St. Croix Valley October/November 2021

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MAKING IT EAS I ER Stillwater native hosts a podcast centered around mental health



EVERY INJURY. EVERY RECOVERY. Orthopedic urgent care 8am–8pm daily Get help when you need it after an injury strikes. You don’t need an appointment to see one of our top-rated orthopedic urgent care specialists. We’re open daily and ready to help you get back to what you love.

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O C TO B E R / N OV E M B E R 2 02 1 “I definitely think we all need to get outside and dig in the dirt a little more ... Simply being outside and taking moments to disconnect from our phones and electronics is good for our mental health and helps us appreciate nature.” —Emily Bretzel, page 20

DEPARTMENTS 12 — Brick by Brick Paint expert provides tips for homeowners.

14 — Making It Easier Stillwater native hosts a podcast centered around mental health.

18 — Lakeview Love Remodel provides updated design on a beloved lake lot.

FEATURES 20 — Home Grown Insights from a self-taught suburban farmer.

24 — A Tree … House How a photo inspired the design and décor of these nature lovers’ home.

TASTEMAKERS 36 — Spice Up the Season

IN EVERY ISSUE

PAGE 7

4 — Editor’s Letter 7 — Noteworthy 30 — On the Town 40 — Last Glance

PHOTOS: LIZZY FASCHING, MACKENZIE MERRILL

Behind the scenes at Stillwater’s Pinch ‘n Rub Spice & Tea Hub.


Discover what makes us different! WINNER

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FROM THE EDITOR Angela Johnson, stcroixvalleymag@tigeroak.com

Dr. Marc Roehrich Dr. James Erlandson

Where visiting the dentist feels like visiting a friend. Inside our practice, you may forget you’re at the dentist. We love to laugh and have fun, while still providing high-quality care customized to meet your needs. You’ll feel among friends here.

T

ouring the Parade of Homes is a favorite pastime for my husband and me. We love to see all of the new design inspirations, popular building materials and interesting takes on creative spaces. Many people leave home tours inspired to update rooms or replace their entire house, making dreams collected in pinned images on social media collages finally come true. This month, I get to indulge in another of my favorite activities, writing about home design. In this issue, we spotlight a renovation and a new build, each specifically created to reflect the personalities and lifestyles of the homeowners. We’ve also included some expert tips for refreshing the brick on your home, should you have similar dreams but prefer to start small. And, of course, of utmost importance in any home, is the kitchen. So, as we fast approach the holiday season, we’ve also included some scrumptious food stories for you to feast on. Read about the fall harvest of one local gardener, how she got started planting, what she likes to grow and how she plans to preserve some of her garden bounty. Then, flip to our Tastemakers feature to read our interview with Nancy Figueroa, owner of Pinch ‘n Rub Spice and Tea Hub in Stillwater. You’ll discover what prompted her to open her shop in the St. Croix Valley and also see some of Figueroa’s personal favorite Pinch ‘n Rub product recommendations for fall and the holidays! So, cozy up with this autumn issue and enjoy all of the local stories we’ve compiled for you. Happy fall!

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ST. CROIX VALLEY MAGAZINE @STCROIXVALLEYMAG

On the Cover Paige Boner, photo by Lizzy Fasching

PHOTO: LISA BUTH

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APPLES. APPLES. APPLES.

Apples for everybody! Apples in pies, doughnuts, rollovers, muffins, bread and cider. FUN for the whole family with a corn maze and pick-your-own pumpkins.

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publisher SUSAN ISAY

editor ANGELA JOHNSON

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managing editor ANGELA JOHNSON

associate editor HAILEY ALMSTED

staff writers AVA DIAZ, MADELINE KOPIECKI, SAMANTHA DELEON

contributing writer RENÉE STEWART-HESTER

editorial interns JOHN DEIGNAN, HILARY KAUFMAN, KIRA SCHUKAR

editorial advisory board Meg Brownson, Alfresco Casual Living Pete Foster, Barkers and San Pedro Cafe John Knutson, Catalyst Sports Medicine Ruth Misenko, Seasons on St. Croix Brent Peterson, Washington County Historical Society Sarah Quickel, Enchanté Heather Rutledge, ArtReach St. Croix

YOUR HOME BEYOND DESIGN

Andrew Sachariason, St. Croix Preparatory Academy

senior managing art director SARAH DOVOLOS

art director ALLISON NOLDEN

lead staff photographer CHRIS EMEOTT

print production director BRITTNI DYE

digital production director DEIDRA ANDERSON

project coordinators ADRIANNA BLACK BULL, LISA STONE

senior account executives BROOKE BEISE, KATIE FREEMARK, CYNTHIA HAMRE, SARA JOHNSON

circulation and marketing KATIE RINGHAND

credit manager APRIL MCCAULEY

chief operating officer SUSAN ISAY

chief financial officer

DESIGN + REMODELING

BILL NELSON

St. Croix Valley Magazine 9877 AIRPORT ROAD N.E. BLAINE, MN 55449 612.548.3180 SUBSCRIPTIONS: St. Croix Valley Magazine is published 6 times a year. Rates $12 for 6 issues. Back issues $5.95. For subscription and customer service inquiries, please contact customerservice@tigeroak.com or call 1.800.637.0334. ©Tiger Oak Media Inc. 2021. All rights reserved.

