Fargo Inspired Home Magazine March April 2021

Page 1


APRIL 2021

Architecture & Design

It’s in our details

the area’s premier, full service landscape design/build firm, since 1987

naturalenvironmentslandscaping.com 5505 53rd avenue s, fargo, nd | 701.237.6994




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Art mosaic by Sicis


VOLUME 12, ISSUE 2 FEATURE 42 SHOWCASE Enjoy the stunning view of nature as she envelopes herself around this beautiful lake home on Pickerel Lake, Minnesota. DEPARTMENTS 16 DESIGN Wood-and-white make an amazing design statement together as presented in this beautiful pictorial. 24 ARCHITECTURE Bring on the barn! See the breathtaking beauty of the up and coming barndominium style living.

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34 GARDEN Finding solace in a beautiful garden is evident in this tour around our Fargo-Moorhead gardens. 52 ART Fargo native Laura McCaul discovers her passion and appreciation of art is just a few art lessons away. 56 HUMOR Extended New Year’s resolutions bring health and well-being despite all the hijinx! 64 CUISINE Spring is the perfect time to explore the flavors of a rack of lamb.






Wine Wisdom

68 INGREDIENTS Scandinavian simplicity and subtle richness of flavors are evident in this cake. 72 REFLECTIONS The charm of the Irish people and beauty of the Emerald Island create lasting memories.


m MUSINGS Inspired Home Associate Publisher Terri Ferragut Phone: 701.866.4405 Email: terri@inspiredhomemagazine.com terri.ferragut@gmail.com Find us on

(Inspired Home Magazine) Editorial Director Terri Ferragut PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELLEN BADEN

Creative Director Terri Ferragut


elcome to the Inspired Home Design and Architecture issue — we're glad you're here! I have known since I was young that art, design and architecture were of interest to me. I’d notice patterns in nature from a scraggly limbed oak tree against a winter sunset to the meticulous arrangement of black seeds on the head of a sunflower from my father’s field. In this issue, Inspired Home takes design to another level as we explore art, design and architecture together through the eyes and hearts of area people. They'll inspire you and are certain to leave an impact on you. Design and architecture surround us all. To all the architectural draftsman, builders, project designers, artists, interior designers, contractors and architects — to the multitudes working in design-related occupations — we salute you! Your contributions are evident in our daily lives and we would not be here without you. As we patiently wait for spring, be aware of what surrounds you. Appreciate those who help determine, plan and execute our ever-changing area landscape, from a beautifully designed front yard to the new home being built down the street. Enjoy the Design and Architecture issue — we do it all for you!

Art Director Susan E. Walker Director of Operations Scott Drzewiecki Contributing Photographers Scott Amundson Photography Ellen Baden Travis Beauchine, Studio Three Beau Photography Lauren Ferragut Carlson Zainah Haider Contributing Writers Jill Ockhardt Blaufuss Lauren Ferragut Carlson Dayna Del Val Bernie Erickson Terri Ferragut Ashley Ferragut Johnson Chelsey Malstrom Granville Wood Copy Editor Keri Guten Cohen

Terri Ferragut

Associate Publisher Editorial Director terri.ferragut@gmail.com terri@inspiredhomemagazine.com

Social Media Director Bailey Hovland

Production representative

Franklin Place 29200 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 114 Southfield, MI 48034 (248) 546-7070

This label only applies to the text stock

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Commercial & Residential Design

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o t e m o c l e W Every issue we share a fresh and local approach to your home and life. TRAVIS BEAUCHENE graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NDSU and a Master of Fine Arts from The George Washington University in DC. Beauchene who has painted for 14 years and taught photography for 8, also does creative marketing for businesses. Upon returning to the F/M area, he and wife Brittany founded STUDIO THREE BEAU. JILL OCKHARDT BLAUFUSS Jill Ockhardt Blaufuss is a photographer for architecture and interior design. Her clients range from designers to builders, both commercial and residential. Her experience in marketing and portrait photography is wide ranging and has been the photographic component for several Addy award winning projects. Jill enjoys time spent with her large, blended family of seven in rural Minnesota, as well as pinochle, public radio, cooking and travel. BERNIE ERICKSON Specializing in helping his clients make small changes with maximum impact, Erickson is a residential real estate agent in Fargo-Moorhead.

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TERRI FERRAGUT Every issue, we take great pride in presenting this beautiful local home and lifestyle guide we call Inspired Home. From design to great food our goal is to provide you with relevant information you value. Truth of the matter is, without the heart and dedication of this talented and professional team, this publication would not be possible. Issue after issue, their creativity brings Inspired Home to your doorstep or area business. They inspire me.

LAUREN F. CARLSON Carlson, a Fargo native and geologist, is a research assistant at Cornell University at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, where she conducts field work and data collection for the study of shrub willow as bio mass. She enjoys cooking, baking, running, renaissance art and writing.

ASHLEY F. JOHNSON Ashley Johnson loves her home city of Fargo. She works as a registered nurse at Sanford Medical Center and shares her happy home with her husband, 2 children and a rescue cat. She loves traveling with her family, cooking, entertaining and good wine. She can’t wait to show her children the world.

DAYNA DEL VAL Del Val is the President & CEO of The Arts Partnership in Fargo, ND. She is a professional actor and passionate arts activist as well as mom to a fabulous violin playing engineer and wife to a plant cell wall biochemist. She enjoys travel, reading and high teas.

GRANVILLE WOOD Wood is an international chef who worked in London, Stockholm, Toronto, Vancouver, Palm Beach and Houston before moving to Fargo with wife Susie, a doctor with Sanford Health. Most recently he operated The Blue Goose Café in the Plains Art Museum.

BAILEY HOVLAND Before earning an English writing degree at Concordia College, Hovland dreamed of being an interior designer. Now, serving Inspired Home Magazine as a writer and social media director, she has the best of both worlds—pairing the power of words with innovative interior design.

CHELSEY MALSTROM Born and raised in Detroit Lakes, MN, Chelsey enjoys all things lakes country. Finding her love for wine working at Epcot Food and Wine Festival in 2012, she was thrilled to move back to Detroit Lakes to help run the family business. Today you can find her at Seven Sisters Spirits, planning events and helping people find the perfect wine.


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White and wood interiors have a refreshing airiness about them, creating a bright and cheerful atmosphere. Textures, patterns and natural green plants complete the scene.

