and gave me time to hang with a friend. When I finally went to bed on Friday night at midnight, I decided now would be a good time to double-check my flight info. HA. Haley, please don’t assume things. Your flight leaves from SLO at noon. Cancel all plans tomorrow. Nice one. Hey, at least I checked!

Back to the weekend. I met the cuuuuuutest little old man on my flight out and I wished I could’ve brought him everywhere with me, but I digress. I have a weird thing with flying – it stresses the shizz out of me, but it also excites me unlike anything else. Both the takeoff and landing in a plane usually make me cry, and no I’m not kidding or being dramatic. There’s just something sorta-kinda magical about feeling the vibration of the fuselage (fancy plane term for “body of the plane”, aka the place all the humans sit) as I watch the ground fall lower and lower beneath me, or as I watch the ground bring itself closer to the wheels of the plane during landing, anticipating the calming “boom” of touchdown. Doesn’t really get old.

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Oh, and because I’m sure you’re just dying to know what I ate, here’s a picture. I came more prepared with food for this flight than I did with shoes for my actual trip – an accurate depiction of me. Some fresh carrots and a couple soft-boiled eggs, a little hummus, a bag of Hippeas, roasted sweet potato wedges (the star of the show, always and forever), PaleoValley snacks (like a grass-fed version of my favorite childhood snack), and RX bars.

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I worked on an assignment for my Nutrition Counseling class during the flight, then convinced myself I’d done enough work and picked up where I left off in Intuitive Eating. I’m reading the book and completing the corresponding activities for each chapter in the workbook and I absolutely love it. A copy of each were my gifts to Mom for her special day!

My parents picked me up from the airport at around 8:30 PM and it was rather strange, as all of my arrivals home thus far have been me pulling into the driveway and just walking in through the front door. But, this is the new norm and we will all get used to it with time. By 10 PM I was in bed, barely able to keep my eyes open, even though it was only 8 PM on CA-time. But hey, when this body is tired, this. body. is. tired. I crawled into my bed in my own room – already set up for me by my blessed mother and father – and hit the lights, feeling thankful and peaceful.

Saturday began at around the same time most other days do – right when the sun comes up – and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Like, come on, LOOK at that sunrise. The living room and kitchen both have plenty of windows, so that makes for bright mornings and, as I said before, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I can’t see myself living in MN, but if one thing (besides family) were to convince me of staying, it would be a Saturday morning in my parents’ living room with the sun beaming in, a hot cup of coffee in my hand, and my family next to me. Perfect is an understatement.

Mom and I worked out in the basement, which is soon to become an upgraded at-home gym, even though it’s pretty dang good as it is now. All I need for 4/5 of my go-to workouts is a set of light weights and a mat, and we’ve had those at home for as long as I can remember. If you’re curious about my workouts, I’ve got plenty of my favorite moves highlighted on my Instagram stories and I also send out a weekly email that details out one of my workouts from the previous week. Subscribe!

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I finished a quick 30 minutes of some bodyweight HIIT moves and then explored around in the fridge for something that sounded good. Traveling, especially when a time-change is involved, throws my stomach off a bit so nothing sounded fantastic, but I knew we'd be out of the house for a few hours and I wanted to give my muscles some post-workout fuel. Suddenly, a whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter and sliced strawberries sounded like a winner. One thing I’ve been working on with Intuitive Eating is practicing eating without distractions – no computer, no phone, no magazines (those are the main distractions for me). This might stress me out sometimes when I feel the urgent need to respond to an email or look over a lesson plan for a class, but it also feels really good to be able to just eat, to taste and enjoy what I’m eating. It’s a simple, pleasurable act that can get easily get lost in the midst of life’s to-do lists.

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My parents and I hung at home with family for the rest of the night. Snacks, wine, and lots of story-telling and laughter are a given in our family whenever we all get together – not bad things at all. People have been asking why my parents suddenly decided to move back to MN, and I tell them it’s for a couple reasons, but the main one stood out tonight. Family. Family, family, family. Incredibly important to us.

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Snacks were sliced veggies, hummus, salsa, crackers and chips, chicken wings (it had been over years since my last chicken wing… just sayin’), and wine. The main event – pizza! These two huge pies came from a place most of my family absolutely adores, called Papa Murphy’s, and while I’m usually a thick-crust-lover, these were some of the best slices of pizza I’ve had. Papa Murphy, you’ve done a dang good job! The Hansen family is one of your biggest fans.