Call today for a complimentary consultation. Named the #1 Interior Designer in St. Croix Valley in 2018, 2019, 2020

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NOTEWORTHY local tips, tidbits & insights

PROHIBITION BARBERS 118 ½ Chestnut St., Stillwater; prohibitionbarbers.com Prohibition Barbers Inc. @prohibitionbarbers

A CUT ABOVE Stillwater barber supports a larger mission. CHRIS P OM EL EO created something truly special

with Prohibition Barbers in Stillwater, Minn. where he is owner and master barber. Prohibition Barbers opened in 2015 and was originally located in downtown Minneapolis but by 2020, Pomeleo was ready for a change of scenery. “I wanted to get out of the middle of the city, so I found Stillwater last October and it has been incredible,” Pomeleo says. Pomeleo enlisted in the U.S. Army when he was 28 years old. “I’ve always wanted to be in the military. I thought I could give to something bigger than myself. As I was getting older, I just wanted an opportunity to do it and I didn’t want it to pass me by.” As an Army veteran, Pomeleo believes it is important that people understand the level of commitment it takes to serve in the military. Veterans and first responders get their haircuts at Prohibition Barbers because of the patriotic mesBY JOHN DEIGNAN

sages the barbershop promotes. He says, “I don’t think I could have ever dreamt of the sense of community that this shop has created.” Pomeleo discovered his passion for cutting hair while oversees on deployment in Bagdad, Iraq. “There were 120 of us ... I became the barber for the troops when we weren’t doing missions. It was a time for me to give back and make people feel a little bit better about their day,” he says. Now, along with giving haircuts at Prohibition Barbers, Pomeleo chooses a charity each month to donate $1,000.00. “I’m a big believer in charity and giving,” he says. The charities he’s contributed to include Hometown Hero Outdoors, Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association and First HOOAH Minnesota of HOOAH Inc. These charities focus on rehabilitating servicemen and women along with veterans. PHOTOS BY CHRIS EMEOTT

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NOTEWORTHY

TAST E R E AD

RACH THE BOOKSELLER RECOMMENDS

Turkey Trivia Test your knowledge around the Thanksgiving table.

These Precious Days by Ann Patchett

Contributed by Valley Bookseller; 217 Main St. N., Stillwater, Minn.; 651.430.3385; Stop in or pre-order online at valleybookseller.com

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OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2021

Americans consume approximately 46 million turkeys around Thanksgiving and consumed around five billion pounds of turkey in all of 2019. That’s 16 pounds per person that year! Come closer to home and you’ll discover that Minnesota has the largest number of independent turkey farmers in the nation with over 600 turkey farms and stakeholders making Minnesota the turkey capital of the U.S. According to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, Minnesota turkey farmers raise between 40 and 42 million birds every year and the industry generates over $1 billion dollars in economic activity and provides more than 26,000 jobs in the state. —ANGELA JOHNSON ALSO, DID YOU KNOW? • Only tom turkeys gobble. • A female turkey is called a hen. • Hens take 14 weeks to reach maturity and weigh about 15 pounds. • The most common breed of turkey we eat today is the Broad Breasted White. • Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin had foil food packets containing roasted turkey and all the trimmings while dining on the moon. • Benjamin Franklin wanted the

turkey, not the bald eagle, to be the official United States bird. • Surprisingly, November is not National Turkey Lovers Month. It’s June! • Turkeys have approximately 3,500 feathers at maturity. • The costume worn by Big Bird on Sesame Street is rumored to have been made of turkey feathers. • Turkey is lean, protein packed and is rich in vitamin B3 and B12, selenium, iron, zinc and phosphorus.

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You can never go wrong with beloved and bestselling author Ann Patchett. In this collection of essays, which will be published in November to great anticipation, Patchett writes deliberately and thoughtfully about home and life and writing. As a bookseller and lover of literature, I especially connected with the essays about her steadfast, lifelong love of books and writing. Reading this collection is just like sitting down to coffee and conversation with a dear friend and coming away with a deeper understanding of her. It’s lovely!


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FIVE DESIGN TIPS TO MAKE YOUR ENTRYWAY MORE WELCOMING Gear up to host friends and family this fall with expert advice.

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• Walk through your front door and try to visualize it as a guest; what do you notice? Do your eyes land on a pretty focal point? A common mistake in foyers is a lack of artwork or interesting features. It is also important to see the view of other rooms upon entering your home. Do you look into a messy office or playroom? If so, consider adding doors or find ways to add hidden storage and organization to those spaces. • Is the entryway functional? Make sure there is enough room for guests to enter and take a few steps, and most importantly, find a place to sit down to remove their shoes. Here in the Midwest, we have to deal with winter boots and a lot of sloppy weather, so most people remove their footwear when entering a home. Make it easy and convenient for guests to sit and do so.

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• Another common mistake is choosing an area rug that’s too small. If you go with a doormatsized rug that doesn’t allow anyone to step into the room, it can feel awkward. Select a rug that’s three feet by 5 feet at minimum. • Lastly, many people don’t think about lighting. If the foyer overhead light is too bright, install a dimmer switch to allow for softer light. Another option is to put a table lamp on an entry console table for more soft, ambient light.

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• Take the test—walk through your front door to ensure you’re ready to welcome guests!

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Senior Safety tipS to take the fright out of Halloween night

Halloween isn’t nearly as spooky as it used to be. Instead of expecting visits from goblins and ghosts. We now wait for superheroes and princesses. For some senior citizens, Halloween can be scary.; it’s a night where masked strangers knock on your door. HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR KEEPING SENIORS SAFE ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT:

• keep your lights on • be smart about decorations • coordinate with the neighbors • keep trick-or-treaters outside • get a halloween helper Halloween may be thought of as a children’s holiday, but it can also be great fun for adults of all ages – including seniors! Saint Therese of Woodbury invites you to discover the many ways we provide fun-filled activities that will lift your spirits, keep you engaged, and help you feel safe, loved, and less alone.