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Beams, an antique medical file and a rustic wood table make this ceramic art studio come alive. The warmth of Benjamin Moore paint, Simply White, bathes the entire room in freshness.



ould there be something cooler and cleaner than white? Barely. To enhance the feeling of cleanliness and freshness in rooms designed in snow-white colors, contrasting elements must be present — something contrasting, like the natural beauty of wood. White and wood interiors have a refreshing airiness about them: warmth and texture coming from the natural wood grains and a soothing and crisp freshness from white. A bright and cheerful atmosphere is created by carefully considered layouts, uplifting accent colors, unexpected areas of textures and patterns, and trendy home accessories. When INSPIREDHOMEMAGAZINE.COM

you think of a palette of wood and white, a sleek kitchen might come to mind or even a modern sunroom. But this neutral and serene pairing can be a winning combination for any room in your home. White adds a clean, calm feeling to a room, while the warm tones and organic textures of wood create depth and visual interest, particularly against a white backdrop. Thanks to its simplicity, it’s not difficult to achieve a well-designed look with this pared-down palette. A white and wood room keeps mid-century modern styles from looking dated, farmhouse styles looking fresh, and begs to set the stage

for Scandinavian design. Any decor in the room pops with a renewed appeal. Whether keeping it simple with natural materials and neutral colors or adding bright hues for areas of high-energy, your room will breathe new freshness. There are many shades of wood. Therefore, you can incorporate them not only in combination with the multiple choices of white, but also between them, using soft transitions from light to dark or with bright-colored accents of art, rugs or pillows. Wood has a texture created by nature, which means your interiors will always reflect its inherent charm. INSPIRED HOME | 17

A range of undertones in whites creates a multitude of desired design results. Benjamin Moore's Stone White is in perfect harmony with natural wood, textural decor and a cranberry red pop.

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Botanicals stand out against crisp white and seamlessly blend with the organic nature of wood. Any light color tends to reflect a very organic appearance, so it is easy to work with, especially because of the abundance of underlying hues. White is a vibrant and bright color with an endless number of decorating possibilities. Take into consideration that paints aren’t one-size-fits-all. A range of undertones in white paint can create a multitude of different looks. Believe it or not, there are hundreds of shades of white. Every color in the spectrum has a white version of it. From pinks and yellows to greens and purples, there are underlying faint hints of color in a variety of whites. There are several “perfect whites” for every home. Benjamin Moore has more than 200 shades of white, for example. Look to your décor, such as kitchen cabinets, flooring, countertops or tile, for color cues to select the best underlying colored white.

For those a bit timid of a white-and-wood design concept, trying a scaleddown version in your bedroom or a smaller space will make you a believer.

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You can’t go wrong by accessorizing your wood-and-white rooms with plants and flowers.

Countertops | Fireplaces | Window sills | Showers

The wood in your room does not have to all be the same, but keeping with the same undertones, warm or cool, will help create a cohesive look. Botanicals bring stand-out beauty, blending with the organic nature of wood and the refreshing crispness of a space enveloped in white.


Look for Warm or Cool The tone of the wood furniture in your room doesn’t have to match exactly, but you should look for complementary undertones. First check if the woods are overall warm or cool in tone, and then look for a base undertone that carries throughout the different wood finishes in the room. And you can’t go wrong if you pick one wood tone to anchor the space. Stick to the Same Wood Family Some woods are considered more formal than others. Classic oak, mahogany and cherry are formal, while pine, maple and bamboo are less formal. By sticking to the same family of woods, you will create cohesion in the space. Organic Escape You can’t go wrong by accessorizing your wood-and-white rooms with plants and flowers. Botanicals stand out against crisp white and seamlessly blend with the organic nature of wood. They are relatively cost-efficient and can make a big impact. This room has white, neutrals and wood incorporated into the space, creating a soft, clean approach resonating in a Scandinavian theme.



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Wood has a texture created by nature, which means your interiors will always reflect its inherent charm.

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This cheery kitchen has all the right ingredients blended together to make this important workspace a happy one. White, wood, botanicals and lively blue — a quartet of perfection.


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The common theme of simplicity is a key ingredient in wood and white rooms. This component makes it easy to achieve a well-designed look with the pared-down palette.

A peaceful haven of simplicity in an otherwise chaotic world can be achieved with the simple marriage of white and wood. When it comes to creating inspiring and livable rooms, try some of these white and wood ideas for yourself !


The interplay of Benjamin Moore's Simply White and French Press with the natural beauty of wood creates a comforting place for morning coffee.






hen you hear the word “barndominium” or the nickname “barndo,” you can’t help but be intrigued. Although the word and its concept are not commonplace, it has begun to gain popular traction recently in home construction. The “barndominium,” a play on “barn” and “condominium,” are steel building structures commonly erected for agricultural, industrial or commercial applications.

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Years ago, these structures began as a practical rural living solution for animal caretakers on farms and ranches. The lofted living space above the working barn became a valued space that allowed the caretakers to stay near their animals. Over the years, this living idea has expanded to include homes designed for residential use. Barn-like features on the exterior of barndominiums are rich in character and set themselves apart from other traditional styles.

Barndominium Defined Typically a metal structure, the barndo can be an interior layout that is as simple or as intricate as the homeowner desires. The exterior metal shell used in its construction goes up quickly and is cost effective. A portion of the square footage is dedicated to the living space, while the remaining share may be used for oversized garages, workshops, exercise areas or other versatile rooms. Inspired Home asked Lisa Bocklage, Morton Buildings INSPIREDHOMEMAGAZINE.COM

From a single-family home with room to grow, to a cabin that provides a low-maintenance getaway for you and your family, Morton Building's post-frame homes can meet both your specific needs and style. (Photo courtesy of Morton Buildings, Inc.)

Morton's post-frame clear-span construction eliminates the need for interior load-bearing walls for single-story structures, giving you the freedom to create a floor plan layout that best fits your lifestyle. (Photo courtesy of Morton Buildings, Inc.)



A wall of energy-efficient windows and the richness and warmth of natural wood create the perfect backdrop for incorporating this open-concept design for entertaining.

Let the sunshine in! Off the patio, the over-sized French doors coupled with an abundance of windows beckon the outdoors into this four-season living area.

marketing manager and Sean Cain, vice president and general manager of Morton Buildings for their expertise on reasons for considering a barndominium: Virtually maintenance-free exteriors with steel siding and roof options include siding options similar to traditional construction. 26 | MARCH/APRIL 2021

Open-concept living afforded to the homeowner by the barndominium lifestyle elevates the kitchen to the heart and functional center of the home.

New Morton Buildings' steel paint colors, weathered gray and woodgrain cedar, are perfect for those who desire a maintenancefree wood-grain, board-and-batten look as an alternative to wood siding. Clear-span construction, which has no interior load-bearing walls for a single-story structure,

allows greater flexibility in the interior design with options for large open rooms within the home. Improved energy efficiency. Sean Cain, vice president and general manager of Morton Buildings, explains, “Typical stud walls of a stick-built construction are 16 or 24 inches apart, INSPIREDHOMEMAGAZINE.COM

An impressive and welcoming site meets any guests arriving at this barndominium. The lighted walk-around veranda adds charm and distinction.

Manage your shades with precise control from your pebble remote or your smart devices. Voice activate when integrated with smart-home systems like Amazon, Alexa or Siri. Energy efficiency through preset schedules that control solar heat gain or loss. Two battery options or hard wire options for new construction. Carry out commands from in or around your home.

