Everyday Adventure: New Darlings

From backyard bonfires to cross-country road trips – this is the summer for adventure! Today we kick off our Everyday Adventure series with Christina and Robert of New Darlings.

Adventurers at heart, Christina and Robert packed a summer picnic and ventured to South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, (in their mocs, of course!) to spend a relaxing day enjoying the beautiful landscape surrounding them.

Check out our Q&A with them below to learn more about how they are celebrating #EverydayAdventure this summer!

Everyday Adventure: Summer Picnic with Robert & Christina of New Darlings

Favorite way to spend a summer afternoon.
Summers in Phoenix are hot.  There is no way around that.  We’ve definitely become “morning people”.  We have found that it’s best to head out early, find a trail to hike, and welcome the summer sun.  We’d rather be outside, then cooped up somewhere. Afterwards, we’ll try to find some shade and have an early lunch.  We love getting out and being able to just talk and enjoy the blue skies that never get old here in Arizona.

What makes for a perfect summer picnic?
Picnics are a great way to spend a summer afternoon with the one you love.  When we both have the day off, we love to load up our picnic basket with our favorite blanket, some sandwiches, fruit and a refreshing drink or two. Don’t forget to bring your instrument of choice and your favorite hat & pair of sunnies to keep the sun out of your eyes!

Favorite part of living in the Southwest.
The sunshine and low humidity are some pretty great perks of living in the Southwest! But aside from the weather, we really love how this area isn’t fully established yet.  The local art and music scenes are still evolving and we love that we can be a part of it!

What other adventures are you planning this year?
We’re hoping that within the next few months, we can carve out some time to take a long trip to California and explore a bit.  We have a lot of fun projects coming up this year.  We have been blessed to work with so many amazing companies and talented people, and can’t wait to share everything we have cooked up!

Share your #EverydayAdventure @MinnetonkaMocc on Instagram all summer for the chance to win fun outdoor gear (and mocs!) for your next adventure!

Photos by Jaci Marie Smith

Product Featured: Thunderbird II Mocs & Moosehide Double Bottom Softsoles

Georgia Pellegrini’s Adventure Getaway

Recently I have been thinking a lot about my close girlfriends and how important those relationships are to me. When I look back over the years I realize I met so many of them during those unforgettable bonding experiences that life brings your way.


There is a lot that I love about the Adventure Getaways for women that I’ve been doing over the last two years, but my hands down favorite thing is watching women come together from across the country, meet each other for the first time and leave at the end of the experience as lifelong friends.


This April I had the honor of taking a group of lovely ladies up to Destination Kohler in Kohler, WI for one of my Adventure Getaways. These women came from near and far to ditch their regular day to day and challenge themselves to be more fearless, step outside their comfort zone and try new things that they had in some cases never done before.

We got up close with nature as I taught them all about hunting, fishing and clay shooting; and then taught them about all the parts of our food that we normally discard but that are actually delicious. The next step was to put it all in context and have a cooking class together.

Destination Kohler is a playground for outdoor adventure. One of my favorite moments was our mystical hike on the trails that took us through the entire property.

And after the outdoor adventure, the delicious meals that fueled us onward, from parfaits, to venison roasts, to the most delectable desserts.  Because after all, a girl’s gotta have a French macaroon bar before she hunts!

But ultimately it was the down time, the moments in the conservatory and around the fire while roasting s’mores that fueled the great conversations that bonded us forever.

I had a wonderful time showing these brave women the ropes of the wild.  Sometimes we just need a break from our normal routine to get back in touch with nature and ourselves. I know I always have great experiences on the Getaways, and know my fearless guests left with some stories to tell and friendships that will last a lifetime.

If you’re feeling a need to step out of the hustle and bustle and get some dirt under your fingernails, join me on my next Adventure Getaway. This October, we’re taking Montana by storm!

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 GeorgiaPellegrini.com and her Facebook fan page.

Tucked Away Gold with a Side of Brown Bread

Her name was Evelyn Day Bruner. She lived in Brooklyn but was born in the Midwest.

While sorting through some boxes in my grandmother’s house, I found a tiny black book. And when I read the cover, I had to know more.

So I investigated, and discovered my great-great grandmother, Evelyn Day Brunner’s recipe book, my version of gold tucked away in an old drawer.

It’s frayed in all the right places, peeled and chipped to reveal the red under the black cover and gold script. I loved it immediately.

It has a tassel for marking your place.

And a proclamation that it was an “Elite” cooking recipe book. Not just an average one, in case there was any doubt in the 1800’s.

I had heard about this Brown Bread recipe in the family my whole life, but I had never tasted it.

And as I flipped I discovered she in fact had several Brown Bread recipes of various kinds.