Have a sa fe & fu n Hallow een !

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Brick by Brick OVER THE PAST YEAR, a fair amount of homeowners have given the interiors of their homes a glow-up, a redo, a transformation—call it what you will. But all that effort begs the question—now what? Head outside, take a few steps back and give a long, hard look at your home’s exterior. Even brick facades and fireplace chimneys can get in line for a makeover. Before you pop the paint can or hire a painting crew, Jon Nelson, a Hirshfield’s store manager, provides some valuable insight into painting brick.

To start, the brick should be properly cleaned. “A scrub brush, hot soapy water or possibly a ‘no-rinse’ cleaner will help you thoroughly clean the surface,” Nelson says. “It is important to let the brick fully dry after this before continuing with the project.” Now, it’s time paint. “The first coat when painting brick should always be a primer,” Nelson says. “This will help your topcoat seal and bond properly.” He recommends using a 100 percent acrylic masonry primer and allowing it to completely dry before applying two coats BY RENÉE STEWART-HESTER

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of a latex topcoat. Nelson recommends Housecoat, which comes in flat and low luster sheens and can be tinted any desired color. The Brick Industry Association (BIA) weighs in, noting that paint used on brick masonry walls should be “durable, easy to apply and have good adhesive characteristics. It should be porous if applied on exterior masonry, thereby permitting the wall to breathe and preventing the trapping of free moisture behind the paint film.” Nelson says paint is best applied on

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Paint expert provides tips for homeowners.


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brick with a heavier nap roller whenever spraying the brick is not an option. “If the brick has already been painted, I would still recommend following the above procedure even if it seems to be in good repair,” he says. “If done correctly, painted brick will last just as long as other painted surfaces.” And these recommendations can be used for chimneys, as well. The BIA also has recommendations when it comes to new masonry. “As a general rule, new clay masonry is seldom painted. It is difficult to justify the extra expenditure for initial and future painting,” it notes. “However, if for any reason painting new masonry is desired, there are a few precautions necessary for reasonable success. Do not wash new clay masonry walls with acid cleaning solutions. Acid reactions can result in paint failures. Use alkali-resistant paints.” (This might be the time to connect with a painting professional or contractor.) If homeowners decided to go the painted brick route, the paint color should fall within the color scheme of the rest of the home’s exterior. Consider the colors of the window and door trims, flashing, gutters and even the roof. There are, however, a few popular colors that Nelson highlights, including a dark gray like Benjamin Moore's Iron Mountain (213430) or a bright white called Chantilly Lace (OC-65). What’ the upshot of painting exterior brick? “Painting your brick can be a great way to modernize the look of your home,” Nelson says. “That being said, exposed brick is still an extremely appealing look.”

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Stillwater native hosts a podcast centered around mental health.

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PHOTOS: LIZZY FASCHING

ENLIGHTEN

Making It Easier


BY MADELINE KOPIECKI

Technology + Expertise + Fun

Now open in Stillwater! Invisalign and Braces for Adults and Children

“REALLY WHAT IT WAS INSPIRED BY WAS DEFINITELY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE when it comes to anxiety

and depression,” Paige Boner says about the impetus for starting her podcast titled It’s Hard in 2019. Before the It’s Hard podcast, Boner had been sharing some of her personal struggles through diaristic social media posts, although it wasn’t always easy. “It felt very alarming to share something so vulnerable on social media,” Boner says, recalling those early social media posts where she would discuss a recent panic attack or past struggle. Oftentimes the response from her peers was surprise – from the outside, Boner’s life seemed “perfect” to most, and many didn’t expect her to have experience with anxiety or depression. “I realized the power in vulnerability and how it really connects people,” Boner says. “I wanted to then cultivate a community around that and dive a bit deeper into that through my own podcast.” Podcasting certainly wasn’t an easy pivot from fashion merchandising, which is what Boner had been studying in school. While podcasting was certainly on the rise in 2019, there simply weren’t as many resources out there for how to get started at that time. Boner ended up going to her friends from The Backpocket podcast, another Minnesota-based podcast, to pitch her idea to them. “I just went to their house and asked them, ‘Hey, how do I do this?’ and, ‘Is my idea any good?’” After receiving a supportive response from the two more seasoned podcasters, Boner stopped by Best Buy for a $60 mic and began the daunting process of recording her first episode. After starting with her own experiences, Boner realized that featuring other people’s stories in addition to her own would cultivate a broader community of listeners. “I knew that would widen my bandwidth and my audience so that other people could feel like they relate,” Boner says.

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The podcast's goal is to have authentic conversations that entail personal stories or professional insights.

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OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2021


WE DO EVERYTHING!

So, Boner continued to expand the scope of subjects tackled by her podcast, creating a network of connections as she went that ranged from acquaintances to mental health professionals. “As you interview people, what really ends up happening is, if they have a good experience, just like any business, they’ll say, ‘Hey, I really think you would like this person,’” Boner says. “And then all of a sudden you’re introduced to 16 new people.” Boner’s overarching goal with her podcast is to have authentic conversations with her guests, whether that entails personal stories or professional insights. “I’ll prepare intentional questions but sometimes I won’t even get to those questions because we can just let the conversation flow really naturally, which is something I pride myself in,” Boner says. In a rapidly oversaturated market, this unscripted tone is something that sets the It’s Hard podcast apart from some of its peers. Although podcasting has become an idealized pastime as of late, Boner notes that it can be, well, hard. “I think a lot of people when [they] see others doing podcasts or entrepreneurial stuff [they] think, ‘Oh my gosh, they must love it, it must be so perfect all the time,’ and it’s just not,” Boner says. Creating a podcast on top of working a nine to five schedule has its challenges, from time management to negative self-comparison, but Boner says there are definitely experiences that make it all worthwhile. “The most rewarding aspect hands down is the connection and the relationship that I get to have with people in our community and to see what things resonate with them,” Boner says, adding, “To hear on a daily basis what other people are gaining from the podcast has been wholeheartedly my favorite part and why I continue to do it every day.” Listen to the It’s Hard podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also tune in at itshardpodcast.com

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SURROUNDINGS

Lakeside Love Remodel keeps homeowners on beloved lake lot with an updated home design.