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SHOWROOM 4631 40th Ave S, Fargo Monday - Sunday by appointment only 701.893.5134 Locally Owned by Karen since 2008.

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Karen Anderson, Designer, Owner Rosecreek Design


Typically a metal structure, the “barndo” can be an interior layout that is as simple or as intricate as the homeowner desires.

Morton homeowners not only comment on the beauty and flexibility of their homes, they also are impressed with the energy efficiency of a Morton home. (Photo courtesy of Morton Buildings, Inc.)

Your Morton barndominium can include a spacious interior for entertaining. (Photo courtesy of Morton Buildings, Inc.)

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TOP: Corner wrap-around energy-efficient windows create an impressive view at night and offer exceptional outdoor viewing by day of the lake. The connected garage behind allows for workshop and vehicles. MIDDLE RIGHT: Two-story living, and the comforting look of board-and-batten style siding, gives this impressive home a Nordic flavor. Verandas to gather on, a multi-level fireplace and mature trees add breathtaking beauty. BOTTOM RIGHT: At the lake, over-sized decking right off this barndominium creates a perfect gathering place around the cozy fire. Flexibility is the key word in the barndo lifestyle — perfect for the outdoor experience.

BOTTOM LEFT: Exteriors help define each homeowner's design tastes and lifestyle requirements. Here a contemporary exterior includes solar panels, which have been added to source energy directly from the sun.



Dormers and porches extend the character and functionality of your barndominium. Porches can provide additional shelter and can also be a great place to sit back, relax and entertain. (Photo courtesy of Morton Buildings, Inc.) Similar to exterior options, interior design options are endless to customize your barndominium to match your style. (Photo courtesy of Morton Buildings, Inc.)

which results in more breaks in the insulation than our 7-foot, 6-inch columns. Our walls also are deeper for thicker insulation and are designed to promote optimal ventilation for added energy efficiency.” Superior strength is achieved as a post-frame building by transferring load through building columns, allowing it to perform exceptionally well in extreme weather. An efficient, flexible construction process, Morton's own building crews construct the insulated, lockable shell, providing flexibility for homeowners to finish out their own interiors. Cain adds, “Many customers like to act as their own general contractor for interior finishing, saving up to 20 percent of the total cost.” From a modern design to rustic charm, the large clear span allows you to maximize the space, function and aesthetic of your home. (Photo courtesy of Morton Buildings, Inc.)

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Just as the interior is adaptable in its design possibilities, the same holds true

Building Value

for the exterior.

Bring on the Barn — More Advantages Versatility Barndos allow individualized designs with their true open-concept floor plan and barnlike interiors. Roll-up doors and large windows encourage popular indoor-outdoor lifestyles — a perfect scenario for boat storage and lakeside gear. Foam insulation, plumbing, and energy-efficient windows and doors provide the comforts of home we all desire.

From cabins, single and multi-family homes, and lodges, to farm and equine buildings with living quarters, Morton Buildings welcomes you home. 1500 29th Avenue South Moorhead, MN 218.233.1500 | mortonbuildings.com Contact: Eric Erickson

Easy to Construct Barndominiums are easy to erect, and the build time is timely and efficient. Seek the qualified help of a contractor to help you, but, for DIYers, it is possible to do it yourself. Additional Space Can Be Added Walls can be added to section off any space needed. The spaciousness of design, high ceilings and uninterrupted flow of light and air are charming added-aesthetic benefits. Durability, Less Maintenance Barndos possess an amazing strength to weight ratio. Cain states that Morton structure is a post-frame building, providing superior strength by transferring load through building columns, allowing it to perform exceptionally well in extreme weather. Be Creative Just as the interior is adaptable in its design possibilities, the same holds true for the exterior. Adding curb appeal by choosing a homey exterior color, stone or brick, lots of windows, porches, shutters and lighting — all create the welcoming warmth we all want in a home. Explore your options, enlist a trusted architect or contractor for their expertise or follow your DYI instincts, but, above all, today’s barndo quality is worth a serious look. INSPIREDHOMEMAGAZINE.COM

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Wine Wisdom Chelsey Malstrom, Seven Sisters Spirits, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

Two Mountains Syrah What a delicious treat! I admit, I don’t always reach for Syrah, but this wine changed that for me. Fresh, balanced and fruit forward. It’s just the right amount of toasty with jammy blackberry and plum notes. It’s a great wine as we transition into fall. I recently enjoyed it with a variety of hard and soft cheeses, dried fruit and great friends! Saldo Zinfandel Part of the Prisoner wine company, this Zin does not disappoint! Full of all things falllicorice and baking spices with rich, full, dark cherry notes. Great with something low and slow in the crock pot after a long day.

Cheers! Chelsey Malstrom

Landscape perfection

Landscape Design Installation Residential Commercial

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Our gardens are indeed our sanctuaries — places to find peace in our chaotic world. Before the beauty, most of us realize early spring is a time to take inventory, roll up our sleeves and ready our gardens for the season.

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Pictured is a garden nook that houses the essentials needed for soil preparation and planting. This local homeowner’s creativity and an old discarded desk is a perfect example.



s Midwesterners, we are growing a bit weary of the winter by this time — enough with the snow and freezing temperatures. We cannot wait to enjoy the longer spring days and watch in delight as our gardens come alive. To ensure a long-term healthy and beautiful landscape, there are important clean-up maintenance steps to accomplish in early spring. Start planning for the warm season as early as you can — think about what you want your 2021 landscape to look like, decide what new perennials, annuals and edibles you want to plant in your garden and add these essential tasks to your spring to-do list: Treat winter damage Cold winter winds can dry and damage our skin, and so it is with plantings. The harshness of winter may damage trees, shrubs and other perennial plants. Cycles of freezing and thawing and salt buildup are also damaging. After the snow and ice melt, take time to assess your landscape for these signs of damage:


Rustic beauty and charm are reflected in this local garden. A discarded antique cooler plays the perfect role of planter for these eye-catching geraniums.


In this local garden, the creative interplay of materials and interesting textures make this vegetable garden and co-existing marigolds shine.

A weathered, entwined-rope basket houses terra cotta planters to create a beautiful mix of annuals surrounded by perennials.

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In this local garden, a refreshing sign of spring greets everyone that passes by — a single white peony bush.


The most important part of preparing garden beds for spring is getting the soil ready for planting. • Leaf scorch and winter burn • Discoloration of new growth • Bent or broken branches • Branch dieback • Salt buildup/dehydrated roots Deep watering will rehydrate your plants and wash away damaging salts, giving them much needed love. Tidying and pruning of unsightly branches and removing a dead tree or shrub altogether might be in order. Take note of plants affected by the harshness of winter, making sure to prepare them more adequately next year with mulch or wrapping. Rejuvenate the lawn Your lawn is actually one of the most valued parts of your landscape. Achieving a lush, verdant-green lawn starts with pampering your grass early on. Here are some tips for after the snow melts:

A sure sign that spring has finally arrived at your garden — the bloom of shade plants like bleeding hearts and Jacob's ladder.

