Archive for June 17th, 2011

Twitterview with Nicole Navratil

Posted by on Friday, 17 June, 2011

@JoelECarlson: Good afternoon to everyone in the ET and CST zones! Today’s Food-Friday Twitterview guest is @nicolenavratil. Lets roll!

Nicole: Let’s do this! Sitting outside enjoying this beautiful day. :)

Q – #1    So @nicolenavratil, first tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up, go to school and what was your 1st job?

Nicole: I grew up in Aitkin, MN – a small town near the Brainerd Lakes Area. I went to the U of M – Twin Cities for music education.

My first job out of college was technically waiting tables – I wasn’t ready to teach just yet. I worked @kafe421 – still do!

Q – #2    I see. So when did you start teaching? At what school and what grade level(s)?

Nicole: I started teaching music in July of ’07. I got hired at a job fair in MN & moved to Phoenix w/my husband. I taught Kinder-8th grade!

It was an inner-city Phoenix school in a very small district. 750 kids!

Q – #3    So how long did you stay in PHX until you came back to MN? Also, when did you start blogging and why?

Nicole: I taught at the school in Phoenix for two years and actually started getting really into food thing then.

I won a “Green Makeover” for our school from the @EarthDayNetwork, which did a lot of cool things for us.

The best part (in my mind) was that we were given a grant to start a school garden.

I got out of the food stuff for a bit, and then about 7 or 8 months ago I read a ebook by Ashley Ambirge of the @TMFProject.

Her book is all about putting your passion to work. I thought about that for two seconds & my answer was people & vegetarian food.

Q – #4    Very cool! So please Tweet a link to your blog and explain how you came up with the name.

Nicole: http://t.co/xfH93OI There’s a story there. :) I’m on the Board of Directors for One Voice Mixed Chorus @ovmc, & we were on tour.

We were grabbing lunch from a deli at the grocery store in Alexandria, and they didn’t have any #vegetarian sandwiches made.

I asked if they could make me a veggie sandwich – they had everything right there. I really threw her for a loop. 10 minutes later,

It captures the spirit of the blog. It’s goofy, but points out how people aren’t always mindful of their meat consumption.

Q – #5    Great story! More about YOU. Favorite(s): Restaurant(s), store, comfort food, TC neighborhood, vegetable and spice.

Nicole: My favorite restaurant moment is #Lucia’s. She does AMAZING things w/ vegetables. Also love @FrenchMeadow, @Brasa & #BarlaGrassa.

I have a new favorite store! It’s called Hunt and Gather, & it’s a cool, kitschy, retro antique store! 49th and Xerxes in S. Mpls

Comfort food would have to be my homemade mac & cheese, or spaghetti. Oh, & cornbread, beans and rice, and plantains from @Brasa. :)

The best neighborhood is #NEMpls! My husband & I just bought a house here in September and we are 100% in love with it. Just perfect.

Favorite vegetable…oh dear. It might be a tie between wild mushrooms and artichokes. I am really into beets lately, too.

Spice is hard! I think I have to go w two Indian spices: coriander & cumin. They can really add a lot to an otherwise bland veg dish.

Q – #6    Cool! To close, what’s one dish or vegetable that maybe not many people know about that you would like them to try?

Nicole: I need to give mock duck some love here. It’s a great #vegetarian protein made from wheat gluten (not GF, sorry!)

You can find it in a can in the Asian section of big stores, or in the deli case at the co-op. Try it in a stir fry, in a sandwich –

Last night I came home and put it on top of a baked potato with some cheese & BBQ sauce – talk about comfort food.

Also, TC restaurants like @Senyaisenlek and @TripleRock cook with it. It’s my favorite protein by far.

Super easy to cook – you can’t go wrong. Just heat it up! :

@JoelECarlson: Thank you very much for your time today and sharing some of your life work and thoughts! Have a great weekend!

Nicole: Thank you for having me @JoelECarlson! :) This was a lot of fun. Enjoy the sunshine, everyone!