I recognized other quirky family traditions within the pages, for example in a dessert of tapioca, she suggests no sugar at all, a particular habit of so many of her descendants, to eliminate sugar in order to accentuate the other flavors

On a page of Chicken Croquettes were the markings where she had dripped on the page while trying the recipe.

And from time to time there was an extra note slipped into the pages of the book…

Someone else’s Brown Bread, someone named Mrs. Core, had the most wonderful line of all: “Sometimes we cram as many chopped raisins and chopped nuts in as our conscience will allow.”

There were three more Brown Bread recipes I stumbled upon in the book that day.

And shortly after, on my doorstep, I received the latest edition of our modern family recipe book in the mail, a compilation of six generations of recipes from the family tree. Each new addition of the book keeps the recipes of the old books, and adds the new ones collected from all of the new family members born since the last addition. It had been over 25 years since the last edition and guess what was in it?

More brown bread.

It was then that I was seized with the overwhelming realization that I wasn’t a legitimate member of the family tree.

I had never tasted, let alone made brown bread.

It was time.

It was my destiny.

Brown Bread and Me would finally intersect in the history books.

I took a moment of silence to reflect on how good this was warm with butter…

And lemon curd…

Evelyn Day Bruner would approve.

Brown Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat or graham flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Sift and mix the dry ingredients, except the baking soda.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the soda, buttermilk and molasses.
4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
5. Stir in the walnuts.
6. Pour the mixture into a greased bread baking pan and cook for about an hour until well risen and browned on top.

 

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 GeorgiaPellegrini.com and her Facebook fan page.

Everyday Adventure: Miami Spring Break

Anyone no longer in school gets hosed come spring break. Did I really need a week-long break in college? No way! College was like a four-year party. As I approach my ten-year anniversary of entering the workforce, I’m really wishing spring break for adults was a thing. Just one more thing wasted on youth.
 
Man, I sound old. 

Last month, I was fortunate enough to ditch the polar vortex for Miami. Hot, humid and full of people in tiny swimsuits, South Beach offered the two of my favorite things: a natural source of vitamin D & excellent people watching. Plus, there are two convenient airport options, which often means you can score a decent deal on airfare.
 
I started my trip out with dropping my bags at The Raleigh Hotel. An Art Deco beauty right on the beach, it’s like time hasn’t touched this place since 1940 (except for in all the good ways… like wi-fi). As you walk up the drive, the craziness of Collins Avenue magically disappears and it’s like you arrived in mid-century Cuba.

The lobby boasts a cute coffee shop and an absolutely glamorous, intimate martini bar fit for, I dunno, any member of the Rat Pack. However, the pool steals the show. Made famous by Esther Williams, take a dip and perfect your synchronized swimming skills… or just sip a cocktail and read a trashy book in a lounger (or hammock).
 
Restaurant Michael Schwartz, a poolside eatery situated beneath the property’s stunning cypress trees, is a fantastic and convenient dining option for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Order the ceviche or, if they have them, the shishito peppers. Side note: I’ve never been there and not seen a celebrity; be sure to wear your sunglasses and/or a hat so you can gawk discretely. 

Photo courtesy of Yardbird

Speaking of food, all I ever want to do on vacation is eat. Two of my favorite dining options are within walking distance of the hotel: Yardbird and Khong River House.

You can’t beat brunch at Yardbird, an homage to traditional southern food, with amazing chicken and biscuits and shrimp and grits (who cares if you have to put a swimsuit on later! You are on vacation.)  Khong River House does some of the most authentic Thai cuisine stateside.  Start out with Burmese noodle wraps, a chili-peanut-lemon-cilantro-soy-Srirracha flavor bomb wrapped in one neat little package. Then move on to Panang curry with short rib; stir-fried eggplant; or Vietnamese-style crispy prawns.

Photo courtesy of Yardbird

Photo courtesy of Khong River House

Unlike my college spring break days, I attempt to incorporate some healthy stuff into my vacay routine. Throw on your sneakers, workout gear and sunglasses, then hoof it down to Jugofresh, the best cold-pressed juice bar in town. It’s about a 25-minute walk from the hotel, and worth every step. For people craving more of a scenic walk/run/bike (Miami now has the Deco Bike Share program), hit the seaside boardwalk and cruise to South Pointe Park. It’s about a two-mile trek each way. Bonus: Jugofresh is opening a South Pointe Park location in April, which means those of you with a later spring break can kill two birds with one stone.

