Me to We Student Spotlight: Gabriela Hennes

Last year, Gabby discovered the issue that she cared about – Clean Water. She learned in Social Studies class that the lack of clean water in Africa was a really big problem, that 40% of people living there did not have access to clean water, and that 1 in 10 people in the world lacked access. This was shocking for Gabby, and she decided to do something to change this.

Gabby and her friend, Katie Amdahl, started a fundraiser with Free The Children to raise money for Clean Water in Africa last school year. She created a personal fundraising page and posted the link over Facebook. And reached out to her friends and family over social media.

She has brought this initiative to her whole school, and they are continuing to fundraise by doing a variety of initiatives including selling scratch-off tickets, calling local businesses to donate prizes, hats days and dress down days. So far they have raised over $900!

In addition to supporting Free The Children’s projects overseas, as part of the South Junior High student council, Gabby has also helped raise money for Pennies for Patients, raised $3700 for cancer research, collected about 70 grocery boxes for their local food shelf.

How are you making a difference in your community?  This November Minnetonka is celebrating the Month of Meaning. For every photo shared showing how you create meaning in your community, Minnetonka will donate $1 towards building a rain catchment system with Me to We in Marialapa, Haiti. Click here to learn more!

Made By Hand: Georgia Pellegrini’s Stuffed Pumpkin Recipe

I like a good pumpkin dessert as much as the next girl. But I think we need more savory pumpkin dishes on the Thanksgiving dinner table, to show the pumpkin’s full glory and potential.  Enter… the stuffed pumpkin. This is one of those dishes that is a breeze to put together, tastes otherworldly, and has an impressive presentation that makes you seem like a kitchen Goddess.

You will need: a pumpkin that is 3 pounds, (or if you want to be whimsical about it you can try to get small ones and serve them individually), leek, gruyere cheese, stale bread, nutmeg, pancetta, thyme, a head of garlic, and smoked paprika. You’ll also need a mystery ingredient which I failed to photograph here…Cream! Heavy cream! The best ingredient there ever was.

Begin by roasting a whole head of garlic. Simply wrap a whole head of garlic, with olive oil, in tin foil. If the cloves fall apart like mine did, that’s A-OK. Roast them in the oven for 1 hour while you get the rest of the ingredients together. When they are done you will be able to squeeze them right out of their casings.

Carve off the top of the pumpkin. It will be full of fresh seeds. If you’re feeling patient you could save some of them and toast them, in fact I recently roasted them and then drizzled them with melted dark chocolate, then popped them in the refrigerator for the chocolate to harden. It was a delicious snack.

Season your pumpkin with a good dose of salt and pepper on the inside. Then set it aside and get the stuffing ready.

Cut the pancetta up into a small dice. It has a more nutty, complex flavor than bacon does which is why I prefer it, but bacon will work if that’s what you have available.

Next you’ll prepare and clean the leek, cutting the white and light green portion into thin slices. You can save the tougher green ends for stock making.

Next, render some pancetta in a skillet and let the fat sizzle and the pancetta crisp.  Add the leeks, season them with some salt and pepper and let them wilt.

They’ll become soft and translucent. Try to resist eating the whole thing with a spoon right then and there. It’s hard.  Once you have it where you want it, remove it from the heat and let it cool.

Then you’ll cut some stale bread… it can be semi-stale, it’s going to soak up some liquid. You’ll want 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch pieces.

Then grate the heavenly gruyere cheese.

In a separate bowl, combine the bread, gruyere, picked thyme, the smoked paprika and the nutmeg!

Mix it all together, add the pancetta and leek mixture to the bowl… and give it a a nice stir. And don’t forget the best ingredient of all…the roasted garlic! Which you can now squeeze out of their magical skins into the bowl.

Scoop the stuffing into the pumpkin and fill it up.

Then pour on some cream for moisture.  Put the lid on top and bake this in the oven for about 90 minutes.

It will become very tender and easily pierced with a knife. That’s when it’s ready.

This is festive to present to your guests at the dinner table, and bonus points if you can find very small pumpkins to serve these as individual servings.

The filling is to die for and highlights pumpkin’s many virtues.  Leave a comment below if you’ll be trying this for your Thanksgiving table!

“Stuffed Pumpkin”

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 3-pound pumpkin, 2 1.5-pound pumpkins or 4 1-pound pumkins
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup pancetta, diced
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups croutons or stale bread, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup freshly grated gruyere cheese, plus more for sprinkling at the end
  • 1 tablespoon freshly picked thyme
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream



1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Cut the root and top end off of the garlic head, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in tin foil and roast in the pre-heated oven for about 1 hour, or until soft.
3.  Cut a circle around the stem of the pumpkin and remove the lid. Cut the seeds off of the lid and scoop out the seeds from the inside of the pumpkin. Season the inside with salt and pepper.
4.  In a medium-large saute pan over medium heat, brown the pancetta to release the fat. Add the leek and sweat until soft. Turn off the heat and let cool.
5.  In a bowl, combine the croutons, cheese, thyme, nutmeg and smoked paprika. Once cooled, add the pancetta and leeks and mix to combine.
6.  Remove the roasted garlic from the oven and squeeze the cloves out of the skins. Roughly chop and add to the mixture.
7.  Fill the pumpkin with the stuffing mixture. Pour over the heavy cream, put the pumpkin lid back on, and place on a sheet tray covered with a rack or a silicone pad to prevent it from sticking.
8.  Bake for 90 minutes, or until the pumpkin flesh is tender and easily pierced with a fork.
9.  In the last 15 minutes of cooking, remove the lid from the pumpkin and top the stuffing with the extra grated gruyere. Return the pumpkin to the oven, keeping the lid on the side of the sheet tray so the cheese can brown and bubble.
10.  Serve warm, sliced into fourths, in half, or as individual pumpkins depending on their size.

