#36 – Try 4 new ice cream joints

Who doesn’t love ice cream? It’s probably one of my favorite things to eat, but I rarely check out local ice cream joints, so this 40 in 40 was to get me to try some ice cream around the Twin Cities.

The four places I tried were: Nelsen’s Ice Cream in St. Paul, Peterson’s Popcorn & Ice Cream in Inver Grove Heights, Cold Front in St. Paul, and Sota Hot & Cold in St. Paul.

At Nelsen’s, they don’t make their own ice cream, they have ice cream from Kemp’s and Cedar Crest, but they give the largest portions ever. My friend Heidi kept telling me that I only needed to order the child size and that we could share it, and I tried to reassure her that I loved ice cream and could handle my own, but she was right. The child size of ice cream was as big as my head, literally. We shared it and it was delicious.

The next place I tried was Peterson’s Popcorn & Ice Cream in Inver Grove Heights. I didn’t know this was a legendary place, but apparently it was a staple in St. Paul for many years, but since 2013 has only been in Inver Grove. Peterson’s makes their own ice cream and I’ve been a few times now. Their Gold Rush ice cream is to die for, and they make a great pumpkin ice cream around the holidays where they literally crumble up pumpkin pies in the ice cream. YUM.

At Cold Front, which is right next door to The Nook in St. Paul, they also don’t make their own ice cream but they sell ice cream from Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream in Madison, WI. I had Cherry Chocolate Chip and it was great. A perfect restaurant outing would be to hit up The Nook for a burger and then pop over to Cold Front for dessert.

The last place I tried was one of two new Thai rolled ice cream shops that recently opened in St. Paul. At Sota Hot & Cold., they have coffee and ice cream rolls, and you can design your own or choose from their signatures. For my ice cream I selected Campfire Cooler, which was full of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows. I forget what the base ice cream was (hazelnut or vanilla?), but whatever it was, it was delicious.

One thing I was not expecting with the Thai ice cream rolls is that they’re hard. They melt in your mouth, so it’s not that they’re crunchy, but they do not melt quickly, which makes sense if you think about it. The ice cream you order is mixed together on site, rolled out on a frozen skillet, and then rolled into curls. I have no clue how the frozen skillet works, but it clearly freezes the ice cream really well, and when you watch them do it you can see how hard the ice cream is. You should try this if you’ve never experienced it, even if to just watch how this is done, but it’s also delicious, so it would be a trip well worth it.

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#14 – Send 20 cards

Number 14 of my 40 in 40 list was to send 20 cards or postcards throughout the year, not counting Christmas cards. I rarely send anything other than an occasional birthday card and Christmas cards, so I was hoping doing this would get me in the habit of reaching out more via USPS.

I sent my 20 cards, but this did not change any habits of mine…so far. It was nice to get some cards back from people, so maybe in the middle of the year next year I’ll try doing something like this again.

#31 – Bake bread from scratch

My mom is the best baker in the world. I know you think your mom might know how to bake your favorite goodies, but my mom’s are better.

Growing up, my mom was not the person who sat and watched TV or movies, read books, or crocheted. She never liked to sit still. For her, when she wasn’t working, she was gardening, golfing, or baking some delicious desserts.

But only today do I realize why she only made her amazing caramel rolls a few times a year.

For one of my 40 in 40, I wanted to make bread from scratch, so I thought I’d tackle her caramel rolls. I made them with her before (or, really, watched her make them), but I don’t know if I wasn’t paying enough attention or just never realized, but it is a whole-day project.

First you make the dough, which takes a longer than one would think after boiling milk and water, letting it cool, adding the yeast, etc. I forgot to add the eggs, but my mom assured me it would be okay, so I pushed on.

After you finish the dough, it has to rise for at least an hour. As it’s rising you make the caramel and put it in the cake pans, but by the time the dough rises you have to punch it and let it rise for at least another hour. When it’s done rising again, then you roll it out, cut up the rolls, put them in the pans with caramel, and let it rise for at least another hour.

After hours of prep and rising, finally you’re ready to bake the rolls, which only takes 20 minutes. After all that, 20 minutes and they’re done. It’s kind of anticlimactic at that point because it’s been almost SIX HOURS.

My mom’s look better and are all exactly the same, perfect size, but these taste pretty good. I might not have cooked the caramel enough because every once in awhile it tastes a little sugary, but I’m calling this a success.

And I’m going to take my mom’s lead on this one and leave a project like this for special occasions. She would make these a few times a year, sometimes more if we begged, but I thinking I’ll only do this again once every few years, if that. 🙂