TRANSFORMING HOMES with plen-

ty of potential is what Jason Fabio does best at Ispiri Design-Build. As founder and president, Fabio and his team know how to make a client’s vision become more than just a dream, but a reality. “We ask our clients great questions, and we listen intently,” Fabio says, “We get to make our clients’ lives more enjoyable in their homes through the remodeling process.” That’s how Ispiri won first place in the NKBA Kitchen & Bath Design and a ROMA Award in 2019 for its renovation on a 2002 rambler in Lake Elmo. On the shores of Lake Jane, Fabio says this family of four contacted him about renovating their home. “They

loved this area, loved the lake, but the house wasn’t functioning for them,” Fabio says. He says they looked around to potentially buy a different home that would suit their needs as a growing family, but everything was either not what they wanted, or the price wasn’t right. Ultimately, they decided to do a significant remodel that would transform their rambler into a luxurious home with lakeside views. “We pretty much gutted the whole main level,” Fabio says. From a design and functionality standpoint, the home had lots of room for improvement, largely in the master bedroom, family room, dining room and kitchen. Reconfiguring the main level allowed BY SAMANTHA DELEON

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remodelers to move the kitchen that was once in front of the house, toward the lake with a row of large floor-toceiling windows that added space and sunlight to the space. The team also added a two-car garage connected to a new mudroom and laundry room. This family’s home transitioned into everything they had hoped for. “In this case, they really got everything they wanted,” Fabio says, “They were super excited about the design updates. My team and I really gave them a place to take in the views, entertain their kids and just enjoy the lake life.” Homeowner Heide Offord says, “The finished project exceeded our expectations!” She says they chose to work

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with Ispiri because she liked how they offered a “one-stop-shop” and liked how well the team worked together on all aspects of the project. “We love how Ispiri transformed our home from having dead, unusable spaces, to a beautiful, highly functional home,” Offord says. Ispiri prides itself on having stateof-the-art showrooms, inspired designers, working with master carpenters to deliver detailed craftsmanship and project managers who help minimize the stress of remodeling. “We have an amazing culture of teamwork and communication that fosters the best outcome for our clients and projects,” Fabio says. “It’s all about our people and our culture to be the best.”

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HOME GROWN Insights from a self-taught suburban farmer.

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WRITTEN BY RENÉE STEWART-HESTER PHOTOS BY CHRIS EMEOTT

“If you had told me 10 years ago that I would become a chicken lady with a 3,000-square-foot garden, I would have told you [that] you were crazy,” Emily Bretzel says. “When we bought our house, we were simply looking for a beautiful outdoor space. But, once we realized the potential for hobbies, we went for as many things as we could.” Bees. Chickens. Cutting flowers. Fruit trees. Herbs. Maple trees (syrup). Vegetables. Bretzel and her husband, Ryan, are part of a growing crop of garden-to-table homeowners. “Gardening and backyard chickens are just hobbies for us that we jumped into and are learning as we go,” she says. If her name seems familiar, for more than six years, Bretzel served as the senior managing art director for our community lifestyle magazine family. Today finds her family, including children Archer, 10; Laine, 7; and Vienna, 3, living on 6.5 acres in the “suburbrural” burg of Grant, just outside Stillwater. It’s not unusual to find the children in the hen house, collecting daily eggs. “We started out with four hens and have added over the years,” Bretzel says. The current flock includes nine hens and one (surprise) rooster. “Some of my

favorite breeds are buff orpingtons, speckled sussex and buff polish. We love the Easter eggers, too, for their beautiful blue/green eggs,” she says. The garden ably serves its dual roles—reliable producer and variable testing site. About half of the space is devoted to pumpkins, which are given away to friends and family in the fall. They also grow beans, carrots, corn, herbs, peppers and tomatoes. “You name it, we have grown it,” she says. Each year yields a slightly different garden plan. “We change what and how much we grow based on our eating preferences and what grows well in our soil/ microclimate,” Bretzel says. While editing out produce makes sense (“We just can't seem to grow broccoli.”), so does adding in some new items (“Because what's the fun of just growing the same old?”). In the past, they’ve tried amarynth, borage, glass gem corn and purple Vienna kohlrabi. This year?—luffa gourds. “We are planning to add an orchard of similar size this year with fruit trees and bushes,” Bretzel says. “We also have a small children's garden next to the playhouse, where we put plants with different textures and colors for the kids to explore.”

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OVEN ROASTED HEIRLOOM TOMATOES Thickly slice tomatoes, and lay them on paper towels to absorb some moisture. Spread slices out on a foil-lined pan, and brush or drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt. Add other herbs and/or spices as desired (garlic and basil are good choices). Bake at 400° for about 30 minutes.

Tip: Eat as a side dish, on a sandwich or as meat topping or for savory pies. Freeze roasted tomatoes into smaller portions for later use.