Early spring garden preparation may seem tedious at times. Preparing a space of co-mingled annuals and perennials will fill an area with lush beauty.

naturally fresh Hildebrant Farm

“For 37 years, the Hildebrant family farm has proudly served the FM area with fresh, naturally grown fruits, vegetable and flowers.” 4th Street East & Main, West Fargo, ND Trina Hildebrant Kalm, third generation farmer 701.281.1539 | hildebrantfarm.com



Achieve Beautiful Gardens

“How lovely the silence of growing things.” Dr. Evan Dicken

with tips from Master Gardener, Tony Randall

Landscape Design

A miniature iris is a rich pop of deep color. Create a border for beautiful interest in the foreground of your spring iris bed.

A delightful addition to any garden is the bearded iris in bold bronze and white — a show-stopper in a sea of verdant green.

• Remove debris from the winter and rake up leaves leftover from the fall.

readying your garden for planting. Clear out old plant material, mulch, weeds and other debris — they are unattractive and a liability to your new plants. Freshen up perennial plants with a light trim and fresh mulch. The most important part of preparing garden beds for spring is getting the soil ready for planting. The weight of winter’s snow and ice tends to compact the soil, so begin by loosening up the ground and replenish garden beds with soil where needed. Finally, enrich the soil with compost and other soil additives, which improve soil texture, drainage, moisture retention and nutrient content. Now is a perfect time to create a plan for your annual plant displays and readying your gardens for planting. Determine the mulch or compost application needs for all your plant beds. Following these tips early on will provide an aesthetically pleasing, nutrient-filled landscape creating lasting summer and fall beauty. Need help? Spring prep may be overwhelming at times. Seek out trusted lawn care and garden plant bed professionals in our area. You’ll enjoy the season admiring your healthy lawn, bountiful flowers and vigorous vegetables.

• De-thatch your lawn by raking it


Installation of Trees, Shrubs and Perennials

• Aerate by using a lawn aeration tool.

Rock and Mulch | Sod

• Overseed any bare or thin patches of grass.

Maintenance Plant Care & Health Consulting Hardscape

FREE ESTIMATES Call Tony 701.476.0491 West Fargo, ND See our work at gardenprofm.com tony@gardenprofm.com

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• Water and fertilize your lawn. • Mow your lawn only when it has reached 2 inches in height. Cut no more than one-third of the height off at a time. Start seeds indoors (if so inclined) Growing season is still a few months away so it’s a great time to begin planning what you want to grow this year. Many seeds for annual flowers and edibles can be started indoors in early spring, giving them a growing season head start. Most seeds should start about 6-8 weeks before the last predicted frost date, which is about the third week of May. If starting seeds by March, decide what you want to grow and simply follow seed packet instructions regarding germination time. Prepare garden beds for planting While your seeds are tucked away safely in their nutrient-rich beds, you may begin


Creating beauty with a lasting heritage.

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Give us a call to speak with one of our talented designers for your project — big or small! Whether you’re planning a new home or a remodeling project, we are here to help!

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Mountain design makes a home in lake country

42 | MARCH/APRIL 2021




mong his many architectural talents, Tony Stoll understands mountain lodge design. After starting his architectural career in Breckenridge, Colorado, he and his wife moved to Perham, Minnesota, their hometown, where his design knowledge translated smoothly into the numerous lake homes he’s designed since. Both types of architecture — mountain and lake home — demand the design leaves nothing on the table when it comes to providing spectacular views. Whether in the mountains or on a lake, it’s the beauty around a property that is equally as important as the home that will be built on it. Nestled in Minnesota lake country, Stoll designed a home for a property that naturally sits higher up in elevation over the lake. And while the young, active family building the home needed room to stretch and grow, they knew they didn’t want a home with an enormous footprint that took up the entire lot. Taking lifestyle, design interests and the property itself into consideration, Stoll designed a lake home that emulated much of what he knew to work in mountain lodges. By stacking the layout vertically, Stoll’s breathtaking three-level design compliments the environment surrounding the home. “The elevated site gave the family a great opportunity to take advantage of expansive views,” Stoll says. “We maximized the window wall in the great room and created higher ceilings throughout the main level. We worked with the natural grades on site so the house would feel more directly connected to the property.” Stoll says he received great direction and feedback from the owners throughout the design process. Because of the family’s many outdoor interests and desire for a functional outdoor living space, Stoll created a walkout living space off the lower level. Architect Tony Stoll took advantage of the natural elevation of the property, situated at the south end of the lake, to provide an expansive view of the lake from the great room.



The multi-gabled exterior design is stunning from every side. The gable walls provide natural frames for the calming earthy green siding and warm-toned wooden accents and trim by Knoke Seamless Siding and Gutters in Fargo. The massive stone chimney can’t help but be noticed on the home’s exterior and is even more grand when viewed from the interior. Exposed wooden beams within the gables make an architectural statement about a building’s function. But despite the rustic, lodge-like appeal, there can be no hiding the modern comforts promised by the grand exterior. 44 | MARCH/APRIL 2021


“The elevated site gave the family a great opportunity to take advantage of expansive views.” Tony Stoll, AIA, principal architect, bhh Partners

Each stone in this fireplace designed by interior designer Brandi Youngmark was hand selected and expertly placed to fit by St. Joseph’s Masonry. While the fireplace is the focal point of the home, Youngmark ensured that the warmth and texture of natural materials surround the family, right up to the beautiful reclaimed wood ceiling from Dakota Timber. This mountain-style home has elements both rustic and modern. Keeping the footprint limited, Stoll stacked the design in three levels, which created views from many more interior spaces.



Youngmark coordinated with experts in every field of interior design to create this grand, rustic-feeling kitchen. The variability of texture and color in nature takes the spotlight with warm-toned cabinets that show plenty of grain, and granite and stone with distinctly different characteristics.

"Selecting granite is like choosing a piece of art,” says interior designer Brandi Youngmark. “It has to speak to the individual, reflect their personal style, as it is truly a one-of-a-kind piece.”

46 | MARCH/APRIL 2021


Modern design can enhance even a deliberately rustic space. Artistic bare-bulb pendants illuminate the large, substantial island fitted with a second sink for easy prep and cleanup.

