Five things Friday 12.12.14

by Danica on December 12, 2014

Happy Friday, friends.

Here are some things going on around here…

1.  I mentioned the Berkeley protests last weekend.  Well, they went on for 5 straight nights.  Thankfully, the final 3 nights seemed to have been peaceful overall.  I’m not entirely sure what end-result they wanted from all the marching, but they got a lot of national attention so there’s that I suppose.

2.  We also got a huge rain storm yesterday.  People went crazy over the rain.  Schools canceled, offices insisted their employees work from home, and a lot of public transit was shut down – it was as if we got some huge blizzard or something.  There’s some reasoning for the excitement though – the water just does not sink into the ground quickly (which is ironic because CA is in such a devastating drought), the gunk on the roads gets lifted up causing some places to be a bit slick, and a lot of flooding happens quickly (largely due to that first reason).  Between this and the protesting, Berkeley’s looking quite rough at the moment.

3.  My Kale Yeah shirt came in the mail from Gina this past week.  I love it!

Kale Yeah shirt

4.  The winner of the Old Factory Candles giveaway is…Cayla!

old factory candles giveaway winner

Congrats!  Check your inbox for an email from me.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

5.  Tonight is the Christmas party for Jesse’s office.  Dinner, a DJ, dancing – I think it’s just what we need after the kind of week we’ve had.  It should be a fun time.

Wishing you a great weekend,



My Tater Tot Hotdish {recipe}

by Danica on December 11, 2014

My friend Amanda sent me this video to watch not too long ago:
5 Favorite Minnesota Foods Taste Test

I have to admit, I hardly know what lutefisk is, nor have I ever even had the opportunity to eat it, which is perfectly fine with me!  Once I laughed my way through that video though, I suddenly had a craving for tater tot hotdish.  Clearly, you can take this girl out of Minnesota but you can’t take the Minnesotan out of this girl.

(jello “salad” though?  no one in their right mind actually likes that stuff.)

tater tot hotdish recipe

My grandma always made a really good tater tot hotdish, and it was really simple, basically just hamburger, corn, and tater tots.  Then there are other versions that contain “cream of ____” soup, which has always made me a little squeamish, or cheese.  I come from a family of dairy farmers and even we don’t put cheese on tater tot hotdish (though when I think about it, it might not be so bad after all)

Anyway, I’ve come up with my own version of this Minnesota Classic that has a ton of veggies, high quality meat, and slightly better tater tots (though, really, go with whatever you want for those guys).

tater tot hotdish - recipe - dinner

Danica’s Tater Tot Hotdish


  • 1 pound organic, grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bag frozen organic mixed vegetables (any mix/variety will do)
  • 1.5 cups frozen organic corn (or about 1/2 of a bag)
  • 1 can soup (this is up to you here…my favorite is organic split pea soup from Trader Joe’s – you just want something that has a somewhat creamy texture, has high quality ingredients, and is somewhat bland-tasting since you’ll be adding flavor…)
  • seasonings:
    1 tsp. sea salt
    1 tsp. black pepper
    1/2 tsp. turmeric
    1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    1/2 tsp. thyme
    1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 3(ish) cups tater tots  (the Alexia brand and Trader Joe’s have somewhat healthier varieties, if interested)


1.  Preheat your oven to 400*F.

2.  In a large pot on your stovetop, add about a tablespoon of water, the ground beef, and the onion.  Turn the heat to medium-high and stir occasionally until the meat is browned.

3.  Next, add the bag of mixed veggies, the can of soup, and the seasonings to the pot.  Cover but stir occasionally until everything seems warmed and combined well.

4.  Pour the entire pot of deliciousness into a 9×13 glass baking pan.  Use the back of a spoon or spatula to even it out, if needed.

5.  Sprinkle the corn over the top, and then add the tater tots.  We all know the tater tots are the tastiest part so, you betcha, feel free to add a little extra ;)

6.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tater tots are hot.

7.  Enjoy!

tator tot hotdish


they’re back…

December 10, 2014

This blog needs more food, yes?  So I’ve decided to bring back the What I Ate Wednesday posts. I used to post these weekly, and in their long absence, I kind of miss the sharing.  I honestly have fun reading through others’ WIAW posts (I get a lot of meal/food ideas), so I figured I could participate and share […]

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Old Factory Candles {review & giveaway} (CLOSED)

December 9, 2014

As part of my little bit of Christmas decorating this year, I started lighting my Old Factory Candles (“Happy Holidays” theme).   The set of three includes these scents: Christmas Tree, Candy Cane, and Gingerbread (my favorite). Each 2-oz. candle is handmade in the USA, is made of natural soy wax, and each have a burn time […]

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scenes from the weekend 12.8.14

December 8, 2014

Hello, I hope you all had a great weekend! I actually felt pretty crummy for most of mine, so that was a bummer. I laid on the couch most of Friday (I ended up not having to be at work so that actually worked out nicely for me to rest more).  I finally got a bit […]

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workout log: 11/30 – 12/6

December 6, 2014

  Sunday, November 30th no set workout, but we did bowl for an hour and a half and went for a 25-minute Walk with Zida Monday, December 1st upper body strength training workout 15 minutes of Elliptical intervals 15-minute high incline Walk Tuesday, December 2nd I did this lower body workout, 3 times through: (I […]

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Link Love #4

December 4, 2014

Food… –> 40 Coconut Oil Uses & Cures –> 10 Health Foods You Should Never Eat –> Troubling Facts That Should Definitely be Hung in Grocery Stores and Kitchens –> 8 Reasons to eat Blueberries and Why you should Freeze them or just buy them frozen! –> Simple Kitchen Hacks for Everyday Cooks love this […]

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3 new Book Reviews (on money, faith, and a novel)

December 3, 2014

m4s0n501 a few books I’ve read recently…. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey synopsis: If you will live like no one else now, you can live like no one else later. Build up your money muscles with America’s favorite finance coach. Okay, folks, do you want to turn those fat and flabby expenses into […]

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December: In-Season Produce

December 2, 2014

December is already here!  Living in CA, it certainly doesn’t feel like the month of Christmas right now.  I’m going to admit this once and only once – I’m missing the snow a little bit at the moment.  I don’t miss the insanely cold temps MN is putting up with, but December just needs snow. […]

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Thanksgiving Weekend 2014

December 1, 2014

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We were still out in CA for the holiday.  It was really sad to be away from family, but what helped a lot was that my father-in-law was here to visit.  We had a great time!  Here are some snapshots from the past 4 days… Thanksgiving Day I […]

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