Tip: Another variation of roasted tomatoes: Slice tomatoes into halves or chunks. Toss with roughlychopped onions and olive oil. Add salt, garlic and/or herbs. Bake on a pan.

Tip: Green zebra tomatoes are Minnesota hardy and taste great roasted.

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Cutting flowers can be especially satisfying for their obvious beauty and ability to attract pollinators. “I've been adding more and more flowers and herbs to the garden because I love how much they attract pollinators and caterpillars, and I love looking at and cutting fresh flowers,” Bretzel says. “Zinnias and marigolds are my favorite easy-to-grow flowers for cutting. This year, I'm adding dahlias, bachelor buttons and others to the mix.” As long as we’re talking about pollinators, the Bretzels host up to three honey hives with different types of bees. “Bee colonies are complex and taking care of them requires lots of special equipment and consistent follow-up and education,” Bretzel says. “Our first year, we did not get any honey as we were growing our colonies. In other years, we've gotten 60 to 80 pounds of honey.” Planning and planting are literally just the start. During growing season, the day begins with setting up the sprinkler or checking the plants. “My husband and I both work full-time and have three young kids, so we spend any time we can to make sure the garden is successful. And, to be honest, we are not as hands-on as we probably should be, but things grow never-the-less,” Bretzel says. “A lot of the time is spent pulling weeds. The harvest season is definitely a busy time. We have to make sure we have the time to not only harvest our vegetables, but to either prepare or preserve them. We get our kids involved in picking beans and tomatoes.” The garden (and hive!)-to-table benefits of gardening are obvious, but there are other upshots,

too. “We talk with our kids about growing and what they like to eat, and they love that they can snack on any of the healthy foods that come directly from our garden,” Bretzel says. “The kids are fascinated with the process of growing plants. I think it's really cool for them to have an appreciation and pride for growing their own food. It encourages us all to eat healthy foods, and we get satisfaction from knowing that we grew it ourselves.” “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul,” writes Alfred Austin (18351913), English poet and novelist. Gardeners have long supported the physical and spiritual benefits of placing their “hands in the dirt,” and a growing chorus is singing about the benefits of grounding or earthing, which can involve activities that “ground” or electrically reconnect one to the Earth. Does this strike a chord with Bretzel in terms of encouraging her family to participate in Earthrelated activities, such as gardening? “I definitely think we all need to get outside and dig in the dirt a little more ... Simply being outside and taking moments to disconnect from our phones and electronics is good for our mental health and helps us appreciate nature,” she says. For those who are ready to dig in with their own garden, Bretzel advises, “Start small. You don't need a lot of space to grow most plants. Find the sunniest place in your outdoor space, and start your garden there. It can be in a planter or container if you don't have yard space. Don't be discouraged if you have failures. Part of the fun is trying and failing and then trying again.”

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written by Angela Johnson

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*MONTH* 2021


A TREE … HOUSE

PHOTOS: MACKENZIE MERRILL

How a photo inspired the design and décor of these nature lovers’ home.

When a local couple decided to build a home on scenic lot surrounded by horse pasture, tucked in off a gravel road in Grant Township, they emphasized to their builder Divine Custom Homes in Hudson, Wis. and interior designer Amy Lefarink of Interior Impressions in Woodbury, Minn. the importance of incorporating a design and décor aesthetic that would be symbiotic to the surroundings. Lefarink asked the owners to show her photos depicting the specific design inspiration they had in mind. “They brought me a photo of a beautiful tree with autumn colors,” says Lefarink. “I loved that because it says a lot about who they are and what’s important to them.” From that photo, came a nature inspired rambler filled with modern conveniences and upscale finishes blended seamlessly with a relaxed cabin-like sensibility. The owner’s love of nature, wildlife and gardening equated to lots of large windows being key to inviting in natural light and drawing the eye out toward their bucolic view. Lefarink says, “Imagine looking out at beautiful green trees, gardens and horses. We wanted

to orient everything in the home toward that,” using a natural color pallet of caramel and warm taupe grey combined with beautiful hickory plank flooring and reclaimed wood ceiling beams in the great room. The adjoining kitchen accommodates a large island and dining space (the owners have six boys between them along with three big dogs and a cat), natural ceruse oak kitchen cabinetry, matte black and brushed gold hardware, hand-painted backsplash tile and French blown glass light fixtures. Double patio doors open all the way up between the dining area and the deck for entertaining. Added kitchen conveniences include two pullout garbage areas and two cabinet front paneled dishwashers, custom dividers in the utensil drawers and a walk-in pantry outfitted with lazy Susans and an undercounter appliance lift. A nearby mudroom exits to the garage and includes a tiled shower specifically for bathing dirty dogs. To the rear of the kitchen and dining area is a screen porch with a wood burning fireplace surrounded by porcelain tile that looks like oxidized metal. A concrete