Stoll’s vision for this home in terms of both aesthetics and layout were complimented well by the work of interior designer Brandi Youngmark. “I love that the cabin was designed to fit within its elements,” says Youngmark, who was instrumental in selecting and obtaining interior materials and finishes. Youngmark went to locally owned and operated Dakota Timber and Grain Designs, both of Fargo, who reliably source quality repurposed wood. The ceiling, which is entirely reclaimed wood, along with the wooden beams and columns, all came from Dakota Timber. The INSPIREDHOMEMAGAZINE.COM

barn doors, metal accents, lake sign and reclaimed wood kitchen hood were created by Grain Designs. Rustic wood flooring and tile elements throughout by Carpet World of Fargo continue the cozy north woods appeal. The stair railing detail is especially notable to Youngmark. “We wanted to keep the entrance as open as possible but didn’t want a typical wood spindle,” she says. The homeowners trusted Youngmark’s vision and the execution was seamless. In the kitchen, the choice of granite for the countertops was fitting to Youngmark in keeping with hand-picked finishes that

exude personality. “Selecting granite is like choosing a piece of art,” Youngmark says. “It has to speak to the individuals and reflect their personal style as it is truly a one-of-akind piece.” The granite countertops lay atop beautifully stained wood cabinets. Both the granite and cabinetry are from SWI Cabinetry in Osage, Minnesota. The 14-foot high fireplace in the great room is the center of attention year-round. “We knew this was going to be the focal point of the home,” Youngmark says. “The homeowners knew the type of stone they wanted, but it took a few renditions to achieve the perfect INSPIRED HOME | 47

The shower floor has the smooth texture of river stone, offset by the oversized tiles on the walls and ceiling, along with SWI Interiors’ luxuriously designed custom vanity.

48 | MARCH/APRIL 2021

design.” St. Joseph’s Masonry constructed the fireplace, hand-selecting each stone to ensure perfection in the overall result. The Minnesota climate demands modern four-season lake homes have it all — ease of lake access and indoor/outdoor living in summer, with a sturdy coziness with ample sunlight to get us through long winters. “There is an overwhelmingly comfortable feeling that you get when you enter their home that makes you want to take your shoes off and cozy up to the fireplace,” Stoll says. Youngmark agrees. “I love that the cabin was designed to fit within its elements,” she says. “The natural materials throughout the exterior and interior brought so much texture and a warmth to each space — just as a wooded cabin should feel.” INSPIREDHOMEMAGAZINE.COM

Whether in the mountains or on a lake, it’s the beauty around a property that is equally as important as the home that will be built on it.

“With my background in mountain architecture, I really enjoy the rustic, mountain style and how it still works with our beautiful Minnesota lake country,” says architect Tony Stoll of his multi-gabled design using exposed beams and natural-toned exterior finishes. Grain Design designed and built barn doors to separate the en suite bathroom from the main bedroom. The cozy room provides a remarkable tree-top view of the lake, one of the best in the house. The north face of the home is a virtual wall of windows, creating spectacular views and bringing in warmth and sunlight, which is especially precious during Minnesota winters.


DESIGN/BUILD Tony Stoll, bhh Partners, Perham, MN EXTERIORS Knoke: Seamless Siding and Gutters | St. Joseph's Masonry: Stoneworks Team Effort by Michael Lloyd Landscape Development: Landscape Architect, Designer | Valley Landscaping: Kentucky Blue Grass Sod, Plantings, Continuous Concrete Curb Edging, Decorative Landscaping Rock and Mink Mulch | Hough Inc: Excavating, Retaining Walls | Aqua Lawn of Fargo: Sprinkler System

Tony Stoll, AIA principal architect, bhh Partners Planners/Architects

Brandi Youngmark Brandi Youngmark Interior Design Fargo, ND


INTERIORS Dakota Timber: Beams, Railing, Mantel, and Reclaimed Wood Grain Designs: Barn Doors, Metal Accents, Pickerel Lake Sign and Reclaimed Kitchen Hood Wood | SWI Interiors: All Cabinetry | Carpet World: Flooring Products | Brandi Youngmark Interior Design: Interior Design


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Pictured here is the stunning likeness of my rescue cat, Wellington James Alexander Ragsdale III.

McCaul surrounds herself with life. The complexities of a succulent captured here, creates a perfect still life subject.

The personality of this Pitt Bull is captured perfectly in its eyes.

An everyday apple, a polished thing of beauty.

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Occasionally McCaul will favor studying simple subjects such as the artichoke pictured above, over more colorful and complex objects.

Juicy freshness painted right into this grapefruit.

Play of light and shadow bring this avocado to life.


Blooming Artistry

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s the last of the icicles melt and drip to the softening earth below, hints of renewed life push through the permafrost. It’s easy to take for granted the sight of new life at work, such as the perseverance of tiny green stems and buds as they push their way to the sunlight. Some of the most beautiful things on this Earth, quite literally, are on earth. To appreciate Mother Nature, sometimes we need to look through a different lens. Laura McCaul, a Fargo native who has made her home in Oakland, California, has discovered in adulthood how to do just that. She has also learned that being an artist (which she is very hesitant to call herself) is not always an innate ability gifted to someone at birth. With a little work, an eager mind and patience, the preschool teacher has found her way with easel and brush and has been painting the world around her. “I thought for a long time that you either have visual art skills or you don't — but it's not true! There is a lot to learn,” the 30-something says. “I was amazed how taking a class or two led me to a level of competency I never thought possible.” I should probably explain that I have known this lovely lady for well over two decades. We both grew up in North Fargo and attended Fargo North High School. Both of us were obsessed with writing and worked together on endless English assignments; eventually we fell in love with writing for our high school paper, The Scroll. But I digress … McCaul knew she wanted a career in something that involved her passion. After moving to the West Coast,


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It’s easy to take for granted the sight of new life at work, and the perseverance of tiny green stems and buds push their way to the sunlight.

Fargo Native, Laura McCaul, sits among the succulents and sunshine on the porch in her studio.

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a place she described as mystical because of the weather, landscape and people, she found that passion in teaching children. She provides for them the foundation of what is important: how to be kind and to take care of the resources given to us. Sunshine (one of those precious resources) is plentiful in California so it is no wonder that some of McCaul’s favorite painting subjects are plant life. “As an adult, I gained a new interest in plants and gardening, which led to taking a botanical illustration class at Merritt Community College in Oakland,” she explains. “Since then, I’ve enjoyed painting and drawing plants and flowers.” The images she captures are fluid and intricate and seem to come alive on the canvas. The term “still life” doesn’t seem to appropriately describe her work because, in fact, it is rather the opposite. Succulents, citrus fruits and artichokes (ostensibly simple subjects) dance to life on her paintings. Light and airy, McCaul uses a soft hand to create realistic detail in each of the subjects she studies. She finds her inspiration in foliage and fauna by simply opening her eyes to the beauty often evaded and taken for granted by our busy eyes — the morning dew on a leaf, the shine of a red-skinned apple or the chameleon-like colors of a fleshy, waxy house plant. I encourage everyone to view the world as Laura does — through the eye of an artist, whether you believe yourself to be one or not. The seasons do not change overnight. It’s slow, gradual and quiet. And if we don’t pay attention, we may miss it. INSPIREDHOMEMAGAZINE.COM