About Georgia Pellegrini:

Georgia’s taste for simple food and outdoor adventure evolved as she grew up in the Hudson Valley. She followed her passion to the French Culinary Institute and then to Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and La Chassagnette in France. Georgia is the author of “Food Heroes,” “Girl Hunter,” and the new book “Modern Pioneering.” She has appeared on Today, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Iron Chef, and much more, and her outdoor Adventure Getaways have been featured everywhere from the New York Times, to the Wall Street Journal, to HBO. She lives in Austin, Texas and chronicles her adventures on her wildly popular website and her Facebook fan page.

Global Lookbook: Fashion Footprint

Wafaa from Fashion Footprint
Location: Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Wafaa of Fashion Footprint styled the 3 Layer Fringe Boot for our Global Lookbook using the iconic back drop of Burj Khalifa. We asked her to share with us a few of her favorite spots to visit and things to do when in Dubai.

Do. I love to shop, style outfits, Roller-Blade and go to the gym
See. Burj Al Arab is a must see when visiting Dubai!
Eat. Wafi Gourmet is a delicious Lebanese restaurant
Go. Fujairah is a must see city to explore in UAE
Shop. Dubai Mall is the best place to shop!

Featured Product: Calf Hi 3 Layer Fringe Boot

Shop your favorite Minnetonka styles in the United Arab Emirates here.

Me to We Student Spotlight: Jason Lansing

At 18 years old, Jason Lansing is already a true leader in his community! A student at Farmington High School, Jason took on a huge leadership role within his school’s We Create Change fundraising efforts. Together as a district, Farmington Area Schools participated in We Create Change and raised over $10,000 to support school building in Kipsongol, Kenya!

Jason didn’t stop there! He then was able to fundraise for his Me to We service learning trip to Kipsongol to go see the impact that his community made. On his trip, Jason learned what it is to be a good global citizen and connected with people from another part of the world.

He also helped to begin construction on new school in Kipsongol – making way for the foundation of the school by moving rocks and mixing cement. Jason was grateful for the opportunity to empower this community and hopefully start a chain reaction of people helping people across the world.

Jason has also been an amazing ambassador for his community and Free the Children, appearing on television and taking part in interviews to speak about his experience with the We Act program and on a Me to We trip. He just can’t get enough – Jason is already signed up to travel with Me to We to India in 2015!

How are you making a difference in your community?  This November Minnetonka is celebrating the Month of Meaning. For every photo shared showing how you create meaning in your community, Minnetonka will donate $1 towards building a rain catchment system with Me to We in Marialapa, Haiti. Click here to learn more!

Made By Hand | A&J King Bakery

Andy and Jackie King, artisanal bakers based in New England, have certainly made a splash with their perfectly imperfect hand-made breads and baked goods at their headquarters cafe and bakery.

After opening up in 2006, A&J King quickly established themselves as a go-to for beautiful, well-made breads, utilizing traditional methods that match the historic ambience of Salem, MA, where they are located.

Andy and Jackie are no one trick ponies, also offering up delicious pastries, signature sandwiches and more in their full-service cafe.

The magic starts in the kitchen, where each step of the baking process is performed by hand, from kneading the dough to cutting the beautiful patterns on each loaf that are brought out during the baking process.

In 2013, Andy and Jackie published their first cookbook, Baking by Hand (MacMillan), further elaborating their philosophy on baking and the quality of craft they live by. They’ve shared with us their favorite recipe for the holiday season – bread pudding!

Bread pudding is one of Andy and Jackie’s favorite things to make at the bakery, and they’ve been making them since Day One! It is simple, can be adapted to whatever fruits or flavors are in season (or whichever ones you have one hand), tastes great hot, cold, or room temperature. There’s not a lot of science to it. You need a bread product to soak up your custard, and you need enough custard to soak into the bread. That’s pretty much it!

Pro tip — make sure to use stale bread (or stale it yourself by leaving it on your counter for a few hours, as fresh bread tends to fall apart when absorbing the liquid). Once you get the idea of how to assemble bread pudding, you’ll be off and running with your own unique flavor combinations.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

1 lb stale croissant, brioche, challah, or other enriched dough, 1” dice

3  large eggs

7 oz whole milk

7 oz half and half

2/3 cup sugar

6 oz roasted, pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin

1.25 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Whisk eggs, milk, half and half, sugar, pumpkin puree and spices in a large bowl until combined and smooth.

Add the bread, and toss with your hands or spoon until all the bread is coated with the custard. Let it sit at least 30 minutes (but no longer than an hour) stirring occasionally.

Put all of the bread and custard mixture into a greased circular 8″ pan or paper mold.

Bake at 375˚F until golden brown and it feels firm when pressed, about 45 minutes. When cooled, drizzle with maple sugar icing.

Maple Sugar Icing

(Whisk all ingredients together until smooth and lump free)

6.5 oz Maple Sugar

2 oz Confectioner’s Sugar

2 oz Half and Half

Learn more about Andy and Jackie at