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hearth bench has space underneath for stacking logs. It’s a perfect spot for sipping morning coffee or relaxing at the end of the day with a glass of wine. The owner says, “We’re out there all the time watching television and having fires.” Retreat back into the indoor living space and you’ll see that Lefarink added stacked logs near the family room gas fireplace as a coordinating and fun, decorative touch. At the opposite end of the home are a home office with a sliding barn door, a guest bedroom and bath and an owners’ suite that includes sliding patio doors leading to the back deck for yet more opportunities to commune with nature. Back at the front entrance, an open staircase leads to the lower level. Its over 12-foot-high landing area is a showstopper with Phillip Jeffries textured wallpaper made from a thin wood veneer and a chandelier that Lefarink says, “Drips with crystals but yet looks organic like branches, not formal. It brings a little bit of bling but with a natural feel to it.” The owners saw the light fixture on an episode of Twin Cities Live and says she had to have it because it reminded her of a plant root. The lower-level walkout has multiple patio doors for more of that inside/ outside aesthetic. There are additional guest bedrooms and a bath downstairs along with an exercise room and a large central seating area for watching movies or a big game. Entertainment options continue with a pool table next to a nature-inspired live-edge wood bar and a full kitchen. Behind the bar is a large window that peeks into a climatecontrolled wine cellar with floor-toceiling bottle storage and a cork floor. Lefarink says, “When the owners were moving in, they had all these wine crates spread out downstairs that they were determined to organize. They love collecting wine and visiting wineries and often order wines from different vintners. So, I got this idea from the Crosby Hotel in Stillwater. Inside the hotel restaurant, the Matchstick, there is a wall with wine labels. I thought what a great idea to have tons of crates

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and display a large collection. So, I did a wall in the wine cellar made from the wine labels from their crates. I made it myself with a miter saw and nail gun; cut the crates into squares and made the wine wall. I added corks too with some hot glue. It’s a fun conversation piece and it also creates fun memories for them with many of their favorite wineries on display.” One would never guess that such distinctive design elements would be found in such an unpretentious home situated in a local pasture. But therein lies the point. It’s beautiful, yet it blends, like a lovely autumn tree.

Interior Impressions interiorimpressions.org Interior Impressions @interiorimpressions Divine Custom Homes divinecustomhome.com Divine Custom Homes @divinecustomhomes


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ON THE TOWN

Compiled by John Deignan, Hilary Kaufman and Kira Schukar

LO C A L E V E N TS October

2–3 Rivertown Fall Art Festival Come support local artists this fall! This event will feature extravagant art pieces varying from customized jewelry, works of pottery, photographs, beautiful paintings and more. All ages. Free. Times

vary. Lowell Park, 201 Water St. N.; greaterstillwaterchamber.com

9–10 Harvest Fest & Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off Stillwater’s fall festival returns this year! Visit the festival and participate in activities like the chili cookoff, pumpkin drops and pumpkin regatta. Enjoy the festival’s bluegrass music and take a close look at our giant pumpkins. All ages.

Free. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Lowell Park, 201 Water St. N., harvestfeststillwater.com

November

6–7 Hudson Quilt Show 2021

A holiday bazaar.

Presented by Washington County Parks at the Washington County Historic Courthouse: Stillwater’s historic courthouse invites guests to wander into a winter wonderland and take in the sights of the season. The historic courthouse will be decorated for the holidays inside and out. Visitors can enjoy a one-hour shopping session at this year’s holiday bazaar where you’ll find vendors of unique, handcrafted items that are sure to make wonderful Christmas gifts or personal treasures. You can also tour the exhibits and old county jail as well as take photos in the holiday display. Beat the holiday rush and get your shopping done early. All Ages. Free admission; suggested donation of $3 per person. Proceeds benefit the Historic Courthouse Restoration Fund. 101 Pine St. W., Stillwater, Minn.; Saturday, Nov. 20 from 10:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m. and Sunday, Nov 21 at 11:00 a.m.—3:00 p.m.; For more information, visit co.washington.mn.us or email historiccourthouse@co.washington.mn.us

Times vary. Rivercrest Elementary School, 535 County Road F, Hudson, Wis.; hudsonheritagequilters.org

O C TO B E R A R E A E V E N TS

1–2 Magic Unmasked Join The Southern Theater as Kristoff the Magician escorts his audience through a night of illusions and laughter! Known across

To have your event considered: email stcroixvalleymag@tigeroak.com by the 10th of the month three months prior to publication. Due to the fluidity being experienced in the current environment, please note that some events/dates and even some business operations may have changed since these pages went to print. Please visit affiliated websites for updates.

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OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2021

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Christmas at the Courthouse

Hudson’s Rivercrest Elementary school will be holding its annual Hudson Quilt show on November 6-7. Spectacular quilts, fabrics and wool will be on display at various vendors. Some of these quilts will be priced for purchase! All ages. $6.


the country for his parlor and stage magic, Kristoff proves that magic isn’t just for kids. All ages. Ticket

prices vary. 6:30 p.m. The Southern Theater, 1420 S. Washington Ave., Mpls.; 612.326.1811; southerntheater.org

1–31 Celebrating Trees Delight in the nature-inspired art at the Andersen Horticultural Library’s fourth annual Flora & Fauna Illustrata Exhibit! This long-term project documents the hundreds of plant and animal species that live in the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum through scientifically accurate artwork. All ages. $15 entry

fee for nonmembers. Times vary. Skyway Gallery, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska; 612.301.1239; arb.umn.edu

2 Salon du Livre Venez à Solon du Livre, hosted by the Alliance Française in Minneapolis! This celebration of French literature features francophone authors, professors and librarians from the Twin Cities metro area and beyond. Presenters will speak in both French and English. All ages.

Free. 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Alliance Française MSP, 227 Colfax Ave. N., Mpls.; 612.332.0436; afmsp.org

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Celebrating Trees

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ON THE TOWN

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8–9 Twin Cities Oktoberfest Save the date for the eleventh Twin Cities Oktoberfest! The two-day festival celebrates German culture and community with performances of traditional German dance, music and food. Try potato pancakes or bratwurst while you explore the event. The festival will also be featuring beer and cider from four Minnesota breweries and cideries.