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A quest for health ... the saga continues. BY BERNIE ERICKSON

Thirty days hath September, April, June and November. All the rest have 31, Except January, which has 80.


lthough this winter wasn’t so bad, it still got dark at 4 p.m. and there were days on end when the sun never broke through the clouds. But there weren’t days on end when the temperature never got above zero. And though it’s true I haven’t shoveled a flake of snow in nearly 20 years, you-know-who didn’t shovel any this January either. Well, maybe once. There was a day that was so nice I actually considered taking my bicycle for a ride. But then I envisioned a TV news crew showing up when I skidded on the ice, wiped out and broke a hip. Nothing much other than weather happens here in January. I decided best not to risk it. My self-expectations tend to relax a little in the winter months. I traded high fashion for high warmth years ago. A nice toasty car on cold winter mornings is infinitely more appealing than sensible fuel consumption. “Hat hair” is a small price to pay for frostbite-free ears. 56 | MARCH/APRIL 2021


And a couple extra pounds acquired over the holiday season is just a little extra insulation against the cold weather. You may remember my adventure in the last issue, when I checked out GoGoGrapefruit, a new story in the mall. Selling up-to-the-minute activewear and fitness equipment, they had this year’s must-have: the MagicMirror home fitness trainer, which, it turns out, costs as much as a decent used car. Hanging on the wall, it looks just like a full-length mirror. But when you turn it on, it comes alive. Instantly a remarkably handsome fitness/life coach appears and begins offering “suggestions” on increasing your fitness level, which would increase your wellness level, which would increase your sense of well-being, which may help you drop a couple pounds in the process. I’ve long believed the most exercise generated by home fitness equipment is hauling it into the house and down the stairs to the family room. Then, a few months later, up the stairs to the master bedroom. Then, in the spring, down the stairs to the main floor sunporch, then finally out the door to your best friend Dahlia’s house or to the resale shop to never to make its way home again. That fate would not be the case here. First of all, MagicMirror is anchored to studs and mounted on the wall. Then it is connected to the internet via wi-fi, with a wi-fi booster I had to buy to get a clear, consistent signal all the way up in the master bedroom. Installing MagicMirror took more technical expertise than when I installed a smart thermostat in our home, chilling our backyard neighbor’s house down to 55 degrees on a hot August day. I’d made the first of 60 convenient monthly payments before I even had MagicMirror set up, and convenient payment monthly No. 2 was coming due February first — and I still hadn’t used it. I needed to get in shape so I’d be around to make the remaining 58 convenient monthly payments. I powered up MagicMirror and the handsome avatar appeared. Only this time he wasn’t in the action-packed demonstration mode like he was at GoGoGrapefruit. He just kind of stood there and stared at me. Clearly, it was time to find the instruction manual. Turns out there are 72 steps to get MagicMirror up and running. Selecting, enrolling, attending and graduating from INSPIREDHOMEMAGAZINE.COM

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I’ve long believed the most exercise generated by home fitness equipment is hauling it into the house and down the stairs to the family room.

58 | MARCH/APRIL 2021

college took fewer steps. But I’m nothing if not determined. First of all, he required a name. I chose Darryl. He looked like a Darryl and I don’t know any Darryl in real life. Then I had to choose his workout wear and his afterworkout wear, and his workout shoes and his after-workout shoes. And then his favorite energy drink and his favorite hydration drink. And his workout snack and his after-workout snack. Seems like Darryl had a ridiculously detailed and complicated routine just to get ready for working out before he actually worked out. I knew we’d be best friends. Finally, we set up the actual workout routine, although we were now calling it a “wellness plan” rather than a workout routine. Wellness sounds better anyway. I hadn’t purchased the workout bench or the cable/pulley system to go with MagicMirror. Exercise equipment the price of a used car didn’t really fit into our 2021 financial plan. Added accessories were an added upcharge that rivaled the cost of a highquality bicycle, which I already owned. After five years, it was still in pristine condition and not because I take good care of it. But that’s another story. We decided to begin with an entrylevel wellness plan. I liked that Darryl and I were already a “we” after our workout-wear shopping, shoe shopping and nutrition shopping. This was blossoming into a great friendship. We agreed to start by warming up with some jumping jacks. A dozen or so. And then we enjoyed a refreshing vitamin water. Then we did a dozen sit-ups, although they’re called “crunches” now, followed by a delicious 78-grain energy bar. Then on to 12 pushups to cool down. After about two weeks, I realized our wellness plan was strangely similar to the do-it-yourself exercise routine from years ago that everyone could have done all along if it really worked. Except after two weeks, this one was starting to work. I’m not sure if my weight changed, but my posture was definitely better as was my overall outlook. Plus, including a regular appointment into my new normal schedule was a welcome addition. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one whose new best friend is an avatar. INSPIREDHOMEMAGAZINE.COM


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s the temperatures rise, our thoughts naturally turn to the outdoor living experience. Blooming flowers and the smell of backyard barbecues lure us to outward spaces with friends and family. Here are some considerations to ponder for a space that will bring you joy, relaxation and refuge.

Lake Melissa plays host to this paradise. The homeowners wanted to redesign their unusable space with an area to sunbath and shade to dine in. We accomplished this by covering part of the deck in a Great Plains Pergola and letting the other section soak up the sun, keeping the large picture windows free from shade and obstruction. Our custom-fabricated cable railing frames the view and requires zero maintenance. We outfitted the underside of the deck with a water diversion system creating a doubled outdoor living space and protection from the elements.

Josh Smook, project designer, Deckmasters

60 | MARCH/APRIL 2021


Tucked away in North Fargo is a little slice of heaven where the homeowners wanted to spend time outdoors. We created a few separate spaces that spanned the entire back side of the home by incorporating a spa off the master bedroom, space for cushioned chairs, traffic flow in and out, and benches for spa towels and snacks. The main deck features a natural gas firepit, chaise lounges to soak up the sun, planters and benches. The benches keep the view unobstructed when looking at the wooded area. Pulling the project together is a lower patio with room for seating and a grill. Putting the grill below keeps it out of sight and out of the deck traffic flow.

Josh Smook, project designer, Deckmasters

Purpose: Think about how the outdoor space will be used and plan accordingly. Do you host dinner parties or BBQs? Are you looking for a quiet space to relax and unwind? Does your space need to be child or pet friendly? How many guests do you typically entertain?

Layout: When designing an outdoor living area, use the same thoughtfulness as if designing a floor plan for a new home. Each outdoor area should have a functional connection to the inside of the house, like placing the outdoor dining area near the kitchen.

Comfort: Provide shade for warm afternoons or early-evening sun. Umbrellas, pergolas, covered patios or trees can take the edge off a hot summer day and provide shelter from a passing summer shower.

Surroundings: Make the most of the views your property has to offer — create a small sitting area to enjoy a cup of coffee to watch the sunrise or a table and chairs for hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at sunset. Use hedges or screens to create privacy. How will the area fit into the environment?

