Tis the season for holiday shopping, which has me recalling my fall trip to Minneapolis and the Mall of America. In Minneapolis for a night, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the largest shopping complex in the United States. So large, that seven Yankee Stadiums could fit inside!
Upon entering, it looks like a typical mall,
but that’s where the ordinary ends. A few steps into level one and you’re in the middle of Nickelodeon Universe,
a full amusement park with roller coasters,
Even the trees (400 of them) and plants (30,000) are real!
The mall is known for combining shopping and attractions. The Lego store has huge, incredible toy sculptures over the entrance.
The robot in this picture is more than 34 feet tall! Other attractions include an aquarium, flight simulator, and miniature golf course, just to name a few.
I was surprised to learn that the mall has over 500 stores and each level is more than half a mile around. In fact, the Mayo Clinic has mile markers scattered around
for those who like to combine exercising with their shopping.
All that walking and shopping can work up an appetite. Luckily, there are 50 restaurants in the mall and plenty of specialty shops to grab a treat. Peeps, Mike & Ikes, or Red Hots?
Or perhaps a visit to the Pepper Palace for hundreds of types of hot sauce?
I think that if it exists, it’s at the Mall of America!
Truth be told, I found the Mall of America to be quite overwhelming and may commit to doing my Christmas shopping without a trip to the mall this year. Though that may mean missing a kiosk selling hermit crabs or a store devoted solely to belts and buckles, one thing’s for sure, whether I shop at the mall or on Walnut Street, I’ll definitely need some fuel to keep going — Holiday Snack Mix!
- 4 cups toasted oat bran cereal (I used Quaker Oat Squares – 2 cups brown sugar flavor, 2 cups honey nut flavor)
- 1 cup granola with raisins
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lightly grease an aluminum foil-lined 15×10 inch jelly roll pan or disposable foil cookie sheet of same size.
- Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
- Cook honey and butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until butter is melted and mixture is blended and smooth.
- Pour honey mixture over cereal mixture, stirring to coat.
- Spread coated cereal mixture in a single layer on prepared pan.
- Bake for 55 minutes, stirring once every 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in cranberries and bake another 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven and immediately spread onto wax paper to cool.
- Store in an airtight container.
DISTANCE FROM PHILADELPHIA TO MINNEAPOLIS: 980 miles