By 9 PM-ish, mostly everyone had left and I realized that I’d made it a whole 24 hours – twenty-four hours – without touching my homework. I patted myself on the back for a second and then grabbed my laptop to work on some assignments. Balance. As much as I would’ve loved to lounge on the couch and listen to my family tell more belly-ache-laughter-inducing stories, my reality right now is week 7 out of 10 this quarter and multiple projects and exams coming full-speed ahead. I did future-Haley a big favor by finishing an essay and making a little more progress on my Nutrition Counseling assignment. An hour later, bedtime.

I love going to bed because I love sleeping, but I think I really love it – like really really love it – because closing my eyes at the conclusion of one day means opening them for the introduction of another is just hours away. Read: another beautiful sunrise and another cup of hot coffee. Mmmm, makes me giddy just thinking about it.

Mom woke up early with me Sunday morning and we chatted, ooh’ing and ahhh’ing at the blue and purple and orange and pink and yellow sunrise, and I gave her my gift for Mother’s Day – she knew it was coming, but was still stoked to open it up. I’ve been raving to her about Intuitive Eating and we’ve talked a ton about creating a healthy relationship with food, so I’m really excited, too, to have someone as close to me as my mom with whom I can talk about all of this. She feels more like a sister than a mom sometimes. Most of the time, actually.

We both went down to the basement/at-home gym for 20-30 minutes of light yoga. By then, my tummy was ready for food, so I cleaned up and helped dad cook bacon and scrambled eggs, along with some fruit and whole-wheat tortillas for breakfast. Dad and I adore breakfast, and each other, so spending time together in the kitchen cooking one of our favorite meals is, like, better than the best breakfast you could ever imagine.

A Weekend in Minnesota (new home away from home!)

The rest of the morning we spent at church with my grandparents, and then drove to their place to hang out for a little while. OH, and cinnamon rolls (which tasted and smelled much better than they looked) from a bake sale at church were involved. My goodness. I think I should gauge a potential husband based on how he takes my breath away compared to how a cinnamon roll takes my breath away. Seems like a fair scale.

Some thoughts while I sunk my fork into this swirl of warm, gooey, caramelly chunk of future-husband-comparison-scale deliciousness: Was I actually hungry to eat it? No. Breakfast kept me full and satisfied. But did the rolls smell good/look good/sound good? Did the idea of sitting around the dining room with some of the most cherished people in my life, a few of whom I rarely ever have the chance to spend time with in person, while sharing in the pleasure of said cinnamon roll sound more appealing to me than waiting until I was actually hungry to eat a “sensible” lunch (i.e. a salad, sandwich, etc.)? Yes. A million and four times YES. There are parts of Intuitive Eating I had no idea existed, but I’m so thankful they do. I read a blog post from Rachel Hartley a week ago that talked about eating even when you aren't biologically hungry or really craving a certain food, but still eating it because the moment just kind of calls for it. I can't find the exact post, but scroll through her archives and I'm sure you'll find something worth reading! And/or you can read what I wrote about the topic a while ago. This realization that food is more than just fuel/calories has helped me immensely in finding peace with food. 

My grandparents are two strong, determined, and always loving and welcoming individuals. They make us laugh, they show us unconditional love, and they remind us of the importance of family. I know they don’t use a computer regularly (or ever…?), but hey Grandma and Grandpa, I love you guys to pieces.

For the remainder of the day, we drove around the town my parents now live in – it’s right on the St. Croix River, and with the sun shining today, everything felt so right. I couldn’t be happier for them :) we came back home, lounged outside and soaked up our vitamin D before I packed up for my flight home.

And that brings me here! I’m on the plane, typing, reflecting, smiling, looking out the window at the view of a state which I cannot identify as the plane hovers some 36,000 above. I’m so happy on this blog and incredibly thankful for the last 3 2/3 years since it was born. It’s like my child. As much as I love cooking and sharing recipes, I love writing. And as much as I love spending hours articulating my thoughts into a well-thought-out post, I love just letting my mind guide my fingers across this keyboard. So, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and look forward to more of them! Thank you for reading, and more importantly, thank you for supporting my blog. I hope you love it half as much as I do :) 

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Hi there! I'm Haley: a food-blogging Nutrition student who creates simple, nutritious, and tasty recipes. Here, you'll find treats for the sweet tooth and savory dishes for any meal. I'm so happy you're here and I hope you like what you see!

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