All ages. Free to attend. Times vary. Minnesota State Fairgrounds, 1621 Randall Ave., St. Paul; tcoktoberfest.com

10 Minneapolis Vintage Market Join the Twin Cities community for a monthly marketplace that sells vintage treasures and clothes. The market features a rotating cast of vendors every month and is organized by the same team who run Minneapolis Craft Market. The market is mobile and changes venues each month. All ages. Free to attend. 11 a.m.–

5 p.m. Machine Shop, 300 Second St. SE; info@mplsvintagemarket.com; mplsvintagemarket.com

10 Tails on the Trails Take your dog for a walk on the trails of Hansen Park while you visit company and nonprofit vendor booths and see special dogrelated demonstrations. Pose with your dog in a photo-booth, enjoy a quick and fun “doga” (dog yoga!)

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ON THE TOWN

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workout and enter your dog into one of the dog-related competitions, such as “dog & owner look-alike.” Free. All ages. 1–4 p.m.

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15 Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen Join Killer Queen at the Medina Entertainment Center for a night of rock and roll! With lead singer Patrick Myers recreating Freddie Mercury’s one-of-a-kind voice, Killer Queen has performed at hundreds of venues since 1993.

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Ages 21 and older. $33. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8:30 p.m. Medina Entertainement Center, 500 Highway 55, Medina; 763.478.6661; medinaentertainment.com

18 Acoustic Jam Session Utepils Brewery welcomes singers and songwriters to a relaxing acoustic jam session! Rather than performing on stage, musicians will gather in a circle and take turns leading a song of their choice in this


Hudson Quilt Show 2021

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All ages. Free. 6:30–9:30 p.m. Utepils Brewing, 225 Thomas Ave. N., Mpls.; 612.249.7800; utepilsbrewing.com

22 Heather Land: The Age Gap Tour

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Comedienne, author and singer Heather Land hits the road following her virtual comedy show, A Quarantine Christmas. Sharing stories about failed diets and raising teenagers in her blended household in Nashville, Tenn., Heather takes her frustrations and turns them into funny anecdotes.

All ages. Ticket prices vary. 8 p.m. The Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls.; 612.338.2674; thecedar.org

23 Pumpkin Night in the Park 2021 Bring the entire family out to experience enchanted trails, glowing pumpkins, exciting entertainment, delicious food and more.

All ages. $10. 5–9 p.m. Springbrook Nature Center, 100 85th Ave. NW, Fridley; springbrooknaturecenter.org

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TASTEMAKERS

Spice Up the Season Behind the scenes at Stillwater’s Pinch ‘n Rub Spice & Tea Hub.

NAN CY F I G U ER OA has always enjoyed cooking and baking. Throughout her life, friends would encourage her to become a private chef or open a restaurant. But it was a trip to Washington D.C. that inspired Figueroa to open a spice and tea shop in downtown Stillwater in 2012. “I was invited to parents’ weekend with our host daughter [an international student from Guatemala] who was accepted into the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. While there, I visited the cutest little spice and tea shop and decided Stillwater needed one of these,” says Figueroa. She returned to the Midwest and began doing her due diligence. Nine months later, her “baby” was born, Pinch ‘n Rub Spice and Tea Hub on Main St. As the initial space as being created, Figueroa’s designer, who knew her passion for cooking, suggested they put a little kitchen right inside the shop where Figueroa could test ingredients and create recipes. She laughs about “violating” some of her grandmother’s recipes— Instead of rolling her sugar cookie dough in white sugar, she’d experiment with

BY ANGELA JOHNSON

36 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2021

rolling them in habanero sugar, much to the joy of adventurous eaters. Although Figueroa loves to cook and bake, she didn’t consider herself an expert at first. Before opening her shop, she bought lots of books about spices and teas, ordered tons of samples and did a lot of reading and taste testing before creating every individual label in her shop. It’s important to note that not only is Figueroa passionate about food, she is also passionate about nutrition and is very particular about what she puts in her own body. “We try to source products that are organic and fair trade whenever we can,” she says, and every item is gluten free and contains no MSG. She’s met all but one of her suppliers in person and has established good relationships with importers who specialize in spices and teas. “Spices can be a fun way to be creative when cooking,” says Figueroa who points out that Pinch ‘n Rub is divided into sections with spices being first, including things like allspice, Vietnamese cinnamon and wasabi powder. Then there’s a section for blends, sugar blends, salt blends, pepper blends and other seasoning combos.

PHOTOS BY CHRIS EMEOTT


Some of Figueroa’s personal favorite Pinch ‘n Rub product recommendations for fall and the holidays …

Lemon Herb Seasoning: This is my top choice for anything poultry related. I mix a tablespoon or so with melted ghee or grassfed butter and really slather it under the skin and rub it all over the bird!

Pumpkin Spice Tea: We love this tea steeped in Aamodt’s fresh apple cider! It tastes fantastic and goes great with a “splursh” of Brandy.

Prime Rib Rub is another great holiday blend for those who choose to serve beef; it’s a classic.

Black Truffle Infused Sea Salt is the perfect finishing salt for mushroom pie, asparagus or in mashed potatoes to take these dishes over the top.

Rosemary Infused Sea Salt is another great way to add a level of flavor to your meats & veggies. Our Lumberjack Dip packets are an easy way to whip up some appetizers for the holidays. We have zesty, savory and a sweet heat version that are fabulous with beer bread or veggies.

One holiday must make at our house is my grandmother’s molasses snap cookies with pumpkin dip! Recipes on page 38.