About Molly Mogren:
The daughter of a flight attendant and a hippy-turned-real estate developer who toured Europe in a Volkswagen bus, Molly Mogren came into this world with an undeniable sense of adventure. From hiking the Antarctic Peninsula, to outrunning a hyena in South Africa and even driving a street-legal monster truck through Des Moines, Iowa—she never turns down an opportunity to do something crazy. She’s worked as Andrew Zimmern’s right-hand lady since 2007; they’ve co-written three books together and  co-host a weekly podcast called “Go Fork Yourself.” Her latest project, Hey Eleanor!, chronicles her year-long journey of tackling one thing that scares her every day.  She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her fiancé, dog (Patsy) and kitty, Bogart. She likes to drink coffee, do crossword puzzles and is very good at parallel parking. 

Everyday Adventure: Modern Pioneering

Meet Georgia Pellegrini, a new monthly contributor to the Minnetonka blog.  Today she shares her approach to finding adventure in every day life, along with a delicious Rose Petal Hazelnut Cake recipe from her new book “Modern Pioneering.”

Because of my Great-Aunt Gray, I have always liked to get dirt under my fingernails.  I can still picture her standing in her gardens, hunched over with shovel and trowel, her white hair puffing out from below the brim of her baseball hat, her floral skirt falling just above her oversized muddy sneakers.

She opened my eyes to what it means to be a fearless girl, the last of a generation that knew how to kill a chicken in the backyard for dinner, that wasted nothing, that made the best of what they had and never pointed out what they didn’t. Thanks to her, I learned to cook with economy and respect for simple ingredients.

For her it wasn’t about survival, it was a way of life, and she taught me to stop and smell the rosemary and to look for purslane in between the sidewalk cracks, and turn it into a tangy healthy salad. I also learned to wear a little homemade beet juice tinted lip-gloss while doing it.

There was comfort and strength to be found in the deliberate churn of Aunt Gray’s ice cream maker, which set the day’s tempo. Aunt Gray was famous for her rustic cornbread and her homemade ice cream, which she prepared with the bare minimum of sugar in order to accentuate the other flavors. She probably would have eliminated sugar from their recipes altogether if she could have gotten away with it, such was their disdain for added sweetener.

In the years since my time with Aunt Gray, I have spent countless hours in the outdoors, but I have also traveled constantly, and have lived in small urban spaces without the luxury of lush land around me. Yet I still have the desire to feel the dirt slip between my fingers, to stir ruby-colored jam in a pot and watch it grow thick.  And I have come to realize that Aunt Gray’s generation got more than a few things right and there are still ways, both large and small to “get back to the land,” even if the “land” is only a fire escape or a patio planter; even if the land is a parking strip where you are picking wild dandelion greens for a salad.

Even in my urban Austin home, I can still mark the seasons by the scents of the herbs growing on my windowsill and the rose petals blooming in the parks. Yes, Aunt Gray taught me that those pale pink rose petals that grew on her arbor were edible too, and make the most festive party presentation on a cake.

Thanks to her, I’ve realized that we can all be both modern and a pioneer if we seek out new experiences with a sense of fearlessness. Sometimes stepping outside of our comfort zone is a reminder that the lost world we seek can be within arm’s reach.

It is empowering ourselves to find adventure in new experiences and in a little self-sufficiency that is what makes us feel truly full. And sometimes it can be as simple as scattering a fistful of rose petals onto a hazelnut cake on a warm sunny afternoon.

Rose Petal Hazelnut Cake

Serves 8

This is a simple, nutty cake good for afternoon tea. Because it is flourless and not too sweet, eating it any time of day is suitable. You can of course dress it up with whipped cream or frosting if you would like.

Tip: If you whisk the whites by hand, use a large, heavy whisk for efficiency and make sure the whisk and bowl are very clean and dry so that your whites form stiff peaks.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
Unsalted butter for greasing the pan
1½ cups hazelnut flour (or finely ground hazelnuts)
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs, separated
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup fresh organic rose petals

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. butter an 8-inch fluted tart pan with a drop bottom and set aside. You may also use a cake pan, but if you do, be sure to use a toothpick to check for doneness.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the hazelnut flour and baking powder and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk vigorously until pale yellow. Add the almond and vanilla along with the cream and whisk again until fully combined.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the yolk mixture and mix together until uniform.

5. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

6. With a spatula, fold a third of the egg whites into the batter, then incorporate the rest of the whites all at once.

7. When the batter is uniform, gently fold in the rose petals.

8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and let it cool to room temperature.

9. Sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar, slather it with whipped cream or frosting, or leave it be, whatever you please. It will keep for about 3 days, and should be stored in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic.

Click here to enter for a chance to win a pair of Minnetonka boots and a copy of Georgia’s new book “Modern Pioneering.”

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 GeorgiaPellegrini.com and her Facebook fan page.