Plant Selection: Even an avid gardener needs a place to relax. Choose easy-care, low-maintenance greenery around your outdoor living space. Plants that attract bees and other pollinators are a good thing in your garden — you may not want them in your dining area.

It’s not often that we get a home that features a roof overhang and a concrete patio below. This was a fantastic project to work on. We started a square deck, keeping the deck simple to maximize the space and ease traffic flow. The screened room was created after the deck was completed. It features an aluminum railing and frame system for a screened-in room: a full extension of the house. Pesky mosquitoes are gone, yet it maintains the light, open-air feel.

Josh Smook, project designer, Deckmasters

Fire: Extend outdoor entertaining for the cool season by creating a fire pit or fireplace area with comfortable seating. Incorporate storage areas for blankets for those beautiful fall evenings. Lighting: Achieve a true extension of your home by incorporating lighting. Illuminate outdoor cooking areas to allow meal prep outside. Create visual interest by up-lighting trees and add safety with decorative lighting for steps and pathways. Plan, create and execute your ideal outdoor living space with these decking ideas from Deckmasters Project Designer Josh Smook..

If decks could talk, this one has plenty to say! We had a lot going on with this project, multiple levels, balconies and a homeowner with the ability to grow beautiful greenery. With the deck close to the ground, we had flexibility in design and shape because we hid all the beam and post work used to support the deck.

Josh Smook, project designer, Deckmasters



c cuisine



Nothing says spring like a delectable meal of lamb. Presented here is a succulent cut of lamb chops, a perfect medium rare.

Bring on the very essential seasoning of herbs! Here you see the “Best End of Lamb,” ready to be seasoned and off to the grill.


e have already broken the spell of 2020, so let us cement it with a bold spring luncheon with friends that takes you out of your comfort zone. You will be a star and feel in control of your life again. Spring in so many countries, including ours, just calls out for the sacred and succulent lamb. So, it should be revered and treated accordingly. I say we grill a few racks and season them in different ways from three different countries. I have a penchant for lamb having grown up in Britain and, later in life, running our country inn in Oxfordshire. It was a lovely place with lush green rolling hills, dotted with small villages, plenty of church steeples, and, yes — white woolly sheep. We had a regular at the inn who was called “The Greek” — heaven knows why as he was about as Greek I am. We never found out his real name, but it did not matter as he was just “The Greek.” He was a dapp er man , a real Engli sh countr y gentleman, right down to his green wellies


Civilization is the lamb’s skin in which barbarism masquerades. Thomas Aldrich

and wool waistcoat under a tweed jacket. Did I mention “The Greek” was a sheep farmer? He would stop by in the morning for a coffee and chat by the fireplace, especially in lambing season when chances were that he had been up all night, tending to the ewes having a hard time birthing. In a sense, he was a sheep midwife. Between that and scaring off a hungry fox once or twice, he took the romance out of raising sheep. Never mind “The Greek,” take a drive through the dales and you might see a sheep farmer with his dogs and stout shaft herding the sheep. The romance is still there. But, let us get back to that spring

luncheon. In my house, lamb is always in season, but spring lamb is just that much sweeter and more tender, like the weather. A perfectly roasted leg of boneless lamb, a lovely pink medium rare with a stuffing of ramps and foraged mushrooms, is hard to beat. But to capture the flavors of different regions, we will go with the more prized rack, which is easily carved into individual chops for service. Interestingly, the largest consumer per capita of lamb is Mongolia by miles, with New Zealand coming in at fourth following Iceland and Australia being seventh. I found that surprising as most of us think of New Zealand and Australia when lamb is mentioned. And who would ever put lamb and Iceland together in the same sentence? As we are being bold, let me share a few recipes with you for the best end of lamb — the rack, which yields seven to 10 bones easily cut into individual chops after it is cooked and rested. It seems appropriate to start in Mongolia. INSPIRED HOME | 63

Moroccan Spiced Rack Of Lamb The beginning journey — a fragrant herbaceous mixture of cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil mixed in perfect harmony. This is the beginning of a perfect meal.


racks of lamb


cup cilantro, chopped



cup parsley, chopped


cup fresh lemon juice


garlic cloves, minced


Tbsp. olive oil


Spreading the heady spice rub of paprika, cumin, coriander, pepper, cinnamon and cayenne pepper atop the lamb is a dream come true. Spices will mingle and off to the grill. You're going to love this!

Mix together and reserve. SPICE RUB: 1

Tbsp. paprika


Tbsp. kosher salt


tsp. ground cumin


tsp. ground coriander


tsp. freshly ground black pepper


tsp. ground cinnamon


tsp. cayenne pepper

Mix together and rub all over two racks of lamb. METHOD: Prepare a medium-hot fire on the grill. Grill racks fat side down until browned. Remove from heat and apply a layer of Dijon mustard over the fat side of the lamb. Gently but firmly press the herb mixture onto the meaty side of the lamb. Return lamb to grill and put the cover on the grill and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes before carving into chops.

64 | MARCH/APRIL 2021

Prepare a medium-hot fire on the grill. Grill the seasoned racks fat side down, until they are brown. Now you are one step closer to perfection.

Remove browned lamb rack from heat and apply Dijon mustard over the fat side of the lamb. Gently but firmly press the herb mixture onto the meat.

Return the racks to the grill, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.The only thing left to do? Sit down and enjoy a meal with your guests!


Mongolian Rack of Lamb



racks of lamb


cloves of garlic, minced


Tbsp. chopped ginger


green onions, chopped


tsp. black pepper


Tbsp. kosher salt


Tbsp. brown sugar


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METHOD: Mix all the ingredients together. Rub most of the marinade all over the racks, wrap individually in film wrap and marinade overnight. Reserve some marinade for the glaze. Sear racks in hot skillet to seal the meat. Turn the racks over and roast in a 450-degree oven for 10-12 minutes to 120 degrees for rare or 15-25 minutes to 140 degrees for medium rare. Take the leftover marinade and add 4 Tbsp. honey. Brush onto racks and broil for a minute or two to glaze. Let racks rest 10 minutes before cutting into chops. INSPIREDHOMEMAGAZINE.COM

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Lebanese Rack Of Lamb INGREDIENTS:


2 racks of lamb

Prepare a hot fire on the grill.


Mix together all items in the spice mix and rub over all the racks, wrap in film and marinate over night.


Tbsp. harissa paste (available at Middle Eastern markets)


Tbsp. honey


tsp. orange zest and juice of the orange


tsp. mint, chopped


Tbsp. olive oil


Tbsp. kosher salt


Tbsp. coarse black pepper

Grill the racks fat side down; when nicely browned turn and move them away from the hot side of the grill and cook 15-20 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into chops. Spread quinoa on a serving platter and arrange chops on top. Sprinkle with feta cheese and mint, and squeeze lemon all over the chops. Arrange oranges slices around chops.