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TASTEMAKERS

PU MPK IN DIP Ingredients: 1 can of pumpkin (15 oz.) 1 8 oz. package cream cheese 2 Tbsp. Pinch ‘n Rub Maple Sugar 1 to 2 cups powdered sugar (depends on how sweet you want it – I use 1 cup) 1 Tbsp. Pinch ‘n Rub Pumpkin Pie Spice 1 tsp. Pinch ‘n Rub Vietnamese Cinnamon ½ tsp. Pinch ‘n Rub Himalayan Pink salt For a fun variation: Try adding in some Pinch ‘n Rub Crystallized Candied Ginger chopped into small bits. Directions: Mix softened cream cheese and sugars until well blended. Stir in pumpkin one large spoonful at a time blending completely with each addition to prevent lumps. Stir in spices. Blend well and store in fridge until ready to use. Keeps well. Serve with Molasses Snap cookies or any crispy ginger cookie and even apple slices.

Pinch ‘n Rub Spice & Tea Hub

Pinch ‘n Rub Spice and Tea Hub was originally known as Spice and Tea Company. “I loved the name Pinch ‘n Rub but some friends thought it might be a little too sassy,” says shop owner Nancy Figueroa. After about six years, she was ready to freshen up the brand and the universe decided to help her along by dumping enough heavy rain in 2017, that a clogged drainpipe led to a completely flooded shop, ruining everything inside. The Spice and Tea Company was closed for over four months to clean up and reset. Meanwhile, Figueroa worked with a marketing group on rebranding. “When I decided to refresh, [a flood] wasn’t what I had in mind,” says Figueroa. But, this time around, she leaned into the sass, and her “baby” was reborn as Pinch ‘n Rub Spice and Tea Hub.

38 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2021

PHOTO: NANCY FIGUEROA

PINCH ‘N RUB pinchnrub.com


G R A N D M A K ’ S MO L ASS E S S NAP CO O K IE S Ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp. baking soda ½ tsp. Pinch ‘n Rub Himalayan Pink salt 1 tsp. ground Pinch ‘n Rub Vietnamese cinnamon 1 tsp. ground ginger ½ tsp. ground cloves ¾ cup butter (1 1/2 sticks) ½ cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar 1 large egg ¼ cup molasses ¼ cup Pinch ‘n Rub Ginger Fusion sugar in a shallow bowl, for rolling (you can use white sugar or a combination.) Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a bowl; stir well to mix. In a separate bowl, beat together on medium speed the butter and the one cup of sugar for about five minutes until very light, fluffy and whitened.

Add the egg and continue beating until smooth. Lower speed and beat in half the dry ingredients, then the molasses. Stop the mixer and scrape down bowl and beater. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients by hand using a large rubber spatula. Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop out one-inch diameter pieces of dough. Roll into balls between the palms of your the hands, then roll in the sugar. Place the balls of dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper leaving about three inches all around each, to allow for spreading. Bake the cookies for about 13-15 minutes or until they have spread, surface has crackled and they are firm to the touch. Slide the papers from the pans to racks. Store cooled cookies between sheets of parchment or waxed paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting cover.

Figueroa especially enjoys cooking with cayenne pepper and curry and she tells customers not to fear having fun in the kitchen. “If you don’t love it, just tweak it a bit next time.” But for those who might feel overwhelmed when encountering 300 jars of spices in one space, Figueroa praises her staff’s ability to help guide customers toward what would likely work best for them. “We train our team to ask about what people like to cook, chicken, beef or vegan. If a customer makes chicken regularly, we can help them make chicken 60 or more ways that will be different every time. Do you like spicy or savory or tart flavor profiles? Whatever people prefer, we can help guide customers with recommendations.

FIGUEROA TALKS TURKEY... “We always buy a giant turkey for Thanksgiving because we love creating with the leftovers. I really don’t

follow recipes; it’s more just throwing things that sound good together. I believe cooking should be fun and creating what sounds good in the moment. One of the first things I do after our Thanksgiving meal is de-bone the turkey and start a slow cooker with all the bones and any drippings from the cooked turkey--add some sea salt, garlic, celery, onion, thyme, oregano, rosemary and sage and let it simmer overnight. This makes a delicious turkey bone broth. My secret ingredient is our alderwood smoked sea salt. It gives a delicious depth of flavor to the broth. We use the broth with our leftovers, especially for hot shredded turkey open face sandwiches. Yum! The next few days it’s turkey salad, turkey pot pie and turkey sandwiches (we eat pretty low carb at our house so we make keto pastries, biscuits & bread, but an occasional bread indulgence is fun!)

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LAST GLANCE

Morning Fog on Perch Lake Why you should always bring your camera. BY ANGELA JOHNSON

W E R EGULA RLY FE AT U R E photo submissions from our Lens on St. Croix Valley photo contest in the pages of St. Croix Valley Magazine and online. This month, we asked Maggie Hall to tell us about her 2020 photo contest submission titled Morning Fog at Perch Lake.

What inspired the shot? I was working for the St. Croix County Parks at Homestead Parklands and was able to experience the many faces of Perch Lake. Each morning

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OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2021

PHOTO BY MAGGIE HALL

we made a cleanup tour of the park, and this time I had my camera! Describe your process for capturing the moment? It was spontaneous. I started to grab [my camera] each morning knowing this was what I might find as I descended the road to the lake. What’s your favorite thing about this photo? The calm and peaceful view, before the park opened and the beach was busy.

TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING LAKES FROM ROWANSIMS.COM • Go Wide A wide-angle lens allows you to include surrounding scenery into one frame. • Frame The Scene Add interest to a scene by finding natural frames like overhanging tree branches on the lake edge. • Play With Long Exposures Long exposures will give your lake photography smooth, silky water and clouds, as well as removing moving objects such as people.


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