Shallows Where a Lamb Could Wade and Depths Where an Elephant Could Drown Matthew Henry


cup cooked white quinoa seasoned with salt and pepper


cup mint, chopped


oranges, peeled and thinly sliced.


cup crumbled feta cheese



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Almond Cake


68 | MARCH/APRIL 2021



or years, I remember seeing a 3- by 5-inch recipe card bordered with rosmål taped inside my mom’s kitchen cupboard — the one where she kept her holiday china and sometimes a stashed bar of chocolate. The recipe was for Scandinavian Almond Cake. I didn’t realize then how that cake would play such a big role in my adult life so many years later. I started making this classic Scandinavian cake after moving to New York State in 2013 to bring a little North Dakota to Upstate New York. I brought it to work, dinner parties, picnics and holiday parties. I brought it everywhere. Most, if not all, Dakotans and Minnesotans would recognize this cake by its traditional shape, but in New York is was novel dessert. I started making it for our local farmer’s market and it was always a best seller behind the-hard-to-beat Swedish Kringle. I described Scandinavian Almond Cake to my customers as being similar to a pound cake. It is sponge-like, dense with flavor, yet light in texture, and it is so much quicker and easier to make than a pound cake. Best of all, this cake is foolproof. It will be the most flavorful, moist and impressive cake — and you can make in three minutes. Really! That’s all it takes! It’s a one-bowl, dump-inall-the-ingredients, stir-and-bake cake. It is baked in a traditional rectangular pan with ridges, which makes for a pretty cake, but also perfect for slicing. Besides being a great cake to bring to a gathering, the pan itself makes a great gift! It’s quite affordable and comes with a rosmål tray in addition to the pan and recipe. It can be found online or at any specialty Scandinavian store, like Fargo’s own Stabo. I gift them to my non-Midwest friends! In Norway, this cake is served at Christmas time and on Constitution Day, Syttende Mai. But the truth is, this cake is wonderful yearround. It makes a great summer cake garnished with cream and fresh berries and a perfect autumn dessert with a dusting of powdered sugar. I served one at my baby shower topped with toasted almonds. Personally, I prefer this cake without any bells or whistles, but the ways to dress it up are endless. This flavorful and elegant Scandinavian cake is a favorite of mine. Its simplicity and flavor will delight your guests. Traditionally baked in an elongated loaf pan, 9-inch pans also work well.


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I didn’t realize then how that cake would play such a big role in my adult life so many years later. There are no tricks or secrets or special tips in making this cake. Simply follow the directions and, within 40 minutes, you’ll have the most tempting cake. Despite making this cake many times over the years, I, too, have my own recipe card taped to my cupboard just as my mom did. I can recite the recipe forwards and backwards and upside down and underwater and with my eyes closed; but there is something comforting about having it right there on the kitchen cupboard as it’s always been. The traditional loaf pan makes for perfect slicing and will serve 18. I enjoy gifting the baking pan with a recipe enclosed to my New York friends.

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70 | MARCH/APRIL 2021


Personally, I prefer this cake without any bells or whistles, but the ways to dress it up are endless.

Traditional Scandinavian

Almond Cake INGREDIENTS: 1¼ cup sugar 1 egg 1½ tsp. almond extract 2


cup milk

1¼ cup all-purpose flour ½

tsp. baking powder


stick butter, melted

METHOD: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients well. Spray pan generously with non-stick baking spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until edges are golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan before removing. Cake will break if removed too soon. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Enjoy!

What I love most about this cake is that it is actually a one-bowl cake. It's so easy. Dump all the ingredients into a bowl and mix — no stand mixer is necessary. Just a spoon!

Spread the pan liberally with butter or cooking spray, then sprinkle with flour. The new pan will take a few bakes before it becomes “seasoned” enough to release the cake for an easy transfer to a serving platter.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until the cake turns a beautiful golden brown. Another sign that your cake is done? The sides of the cake will begin to pull away from the edges of the pan.

If there is any tip or trick involved in making Scandinavian Almond Cake, it would be to allow the cake to cool before unmolding. If you do it too soon, the cake will break, as with any cake. Let it rest.

VARIATIONS Before putting batter into the pan, sprinkle sliced almonds on the bottom or, after baked, top with fresh fruit and whipped cream.




A moss-covered stacked stone fence, one of many across the island, inside Killarney National Park. It’s impossible to capture the intense green of Ireland, at least with a cellphone camera!

There’s something about the Irish BY DAYNA DEL VAL


Another beautiful brick and plant-covered fence, this time on the east coast of Ireland at Ballymakenny in County Louth.

72 | MARCH/APRIL 2021

rosted Lucky Charms. They’re magically delicious!” “Fresh and clean as a whistle!” When I was little, those two commercials pushed me over the edge. It wasn’t just the accents, which I thought were divine (although looking back, they were pretty awful), it was that cold cereal and soap had some kind of fanciful enchantment. The rainbows, the intense green grass and trees, the leprechauns and pots of gold, the slivers of green and white soap — all those things signified that Ireland must truly be a place of magic. Then there’s St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday where people claim to have Irish grandparents, drink green beer and celebrate with cabbage, corned beef and potatoes as well as community parades across the country. Because of the potato famine starting in the 1840s, 2 million Irish descended on America desperate for a better life. Those early immigrants from the Emerald Isle didn’t receive the warm welcome they had been hoping for, but they persevered in spite of the outright cultural discrimination they faced. Today, America has seven times as many people of Irish descent as Ireland itself. INSPIREDHOMEMAGAZINE.COM

But what’s the real appeal of Ireland and its people? As a land mass, Ireland is tiny — North Dakota is 2½ times its size. When I was there with my husband, we traveled from coast to coast in just over three hours. And with approximately 5 million citizens, there really aren’t that many truly Irish people. Perhaps it’s their incredible friendliness. While in Dublin, we were surreptitiously looking at a tiny map, trying to get our bearings. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman making an eager beeline right towards us. Stopping abruptly in front of us, she liltingly said, “Hello, there. You seem to be lost. How can I help?” That wasn’t our only encounter with friendly people either. Everyone we asked for help, and many whom we didn’t directly ask, were delighted to share their knowledge of directions, good restaurants, can’t-miss destinations and more. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit the first time I talked to my now husband on a telephone, his Irish accent just about drove me to distraction. I overlooked the swearing because he ended the conversation with, “All right,

lass, I’ll speak to you soon.” This St Patrick’s Day don’t focus on the green beer and the overeating. Focus instead on the friendly nature of this small island of people. See if you can’t find someone to make a beeline toward and offer your best advice, services or help. I’m sorry to say that our

The spectacular Muckross Abbey ruins inside Killarney National Park was founded by the Observatine Franciscans in about 1448.

flat, Scandinavian-inspired accent isn’t likely to make anyone swoon, but I’m sure they’ll appreciate the assistance nonetheless.

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